Talking To Others Can Be Challenging…
…stressful, difficult, taxing, demanding, tough,
hard, heavy, pressured, testing, frustrating, fraught,
traumatic, arduous, gruelling, tiring, fatiguing,
“What world are they living in?!”
And therein lies the answer to “What world are they living in?” It’s their personal world, of course, and because of that, there aren’t many people we can actually talk to.
The further we are removed from our natural state, the more extreme we become.
Spiritually speaking, our natural state is pure consciousness.
Conventionally speaking, our natural state is the culture in which we were brought up (or the one we adopted).
So anyone who seems different from us could be accused of being an extremist, and then may be designated as ‘the enemy’, or even a ‘terrorist’. As we can see nowadays, a minority can claim that their view is normal, and can point the finger at the rest, blaming them and calling them extremists … the pot calling the kettle black 😉
Although this sounds as if it’s a political problem, it’s actually a spiritual problem. It is interesting that, in polite company, we are told not to talk about politics and religion as these cause arguments because we all hold different views on different levels.
This movement away from our natural, spiritual state indicates our level of spiritual development, and this is huge subject in itself. Here, Atisha simplifies it into three levels:
Atisha (980-1054 CE), as quoted in Gampopa’s (1079-1153 CE) Jewel Ornament of Liberation.
“Humans are known in three ways:
As inferior, mediocre and excellent.
“They, by any means whatsoever,
Who provide for the pleasures of Saṃsāra
For themselves alone,
Are called an inferior person.
“They who turn their backs to the pleasures of the world
And abstain from evil deeds,
Providing only for their own peace,
Are called a mediocre person.
“They who seriously want to dispel
All the misery of others because, n the stream of their own being,
They have understood the nature of misery,
Are an excellent person.”
‘Yana’ or level is determined by capacity and propensity of the “precious human body” wrought by merit, rather than by a specific teaching or lineage (it’s what we actually do, rather than what we think we know).
As Gampopa states:
“Therefore, because of the difficulty of its attainment, of the uneasiness of its breaking down, and of its great usefulness, we should think of the body as a boat and, by its means, escape from the ocean of Saṃsāra. As is written:
- “Standing in the boat of the human body,
You should cross the great flood of misery.
Since later this boat is difficult to attain,
Do not sleep now, you fool.”