Filed in Aging

The Chaos Under the Hood

Kathleen Dowling Singh

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Chaos is the mind of the self, of selfing, of unconscious habit patterns run wild. The mind of chaos is what is referred to in Buddhism as dukkha, or suffering. It is a chronically stressed mind, a mind of taking everything personally, of constant reactivity both gross and subtle. Such a mind is the consequence of delusion, of believing that the self exists in the ways we both conceive of it and perceive it. With such a mind, we’re confined to experience within the fractured, chaotic state we create with labeling, separating, judging, resisting, and clinging.

Much of our experience of our lives is the experience of the self’s personalized reactivity to whatever is arising. This chronic clinging and defensiveness produces chaos and conflict and stress. Chaos is replete with tension, with ruses, with exhausting attempts to keep the self safe and to choreograph circumstances to optimize illusory promises of happiness or to sidestep all that we do not want.

All of our efforts in this regard are futile. We cannot secure pleasure permanently. We cannot avoid the predictable sufferings. We cannot will our bodies to stop aging. We cannot will our bodies not to die. We cannot choreograph the universe.

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