P. 1
Transforming Conflict Into Harmony by Khor Chu Cheng

Transforming Conflict Into Harmony by Khor Chu Cheng

4.83

|Views: 1,386|Likes:
Published by Khor Chu Cheng
SYNOPSIS:

Is it possible to attain harmony regardless of external circumstances?

Yes, but it demands a radical change in attitude, diametrically opposite our usual one. We are deeply conditioned to believe that changing our circumstances can result in harmony, but that is impossible. External conflict is simply the result of inner, psychological conflict. Therefore, the only way to attain harmony is to neutralize our inner conflict.

Based on about thirty years of investigation, experimentation, verification and practice, this book primarily deals with the cause of inner conflict, our inner conditions engendered by inner conflict, and the principles to neutralize it.

Although scientific findings are cited to support many definite, specific and concrete statements, they need not be accepted without verification. Simple techniques, without using any equipment, to verify many of these statements are given. Hence, this is a pragmatic book—aimed at assisting the reader to neutralize inner conflict.

About My Work
The driving force behind my work was due to the utter necessity, to sheer desperation, to find the answer to the immense psychophysical chaos within me. As a result, I was willing to use myself as a guinea pig for years and decades, applying whatever seemingly sensible methods on myself, continually pushing my body/mind to the limit, making innumerable experiments, and encountering innumerable trials, mistakes and failures. It was only after many years of these experiments and vigilantly observing myself that I discover the principles behind true healing.

The principles of true healing are not new; spiritual masters have known them throughout the ages, but their teachings are cloaked in such terms as to make them inaccessible to the rational mind. These teachings are filled with apparent contradictions upon contradictions, often verging toward craziness; no wonder they are often labeled crazy wisdom.

Nevertheless, I have developed a new, working model of the psychophysical make-up of man, enabling me to give coherent explanations to all the cases, that have mystified researchers, I have come across. More important, my model bridges the gap between psychology and spiritual teachings.

SYNOPSIS:

Is it possible to attain harmony regardless of external circumstances?

Yes, but it demands a radical change in attitude, diametrically opposite our usual one. We are deeply conditioned to believe that changing our circumstances can result in harmony, but that is impossible. External conflict is simply the result of inner, psychological conflict. Therefore, the only way to attain harmony is to neutralize our inner conflict.

Based on about thirty years of investigation, experimentation, verification and practice, this book primarily deals with the cause of inner conflict, our inner conditions engendered by inner conflict, and the principles to neutralize it.

Although scientific findings are cited to support many definite, specific and concrete statements, they need not be accepted without verification. Simple techniques, without using any equipment, to verify many of these statements are given. Hence, this is a pragmatic book—aimed at assisting the reader to neutralize inner conflict.

About My Work
The driving force behind my work was due to the utter necessity, to sheer desperation, to find the answer to the immense psychophysical chaos within me. As a result, I was willing to use myself as a guinea pig for years and decades, applying whatever seemingly sensible methods on myself, continually pushing my body/mind to the limit, making innumerable experiments, and encountering innumerable trials, mistakes and failures. It was only after many years of these experiments and vigilantly observing myself that I discover the principles behind true healing.

The principles of true healing are not new; spiritual masters have known them throughout the ages, but their teachings are cloaked in such terms as to make them inaccessible to the rational mind. These teachings are filled with apparent contradictions upon contradictions, often verging toward craziness; no wonder they are often labeled crazy wisdom.

Nevertheless, I have developed a new, working model of the psychophysical make-up of man, enabling me to give coherent explanations to all the cases, that have mystified researchers, I have come across. More important, my model bridges the gap between psychology and spiritual teachings.

More info:

Published by: Khor Chu Cheng on Dec 08, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

09/12/2013

pdf

text

original

Copyright © 2005 Khor Chu Cheng All Rights Reserved

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY The Answer to Your Lifelong Suffering

Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me. meiskhor@gmail.com

PAPERBACK VERSION of this eBOOK Paperback version is available at Amazon.com. If purchased directly from the publisher — CreateSpace — the author will get more royalty payment. Please click the below URL https://www.CreateSpace.com/3402521 An extra cup of tea certainly helps. Thank you.

Kindle Edition is also available at Amazon.com

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

CONTENTS

PREFACE.........................................................................................................9

PART ONE: OF CONFLICT
1/ GLOBAL CONFLICT.............................................................................12 2/ PROGRESS OF CONFLICT..................................................................14

Birth of Conflict / Growth of Conflict / Maturity of Conflict
3/ CONCEPT AND CONFLICT.................................................................18

Beginning of Thoughts / How Concept Causes Conflict / What Is a Chair? / Desire Controls Man / What Am I? / Value of Thoughts / Sensation, Feeling and Thought
4/ CONDITION OF MAN ...........................................................................27

Behavior of Man / Mechanical Man / An Illustration of Mechanical Behavior / Another Illustration of Mechanical Behavior
5/ STUDIES OF VISUAL PERCEPTION .................................................34

Inability to See the Flashes / Inability to Separate the Flashes / Ability to See and Separate the Flashes

1

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PART TWO: OF MAN
6/ DESCRIPTION OF A NORMAL MAN ................................................40 7/ DESCRIPTION OF AN ABNORMAL MAN........................................42

Conflict Everywhere / Creation of a New Self and Its Effects / A Detailed Example on the Creation of a New Self / Multiple Uses of the New Self / Conflict Created by the New Self / Three Possible Results of the Conflict / An Illustration of Displacement / Self as Conduit / No Escape / Consequences of Escape Attempts / No Other Pleasure
8/ FURTHER DESCRIPTION OF AN ABNORMAL MAN..............51

Attributes of a Self and Its Impressions / Self Is Clever, Attention Is Clever / Connection between Impressions / Variety of Forces / Opposite Forces within a Self / Character of a Self / Persistency of a Self / Two Selves as One / Overflow Force from a Self / Small Self within the Big / Self in Action / Legion of I’s / Divided House / As Within So Without
9/ LIFE OF AN ABNORMAL MAN ....................................................57 10/ NORMAL MAN VERSUS ABNORMAL MAN ...................................59

Ability of a Normal Man / Brainwaves of a Normal Man / Brainwaves of an Abnormal Man / Qualities of an Awakened Mind
11/ ARE ALL SELVES HARMFUL? ..........................................................63

Health-Self / Exercise-Self / Charity-Self / God-Self

2

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

12/ OUTER LAYER OF IMPRESSIONS....................................................68

Features of Outer Impressions / Defense against the Outer Impressions
13/ GIGANTIC SELVES ...............................................................................72

Gigantic Money-Self / Gigantic Wife-Self / Gigantic Safety-Self
14/ DESIRE AND FEAR REACTION .........................................................78

Effects of Desire/Fear Reaction / Nervous Systems
15/ TEMPORARY GIGANTIC DESIRE/FEAR REACTION ............81

Man Meets Tiger / Child Meets Oncoming Car / Sudden Peak Performance / No-Gap Action
16/ PERMANENT GIGANTIC DESIRE/FEAR REACTION.............85

Passive Reaction / Active Reaction / Circumstances and Time Do Not Heal
17/ FLOW, CREATIVITY AND SOUL APPEARANCE...........................89

Sham Flow / Conditions for Genuine Flow / Consequences of Flow / Conditions for Creativity / Consequences of Creativity / Flashes of Soul Appearance / Soul Appearance under Exceptional Circumstances / Sudden Permanent Soul Appearance / Treading the Way

3

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PART THREE: THE WAY
18/ SPIRITUAL PRACTICE ........................................................................97

Endless Activity / Insanity / Only One Thing Is Needed / Boredom
19/ TWO TECHNIQUES FOR VERIFICATION ....................................101

Technique One / Technique Two
20/ INDICATION OF READINESS...........................................................109

Utter Disgust / To Be or Not to Be / Gargantuan Dilemma
21/ WARRIOR-SELF ..................................................................................112

Attributes and Task of the Warrior-Self / Beware of Perversion / From Personality to Soul
22/ SOUL REALIZATION..........................................................................115

Freedom and Choice / Equanimity and Discrimination / Equanimity and Indifference
23/ THREE STAGES OF THE WAY.........................................................119

Stable Circumstances / Unstable Circumstances / Transience Everywhere
24/ STAGE ONE OF THE WAY ..........................................................122

Birth and Growth of the Warrior-Self / Deciding War / Gaining the Upper Hand / Sudden Breakthrough / Nothing Lasts Forever
25/ STAGE TWO OF THE WAY .........................................................126

Intermittent and Brief Soul Appearances / Duality / Unfamiliar Reactions / Concomitant Effects / Man Reaps What He Sows / Toward the End
26/ STAGE THREE OF THE WAY.....................................................134

Additional Dimension of Perception / Simultaneous Perception / Liberation from the Past / Encompassing Awareness / Intelligence and Vulnerability

4

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

27/ DIFFICULTY OF THE WAY ..............................................................138

One Continuous Mistake / Looking Within / A Word of Encouragement
28/ FIVE SIGNPOSTS...........................................................................142

Desire / Fear / Agitation / Exhaustion / Doubt
29/ HINDRANCES .................................................................................145 30/ RELATIVITY OF PLEASURE AND PAIN..................................147

Unconditional Acceptance
31/ RELATIVITY OF TIME ................................................................150 32/ STRENUOUS STRUGGLE AND SURRENDER .........................151

Without Expectation / With Expectation / Enormous Expectation / Secret of Health / Remembering Aim
33/ HALFWAY STATE.........................................................................155

Half Self / Half Soul
34/ RECAPITULATION .............................................................................157

Active into Passive / Everywhere Interconnected / Maximum and Constant Tension / Way Out of Impasse / Passive into Active into Neutral / Immediate Resultant Fruit / Many Strive, Few Succeed
35/ OBSERVATION PRACTICE...............................................................161

Impressions, Higher Attention, Awareness / Coarse Impressions and Their Reactions / Coarse Impressions Mask the Fine / Transformation of Coarse into Fine
36/ THREE WELL-KNOWN OBSERVATION TECHNIQUES ......165

Alexander Technique / Autogenic Training / EMDR
37/ OBSERVATION IN DAILY ACTIVITY ......................................171 38/ MIND AND RELAXATION MACHINES ....................................173

5

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

39/ RAJA YOGA ..........................................................................................175

Initial Struggle / Transcendence / Warrior-Circumstances
40/ STEP ONE: YAMA (Abstinence from Unwholesome Acts).........179 41/ STEP TWO: NIYAMA (Cultivation of Wholesome Acts)............180

Sex / Fasting / Devotional Practice / Spiritual Study
42/ STEP THREE: ASANA (Physical Posture) ...................................188

Limited Observation / Excessive Effort / Sensory Observation / Kinesthetic Observation / Asana in Activity / Unbalanced All Round / Reaction upon Reaction
43/ STEP FOUR: PRANAYAMA (Regulation of the Breath)............193 44/ STEP FIVE: PRATYAHARA (Controlling the Senses) ...............194 45/ STEP SIX: DHARANA (Concentration) .......................................195 46/ STEP SEVEN: DHYANA (Meditation) .........................................196 47/ INSIGHT ONE ...........................................................................197

Sudden Breakthrough / Gradual Breakthrough
48/ INSIGHT TWO ..........................................................................199

Decreasing Warrior-Self, Increasing Perceiver
49/ CONCENTRATION VERSUS MEDITATION ................201

Pure Concentration / Three Advantages of Insight Meditation
50/ INSIGHT THREE......................................................................204

Adverse Circumstances / Run Without Swinging / Think Without Thinking
51/ INSIGHT FOUR ........................................................................208 52/ LOOKING BACK..................................................................................210

Non-Constancy of Tension / Progress of Perception

6

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

53/ RELATIONSHIP OF AN ABNORMAL MAN ...................................214 54/ RELATIONSHIP OF A WARRIOR-MAN .........................................216

Way of Aloneness / Leaving Others Alone
55/ RELATIONSHIP OF A NORMAL MAN ...........................................219

Carl Rogers / Maria Montessori
56/ INSIGHT FOUR AGAIN ......................................................................225 57/ BEYOND INSIGHT FOUR ..................................................................226

The Spirit / Reaction of Conflicting Soul-Forces / World-Creator / Impeccable Action
58/ EVOLUTION IN GENERAL ...............................................................231

In the Beginning / Involution / Evolution / Vanity of Vanities / Man is Everything
59/ EVOLUTION OF MAN ..................................................................235

Physical Man / Emotional Man / Mental Man / Parable of the Sower / Intensified Conflicting Forces
60/ UNSTOPPABLE EVOLUTION .....................................................240

Becoming Individual / Becoming Global / Fruit of Evolution
61/ THE READER .......................................................................................244

Becoming Responsible / Becoming Independent / The Three Ways / Apparent Contradictions
62/ EPILOGUE.............................................................................................250

7

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Author’s note on gender and equality The words man and he are used to prevent choppiness and to prevent confusing the reader with “he or she.” Why must “he” come first anyway? Hence, to be equal, then “she or he” must be stated an equal number of times. If that is not confusing enough, then throw in an equal number of “herself or himself” and “hers or his” also. Nevertheless, as long as the man is born from the womb of a woman, he can shout himself hoarse regarding his superiority, but the fact remains that without a “she,” there will be no “he.”

8

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PREFACE
This book makes disturbing and unpleasant statements about the behavior and state of being of an average man. In addition to supporting evidence, it provides techniques to verify these statements. Further, it provides a working concept of his state of being. Most important, it provides the necessary principles to remove inner, psychological conflict in order to attain harmony. If the reader is willing to endure much inconvenience, disturbance and unpleasantness for a few days, he can directly verify many of these statements in that few days. To remove all the inner conflict, however, requires many years of ceaseless and difficult struggle. Therefore, if the reader is not willing to be inconvenienced or disturbed, it will be better for him to put aside this book because the mere knowledge of these statements can be disturbing. On the other hand, he may laugh aloud at the seeming exaggerated absurdity of these statements. If he then proceeds to laugh even louder at his own absurd behavior and state of being, it will be even better. This book focuses on the source of conflict—within the man himself. Carl Jung says that for the man to know himself is the most terrifying thing. Therefore, it is primarily for the reader who is prepared to face the most terrifying experience. It is for the reader who has realized from observation and experience, at least to a certain extent, that he himself is the cause of all his problems. It is for the reader who is prepared to face and neutralize conflict, rather than to go on living as before, piling up conflict upon conflict. And it is for the reader who is prepared to fight against himself. The average man is already continually fighting against himself, but the more he fights, the more he hates himself and others. If only he knows how to fight in the right way, then the more he fights, the more he will love himself and will naturally love others.

9

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The Bhagavad Gita says: Let a man raise himself by his Self, let him never lower himself; for he alone is the friend of himself and he alone is the enemy of himself. He who has conquered himself by the Self, he is the friend of himself; but he whose self is unconquered, his self acts as his own enemy like an external foe. The reader must avoid the strong habitual tendency to believe or disbelieve. If he does, in a way, he already assumes that he knows what is true or false—a most dangerous assumption. Anyway, convenience and expediency usually dictate whatever he believes or disbelieves. In so doing, he avoids the difficult task of finding out for himself what is actually true; he also avoids the even more difficult task of facing the truth, of aligning his life with it. This tendency is the most common method to avoid conflict and therefore, paradoxically, the primary cause of conflict. It is true that man cannot guide his life without beliefs, but they must be intelligent beliefs. An intelligent belief is based on facts and direct experiences. It is also true that man learns through mistakes, that is, if additional fact or experience contradicts any of his beliefs, then he must re-examine it. A blind belief is not based on any fact or experience. An absurd belief contradicts facts and experiences. The average man is full of blind and absurd beliefs; this condition clearly causes much conflict. Furthermore, he continually changes his beliefs, back and forth. Consequently, his lack of constancy compounds the conflicts caused by these beliefs.

10

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PART ONE

OF CONFLICT
The frequency and intensity of war steadily increased from Roman times onward, and its destructive impact has escalated. Three quarters of all war deaths since the days of Julius Caesar have occurred in this century. The number of war-related deaths has risen from less than one million in the fifteenth century to some 110 million so far in this one, far outpacing the rate of population growth. Michael Renner, “State of the World”, a 1993 report

11

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

1
GLOBAL CONFLICT

The entire world is awash with conflict. Though man, for eons, has clamored for harmony, conflict has not decreased. Instead, it has increased and has become more pervasive and subtle. War is simply a conspicuous conflict, hiding innumerable smaller conflicts waiting to explode later. In fact, war and these smaller conflicts are merely effects and relatively minor. They are caused by far more intense inner conflicts. If these inner conflicts are faced and neutralized as they arise, there will be no war, no Hitler. Hitler might even become Mother Teresa. If Saul the persecutor could become Paul the apostle, if Milarepa the mass murderer could become a most revered spiritual teacher, would it have been impossible for Hitler to become Mother Teresa? Anyway, what could one man do? If Hitler was not inside the people of Germany, could they be so easily persuaded and manipulated to do what they did? In fact, Hitler is inside everybody. Which man, if he dares to look deeply within, will not find Hitler lurking inside him? If he did, however, he will also find Mother Teresa inside him. American Civil War hero, General Robert Lee admitted, “It is good that war is so terrible or else we would love it too much.” Does man find immense pleasure and enjoyment in crippling another man, in putting a bullet into his heart, in risking being crippled, and in having a bullet in his own heart? Obviously so, but why? Is life that pathetic, that lacking in value, that man can only experience aliveness through the indulgence of such idiotic activity?

12

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

In Dhammapada, Buddha says: If one man conquers in battle a thousand times a thousand men, but if another conquers himself, he is the greatest of conquerors. One’s own self conquered is better than all other people; not even a god, a Gandharva [a celestial musician], not Mara [the evil one], could change into defeat the victory of a man who has vanquished himself, and always lives under restraint. If man truly loves fighting so much, then he will certainly love fighting this ultimate war—a war that will continually push his courage, strength, endurance, vigilance and skill to the limit. If he dares to dive into the source of conflict, to fight this ultimate war that will end all wars, not only will he experience a harmony that surpasses his comprehension, he will also experience an aliveness that surpasses his comprehension. Otherwise, his fighting is an act of cowardice, merely the reaction to avoid fighting this ultimate war, that is, fighting against himself. At best, this reaction and all his attempts to avoid his inner conflicts will only reduce them for a moment and often result in more inner conflicts later. The increasing number and degree of inner conflicts are due to his unceasing attempts to avoid them every moment of his life. These inner conflicts are then displaced externally. Hence, due to his avoidance, conflict has become so much a part of his daily life that he has assumed it to be normal, natural and inevitable. Why, he even loves it, otherwise how is he going to pass his time?

13

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

2
PROGRESS OF CONFLICT

Birth of Conflict When a baby is born, he is an adorable angel, bringing cheer to everyone. Some years later, he has become a fretful, implacable and rebellious devil. What is the cause of this metamorphosis? Shortly after he was born, the conditioning and conflict begin, primarily through association, imitation and education. Each time he hears the word good or right, it is accompanied by reward, smiles, approval, and everything associated with pleasure. Each time he hears the word bad or wrong, it is accompanied by punishment, scowls, disapproval, and everything associated with pain. Regarding his behavior, one person tells him that it is good and right, but another person tells him that it is bad and wrong. With the first person, he is rewarded; with the second, he is punished—for the same behavior. Even worse, one moment one person criticizes him for a certain behavior, but the next moment the same person praises him for the same behavior. For example, if he lies, his father may call him bad, tell him lying is wrong, criticize and punish him. But when the phone rings, his father may ask him to take the call and tell him, if it is his boss, to reply that his father is not at home. Then his father may call him good, tell him that he has done the right thing, praise and reward him. When his father comes home in a cheerful mood, everything he did is good and right even though already forbidden. But when his 14

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

father comes home in a lousy mood, everything he did is bad and wrong even though he had not committed any forbidden act. One moment he is smothered with kisses and hugs; the next moment he is violently shoved away. He solely depends on his parents for survival and security, but half the time his approaches are rebuffed. Further, he is often angrily told not to be angry and worriedly advised not to worry. Faced with all these contradictions, how long can he hold up? He simply finds himself fearful, confused, helpless and insecure. His innate attempts to regulate and control his actions in a consistent and orderly manner, instead of ensuring harmony, only bring him more conflict, more pain. Because whatever happens to him is based on external circumstances, he learns, through imitation, to try to control and manipulate everybody and everything; thus, self-control and selfdiscipline disappear. Instead of inner self-directed actions, he learns to respond reactively, always based on external circumstances, along the line of least resistance, of least conflict. Because circumstances change from moment to moment, he also changes from moment to moment. He has become a veritable chameleon. He ceases to be self-responsible but defensive, always self-justifying and blaming others. For how can he be self-responsible when whether he is rewarded or punished is not based on his behavior but on circumstances? As he gets older, he increasingly begins to evaluate everybody and everything in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, as if he can already distinguish right from wrong, good from bad—a difficulty that confounds even profound thinkers. Growth of Conflict Having little experience and understanding, a child is exposed, especially in today’s society, to books, movies and advertisements—calculated to evoke distorted imaginations and fantasies— for hours a day. Because his discriminating faculty is still in its infancy, he uncritically absorbs all the distorted and exaggerated oblique messages as if they are true and desirable, conditioning numerous strong desires into him. Because he is unable to pursue 15

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

these desires, they are displaced into daydreams and fantasies. As he daydreams and fantasizes, his false imagination grows stronger and creates more distorted and exaggerated impressions. As a young boy, and throughout his adult life, he is exposed to endless streams of distorted and exaggerated boasts by people around him, creating even more and stronger distorted and exaggerated impressions. Their fear of ridicule, contempt and alienation compels them to boast; having similar fears, he begins to pretend and start boasting, too. Regarding material possession, he may find it difficult to deceive others and himself that he already has what he desires. Regarding intangible qualities, such as artistry, creativity, ingenuity, especially goodness and rightness, however, he can attempt to deceive others, or at least himself, that he already is what he desires to be. If other people refuse to go along with the deceptions, he is offended. Of course, most people are too preoccupied to pay any attention and are indifferent to his boasts. That makes no difference, the lack of acknowledgment and approbation is enough to offend him. Consequently, he is often offended. Whether he succeeds in deceiving others or not is questionable, but before long he has definitely managed to deceive and delude himself. In fact, he is strongly compelled to deceive himself. The fear of noticing his seeming nothingness and impotency is simply too unbearable, so he strenuously strives to deny and avoid everything that is contrary to his distorted and exaggerated selfimage. Because of his fear that he may be an insignificant bug, he strenuously avoids trying to find out his actual state of being. Maybe the truth is—he is infinitely and inconceivably more magnificent than all his fanciful distorted and exaggerated imaginations put together, yet he walls off the truth with false imaginations. What can be sadder? Maturity of Conflict As he gets older and exposes himself more widely, the immense absurdity, silliness and contradiction that pile up around him and cause immense conflict within him have ceased to bother him. He has become immune and unconscious of what is around 16

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

him and within him, except for what is most pressing, what most affects him, at the moment. He has become an expert in the art of denial, avoidance, distortion, exaggeration—and manipulation. For example, why is it that in adverse and painful situations, a woman generally indulges in sorrow and self-pity while a man bursts in anger? Is it in the genes? Or is it conditioning, too? When a woman puts on a sorrowful and self-pitying countenance, not only she is not ridiculed, she usually receives sympathy, attention and assistance. Is it strange that she constantly drags up unfortunate incidents that happened decades ago and indulges in self-pity at every trifle? It is a most powerful tool to manipulate others to give in to her. What if she indulges in anger, won’t she be ridiculed? But when a man indulges in anger, no criticism comes his way. In fact, he is often seen as manly, selfassertive, and not easily pushed; hence, he will tend to use anger to get his way. If he indulges in self-pity even once, he will be the butt of many people’s jokes for years. In Anatomy of the Spirit, Caroline Myss says that “it is often far more difficult to release the power you derive from your wound than it is to release the memory of the painful experience.” These innumerable absurd, silly and contradictory actions, words and thoughts result in immense inner conflict and tension within him. Further, who can tell how much more conflict and tension are added by his colossal propensity to behave toward others winningly in their presence, but to criticize them viciously in their absence.

17

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

3
CONCEPT AND CONFLICT

Father Giovanni says: Understanding is the essence obtained from information intentionally learned and from all kinds of experiences personally experienced . . . whereas knowledge [that is, concepts] is only the automatic remembrance of words in a certain sequence. A concept can be a notion, a belief, a conviction, a doctrine, an assumption, an opinion, or an idea. A concept is a mental construct—thoughts in words, images, or both—that dimly reflects reality. It is definitely not reality. Even the most impartial and accurate concept is only a dim reflection of reality. It is crucial to remember that a concept is an extremely simplified and static version of what it reflects. For example, the word tree or an image of a tree reflects something inconceivably intricate and ever changing. At best, an accurate concept is useful as a pointer, a signpost, a map, or a crutch: a pointer pointing toward reality, a signpost or a map to guide him, or a crutch to support him temporarily. But man has mistaken concepts to be reality, the pointer to be the pointed, the signpost to be the destination, the map to be the city, and the crutch to be part of him. These mistakes are the source of all contradictions and conflicts. 18

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Beginning of Thoughts The retaining of thoughts begins when a child is about two years old. For example, if a ball is placed behind a couch, a oneyear-old child will not go to retrieve it, but a two-year-old child, due to the retained image of the ball, will; and he will be upset if the ball is not there as expected. Further, Maria Montessori finds that when a child is between two to four years old, it is vitally important to keep everything in its accustomed place and to carry out only accustomed activities. The slightest infringement is liable to upset him, and he frequently reacts with despairing cries and tantrums. The child already has retained thoughts of his past environment and activities; hence, any mismatch of his thoughts with his present environment and activities causes conflict. How Concept Causes Conflict In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards gives an excellent example on how concept conflicts with observation. When a ten-year-old student draws a square cube that is in front of him, instead of drawing it as it is, he usually begins by drawing a square and then attempts to make it into a cube with other lines. In so doing, he produces a drawing that does not resemble the cube. The student knows that a square cube has a square surface on all sides, and his drawing is based on this concept. If he had actually seen the cube as it is, he will find that none of the two or three surfaces he sees is square. Consequently, he becomes confused by the conflict, which is reflected in his drawing. Similar discrepancy between concepts and seeing applies to other objects, such as table and chair. If the student cannot see simple, concrete and static objects with clarity, how can he observe complicated and dynamic processes? It does not imply that his concept that a square tabletop must be equal in length on all sides is wrong. The table will only appear square if seen from above, with an eye directly above the center of the table. From various other positions, the tabletop will appear to take on various other shapes. To see clearly these non-square

19

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

shapes, the student must be able to recognize concept as concept, instead of mistaking it for reality. Further, if he is willing to bear the pain of the seeming contradiction between his concept and his seeing, that is, if he is willing to consider the possibility that both his concept and his seeing are correct though they appear to contradict each other, then he may discover the principle of perspective—the representation of three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface—from direct experience and resolve the apparent contradiction. Otherwise, his concept distorts his seeing, and vice versa. His concept that a square tabletop must appear square is too narrow and is only true from one particular position. He must expand his concept by including the principle of perspective. Likewise, a child’s concept of love, that is, his conditional love for his parents is not wrong, but far too narrow and shallow. He must gradually learn to broaden and deepen his concept until it becomes an unconditional love for everybody and everything, then and only then, his concept of love will harmonize with reality. Otherwise, he is liable to commit hateful actions in the name of love. Edwards also finds that “most adults also draw like children, no matter what level they may have achieved in other areas of life.” Hence, they can be brilliant in a few areas, but their behavior can still be absurd, silly and contradictory. What Is a Chair? Illustrating further how the simplest concept can easily cause confusion and conflict: for instance, how will the modern man describe a chair to a Stone Age man? It may appear easy because the Stone Age man is not obstructed by a preexisting distorted concept. First, he may describe its function, that is, a chair is meant to sit on. In this sense, many non-chairs can easily become chairs, and many chairs will be left out. A stone can become a chair, but a chair only for display, as that in a museum, will be left out. Second, he may describe its general features: a flat surface with four legs and a back support. In this sense, a bed can become a chair, but numerous chairs without these features will be left out. 20

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Third, he may describe its function and attempt to describe all the various particular features of a chair, which is impossible. Further, new types of chairs are continually being created. Of course, he can point his index finger toward a chair or show the Stone Age man a photograph of a chair. Isn’t it likely for the Stone Age man to assume that the finger or the photograph is the chair? Even if he is clever enough to look at the pointed chair, it is only a particular chair. Just imagine the confusion and conflict of three Stone Age men, each having a particular description or image in his head, arguing whether the object in front of them is a chair or not. In general, if a group of people is shown an object, they will have little trouble agreeing whether it is a chair or not. This consensus is made possible because they had seen and experienced many types of chairs under many different circumstances. Out of these experiences, their mental faculties have extracted, to a certain extent, the universal and abstract features of a chair—its essence. This abstract chair cannot be described, drawn or imagined. Nevertheless, it poses an irresistible challenge to some people, namely Picasso. He tried to paint the universal; his paintings are so abstract that nobody knows what he had painted. Even then, it is not truly abstract, for they still consist of particular shapes and color. Desire Controls Man If two men are involved in a bet over an object, then disagreement and conflict are assured. One man will effortlessly produce a truckload of reasons and explanations to prove that the object is a chair; the other man will just as effortlessly produce another truckload of reasons and explanations to prove that it is not a chair. If the two men change sides, then the reasons and explanations change sides, too. Irrespective of the side taken, the cleverer man always wins; he is a magician and can easily change black charcoal into white chalk, and vice versa. As long as there is desire, distortion and delusion are inevitable. Impartiality is essential to clear seeing. But the man’s attention is never on the impartial and neutral. Whatever he is impartial toward, he either ignores or simply does not notice. His desires 21

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

always trap and control his attention. For example, the man can easily name the three colors of the traffic lights correctly, but he will often name the positions of the lights wrongly though he has “seen” them innumerable times and often with fierce staring eyes. (The reader may wish to verify for himself by naming the color of the topmost light. Anyway, even if he names it blindly, he will still get it right one-third of the time.) Further, everything—the red traffic light, the pedestrians, the car in front—that blocks his way is seen as an obstacle, as an irritant, deserving his wrath. Buddha says, “Wise people do not call that a strong fetter which is made of iron, wood, or hemp; passionately strong is the care for precious stones and rings, for sons and a wife.” It is because an iron fetter only controls the man’s physical actions, but desire controls his actions, feelings and thoughts. Whatever he desires most at the moment is always good, right, most meaningful, most important, and of most value. Anybody or anything that happens to aid him is good and right. Anybody or anything that happens to hinder him is bad and wrong. For example, if a soccer player scores a goal, numerous of his compatriots will cheer and vow undying love for him. Nevertheless, if he happens to kick the ball into his own goal post the next day, or even ten minutes later, he will need a dozen bodyguards to protect him from the very people who had vowed undying love for him earlier. But his compatriots who did not vow undying love for him will leave him alone, unharmed, and may even sympathize with him. Further, the man often likes an object one moment but dislikes it the next, therefore anybody or anything that is good and right one moment can easily become bad and wrong the next moment. For example, when he likes to smoke, then cigarette is good, but when he dislikes to smoke, then it is bad. The man, however, does not notice the contradiction and conflict of his behavior. It has become so habitual and automatic that he has ceased to notice them. Hence, he is always deceiving and deluding himself.

22

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

What Am I? The word I is undoubtedly the most frequently used. The words—good, bad, right, wrong—are the second most frequently used. But did the man sincerely ask himself, even just once in his entire life, what he meant by these words? What am I? If pressed, he may give the naïve reply, “I am my body/brain; hence, I am also my sensations, feelings and thoughts.” If so—why does he work his body/brain so relentlessly, ignoring all the warning signals until it breaks down? Why does he look after his car more diligently than his body/brain? Why does he fill his body with so much harmful food and drink? Why does he fill his brain with so many violent and conflicting thoughts? Does he find it pleasurable? Obviously so! But why does he find it pleasurable to destroy his very own body/brain? Isn’t it most reasonable to look after its welfare with the utmost diligence and care? Why is he ashamed of some of his body parts, sensations, feelings and thoughts, but proud of some others? Isn’t it most reasonable to look upon all his body parts, sensations, feelings and thoughts with equal regard, equal care? What can be more absurd, contradictory and conflicting? He uses himself as the measure and reference point for everybody and everything. How can he measure correctly when he knows nothing about himself, when his measure and reference point keep on changing? Can he use a ruler to measure an object correctly when he knows nothing about the ruler? Won’t he find the object to be two inches one moment, nine feet the next moment—and five pounds the moment after? Value of Thoughts Why does the man strive so agonizingly hard to be seen and thought of as good and right by people, particularly by himself? His striving to think well of himself clearly implies that he has no control of his thoughts. How then can he control the thoughts of others? If he is bad—he is bad. Will it make any difference even if the whole world were to call him good? Will he then become good? Why does he put so much value into what other people and he himself think, but no value on what he actually is? 23

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

In fact, he is so deeply conditioned by these words—good, bad, right, wrong—that though he was exploited and manipulated by other people with these words innumerable times, they still affect him strongly. He still clings to the words good and right—and fears the words bad and wrong. Everything he does and possesses must be called good and right. Further, why is he so eager to sacrifice his time and energy— even his life—in the vain hope of being remembered after his death? Are thoughts of him by other people more important than his life? Does he really continue to live as long as he is thought of? Does he assume that thoughts are reality? These thoughts effectively shield him from reality; hence, he lives within an enclosed world of distorted imaginations and delusions. Sensation, Feeling and Thought The man may reply that the benefits—success, promotion, wealth, status, reputation, popularity, companionship and love—are really what he values, which are dependent on what others think of him. Does he ask himself what he meant by these words, these benefits? Apart from a little sensual pleasure, these benefits are merely to enhance what others think of him and what he thinks of himself. If not, why does he endure a ton of pain for an ounce of sensual pleasure? Undoubtedly, the most sensual pleasure is sex. Nevertheless, he spends only a little time in physical sex, but indulges in mental sex throughout the day. He even indulges in mental sex during physical sex. If he thinks of something else during physical sex, he tends to lose interest in the physical sex itself because his sex organs— including all other sense organs—have atrophied, have become insensitive, and are distorted. Hence, he only notices and experiences unusually intense reactions and often finds pleasure in painful and harmful reactions. Consequently, he continually strives to intensify the stimuli acting upon his sense organs and the intensity of his thoughts, evoking more conflicting, distorted and exaggerated thoughts. These two activities feed on each other in a vicious loop. Elastic bands of

24

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

feelings connect the sensations and thoughts with one another into a constantly changing maze of inconceivably unpredictable jumble. For instance, if he is physically beaten, it can just as easily evoke associated pleasurable sensations, feelings and thoughts. In fact, he sometimes derives pleasure from banging his head against the wall, which may even seem natural and reasonable. The man may glibly assert that sticks and stones may break his bones, but words will never hurt him. In fact, he soon recovers from physical pain, but he may suffer from painful words all his life. He fears mental pain far more than physical pain; similarly, he clings to mental pleasure far more than physical pleasure. Why then does he value thoughts so much? Or rather, why do thoughts affect him so much? Without thoughts, feelings cannot last for more than a moment, and sensations are gone when the stimuli are gone. Because thoughts can be long lasting, sensations and feelings can be vicariously re-experienced if they cling to thoughts, giving them a false impression of permanency. More important, the world is constantly changing—fluid, unpredictable, moving into areas new and unknown to the man; so external stimuli are fluid, unpredictable, new and unknown. The man uses thoughts as defenses to protect himself from the new and unknown. His fear of the new and unknown is so immense that, rather than facing it, he usually prefers even painful thoughts. His fear of the new and unknown touches all areas of his life. A simple example, he may enter a supermarket and complain that there is nothing to eat, nothing new and different, although thousands of varieties of food surround him and he had tasted only a tiny fraction of them. He is tired of eating the same food and desires to eat different food, but is afraid to do so. He has thousands of choices, yet he complains he has no choice. Faced with the uncertainty and fear of choosing the food he dislikes, he chooses to avoid the responsibility of choosing and facing the fears within him, so he denies and avoids them and blames his problem on the supermarket. He had already classified—automatically and unconsciously— only the familiar food as food and all the unfamiliar food as nonfood. For him, new and different imply familiar food with stronger 25

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

taste or slight variation. The phrase “nothing to eat, nothing new and different” is plainly false and absurd. Isn’t it strange that he is blind to it? He has learned to be blind with open eyes. As long as he is afraid to be self-responsible, for him, that phrase will always be true.

26

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

4
CONDITION OF MAN

Roberto Assagioli, creator of Psychosynthesis, says: In our ordinary life we are limited and bound in a thousand ways—the prey of illusions and phantasms, the slaves of unrecognized complexes, tossed hither and thither by external influences, blinded and hypnotized by deceiving appearances. No wonder then that man, in such a state, is often discontented, insecure and changeable in his moods, thoughts and actions. Feeling intuitively that he is “one,” and yet finding that he is “divided unto himself,” he is bewildered and fails to understand either himself or others. No wonder that he, not knowing or understanding himself, has no self-control and is continually involved in his own mistakes and weaknesses; that so many lives are failures, or are at least limited and saddened by diseases of mind and body, or tormented by doubt, discouragement and despair. No wonder that man, in his blind passionate search for liberty and satisfaction, rebels violently at times, and at times tries to still his inner torment by throwing himself headlong into a life of feverish activity, constant excitement, tempestuous emotion, and reckless adventure.

27

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Behavior of Man The man is like someone deep within the enclosure of a ship with a dead engine. Though the howling wind tosses the ship about, though it causes numerous changes and movements within the ship, and though a violent current steadily carries it toward an area filled with numerous large blocks of ice, he is oblivious to them all. He has automatically adapted to the internal changes and movements; therefore, he notices and experiences no movement, no change. Though violent storms occasionally jolt him up, when they are over, he behaves as if they did not happen. Not only does he stay inside the ship, he is afraid even to explore the inside of it, for fear of the unfamiliar. Eventually, he manages to deceive himself that nothing is happening, that he is cozy, warm, safe and secure— creating a false impression of permanency. The man’s inner conditions are like the inside of the ship. Though everything is happening to him, though he is constantly exposed to an endless variety of external stimuli and inner reactions, though an endless stream of vicious conflicts and battles goes on within him, though he is a mass of confusion and contradiction, and though he is heading toward death, he only notices a tiny fraction of these impressions—only the place he has locked himself in. A traumatic experience may jolt him awake for a while, but when it is over, he falls sound asleep again. Hence, he acts as if nothing is happening to him. He stays inside the ship because to go outside the cold and biting wind will toss him about. Further, he will perceive his precarious situation—of being carried toward where he knows not—thus evoking deep feelings of fear, helplessness and impotency. If he realizes that he is heading toward the blocks of ice, what will he do? In the face of impending death, will he still carry on with his accustomed activities? Won’t he realize the utter vanity and meaninglessness of all his previous actions, words and thoughts? Will he tightly shut himself inside the ship and continue to behave as before? Will he whine, lament and indulge in sorrow and self-pity? Will he lash out in impotent fury and frustration, hurling curses at his fate and God, doing violence to the ship even to the point of sinking it? 28

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Or will he—despite the impossible odds, with no guarantee whatsoever, without sparing any effort—strive to find out as much as possible about the ship, the external circumstances, and the floating ice by attempting to contact the people who can supply useful information about them? (Yes, the radio is in excellent condition.) What are the odds of repairing the ship and safely navigating it through the floating ice by a man who has not even seen the inside of a ship before, except the place he had locked himself in? To make matters worse, he is given numerous conflicting descriptions of the ship, mostly from people who have not even seen the inside of a ship themselves, but claimed to be experts in repairing ships. Hence, the man must be willing to make mistake after mistake, to begin all over again and again, times without number. The only way to sustain his struggle is the constant remembrance of the impending disaster and death. It will certainly be wonderful if a helicopter can arrive and whisk him away. Likewise, it will be just as wonderful if a priest can save his soul with a few drops of sprinkled water. Mechanical Man Gurdjieff says: Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels—all this happens. . . . To establish this fact for oneself, to understand it, to be convinced of its truth, means getting rid of a thousand illusions about man. . . . Man is born, lives, dies, builds houses, writes books, not as he wants to, but as it happens. Everything happens. Man does not love, hate, desire—all this happens. But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. It is particularly unpleasant and offensive because 29

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

it is the truth, and nobody wants to know the truth. The above quote is taken from In Search of the Miraculous. Its author, P.D. Ouspensky, one of the most profound thinkers of the twentieth century, had already written Tertium Organum and A New Model of the Universe before he met Gurdjieff. During one of their talks, Gurdjieff said to him, “If you understood everything you have written in your own book . . . I should come and bow down to you and beg you to teach me. But you do not understand either what you read or what you write. You do not even understand what the word ‘understand’ means.” Initially Ouspensky found the idea that man is a machine and that he can do nothing very difficult to swallow. Nonetheless, he soon verified for himself the truth and became Gurdjieff’s disciple. After his training, Ouspensky dedicated his life toward Gurdjieff’s teachings. The reader need not attempt to swallow or believe blindly what Gurdjieff says; there are available techniques he can verify for himself. An Illustration of Mechanical Behavior One morning an irresistible force propelled MIT Professor Marvin Minsky to one corner of his classroom and pinned him there as securely as a butterfly impaled in museum showcase. It was force of habit—a brand new habit imposed upon him on the spot by a group of playfully experimental students. The boys had him at their mercy, as if he were a robot slave and they the masters at the controls. They “robotomized” Minsky with a psychological ruse much like the methods for teaching rats to run through a maze, or training a dog to fetch a newspaper. Soon after class began, a few students started manipulating him. Whenever he paced to the right, they whispered softly to each other, rustled papers, dropped pencils, and created other minor distractions. But when he happened to take a few steps to the left, they sat up and obviously paid close attention to the lecture. In short they 30

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

conditioned Minsky by repeatedly punishing him for moving in one direction and rewarding him for moving in the opposite direction. Within half an hour he stopped pacing altogether and stood like a cigar store Indian near the left-hand edge of the blackboard. So subtly had he been habituated that he did not realize an experiment was in progress, and that he was the guinea pig—ironically, since Minsky is a leading authority on the theory of automatons. Think, November-December 1969 Minsky’s desire to get his students to pay attention absorbed all his attention, even to the point of not noticing his awkward physical posture. His actions were reactions to the external stimuli, only noticed by his desire. What was Minsky? Where was Minsky? At that moment, he was that desire; he was lost in it, that is, his attention was lost in it. That desire noticed itself and controlled his body to satisfy itself. No one, no entity, was available to perceive that desire or anything else. Because perception must precede control, therefore, apart from that desire, there is no control. If Minsky could not notice his unusual awkward state, how could he notice his usual comfortable state? If the mere desire for the students’ attention had driven him into an absurd position, just imagine the kind of absurdity his stronger desires would compel him to do. Yet he is a brilliant man! Another Illustration of Mechanical Behavior In a research study by neurophysiologists Benjamin Libet and Bertram Feinstein, each subject was requested to press a button the moment he was touched. Their findings: the subjects’ brains registered the touch stimulus 0.0001 second after the touch; the subjects pressed the button 0.1 second after the touch; the subjects only reported noticing either the touch stimulus or the button pressing nearly 0.5 second later. Even more disturbing—none of the subjects knew that they only “noticed” the intention to press the button after they had 31

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

already pressed it. As a result, they were deluded into assuming that they controlled the button pressing. This study has stirred up the scientific community, leading some researchers to question the existence of free will. But isn’t it obvious that each of the subjects had completely no control of his button pressing? How could he control it when he could not even notice it at the same time he was pressing it? Even if he could, it was already too late. In order to have control, he must perceive his intention to press the button before he actually presses it. Further, he must also be able to control his intention. In fact, regarding all activities, the average man only notices what he has done—if he notices it at all—after he had already done it. What actually happened? Briefly, the touch stimulus evoked the touch impression, which evoked the thought “press the button,” which in turn evoked the actual physical pressing. The physical pressing evoked the thought “report the pressing,” which in turn evoked the reporting. During the entire process—both thoughts, that is, intentions, were not noticed—only the reactions to the touch stimulus and to these thoughts were noticed. This is common. When attention is directed on specific physical reactions, thoughts are not noticed and even most of the impressions, that is, feelings and other sensations, are not noticed. The average man can only notice his thoughts during quiet moments, even then, only a tiny fraction. The reporting was mistaken to be the “perceiving” of the button pressing by the subjects and the researchers, too. The subjects had only a small amount of attention; hence, the sequence of reactions took almost 0.5 second. That is, they could not notice their reactions to the thought “press the button” and report their noticing immediately. The amount of attention depends on the amount of desire, and most of their attention was absorbed by numerous other stronger desires. In short, they were preoccupied. Further, the time lag between the physical pressing and the reporting was partly due to the unaccustomed activities. If the subjects were to participate in the experiment for a long time, the time lag will be shortened because the reactions, that is, the evoking of associated impressions, will become stronger and faster. Further, all the reactions, including the touch impression, 32

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

physical sensations of pressing the button and the reporting, will become habitual and automatic and cease to be noticed—the same way the average man does not notice the innumerable impressions evoked by external stimuli in his daily life. Having control involves the ability to perceive the impressions and stimuli distinctly, and the power to refrain from reacting. How can there be any control when the vast majority of impressions are not even noticed? Apropos of the above, in We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy—And the World’s Getting Worse by James Hillman and Michael Ventura, Hillman says, “I think therapy has made a philosophical mistake, which is that cognition precedes conation— that knowing precedes doing or action. I don’t think that’s the case. I think reflection has always been after the event.” After a lifetime of struggle to help his clients, Hillman found his struggles to be futile and inconsequential. Hence, he ends up ranting and raving and making empty protests: “Still, I’m going on protesting, and protesting against therapy. Something’s rotten in its kingdom, and I’ll go on saying so, even if I have not been able to imagine what to do about it.” Of course, he could not help his clients, for he could not even help himself. The above two illustrations are primarily to illustrate that the man is indeed mechanical, that he is an automaton, completely controlled by his habit, desire and fear. The given explanations are brief, incomplete, unsatisfactory and probably confusing. They will be explored more extensively and in depth later. Still better, the reader can directly verify and experience his actual state by using the Two Techniques for Verification, available in part three of the book. In verifying and experiencing for himself, he will understand what is written and his actual state far more than any additional detailed explanations. Anyway, the next chapter is the result of several studies to illustrate the above points further.

33

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

5
STUDIES OF VISUAL PERCEPTION

In The Teachings of Don Juan, Don Juan says: Dwelling upon the self too much produces a terrible fatigue. A person in that position is deaf and blind to everything else, and the fatigue itself makes us cease to see the marvels all around us. Harvard Medical School conducted several studies comparing the perception of two groups of subjects: one group practiced mindfulness; the control group did not. The subjects were asked to watch millisecond flashes of light. The control group was hardly able to see the flashes or to separate the flashes. The mindfulness group was able to see the beginning of the flash, its increasing intensity until it peaked, and its decreasing intensity until it was gone. That is, the mindfulness group was able to see the entire movement of the flash from the instant it appeared until it disappeared, distinctly and continuously, moment to moment. Inability to See the Flashes The control subjects were hardly able to see the flashes because they were preoccupied. It may sound ridiculous, but without practice, it is virtually impossible to perceive continuously any object for more than a moment, hardly a few seconds. That is, under usual circumstances, the average man cannot perceive the nail on 34

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

his little finger as it is for more than a moment. He cannot control even a tiny bit of attention for more than a moment. His attention always moves at blinding speed from one impression to another, propelled by an ocean of desired impressions, which swallows up his attention, leaving him with no free attention. In fact, his attention moves so blindingly fast that he never notices any impressions distinctly. He never notices the arising and the ending of any impressions; hence, he never notices the content of any impressions distinctly. He also never notices the movement of his attention from one impression to another. Further, he cannot distinguish the sensations evoked by the external stimuli from the sensations evoked by the inner reactions. Even worse, he very often cannot distinguish his thoughts from his feelings, his feelings from his sensations, and even his thoughts from his sensations. Repeating, the vast majority of impressions are completely unnoticed. Reflecting on a ten-day retreat in which he practiced Insight meditation eighteen hours a day, Roger Walsh writes: The subtlety, complexity, infinite range and number, and entrapping power of the fantasies which the mind create seem impossible to comprehend, to differentiate from reality while in them, and even more so to describe to one who has not experienced them. . . . The power and pervasiveness of these inner dialogues and fantasies left me amazed that we could be so unaware of them during our normal waking life. . . . Inability to Separate the Flashes The control subjects were hardly able to separate the flashes because of leftover images of the flashes in their minds, which shrouded and distorted their seeing. Hence, they saw only a blur, due to the overlapping of multiple images of the flashes within their minds. In the same way, a fast moving object taken by a camera with slow shutter speed will be blurred, due to the overlapping of multiple images of the object on the negative.

35

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Due to this effect, when a child grows older, everything appears as a blur. A tree is seen as a large blurry green blob; the individual leaves and their movements are not seen. The sight of any tree will instantly evoke this image, shrouding him from the actual tree. For this reason, although a baby looks at everything with wideeyed wonder, some years later, everything has become mundane, and he hardly perceives it anymore. Even when he visits a new place, he will often say there is nothing to see. Like the tree, everything else has been reduced into a familiar blur. What then, is there to see? Due to immense desire and fear, a child’s thoughts of his mother are even more blurred, the overlapping of innumerable contradictory and conflicting thought impressions. Further, these thought impressions instantly evoke his sense and feeling impressions. The blurriness is due to the blindingly fast movement of his attention from impression to impression on the innumerable retained impressions from his past experiences. This cluster of disordered impressions controls his reactions toward his mother, causing tension, hesitation, awkwardness, discomfort, confusion, uncertainty, insecurity, fear. One moment he considers his mother a most wonderful person; the next moment he considers her a most detestable person, and so on. His unpredictable and contradictory reactions reflect the chaos within him. Because reactions are the evocation of associated retained impressions, the child’s reactions depend on his present inner conditions, which depends on his past experiences, and on the present circumstances. To mention that the man never sees his mother accurately, including her physical features, may seem absurdly farfetched, an illustration involving his sense of touch will be more convincing. If the man with closed eyes touches a snake and a fish, he will receive similar touch impressions, but even the mere thought that it may be a snake will evoke an avalanche of sense, feeling and thought reactions, which will completely submerge the actual touch impressions. The reactions—projected onto the touch stimulus— will be wrongly assumed to be the actual touch impressions. Even more ridiculous, his associated feeling and thought reactions will 36

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

also be assumed to come from the touch stimulus, implying that he has mistaken feelings and thoughts to be sensations. If the reader, on reading this, then strives to see his mother accurately, yes, he will see her differently, but it will still be distorted. In fact, it will be more distorted—distorted by his desire to see accurately. The all-knowing man is a mirage, as if he can encompass this awesome, mysterious, unfathomable world, which includes himself, within his thoughts. It is simply the reaction of his immense fear to look within. This fear, the root cause of the mass of confusion within him, compels him to keep piling delusion upon delusion in order to avoid looking within, thus making matters worse. How can he know anything outside when he does not even know anything inside him? Ability to See and Separate the Flashes In contrast, the mindfulness subjects could anchor their perception on the flashes moment to moment, without the slightest break in between. They also could clear the flashes from their minds as soon as they were seen. Because their minds could clear the earlier visual image with astounding rapidity, they could register the new visual image with astounding clarity. Hence, they could perceive with amazing acuity the ever-changing world as it is.

37

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PART TWO

OF MAN
Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad flow of the rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the courses of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. St. Augustine

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul. Victor Hugo

38

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

To The Reader Although the author attempts to use the terms and concepts precisely, many terms and concepts refer to extremely fluid entities, which constantly change in direction, size and even attributes. Further, they often overlap, fuse and blend with one another, because though differentiated—they are essentially undifferentiated. Owing to this, some terms and concepts will not be introduced fully; they will be expanded and modified later. Nevertheless, the reader must strive to comprehend the terms and concepts precisely, but must not cling to them.

39

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

6
DESCRIPTION OF A NORMAL MAN

A normal body, four normal centers and a soul constitute a normal man. The term body refers to all physical parts including the brain. In describing man, instinctive movements, such as the beating of the heart, are not considered; hence, the body is an automaton and has no inherent energy or life. The four centers are the moving, sense, feeling and mental centers; they deal with the four different types of impressions. The moving center deals with moving or kinesthetic impressions; the sense center deals with sensations of the five sense organs: hear, see, touch, taste and smell; the feeling center deals with the feelings and emotions; and the mental center deals with thoughts, in words or images or both. Like the body, the four centers have no inherent energy or life. The soul of a normal man is whole. It has no particular desire or aim. It has complete control of the body and the four centers. A whole soul maintains a harmonious and well-integrated dynamic equilibrium among the body and the centers, giving the man peace, joy and well-being. Wholeness and harmony are the chief qualities of the soul; therefore, it is vulnerable, without any defenses and never defensive. Some inherent attributes of the soul are energy, awareness, intelligence, peace, joy and confidence. These attributes are completely inseparable: they are one. When one appears, the other 40

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

five also appear together with it and in corresponding degree. Thus, when energy is increased, awareness, intelligence, peace, joy and confidence will be increased proportionally. From here onward, even though the term energy draws the reader’s attention and makes a point on the energy attribute, he must remember to include the other five attributes along with it. The term energy refers to the degree of potency of awareness, intelligence, peace, joy and confidence. Awareness moves equally in all directions and perceives all impressions and stimuli distinctly and impartially. Intelligence synthesizes the impressions, integrates the incoming stimuli, and responds through the body in a harmonious and impeccable manner.

41

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

7
DESCRIPTION OF AN ABNORMAL MAN

But, alas, the average man is not normal; he does not even have a trace of the soul left within him, except on rare occasions. His soul has fragmented into a legion of selves. All the selves together constitute the personality. An abnormal body, four abnormal centers, and a personality constitute an abnormal man. Each self has a particular desire or aim. Though each self possesses the attributes of the soul, these attributes are perverted and much weaker. Each self is a confined fragment of the soul, confined by its aim. Its aim traps its awareness, turning it into an attention— attention on the aim. Attention is restricted and confined awareness: it is awareness having a particular aim. Its energy has become force. Force is restricted and confined energy: it is energy having a particular aim. Its intelligence has become cleverness: it has become narrow-minded because it can only access a tiny number of impressions. Cleverness is restricted and confined intelligence: it is intelligence having a particular aim. Conflict Everywhere When the soul disappears and the personality replaces it, harmony also disappears. Conflict appears everywhere. Conflict exists between the selves and external circumstances, between the selves and the body, among the selves themselves, and even within the self itself. 42

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The selves are never in harmony among themselves. The chief priority of each self is to reduce conflict to a minimum, but only on conflict it suffers. In so doing, even if it causes immense conflict to other selves or to the creation of a new self, it does not care a jot. Furthermore, its action usually leads to increased conflict for itself in the future; again, it does not care a jot because it only takes care of its suffering of the moment. As a result, its action usually leads to increased fragmentation and conflict. Other selves, however, are also always working toward the same end. All these forces moving along different directions are the cause of immense conflict within the man. Imagine numerous elastic bands, attached to him, pulling him in every direction. Each band represents a self that is struggling to compel him to perform actions that will minimize its own conflict. Whatever he ends up doing depends on the direction of the resultant force, the line of least resistance and the least amount of conflict for him. The resultant force appears only after chaotic actions and reactions of the bands have tossed him about for some time, causing confusion, tension, pain and huge amount of energy loss. Creation of a New Self and Its Effects Buddha says that the beginning of karma—action and reaction, cause and effect—is imponderable; likewise, the beginning of the first self is also imponderable. Nevertheless, it is possible to illustrate the appearance of subsequent selves. A new self is created by the man’s effort to satisfy the desire of an existing active self or selves. Each self strives to compel him to place himself in external circumstances conducive to its own comfort and satisfaction. If he is unable to comply, then the personality is compelled to change in order to adapt to the uncomfortable circumstances, which often ends in the creation of a new self. Once this new self has become strong, it will compel the man to maintain the circumstances that he found uncomfortable before, but comfortable now—made comfortable by the new self. If he is unable to comply, the process is repeated; consequently, another

43

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

new self may be created. The circumstances will in turn continue to activate the associated self: as within so without, and vice versa. For example, the cigarette-circumstances—defined as the circumstances that create or maintain the cigarette-self—will invariably activate the cigarette-self—defined as the self that desires to smoke. The cigarette-self will in turn push the man into cigarettecircumstances. If he is unable to comply, then the cigarette-self will attempt to adapt to new cigarette-circumstances. If it fails, then the cigarette-force—defined as the force within the cigarette-self—will be displaced into either an existing self or a new self.
IMPOSSIBILITY OF PROLONGED REPRESSION

None of the forces within the personality can be repressed, suppressed or inhibited for long. They cannot stagnate the way the pressure—“force”—of the air is stagnated inside a non-permeable balloon. The dynamics and kaleidoscope of the personality prevent this from happening. Further, energy is constantly pouring into the man and instantly converted by the personality into forces. If the forces can stagnate within him, he will burst like a balloon in a few days. Therefore, if any force is not directly expended, it will be displaced or diverted, and expended in another way. A Detailed Example on the Creation of a New Self Imagine the man is among a group of smoking friends who frequently ridicule and taunt him for not smoking. His friend-self— the self that desires friends—pulls him to them, but their ridicule and taunts push him away. The man is in conflict, resulting in discomfort, awkwardness and tension. His friend-self will attempt to adapt. If it fails, the man may avoid his friends and do something else—a displacement of the friend-force into another self, thus enlarging its size. If, however, he takes up a new activity, then the friend-force will be displaced into the newly created self. Nevertheless, he can choose to avoid the conflict and the fear of alienation by deciding to smoke. If he does, initially everything in him revolts against it, but if he persists, then he begins to adapt to it. Each time he smokes, he is violently thrown off balanced: everything in him including the cells 44

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

in his body is shaken, causing discomfort, distress and injury. The man is again in conflict. To avoid the conflict, discomfort and frequent sudden upheavals, a cigarette-self appears. It attracts and binds to itself impressions—movement, sensation, feeling and thought—that support and maintain its existence. At first, the elastic bands loosely bind the impressions. But the more frequently the man smokes, the more he activates the cigarette-self; hence, the more he channels force into it, and the tighter he binds the impressions together. As a result, the bands become more strong and rigid. The body adapts to the frequent absorption of nicotine through biochemical and bioelectrical changes into a new, but distorted and weaker equilibrium—less sensitive, less responsive and less resilient but more reactive. The automatic reaction of the muscular system to conflict is to contract, to stiffen, in order to avoid experiencing the discomfort. When the bands have become rigid, thus tightly binding the supporting impressions together, the body has adapted to the new equilibrium and the associated muscles have become permanently stiff—the man has become habituated to cigarette smoking. He has acquired a smoking habit, a permanent cigarette-self. Multiple Uses of the New Self When part of the friend-force is regularly displaced into the cigarette-self, thereby creating a strong band between the friend-self and the cigarette-self, these two selves may behave as if they are one. When one is active, the other will be active, too. The active self will invariably activate the other. Then the man begins to have impressions such as “cigarettes are like friends” and “like friends, cigarettes are wonderful companions, an effective antidote against loneliness and boredom.” Hence, if he cannot be with his friends, he will often smoke more cigarettes because more of the friend-force has moved into the cigarette-self. Now that the man has succeeded in eliminating conflict with his friends, he will tend to use the cigarette-self to avoid other conflicts as well. For instance, if he cannot sleep, he may smoke to help him sleep. If he cannot stay awake, he may smoke to help him stay awake. Likewise, he smokes to help him think and smokes to 45

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

help him quiet his thoughts—but he never notices the contradictions of his reasoning. Nevertheless, though his reasoning may be faulty, in some cases, it really helps for a moment, thereby encouraging him to smoke more. In some other cases, it makes matters worse, but he does not notice these adverse cases; even if he does, he always justifies it. The personality only notices what it likes to notice and never notices what it dislikes to notice. Therefore, it does not notice that in both cases the overall effects are always detrimental. If it does, then it will be in conflict—to be avoided at all costs. Conflict Created by the New Self All is seemingly well again. The man, however, has created a new self. The cigarette-self is an enemy to all the other selves that are set against it; therefore, additional conflicts are created. If the anticigarette-self decides to stop smoking, then war erupts; the impressions of the two selves clash. Conflict appears again. The body now needs nicotine to stay in its new equilibrium. If the abstinence is prolonged, everything in the body starts to rearrange in accordance to the newer change. Moreover, the cigarette-self that was laboriously created and bound by supporting impressions into a stable equilibrium is also disturbed; therefore, it will strive with all its might to remove this conflict. If it cannot get its way with sound reasons and truth—yes, it will be reasonable and truthful at first, for truth is an intrinsic quality of the soul before the self perverted it—then it will deny, distort, exaggerate and lie to get its way. Its attention is always on where it can get its supply, where and when it can smoke. If its aim is continually frustrated, then it simply goes into a frenzy until it gets its dose of nicotine. Three Possible Results of the Conflict Imagine the man is pulled by two elastic bands: one is the cigarette-self; the other is the anticigarette-self. First case, the cigarette-self is stronger and gets to smoke. Hence, the cigarette-force is used to neutralize the adverse effects of the nicotine on the body. For example, the heart instinctively beats

46

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

faster to remove the nicotine and to compensate for less oxygen in the blood. Second case, the cigarette-self is weaker; therefore, the cigarette-force is displaced into the anticigarette-self. The displaced force may be used to condemn and criticize everybody and everything connected to smoking. The more the anticigarette-self fears smoking, the more vehemently the man condemns and criticizes. He hates most that which he fears most. Third case, both selves are of about equal strength, then where and how the forces will be displaced and expended is unpredictable. They may be used up through tensing of the muscles, kicking against the wall, or banging his head; through overeating, watching television, or reading; through exercise, charitable work, or worshiping God—they definitely must be used up somehow. Of course, when the displacement is frequently repeated, it eventually becomes predictable and habitual. If the man had given up smoking through displacement, the cigarette-self will remain as strong as ever even if he had not smoked for two decades. Hence, even if a smoker is imprisoned in a non-smoking prison for two decades, he will often begin to smoke again shortly after his release. An Illustration of Displacement Deepak Chopra writes of a friend who was seized by an almost irresistible desire to smoke even after having abstained for fifteen years. His friend said, “You see, when I was a teenager in Bogotá, we used to smoke in the lobby between movies. All I did was step back into that scene, and the urge to smoke came back in a flash. I found myself in front of the cigarette machine fumbling for change, and only by clutching myself inside and repeating, ‘This is crazy, you’re a cardiologist,’ was I able to resist.” Even then, he was compelled to run away from the theater. Chopra’s friend had not learned to displace the cigarette-force in that particular cigarette-circumstance. In other cigarettecircumstances, the same amount of force is still regularly flowing into the cigarette-self, which has become a conduit for the force to flow into another self. Hence, his cigarette-self is still as strong as 47

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

ever. His fifteen years of abstinence caused him to be caught with his pants down, so he reacted with panic. Where the force is displaced depends on the circumstances of that particular moment. The cigarette-force can therefore be displaced to many selves—one self at a particular time and circumstances, a different self at another time and circumstances. In addition, new selves may be created to receive the force. If the man has displaced the cigarette-force into the food-self and then abstains from overeating, the food-force may move into the cigarette-self, that is, the force may reverse its direction. Then he will think of smoking, but it can just as easily be displaced into a different self. Self as Conduit Because many desires cannot be expended immediately, that is, directly satisfied, they are displaced; hence, the selves often act as conduits for the various forces. By the way, when no force moves into or through any particular self, it then becomes inactive, dormant—but it does not disappear. No Escape What will happen if the man avoids all cigarettecircumstances? Even if he manages to avoid all cigarettecircumstances, the cigarette-self will still be as strong as ever because he must think of the cigarette-circumstances to avoid them. This attention alone will activate the cigarette-self. In a way, his attempts to avoid cigarette-circumstances are really attempts to displace the cigarette-force into other activities. What will happen if he attempts to abstain by constantly thinking about the harmfulness of smoking? If he does, then he is constantly activating both the anticigarette-self and the cigarette-self. In short, the man cannot smoke. He cannot desire to smoke; he cannot be afraid to smoke; he cannot replace smoking with another activity; he cannot avoid the cigarette-circumstances—none of these activities can neutralize the cigarette-self. Further, he cannot even think about smoking in any way; he also cannot try not to think

48

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

about smoking because then he will be thinking about it. Of course, he is in a terrible bind. Consequences of Escape Attempts Jesus speaks of “the unclean spirit [that] goes out of the man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find,” so it returns to find his place unoccupied. “Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” Interpretation—the unclean spirit is the force that goes out of the cigarette-self, but not used up; hence, it returns to the cigaretteself and moves into seven other more harmful selves. When the man finds that smoking causes more overall conflict and tension, he strives to stop, but refuses to face the pain of abstinence. Even if he is willing to face it, he probably does not know how to abstain without causing any adverse side-effects. So he strives to avoid evoking the cigarette-impressions— defined as impressions that belong to the cigarette-self—by staying away from cigarette-circumstances, by evoking the anticigaretteimpressions, and by diverting his attention and thoughts to other activities. These attempts to escape from cigarette-impressions often make matters worse. In severe cases, he ends up smoking more than usual, viciously condemning and criticizing everybody and everything connected to smoking, and indulging in several additional destructive activities. No Other Pleasure Pleasure is the expending of force. There is no other pleasure. The entire attention of an abnormal man is fixated on pleasure, physical and psychological. Hence, he spends all his life striving to accumulate various forces in order to expend them through endless rounds of insignificant and momentary aims. The more desires, the more aims; the more aims, the more selves; the more selves, the more pleasures and pains. Further, the intensity of the pleasure and pain corresponds to the intensity of the desire.

49

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

For example—sex. Because pleasure is the expending and releasing of force, the longer the force is being released, the longer the pleasure; the more forcible the force is being released, the more intense the pleasure. So the man strives to put himself in more intense sex-circumstances and strives to intensify his sexual imagination in order to induce more force to flow into the sex-self. He also strives to withhold the release to prolong and intensify the pleasure. As a result, he experiences impressions of deprivation, frustration and tension, followed by pleasure, ending in satiation and weariness, back and forth, endlessly. Is it possible to list all the methods used to achieve this aim? Meanwhile, the sex-self becomes more distorted and perverted, filled with distorted and perverted sex-impressions.

50

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

8
FURTHER DESCRIPTION OF AN ABNORMAL MAN

Attributes of a Self and Its Impressions The attributes of a self—attention, force, and cleverness—are inseparable: they are one. The particular aim of each self determines the aim of these attributes. Actually, each impression within a self is created from these attributes; after all, a self is simply a bundle of impressions. Hence, attention, force and cleverness and therefore their specific impression are inseparable. Because an attention is an impression, attention therefore notices its impression; or rather, the impression notices itself. Each specific impression only notices itself; it cannot notice other impressions. The aim of a self is the resultant aim of its impressions. The force of a self is the resultant force of its impressions. Self Is Clever, Attention Is Clever An example, when the man reads a book, depending on the subject he is reading, the associated self is activated. The self, or its attention, on its own accord, will integrate the incoming stimuli into itself, but it always integrates the stimuli in accordance to its aim. If it dislikes what it reads, then it will simply deny, ignore, or distort the incoming stimuli to suit itself. If it likes what it reads, then it will cling to and exaggerate the incoming stimuli.

51

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Connection between Impressions The connections, that is, the elastic bands, are actually the feeling impressions. These bands connect the other three types of impressions—movement, sense and thought—to form a self. A desire is a cluster of connecting, similar impressions; it often consists of all the four types of impressions. The elastic bands also connect the selves to one another. Similar experiences and impressions play a significant role in the manner they are connected. A thought impression in one self is likely to be connected to a similar thought impression in another self. The same is also true for the other types of impressions; thus, one active self may activate another self. Variety of Forces Treating the self or impression as force—desire is pulling force, pulling the desirable object toward the man. Aversion or fear is pushing force, pushing away the fearful object. To desire an object is to fear the absence of it; the strength of a desire is equal to the strength of its associated fear; one cannot exist without the other. Both desire and fear attract attention. The desire for an object attracts the attention to the desirable object to pull it toward the man, but if he is afraid of failure and its consequences, then he will both reach out and pull back simultaneously—conflict. The fear of an object attracts the attention to the fearful object to push it away; hence, the man desires to notice the object he is afraid to notice—conflict. If an object evokes a great desire, the man is lost in desirable feeling and thought impressions. That is, he is swarmed with intrusive and obsessive desirable feeling and thought impressions. Similarly, if an object evokes a great fear, he is lost in fearful feeling and thought impressions. That is, he is swarmed with intrusive and obsessive fearful feeling and thought impressions. These impressions are powerful and unbearable forces. In either case, they forcibly compel him to expend them, often in drastic action, with drastic consequences. Out of various desires and fears, out of various pulling and pushing forces, arise all other forces. Anger or hatred is force 52

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

moving toward destruction. Frustration or irritation is the dispersion of force upon hitting a barrier. Depression is the pressing down of force into the body, resulting in muscular tension and blockages. Impatience is force pushing the body to move faster toward the desirable object. Because the various pulling and pushing forces move in different directions, conflict dogs the life of the abnormal man from birth till death, producing tension, stress, distress, pain, discomfort, awkwardness, hesitation, doubt, uncertainty, confusion, impatience, irritation, frustration, anger, hatred, resentment, bitterness, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, jealousy, self-pity, grief, sorrow, suspicion, depression, despair, apathy, sadness, lust, pleasure, pride, smugness and so on, ad infinitum. Opposite Forces within a Self Because desire and fear are inseparable, they also exist within each self. For example, when the safety-self is active, the man will notice impressions of safety: having adequate food, clothing and shelter; living in a safe environment; living among caring people. But these impressions will inevitably evoke opposite impressions. The stronger he clings to the safe impressions, the stronger the dangerous impressions will assail him. These dangerous impressions may then push him into dangerous situations instead. In fact, a gigantic safety-self often pulls the man into a safe situation one moment, but pushes him into a dangerous situation the next moment, back and forth. The desire to satisfy opposite impressions inevitably leads to absurdity, yet it can also lead to ingenuity. For instance, if the man desires to indulge in both pride and humility, then he may say proudly, “I am more humble than you.” Or the more strongly he cares about something, the more vehemently he says he does not care. Or the more strongly something matters to him, the more vehemently he says it does not matter. If he does not care or it does not matter, then why does he say it at all? So he keeps on saying it and keeps on saying he does not want to say it. Who could fathom the absurdity and ingenuity of his unending indulgence in both selfimportance and self-pity, or in both self-importance and anger? 53

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

There is no need to watch any movies; tragicomedies are everywhere, and they evoke anguish and laughter far more intensely. Character of a Self A self is created by the personality’s reaction to external influences. Its strength and size depend on the degree and number of exposures to similar external influences. It does not mean that if two people are exposed to exactly the same influences, they will have the same character and behavior, that is, same group of selves. Heredity and past lives play an important role. The character of a self depends on how the personality experiences and interprets the influences. Persistency of a Self The persistency, the permanency, of a self depends on the degree of difficulty to create and adapt to it. The more difficult it is to create it, the more persistent it is; thus, a cigarette-self is more persistent than an apple-self. The natural corollary: the more harmful is the self, the more persistent it is because more difficult and painful changes are required to adapt to it. Hence, it is more difficult and painful to reverse the severe changes, to neutralize it. Two Selves as One If the man always smokes whenever he drinks coffee, the cigarette-self and coffee-self will behave as if they are one. But if he is in a situation in which he can either smoke or drink coffee only, then the two selves instantly become enemies although they may have been inseparable friends for decades. Either choice, he will feel deprived and frustrated. Overflow Force from a Self Sometimes a self can be activated if an unusually large force enters another self even though they are not connected with each other. For instance, if the man suddenly discovers that he had lost a fortune, this instantly triggers an unusually large inflow of force into the money-self, part of the force will be displaced to other selves. If 54

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

the cigarette-self is one of them, then the man may smoke even though he is in circumstances in which he had never smoked before. If he chooses to smoke, then the conflict within the personality is slightly reduced for a moment. Small Self within the Big A self can have many smaller selves within it. For example, a people-self can contain many smaller race-selves. A people-self has impressions such as “All people are _______.” A Chinese-self has impressions such as “All Chinese are _______.” If the man meets a stranger, the people-self instantly becomes active to handle the situation. If he discovers that the stranger is a Chinese, then his Chinese-self takes over the situation, nothing to it. Self in Action It becomes intriguing when the man interacts with people he knows. For example, if he meets John, his John-self becomes active; he behaves in a certain way. Maybe whenever he meets John, he indulges in self-pity. Yet if he meets Adam the moment after leaving John, he may start boasting, for that is how his Adam-self usually acts. How will he behave if he meets both John and Adam together for the first time? Even more intriguing, the man may be agreeable with John, but if Janet joins them, then he may start attacking John. Yet when Janet leaves them, he may quickly become agreeable again, leaving John perplexed and upset. In any case, he does not notice anything unusual. The changes are smooth as grease: all in the name of taking the line of least resistance, least conflict and maximum comfort. Legion of I’s Each self, each impression, refers to itself as I. In the course of a day, hundreds of selves and innumerable impressions are successively activated. Each of them refers to itself as I, though they are different I’s and many of these I’s contradict one another. Yet the man assumes that he has only one I, that his momentary active I refers to his whole being. 55

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

An example, if his wife happens to satisfy the desire of his active self of the moment, his I responds, “My angel, how can I live without you?” If another self becomes active the next moment and is prevented from satisfaction by his wife, then his I responds, “You devil, I wish you were dead,” completely forgetting his earlier reaction because they are different I’s. These contradictory behavior and voracious tendency to forget become obvious if the man seriously attempts to kick any of his habits. Idries Shah says, “Assume that you are part hypocrite and part heedless, and you will not be far wrong.” Divided House All the impressions within the personality are mechanical and unconscious reactions, caused by desire and fear. Hence, they are all desire/fear reactions; they are all abnormal impressions. The personality has no control over these impressions because the personality is a divided house—divided into a legion of conflicting selves. Further, each self is divided into a legion of conflicting impressions. As Within So Without An analogy—imagine that an impression represents a man, that all the impressions within a self represent all the men in a country, and that all the impressions within the personality represent all the men in the world, then the conflict within the personality is similar to the conflict in the world. Regardless of what happens, planet earth always ends up the loser. Likewise, the body always ends up the loser. Apart from innumerable bodily problems caused by this conflict, an abnormal body is brimful of permanently tense and stiff muscles.

56

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

9
LIFE OF AN ABNORMAL MAN

When the man is young, his attention is predominantly on his desires, on the impressions of his desires. What he does not have, he is confident of getting; what he has, he is confident of keeping. He is an optimist, a spendthrift—full of pride, self-importance, forces, desires and aims. He is an active doer. His only complaint is lack of time. All his forces and time are used to satisfy his desires or expended into activities that will lead to the satisfaction of his desires. As the man grows older, he finds it increasingly difficult to satisfy his desires or to take up activities that will lead to the satisfaction of his desires. Consequently, he becomes increasingly reluctant to continue as before and begins to slow down. The forces begin to be trapped within the selves for a longer time; thus, he begins to notice their impressions. The longer the forces are trapped, the more forcible they become because energy is continually flowing into the personality; therefore, he begins to notice more strong and exaggerated impressions. Previously he hardly noticed these impressions because the forces were quickly displaced and expended through activities. Now the forces begin to be expended through the activation of these impressions. Slowly the forces begin to move from impressions of desire to impressions of fear—fear of non-satisfaction. Fear is actually negative desire, that is, the desire to avoid. His attention begins to move to not-having and to losing what he already has, which 57

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

eventually becomes predominant. He becomes a pessimist, a miser—full of worry, self-pity, suspicion, resentment and anxiety. He becomes a passive, non-doer. His complaint now—time hangs heavy. He begins to find external circumstances undesirable and to find faults with them. He begins to find pleasure indulging in unpleasant and fearful imaginations, endless complaints and blame—the few pleasures still within his ability to satisfy, to expend his forces. In Tales of Power by Carlos Castaneda, Don Juan succinctly captures his condition: Men for whom an entire life was like one Sunday afternoon, an afternoon which was not altogether miserable, but rather hot and dull and uncomfortable. They sweated and fussed a great deal. They didn’t know where to go, or what to do. That afternoon left them only with the memory of petty annoyances and tedium, and then suddenly it was over; it was already night. As he grows still older, his forces dwindle, his defenses weaken, so he may, on occasions, dimly see through the cracks to the place where he truly belongs, evoking a gripping anguish and an amorphous aching longing for he knows not what, and despair at missing it. What a way to live and die.

58

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

10
NORMAL MAN VERSUS ABNORMAL MAN

A normal man does not react; hence, he has no abnormal impressions. His normal impressions can be regarded as formless impressions—formless to an abnormal man. These formless impressions are sustained by energy, not force. They are abstract and synthetic. In contrast, abnormal impressions can be regarded as non-formless impressions. They are concrete and fragmentary. A normal man has a normal body, a body without permanently tense muscles. A normal man perceives the world as it is. Hence, he perceives and experiences the world in a way that is incomprehensible to the abnormal man. Ability of a Normal Man A normal man can perceive everything within his range of vision clearly, simultaneously and continuously. If a tree is within his range of vision, then the shape, color and movement of every leaf are perceived clearly, simultaneously and continuously. This ability also applies to the other senses as well. He also perceives all his bodily movements down to his little toes clearly, simultaneously and continuously. His feelings—peace, joy and confidence—are contrary to the feelings of the abnormal man. They do not disturb his body, movements, senses or thoughts in any way. When he thinks of a subject, he thinks the same way he sees, as a harmonious whole. He perceives all his thoughts clearly, simultaneously and continuously; hence, no movement of thoughts 59

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

is needed. Further, he can contact the soul realm, the realm of creativity. Brainwaves of a Normal Man In short, his awareness encompasses everything he perceives and experiences; hence, no movement of impressions is needed. His brainwaves reflect his ability. A normal man has plenty of beta, alpha and theta brainwaves. These brainwaves are coherent and synchronized; moreover, brainwaves on the left-brain are symmetrical to the brainwaves on the right-brain. When these brainwaves are seen on a full-spectrum EEG (electroencephalograph) machine, they appear stationary. This brainwave pattern is known as the awakened mind. Brainwaves of an Abnormal Man In his daily activities, an abnormal man has little alpha and hardly any theta brainwaves, but he has plenty of splayed and chaotic beta brainwaves. His beta brainwaves constantly change in frequency and amplitude. They are not coherent, synchronized or symmetrical. Hence, they are constantly in conflict. In his quiet moments, when his movement and sense impressions are decreased, when his alpha brainwaves are increased, he may notice his feeling and thought impressions. But without theta brainwaves, he cannot perceive any impressions or the world as it is. He has some theta brainwaves for a fleeting moment just before he falls asleep, but then he is already too drowsy to perceive anything. Qualities of an Awakened Mind For additional information about brainwaves and awakened mind, please refer to The High-Performance Mind by Anna Wise. In Mega Brain Power, Michael Hutchison writes quite extensively about researches done on brainwaves. According to these researches, the awakened mind is responsible for warmth, conscientiousness, stability, boldness, self-control, imaginativeness, abstract thinking, creative insight, intuition, peak performance, 60

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

integrative experience, learning, healing, vivid remembering of deeply buried childhood memories, and so on. But what do the above words convey to the man? If they merely evoke a series of associated reactions, each man understanding them in his own way, they are quite useless. When the man claims to “understand” something, it implies that that something has evoked familiar and associated impressions. Hence, if he learns to doubt and allow himself to be confused, he is better off because he is then allowing the new and unfamiliar to enter. Of course, the familiar evokes pleasure, but the unfamiliar evokes conflict and tension. These qualities are quoted primarily to lend credence to what is written earlier. If it is impossible to describe a chair precisely and accurately, how is it possible to describe this state precisely and accurately? Yet attempts must be made to allow the man to use these descriptions as pointers, signposts and maps. In any case, this book primarily aims at providing a working concept of the personality and on how to neutralize it. If the man can free a small fraction of his attention for ten seconds a few times a day, it will be enough to convince him of the existence of a state of being that is different in kind. But for a small soul to appear for ten seconds a few times a day requires a long and difficult struggle. Ordinarily, he only experiences a few flashes and in a small degree of the normal state in his entire life. Even then, he finds these flashes very strange, unusually vivid and substantial. So vivid and substantial that he can still remember these flashes clearly even decades later. But his other past experiences, regardless of how seemingly intense and significant they were at the time they happened, quickly faded into nothingness, as fickle as the impressions.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE

From here onward, unless otherwise stated, the term impressions refer to non-formless impressions, that is, reactions. And the term man refers to an abnormal man. Further, please note the use of these words: notice, perceive, conscious, observe. Attention notices its impression, that is, it sees its impression from inside. But awareness perceives the impressions, that is, it sees 61

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

the impressions from outside. The presence of awareness denotes the presence of a perceiver. When awareness perceives the impressions, it is conscious of the impressions; thus, perception is consciousness. Because formless impressions are awareness, so awareness actually notices formless impressions. Nonetheless, to avoid confusion, to simplify matters, awareness always perceives and attention always notices. Still, matters become more complicated when the man is part personality and part soul. Then he notices and perceives simultaneously, but initially this ability appears intermittently and briefly. Simplifying matters further, when he observes, it means he notices and perceives simultaneously, or he just notices. Nonetheless, even with these simplifications, at times it is still difficult to choose the appropriate word. Partly because the abnormal man can also perceive, but his perception is so little, so vague, and so corrupted by impressions that it is better to say he cannot perceive at all. That is, external circumstances and stimuli are hidden from him, accessible only by the normal man, accessible only by awareness, not attention. In fact, conflict is due to his stubborn assumption that he can perceive external circumstances and stimuli as they are, so he is in conflict with everybody and everything because everybody and everything is not what he assumes. Also, he is in conflict with himself because he himself is not what he assumes. His assumption is simply based on his desire/fear reactions, his impressions. Owing to this, the first and foremost condition to tread the way is the struggle to put aside all his impressions, beginning with a clean slate, like a newborn baby. It does not imply that all his impressions are useless, harmful, or false. If they were, he would have already destroyed himself in no time. Many are useful, beneficial and true, but he certainly cannot distinguish most of them correctly; otherwise, he will not be immersed in so much conflict. When he can perceive later, then he will be able make use of these impressions far more effectively than before.

62

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

11
ARE ALL SELVES HARMFUL?

Is the health-, exercise-, charity- or god-self also harmful? Does its appearance cause more conflict in the long term? If it gets stronger, does the conflict also increase in intensity? Are impressions unnecessarily, uselessly, or harmfully being stirred up? Affirmative answers to these questions imply the man is better off without it. Health-Self In a study in Finland, cardiac researchers selected twelve hundred business executives suspected of increased probability to incur heart attack due to their symptoms: obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level and smoking above ten cigarettes a day. In a five-year program, all participants were required to have regular checkups. Half of the participants made up the control group, that is, they were not required to make any changes to their lives. The other half were placed on an intensive controlled diet: more polyunsaturated fat, fish and chicken instead of red meat; vegetables; no smoking and less alcohol. The diet group was also supplied with detailed information on their potential risks. At the end of the program five years later, the researchers were extremely surprised with their findings. The diet group incurred a much higher death rate and twice as many deaths from heart attack than the control group. Furthermore, fifteen years later, the diet group incurred thirty-four cardiac deaths while the control group only incurred fourteen cardiac deaths. In short, the adverse effects did not disappear even ten years after the study. 63

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

There is nothing odd or surprising about the results of the study. The diet group was subjected to various intense inner conflicts for many years, evoking tension, stress, distress, guilt, remorse, regret, self-pity, self-hatred, self-disgust, anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, deprivation, emptiness, confusion, uncertainty, selfreproach. Wavering determination, which could last throughout the study, compounded these conflicts greatly because it prevented the body and personality to become stable. These conflicts caused immense chaotic biochemical and bioelectrical changes to the body. By itself, the body could adapt to the changes in diet and would definitely benefit from the new diet. But it could not adapt to the constant chaotic expenditure of conflicting forces into it by the personality. Perhaps the most damning harm was the detailed information on potential risks; the diet group probably became obsessed with it, turning them into hypochondriacs. Instead of removing one unclean spirit, they ended up with “seven other spirits more wicked than itself.” Exercise-Self One fine day, the man may come across a Marilyn Monroe look-alike jogging by, inspiring the exercise-self to take up regular jogging. The sight of the jogging woman results in more force flowing into the exercise-self. There is, however, no force allotted by the exercise-self for jogging, no jogging-self—maybe even no exercise-self. Further, the sight or memory of the woman only attracts enough force to jog for only a minute, so there is great reluctance and resistance to jog. If he wishes to jog and to jog longer, more force must be displaced into the jogging-self. How does he manage it? He forces himself to jog, frequently berating and beating himself up for desiring to stop. Hence, he knits his brows, clenches his jaws, stiffens his neck and tenses up many other muscles that have nothing to do with jogging. All these activities are the reactions of the struggle to displace more force into the jogging-self. These activities expend the conflicting forces between the desire to jog and the desire to stop, or between the desire to jog and the fear of jogging. If these activities are regularly repeated, they will be habituated and will not be noticed anymore. A 64

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

jogging-self appears. The jogging takes up only a small fraction of the jogging-force, that is, the displaced force; the rest is expended in unnecessary and harmful tension. What’s more, in this particular case, jogging may even sexually arouse him. Now, if circumstances prevent him from jogging during his jogging hour, the jogging-force will shake up the joggingimpressions and associated impressions, namely those associated to the unnecessary tension. Therefore, he will become frustrated and irritated; he may even be unusually sexually aroused. By the way, what will happen if the fear of jogging is greater than the desire to jog? Then he stops jogging and indulges in selfdisgust and regret. What will happen if the fear of jogging is equal to the desire to jog? Who can tell? Pursuing the subject further—now the reader is reading this book, an activity that requires only a minimal amount of energy. But he has struggled hard for a long time to acquire this reading skill. As a child until even now, he was and is often compelled to read. Further, each time he is distracted, that is, each time another self actively opposes his reading, he has to struggle to overcome it. Just imagine the amount of conflicting forces he has habitually expended into the body. Moreover, he is now reading inflammatory material; fortunately, the author is nowhere in sight! Anyway, why be inflamed and offended by mere words? Charity-Self Can the man help another when he is unable to help himself, when he does not know how to help himself, and when he does not even know how not to increase his own suffering? Referring to the cardiac researchers mentioned earlier, these people have spent decades in their area of expertise, yet the participants who adhered to their intensive five-year program suffered more and died earlier than the control group. The man’s charitable acts are simply the expending of conflicting forces, which usually are impressions of discomfort, guilt, vanity, often followed by criticism, resentment, and bitterness. As long as there are impressions within him that hurt him, that compel him to commit self-destructive actions, he will continue to hurt 65

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

others, no matter how much he may pretend and protest to be otherwise. How can he be true to others when he cannot even be true to himself? Similarly, the moment he is kind and caring toward himself, he will naturally be kind and caring toward others, without affectation, without hidden expectation, on the quiet. Hence, he will truly benefit other people and particularly himself if he spends the next ten years removing the brimful of venom within him. If he did, then he will truly be able to help another. If he manages to transform the personality into soul, then his presence alone will be beneficial to other people, even if he does not lift a finger or say a word. After all, his state of being and behavior are closely connected to other people’s. (The preceding two statements will be looked at from a deeper angle later.) God-Self The god-self is created by the desire to attain heaven and fear of hell. It contains impressions such as “god is love” and “god is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.” When it is active, the man may vehemently assert that his god is love, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Yet he may just as vehemently behave in a diametrically opposite manner. He may hate, torture and kill on behalf of his god of love. To deride his god is to offend him, and he may instantly rise up to defend his god—an insignificant bug defending an omnipotent god. His god is omnipresent, yet he may declare some places, objects and people holy and some others unholy. His god is omniscient, yet he may attempt to drown his god with an unceasing stream of loud, tedious, whining requests, even telling his god what to do, when to do and how to do. Actually, he has simply transferred various conflicting forces from other selves into the god-self. Now he can freely expend these forces and spew out his venom with blessings from god—how convenient! It is indeed difficult to comprehend the dastardly cleverness of a high-sounding self. In general, the more highsounding its name, the more dastard it is.

66

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Just imagine the insidiousness and subtlety of a god-self. How is it possible for people who read the same scripture, say, the Bible, but “understand” it in numerous different ways, spawning numerous different denominations and sects, leading to the smashing of one another’s heads over it? It is owing to the irresistible propensity to ignore, deny, distort and exaggerate in order to avoid the specific conflict and tension of the moment.

67

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

12
OUTER LAYER OF IMPRESSIONS

Looking at the creation of a cigarette-self from another angle— faced with the pain of either alienation or smoking, the man chooses to smoke. In so doing, a certain amount of force is displaced to the cigarette-self, and the personality changes into a new equilibrium. As time passes, the new equilibrium becomes stable. The cigarette-force is available to handle the adverse effects of smoking. Hence, the man does not experience the pain of smoking anymore, but it does not disappear. Instead, it is diffused throughout the personality. Active, specific, sharp and distinct pain has turned into passive, general, muted and amorphous pain. Active conflict and tension have become passive. The ceaseless attempts to avoid active conflict and tension have resulted in the transference of conflicting forces into other selves until the personality has become far more perplexing than the Gordian knot. A significant part of these conflicting forces is expended into the body. Hence, every part of the body is in conflict. Features of Outer Impressions This overall mass of perplexing, passive conflict gives birth to an outer layer of impressions, which encloses all the selves. These are impressions of helplessness, no control, no escape, impotency, nothingness, insignificance, emptiness, loneliness, separateness, incompleteness, unworthiness, meaninglessness and aimlessness. 68

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

No matter how the selves twist and turn, they cannot avoid or remove the pain of conflict, resulting in impressions of helplessness, no control, no escape and impotency. Lost among thousands of other selves, each self inevitably notices impressions of its nothingness, insignificance, and emptiness. Because each self is a confined tiny fragment of the soul, it notices impressions of its loneliness, separateness and incompleteness. Perennially obsessed with its one and only petty aim, it notices impressions of unworthiness, meaninglessness and aimlessness. Further, these outer impressions evoke immense additional impressions of insecurity, shame, guilt, anguish, self-pity, selfdisgust and self-hatred. Defense against the Outer Impressions Initially each self attempts to protect itself from its immense fear of the outer impressions by tightening and thickening its impressions around itself, that is, by vehemently emphasizing and exaggerating its importance and indispensability. These additional conflicts among the selves invariably thicken the outer impressions further—a vicious loop. Nonetheless, these additional conflicts also weaken and loosen the binding of the impressions around each self occasionally; hence, it is compelled to notice the outer impressions. To avoid this from happening, eventually the selves compromise with one another. They counterbalance and interconnect with one another to form a stable and rigid equilibrium. That is, the man attempts to avoid creating conflict among the selves by following rigidly to a routine and familiar way of life, having fixed opinions and beliefs. As a result, the impressions of each self tightened rigidly around itself; the interconnections among the selves are also tightened rigidly. Because which group of selves becomes active depends on external circumstances and the man is leading a fixed way of life, hence which group of selves becomes active also follows a fixed pattern. Reacting to external circumstances, the associated group is activated. It becomes dormant again when its forces are expended; as this group weakens, another group is gradually activated. The ebb and flow of the groups of forces changes like clockwork—regular, 69

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

precise and even. Further, the conflicting forces within the active group of selves have resolved into one resultant force; hence, the active group has compromised and resolved into only one active self. But external circumstances are never the same, so he defends himself by stubbornly denying, avoiding and shutting out all unfamiliar impressions, that is, the tight connections of the existing impressions wall off his observation. Because most of the available force is continuously expended and lost in permanent, passive tension, he has only a tiny amount of observation, which is completely lost in whatever he is doing at the moment—total absorption. Hence, he is indifferent to everything else because he observes nothing else. The man has become more secure than the gold bullion in Fort Knox, but he sinks into malaise, depression, boredom and anxiety. His rigidity and defensiveness appear everywhere. The price for his security is—death before his death. He may sink into a state of sloth and inactivity. On the other hand, he may work for sixteen hours a day, seven days a week. In this case, less force is expended into the body, but expended through the body. Nonetheless, in either case, he is in a state of inertia—defined as the tendency of a body to remain at rest if at rest, or, if moving, to keep moving in the same direction unless affected by some outside force. Summarizing, if there is a change in circumstances, particularly a traumatic change, then the conflict within the personality exposes the existing selves to the outer impressions, thus evoking fear and anxiety. Initially each self will struggle to maintain its usual state. Because the new circumstances prevent many selves from doing so, initially the conflict within the personality will be increased by the struggle, thus increasing the exposure to the outer impressions. Eventually, they compel themselves to compromise with one another to allow the personality to become stable again. Increased conflict is due to the man’s rebellion against the new circumstances. If he does not rebel, but only struggles to adapt, then the conflict is reduced to a minimum. Nonetheless, the mechanical tendency to rebel before reluctantly resigning himself is quite irresistible.

70

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

An example, if the man suffers a significant loss in fortune, then he is unable to continue some of his accustomed activities, evoking general impressions of helplessness. Further, his reluctance to drop these activities often intensifies and prolongs these impressions. Eventually, he compromises and resigns himself to his new circumstances, enabling him to stabilize his new way of life.

71

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

13
GIGANTIC SELVES

Gigantic Money-Self Leaving out the fact that the man will inevitably get weaker with age, what will happen if, due to luck or hard work, he is able to satisfy his various desires? For example, if he has a gigantic moneyself because he presumes that money is everything and can solve all his problems—and he suddenly comes upon a fortune. The immediate reaction will be fright, with all the symptoms of fear, such as rapid heartbeats, cold hands and feet. If he has a weak heart, he may even die of a heart attack. Later, when his attention turns to his newly-acquired fortune, he is filled with pleasure, smiling from cheek to cheek, yet the havoc within him remains. Whenever there is desire, there is fear. His behavior depends on his attention. If his attention is on desirable impressions, he behaves one way; if on his fearful impressions, he behaves another way. In the short term, his unstable condition is obvious. The personality is violently shaken and forced to change its equilibrium, with changes to the selves, interconnections and body. His attention on acquiring money has shrunk; hence, his money-self becomes smaller. Now his attention falls on satisfying his various desires with the presumption that if only he has this and that, then he will most definitely be forever happy and contented. The money-force is displaced into these desirable selves, so they become bigger. On the one hand, the money-force is significantly being released, causing him to become energetic, euphoric and exhilarated. On the other hand, the increased forces in the desirable selves are seeking release, 72

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

causing him to become agitated and frustrated until their forces are expended, which will then lead to satiation, weariness and probably disgust. If the increased forces are not expended for a prolonged period, then he becomes depressed due to the pressing down of these forces. In the long term, he is often in a worse condition than before. All his fantasies on finding satisfaction, fulfillment, unending happiness and contentment are false imaginations; hence, they all disillusion him. This alone is a big blow. In addition, he is saddled with the added troubles and false imaginations triggered by the acquired fortune. Of course, he may delude himself into presuming that a bigger fortune will indeed solve all his problems; then the money-self becomes bigger though he still has a lot of money. Or he may imagine additional this and that, and proceed to presume that if he has them, then he will, this time, most definitely be forever happy and contented. So he continues to struggle, hope and pray. How many blows are needed to wake him up and make him realize that there is no end to it? Instead of suddenly acquiring his fortune, if he acquires it gradually, then there is no sudden strong reaction, but the overall effect is the same though less intense over a long period. Gigantic Wife-Self In contrast with the above situation, what will happen if a misfortune suddenly befalls him? For example, if his beloved wife suddenly dies, then the wife-self instantly becomes much bigger. Many of the other selves, which were created earlier and strengthened over the years, become smaller; their forces are transferred to the wife-self. Therefore, many of his desires, which he previously considered them of importance, even indispensable, have dwindled though previously he strove with all his might to satisfy them. Even the instinctive desire to eat and drink has dwindled. Of course, he becomes intensely enervated. He is also intensely depressed because the various forces are pressed down within the gigantic wife-self, compelling him to experience intense

73

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

impressions of deprivation, emptiness and helplessness regarding his wife. The man is usually advised to avoid dwelling on the loss of his wife by losing himself in work and other activities, by avoiding circumstances that will trigger the remembrance of her. If the trauma is not very severe, he may succeed in pulling it off, only activating the wife-self occasionally when inadvertently exposed to circumstances that trigger the remembrance of his wife. Then the wife-force may be displaced into mental dialogue and imaginations. If it is strong, then it may be externally expressed. Formerly he did his work with zest; now he does it like a zombie, listless and wearisome. Formerly desires pulled him to work; now fears push him into work. The selves related to work are activated primarily to displace the wife-force. If he doggedly sticks to his work, over the years, it may appear that he has recovered from his trauma, but it is not so. He has merely become habituated to it. Time does not heal; it simply disperses the trauma into other selves. The fire within his breast has gone out. In the earlier example, initially the money-self was gigantic; then it becomes small and may become gigantic again. In this example, when the wife was alive, the wife-self was relatively small. Then it suddenly became gigantic, but compelled to become small again. Gigantic Safety-Self What will happen if the man is continually subjected to severe physical and psychological pain for many years? In this case, he has an active gigantic safety-self for many years; hence, he has become accustomed to it. An example, the case recounted by Stanislav Grof regarding a client of his, a thirty-seven-year-old tutor. The tutor was often brutally punished by his parents. In addition, he was also brutally treated by the SS officers during World War II. Hence, he has a gigantic safety-self. When the tutor met Grof after the war, he, in Grof’s words, “could hardly function in his everyday life. He was obsessed with the idea of finding a man of a certain physical appearance, 74

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

preferably clad in black. He wanted to befriend this man and tell him of his urgent desire to be locked in a dark cellar and exposed to physical and mental torture. Often unable to concentrate on anything else, he wandered aimlessly through the city, visiting public parks, lavatories, bars, and railroad stations in search of the ‘right man.’ “He succeeded on several occasions in persuading or bribing men who met his criteria to carry out his wishes. Having a special gift for finding people with sadistic traits, he was twice almost killed, seriously hurt several times, and once robbed of all his money. On those occasions when he was successful in achieving the experience he craved, he was extremely frightened and genuinely disliked the torture he underwent.” After going through fifteen sessions of therapy, “he recognized the pattern of his obsession—he seemed to crave all the elements of punishment that had been inflicted on him by his parents.”
REACTION OF THE SAFETY-SELF

For most of the tutor’s life, his gigantic safety-self was active to deal with the brutal circumstances. The safety-force was probably expended in constant muscular tension and constant concentrated attention, intense but narrow, only on his parents. When he was brutally punished, the force was expended through his reactions to the punishment. In the absence of similar circumstances, the safety-force was not expended; hence, his safety-self became bigger and began to shake violently. The tutor was compelled to experience and notice the fearful feeling and thought impressions, evoking strong impressions of deprivation and emptiness, for he was deprived from expending the safety-force in the accustomed manner. The safety-force forcibly compelled him to do what he had done, enabling him to expend the force in the accustomed manner though he was extremely frightened by the experience. He feared the psychological pain more than the physical pain, that is, he feared the feeling and thought impressions more than the movement and sense impressions. And he is certainly not unique. For example, the man who continues to smoke, although he fears the danger of smoking, is afraid of psychological pain more 75

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

than physical pain. Like the tutor, to a much lesser extent, after smoking he is often frightened and genuinely disliked it.
POWER OF EMPTINESS

Paradoxically, the presence of force induces impressions of deprivation and emptiness. But if it is expended, then the man is satisfied and contented. Therefore, satisfaction is only possible when the personality is empty of all forces. Is it surprising that satisfaction is often followed by lethargy and complacency? Impressions of deprivation and emptiness are powerful forces. They compel the man to rush helter skater without rest and commit all sorts of absurdities, but seen as most imperative at that moment, only to fall into remorse and regret later. They compel him to accumulate without end. The moment he is satiated with the concrete, then he begins to accumulate the imaginary. Instead of neutralizing these impressions, the more desperately he accumulates, the stronger he experiences impressions of deprivation and emptiness, compelling him to become even more desperate.
MASOCHISTIC SELVES

The tutor was a passive man, so he became a masochist. If he had been an aggressive man, then he would have become a sadist. A sadist is also a masochist; in hurting others, he also hurts himself. All selves hang on to their pain; all selves are masochistic, the difference is only a matter of degree. In order to expend the conflicting forces and not to feel deprived and empty, they are willing to suffer. They fear deprivation and emptiness more than physical pain. The pain, however great, is already habitual and familiar. All selves cling foolishly to pain and pleasure, without realizing that if they let go of pain and pleasure, they will not be empty, but will be full—full of peace and joy.
CONCLUDING REMARKS

Just look at any man who has a gigantic self. Any gigantic self will do. Is there any real difference in behavior of the man with a gigantic money-, work-, power-, or god-self from the tutor? A gigantic self tends to compel him toward drastic activities, at times 76

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

even overriding the instinctive desire for survival and safety. He is often lost in it even while his body is eating, making love or sleeping. Though he is competent in one particular aspect, he is often incompetent in other aspects of his life. If, however, the sizes of the selves are quite even, they will hinder one another with relative ease; therefore, the man will usually lead a longer, uneventful life. Nonetheless, the overall pain and suffering, though passive, muted and inconspicuous, are the same. The man who works sixteen hours everyday is an extremely fearful man. If not, does he enjoy torturing himself? Or is life so poor that only his work is of value? Or is his work indispensable to the welfare of the world? Indispensable man! Just look at what he had wrought? What will happen if the whole of mankind completely ceases to exist now? Won’t every living thing, nay, even the stones, immediately, with thunderous joy, of one accord, yell out in jubilation and immense relief: “Hallelujah! Oh, Lord, it is high time.” Oh, all right, not every living thing. Deprived of their nutritious drink, mosquitoes and leeches are bound to be upset. Deprived of their nutritious food, worms are also bound to be upset. What will happen if the man suffers from terminal disease? A disease that gigantically threatens all the selves. While other people still behave like immortals, the dictum: death is certain, the hour uncertain—has become real for him. He may simply fall apart, or he may, having courage derived from sheer desperation, manage to reassess his desires, find them wanting, drop them, and pass through the veiled fog of impressions, finding inner harmony, peace and joy.

77

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

14
DESIRE AND FEAR REACTION

The well-known fight or flight response, also known as survival response, is a misnomer. It is more accurate to call it a desire and fear reaction, or death reaction. It is not an instinctive reaction, but a mechanical one. Apart from the instinctive inner activities of the body, such as circulation of blood, a man is born with very few instinctive external movements. A baby does not react with fear when he sees a cat, a snake, a tiger or a ghost. If the cat bites his hand, he may not even move his hand away, but he instinctively cries. If he is hungry, he may not press his open mouth against his mother’s nipple, which may be only an inch away. But if his mother’s nipple is pressed into his mouth, then he instinctively sucks. Later, of course, he eventually learns to move his hand away and to reach for his mother’s nipple. He may move his hand away even when he is not bitten, even when the cat is ten feet away. As he grows up, he amasses innumerable desire/fear reactions, which entirely control all his actions, words and thoughts. By the way, all reactions are desire/fear reactions. Effects of Desire/Fear Reaction These desire/fear reactions cause conflicting muscular contractions, resulting in excessive muscular tension. Most muscles in the body work in pairs. For example, the biceps of the upper arm complement the triceps. To bend the arm without excessive force, the triceps must be completely loose. Or as the biceps contract, the 78

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

triceps must loosen proportionally. But if there is a desire to bend the arm and also a desire to straighten it, then both the biceps and the triceps are contracted. Then whether the arm is bent or straight depends on which are more contracted, the biceps or the triceps. In either case, much more effort is needed and much more force is wasted. Further, the conflicting desires cause the arm to move awkwardly and unpredictably. The man is plagued by innumerable of these conflicting desires all day long. Consequently, most of his muscles are already somewhat permanently tense and rigid even before he is twenty-five years old. As a child, he is an inexhaustible dynamo. At twenty-five, the drain in power is already keenly experienced. At fifty, he already has a host of bodily problems, mostly caused by this excessive and unnecessary tension. A few obvious effects of these desire/fear reactions are higher blood pressure, faster heartbeats and faster breathing rate. Muscular tension of the blood vessels causes the higher blood pressure because the blood vessels are contracted and therefore smaller in diameter. Muscular tension of the heart causes less blood flow per heartbeat; hence, the heart must beat faster to compensate. Muscular tension of the lungs causes less air intake per breath; hence, the breathing rate must increase to compensate. These effects, plus the overall muscular tension, result in pale face, cold and weak hands and feet. Can the man respond better with less oxygen to the head? Can he fight better with weak hands? Can he run better with weak feet? Is the hesitation due to desire/fear reaction a necessary preparation to fight or run? In the face of danger, can he afford to waste a second? Can he afford to waste his force in unnecessary tension? The idiotic reactions of the man under this condition are well known, such as running toward the enemy instead of away. Nervous Systems The sympathetic nervous system has received much blame for causing stress and tension. In contrast, the parasympathetic nervous system has received much praise for eliminating stress and tension. Nonetheless, if the sympathetic nervous system were to turn off 79

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

completely and the parasympathetic nervous system were to turn on completely, the man will be paralyzed, unable to move even his little fingers. Is this the optimum state? The harmonious coordination of these two systems whereby no excessive tension arises, irrespective of what the man is doing, is actually the true optimum state. This state can only arise in the absence of permanent muscular tension, in the absence of desire/fear reaction. In fact, impeccability can be defined as the attaining of maximal result with minimal effort, that is, the absence of excessive and unnecessary tension in activity. In any case, permanent muscular tension is not caused by continually tensing the muscles per se; it is caused by the continual desire to avoid inner conflict. If it were not so, then a Zen archer will have very stiffed arm muscles. The Zen archer strives for years to draw the bow and hold it at the point of highest tension indefinitely. He tenses his muscles not because he desires to avoid conflict, but because he desires to face and neutralize inner conflict. In so doing, he is neutralizing the personality. As a result, his body and muscles are supple and resilient. When Eugen Herrigel felt the arm muscles of his master, after his master had drawn the bow at the point of highest tension, he found that “they were indeed quite relaxed, as though they were doing no work at all.” Similarly, a Qi Gong practitioner strives for years to maintain the horse stance indefinitely, but he does not end up walking like a duck. Instead, he acquires a pair of powerful legs—stable, strong and flexible.

80

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

15
TEMPORARY GIGANTIC DESIRE/FEAR REACTION

It is unnecessary to delve on the idiotic behavior caused by small desire/fear reactions in the man’s daily life. His frequent selfreproach is sufficient proof. In fact, his frequent self-reproach itself is an idiotic behavior due to the desire/fear reaction. Man Meets Tiger If the man comes upon a tiger in the middle of a street for the first time, he will be startled, then he will probably be rooted to the spot, stare at it and begin to vibrate the same way a tense string vibrates. He may only have a small safety-self, but now the forces from all the other active selves have moved into the safety-self. This sudden and unusual gigantic increase in safety-force violently rocks the safety-impressions, causing the body to shake all over, from head to toes. Is this a survival response? The tiger and the evoked fearful impressions of the adverse consequences completely trap his observation, compelling him to observe the tiger and the fearful impressions intensely. Of course, he notices his pounding heart. Is this the time to notice his pounding heart? At any rate, even if he is not paralyzed by tension, is the fight or flight reaction a survival response? What chance does he have in outfighting or outrunning the tiger? To survive, he must direct his sight to the surrounding, looking for a way to escape. If there is none, the best survival response may be to back away slowly, stand still or lie down with exposed neck in 81

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

submission. This response requires presence of mind and calmness, not excessive tension and agitation. Of course, he may fight or run, but presence of mind and calmness are needed to assess quickly the best course to take. Further, fear evokes fear; hence, animals and other men will often react by attacking. Child Meets Oncoming Car Likewise, if a child or a jungle dweller comes upon an oncoming car for the first time, he will be startled and probably be rooted to the spot. If the child is not killed, often he will react by berating himself for not moving aside, especially if he is injured. This reaction will connect the impressions of the oncoming car and the adverse consequences of being hit to the impressions of moving aside. The second time the child comes upon an oncoming car; he will probably be startled, hesitate for a moment, and then move aside. As this reaction is repeated, the hesitation becomes shorter in duration and the moving aside reaction becomes quicker because the impressions of the oncoming car have become more tightly connected to the impressions of moving aside. Hence, the safetyforce, that is, the force of the fearful impressions of the adverse consequences and the desirable impressions for safety, is quickly channeled into the impressions of moving aside and expended in physical movement. Sudden Peak Performance True, if the man comes upon a tiger for the first time, instead of staying rooted, he may almost instantly run away. In this case, he has already been deeply conditioned beforehand, particularly from movies showing gory details of being mauled by a tiger or any wild animal. Unconsciously and automatically, these movies have already conditioned him to run away. And he will run a lot faster than usual. The stronger these gory details are evoked, the faster he runs. A powerful force propels him, so he runs effortlessly and much more effectively. In addition, he will probably experience impressions of exhilaration, freedom and power. But he has no control of this power. In fact, this power 82

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

completely controls him. Even if the thought of stopping or slowing down occurs to him, he will find it impossible to do so, no matter how hard he tries. He may only have a small permanent safety-self and run-self, but now forces from all other active selves move into the safety-self, and this temporary gigantic safety-force then moves into the run-self and is expended in physical running. Hence, he runs effortlessly and impeccably because now all of the various forces within the personality have become the run-force, that is, the previous conflicting forces within the personality now move in the same direction. He experiences exhilaration and freedom because much of the conflicting forces are expended unusually quickly and many of the tight connections within the personality have loosened temporarily. Naturally, the permanently tense muscles have also loosened temporarily. Or more accurately, these tense muscles are unusually stretched, resulting in aching muscular pain for many days. Shortly after the run, the personality will return to its former stable and rigid equilibrium, and the impressions of exhilaration, freedom and power will be gone. Yes, it is probably a most memorable event of his life. At any rate, is this a survival response? What is his chance of outrunning the tiger? By the way, these desirable impressions of exhilaration, freedom and power often compel the man to indulge in high-risk activities. But when these activities have become habitual, then these impressions are gone. To displace more force, he must increase the danger. If circumstances prevent him from these activities, he becomes agitated, irritated, edgy and fidgety. A sudden gigantic desire/fear reaction happens only in unexpected circumstances, without any preparation beforehand. The jungle dweller is already deeply conditioned to react quickly on seeing a tiger; likewise, the city dweller is already deeply conditioned to move aside quickly on seeing an oncoming car. No-Gap Action The startle reaction is simply the initial stage of the desire/fear reaction. An example of a common startle reaction—if the man 83

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

accidentally drops an object, he will be startled, then probably stay rooted and gape at the dropping object. If, however, he is calm, at ease and less preoccupied, his hand will often instantly reach for it with astounding swiftness and precision. In the state of ease, the observation is the action. In this case, the seeing is the action. There is no gap between the seeing and the reaching for the object, no startle reaction. How did he do it? Is it instinctive? If so, why does this instinctive reaction happen only a few times and not all, or at least most of, the time? A personal account—once the author was lying on the right half of a bed, on his stomach, with the right side of his body toward the edge. And his two-year-old niece was walking on the left half of the bed. Suddenly he heard a shriek and the next moment his right hand was holding one of her ankles, with her head about an inch or so above the cement floor. Without touching him at all, she had tripped and flew over his buttocks. Somehow he managed to catch her ankle with astounding swiftness and precision. Further, in moving from a prone position and reaching back, there was no way he could have used his eyes. Anyway, if he had to see her ankle to catch it, it would have been too late. In this case, the hearing was the action. This incident happened many years before he treads the way. If it is possible to perform such amazing act even when attention is only a little freer, just imagine what will happen if all the attention is freed from desire/fear reaction.

84

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

16
PERMANENT GIGANTIC DESIRE/FEAR REACTION

What will happen to a civilian and a soldier if they are in the midst of war for many years? Passive Reaction The civilian cannot fight. In constant fear for his own safety and life, he can only hide. After a sufficiently long time, most forces within the personality have permanently moved into the safety-self; thus, the safety-self is gigantic and active. Because he cannot fight, most of the time, the safety-force is expended into the body and in intense concentration on certain external stimuli. Because his concentration on the external stimuli often does not help him, it may eventually disappear. Thus, the safety-force may only be expended into the body constantly. If this happens, then he will become indifferent to external circumstances because only a little active force remains within the personality. At the height of indifference, he may continue to eat even when another man in another table was just killed by a bomb, as if nothing had happened. Because most force within the personality is expended into the body, he is constantly depressed, bored, apathetic and in a state of malaise. Even after the war, he will continue to behave in the same way.

85

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Active Reaction In contrast, the soldier can fight, run, hit the ground, and so on. So less safety-force is expended into the body. Over the years, how he reacts to certain external stimuli has become permanently fixed. After the war, any similar external stimuli will instantly evoke similar reactions. In EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress and Trauma, writing about her experience with Vietnam War veterans, Francine Shapiro says: Some veterans can’t walk city streets, shop in malls, or go to sports events because the crowds and the chaotic background noise bring up old fears and trigger terrifying flashbacks. In a flashback, the sights, sounds, smells, physical sensations, and emotions from the time of the original event come back so forcefully that the veteran believes he is back in Vietnam. For example, he may hit the ground when he hears a car backfire or a plane overhead. The reaction is reflexive, like a knee-jerk response; there is no control. . . . Even the most benign action, like a friend’s gentle hand on the shoulder, can set off an immediate physical response of fear, anxiety, or pain. During the war, they expended the force of these fearful impressions in physical activities. After the war, they may expend it into the body, through various physical activities or through violence. They may expend it through drinking or taking drugs. According to Shapiro, “They may use alcohol or drugs to dull their pain and avoid thinking about Vietnam. They may also restrict what they do and where they go to avoid being triggered.” Wearied and frustrated by various vain attempts to avoid the fearful feeling and thought impressions, they may deliberately put themselves in similar circumstances to get it over with, but the fearful feeling and thought impressions are only temporarily displaced and expended. Therefore, like Grof’s tutor, many get involved in high-risk activities that mirror their combat experience in order to expend the force of these fearful impressions. Shapiro says, “Veterans with PTSD [posttraumatic stress disorder] are often 86

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

unknowingly driven to behaviors that mirror their combat experience and worsen their present suffering.” Thus, they continually indulge in various activities to avoid noticing the fearful feeling and thought impressions. In short, they fear the feeling and thought impressions more than the movement and sense impressions, so they would rather experience the fearful movement and sense impressions to avoid experiencing the fearful feeling and thought impressions. Or more accurately, the fearful feeling and thought impressions forcibly propel them into circumstances that will expend these impressions, and these circumstances inadvertently evoke the movement and sense impressions. Consequently, the life of the veteran with PTSD is controlled by his gigantic safety-self. One moment, his safety-self pulls him toward safe circumstances; the next moment, it pushes him toward dangerous circumstances. Time and Circumstances Do Not Heal When both the civilian and the soldier are back amid their former external circumstances after the war, these circumstances now evoke comparatively little desire and fear because most forces of the selves associated to the former circumstances are constantly displaced into the safety-self. Under usual circumstances, the safety-force will evoke desirable impressions of safety, which will pull the man into circumstances that secure his safety. But if he is continually exposed to circumstances whereby he is unable and powerless to secure his safety, then he may become indifferent to danger, or be assailed by fearful impressions of danger, which may push him into dangerous circumstances. That is, the man automatically strives to realize externally what is within him, either desire or fear. Because both the civilian and the soldier are immersed and lost in fearful impressions, these impressions are projected outside. Hence, their condition can continue to spiral downward even though they are back amid their former circumstances. As a result, both men are caught in a vicious loop, trapped by their abnormal body and personality.

87

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Shapiro says: In people with PTSD, these intrusive, disturbing thoughts can persist for years. They are not resolved with the simple passage of time. People with PTSD can wake up screaming from the same nightmare month after month, even year after year. . . . In some instances, the person has full-blown flashbacks in which his feelings are so intense he thinks or feels that he is reliving the event. In general, the man fears feeling impressions most because the feeling impressions are stronger than the other three types of impressions; hence, they affect him most. When he is afraid to recall a fearful experience, he does not really fear evoking the associated thought impressions; he fears evoking the associated feeling impressions. Similarly, when he avoids fearful circumstances, he does not really fear evoking the movement and sense impressions; he fears evoking the associated thought impressions, which in turn will evoke the associated feeling impressions. Because only thought impressions can be long lasting and because the movement and sense impressions can only be indirectly connected to thought impressions by the feeling impressions, the feeling and thought impressions are therefore more powerful than the movement and sense impressions. In general, thought impressions by themselves are weak. This is easily proven by the inability to use thought impressions to change habits. For instance, the man may constantly think of stopping smoking, but the moment he feels like smoking, he quickly forgets about stopping and starts to smoke. After smoking, he may quickly think of stopping again. Hence, feeling and thought impressions together are powerful. In fact, movement and sense impressions are merely the effects of feeling and thought impressions.

88

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

17
FLOW, CREATIVITY AND SOUL APPEARANCE

Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and his research team describe the state of flow as follows: Flow is a state of total absorption. As an outstanding chess player describes it: The game is a struggle, and the concentration is like breathing—you never think of it. The roof can fall in and, if it missed you, you could be unaware of it. Flow involves centering one’s attention on a limited stimulus field—with all else shut out. A professor of science who climbs rocks says: When I start on a climb, it is as if my memory input has been cut off. All I can remember is the last thirty seconds, and all I can think ahead is the next five minutes. Sham Flow Below are two common examples of total absorption and the centering of attention on a limited stimulus field. First example, the man is playing a computer game in which he is driving a simulated racing car, and he is so totally absorbed that he has become the car. He controls the car and the car controls him. He then sways right and left, jerks forward and backward, parallel to the motion of the car. It can reach a point that he falls off the stool he was sitting on. 89

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Second example, the man is watching an adventurous movie, and he is so totally absorbed that he has become the protagonist. He is assailed by impressions he assumes the protagonist must be experiencing. All these are reactions he has projected on to the protagonist. Similarly, he projects his reactions on to everybody and everything around him, even to people ten thousand miles away. What is man? He is truly a superb projectionist. Although the man is totally absorbed in the above two examples, he is definitely not in flow. Although he appears to be struggling intensely (yes, he can also be struggling intensely while watching a movie), actually there is not the slightest struggle. He has merely succumbed totally to the associated desire/fear reactions. These reactions cause tremendous loss of force. Of course, this expenditure of conflicting forces produces pleasure, satisfaction and relief. Conditions for Genuine Flow Here is an example on the conditions needed for flow to happen. Suppose when the man was still a child, he has already decided to devote all his time and effort to break the world record in distant running. So everyday, for many years, he struggles to let go of all other desires. He constantly undergoes training and experiments with running in order to run more effectively and efficiently. He also experiments with various diets, activities and circumstances to find out their effects on his body. The greatest difficulty he faces is probably to neutralize the desire/fear reactions within the run-self, primarily impressions of the desire to succeed, the fear of failure and their consequences. In short, he must learn to struggle without any expectation. Paradoxically, he has the best chance to break the world record if he strives unsparingly to run impeccably, that is, without caring and worrying about the world record. If he does not strive to run impeccably, just for the sake of running impeccably, but for other aims, then the selves created by these aims will prevent him from running impeccably. If he is successful, after some years he has created a gigantic run-self. Apart from the run-self, there are only a few, small other 90

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

selves. He has harmonized the impressions within the run-self, the run-self with his body, and both the run-self and the body with external circumstances. In short, there is little conflict among them. Because he is constantly experimenting, his personality, that is, his run-self and other selves, is comparatively less rigid than usual. Under this situation, when he runs, sometimes his inner conditions and external circumstances are such that even the remaining few conflicts disappear, that is, the few, small opposing selves become dormant, or their forces are channeled into the runself. Hence, he is totally absorbed by the run-self and in running. He is in flow—so he runs effortlessly and in a state of ease. Anyway, at most times, he already can run well, with little effort or struggle. Of course, sometimes the opposing selves become unusually strong, then he has to struggle more than usual. Consequences of Flow The chess player mentioned by Csikszentmihalyi could easily be killed if the roof had fallen down on him. If the house is on fire, he could easily have been burnt alive. His immense desire to win has totally absorbed his attention. Further, Csikszentmihalyi determines that flow happens when the man is absorbed in an activity that is neither too easy nor too difficult. If it is too easy, he becomes bored and easily distracted, but if too difficult, he becomes anxious. Hence, the increasing level of difficulty must be steady. In other words, flow depends on inner conditions and external circumstances. Because the difficulties of life alternate with distressing rapidity, there is no possibility to incorporate the flow state into daily activities constantly. If the chess player meets a significantly more powerful opponent, or if the professor who climbs rocks encounters a significantly more difficult situation, what will happen then? Is he going to vibrate like a tense string? Will that be useful to him? In easy situations, he can be distracted or tensed up without adverse consequences, whereas in difficult situations, he cannot afford to be distracted or tensed up, yet he immediately proceeds to do so. Of course, sometimes he may inadvertently rise above the significantly more difficult situations and perform unusually well, 91

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

analogous to the man who suddenly comes upon a tiger and proceeds to break the world-running record without training. Conditions for Creativity Referring to the example given by Betty Edwards earlier—if the student constantly struggles to understand why his drawing does not resemble a cube, if he keeps on evaluating his concept of a cube in various ways, if he keeps on looking at the physical cube from various positions, and if he keeps on drawing various shapes in the attempt to draw a cube that resembles a cube, he will be creating much conflict and tension within the personality, particularly within the draw-self. As a result, he may get a glimpse of the solution, but only a glimpse. Initially the details of the impressions and their synthesis are often nebulous and vague. Hence, if the student desires to master his drawing skill, he must delve deeper. One way is to draw objects that are more complicated. In short, he must continually expose himself to the pain of the conflicting impressions in order to wrestle the secret of drawing bit by bit. Consequences of Creativity If the student continues to be creative, that is, if he continues to experiment with different and new ways of drawing in order to reflect reality more closely, then his draw-self is fluid and flexible. It can receive unfamiliar impressions even though they may contradict the existing ones. Hence, his draw-self is in frequent turmoil. Because his gigantic draw-self is in frequent turmoil, his other selves and his personality as a whole are also in frequent turmoil. Therefore, although now and then he produces a truly creative drawing, he often leads a disorderly and destructive lifestyle because he often is unable to handle the inner turmoil effectively. Further, his occasional successes often produce immense conceit and self-importance, worsening his condition. It is not surprising that the creative man is eccentric, for he is often so absorbed that he becomes oblivious of his behavior and the surroundings, thus endangering his life at times. For example, according to David Keirsey, “Einstein shuffled in the streets of New York in his bedroom slippers. . . .” 92

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

In short, flow and creativity imply the existence of a flexible gigantic self, which often causes turmoil and unbalanced. Further, like all gigantic selves, if circumstances prevent the man from expending the force within the gigantic self, then he gets extremely agitated, irritated, edgy and fidgety. In exchange for occasional unusual states, he has to endure more distress than usual. Flashes of Soul Appearance The man who has a flexible gigantic self will experience more flashes of soul appearances than usual because his personality is frequently in turmoil. The more lengthy and intense the personality is racked by conflicting forces, the more frequent the soul will appear because the chaotic interaction among the conflicting forces loosens many rigid connections. Therefore, sometimes not allincoming energy is converted into force instantly. Usually many days, weeks and months of continuous struggle and turmoil are needed to produce a few seconds of small soul appearance. Even so, this brief appearance often helps to solve his problem, because for a brief moment, he perceives the different and opposing impressions simultaneously and synthetically. As William James says, “Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.” What’s more, the soul realm is the realm of creativity. Anyway, a flexible gigantic self is dispensable. If the man is willing to struggle unsparingly to be impeccable in everything he does, he will also experience soul appearances more frequently. This is an inkling of the immense difficulty to get back his soul. Soul Appearance under Exceptional Circumstances Under exceptional circumstances, it is possible for the soul to appear without increased conflict, but with reduced conflict instead. For instance, the man happens to be in a country in which what he sees, hears, touches, smells and tastes are unusual to him. In short, he is in a most unusual circumstance. If he is alone, the safety-self will instantly be activated, but if a trusted guide accompanies him, then for a brief moment, a smaller number than usual of associated selves are activated, the selves are activated more slowly, and the 93

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

active selves are weaker than usual. Hence, the personality becomes a little smaller, so a small soul appears because not all-incoming energy is converted into force instantly. Because there are less conflicting forces than usual within the personality, the small soul may last for more than a few seconds. This state is more intense and strange than the preceding states because he is not trapped by any gigantic self, not lost in it Here the man perceives his physical body and the physical surroundings as they are. He perceives his existence, that is, he perceives himself. Although this experience lasts for only a brief moment, it can still be vividly re-experienced decades later. To a lesser extent, this is also true for the flashes of soul appearance in the flow and creative states. Here the man centers himself in the soul and looks down on the impressions of the personality, like a bird that looks down from the sky. The creative man centers himself in the personality and strives to peer into the soul. He is like a bird in a cage, which when taken outside the house, enables it to look up at the sky. Sudden Permanent Soul Appearance There are instances whereby a significant amount of force is permanently transformed into energy. Or more precisely, a significant amount of energy is not converted into force, but remains as energy permanently, so a soul of significant size appears permanently. For instance, people who experienced NDEs (neardeath experiences), that is, declared clinically “dead” and having flat brainwaves, were resuscitated. Their experiences when their brainwaves were flat often result in the appearance of a permanent soul of significant size. In The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot writes: Researchers have discovered that NDEers are almost always profoundly changed by their journey to the beyond. They become happier, more optimistic, more easygoing, and less concerned with material possessions. Most striking of all, their capacity to love expands enormously. . . . NDEers also become much more 94

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

spiritually oriented. They return not only firmly convinced of the immortality of the human soul, but also with a deep and abiding sense that the universe is compassionate and intelligent, and this loving presence is always with them. Treading the Way If the man wishes to control his personality, he must first be able to perceive it. Otherwise, he has no control of himself and is at the mercy of his inner conditions and external circumstances. Without the soul, he is unconscious and asleep. The man who treads the way, who seeks to attain harmony, peace and joy, has only one aim—to remove all inner conflict. He aims to neutralize the personality, that is, all the selves, by not having any expectation, including the expectation of attaining harmony, peace and joy. Whatever he does, he constantly strives to do more effectively and efficiently, without sparing himself. He strives to be competent in all aspects of his life under all circumstances. This is the only way to rise above all difficulties and neutralize all desirable and fearful impressions. To expedite his progress, he often deliberately puts himself in more difficult and unfamiliar situations. Whatever he does, he does not allow anything to absorb him because anything that absorbs him controls him. He strives to perceive all external stimuli and internal impressions clearly, shutting out none. As a result, under any circumstances, he has the best chance of survival; nothing catches him unexpectedly or by surprise. Further, he often responds with swiftness and precision.

95

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

PART THREE

THE WAY
Unless and until a man embarks upon this quest of the true self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps throughout life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule others, when in their heart of hearts they know that they cannot rule themselves. Yet the greatest power is at the command of the man who has penetrated to his inmost depth. There are men of giant intellects who spend their lives gathering knowledge about many things. Ask these men if they have solved the mystery of man, if they have conquered themselves, and they will hang their heads in shame. What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do not yet know who you are? Men avoid this enquiry into the true self, but what else is there so worthy to be undertaken? . . . Know the real self and then the truth will shine forth within your heart like sunshine. The mind will become untroubled and real happiness will flood it, for happiness and the true self are identical. You will have no more doubts once you attain this self-awareness. Ramana Maharishee

96

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

18
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE

Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, canceled, made nothing? Are you willing to be made nothing? dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change. D.H. Lawrence

Spiritual practices may mistakenly be assumed to be the most useless and boring activities. After all, what can appear more useless and boring than physical and mental stillness? Endless Activity The man riding on an unruly, fast galloping horse, which constantly changes direction and takes him to many places, may presume that he is living the most useful and interesting life because he is sparing no effort to attain everything, to do everything, and to go everywhere. He has been on the horse all his life and cannot imagine a different kind of life. He presumes that he has complete control of the horse, finding it ridiculous and absurd to presume otherwise, although events continually contradict his presumption. He, however, has already become an expert in justification, denial and distortion, so he 97

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

blames his lack of control on circumstances. In blaming circumstances, he has already tacitly admitted that circumstances control the horse—not him; again, this is denied, ignored. In quiet moments, he may notice the terrifying and horrifying truth, so he avoids them by always projecting his attention, that is, impressions, externally and keeping himself busy. In moving so blindingly fast, everything he notices is vague, obscure and uncertain. (What does the tourist who visits ten countries in a week see clearly—the inside of the bus!) Even worse, soon he finds that he does not know what to learn, what to do, or where to go. After all, he already knows everything, has done everything and has gone everywhere. The moment of awakening hits him on the day he realizes and is willing to face the fact that he has no control of the horse. Meanwhile, as long as the pain and suffering are still bearable, he continues to delude himself. If he is unfortunate—maybe fortunate —the horse goes over the precipice, and his troubles are over. Insanity On the other hand, he may realize his predicament but does not know what to do, then he goes insane, namely Robert Pirsig. He had an I.Q. of 170, only one person in fifty thousand has it—a most powerful thoroughbred horse. Sadly, after having twenty-eight consecutive sessions of high-voltage current through his brain, he becomes a fraction horse. Even then, he retains enough gumption (a word he likes) to write the best-seller, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Pirsig had frequent glimpses of the soul (he calls it Quality) and therefore realized its value. In fact, he strove hard to defend it, that is, he strove to defend that which cannot be defined. In so doing, he was trapped by analysis, definition and his cleverness. There is no end to analysis and each statement implies a contrary statement. When Pirsig was asked whether “a well-cooked meal served in the best of restaurants is really something that we should turn down,” he found that each argument is easily countered by a contrary argument—endlessly. He also found that each statement he had made “has been a brick in a wall of definition he 98

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

himself has been building around Quality. Any attempt to develop an organized reason around an undefined quality defeats its own purpose. The organization of the reason itself defeats the quality.” For these reasons, he was driven insane. Fortunately he recovered enough to warn us. Before his insanity, he had spent many years studying Oriental philosophy at Benares Hindu University in India, but never meditated because it made no sense to him. If he had, the horse might have grown a pair of wings, enabling him to mock at seas and mountains, and above all, be under his complete control. He gained wealth, fame, praise and prestige from the book, yet about ten years after its publication, he writes, “I go on living, more from force of habit than anything else”—probably the saddest statement anyone can make. Only One Thing Is Needed The man will begin to look for the way when he realizes only one thing is useful, important and crucial—stop the unruly horse. Without that, everything else is sheer foolishness. Instead of finding it boring, he will be faced with the most difficult and challenging task of his entire life. It does not matter how capable he is, how strong he is, and how much he had achieved before, because this task requires a radical change, diametrically opposite to everything he had done and thought before. It demands the willingness to face the new and unknown, which lies all around him and within him, at all times. Therefore, his entire struggle is to free himself from the bondage of the old and known, that is, the impressions that shield him from the new and unknown. Initially, the horse must be stopped, that is, its desires must be removed. After that, he can then learn to control it while on the move. Boredom What is boredom? Is it the absence of desire to do anything or to go anywhere? Is it because there is nothing to do? How can that be? The man is brimful with desires, and he can always do something irrespective of circumstances. Or is it because he is uncomfortable in his present circumstances, but to change it, that is, 99

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

to do what he desires to do, will bring more discomfort? So he stays put, therefore boredom is actually fear of discomfort, resulting in depression, restlessness, frustration, irritation. As long as he seeks to be comfortable, he will be bored. The bored man is a self-important man. The more self-important, the more he demands that everybody and everything must strive to make him comfortable. Consequently, everybody and everything offends him. On the other hand, he can be genuinely bored. He does nothing not because he fears discomfort, pain or suffering, but because he has realized that the personality life is meaningless and worthless, ending only in death. Nonetheless, instead of living from force of habit, he can strive to find out if there is more to life. The man who treads the way will experience everything except boredom, in the sense of having nothing to do. He constantly strives to place himself in increasingly uncomfortable conditions, and it is possible to do that irrespective of circumstances. He does that not because he is an incurable masochist, finding pleasure in pain and suffering. On the contrary, he does that to free himself from endless pain and suffering.

100

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

19
TWO TECHNIQUES FOR VERIFICATION

If the man is willing to allocate a few days to experiment with Technique One, he will be able to verify for himself the gist of his actual state of being: the absence of consciousness; the mechanical reactions of his actions, words and thoughts; and the continual changes of contradictory and conflicting impressions. In short, he has no control of his observation, an automaton. It is enough to experiment with Technique One initially; Technique Two is more difficult, therefore leave it for later. For it to be effective, he must strive unsparingly to prove that he is conscious, is not mechanical, and can control the impressions at will. In short, he must strive to prove that he can do any simple, non-habitual actions for a reasonable period, independent of external circumstances, at will—therefore proving that he can control his observation. Technique One The experiment in Technique One is simple and likely to appear ridiculously easy, but the man will find it impossible no matter how hard he tries. It consists in striving to observe his daily activities, such as smoking, eating, walking, reading, tying his shoes, washing dishes and so on. First, he must decide exactly which day to begin, using his usual method to remind him. For best results, he must select many activities to experiment on. Then he must plan ahead and decide 101

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

exactly what he wishes to do, under what external circumstances, throughout the day, and then strive to do them at the predetermined circumstances regardless of how reluctant he is, what he feels and what he thinks. Though Technique One is not designed for this purpose, however, he will notice his mechanical propensity to ignore or find excuses to postpone carrying out his predetermined decisions. If he carries out the experiment only when he happens to remember it or when he feels like it—then he will realize NOTHING. He will merely be doing what the personality is doing. suppose he has decided beforehand to observe his left hand as he walks, he will realize that he cannot remember his decision while he is walking, that is, if he remembers to evaluate his performance later. Observing the left hand does not imply looking at it with his eyes, though he can and must do that if he had decided to do that beforehand, for instance, when he is washing dishes. In this case, it implies the attempt to observe the position and movement of his left hand kinesthetically.
SECOND STEP: he then uses unusual circumstances and associations to help him to remember. The unusual circumstances will free a little attention for a moment, thus helping him to remember. For example, he can paste reminders in places whereby he will see them whenever he is about to walk and while he is walking. He can also put a small stone inside a shoe or turn his shoe upside down to remind him. The more unusual it is, the more it helps him to remember. If, however, he did not use this opportunity to observe his left hand, he will realize the unusual circumstances will quickly lose their effects and will not help him to remember anymore, that is, he has gotten used to the change in circumstances. Therefore, even if the reminder is right in front of him, it will not remind him anymore, he will not even see it. THIRD STEP: he reaches this step only when he has striven to observe his hand almost every time he is reminded; thus, the reminders will usually remind him. Now he will realize that he FIRST STEP:

102

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

cannot observe the left hand for more than a moment no matter how hard he tries. Very little free attention is needed to observe just the left hand for more than a few seconds, yet he will find it impossible. He does not have even a little free attention for more than a moment; still, he has a little free attention for a moment—a crucial and momentous fact—implying that his unconscious and mechanical state is not absolute. He can wake up. He can become conscious.
FOURTH STEP: if he includes in the reminder to bend the little finger of the left hand in an unaccustomed way as he walks, then he will realize he can observe the left hand a little longer. If he bends the wrist and all the fingers of the left hand, then he can observe the left hand even longer, provided he remembers to keep it bent and is able to do so. In short, the more he moves away from the habitual way of holding his left hand, the longer he can maintain observation on it, because the more unaccustomed it is, the more the walk-self is disturbed. Hence, the unaccustomed position of the hand frees a little attention and automatically traps some attention. Attention automatically moves toward pain to remove it. If he continues to hold the left hand in the same unaccustomed way, then he will observe the pain and the desire to remove it; thus, he also observes his left hand. Both the pain and the desire to remove it trap his attention, resulting in conflict and tension. It is painful because when he holds the left hand in an unaccustomed way, he is stretching the rigid walk-self. So he experiences discomfort and awkwardness. The longer he keeps the left hand in an unaccustomed way, the more painful it becomes, but if he reverts to the accustomed way of holding his left hand, then he will experience pleasure. When the pain is gone, the pleasure is gone, too. The attention moves to another pain or to its accustomed place. For example, if a sharper pain is inflicted on the right leg, the attention on the left hand will move to the right leg; therefore, the pain in the left hand is not experienced anymore even though it is still there. The sharper pain has attracted the attention. If it is removed, then the attention will move back to the left hand.

103

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

If the man can only endure the pain of holding the little finger differently, he can do it for only a little more than a moment longer because he is only changing a very small part of the walk-self. Hence, the walk-self will quickly compel the little finger to revert to its usual position, thus causing him to be unconscious again. In order to change the walk-self for a significant duration, he must be able to endure the pain of changing a big part of it for that duration.
ULTIMATE REALIZATION

If the man has sincerely striven to carry out the experiment, he will realize from experience his unconscious, mechanical and helpless state, completely controlled by habits—down to the little finger of his left hand. If he stops striving, however, this realization will disappear shortly. The personality returns back to its previous rigid equilibrium, and he continues to delude himself into believing that he is conscious and can do. Therefore, he must persist in the struggle in order to retain this realization. If he does, he will become stronger and will learn a lot about the personality. The ability to retain this realization is already a great achievement. It is only in experiencing with his entire being his nothingness, helplessness, and all the horror resulting from his actual state that will give him the courage to tread the way. By the way, the man who had read a truckload of selfimprovement books for decades and wonders why he is not improved in any way may now realize the reason for his nonimprovement. The vast majority of these books are written by sleeping authors and serve to put their readers to sleep more soundly. But he has not wasted his time and effort. In fact, it is an excellent preparation because it forcibly compels him to realize the unconscious and conflicting nature of thoughts.
BACKED AGAINST THE WALL

Suppose a pistol is pointed at him and he is commanded to walk with his little finger bent in an unaccustomed way for an hour, can he do it? He most definitely is able to do it. In fact, he is unable not to do it because now the gigantic safety-self is controlling the 104

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

walk-self. Likewise, if he is offered a million dollars, then he is also able to do it and unable not to because then the gigantic money-self is controlling the walk-self. Hence, if he breaks the world-running record when a tiger is chasing him is not a great achievement. In short, stupendous achievement under great stress is easier than simple conscious action under ordinary circumstances.
ADDITIONAL AID

Initially the man will find it easier to practice walking while holding a cup filled almost to the brim with water. Skill or strength is not needed to avoid spilling the water. As long as he can maintain his observation on the cup of water, he will be able to perform successfully. If, however, he spills the water, it will provide him useful feedback. The cup of water and the feedback will therefore help to trap his observation. If he still cannot observe for more than a few seconds, then he can carry a cup brimful of corrosive acid— that will certainly trap his observation. This is only spoken half in jest. In A Gradual Awakening, Stephen Levine speaks of a monk who “was directed by his teacher to continue his meditation sitting on the edge of a deep well.” That quickly removed his sleepy and drowsy state. What would have happened if he had fallen into the well? Just imagine the risk the monk and his teacher had taken.
BODY STRADDLES

Is walking in an unaccustomed way equivalent to being in unfamiliar circumstances? Both yes and no because the body straddles between inner conditions and external circumstances. This attribute of the body has tremendous value because the man can struggle to change the inner conditions by only changing the body. Therefore, he can struggle as hard as he wishes under any external circumstances. Later, when he has neutralized the movement and sense impressions considerably, that is, when he is struggling primarily with the feeling and thought impressions, then he can struggle as hard as he wishes without changing the body in any way. When he practices the formal methods, that is, Raja Yoga and Vipassana (Insight) meditation in the later chapters, this technique 105

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

will help him to integrate his formal practice into his everyday activities. Hence, Technique One is not just for verification, it is also vital to include it as part of his practice. Technique Two The behavior of a particular self, say, the cigarette-self, can be studied in the following four ways. If the man is not a smoker, he can select any of his habits, but it must be a strong and harmful habit, preferably one that he indulges in many times a day. In this case, he may have to modify Technique Two, making it appropriate to his chosen habit. It does not imply that he will not obtain the same realization with a weak and harmless habit, but that it is impossible for him to carry it out. How can he observe the weak reactions when even most of the strong reactions are hidden from him? Hence, the stronger the habit, the easier it is to carry out this experiment because the strong, unusual, conflicting reactions will automatically trap his observation, otherwise his observation will simply be lost into other stronger reactions. In a way, Technique Two builds on Technique One. Besides the difficulties of Technique One, the man must now strive to observe the reactions. Hence, if he has experimented with Technique One sufficiently long enough, he can select a less strong habit.
FIRST: he strives to abstain without displacement. There is no need to strive to abstain through displacement; he is already an expert at that. To do this, he strives to abstain without changing the cigarette-circumstances in any way. For example, if after a meal, he used to sip coffee and smoke for five minutes; now after a meal, he strives to sip coffee without smoking for five minutes. He must also strive not to change anything else, that is, remove the packet of cigarette from the table, read the newspaper or even move to another table. He can strive to experience the desire to smoke without smoking by anchoring the observation on the no-smoking reminder or any selected object. It is crucial to anchor the observation—a deliberate and intentional act designed to control the attention. Even if he does not change the external circumstances, unless he anchors

106

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

his observation, the cigarette-force will still be displaced. It will be displaced into thoughts, imagination, daydreams or physical tension.
SECOND: he strives to write down his impressions when he is averse to smoking, when he is neutral toward smoking, and when he desires to smoke. He must strive to write them down while he is in these states; otherwise, it will not be accurate. One moment he may swear never to smoke again, but a minute later, he may imagine the pleasure of smoking and may even have already proceeded to light up. Just imagine the sequence of impressions during that one minute. If he delays for a few seconds, he is actually writing down the reactions of the impressions he wishes to write down. Still, if the interval is short, the impressions are still useful. Before smoking, he may have desirable impressions of smoking, but after, or even during, smoking, he may be regretting it. It is also useful to read some available fact about smoking while he is in these states in order to study his reactions. If he can stand back and detach himself to a certain extent, he may even amuse and enjoy himself. One moment he agrees and believes in the fact, the next moment he may find it absurd. In addition, he will witness a host of contradictory, distorted and exaggerated reactions. THIRD: he strives to smoke under circumstances he normally will not smoke and refrain from smoking under circumstances he normally smokes. Then he can study how and how much circumstances control his smoking. FOURTH: he strives to smoke five or twenty cigarettes under circumstances where he normally smokes ten. That is, he reduces by half, or increases by twice, the number of cigarettes he used to smoke. Then he can study the rigidity of the cigarette-self.

Even if the man has only experimented with Technique Two for a few days, he will find out quite a lot about the behavior of the cigarette-self and the personality as a whole. If he decides to practice the formal methods, the understanding from this experience will assist him to deal with other selves. By the way, if he had voluntarily striven to neutralize a habit or engage in a new activity before, he would already have some realization of what Technique 107

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Two is designed to help him realize. Even if he did not, life itself would have already taught him somewhat.

108

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

20
INDICATION OF READINESS

Utter Disgust When the man begins to realize from study, observation and experience that no matter what he does and achieves, at best, it only offers him momentary relief. In short, he is beginning to recognize the truth of Buddha’s teaching: desire can only be satisfied for a moment, quickly followed by unease and irritation; moreover, if it is not satisfied, he often becomes sorrowful, depressed, frustrated, angry. In An Intimate History of Humanity, Theodore Zeldin wonderfully illustrates this truth, substantiating that people everywhere, at all times, under all circumstances, and regardless of their positions in life, were and are faced with conflict, fear, doubt, insecurity, aimlessness. Further, though they have striven and are striving in all imaginable ways to escape from them—none has succeeded. To Be or Not to Be If the man considers it better to die than to go on living as usual, if he is utterly disgusted with his usual way of life, spent in striving to satisfy his endless desires and experiencing the impossibility of doing so for more than a moment, then he is ready to tread the way. Of course, he can kill himself unless he realizes that doing so may not end his suffering, but may even increase it. 109

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

After all, spiritual teachings claim that he is immortal, hence the possibility of eternal suffering. They, however, also claim that inconceivable eternal bliss exists and is attainable. What are the risk and benefit of treading the way? If the claims are false, he has wasted some years of strenuous struggle. If the claims are true, what then? The benefit outweighs the risk by more than a trillion to one. (Which true-blue gambler can pass up such odds, such stake?) It does not mean that he will experience eternal bliss after some years of struggle, but he will probably have enough experiential realization, corresponding to the amount of struggle, to convince him of the truth of spiritual teachings. Gargantuan Dilemma When the man is ready, it means the personality has already weakened significantly. The soul is beginning to show itself; for example, he may sincerely be interested in spiritual teachings. The selves are already willing and desiring to die. They desire to die to escape the endless conflict and tension, but are afraid to die because it entails the need to go through more intense, unfamiliar conflict and tension. After a lifetime of aversion to pain, the selves automatically rebel. The man is in a terrible bind. He finds no comfort in the selves, yet he cannot get rid of them. One moment he desires to destroy them; the next moment he clings to them. He is like a man who has tightly grasped a piece of sharp glass for a lifetime for fear of losing it. Further, he used to brag about its sharpness and the number of gallons of blood he had bled. So now, even though he realizes his colossal foolishness, he cannot let go because his fingers have rigidly stiffened around it. Hence, the slightest attempt to straighten even the little finger causes pain. What’s more, this attempt invariably reacts by causing the little finger to stiffen around the glass even tighter, thus discouraging him from further attempts. Moreover, he has become so used to the glass that he still fears losing it. Naturally, he is in a terrible bind. Until he has decided to abandon all reservations and strive single-mindedly to tread the way, he can stay in this wavering state for a long time, ending his days in anguish, bitterness, frustration, 110

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

remorse, self-hatred, depression. To tread the way, a warrior-self must be created to assist and compel the selves to die. When the warrior-self is created, the dark night of the personality begins.

111

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

21
WARRIOR-SELF

Attributes and Task of the Warrior-Self The warrior-self resembles John the Baptist. When John was still a child, he already lived an austere life in the desert, preparing himself for his mission. He had only one aim: to be the forerunner and prepare the way for Jesus. Likewise, the warrior-self must have only one aim: to be the forerunner and prepare the way for the soul. Though “among those born of women, there is no one greater than John,” he was not even fit enough to remove Jesus’s sandals. Hence, the warrior-self must be more strong and skillful than all the other selves, but it is not the soul and can never be the soul. The warrior-self is created within the personality; therefore, it is force and form, but the soul is energy and formless. Hence, it is impossible to cling to the soul, but it can be experienced. No self, no matter how exalted is its name, can be the soul while it lives; if it dies, then it can become part of the soul. Just as John must gradually decrease to allow Jesus to increase, the warrior-self must also gradually decrease to allow the soul to increase. Therefore, the warrior-self aims to neutralize all the other selves while neutralizing itself in the process until the entire personality is neutralized. To fulfill its mission, the warrior-self must constantly strive to avoid pleasure and to face pain. If the man does not intentionally cling to conflict and tension, then the warrior-self is inactive, dormant. To strengthen itself in order to neutralize the other selves, it must strive to face increasing pain for a longer duration. There is no rest until the personality is neutralized whereby the warrior-self is also neutralized, that is, rest is only available in death. 112

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Beware of Perversion The man must strive unsparingly to avoid the immense temptation to convert the warrior-self into a soul-self, a god-self or a Buddha-self, because except for the warrior-self, the sole aim of all other selves is to cling to pleasure and to avoid pain. If the warrior-self perverts into an ordinary self, say, a god-self, the man avoids the lengthy and arduous struggle to neutralize the personality. He also deceives himself into believing that he has found God, peace and joy. If he perverts the god-self further by transferring the desires, that is, forces, of the other selves into this perverted god-self, he has unfailingly put himself into a worse state—greater and deeper conflict, contradiction and hypocrisy. He can now indulge in his desires with blessings from god, instead of guilt. If he is full of burning rage and hatred, he can now destroy and murder while believing that it is pleasing to god. The warrior-self can only have impressions of the soul—sense impressions of a statue, thought impressions as images, ideas and concepts. They are all symbols of the soul, created to suit a particular time; at best, they are indications and signs pointing to the soul. Nonetheless, the warrior-self needs these symbols to guide him. The descriptions of the soul in this book are also symbols, created to suit the present time, nothing more. From Personality to Soul An illustration: Jesus’s disciples had gigantic warrior-selves, created by numerous, strong impressions of Jesus. When Jesus was with them, their gigantic warrior-selves even prompted them to discuss among themselves as to whom was the greatest; it even gave Peter the gigantic boldness of cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s slave. Nevertheless, after Jesus was arrested, the disciples turned tail and scattered; and Peter even trembled before a mere slave-girl. Within a few hours, his gigantic boldness had shrunk into nothing. No matter how gigantic any self is, it is inherently weak, completely dependent on external circumstances; it cannot stand on its own. Just before Jesus was arrested, he spoke of giving peace to the disciples, not as the world gives, and of a joy made full. More important, he mentioned that it was to their advantage that he left, 113

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

for otherwise the spirit of truth could not come, that is, the soul could not appear. After the disciples had gone through the terrible conflict and tension from the loss of their warrior-selves, their souls appeared because their warrior-selves had already neutralized most of the other selves previously. Another way of describing it—they were empty enough to receive the spirit of truth. Then and only then, the disciples experienced genuine peace, joy and confidence, independent of impressions and circumstances. They also received the necessary power and understanding to carry out their missions—the missions of their souls. Yes, the soul also has an aim, but its aim appears only after the personality has been neutralized.

114

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

22
SOUL REALIZATION

To realize the soul, the man must strive to perceive the impressions, free himself from their control, and master them. He can master them by neutralizing their forces, which will then be transformed into energy and awareness. To acquire mastery, obedience is necessary. For example, mastery of the air and the freedom to fly imply obedience to the laws of aerodynamics. Of course, these laws must first be discovered through investigation, experimentation and verification. Similarly, the laws of the impressions, selves, personality and soul must be investigated, experimented and verified and then obeyed. As a result, expansion of awareness, freedom, mastery and obedience are inseparable. The law of oneness stands above and encompasses all other laws. There is no inherent difference between different impressions. All impressions arise from undifferentiated energy, from the same source, the soul. It is only from utter ignorance, foolishness and delusion that the impressions, fortifying into a self, can believe that they can separate themselves from the source and exist independently, apart from the soul. Because all impressions are inherently undifferentiated energy and inherently part of the soul, the entire struggle is to treat all impressions with equanimity, for they are all equally part of the soul.

115

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Freedom and Choice Freedom is often loosely conceived as the ability to do whatever the man likes to do; it is often associated with having plenty of choices. An example, if he has the choice to choose a dish out of ten different dishes, but he only likes one dish and dislikes all the other dishes, does he then has a choice? Preferentially, no; factually, yes. If he likes two dishes, then he has a preferential choice, and this choice leads to conflict. In the absence of preference, choice and conflict disappear. Even then, this is not true absence of preference, choice or conflict. The normal man does not like or dislike any of the dishes. This then allows him to choose the dish that is the most appropriate for the body under the circumstances. In order to choose the most appropriate dish, sound discrimination is needed. He must be able to perceive each dish distinctly and know how it will affect the body. The normal man has no choice because he always acts in the most harmonious manner. True freedom is actually the freedom to act in the most harmonious manner. Hence, true freedom, the capability to obey the laws of the soul, runs parallel with true obedience. The freedom to choose the most appropriate dish can only exist in the true absence of preference, that is, discrimination and equanimity are inseparable. Discrimination and Equanimity An example: none of the tools in a toolbox has any intrinsic value. A ten-dollar hammer is not a hundred times more valuable than a ten-cent nail at all times. If that nail happens to save the man’s life, then it becomes priceless, but it is priceless only at that particular moment when his life depends on it. Before and after that moment, it is of equal value to any other tools. The value of the tools solely depends on their ability to handle the situation at hand at that particular moment. Just because the nail had saved his life before, it will be utterly foolish to value it above all the other tools, to attempt to use it in all situations, or, at any rate, in situations that bear only a slight resemblance to the previous situation, and in the same way while ignoring all the other tools. This is how the personality behaves; this 116

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

is why the man’s life is filled with conflict, contradiction, foolishness and absurdity. Discrimination without equanimity results in endless conflict and contradiction. Equanimity without discrimination results in foolish and absurd behavior. It can lead the man to feed on excrement. Nevertheless, the man of sound discrimination may look for excrement, not gold, when he wishes to feed his plants. The normal man treats all the tools equally; therefore, all the tools are available. He knows how to discriminate between the tools; therefore, he knows how to select the most appropriate tools for the situation at hand. This does not imply that two different normal men have the same capabilities. The capability of a normal man is limited by the experiences and skills he has acquired. One normal man can be a master of the pen whereas another can be an illiterate. It implies that he is capable of making the best use of everything he has acquired. Indifference and Equanimity Indifference appears to be synonymous with equanimity, but they are actually diametrically opposite. Contraction, exclusion and separation, that is, the shutting out of impressions and stimuli, lead to indifference. Expansion, inclusion and wholeness, that is, openness to all impressions and stimuli, lead to equanimity. Indifference is caused by preoccupation, absorption or concentration on a small area—the familiar and known; thus, the rest of the area is ignored and unobserved. When external circumstances change, this small area becomes smaller. Observation contracts and excludes itself from more area; thus, more impressions and stimuli are separated from observation. The man appears to be unaffected by them, but actually he is continually affected by them though unobserved, because his reactions have already become habitual. The refusal to experience and observe his fears, particularly his immense fear of the unknown, compels him to concentrate on the known, resulting in more conflict. When the man is indifferent to the events and activities of the world, it may mean that he has given up and simply let the momentum of his habits takes over, that is, he always chooses the 117

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

line of least resistance. He does not even consider killing himself, for that will mean struggling against resistance. He begins to experience less and less. Events and activities appear to disturb him less and less, that is, he excludes and separates himself from the world more and more. If he has a god-self, he may increase his attention on it, seeking solace and consolation from it. Consequently, he is increasingly absorbed. On the other hand, it may mean that he is increasingly absorbed in seeking the meaning of life and a way out of his unbearable situation. Further, if he is at stage one of the way, he is striving to be indifferent to the pull and push of the innumerable desires and fears by anchoring his observation on a selected object. Because awareness only appears in stage two of the way, equanimity can only be practiced then. When the man is willing to face his fears, he expands his observation to include more area. Hence, more impressions and stimuli fall under his observation.

118

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

23
THREE STAGES OF THE WAY

The process of neutralizing the personality is divided into three stages: first, the creation of the warrior-self and its growth into maturity; second, the appearance of the baby soul and its growth into maturity; third, the complete neutralization of the personality and maturity of the soul. These stages are not straightforward. There are innumerable fluctuations between the personality and the soul. For instance, the soul does not just appear and grow steadily bigger. It appears and disappears; its size and the duration of its appearance fluctuate, depending on inner conditions and external circumstances. But why will anyone tread the way? Stable Circumstances When the personality is stable and rigid, and external circumstances are stable enough to allow the man to carry out his routine daily activities, he experiences little conflict. Though he only experiences a small part of himself at any particular time, he still experiences himself as one because his attention is totally absorbed by the active self of the moment. Hence, he is the active self of the moment. The man is like the captain of a ship, set adrift in the middle of an ocean, without any point of reference. Having no reference point, he can choose to believe whatever he desires to believe. Though the waves and winds push the ship erratically, back and forth, in circles, he believes he is steering it in the desired direction. Though the ship 119

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

may be heading toward disaster, he believes he is steering it toward safety. Unstable Circumstances If external circumstances are changed, the personality becomes unstable, so the man experiences conflict and tension. Then he strives to remove them by changing the circumstances back to the previous state, by changing his habit, or by denying the change and continuing to behave as if there is no change. After an endless series of changes in circumstances, the man is compelled to realize the instability and danger of anchoring himself to external circumstances. Hence, he becomes confused, uncertain, insecure, fearful. It is as if the sea has become violent; hence, the captain becomes confused, uncertain, insecure, fearful. Transience Everywhere There is not a single permanent situation externally; therefore, the man cannot permanently anchor himself to anything or use anything as a permanent reference point. In fact, there is not even a single permanently fixed point in the entire universe. Nonetheless, he will react by seeking for something permanent within the personality, but will eventually realize that there is also nothing permanent within it, not even the god-self is permanent. The godself is sustained by circumstances. In fact, the entire personality is sustained by external circumstances. Moreover, the man is increasingly compelled to face transience. Ready or not, external circumstances are increasingly compelling him to handle more conflict and tension. In short, circumstances are increasingly propelling him toward the way. In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler writes: To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before. He must search out totally new ways to anchor himself, for all the old roots—religion, nation, community, family, or profession—are now shaking under the hurricane impact of the accelerative 120

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

thrust. Before he can do so, however, he must understand in greater detail how the effects of acceleration penetrate his personal life, creep into his behavior and alter the quality of existence. He must, in other words, understand transience. In addition, the 1972 Nobel Prize winners in physics and chemistry said that the study of man’s consciousness is the new frontier. When the soul is beginning to make its presence felt, though only in flashes because it is still in embryo, then the man begins to realize that the only way to permanently remove conflict and tension is to neutralize the personality.

121

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

24
STAGE ONE OF THE WAY

Birth and Growth of the Warrior-Self Stage one begins when the man realizes the need to create the warrior-self. The warrior-self is analogous to the dropping of an anchor. It enables the captain to realize that he is not in control of the ship, that the waves are controlling it, because the anchor acts as the reference point. It also enables him to study the manner and direction of the waves. Therefore, when the warrior-self is created, the man can begin to notice that he has no control over himself, that he is controlled by the active self of the moment, that one moment one self pushes him to the right, but the next moment another pushes him to the left. The size of the warrior-self corresponds to the size of the anchor. If the anchor is small, it can hardly anchor the ship. Likewise, a small warrior-self can hardly anchor its observation to use it as a reference point. It can only become strong at the expense of other selves; therefore, it must rob the forces of the other selves thereby weakening them at the same time. Initially, it is like trying to oppose a herd of stampeding elephants; therefore, he must be willing to be repeatedly crushed. Another analogy: Assume that each self is a country and the warrior-country is a small, newly-created country, but it decides to achieve the impossible: conquer the entire world. It has no intention to rule the world; instead, it wishes to prepare the way to enable a wise ruler to govern the world harmoniously. When the warrior122

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

country is small and weak, it must be shrewd. It must diligently watch and study other countries, ruthlessly taking advantage of their weaknesses, especially their propensity to fight with one another. When the warrior-country grows in strength and skill, and after conquering more and more countries, the war will culminate into a full-scale world war whereby only two opposing sides remain, such as the Allies and Axis of World War Two. Then the deciding war, involving all countries, is fought. Deciding War When this happens within the personality, it becomes chaotic. The man can go out of control, convinced that he is going insane. He does not know what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, what is white or black, and whether he is coming or going. Hence, he must be well prepared for this war. Sound physical and psychological health is necessary. Here he must single-mindedly strive to stand steadfastly and be in control enough to take care of the body. He must ruthlessly stick to his daily practices and activities, without running away, no matter what impressions assail him: impending doom or death, permanent injury, insanity, unending increasing conflict and tension, uselessness and meaninglessness of the entire struggle. He must go through these impressions and experience their reactions and effects, though they will intensely affect him, physically and psychologically. If he persists in the struggle, the day will come when the sun breaks through the cloud. He will have to experience countless agonizing failures before arriving at this point. Success can only come from the strength and skill acquired from innumerable experiments, trials, mistakes and failures—there is no other way. Gaining the Upper Hand This point begins when flashes of strange peace, joy and clarity punctuate the struggle. The man could be struggling for hours, and then suddenly the conflict and tension disappear, replaced by this strange state for a few seconds. Then it is gone just as suddenly and replaced by conflict and tension again. These flashes will increase in

123

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

frequency and duration; therefore, the fluctuations will increase rapidly. If the man does not find his condition comical, he cannot survive the way. In fact, one reliable indication of his progress is a growing sense of humor. How can he survive if he is unable to laugh at the absurdity, foolishness and contradiction of the personality, which he will observe with increasing clarity as he progresses? For example, one moment he is in deep anguish, the next moment he is roaring with laughter. One moment he hates his beloved wife, the next moment he loves his enemy. At this point, the warrior-self begins to gain the upper hand; if the man runs away now, he deserves to stick his head into his own excrement. Sudden Breakthrough If he continues to persist, he will experience a sudden breakthrough whereby many selves simply give up fighting en masse. It is as if the armies of the other countries have decided to withdraw en masse. Therefore, the army of the warrior-country can now roam quite freely though it had to struggle strenuously to advance even an inch before. The selves are unable to endure the lengthy and intense conflict with the warrior-self because the warrior-self is different. It is trained to face conflict and does not compromise, but the other selves are always striving to avoid conflict and always compromising. Previously, the pain of getting what they desire is less than the pain of deprivation, but now the pain of getting is much more. Here, a significant amount of energy remains as energy; therefore, a soul of significant size appears. The personality becomes significantly smaller. The man experiences a corresponding amount of peace, joy and confidence. He also experiences a corresponding amount of mastery, liberation and awareness. Now he perceives the world in a new way, as it is, clear and lucid. Now he can do many things easily though previously difficult. For example, he can direct his awareness toward any object or act in an unusual way for a long time quite effortlessly, whereas previously he found it difficult to direct his observation toward any object or act in an unusual way for more than a few seconds. 124

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

When awareness appears, a higher attention also appears. The higher attention is the blending of awareness and attention. Attention has a fixed direction, that is, it only notices its impression. The higher attention can change its direction and observe several of the impressions simultaneously. The higher attention is like the torchlight. When the soul is small, it only shines dimly on a small area. When the soul is whole, then it shines brightly in all directions at the same time, like the sun. Now the man can quite clearly recognize his state of duality and the difference between the personality and the soul. What appears to be contradictory and absurd in spiritual teachings is now quite clearly understood. He realizes that the personality must die; otherwise, the soul cannot live. Nothing Lasts Forever This wonderful and illuminating state can last for a few hours to a few days to several weeks—but not forever. Its duration depends on the continuity and intensity of the struggle. If the man indulges in this state and ceases to struggle, it will disappear because the personality will eventually become as strong as before, returning him back to square one. To prevent this from happening, he must not relax the struggle. He must ruthlessly strive to neutralize the remaining selves and use this opportunity to set up as many anchors as possible. Technique One, previously used for verification, can now be used to set up these anchors. That is, he must make use of his everyday activities to practice observation training throughout the day because the selves will definitely regroup and fight back later. (It is like setting up outposts in other countries to neutralize further rebellion.) Thus, no matter how hard he continues to struggle, this state will still disappear, and the personality will become strong again, but with a crucial difference—it will be significantly weaker than before.

125

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

25
STAGE TWO OF THE WAY

Intermittent and Brief Soul Appearances After a few days, the man may only experience this state for only a few minutes a few times a day even though he had struggled strenuously. He, however, will experience a surge of confidence because the warrior-self has decisively overcome the other selves, though temporarily. And he knows that as long as he continues to struggle hard, he will eventually neutralize them permanently, but he must never become complacent because it is still very far away. Now the ship captain can perceive the guiding star, the true and permanent reference point, for a few minutes a few times a night and can steer the ship in the right direction then. Further, the rest of the time he will not be as blind as before because he can frequently glimpse the star throughout the night. Duality For a few minutes a few times a day, the man is dual—part personality and part perceiver, or part personality and part soul. Initially the warrior-self strives to nurture the baby soul. As the soul gets bigger, it can more effectively assist the warrior-self because the man can increasingly perceive the movement, type and content of the impressions. At this stage, the soul is like Sri Krishna, and the warrior-self is like Arjuna. Like Sri Krishna, the soul guides and

126

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

advises only. Like Arjuna, the warrior-self must do all the fighting. Consequently, progress will increase more rapidly. At this stage, the man will often find himself in a comical and hilarious situation, but different from the cases in stage one. For instance, the personality may be indulging in anguish, but the soul perceives these impressions impartially, unmoved. In short, he experiences anguish, peace and joy simultaneously, whereas they alternate in stage one. Unfamiliar Reactions Because the overall amount of tension within the personality has decreased, the muscular tension has also decreased correspondingly. As the personality gets smaller and the soul gets bigger, the man will increasingly experience unfamiliar physical and psychological reactions. Physically, the muscular spasms, contraction and elongation, increase in intensity. Further, involuntary movements—ranging from muscle twitching to prolonged, intense, twisting movements of the hips, chest and neck to prolonged, whole body shaking—are common. These are simply the reactions of the muscles as they struggle to loosen. Spiritual practice has direct impact on the nervous system, enabling harmonious control of the body. Energies of Transformation by Bonnie Greenwell contains a comprehensive list of these physical and psychological reactions. This book is also useful for the man who is just beginning to tread the way. It helps him to prepare himself.
REGARD WITHOUT REGARDING

It is crucial to regard Greenwell’s list of reactions seriously and lightly at the same time. Is it possible to be both simultaneously? It is possible if the man has already realized the vanity and hollowness of all his desires and has already experienced much conflict and tension, then he is able to look upon this list of reactions quite impartially. As he progresses, he will inevitably experience increased variety and intensity of pleasant and unpleasant reactions, many of which are unfamiliar to him.

127

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

These reactions do not denote spirituality. They denote his abnormality. The more abnormal he is, the more he will experience these reactions because they are merely attempts to remove his abnormality. The moment his abnormality is removed, they will be gone. Hence, he must not use these reactions to measure his progress. He can measure his progress by his ability to remain calmer, less easily irritated and offended by everybody and everything.
BE SERIOUS

He must take this list seriously, because if he does not recognize his experiences as the reactions of his practice, it can easily lead to drastic adverse consequences. For instance, he may experience an apparent heart attack, and if he does not recognize it as part of the process, then he will be assailed by much unnecessary anxiety and fear. Anyway, these reactions rarely appear full-blown, but they may. In most cases, they increase slowly and gradually, bit by bit. In most cases, when they become unbearable, they can be controlled and reduced by decreasing the intensity of the practice. Even so, he must learn to prepare for the worst. If the man had done much needed work in his past lives, then he may experience a spontaneous awakening and therefore these reactions full-blown.
BE LIGHT

If the man cannot take this list lightly, that is, if it evokes intense desire or fear, then he must forget about treading the way for at least a few years. There is no point in making his condition worse. The sole aim of the way is to strive to treat everything with equanimity. If he stubbornly persists, then this intense desire or fear will inevitably delude him further and cause much drastic adverse consequences. An illustration: In an experiment, Harriet Linton and Robert Langs gave each subject a placebo, but told the subject that it was LSD. Half an hour later, the subjects began to behave as if they had swallowed LSD. Their reactions lasted for several hours. If the mere thought of taking LSD could evoke such drastic reactions, imagine 128

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

what will happen if this thought is boosted by intense desire or fear. The subjects’ reactions were simply the pushing down of their feeling and thought impressions into the movement and sense impressions, and then expended into the body. Placebo effects have been extensively studied worldwide and have been proven effective in numerous physical and psychological conditions. In general, they are merely delusion and reaction. True, if a man strongly believes that the placebo he is taking will remove cancerous tumor, then his tumor may indeed disappear. Still, it is only delusion and reaction. It simply proves the immense power of his feeling and thought impressions over his body. The way aims to acquire control of this immense power. In short, please learn to regard without regarding, believe without believing, be prepared and adopt a wait-and-see attitude. An example, if the man is informed that there is a man-eating tiger in a jungle, but did not bring a gun along because of disbelief, imagine what will happen if it is true. On the other hand, if he believes and brings a gun along, but is filled with intense fear and sees the tiger everywhere, can he protect himself in such a nervous and shaky state? Further, if he goes into the jungle to look for a precious flower, can he see the tiger if his desire to find the flower is so intense that he is absorbed in looking for it? The best chance to survive and succeed is to be calm and watchful, bold but cautious.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

An account of a couple of experiences: Once when the author woke up at 4:00 a.m. to practice, he found that his abdomen has distended, significantly tense and uncomfortable, so he decided not to practice. By 8:00 a.m., the abdomen had distended even more and had become unbearable, so he went to the toilet and pushed until his anus bled, but to no avail. Finally, out of desperation, he did a few minutes of forward and backward bends (paschimothanasana and supta vajrasana). After that, excrement and gas came out freely. Obviously, the anal muscles had contracted and refused to loosen. Ah, the wonders of yogic practice! Two days later, he excreted a bowl of green excrement twice. No, it was not the remains of

129

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

vegetables; the excrement was entirely green with patches of dark green. The author mentioned the latter because he has not come across it anywhere. Well, Greenwell’s list is comprehensive but not complete. And though she mentioned the appearance of false pregnancy, she did not mention how to remove it. Despite that, it is a very useful book. Concomitant Effects Insights, the experiencing of various unfamiliar impressions and the corresponding changes to the body are concomitant, or they follow one another closely. Body therapists and psychotherapists are familiar with this phenomenon. When clients, who may have suffered psychological problems for years and decades, are willing to face their problems squarely, that is, when they are willing to face the fearful, conflicting impressions, they often experience reduction of the muscular tension and receive insights into their problems, insights that have eluded them for years and decades. In fact, if the man is willing to cling to his doubt, uncertainty and confusion, that is, if he is willing to endure the pain and tension of his inner conflict, he will invariably resolve and receive insight into his problem. Master Hakuin says, “The greater the doubt, the greater the awakening; the smaller the doubt, the smaller the awakening; no doubt, no awakening.” Regarding personal problem, in most cases, it is not that he has found the solution, but that the problem simply ceases to be a problem as if it was never a problem. For example, the perennial dilemma: the man is condemned if he did; he is also condemned if he did not. Suppose he had squarely faced the fear and consequences of being condemned until they do not disturb him anymore, then the dilemma simply ceases to be a problem, then whether he is condemned or not is no longer a factor of consideration. Often the insight appears so obvious that he kicks himself for not observing it in the first place. Be forewarned—this phenomenon happens frequently in stage two of the way. But if he did not directly face the inner conflict, he still will not be able to observe it even after a century. How can he observe it if his attention is always 130

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

lost in a particular area of the situation, but missing the rest, missing the area that is germane to the whole situation? The problem is solved when the conflicting impressions have neutralized one another. Then he observes the whole situation without distortion, impartially and clearly. The insight itself does not solve the problem; it is merely an effect. By the way, regarding Einstein’s theory of relativity, it was reported that its principles were revealed to him from the kinesthetic sensations of his muscles. Were his muscles responsible for his genius? Einstein was willing to face numerous contradictions, seeming or otherwise, for many years while he pondered on the nature of time, space, light, motion and so on, which eventually lead to his discovery. Even so, it was only an effect. When Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that time and space are one and that everything comes from nothing, he knew them to be true beyond doubt because he could experience and perceive them at will. But he could not formulate them theoretically because he lacked the relevant concepts to do so. His task was to guide his disciples to experience them for themselves. Einstein’s task was to prepare the man to tread the way. Even Einstein himself probably succeeded in formulating only a fraction of his realization and discovery. Man Reaps What He Sows At this stage, the man can increasingly perceive that he definitely reaps what he sows, that is, he can perceive the action and reaction, the cause and effect, of the personality directly. In fact, he often reaps more than he sows. For instance, if he mentally criticizes his wife, he perceives that the personality reacts almost instantly by criticizing itself and often more viciously. He also becomes afraid of criticism. And if criticized, he is offended and upset. The adverse consequences are compounded if he criticizes her outwardly. Besides the conflict between them, his wife becomes more inclined to criticize their children, and their children become more inclined to criticize one another, also their cat and dog. This adverse ripple effect, one way or another, bounces back to him.

131

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

As he advances, he can perceive his inner conditions and external circumstances with increasing clarity; hence, his responsibility increases correspondingly. More important, he begins to realize that the adverse consequences of all his past malevolent acts do not disappear with time. As long as he had not faced and neutralized them, the adverse consequences constantly plague him.
SENSE OF PROPORTION

As a result, the perception and realization of the adverse consequences will propel him to struggle harder, but it can also become unbearably oppressive. To counter this oppression, he must acquire a correct sense of proportion. First, he must realize that he is only a drop in an ocean. Hence, no matter what he had done, no matter how seemingly terrible or evil, in terms of the whole, he has done nothing and can do nothing. Second, he must realize that nothing is irreversible or permanent. Previously his gargantuan selfimportance deluded him into believing that the results of his actions were permanent; now his self-importance may delude him into believing that the results of his evil actions are permanent. Third, he must realize that he has an eternity to neutralize them. But even though he is at stage two of the way, his realization regarding these truths is still weak. Hence, he must rely on faith, but if his faith is also weak, then he must strive to keep on struggling without any expectations. In fact, the greatest challenge and difficulty pervading the way is to acquire the willingness to suffer without any expectations whatsoever. Mother Teresa says, “What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” The man is only a drop but an indispensable drop. Hence, the most important thing is to keep neutralizing the adverse consequences steadily, bit by bit, without slacking of, without overstraining himself, without caring how long it is going to take. Nevertheless, the oppression can be used to advantage because he can avoid the oppression by concentrating, that is, he allows it to compel him to concentrate, on the struggle of the moment. Then the realization that he is now actively struggling to neutralize the 132

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

adverse consequences will remove the oppression, which will be replaced by an increasing impression of well-being. Toward the End When the warrior-self was small, it attempted to wear down the other selves. Now the role is increasingly reverse, and the other selves will strive to wear down the warrior-self through guerrilla warfare. As the man progresses, the selves get increasingly sneaky and subtle, compelled to be that way to survive. Consequently, the use of crude force decreases, increasingly replaced by vigilance, patience, persistence and skill. The practice of discrimination and equanimity increases in depth and subtlety. The razor’s edge gets sharper. Toward the end of stage two, it will be like trying to keep a smooth marble at the center of a smooth piece of glass while the man holds on to its edges as he walks. At this point, the movement, sense and feeling impressions are considerably weakened; even the feeling impressions that connect one thought impression to another thought impression are considerably weakened. Thought impressions are like grasses. They are weak but extremely difficult to uproot. The slightest wind can bend them, but even a strong wind that continuously blows for many hours can only uproot a few grasses. And the moment it stops blowing, they rise up again. As long as thought impressions are not uprooted, the other three types of impressions can still become strong again. Hence, if the man lets down his guard even for a brief moment now and then, he can find himself faced with a strong self. For example, if he has managed to abstain from smoking the right way for five years after having smoked twenty cigarettes a day for a decade, he will still have a mild desire or a strong thought to smoke occasionally. If he indulges in it, a few months or even a few weeks later, he may find himself smoking twenty cigarettes a day.

133

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

26
STAGE THREE OF THE WAY

Below are the fruits of the man’s struggle. The moment he is at stage two, he is already reaping these fruits, but they become fullblown at stage three. Here the personality is completely neutralized; the body is normal, and the soul is whole. Regarding this stage, in Esoteric Psychology II, available on the Web (World Wide Web) for free download, Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul write: 1) The free use of the mind so that focused attention can be paid to all that concerns the personal self and its aims. This spells personality success and prosperity. 2) The power to control the emotions and yet have the full use of the sensory apparatus to sense conditions, to feel reactions, and to bring about contact with the emotional aspects of other personalities. 3) The capacity to touch the plane of ideas and to bring them through into consciousness. Even if these are later subordinated to selfish purpose and interpretation, the man can, however, be in touch with that which can be spiritually cognized. The free use of the mind presupposes its growing sensitivity to intuitional impression. 4) The demonstration of many talents, powers and the working out of genius, and the emphatic bending of 134

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

the whole personality to the expression of some one of these powers. There is often an extreme versatility and an ability to do many outstanding things noticeably well. 5) The physical man is frequently a wonderfully sensitive instrument of the inner, emotional and mental selves, and gifted with great magnetic power; there is often resilient, though never robust, bodily health, and great charm and personal outer gifts. Additional Dimension of Perception The normal man can be said to have acquired an additional dimension of perception. Spiritual teachings often appear absurd and contradictory because the abnormal man is absurd and contradictory. For instance, how can a three-dimensional man describe a house that a two-dimensional man can understand? If he uses words such as front and back, they will appear gibberish to the twodimensional man. If he shows a photograph of the front of the house and another photograph of the back of the house to the twodimensional man and states that they are the same house; in short, the front is the back. Won’t it appear absurd and contradictory to the two-dimensional man? What about the statement—to die is to live? Simultaneous Perception The normal man may not have any conceptual knowledge of a house. He may not even know that the word house refers to the seen object. Nevertheless, he sees the entire house distinctly; therefore, no analysis or reasoning is needed. The abnormal man can only vaguely see a small part of the house at any one time; therefore, he is compelled to fragment it into a hundred pieces, calling one part a door, another part a window, and so on. He then proceeds to analyze them and often succeeds in burying himself deeper. Liberation from the Past Without desire and fear, there is no denial, avoidance, distortion, or exaggeration; therefore, memory of past experiences is 135

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

perceived clearly and accurately. The normal man is not affected or bound by his past experiences. He perceives all his past experiences, say, with his wife, simultaneously. This ability and his accurate present perception enable him to respond appropriately and impeccably. Encompassing Awareness The normal man can listen to music, tap one hand and foot to the rhythm of the music, talk and think, and still drive better and safer than the abnormal man who only drives. He is able to do this owing to the gigantic amount of free attention at his disposal. In other words, his awareness encompasses and controls these activities simultaneously. Intelligence and Vulnerability A one-year-old child is ignorant whereas a normal man is intelligent. For example, if John goes stealthily into Peter’s house to take something, Peter will react by accusing John of theft. A oneyear-old child, however, will not have any such reaction. He has not yet associated John’s action to the word “theft,” as bad and wrong. Further, the habitual reaction to curse and fume is not yet in place. Like the child, the normal man also does not react. He sees what the child sees, but he also knows how society looks upon such activities, whereas the child does not. Based on this information and other relevant information, he responds appropriately and impeccably to the situation. In addition, the child is ignorantly vulnerable and will eventually become defensive. The normal man is intelligently vulnerable and has already acquired the strength and skill to neutralize assaults. In short, a child has much awareness. A normal man has many formless impressions. An abnormal man has brimful of non-formless impressions.
SUMMARY OF THE STAGES

Before the man treads the way, he experiences himself as one though he is many—legion. At stage one of the way, he experiences 136

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

himself as many because the personality has loosened somewhat; the soul is in embryo and appears in flashes. Gurdjieff says, “Blessed is he who has a soul, blessed is he who has none, but woe and grief to him who has it in embryo.” At stage two, he experiences himself as dual—part personality and part soul. Finally, at stage three, he experiences himself as one again, this time—truly one. At stage one, the man is striving to make a complete turnaround; it is the most difficult stage. At stage two, he has already succeeded in turning around; he must then strive to build up and keep increasing the momentum.

137

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

27
DIFFICULTY OF THE WAY

The way is an extremely difficult one. Job’s sufferings are often mentioned to epitomize his status as a man of God. Even right now, millions are in worse physical states than he was. Are they more spiritual than he then? Job became poor; his body was covered with sore boils; he was rejected by his wife and falsely accused by his friends. Even so, these are only preliminary difficulties of the way. Anyway, these conditions did not really afflict Job very much. What he found unbearable was that he was punished even though he had done nothing wrong or bad. In his eyes, all his actions, words and thoughts were right and good: “Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go. My heart does not reproach any of my days.” In fact, Job was so righteous in his own eyes that he even challenged God to answer his complaints. He renounced his self-righteousness and “repent in dust and ashes” only after God had exposed his infinite ignorance, Indeed, Job had a supremely purified personality, but it was not enough. It still had to die. St. John of the Cross says, “The soul that is attached to anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of the divine.” Physical poverty and pain are difficult to endure, but psychological poverty and pain are far more difficult to endure. Only the even more unbearable poverty and pain of the soul can compel the man to endure psychological poverty and pain.

138

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

In Views from the Real World, Gurdjieff says: If a man were deprived of his illusions and all that prevents him from seeing reality—if he were deprived of his interests, his cares, his expectations and hopes—all his strivings would collapse, everything would become empty and there would remain an empty being, an empty body, only physiologically alive. This would be the death of “I,” the death of everything it consisted of, the destruction of everything false collected through ignorance or inexperience. All this will remain in him merely as material, but subject to selection. Then a man will be able to choose for himself and not have imposed on him what others like. He will have conscious choice. This is difficult. No, difficult is not the word. The word “impossible” is also wrong, because, in principle, it is possible; only it is a thousand times more difficult than to become a multimillionaire through honest work. Just study the trials and sufferings of those who have traveled far, such as Lama Surya Das, Jack Kornfeld, Philip Kapleau, Gopi Krishna and many others. Even the preliminary practice is difficult. Although the beginning of any undertaking is usually difficult, in this case, the difficulty is compounded by the need to make a complete turnaround. Hence, lengthy and strenuous labor yields minuscule result initially. If the man is not ready, there is no way to persuade, manipulate or threaten him to tread the way, not even the desirability of paradise or fearfulness of hell can move him. The personality is an expert at persuasion, manipulation and threat; it will simply distort everything to suit itself. One Continuous Mistake The emphasis on the difficulty of the way is not to discourage, but to prevent discouragement, and also to prevent the man from falling into the pits of self-reproach, self-disgust, self-hatred, selfpity, remorse, frustration, anguish. That is to say, in realizing the 139

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

immense difficulty of the way, he realizes that he will unfailingly be making mistake after mistake; hence, he must learn to refrain from beating himself up whenever he fails or makes a mistake, but simply learn from the failure or mistake, accepting the failures and mistakes as part of the practice. Otherwise, he is likely to end up like the diet group of the Finland study. Actually, he is already in these pits. As he strives to climb up, he will keep on falling back in innumerable times. If, however, he recognizes and accepts the immense difficulty of the way and unsparingly strives to climb up every time he falls back in, thereby shortening his stay in the pit, then he will succeed. As one Zen Master says, “This life is a series of mistakes. True practice is one continuous mistake, one after another anyway.” In fact, his progress can be measured by the number of his mistakes, the more the better. He will appear to make increasingly more mistakes the further he advances because he can then see clearer, wider and deeper. Therefore, he will see many mistakes, which he failed to see before, whereas initially he can only see the few boulders on the surface. If, however, he does not attempt to climb up, then he makes no further mistake. He will fall into the same pit innumerable times. Does he expect to be able to see and jump over it easily after a lifetime of failing to see and falling into it? If he persists, he will slowly learn to see the pit before falling in, but he will still fall in. He will then have to acquire the skill and strength to jump over it. Finally, he must learn not to jump intentionally into the pit. Yes, he will do so many times because he misses the pleasure of the pit, or he desires to gain a moment’s respite from the strenuous struggle. Looking Within In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche writes, “Looking in will require of us great subtlety and great courage—nothing less than a complete shift in our attitude to life and to the mind.” To look within implies that the man is willing to be fully self-responsible. When he looks in and observes anything he finds disgusting, offending, or irritating, he cannot blame anyone or anything because everybody and everything is outside him. If he 140

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

does not like it, why does he keep it? Why didn’t he throw it away? It is because he is not able and does not even know how. The implications and realizations of daring to look within: first, he is fully responsible for his own state of being; second, his state of being is absurd, foolish and contradictory; third, he is almost completely helpless to do anything about it; finally, there is no escape—no where to run or hide. A Word of Encouragement The abnormal man cannot conceive the intelligence and strength of the soul. His conception is merely the conception of a self, which is infinitely weaker than the soul. When Paul requested Jesus to remove his thorn, Jesus replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, the man must not loathe or indulge in his weakness, but strive to perfect his power from it, that is, strive to transform the selves into the soul.

141

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

28
FIVE SIGNPOSTS

The five signposts signifying that the man is facing the right direction are the experiencing of desire, fear, agitation, exhaustion and doubt. Though he is facing the right direction, the challenge is to tread the way steadily, without letting the signposts hinder or distract him. That is, he must strive to pass through these signposts. He will inevitably come across these signposts innumerable times. The faster he travels in the right direction, the more frequently he will observe these signposts. Desire First, the way demands the elimination of all desires; therefore, if he is traveling in the right direction, he will have to face innumerable unsatisfied desires, resulting in self-pity, sorrow, deprivation, emptiness. Fear Second, the way demands the elimination of all fears; therefore, he will have to face innumerable fears, resulting in anxiety, worry, anger, bitterness, hatred. Agitation Third, when the warrior-self struggles to strengthen itself against other selves, numerous conflicts are stirred up and the

142

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

personality becomes chaotic; thus, the man is agitated, resulting in restlessness, frustration, irritation. Exhaustion Fourth, initially the warrior-self is small, weak and unskilled, but must become big, strong and skillful enough to face the onslaught of the active selves. Therefore, initially it will be exhausted easily and quickly, resulting in tiredness, fatigue, weariness. The man must not mistake this exhaustion of the warrior-self to be the exhaustion of the body and personality. He must learn to distinguish between the two. If he keeps on yawning and feels very tired during practice, but is alert and energetic when he stops his practice, it is a sure sign that only the warrior-self is exhausted. He must strive not to succumb to the tiredness of the warrior-self. The only way to keep on channeling forces from other selves into the warrior-self is to keep on struggling in spite of the immense tiredness and weariness. In fact, right from the beginning, he must struggle against the sleep-self, that is, the desire to sleep more than necessary. The personality does not sleep; when he is asleep, he is completely at its mercy. In terms of brainwaves, he must strive to stay awake and alert while his brain is producing plenty of alpha and theta waves, that is, while he is physically and psychologically quiet. At stage one of the way, when alpha brainwaves begin to increase significantly, he must struggle against drowsy and dreamy states. At stage two of the way, when theta brainwaves begin to increase significantly, then he must struggle against the deeper and subtler desire to sleep. Doubt Fifth, the spiritual way of life is diametrically opposite his present way of life in actions, words and thoughts. Of course, when the warrior-impressions collide with the impressions of the other selves, there will be great doubt, great uncertainty, great confusion. In addition, he must also face innumerable smaller doubts due to the conflicts among the selves. For instance, if both the 143

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

anticigarette-self and the cigarette-self are activated, doubt, uncertainty and confusion appear—to smoke or not to smoke. The warrior-self must be skilled and shrewd enough to let these two selves fight each other for as long as needed. It must not allow the anticigarette-self to displace the cigarette-force into itself, or vice versa. In so doing, they will eventually weaken each other, thereby allowing the warrior-self to snatch away their forces. In short, the longer the man can hold on to the doubt that arises from the conflicting impressions, the better. The doubt will dissolve when the conflicting impressions have neutralized one another. Further, he must be willing to be overwhelmed, even to the point of believing that he is going insane, going out of control, or going to die. These are only impressions of the selves because they are going insane with confusion, losing control and dying. The more he struggles, the more the selves are activated, including conflicting selves. He is overwhelmed when he observes more impressions than usual, implying that his observation has expanded, stretched, and therefore the experiencing of tension. Therefore, the longer he can experience and go through the impressions of being overwhelmed, of doubt, uncertainty and confusion, the better because the activated selves will have more opportunity to neutralize one another. As he struggles, he will appear to lose his understanding. In truth, it is only now that he is beginning to understand. In the past, his understanding was merely the smooth evoking of limited associated impressions. As the conflicting impressions are neutralized, they are synthesized, resulting in broader and deeper understanding.

144

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

29
HINDRANCES

Treading the way can be compared to traveling toward a mountain of inexhaustible gold and precious stones. As the man travels nearer, he will begin to see stray bits of gold. Initially most of them are fool’s gold. From afar, they appear like gold, but when examine closely they are not. Later he will come across genuine bits of gold. As he travels even nearer, he will come across bigger pieces of gold. But he must not waste his force and time to examine them or pick them up. Why slow and weigh down his journey by carrying these pieces of gold? After a lifetime of abject poverty, it is difficult not to cling to these bits and pieces. Worse, if he picks up these pieces of gold, returns home and uses them to indulge in foolishness for several years. If he does that, he deserves to drown himself in his own excrement. Later he will inevitably realize what he had given up. Will he still have the strength, skill, endurance and courage to start all over again? It is unlikely and if not, then he will be in a far worse state than before, that is, before he traveled toward the mountain. As the man progresses, as his soul gets bigger, creative insights, intuition, peak performances, integrative experiences and so on will increasingly appear. These are simply small manifestations of the soul. Initially, these manifestations will provoke the personality into a frenzy. Its self-importance shoots through the roof. It begins to indulge in grandiose fantasy. It wants to use these manifestations to win a Nobel Prize, make a billion dollars, save the world, and get enlightened if it did not consider itself enlightened already. True, these manifestations often help him in his struggle, but they are often useful only at that particular circumstances and time. 145

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

If he clings to them, the soul is unable to guide him any longer because he has shut himself in. At any rate, it is impossible to cling to them; he can only cling to the impressions of these manifestations and therefore shutting himself in. Further, none of these manifestations can be lost, for they are of the soul. The soul knows how to use these manifestations infinitely better than the personality. Therefore, they must not enamor him. He must look upon them with equanimity and pass through them.

146

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

30
RELATIVITY OF PLEASURE AND PAIN

If the man can impartially reflect on his experiences, he can realize the relativity of pleasure and pain for himself. For instance, under ordinary circumstances, the ability to move his hands freely is not pleasurable, but if his hands are loosened after being tied up for a while, then he experiences pleasure which will then be gone a while later. The more he chases after pleasure and comfort, the more they flee from him until nothing is pleasurable or comfortable. Further, the more he flees from pain and discomfort, the more they chase after him until everything is painful and uncomfortable. If he reverses the process, then pleasure and comfort will begin to chase after him, but he must not cling to them. If he does, then he reverses the process back to square one again. He also must not run away, avoid or reject them. If he does, he has converted desire into aversion, pleasure into pain. To allow pleasure to pull him and pain to push him is already absurd. To allow pleasure to push him and pain to pull him is equally as absurd. Anything that brings pleasure one moment can easily bring pain the next, and vice versa. To free himself from pleasure and pain, to transcend them, he must strive to treat them with equanimity, that is, to experience all impressions without desire or aversion. Then he will gain control of the impressions instead of being controlled by them.

147

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

When the man treads the way, this relativity is keenly experienced, and he must strive not to succumb to it. For instance, if he attempts to control his observation by concentrating on the candlelight inside his house, he will quickly experience a strong and irresistible desire to do things under usual circumstances he cares nothing about. He may have a strong desire to look at a particular part of the wall instead of the candlelight and strongly believes that it will be pleasurable to do so. As long as he manages not to succumb to this desire, it will keep on growing stronger. But if he looks at the wall, will he find it pleasurable? Has the wall suddenly become irresistibly attractive although he did not find it the least attractive before and hardly ever observed it in his entire life? The more pain he experiences in concentrating on the candlelight, the more desirable the wall will become. Numerous other strong and absurd desires will keep on arising. It is very difficult not to be deluded by their seeming desirability. For instance, he may have a strong urge to urinate although he had already gone to the toilet several times the past ten minutes, without passing a single drop. Unconditional Acceptance To overcome this urge, he must not succumb to it or fight it. The more he fights the urge, the more attention he is giving it; thus, the urge gets stronger. He must accept the seeming fact of having to wet his pants and allow it to happen without any rebellion and resistance. The very moment he can accept without any reservation the seeming inevitable fact of wetting his pants, the urge will disappear. If he is at stage one of the way, he will not notice its disappearance because his attention will have already moved away, trapped by other dilemmas. The dilemma of wetting his pants simply ceases to be a problem as if it was never a problem at all. He will only notice the disappearance of the urge if he reflects on his struggle later, but will not know when it disappeared. He will only be able to observe its disappearance at stage two of the way. This unconditional acceptance is not a trick; it must be genuine, otherwise it will not work. Although wetting his pants is of little 148

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

consequence, it is not easy to accept it genuinely and fully, without reservation. The more he refuses to spare himself, the stronger is the pain, the stronger is the desire to run away, that is, to do other things. The more drastic is the seeming consequences of continuing, the more absurd is the seeming desirability of doing other things. If the man continues to persist, he will reach a point whereby he must accept genuinely and unconditionally the seeming fact of his seeming impending doom: going insane, going out of control, or going to die. How is it possible for mere observation on the candlelight to lead to such drastic consequences? The reader can find out for himself.

149

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

31
RELATIVITY OF TIME

When the man is experiencing pleasure, many hours can pass by unobserved because he is lost in it. Further, when he happens to observe the passing of time occasionally, his desire for the pleasure to last longer evokes the desire for time to slow down. Hence, time appears to speed up. If he is experiencing pain, then he observes the passing of time continually because of the desire to get it over with. The stronger the pain, the stronger is the desire to get it over with and therefore for time to pass quickly. Consequently, time appears to slow down. It is possible for the pain to reach a point whereby time appears to stop, that is, the man believes strongly that the immense pain he is experiencing is endless. Can he willingly, without rebellion and resistance, accept this condition without reservation? If he can direct his observation to the struggle of the moment, to experience the impressions assailing him, then he will find that time has sped up.

150

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

32
STRENUOUS STRUGGLE AND SURRENDER

Strenuous struggle and surrender are inseparable. Can the man surrender anything if he has nothing? As long as he believes he has something, that he is something, he will not tread the way. When he identifies with the personality, he believes he is something, that he is everything. When, however, he begins to identify with the soul, which shows itself in flashes at first, then he begins to realize his nothingness. He treads the way when he realizes he has nothing, that he is nothing, not just mentally but with his entire being, that everything belongs to the personality, that is, it controls all the force. Therefore, he must struggle to rob this force from it if he wishes to have something to surrender to the soul. Surrendering the fruits of his struggle to the soul implies that he is willing to experience pain, without experiencing pleasure. When the man pursues pleasure, pain pursues him; when he pursues pain, then pleasure pursues him, but he must not slow down to let pleasure catch up. To avoid this mistake, he must not rest on his laurels. He must keep on neutralizing as many selves as possible, but without any expected pleasure or gain, both physical and psychological, such as comfort, wealth, praise, fame, power. Because the sole aim of the warrior-self is to neutralize as many selves as possible, he must struggle to keep the warrior-self active for as long as possible. It is willing to undergo all kinds of

151

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

pain and suffering to succeed; it then surrenders all the fruits of its struggle to the soul. Without Expectation Of course, the man does that to attain the soul, peace and joy. But the soul, peace and joy are formless to the personality. Therefore, it is impossible for him to have any accurate expectation about them. How can he have any accurate idea of what is unknown to him, of what is beyond the realm of the personality? Hence, he must be willing to struggle without any expectations, earthly or heavenly. With Expectation If he struggles with expectation or for gain, he is simply struggling to let go of a self for another. Even if he manages to neutralize two selves, say, the anticigarette-self and cigarette-self, by pitting them against each other, the other remaining selves will benefit and become bigger at their expense. The man usually spends a considerable amount of force and time indulging in expectation, not only in desirable expectation, but also in fearful expectation. In so doing, he avoids the necessary struggle of the moment; the force and time that can be used in the struggle are wasted in expectation—daydreams, fantasies and false imaginations. In either case, he will derive considerable pleasure from the expenditure of force through expectation. If it were not so, why does he cling so tightly to both desirable and fearful expectation? It can be said that struggle is active desire whereas expectation is passive desire; thus, struggle can lead somewhere whereas expectation leads nowhere. Enormous Expectation The fact of his mortality is not enough to compel him to tread the way. After all, why struggle and suffer without any expectation of pleasure or gain, ending only in death, when he can avoid suffering by killing himself right away? He will only tread the way when the possibility of eternal bliss or eternal suffering or both is 152

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

becoming real to him. In fact, it is highly unlikely he will tread the way unless he had already experienced at least a few flashes of soul appearances. In short, he has an enormous desirable or fearful expectation or both. But he must convert this passive desire or fear into active desire or fear, that is, into stern uncompromising labor. Otherwise, he will only sink into desirable or fearful daydreams, fantasies and false imaginations. If he is aggressive, he may start preaching a cloying Santa Claus or a hell-fire version of god. In either case, he will derive considerable pleasure from the expenditure of the godforce. Nonetheless, if he indulges in any of these activities, he is only burying himself deeper. Secret of Health Buddha says that the secret of health for both mind and body is not to regret about the past, not to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly, that the way toward enlightenment is to meet everything with equanimity. In general, regret is simply the omission or commission of an action in the past that results in pain now, and worry is the fear of future pain. If the man is willing to face whatever pain that comes and may come his way without any expectations, regret and worry will cease. If he succeeds in this endeavor to a certain extent, he will experience a corresponding measure of peace, joy and confidence. Otherwise, his expectations will evoke regret and worry. Remembering Aim If the man truly wishes to attain the soul, he must aim at neutralizing the personality with an unbending intent, without indulging in any imagination about the soul. Although he must unbendingly strive to channel his force and time to the necessary work of the moment, yet he must never forget his aim, otherwise he goes astray. On the other hand, it is possible to be constantly immersed in thinking about the aim without struggling to achieve it. If, however, he is struggling toward the right direction, this struggle itself will remind him of his aim.

153

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

It is analogous to the aim of driving home from work. If the man's observation is trapped by his expectation and imagination of the situation at home, of what is happening at home, of what he is going to do at home and so on, he is likely to lose his way home and risks having an accident. If, however, he is observance of his driving and the signposts, which will guide him home and remind him of his aim, then he is likely to reach home safely. In short, though he must always remember his aim, nonetheless if he is struggling toward the right direction, the struggle itself will remind him of his aim. Another way of looking at it—if the man-driver is willing to drive without expectation, then the man-at-home will enjoy the fruit of the man-driver's labor. The man-driver and the man-at-home is the same but also different man. Likewise, the personality and the soul is the same but also different. Expectation is simply the past projected into the future. Because circumstances are always changing, much of the future circumstances are different from the past; therefore, much of the force and time expended in expectation are wasted. Therefore, the best way to prepare for the future is to face the difficulty and challenge of the present. In so doing, the man learns to adapt to the changing circumstances effectively; thus, he learns to be fluid and flexible. Further, he acquires the ability to harmonize himself with changing circumstances impeccably. Sri Krishna says, “Knowledge is indeed better than blind practice, meditation excels knowledge; surrender of the fruits of action is more esteemed than meditation. Peace immediately follows surrender.” Confidence immediately follows surrender, too. In fact, meditation is only an aid to help the man to work without expectation. Or working without expectation is active meditation and is more powerful than mere meditation because it transforms more force into energy. Naturally, it is more difficult. As one ancient master says, “Meditation in activity is a hundred, a thousand, a million times superior to meditation in repose.”

154

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

33
HALFWAY STATE

Is it possible not to go all the way, to stop halfway, that is, to settle for part personality and part soul? As stated earlier, there is no way to change or remove a self without changing the personality, even the body, as a whole. For example, if the man in Technique One manages to keep the little finger of his left hand bent in an unaccustomed way for a while, he will find that the muscular changes will begin to spread to the other fingers, the left hand, the left arm, and so on. If he manages to keep it bent for long enough, the muscular changes will extend to the neck, face, buttocks and even his toes until all the bodily muscles are stretched or tensed up. As for the impressions, apart from becoming more intense, there will be corresponding changes. The same is true in Technique Two. For example, if he abstains from smoking long enough without displacement, he will become more physically tensed up, edgy and fidgety. As for the impressions, apart from becoming more intense, he will begin to observe impressions that have nothing to do with smoking while he is struggling to abstain. Half Self It is possible, to a certain extent, to experience what a halfway state is like. Instead of half a personality, he can experience what half a self is like. For instance, if he has been smoking forty cigarettes per day for many years, he can cut it down to twenty cigarettes per day and strive to maintain it for a few weeks without 155

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

displacement. The understanding he will obtain from this experiment is a thousand times more useful than mere reasoning. Half Soul Is it possible to struggle for just half a soul? Though a whole soul is a thousand times better than no soul, a half soul is worse than no soul; the man is neither here nor there and is frequently unbalanced. In this state, he can observe the absurdity and foolishness of his life and the contradiction and conflict of the impressions. Further, he knows from his earlier successes that he can neutralize the personality if he is willing to suffer longer. After all, he is more strong and skillful now and already knows how to neutralize the selves. More important, the soul and its attributes are already real to him. In this state, the warrior-self, greatly aided by the soul, can hold its own against other selves with relative ease some of the time. Still, it must struggle unceasingly to prevent them from converting energy into force. Because the moment it yields to the temptation to compromise and evade difficulties, the tendency to yield further increases rapidly in strength. Unless the warrior-self is constantly vigilance, it can easily succumb to this lifelong tendency. Hence, the man can end up in a worse state than before, filled with far more intense regret, self-disgust and self-hatred. Consequently, before he treads the way, it is crucial to evaluate the cost and risk, to realize fully at least theoretically the necessity to go all the way, without the slightest reservation or compromise. When he treads the way, he will be tempted to compromise and cut corners at every turn and often by seemingly sound and wellmeaning reasons. By the way, even Jesus had reservation—a gargantuan one.

156

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

34
RECAPITULATION

Active into Passive To avoid conflict, the personality strives to adhere to its habits and to habitual circumstances. In so doing, the selves become rigidly interconnected. Conflict is avoided because the conflicting forces have rigidly counterbalanced one another and resolved into a rigid resultant force, and the active selves have resolved into one active self. Because only one self is active at any particular time, a considerable amount of conflict is avoided, but it does not disappear. It is simply pushed into the background; the tension is trapped within the rigid body and personality. The permanent rigidity causes unease, discomfort and malaise, expressed through fussiness and petty annoyances. The man is offended and irritated by every trifle all day long. Consequently, he finds life tedious and dreary. Instead of active, specific, sharp and distinct tension with respect to inner conditions and external circumstances, he now experiences passive, general, muted and amorphous tension constantly. Similarly, conflict, pain and pleasure have also become passive, general, muted and amorphous. Everywhere Interconnected Because the selves counterbalance and interconnect with one another, it is impossible to change or remove just one self without changing the personality as a whole. This is why it is difficult and tedious to change even a small habit and impossible to predict its overall effect.

157

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Furthermore, the condition of the personality is intimately connected to the muscular condition of the body. The intimate connection between the condition of the personality and the biochemical and bioelectrical condition of the body is not discussed, not because it does not exist or is not important, but because its connection cannot be palpably observed. At any rate, the intimate connection between the physical and the psychological condition is already well documented and acknowledged to be of vital importance. Maximum and Constant Tension A baby is usually born with a soul of considerable size. As he grows older, more and more selves are added until no soul is left, that is, all the energy has been converted into conflicting forces. Hence, the degree of conflict and tension becomes maximum and constant. Then no matter what he does or what circumstances he is in, the overall conflict and tension stay the same though they may vary in degree and type. If he adheres to his habits and habitual circumstances, he experiences mostly passive conflict and tension. If he frequently changes his activities and circumstances, then he experiences mostly a variety of active conflicts and tensions. In this case, the number and type of selves change frequently; the personality is loose, frequently in turmoil and unbalanced. Though a sudden drastic change in circumstances or a traumatic experience may drive the man, especially if he has a rigid personality, insane or even kill him, there is still no increase in overall conflict and tension. In this case, much of the background passive conflict and tension are suddenly converted into various active conflicts and tensions. The body and personality simply cannot handle the chaotic havoc caused by the sudden drastic change. Nonetheless, given sufficient time, he can get used to any external circumstances or experience. Way Out of Impasse The only way out of this impasse is to stop avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. Because the man is already heavily unbalanced, 158

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

to balance himself, initially he must constantly strive to face pain and avoid pleasure. If he strives long enough but is not vigilant, then what was painful before will become pleasurable, what was pleasurable before, painful. Keen vigilance and discrimination are crucial to avoid this danger. In general, when a particular area of struggle is becoming habitual and familiar, then it is becoming pleasurable, so it is advisable to increase the difficulty or change the area of struggle. It is possible to suffer considerably without moving an inch forward, exemplified by the man who invariably ends up deriving pleasure from pain. The entire aim is to experience everything with equanimity, without evoking any pleasure or pain. Passive into Active into Neutral The other selves strive to avoid active conflict and tension. In contrast, the warrior-self strives to face active conflict and tension in order to remove passive conflict and tension. The warrior-self never indulges in pleasure or comfort; it never rests, except to allow the body to recuperate. Otherwise, it is always at war. At stage one of the way, the warrior-self strives to activate the fossilized, passive conflict and tension, making them active and noticeable, bringing them to the surface. At stage two of the way, it then strives to neutralize them. The warrior-self strives to activate and neutralize conflict and tension by anchoring its observation on an object. It is analogous to the selection of a strategic position to destroy the enemy. The stronger the warrior-self, the longer it can anchor its observation, the more active conflict and tension it can endure. In so doing, the personality is loosened and weakened. Immediate Resultant Fruit After observing five thousand clients and students, in Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan says, “The basic malady I have found in all the people I have ever worked with is self-hatred.” In addition, the man is also plagued by remorse, guilt, shame, frustration, anguish, self-reproach, self-disgust, self-pity. No matter how hard he may struggle to bury these impressions with seeming self-love and self159

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

importance, he will never succeed. In fact, the more he indulges in seeming self-love and self-importance, the more these impressions will plague him. But the moment he sincerely and single-mindedly strives to tread the way, he will find that these impressions have reduced. After a few weeks of hard labor, he will experience a mild impression of well-being throughout the day. This is inevitable. If he is willing to face active tension, passive tension will reduce. The body and personality will be a little loosened. Hence, he does not have to wait until he dies to reap the fruit of his struggle. In fact, he can experience a mild impression of well-being even after a short period of intense unusual activity, such as being chased by a tiger for twenty minutes though it will be masked by exhilaration and exhaustion in the beginning. The exhilaration is due to the expenditure of conflicting forces, resulting in significant loosening of the body and personality. The body is stretched, resulting in aching muscles for several days. Of course, the impression of well-being quickly goes away because the body and personality quickly become rigid again. Many Strive, Few Succeed To reduce the overall conflict and tension requires many months or a few years of continuous hard labor because it is very difficult to let even a little energy to remain as energy. To let all energy to remain as energy requires many years of continuous hard labor. Strength, skill, endurance, persistence, patience, diligence, vigilance, sound discrimination and sincerity are necessary to move continuously in the right direction. After a lifetime of desiring to satisfy all his expectations without any labor and instantly, now he must endure continuous hard labor without any expectation whatsoever. For these reasons, many men may strive to free themselves, but only a few will succeed.

160

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

35
OBSERVATION PRACTICE

Observation practice appears mundane while spiritual practice appears exotic and mysterious. Nonetheless, all spiritual practices, techniques and methods are simply aids, props and crutches to assist the man to transform attention into awareness and to assist him when he is not yet strong enough to stand on his own. For example, bending the little finger in an unaccustomed way in Technique One is simply to assist him to control his observation. When he can control his observation to a certain extent, then there is no need to behave in an unaccustomed way. When all attention has transformed into awareness, then he can let go of all aids, props and crutches because he is strong enough to stand on his own. Impressions, Higher Attention, Awareness The movement, sense, feeling and thought impressions, higher attention and awareness are inherently the same and undifferentiated. They are like ice, water and steam. They differ only in degree in the stated sequence. Compare to the other types of impression, a movement impression is specific, coarse, exclusive and transitory. On the other hand, compare to the other types of impression, awareness or formless impression is general, fine, inclusive and eternal. For example, a thought of an apple has a specific size and color, but it is more general, fine and inclusive than a visual impression of a specific apple because no apples have the exact same shape and color. Further, any specific apple has specific marks 161

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

such as spots on it. A formless apple can freely become any specific apple; therefore, it is most general, fine and inclusive. It is the essence of apples. When a specific apple is not seen, the visual impression of it is gone. The thought impression of an apple can stay longer. The formless apple, however, never disappears; it is eternal. Many coarse impressions can fall within one fine impression, that is, a fine impression is bigger than a coarse impression. For example, the formless impression of spiritual teachings encompasses all the various conceptual spiritual teachings. Because a normal man can perceive the essence of spiritual teachings, he finds no contradiction or conflict between the various conceptual differences. Therefore, he does not cling to a particular scripture and reject all others. He has an unshakable stability and foundation. Coarse Impressions and Their Reactions Coarse impressions are due to fear, and there are four types of reaction to fear. First, the man avoids circumstances that will evoke it, expending the fearful force through the act of avoidance. Second, if he cannot avoid fearful circumstances, then he loses himself into the fearful feeling and thought impressions, expending them in fearful fantasies and false imaginations. Third, he displaces these impressions down into movement and sense impressions, expending them through activity. Fourth, he displaces these impressions further down into the body, expending them in muscular tension. These four types of reaction overlap, fuse and blend with one another. Hence, even if he can avoid fearful circumstances, he is still constantly lost in coarse impressions.
DEBAUCHED KINESTHESIA

If the man tends to displace and expend the force of the conflicting impressions into the body by contracting the muscles, drinking, smoking, overeating and so on, he avoids experiencing these impressions, but the destructive effects on the body are real. Instead of active tension, he will then experience passive tension constantly.

162

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Research has discovered that most people do not know their level of bodily tension. In several experiments, biofeedback instruments were attached to the subjects’ bodies to measure their brainwaves, muscular tension, skin resistance and finger temperature while they listened to music designed to induce relaxation. After the session, they frequently reported that they became very deeply relaxed, but the instruments did not register any decrease in tension. In fact, in many cases, they registered an increase instead. In short, the subjects had mistaken increased bodily tension to be less tension. The subjects noticed and experienced less active tension because more force of the conflicting impressions was displaced into their bodies. In contrast, if the subjects had noticed and experienced increased active tension, their bodies would have less tension because less of the conflicting impressions would have been displaced into them. Consequently, the willingness to notice and experience increased active tension will result in less bodily tension. Frederick M. Alexander attributed the man’s inability to assess correctly his bodily condition as debauched kinesthesia. He found that it is an almost universal problem. At any rate, debauched kinesthesia is simply the reaction of a debauched personality. Coarse Impressions Mask the Fine Coarse impressions mask and shroud the fine. Movement impressions tend to mask the sense impressions. This is why when the man desires to listen or see more clearly, he tends to quiet his movements, to the point of holding his breath. He seldom experiences his feelings as feelings. For instance, sweaty palms, cold hands and feet, muscular tightness, pounding heart, and rapid breathing are definitely not feelings, but movement and sense impressions. He must be able to quiet the movement and sense impressions somewhat before he can directly experience his feelings as feelings. Further, he must be able to quiet his movement, sense and feeling impressions to observe his thoughts as thoughts. Speaking, desire to speak and subvocalization are not thoughts. They are simply reactions of thoughts.

163

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Transformation of Coarse into Fine In fact, observation practice is simply the struggle to transform coarse impressions into fine impressions. Acquiring concentration is not the ultimate aim, there is no benefit whatsoever in the ability to anchor the observation on an object per se. If the man struggles to acquire concentration without understanding, it can easily become another mechanical habit. The aim of anchoring his observation is to prevent the force of the impressions from being displaced and to prevent his observation from being lost into these impressions, thus enabling these impressions to transform into finer impressions. The coarsest will be neutralized first because they are the most weak, superficial and shallow. Therefore, the longer he holds the tension, the greater the tension becomes and the finer the impressions become. Further, he will increasingly observe more impressions simultaneously. In short, he anchors his observation to compel the conflicting impressions to neutralize one another, transforming them into finer impressions.

164

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

36
THREE WELL-KNOWN OBSERVATION TECHNIQUES

Alexander Technique In the Alexander Technique, the man anchors his observation on these thoughts—allow the neck to be free to let the head go forward and up, so that the back may lengthen and widen, all together, one after the other. In Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique, Michael Gelb says it requires “a great deal of practice.” Yes, it is so. To hold these thoughts simultaneously requires the existence of at least a small higher attention. The Alexander Technique is effective not because these thoughts are potent or magical. Any nonsensical thoughts will be just as effective. In anchoring observation on these thoughts, the conflicting impressions are not displaced and observation is not lost into these impressions; hence, they are compelled to neutralize one another. Referring to his technique, Alexander says: Boiled down, it all comes to inhibiting a particular reaction to a given stimulus. But no one will see it that way. They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind. It is that a pupil decides what he will or will not consent to do! And Michael Gelb says the Alexander Technique has helped him in these ways: dealing with fear, developing attention, attention 165

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

to process, going from the known into the unknown, experimental thinking, non-interference, improved kinesthesia and coordination. These are the reasons that make the Alexander Technique effective. Instead of succumbing to habitual reactions, it helps the man to face his fears and the unknown. Instead of attempting to compel his body to adopt any desirable movements or postures, which will only make matters worse, it helps him to leave the body alone. If he is always immersed in reactions, how can he decide what he will or will not consent to do? Indeed, if he allows the neck to be free and so on, he avoids expending excessive force, but he cannot compel the neck to be free, physically or psychologically. His neck will naturally become free when the personality is neutralized. A two-year-old child does not know about the Alexander Technique, but he naturally holds his body and moves without excessive tension. At that age, he still has a big soul and a small personality. If the personality is neutralized, the body will naturally stay still or move impeccably, that is, without any excessive tension. The soul can look after it a thousand times better than the personality. In contrast, the muscles of the abnormal man are tense even when he is asleep. The Alexander Technique is not designed to loosen muscles. Yet, at the age of over eighty, Alexander was able to swing one leg over a chair effortlessly and smoothly. How many twenty-year-olds’ can do that? To apply this technique in daily activities, the man must expand his observation further. For instance, if he is attempting to solve a problem, his higher attention must be big enough to encompass these thoughts plus other thoughts simultaneously. Autogenic Training In Autogenic Training, the man can start by verbally repeating the sentence—my left hand is warm. If he keeps repeating this sentence while indulging in daydreams, he can repeat it for a hundred years without any net benefit. He has only added another mechanical habit. If he visualizes his left hand immersed in hot water, then his left hand will get warmer, primarily due to

166

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

associated reaction. If he can keep his observation on the left hand, he will get better result. Later, he can practice with various phrases and strive to observe more than one part of the body. Finally, he can strive to observe his entire body while anchoring his observation on a single word, such as relax. If he can do this while performing his daily activities, he will already have acquired a soul of significant size and a strong higher attention. Of course, he can push further by striving to observe all the impressions and stimuli, too. The Alexander Technique and the Autogenic Training are similar to anchoring the observation on a mantra, thus offering the man the opportunity to struggle against letting the observation from being pulled away by external stimuli and from being lost into mental dialogue, thereby weakening the control of the external stimuli and mental dialogue over him. Of course, Autogenic Training can be practiced in various ways and may be more suitable to some people. But for it to be effective, the man must refrain from trying or desiring to induce any particular state. For instance, if he uses the word relax, he must attend to it with detachment, without desiring to be more relaxed. Otherwise, he will become more tensed up instead. Using a mantra, especially a neutral word or image, avoids this pitfall. Too much emphasis has been placed on certain mantras, considered as power words. Even if these words are, especially if they are, truly powerful, it is better to avoid them initially. A novice swordsman will only cut himself if he practices with an extremely sharp sword. He is better off practicing with a wooden one initially. Apart from that, using power words tend to create unnecessary expectation and attachment, distracting him from useful practice. EMDR Although EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a complex therapy, the gist of the therapy is for the subject to hold on to a traumatic thought while his eyes follow the movement of the therapist’s fingers as the therapist moves his fingers back and forth for a short time. Using EMDR, subjects

167

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

having traumatic experiences are often able to neutralize their traumatic experiences with astounding rapidity. The therapy is astoundingly effective not because the eye movements release the inhibited, buried and repressed traumatic impressions; they cannot be inhibited, buried or repressed. In general, the subject has a gigantic safety-self, and its force is frequently expended through physical and psychological disturbances, such as recurrent nightmares, flashbacks, teeth grinding, intense headaches, muscular tension, hyper-vigilance on the feared circumstances, and so on. It is effective because the observation on the therapist’s fingers prevents the traumatic thought and its associated reactions from being displaced and prevents the observation from being lost into these reactions. Hence, the subject can directly observe and experience these reactions, thus neutralizing them. Further, the eye movements allow the therapist to know that the subject is anchoring his observation. The other parts of the therapy play the crucial role of preparing, cushioning and supporting the subject. Most important, the therapist must be strong enough to provide the necessary support and not react with fear when the subject is not strong enough to go through the whole experience, that is, when part of the force is displaced and expended in intense bodily reactions. How can the subject face his fear if the therapist cannot? When the frightening reactions have been neutralized, the subject is able to recall the memory of this formerly traumatic experience with equanimity, calmly. Further, in the absence of denial, avoidance, distortion and exaggeration, his recollection will be clear, accurate and complete, enabling him to understand his problem clearly, but then it has already ceased to be a problem. Even so, this understanding will assist him toward handling other problems.
THE TRAUMA AFTER

What usually happens when the gigantic safety-self is gone? The subject then goes back to his usual life of absurdity. He is considered recovered and adjusted—adjusted to the conventional life of silliness and ignorance. Yes, he will probably live longer. 168

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Instead of violent reactions, the conflicting forces will be expended through the rigidity of the body and personality, and through the numerous accepted and approved ways: complaining endlessly, kicking walls, banging doors, watching movies, playing video games and so on. For example, when he is watching movie, very little of his observation is on the movie; the rest of his observation is lost in reactions. One man desires to be tensed up in suspense, another man desires to be scared to death, yet another desires to flood the cinema with tears. If the movie evokes these reactions, then it is a good and interesting movie because it releases the pent-up conflicting forces, thus bringing him relief for a moment. Otherwise, he has wasted his time and money, compelling him to expend the pent-up conflicting forces by condemning and criticizing the movie. On the other hand, if he strives to anchor his observation on the movie, that is, on the images or sounds or both, thus preventing his observation from being lost into the reactions somewhat, it will certainly benefit him tremendously. Further, he will see and hear far more clearly than usual. Hence, to attain genuine recovery, he must use this acquired skill and strength in his everyday activity. He must be willing to face even more frightening impressions. There are countless ways to trap and anchor his observation.
ETERNAL DAMNATION

Traumatic experiences tend to propel the man toward the way. In The Doctor and the Soul, Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, writes that when a prisoner is released, he “enjoys the precious feeling that after all he has experienced and suffered, there is nothing left in the world that he need fear—except, perhaps, his God. For a good many men learned in concentration camp, and as a result of concentration camp, to believe in God again.” Freed from all petty fears, these men stumbled upon a monstrous fear—eternal damnation. Of course, a gargantuan desire—eternal bliss—can compel him to let go of all his petty desires. Either way, he treads the way when he strives to neutralize all his fears and desires, including monstrous and gargantuan ones. 169

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

By the way, Viktor Frankl founded Logotherapy, consisting of two techniques: paradoxical intention and de-reflection. Paradoxical intention is used to face and neutralize fear. De-reflection is used to avoid succumbing to habitual reactions, deflecting them.

170

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

37
OBSERVATION IN DAILY ACTIVITY

If the man is reading a book, say, on physics, to comprehend the material as he reads, he must be able to hold everything read earlier in his observation. As he reads, his observation synthesizes the material into a big coherent thought impression; a big thought is the synthesis of many smaller thoughts. As he reads further, more data is incorporated into the earlier material. If a piece of datum drops out of his observation, then he may not be able to comprehend what he is reading anymore. He can try to recall the missing datum from memory, bringing it back to his observation, failing which he must trace back for it. If he has a physics-self, it will be activated. The material is then incorporated into it. If what is read contradicts the impressions in the physics-self, then conflict and tension appear. If he avoids the conflict by denying, ignoring or distorting the new material and by clinging to and exaggerating the old material, then he has created permanent conflict and tension within himself. In contrast, if he faces the conflict squarely, his examination may lead to a deeper understanding, eliminating the seeming contradiction. On the other hand, he may have to modify the physics-self to incorporate the new material. If there is no sufficient evidence to validate the new material, he can search for more evidence, conduct an experiment or simply leave the issue open. These options involve labor, uncertainty, frustration, confusion, tension and pain.

171

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The physicist Werner Heisenberg, discoverer of the uncertainty principle, writes: . . . when new groups of phenomena compel changes in the pattern of thought . . . even the most eminent of physicists find immense difficulties. For the demand for change in the thought pattern may engender the feeling that the ground is to be pulled from under one’s feet. . . . I believe that the difficulties at this point can hardly be overestimated. Once one has experienced the desperation with which clever and conciliatory men of science react to the demand for a change in the thought pattern, one can only be amazed that such revolutions in science have actually been possible at all. This only involves primarily the physics-self though a physicist has a gigantic physics-self. The way demands a complete change in the personality. It must be rendered completely fluid, flexible and adaptable to respond impeccably to changing circumstances. If the man is able to face everything in life squarely, he can dispense with observation practice because he is already strong. If he ceaselessly strives to be impeccable at whatever he is doing, he will get stronger. But he can only be impeccable if he strives to let go of expectation, both desirable and fearful. To live a spiritual life is simply to live fully, observing and experiencing everything, shutting out nothing.

172

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

38
MIND AND RELAXATION MACHINES

To conclude the subject on observation practice, here is a brief discussion on the proliferation of mind and relaxation machines. Initially, if the man wishes, he may experiment with these machines. They may help to trap and anchor his observation. They may evoke unfamiliar impressions, which may help him to prepare himself better. But eventually, he must drop them. The man treading the way strives to be self-dependent and self–reliant, without relying on any external aids. He strives to acquire self-control, without allowing anything to control him. At any rate, toward the end of his book, Mega Brain Power, and after extolling the efficacy of these machines to the heavens, Michael Hutchison writes, “The most profound breakthroughs seem to emerge from a willingness to let the brain technology take you into ‘uncomfortable areas’ and release the traumatic material that is stored or coded there.” But the man can easily put himself into “uncomfortable areas” at anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances, and as uncomfortable as he can bear—without any artificial aids. In so doing, he can release the permanent conflict and tension that cause these areas to be uncomfortable. Please note that what is said about these machines applies only to the man who is treading the way. To the man unable to endure the conflicting impressions, these machines can be useful; they may preserve his sanity. Likewise, for him, medical drugs can be useful; they may prolong his life.

173

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The man treading the way must strive to avoid taking medical drugs for minor bodily problems. That is to say, if he has a minor abdominal or head pain, he must go through with it and allow the body to heal by itself, for it is healing pain. If it is quite severe, he can work less and fast for a few days. As he progresses, apart from psychological upheaval, various physical pains will appear, severe abdominal or head pain is common. Hence, he must strive to endure pain without fighting against it, without resorting to machines or drugs.

174

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

39
RAJA YOGA

If the man has sincerely experimented with Technique One, he will find that he was like a novice warrior, weak and unskilled, who fought an army of seasoned fighters. Naturally, he failed miserably. Raja Yoga is systematically designed to provide him with the necessary formal training to strengthen the warrior-self, but he must continue to practice Technique One. In addition to the previously stated benefits, Technique One will keep him humble and spur him to greater effort. There is no need to select any habit to practice Technique Two per se. When he practices Raja Yoga, he will encounter many opposing habits. Though many books are available on Raja Yoga, Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda is recommended. It is well organized and written in a clear, simple and down-to-earth manner. Raja Yoga consists of eight steps; the first six steps deal with the creation of a warrior-self and its training. A baby soul appears at the beginning of step seven; Insight meditation is then used to guide the soul into maturity. Step eight is enlightenment. The steps are systematically arranged. The later step builds on the earlier step, which is then integrated into it. At step seven, the man learns to practice the first six steps all together. As he advances, he learns to apply the first seven steps all together to daily activities. Stage one of the way corresponds to the first six steps. In this stage, the man must single-mindedly strive to strengthen the warrior-self, without allowing any self to prevent him. There is no 175

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

direct attempt to neutralize any self in particular. Because a self is strengthened by attention, therefore if attention is increasingly anchored on the warrior-self, the other selves will be indirectly weakened, particularly those that stand in the way. Technique Two is applied to the selves that seriously prevent him from continuing his struggle. At stage two of the way, he then strives to neutralize the selves directly, for only awareness can neutralize the impressions. Initial Struggle Though the first six steps do not reduce the overall tension of the body and personality, they loosen their rigidity and spread out the tension more evenly. They convert passive tension into active tension; hence, instead of passive tension, the man will experience various active tensions, which will fluctuate throughout his practice. When his practice is sufficiently long and intense enough, then he will experience the fluctuations throughout the day. These fluctuations are simply reactions and counter-reactions of the body and personality as they move away from their former rigid equilibrium. He must not attempt to meddle with these reactions; he must simply experience, observe and go through with them as calmly as possible. If he clings to pleasant reactions and avoids unpleasant ones, the body and personality will simply settle into a different rigid equilibrium. Unless these reactions are severe, he must continue the practice. Even if he is very tensed up, he can still practice as usual but less intensely. Nonetheless, initially it is better to practice gently. As he learns more about himself, then he can slowly intensify his effort. In order to loosen the body and personality, he must keep on increasing the length and intensity of his struggle. He can only slow down when the body is showing signs of breaking down due to the strain and stress, requiring keen discrimination and sincerity. In the beginning, it is very difficult to distinguish between too much actual strain and the desire to slow down because the aversion to the struggle evokes numerous delusional excuses to justify slowing down. Therefore, in the beginning he usually has to take the risk of actually pushing too far, to the point of injuring himself. 176

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

After a lifetime of sparing himself, of avoiding the slightest difficulty and of exaggerating the difficulties, in most instances, he has not actually pushed himself to the limit even though he experiences plenty of frightening impressions. He is actually much stronger than he assumes; he has merely deceived himself, and allowed himself to be deceived, into weakness. Therefore, he must constantly strive to go beyond his self-imposed limits. Transcendence He must learn not to equate progress with external results, but to equate it with the length and intensity of his struggle. This is true all the way. For example, if he usually runs ten miles on a windless day, but only runs five miles against a strong wind even when he struggles more than usual, he is progressing faster than when there is no wind. If, however, he runs twenty miles when a strong wind is behind him, but struggles less than usual, he is regressing. External results depend on inner conditions and external circumstances. Therefore, he must strive to transcend external results thereby freeing himself from slavery to inner conditions and external circumstances. What is written, like many other facts, is obvious, but it is extremely difficult to remember and apply when in the midst of difficulties. Therefore, it is useful to ponder over it and observe for himself continually. Of course, he must examine the results to guide him in the right direction. In general, if he is moving in the right direction, he will be facing more fluctuations, more various active tensions and less passive tension. Warrior-Circumstances Initially when the warrior-self is weak, the man must rigidly strive to stick to simple, routine practice. As he progresses, the practice becomes more complicated and subtle, requiring frequent changes and experimentation. The warrior-self must be strong but not rigidly strong; it must be fluid, flexible, adaptable and skillful. Like any self, the warrior-self depends on external circumstances; thus, the existence of warrior-circumstances to create, nurture and strengthen the warrior-self is most helpful. Therefore, it 177

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

is important to allocate a room or a corner solely to practice steps two to six at the same time regularly, preferably early in the morning to prevent interruption. This room must not be used for other activities. If this practice is carried out diligently and long enough, then every time the man enters the room, the warrior-self will be activated. In the room, the warrior-self is fighting with the other selves with a home ground advantage. Initially the man must strive to prolong his stay in the warriorcircumstances to nurture and strengthen the warrior-self. But once the warrior-self is strong enough to hold its own within the warriorcircumstances, it must begin to fight the other selves outside the room, that is, under circumstances conducive to the other selves. There will be a strong temptation to keep on prolonging his stay in the warrior-circumstances because the man now experiences comfort, familiarity and security. On the other hand, if the warriorself fights on enemy ground, he will experience even more intense conflict and tension. Nonetheless, if he succumbs to the temptation, then the warrior-self becomes an ordinary perverted self. It is as if the ship captain has decided to anchor his ship permanently in the middle of the ocean by dropping a gigantic anchor. In so doing, he experiences comfort, familiarity and security for the moment; he has avoided the necessary risk and strenuous struggle needed to steer the ship through the unknown. Of course, he needs to shut his eyes to the absurdity and danger of his decision. If he is unable to do so, to appease the inner conflict, he can tell himself that he will weigh anchor tomorrow—without end. What’s more, if the anchor has stayed at the bottom long enough, he may find it impossible to weigh it up when he realizes the absurdity of his decision.

178

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

40
STEP ONE YAMA (Abstinence from Unwholesome Acts)

The first step has five aspects: non-violence, non-stealing, nongreed, truthfulness and continence. It deals solely with physical restraint. In this physical struggle, the personality is indirectly shaken and loosened. These aspects help to weaken the personality in a general way; the loose force can then be used to create the warrior-self. If the man is already utterly disgusted with his life, it will not be difficult to practice this step to a significant extent.

179

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

41
STEP TWO NIYAMA (Cultivation of Wholesome Acts)

The second step also has five aspects: purification, austerity, contentment, devotional practice and spiritual study. These aspects help to weaken the personality and strengthen the warrior-self through various specific ways. They prepare the man for war, physically and psychologically. Purification and austerity have nothing to do with sitting on an anthill, whipping or torturing the body in any way. These practices are idiotic and absurd. Purification and austerity are simply the abstinence of indulgences that weaken the body and the cultivation of activities that keep it healthy and resilient. Devotional practice and spiritual study are psychological preparation. Because sex and fasting are prominent and controversial issues in spiritual practice, they are discussed here. Sex In general, sex is far too much emphasized, causing much unnecessary conflict and tension. This excessive attention on sex inevitably leads to a much bigger sex-self, causing it to be filled with perverse sex-impressions. Though the man may have a big sex-self, it is still only a fraction of the personality. If he assumes the way consists in removing or adding a few selves, he is definitely deluded. At any rate, the interconnectedness of the selves makes it impossible to struggle solely against any particular self. In addition, instead of 180

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

robbing from only one self, it is easier to acquire the same amount of force by robbing many selves, by robbing a bit from each self. Instead of one strong reaction, this maneuver only results in many weak reactions; hence, the reactions are also easier to handle. Anyway, the sexual act per se expends only a little force comparatively. Much force is expended in the continual arousal and stimulation throughout the day, and much force is expended in various means of obtaining gratification, deceitful or otherwise. Who can tell how much force is expended in the chase, suspense and resultant trouble? Of course, the huge expenditure of force in these activities gives much more pleasure than the sexual act per se. Jesus did not say, “Thou shall not have sex.” He adjures the man not to commit adultery, not just physically but also mentally, because the moment he does so, he is in conflict. More important, if there is no mental adultery, there will be no physical adultery. If there is no mental sex, there will be no excessive physical sex. Nonetheless, it is far more difficult not to succumb to mental adultery or sex. Because the body produces semen continuously, there is no advantage in keeping it all inside. Doing so may even result in congestion. As long as the body is not compelled to produce more semen than it can naturally produce with ease, then there is no harm. Celibacy is only beneficial when the man is advanced spiritually and is able to transmute semen into energy. In general, it is more difficult to maintain the proper balance than either excessive indulgence or complete abstinence, not only regarding sex but also everything else. To acquire proper balance, he must strive to consider the whole instead of focusing obsessively on a few areas. Fasting Fasting was and still is the most effective means to purify the body; thus, it helps to weaken many harmful habits. Sound common sense is enough to enable the man to fast for a day or two safely, but if he wishes to fast for many days, it is advisable to do so in a fasting clinic. If, however, he wishes to fast on his own, he must have enough information to guide him safely. Based on fifty-five 181

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

years of investigation, observation and practice, The Science and Fine Art of Fasting by Herbert Shelton is the most comprehensive book available on fasting and therefore an excellent guide. Moreover, Shelton himself had supervised the fasts of over a hundred thousand clients. When the man treads the way, he will almost definitely encounter intestinal and digestive problems. The average colon is spastic and bloated, congested by many pounds of toxic waste, which eventually turned sticky and blackish and therefore sticking fast to the colon. To a lesser extent, this is also true if the man is trim and physically active. In this case, it is due to the rigid intestinal and digestive muscles, weakening their peristaltic activities. It is common to excrete mucus streaked with blood and sticky, blackish excrement. When these problems arise, it is important to fast in order not to aggravate them and to allow the healing purification to go on smoothly. In fact, fasting itself helps to remove these problems because it gives the body, especially the digestive organs, the necessary rest to recuperate. Consequently, the ability to fast for a few days with ease is crucial. It is possible to use fasting as a shortcut to weaken the personality and to experience the appearance of the soul. If the fast is sufficiently long enough, from a few to several weeks, the body processes slow down to the minimum necessary, and the personality is considerably weakened. The soul appears. The man is strangely alert and tranquil, yet he is also drowsy and weak—indeed a strange state. This experience can serve as a useful reference point. Further, he will learn much about his body and personality in a relatively short time. To undertake this longer fast safely, he must prepare and train himself with numerous shorter fasts first. The ability to fast with ease for a few days is crucial, but it is not necessary to undertake this longer fast. A weak body is useless to the soul. The soul cannot use the body to carry out its mission, but the moment the man starts to eat, the personality gets stronger again. Similarly, if he rides an unruly horse, he is carried hither and thither against his will, but if he tames it by letting it go hungry for a few weeks, he is not better off because then the horse cannot carry him anywhere. The aim is to have complete control over a strong 182

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

and skillful horse; likewise, the aim is for the soul to have complete control over a healthy and resilient body. Once the body is healthy and resilient, fasting is no longer beneficial. Does fasting put on additional weight? If the man does not eat more than his daily requirements, how can that happen? He will only put on additional weight if he succumbs to the reaction of fasting. His fasting evokes impressions of deprivation and emptiness regarding food. So when he starts eating, these impressions from the food-self compel him to eat more than usual. In fact, after a long fast, it is better to eat little initially and increase the food intake gradually. Later, of course, he must eat more than usual to compensate for what he had lost during fasting, but he must strive to avoid the compelling reaction to overcompensate. This compelling reaction to overcompensate applies to other activities, compelling the man to keep on accumulating even though he may already have everything to sustain him for a thousand years. Overcompensating to play safe is antithesis to the way. The way demands dangerous living, the willingness to risk everything. Devotional Practice The predominantly emotional man focuses primarily on devotional practice. In so doing, strong feeling impressions are displaced into the warrior-self as devotional feelings toward symbols of divinity; thus, the other selves are weakened and the warrior-self is strengthened. The devotional feelings and symbols are the warrior-impressions. They help to trap his attention on the warrior-self, thus preventing the other selves from dragging it hither and dither. When the warrior-self is strong enough, then it can actively strive to neutralize the other selves, but without displacing their forces to itself any longer, thus allowing them to be transformed into energy.
TWO COMMANDMENTS

Jesus says that the whole Law and the Prophets are included in these two commandments: first, “you shall love the Lord your God

183

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”; second, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But it is impossible to love the formless, anchor to it or relate to it in any way. If, however, the first commandment is correctly practiced, then a strong and skillful warrior-self is created. If the second commandment is then correctly practiced, the personality is neutralized. The second is simply the struggle to treat all impressions with equanimity. The first provides an anchor and a point of reference to practice the second. If the man practices only the first, without the second, he has merely changed one self for another. If he strives persistently, the warrior-self becomes a gigantic god-self. Therefore, great care is needed to nurture and train the warrior-self. Mother Teresa epitomized this approach. First, she spent years in devotional practice; then she took care of the sick, aged and dying, a most powerful and difficult technique to neutralize the personality. In so doing, her devotional practice was reduced, thus her warrior-self was correspondingly weakened. Because she worked without any expectation, the forces within her personality could not be displaced anywhere, so they were transformed into energy. Spiritual Study The predominantly mental man focuses primarily on investigation, experimentation, verification and practice. This approach is becoming prominent. Below are five signs indicating its increasing prominence.
FIRST SIGN

In the past, there was very little information. Now an abundance of information is easily available. Nevertheless, to avoid being trapped and prejudiced by words, concepts and symbols, it is essential to investigate diverse scriptures and spiritual teachings in order to extract their essence. Though separated by thousands of years and by thousands of miles apart, the essence of the various scriptures and teachings is the same, and the masters describe similar experiences. 184

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The reader may wish to begin his investigation with the classic, Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill. Though first published in 1911, it is probably more relevant today than then, ahead of its time, an indepth and comprehensive study of mysticism. Both ebook and audio are available on the Web for free download. To investigate further, the reader may look into the work of Ken Wilber. Hailed as “the Einstein of consciousness,” he offers a comprehensive integration of mankind’s greatest psychological, philosophical, and spiritual study of the mystical way, integrating the diverse strands into an astounding whole, the Integral Approach—AQAL (all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types).
SECOND SIGN

In the past, the masters stayed hidden. Now many masters have come into the open; their character and behavior are available for observation much of the time. To the abnormal man, they are utter fools, for they behave in a diametrically opposite manner. The abnormal man desires to attain satisfaction instantly and effortlessly. But each master does the work of twenty men daily, year after year, decade after decade, and what do they get—insults, ridicule, abuses, persecutions and executions. The older they get, the harder they work. Through it all, the peace, joy, compassion and wisdom they emanate are palpable and increasingly so. If they are not continuously sustained by a supremely stronger power, how can they hold up?
THIRD SIGN

In the past, when disciples encountered various experiences, they were told that these experiences were illusions and advised to go through with them to avoid getting stuck. Now many men treading the way are willing to reveal the various stages of their experiences in detail, and many are willing to subject themselves to stringent and rigorous scientific investigations. Further, numerous researches into the paranormal, mystical, occult and transpersonal have been carried out over the past few decades. Even Ph.D. 185

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

programs in Transpersonal Psychology, psychology of the soul and spirit, are now available.
FOURTH SIGN

In the past, lacking in critical and discriminating mental power, the necessity of submitting oneself with unquestioning obedience and devotion to a master is generally required and demanded. Now, with increased mental power, most people will find this demand abhorrence, particularly when there are so many sham masters waiting to swindle them. Due to the tremendous and accelerative increase in mental power over the past few decades, now many people are able to tread the way somewhat independently at least. Doubtless, this increase in mental power has contributed to the tremendous increase in the calamities that are happening in the world, compelling more people to probe deeper: What is life’s purpose? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?
FIFTH SIGN

In the past, a master usually spent decades training a few disciples within a commune. Now there are simply not enough masters to meet the demand in the traditional way.
SCRIPTURAL ESSENCE

The essence of scriptural and spiritual teachings is the inherent, undifferentiated oneness of everything though highly differentiated outwardly. The various precepts, ethics and morals are based on this truth. The need to practice equanimity, discrimination, compassion and loving-kindness is also based on this truth. If the man is one with everything, then there is only one attitude to have—equal compassion and loving-kindness toward everything. Because everything is highly differentiated outwardly, sound discrimination is needed to adopt this attitude. A simple example, equal loving-kindness to John and Jane does not imply giving an apple to each of them. If John prefers apple and Jane prefers orange, then sound discrimination dictates that John receives an apple and Jane receives an orange. 186

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY LIMITATION OF KNOWLEDGE

Though knowledge of these teachings is vital, if it is strictly theoretical, that is, if the man did not test and verify them through practical experiments, how can he know that he has truly understood them? If he applies his knowledge of equanimity and discrimination to what he eats and drinks, for example, he will understand this knowledge better than a decade of theoretical analysis. At any rate, what is the use of knowledge if it is not applied, if no benefit is gained? Worse, his knowledge often evokes smugness and complacency. Knowledge is static whereas the world is always changing. If a square table can appear to take on an infinite number of different shapes, depending on the relative position of the man, the truth of equanimity, discrimination, compassion and loving-kindness is far more fluid. His understanding of them must keep on getting broader, deeper and subtler. Further, the normal man understands them in a way that is opposite to the abnormal man. These qualities as understood and practiced by the normal man threaten the personality to the core. For instance, compassion and loving-kindness to the body imply the abstinence of indulgences that weaken it, the absence of activities that harm it, and cultivation of activities that keep it healthy and resilient.

187

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

42
STEP THREE ASANA (Physical Posture)

Here the man strives to anchor his observation on the movement and touch sensations. Initially he can begin with dynamic poses, such as the sun salutation. Later he can add static poses into his practice and anchor his observation on touch sensations. When he anchors his observation, he keeps the warrior-self active. Limited Observation At this point, the man cannot intentionally observe more than one object or stimulus simultaneously. Initially if he can continuously observe the stimulus from one small area for several seconds, he has performed well. If he is practicing correctly, he will experience much active conflict and tension because numerous reactions or impressions are striving to attract his observation, but he cannot observe their types or contents. It is as if he clings tightly to a tree, to the point of squeezing his eyes shut, because many people are striving to drag him away. Therefore, he experiences much active conflict and tension, but does not know who are dragging him. Excessive Effort When the man strives to anchor his observation, he may deliberately knit his eyebrows and clench his jaws, assuming that these actions will help him to concentrate, but they definitely will 188

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

not. Nevertheless, if his eyebrows are knitted and his jaws are clenched due to habitual reactions, then he must allow them to happen. The aim is to anchor his observation at all costs in order to have a reference point to guide him. As for the tension due to habitual reactions, he can deal with it later. Of course, if he can anchor his observation with less excessive force, he will be able to concentrate longer. Sensory Observation When the man practices, his body will react to these unaccustomed movements. Some muscles will stretch and some others will contract, resulting in tension and pain. Although he is free to choose any part of the body to anchor his observation, it is better to anchor it on the most painful part. The pain helps to trap the observation. It also allows him to monitor the painful area to avoid injuring it, thereby increasing his sensory observational ability and sensitizing his sense of touch. If he anchors his observation elsewhere, he is compelled to ignore the painful area. It is possible for the pain to keep increasing bit by bit and to keep ignoring it until it becomes severe, but still unobserved, then severe injury may result. This phenomenon is common. For example, is it possible for a man to have a tumor as big as a grapefruit in any part of his body without a long period of numerous palpable adverse effects? It is certainly impossible, yet in many cases, the tumor remains undiscovered for a long time if it is discovered at all. For instance, the late anthropologist and generalist Gregory Bateson had a grapefruit-sized malignant tumor in his lungs, but it was only discovered during an exploratory operation. What about the innumerable less severe cases? Indeed, it is difficult to exaggerate man’s ignorance and blindness toward his inner conditions and external circumstances. Kinesthetic Observation The man will experience tension when the muscles contract or stretch, but it is difficult to distinguish whether they are contracted or stretched. When he bends his body forward, his reason tells him 189

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

that he is contracting the front muscles and stretching the back. But when he practices the Corpse pose, that is, lying still on the floor, and attempts to observe the reactions, he will find it difficult to distinguish between the two. Therefore, when he practices the Corpse pose, while anchoring his observation on the most intense reaction, he must attempt to distinguish the reactions of the muscles. Besides making the practice more interesting, it helps to trap his observation. Further, he learns to be more observant kinesthetically, thereby sensitizing his kinesthetic organs. As he progresses, he will observe increased varieties of movement and touch sensations. Asana in Activity If the man always crosses his right leg over the left, he has unbalanced the body. Therefore, he can strive to balance it by crossing his left leg over the right. If he does, he will be tensed up, uncomfortable and awkward, another great opportunity to experience the adverse reactions. In general, the most efficient way, which uses the least amount of force, is to sit with both feet on the ground. Nonetheless, it is useful to cross his leg periodically, with the right over the left, and vice versa. It keeps the muscles flexible. If he always plays badminton with his right hand, then he can learn to play with the left. If he wishes to burn calories, he will find that playing with the left hand will burn more calories. He will be tired faster, and his heart will beat faster. If his peers jeer and ridicule him for playing badly, it is even better. If he can persistently strive to play with the left hand, it will balance and loosen his body and personality significantly, spreading the bodily tension more evenly. Further, his observation will be stronger, and he will learn much about his movement and touch sensations. Unbalanced All Round At present, numerous kinds of backpacks are available, ranging from small, cute backpacks carried by teenage girls to huge, sturdy backpacks carried by soldiers and hikers, but none for the poor businessman. The man who designs a backpack to match a business suit will definitely make millions of dollars. Further, he will be helping to prevent accidents because two free hands can react better 190

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

and faster to danger. He will also be helping to remove lopsided and hunched shoulders. To the designers—instead of endlessly pandering to vanity, what about taking up this worthy challenge for a change? Ah, the poor man, he is unbalanced from right to left, front to back. In the meantime, he can improvise by carrying his suitcase with the other hand. Reaction upon Reaction If the man can perform the yogic poses and these activities without reacting to them, he is beginning to balance himself. For example, if he carries his suitcase with the left hand instead of the usual right hand, he will usually react to this unaccustomed action by pushing up his left shoulder because his left shoulder has already accustomed itself to be higher than his right shoulder. If he is willing to experience the active conflict and tension of letting the suitcase pull down the left shoulder, then he will eventually become more balanced. It will take a while to distinguish between the unaccustomed action on the body and the tendency to react to it. In general, unaccustomed action causes tension, discomfort and awkwardness, so he reacts to this action in order to remove them. If he succumbs to this tendency to remove them, he is unbalancing himself further. On the other hand, if he is willing to experience this tension, discomfort and awkwardness, the body and personality will become loose and balanced, and he will experience pleasurable impressions, but he must not cling to them, otherwise he will become unbalanced again, in a reverse way. Because an action is simply the reaction of a preceding action, talking in terms of action and reaction quickly leads to confusion. Putting it simply, the man must act in such a way that will cause tension, discomfort and awkwardness, but he must not act in any way that will remove them. Still, he must learn to act wisely; otherwise, he may become more unbalanced. For example, if he carries a heavier suitcase with his usual right hand, he will suffer, but this suffering will only unbalance him further. The need to be constantly vigilant and discriminating cannot be overemphasized.

191

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

One moment an action is beneficial, the next moment it can be harmful Due to this changeability and the fluidity of the entities and attributes pegged down by static terms and concepts, some of what is written will appear contradictory. For instance, it is written earlier that at stage one of the way the man cannot perceive the reactions, how can he discriminate when he cannot perceive? Therefore, he must only strive to analyze his experience after observation practice. Just as Alexander the Great cut through the Gordian knot without attempting to unravel it, during practice he must only strive to observe the impressions without attempting to analyze them. In a way, he must strive to create an upward spiral between analysis and observation practice, using analysis to enhance practice and practice to enhance analysis. As mentioned earlier, success can only come from the strength and skill acquired through innumerable experiments, trials, mistakes and failures. At stage two of the way, a significant amount of this difficulty will disappear. At that stage, he must strive to increase his power of discrimination. Yet it is not absolutely true that at stage one of the way he cannot discriminate and perceive. Everything must be taken relatively, in terms of degree.

192

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

43
STEP FOUR PRANAYAMA (Regulation of the Breath)

When the man has mastered step three to a certain extent, then initially he can reduce it by a few minutes and replace it with step four. Step four is an extension of step three. Here he strives to anchor his observation on finer movement and touch sensations. In general, when he is at ease, his breathing tends to be slow, even and deep. But when he is tense, it tends to be rapid, erratic and shallow. When the muscles of the lungs are erratically contracted, the lungs take in less air per breath; therefore, the breathing rate must increase to compensate. Because breathing is finer than physical poses, it reflects the inner conditions more closely, helping him to observe them better. It also helps to weaken the habitual reactions. There are many breathing techniques, from slow and shallow to rapid and deep. Initially, irrespective of which technique he uses, he must learn to breathe slowly, gently and evenly even when the technique requires rapid breathing. In this case, he gradually increases the breathing rate. When he breathes in an unaccustomed way, his lungs, heart and other vital organs, in fact his entire body, are affected. These organs may not be strong enough to handle drastic changes. Because the reactions are finer and subtler, he may not be able to observe them. Like asana, pranayama, particularly nadi shodhan (alternate breathing), helps to balance the body and personality.

193

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

44
STEP FIVE PRATYAHARA (Controlling the Senses)

Here the man strives to anchor his observation on the sense stimuli. He can anchor his observation by listening to music, that is, he strives to hear the music continuously. If he hums and sings along physically or mentally, then he is already lost in it, he is not hearing it any longer. Therefore, initially it is easier to listen to neutral sounds, such as the ticking of a clock. Later he can practice with sounds he likes and strive to neutralize his attraction to them. He can also practice with sounds he dislikes and strive to neutralize his aversion to them. He can practice with other sense stimuli in similar manners. For instance, he can touch his own excrement, play with it, look at it and smell it with continuous observation. At stage one of the way, the vast majority of what he observes is impressions; he can only observe a tiny number of stimuli intermittently and briefly. Further, much of the time, he is unable to distinguish between the impressions and the stimuli. In this step, he strives to purify his distorted sense organs, making them sensitive, keen and accurate.

194

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

45
STEP SIX DHARANA (Concentration)

Here the level of difficulty increases considerably. In striving to anchor his observation on a specific thought—a word, a sentence, an image, or moving images—the man is directly struggling against the feeling impressions. Because it is easier, initially and for a long time, it is better to concentrate on the candlelight or any chosen object. In the earlier steps, he is indirectly struggling against the feeling impressions. Nevertheless, if he has practiced the earlier steps adequately, the feeling impressions would have weakened somewhat. He must expect immense active conflict and tension because the personality is going chaotic. He has penetrated to the core of the selves, their last and strongest defense—do or die. Actually, when the going gets real tough, the selves always, without exception, run away. Then they regroup and fight back again and again—guerilla warfare.

195

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

46
STEP SEVEN DHYANA (Meditation)

In step seven, Insight (Vipassana) meditation will guide the man. There are several maps of Insight meditation on the Web for free download. The Progress of Insight by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw is probably the most comprehensive. It is also useful to read up “The Development of Insight” by Patrick Kearney, a brief and modern version. In addition, the Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross, also available on the Web for free download, can be used to complement these two. Mahasi Sayadaw focuses on movement, sense and thought impressions whereas St. John focuses on feeling impressions.

196

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

47
INSIGHT ONE

Insight one is the transition point between stage one and stage two of the way, so please look at the previous writing about these stages. In the earlier steps, the appearance of awareness is shallow, very brief and infrequent. Here it is already deep enough to perceive glimpses of the thought impressions, but the man still cannot perceive the beginning and ending of any thought impression, he can only perceive the middle of it. At any rate, the appearance of awareness is significant and frequent enough for him to realize the existence of an entity that is different from the personality and that can perceive it. Nonetheless, his perception is still vague and nebulous. Sudden Breakthrough It is here that the man may experience a sudden, significant breakthrough. How sudden, how significant, he will experience this breakthrough depends on the way he struggles. If he strives to increase the active conflict and tension rapidly—like taking a steep path up a hill—then he will experience a sudden, significant breakthrough. When Zen disciples enter a secluded training period known as sesshin in Japanese, they are attempting to climb up the hill by the steepest path. They are required to sit straight and work on a koan for long hours throughout the day and night for many days. If they doze off or even slump over, they are beaten. They are even

197

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

encouraged to forego sleep. Therefore, if they experience any breakthrough, it will be sudden and significant. Gradual Breakthrough If, however, the man builds up the active conflict and tension slowly—like climbing up a hill by walking along the road meant for motor vehicles—then the breakthrough will be less sudden and significant. In this case, he simply passes through insight one into insight two quite steadily. There is no extra benefit in the sudden and significant breakthrough. True, he experiences a deeper state faster, but it will go away later. If this state spurs him on, then it is useful. On the other hand, he may cling to it, indulge in unnecessary rest, or become impatient. Then he regresses. Moreover, it is more difficult to tread the way by alternating between intense struggle and indulgence. After all, the way itself fluctuates; intensifying the fluctuations will only make it more difficult. At any rate, the tortoise beats the hare.

198

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

48
INSIGHT TWO

Here stage two of the way begins. The struggle becomes subtler. The man has managed to neutralize the movement and sense impressions considerably. The feeling impressions become predominant, but they have also weakened quite considerably, otherwise he will not be able to perceive them because he will be lost in them. He begins to perceive the beginning of a thought impression, but still cannot perceive its ending. He perceives the first part of it, and then his perception jumps to the first part of another thought impression. In perceiving thoughts, he identifies with the perceiver; therefore, he knows he is the perceiver, not the personality. Thus, insight two is also the beginning of the insight—purification by overcoming doubt. Decreasing Warrior-Self, Increasing Perceiver When the warrior-self is stronger than the other active self of the moment, then the perceiver can appear. But it can only appear if the warrior-self is willing to decrease. For example, assuming the warrior-self has fourteen units of force and the other active self has ten units, if all the fourteen units are anchored on a point, then there is no perceiver although the man can observe the point continuously with little struggle. If, however, he anchors only twelve units on the point, the other two units become awareness and therefore can perceive other impressions. As the perceiver becomes bigger, it can perceive more 199

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

impressions, their types and contents more clearly, enabling him to handle them more effectively. More important, the more the number of impressions is perceived; the more the impressions are neutralized. The deeper they are perceived, the faster they are neutralized. Thus, in insight two, if he practices correctly, his progress will increase rapidly. Therefore, besides striving to anchor his observation longer, he must also strive to expand his perception. Of course, if he can anchor ten units on the point, that is, if he can match the force of the other active self moment to moment, it will be the most effective. In maintaining the active conflict and tension at their highest, he is neutralizing the most number of conflicting impressions—with four units of energy instead. But that will take many years to master somewhat. Thus, the razor's edge gets sharper.

200

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

49
CONCENTRATION VERSUS MEDITATION

Here is an appropriate place to discuss the difference between concentration and meditation. For an Insight meditator, practicing concentration is merely to provide an anchor and a reference point to practice Insight meditation. For him, concentration is like digging a hole for a few feet into the ground. Then Insight meditation digs deeper and widens the diameter of the hole simultaneously. That is to say, the man strives to anchor his observation longer and to expand his perception simultaneously. Further, whatever capability he has attained during formal practice is integrated into his daily activities. In so doing, he experiences deep concentration states slower, but he has a more stable foundation. Of course, he can dig for many feet before widening the hole. Pure Concentration The man, however, may continuously dig deeper without attempting to widen the hole at all. In this case, he does not practice meditation; he practices pure concentration. That is to say, he keeps on increasing the length and intensity of anchoring his observation on a point, or on a particular object, all the time. Thus, he acquires a gigantic point-self, which eventually absorbs all the force of the personality. He contracts himself into a point. He manages to protect himself from inner conditions and external circumstances by burying himself in an underground hole, a hundred yards deep. Not even an atomic bomb can harm him now. 201

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

In a way, he becomes a black hole, sucking in all the attention to spew it out into another dimension—a more powerful dimension. In so doing, he may exhibit supernatural power. But is he controlling this power? Or is this power controlling him? If everybody and everything controls him in this physical dimension, can he control anything in that more powerful dimension? He has simply put himself in a far worse state. How long can he maintain that state before he devitalizes his body and goes into delirium? Three Advantages of Insight Meditation
FIRST, the man does not need to withdraw himself from his everyday activities completely. It is enough if he can allocate a few hours for formal practice because Insight meditation can be practiced under all circumstances throughout the day. Initially he may need many hours of formal practice to stabilize himself. As he progresses, he will progress even faster if he reduces his formal practice and increases his practice under adverse circumstances. The only time he may have to isolate himself is at the later part of step six, that is, concentration, in order to protect his family from his chaotic state and to prevent his family from dissuading him. Even then, it is only necessary if he decides to go all out. SECOND, he can easily discern whether he is progressing or not. If he is, he will be more at ease with everybody and everything; he will be less easily irritated or offended. It is possible to have the ability to concentrate for many hours a day and still be easily irritated and offended the moment he stops concentrating, because concentration only displaces the force, it does not transform the force into energy. Instead of experiencing deep concentration states earlier, he actually gains something more enduring and beneficial. At any rate, the aim is to remove conflict and tension. Unless judiciously handled, deep concentration states and psychic power tend to become hindrances. THIRD, he can progress more evenly, steadily and safely because there is no drastic discordant between formal practice and everyday activities.

202

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Sogyal Rinpoche says: I have found that modern spiritual practitioners lack the knowledge of how to integrate their meditation practice with everyday life. I cannot say it strongly enough: to integrate meditation in action is the whole ground and point and purpose of meditation… Whenever I talk about meditation to my students, I always stress the necessity to practice it with resolute discipline and one-pointed devotion, at the same time, I always tell them how important it is to do it in as inspired and as richly creative a way as possible. By the way, Soto Zen can be considered Insight meditation because it is primarily applied to everyday conflict and tension while Rinzai Zen primarily uses koan to activate the conflicting forces artificially. Under a competent master and the ability to endure immense conflict and tension, Rinzai Zen is powerful. If the man practices on his own, however, he is better off practicing Soto Zen or Insight meditation.

203

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

50
INSIGHT THREE

Here the thought impressions do not automatically evoke the movement and sense impressions any longer. That is, the bands connected to the movement and sense impressions are almost completely neutralized. Of course, this is true for only a few thought impressions initially. The feeling impressions have weakened even further, and the thought impressions begin to predominate. Now the man can perceive the beginning of a thought impression right through its ending, with a tiny gap in between the thought impressions. The primary challenge is to keep widening this gap, that is, to keep weakening the connecting bands between thought impressions. He must continue striving until none of the thought impressions automatically evokes another impression regardless of type. Adverse Circumstances When he has advanced further, he has managed to still the horse considerably under usual circumstances. Now he can strive to still the horse under adverse circumstances. He can meditate throughout the night in a graveyard alone. He can stay among people who usually irritate him no end. He can care for the sick, aged or dying. But he must not overestimate his strength. If he pushes himself far too much, he may find it difficult to recover. Putting himself for an hour in any of these circumstances will be sufficient initially. There are innumerable ways he can push himself further. 204

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Run Without Swinging In addition, he can strive to make the horse run or stop, turn left or right, at will. For example, he can strive to run with his hands hanging limply beside him. He will not find it difficult because he is only primarily neutralizing the bands connected to the movement impressions, which are already considerably weak. With a little practice, he will be able to run more effectively. There is no need to waste energy in swinging the arms back and forth. In what way does it help him to run better? Of course, before treading the way, if he strives to run with his arms hanging down, he may not be able to run at all. If he can, he will run awkwardly and expend more force than usual because he has to expend additional force to compel his arms to stay down. Think Without Thinking A more effective and difficult challenge is to write because he must strive to neutralize the bands between thought impressions more intensely. If he is afraid to write and had not written a single page voluntarily in his life, it is even better. Initially he can strive to write for an hour at the same time everyday. At the writing hour, he must compel himself to write down all the impressions assailing him at the moment, without caring a jot about what he is writing. At times, if he finds it difficult to slow down his thoughts, then he can practice mantra writing, which is writing down a mantra phrase repeatedly, in order to anchor his observation on the words as they are being written. Hence, initially he may find it easier to practice mantra writing instead. Later he can anchor his observation anywhere he chooses. At other times, he must strive mercilessly not to indulge in thinking about writing in any way. Even if an idea that will cure AIDS instantly or convert sand into gold appears, he must not cling to it. Above all, he must not carry a notebook to jot down that idea or any other ideas. In short, he must strive to treat his writing with equanimity, without placing it above other activities. During the writing hour, he must not try to recall that idea. If it appears, he must write it down, but he must not try to develop it. He must not try not to develop it, too. In short, his entire aim is to write 205

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

down the thought impressions assailing him without trying to change them in any way and without caring about grammar and the sentence structure. If there are few thought impressions, then he can describe the other types of impressions and the stimuli that fall within his observation. How can the soul work on the writing if the personality is never quiet and always intruding? Hence, he must strive to write without expectation. That is, he must be willing to keep on writing even though he had written nothing but junk for a long time, and he must write as diligently as if he is writing to save his neck, thus treating his writing both lightly and seriously simultaneously. As he advances, he can increase the number of writing hours and allow a little flexibility in the number of writing hours and the time of writing. If useful material begins to appear substantially, then he must change his writing practice, that is, he must be willing to experiment, in order to clothe this material appropriately. Writing is merely one of the innumerable activities the man can incorporate into his struggle. At insight three, the soul is already big; hence, it is already playing a significant role in his life. He does not have to care about what to do or where to go. As he advances, he will increasingly receive promptings from the soul. The challenge is to be opened to these promptings and be willing to carry out whatever task that is given him. As long as he is not sidetracked from the actual aim, the nature of the task is immaterial simply because he is struggling to work without expectation.
A PERSONAL TASK

About writing practice, the author is writing about himself. Witnessing the soul’s intelligence, which frequently amazes him, is part of the reward. His personality will not be able to produce the ideas in this book in a thousand years. They appear without any effort or struggle. His task is to check and verify that these ideas reflect the facts and evidence because the personality has a lot more ideas. The personality—that sly and conniving serpent—will wriggle its way in and plant its seeds somewhere. Therefore, he must strive to distinguish between them.

206

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Also, he must strive to express these ideas clearly and coherently. In this aspect, he still has a long way to go. Even then, he is also amazed at his writing ability because he was extremely averse to writing. Even at insight three, initially he found it difficult to write even for one hour. Undoubtedly, throughout the writing practice, he is increasingly guided by the soul. Perhaps the task of writing this book is given to the author because he has the necessary material. His desire to unravel the mystery and problem of life compels him to read, ponder, observe and experiment for many years. But previously the writer, that is, the soul, was asleep. As a result, this book is merely a side effect of the struggle to remove conflict and tension.

207

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

51
INSIGHT FOUR

This is stage three of the way; see Chapter 26 for further details. The personality is completely neutralized. The soul is whole. All the bands are broken, that is, the feeling impressions are neutralized, enabling the soul to integrate the movement, sense, and thought impressions into a harmonious whole. That is to say, the way is actually the struggle to neutralize the feeling impressions only because the feelings impressions are solely responsible for the idiotic reactions, that is, abnormal impressions, of the other impressions. In the absence of the feeling impressions, the movement, sense, and thought impressions have become normal. Now the nervous systems, hence the body, is normal. In the absence of rigidly tense muscles and unnecessary fidgety movements, the amount of work he is capable of doing has increased tremendously. Because no energy is lost through rigidly tense muscles and unnecessary fidgety movements, he usually finds that he needs to eat less to maintain his body weight. Having poise, his movements are graceful. Having purified sense organs, he perceives with amazing acuity the ever-changing world as it is. The thoughts that might have tyrannized over him before, through either desire or fear, have become his obedient servants. The man experiences harmony, peace, joy and confidence. His awareness is like the sun, shining equally and brightly in all directions.

208

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Regarding insight four, St. John of the Cross says, “it is like to one that has come forth from a rigorous imprisonment. . . . For its imagination and faculties are no longer bound. . . .”

209

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

52
LOOKING BACK

Non-Constancy of Tension Earlier it is mentioned that eventually the degree of conflict and tension within the personality becomes maximum and constant—a constant maximum. It is not true. It is done in order to simplify the subject matter lest it becomes too unwieldy. So please continue to consider it as true until this point. By now, it must be obvious that nothing can stay constant; nothing is permanent, except change. If the reader finds it helpful, he may consider it an average constant maximum. That is, if the personality is rigid, its tension fluctuates closely around this average; if it is loose, then its tension fluctuates more widely around this average. Further, energy is not limited to a constant amount; it is inexhaustible. The amount that is absorbed by the man depends on his ability to receive it, his openness to it. The amount received is limited by the degree of blockages, due to conflict and tension, within him. In the long term, the average constant maximum can change. If the man constantly avoids struggle and difficulty, physically and mentally, then his body and brain atrophy and weaken. Hence, the average constant maximum decreases, and he increasingly gets tired after only holding on to a little tension, after only expending a little force, a little effort. Naturally, he can only absorb a little energy. And if energy is continually expended through permanent muscular tension, it will gradually be reduced because the body will gradually be weakened by the permanent muscular tension.

210

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Looking at treading the way from this angle—it is the struggle to remove the blockages from the body to allow energy to flow into it freely and use it without hindrance. In other words, the body must become a fit instrument for the soul. As the man advances, he absorbs more energy; the active tension increases, and only a strong, flexible and resilient body can withstand it and act as a conduit for the energy. Comparing the body to an elastic tube, as an increasing amount of water passes through the tube, it is stretched, increasing its diameter and tension. The body is also like a radio. A powerful radio can receive signals from many broadcasting stations and convert them into sounds clearly.
FREQUENCIES OF ENERGY

Valerie Hunt, a professor in kinesiology, discovers that an electromyograph can register energy radiating from the body. Using this discovery, she finds that if a subject’s attention is primarily focused on the material world, the frequencies of his energy field tend to hover around the body’s biological frequencies, about 250 cps (cycles per second). In addition to these frequencies, subjects who are psychic or have healing abilities also have frequencies of around 400 cps to 800 cps in their fields, and mystics even have frequencies of above 900 cps in their fields. It is discovered that the higher the frequency of a wave, the more energy it contains. It is also discovered that subatomic particles with higher frequencies can illuminate and change the direction and speed of subatomic particles of lower frequencies, but not vice versa. Put plainly, the man is controlled by what he cannot observe, what is formless to him is stronger than him. Many people who had spent a little time with an enlightened man frequently mentioned that they experienced harmony, peace and tranquility in his presence. It is because his harmonious, stronger frequencies forcibly quieted down their chaotic, weaker frequencies. But if they had spent a prolonged time with him, his stronger frequencies will eventually illuminate their inner conditions somewhat, causing them to experience impressions of being exposed, unmasked, naked. Those treading the way will find this condition useful. The others will run away and probably condemn and blame him for their 211

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

discomfort. In this case, they are right; he is responsible. Is it surprising that spiritual masters are everywhere abused, insulted, condemned, persecuted and even executed? Wherever they go, even if they did not speak a word or lift a finger, they will still rudely jolt others awake. Progress of Perception Before insight one, the man cannot perceive his thoughts. In his daily activities, he usually does not even notice his thoughts. His thoughts automatically lead to actions unless checked by opposing desire. A common instance—he thinks of leaving a meeting, but he is compelled to stay. If his thought of leaving evokes quite a strong desire to leave, he will keep glancing at the door, point his feet and may even point his entire body toward it, but he may not notice his movements and changes. If his desire to leave is strong enough, then he may notice these movements and changes and therefore his desire to leave because the strong conflicting desires result in active conflict and tension. In a way, this is similar to the research study by Benjamin Libet and Bertram Feinstein. This is why the subjects only “noticed” the intention to press—the thought of pressing—the button only after they had already pressed it. They did not know about this simply because there was no independent entity to perceive the sequence of actions and reactions. If they did not experience any sufficiently strong active conflict and tension, they would not even notice anything throughout the process because their attention was always lost into their last reaction. Apropos of the above, Michael Talbot reported that “studies have shown that one and a half seconds before we ‘decide’ to move one of our muscles, such as lift a finger, our brain has already started to generate the signals necessary to accomplish the movement.” As for Minsky, because there was no opposing desire, he noticed nothing even though he was manipulated into an unusual awkward position—no active conflict and tension therefore sound asleep. Or rather, the conflicting desires were habitually displaced; consequently, the conflict and tension were passive and therefore 212

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

unnoticed. When he was lecturing for the first time, he was probably “self-conscious,” which is merely the noticing of conflicting impressions, compelling him to experience impressions of being exposed, unmasked, naked. At insight two, the man can perceive and neutralize the first part of his thoughts, but still cannot perceive and neutralize them completely. That is, he can perceive his intention before acting on it. His thoughts still automatically lead to actions unless checked by opposing desire. At insight three, he can perceive and neutralize some of his thoughts completely, enabling him not to act on them and not to displace any force. That is, at times his awareness is strong enough to neutralize some of the thoughts completely. But if there is no active warrior-self at other times, his awareness will still be converted into attention somewhat, and his thoughts will still lead to actions. In observation practice, the warrior-self actually serves as opposing desire, checking the other desires. Toward the end of insight three, at times his awareness may even be strong enough to stand on its own. Awareness is vulnerable but not necessary weak. Here vulnerability implies the absence of defenses, not weakness. When awareness is small and weak, the warrior-self must protect it, otherwise not. In fact, only the strong can be vulnerable; the weak is always hiding behind defenses. In short, the man can only perceive after neutralizing the conflicting impressions, that is, conflict and tension, and he can only notice the conflicting impressions when they are active. Otherwise, he cannot perceive or notice. For this reason, on the one hand, constantly immersed in passive conflict and tension, he finds life tedious, dreary, and time seems to hang heavy. On the other hand, due to his inability to perceive and notice, apart from tedium and dreariness, he is oblivious to everything, including the passing of time. Hence, during the rare moments when he actually happens to notice it, time seems to move so fast that it seems to him as if he was still only a child yesterday.

213

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

53
RELATIONSHIP OF AN ABNORMAL MAN

The relationship between a sham meditation instructor and his sham students is used to illustrate the relationship of an abnormal man. Although there are innumerable meditation instructors, only a few are genuine. Further, although innumerable groups meet everyday to meditate, only a few groups are genuinely meditating. The members of each group are usually instructed by the instructor to anchor his observation and then observe effortlessly each impression as it comes, stays and goes. That is, to allow each impression to arise, stay as long as it likes, and disappear without the slightest attempt to control it, as if the impression has nothing to do with him. The instructor and the members are simply deluding themselves if they believe they are able to do so without many years of strenuous and difficult struggle. Sogyal Rinpoche says: It is extremely hard to rest undistracted in the nature of mind, even for a moment, let alone to self-liberate a single thought or emotion as it rises. We often assume that simply because we understand something intellectually, or think we do, we have actually realized it. This is a great delusion. It requires the maturity that only years of listening, contemplation, reflection, meditation, and sustained practice can ripen.

214

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The instructor is like the man who happens to come across a professor of mathematics who claims to solve most calculus problems with a glance, prompting the deluded man to gather a group of people and start teaching them to solve calculus problems with a glance. The man not only assumes he can also do likewise; he even assumes he can teach others to do. As for his students, they assume the man can do and teach; they also assume that they are learning and progressing. Because nobody is required to provide tangible proof of his ability, everybody deludes himself into assuming he is able to do and whatever he desires to assume. In short, the abnormal man endlessly deludes himself regarding other people and himself. He also endlessly deludes other people regarding himself. This compelling delusional power is fuelled by the immense desire for instant, effortless gratification and by the immense fear of active conflict and tension.

215

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

54
RELATIONSHIP OF A WARRIOR-MAN

When there is the warrior-self, the man will relate to other people as the warrior-man. That is, he treats other people the way the warriorself treats the other selves. Remember, the warrior-self has the same nature as the other selves. They have the same mother, the personality; thus, they are all brothers and sisters. The warrior-self definitely does not hate the other selves. In fact, it is so compassionate toward them that it is willing to suffer to remove their sufferings. An example, imagine the man and his two-year-old child in a forest, and a poisonous snake bites his child. The man will quickly grab hold of his child and cut his flesh to drain the poison away although his child may be beating and cursing him, out of ignorance and pain. Naturally, the man will attempt to cause as little pain as possible. Later, maybe years later, the child may realize that it was out of love that his father did what he had done, and then he will be grateful to him. Hence, the warrior-man must not expect any gratitude from other people, particularly those close to him. They will be affected most and therefore will pillory and condemn him most. If they are grateful to him, it will be years later. Anyway, the man treading the way strives not to seek for any recognition irrespective of what he has done.

216

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Way of Aloneness Further, the warrior-self never directly attacks the other selves. It only strives to fulfill its own duty, which is to anchor its observation. Hence, the warrior-man must not attack anyone even if he is attacked. He must only strive to tread the way without letting anyone prevents him from doing so. If he can tread the way without anyone knowing about it, it is the best. Anyway, the way is one of aloneness. If he is practicing correctly, even if a thousand people practice together with him, he will still be alone. If he is not staying alone, then he can just tell his household members that he is striving to reduce conflict and tension, leaving it at that. And that is what the way is all about. Aloneness is the opposite of loneliness. Loneliness is due to contraction, separation and exclusion. Hence, the further he advances, the less he will experience loneliness irrespective of circumstances. Leaving Others Alone Regardless of how crucial and necessary the man believes in treading the way, he must not try to convince or help others. He must not succumb to this desire regardless of how strong it is. How can he help others when he is still blind and weak? Many preachers and evangelists had fallen because of this mistake. It is unlikely that all of them had intentionally used religion to gain wealth and power. At least some of them strongly desired to help others, but they were dragged into the pit because they were still weak. When a preacher is still unknown, nobody cares about him. But when he becomes influential, then many people will strive to manipulate him by offering desirable gifts to him or threatening him. The first commandment of Jesus must come first. The higher he climbs, the deeper and broader the foundation must be. Even more imperative, the man must strive to restrain his colossal desire to experience impressions of superiority and importance. Teaching, advising, preaching, correcting and criticizing are the most common actions taken to experience impressions of superiority and importance because these actions allow him to experience these impressions without any labor on his part. But if he 217

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

strives to teach himself, he must labor very hard and still experience impressions of impotency and nothingness. Is it surprising that everybody is an expert at teaching others, but incompetent at teaching himself? This colossal desire to teach others can only be neutralized by his merciless struggle to teach himself. In so doing, he will realize the colossal difficulty to teach himself and therefore the colossal absurdity and foolishness of attempting to teach others. Further, he will be liberated from the colossal pain due to his colossal desire to teach, particularly his colossal propensity to be offended and irritated by the heedlessness of others toward his teaching. He does not have to worry about helping others. When he is ready, when he is strong and knows how to help, he will be compelled to help whether he likes it or not. Instead of teaching out of desire, it is safer to be compelled to teach. When Sri Ramakrishna told his disciple, Vivekananda, that he would teach people, Vivekananda replied he would not do any such thing. His master retorted, “Your very bones will do it.” Well, Vivekananda ended up teaching all over America and Europe.

218

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

55
RELATIONSHIP OF A NORMAL MAN

When there is the soul, the man will relate to other people as the normal man. He treats other people the way the soul treats the selves. The way the normal man treats other people can be compared to how Carl Rogers treated his clients and how Maria Montessori treated her pupils. Carl Rogers In On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers gives a detailed account of his experiences and discoveries. This book can also be useful at the beginning of the way because the warrior-self strives to prepare the way for the soul by striving to adopt the attributes of the soul, particularly the attribute of treating all impressions with equal regard. Rogers does not write about the soul, spirit or God. To him, his own direct experience has the highest authority. He calls the entity that is more intelligent than all his accumulated knowledge, training and skills his total organism. In fact, he develops the method— client-centered therapy—only after he had “tried a great many of” the known methods and found them “futile and inconsequential.”
CLIENT-CENTERED THERAPY

Essentially, Rogers finds that when he unconditionally accepts his client’s and his own psychological state and seeks to understand 219

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

his client’s state, then “change and constructive personal development will invariably occur. . . .” In a way, Rogers’s awareness serves to illuminate the client’s impressions, helping the client to observe them. It is like a one-way mirror used in an interrogation room. Rogers, outside the room, can look through the mirror as if it is a piece of transparent glass. When his client, inside the room, looks at the mirror, he sees his own reflection, that is, he observes his own impressions. His projection is reflected back to him. Initially the client will react to his desire for approval and fear of disapproval. When, however, Rogers’s unconditional warm regard for him and absence of approval and disapproval no matter what he says or does eventually breaks through, then his defenses come down. Because he is never praised or criticized, his reactions slow down, enabling him to observe them. More important, in the absence of praise and criticism, his attachment to or rejection of these reactions weakens. An example of a rudimentary client-centered therapy in everyday life: if John teases Janet and Janet reacts with annoyance, John will probably keep on teasing her because his desire to annoy her is satisfied. If Janet attempts to ignore him, it will only provoke John to intensify his teasing. But if Janet calmly looks at him or calmly carries on with her work, John’s behavior will be reflected back to him like a mirror. He will observe his silliness, become uneasy and uncomfortable; hence, he will cease to tease. It does not bring pleasure anymore but pain. This technique of neutralizing the actions of others can be applied effectively to other interactions, such as indulgence in self-pity, pride or anger.
EXPERIENCE OF ONENESS

At times when the client is also opened enough, Rogers says, “When there is this complete unity, singleness, fullness of experiencing in the relationship, then it acquires the ‘out-of-this-world’ quality which many therapists have remarked upon. . . . In these moments there is . . . a timeless living in the experience which is between the client and me.” People under sudden dire circumstances may also have this type of experience occasionally. For a moment, the sudden dire 220

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

unfamiliarity of their circumstances causes them to drop their defenses, so they become vulnerable and open, and there is soul contact, one soul with another soul. It may only last for a brief moment, but the effect is highly significant. The bond between them may last for a lifetime. If the contact is strong enough, one man may gladly risk his life to save the other. Contact between selves, no matter how seemingly significant and intense at the time it happened, quickly pales into nothingness with time, as fickle as the existence of the selves. Yet the normal man is attached to no one. Not only is an abnormal man attached to people he likes, he is even more attached to people he dislikes, unable to cease having negative impressions toward them. From this viewpoint, forgiving someone he dislikes is simply the neutralizing of these negative impressions toward him.
THERAPEUTIC PROGRESS

Regarding the process that is activated within the client, Rogers writes, “In general, the evidence shows that the process moves away from fixity, remoteness from feelings and experience, rigidity of self-concept, remoteness from people, impersonality of functioning. It moves toward fluidity, changingness, immediacy of feelings and experience, acceptance of feelings and experience, tentativeness of constructs, discovery of a changing self in one’s changing experience, realness and closeness of relationships, a unity and integration of functioning.”
MASTER AND DISCIPLE

In a way, a spiritual master’s relation with his disciple is similar to Rogers’s relation with his client, but far more potent. In Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, one of his disciples, Trudy, says: A roshi is a person who has actualized that perfect freedom which is the potentiality for all human beings. . . . His whole being testifies to what it means to live in the reality of the present. Without anything said or done, just the impact of meeting a personality so developed can be 221

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

enough to change another’s whole way of life. . . . Because he is just himself, he is a mirror for his students. When we are with him we feel our own strengths and shortcomings without any sense of praise or criticism from him. Maria Montessori Maria Montessori first became famous for transforming sixty ignorant and frightened little devils in a slum district, San Lorenzo quarter in Rome, occupied by the poorest class of the entire city, into angels within a year. This magical act attracted many people to San Lorenzo quarter to witness for themselves the transformations. What is so amazing about the Montessori class? Initially the pupils are encouraged or deterred, but only with the minimum necessary. A frightened, reluctant child is encouraged just enough to get him going. A child who disturbs the class is deterred just enough to make him stop. Later, encouragement and deterrent come to a stop. Though lessons are given, the pupils are not compelled to practice them. At the end of each lesson, they may do what they like or do nothing, but whatever they do, they are supported unobtrusively and quietly. Of course, this is just a rudimentary description of the Montessori method.
PERFECT CALM, MYSTERIOUS HAPPINESS

The peace and joy they exhibited are palpable even to visitors. Gabriel Marcel, the famous French writer, speaks of “the astonishment which I felt when, for the first time, I visited a small Montessori school at Sevres. What struck me most—it is not too much to say, what caused me a profound emotion—was to see with my own eyes in this school, children not only working with perfect calm, but children who were in the grip of a mysterious happiness. A mysterious happiness—I repeat the words—for I would have them penetrate your souls like a melody.”
INTELLIGENCE AND HARMONY

Many of these pupils, ages from four to five years, spontaneously begin to write—without having been taught. In an appro222

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

priate environment, their intelligence automatically starts to acquire useful information and skills. As for harmony, let a Montessori directress speak. She told E. M. Standing, author of Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, that one of her pupils in a class of forty said to her, “You know, Miss Willson, except to mark the register and see about the dinner-money there isn’t really any need for you to come to school at all, as we do everything by ourselves.” Miss Willson takes this as the highest compliment. Indeed it is. She is able to efface herself by becoming as one of the pupils and still remain as a directress. She is present without being present. She teaches without teaching and guides without guiding. There is no way she can achieve this if her personality is still strong and unruly, thus endlessly flaunting itself. Hence, there are numerous Montessori directresses, but few genuine ones. Of course, there are powerful Montessori methods, but only a genuine directress can wield them effectively. The Tao Te Ching says, “Of the best rulers . . . when their task is accomplished, their work done, the people all remark, ‘We have done it ourselves.’” And “By doing nothing everything is done. He who conquers the world often does so by doing nothing,” simply because he works behind the scene, on the quiet.

223

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

To The Reader The author is now experiencing the ending of insight three. He is also experiencing some glimpses of insight four. Hence, he has understated the normal man’s abilities and attributes simply because he is still not yet completely normal. The aim of what is written previously is to attain the soul. From here onward, what is written is primarily based on what he has read and on his theoretical understanding. It is primarily to point the way beyond the personality and to close the subject of this book. Some of the previous terms and concepts will be modified and expanded.

224

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

56
INSIGHT FOUR AGAIN

Insight four is known as the ten corruptions of insight. Has the man struggled for many arduous years to arrive here to experience corruptions? Well, the ten corruptions are brilliant light, mindfulness, knowledge, faith, rapture, tranquility, happiness, energy, equanimity and subtle attachment. These are extremely fine states. The personality does not have any accessed to these corruptions. The rare flashes of the soul impressions the man may have experienced are just a tiny fraction of these states. They are known as the ten corruptions because insight four is only the intermediate stage; there is more distance to tread. Hence, he must not assume that he has attained enlightenment and that he can now rest and enjoy himself for eternity. Spiritual teachings state that there is no rest; the struggle is endless. Here the soul consolidates its control over the body and personality, preparing itself for even more terrible struggle. Therefore, if the man clings to these extremely desirable and fine states, he begins to regress. Consequently, now he must struggle to avoid clinging to these soul impressions. Here he can struggle to do more than one activity at the same time and do them well.

225

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

57
BEYOND INSIGHT FOUR

Mission accomplished, the dark night of the personality is over; it is dead. John the Baptist is also dead. When he was alive, Jesus ate, drank and enjoyed himself, for his “hour has not yet come.” After the transfiguration, Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem—to die. The dark night of the soul begins. The soul’s mission begins. Now it must strive to overcome and then die. The Spirit Here the term spirit is introduced. The relation of the soul to the spirit can be compared to the relation of a self to the soul. Just as a self is a small confined soul, a soul is a small confined spirit. The collection of all souls is equivalent to the personality. The world is actually the confined spirit; it is the collection of all souls. External objects are a thousand times more solid and vivid than impressions because a soul is a thousand times more potent than a self. That is, soul impressions are far more intense than coarse impressions. This unbearable intensity piercingly blinds the abnormal man and compels him to keep piling dirt upon dirt to shield himself from it. Because he is shielded by coarse impressions, he cannot perceive external objects, thus they are formless, even non-existence, to him. The soul of the man must now become the warrior-soul in order to neutralize the other souls, thereby freeing the confined spirit. Now the man is a thousand times stronger than before, but as

226

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

he moves beyond insight four, he becomes a novice again. The spirit is in embryo. Reaction of Conflicting Soul-Forces When the man was lost within the personality, he was protected from the soul-forces. Now that he had neutralized the personality, which used to shield him from the world, he comes into direct contact with soul-forces. The conflict among soul-forces is so potent that their reactions will often move all the way down to the body and affect it extremely more intensely than before. St. Teresa of Avila writes: My bodily sufferings were so intolerable that, though in my life I have endured the severest sufferings of this kind, none of them is of the smallest account by comparison with what I felt then, to say nothing of the knowledge that they would be endless and never ceasing. And even these are nothing by comparison with the agony of my soul, an oppression, a suffocation, and an affliction so deeply felt, and accompanied by such hopeless and distressing misery, that I cannot too forcibly describe it. This is not merely the hysterical ranting of a self-indulgent woman. Her bodily pains were simply the reactions of far deeper pains. Everybody who treads the way must continually face increasing conflict and tension. Besides that, there are transitional stages whereby the conflict and tension increased more rapidly than usual. The transition from stage one to stage two of the way is one such transitional stage. In Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross describes two dark nights—night of the sense and night of the spirit. He writes, “The first purgation or night is bitter and terrible to sense. . . . The second bears no comparison with it, for it is horrible and awful to the spirit. . . .” Dark Night of the Soul corresponds with The Progress of Insight. The night of the sense corresponds to the stage before insight four, that is, the night of the personality. The night of the 227

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

spirit corresponds to the stage after insight four, that is, the night of the soul in this book. In his first book, St. John describes the night of the sense. Before he proceeds to give a detailed description of the night of the spirit in his second book, he also writes about insight four in the first two chapters of his second book. World-Creator The manner the confined spirit creates the world can be compared to the manner the personality creates the impressions. An example, imagine an abnormal man walking alone through a graveyard at midnight after watching a ghost movie. If his reactions to the movie are mild, he notices the thought impressions of the ghost. If his reactions are strong, then he also feels its presence. If they are stronger, then he also sees and hears it. At its height, he is touched and may even struggle with it. The stronger the reactions, the more the impressions of the ghost are stepped down to the coarser impressions. Hence, impressions of the ghost become coarser. (If the man’s thoughts frequently evoke such strong impressions, particularly impressions not normally noticed by others, then he is labeled a neurotic, a psychotic, a schizophrenic, or by another fancy name.) Just as the coarse impressions faded away when the selves are neutralized, so the world will fade away when the souls are neutralized. At insight four, the inner conflict is gone; the man has acquired inner harmony—the first liberation. At enlightenment, the entire conflict is gone; the man has acquired complete harmony— the second liberation. At enlightenment, the man is conscious of nothing not because he is unconscious, but because there is nothing to be conscious of. Having neutralized the world, he has attained pure awareness and oneness with the world. The trinity—perceiver, perceiving, object perceived—has become the unity. About this state, in The Science of Yoga, Taimini writes: Each successive stage of unfolding of consciousness increases tremendously its vividness and clarity, and brings an added influx of knowledge and power. It is 228

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

absurd to suppose therefore that in the last state which marks the climax of this unfolding, consciousness lapses suddenly into a vague and nebulous state. Impeccable Action Below is a tangible demonstration of an ability of a man who can penetrate deeply into the void at will. In Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel gives an account of his practice. For years, he was required to draw the bow and hold it at the point of highest tension indefinitely, without any intent to release the shot and without aiming. For a long time he found it impossible to hold it for more than a few moments. His Master Kenzo Awa stresses that the shot “does not depend on the bow, but on the presence of mind, on the vitality and awareness with which you shoot” and that “The hits on the target are only the outward proof and confirmation of your purposelessness at its highest, of your egolessness, your self-abandonment, or whatever you like to call this state. There are different grades of mastery, and only when you have made the last grade will you be sure of not missing the goal.” Herrigel replies, “That is just what I cannot get into my head. I think I understand what you mean by the real, inner goal which ought to be hit. But how it happens that the outer goal, the disc of paper, is hit without the archer’s taking aim, and that the hits are only outward confirmations of inner events—that correspondence is beyond me.” Master Awa answers, “You are under an illusion if you imagine that even a rough understanding of these dark connections would help you. These are processes which are beyond the reach of understanding.” To demonstrate what he meant, Master Awa shot at the target twice in darkness. It was so dark that Herrigel could not even see the outline of the target. When Herrigel switched on the light, he discovered to his amazement “that the first arrow was lodged full in the middle of the black, while the second arrow had splintered the butt of the first and ploughed through the shaft before embedding itself beside it.” 229

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

On critically surveying the shots, the Master says, “The first shot was no great feat, you will think, because after all these years I am so familiar with my target-stand that I must know even in pitch darkness where the target is. That may be, and I won’t try to pretend otherwise. But the second arrow which hit the first—what do you make of that? I at any rate know that it is not ‘I’ who must be given credit for this shot. ‘It’ shot and ‘It’ made the hit. Let us bow to the goal as before the Buddha!” Is there any need to comment on the supremely impeccable and harmonious action of Master Awa? Is it possible to make any sensible comment? Anyway, probably he is still not perfect. Perhaps perfection implies the ability to be that impeccable in all activities and under all circumstances. In Zen: Dawn in the West, Roshi Kapleau says: Before awakening one can easily ignore or rationalize his shortcomings, but after enlightenment this is no longer possible; one’s failings are painfully evident. Yet at the same time a strong determination develops to rid oneself of them. Even opening the Mind’s eye fully does not at one fell swoop purify the emotions. Continuous training after enlightenment is required to purify the emotions so that our behavior accords with our understanding. This vital point must be clearly understood. For interested readers, The Holotropic Mind by Stanislav Grof and Hal Zina Bennett contains numerous accounts of experiences beyond insight four, that is, in the realm of the transpersonal. The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot contains numerous research findings regarding people with paranormal abilities. Many researchers and scientists find that the holographic model helps to explain many mysterious phenomena of nature. Besides that, the holographic model also helps to explain practically all the transpersonal and paranormal experiences.

230

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

58
EVOLUTION IN GENERAL

For a comprehensive description of evolution, please refer to the writings by Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul. They are available on the Web for free download. Is their description accurate and true? Let the reader decide for himself. They had written many books. If the reader is unfamiliar with their writings, Esoteric Psychology II is probably the most suitable book to begin. Anyway, here is a distorted and an extremely brief description. In the Beginning, there was the supreme spirit. But the supreme spirit was inconceivably far away from the man, and he could not have the slightest conception of its nature. Stepping down, began with the spirit. So in the beginning, there was the spirit. It was one, there was no other. It was formless and undifferentiated. One day, an unimaginably horrendous thought came to its head. Who could tell from where? If it had a head, then it must be a twisted head. Maybe it felt lonely, or maybe it could not sit still at home to enjoy perfect bliss, but had to create infinite conflict for itself. Anyway, it decided to know itself. But how could it know itself when there was nothing to see? Involution So the spirit decided to create a twin that was diametrically opposite its own nature outwardly. Hence, it manifested that twin to 231

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

be infinitely solid, manifold and differentiated. Now there were two. Then each of these two began to divide and step down; hence, innumerable twins were created. Naturally, the more they were divided, the more diluted they became. The formless became less formless; the solid became less solid. Finally, at the level of subatomic particles, the twins become indistinguishable. Now the formless is wave, and the solid is subatomic particle. And these two are indistinguishable. The downward movement—involution—began with innumerable unknown entities. Further down, they are known as stones, plants, animals and then men. Involution is unconscious. Again, how it happened initially is unknown; later it is instinctive. In man, it is mechanical. Evolution Man is the transition point. The upward movement—evolution —begins when the man becomes conscious. As he moves up, he must consciously experience all the experiences he had unconsciously sown. Hence, he reaps what he sows. He also begins to unite the divided parts together. To do that, he must consciously experience all the experiences of the divided parts. He must first consciously experience the experiences he had sown mechanically. In so doing, he begins to realize the soul. He acquires the whole soul after he has consciously experienced all the experiences of his present life since conception. Acquiring of the soul is merely the first step up. Beyond the soul level, he will begin to experience consciously the experiences he had sown instinctively; he will also begin to experience consciously the experiences of other people, and then the animals, plants, stones and so on. These are experiences of his past lives. Thus, the entire world arises from his present and past lives. Vanity of Vanities Just as Narcissus gazes at his reflection, the spirit gazes at its solid twin, the world; the soul gazes at its external surroundings; the attention gazes at its impression. The gazing is the third aspect; hence, the twins become the trinity. 232

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Everything is vain. Out of vanity, everything ends up creating conflict and tension for itself. If the man is vain, it is because the spirit is vain. If the man creates conflict, it is because the spirit creates conflict. If the man desires to know, it is because the spirit desires to know. Yes, blame everything on the spirit, but the man himself is the spirit. Man is Everything Because a self is only a tiny fraction of the soul and because the abnormal man is only identified with the active self of the moment, he may assume that he can only become a tiny fraction of the normal man, but that is not true. An abnormal man is simply one who lives in a tiny fraction of his entire being. He becomes normal when he lives within his larger being, that is, when he is conscious of all his past experiences since conception simultaneously, as a subtle and synthetic whole, and when he is conscious of all the external stimuli impinging on his body simultaneously, as a palpable and synthetic whole. Likewise, on the higher level, the normal man is not just a tiny fraction of the spirit; he is the spirit, no less. Hence, he is entirely responsible for everything. Evolution will end only after he has willingly taken full responsibility for everything and synthesized everything back into one. Then the spirit will be fully satisfied because it will now know itself thoroughly, down to the smallest subatomic particle. Then conflict and tension will cease absolutely unless another horrendous thought twists its head again. During involution, the gargantuan desire of the spirit to know itself compelled it to keep splitting and narrowing its awareness on a smaller and smaller part of its twin. That is, the man keeps moving from a big prison into a smaller prison that is within the big. Evolution begins when attention is sick of gazing at its impression and desires to gaze at something more solid and vivid. To do that, it must satisfy the desire of the spirit, the desire to know itself. Hence, attention must know itself thoroughly enough to enable it to free itself from itself. In so doing, it begins to unite and expand. That is, the man breaks out of the smaller prison to find himself in a big prison. Initially he is liable to assume that he is absolutely free, but 233

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

eventually he will realize that he is still in prison, albeit a bigger one. He is only absolutely free when he gets back to the spirit, to the supreme spirit. In short, on the downward path, he shrinks into nothing. On the upward path, he expands into everything.

234

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

59
EVOLUTION OF MAN

Physical Man When the man is predominantly physical, he is just above the animals. As long as the basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, and safety—of his family and himself are met, he is contented. Therefore, if there is little change in external circumstances, he faces little conflict. He lives from day to day and seldom worries about the next day. His personality is composed primarily of movement and sense impressions, with few feeling and thought impressions. Because for eons his instinctive life revolved around food, shelter and safety, naturally most of his thought impressions automatically focus on food, shelter and safety. Emotional Man Further along, when more thought impressions appear and when the elastic bands connecting these thought impressions to the movement and sense impressions become stronger, he becomes predominantly emotional. He can now worry about the immediate future. This naturally increases the desire to acquire more necessities to safeguard him against it. Further, he needs to be reassured that he is loved and will be cared for a hundred times a day. Hence, the conflict increases. He still cannot think rationally; all his thought impressions are focused on what he desires. If he cannot get what he

235

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

desires, he simply becomes emotional, that is, the bands go chaotic, and he goes into a wild dance. Mental Man Still further along, when a lot more thought impressions appear and are more strongly connected with one another, he becomes predominantly mental. He is increasingly controlled by thought impressions. Now he can reflect deeper into the past and project further into the future. His past experiences begin to control his behavior considerably. He begins to discover prolonged fear; his curiosity grows. Hence, the conflict increases even more. In the beginning, his curiosity is limited to the near in time and space: he wants to know what his neighbor is doing and thinking presently. Later he wants to know what is happening a thousand, a million, a billion, miles away; what happened a thousand, a million, a billion, years ago; and what will happen a thousand, a million, a billion, years later. Initially he indulges in these thought impressions because they tickle and titillate him. Later he becomes serious and may even be designated a visionary. To be curious about what will happen a billion years later, is he immortal?
MENTAL SHIELD

These activities, these thought impressions, are an excellent means to avoid the innumerable conflict and tension of everyday life, such as the conflict with his family and the weather. After all, these are trifles compared to his invaluable contribution to mankind. But in what way is the contribution of value? Is it because it tickles and titillates other people, enabling them to forget their misery for a moment? These activities are merely the stubborn desire to displace his fears. Theodore Zeldin reports that there are more than ten thousand new scientific studies on fear each decade in the English language alone. And the most important discovery is that the physiological effects on the body between fear and curiosity are different only in degree.

236

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

Nonetheless, it will be of great value if he dares to push further, that is, if he dares to push it into eternity with his entire being, not just mentally. In so doing, it may put the fear of God into his body, heart and mind. It may push him to tread the way in order to safeguard his eternity. And he may realize that the present moment is eternity and therefore the only valuable activity is to face directly whatever that is right in front of him at the present moment. Hence, although thought impressions have been blamed for much conflict, indeed they are responsible for much conflict, but without thought impressions, evolution will be impossible. Without the ability to project into the future, there will be no reason to suffer for the future. Further, when the man is predominantly physical or emotional, the inner conflict is projected externally. As he increasingly becomes more mental, he increasingly realizes that it is inside him, causing him to be increasingly more self-critical. Usually he is only willing to tread the way when the pain has become unbearably greater than the pleasure he experiences in his daily life. The statistics of a Russian experimental psychologist showed that man experiences incomparably more pain than pleasure in an average day. This is due to his stubborn desire to avoid and postpone the painful consequences of his harmful activities and to keep indulging in pleasure derived from harmful activities. The stronger the thought impressions and their connections with one another, the more able he can indulge in this stubborn desire, that is, in losing himself in pleasurable impressions and shutting out painful impressions. As mentioned earlier, the adverse consequences do not disappear; they pile up and plague him constantly. Out of sheer desperation, he treads the way when he compels himself to look at his past with unsparing sincerity, when he sincerely learns from his past mistakes, and when he plans and sets up an aim to guide him— all these require diligent thought. Parable of the Sower First case, the seeds fell beside the road, without having even a chance to sprout. The physical man goes to church, but whatever he 237

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

hears is gone the moment he steps out: no sense stimuli therefore no sense impressions. Second case, the seeds fell on rocky places and immediately sprang up, but having no root, they quickly withered away. The emotional man goes to church to stir up desirable emotions. He only hears the desirable aspect of the teachings, and whatever he hears lasts for only a brief moment. Third case, the seeds fell among the thorns and choked out. The mental man hears both the desirable and the fearful aspects of the teachings. So he is in conflict, choked with prolonged anxiety and worry. Fourth case, the seeds fell on good soil. The man is ready to abandon everything and tread the way on the quiet. Intensified Conflicting Forces The further the man evolves, the stronger he becomes, the greater the conflicting forces he must confront, and the greater the intensity of his suffering. Jesus died before the two criminals. Was he of poorer caliber than them? Did he die from bodily pain? Could any bodily pain inflicted from outside affect the man who could calm the waves and walk on water? Only the man who has already acquired a whole spirit can perform these activities. A normal man, having just a whole soul, can do none of them, and he can still suffer from instinctive pain. On the cross, Jesus’s spirit died, yes, his spirit, not his soul. This is why he found it unbearable. In so doing, he unleashed an inconceivably powerful spiritual energy that will draw all men to him, to the way. His bodily death per se could do nothing. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was known to behave outrageously and to drink heavily at times, prompting many people to criticize and condemn him, blind to the powerful conflicting forces he was struggling within him. Isn’t it possible that he found these powerful conflicting forces uncontrollable and unbearable now and then? For a man who had contributed so much, who had achieved so much, and who had helped so many, yet he was criticized and condemned. But that is how the abnormal man typically reacts to 238

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

cover up his shame, his guilt, his impotency, his nothingness. Men such as Chogyam Trungpa and Gurdjieff threaten the abnormal man to the core. Why is there so much conflict? Isn’t it because of the abnormal man’s monstrous blindness to his own shortcomings and others’ strengths, of his monstrous exaggeration of his own strengths and others’ shortcomings, and of his monstrous inability to consider the whole and impartially?

239

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

60
UNSTOPPABLE EVOLUTION

Evolution is progressing rapidly. Signs are everywhere. Even if the man permanently takes the line of least resistance, of least conflict and tension, he will still be evolving. For instance, in the past if he did not learn to read and write, he was still able to lead a bearable life; hence, he could avoid the pain of learning to read and write. At present the pain of not knowing how to read and write is more than the pain of learning to read and write. Thus, the line of least resistance compels him to learn and to develop his mental power. Becoming Individual In general, as man evolves, he moves from passive obedience to active participation to independence. Within his family, he moves from obedience to his parents to active participation in familial activities to striking out on his own. This movement touches all areas—education, religion, politics, business. In the past, he passively learned whatever he was taught, believed whatever religious doctrine imparted to him, obeyed whatever laws concocted by the authorities, and did whatever he was told to do at work. In all areas, he did not know, did not want to know and was unable to comprehend the how and why of these systems even though they affected him considerably. As long as his needs and desires were adequately met, he was contented. After all, what he had to learn, believe, obey and do usually stayed the same throughout his life. His needs and desires also usually stayed the same. 240

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

As he evolves, his desires increase, become more subtle and complicated, resulting in discontentment with the established systems. Hence, at work he is increasingly liable to change circumstances to suit his desires. If he fails, he moves to another company. If he still finds it unsatisfactory after several moves, then he starts his own company. With established religion, he increasingly finds it unsatisfactory, and the religious doctrine increasingly causes more conflict and tension than the satisfaction it offers. So he moves to another religious organization. If he still finds it unsatisfactory after several moves, then he breaks away and seeks for a satisfactory one alone. Likewise, in education, he eventually becomes self-educated; and in politics, he eventually becomes self-governing. All these are signs of evolving and of advancing toward the way, for the way leads to self-responsibility, self-dependence, selfreliance and self-governing—individual power. Becoming Global Another sign of evolution is the increasing breaking down of boundaries in all areas. Hence, the man is compelled to be intensely individual and intensely global at the same time. Likewise, as he advances along the way, he ventures deeper into himself, yet he himself expands at the same time and will eventually become global and even beyond. Referring to one of his numerous experiences, in Living with Kundalini, Gopi Krishna writes: It showed the previously all-dominating cosmos reduced to the state of a transitory appearance, and the formerly care-ridden point of awareness, circumscribed by the body, grown to the spacious dimensions of a mighty universe and the exalted stature of a majestic immanence before which the material cosmos shrank to the subordinate position of an evanescent and illusive appendage. Everybody who has ventured deep into himself has similar experience though he may describe it differently. This is because the fine encompasses and is more substantial than the coarse. Hence, the 241

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

cosmos that previously appeared all dominating and outside then becomes a small transitory object within awareness. To a lesser extent, the man at stage two of the way can already experience this state. That the abnormal man either rejects or clings to the coarse impressions implies that he is treating these impressions as outside him. At stage two, instead of treating the coarse impressions as outside, he then perceives them to be within his awareness. Like Gopi Krishna, he finds that the previously alldominating impressions “reduced to the state of a transitory appearance,” and the world becomes mighty, mysterious and majestic. Isn’t it ironical that when the man is inside an impression, he treats it as outside him? It is simply because everything he experiences as outside him imprisons him; hence, he is compelled to see only the prison walls. When he finally experiences it as part of him, then he realizes that it is neither and both: neither inside nor outside / both inside and outside. Is it possible to reject or cling to anything that is part of him? Isn’t it absurd to attempt to do so? Strange encounters strew the way. Fruit of Evolution Imagine a world in which each man carries on his own selfchosen task, a task that will convert his particular shortcomings into strengths, that is, a task that will advance him further. Although each man is busy striving to remove his own particular shortcomings, he is also willing and glad to lend his particular strengths to others, to help whoever is in need of help. Is this wishful imagination? If forty pupils, from two and a half to seven years old, can work on their self-chosen tasks individually and so harmoniously in a Montessori classroom with limited materials as to make the directress quite redundant, is it impossible for men ten times older to do likewise? Besides that, just look at the colossal increase in mental power over the past few decades. In fact, many people are already living conscious lives although they are still a small minority. Further, spontaneous awakenings are increasingly reported; these people had 242

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

already done much needed work in their past lives. Living as normal man is merely the first step up and an initial fruit. During involution, the man is a slave to matter. He strives to evolve when he strives to be a slave to the soul, that is, when he strives to be obedient to spiritual laws, but that is not the end. Just before Jesus was about to be crucified, he said to his disciples, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” Hence, after reaching a certain point, he becomes an active participant in the spiritual realm until eventually he realizes his oneness with everything, that is, until he becomes the master of everything—the final fruit. It is possible to expedite evolution and to reduce conflict and tension to the minimum necessary. Of course, the man can choose to be half beaten to death before consenting to move a step forward. That is, he can repeat the same mistake a million times before struggling to abstain. In contrast, the more he struggles to avoid repeating the same mistake, the faster he advances, and the less conflict and tension he has to endure. Referring to the Finland study, in terms of one lifetime, it was a disaster to the diet group. In terms of evolution, it is probably a success, and one lifetime is merely a drop in the ocean. Although the diet group suffered a lot more and died earlier than the control group, in terms of evolution, the diet group would advance faster because the diet group would realize the futility of neutralizing conflict and tension with displacement faster. Nevertheless, if the diet group knew how to struggle rightly, that is, how to neutralize conflict and tension without displacement and therefore neutralizing the personality itself, then for the same amount of suffering, the diet group would have advanced even faster and further. In terms of man’s history, Jesus is a complete disaster. His very birth already caused numerous deaths. Why, his first speech in his hometown almost caused him to be thrown off a cliff. And who can tally up the atrocities committed on his behalf? In terms of evolution, he is a complete success, for he appeared to cast fire and bring division. He probably succeeded in bringing the hidden inner conflicts to the surface more than anyone known to mankind. 243

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

61
THE READER

Needless to say, but says anyway, especially after having inundated you, the reader, with numerous must’s, what you end up doing depends on your state of being. A man needs a billion and one nudges to tread the way. Innumerable conflicts, tensions, pains and frustrations of every kind constantly nudge us toward the way. If you tread the way on reading this book, it means you had already received a billion nudges before, in your present and past lives. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin says: To jolt the individual out of his natural laziness and the rut of habit, and also from time to time to break up the collective frameworks in which he is imprisoned, it is indispensable that he should be shaken and prodded from outside. What would we do without our enemies? No, I am not your enemy, not even to your personality. This book aims to convince your personality that no matter how it twists and turns, it cannot remove conflict and tension. To succeed it must die and a way is available for it to commit suicide successfully, thus enabling your soul, the real you, to control your actions, words and thoughts harmoniously. Becoming Responsible “It is not fair!” is a favorite refrain of the personality because it stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that it reaps what it sows. But 244

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

the moment its desire is met, it struts. Although scriptural teachings claim that we are wholly responsible for everything, this claim is extremely difficult to accept. Faced with this impossible responsibility, it is extremely appealing if we could absolutely cease to exist when we die bodily. Otherwise, there is no escape, and we have no choice but to tread the way. Hence, we have to find out what life demands from us and strive to acquiesce to its demand, thereby reducing the conflict and tension to a minimum. As we increasingly become conscious and realize our longforgotten aim, we will naturally become more responsible and strive harder. Jesus, Buddha and many others have made the way easier for us. More important, they are always here to help us, but they cannot take away our responsibility. We have to carry our own crosses, for that is the only way to acquire complete independency and mastery. Actually, just as Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus to carry his cross, Jesus, Buddha and many others are already constantly helping us to carry our crosses, so that we can reach our Golgotha, Place of a Skull, faster. Becoming Independent To emphasize once again, the way aims at complete independence. The masters, the teachings, the techniques and methods are simply to assist us when we are still weak. When it comes to understanding crutches, J. Krishnamurti reigns supreme. In fact, he dedicated his life speaking primarily about crutches simply because he saw that everybody was clinging to crutches for dear life. But he went over the edge, to the point of demanding that his listeners drop all crutches and jump from the known into the unknown completely and instantly. This is impossible. True, jumping from the known into the unknown may appear to be sudden and instantaneous. For example, when many selves suddenly give up fighting en masse, but it happens only after a lengthy and difficult struggle. In fact, this is also true for an ordinary realization or insight, creative or otherwise, though the preceding struggle is relatively mild. The ultimate jump into the unknown is into the void. Even if it were possible and we happened to enter the void without any 245

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

preparation, we would be instantly destroyed, vaporized. If we find it difficult to handle even an ordinary traumatic experience, how can we handle that infinitely more traumatic experience? Hence, many years of terrible struggle to drop our crutches and to face the unknown bit by bit is essential to prepare us. Even Buddha had to struggle for several terrible years. Krishnamurti himself had to struggle for many terrible years. Nevertheless, due to his profound understanding of crutches, it is useful to study his writings. Shunryu Suzuki says: There is no way set up for us. Moment after moment we have to find our own way. Some idea of perfection, or some perfect way which is set up by someone else, is not the true way for us. . . . The best way is to understand yourself, and then you will understand everything. So when you try hard to make your own way, you will help others, and you will be helped by others. Before you make your own way you cannot help anyone, and no one can help you. Hence, you must decide for yourself whether to tread the way under your present circumstances, under different circumstances or under a master. You must also decide which techniques and methods to use. Anyway, this book is not about techniques and methods; it is about the principles behind the techniques and methods. If the principles are understood, you can actually create your own techniques and methods to suit yourself and your circumstances. On the other hand, misunderstanding of the principles often lead to useless, even harmful, application of the available techniques and methods. If you are not ready, this book may help you to understand your life and yourself a little better. In realizing the colossal difficulties of life, it may help you to be a little gentler with others and yourself. On the other hand, it may plunge you into an abyss of despair—a reliable sign that you are ready. Courage is rarely inborn; the mother of courage is frequently sheer desperation. It appears when one’s back is against the wall.

246

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

The Three Ways St. John of the Cross approached the way through devotion into love. Mahasi Sayadaw approached the way through knowledge into wisdom. Either way, it must culminate into the application of love and wisdom in impeccable actions. Hence, we may begin with devotion, knowledge or work, but we must strive to synthesize the three into one as we advance, otherwise we become like a threelegged stool with uneven legs. Love, wisdom and impeccable actions are inseparable. Carl Rogers and Maria Montessori might not even know anything about yoga, observation practice, or the way, yet they have gone far. Their devotion and struggle to acquire the needed knowledge to be more effective in their work, without allowing any desire to distract or any fear to deter them, are already sufficient. The way is not separate from everyday life. Huang-Po says, “Do not permit the events of your daily lives to bind you, but never withdraw yourselves from them.” In fact, if we are strong enough to strive continually to do wholesome activities that we are avoiding and to abstain from unwholesome activities that we are indulging in, this itself is an excellent and sufficient beginning. In so doing, we will be converting passive conflict and tension into active conflict and tension and therefore treading stage one of the way. Later, when we are strong enough to let go of the fruit of our activities gradually, we will be neutralizing the active conflict and tension and therefore treading stage two of the way. The ability to be at ease at work and among people while a ferocious battle is going on inside is the hallmark of someone who is already advanced. In fact, after insight four, we must strive to anchor ourselves onto everyday activities to avoid from being swept away by the higher forces. Apparent Contradictions Spiritual teachings are filled with apparent contradictions because the masters live on two levels at the same time. From the higher level, they perceive everything on the lower level as a whole. At the lower level, they discriminate. Hence, they practice equanimity and discrimination at the same time. But when they 247

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

attempt to convey the reality of the higher level to someone who only lives at the lower level, who views the higher level as formless, even non-existent, then they are compelled to speak in terms of apparent contradictions. On the lower level, we speak in terms of either this or that. On the higher level, they speak in terms of neither and both: neither this nor that / both this and that. In terms of the formless, it is neither. In terms of the whole, it is both. In fact, speaking in terms of neither and both is simply to conceptualize rather inadequately the act of perception. By the way, part of my aim is to clarify the apparent contradictions pervading spiritual teachings. Looking back, I have probably piled on more contradictions instead. Anyway, here are two additional problematic apparent contradictions: grace versus strenuous struggle and faith versus reasoning.
GRACE VERSUS STRENUOUS STRUGGLE

Why is it that we are commanded to struggle strenuously, but the moment we advance a little, then we are told that it is simply an act of grace, as if we had not struggle at all? It is not fair! Nonetheless, without the soul assisting the personality, there is no way the personality can neutralize itself. In fact, it cannot even realize its actual condition. Though we may lament and whine about our palpable problems, they are actually merely effects and relatively minor. Hence, we invariably find that the removal of these problems does not really help us at all. Further, without the soul’s aid, there will be no warrior-self. Though the warrior-self has the same nature as the other selves, its aim is diametrically opposite theirs. Can that aim come from the personality? Finally, can the warrior-self neutralize the personality by itself? Could David neutralize Goliath by himself? In fact, at some points along the way, we will inevitably be faced with the seeming impossibility of advancing further. At any of these points, we really have no choice, but to struggle on and beg for assistance from an entity whose existence we may doubt. Assistance from the formless is barely discernible initially, but as we advance, as the coarse impressions fade away, then it becomes increasingly discernible. 248

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

Rephrasing what Mother Teresa says—all our struggles are only a drop in the ocean, but it is an indispensable drop. Heaven reaches down when we strenuously struggle to reach up; hence, grace and strenuous struggle are inseparable.
FAITH VERSUS REASONING

Practical and impartial reasoning is essential; it helps us to avoid making many foolish mistakes, but it cannot penetrate the truth. Reasoning is like a tool. Like all tools, it has its uses and limitations. Only a complete plunge with our entire beings can penetrate the truth. Reasoning deals with only the lower level, but truth deals with both levels. Hence, we can only penetrate the truth when we can perceive. But before we can perceive, we have no choice, but to rely on faith when we struggle to climb up, using practical reasoning as safety net. At stage two of the way, we can then increasingly allow awareness to guide our actions, words and thoughts.

249

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

62
EPILOGUE

Krishnamurti had gone over the edge. In stressing the difficulty of the way, I may appear to have gone over the edge, too. It is because we are inundated from everywhere by the assumption that we can solve our problems with a few easy steps almost instantly. After many years of struggling to alleviate the problems facing me and finding the results futile and inconsequential, I happened to read In Search of the Miraculous. In a way, that book brought immense relief because it elucidates the reasons for my miserable failures. In that book, Gurdjieff describes in specific, definite and concrete terms the immense difficulty to do even the smallest thing from several angles. That book makes me realize the necessity to go all out. In fact, many ideas in this book came from him. I have merely verified some of the truth of what he says. Tao Te Ching says: He who makes light of many things Will encounter many difficulties. Hence even the Sage regards things as difficult, And for that reason never meets with difficulties. So there is immense value in regarding everything as difficult. Further, spiritual teachings are replete with illustrations and parables, such as using a single spoon to empty an ocean, to emphasize the difficulty of the way. These illustrations and parables are not meant to discourage; they are meant to prepare us and to prevent us from deluding ourselves, for we can derive immense selfsatisfaction in deluding ourselves that we are treading the way when in fact we are not. 250

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

A. H. Almaas says: Our situation really is much more difficult, much more profound than we allow ourselves to see for a long time. That’s why we speak of the terror of the situation – because it is so frightening to finally realize and admit how lost we are, and how at the mercy we are of so many elements that we have no handle on. The terror of the situation has a lot to do with how much we believe what we think we know, with how much we are caught in the gravity of our planet of conventional reality, believing it to be the center of the universe – and sometimes all that exists. We usually do not realize that our experience of reality has to shift only a little bit and all will disappear, leaving us totally terrified. The way is truly very difficult. The first essential step is to acknowledge its difficulty sincerely, followed by the struggle to accept it unconditionally to a certain extent. Paradoxically, the moment we can unconditionally accept its difficulty, the difficulty lessens, but it is difficult to unconditionally accept anything that gives us pain. The Dalai Lama says, “I believe deeply that we must find, all of us together, a new spirituality. This new concept ought to be elaborated alongside the religions in such a way that all people of goodwill could adhere to it.” Perhaps this book, written as a result of grace and as an act of faith, can contribute a drop toward this aim. I do not know whether this book is of any value to you, but it is of value to me. Everyday I find myself making the same mistakes repeatedly. Mistakes I have succeeded in abstaining many times before. Mistakes I know I can continue to abstain if I am willing to face the pain of doing so. Yet time after time, I indulge. Hence, I need to be repeatedly kicked by my own blunt statements. By the way, I am definitely not a master. A master can enter the void at will. He can perceive his disciple’s inner conditions directly. How can he be responsible for his disciple if he cannot do

251

TRANSFORMING CONFLICT INTO HARMONY

that? I am still far away from that; merely one amongst many on the journey of endless discovery. Each of us is indispensable. Each of us is heading home. No one can be left behind. No one will be left behind. Each of us has traveled long and far. As we head for home, As we reduce our own conflict, We will be able to help one another, Thereby bringing harmony to the world. Yes.

252

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->