‘When we speak about reactive tendencies of exaggeration and denial, we may wonder exactly what it is we are reacting to. Think about this. How do you perceive things, and why do you respond to them in the way that you do?
We have different ways of knowing things. Most commonly we know “things” through our habitual objectification of them. For example, we often speak about the objectification of women. When we objectify something, we draw a boundary around it and therefore can only know it in a limited way. Who, for instance, is that sultry woman on the billboard – the one in that cool black dress holding a martini? Who is she aside from the one-dimensional image we have of her, an image based upon our fantasies, our desires or insecurities? Undoubtedly, she has a longing for happiness, like all of us. She also feels the pain that comes with that longing, which is touching and beautiful in its own way.
Human beings are complex: we have fresh moments and rotten moments. We have creative and destructive moments, too. We are crazy and predictable, glorious and miserable. Sometimes human beings seem like the lowest form of life on earth… then suddenly we find someone doing something brilliant, touching, and humane. There is a depth of richness in a human being that we can never capture or pin down. In truth, everything is like this – like shifting sands. Try to find “things” if you can. Try to find them before you objectify them, hem them in with concepts, tamper with them, or embellish them by exaggerating or denying their existence. Do you see what I’m getting at here? No matter how hard we search, in the realms of science, psychology, or otherwise, we will never reach an absolute conclusion in the world of “things.” A full experience only comes from our ability to know the truth of thinglessness. When we speak about the boundarylessness of things, we are pointing to knowing their truth, or essence. As we saw before: we cannot find a true boundary or edge to any thing, because all things exist in dependence upon other things. When we experience the interdependence and boundaryless nature of things, we don’t feel the heaviness of the world against us – the world as opposed to me. Instead we feel the fullness of the world, and we are part of that fullness. When we stop objectifying things, in effect, we have nothing other to react to.’ Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel