An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.
FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE (revisited)
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara
What life teaches, day by day...
“Some things that should never be forgotten are lost... history becomes legend; legend becomes myth...” (Intro to Lord of the Rings by Tolkien)
“When none of it matters, it will all be yours.” (The Teacher, YLea)
“Do not look for hope -- it has forsaken these lands.” (The Return of the King by Tolkien)
I agree with Tolkien regarding such things as hope, to which I add faith and of necessity, love.
These are concepts. That is all they are. Give up all hope as a concept, as a feeling and an emotion, and possibly from this great emptiness, the real, living thing will be born or will reveal itself.
Give up faith, and you may yet find that within yourself burns the fire of desire that gives life to the concept, turning it into a living force.
Finally, the hardest one of all: Give up on love. Detach from every aspect of this concept that has ever entered your mind and trickled poisonously down into the heart. Perhaps from the sorrow of this final touch of loneliness, true love will be conceived within you, to gestate, to be born and to flower over this world to finally accomplish what it was possibly originally designed or intended to do.
All that you have been given, inasmuch as it came from "others" are but concepts. Ideas. You were not impregnated with them, you were brainwashed, then pulled into emotional turmoil that eventually settled as swampy backwater that translates as the nitty-gritty of life.
It is easy to tell the difference between concepts and living forces. Concepts have no power. They are as idols. Those who believe in them, feed them of their own power and are weakened and confused by them. As they expand in size, given time, so does their inner hollowness. All the evils that fester upon this world -- these are what they seek in their gnawing emptiness.
So do not be surprised to find that those who speak glowingly and with flattery of faith and hope and love, demonstrate none of these. Do not be surprised to find that it is those who bandy these concepts about that reek of selfishness, of greed, of sexual lust, of hedonism, of idolatry to power. Look inside yourself and find these concepts firmly established in their manifold expressions in your own mind, you find the same emptiness; the same powerlessness; the same thirst for a certain reality that continues to elude you.
You would be strong, yet encounter but fear. You would be honest, yet find yourself lying about a great many things, especially to yourself. You would be giving, yet cling to your possessions, whether few or many. You would be compassionate, yet cannot turn the tide of prejudice. And finally, you would be humble but cannot stop bragging about your accomplishments as compared to others.
Yes, you would demonstrate to the whole world the power, the beauty, the integrity of these: your faith, your hope and your love. But in the end, you can but talk about it. And because so many satisfy themselves with this charade of words, you find many eager ears to tickle with your talk. Life goes on: few notice the discrepancies when they are dressed to kill.
But somewhere along the way, there comes a crossroad. A choice must be made. Three choices, actually. To continue along the same well-travelled way that leads precisely nowhere. To turn left down a sweet-scented, grass-bordered gentle slope, or to turn right and take a rocky path that seems to lead only to Mordor*, to disaster, to certain death.
These "paths" are always discernable. Everyone comes across them and makes a choice. I remember long ago having one of many talks with the Teacher YLea regarding these paths, and the means to discern them. Her remarks were always cryptic, to the point. "The majority is always wrong." she said matter of fact. That's a simple enough rule. How about: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." or "Broad is the way, wide is the road that leads to hell and many go therein but narrow is the way, hard the path that leads to heaven and only the few find it."*
It should come as no surprise now that "Mordor" isn't hell, it's deliverance -- if you carry the ring of power and if you are willing and strong enough to desire it's destruction that others may live, even though you may die. There is a harshness to reality that many endure day by day, yet fail to engage through self-empowerment. They struggle, labour and die, trusting in concepts rather than in themselves to bring about change.
Faith, hope and love as concepts are nothing more than good intentions. As long as we wander about filled with our good intentions, we feel rather smug about ourselves. We hide in the herd along with the rest of our fellow sheeple and we really aren't all that bad, are we. We are all the same colour and same size, basically and for the most part do what is expected of us. Many add a little bit of life insurance along the way. They do the religion thing (call it faith even) and come to believe that in so doing, they have a guarantee of "eternal life" in heaven.
A bit of John Lennon here: Imagine, no faith, no hope, no love. No heaven, no hell. Just everyday reality and you in the middle of it. No special person to help, to protect or to save. No one to curse or to praise. No one to pull you down, or to hold your hand. Alone, but for a handful of weird friends who in retrospect, may just be a figment of your imagination, or wandering cosmic ghosts...
It would seem that I am unravelling the meaning of the phrase: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."*
The "illusion" some would-be wise speak of, and many not so wise bandy about freely, is not this reality of stone and bone, of wood and water, of flesh and blood, of brain and guts. The "illusion" is the sum-total of all the concepts, all the ideas, that have been spoken of, written about, then made into a "Shelob" web in which the hearts and minds of Earthian humans become hopelessly entangled. And that, simply because the lofty-sounding concepts were never incarnated in the heart-mind, thus never becoming the living, working power they were meant to be.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the ends therefrom lead but to death." The only way to break out of any deadly entanglement is through detachment. Detachment leads to self-empowerment which allows one to wield the “sword of the Spirit” that cuts through the strongest of conceptual bonds. Some may ask, "What is that famed sword of the Spirit?" That brings us to a complementary topic, that of the warrior, for only a trained warrior can wield a sword effectively, even, no, especially! a spirit sword.
The conclusion I arrive at when I contemplate these subjects is that no short-cut to bliss exists, or ever did. Everything good demands self-discipline, study, exercise, long periods of time alone from everything to think and refocus. There is no magic, no machinery available to jump or fly from the conceptual (System) lifestyle to self-empowerment. Life is absolutely demanding and harships are offered as gifts to train for it.
Quotes from Richard Layton:
The Zen Master warns: "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him!" This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside ourselves is real.
The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
*The references to Mordor, the ring of power and Shelob is from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien.
*Note: Biblical quotes are not verbatim but drawn from memory.
*If you Meet the Buddah on the Road, Kill Him - by Sheldon B. Kopp