Sep. 13, 2020
My response to an article sent by a friend
Responding to the video of an interview with me on Mindfulness as part of Carolyne Gaithuma's series Being Me a friend sent the following link to an article on the celebrity mogul ex monk Jay Shetty.
This was my answer:
Sorry but this looks like: having your cake and eating it. The problem is the personal pronoun: 'my highest purpose'. I, me and mine! Identity always gets in the way!
The gross commercialization of mindfulness, the stripping out of its ethical basis (in the Buddha's teachings), is part of the corrosive effect of capitalism that empties everything out from the inside so you are left only with a hollow shell: it looks good on the outside but there's nothing inside. You want to be compassionate and competitive at the same time?! Contemplate that and what it does to your body and sensations.
Embodiment - the embodied mind - is key. Most are still living in the mental realm of thought. Self is a mental construct.
We're trying to 'increase our happiness by 60%' while killing 200 species a day (or more), the rain forests and large chunks of other forests are being devoured by fires, nearly a million have died from a pandemic, and many more than that die annually from other human caused problems, the gap between rich and over-developed and poor, marginalized and underdeveloped grows inexorably, the ice-caps are melting, the oceans are full of plastic, oppressive governments abduct, torture, shoot, kill or dismember opponents etc.etc.??
Krishnamurti always said we have to put our house in order first. He was right about that.
The Buddha said all suffering was due to three poisons: greed, delusion and ill will. These have become institutionalized in a way that would have been inconceivable in the Buddha's time. He recommended these be transformed into generosity, wisdom and compassion. It's a tall order, but we have to try as without that the consequences are unimaginable.
The sramanas were the first critics of worldly power, the first renunciants. The monk who inspired him came from such a tradition. Shetty says this will give us the world we want. We've got the world we have due to excessive wanting. Wanting is the problem.
Living in symbiosis within a symbiotic model suggested by Lynn Margulis might resolve the problem of lack that drives excessive want, of which craving power is the enduring outcome. The current model is tied to patriarchy, and colonization, a model of separation and dominance. We need a new story of community, socio-ecological sustainability, inter-being, and the deep understanding that self is dependently originated. We are in the uncertain and chaotic space between stories. I agree with the writer that the point about strategy and compassion was about the only thing that made sense. Wisdom = strategy.
David Beatty 13.9.20