The Path – Outside?

Posted: 07/11/2016 in Freedom, Insight, Meditation, Struggle
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From way back when I was an outsider – even when I didn’t know it. Growing up I was a shadow, there was social participation but never commitment. I more or less conformed to what conditioning required but never with any determination. I remember upsetting my grandmother because I wasn’t interested in my studies, from what I recall when I said I would do enough to get through she cried. I had no determination, more exactly there was no motivation.

Somewhat romantically I associate this undisciplined approach to school as the Path, learning at school was necessary for some form of social conformity, survival or job attainment but it had limited connection to Nature – to the Path. Then as now there is little connection between what we learn at school and what is required for maturity – the Path. There have been times in my life where genuine study has dominated – including being a major motivation for early retirement; as I got older I was too tired from work and there was only time to study during the holidays.

The Path being outside what we learn at school, or what we are expected to conform to, is a reality that we must come to terms with; hence the Path and conditioning have little connection. Having said that we are conditioned when young – whoever we are, and as adults we are subjected to media barrage no matter how reclusively we live our lives. So even following the Path brings with it conditioning but being an outsider helps. Despite being a teacher, the very essence of whose job is promoting conformity, whatever my heart wanted me to do, my non-working self, was always concerned with the Path.

When I first hit bottom I gravitated to the Outside, those alternatives to the mainstream who make some attempt at non-conformity; most notably this was with the Arts Centre. Two things drew me back from the alternate. First of all my creativity was limited, and was not the driving force it was in others. Secondly once my time on the Path was sufficiently entrenched I sought compassion in my life, a compassion that eventually led to education as a means of amelioration of general suffering – as opposed to care helping others to cope. But the very nature of the job made me an outsider within a profession that imparted conformity, a profession that was a key conditioner along with the media and community upbringing including family.

The Path makes you an Outsider, the depth of the pervading conditioning means that overcoming conditioning moves one towards the Outside. To a certain extent this has advantages, overcoming conditioning gives one an edge. Seeing what is happening for what it is provides a choice. It introduces questions of integrity and compromise that don’t always exist for others. Such questioning leads to an understanding of conditioning, and helps move beyond it.

By considering “being an outsider” I am attempting to consider how to recognise and overcome conditioning – how to transcend to maturity. As an outsider I am basically saying that to a great extent I am outside conditioning. Within conditioning people accept community conformity and community pressure – I include family in this conforming process. As an outsider there is less pressure but there is usually pressure to conform to the “outside community”. This usually involves an “outside mindset” such as Icke-ism, replacing the mindset of our conditioning process with a new mindset is an improvement but very soon becomes a restriction. This is not a process of maturing to freedom but is simply adding a less conditioned chain keeping us within a conformed process. What matters is a complete rejection of any mindset, and replacing it with complete enquiry; and with that enquiry comes maturity and freedom.

Achieving that state of enquiry is obviously extremely difficult and requires continuous attention. The three agencies of conformity are family and community, media and education. When you consider these agencies you are always in contact with them, in other words you are always being asked to conform. It therefore requires great strength and conviction not to be pulled back into the conditioned existence that you have been hoping to transcend. It is no wonder monastics choose to take refuge. Spiritual transcendence brings with it strength and conviction that gives one a fighting chance, political transcendence less so because socio-political transcendence is much more intellectual – concerned with social assessment and does not have the conviction of spiritual insight, the strength that can prevent us from being swayed by the three agencies.

We are never free from the battle that is conditioning, and to understand this brings with it an awareness that is forewarning. Taking refuge, being a recluse, being an outsider, travelling are all means of separating from conditioning, but conditioning is a battle won beyond the mind – in transcendence. If we are fortunate enough to experience transcendence, then meditation is the tool that can help us. Through focus and insight, the mind can cut through the condition with deep enquiry that will free it – maintaining a transcendent state of mind. But this has to be ongoing because daily life through the 3 agencies is always trying to recondition. Energy work can strengthen the mind whilst a healthy body will not bring unwarranted distractions of disease etc.

But desire also brings problems that can lead to conditioning, how can lust not demean a man’s view of a woman and of himself however much love and respect is involved? BigFood manipulates food craving through taste additives such as MSG and refined sugar, and if we give in to those desires we provide the basis within our bodies for degenerative disease. With advertising the corporatocracy tries to manipulate desires to condition you into consuming. Human existence requires homes, food and water, which early humans got for free. Now the corporations make our food, a substantial amount of our income is spent on homes, and water is becoming increasingly expensive. Then our society develops (supposedly more civilised when we are not creating wars), and there becomes more essentials. Tax that pays for education and our transport, although perhaps we should say tax for wars and business infrastructure – whilst corporations avoid tax. In times of pure surviving, we used our time and energy to survive (home and food etc), now that we are more civilised we use our time and energy to earn money to pay for the so-called advantages of civilisation. This is wage-slavery for most, as few have any time to pursue their own interests outside the workplace. And yet cursory observation sees the few gaining huge amounts of money that brings with it leisure time and other advantages that can be bought. We are conditioned to accept this, yet why we accept it is really beyond belief. The level of conditioning that requires such acceptance is very high.

Can we see through conditioning from the inside? Only to some extent. Within we are expected to conform to conditioning, to a certain extent that conformity allows for certain leeway – some people are less sexist and racist than others. But whilst people are tied to conformity, their fear of being different prevents them from becoming sufficiently aware to transcend.

Therefore transcendence means trying to help people become outsiders. There are mechanisms that help towards that. Travelling is one such way, the sort of travelling that takes one outside one’s own society, and puts people in positions where they can see what their society is truly about. Of course within this there is a tremendous pull with the love of one’s family and the pull of the familiar that you grew up with and know. Being pulled back is easier in the short term, but because that pull leads to the restriction of conformity it is not easier in the long run. Yet for most travelling doesn’t do it, and it becomes a chance lost as the community conforms you once again. There is of course no simple way out. Spiritual teachings help, conflict in one’s own community – a conflict that stems from you being in the right, and the 1% and the conforming forces are in the wrong. For some study helps to see society for what it is, but intellectual comprehension is not enough the depth and conviction of insight are essential for genuine transcendence. Political activists deride spiritual people as the activists replace the conformity of their upbringing with conformity to the new restrictive mindset. The spiritual experience is often seen as transcendence yet those same spiritual have not developed political transcendence, perhaps because political activists who have transcended to some extent have not learnt the importance of peace etc.; the spiritual deride the political and this derision could tarnish the need to transcend politically as well.

Refuge is such an obvious answer but is the refuge free from conditioning? Does the refuge conform you to a new mindset or does it bring transcendence? Does the peace and tranquillity usually associated with refuges prevent one from seeing the conflicts and disadvantages that social conformity brings? Does the emphasis on the spiritual dogma prevent you from giving time to socio-political considerations? And do the institutional restrictions, such as charitable status and pandering to the rich because they donate more, prevent the refuge from being a place where socio-political understanding can occur? Can a renunciate understand socio-politically when they are not wage-slaves? Whilst taking refuge has many characteristics of “removing conditioning”, it is not 100% so.

Throughout all our societies exist outsiders. People’s Paths take them all over, and can lead them to make homes in new communities. Like Chinese monks they can be at the tops of mountains or on islands. But they are not likely to be where they should be – as elders and leaders. Yet even as outsiders their wisdom has influence because the conformed see wisdom in these people even though the conditioning prevents them from internalising this wisdom to any great extent. That is the way of wisdom and conditioning for the mature person who has transcended the conditioning and reached some freedom.

Embrace the Outside, can the Path be any other way?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

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