Nonduality Salon (/ \)
issue number two - October, 2000
Nonduality Salon Magazine
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF FEELINGS
by Jan Barendrecht
life-forms can be said to have feelings (or an equivalent
thereof) and every single life is the course of events that is
taken by responding to stimuli (events, arousing feelings). As
all feelings can be arranged in pairs of opposites, the summary
of such a single life can be, that one type of feeling (like) is sought for while its opposite (dislike) is avoided.
Why the emphasis on feelings? In nature, everything is balanced - all adds up to zero. So a (seemingly) long life span of moderate pleasure can be balanced by a (seemingly) short moment of extreme unhappiness, as all attachment has to be given up and this is very painful - the "taste" that will remain (and eventually "carry over") is one of extreme suffering.
Whether food, drink, a sex-partner or a book on nonduality, feeling will determine choice. From this perspective, there can't be a doer - feelings coming into awareness and "nagging"
for gratification, upon which the next one arises. Feelings by themselves are neither good nor bad - the identification with- and false interpretation of- them is what creates havoc (*I* want an ice cream - instead of "feeling hungry" and taking appropriate action).
Being subjected to opposite feelings sooner or later (but more often, too late) will give rise to a longing to "leave" the merry-go-round of never ending opposites. This longing isn't a
feeling in the proper sense as it doesn't have an opposite.
However, a mere longing for Peace won't eliminate the alternation of opposite feelings - here, paths, methods and systems will enter the scene. Some will preach mortification or
ignoring, some will teach to transform all feelings into unconditional love whereas others will train discipline as to loosen their feelings' "dictatorship". Most simple is, to give up "do nothing" - accepting what comes without effort, without consciously responding (like for instance accepting one's feeling (i.e. anger), without interfering, suppressing or feeding it). This won't disturb clarity of mind or decrease the capacity to act rightly. Clearly, a contradiction can be seen: for instance the practice of celibacy, advocated by some and the practice of tantric sex, advocated by others. Probably the feeling of shame and embarrassment is decisive for the choice - the "result of the path" is the same J
The Buddha made the distinction between sentient and insentient life, knowing that insentient life is absolute deliverance from suffering. The two, sentient and insentient life, don't form a duality but are one - insentient life "carries" the potential for sentient life.
Jan Barendrecht's web page is at www.nonduality.com/jb.htm