Sunday, November 09, 2008

Root of All Psychological Suffering

The root of all psychological suffering is the "little i" or the "little me". What have I done wrong? Why did he or she say nasty things about me? I or me is referred to as the egoic self. If there is no egoic self, there is no psychological suffering. There will always be a self in the sense of a physical body with a brain capable of interacting with the world, but the ego's time has come and gone, barring a collapse of civilization. My cats have identities or selves. Each has her own personality, with its needs and wants, but they aren't attached to those wants for very long. Both cats live in the moment. Same for dogs, but cats have independent wills for the most part. So, there are two ways to eliminate psychological suffering - get rid of the self, or live entirely in the present. Both are actually complementary and synergistic. Both time and self are psychological concepts to an extent. They are also both linked. The mind distracts you by trapping you either in the past or the future.

Time is a manmade construct in the sense that we separate it into past, present and future. In reality, there is only the present. The past is gone, only a memory. The past is an incomplete memory at that. The future is only a possibility. I'm not saying not to use time practically or plan for future engagements, but to not dwell on past events or future possibilities that may never come to pass.

In a practical sense, all of this means that when the world ends, it is not "The World". A world ending event means that each individual's psychological worldview is destroyed by actual events. Each person cannot delude him or herself further about how he or she thinks the world works. In some cases, a group of individuals may have a collective experience as their worldview ends. We see this all the time when a community is destroyed by a disaster, when a government such as the former U.S.S.R. falls, or when the entire banking system collapses due to debt and greed. The ultimate end of the individual psychological world comes at the death of each individual. What happens next I have no idea and it is immaterial to speculate on post death Consciousness anyway because death is a loss of consciousness in this world. The point I am making is that the key to Life and Happiness is to let go of the egoic self - to "die before you die". We aren't taught how to do this, but we experience moments of selflessness all the time. Whether we recognize them as such is the issue, and the goal here is to be selfless as much as is practically possible. With some people the process is spontaneous, but it can be learned through meditation and yoga breathing - paying attention to one's breathing.

This world is Eden. A place of Life in a solar system devoid of Life. At some point, humans developed minds and became separated from "Eden" - the natural world. Instead of living in harmony with Nature, we seek to tame it, often with disastrous consequences. The planet will heal itself if we give it a chance. However, if we keep doing what we are doing, all Humanity will accomplish is more suffering for itself - more pain, hunger, death, and destruction until we stabilize the human population to something the planet can tolerate. The alternative is to let Nature cull our numbers. The problem with that is that Nature is indiscriminate in its choices.

What my perspective means is that the Christian Rapture is a delusion. The saints won't be taken to Heaven, leaving the sinners here on Earth. This planet at this time and place is Heaven Manifest. Heaven is NOW! Heaven is sharing what you have with others, human or otherwise. Hell is humans behaving badly to one another and other beings. If one wishes to open the Gates of Paradise, lay down your anger, hurts, resentments, and weapons, and treat one another with kindness. If one wishes to open the Gates of Hell, just keep doing what you are doing.

So, is my perspective flawed?

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Comments:
No. Your perspective is complicated because life is complicated. So I agree with you.

I like your last paragraph about living for the moment and not relying on an afterlife. This ties in with my beliefs which a basically athiest.

In a nutshell - there is no personified God to absolve us of our sins while we are on Earth. So its best not to do bad things while living.

Pete
 
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