- Religion and Philosophy
A Passion for Chaos
Chaos has found a great number in human kind averse to it.
Certainty and order have been held as ideals.
How does one then find a passion for chaos? To keep the story short, a simple answer would be found in necessity. Maybe needing to live in and put up with chaos has lessons to teach us on how to be at peace with chaos and in so doing obtain better self-knowledge.
Contemplative by nature, I hold harmony and stillness as ideals. The outer world and its external circumstances are an entirely different story though. At work and at home, there is mostly chaos. Contrary to the predictability that is found in an orderly environment, there are always changes in time and space. At work, there are no definite workstations, no definite shift schedules. At home, no fixed activity times, no fixed personal spaces.
The measures I have experimented with in dealing with putting some order had met with little effectiveness. Try as I may, there is hardly anything possible to implement to put order in any of these areas.
The only explanation I can think of as to why everything is in chaos is that chaos is here and now to teach me a lesson.
Just sitting, doing my meditation at dawn this morning, I brought the question about chaos to my consciousness before proceeding with focusing on my breathing.
Curious, open, nurturing, attentive, …. Accepting, I slowly moved on to my breathing. Gently, a song floated up into my consciousness: “…I will love you tomorrow (I am unable to love you today)”. Silently saying to myself, “thinking”, I called my attention back to my breathing, resisting the temptation to follow a train of thoughts as to why the song popped up in my head.
Drifting in and out of thinking thoughts and coming back to being conscious of my breathing, I encountered an indescribably cozy-warm feeling. It was the same exact feeling I had when I joined a retreat camp two decades ago, a feeling long-lost in memory---awe, solemnity and belonging.
“Wait in peaceful emptiness and it reveals itself,” a verse from Ray Grigg’s book, then rose into consciousness, as if recapping for me what had just happened in my experience.
Forty minutes later, I rose up from where I was seated, reflecting on the insights gained from the recent sitting. Somehow the thought of how spoiled my daughter had grown up to be also came to mind. I tried to blame it on the grandmother but stopped myself, thinking that no real resolutions come from blaming other people. Circle of influence, as per Stephen Covey, deals with concerning oneself with what one can do and not what one has no power to control. Maybe my wanting her to be something different other than spoiled is the issue. I probably have a lot more to learn about surrender, being at peace with what IS---here and now.
Ha ha. The finger that I was pointing seemed now to point three fingers back at me. I perhaps am the spoiled one. All my life, wanting things to be peaceful and orderly despite being told by the external world with its circumstances that the natural way of things is chaos.
Accept ignorance as the human condition. Accept uncertainty willingly. Be confused. Choose right or wrong, yes or no, true or false and trouble begins. The fool is disguised in certainty.
Be certain, become confident, and the whole world sets out to teach otherwise. Without certainty, the whole world softens and accommodates. Uncertainty is the softening by which a way is found in everything’s changing.
Give up certainty and learning begins. Soften and open and be taught by the Tao.
To understand the world, give up the world. Chase it and it escapes; wait in peaceful emptiness and it reveals itself.
Do not be certain about uncertainty.”
---a beautiful chapter from the book, “The Tao of Being” by Ray Grigg.
“Naturalesa”, a word when translated to English, means inherent nature, also arose during silent sitting meditation. It seems to point to the same direction as to explain the thought and the feeling just experienced.
The Secret Behind Chaos
Going beyond a critical judgment of chaos, understanding that it is just the way of things or nature /’naturalesa’/, we stop ramming our heads against a wall, we stop imposing our will on how things should be instead.
Behind the discomfort that is the façade of the moment of chaos, waiting in peaceful emptiness, we find the same ‘naturalesa’---our natural a state of awe, solemnity and belonging.
Could this be had in the real world? Sounds like a good challenge. Instead of the usual stress I find in a chaotic moment, in rejection of its ‘naturalesa’, there is a glimmer of hope that I may find the other side of its ‘naturalesa’--- awe, solemnity and belonging, in acceptance.
There is a glimmer of hope, that my passion will not be misplaced seeking being by accepting both sides of chaos in every chaotic circumstance that comes into my awareness.
Contemplative by nature, as mentioned, accepting chaos will definitely be a challenge for me.
But challenges are the stuff that life is made of, that makes us grow and continually actualize our potential. Here there is room for passion, a passion to connecting with both sides (i.e. discomfort and being) of the ‘naturalesa’ that is chaos.
As to the lyrics of the song that popped up while in meditation, “…I will love you tomorrow (I am unable to love you today)” …
Stillness and harmony seem to be two distant stars, ideals set aside for tomorrow while chaos defines one’s external circumstances. Yet waiting in peaceful emptiness on chaos, the other side--- awe, solemnity and belonging, reveal themselves.
And so do stillness and harmony.