Tag Archives: sorrow

Chuck’s Place: Dominion

At some point, we are all advised to leave the triangle... - Art by Jan Ketchel
At some point, we are all advised to leave the triangle…
– Art by Jan Ketchel

How do we establish our domain? How do we achieve dominion over our domain? I refer here to the domain of self, a room with four strong walls, the square of self.

We are beings of the circle, the infinite. We arrive at the gateway to this world through a triangle, the offspring of two, as two become three at our birth. From the circle of infinity we become finite. Born into a triangle, we are challenged next to carve out the four walls of our domain of self, as beings separate from the triangle of our birth.

If we are to fully mature into our four-walled self, we must all experience the disbanding of the original triangle. Freud spent his career focusing on the original triangle and its dominion over us. Only with the phallic power of the sword, male or female, are we afforded the clarity and power to cut through that triangle—with its myths of the nursery, the residual failures, broken promises, and legacy of expectations of those gods who bore us—and establish a new domain of self. Incredible clouds of sorrow hover over our lives as we experience the abandonment of and disconnect from those primal energies that conceived us, themselves tricked by the blissful myths of the garden or the raging energies of power and lust.

So powerful are the energies of the triangle that the ancient world literally used the sword to circumcise the self from the triangle and free it to new fraternity in the greater tribe. The sword of the modern world shines largely in the penetrating impact of awakening consciousness that can cut through the dated myths of attachment that cloud our true selves.

Sorrow is the underlying, overriding emotion that we must bear yet transmute. Sorrow pulls us backward into the deep abyss of what was or wasn’t, as we seek to forever hold onto that which once was, or finally find that which never was. Sorrow is an endless whirlpool that draws us deeper into a morass of bottomless emptiness. It may be necessary to traverse that journey, but beware, there is no bottom, and sorrow renews itself with equal potency at each visitation.

The transmutation of sorrow is the willingness to sit in the aloneness of the room of the four-walled self, to breathe, to feel the integrity of self without censoring thoughts or feelings, but indulging none as well. In this space of the four-walled room of the self we accept that we are participants in an unfathomable mystery. We accept that we have no control over the changes nor the inevitable losses and gains in our lives. We discover that we’re travelers with invitations to participate in this world, but never to stay.

Can we allow ourselves the opportunity to blossom, knowing full well that our time is as limited as a blossom's? - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Can we allow ourselves the opportunity to blossom,
knowing full well that our time is as limited as a blossom’s?
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Can we grant ourselves the dominion to show up and fully participate, knowing full well that it will all change and that our one true traveling companion is the self in the four-walled room?

Can we allow ourselves to release even that self when it’s time to once again journey in the circle of infinity? Can we step into that circle of infinity now, while we still ride the chariot of our four-wheeled self? Can we live in both worlds now? Freely? Ah, what will we see!

When sitting alone within the four-walled self, it’s beneficial to establish a reliable practice to support the sword-cutting process of separation, individuation, and exploration. As we face our four-walled self what sharper technique is there than meditation to cut through the sorrows that are sure to plague us?

Here is a link to a simple and direct meditation practice, offering first steps, as well as deepening techniques dedicated to the process of sitting within the four-walled self: Son Meditation. I encourage you to give it a try as you seek to establish your domain of self.

From within my domain,

Chuck’s Place: What Is the Meaning Of Diligence & Sorrow?

In Everyday Tao, Deng Ming-Dao states: “One cannot go far in life without diligence.”

Nature is Tao, constantly changing, so like us... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Nature is Tao, constantly changing,
so like us…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

He goes on to say: “It is useless to argue: this life is one of suffering. Nothing can be done except through our efforts. Disasters hit all of us without meaning or explanation. Wars are constant around the globe. Family members abuse and exploit one another. Hard work is often rewarded with betrayal. The government is a haven for those who would oppress others. Despite the great wealth of information, ignorance is ever present. Money is used for selfish gains and not to help others. Spiritual leaders are often shown to be hypocrites. Homelessness is rampant. Most people do not have enough to eat. Those who have enough eat more than their share. We spend our lives looking for love, only to find bitterness. We pin our hopes to distant dreams that never materialize. We listen to teachers who tell us to work hard, only to find that the world has changed by the time we leave school. We hurt ourselves with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and slavery to desires.”

“Prophets disappoint us, priests befuddle us, teachers deceive us, bosses exploit us, parents reject us, spouses desert us, children are taken from us, and at the end, it is just us, staring at the grave.”

“This life is one of suffering. Those who don’t know how to suffer are the worst off. Those who follow Tao know that there are times when things will be very difficult. That is the time to be diligent. There are times when the only correct thing we can do is to bear our troubles until a better day.”

On Sorrow, Deng Ming-Dao writes: “Sadness is part of being human.”

“People describe sorrow as a pain in the heart,” he goes on to say. “They don’t point to the head or anywhere else—they point to the heart. Everyone feels sadness. The ancients believed that different parts of the body held different emotions. But just as we need all our organs in order to be whole and functioning, so too must we accept all emotions as part of the cohesive and balanced whole of our inner lives. Every emotion has a function, and all of them together contribute to our actions.”

“Our emotions are learned; they are inherent. An infant, in the first hours after birth, already has emotions. Throughout childhood, it is apparent that children’s feelings remain integral parts of their personalities. We cannot destroy our emotions any more than we can live without organs. So the best thing to do is to accept them and the role they play in our lives.”

“When sadness comes, we have to accept it. It is here. It is part of our life. We cannot negate it. We cannot avoid it. We need not think that there is something wrong with us if we feel sad. We should accept it as something indelible and necessary.”

“No one likes sadness. But it plays a part in our lives, just as any one of our organs plays a part. But while sadness is indelible, it is not predominant either. Other emotions exist too, and they will inevitably follow sadness. Therefore, those who follow Tao seek to find any advantage sadness may offer.”

Thank you Taoist wisdom!

May you all be well,