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Thanks and thoughts about the origin of unhappiness

I have been looking at myself now for some months and so far the most important thing I've noticed--and noticed thanks to your pointing it out--is that I no longer take myself or my faults so seriously. If I get into an argument with my wife or get depressed, I don't beat myself up for doing that now. I just notice it when I do, then look at myself when I remember to, and usually the issue evaporates in a little while. This is a huge gift--no longer to feel that I haven't made any progress or have regressed when I take an emotional dive. It used to be that such a dive would bring about long periods of hopelessness and despair. Not so much any more. Thanks so much!

On to another thought. When I read or hear you talk about the origins of this suffering and fear stemming from birth trauma, I find myself doubting that. Animals don't get so terminally violent and messed up from birth trauma, and they go through it, too. And when I look at an infant I don't generally detect fear of life or baseless unhappiness.

If I may offer what it looks like to me, I recall you mentioning Helen Keller on one of your podcasts, and I recall a story of her just learning language at age 12 or 13. She said that prior to that time she had no idea that one could represent something with a symbol, and, because of that, up until that time she had no way of making a distinction between herself and the world. She and the carpet she crawled on were one thing, not two. Only with the advent of language did she make the distinction between self and other. And it seems to me that perhaps it is this split, born of language, that creates our state of fear of life. Animals and infants do not have language and thus no fear of life. Those of us with language always feel there is something missing, something (The Garden) we must get back to, and we're always searching, always afraid that that reunion will never come. But it is just linguistic, and your simple formula of looking at yourself seems gradually to short-circuit this linguistic separation and brings us back to a sense of unity.

Ultimately, I suppose, the origin of this unhappiness is not nearly as important as its demise, and perhaps I am presumptuous in offering this suggestion, but I mean no disrespect.

With love and gratitude,

Bob

 

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