Some ghostly examples:
- Smoking tobacco contributes to a number of lethal diseases, but acts so slowly as to leave the connection unconvincing. For years, I sought a missing insight that could cut through the fog concealing this drug’s real impact, but eventually tossed in the towel. I had always imagined that smokers were missing something, but now realize that they had acquired something that wasn’t there: a ghostly conclusion. With each exhale and each putting out of a cigarette, smokers had found themselves successful (even charmed) at having survived a personal encounter with death. Any words addressing their vulnerability were only making the charm seem more potent, more inwardly miraculous. From where would come the emotional strength for a smoker to let go of a puff’s evidence of their being so charmed.
- How many times has it been said: “We make choices and those choices have consequences.” But those consequences aren’t necessarily of substance; in fact, they often are the postponement or ever absence of an alternate, moment-ago choice. Hence, in life there is no sweeping right to choose: only respect, anger or indifference towards certain choices; along with a ghostly conclusion that, once we have made a choice, that choice is done with us. If at all, “what is” reveals itself, not as part of our strategies, but in its own way. When a situation is ripe with possibilities, choosing to “perceive” only the one which is preferred (positive thinking) sets up the ghostly conclusion that others are choosing only that which they prefer and, when negative, that they actually prefer misery and failure. The oppositional certainties, optimism and pessimism, are really much alike in their abandonment of a childhood ability to wonder and followup on that wonder. Taking one stance or the other as obligatory, opti-pessi invites us to act with certainty about that which we know little or nothing. Still, standing up to a strategy posturing itself in the language of reality, would require that thy know thyself better than and beyond any accusation of cynicism, Pollyannaism, etc. Of course, we can act without certainty of success, armed only with a sense of what is important; an idea (now a strategy) of how that may be attained; and with this approach the path may end splendidly. Isn’t that the essence of courage?
- The term unconditional has no place beside any feeling, since feelings are and must be, by their very nature, adaptive. Those which are not allowed to be so, may pass for feelings, but are in fact strategies. A better characterization would be found in a love that had been steady in its being noticed, or whose conditions had been stilled in a greater perspective or gone unnoticed. Love that insists on being requited with unconditional love has set a standard which denies its own participation. Being confused as to which came first, the feeling or the strategy, tags the inner heart with what may well be a demonstration of control over self or others. Isn’t the assumption dwelling ghostlike in automatic love or forgiveness, but a reemergence of failed auto-love, auto-forgiveness? Take forgiveness by example:
- Unconditional- Let it go with forgiveness of the person that you may both in such closure get on with your lives. In exchange be allowed a minor condition that, in forgiving, you get to name the offense either explicitly or implicitly, whether or not it had taken place.
- Conditional- Ask yourself to what the offender is returning. Let him or her know if that may be to your annoyance or worse. Be yourself outwardly open to his or her coming to agree with you and agreeing to not do it again; while staying inwardly open to the possibility that nothing had been there to forgive. Only if there is reasonable (or intuitive) certainty that there is a grievance to be redressed, let it also be known that if the offending action ceases, there is at that moment forgiveness, with or without your knowledge of it; but if after twenty-five years, there is a lapse in purpose, then for all that time, again beyond your knowledge, there had actually been no such forgiveness and whoever believed otherwise had merely been mistaken.
4. I don’t relinquish my person hood to hide in a oneness with everyone, but still worse is asserting such otherness for but a sense of security from what flesh is heir to. Cosmetic surgery should always be preceded by clarity as to one’s relationship to those who, for whatever reason, do not undergo the same procedure; otherwise, one’s life is defined by a ghostly separateness. For me the greatest hunter of all time was Jim Corbett of the British Raj, and what set him off, beyond extraordinary courage, was his early acceptance of other animals (even leopards and tigers) as cohabitants of his own ranging. Eventually this brought any killing of them to be exclusively born of the necessities for security from hunger and from the hungry. Likewise, I take his attitude as preeminent for other hunters and anyone who, empowered over the relatively helpless, might otherwise be caught up in delusions of separateness.