Friday, November 11, 2005
Claiming indifference to worldly things and swallowing swords are both done to win applause from an audience. There are levels of status in a monastery after all. Truly seeking indifference, however, is arguably another matter, if the intent is only to relieve the distress and torment caused by the friction between oneself and one’s surroundings. Those of us who have ever endured severe psychological dislocation would be in a position to make the honest assertion that our detachment from a defective world gave us an inner calm otherwise unachievable. And a few at least would not face the charge of hypocricy that would be warranted against those who registered the adulation of others and felt an even greater spiritual thrill as a result. Is there one of us, though, who is not left with himself as a spectator? To be inwardly indifferent toward something is in fact to lower its value covertly in our own eyes. As long as we care about it, we have to deal with its significance in regard to our own worth. Remove it, and the downward pressure it puts upon us is removed along with it. As far as we are concerned, our standing in the world improves, without our having to acquire confirmation and substantiation from a single other source.