First Noble Truth Reconsidered

The world we move in has always been gifted with great Teachers. They arrive open hearted to lay a foundation for future generations to be able to put in place a set of principles so humanity can protect itself from itself.  Hedonism, decadence, over consumption, excessiveness, imbalanced life, narcism always seems to naturally run rampant, humanity at times is like a car rolling along without breaks and is in danger off self destruction, when we add science to the mix we end up with Weapons of Self Destruction in the hands of madmen.
After the Main Guy Leaves
It is not uncommon to see the situation where once a great Teacher has left, after a short period of time things get a little bit twisted, okay let’s be clear, it’s really a BIG little.  It’s easy to follow dogmas, they are comfortable – feel good, dangle some beads around the neck, set up an altar and a few statues, grab the prayer book, learn the designer lingo, and then bond with a ‘sense’ of community who are all going the same way … regardless which way, doing it together feels safe.  Spiritual aspirants usually call themselves the ‘black sheep of the family’ but always join another flock all wearing the same fleece.  It is easy to be told or fed someone else’s wisdom, to accept and believe what it may mean when you are told it by a more senior member of the community or someone you feel is ‘in the know.’ Those in the know are powerful, it is not uncommon that they sometimes misuse that power; obviously not always as there are well intentioned people everywhere.
HOWEVER it is critical to question everything, if not we may unwittingly become a slave to a concept.  It’s easy for the Spiritual bling to creep in, it can take over our lives and we can assume that these things make us closer to God or the goal, when really it’s often just wallpaper, delusion, Maya at its finest. Spiritual adornments are just laying extra layers over the top and block the view. The Universes/ Prakriti is the playground, there is form and the formless.  Out of Emptiness emerges all things, they rise and fall in consciousness. When freedom is what a person is seeking, imprisonment just doesn’t cut it…run…run fast…get out of there ASAP, in a moment we can cut through the delusion and if we linger it does lead to immense suffering. The baby and the bath water doesn’t cut it… run…run…run…back to yourSelf. Each moment we have the opportunity to abandon EVERYTHING, there is no obligation to the past or what we have committed too when it comes to real freedom.
The Buddha
Great minds don’t think alike, they go where no-one has dreamed.  They bring in the unknown, something extraordinary that creates a new pathway for humanity; these people make others feel a little uncomfortable, people run away. Uncomfortableness is good, it’ll make you a little itchy, restless, give you sleepless nights; these will say what you are NEVER ready to hear.
Buddha Gautama was one of many throughout the history of the endless Dance of the Cosmos who emerged out of the Infinite Silence to uplift humanity. He arrived and like other great Sages his very presence transformed those he encountered, even if they didn’t know it, the mixing of His field with theirs was enough to totally destroy them, I say destroy because in freedom everything we believe to be true gets annihilated, Buddha planted the seed as He wandered, even those who hated him benefited by encountering Him. Those who follow later, the people who form groups that ultimately morph into structured spiritual or religious organisations, cults and sects, they will interpret the words and experiences to suit their limited perceptions and understanding and create dogmas.
Is it Noble? Is it True?
Although I am very familiar with Buddhist texts, the other day my eye was caught and I froze when I read a reasonably common translation of the First Noble Truth. ‘All Life is Suffering’, this is one translation, one of many, I won’t address other ones that may be wiser but this is a springboard for removing something that has filtered through those that are both in and outside the Buddhist faith.  I felt a little unsettled when I was reminded of this way of thinking, it knocked on my being so I decided to explore it.  I could see clearly that it had the potential for undermining the wellbeing of the well intentioned Spiritual aspirants. I do know that if we dig in and run with it we will probably find something transformative. If we are not cautious we can easily bind ourselves to a self-imposed dogma, there’s always a type of subtle programming that can undermine our joy.
Lights Action  – Take Two
Let’s start over.  What I write here is not about being correct and attempting to be wiser than others. These are living teachings not historical.  I am interested in transformation, creating a bridge to cross over; we need to be prepared to abandon what we assume to be true.  Humility is reflected in our ability to be wrong, to throw EVERYTHING out the window.  Without this attitude there is no hope, we can become prisoners of doctrines and our misunderstandings.  Philosophy is about opinions, people looking at an object and telling us about it, that is only mind games, speculation.  I have learnt from experience that much that I considered to be true, even EXPERIENCED based things were totally wrong, the experiences were real but in time I discovered it was my interpretation of them that was upside down.  I recommend being open because if we are not, when it COLLAPSES and we see into what is really going on, it will be a shock to ANYONE, I know this first hand.
Our Nature and Birth Rite
Happiness is not just a goal for the future, although if we are generally unhappy now it is reasonable to have desire for it to emerge at some point downstream in our lives, this is normal but really, happiness is for NOW. If we are always running to find happiness in future times, living with a hope that one day it will be okay, unknowngly our life will flit away, the wrinkles gradually arrive, the signs of ageing creep in, the sparkle in the eye dissolves like salt in water, the essence of electrical current in our being whittles down to zero; but the doughnut on the string will still be out of reach even when the angel of death passes over and knocks on the door and welcomes us in.  If we are addicted to our past and are hypnotised by all the blissful moments that flowed under the bridge, we may find ourself always trying to recapture them; that first kiss, travel in new country, a breakthrough in art or music where we discovered we could compose a song or said “hey I really am going to be an artist”.  We do need to embrace our worthiness but find ways not cling to things, to see events like petals on a flower in our garden of existence, an ever changing lush landscape with seasons.
We need to be cautious of what drives us. By this I mean there is something deep down hidden in the subconscious that impacts on the way we feel the world and create our lives.  The first Noble Truth about suffering requires a lot of thought, clarity needs to be there, our insight must deepen.  If we stay on the surface and take on the concept ‘all life is suffering’ we will be in serious strife. We may get caught as if we as humans are in debt to suffering and continue the narrative.
I grew up by the beach, as a child the rolling waves were inviting but scary, the gritty sand in my toes, kids using sieves to find coins, playful waves on the shore, the gentle swish noise of the water moving backwards and forwards at the edge of the great blue expanse, the rock pool with baby tiger sharks wiggling, fish, starfish, jellyfish, the sunrise, all those wondrous lifeforms reminded me there was more than the television, the milkshakes, girls in bikinis strutting their stuff, the smell of coconut oil. There is no need for me to seek suffering there; only a madman does that.
On a hot day I can still taste the ice creams and paddle pops I ate as a child, feel the sun against my skin, sense myself diving under the waves, swallowing a little too much salt water, dumped on the sandbank.  I rarely eat ice-cream now, my body finds it too cold as it heads down my insides but I honour its existence, some glorious being breathed it into being.  I am not addicted to my past experiences, if I cling too much to the joys and keep pulling them into the ‘screen in my frontal lobe’ I will find myself lacking, they are gone, have moved back into Emptiness.  And if I am a slave to the joys of my past I will have to embrace its twin, the sadness, despair and tragedies that slayed me at moments.
I found it
I see the clouds changing shape, they take new forms just like the molecules in the world around me. I know that I have found love, not just in the arms of those wondrous women beings who passed through my life and left a piece of their beauty in me, those wondrous beings who helped shape the man I am for better or for worse, I embrace love in the passing play of life, not clinging but in learning how to accept the diversity of all things, the aridness of the desert, the biting cold, the gentleness of meek people, acceptance of those who are naive, the loud and bold also have their story, and the sound of a child singing strange noises.
I will leave suffering to those that need it to guide them.  I will walk another way, an uncharted path and be my own Buddha.

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