Good morning! Welcome to the DKos Sangha weekly open thread.
This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice. If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.
If you would like to host a weekly open thread, please let me know.
If you care nothing for spiritual practice and only wish to denigrate and disparage, please do so elsewhere, and respect that this is a community diary for the DKos Sangha.
Not-knowing is a teaching common to many spiritual traditions and teachers. It addresses the problems associated with doubt and certainty along the spiritual path. Egoic mind uses both. Ego uses certainty to attach itself to teachings that are more useful as tools than as beliefs. And it uses doubt to stifle progress along the path. Both enable ego to stave off the eventual awakening when identification with ego as who we are is broken.
When we rest in awareness, our experience is that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, and thoughts all arise within the same space. This is often described as oneness; other names are advaita, buddha-nature, awareness, god, brahman, the universe. But these are just labels, and the descriptions of experience are just descriptions, useful pointers for practice. To say, for instance, that all being have buddha-nature may be a useful tool for practice, but it is essentially just a way of describing experience, using a label common to a particular tradition, that can be useful in our practice. Egoic mind tends to tightly hold to these descriptions and labels as fact or truth or knowledge, these ideas then become "mine"; and it is egoic thought processes that identify things as mine and not mine, separation, duality.
Thus, it can be helpful in our practice to fully accept not-knowing. The sentence in the previous paragraph, "when we rest in awareness, our experience is that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations, and thoughts all arise within the same space", is useful as a tool for practice and as a way of communicating with each other about the spiritual path; but it's just a description, it isn't necessarily "truth". Recognizing it as a tool rather than as truth, and accepting that we "don't know" helps break ego's grasping at "knowledge" and maintaining its self-importance.
Most of you reading this are probably already familiar with these ideas, "not-knowing", "don't-know mind", ego's tendency to attach to and hold to anything it can to preserve its self-importance, to preserve the illusion that it is who we are, the illusion of separation, the dichotomy of "me" and "everything else". The reason I bring all this up, however, is that it seems to me useful to bring this practice of "don't know" into our political engagement.
Obviously facts are useful. If you need a 4"x4" pole to support your deck and you measure the distance at six feet, then you need to cut the 4x4 to a length of six feet. Similarly, if people are hungry, they need to be fed; if people are out of work and unable to support themselves, then we need to turn our attention to that problem and work to find a solution.
And we may find solutions, good solutions, and we may wish to implement them, and we will run into opposition. Egoic mind will enthusiastically jump in and tightly hold to the solutions that we think best. And egoic mind will condemn those who oppose our solution; and egoic mind will condemn us if we fail to do what is needed to implement these solutions, if we turn our attention to other things, etc.; you see where I'm going with this.
Thus, I'm thinking that even with policies and goals and positions that we find to be worthy, it can be useful to loosely hold to these, such that they aren't "mine"; being mindful that everything is arising within the same space.
Egoic attachment and aversion cloud our seeing. "Loosely holding" doesn't mean that we don't see what needs to be done and that we don't work to solve problems; it is, rather, a tool for practice, a way of recognizing that everything we do in life is part of practice.
In a way of thinking about it, we hold our politicians to an impossible standard; in every interview they are expected to provide an answer to every question, to specifically identify with one position or another. But I think that it is often the case that "I don't know" is probably the best answer one can give.
Just some random thoughts on a rainy cloudy cold beautiful Sunday morning here in Asheville.
Enjoy your day!