Friday, September 22, 2006

How To Save The World

Religion, politics and war are all prominent topics pervading the world's media and our thoughts at this point in history. I have some strong opinions on all of these, which basically amounts to a wish that all three did not exist. But focusing on a wish like that is ignoring the reality of the problems in our world.

Today I tried three times to write a coherent explanation of my thoughts and feelings on these subjects and couldn't come up with anything that expressed the truth of what is inside me. It was almost as if an answer to everything was hiding in a corner of my mind and all I had to do was take the correct mental route to let it out into the world.

But it didn't happen and I gave up. It's all just too complicated.

So instead I'll share with you a little ditty, courtesy of Zen Stories To Tell Your Neighbors.

It might be what I was really looking for.


A Tibetan story tells of a meditation student who, while meditating in his room, believed he saw a spider descending in front of him. Each day the menacing creature returned, growing larger and larger each time. So frightened was the student, that he went to his teacher to report his dilemma. He said he planned to place a knife in his lap during meditation, so when the spider appeared he would kill it. The teacher advised him against this plan. Instead, he suggested, bring a piece of chalk to meditation, and when the spider appeared, mark an "X" on its belly. Then report back.

The student returned to his meditation. When the spider again appeared, he resisted the urge to attack it, and instead did just what the master suggested. When he later reported back to the master, the teacher told him to lift up his shirt and look at his own belly. There was the "X".

I'm interested to see what thoughts this story triggers. Share away if you feel an inkling to. I promise to write something far sillier in my next post.


Anonymous said...

I immediately think that what we hate/fear externally is a direct reflection of what we hate/fear about ourselves. We transfer that externally so we do not have to deal with it internally.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Good, good.

I have a few ideas about it myself, but I'll wait for others to pipe in.

JamesO said...

What? So he wasn't Spiderman?

But seriously, fear is something we do to ourselves, not something visited on us by outside forces (tries not to say 'fear is the mind killer...') Likewise hatred and anger come out of the realisation that we are powerless in a given situation. We get angry with people because we can't easily stop them doing things we don't want them to.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Our greatest obstacles to achieving inner peace, or enlightenment or our full potential or whatever you want to call it, is ourselves. It's not a matter of fighting our nature, or our fears. We do that every day. In fact, it's self-defeating.

I think it's a matter of embracing our nature, of identifying that nothing outside of ourselves is the block. The spider is us, we are the spider.

of course, sometimes other people's spiders need to be violently squashed by the Giant Boot of Karmic Ass-Kicking.

Obviously, I have a long way to go on this whole enlightenment thing.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Mary, that is a damn fine answer.

James, I used to know the Litany Against Fear off by heart, and before that I kept a copy of it in my wallet.

Stephen, we're not really brought up to accept ourselves anymore, are we? We're always being compared to each other. And that conditioning becomes part of who we are and that is what we have to break through. Maybe.

Or maybe we need to use the more peaceful, Dustpan of Relocation.

Kevin Wignall said...

I like that. People who despise themselves are more likely to despise others.

I also like the idea of Zen stories to share with your neighbours.

Btw, thanks for the comments about "People Die". As for that cover...

Daniel Hatadi said...

Kevin, if you check the stories on the Zen web site, you'll find other people's interpretations of each story. They're useful in that some of them trigger ideas of your own, and others are just plain funny.

And yes, thank you for writing such a fine novel.