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.

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