Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Wisdom Wednesday :: “You have nothing to threaten me with …”

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

batman-logo.jpgWe can find the dharma in unlikely places. This shouldn’t be surprising because everything is dharma — the sacred and the profane; in pigs and the most sublime thing you can imagine. As the commenter on my blog entry from Monday suggested, we apply limiting mindsets to everything. Consider the possibility that there is no separation — everything we say, do, or experience provides the opportunity for awakening. 

Another unlikely place to find the core of the Buddha’s teachings was a statement by the deranged villain The Joker in the film the Dark Knight. When the Joker is captured and imprisoned, Batman enters the interrogation room where the Joker is being held. Batman beats up on him and as he does so the Joker laughs and issues forth this dharmic gem, “You have nothing, nothing to threaten me, nothing to do with all your strength.”
Let me make this clear, this is not an endorsement for the Joker or what he represented in that movie. The point is that the Joker does not care what happens to him; he is not attached to physical pain, to things going his way, or even his life. He is, therefore, radically free. He turns this freedom into mayhem, Buddhas turn this freedom into goodness, generosity, and care for others. 
A word on the term dharma. Dharma can mean various things. Sometimes it is translated as “truth” or the “Way” or “universal law.” It can also be seen as the teachings of the Buddha. I think of dharma as the way things are — the lawful unfolding of experience. And this lawfulness is more physics than civics. If I think and do this, I (and others around me) will feel thus. 
When I was in college I coined this aphorism, “Freedom is nothing more than telling shame and death to go #@*! themselves.” If we are not beholden to fear or shame then we are free, free to be ourselves. Unlike Freud, I think that freedom tends to move us in the direction of goodness; that a grounding in the dharma helps us to transcend the violent impulses of the id rather than act them out. More on this again soon. 


  • Colleen

    How we interpret and use information is part of the journey. If we are coming from a place of love in our heart, with a genuine intent to explore and offer others the opportunity to explore, then any information is valuable. I agree that “if we are not beholden to fear and shame, then we are free”:>)

  • MikeG

    With regard to the ‘transcendence’ of the Freudian Id: this in itself is an intellectual construct, and will therefore be transformed by Dharma. Effectively, it will dissolve without residue.

  • Marlys

    I am so pleased to read this at this moment. A person I was connected to wasn’t to me appreciative of my energy and love. I read this and I’m embracing my reality of loving myself enough not to be subjected to negative energy. I’m soooooo grateful for the acceptance of the passing and the newness to be discovered within me. I do agree freedom in the mind and loving energy is the universe we create, give and receive. It is up to us to create the universe we swim and think in.
    Much appreciation and gratefulness for the words of wisdom.

  • skye

    Arnie, I am with you on this one. Unlike Freud, I also believe that an emergent property of being a human who is free is the expression of goodness. This is a first action.

  • U

    Gay, bi, straight, both, trans, whatever…nowadays, who really cares anyways, and like the doctor says:
    “And this lawfulness is more physics than civics. If I think and do this, I (and others around me) will feel thus.”
    Good words,

  • Marie

    The id, I theorize, if it does not perceive freedom for a long period rebells. This rebellion can manifest in depression, seclusion, violence, even extreme extroverted positive behaviors but someway to breech perceived bounderies.
    And,compassion is boundless imposing nothing to be perceived as constriction. I do not believe Frued’s thoughts on this were about enlightened individuals.

  • John

    Your college statement reminds me of a play on the old Shakespeare quote: “To thine own self be true. And, to the rest, well, you know …”

  • Tina

    Thank you for this excellent post! This one sentence expresses it all so clearly:
    “Consider the possibility that there is no separation — everything we say, do, or experience provides the opportunity for awakening.”
    All we need to do is simply let go of our clinging, let go of our attachment to our stories, thoughts, and other delusions that there is some separate “I”. When we completely LET GO, then the illusion of separateness dissolves.

Previous Posts

Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
My dharma friend and mindfulness colleague, Elisha Goldstein has a fascinating new book out. It describes the ways that we can harness our own healing power to create natural antidepressants. These five include mindfulness, of course, self-compassion, living in accordance with purpose, play, and a s

posted 12:42:14pm Jan. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Find Your GPS for Success
GPS has become part of our lives. We find it in our cars, our phones, and even in watches (I got one as a gift over the holidays). In any moment, we can know where we are and also communicate that information to others. GPS can be helpful for getting to a destination and lends itself as a metaphor f

posted 11:02:53am Jan. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season
There are many things we "should" be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, and agendas on ourselves tirelessly. This is the tyranny of should.

posted 10:36:45am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.