Introducing Our Dark Side.

The Kiss Of Judas


Everyone of us are confronted by our darker side from time to time...



Everything seems to be going great, and then BOOM!!! Some nasty thought comes bursting into our stream of consciousness, complete with a negative emotional charge. We can feel our chest tightening up, our breathing becoming more and more shallow. We lose our appetites, and can hardly think of anything other than the situation that is troubling us...


Today I would like to take a moment and look into these negative thoughts and feelings. I would like to inquire as to where they come from, what they are, and why they are here.


When looking at any given situation I like to first begin with the consequences or the effects. I feel like I can follow that thread back to the causes, as effects are little more than the fruition or manifestation of causes.


Obviously, the defining characteristic of this genre of thought/emotion is negativity. If we boil negativity down to the simplest form, we see that it is subjective. The experience of negativity depends upon the point of view from which we are observing the situation. When speaking of negativity, I mean a sense of disappointment. Something has happened that failed to live up to our expectations. 


Disappointment maybe expressed in many ways: anger, jealousy, pride, depression, etc., but the fact remains that something unexpected has deflated us. This deflation is disappointment, and accepting this deflation is the First Noble Truth in Buddhism... We must accept as real our difficulties.

Having started with the effects, a sense of disappointment, we have discovered one of the conditions that gave rise to our sense of disappointment, expectations. So what are expectations? Well, obviously they are a form of thought, which suggest that things should be other than they are. Expectations are an attempt to get reality to conform to our thinking. It is obvious that healthy thinking is thinking that conforms to truth. So, in other words, expectations are a form of insanity. So, why would we be trying to force reality to conform to our thinking? 

When we look at expectations we see an affirmative intention. That is to say, expectations express our desires, but a desire for things to be a certain way suggests we fear things being another way. Expectations are nothing more than the affirmative version of fear. We set up expectations in order to avoid situations that frighten us. Expectations are our way of child proofing the world- keeping at a safe distance the things that scare us...


Beginning the investigation with our own sense of disappointment, we have retraced our steps and found that expectations and fears play a pivotal role in the arising of negative emotions, but we still haven't really pin pointed the causes of our suffering. So, we will continue with the question, what is fear? 

Defining fear is a bit tricky. Looking into disappointment and expectations was easy because they were masked with all sorts of accessories. When we begin to work with our fears there aren't a great deal of reference points or additives involved. We are on the kitchen sink level when we begin to look into our most subtle apprehensions. There is one primary obstacle to facing our fears, which is our tendency to ignore them by projecting them onto others. When we are faced with fear we tend to employ blame. This enables us to ignore the causes and conditions that give rise to our dissatisfaction, by placing responsibility on someone else...

Blame manifests in many ways... Most commonly we blame the objects of our disappointment. In some cases, we blame more general targets for our problems, such as society, politics, or religion. These are especially effective defense mechanism because these are objects we can place blame on, without being able to effect any real change. In even more sophisticated cases, blame is placed on the past. There is an element of, "Yeah I am crazy or neurotic," but it is always followed by a because; "Yeah... I know. I am sorry. I am clingy because my mom didn't love me enough..." From this point of view, we can never really get to the point. She didn't love me enough, but only because her mom didn't love her enough. If we follow this trail of crumbs, as Alan Watts suggests, "We go back to Adam & Eve or a disappearing monkey." So we must accept total responsibility for the present moment...

We can see that it has nothing to do with the behavior of others. Perhaps their behavior calls our fear into action via an association- their behavior reminds us of something we're afraid of. But getting them to change their behavior will do little more than provide us with an immediate sense of relief, as we will be forced to revisit this issue at a later date. Undoubtedly, some of you will say, "Well, my mom didn't love me enough!" That maybe true, but that was then, and this is now... So, the question becomes, "Why is your relationship with your mother affecting your relationship with someone other than your mother?"

No one is arguing that the story line that perpetuates fear is a story from the past. What we do not want to address is the confusion that allows this story line to determine who and what we are in the present moment... First of all, our story is our commentary on past events. There are certain chapters of this story that are suspenseful and frightening, but it is only our commentary. It is nothing more than what we think about things, but we have managed to twist it. We are caught up in this situation where, what we think has greater priority than truth. We do not allow the present moment to speak for itself. We refuse to listen to what reality has to say because we are to busy telling ourselves our own damn story! Maybe your dad didn't love you enough, but maybe your boyfriend isn't your dad! We cannot navigate through today with a map of yesterday...

What are these negative sensations? Well the obvious answer is, sensations. But what are the nature of these sensations? We could reduce them down to nothing more than, "Ouch that hurts!" But why would an omnipotent creator or an intelligent universe endow us with something so accessory and problematic as, "Ouch that hurts!"?

These negative thoughts/feelings have to be intelligent. But what message do they have for us? Well, one thing is obvious... These negative feelings dissolve into nothingness the moment we see their causes and conditions for what they are. The moment we reach some resolution or insight they simply pass away. It is like the body has been endowed with a physiological alarm system that sounds when confusion or misunderstanding is present.

This suggests that confusion or misunderstanding rests at the root of our misfortune, and that our misfortune is really a fortunate reminder that returns us to the present moment. So what is the nature of our confusion? What is it that we have misunderstood? 


This answer seems to come in two parts, a relative and an absolute. The relative deals with the subjective aspect mentioned earlier. It deals with all the specifics or the details of a particular problem. Investigating the relative misunderstanding we learn that not all women are our mother and not all men are our father. We learn that the past is dead, and cannot be applied to the present moment. In short, we realize that life is a land without a map. We must allow each moment to speak for itself, and our happiness is directly contingent upon whether we are willing to listen or not...

When we investigate the absolute confusion or the nature of pervasive ignorance we learn that the material that was used to construct this misunderstanding was in fact misunderstood. Thought, as was mentioned earlier is nothing more than a memory in motion. When misunderstood, thought is an idea detached from the run of play. So overtime we develop static or solid ideas about ourselves and the people around us are. Trying to apply these concrete ideas to a living process is impossible. Eventually, the gulf will be so great between our ideas and reality, that we will have noticed our expectational boundaries have been breached. This will leave us discontented or face to face with our fears.


We seem to have misunderstood thought. These pages from our past are called the memory. When these pages start to turn we call it thinking. Thought is nothing more than memory in motion. Who or what is it that gives authority to thought? Why is one thought a good thought, while another thought is a bad one? We have a thought, and think, "That's stupid!" Why is the authority that is rejecting that thought more credible than the authority of the affirmative thought? Are they not both just thought? 

I mean it is just a thought being validated or debunked by yet another thought. Where is the authority? It is like me citing myself to establish a sense of credibility...

Thought is the memory being called into the present moment, via an association with some particular stimuli. Sometimes these associations are intense, or concerned with our sense of self, as the stimuli is the behavior of a particular reference point.

The relative misunderstanding is concerned with the details of this association, and the absolute is concerned with the nature of the association between thought and the present moment. Simply put, this association is insane when thought has priority over reality. From this point of view thought is stagnant, or closed off to new information. This is unhealthy, and is the genesis of our feelings of discomfort. Thought is sane when it is open, or inspired by the present moment. From this point of view, it is discovered that we are a process, and not some finished product. We are revealed to be a verb instead of a noun.

This what our feelings of discomfort are pointing at...



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