Envy (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 186)

“You envy the leaves and the grass because the rain wets them, and you want to be the grass and the leaves and the rain too. But I am content to enjoy them and everything else in the world that is good and young and happy.”

Happy Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

Awakening or Bondage (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 185)

Yet, one of the most compelling things about the Buddhist view of suffering is the notion, inherent in the Wheel of Life image, that the causes of suffering are also the means of release; that is, the sufferer’s perspective determines whether a given realm is a vehicle for awakening or bondage. Conditioned by the forces of attachment, aversion, and delusion, our faulty perception of the realms—not the realms themselves—cause suffering.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

But It’s Here Now (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 184)

“Some people think that it’s only possible to be happy if one makes noise,” she said, after a pause. “I find it’s too delicate and melancholy for noise. Being happy is rather melancholy—like the most beautiful landscape, like those trees and the grass and the clouds and the sunshine today.”

“From the outside,” said Gumbril, “it even looks rather dull.” They stumbled up the dark staircase to his rooms. Gumbril lit a pair of candles and put the kettle on the gas ring. They sat together on the divan sipping tea. In the rich, soft light of the candles she looked different, more beautiful. The silk of her dress seemed wonderfully rich and glossy, like the petals of a tulip, and on her face, on her bare arms and neck the light seemed to spread an impalpable bright bloom. On the wall behind them, their shadows ran up towards the ceiling, enormous and profoundly black.

“How unreal it is,” Gumbril whispered. “Not true. This remote secret room. These lights and shadows out of another time. And you out of nowhere and I, out of a past utterly remote from yours, sitting together here, together—and being happy. That’s the strangest thing of all. Being quite senselessly happy. It’s unreal, unreal.”

“But why,” said Emily, “why? It’s here and happening now. It is real.”

“It all might vanish, at any moment,” he said.

Emily smiled rather sadly. “It’ll vanish in due time,” she said. “Quite naturally, not by magic; it’ll vanish the way everything else vanishes and changes. But it’s here now.

They gave themselves up to the enchantment. The candles burned, two shining eyes of flame, without a wink, minute after minute. But for them were no longer any minutes. Emily leaned against him, her body held in the crook of his arm, her head resting on his shoulder. He caressed his cheek against her hair; sometimes, very gently, he kissed her forehead or her closed eyes.

“If I had know you years ago . . .” she sighed. “But I was a silly little idiot then. I shouldn’t have notice any difference between you and anybody else.”

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923

 

 

 

 

Who do you think loves you? (Love vs Sex 244)

A woman said to a man “You have repeatedly called me a bully and a person who suffers from mental illness and delusion, how could you want to be with me if you believe that and I am constantly making you miserable?”

The man replied “I never said you were making me miserable. I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth that I never said. Instead of trying to tell me what I believe or how I feel about you, you might do better to pay attention to objective reality and my actual behavior, that is if you want to engage with the truth. You do not get to tell me how I feel or put words in my mouth to justify your fears. That is a distortion and a manipulation of reality which I cannot acknowledge for more than what it is. I cannot defend myself against your delusional projection and I will not. You are avoiding reality by creating a false premise regarding all of my feelings for you. You need to engage with reality.”

The woman flustered, fearful, and full of emotion, shot back “You have called me delusional. . .and a bully. . .and you have told me I was mentally ill! You have told me those things many times! Those are real! I am not making any of that up. Those comments, your comments, came out of your mouth. They were and are real, and they have happened many times. How can you think that I am such a monster and say that I do not make you miserable all of the time?”

“I have said you were a bully and that you are being delusional. I have also said that you suffer from mental illness and you do. I said all of those things and they are true, they are. I stand behind every one of those words and I am not recanting any of that. You are not always a bully, and you are not always delusional, but you do suffer from mental illness, and all of those things are connected and part of the same issue. I have discussed that calmly and indisputably with you a number of times. You know that.” Maintaining as stable of a tone and cadence as he possible could, the man continued, “How many times have I told you myself that I have also been delusional, and a bully, and suffered from mental illness? How many tales have I recounted about my negative and ugly experiences from being lost and confused in that delusion in the past? I have moved beyond almost all of that now, but it still lingers and I suppose that it always will. So, I’m not pointing any righteous fingers at you or pretending like you and only you are some kind of demonic abomination. I am trying to help you, you damn fool.”

He turned away from her for a brief moment as her silence and softened expressions seemed to suggest that she was trying to process his words. He gave her this moment of silence alone, intentionally, before continuing with what he needed to say. “I would look at your question differently. I would look at it and think about it in almost the exact opposite manner. Why would you not consider that if a man you know who is highly aware and perceptive, who knows you maybe even better than you know yourself, . . . if this man knows every one of your damn archdemons and slithering sufferings; your bully behavior, your supreme delusions, your overwhelming fear and insecurity. . . if he knows all of the intricate complexities of your mental illness and anguish. . . if he knows all of that shit, and not just the happygolucky superficial or watered down version of yourself that ninety-eight percent of the other guys and other people assume is the total culmination of you, . . . that he is the one who truly knows the totality of your existence inside and out, and that even with that knowledge and the burden of that knowledge, he has chosen, willfully chosen, to stand by your side despite all that excessive and weighty baggage you keep toting around with you everyday. Who do you think loves you? A person who just plays with your pseudo-perfect selfie projected persona or a person who truly forms a union with the good, the bad, and the ugly of you? You need to answer that question.”

Cribb          2017

 

Picking Flowers in the Midst of Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 182)

“I try again and again to console my heart and to pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell. I find bliss, and for an hour I forget the horror. But that does not mean that it does not exist.”

“You expressed that very well. So you find yourself surrounded by death and horror in the world, and you escape it into lust. But lust has no duration; it leaves you again and again in the desert.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Most people feel that way, but only a few feel it with such sharpness and violence as you do; few feel the need to become aware of these feelings. But tell me: besides this desperate coming and going between lust and horror, besides this seesaw between lust for life and sadness of death—have you tried no other road?”

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

Anything for Diversion (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 181)

“There are quiet places also in the mind,” he said, meditatively. “But we build bandstands and factories on them. Deliberately—to put a stop to the quietness. We don’t like the quietness. All the thoughts, all the preoccupations in my head—round and round, continually.” He made a circular motion with his hand. “And the jazz bands, the music hall songs, the boys shouting the news. What’s it for, what’s it all for? To put an end to the quiet, to break it up and disperse it, to pretend at any cost it isn’t there. Ah, but it is, it is there, in spite of everything, at the back of everything. Lying awake at night, sometimes—not restlessly, but serenely, waiting for sleep—the quiet re-established itself, piece by piece; all broken bits, all the fragments of it we’ve been so busily dispersing all day long. It re-establishes itself, an inward quiet, like this outward quiet of grass and trees. It fills one, it grows—a crystal quiet, a growing expanding crystal. It grows, it becomes more perfect; it is beautiful and terrifying, yes, terrifying, as well as beautiful. For one’s alone in the crystal and there’s no support from outside, there’s nothing external and important, nothing external and trivial to pull oneself up by or to stand on, superiorly, contemptuously, so that one can look down. There’s nothing to laugh at or feel enthusiastic about. But the quiet grows and grows. Beautifully and unbearably. And at last you are conscious of something approaching; it is almost a faint sound of footsteps. Something inexpressibly lovely and wonderful advances through the crystal, nearer, nearer. And, oh, inexpressibly terrifying. For if it would touch you, if it were to seize and engulf you, you’d die; all the regular, habitual, daily part of you would die. There would be an end of bandstands and whizzing factories, and one would have to begin living arduously in the quiet, arduously in some strange unheard-of manner. Nearer, nearer come the steps; but one can’t face the advancing thing. One daren’t. It’s too terrifying, it’s too painful to die. Quickly, before it’s too late, start the factory wheels, bang the drum, blow the saxophone. Think of the women you’d like to sleep with, the schemes for making money, the gossip about your friends, the last outrage of the politicians. Anything for diversion. Break the silence, smash the crystal to pieces. There, it lies in bits; it is easily broken, hard to build up and easy to break. And the steps? Ah, those have taken themselves off, double quick. Double quick, they were gone at the first flawing of the crystal. And by this time the lovely and terrifying thing is three infinities away, at least. And you lie tranquily on your bed, thinking of what you’d do if you had ten thousand pounds and all of the fornifications you’ll ever commit.” He thought of Rosie’s pink underclothes.

“You make things very complicated,” she said, after a silence.

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923     

The White Nightgown Mindset (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 180)

William James warned his students that a certain kind of mindset was approaching the West—it could hardly be called a way of thought—in which no physical details are noticed. Fingernails are not noticed, trees in the plural are mentioned, but no particular tree is ever loved, nor where it stands; the hair of the ear is not noticed. We now see this mindset spread all over freshman English papers, which American students can now write quickly, on utterly generalized subjects; the nouns are usually plurals, and the feelings are all ones it would be nice to have. The same mindset turns up on the Watergate tapes, and working now with more elaborate generalizations, in graduate seminars in English, in which all the details in Yeats’s poems turn out to be archetypes or Irish Renaissance themes. It is the lingua franca, replacing Latin. The mindset could be described as the ability to talk of Africa without visualizing the hair in the baboon’s ear, or even a baboon. Instead the mindset reports “wild animals.” Since the immense range of color belongs to physical detail—the thatness—of the universe, it is the inability to see color. People with this mindset have minds that resemble white nightgowns. For people of this mindset, there’s not much difference between 3 and 742; the count of something is a detail. In fact the number they are most interested in, as James noted, is one. That’s a number without physical detail.

WIlliam James observed this approaching mindset and associated out from it sideways. He noticed the mindset resembled the upper class of Boston. They too disliked the sordid details—the hair in the ear of religion, the smells of the Irish entryway—and preferred the religion of the One. Naturally, they became Unitarians. If the “cultured people” move into this mindset, a curious thing happens; the upper (spiritual) half of life and the lower (sensual) half of life begin to part company. One part ascends; the other part, no longer connected to the high, sinks. The gaps between grom wider and wider. The educated class has the Pure One, the working class people are left with nothing but the crude physical details of their lives—the husband’s old pipe and the spit knocked out of it, the washing tub, the water and slush from the children’s boots on the entry floor, the corns on the feet, the mess of dishes in the sink, the secular love-making in the cold room. These physical details are now, in the twentieth century, not only unpenetrated by religion, but they somehow prove to the unconscious that “religion is a nullity.” James emphasized that perception, and Stevens grieved over the insight all his life. For the working class there’s nothing left but the Emperor of Ice Cream. The middle class is now the working class, and so the majority of people in the West are worse off than they were in the Middle Ages.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988