Sunday, 18 July 2010
The emptiness that won’t go away.
Looking at the world with an objective hat on, we can see our dilemma clearly. We have achieved so much, striven so far. We have constructed, created and invented objects to shield and insulate us from the raw and rugged qualities of nature. Our sciences, medicines and technologies have given us a world where almost anything seems possible. We try to insulate our minds against every conceivable upset, and worry; forever chasing the next ‘fix,’ to ward off the emptiness we feel within us; shopping, sex, intoxicants, technologies, all are utilisied in a futile attempt to bring meaning into our life.
Yet as human beings, we are blessed with tremendous levels of creativity and endeavour. If we could harness our full potentials, we have the ability to soar to amazing levels of awareness. We all have the ability within us, right now, to cast off the shackles of ego and its many games, and to enter that space of pure energy, where aversions and attachments no longer hold us in their deadly grasp.
Many people are now coming to realise that materialism can never bring lasting fulfilment, and are waking up from the delusion. Due to a powerfully seductive advertising machine and constant exhortations to join the consumerist gravy train, we have been seduced into believing that more and more is good for too long. We’re become so hooked on consumerism, that we can now shop at stores like Primark, where clothes, are so cheap, that after a few wears, they can be discarded.
We are all clinging desperately to a runaway train, unable to jump off. The East used to be the place many people looked for spiritual guidance. People in those countries had a higher regard for life, they understood instinctively, that contentment wasn’t to be found in accumulating more and more goods, but could only be found within us, and that it was only when we allow some space to appear in the mind - when chattering thoughts are stilled, -could real contentment shine through. Spirituality has always been a vital aspect of peoples lives, in many of these countries, where spiritual values have held societies together.
Yet, it is in just those same countries, where we now witness the biggest rush to materialism, with their populations demanding access to the same goods, we in the west have taken for granted for so long. Whilst we in the west are slowly waking up from the nightmare of materialism, the east seems hell bent taking our place on the consumerist merry go round!
There’s a lot written about the limits to growth, and how we have to change our habits, by adapting more sustainable ways of living, both for our sake and the sake of the planet. Yet I detect little in the way of a spiritual perspective in any of this! Spirituality has had a hard press; due to the strictures of doctrine and conformity, adopted by most of the world’s organised religions, people are instinctively turned off by anything that appears ‘religious.’ Yet the dharma (reality) is anything but religious, just a straightforward approach to life and a great method to extricate us from the pain and worries we all gather within us. And what’s more it comes with a ‘free trial period,’ too, don’t just follow blindly, but try and test it out for yourself.