To be a human means to be a human with and for others.
Only alone it seems to me, I am free to be a human.
It’s this loneliness, which let me become a human again.
I’m in front of a deep abyss. only a little bit surprised that the thrown stone didn’t trailed off somewhere near the ground but continues falling aimlessly, groundless.
Everything seemed neutral to me – worthless or worthwhile.
Like Tom Hanks in the finale of “Cast Away”: Standing at the crossroad, questioning look and this incredible emptiness. Without attachment. If you are dead or alive, it’s one and the same.
If you are a dustman or a doctor, there’s no difference. if you are a priest or a pauper, only an anchorless questionmark. Without an emotional anchorage, without affection.
Only a bland emptiness is laboring through my emotional apparatus.
These days after my illness I have a curious feeling of being in a kind of an open loop: Relaxing maybe is the wrong expression. Let’s put it this way: I hear much more during the day. I have arranged my books. Arranging, putting things in order but not obsessive, has a calming effect on me. Also empty rooms. I slowly get my peace back. Like a pendulum which is standing still after strong oscillations. Now I have fewer duties, which I could use as pretense to escape from silence. The tours to the shopping-centers have finished. I admit, that my living room and my bedroom look like niches of ikea.
After a long time I started meditating again. Sitting in front of a white wall. My bedroom has no pictures, and I’m not going to change that. So I’m sitting here, looking at the white wall, with a border of beech skirting board, on a black pillow, under it a black blanket, which is lying on the timber flooring, and I stay sitting. My hands are lying together, my attention is on my mind, my breath and I’m trying to be totally present – and I’m listening.
Silence compresses itself in front of my ears, I can nearly hear it. Through the closed windows I hear like the rush of a river the muffled sound of passing cars. In the other flat someone is closing a cabinet door. Slowly my calves are falling asleep. In the living room the alarm clock goes off, time is up. (2006)
To keep your identity in the fast, loud dog-eat-dog society it’s most important to discover and to cultivate your inner life. We are torn between Instagram, Facebook and Millions of images and opinions. To hear my own voice again it’s absolute necessary to go into silence.
Here I show you a way – my way – to develop your own spirituality. We have much more to offer – and intuitively we know that – as a nice face and fancy clothes. The world needs our whole personality, which is precious and in spite of all its stains and failures it’s worthwhile and lovable.
Most parents I know prefer to protect their children in front of the hardnesses of life. The little princess, the little prince shall not come in touch with poverty, suffering, illness, aging and death.
This utopian dream was also dreamed by the father of Siddhartha Gautama in India about 2500 years ago. As the legend tells us it was seemingly possible for him as rich ruler to shield as long as possible from the world outside and to give him the impression: Life is some sort of land of milk and honey in which exists neither poverty, illness, aging nor death. But you don’t do your children a favor, if you keep them away from the hardnesses of life and lay a paradise at their feet. A life which doesn’t know suffering remains superficial. Above all we don’t have it in our hands. The broken appendix or the broken skull through a bike accident come out of the blue.
And so it happens to Siddhartha, who is in the age of 28 confronted with illness, aging and death when he visited the city. The encounter with the suffering in this world must have shaken him deeply, for he leaves his parents, wife and child, and starts out to search for the meaning of life.
He joints different religious groups, fasts and lives in poverty. He leads a life, which is total contrary to the life he lived in the palace. But both lifestyles don’t bring him to the target of his wishes: Finding fulfillment or the meaning of life. Understandable. The by his father imposed never-never-land as well as the life of the Brahmin and ascetics remain foreign to him. A human have to find his own way. That sounds modern. But this is only a timeless truth.
Siddhartha finds for himself the “middle way” far away or better said: right through the extremes luxury and asceticism. In meditation he comes to enlightenment: The essence of life is suffering. You wrong the Buddhism, if you therefore call it as a negative religion.
Life is suffering. Causes of suffering are greed, hate and dazzlement. When the causes extinguish also the suffering extinguishes. The Noble Eightfold Path leads to the extinction of suffering.
The doctrine of the Noble Eightfold Path shall lead the human to liberation (nirvana). The Noble Eightfold Path consists of: Right view, resolve, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, consciousness.
Well, my long-term occupation with Buddhism exceeds the short quoted articles in wikipedia. Therefore I summarize Buddhism with my own words. According to Buddhas opinion suffering arises by a wrong self-image of the human. Because he / she understands himself / herself as an independent human. If he holds on to this wrong ego-understanding of himself he has to suffer. If he selfishly defines himself to be his body, name, reputation and possession, he / she has to suffer, when he / she is threatened by poverty, aging, illness, death or by other people. Finally in Buddhas opinion is the I, an independent self or an individual soul of the human an illusion. What becomes reborn after death is not identity but energy.
If he / she in contrast lets loose him / herself because he has discovered his true essence beyond name and form, he doesn’t have to suffer any longer. I indeed understand the logic if I’m not attached to my television any more, it doesn’t mean anything to me any more or every other possession, it’s easy to give it away without suffering – to name a simple example. Or when I’m in distance to my self – who am I already? – being free and detached, when another one in insulting me and drugs my reputation in the mud. But toothache are toothache. Dot.
There I can let loose myself and being loose from myself and without ego, they are hurting. I may look through their transientness but when I have pains here and now, I’m suffering. And that is only a small example.
What about everything else? What about hunger, suppression and tortures of the weakest? What about boat people just drowning? What about the maltreated and sexual abused? Can I such easily say them – sorry Buddhists – let go your suffering, you are not only your body but the whole universe?
But my maybe exaggerated statement and by Buddhist possibly judged as being polemic hits the spot: To say it like Buddha: Life is suffering. Yes. But life is suffering and is not so easy to overcome by letting go. Buddha may not only believed but experienced this, but my reality looks differently.
Someone else speaks of suffering and letting go 500 years after Buddha. He has been growing up in the Jewish tradition: Jesus. “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same will save it. For what does it profit a [hu]man if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits his own self?”
Jesus, who different than Buddha knows God and who examplifies us a human God, knows that we as humans are not alone on our ways. Finding your self means to him to forget your self. That could also Buddha say, but for Jesus means forgetting yourself to find God like he.
God, whose being is beyond a fixed concept of God, who is nameless, who is “I am who I am”. God, who is above-personal incomprehensible for us humans, but who also has become attackable and vulnerable human and who has taken shape in Jesus. God, who became a “You” for us. Because God became in Christ to a You, I can freed from myself more than ever be myself.
God doesn’t remove the suffering out of the world. But we experience by the suffering of Christ, that God isn’t apathetic or insensitive as an absolute being but quite the contrary: God shares the suffering of his humans in our crucified brother, Christ.