This recording of Alain de Botton’s talk on pessimism posted on vimeo is a refreshing change from the often promulgated notion that happiness and success are within the palm of your hand if only you try hard enough or buy the right book. That if they are not what you are experiencing then something has gone wrong…you have failed… and that those who have the good things have got them solely by their own efforts. He suggests that, in fact, these might not be the worthwhile goals of life; that sadness fully experienced is of value and there is a cheapening of one’s humanity in brushing it aside.
From a deep dharma perspective all experiences are empty therefore they can be fully felt, and their richness experienced, without fear of being overwhelmed. Each experience then naturally dissolves making way for the next.
The greater the range of tolerance to the experiences, the greater the compassion available as this brings a reduction in the ‘turning away’ from the undesirable or desire for fusion with the ‘desirable’. Any attempt to push experience away (avoidance) or to hang on to it (grasping) means a separation from the flow of experience and the creation of a false position (knitted from the experiences – thoughts feelings and sensations) and with that a sense of continuity, of substance, to both experience and experiencer.
It looks like James recommended it and i hope it lifts your… errm… spirits!
P.S The picture is of Sisyphus (see Camus on pessimism)
Chris, who lives in Germany, has completed a big job in reorganising the audio site so well done to him…and, following on from that, he has just uploaded the recordings made in July for you to listen to. So just click here or look on the simplybeing.co.uk website where you’ll find it under audios…If you visit the site you will see that there are other interesting new additions shown on the right of the title page which Barbara has recently put up – including a video of meditation for escaping ‘imprisonment’… whether the bars are metal or mental!
I’ll leave the bit below (which i put up while we were waiting for the recordings) for a little while yet…..In the meantime (a bit like the potter’s wheel) how about a look at The three modes of energy a text which has just become available… and then there’s some art work you might enjoy by Stuart Edmondson a Dartmoor based artist….if you look under ‘process’ you will see it is like the freshness of responsivity arising from openness and these quite took my breath away.
Then i laughed a bit at how amazed we are if an artist manages to capture a good likeness of a tree on paper or canvas…If its really ‘life- like’ we are so amazed, there’d be a queue to look at it…yet if we look at the tree itself that’s maybe not so amazing ?! Maybe its all amazing…
I take my hat off to the translators of James talks. They have to keep remembering everything he has said… which can be a lot… until he stops speaking and then they have to correctly re-present all this to the audience. To express this in a manner which is ‘simpatico’ is a joy to behold. So I hope you enjoy this video in ten parts – Emptiness and Dzogchen – from Grenada, translated by Juan.
I hope you enjoy this video which was made and edited with care by Peter Farrie of the talk ‘Being at ease with yourself’ which James gave at the end of November.
Alistair Campbell also made a video recording so that we had two in case of any problems – so big thanks to him too.