Friday, January 8, 2010

No self Buddhist precept and physics

I have a few beefs about my blog. My time setting on postings is totally wrong, for one thing. So if I say I'm going to bed and the time posts as 7:10, don't worry about me. It reminds me of the bank sign down the road from us. The time was always off by 15 minutes or more, and the temperature would be displayed as something like 115 degrees many summer afternoons. I always thought, why would you want a sign that displayed information that was so embarrassingly wrong? They finally fixed it: they just turned it off. I guess it was too complicated to fix!

Second blog complaint: my profile used to keep track of how many page visits my blog received, but it got stuck at 120 awhile back. So what's the point of having a page-visit tracker if it does not work? Hey, what am I paying for, anyway? Actually, it's all free.

I went to a lovely birthday dinner (celebrating my birthday, about a week later) with Susan tonight. We were briefly talking about my new flame, Buddhism, as it relates to the suffering in the world -- how to help without getting overwhelmed, or drowned by the seemingly insurmountable problems of so many suffering people who need help. I was telling her one of the many Buddhist precepts is to let go of the need to see particular results from the work we do. I couldn't remember which precept this comes from -- no self (anaka?) or no clinging.

Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I have realized that the world desperately needs more joy, more good cheer, more hope! My Secret Santa at work gave me a handworked metal ornament that was a word: Hope. I hung it up where it could be within my sight throughout the day. Hope!

Offering joy is an area that has been a blind spot of mine historically, old grumpy-me. I even used to think, why bother to pretend I'm cheery all the time? I'm not. Get over it! And look around -- what's to be so happy about? I was a militant grump. Maybe I'd seen too many cheery people who seemed over the top and forced. But something has changed, and it's no longer a heavy load for me to try to be cheerful. Maybe it's because I have been practicing it for a while. Being intentional about being a positive person has helped a lot.

Realizing the precept that there is no self -- no me, no you, no us or them -- just everyone, in one big ocean together -- is the beginning of understanding why it's so important to help others. The people who are suffering so desperately are dragging down this ocean of consciousness, and they are consuming precious energy in a negative way. When one suffers, we all suffer.

Also, when one person attains enlightenment, we all get closer to it. People who are more enlightened are therefore charged with injecting positive energy, light, love, into the world. I happily embrace this responsibility! And perhaps doing so then leads even further along the path of enlightenment.

I embrace the mystical aspects of Buddhism, and Christianity, because I believe that science bears them out. The most extravagantly mystical science is physics. Can we possibly view ourselves as separate beings when viewed at the atomic level? It becomes a ridiculous falsehood. What about at the cosmic level? We're all here on the earth together, and our fates are completely intertwined. We are all in this solar system, and we are all made of the same materials obtained from the same universe.

When we subdivide into the false notion of ourselves and "our own" problems, we quickly begin to circle the wagons around our own heart to protect and shield it from hurt. In so doing, we miss out on the wonderful revelations of life, and we limit our capacity to love. When Jesus was born, there literally was no room for him in the inn of many people's hearts, because they were so intent on their own little circumstances and problems. It seems not much has changed. Trust me, I'm still working on letting go of my little problems and issues.


  1. The way that I understand the Neti in Hinduism, and No-self in Buddhism, and Jesus' commandment in loving God with all of your heart & neighbors as yourself is that everything or being is God (or from God at least).

    Once a person understands that there is really no separation between "I" and others that exists at all, then loving everyone becomes natural and logical, and that you would understand that only God acts alone, and without Him, nothing could be done.

    Well, unfortunately, I only understand this truth at my intellectual level, but not at the higher levels yet.

  2. Wow, I must have been meant to discover this comment. I haven't reviewed my past postings in forever and today, I did. Thank you for your insights.


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