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The Trap Beneath the Temptation

Open Water preys on our unfathomable fears about things we don't properly understand. Filmmaker [Chris] Kentis and his producer wife Laura Lau, both experienced divers who took turns manning the camera, knew exactly what they were doing. They present the world as we wish it to be, all azure-blue water and sunny skies, and then slowly reveal the reality we don't wish to accept, the trap beneath the temptation.

Toronto Star, August 20, 2004 PETER HOWELL


I haven't seen the movie Open Water, but I've been somewhat transfixed by the trailers. Yesterday, I was on the Toronto Star website, and I read a glowing review that had the above quote in it. This idea of "what is beneath the obvious" is a major focus of ours, and a topic addressed in my new book, This Eternal Moment.

Then Dar pulled up my Osho Horoscope. This is it:

Life is coming at you from just the angle that you haven't got a clue about. That sensation of feeling like a stunned mullet is not the huge tragedy that you think it is. It's actually the beginning of your return to innocence. Enjoy it immensely.

"There are not only two categories in the world, the categories of known and unknown. There is a third category which is more significant than the other two, and that is the category of the unknowable, the mysterious, the miraculous. You can live it, you can be it, you can rejoice it, you can sing it, you can dance it. But you cannot know it. Knowledge is not possible. To enter into this realm of the unknowable is wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom is innocence and a deep feeling of the miraculous".

Osho, excerpted from The Great Zen Master Ta Hui

Ah, the common concept of "two categories" - of duality. Either / or. Black / white. Good / bad. The tragedy of life is precisely getting caught in this place. From this dual-ist's nightmare we ask, "Why me?" We hate it when the universe yells back, "Why not you? It's not personal. It just is."

There's this idea that life should be, as the Star article says, "all azure-blue water and sunny skies." And thus, when confronted with sharks or stunned mullets, we find ourselves resisting entering in and exploring what's in front of us. Except, by that point, there's no choice.

Let's be clear about what were saying here. I am not suggesting that going around looking for trouble is the path to enlightenment. I am saying that the fulfilled life requires simple presence, not judgment. The problem is not the situation - it's how we evaluate the situation.

In other words, desperately hoping that everything will be good, all the time, and then despairing when it isn't, simply doesn't work. The world is as it is. Wisdom is approaching the world with innocence and wisdom.

So, what's the "trap beneath the temptation?" I use the word consequence. As in, every choice has it's consequence. The problem with temptations is that  our imaginations get in the way. We assume that the result or consequence of engaging with what we love will be "positive" as opposed to "negative." Because, see above, we assume that the world has as it's goal making us happy. We can't believe it when the boat leaves and we're stuck. It's why Rabbi Kushner had to write the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

We resist desperately the point Osho made:
There is a third category which is more significant than the other two, and that is the category of the unknowable, the mysterious, the miraculous. You can live it, you can be it, you can rejoice it, you can sing it, you can dance it. But you cannot know it. Knowledge is not possible. To enter into this realm of the unknowable is wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom is innocence and a deep feeling of the miraculous.

Miraculous? You gotta be kidding. Unknowable? I can figure anything out, because I've taken courses and am really, really smart! Ouch! That shark just slapped me in the head with a dead mullet.

wake upThis is a hint.

 

Notice the dancing Buddha. The awakened state is not happiness. It is simple awareness. It's a card Dar keeps pulling in her daily Tarot spread - "go with the flow." Innocence is not stupidity. Innocence is simple presence. And the joke is that if you resist any experience, the next thing you know, you'll be swimming in it.

This week, notice how you are denying yourself the simple experience of being. Open yourself to the possibility that all of your experience is relevant and important, not just the parts you judge to be "good." There is a dance going on in all of our lives, and the dance pulls us deeper into the ultimate mysteriousness of life.

Grasp loosely, tread water and enjoy the swim. It's not as if you have a choice.




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