Session VII

Richard Gere: “Essence love is wide open and without bias. . . We can find it in ourselves because that’s who we are. It is our birthright as human beings. . . it can be covered over and confused such that we cannot recognize it or feel it. So we spend our lives chasing after it in relationships, money, power, things, and ideas – as if our inner loss can be found outside of ourselves. And maybe it can be momentarily. But eventually it just makes us feel hollow, exhausted, afraid, and angry. Somewhere in our hearts we recognize this, and in our most naked moments, we sense the emptiness and sadness that lies under the surface of our busy lives. Yet we yearn for so much more and sense deep down that true happiness is attainable. [Let us] find what we have temporarily lost and to begin a path of reconnection to our deepest nature, which is joyous, open, and free of all conditions and conditioning, like a cloudless and radiant sky. Recognizing our nature allows the warmth of compassion and love to naturally express themselves in everything we do. This path is not esoteric nor does it require some special ability. It is practical, logical, and clear. It is simply who we are. At root we all vibrate with love. We are love that has no limit and that can shine through every moment.”

Shakespeare, King Richard III:  “Whate’er I be, / Nor I nor any man that but man is / With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased / With being nothing.”

Ajahn Chah: “If you try to understand it [emptiness] intellectually, your head will probably explode.”

Lakar Rinpoche: “The absolute truth cannot be realized within the domain of the ordinary mind. And the path beyond the ordinary mind, all the great wisdom traditions have told us, is through the heart.”

Christopher Wallis: “Some people call it ‘heady,’ but here it’s just the opposite: we are trying to get beyond the limitations of the conditioned mind. These reflections can feel difficult for the mind because the mind’s parameters are generally much narrower than the scope of what we are trying to looking into here. . . . we are trying to use concepts to go beyond the mind! That’s not easy, especially if you keep trying to figure out the concepts instead of intuitively looking in the direction they’re pointing.”

Buddha: “Just so Subhuti, I have not gained the least thing from supreme enlightenment, and that is called supreme enlightenment.”

From Prajnaparamita Sutras: “To the extent that beings take hold of things and settle down in them, to that extent there is defilement. [think OA medit] But no one is thereby defiled. And to the extent that one does not take hold of things and does not settle down in them, to that extent can one conceive of the absence of I-making and mine-making. [think OA medit] In that sense can one form the concept of the purification of beings, ie., to the extent that they do not take hold of things and do not settle down in them, to that that extent there is purification. But no one is purified.”

“Appearances enter the service of denial: we [construct] the world in such a way that it appears independent of our [construction}. To construct the world as an empirical [real] world means to construct it as something independent of ourselves.” Irvin Yalom, existential psychiatrist.

Pascal: “The only thing which consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries.”

Mark Lilla:  “Human beings want to feel like they are on a power walk into the future, when in fact we are always just tapping our canes on the pavement in the fog. [blind grandmother of 1st Nidana] A dose of humility might do us good in the present moment. It might also help reconcile us to the radical uncertainty in which we are always living.”

Freud: “We may say that here the patient remembers nothing of what is forgotten and repressed, but that he expresses it in ACTION.  He reproduces it not in his memory but in his behavior; he REPEATS it, without of course knowing that he is repeating it.”

Ken Wilber: “We do not perceive empirical objects in a completely realistic, pre-given fashion; but rather structures of the knowing subject impart various characteristics to the known object that then appear to belong to the object—but really don’t; they are, rather, co-creations of the knowing subject. . . . Reality is not a perception, but a conception [projection]; at least in part. Ontology per se just does not exist.” 

David Loy: “Once a predictable and certain world has been constructed and automatized, we can focus on achieving our [delusory] ends within that world.  . . These acts of [construction] cannot be accessible to self-consciousness because they are also the foundations of self-consciousness. Then to repress the fact that my objective world is [constructed] is also to repress the fact that I am [constructed.]”