Not Zen

"To see the mind as it truly is, consider it like you would a tree. It grows and expands. Its roots go deep, hidden and out of reach, and to cast them out or truly examine them, you risk wounding the rest and must go beyond logic. The question is, are you willing to take the risk?" 
The Dreamer considers this for a while. His answer, however, comes with conviction. "I was made ready by this very world." 
His guide nods in understanding, smiles. 
The undergrowth bristles as their footfall passes. In silence, they walk between the trees and up the hill. Despite the slope, their breaths come easily, slowly. The rise is steep and obstacles many, but they press on, higher, slower with each step, until they settle on a steady and calm pace. Golden rays greet and stroke their faces. Light flickers between the autumn leaves. The winds are gentle as they lick the soil and awaken the greenery with movement, excite the smells of forest life. 
Atop the hill, a glade, caressed by the distant spirals of the sun. The divine engine fills the Dreamer with awe, furnace hot upon his face, infinitely moulding the Earth's flesh into an image, into life. He feels its pulse. His bare feet tingle. 
The two men stand there for a while, basking in the glory of a thing so mighty, so unattainable - like the true workings of the mind. 
The Dreamer gazes up the lone tree swimming in gold and watches as the sun and the tree suddenly become one. No end of one, no start of the other, but both admixed, like an alloy, embracing the light. His guide averts his eyes, looks at him, and the Dreamer knows what words shall follow, for he would ask the very same of the tree before him... 
"Do you ever sleep? Is the time between days sleep for you? Or as the season and its stillness takes you, is that sleep for you? Tell me, do you dream then? What do you dream about?" 
To this the guide plucks a small, white flower and hands it to the Dreamer. "What do you see?" the guide asks him. 
The Dreamer looks, perplexed, for he knows his teacher wants him to see more than the obvious. But instead of seeing what is truly there, the Dreamer's mind breaks through and depicts solely its sensual perceptions. 
"A flower, brightly coloured and scented," says the Dreamer. His guide looks at him. Wind rustles their robes in tune with the lush green beneath their feet. The tree above plays in the breeze, shading them. "Is that all you see?" 
The Dreamer looks again. Nods. "My eyes see what they see. Yet my mind tells me I should see more."
"It is not Mind that sees more, it is You. The flower is but an expression. Just like you. An expression of this world. Yet unlike you, it lets things be, it doesn't try and analyse why things are such, why the winds blows and the grass sways. All it ever wants to be and wishes to have, it already is and has." "But I have a mind," the Dreamer replies. "This flower has no mind. No mind to wonder, to ponder, to think and to feel." 
"It is the way of Zen. No mind. But a certain kind of emptiness that is as vast as anything that can be or is. A Mind that is ready. That is empty because it is ready. Even when such a task -- not to ponder -- seems impossible. Then, when there is no mind to dissect every nuance of the world, all that remains is the wonder, the experience, you are free to feel and to think, truly think. How your thoughts flow now is conditioned by your perceptions, by your feelings, by your life-patterns and choices. All of these things coalesce into what you think is the real you, what the real you feels it must maintain. To lose that means an annihilation of the You. You sustain that identity, instead of simply Being." 
"How can I be then? Happy? How can I be free?" 
"No man can remain in a constant state of happiness. It is impossible. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will attain what you seek. A man can only stay calm, blissful. That, in itself, is the source of happiness. Serenity of thought brings happiness, a cantered mind brings happiness, and when these things are one motion, when you cease to search for your happiness and instead simply allow yourself to experience it, you will find yourself free. For you see, friend, true freedom is not without, it is within. You must first let go of your mind, accept and see all the patterns that control you, subdue and inflame you." His eyes water as the Dreamer sets his gaze upon the calm, understanding expression of his guide, bows low and says, "Teach me, master." 
"You must pass through the ultimate gate," the master says. "Enter a bastion guarded by your doubts, your fears, your perceptions, memories, false imprints, lies, illusion, guilt, shame and conditioned things. The gate has always been there and until you enter it and see that it's walls are transparent, it shall always remain there." 
Silence. Thoughts bend the Dreamer's mind. A wind waves the treeline for a moment, spinning sounds that drift, sing with simplicity. "What fire must I kindle?" the Dreamer asks. "What source must I tap into to become calm, serene, blissful, happy even?" 
The master smiles, walks the clearing's edge overlooking distant hills and forests... the Dreamer follows. 
"Analogies and riddles, questions and answers," his guide laughs. "You speak of kindled fires, yet, would you ask the same fire how it came to life? No. Its source is already manifest. It is present always, all it needs is patience and something that knows how to light a spark. A fire sparks and tree grows. Look! How tall that one is. How short that one is." 
Contradictions, the Dreamer thinks, always contradictions. The evening's calm swallows the skyline, colours turn vivid and the Dreamer's gaze lingers upon the transcendental beauty of the day. 
"Even as such a fire is lit," his guide continues, "The wood burns and the flame moves, yet it is really the mind that moves - interprets, gives the flame life. The spark you seek, the flame, it is your mind, but is not your Mind. The kindle sleeps within it. A bird nestles then leaves." 
"But what must I do?" The Dreamer pleads now. Straight answers continue to elude him and his mind reels for instruction, he feels its search - its quest to find words that would inflame his cognitive processes. But the master only smiles and, sensing his student's impatience, says, "Follow." They walk downhill, past trees both ancient and young, until at length, they reach an open grotto, lush and hidden, surrounded by trees overgrown with moss. A waterfall streams into the clearest azure. They halt a while, fill their lungs with moist air, and the master asks, "Where is the point where the falling water becomes the pond?"

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Materialism and Abstractionism

Jie He

What is meant in Zen when it's said it is not a religion, but a way of Seeing into one's own nature?

Most of us think the current state of our society and the individual self is a state of intense materialism. What that means is pretty obvious - we wish to acquire things of material nature. Items. Possessions. Money. People.

In this frantic search for substance, we forget that this is a trick performed on us by ourselves.

Since our birth, we have been brought up to differentiate between things that are Me and things that are Not Me.
This is a natural process -- a necessary product of the survival instinct. And so  as we become older, we begin to understand that things which are Not Me cannot possibility also be Me. And yet, despite seeing this duality of Me and Not Me with our own eyes, we are connected to a deeper understanding without our direct knowledge of it. 
This is evident in our acquisition of things to express the Self.
We buy and acquire things that are obviously outside of our bodies, yet are a means to express what is inside our bodies/minds and in this sense become an expression of the (perceived) Self.

The things we wanted have always been ideas in our minds. Ideas of what we want to be, think we are, or feel we should express. Upon possessing the thing which we desired, the thing remains that idea, meaning the thing is the expression of a thought, and because of this, we ultimately find the possession (the item) empty. 
The point where we do find it empty is irrelevant, we inevitably do. 
This shows itself as long as we fail in seeing into our own Nature. In this regard, everything which we acquire until the point where we see into our Nature, will eventually become of no value to us. 
The initial value came from the idea, from the abstract thought. This thought always fades, so the item's value shall also fade. There are things which may convince a human that he or she bought the item because it is his nature, and so the item is the expression of that nature. To an extent this is true.

Let's take music instruments as an example. 
You wish to express a certain inner state, an abstract, and thus acquire an instrument. An instrument in this case may be a pencil, and not necessarily a piano or guitar. You then perhaps progress in your understanding of that instrument and how it is played, then wish to acquire a better one to better express your own level of understanding of it. An instrument of greater value. Over time, you will integrate this instrument into your nature to a point where separation from playing will feel akin to losing a piece of your own self. Primarily what made you play was your nature to express something within you. This need for expression then became you as much as it already was you. So the instrument not only expressed your nature, but filled you with a belief that it is your nature.

However, what seeing into one's nature means is this: it must become evident  that the playing is your nature, the expression, not the instrument that is the means of expression

The expression itself is your nature, not the item with which it is being expressed. But because both arise mutually, the expression cannot be without the item and vice versa, and we are too often conflicted as to what is our nature instead of simply expressing it. However, new acquisitions of items will never be enough as long as one does not realize this. As each acquisition of a new instrument then becomes a wish-fulfillment of an ever-changing and inconstant nature of Self.

It was at first the abstract idea of what the thing represents that made one buy or claim it. And even at the point where we get the basic item of our desire, we sooner or later find that it does not express our being, our nature, and so we ultimately find it empty, and discard it, or replace it. That is because our own fundamental nature is empty and a series of abstractions.
Our minds and bodies remain an area of condensed experience, where our sense of I is always identified with past events, rather than with what actually is.
Even our system of normal, non-autistic memory functions as an abstract idea, meaning that whenever you have an experience, you always infinitely regress in its remembering. What that means is this: When you are part of an event which creates a complex system of remembrance and later recall this event, you will see parts of it. When you recall it the second time, your mind no longer recalls the first imprint of that memory, but recalls your most recent remembering of that event. This is the main reason for memory distortion and a good example of how in the end, all that remains is the abstract, emotional idea of that event, instead of concrete impressions.
Without realizing, we are with this acquire-discard-acquire-discard mechanism perfectly expressing our own transience. Only instead of realizing this transient nature, we wish to fill it and cover it up, creating a puzzling paradox; where one thing is both a perfect expression and a perfect mask to cover up the reason for the expression.

And so while superficially it may seem that we are Materialists, we are in fact Abstractionists. We never acquire a thing in order to have a thing, but to express an inner abstract idea of ourselves and represent/show it to the outside of us.

To give you an example from a Zen story.

In accordance with the advice of his master, Hui-neng lived a secluded life in the mountains. One day he thought that it was time for to go out in the world. He was now thirty-nine years old. He came to Fa-hsing temple in the province of Kuang, where a learned priest, Yin-tsung, was discoursing on the Nirvana Sutra. He saw some monks arguing on the fluttering pennant; one of them said, "The pennant is the inanimate object and it is the wind that makes it flap."
It was remarked by another monk that "Both the wind and pennant are inanimate things, and the flapping is an impossibility."
A third one protested, "The flapping is due to a certain combination of cause and condition"; while a fourth one proposed a theory, saying, "After all there is no flapping pennant, but it is the wind that is moving by itself."
The discussion grew quite animated when Hui-neng interrupted with the remark, "It is neither wind not pennant but your own mind that flaps."

And yet that brings another side of it.

When dealing with our nature, or trying to see into it, we are confronted with things. When trying to pierce those things with understanding as to why we wish those things, we are confronted with thoughts. When trying to pierce thoughts we are confronted with more thoughts, mostly about things and other Selves. So what is then our true nature?

The point of this article is to yarr you. To further create duality and divisions in your mind to prove a point of how, just like you have been doing differentiations since your birth, you played into the role of doing one now. Material and Abstract. Just as you were differentiating between things that are Mine and things Not Mine, or things Me and Not Me, you were playing into the dualistic nature of mind now, while in reality Things are Abstractions and Abstractions are Things.

The answer is too simple for many to grasp and explains too little to be of satisfaction to a mind used to placing a label on everything. To us a thing is rarely as it is. To us a thing is ugly, beautiful, cute, nice, blue, warm, etc.

To this end, the difference between Epistemological Nihilism and Buddhism portraits the same line of thinking of the difference between things and the idea of things, but have a different way of seeing into their Suchness. And in this seeing is the key. In the seeing into the nature of things and the Self. Because our own views and ideas split the mind, it is for us harder to understand the Suchness of Buddhism and easier to understand the suchness of Nihilism - a predominately Western idea of suchness.

With Nihilistic thought, things as objects are futile as everything will eventually fade and die. They suchness does not exist. It considers things such as colour and substance, and denies them of having substance, Metaphysical Nihilism states there may not be any real objects, and this comes close to what Buddhism is saying, but not really. With this thinking, Nihilism thereby perpetuates the duality where the mind is forever split in experience of flavour and of itself, yet denies it as having real substance outside the subjective, and so being ultimately empty. In this regard it splits the knower and the known. Splits the one who wishes to play from that which is being played.

In Buddhism, the thought that eventually everything will fade and die is essential not for one to realize that things are futile, but to realize futility lies in thinking there is anything else but this very moment. Now. It does not split the mind, because instead of denial, things are accepted as they come and as they go. They arise from abstraction to give the impression of material, and so become material as much as they had ever been an abstraction.


Jie He

No matter who you are, where you are, or how you are, you are not a fixed thing, but a flowing event. And all of substance that is you, all which whirlpools and sings inside you, was at one point some other event – the body of a plant which grew, an animal that slept or a mineral that had formed. To be this event which you are now, you had to obtain what makes you by murder.

What bastards we are...

And yet... the murdered event is now just the same energy as it was before. It has never changed, never altered. It still whirlpools inside you. Be mindful of what you allow to twist within you.


Velikokrat od ljudi, ki so doživeli ali bili soočeni z izkušnjo, ki bi jo lahko poimenovali spiritualna ali mistična, prejmem vprašanje, kaj je razlika med videnjem in čutenjem, torej intelektualnim znanjem in videnjem v lastno naravo. Kdaj lahko zaupam občutkom, da so mi pokazali lastno naravo, ko pa so le-ti ravno tako minljivi kot misli?

Mnogokrat srečam ljudi, katerih lastna predstava o sebi ni v skladu z znanjem, oziroma videnjem, ki so ga doževili, saj se kljub uzrti resnici še vedno bojuejo z lastno razdvojenostjo. Realizacije po njihovem ne živijo, ampak zanjo zgolj vedo. Za življenje v skladu s svojo naravo morajo postoriti še 'to' in še 'tisto'. Skupna točka ljudi in njihove razlage teh doživetih občutkov je, da so se zgodili, in se ponavadi ne zavedajo, da se dogajajo ves čas. Torej do razrešitve in samo-realizacije ni prišlo, ampak je bil to zgolj utrinek. Razlage, ki jih te osebe iščejo so vedno umske. Želijo vedeti kaj se zgodilo. Kaj je bil proces, in kako nadaljevati. Torej, 'V katero smer usmeriti svoj um, da lahko to stanje nadaljujem?'

Odgovore je možno zaslediti v knjigah, v dokumentarcih, v pogovorih z drugimi, itd. A vselej ne glede na prebran tekst, na količino pogovorov, ali gledanje 'pravih' filmov, ne pride do dejanske izkušnje. Izkušnje, ki bi se iz trenutka ko se zgodi, nadaljevala v zavesten, vsakodneven obstoj. 
Prvoten problem je ne-zavedanje, da je mesto iskanja napačno. 
Do določene točke in za prvotni preves stanja osebe, so ti trije faktorji vsekakor v veliko pomoč. Torej branje o tem, pogovor o tem, poslušanje o tem. To lahko oblikuje vsak um. A vendar ne bo s tem nikoli proizveden dejanski preboj, ki se zgodi v osebi sami. V centru, ki mu pravimo Jaz.

Zavedanje samega sebe lahko povzroči vsaka stvar, saj je v principu vsaka stvar ista stvar ali zgolj določen aspekt celote. Čutenje te resnice se zgodi predvsem takrat, ko o tem ne razmišljamo. Zgodi se, ko se zgodi. Zgodi se, ko si. Zgodi se, ko se um ustavi, in subjekt postane objekt in objekt postane subjekt. Oziroma natančneje, objekt postane to kar je vedno bil in subjekt postane to kar je vedno bil – druga stran istega kovanca.

Prva stopnja zaznave tega stanja v sebi, in vsekakor prvi korak do samo-realizacije, je popolna umiritev uma. Dokler subjekt tega ni zmožen ustvariti, bodo vsakršna videnja v lastno naravo momentarna. Takoj jih bo prevladal vsakodneven um in njegov impulziven umski tok. Torej te realizacije človek ne bo živel, saj bodo globjo zavest prevladali kompulzivni miselni vzorci. To ne pomeni nujno, da se mora pojaviti popolno brezmislje, ampak zgolj razblinitev misli kot centra identifikacije. Subjekt mora pričeti kultivirati zdrav dvom, da ti momentarni impulzi in misli niso to kar oseba je, ampak da so te misli zgolj odraz minljive narave samega subjekta. Ideja, da so te misli tvoja narava in vse kar si in tvoja identiteta, je napačna. Misli tvorijo to kar postaneš, tvoja narava pa je nespremenljiva. To je mišljeno predvsem v smislu, da nisi Mislec, Modrec, nisi Žalosten, Srečen, Depresiven ali Programer, Fizik, Šivilja, Risar ali Frizer. Vse to so momentarna stanja in projekcija željene identite. Vseskozi zgolj Si. Vsakršna misel, da si nekaj kot zgolj samo To, bo vedno projekcija iluzije. Torej končni produkt mislenih procesov, ki kompulzivno iščejo svoje mesto in kam se usmeriti. S konstantno usmeritvijo ta projecirana identiteta postane tvoja identiteta, ko se le-ta v tvojem umu dovolj utrdi  in ustvari program. Kakšrnakoli kontradikcija s strani drugih, da to nisi, ali pa da nisi dovolj dober v tem, oziroma, recimo da nisi dovolj dober Tekač, bo vedno proizvedla impulzivno potrebo uma po dokazovanju. Impulz, ki izvira iz osnovnega problema nezmožnosti umiritve uma in spoznanja, da nisi fiksna stvar v času in prostoru s socialno identiteto, ampak da si v osnovi poosebitev spremembe, ki se vseskozi dogaja in večno poteka.

Kadar se umiritev pojavi, zginejo tudi želje po dokazovanju, izkazovanju, saj je umiritev uma lahko dosežena zgolj v stanju, ki je za marsikoga nepoznan, in morda celo nevšečen. Tako zelo smo navajeni svojih konstatnih misli, da lahko, in skoraj vedno istočasno ob umiritvi, pride do enega samega občutka in vprašanja. 'Če nimam misli, kaj sploh sem? Kaj je moja identiteta? Brez misli nisem Nič.'

Pa vendar ta nič ni Nič, ampak vse kar je in je lahko.

Primer neposrednega prikaza kaj s tem 'Vse kar je' mislim, lahko podam iz starega nauka, ki izvira iz Doe De Jing, in gre nekako takole: By doing nothing the Dao leaves nothing undone.

Torej z Neopravilom, Tao ne pusti nič neopravljenega.
Velika večina bi to seveda razumela na način, 'Nič ne stori, pa bo vse narejeno.' Ali pa 'Ko se zaveš, da ni nič treba storiti, vidiš, da je v bistvu vse že narejeno.'

Ampak ta nauk uči nekaj popolnoma drugega, kar lahko začutimo samo v stanju, ko se misli ustavijo. Večinoma človek zgolj pasivno opazuje proces premika lastne volje. Sicer sodeluje in izpolnjuje lastne želje o tem kaj želi doseči in kaj bi rad, a ta premik je ponavadi težak in naporen. V stanju budnosti, pa sam subjekt postane ta premik, torej aktivno sodeluje v njem, ne zato, ker se mu prepusti, ampak ker sam je ta premik. Sprva se nam namreč zdi, da je v tem pasivnem opazovanju, v prepustitvi ('go with the flow') zares bistvo, a vendar osnovna razdvojenost ostaja. Torej med Jaz in Tok. V aktivnem sodelovanju s tokom, pa razvojenost zbledi in izgine. Tako se toku več ne prepuščaš, ampak tok postaneš. Tok si. Torej Go with the flow postane Be the flow.

In v tem oziru, ker si tok, ne počneš nič, saj je vsakršno početje lahkotno in brez napora, ampak nič ne ostane nestorjeno, saj storiš stvari, ki so popolnoma v skladu s teboj. 
Brezmislje tako privede do misli, da sta Jaz in ideja kdo sem jaz, pogojena z mislimi, saj sta vseskozi bila. A vendar je Jaz popoln abstrakt občutkov in idej o tem kaj je in kaj ni. Je zavit v lastno domišlijo in obstaja po istem principu kot dva ogledala obrnjena proti sebi.

In ravno ta občutek razdvojenosti, da sem minljiv in da je vsakršen trud minljiv, lahko toliko ljudem prinaša slabo voljo in občutke nemoči, in posledično usmerjanje te nemoči v napačne smeri. A paradoksično je ravno ta občutek tisti, ki lahko osvobodi. Potrebna je zgolj spremenjena percepcija situacije. Občutek, da si nič, je namreč potrebno dojemati ne kot popolno praznino in brezvezje. Nič ima namreč to sposobnost, da lahko postane karkoli, in zato ni Nič, ampak prežet z vsemi možnostmi, ki se vseskozi fraktalizirajo v neskončno ostalih možnosti.

Po točki umiritve uma, se lahko pojavi prva stopnja samo-realizacije, oziroma preseganje sebe, torej ideje sebe kot se dojemaš. Ta pojav je za um ponovadi nov, saj ne gre čez kanale običajne logike. Nastopijo namreč misli; kaj sem potem, če ne svoje misli, kaj sem potem, če ne svoje izkušnje, kaj sem potem, če ne svoji občutki, itd. V tem stanju, torej s sočenjem z dejstvom, da je tvoja lastna misel o sebi in ideja o sebi projekcija ustvarjenih iluzij in zanikanj, se lahko pojavi prvo videnje v lastno naravo. Torej vstop, ki ti omogoča videnje v stopnjo kjer misli nastajajo, kjer se formirajo in bruhajo ven kot impulzivni odzivi. Spraševanje ali so te misli resnično pravilne in ali so v skladu s tabo in tvojo naravo ni potrebno, saj pride do točke, ko to kar želiš biti enostavno že si, zato je vsako vprašanje odveč. To kar želiš početi, počneš. Minljivost bo še vedno prisotna – torej miljivost želj. Želja po izboljšanju bo še vedno prisotna, a bo obenem obstajala tudi s spoznanjem, da je Ti, ki se poskuša izboljšati in to kar je potrebno izboljšati eno in isto, zato je zavestna izboljšava nemogoča. Z željo po izboljšanju sebe bo ustvarjena zgolj še ena iluzija, ki bo sebe hotela izboljšati v namen projekcije, oziroma nastopanja in predstavitve novega sebe za zunanji svet. Za druge osebe in njihovo dojemanje o tebi.

Bi na sebi želeli kaj izboljšati, če bi ostali sami na svetu? Ali bi bili točno to, kar ste že zdaj?

Vsakršno zanikanje lastne narave po enkratnem videnju, bo povzročilo disonančno stanje, v katerem bo nemogoče obratovati, saj vam bo to izčrpavalo energijo. Kaj natančno to sploh pomeni? Človek je vseskozi povezan s samim sabo, kjer izvira neskončna energija. Vsakršno stanje povečanih misli ta tok energije enostavno preusmeri v misli, ki na ta način pobirajo energijo, ki jo ima vsak v sebi.

A dvom mora prevladati vaš racionalen um, dvom o tem kaj je Jaz, četudi to privede do popolega sesutja identitete. To sesutje je tudi bistvo videnja  iluzorne podobe lastne identitete. V primeru, da se to pojavi, je to pomenilo zgolj, da se je pretok energije v vas ustavil pri mislih, nato pa na točki, ko je postal dvom dovolj močan, ta energija prebila čez vse misli in meje, ki jih je postavil socijalni jaz, torej Ego.
Ko se to pojavi, za vedno veš kaj je tvoja narava, da je vseskozi bitka s to naravo zgolj zanikanje le-te, in da je razdvojenost njen naravni del.

Če se sprašuješ, kaj je res in kaj ni, torej ali drži vsakodnevna izkušnja sebe in okolice v obliki Jaz in Ostali, ali pa je odraz prave realnosti tisti momentarni občutek celote in zavedanja sebe kot celotnega premika, potem naj se ta dvom nadaljuje. V trenutku, ko dvomu ne dovolimo, da obstaja, dodatno razcepimo um med tistim kar dvomi (torej je že razvojeno), in tistim, ki noče dvomiti.

Na eni strani torej ostaja prepričanje, da tvoje telo in misli niso center tega kar si, ampak da se raztezaš skozi vse ljudi, živiš v njih in oni v tebi. A si po drugi strani tudi to telo, ta obraz kot aspekt in odraz sveta, a vendar to ni vse kar si Ti.

Sčasoma bo ta dvom postal zavedanje, saj v tem dvomu ostaja spoznanje da sem jaz ti in ti jaz. Da si ptič, ki ga slišiš na drevesu, in zrak, ki navidezno ločuje tega ptiča in meje tvojega telesa. Da v trenutku vdiha zrak ne gre zgolj vate, ampak da postaneš zrak, ki ga vdihavaš, in da si vseskozil bil. Da si vse stvari do kamorkoli gredo in njihov aspekt inkapsuliran v tem telesu. Če bi bil ti zgolj to telo in te misli, potem se moje misli ne bi morale dotakniti tvojih. Če bi bil jaz zgolj jaz, in ti zgolj ti, potem to kar sem jaz ne bi bilo ta trenutek v tvoji glavi kot je v moji, in ustvarilo premika v tem kar si.

Restless and forgiving it will lead me to the grave

And I could never turn back. ever, any more than a record can spin in reverse. And all that was leading me where ?
To this very moment...

- Jean Paul Sartre "Nausea"

The mind is shaped by other minds

What does the mind shape into if it has no other minds to shape it?

The Way

A master was asked a question by a curious monk, "What is The Way?"
"It is right before your eyes," said the master.
"Why do I not see it for myself?"
"Because you are thinking of yourself."
"What about you, do you see it?"
"So long as you see double, saying 'I don't', and 'you do', your eyes are clouded," said the master.
"When there is no 'I' nor 'You', can one see it?"
"When there is neither 'I' nor 'You', who is the one that wants to see it?"

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The Way

Zen Mind

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The Self as a Temporal Illusion

Any system of active operation is defined by its input and output. It is then further defined by it's basic statements which are based upon logical systems. The internal logic which tells the system what to do is applied through valid reasoning - which is what logic is.

And yet there is an experience which human conciousness can access that can be said goes beyond the logical system and logical frames of reference to which the human mind is used to dealing with.

Our own input and output is a system in which the basic frame of reference starts in the same manner as Gödel's number theory -- 0. Between the input and output, starting at number 0, there is (can be) infinite fractalization into parts.
However, when faced with logical systems and if you regress to the uttermost basic logical statement, you will always find that the system of logic upon which all the rest stand cannot be proven: That the first statement is an abstraction of meaning. This can further be proven by using mathematics, and has been presented by Gödel himself in his Incompleteness Theorem in 1931.

To give the most basic example imaginable. The human mind is used to everything having a beginning and an end. This is a logical statement of self-evident fact. However, when this is applied to the universe itself, it cannot be logically stated or proven that it had a beginning, since a beginning can be said to be the point of big bang, or the point before its whateverness first formed into what became a big bang. This is to a point pure semantics. And yet it is the most clear example of a logical system than cannot be proven since its frames of reference are always abstract and defined by human standards. What is a beginning? At what point is something a beginning? It is of course a defined point set by a mind.

To give another example from a Zen Koan, which asks: That girl crossing the street, is she the older or the younger sister?

Most would eventually realize that the best course of action to such an illogical and pointless question would be to go and ask her. However, that would be missing the point entirely. It is for one to realize that all divisions are pointless and illogical in their basis and only exist in the human psyche. The girl crossing the street is just that. She is. She is in reality neither sister not younger nor older.

Much like the input data in mathematical theorems and computer systems, where the input is provided by a human, our own input data is provided by the five senses.
These access a selection of specific bands of perception which can be accessed by consciousness. The observer in theory has no part in selecting these bands, they are pre-set for the mind. Yet each of these senses is paralysed, or in other words extremely narrow in its input recognition. Each sense operates in its own selection, or bands - a set of frequencies for which our bodies and minds serve as vibrational conduits. We receive vibrational/frequency data and relay a corresponding frequency response.

This is basic. Underlining this basic premise of our functioning is the I centre. The sense of Self as there being an entity to which all of this is happening. However, when asked what the self is and using the right questions, every individual will inevitably come to a point where the Self will not be something which he or she can define in any logical statement. The Self will inevitably become an abstract idea of itself.

When you examine what the Self consists of, you will notice that every frame of your reference must be drawn from past events.
Each time when we are forced into thinking of what we are, we end up thinking not of what we are now, but what has happened to us in the past, in order to get an idea of ourselves. In the same sense as the number theory by Gödel, we consciously strip away our experiences until we hope to reach a number 0 where these experiences and inputs began.
That is because our own fundamental nature is empty, and is a series of abstractions.
Our minds and bodies remain an area of condensed experience, where our sense of I is always identified with past events, rather than with what actually is.
Even our normal, non-autistic memory, functions as an abstract idea, meaning that whenever you have an experience, you always infinitely regress in its remembering.
What that means is this: When we are part of an event, the event creates a complex system of memory (something Snatislav Grof elegantly called a COEX system). When we later recall this event, we will see parts of it. When we recall it the second time at a later point, our minds no longer recall the actual first formation of that memory, but effectively remember our most recent remembering of that event. This is the main reason for memory distortion and a good example of how in the end, all that really remains is the abstract, emotional idea of that event, instead of concrete impressions.

When we attempt to do this and further search for the starting point, we become much like Ouroboros, the ancient depiction of a serpent biting its own tail. We are inevitably brought back to a point where we realize the Self cannot be defined by a singular point in space/time because logically, every event leading to our conception can be said to have contained the potentiality of our particular Self. That is to say that all events preceding our birth were the prerequisites for the creation of a Self which now ponders where it began.

Of course this statement has no true basis in normal human logic, which means that we feel and know that this information is irrelevant to the understanding of our own Self - now. And yet this is not true, and remains the trick of the I centre which must convince the subject that it is no more than a thing with 2 legs and 5 senses. It can operate like this just fine.

And yet, as mentioned before, there is a specific state which human conciousness can access which the subject can provoke through meditation, or can happen spontaneously. These can define the Self outside of logical necessity.

The way this happens is rather curious.

During the day and most of our lives, we have been operating on this complex relation of input/output. This has for us remained very useful, yet is ultimately useless when the Self tries to grasp itself to reach further into its own illusion to try and find a "Real Self" or "True Self". To a logical system used to dealing with information in a input manner, the True Self must exists, because if it does not, the Self as an output system must also, by logical progression, not exist, since the very basis as to why it exists is because it had a beginning, a number 0. A number corresponding to a "True Self" where it all started.

The aforementioned curious thing, is that when searching for a beginning in a logical input/output sense, we are presented not with what we are, but with the forming of an Ego through remembrance. We are met with the first time we as an Ego came into being, and not a logical point where we as a Self came into being. A Self meaning a thing with no mind, no memories, just flesh bone and thought.

We rarely associate the Self at the point of conception. Instead we associate the Self as the point where we began to know of there being a thing called Me.

When even memories of past events are recollected and we by some means find the point where the formation of Ego as a social convention was first introduced to our psyche, we begin a shift into different inquiries of what the Self is. We must inevitably begin to realize that from our very beginning, we were never isolated beings or a bag of skin inside another being. We had always been the totality of everything that was happening. And in fact the result of a totality. Until the formation of Ego centre within us, every other being, and every object in this totality was just the same, a result of the complete totality. We differentiated between nothing that we saw or sensed.

This sense of being the totality cannot be explained in the method of output, because there is no primal input involved in realizing it, and so must go beyond all logical systems to which our minds are used to.

The input of realizing this comes not from a cosmic source or some higher being, but from the inner programming and formation of mind itself. That is to say, because the mind is the totality, it already has all the necessary means to know about the totality without any input involved.

But how can this understanding or a way of seeing be explained or relayed to a mind used to the method of input/output? In short, it cannot, as this rests in the region of experience. Yet it can be said what it is not, and by this we can come close to explaining it.

In all previous methods of logical understanding, the subject's attempts of understanding the Self went through channels that were logical. I did this, therefore I am that. I thought this, therefore I am this. I was born like this (DNA), therefore I am that.

This method of seeing what the self is, however, is without input/output and so is completely different.
It must allow the Mind to battle with its own duality to a point where all doubt as to any abstract idea becomes pointless. This means that all input and all output must come to a stop. To the number theory point of 0. Where before it was thought by the mind that this point can be reached through looking back to the very first input, this is not true. The 0 point can only be reached by ceasing all input altogether! 
For if you go backwards logically to find this 0 point, you will be trapped into a frame of thinking that started not at the point of 0, but at the point of 1, since that is the first logical input. By logical thinking, you will inevitably reach only the point of 1, yet will be unable to see there is still 0, as you will still be attempting to understand through logical means, which is already the point of first logical input 1, while 0 is the point of no input and no logic.

In this a frame of reference and a way of looking and seeing is cultivated to which the mind is not used to. When this no-mind is reached but once, it becomes the first point and instance where the mind is confronted with its own illusion which it projects upon itself, called the Self. In this state, it is very easy to see how Self is a temporal illusion of a system of centralized consciousness. A point of convergence, if you will, of the totality. A point where the whole is condensed into a single experience of itself. A point where there exists not solely a mechanism to perceive reality, but also a point where reality manifests from. A conduit that is the manifested and the manifesting tool of the whole reality, and not an isolated point within it. You can choose to play the game of the Self, but also know you are not merely that, but an expression of the entire movement of the universal reality.

Image by Jie He

Similar posts:

The Self as a Temporal Illusion

Oceanic Experience

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[Review] The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence

There are books that you devour. And there are books that devour you. The Liar’s Key is more than the latter, as it is a book which also lies. It keeps telling you that it is a book which you are reading. While in fact it is a Tome (the distinction is perhaps only in my head, and has nothing to do with the thickness of said book). It keeps telling you, “Bruv, the next page is just as good as this one.” But that is a lie. The next page is better. Always better.

But that’s not even the most heinous lie which this book tells you. The most atrocious one falls less into the category of a Lie and more into the category of Deceit. For it deceives you that it is bastardly thick. Many pages. Many words. All that. Just look at it. Pick it up. Feeeeel it. While in fact this book is too damn short! Screw you, Mark Lawrence.

And yet, somehow, there is no other book which has quite the same
effect. Many do have it, naturally, but not in this manner and this kind of “flavour”.

Tastes a bit like Jorgian murder. Mmmmm.


Dreamscapes and The Interpretation of Dreams

Dreams are an extension of you. They are the buried you, the secret you. They are the you under all of your years and all of your memories and all your secret desires. Dreams allow you to peer into your inner self with a strange, twisted gaze. For once you look inside to see through and into the illusion. Images flow without restraint and forced interpretation and labelling of the conscious mind. Dreams are the inner eye, drawing its gaze upon itself.

Recently I've been reading The Interpretation of Dreams again, by Sigmund Freud, (the illustrated version is particularly interesting) and there are some quite miraculous cases and anecdotes in it, as well as examples of interpretations that would never have arisen had the psychiatrist not gone into in-depth talks with his subject beforehand. That is to say, to know one's dreams, you must first know the person who dreamt them. Which begs the question as to why we can rarely successfully interpret our own dreams. Do we know so little about ourselves?

Sigmund would confirm this to be the case and often refers to this "unknowing" as something quite normal.

The subconscious is a net of experience. And if the concept of COEX System is indeed accurate, meaning that memories and emotional and physical experiences are stored in the psyche not as isolated bits and pieces, but in the form of complex constellations, then each dream holds its own impressions and emotional depth, likely a multitude of them. In this fashion, your dreams draw from these layers of webbing pulsing beneath new and fresher layers of experience, but still just as active.

It is interesting to note that there are so few points that make up the dream and its contents when it comes to its material and sources, and once you realize what they are, it may make it easier to interpret some of them.

There are three points which are most important, and follow as such:

1. The dream distinctly prefers impressions of the few days preceding the dream.

2. The dream makes its selection according to principles other than those of our waking memory, meaning that it recalls not what is essential and important, but what is subordinate and disregarded.

3. The dream has at its disposal the earliest impressions of our childhood, and brings to light details from this period of life which again seem trivial to us, and which in waking life were considered long ago forgotten.

All of this is preceded by the notion that All Dreams Are, in their basis, The Realization of a Wish. Yet that wish may be hidden behind layers of conflicting information and are subject to something called "Dream Distortion".

The last part (3) is especially difficult to judge when it occurs, because the respective elements of the dream are not recognized according to their origin after waking. That is to say, that it is hard for the dreamer to know he still remembers something which the conscious mind does not actively recall. This conclusion thus can only be reached objectively, yet can sometimes be recognized when the dream held a certain kind of "power" or nostalgia or a deeply buried desire, which can only be fully explored when subject to interpretation by another subject.

I have began keeping a dream diary and take notes of the dreams while I still remember them, since most but the severely powerful and "educational" dreams tend to fade within 4-15 minutes after waking. The experience so far has proven interesting.

Inspirational? Maybe.

Oceanic Experience

The term Oceanic was coined by Romain Rolland and popularized by Sigmund Freud, who pointed out that this emotion may be a fragment of infantile consciousness, a feeling which occurs when the infant begins to differentiate himself from his human and non-human environment and a survival Ego begins to form. I tend to disagree with this notion. The disagreement stems from talking to those who have had this emotion and from personal experience, where Oceanic doesn't come from differentiation, but from a sense that you and the thing  'outside' you (environment) is one and the same thing. Differentiating causes the feeling to stop, as you resume your default experience of consciousness; which is a feeling of centrality, of the I and Other. Or in a very strict sense, the sensation stops when you start thinking.

There is no Other in Oceanic, but rather a deep sense that all things are the same one thing.

And yet there are numerous ways of coining what some psychiatrists call an Oceanic Experience. You might hear terms like the Oceanic Feeling or a Peak experience, Satori, Samadhi, but all these are in fact the same thing, an intense feeling of presence right here and now.

The most curious thing about these experiences is surely the fact that they often, if not always, come out of nowhere and quite unexpectedly and can be akin to Satori. But that's only true for those who are not aware of what triggers them, or what sets these emotions into motion. Some may argue this is not  a specific emotion, but inner State.

I want to tell you how you can try and find these triggers and stay Oceanic for as long as you can hold that concentration and Presence. Later you will not need to concentrate at all.

The key point I must first make is this: Everyone can have this experience. There's an idea backed by quite a few scientific papers in neurophysiology, that claims we are hard-wired for religion and faith-based belief. While that may be true, I would rather say we are hard-wired to experience this sensation, and is in fact what most are searching for in religion. It is unfortunate that organized religions monopolized it and made most believe they need something to experience it, and instead of showing others how to do it directly (in which Zen remains one of the few proponents of direct pointing still present today), wrapped it up in ritual and community, which are very superficial aspects of it and may aid you in becoming Oceanic, yet once can do it by one's own. Which makes sense doesn't it? As you are the I to whom it happens, so the notion that you need something else is a bit ridiculous. Don't worry if you are confused about what I'm talking about, because you most definitely have experienced Oceanic already, everyone has, although it is often the case that you don't realize this fact.

It is also important to note that the trigger will not be different for everyone, and that Peak experiences are triggering a state of Presence. Simply put, we all have the same triggers because we are all an expression of I manifesting in countless form and through many perspectives of relative viewpoint.

The beautiful thing about these experiences, is that once you know the trigger, you can stay in that feeling for as long as you wish under certain conditions.

Freud was right about the 'infantile consciousness' part however, as it is indeed a fragment of that consciousness. It is why it has a subtly deep sense, a sort of 'primordial' feel to it, meaning that you get a sense that this sensation comes from the very core of you. That's because it does. Yet Freud's explanations  never reach quite deep enough. And having been oceanic for 1-2 days on occasions and for up to an hour in meditation, I have come to realize the claim "everyone wants to return to the womb and uses sex to try and do that" never adequately explains the why of this need. It dismisses a deeper need that is produced by the centrality of I, and that sex is the most superficial step of achieving what is really sought after: a Merging. A merging of subject and object. Of subject and other subject, which for the I is the object as it seems to be outside the I. It is a need to return to the womb where the baby was completely submerged and weightless, fully in tune with its surroundings and in that sense, One with it. A merging of the male and female aspect in sex can cause that trigger, but also because it puts you intensely into the Now.

Images are important for you to enter this state if you are a beginner and don't yet know how to still the mind, especially if you belong to the 60% of people who prefer visual stimuli out of all other.
If you recall the sights, smells and sounds from the first time your were Oceanic (obviously not while you were in the womb), it will be easier to reach the state again, but such things are only of help. When it comes to smell, it is more likely that the precise fragrance will not be imprinted upon your mind, but the certain subtleties of it.

You must remember that you can reach this state even without these triggers. They are here simply to help you at first. And since in western society doing something purely to do it (like meditation) can be very useless for most, this trying to become Oceanic may be used as a goal for you to work towards while meditating. Mediation is at first a training in concentration, because until you learn concentration, you will always try and control your mind instead of simply not paying attention to it, or gently redirecting it from the Thought to the Self. This method is a good way to learn, as you will find that your mind, once it reaches this state, may automatically try to cling to it, and in that clinging, lose the feeling. Try it and you will see the realizations you get from this.

Through my talks with those who had consciously had the experience and reading about detailed cases of it, I have come to a few conclusions of the aspects required in terms of outside happenings to reach Oceanic. Allow me to list them out and explain a bit more why they work.

1. The quality of light. (early morning gold usually works best as it slants low in the sky and has an increased scattered effect, meaning you feel more immersed and a part of it)

2. Random background sounds that are of a natural source, like a stream or the rustle of leaves or the song of birds. (you already know what these sounds are, so a mind that is used to compulsive thinking will not attempt to label the sounds but just let them be. This will again help in the sense of being immersed in the sounds, until you eventually no longer hear a bird chirping, but in a somewhat funny sense, become the bird.)

3. A sight of something which seems finite over a backdrop of something that appears infinite. For instance, the sight of pine trees against a blue sky. [I used pine because they posses a denser quality] (this aids greatly in the sense of merging of the object and the subject. Clouds and the sky are a good way to do this as well, as you might begin to realize a truth that may seem banal if someone tells it to you. It is that the clouds and the sky are not separate things, and that the cloud is not in the sky, but and aspect of it, and in that sense is the sky. In much the same way, this trigger helps with the realization that Self and Other are not separate, but that the illusion of separateness is created by the sense of centrality that is the individual consciousness.)

4. Smells of trees in bloom or wood in general. (in much the same way as sounds, these smells already have a label in your mind as to what they are and, as such, will not cause the compulsive thinker to try and identify them, but instead simply let them be and so help still all thinking)

5. A peaceful mind absent of concerns, even if only for the time being. (this is a plus, as meditating on specific things will be easier)

Posture will be important, but not absolutely necessary. Resume any of the comfortable meditating positions, although it is advisable to take on any of the zazen postures for best results, even if it can be very unconformable for you at first. But a bit of discomfort is good as it assures you will not fall asleep easily or get sleepy.

What these things will help you with is to realize the Now and that It is all there is. You might say, I already know there is nothing else but the present. Yes, of course you do, at least you believe you do as your mind does, but do you feel it? The distinction is more important than you might think. 

And that is what Oceanic really is, a Presence in the moment, where the future and past dissolve, or rather, the illusion that these two states of time exist, disappears. 

Focusing on these triggers will help you stay in the Now, they are grounding you in the Now. Leave your mind alone in these moments and you will find the ocean and in the ocean, everything that is You.

The exercise might seem a contradiction to what mediation is, which is a way to calm the mind, but in reality, compulsive thinking and thinking while fully present in the now are not the same things, as you might have found out or already know.

And, as I said, once you can cultivate this State any time you wish, you will no longer need any triggers, but will simply breathe in, breathe out, and be it.

Similar posts:

The Self as a Temporal Illusion

Oceanic Experience

Happiness and Desire

Ego Loss and Higher Self

Is God Real


The Illusion of Duality