Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Awakening as the Dharma Wheel Turns.

Jung said that every psychological problem is really a problem of the soul - a spiritual problem or disconnect, if you will. Jung studied the Eastern religions, and I know my analyst is a student of Jung. Imagine my surprise then when a man with years of psychoanalytic practice who has been one of my greatest spiritual teachers confessed that he was never really quite sure about what people mean when they speak of Dharma.

Bhuddism, a technically atheistic wisdom tradition given that the Bhudda never spoke of or recognized a 'creator' as such, puts great store on the turning of the Wheel of Dharma the awakening of sentient beings to the unchangeable, empty void and "suchness" in which we live and move and have our being. It is said that a great advance in sentient consciousness occurred some 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gautama, the Bhudda or Awakened One, arose from meditation under the tree in Bhoda Gaya where he achieved transcendence and began to speak of the The Four Noble Truths which are the heart of the Bhudda's teachings - the Noble Truths of the nature of suffering in the egoic state, its cause, the possibility of ending suffering by eradicating its roots in attraction and aversion to phenomenal 'reality' of our everyday world, and the Eight-Fold Path to achieve this. This it is said was when the Dharma Wheel, the awakening of consciousness to the absolute nature of our being, began to turn.

Virtually every time I meet with my doctor, I sense the Dharma Wheel turn a notch as our discussion is always based, at least to some degree, in knowing that overcoming egoic suffering is our human destiny and deepest impulse. The Dharma is the law of spiritual cause and effect. Each moment we realize and are conscious of how our words, actions and the state of our being either contribute to the awakening of us all to the underlying consciousness that grounds our seeming 'real world' and psyche in the absolute or obscures this consciousness in seemingly real egoic suffering, the Dharma Wheel spins imperceptibly. The Bhudda was a great psychologist, as was Jung. I sense each turned the Wheel of Dharma. I know that my doctor does as well, even if he is uncertain about what this means to me or others. The inevitability of spiritual awakening, the emergence of our Authentic Self from the entwinement of the Ego is Dharma in action as the Wheel turns.

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