Look With Both Eyes
Years ago I watched a video clip by a philosopher named Ken Wilber that I still find myself referencing from time to time. In it, Wilber is asked about the plight of our world and how the struggles of our species relate to the enlightened perspective, or “big mind”.
I’m still not terribly familiar with Wilber’s work, but in the clip he very eloquently addresses the paradoxical relationship between (A) spiritual enlightenment as a realization of perfect peace and (B) the heartbreaking compassion that expansion of consciousness brings in for the suffering of all beings in our world. He does this with a very simple phrase: he says that as you awaken, that suffering “hurts more, but it bothers you less.”
In essence he says that awakening brings in an awareness of both the “absolute” perspective from which the world is seen as an illusion with no ultimate reality wherein no imperfection could possibly exist, and the “relative” perspective in which the suffering or happiness of others matters deeply to you.
“I don’t know anyone who has simply resolved that,” Wilber says of this paradox. “And I don’t think you’re supposed to. And I think the people that do are just playing on one side or the other side of that street. And we have to give ourselves plenty of room to both feel absolute perfection in everything that’s arising, and yet see one person starving and you will start crying so hard it will kill you. And if you’re not doing both, you’re doing something wrong.”
It seems likely to me that anyone who has sincerely dedicated themselves to expanding their awareness both inwardly and outwardly will eventually find themselves resonating with this “hurts more, bothers you less” perspective. As your awareness of your own inner processes expands you become liberated from the delusions which used to pull your strings and make you suffer from behind the shadows of the unconscious, and as your awareness expands outwardly the profound suffering and cruelty in our world will bring you howling to your knees.
This is why I think it’s so important for those who are sincerely dedicated to truth to work on expanding consciousness both outwardly and inwardly. If you only expand it inwardly you wind up a masturbatory navel-gazing bliss bunny whose life is a half-truth at best, and if you only expand it outwardly you’ll be quickly overwhelmed and embittered by the misery of it all. In the spiritual circles I used to move in people were mostly in the former camp, and in the political circles I move in now people are very often in the latter.
The best wa
Article from LewRockwell