Monday, April 23, 2007

Controlled Folly
I have lately been thinking about the motivation to create and innovate, serve others, and add goodness to the world — what I call "horizontal growth." On the other hand, if this world is a dream we are collectively dreaming, and we can oscillate out of it every other moment into a direct experience of the divine, is there a purpose to improving it or is it already perfect in its original state? Should we then just focus on our own capacity to live in the divine — or "vertical growth"? I don't have answers quite yet, but I remember Don Juan in the Castaneda books, talking about how the spiritual warrior must practice "controlled folly": the idea that everything is already done and perfect, yet we must convince ourselves that it is worthy to do things anyway, and act with full commitment even though we know it's a dream.

I just found a fantastic old book: The Book of Angelus Silesius, The 17th Century European Zen Poet, by Frederick Franck. It is full of observations from mystics, western and eastern, along with the simple, deep writings of Silesius, who experienced a 4-day unbroken period of enlightenment. Among the quotes are these:

. . .great truths do not interest the multitudes,
and now that the world
is in such confusion,
even though I know the Path,
how can I guide?
I know I cannot succeed
and that trying to force results
I shall merely add to the confusion.
Isn't it better to give up
and stop striving?
But then, if I do not strive,
who will?
— Chuang-Tzu
"Everything is," is one extreme.
"Nothing is," is the other.
Between these two I teach the truth of
Interdependent Origination.
— The Buddha
The wise have one wish left:
to know the Whole, the Absolute.
The foolish lose themselves in fragments
and ignore the root.

You are just dreaming
if you see the Kingdom
delivered without obligation,
absolutely free.

He who hopes to make true art
must remember from the start
that nothing true can be created
unless by Spirit permeated.
— Angelus Silesius