I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we’re lead to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it’s worse than fear – it’s active disengagement. Ken Burns
I notice keeping myself from the retort, reaction, the pivot of the foot away – which is very hard on the knees – is harder when I am thinking of how much I don’t want to be Here. Funny, because it sounds like a physical place, but it’s a state of mind. I was going to say “only” but I know how words like only and just don’t make it in this context.
When I find myself being witty or “smart” I know I’m relating to the “blivet” my in-laws used to talk about. Ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. I’m full. Not able to take anything more in. Not able to listen, or have compassion. Something has filled me up. I don’t know that we pay as much attention to states of mind as some cultures. It was a shock to me when I realized that all the demons in Christian and Buddhist (and that of countless others) literature represent states of mind. All those fangs, tongues, skulls and fire are our mind-states.
When Ken Burns talks about disengagement it’s life he’s referring to. But the term itself, like discrimination, can be a place of great relief. In disengaging from the mental demons, from taking something personally, we open ourselves to the life waiting for us. Love and compassion can flow in when fear leaves us some room. An idea that has been engulfed in the flames of despair and worry can have a place in our minds. It might just be the idea that gets us out of our worry but we can’t have it until it has a window of light to enter.
This is what I mean: …The day you are discontented not because you want more of something but without knowing what it is you want; when you are sick at heart of everything that you have been pursuing so far and you are sick of the pursuit itself, then your heart will attain a great clarity, an insight that will cause you mysteriously to delight in everything and in nothing.
Anthony de Mello
Love yourself. Love your surroundings. Live, really live, another day.