a world of our own creation

POSTCARD#322: Chiang Mai Airport: Waiting in departures for the delayed flight to Bangkok. Very crowded and all seats near the gate are taken. Young Americans, Australians, in ‘Hang Out’ mode, sprawled around in the seats, on the floor, wearing nearly nothing at all; long legs, pointed elbows sticking out – a sea of brightly coloured T-shirts, shorts, rubber slippers. In the coffee bar, a forest of exposed limbs, tattooed legs, bosoms, identity obscured behind peaked caps worn down over the eyes, mirror reflecting sunglasses, headphones, iTunes and hunched over their devices, sucking up drinks through a plastic straw, the tubular proboscis of insectoids. Sensory-experience junkies, have to have that input by way of the sense gates.

They do know, though, that the ego of the West is a self-sustaining concept running out of battery and most likely to fizzle out quite soon, impermanence, everything changes. There’s no substance to it, same with all things. This is the Christian God of the West, the one-and-only-God that doesn’t include two thirds of the world’s population because they’re not Christian. It’s like a right wing supremacist movement, same as Muslim extremist groups; there’s a war and both sides pray to God to win. God gets confused, so there’s another war, and another…. Everyone is dying or dead and among the survivors there is one who can see they they’re not talking about God, the Ultimate Reality, what they’re talking about is one of the gods of the conditioned realm. The logic of this is inescapable – how could God be something that one religion has and another doesn’t have? Yes, inescapable but there’s a kind of nobody-at-home look on the faces of my Christian friends when it seems like I’m going to want to try to discuss this point further.

Some people wake up, but some just don’t wake up at all. It gets too complicated and that’s why the Buddha was saying life is difficult enough as it is so let’s not get engaged with the God concept, okay? Attachment to the idea of it becomes a desire in itself and that’s what’s causing the problem. Ultimate reality is so fragile and subtle you can never be absolutely sure you’re not still setting it up so you’re seeing it the way you want it to be, still in the conditioned realm and far from the Truth. The best thing to do is not call it anything, cultivate mindfulness, clear comprehension, discerning awareness and take care; see how that goes…

“… the illusory world is through attachment. We think we all live in the same world as personalities, but every one of us lives in a world of our own creation. We have certain things in common but so much of our life is personal and unique to ourselves. That world we create is not the objective world we believe we’re living in; we’re living in a world of our own creation. That’s why it’s so difficult relating to each other, isn’t it? We’re coming from different worlds – you feel, sometimes, you’re living with a bunch of aliens!” [Ajahn Sumedho, ‘In Awareness There is No Dukkha’]

Photo: Louk Vreeswijk

18 thoughts on “a world of our own creation

  1. “…you can never be absolutely sure that you’re not still setting it up so you’re seeing it the way you want it to be…” I’ve recently heard it aptly put that our eyes aren’t merely observers, they’re also projectors. Essentially, we’re sitting in a cinema watching a movie while we project our own film onto the same screen. Our job, as far as I can tell, is to dim our own projector enough so that the Universal movie is able to shine through. If I thought that the God concept would be a helpful means to that end, I’d engage in it, but that would just be more input from my own projector, wouldn’t it?Wonderful post, and know that, even when there’s no comment or “like” from this blogger, I’m always moved in some way by your contributions to the blogosphere.

    p.s. I’m not one to spend much time with “devices,” but I rarely even distract myself with books or magazines when I’m in an airport, as it would be a shame to miss out on that rich theater of people watching! We really do go into a different mode when we’re in that stare of physical transit. Jeff

    • Thanks Jeff, and it seems to me you can’t separate the sensory organ from the brain and as soon as the object appears in the outer world, all the relevant memory files appear in an instant, and that fits with what you’re saying about ‘our eyes aren’t merely observers, they’re also projectors.’ Also the part about sitting in a cinema watching a movie while we project our own film onto the same screen. I was interested in the Universal movie that shines through. I don’t think I have that, but now all of a sudden I’m reflecting on what it could be. The process of doing this is the same as the process of the eyes as both observers and projectors.
      Good to know I have a ‘fan’ over there in North America, and of course it is meaningful to me to have it underlined that you’re reading and following in this overwhelming blogosphere.
      People watching, ah yes I could write a post about that. Also of course, it’s the eyes again when the glance across the hall receives the glance coming back, then the gesture of looking away, sometimes looking back again. But usually, for me, it’s like selecting a vantage point by a river and just watching the endless flow…

  2. Great words of wisdom, both yours and the Buddha. Thank you for writing what you do. Packing to move, trips down memory lane through photo albums and other detritus of this 67-year-old life. Snapping iPhone pix and sending to cousins, of one with her grandmother, and another of a cousin and me in a cigarette boat in 1965. Starting to throw out newspaper columns I wrote almost 15 years ago for a local rag, began reading, and ended up trimming to fit a Manila folder to save. Looked at a photo of my dad, gone almost 35 years now, in Manila, the Philippines during WWII, and another of him at a corrida in Mexico City in 1948. Another day on the human mortal coil. Hugs! 🌞

    • Hi Sunny, thanks for dropping in, I’ve not been well these last few days and late with answering comments. Good to hear the Grand Plan is underway…

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