Monday, 20 August 2012

When Such a Spacious Mirror's Set Before Him, He Needs Must See Himself.

There is talk in the "nondual community" (if that's not too ironic) of the place, philosophically and based on people's actions, of ethics and morality in the teaching of nonduality.  Much tsk-tsking and lambasting of "neo-Advaitins" and their preponderance to the pointer "there is no right or wrong".  Much made of gurus taking advantage of young, attractive and vulnerable acolytes.  The traditionalists condemn the neos for nurturing the attitude "it doesn't matter what I do...there is no me, I have no choice."  The neos, if indeed anyone dares take up that mantle these days (although there is the cool Matrix association), accuse the trads of being caught up in a story that doesn't exist.

I am always appalled when I hear stories of the fruits of such a laissez-faire attitude.  Being appalled is what comes up. There are several to many conceptual or philosophical explanations of the "no right and no wrong" pointer.  One might say that everything, absolutely everything must be let go of, including the notion of morality or right and wrong.  Such concerns, perhaps, are the last and most convincing bastion for the ego.  Certain things are just not the story is taken seriously, and the outcomes are valued, and true egolessness never occurs.  Some might quibble with the whole notion of letting go, which is an act of will by the ego...perhaps letting whatever may happen, happen, is the best approach.  Others might quibble that egolessness is not the goal...there is no goal.  Still others might find yet another facet to disagree with, just for the heck of it.

I have no answer to this debate.  There is debate, there is controversy, there is factionalism, there is right, there is wrong, there is neutrality.  Even the best and healthiest ego doesn't always know what's best for it.  The most deliberately moral person, constantly trying to do the next right thing, can get it wrong through a lack of perspective.  And surprisingly, the wrong choice can open wide garage-sized doors of opportunity.  The twists of the story are multifarious, unexpected, and perfect.  "There is no right or wrong" should probably be taken with a grain of salt, and understood in the context that in immediate presence (or whatever we're calling it today) there are no labels whatsoever, no concepts, no judgements.  And we are then free to make of the story what we will.

This is a long clip but hang in there, it's worth it.   An interesting story of right and wrong.  Is Anne Sullivan right to be so brutal with Helen?  Is this the only way to break through Helen's (somehow admirable) stubbornness?  A magnificent tour-de-force from both Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft, who both won Oscars for their performances.  I can't help but wonder every time I watch this...well, to film it must have been taxing...but what about performing it on stage eight times a week?  Enjoy.