Friday, August 12, 2016

Nothing Special: Promises Not Kept

"He who does not expect, has all things"

Charlotte Joko Beck writes, "Our human trouble arises from desire. Not all desires generate problems, however. There are two kinds of desires: demands, I have to have it, and preferences. Preferences are harmless, "they are what we would want to like to have,' Beck writes.

"Desire that demands to be satisfied is the problem. It's as if we feel that we're constantly thirsty, and to quench our thirst we try to attach a hose to a faucet in the wall of life. We keep thinking that from this or that faucet we will get the water we demand... We demand countless things of ourselves and the world; almost anything can be seen as desirable, a socket we can attach ourselves to, so that we can finally get the drink we believe we need... self-assured [or not], underneath it all we feel that there is something lacking.

We feel we have to fix our life, quench our thirst.
We've got to get that connection, to hook up our hose to that faucet... The problem is that nothing actually works. 

We begin to discover that the promise we hold out to ourselves... is never kept... If we've been trying for years... to attach our hose... there comes a moment of profound discouragement... and it dawns on us that nothing can really fulfill our demands... 
That moment of despair is in fact a blessing, the real beginning... A strange thing [then] begins to happen when we let go of our expectations... 
Practice has to be a process of endless disappointment... [In] good sitting we must notice the promise that we wish to extract from other people and abandon the dream that they can quench our thirst."

Christianity refers to this experience as the dark night of the soul, the moment when one enters into union with that which is greater, and infinite love, though the gate may be narrow, the joys are great:

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate which is wide and the road broad, lead to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.
'How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."
--The Bible, Matthew chapter 7, verses 12-14

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