Carradine's death and Heath's death in early 2008 (both suicides) shows that actors are unhappy. They need and are lost and confused. I'm 100% convinced that the reaons for following film and studying acting for a bit was to eventually Coach actors in areas of fulfilment and health and performance and meaning. It's simple. Actor's have a lot of money and little happiness. I have a lot of happiness and little money. I can teach the happiness; they can give me the money. Both parties happy. :D!!
This makes you realize that Hollywood is truly just a massive Cult of Marketing and ploys nad disillusionment tied in with the media to create the illusion of the "glory of fame and stardom" etc. Well Hollywood went down the tubes. Seriously. I've been living 20 miles west of "Hollywood" the past year and the place is like a vacant ghost town when I visit it (seriously). Additionally, the silver screen pictures and that whole era from a sales/business point of view is completely wasted and gone. Youtube, private casts, internet "films" are now reality. So the Cultu of Hollywood is slowly dying.
Boy has my thought evolved rapidly the past years!! Only three years ago I was fascinated with and enthralled by actors. Now, after discovering some truly clear thinking rocking bodacious people (DB, Dawkins, etc). I've realized, sure, some actors may be genuinely cool, great people, but their profession is the biggest kind of cult disillusionment mass hypnosis possible. Tahts' why so many off themselves because their profession is so warped and disillusioned and they're a servant for "product placement" in the films! They likely have very little sense of self after playing characters and roles for many years of their life.
Coaching is the opposite of that. I spend YEARS of my life writing books on discovering exactly what I want to know and who I want to be and I discover that! I was interested in spirituality and when I was, it was exciting but various things (prosetylizatio in Costa Rica on multiple occasion, reading up on cults and witnessing identical similarities between cults and major religions etc) emerged and I evolved out of that. Now science and atheism are rivetting. TRULY rivetting. But the truth of the matter is. They've ALWAYS been rivetting! I've ALWAYS been this nerdy, scientific atheist. I watch home videos of me as a kid and I see that and know that. "Devout Atheism" (:D) is what's true for me. Kiekegaard says "I must find a truth that's true for me". Well, soren, I did just that and it's refreshing and incredibly MASSIVELY empowering!! Wow. So empowering to honor my genuine LOVE for science! Three kinds of symbiotic relationships, Stomata on plants, cellular respiration I love that high-tech jargon and better yet the fact that it's linked to real things in nature. But physics is like some of the most absolute truths of all tied in with the precision of math. I'm very interested in physics especially. Sweet!!
Dear Governor Schwarzenneger,
(From John Thomas "Kooz" Kuczmarski)
I'm a strong believer that the purpose of a city should serve Nature. Nature -- wildlife, animals, we homo sapiens ARE Nature -- should be the intention of anything municipal, or city-based. Therefore the idea of actually closing beaches, closing a way for humans to enjoy nature (the ocean and beaches) would be undermining the very purpose of a city.
Do you really think people will stand for not being able to access beaches? Have you any idea how ludicrous that sounds?
I think anyone who believes eliminating parks-nature-Beach funding for the purpose of redirecting those funds to something non-Nature-based needs to re-evaluate their mission, don't you?
If the significance of Nature (the oxygen we breath from the botanical plants of parks) and the body of water that keeps us alive (planet earth ecologically could not survive if it were not for it being covered with over 70% water) is eclipsed, all is lost for EARTH and humans. This sounds extreme and that's because it is. If anything, funding needs to be redirected to opening MORE beaches and parks to remind us homo sapiens that we are just highly-evolved primates, elements of nature and truly do deserve to connect with Nature readily and frequently.
I think one problem with American government is that it HAS too much funding!! IT has so much funding that it redirects it's energies, finances, and time away from the absolute necessities (nature, oxygen, planetary perpetuation and survival).
What would be the result of this situation? What would the HUMAN RACE look like couped up in offices and buildings withotu access to Nature (our origin). To euphemistically refer to the chaos, inhuman treatment, loss of identity, uncertainty of values, drop in wholistic health, and slow disintegration of the third planet from the sun -- Bad things would occur to our planet and humans.
Closing parks is analogous to saying "we dont' need to focus on nature, on beaches, on the very oxygen we breath - the most fundamental survival necessity of us humans, mind you" And that is indirectly saying "it's okay for people to suffocate and die". I wont' go as far as saying that choosing to close beaches is identical to some kind of asphixiation concentration camp -- because that would be extreme -- but I think the analogy does exist there in some form.
For the Health of Homo Sapiens (and other flora and fauna on the planet), I urge you to make the decision to NOT close the beaches and to instead maybe apply funding to actually creating more (instead of less) of an awareness of the Significance of the health of our planet. The Pacific Trash Vortex, for example....that's something more people need to be aware of, in order to stop trash accumulation in the oceans. We're failing as a species, dumping trash into the ocean?! No other species does that.
The very LEAST we can do is keep beaches and parks open to ensure that the deteriorating of our most vital resource -- OUR PLANET -- does not continue.
And we do not possess the earth. The earth does not possess us either (for we can take flight into space and leave earth), but homo sapiens MUST have a MUTUALISTIC relationsihp with the earth and we are failing because The relationship of homo sapiens and Earth has become PARASITIC. We are feeding off and hurting the ecology or our own home (earth) and not giving back. A commensualistic Symbiosis would be better than the Parististic symbiosis that humans currently have with our planet. We Should be having a mutalistic symbiosis but are in fact, having the complete opposite of that.
So again, I urge you, could you try to elevate our already-suffering relationship with the planet from parasitistic to (at the very leaast) commensualistic symbiosis, and direct funds towards cultivating attention TOWARD the necessity of beaches and parks, not away from them?!!!
-- Johnt Thomas "Kooz" Kuczmarski
Accessing the Core of Spirituality: Religion in Equus
November 8, 2004
Accessing the Core of Spirituality: Religion in Equus
What is a church? What makes up a religiously spiritual sanctuary? Is it darkened corridors echoing with hymnal reverberations , ornately colored stained glass, and the smoothened, mahogany wood found in most chapels? Or is it some relationship that you intrinsically cultivate and carry around with you, regardless of your environmental surroundings? The Greek word for “church”, “kyriakos”, means “belonging to the lord”, “the body”, “extraordinary being”, and “to make a house”, while “ekklêsia” (another synonym for “church” used in the Gospels) means “assembly” or “congregation”(Liddel 385). Even further from the conventional connection of “church”, occurring before any of the books of the New Testament, is the Aramaic definition, which has a variety of etymological roots connoting festival and celebration (Liddel 385). Maybe a church-like experience should not be a confined, solemn habitat, but an atmosphere that simply provokes and promotes authentic spirituality and connected nurturing of one’s passion. According to Greek ideology, we must experience pain and suffering in order to become passionate spiritual beings. This painful suffering becomes a carving process, whittling away the excess residual sculpture, allowing one to arrive at the altruistic soul. This transparency is created not by a church, but by one’s relationship to his spirituality – his essential religious core. Almost 2000 years after St. Paul’s blinding and consequential conversation to Christian faith, Peter Shaffer’s 1973 play, Equus, exemplifies how the protagonist, Alan, initiates a blindingly pious worship involving horses. In Equus, the core of worship and sexuality is accessed on myriad different levels of interpretation, spiritual environment, and church.
The blinding and conversion of St. Paul (then known as Saul) occurred a couple decades after his birth in 10 ad. and caused Jesus of Nazareth to reveal his perception of Paul via Ananias “a vessel of election, to carry [God’s] name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 22:14). Could it be that the young teenager, Alan, felt compelled to become a “vessel of election” and, with missionary-like conviction, spread the word of his equestrian religion; or, possibly, did Alan deify himself to play the role of God by blinding six horses? Alan may not have deified himself, but he certainly was perceiving messages that were, like those Paul recieved, not being experienced by others: “the others could who were with [Paul] saw the light but did not hear the voice of” God (Acts 22: 9). In the story of Paul’s Conversion, Ananias plays the role of a Platonic Guardian because he went back into the cave, to provide Paul with his sight, encouraging him to spread the word of God and practicing moving the soul “from the world of becoming into that of being” by becoming “a vessel of election, to carry [the name of Jesus] before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" (Plato 143)(Acts 22:14). Plato and the writer of Acts had congruent beliefs regarding the process of enlightenment involving an initial blinding glare of insight. Both of these authors would, no doubt, find meaning in the Zen parable encouraging one to “empty your cup”, insinuating that we only learn new knowledge by being a vessel to communicate a message.
In Equus, Alan becomes a similar kind of Guardian, like Ananias to Paul, liberating the psychiatrist, Dysart, from the “black cave of the Psyche” ( Shaffer p. 75). In Plato’s Allegory, the “church” or location of veritas (teachings of being, instead of becoming) was the new mysterious Sun of Reason and Goodness outside the dark psychic cave, and Alan became a master of this mysterious unknwon, with his “real worship” (p.82) -- the only form of worship he has ever known. Plato tells that stepping into the world of being revolves around the application of the soul: “the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being”. Because Alan applies his soul, unlike Dysart who only applies his mind, to knowledge (exemplified by his hour of equestrian freedom and worship) he steps into the liberating world of being. This profound worship allows Alan to grow: “without worship, you shrink”, and create a haven for his practices – the corral (Shaffer p. 82).
Alan’s conception of church clearly revolves around the stable and the horse corral. This environment provides spiritual cultivation and access to the deified Equus and other horses for sexual and spiritual worship. Yet, Alan interprets the corral as a permanently safe sanctuary solely for horse worship. By limiting the spiritual context of the stable solely for horse worship, Alan immerses himself in maladaptive isolation and fixates himself in a dangerously intractable position. An ancient Taoist monk said, “Changing with change, is the changeless state”. The wisdom entrenched in this simple adage rings remarkably true with Shaffer’s message regarding the dangers of immutability. By orchestrating a symphony of horse galloping, medieval-like worship, and “fantastic surrender to the primitive”, Shaffer depicts Alan’s interpretation of the corral as “church” to be exclusively used for spiritual connections with horses (p.82). Even though his “real worship” illuminates Dysart, like Ananias did with Paul, Alan’s rigid interpretation of the stable becomes his confining cave. With his excessibely myopic perception, he fails to change with the change, and this produces blatantly brutal and bloody ramifications, neglects to make the religious sanctuary a church that could house sexual spirituality with humans, and denies himself the capacity to grow and connect with Jill.
Our ability to comprehend that the relationship to the environment, and not the environment itself, cultivates spirituality in a place is remarkably important and poignant. Once we realize that “Passion, you see, can only be destroyed by a doctor. It never can be created”, we begin to cease external seeking a remedy for a lack of truth and fulfillment, and examine ourselves for spiritual prescriptions, engendering our internal capacity to nurture the generation of our intrinsic truths (p. 108). Once these truths have been accessed, we embrace the core of our spirituality, and by seizing and holding onto that core, we can, regardless of the atmosphere, remain engulfed in a connection spiritually-insightful poignancy and. Like any entity that can be used to catalyze serenity or deified to provoke celestial callings, the distinctive line separating horses and spiritual connections becomes remarkably porous if you’re committed to the experience. I have a friend who, after riding for over 14 years, has developed a connection with the horse where she simply thinks about turning, and through a meditative-like connection, the horse instantly responds as if the human and the horse were one. This exemplifies a fundamental tenet of Zen Buddhism: wie wu wie, or “doing not doing” (Lao-tzu vii). By being immersed in the experience of the present, the rider, thought and action, dream and reality, are smudged together in a cohesive bond of instantaneous connection. . If Baudrillard discusses the formation of an image, where the simulacra’s perversion and concealment of reality’s absence creates a “pure simulacra”, the meditative experience that unites horse and rider, like Alan’s relationship to Equus, represents the reverse process – the dissimulation of such an image, where the reality, and not the simulacra, becomes pristinely real (Baudrillard). This pure connection with religion is what Alan then tries to dissimulate, “to feign not to have what one has”, at the onset of his psychological dialogues with Dysart (Baudrillard). When Dysart sees through Alan’s ploy of Socratic irony, he becomes enticed by Alan’s intimate connection to the “dessert of the real” (Baudrillard) and uses some of his own “bloody tricks” to not only get Alan to confess, but to try to access his own authentic church (Shaffer 79).
It is clear that this pristine connection with the environment exemplifies the church that many characters in Equus try to emulate. The church for the psychiatrist, Dysart, in the play was clearly the psychological office and his ritualistic hobby of perusing Grecian art books. This was his ritual and provided him with a personally cultivated agenda for meaning, and, relative to Alan, this ritual manufactured an exponentially smaller amount of religious poignancy, but simulated fulfillment in Dysart’s dryly insipid sexual life, absent marriage, and confining home. Finally, the church for many of the men viewing the pornographic film, including Alan’s father, Frank Strang, was illuminated as the theater itself. When experiencing the milieu of the room, the bewildered and awe-struck Alan said, “all the men were staring up like they were in church” (p. 92). The lustful men had the metamorphic capacity to transform a sleezy porno theater, into the reverence one would exhibit in a cathedral. The role of the authentic church is one that holds on to a center, but has incredible spiritual potential, as well.
In the ancient Tao Te Ching, or “Book of the Way, by Lao-Tzu, a free-flowing entity called the Tao is discussed in detail: “The Tao is like a bellows:/ it is empty yet infinitely capable./ The more you use it, the more it produces;/ the more you talk of it the less you understand./ Hold on to the center” (Lao-tzu 5). Even though these Chinese words of wisdom were written nearly 500 years before Paul’s christening, the parallels between God’s message to hold on to the Christian center and to seek out its infinite capability are remarkably similar. The mathematician, Koch, produced a formula that deals with infinitum. His curve mathematically proves a infinite perimeter, but finite area of a curve. This simultaneously restricted and boundless – finite and infinite – curve illustrates the mathematical equivalent of the Tao. The Christian message of Paul’s conversion, the above Chinese words of wisdom, and Koch’s curve suggest a truly boundless faith – unconditionally infinite – in order connect with an authentic church. According to Thomas Paine who said, “my mind is my church”, we realize that this message encourages us to live connected to the spiritual core of our own vitality, not to become paralyzed by over-analysis, and most importantly, to hold fast to our own spiritual center of poignancy – the mind. Unlike the Cyclops, who lacks awareness and only “dwells in his own mountain cave…indifferent to what the others do”, we must avoid blindness in our mind’s eye by cultivating awareness and by holding on to our center, or we risk being distracted by tempting veils of unfulfilling endeavors (Homer 306: 119). The Christian church would refer to these as sins of temptation, but anything that doesn’t resonate with your authentic self keeps you in the cave, sacrificing mobility of your core.
Stepping out of the cave does not, certainly, insinuate abandoning the church, but it does imply the necessity of expanding our perception of religion and a house of religion. When I was in Costa Rica participating in a Christian Surfer mission, the religious priests, confident that “they carry the church with them”, had daily sermons on the beach. Despite their glamour, do we really need the stained glass, pews, and altar to create a building, housing religion? At the end of Equus Alan’s fervent piety provoked Dysart to realize his perversion with psychiatry and embrace the conversion of authentic being. Outside of one’s allegorical cave, authentic faith has the capacity for unconditional and omnipresent worship -- unaffected by the environment -- in any nostos (Greek, for home) be it a horse stable, movie theater, or Cycloptic cave.
But everything is reflective of the beholder. Embracing a religion that upholds morality and virtue doesn’t make your good. Everything is interpretative and dependent on how your utilize beliefs. Terrorists, for example, use the September 11 bombings as placation for religious qualms. They erroneously substantiated Islamic faith as proof to support the terrible destruction and death they incurred. Being ideologically allied with one of the world’s major religions, this erroneous alignment became dangerously charged. In his Republic, Plato reminds us of enlightenment’s double-edged design: “Did you never observe the narrow intelligence flashing from the keen eye of a clever rogue --how eager he is, how clearly his paltry soul sees the way to his end; he is the reverse of blind, but his keen eyesight is forced into the service of evil, and he is mischievous in proportion to his cleverness”. Despite their inherent nature, enlightened beliefs can be used for malign, perpetuating evil or for devout veneration, promoting the endurance of benevolence and compassion. We must make the choice to enliven our generous capacity for love.
Bible, The. New International Version. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Publishing
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations. Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed.
Mark Poster. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1988. pp.166-184.
www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/ Baudrillard/Baudrillard_Simulacra.html - 54k - Nov 6, 2004
Homer. The Odyssey. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces; Ed 7,. Vol. 1.
Ed. Sarah Lawall. New York: Norton & Company, 1999.
Lao-tzu. Tao Te Ching. Tran. Stephen Mitchell. New York; Harper & Row, 1988.
Liddel, Henry G. and Scott, Robert. A Greek and English Lexicon: Based on The German Work of Francis Passow; Ed. 3. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1849. p. 1-1622
Plato. The Republic. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
Shaffer, Peter. Equus. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.
If you don't have the capacity to say those phrases, and control YOUR time, do you know how dangerous life will become??!!! Your life will become someone else's life. Some salesman who invites you to test drive his car, or some teacher who wants you to pay them to take her class...all of those things you will do and people will drain you of money, drain you of time, drain you of life.
People may get offended if you politely tell them you're not interested. Guess what? Their feeling offended is NOT your problem! If someone says to you "I'm not interested" and I feel offended because someone expressed their opinion about an offer, I'd have a seriously low-esteem or "taking things personally" or confidence problem! So honor someone being offended by you politely saying "I'm not interested, but I appreciate your offer" as some problem THEY have!!
If someone "NEEDs" you to accept their offer for the sake of their own self-esteem, emotional well-being they have a serious problem!! Acknowledge that clinginess as a problem (obviously, they've tied emotional validity to someone accepting their offer which is not true!)
So cultivating the comfort and ease of saying "I'm Not interested" reclaims the power and clarity back in life!
I could list all the times NOT saying "i'm not interested" and then continuing on my current problem/agenda created massive havoc for me, but I won't do that...the list is too long! Here's a sampler:
Was sorting contacts in address book. Friend invited me to go to bar. What happened because I FAILED to say "Not Intersted".
--Almost got beat up.
--Almost got assaulted
--Got locked out of car for 24 hours
--Had to ice legs for next 4-5 days
What happened because I didn't say "Not interested": I drove to the bar, met the friends, started hitting on a girl, her Iraq meathead 2.5 IQ boyfriend showed up and said "get back here punk" and almost assaulted me because he thought I was stealing his girlfriend (which I was), then I got back at the valet area late so my car was locked for 24 hours. I then had to wander around Los angeles for 24 hours wearing sandals. I got shin splints and thought I seriously injured my leg.
What Would've Happened if I successfully said "Not Interested":
--Productivity on my addressbook
--Clarity on all my contacts
--Great peace of mind, freedom of thought
--Greater likelihood of connecting with good people in the future
--Less baggage with my communications
--Clarity on who my contact friends are
"I'm not interested" is a great thing to do!
In the business, professional, internet, or any world with which you associate yourself. Professionalism, formality, closure and safety are all important. Read on to see why contracts move goals forward!
1. Formality. It adds to the REALNESS of the coaching relationship for BOTH the client and coach. As a coach I don't want some client joking around wasting my time if they aren't committed to changing. I take coaching VERY seriously. I've deliberately started and stopped smoking for 2 month segments specifically for the purpose of learning about the addiction so I could educate myself on how to help clients break it! I take coachign incredibly seriously and I need clients that are committed to changing as well! From the Client POV, I'm sure a sincere and focused client who' serious about achieving his/her goals WANTS a serious coach who's determined to make them realize their goals and potential!! A contract creates this formality to the coaching-client relationship.
2. Closure. A contract creates closure and certainty on the duration of the coaching. This is ESSENTIAL for goal-setting because it shows the coach and client how fast they ahve to move and what they will have time to cover or not. If the coach and client only have 2 coachign sessions, they'll most certainly have to focus on different things than if they had 10 coaching sessions. A contract creates closure.
3. Professionalism. This is the most simple and obvious reason for using a contract -- Professionalism! Real coaches, real clients -- real professionals, be it a businessperson, an actor, a performer, a therapist, anyone exchanging in a business agreement with a person who expects to get anything done, does work AFTER signing a contract.
4. Safety. Again, another obvious, but vitally important reason. Contracts ensure that expectations and needs are agreed upon and it provides the comfort of knowing that the client and coach both will provide the details of the exchange! From the service-provider point of view, this ensures you get paid, and from a client point of view this ensures you don't get ripped off! That mutual safety creates for a more lucid experience.
Self-Love and Jinana: The Symbiosis of Desire and the Mind
When the major cities of Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro collapsed, the Indus Valley Civilization became extinct, resulting in a large migration of strongly militant, Sanskrit-speaking western people into the Indus Valley (Olivelle xxv). The link between these people and the origin of the Upanisads and other Hindu texts is unclear. However, having been recorded in 1200 BC and 800 BC, the Rig Veda and Upanisad scriptures, are 3,200 and 2,800 years old, respectively. Their depth, significance, and historical placement in forming the Hindu religion from the emerging Hindu philosophies are without equal. The Yoga Sutra, written by the great Indian philosopher, Patanjali, is from a much earlier era, but carries a similar amount of monumental significance in shaping the Hindu traditions and beliefs. Amongst the origin of existence, earth, and man, these scriptures also discuss the details of the development of deities, such as Agni, the god of sacrificial fire, Yama, the death god, and Indra, the warrior god. However, one of the reoccurring, almost thematic, explanations in the scriptures is the concept of desire. Theses texts frequently reiterate and re-examine the origin of desire, it’s relationship to the mind, and its link to suffering and fulfillment.
A universally paramount message found in world religions is the necessity of restraining desires. In Hinduism, over-indulgence of the sensual desires results in bad karma, suffering, and the consequential samsara; in Christianity, over-indulgence causes sin and then a descent into Hell; in Islam letting your chariot of desire be guided without restraint results in neglect of the five Pillars – Shahada (declaration of Allah), Prayer (five times a day), Zakat (obligatory tax of giving about 2.5% to the poor), Ramadan (month-long fasting), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) – and the consequential departure from salvation. Desire threatens to hinder the progress of the ultimate goal of salvation in other religions, as well. However, it is only Hinduism that validates the importance of desire.
According to the Rig Veda, desire is related to the origin of all existence. The Creation Hymn, or Nasadiya, discusses how in the beginning of the universe, “darkness was by darkness” and “there was neither death nor immortality” (Doniger 25). From this state of existential nothingness arose the incitation of “the power of heat” (Doniger 25). The catalyst for this heat was desire. Desire, creativity, and impulse seemed to have been the ingredients for the origin of existence: “desire came upon that one in the beginning” (Doniger 25). Therefore, desire created the momentum, while the poets, through the process of creativity, “found the bond of existence in non-existence” (Doniger 25). The poets create substance out of nothing by “seeking in their heart” (Doniger 25). The ability to utilize the generative powers of creativity is clearly exemplified with Henry Fielding’s discussion of creativity: “[it] is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature”. In this case, these “founding poets” introduced substance into the absence of everything, but desire was the catalyst for this birth of existence. Clearly, the combination of creativity coupled with desire is a very potent convergence – it is the recipe from which all life began.
The Rig Veda prompts “was there below? Was there above?” and responds by saying the above there was “giving-forth” and below, there was “impulse” (Doniger 25). It seems that from this desire came the creativity which formed substance, and then these different substances began to interact each other through impulses or “giving forth”, depending on whether or not these forces were below or above.
In his discussion of the origin of desire, Maurice Bloomfield describes desire and the mind to have reciprocity between each other because they both relate to each other through a certain degree interdependence. Bloomfield references the Hinduism notion that the vehicle for desire is the mind. He says, “you mount your mind or wish-car and reach your destination, that is to say, the object of your desire” (Bloomfield 281). While the mind may be the vehicle for attaining desires, the mutual symbiosis between the mind and desire becomes more blatant when one realizes the similarities between the manas (desire-vehicle mind) and kama (desire). Bloomfield perpetuates the interdependent relationship with desire and the mind by referencing the exchange directly: “fulfill desire, fulfill the mind of the poet” (Bloomfield 281). Desire completes and is integral to the fulfillment of the mind, but the mind in turn delivers and acts out the desire: “by means of the mind one exercises desire” (Bloomfield 281). There is totally reciprocating exchange between the mind and desire because the mind could not live without the fuel and the fulfilling impact of desire, but the desire needs the mind to implement itself on the world. The mind simultaneously manufactures and receives the fulfilling benefits of desires. Bloomfield’s argument that “either [desire or the mind] indifferently may be mounted and ridden to the goal,” is illogical because the destination of desire is only acquired through the mind and desire typically never “acquires itself” (Bloomfield 281). However, Bloomfield’s recognition of the overlapping exchange between desire and manas has validity throughout the Hindu scriptures.
The mutual essentiality of both concepts, mind and desire, is obvious because without the fuel of desire, the driver (and car) would be immobile, but without the navigation of the mind-driver, the car would soon crash into something. However, given this mutually symbiotic relationship between desire and the mind, there is a need for some discipline. Bloomfield recalls “the man who rides (as it were) in a chariot drawn by his five senses and directed by his mind (as the charioteer), who keeps it on the path of the virtuous, can never be overcome by his enemies (lust, wrath, and greed)” (Bloomfield 282). Some sections of the Upanisads and the Yoga Sutra pose a stark contrast to the Rig Veda in references to desire because they call for the discipline of wishes, to not let one’s senses run rampant, and to recognize desire as a potential cause of suffering.
In the ascetic prevention of over-indulging, understanding is created. “When a man has understanding, his mind is ever controlled; his senses do obey him, as good horses, a charioteer” (Olivelle 239). This is a stark contrast from the man who lacks understanding because “his senses do not obey him, as bad horses, a charioteer” (Olivelle 239). In other words, through the power of understanding one acquires more mastery over their senses and indulgences, and from this mastery, desires are more efficiently fulfilled because the senses work in harmony instead of discordance.
Equally important to having your chariot of desires being pulled by good horses (i.e. an understanding mind), is the fulfillment of one’s desires. The very fulfillment of desires dissolves avidya and generates a form of mokti where that self “cannot be grasped, by teachings or be intelligence, or even by great learning” (Olivelle 276). A passage from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet describes children as having a similar inaccessibility: “You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow” (Gibran 4). The clarity associated with the self that enters the “Brahman-abode” and the unfathomable and unreachable alacrity of children have similarities (Olivelle 276). However, the source of acquiring the ungraspable state of mokti is “when one’s desires disappear in this very world” because they have been authentically fulfilled (Olivelle 275). So the Hindu view of desire-fulfillment is not selfish, but extremely selfless because by fulfilling your desires, you acquire more of a Brahman state from which you can more effectively help others. In that sense, fulfilling your desires is the pathway to becoming the most effectively compassionate because you would have acquired a state of ungraspable continuity of presence.
When the Upanisads say, “one who hankers after desires in his thoughts, is born here through his actions,” they are referring to the ephemeral, fleeting existence – the lack of a consistent presence – in someone who lacks mastery over their desires (Olivelle 275). The man who has fulfilled his desires has a greater consistency of presence because he is not fleeting in and out of existence; he possesses the permanence of the “Brahman-abode” (Olivelle 275). From this Brahman-abode, the Brahman works with seers, the wise, aesthetics, and the worlds, themselves. The seers attain him and are freed from “passion and tranquil” and are made perfect, while the wise attain him and “enter into that very All” (Olivelle 276). Furthermore, the ascetics become disciplined through renunciation, and then the worlds are “fully liberated” (Olivelle 276). Clearly, the tactful, or mindful, fulfillment of desires generates the Brahman-abode, which leads one to a higher didactic and altruistic capacity that collectively helps others.
Desires can be fulfilled through self-love and knowing one’s self. In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, during the discussion between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi, Yajnavalkya conveys that “one holds a husband dear…not out of love for the husband; rather, it is out of love for oneself (atman) that holds the husband dear” (Olivelle 28). As the dialogue progresses, it becomes clear that the relationship between self-love and external love is true for external desire; if you love or desire a wife, children, Gods, wealth, power, worlds, or any other possible thing, this love is a manifestation of self-love, of love for one’s atman. This concept alludes to the idea that desire not only originates in our self, but also is satiated through our self-love. Additionally, “by reflecting and concentrating on one’s self, one gains the knowledge of this whole world” (Olivelle 29). So it is through knowing one’s self through reflection and concentration and through self-love that desires are swiftly fulfilled. However, one cannot meander a fantastical world, believing their desires are instantly fulfilled through simple reflection. Instead, enlightenment must be cultivated through various forms of yoga and through the utilization of the senses.
If used correctly, our senses do much more than bombard us with desires; they become primary mechanisms for cultivating our desires . The early Brhadaranyaka Upanisad discusses how in the beginning – after the spark of desire, creativity, and impulse – there was only the atman and desires of Brahman. Brahman then used his sight to acquire “human wealth”, his hearing for “divine wealth”, speech for his wife, breath for his offspring, and body for his rites (Olivelle 17). This is not to be taken linearly, insinuating that looking around will make you a billionaire, that listening to the radio will generate spiritually alignment, that speaking will cause your wife to spontaneously emerge, that when one breaths babies appear out of no where, or that one’s body will automatically perform rituals. What the Upanisads are referring to here is that you possess the tools and gifts required to generate all of your desires. With your own faculties of mind and senses, you can create a poignant relationship with a wife by communicating emotions, sincerity, and love; you have the calmness of breath to raise children, the intellectual expression to communicate and exchange wealth on a material level, the intuitive hearing to listen to and comprehend your inner voice, and the body to exercise ceremonial rites. In other words, you are fully equipped with the tools needed to fulfill all desires and therefore should direct your love to the self instead of outwardly grasping for desires.
It’s important that self-directed love is not misinterpreted as selfish conceit because “the Whole has become one’s very self,” according to Hindu belief. Therefore, self-love is the pathway to most effectively love your world, wife, husband, gods, family, friends, and any other external entity (Olivelle 30).
The paradoxical relationship between atman and desires, in Hinduism, however arises when one understands that desires and wishes as infinite, while the body as finite. However, by using one’s sight, hearing, speech, breathe, and body, one can recognize the everlasting nature of one’s jiva, the invariant component the emerges with each new reincarnation, and abandon the problematic idea of an ephemeral being. No one is immortal, obviously, but recognizing the qualities of immortality, namely ideas, solves the problem with having a finite body with infinite desires. John F. Kennedy once said, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on”. Kennedy’s reference to the everlasting nature of ideas, amongst the fleeting, impermanent nature of man and worldly things can be used to solve the “infinite desires within a finite and ephemeral body” dilemma because one simply harnesses the power of the mind, to create the eternal ideas.
In the Svetasvatara Upanisads the ramifications of truly knowing God are discussed in relationship to desire. The verse reads, “when one has known God, all the fetters fall off…birth and death come to an end” (Olivelle 254). Furthermore, in addition to the cessation of samsara, or the termination of birth-death cycle, when one meditates on god, there is a “dissolution of the body…and in the absolute one’s desires are fulfilled” (Olivelle 254). Through the devout and continual practice of comprehending god and by being mindfully meditative of God, the problems of the body, literally dissolve, and desires are instantly fulfilled.
Desires are significant because they generate motivation. If one desires to know God, according to the Svetasvatara Upanisad, such a desire will consequentially result in the discovery of God and then the fulfillment of one’s desires. However, desires must, not necessarily be “tamed”, but they truly must work in correlation with the mind. The Katha Upanisad reminds us “when a man’s mind is his reins, intellect, his charioteer; he reaches the end of the road” (Olivelle 239). By having the mind be the navigator that control’s the chariot of desire, one reaches the end of the road and their ultimate goal. But this does not insinuate a termination of practice because new desires are generated and must be integrated with the mind. Therefore, reaching the “end of the road” is not a signal to kick up your heals and retire from the process of acquiring jinana, but, rather, it is an indication of balance between the mind and desires, and that one’s process of knowing Brahman has evolved.
The Yoga Sutra teaches one to enjoy a state of objectivity where one’s “spirit stands in its true identity as observer to the world” (Miller 29). Such centeredness is acquired through the “cessation of thought”, which is manufactured by, amongst other things, “practice and dispassion” (Miller 32). Dispassion is specifically defined as “mastery over the craving for sensual objects” (Miller 32). Because it is defined as simply mastery over desires and the senses, dispassion is not the abandonment of sensual satisfaction, but the mitigation or total elimination of the control that sensual desires exert over one’s spirit.
While the Yoga Sutra doesn’t call for a total renunciation of all sensual desires, which would result in a divine being, the relationship with desires and the senses must be controlled. The stance proposed by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra portrays desire as perpetuator of “the control that material nature exerts over the human spirit,” preventing us from rediscovering our state of centeredness or sattva guna (Miller 1).
In Samkhya philosophy, one of the six schools of Hindu Indian philosophy, a guna is described as a tendency towards a mental state. In Samkhya there are three guna’s, or three of these mental state tendencies – sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattva -- most closely associated with the brahmin class -- implies a perfect equilibrium of will and desire and the tendency to always do good over evil. The rajas mental state --most common in the second, kshatriyas varna -- implies a mental state that is too overactive and chaotic. The third guna, tamas -- most closely referenced to the fourth, shudra varna -- refers to too much inactivity, lethargy, darkness, and obfuscation.
By having dispassion and control over desires for material cravings, one can observe “the lucid perfection of nature and spirit” (Miller 71). Such a state of attentiveness can only be generated by not the abandonment, but the transcendence of the senses: “when the senses are mastered, they can be transcended, giving one immediate apprehension of all dimensions of nature” (Miller 72). In turn, this state of sattva creates absolute freedom, which “occurs when the lucidity of material nature and spirit are in pure equilibrium” (Miller 73). Such a state of equilibrium is the same experience that famous American writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, described when he experienced a state of “Universal Being”: “my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball” (Emerson 1109). This state of incredibly transparency is the same equilibrium defined by the Yoga Sutra as absolute freedom. In other words, absolute freedom and tranquility are not acquired by discarding desires. Instead, such liberation and clarity is generated through mastery and tranquility over wishes, by absolving over-attachment to material longings, and by contemplating the pristine equilibrium of nature and spirit.
Despite the apparent disparity in the definitions and interpretations of desire, all the texts point to desire being a key element in the equation for eliminating suffering. The Yoga Sutras point out how excessive desire must be eliminated, while the Rig Veda consider it a proliferating force, that it was the origin of existence, and the Upanisads calls for the necessity of balance, to ensure mental mastery from the mind over the chariot of the senses and desire, but they do mention how fulfilling one’s desires helps the wise, the seers, the wise, the ascetics, and liberates worlds.
Whether the interpretation considers desire to be stifling or motivating, it is a major concept in Hindu philosophy. Conclusively, desire should be examined as a vital source of motivation that must be neither abandoned nor allowed to run rampant. Without desire, one runs the risk of slipping into a lethargic tamas guna, but with too much desire, one could become chaotically over-active, with a rajas mental tendency. Only through the simultaneous mastery and fulfillment of desires can one acquire the “faith, heroic energy, mindfulness, contemplative calm, and wisdom” that generates tranquil cessation of thought and liberation (Miller 44).
Bloomfield, Maurice. “The Mind as Wish-Car in the Veda.” Journal of the American
Oriental Society, 1919. p. 280-282
Provided a very philoosphically inspiring idea of the mind as a wish-car and scope on the rig veda as a whole.
Doniger, Wendy. The Rig Veda. London: Penguin Books, 1981.
The core text of the Rig Veda.
Emerson, Ralph W. “Nature”. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 6th ed. New
York: Norton and Norton Publishing Co., 2003. p. 1106-1135.
The text of Emerson’s “Nature” used for references to Universal Being state being similar to the Yoga Sutra’s description of absolute freedom.
Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. New York: Alfred Knopf Publishing, 1953.
Useful interpretation of the pristine nature of children.
Miller, Barbara. Yoga: The Discipline of Freedom. Barbara Miller Trans. New York:
Bantam Books, 1998.
The core text of Patanjali’s Yoga sutra.
Olivelle, Patrick. Upanisads. Trans. Patrick Olivelle. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1996.
The primary text of the Hindu Upanisads.
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