Friday, 27 June 2014

compassion and desire

I love this piece from What I see is that when we are genuinely reconnected with our feeling senses we feel what others feel, we experiece empathy, and then we naturally wish for them to feel good, rather than needing a conceptual moral framework to adhere to. That does not mean of course it's always possible for us to enable others to feel good but we will naturally tend to behave in a way that is helpful rather than unhelpful - from our own desire.

"Miranda Shaw says that Vajrayogini liberates the mind from self-referentiality. I prefer the more emotively toned term self-involvement. This is the primary fixation of narcissism, the terminal psychic disease that goes pandemic at the end of Kali Yuga. Self-involvement is exclusive and excessive preoccupation with what affects a person, with little or no regard for what affects others. Meaning, no regard for how the self-involved person affects others, or even how the other person is affected by anything at all. Many behaviors blatantly demonstrate this type of callous self-involvement. Normally, we call such behavior selfish, self-centered.

For instance, a supposed friend shows no concern for the death of your cat. Trivial example, which could be multiplied into the thousands. Then there are non-trivial examples: someone you know and love shows no concern for your highest aspiration, what you seek to achieve in life, or what you have achieved. The self-involved person is never impressed. Such people are only interested in how you affect them. Self-involvement is the basis of using and abusing, controlling and manipulating others so that they only affect us as we would wish them to. It is a crass and sickening behavior, desolating to witness.

I like the term self-involvement because it indicates that a selfish person is involved or enmeshed in something that prevents them from other kinds of involvement, reaching toward the world and other beings, or toward nature, Gaia. In a healthy state of affairs, human beings get involved with each other. They may handle it badly and make mistakes, or get over-involved, but the basic willingness to reach out and be involved is sane and rewarding to both sides. Love is involvement with the life of another. Over-involvement is called codependency, and this is also rampant in our time. But over-involved codependency always stems from an initial self-involvement that is not seen or admitted. People are codependent, appearing to base their reality on others, because they selfishly think that this tactic will pay off, it will serve their self-involvement and egocentric neediness in one way or another. The codependent gives away self in order to extort something for self—a rotten bargain for all concerned. So the two behaviors are intricately related, and routinely enforce each other.

Some individuals can resist codependency: their self-involvement is so deep and intricate that they can't engage enough with another person to develop or express codependent attitudes. Extreme self-involvement produces behavior that isolates the self-involved person and desolates others who care to reach that person. Isolation is the greatest social and emotional plague of our time. It is a blatant symptom of the global virus of narcissism, which I define as excessive self-concern based on the lack of a genuine sense of self. Without a genuine sense of self, you cannot relate honestly and openly to others and you sink into a black hole of self-concern. Such is the gruesome paradox of narcissism.

So how does Vajrayogini come into all this? I would guess that she is the devata who intervenes most deeply in the territory of self-involvement. Mirroring BY the other and TO the other and the realization of voidness are "co-emergent" in the enlightened state. Blissful Freedom involves recognition of the Other. Direct realization of shunyata,Void, comes in the awareness that no single thing or being stands alone. You and I exist only in relation, involved with and reflected to each other. I relate, therefore I am. When I care and relate, I realize my own existence and simultaneously surpass it.

When I reach out to another, I do not merely connect with another part of me, myself, and I, theoretically over there— although what I encounter IN the other is a real transposed mirroring of me. Because something exists that really is other, union can happen. Even fusion. In the liberating voidness of enlightened awareness, you only exist in the immanent flux of relationship. Voidness is not emptiness, but absolute contingency, total interdependence. It is impossible to mirror anything if you are overly self-involved. Self-involvement is mental and emotional obtusity, desolated and desolating.
To be mirrored in the gaze of another, you must realize they are other. One and other come into union, but they are not a unit, not the single same thing. That is the wonder of union: it is the uniting, mirroring, or fusion of two distinct things or beings. Vajrayogini teaches mirroring, the attribute of Buddhic awareness calledAkshobyha, and shows the way out of self-involvement. This pointing is central to the sacred instruction of this devata."

John Lamb Lash

"The Measure of Compassion

How she does it is really fascinating, I find. She uses pleasure and passion to break the self out of its self-involvement. Passion, even grand passion, is the most effective tool in her kit. A grand passion will break someone free of self-involvement, when nothing else will. The nature of passion is to surge and expand, to reach out endlessly. This is also the tonality or dynamic signature of the CRAB. This small, amorphous constellation has the look and feel of a spiral nebula that expands before your eyes.

The unity of desire and compassion is Vajrayogini's leading instruction. The desire to please another person, for instance, is a force sure to undo self-involvement.

"Desire is the measure of all compassion," is one of the five principles of Kala Tantra. This is dakini syntax, an exact and rigorous teaching.

This teaching means that the way you express and live out your desire shows how your compassion really works. Compassion is the ability to feel how another is affected, either by what you do, or by anything at all. Feeling what the other feels is not feeling for them (there's codependency) but with them: com- means "with"; or even better, through them. You can hurt someone and still feel compassion for them as long as you recognize what they feel in being hurt. Compassion is not a state where you are beyond hurting or harming anyone, either intentionally or otherwise. It is the attitude of total responsibility toward how you affect others. But it is not responsibility for what others do with that affect. How they receive or manage it. That is their responsibility.

Compassion in Kalika terms is not an altruistic or transpersonal approach to life: it is desideristic, desire-based. The obvious objection to the pleasure-based or hedonistic ethos of Kala Tantra is this: if you just do what you desire, and what pleases you alone, you will selfishly ignore others and how you affect them. But the Kalika teaching is, you can do no good for others, no matter what you think you're doing for them, unless your compassion comes straight out of your desire."

John Lamb Lash

No comments:

Post a Comment