A Tale for the Disenchanted
Getting Out of the Disenchantment of Entanglement
Here’s the ticket to get out of entanglements: be ready to participate fully devoted to what comes next with reverence. Let us call this holding Dharma.
Reverence is nearly equivalent to veneration, but expresses something less of the same emotion. It differs from awe in that it is not akin to the feeling of fear, dread, or terror, while also implying a certain amount of love or affection. We feel reverence for a parent and for an upright magistrate, but we stand in awe of a tyrant. [Century Dictionary]
- 1300, aue, “fear, terror, great reverence,” earlier aghe, c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse agi“fright;” from Proto-Germanic *agiz-(source also of Old English ege “fear,” Old High German agiso “fright, terror,” Gothic agis “fear, anguish”), from PIE *agh-es- (source also of Greek akhos “pain, grief”), from root *agh- (1) “to be depressed, be afraid” (see ail).
When we are able to hold Dharma no matter what arises we will not fall apart. Now, I realize that the sentence in itself is not enough explanation. You see, and of course I hope you do see, that there is work involved when the wind blows and we find ourselves entangled.
In order to hold onto Dharma, we need to develop the capacity to stand our ground in stillness and silence when desires arise. Let me repeat what we need to develop. We need to develop the capacity to stand our ground when desires arise. Desires refer to our reactive thoughts, feelings, impulses, and perceptions of the entangled mess we have made within ourselves. The key word is reactive.
These reactive mental formations arise to drive back something that our senses have experienced. Reactions, however, when acted out verbally or physically cannot be called back. It is very much like mixing two chemicals together; once they come together there is no separating them. An example from household cleaning is baking soda and vinegar; once the two substances come together, they form a new substance called carbon dioxide gas.
In order to practice the capacity to stand still we need to use our power to drive back the inner mental formations to prevent harm to others as well as diminish our mental selfishness that rises up. It is helpful to understand that we have the power to drive back our mental reactive patterns before they turn into something toxic. It is called, repercussive or repercussion. Most, if not all of us, have experienced the repercussions of our actions.
Our actions and the results of our actions are our closest companions. Check for yourself. What pops up in the mind? Mostly the repercussions of our actions. Repercussions echo and reflect our tendencies and attachments. The echoes remind us of our work to be done. When we react, we are no longer holding Dharma, we are reacting to our selfish ego that wants something.
late 14c., repercussif, “having the power to drive back” (originally in medicine, in reference to excessive concentrations of a humor), from Old French repercussif and directly from Medieval Latin repercussivus, from Latin repercuss-, past-participle stem of repercutere “to strike or beat back” (see repercussion). Related: Repercussively; repercussiveness.
early 15c., repercussioun, “act of driving back,” from Old French répercussion (14c.) or directly from Latin repercusionem (nominative repercussio), noun of action from past-participle stem of repercutere “to strike or beat back; shine back, reflect; echo,” from re- “back” (see re-) + percutere “to strike or thrust through” (see percussion).
Even the strongest desires will not overtake us when we have developed our capacity to stand our ground in still silence. There we are holding Dharma; in stillness and silence.
The Perfect Way is only difficult
for those who
pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike;
all will then be clear.
There we have IT. We are not guided by dogma or doctrines, but by clear, straightforward truths about the Way. We are not to worry that at present we pick and choose and like and dislike. Not at all. In fact, we all find ourselves on the roulette wheel of for and against. Recognizing that we spin between striking-it-rich and striking-it-poor in terms of getting-what-we-want and not-getting-what-we-want. We begin to see the roots of our disenchantment. The roots being reactive tendencies and the repercussions thereof.
We react and experience the repercussions and then we experience disenchantment. Spiritually, disenchantment is a step on the path of the Way. An encounter of disenchantment gives us the possibility to let go of wanting it our way. Letting go of our enchantment frees us from our compulsion to repeat the same mistake over and over again.
Let me clarify. Each and everyone of us are conditioned to go after something or someone in life. At first, as children we go after all the things in our environment, but because we lack discernment we need to be watched as a baby. Otherwise, we may injure ourselves or even go after something fatal to our existence. As we grow-up, we expand our horizons from the playpen to the outdoors and school and other children. And, as we all know, we then seek self-sufficiency regarding the things that help us survive in our social environment. Each development comes with the paired condition of for and against. There are many paired-condition sets which all have the underlying truth of being seen as both separate and opposite, i.e., right and wrong, good and bad, mine and yours. We have many, many opposites because our human nature tends to divide the world into one of two categories: good or bad. Because we are so conditioned it is very difficult to contemplate giving-up like and dislike and picking and choosing.
Yet, the teaching tells us:
The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear.
Now many of us may feel that the Perfect Way teaching is impossible or harder than picking and choosing and liking and disliking. The reason it seems harder is we have fabricated our tendency to pick and choose, like and dislike. Every day we are asked to choose, to pick, to like or dislike. And since we may believe it is impossible, we give up our practice of this teaching. But we do not need to give it up because we already practice it even though we may not like it or in some cases, we do not recognize that we already practice letting go of these hindrances. Let me explain.
In life, we choose again and again to accept or reject what comes into our life as our life. It does not mean that we give up in despair or melancholy or run wild in an ecstatic stupor. No, we do our best with what shows up. We devote ourselves to excellent, thorough and complete effort with what shows up without measure.
The best way to define this is all acceptance or devotion to what shows up. We cannot offer devotion without giving up the opposites of selfish picking and choosing, or selfish liking and disliking. We cannot, in meeting what shows up, meet what shows up with selfish interest. When we have ideas in our mind such as what’s-in-it-for-me, we are caught by like and dislike.
The Perfect Way may seem harder than picking and choosing, but that is not true. It is far easier to love without judgement and measure and hard edges with all the things that come into our life. There is a line from a film that seems to point to out the Perfect Way in simple terms; one worth memorizing.
“It is so much easier to love what you have…” than to complain, judge and measure what you did and did not get, what you do and do not like.
The Perfect Way is easier for those who do not pick and choose.
Find out for yourself.
May we with all beings realize
the emptiness of the three wheels,
giver, receiver and gift.
Don’t give up. Keep going.
Fashi Lao Yue
 Hsin Hsin Ming: On Trust in the Heart Attributed to Seng-ts’an; The third Patriarch of the Dhyana Sect