Roots

This writer concurs wholeheartedly with the present emphasis on searching for one's roots, except that he suggests doing so radically (after all, "radically" means "of or from the root"). And to radically go back to one's origin means that one searches for one's roots as an individual and not just a member of an ethnic or religious group - which is a very superficial thing. Not that there is anything wrong with the latter; it is just that to do merely that has no meaning. It will give the individual some feeling of belonging, which is security to him, and in this way bind him even more strongly to the collective.

To search for one's individual roots means to explore how one has come about as a psychological entity in a world that is essentially non-definable, empty. Thus, the discovery of what one is must mean the very opposite of fostering one's sense of belonging, because it is a return to a state of total aloneness or Nothingness and thereby the destruction of all security.

When one begins to investigate into one's roots as a person, which is one's identity, one observes at the outset only two basic things: the existence of a body, and an apparently endless stream of thoughts, which we refer to as "the mind".

First, the body, We say its is my body, but this is really begging the question, because it presupposes the existence of a "me" that can lay claim to this body - and it is precisely the existence of that "me" which is at the issue in this investigation. The body itself does not say "this is 'me' as a body"; it is the mind that assigns the body's identity. But what is the mind? If mind itself has no identity, then it has no power to confer identity, and body is a mere phenomenon. And how does one observe "body"? Does the body observe itself? Of course not:body is only observed, re-cognized by the mind, in the mind. In other words, body is a mental reflection and has no actual existence in itself. So there is only mind - and mind is actually this continuous thought activity.

Having come to the point that the duality of body/thought has resolved itself naturally into the one term, thought, we shall now observe the latter in some more detail. There is then this endless stream of thoughts, produced by an apparently inexhaustible thought-machine. This in itself ins one of the most extraordinary phenomena - a kind of perpetual motion machine, for ever spewing forth thoughts, with nary a rest - which is very much taken for granted.

The distinctive features of thought is that the thought stream is no just random. Like a magnetic field of force is oriented around the magnetic poles, so the thought field is oriented around the perceived body. It is a subtle phenomenon, but it lies at the root of all the psyche's, or psychological, activities. To detect this, one needs the compass of awaresness: the sensitivity to watch all motivations for our actions, thoughts. Not just being aware of the most obvious desires, such as for power, lust, sex, etc. - which is easy enough. After a while, the gross desires strop, but the subtle ones continue. And it is not easy to be aware of the many very subtle desires the mind harbors, such as for self-assertion, for the status quo - we want to hang on to what we have - and the hundreds of minor ways of self-gratification.

Apart from the characteristic pattern of the thought content, something is known about its genesis. Through inner awareness, man has found that thought comes about through experience - but not any old experience, for that matter. Experience that has been incompletely digested leaves a residue in memory, and it is this residue that kindles thought, In this way, Thought perpetuates itself. Only total understanding, the going through an experience without holding back, without any reservations, and with a clear mind, can break the chain. WIth the exception of thought in the strictly utilitarian, scientific and abstract contexts, all thought - which means all thought having emotional content - is derived in this manner. So any psychological problem, whether actual or potential, ensures its own continuity. Or, one might say, the momentum of psychologically induced thought is self-sustaining and never-ending.

When one observes the prolific nature of the human mind, its myriads of psychological activities and complexities, one concludes that man must have a great multitude of problems, numerous unresolved experiences. And this is, of course, so, as we know only too well.

Again, analogous to the situation with respect to the body, there is nothing about thought that indicates self-nature. Thought is merely a flux, a stream; it is like a flame - never the same for two moments. It is not a question of "my" thought or "your"thought: there is only thought. To state that a thought is "my" thought because it is centered around "my" body is simply begging the question and engaging in a closed-circuit thinking that leads us astray and takes us into unreality.

What are we then that is intrinsically us? What are all the things that we have accepted as "given" without even a moment's consideration? Paradoxically qualities such as name, career, social position, etc., are "given" all right, but given by Society, not by Reality and are therefore not inherent. If there is nothing intrinsic that i can call my own, then I am really a mere "phenomenon," with somewhat limited continuity. But that phenomenon is essentially empty. Just as a flame has the appearance of continuity yet has no identity, because it consists of ever new material and therefore is each moment a new flame - so is the mind a kind of flame that is nurtured by a continuous flux of thought. Thus, it is the pattern of thought in relation to the "body" that has created the fundamental schism in consciousness, the birth of the unreal center, the beginning of Maya.

To see this completely, thoroughly, only therein lies liberation. The fact is that all our problems occur only because we are deeply, totally involved with thought, that great seductress. One must perceive the terrifying implications of the power, the momentum of thought - and also the simplicity, the beauty of the solution, the ending of sorrow. Fear, hope, all our expectation, are only the many combinations and permutations of thought, with in thought.

Now this realization that there is nothing to substantiate the conventional notion of self totally deflates the concepts of self-importance. And this cuts the grass right from under our feet, for if we are totally honest with ourselves we will see that all or most of our activities that are not performed out of sheer necessity in the pursuit of food, clothing, and shelter, are ultimately from motives of self-importance. The discovery of our roots has led us to true humbleness. And also, having seen that what I am is not any one thing in particular, or what comes to the same thing, that I am everything, all that exists, throws quite a different light on my feeling of alienation, of separation from the non-self. If means the end of all striving, even for liberation, since I am complete as I am, eternally liberated; the end of all competition, since I recognize I would only be competing with myself, and the end of all ambition since there is really no such thing as "individual" achievement.

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Replies

  • Did you write this, Joseph.  I agree with most of it but not all, including this:

    "When one observes the prolific nature of the human mind, its myriads of psychological activities and complexities, one concludes that man must have a great multitude of problems, numerous unresolved experiences."

    I agree about the multitudinous thoughts, but not that all thoughts relate to problems and unresolved experiences.  Unless you want to call a need to feed and clothe a child, "an unresolved experience", which I suppose you could but the whole argument seems a little shaky to me. 

    Namaste,

    Star Flower

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