You Want Above All to See the “Suchness” of Things. That May Be “Dangerous,” But Beneficial
Now you’re taking action and getting rid of blocks—opponents, dragons. The first step in conquering both inner and outer opponents/blocks is acknowledging if and when you have a fight–a block you want to get rid of–on your hands. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is not so simple for many people–maybe most people.
I know a man who is extremely wealthy. I was going to use the word “rich” rather than “wealthy,” but decided against it because his life is not rich. He is unhappy, but he refuses to (1) admit that to himself and (2) to take steps to change his life so he will be happier. He refuses to “see” the real reasons for his unhappiness.
Not a single skill is more important than seeing. The samurai is taught ichi-gan, “first eyes.” The samurai “two eyesights” is kan-ken. Ken is looking; kan is “seeing into.” Everyone looks. The fighter sees into, even if what is seen isn’t pretty. See your opponent–your blocks and shortcomings in yourself–and you’ve got a chance to make improvements in your life. Being blind to them, you will probably never improve it.
The goal we should be seeking is to have no illusions—no illusions about the world, about others, especially about ourselves. Illusions are called gen in Japanese. Gen seeing is the worst kind of seeing it is possible to do.
The best seeing is simply applying the art of not kidding yourself—and it may be “dangerous” because when you see without illusions you may have to face the startling fact that after years of deceiving yourself or ignoring the truth, now it becomes apparent that many of your troubles and disappointments were your own doing–no one else’s.
An interesting laboratory experiment was conducted on responses to stress situations. All the subjects were told that they were about to receive a painful electric shock. Some of them tried to deny the shock by thinking or fantasizing about something else.
Others chose to confront the shock. They wanted to get it over with, and felt they could do something about it, if only by getting themselves ready. Instead of choosing to remove their attention from the impending shock as the others did, these individuals chose to concentrate specifically on what was going on in the laboratory or on preparing their bodies for the electrical charge. The deniers not only felt helpless, but their heart rate measurements showed that they actually experienced much more stress than the confronters.
Life is like that—full of shocks that you have the power to confront if you want, and if you do you will experience less pain in the long run.
So that’s where you begin—facing up to the truth, whatever the truth may be and however difficult it is to face. But some people learned as children to run from the truth, and have been running from it all their lives. They have become sprinters from the truth.
- Whenever you’re up against an inner or outer opponent, confront it. If you are afraid or self-doubting face them. Are they so terrifying? When a dragon is stopping you, reflect on it. Ask, “Why am I being blocked? Why am I afraid to speak up? Why do I feel so miserable right now? What is it exactly that’s stopping me?” “I’m wealthy, so why am I so unhappy?” The dragon may have been stopping you for many, many years, possibly most of your life. And it will persist unless you start facing it.
- Don’t try to kid yourself and others by saying, “I don’t know what’s blocking me.” You always know. You don’t have to go up to a mountain top and reflect. You know right now. All it takes is admitting it to yourself in an honest, forthright way. It is extremely difficult to say, “Thus far my life has been pretty much of a failure and it is the result of what I have done.” Yet, that realization may be the beginning of a new life. Think of the illusions you are hiding behind.
- Talk with a trusted friend–an honest friend. Most people avoid hurting a friend’s feelings by avoiding telling him/her the truth about shortcomings they see. You share in his or her illusions. But a real friend is one who will help you see clearly, without illusions, and will kick you in the teeth CONSTRUCTIVELY.
- Never ignore a block. If you drink, eat, quarrel, lose, spend etc. too much you’ll have a tough time getting things under control unless you see the suchness of the situation. Never let an illusion control your life, not even for a moment.
- Detach yourself slightly. Whenever you confront an opponent, a block of any kind, inner or outer, don’t see it as your opponent, only an opponent. It’ not your problem, it is a problem. Look at the block dispassionately and as objectively as you’re able.
It is only then–when you are seeing properly–that you can apply techniques to conquer blocks that we will be talking about in the future.
LET ME KNOW
What are the blocks you need to face without illusion if you are to lead a better life? What dragons have you faced and conquered?
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© 2014 David J. Rogers
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