Purpose of Life, Fear and Dullness: A Dialogue

J: Anurag, I need your help again.

A (Anurag): Sure ! Please go ahead.

J: Again, I find myself wondering what I should go on living for.

A: Hmm. So what do you do with this question? I had this question for years and years and years.

J: Same here. years and years. How do I get anywhere from here?

A: Let us look at your question itself. Does it have a presupposition?

J: I think so.

A: What?

J: That life must have meaning or purpose. Specifically, some utility value.
Which is a hopelessly middle class way of looking at things and consumeristic.

A: Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! Absolutely !

J: But I’m caught

A: So, why are you tied to this belief?

J: I come back to it because I feel pain. When I look around me, outside. I don’t know if I’m projecting my pain, or whether everything really is suffering. So there’s aversion to pain.

A: So, don’t you want to find the truth of suffering and pain?

J: I do. And I have had glimpses. But I seem to be going in loops.

A: OK. Now why does your mind keep going in loops?

J: They are large loops. like it takes me a year or so to come back to the starting. But its happening and I’m unable to see why? Maybe i don’t remember the insights I get. So when energy is low i go back to old patterns.

A: Insight means the ending of the problem. It is instant action.

J: And why cant it fade? All things must pass?

A: If it fades it is not insight. It was a reasoned conclusion. An insight into sorrow ends sorrow.

J: Isn’t that enlightenment? Not just insight.

A: There are big ones and the small ones. The big one is called enlightenment. We start with the small ones first. Like an insight into your question.

J: But when I pursue a thought or question, back into myself, I go deep, deep, and sometimes I come upon insight. its a flash that transforms. But i am unable to function from, or reach, that depth at every moment of my conscious life.

A: What is transformed?

J: My mind? the problem shatters. But a year later I’m asking the same question. But I’m not able to stay in that state. I have had insight. I’m not mistaken. And when that happens it is lovely and calming and energizing. But otherwise yes, often I end up deathly tired.

A: Hmm. Well, that’s fine. The problem is transformed. So, are you tired by this process? Why do you want to stay in one particular state?

J: I’m not trying to stay. But insight seems to be a state, or a depth/height.

A: And then thought makes a memory of that state and live it again. If that depth was permanent, it would stay right?

J: No, I do not ‘remember’ things any more. I am able to let go of the intellectual. for many things. (obviously not all)

A: Isn’t there is something more to be looked at….a further depth.

J: Yes. I can see that

A: So, there are depths and depths. Do you think there can be an end to this?

J: I believe there is an end. But I also question it sometimes, at very bleak moments. Once, i came to an end of thought, to a silence. And then thought started again.

A: What makes you “believe” that there should be an end? Do you want to stay with beliefs?

J: I don’t want to.

A: Okay, why does one construct a belief?

J: For support? Out of fear of the unknown of the moment. And I’m not just saying that. I have seen something like it in myself. So it’s one of my reasons.

A: Great ! So what is the way out?

J: Well, I could say to face the fear? But those are just words. My mind doesn’t cut through fast enough, or powerfully enough. Once I did it, and I remember recognizing a primordial fear of death

A: So what does one do with a dull mind?

J: Ah ! I don’t know. Wait for 80,000 rebirths to get somewhere else…

A: Why don’t you stay with the fact? The dull mind is the fact? The opposite of it is an idea, a belief.

J: Ok… i can see that…then what?

A: Ha ! Ha ! Ha ! See how the mind always want to be in the orbit of the known. “Then what”. K would say, find out Sir !

J: That’s why I’m asking YOU and not K. Just joking. But please don’t say that.

A: Well, I fantasize myself in the shoes of K

J: aha!

A: Some of my dullness. Ha! ha ! ha !

J: hahaha

A: But seriously. When you ask the question, then what, doesn’t it imply that the mind is groping for a certainty……an idea?

J: yes, it is…

A: Well, why?

J: I suppose fear again

A: Or insecurity? Insecurity is the fact. Isn’t it? Isn’t the mind always trying to escape this fact in a billion ways?

J: How is that different from fear?

A: You may call it fear too.

J: OK

A: Now, can one stay with the fact of this fear, without escaping into it’s opposite?

J: Difficult with a dull mind. I also get paranoid

A: We are going into the same loop. What is the base we reached – fear? You cannot stay with the dull mind because of fear.

So the root is fear. Right? Now is there fear when you are not escaping into the opposite. Is there fear when YOU ARE FEAR?

J: But till you’re right on top of it, there is fear. When you become the fear then maybe no. But what about the dull mind?

A: The same. Be aware of the dull mind choicelessly. Do you think it remains dull even then?

J: I don’t know…

A: Find out. You have never done it because the mind always invents the opposite when faced with a fact. So it keeps bouncing between the opposites.

J: I have tried it. But then are you saying there’s no inherently dull mind?
That a mind is dull only if you don’t exercise this awareness?
Did the Buddha have the same mind I do?

A: Let’s for the time being forget Buddha. We are looking at ourselves. Buddha is an idea, a memory, a concept.

J: OK

A: OK. How do you recognize a dull mind?

J: When the train keeps coming back to the same station. Sorry joking !

A: No, that’s fine.

J: Its the dullness talking. Ha ! Ha ! A mind is dull if it isnt being used by the will? If it is’nt being driven or steered by the will?

A: Who says so?

J: just firing in the dark. I don’t know…Ha ! ha !

A: Absolutely, Honesty is the best policy. Saying I don’t know, is the most difficult thing for the mind to do.

J: Is there something other than the mind that is used for the awareness? can the mind see itself? If it cant see itself, then mind does’nt lead one to insight, does it? So a dull mind should not matter??

A: Let’s stick to the original question.

J: I thought I was. Oops.

A: How does one recognize dullness?

J: When I compare from a heightened state

A: Now, you hit the nail on the head.

J: It scares the heck out of me. But never mind that. Please continue

A: Let’s stick to the fact of dullness. When you refuse to accept it, fear comes in. Right.

J: yes

A: Good !

A: Now, doesn’t one recognize dullness by a past memory. Isn’t the present being met by the past and the past trying to modify the present?

J: haha, yes

A: Good. So is not one constantly trying to live a past?

J: I don’t understand. Isn’t it like I’m constantly trying to live a future. Oh but yes. I can see

A: Ha ! Ha ! Good. The future is nothing but the past projected.

J: Yes, I can see that

A: So isn’t this entire movement of thought mechanical and a self enclosed loop?

J: It is a loop

A: Good. Now the question is can one get out of this loop?

J: If one is blessed

A: No. That is a belief that invents God and hope….

J: That’s my way of saying I don’t see how. It can happen but I don’t know how?
I don’t see how one can live and work among other people and still be like that

A: Well, we have already answered it. One has never tried staying with the fact. One has always escaped into the opposite. When one escapes into the opposite, it is always the past, the memory. When one does not do this, then the problem unfolds itself. You do not speak to the problem, it speaks to you.

What is important for you? To work with people, fit into this sick society, or inquire and become sane.

J: If I cant do the latter then I must atleast do the former

A: Ha ! ha ! of course. That’s the secret

J: Are you being sarcastic?

A: Oh no.
I really meant it.

J: So you are saying I can do only one or the other
Not both !

A: All problems exist in relationship, isn’t it J?

J: Don’t even go there. That’s another huge mountain for me. Relationship. And I don’t mean just romantic or between people

A: Well, it is all related.

J: yes. It confuses me. This difference between inside and outside

A: You are only being honest. The rest are just moving unawares.

J: I don’t know what this rest is. Other people and things. What is my relation to them? What is the connection?

A: Yes, the inside and the outside have become separated in us.

J: ah !

A: Well, one has to go into all this. Inquire into this? Or we shall be only living out of our dead conditionings.

J: How do I live while exploring this?
What do I do?
Do I try to help other creatures?
Or is there no such thing as help?
But then again I’m going back looking for belief and ideas

A: Exactly. There is no how J. Everything has to be found out by you. Can a confused creature help others? We are already seeing enough of this in the world. Aren’t we?

J: Yes, that’s true.

A: Correct !

J: But that’s not how others see you.

A: And that is what creates the gap between our outer and inner. We are not integrated human beings.

J: This double gaze, you mean?

A: Yes !

J: yes…

A: So, one has to become aware of all – the outer and the inner.

J: Does it take a lot of energy?

A: Find out ! Does it take more energy in resisting and thinking or it takes more energy in being passively, choicelessly aware?

J: I will

J: Thanks for talking, Anurag

A: Most welcome J !

The painting has been taken from http://www.edvardmunch.org/images/paintings/melancholy.jpg

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