Longer term followers of my ramblings will recall I struck out in pursuit of a New Hobby some months ago, and I suppose I am now in a position to report my findings, as my recent holiday gave me the time to catch up on nearly all the reading I had planned.
In my quest, I was drawn to the following people:
- Eckhart Tolle (read "A New Earth")
- E F Schumacher (read "A Guide for the Perplexed")
- J. Krishnamurti (listened to various speeches, and read the book "Total Freedom" which is a summary of his major themes)
- Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (read "Handbook for Mankind")
Don't ask me why I chose those particular authors, as all I can say is they were the ones that appealed to me when I came across them, however perhaps the main reason was that their styles were, to me, not too 'preaching' and dogmatic, and they each encouraged the individual to consider for themselves, and not just have blind faith in them.
Overall, at this stage, I have come to the conclusion that the purpose of my life is just to be the best human I can be, and to never stop trying to improve.
For me that does not mean being rich or famous, having many possessions, being smarter, faster, more beautiful, or whatever are the usual measures of 'success', but rather (for me) it's just to be able to show as much love as I can.
When I say love its not in the usual connotations of the word, and instead I mean in in the way Krishnamurti describes love as:
- Humility, Gentleness, Consideration, Patience & Courtesy.
(I know - I clearly have a long way to go in my journey:)
For me the lasting impressions from each author were the following:
from Eckhart Tolle:
There's no point in blaming one tribe, group, nation, race, gender for evil of the present or past, and realise "There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness"
also: If, in whatever you are doing you cannot be in a state of either Acceptance, Enjoyment or Enthusiasm, then you are likely to be doing harm to yourself and others.
In addition to the aforementioned concept of Love, I found Krishnamurti very helpful on the psycholgical aspects of what is happening in our minds.
How Thoughts from stored memories, knowledge (which is always limited) and experiences, create Desire & Fear (including comparisons/identifications) and how projecting to the future and back to the past keeps most of us in a state of Disorder.
I also particularly like his concept of 'Meditation', which I interpret as:
Having an attentive mind to all that is going on (that being Disorder from the stored memories/experiences)
It's not concentration, suppressing, controlling or measuring, but rather an underlying and hopefully constant awareness.
from E F Schumacher:
His 'Four levels of Being' made it clear how we should be pursuing developing our human characteristics, not pandering to our animal instincts.
Also his 'Four fields of Knowledge' clarified how we are usually only seeing half of any picture.
For a good summary of Schumachers great little book see this Wikipedia article.
The reality that things are Impermanent & Unsatisfactory - however I admit I am still struggling with the concept of Non-Selves/Non-Self
(the latter is hard for me to grasp because I still cannot help feeling there is more to a human than the sum of all the atoms of which they are comprised - its unlikely that any serious Buddhist scholars bother reading my blog, but if you do, can you please set me straight on this concept?)
Sorry that this post, and my conclusions, are not particularly scholarly, philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual, but I'm just not interested, nor capable, of such things at this stage of my journey, and perhaps I never will be:)