"But what remains to be said... is of so novel and unheard-of character that I not only fear injury to myself from the envy of a few, but I tremble lest I have mankind at large for my enemies, so much doth want and custom, that become as another nature, and doctrine once sown and that hath struck deep root, and respect for antiquity, influence all men: still the die is cast, and my trust is in my love of truth, and the candour that inheres in cultivated minds."
The first words I ever blogged on this topic were these: Only a handful of people know who I truly am. I don't mean my identity as a blogger; I mean who I am as a result of what I have learned and what I can do. Needless to say, I get lonely.
I began blogging, I suppose, as a way of dealing with my need for understanding and acceptance of who I really am. I have learned a great deal along the way, both about myself and about the way other people will react to me. And I find that I am acquiring an increasingly 'mystical' view of reality and what it means to be human. Perhaps the more accurate way to say it is that the way that I see the world is beginning to resemble certain mystical viewpoints.
This blog began as I prepared for (but was eventually unable to afford to attend) last year's Science and Nonduality conference. I'm likewise unable to attend this year's conference, but my interest in exploring nonduality and nondual viewpoints hasn't waned. (This surprises me a bit.) Indeed, I think there is much to be gained from understanding the exact nature of our interdependency. To what degree am I what you have made me, and what how should I behave if I am creating you? (And if those are indeed pointless questions, what is it that this thing that feels like 'I' should be doing?) And though I think that I am developing a clearer picture of what I believe to be true, I nevertheless want to explore what others have had to say in this area. This will involve a much different subset of literature, and so I've decided to give this exploration its own blog.
You may find yourself disagreeing with, or rejecting, the perceptions that I'm struggling to articulate. (I'm used to this, though certain reactions still disappoint me more than others.) What matters most is not whether or not we share the same viewpoint, but how we treat each other when we have different viewpoints. Ironically, this is a fundamental problem of the human condition that a nondual viewpoint is challenged to explain. Why do we disagree, and why are we threatened by disagreement?
Strife arises not because there is a disagreement in viewpoints, but because such disagreements often lead one or both parties to view the other as inferior. When you have decided that someone is somehow less than you are than it quickly becomes easy to treat them differently. To manipulate, lie, coerce, threaten, even torture becomes permissible if the 'other' is viewed as sufficiently different and that difference is perceived as a threat. According to a nondual viewpoint, the illusion is that the 'other' is anything more than a reflection (of sorts) of ourself. Are you willing to battle the illusion that I am somehow something that is threateningly different? Or have I acquired the status of 'curiosity' to you - something to be tested, goaded, and manipulated?
I wish I could say that I didn't view certain 'others' as threats... I'm working on that, but I'm not there yet - sorry. (I can't imagine why it's taking so long... but maybe this exploration will help with that problem.)
Oddly enough, I missed a line in my haste to type that quote on strife. "But it all has purpose, and that purpose is to seek union." And perhaps that is the struggle - to never cease to be willing to trade fear for love...