How do I live?
That, indeed, is the question.
First, we must distinguish between the virtual reality thought and imagination create and lived, embodied, direct perception with its own qualities and knowing. Nature intended us to live in this embodied, present, immediate state of direct ‘knowing,’ and use thought as a creative tool in the service of this, our true ground and nature. Love, compassion, empathy, wisdom, appropriateness, care, attention, joy, ecstasy, beauty, telepathic resonance, immanence (the sacred that permeates all of nature), feeling our interdependent-entanglement with all of nature, all abide in this realm and all these are absent in the dream we falsely consider to be ‘reality.’
What most mistake as reality is the dead, abstract, counterfeit, what is imagined, now embedded and magnified in technology, which is equally dead. We live most of our lives in this dead reality, which spontaneously and unconsciously activates and triggers our deepest primal fears and anxieties, projecting what we imagine into the future. So powerful and enchanting is this imagined reality that it completely displaces our authentic nature. We live in a dream, not realizing we are dreaming. Then create belief systems, cultures, and personal identities upon this false, counterfeit, virtual dream. And that becomes our life, our reality.
As Krishnamurti describes, this first step, discriminating, is the last step. With the direct realization of the difference between these two realities, ways of being, and therefore knowing, everything changes. Without taking this first and last step, nothing changes.
Second, we must realize fully that evil is the use of our uniquely human higher cognitive and causal powers, in the service of our lower, undeveloped capacities. True development is an expansive movement from lower to higher qualities, or capacities, each with its unique ways of being and knowing. Our tools, based on expanded memory and the use of symbols to expand what is imagined, are infinitely more powerful than other species. And therefore, our tools, thought and imagination, are infinitely more dangerous when not used for goodness. Everyone gets the tools. But few develop, first the distinction noted above, and second, become masters of the tools, rather than the tools taking over and allowing the dream to drive our lives and relationships to everything.
Goodness is the flowering of these very powerful capacities that transform how one uses our most powerful tools, thought and imagination, along with the realities this crate. The failure to develop our ‘higher’ core capacities, forces thought and imagination to serve our lower capacities, void of these altruistic, empathic, and entangled forces. The creative use of thought and imagination void of these higher capacities is what we call evil. Everyone gets the tools. Few develop in ways that use these tools for goodness, so evil is always present. Full development is our only hope.
Appreciating these two fundamental truths, changes how we relate to what we experience in our daily lives and in the world. Compassion, because this is how things are, replaces depression and despair. Those grounded in goodness, stand firm without struggle, simply because that is their reality, and doing so helps others do the same. But the struggle between goodness and evil is a fight that will never end. Every day and with each advance in technology evil’s cleverness (immature or poorly, impaired development creating) will sprout new forms using thought and imagination in selfish, harmful ways, even taking sadistic pleasure in the process, evil. Sisyphus, forever pushing a boulder up the hill, is the mythic image of this never-ending struggle. The strength and clarity of compassion are always patient.
Simply then, to address your core question; How do I live? As the Navaho proverb notes; we ‘Walk in Beauty,’ powerfully, firm, without expecting to ‘win,’ even when surrounded by evil. And we share (model) this beauty like a flower, how life and the world look through mature eyes and wisdom, with all who pass by.