Wednesday, July 27, 2011

IV: 36

Chapter 4, Verse 36

"Even if you were
The foulest of sinners,
The boat of wisdom
Would carry you
Like a raft
Over all your regrets."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

"The compassionate Buddha was fond of representing himself as a boatman offering to take us to the other shore that is Nirvana. Krishna, too, sometimes speaks of himself as the boatman (Kaivartakah Keshavah) who will ferry us across the river of life to the other shore. We, however, prefer this shore. We are hesitant about making the journey towards that other shore with its promise of peace. The mind keeps us on this shore visiting various ports hither and yon. In almost every port we have a love: food, mind-altering substances, clothes, money, fame, and all kinds of exotica to add to our collections. In moving away from this shore towards that other one, these attachments are to be jettisoned overboard. The grace of the Lord is like a wind that blows all the time, but it is our responsibility to rid ourselves of excess baggage and set our sails correctly."


"If you were asked to explain the individuation process to a Zurich street-sweeper, during the time it takes to wait for a tram, what would you tell this person?"

June Singer, Jungian psychologist: "It is as though you were sitting in a little sailing boat in the middle of the Zurichsee, and had no idea how to manage a sailboat. If the current was right and the wind was right, you might get to where you are going sooner or later, or you might bob around indefinitely and get nowhere. A storm might come up, overturn your boat, and end the project in disaster.

But when you begin the individuation process, guided by another who has been through it, who has coped with the difficulties and found ways to solve them, then it is all different. You learn to take into account the structure of the boat itself, how it is made and how it responds to the water and the wind. The boat is comparable to your personality. You learn about the currents in the lake; those correspond to the realities of the life in which you are situated and which are somewhat predictable. You learn about the winds, which are invisible and less predictable, and these correspond to those spiritual forces which seem to give a direction to life without ever showing themselves overtly.

In learning to sail, you do not change the currents in the water, nor do you have any effect upon the winds, but you learn to hoist your sails and turn them this way and that to utilize the greater forces which surround you. By understanding them, you come into harmony with them, and in so doing become able to find your own direction, your true north. You may still have to face dangers. There may be swift currents and wild winds at times, but somehow you do not feel helpless any longer. In time, you will be able to take leave of your guide and sail alone, and one day you may even become a guide for others."

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