The Map of the Soul
articles on the nature of the human mind
By S.M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)
(Author’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Question Therapy for the Elimination of Sorrows
What is sorrow?
Perhaps nobody knows, though everybody feels.
So, what is NOT sorrow?
Because this is a question that comes from emptiness, which is why we never seem to ask it, it cannot be answered right now. That is why we may at best say that it is so nice a question that it need not be answered; rather, what it needs to be is explored as a question so as to perceive its full significance.
One who asks this question either to himself or to somebody else - with an intention to get an answer, cannot find the 'answer' because he cannot go beyond the expectation of an answer. In most cases an answer gets translated into the notion of a solution when there is an expectation of an answer. And then the mind mistakes the answer for the solution and learns to blame the knowledge by putting aside action. When the mind looks forward to a solution, it accepts the concept of problem to be true.
But in reality an answer need not be a solution to a problem. The question need not be considered a problem. The question arises because there is a problem in the person who is experiencing the reality in a way that he thinks should have been felt in another way. It does in no way signify a problem or anomaly in the reality about which it is asked.
Understanding the real significance of a question is the best answer that can ever be honestly expected, the process of seeking this answer being the action constituting the entire range of responsibility as a human being.
To begin with, who is asking the question? If the person asking the question is asking it about his own sorrow, then perhaps fifty percent of the answer is already received!
Does a sorrowful mind ever ask the question to itself: What is sorrow? If it did, then perhaps the mind could see the reality without having to philosophize at all.
And let us ask another question: Why do we become up and doing to do the needful to eliminate sorrow as we believe/feel it without or before even knowing what it really is? How do I determine that sorrow as I know it is harmful and not beneficial? Why do I ask questions about MY SORROWS rather than about what SORROW ITSELF is? Why do we call a feeling sorrow? We could well call it PLEASURE if we somehow failed to identify it, couldn’t we? All feelings are feelings; still why do we call one sorrow and one pleasure? If I did not give everybody a name, maybe all women would seem to me to be the same and the same about all men too. So could we identify sorrow without the name we have happened to attach to it? Could we identify it as merely one of the feelings such as envy, regret, anger, etc?
And here is what we may call Question Therapy, if you would like to call it so. It heals the mind as well as the total psyche by disentangling the creative knowledge-building process inside. It involves putting a feeling, an inner feeling, to question, so that it, while it is active on the level of the feeling, gets reflected on the level of thought and thus gets emancipated from action, when it can no longer influence action. When a feeling can no longer determine the action, it becomes an object of knowledge rather than a factor of events. Then it cannot affect the quality of living.
"What", the reader might ask, "do you mean by influencing, then?" I will answer this question first. To influence means to affect something, to bring about a change in the way it acts or behaves or exists. For example, I expose my body to the sun for too long a time and my skin color changes. I say that sun rays have affected my skin.
So we were talking about Question Therapy. Questioning the feeling. How? By simply looking at it. By feeling the feeling, which creates thought, and then by thinking the thought, not thinking "about" the thought.
If a feeling can be estranged from action, meaning that it no longer influences choices of action, the result of the action will not be compared with the state of mind that prevailed when the action took place. This means that there will be no compunction, no measurement of the outcome of the action. In that way a feeling ceases to be related to time, either the past or the future. The result is that then the inner feeling ceases to involve time. And then … no thought. No judgment. No focus on the outcome of the activity; only doing the activity. No plan of life in the FEELING, although there may be a lot of planning on the intellectual level. Then there is no story of life; there is only living.
True that what we are talking about may not happen so easily. But in fact, it need not happen at all if the fact is known precisely. Then the knowledge itself would transform living and life.
Putting something to question means looking at it from a distance. Psychologically, this distancing means the divorcing of the feeling from choices and decisions. The intention to act gets liberated from the direction of the feeling. Freedom.
Intention freed from desires represents the necessity of action on the part of the entire universe. Then that intention is action itself. Fulfillment. No waiting for future results or the judgment of the results. Infinite amount of energy is saved. The energy that would be wasted in keeping the feeling and thinking active will come back to the source.
Then YOU are the SOURCE.