Nirvana provides escape from all assaults

What is this “nothingness” they call Nirvana?

Emptiness” is another word I heard while trying to describe what I believe is a state of “being.” A “void” where all stimuli, all sensory perception and all “thought” is “extinguished” from within.

I read the term literally means “blowing out.” Kinda like a flame going out, allowing what one mystic called “unbounded freedom.” It is the ultimate goal of this spirituality. Not sure, but I think those who have reached “Buddhahood” can sustain the state of Nirvana every moment of the day.

To me, that would be incredible. It’s like always being in the Christian “state of grace” but without being labelled “holy” or a “holy roller.” You know, the type that are always trying to sell you their religion. They usually befriend you, and may even be sincere in their openness with you as they get you to let down your hair and to reveal a vulnerability you normally wouldn’t share over a few beers on first meeting them in a bar. You get to like this person, their own courage to speak of some really meaningful event or series of tragedies they faced up to. You admire their candor, and how they overcame diversity.You find yourself relating something similar from your own life.

And then they hit you up side the head with the Almighty.

You offer your own “opinion” about God, the universe and some other beliefs you hold. Your new acquaintance seems to initially agree, but then asserts what you perceive is some doctrine of an evangelical  group, maybe even with quotes from a religious book, all the way down to chapter and verse.

Holy mackerel, you may say to yourself. Is this person proselytizing me? Are they “hitting” on me to come into their ‘fold?” A fold that seems to  say their way is the “only” way? Uh oh, better get out of this situation with some diplomacy, leaving both of us with our dignity somewhat intact. And your beliefs still standing after their religious seige and barrage.

Whatever you do, don’t tell “them” you meditate. And for Heaven’s sake, don’t let slip the word “Nibbana.” Or Nirvana, which is what the original word morphed into. Ease away from the zealot. Physically remove you Self as best you can, hoping that your body language will tell them you want no more to do with them. That you want to “void” your Self of them, “extinguish” their flame. Blow it out.

That you would rather seek Nirvana.

Here. And now.

5 comments on “Nirvana provides escape from all assaults

  1. saradode says:

    Tee hee…I’m just waiting for the next person to come along and ask me if I have a personal relationship with Jesus, and if I’ve accepted him as my personal savior…I could lose sleep at night thinking of all the ways I could answer that…

    Steve’s right–your description is marvelous. But, like Steve, I also (only recently) have started to try to see evangelists in a more compassionate way (in spite of my fantasy answers alluded to in the first paragraph here!). My conditioned response is real anger, but a few months ago, when I was fuming about it, I was asked to be more compassionate, because “some don’t know what to believe.” They, like all of us, are looking for something in that dark and bloody and joy-denying belief system, and perhaps just don’t know where else to look, or are afraid to look elsewhere. They don’t believe that they are entitled to have a relationship with God without some kind of “official” mediator who can presumably keep them from doing things that will lead to punishment by a vindictive and sometimes rather “flighty” God. And the Church, of course, promotes that fear. Take the institution away, and see what happens…Maybe then people can have a REAL “personal relationship” with the Divine, however it appears to them.

    Still, the compassion is a work-in-progress… 🙂



    • 🙂 Nancy!

      Great points all. Although I am doing much better, I have to admit that in some cases and circumstances, I do just react with anger. That’s OK, as long as I pay attention to the anger and don’t ignore this “crying baby.” At one level, anger is a healthy sign that I’m aware of how wrong views hurt me and others and my innate sense of injustice and right and wrong point to an awakening that will finally free me.

      Psychologically, I don’t think people who have been traumatized can “skip over” the anger part or their sense of injustice; I hate (yes, hate isn’t too strong a word) pop and so-called spiritual psychologies that foist “forgiveness” on people before they have worked through their justice issues. Until a person can truly feel that what was done to them was wrong, until they can tell their abusers without fear and self-doubt or self-condemnation that what they did was wrong, victims of abuse and trauma simply can’t be healed. Their deepest integrity won’t let them be “healed,” thank goodness. They want the real thing. That’s my experience in counseling I’ve done, and it’s the understanding of the psychologists I most admire, like Alice Miller and D. W. Winnicott.

      To short-circuit or suppress or deny anger with mere belief, whether in god, or a Buddha, or some dharma, goes against human nature, and I think it goes against the way the universe works, actually, which is the real dharma.

      This doesn’t mean anger isn’t, of itself, harmful. Anger points to knots of energy that are painfully tangled and restricted. But there’s more to “anger” than meets the eye of the simplistic doler of easy advice and absolution of those who have done harm.

      My two bits…and some change. 🙂


      • saradode says:

        Hi, Steve,

        I get the feeling that your anger is based on something much more visceral and painful and personal than mine is–mine, I guess, is on a more intellectual/theoretical level, and/or a result of anger at others’ treatment at the hands of clergy, etc. (David, the man who I loved so much and who died of AIDS, for example, was abused by a priest as a boy, and the mere thought of that can send me into a rage). It’s not something I would ever recommend just blithely “forgiving” and trying to forget to anyone as some kind of shallow “spiritual exercise”; clearly, it’s something that needs to be worked through and understood by the person who experienced the betrayal, abuse, etc.–not someone looking on from the outside, who can at best be a kind of mirror for the person who is suffering to see himself or herself through (as in “reflective listening”).

        I was speaking more of those who rather blindly, and perhaps innocently, follow along because they don’t know any other way–not the ones who take advantage of the power amassed by the institution itself, and the ones who have knowingly distorted the truth for their own benefit, or to keep the institution’s power intact. Hell, Yeshua seemed to get pretty pissed on a regular basis–but at the latter group–the ones who wouldn’t enter the kingdom themselves, and prevented others from entering.

        Thanks–you’ve (as usual) given me more to think about, as the “anger” issue has come up a lot with me recently in terms of when it’s appropriate and useful and when it’s merely poison.



        • Nancy, be assured that I totally “groked” where you were coming from and that my spur-of-the-moment diatribe against pseudo-psychology was in no way directed at you! I would never think someone such as you would ever advocate or practice pseudo-forgiveness.

          You made a GREAT point about institutional evil and how it operates. It’s all about control and power and poisonous pedagogy, to use Alice Miller’s term. I loved how you put it, and it gave me lots to think about too, amiga!


  2. Boy, does your description sound familiar!! Sadly, with evangelicals of any ilk, it’s “my way or the highway”…..I think there probably is “revealed” truth, of a sort, but the human mind then deifies its glimpse of the ineffable into an “either-or” dogma that crushes out the appearings of light in beings wherever it can…and does so in the name of some “greater” light that is just the projection of the person’s need to have an omnipotent parent figure telling them right from wrong and who they can please by total submission and obedience…..I have compassion, but what undevelopment and darkness!

    Far better to “blow that all out,” as you say….and even Jesus warned against throwing “pearls before swine”…lest they “turn and rend you”…..hah!


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