Okay, so let me stir up this can of worms a bit. Posted by John on January 14, 2000 at 20:49:43:
In Reply to: Re: It's just a game. :-) posted by Douglas on January 13, 2000 at 15:49:56:
I noticed Jeff chafed at first at the validity of the idea of a
"container." Now Doug asks, "Is the distinction between inner and outer
real?" Let me say, I think this conversation you are developing here is
*magnificent. I'm so proud to have this conversation going on in
Classroom Talk. You students here all make this little classroom such
a special place. It is truly a *healing place for me to come to.
Well, let me throw in my own two-cents worth to "stir things up," and
give you something more to play with here:
The container is real, I say. It exists in space, and can be measured
by all of your reasonable criteria. And it can be observed—obvious and
apparent—if you learn how to observe it. The distinction between the
inner and outer is real.
That's not the way the Universe was originally set up. (So the great
fully-realized masters can say that there is no distinction between the
inner and the outer.) But it's the way the Universe has become for the
rest of us ordinary humans, owing to the effects of being asleep and
having cultivated an ego and a personality in growing up. The
"container" is NOT merely a metaphor. It consists of the obvious and
apparent limits that each of us live with every day, because of the
limitations that are imposed on our consciousness by our egos and
personalities. We only know a little of the Universe. That is, we only
know a little of the Universe that CAN be immediately perceived from the
place in it in which we stand. Outside that "bubble of limits," at any
given point in time, we know nothing.
Yet we have theories. We have imaginary formulations in our thinking
minds of what lies beyond the limits of our ordinary way of knowing
life. And lots of people believe in lots of those theories, and even
make philosophies and religions out of some of them.
But our real knowledge of life is limited. Before we knew what
mindfulness is, the experience of awareness was "outside the bubble."
It's not that it wasn't already here among us. Thousands of Thich Nhat
Hanh students are walking around in mindfulness, for instance. But for
others of us, the knowledge of mindful awareness was beyond the
container . . . not an imaginary container, not a poetic container, nor
a metaphorical container, an actual container in space here with us,
that divided us from knowing mindfulness and not knowing . . . until we
Mindfulness is the key to unlocking the container that each of us has
become limited within. Every new thing that is discovered and
experienced with mindfulness is yet another splinter of the All that
If you "keep making a bigger container"—on purpose—you are riding in
your mindfulness beyond the parameters of your known world, every time
you practice being awake. I've been sick in bed all week. All I've
needed to do has been to "make a bigger container" to hold this
Although I've hurt and ached a lot, I haven't "suffered." By that I
mean it hasn't been "an emotional bummer." I've been in a good mood,
and happy. I didn't have the strength to do much of anything around
here all week. except lie around in a stupor mostly, and feel the pain.
I made a bigger container to hold that reality, too. "Let it be." I
was willing to! I didn't get upset about it. I kept it all (the aching
back and legs, the fever, the weakness that's been keeping me away from
the keyboard) in my awareness. I "processed" the experiencable
sensations of it with awareness. I "included it in."
I don't usually get colds or flu over the years. This week I've been
able to empathize so keenly with all the things I've heard people say
about what it's like to have the flu. Yeah! I do *get it now! It's an
adventure, really. It does seem like it could kill you at times!
But I could extend my container out a little farther, and include this
in, and just "go with it," mindfully, and experience it, and let it be.
This flu, too, is part of the whole of reality. I didn't need to "turn
against it." I have a little bigger container now. My part in the
Universe appears to have grown.
Ironically, I have to work an extra day this weekend, including Monday,
Martin Luther King Day. What will be the reality of this? Fortunately,
my van is fixed up so that I can be as comfortable at the ranch, at
least, as I am at home. Doing chores may be a challenge. I'm not well
yet. Yet it ought to be okay. Whatever comes—if I don't lose my nerve—
I can keep including it in, keep including it in. I'll just make a
mindfulness exercise out of it. ;-)
See y'all next Tuesday, I bet. This discussion of "spirituality" has
gotten much better than I dreamed it would be. There's always something
new to discover every day . . . beyond the limits we are ordinarily
Keep up the good work, everybody! — G'night all.
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