Onderstaande is een weergave van een “Dhamma talk” die door Christopher Titmuss is gehouden tijdens de retraite in Emst in september 1998.
Audiobestand: otherwaystolook.mp3 (7min45sec, 910kB)
Sometimes, in the world we live in, the circumstances outwardly don’t seem to permit change. We can find ourselves in fixed positions in life, various obligations are taking place. What easily arises from that is the view “IF ONLY”. If only, if only I didn’t have to, if only I wasn’t obliged to. And we can put together a string of “if only’s” which could appear to make our lives easier, better.
Therefore sometimes the outer relationships, the outer events of what we do, where we are, where we live, may not change. They may have a certain kind of continuity through the years. But if we invest and identify too much with the problems of that, then in fact we use it as an excuse to stop the potential and the possibility for inner change.
And there are rather a lot of people in the dharma world who would say “Well, if I didn’t have this, by now I surely would be enlightened. If I didn’t have to do this or didn’t have to look after this person and if I didn’t have to pay off my debts and if I didn’t have old parents to look after and and”, it goes on, it’s such a bore. So all the external reasons are used and we forget and neglect that there is the opportunity for inner change.
Nevertheless at times of course it is necessary and it is important to give consideration both to inner and outer change and ways that that is possible. And one of the things that would occur to us, easily enough, is the tendency to think along the same lines. And we quite often use our past and our memory as a reference point for the present. So we say to ourselves: “well, in the past, I did this”. So when we think of change, what arises very quickly is the memory, and then we wish to somehow stay close to the memory, as a kind of security and comfort for us.
In looking at ourselves and the exploration for outer change sometimes we need to stop and be clear enough to say “What would it be to make steps, fresh steps into unfamiliar kinds of directions? What would it be to explore that?”. And all that you and I have, in the midst of our daily life circumstances, is the reality of day to day life, this is the reality, this is it! And as those teachers say, life isn’t a rehearsal, this is it.
And therefore, in that, sometimes we see into making steps. Important at times we may have to go from the known, and leave that behind, to stay steady with the unknown, and to be receptive to what is next.
And one of the ways in life that we often pursue security is that we don’t want to make changes in our life until something worthwhile and decent and fresh has arrived. Then we say: “Well, I let go of the old because I have something new to get hold of”. But life isn’t always so rewarding and so comforting. So in other words, sometimes, we may let go of the old, whatever the old might be, and we don’t know what comes next. And therefore the actual experience is of being in the unknown. “I know what I have left behind, I don’t know what is coming, what I do know is what’s unknown, which is what I am feeling at the present”.
When we are having difficulty in staying in the unknown, we think. That’s what we do, we think. We think what we want, how nice it would be if. We put in to our mind old manner of ideas, strange, bizarre, possible and impossible etc. And it is an expression of the inability and the difficulty to stay with the unknown. And therefore we can fill our mind up with all sorts ideas of how we would like things to be in the future. Ways of saying , I can’t hang in and hang out with the unknown. And we forget that those thoughts arising, wonderful thoughts and ideas we have about the future do have a potency to them.
So teachings are an endeavour to all of us to remind us that just because we want something very badly doesn’t mean to say we get it. Just because we want something very badly, and we want something very strongly, and we think we should have it, we deserve it, we work hard for it and we have done everything possible, still there is never any insurance that no matter what we want, it will come.
And on this obviously simple truth of life, people suffer.