The easiest thing in the world to do is walk naked, and the hardest. We have to take off the clothes we put on in which to admire ourselves. If we don't, then we never see the truth of ourselves. We are naked to others even if we think we are clothed.
I might have to change all my materials to warn for X-rated content...
I could make some jokes, but I don't want to make light of Malcolm's point. It is important.
P.S. And I could see this thread just degrading into jokes about being naked (which it probably will anyway).
My reply was no joke... I was thinking, perhaps if my work were seen for what it is, I should blush, come to my senses and put some content warning on it...
But the truth is that I'm protected by others' blindness, and that is one of my habits/weaknesses in how I hide my own vulnerabiliy - in plain sight in the notions people project that I don't bother correcting. It's a form of cowardice that I might not be liked for who I really feel I am. Another set of half-superstitions. I think everyone does it to some extent, I am ordinary in this way. I learned a long time ago about my own fears of vulnerability in being intimate with other human beings. I look in that mirror all the time, a seasoned there-goer
like many other seekers, diving into all of my notions... it's always interesting to discover how much weight I put on around this or that inflation of Self, and go on an ego diet to lose a few pounds...
We are 'naked' all the time, with this I agree, Malcolm. But only in the same way that reality is a big buzz of everything happening simultaneously. Can we recognize why it's so easy and so hard to walk naked among others? Minds are like swirling waters, no clarity to see all the way to the bottom. Churning on imagination and reactions, notions and yes, cultural ideas of preference and propriety. Ghosts and shadows, imagined barriers and lines created by our half-superstitions that we take for granted as truths. At least till prodded for "real", solid, veracity... then the notions are found to be formations, nothing more. Now and again, there is a stillness which allows for a few moments' clarity. Such precious instants, being truly naked. That we are naked means little in and of itself, because then are we clear enough to recognize this nakedness for what it is. For most people this occurs here and there, or with 'special' people in their lives. For enlightened masters, being naked seems to be an ordinary experience. How wonderful!!
There is however, a fear of nakedness (vulnerability) in most people. Hurting feels dangerous and let's face it, sucks. Opening up to being vulnerable that is terrifying on SOME level to most people I've known. Unless vulnerability can be seen for what it is. The most fearless of being naked are children (take notes adults) because they know they know so little, they are just open to being in a present state - #whatshame? They are so small, their world is tremendously huge. It's brilliant to observe... and we all lose that around puberty(?) where we grow so big and our worlds shrink, as we ball up into a kind of self-consciousness of this constructed identity... Also, not to overlook, in most of the world, people around this time are conditioned into group socialization processes and taught to have some "feelings" around their nakedness, whether fear, shame, pride, guilt, etc.
So there we are as adults in the muddied waters of clothing, mental and physical... and yet, like Malcolm points out, it is also the most natural thing in the world. We all can stand there naked for with ourselves when we think no one is looking... Poking at our mental and physical flaws with self-loathing, the zits of our self-consciousness, all the things we wish we didn't have. And then we feel the need to hide this from others, because they will not uphold our desirable image of self that we want to embody.
While it's true that some people would not recognize their butthole from a hole in the ground, I would note that glorious nakedness is not
for their eyes anyway, any more than a Van Gogh is for a pig's appreciation. Many people, however, will respond when they look upon a beautiful mind/body that is fearlessly naked by being inspired to live or strive for the same state of open strength, however they interpret that to be, each path is different.
Why did you become a Buddhist if not because you responded to the Buddha's fearless naked quality of mind. The body follows the mind. I'm not saying we'll all run around naked in the office, practicality still rules the conventional world. I'm saying that perhaps it's most important to know WHY it's a lot harder to be mentally/physically "undressed" with our egos/bodies exposed all nude-like open to our own self-loathing and rejections. Most, and some who have posted here to, 'believe' people can't SEE us, there is a Self-created cocoon in which we habitually push away that which is uncomfortable (aversion) and drawing to us that which is desirable (craving). Just habitual stuff, breaking it up is the good stuff. But people are smart, they see in bits and pieces, things we don't even want to acknowledge within ourselves.
I would love to see a dharma wheel, for one, where people are more naked in their experience of dharma and less dressed up in the accoutrements and 'shoulds/supposed-tos' of the -isms
they think are the dharma... I am no expert of dharma, but I have a theory that when in doubt, return to the state of a child's mind, the straight up stillness of now that is moving in a constant hum of vibration... I know I know, this is a forum, but come on, tell me about how being naked scares or elates you
, not about what it means to this or that theory or teacher. Those are great, but they don't tell me anything about YOUR practice. If you're gonna go there, GO there.. be naked already. Why else are you posting otherwise? To tell others what the dharma SHOULD be? I don't even know what it should be, what IS IT to you? What does being naked mean to you?
Maybe I'm just a dharma practice-voyeur ...
I want to know how the dharma is personal to YOU, not the clothes you wear to BE a buddhist. I go for the good stuff, love. It's the recognition of the other that lets you be present with the other.