(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
Humtpy Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
I’ve had lots of experiencing falling off the wall.
In the context of this post, Humpty Dumpty refers to our manufactured self (ego). It’s not a stable structure because none of the “parts” exist in any solid, permanent way independent from the causes and conditions — that we call “our life” — which themselves are constantly changing and shifting.
I spent a lot of time in a never-ending cycle that looks like this:
- sat relatively comfortably on my wall; and then
- something would come along to challenge this comfort and I would fall off the wall and then try to “get my life back together again.”
Then the two stages of this cycle would start again.
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall”
I’m “holding it all together.” Ego feels comfortable. Those who have a Twitter account see the status message in the bottom right-hand side of their screen everyday, e.g. “Twitter status: all good.” In the same way, when we’re in Stage One of the cycle, we can say “Ego’s status: OK.”
Example from my life: Pretty nice life – good family, fun sisters, girl’s camp in the summer (canoeing, horseback riding, head of the “Orange tribe”), private girl’s school, friends, piano lessons, skiing lessons, play bridge, join a sorority, university grad, meet husband-to-be and get married
“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…”
Example from my life: made the wrong marriage. It fell apart. How I felt is best described by the following quote:
“When the marriage broke up it had the effect of throwing me into a totally groundless state, which these days might be called a severe depression. I was scared and I was angry and I couldn’t get anything to come back together.” (click here for source)
Stage Two happens when “your comfort zone becomes your cage.” My old reference points get frayed at the edges, don’t hold up like they used to. I am frightened. The rug is pulled out from under me and I land on the floor! My ego, which relies on old habitual patterns to convince itself that it exists, swings into action to somehow “get-my-old-life-back.” This reliance on old, familiar, habitual patterns ensures that I will fall part once again.
Stage One again.
Stage Two again.
And on and on.
I finally had to examine this cycle very carefully.
I came to two conclusions:
- I realized I can’t get anything from the past “back;” To believe that I can get my old life back is false; and
- I decided not to make futile efforts to put my life together again, only to fall off the wall once again. So I simply sat there on the ground like Humpty Dumpty and rested in that state, and watched my mind making feeble verbal attempts to get back to Stage One: “Let’s-try-this. Let’s-try-that.”
At age 45 I got to Stage Three. Hopefully, Tiger Woods has reached this stage as well and will come out of the dark tunnel of an ego that has crashed.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Example from my life: I had fallen very much in love with a work colleague — not workable. It reminds me of a line from the song “You walk by and I fall to pieces.” Collapsed in a way I had not collapsed in my life before. Became very ill. I was 45 year’s old. Lyrics from the song Undun by the Guess Who kept running through my mind!
At this point in my life, I began to realize that, rather than seeing my experience as an “obstacle” (and blaming others) to a fulfilling life, I could use it as a key to open another door that goes beyond ego’s tricks. Put another way, I could use my experience as a jump-off point to spiritual development to go beyond self-absorption.
I also noticed that it was Humpty Dumpty that fell. Not the wall! In the context of this post, the wall represents the unchanging, primordial ground that underlies all changing things in our world. Or put another way, the wall symbolizes the primeval groundlessness (open space beyond our attachments, fixations, clingings and obsessions) on which we can “sit” whether we fall off or not!
What a delicious piece of irony…..
- Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: Ruling Your World
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche: The Sanity We Are Born With
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche: Working with Negativity (article in magazine Garuda, Spring 1972; also a chapter in Myth of Freedom)
- In the Face of Fear: Buddhist Wisdom for Challenging Times, ed Barry Boyce et al
- Robert Kull: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes
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