Vikshepa

Mental Distractions

27 Jun 2020

June 27, 2020

Finishing up my time here in the US. I think I will miss the quietude of being at home alone, and will not enjoy the bustle of being in a full household again. Coronavirus cases are sky-rocketing in Israel again, so I won't want to go out even after the period of home-isolation. I think I just want to live the rest of my life in quiet places; Neve Shalom or Auroville. There isn't much on offer outside of solitude. It's true that I need to keep my body more active, so that it doesn't grow weak and inflexible, but there are solutions for that.

I'm also finishing Sapiens, which is consistantly interesting.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Andrew, and in the evening he spoke extensively about our parents and opened up about his grief […]

I'm coming to understand how much we are not just free actors but are also products of what we ingest. In order to be free, we need to be able to break free of our addictions. They are deadly, or deadening. Culture, too, is a word that carries more meaning that that to which we ascribe to it. My parents were terribly trapped by their culture. My mother, particularly, had all the characteristics of a person who is continually trying to escape humble origins. She had internalized Britain's caste system, grown up in poor conditions, not received a complete education, and spent the rest of her life trying to live like role models who were probably from the film world, or at least a "well-to-do" person. Yet she felt completely insecure, could never settle in a place happily. Both my parents tried to escape their origins and yet constantly harked back to them, in a kind of love-hate relationship.

In some ways, I perhaps acquired some of the same traits, in that I too feel that I don't belong in the country-mentality of the place where I live. Yet with me, it is not that I secretly long to be in a "home country" because I don't really have one. I'm pretty much my own person - no doubt a product of various conditioning, like everyone, but my national identity is cosmopolitan I don't feel that I belong to a certain nature or place of origin. My attitude is also "exclusive", since I feel critical of the mainstream secular culture from a "spiritual" point of view, and critical of religions and cults from a secular point of view. I don't really want much to do wiht the world.

Popular culture of our era is a turn-off. I tried watching another American TV series on Netflix but decided again that it was too much for me - too extreme, too disgusting, I suppose. There's a certain I don't know what about our contemporary culture. Perhaps the producers of fiction make too many assumptions about what readers or viewers will like. The best way to avoid nasty surprises is just not to consume popular culture. Yogis always advise against it anyway. This is something that I already know, so I should just internalize it.

[…]

I hear trains only at night, when it's quiet, though the railroad seems to be quite near. The terrain here is flat, so there is no sound from the nearby busy main road as such, as in Neve Shalom. But sounds there are , certainly, more as a distant rumble; sometimes of planes. Sitting outside with Andrew a coupled of nights ago, he embarked on a sort of running commentary of the varioius sounds he could hear; about 70% of which were unheard by me, yet he showed his skill in being able to identify them; the kind of engine belonging to the kind of place, etc.

[…]

Registering auditory or visual impressions in this way is not what I was referring to when I wrote that we need to bring the full physical and historical context into our awareness in order that the consciousness of the moment will achieve depth. But it is the opposite of Arjuna's "I only see the bird". I suppose it's a matter of attitude, of appreciation and empathy. Each passing train, plane, June bug or fox is also Narayanaya. We are in this cosmos together and the Lord is in each of us.

Tags: life
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