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led astray

January 2013

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led astray

class readings

Classes this semester are going to be a lot of work, but very interesting and rewarding.  I had more written, but the page cleared when I went to change text mode, and now I have forgotten what all I said.  *sigh*  Anyway, the following is a sample of some assigned reading for my East Asian Religions class, written by the professor, M. LaFargue.   

Release from inflexible dependencies would mean that an enlightened person would have an unlimited capacity to "rise to any occasion," express whatever goodness is appropriate to the occasion, no matter what the occasion be, whether the occasion calls for expressing love, courage, wisdom, creativity, patience, love for justice, and so on.

Release from deep dependencies would also mean that every small detail of life would have heightened meaning. One’s aesthetic appreciation for everything would be heightened precisely because one does not need to get something from anything. Again, human beings have a native capacity to find meaning in an extremely wide and varied range of life-experiences, but this capacity is usually limited by fixed and inflexible expectations. Rainy days have their own beauty, but an inflexible expectation of sunshine on a particular day might prevent a person from appreciating this beauty.

Human beings have a native capacity to rise to the occasion presented by an extremely broad range of circumstances, to find meaning in an extremely broad range of conditions. It is particular fixed and deep needs and dependencies that limit this capacity. If my sense of self worth becomes wrapped up in the particular occupation of being a teacher, this would prevent me from rising to the occasion if I had to become a garbage collector instead. Emotionally, I would refuse to be in this new situation. Instead of seeing it as an opportunity to express other kinds of goodness that are in me, and appreciating the opportunities it offers for enriching my life with new meaning, I would be preoccupied with thoughts of "this should not be happening," paralyzing my ability to rise to the occasion. My emotional energy would become wrapped up in frustrations, anxieties, and preoccupations that are relatively useless and lead nowhere.

One achieves degrees of enlightenment, becomes more enlightened and less unenlightened, to the degree that one is able to feel situations as opportunities rather than as threats.

Needs and deep dependencies on particular conditions in the world manifest themselves in compulsive and inflexible insistence on realizing one’s plans and desires, and compulsive and inflexible resistance to accepting some unchangeable facts about the situation one is in. This inflexible insistence and resistance usually takes on a feeling of urgency and impatience.

Neediness causes a person to become deeply invested in whatever they are trying to achieve. Even small things like traffic jams cause such a person to become very upset, because she has become personally invested in getting where she wants to go, and obstacles are felt as a personal affront which "I shouldn’t have to put up with."

I’m speaking here of compulsive neediness, manifesting itself in such a person’s psychological inability to give up internally insisting on getting her way. Instead of acknowledging that the traffic jam is now an unchangeable part of the situation she is in, and making the best of this situation, she will be seized with a feeling of urgency, a feeling that it is urgent to escape from this predicament. Consequently she will be full of internal unproductive turmoil.

Excited that NERO is only a couple weeks away, but lamenting the loss of time to do nifty preparation stuff.