Day 122 – FB is such a double-edged sword. How can we use this tool for bettering the world and ourselves rather than stabbing it mercilessly into each other, as well as ourselves? How do we step away and yet stay present? Today’s reading was all about this.
Rolf begins with a lesson on raga: “Desire and aversion arise out of duality.” We are attached to good or bad outcomes, black-and-white thinking until we “experience the world of the cortex, the domain beyond duality.” There is a liability in black and white thinking. Rolf describes WWI and then, WWII. I can’t help but think, as he does: Who really is the winner and the loser in a global war? What is winning? What is losing? Both come at great, unnecessary costs.
Rolf recommends that in order to face raga, the attachment to pleasure, we must face “certainties in which we have sought refuge.” I have sought cetainties in plenty of things that now, in this political climate, cause me great pain. I have sought certainities in myself that now cause me great pain, too. I have, as Rolf puts it, “a compromised sense of self.”
Rolf advises to first tackle this “compromised sense of self” on the mat, watching how the hated, challenging posture becomes your go-to posture, where aversion shifts to desire. The space between this phisical/emotional feeling where “this” becomes “that” is the “emptiness” residing in such duality.
There is a lesson within this lesson. I am not a true-at-heart dualist, but I can see how my thinking has definitely been affected by pain and pleasure (mostly pain). In my physical pain (with my arthritis), I go to things that make me feel better–food, trying to force a workout or two, a walk. In my emotional pain (with not being able to do activities I love like dance and crossfit), I am restless and grumpy. In my spiritual pain (with the POTUS in place and executive orders flying off his fingers and the world all at once preparing for war), I am constantly searching for something to make it not so–words, news stories, puppies and kitties on facebook). What I take from this is that emptiness is important for peace and balance; however, that is not to be confused with numbness (most people’s go-to in days such as these.