Sunday, September 28, 2014

I don't think; therefore I'm not.

This is a short sentence, but pregnant with a lot of meanings, it seems. Once more I borrowed a phrase from Sean Murphy’s “One Bird One Stone”, page, 94. It is suh spectacular book.

               The picture on the card is a black & white version of a photo found at the Buddhist Center webpage. The amazing sculpture was made by Sukhi Barber. You can see many of his other works and also her bio here.

               In my blogs, i only speak as a poet. My quest in life is to speak and live to the full extension that being a poet may allow one to do. Therefore, here i speak as a poet.

Katagiri Roshi’s quote above refers to the well unknown and over beaten Descartes’ quote “I think; therefore I am.” These days the prevalent way of being in society is in the most intimate tune with Descartes’ thought. It seems to me that the implicit suggestion of Descartes is that humans mainly experience life through thinking. The problem is that we can overemphasize the importance of thinking to the point that we confuse thought with Reality. One may even reach the point in which one thinks that one is what oneself thinks. As the last sentence shows, many times thinking can make life more complicated. Most of our limitations and suffering come through a dangerous mix of misguided thoughts and toxic emotions. That happens because thinking gives power. However, many times power causes isolation and aversion to change. That is very much against Reality that is whole interconnected and in constant change. 

               Katagiri suggestion is anti-philosophical: Do not think. Do not let yourself be limited by your own thoughts because thoughts are not Reality. Therefore, what you think you are is not real. Katagiri Roshi is saying that we can be free of the worst prison of all; the prison we most love and call home, the tower prison of “I”. Identity is made of thought. The only way of escape that prison is to let go of attachment to thoughts. Once we realize we are not what we think, and let go of attachment to overthinking, we realize the freedom that we have been all along.

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