Caring Not to Care

I ended my commentary on Chapter 51 by saying, "all I need do is turn back to what I truly desire". Well, of course, to [chref=64]desire not to desire[/chref] is a fine ideal for the 'sage', but what about the rest of us?

I've found thought to be the key. Desire takes place in thoughts that target the future or the past, i.e., outside the present moment. This differs from immediate needs, like an itch, which all animals feel. Sure, we feel the itch, but thinking then transforms it into [chref=46]too many desires[/chref]. The easiest way I've found to deal with this is best expressed by...

[chref=71]To know yet to think that one does not know is best;
Not to know yet to think that one knows will lead to difficulty.[/chref]

I deliberately distrust all the distinctions my senses lure me to latch on to - and instead look for [chref=56]mysterious sameness[/chref]. Put simply, differences and distinctions correlate to Active illusion; similarities correlate to Passive reality. Finding and feeling similarities makes it much easier to be feel 'connected' and [chref=33]know contentment[/chref]. On the other hand, finding and feeling differences, and most importantly believing that they are real, makes it much easier to [chref=81]contend[/chref] with yourself or others. I guess the moral of this view is, 'be careful what you think'.

I said thought was key. But, I guess emotion is that key's key. After all, we need enough concern (an emotion) to [chref=16]do [our] utmost to attain emptiness,... stillness,... impartiality[/chref] in our thoughts. But, who has true mastery over their emotions?... Not conquering, suppressing or fanning emotion, but 'creating' enough concern out of Nothing. Who?... What?... How?... Hint: [chref=40]Weakness is the means the way employs[/chref].


  • edited December 1969
    Ignorance is bliss they say. Is it really? Certainly, what we don't care about can't disappoint us. Suffering never occurs when we lose something we don't care about. On the other hand, awareness and care are closely related. Whatever we don't care about slips from awareness. The less we care, the less we are aware. What then, becomes the point of living? Caring is consciousness; consciousness is life :!:

    How can we be conscious and care on one hand, yet alleviate our suffering on the other? There is a fine line here to be sure. I've found it is possible to care deeply about something - anything - everything, yet avoid much of the suffering aspect by not caring about 'outcomes' - all of which exist in a future moment. The concern, the caring, about outcomes is really the source of the suffering. Taking it personally and pushing our [chref=7]private ends[/chref] sow the seeds of our suffering. To [chref=33]knows contentment[/chref], we must care not to care. This sounds like [chref=64]desiring not to desire[/chref], eh?

    I've been fascinated by the easy/difficult nature of this issue for a long time. It is like the problem we humans have with alcohol, or anything else really. We don't [chref=44]know when to stop[/chref]. We are all 'drunks', and like drunks we must hit rock bottom before we see ourselves honestly enough to live a more [chref=78]straightforward[/chref] life. But, this is not like flipping on an enlightenment switch and living 'happily ever after'. No, like a drunk's 'awakening', we must always be aware that we're drunks in order to watch life play itself out moment to moment. Only then are we able to [chref=64] maintain a situation [life] while it is still secure.[/chref]

    Like a drunk, we must truly want to be sober to live life as it is, and not as we desire it to be. It boils down to having one deep desire, like [chref=15]desiring not to be full[/chref], which overrides all others. All the other desires can be summed as a 'the grass is greener over yonder than it is here' illusion. It is curious how universal human addiction / obsession is, from drugs, alcohol, food,... up to ___ (you name it)___. We all face the same problem; we just don't admit it. Hitting bottom is the only thing that resolves it.

    And hitting bottom is what makes it [chref=53]easy[/chref]! Maturity increases with awareness, awareness increases with maturity. But, with awareness come greater caring. Greater caring brings deeper suffering. Thus, the only way to maintain 'sanity' as awareness deepens is by caring not to care, which is nothing more than desiring not to desire. Because there is no other way to deal with 'it', [chref=14]holding fast to the way of antiquity[/chref] becomes the easiest way.

    And when we fall off the wagon? No problems, we can just hop back on board! Or as we say in 'Taoville', [chref=15]be worn and yet newly made[/chref] :yy:
  • edited December 1969
    Speaking of drunks, I had a friend...he passed away sober in 1997...who just didn't get why people found it so hard to let go. He said just to decide not to give a damn! I asked him how he would feel if his darling son was killing himself with drugs...could he not give a damn?

    So that's not it. The only way I can care not to care in order to alleviate suffering is to stay present. That's the same thing as not caring about the outcome; it means not looking at the future, just staying here now.

    I have a good example. A number of years ago, I was seeing double and getting dizzy (and no, I wasn't drunk!). The doctor ordered a MRI on my brain. She called and said they found something on the MRI and I would have to repeat it in a week. I cared a mother died of a brain tumor. That's when I learned to say was a most valuable lesson. I just stayed here, now and I was fine, not freaked out, but still I cared. The second MRI turned out normal and the double vision went away as gradually as it came on.

    So the answer to everything for me is to stay in the moment. As you say, Carl, it is so easy!
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