Dear Peter, and All,
Jack wrote: “The self is always busy constructing its world: assigning meanings and telling stories. But none of this works if the self is not somehow in charge of reality.” And the text very nicely says, “The dynamic, future-centered interplay of space, time, and knowledge in the world of the self thus differs in fundamental ways from the interaction of object-centered space and time and the corresponding, past-centered descriptive knowledge.”
I’ve been checking out my experience in the light of these two comments. I picked something that seemed simple – listening to music (while doing Ex.30). I could immediately see how the desire to unite with the music created a barrier in the form of the self-images. This desire existed in the cocoon of my self’s time-created world, where being in charge of my experience (and being completely self-referencing) is axiomatic. It actually lowered the energy available for the listening.
Another part of this situation was that desire wanted to enjoy the music in a time-oriented kind of way, as well. This is hard to explain, but I saw the self creating the sense of a ‘narrative’ in short passages of the music, connecting up this passage with the last and carrying the last forward into this. I noticed that this habit produced a kind of frustration that detracted from the music. (I might add that I wasn’t doing this for some kind of conscious exercise, I noticed that it was a habitual action that went with desiring to listen to the music, and I’m sure that I was witnessing for the first time something that I’ve done thousands of times while listening to music.)
When I got related to the desired object (the music) in my polar world, there the ‘knowledge gap’ arose; there separation was built into the relationship (in the form of the cloud of images called ‘me here’ and the music ‘there’ in ‘interior space’); and there contingency reigned (for example, I didn’t choose the buzz in the speaker). From this angle the ‘shine’ which desire gave the anticipated project was gone. The inherent separation in subject-object and the shortfall in the quality of the experience were actually painful. The object in object-centered space is never a match for the promise of desire. It’s a different ‘object.’
And, when I actually found real intimacy with the music (which was easy while doing LOK Ex.30), then the self and object were not present, so again desire wasn’t relevant to happiness. In fact, desire doesn’t even want to go there, because intimacy is not self-referencing and looks so unpromising!
I remember, too, a time when I was a child (of less than six) when my desire for an ice-cream clashed with the real object in my hand. I looked at it and I saw before having my first bite that it was already finished (by its nature), and immediately my desire was dashed. I ate it with a sweet taste on my tongue but heart-break in my mind.