Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour Revisited.

California's Earth Hour was at 8:00pm, on March 29th, and as one turned off all the electricity in the apartment the mood and energy of the place suddenly switched. After but a few moments of sitting comfortably silent, in the flickering candlelight, one's life of sheer make-believe dissolved. There was no year, there was no hour, there was no mental structure from which a line of self-continuity could be established. Without time, nothing else, in the realm of individuality, was possible for time holds one's entire perception of reality in its tightly closed grip. And in doing so, gives total importance to the object of it's own making, me. Being alive is the only factor not under time's control. All else, all that is internal, and all that is external, has come from the time-bound minds and hands of human beings just like you. Objectively speaking, nothing exists as good or bad and no one exists as a saint or a sinner, for everyone and everything is judged by those observing the show, according to ideas already established in their minds. You may dictate that your ideas have come from an outside agent, God, spirit, an enlightened individual, or any other fanciful notion, but your believing so only binds you tighter in the prison of your own making.

India, banyan tree
Is it any wonder why the world looks and behaves the way it does? (The world being our relationship with one another.) There's never enough time in the world we've weaved. Not having enough time naturally creates circumstances of aggression and fear. Of course, I do not necessarily mean time as measured by the clock, which is rather insignificant. No, there is a seat to time that lies much 'deeper' than the ticking of a clock. This seat is where the past, present, and future are sown together to form the landscape of 'my life.' There are no lasting solutions to be found for the world's woes within the landscape of our past and future and yet it is the only place people know to look.

Sitting alone, with the silent flicker of a candle, one was the solution to the world's woes, for the ending of time means the ending of all that time has sown. And the ending of all that time has sown is the solution to all that time has done.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Time + Life = My Life.

The moon sat motionless above the city's shadowy outline. Large and looming, the 3/4 moon seemed to almost be watching over a city at sleep, like a mother would a frightened child. It was a beautiful sight to see, how the immensity of life can dwarf all the human being has put together. The air was now still, a sharp contrast to the daytime which felt hefty, ocean-drenched gusts of wind driving onshore. Everything seemed to be at peace, resting or asleep, and in hours like these it is easy to believe that all could be well on Earth. At least in this corner, at this time, all was indeed well. Suddenly a morning bird began to sing. If it were close to dawn one would not pay it much mind but it was still the middle of the night. This morning bird's song seemed so strangely out of place in that moment and yet exquisitely perfect. One listened for some time, while staring up at that motherly moon, and it's beautiful song continued with delightful repetition and peppered nuance. The moment at hand knew no time nor place, arising between one day and the next, it belonged to neither the past nor the future. One could have been standing anywhere on Earth and that timelessness would be there, along with that moon and the song of that small bird. Just as suddenly as the song of that bird arose there was a subtle quality of ending present; a total ending, a death, which was not the enemy of life but it's ultimate ally. It was almost as if, in that moment something new was being born, something that had never been before; a preciousness that only the moon, a morning bird, and oneself were to witness.

Time is an extraordinary thing. All that we, as a human race, have come to know and accomplish owes its existence to time. Time is progress, time is knowledge, time is the very fabric of one's consciousness, imagination and life. Time lays the groundwork for the functioning of thought as we know it. It is infused in every moment of every day, internally, as well as, externally, for the man-made world around us is simply a constructed reflection of the world 'within.' One can find, upon investigation, that everything we have put together by hand has come from being put together in the mind first. And time runs the show with a near total rule over the human brain. It is not only the distance between here and there, whatever here and there may be, but also the vehicle to cover said distance. Time's birth takes place the moment a piece of information is retained in the brain, for retention becomes the starting point for the progressive movement of thought.

The absolutely essential nature of time can only be overshadowed by it's destruction tendencies as pertaining to the 'progress' of the individual. Time has become such an incredible tool for the survival of the physical body that one has easily lost sight of how the image of oneself, created in and of time, was never intended to seek its own survival. The image one builds of oneself is built to keep the physical body secure from harm, not to become an independent body of its own. But through the continuous movement of progressive thought, feeding off more and more psychological time, the image has taken on a life of its own. Still intimately intertwined with the physical body, yet seeking its own 'individual' progress, one's image inevitably creates a movement of conflicting circumstances, pitting physical and psychological survival against one another as if they were two separate objects. All problems in our world today stem from this imaginary riff and one can trace this riff to the movement of time itself. For time has become synonymous with life, the mental representation of life itself, and, therefore, seemingly has the power to give life to anything, including an image of its own making. It may at times seem difficult to conceive of time creating an 'imitation' of life realistic enough to fool one's own perception, but in such times simply replace the word 'time' with 'thought.' Who would deny the power of thought to create anything it wants? Just look around, the products are everywhere, extraordinary products. Is it really such a stretch to see yourself as yet another product of thought as well?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Brain Cannot Be Trained To Be Compassionate.

Sitting outdoors one can only wonder at the beauty of it all. How the clouds blowing over high above, the sun shimmering off every new leaf, and the trees and bushes dancing in the cool breeze unmistakably welcome one to the timeless present at hand. In this space nothing has ever been before, and if one watches close enough, one will notice how nothing will ever be just so again. Taking in the ever-expanding view one becomes aware of how at rest one's own body is when nothing in particular is being asked of it. There's a resting into an observation that has no cause, an observation that is not specifically searching anything out. Boundaries blur, distances disappear, separation ceases to exist. Spring has come on in all its glory, in these last several days, and the birds have been especially noisy. They sing, they play, they feed, and they mate. It is really quite a beautiful thing to watch a bird in flight. The freedom of movement, the grace, the agility to go anywhere and change in a moments notice. Watching 6 or 7 black birds pursue a hawk in mid-flight is surely one of the few urban pleasures left for lovers of the natural world. That, and watching a hawk swoop down out of a tree and catch a small bird in mid-air. The natural way can never be completely closed off from view. It is always there if you are quiet enough to look.

costa rica, sunset, Costa Rica, Poas
The brain cannot be trained to be compassionate. Compassion is an aspect of the natural way and therefore cannot be taught or performed. The human being is so quick to seek out training, to seek out answers, to solve what it considers to be problems, both personal and collective. And yet so few are willing to understand the one who is in such need of training, answers, and problems solved. Is it because we know the brain can be trained that we believe it should be trained? For the brain we are all familiar with functions according to the conditions that influence it. And even though countless conditions, that are entirely out of our control, influence the brain every day we seem to hold firmly to the belief that through changing the few that we can control we will fundamentally change the way the brain operates. Religion exists almost entirely because of this impression, but so does science, communism, capitalism, socialism, culture, society, and of course the individual, to name but a few.

Now one cannot deny a certain degree of human progress over time, both extraordinarily wonderful and hideous, but has the human being fundamentally changed? That is, has the brain fundamentally changed in the manner to which it meets life around it? For it seems the brain has always separated itself from the life surrounding it in order to control and survive. It is this separate brain, existing as 'me', which needs constant training in order to operate appropriately in the surrounding world. And it is this separate 'me' that eventually seeks out compassion. Seeking, being an insecure movement of an isolated brain, must always come to an end and so compassion is inevitably defined and the brain sets about doing what it has always done, this time attempting to train itself to become compassionate. Now one is not suggesting training the brain under the guise of becoming compassionate will not produce something, it most certainly will, just not compassion. A trained brain is like water that pools up alongside a river. Cut off from the river's movement the pool fills with algae, is suffocated, and eventually dries up. If you're unsure as to whether you are living as a pool or a river, simply know that all training takes place in a pool and only a brain like a river knows compassion.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Learning Implies Having No Outcome.

I was aware of something extraordinary today. I was watching CNN, which was running snippets of Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton, and realized I have absolutely no opinion on who should be the Democratic candidate for president. And this position I found myself in had nothing to do with 'not caring,' because I care deeply about all issues concerning humanity's well-being. No, my position, or lack there of, was entirely due to my passion for learning, and learning implies having no outcome. Allow me to explain. When one has an outcome, an opinion, a static perspective, a belief, a background, an identity, or what have you, one is incapable of learning, because one is continuously operating under a blinding bias. Don't worry, I'm not offending anyone, you love your bias', you protect them, worship them, and attempt to spread them far and wide. What are your bias'? Your bias' are none other than yourself. They make up your temperament, your opinions, your perspectives, and emotional availability. They are the narrow cracks you peer out onto the world through. They were your conditions growing up, your experiences, culture, and capacity to remember. They are the way you interpret the world around you and measure up your place in it.

All of these facets, and more, make up one's identity, and yet the more facets there are, the more there is to be exposed as limited, shallow, wrong, or just plain ignorant. This fear of exposure causes more and more of oneself to seek out a place to hide, in order to remain secure with one's own self-image, for an identity does not exist to be questioned. Now, the only way one can hide within the field of one's very own consciousness is to severely restrict the movement of one's own awareness, which will naturally prevent learning from blossoming forth. Why is this, you may ask? Well for one, learning requires space and freedom to move, of its own accord, in all directions. As we've stated above, an identity can never allow this freedom to take place because so many directions in one's consciousness are simply off-limits, not to be seen or questioned, and therefore only accepted 'as so'.

Which brings me back to the case with these two candidates. If you want one of them to win you simply cannot see, cannot hear, and are not aware of the total movement of what is taking place. You only see, hear, and are aware of what you need to be in order to keep the conclusion you hold in good standing. And the truly frightening thing about all of this is that if you have a fixed position, in this case a particular candidate, you are not capable of seeing, hearing, or being aware of what I am suggesting in this post. You simply think along the lines of, 'I'm aware of what's being said by both of them, I can hear them, see them, and I just consistently come to this same conclusion, that candidate x is the one.' Learning is so much larger than any particular conclusion, even if that conclusion is as large as 'the cosmos came from a big bang', or 'the 11th dimension'. When one doesn't have an outcome, a fixed position, then nothing is out of bounds and the bounds just continue to fall away from you, leaving more and more space for learning to take place. Learning is a total movement, it is the awareness of the total movement of life, without a beginning or end. This learning implies there being more interest in the free movement of learning itself than any particular object arising within one's field of awareness. What else can I say, when I see these two candidates I see our future, I see the American dilemma, I see the role and realm of politics and politicians, I see identities needing to be validated, I see myself, I see so much more than we ever speak about. This is learning, it actually isn't that 'I see,' but that seeing takes place with such ease and intrinsic depth when there is no defensive 'I' to be found, when there is no outcome needed. If you haven't connected the dots yet, an outcome exists as long as an identity does. When one is gone, the other cannot be found, and only the beautiful movement of learning remains.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Black Hole Of Love!


star trek, spoof, comic

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Friday, March 21, 2008

How Can Anyone Other Than Me See This?

Knowledge: facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; justified belief; awareness or familiarity gained by experience or situation.

To most people knowledge is an absolutely significant aspect of their lives and it would be silly for me to deny that. And yet, from my point of view, I cannot justify feeling the same way. There is certainly a place in one's life for knowledge, particularly surrounding one's own survival, but when knowledge operates in its right place it leaves no mark in memory. By this, I mean, when knowledge operates in terms of the body's survival it simply operates automatically and then is gone. Let's call it a genetic instinct. For example, when one learns that fire is hot and should not be touched, this is quite accurate and obviously useful, but when one learns that women will not like a person like me, this is quite unfortunate and dangerous. It is this second form of knowledge, operating in response to maintaining the image I have of myself, that acts like a poison in the mind of the one infected. The obvious difference in the examples above is that fire will always be hot, no matter how many times you touch it, but one women is as different from the next as apples are to oranges. And yet, when one doesn't like a particular feeling following a particular event, the recording of this leaves a subtle groove of avoidance in the mind. The more the recorded reaction is reinforced, the deeper the groove becomes until any other option, besides the pre-determined reaction, no longer arises. 'Reality' becomes narrowed down and limited it its scope and depth of possibility. Life becomes more and more static, dull, and rigidly governed. Of course, one must be careful when using examples to flush out a perspective, like those stated above, because examples, a form of this second type of knowledge, clearly limit the mind's ability to see what lies directly before it.

Let's start loosely from the beginning. When one learns to remember their name, and is able to mentally connect that name with their physical body, an image is born. This image is entirely knowledge based, meaning as you grow through the experiences and circumstances of your life, how you interpret and record said life continually adds to this never-ending project of image-building. This image becomes the focal point of one's entire life, subjecting everything one learns and accumulates to its own sense of worth and fulfillment. The image's life is due to one's capacity to remember and it is one's memory that continually feeds this image to the point where this mental reference point distorts all available information received from one's senses, in any given moment, and creates a noticeable division within one's consciousness and outward life. This accumulated knot of knowledge separates itself from everything else, which creates the delusion that the only way to bridge the separation is through acquiring more knowledge.

And so our world has become almost entirely knowledge-based. We live within an environment that demands the accumulation of this knowledge to the point that non-accumulation means not surviving. And so we strive for a better life, a higher self, a more peaceful world, a nobler disposition, all in the hopes of somehow improving oneself through acquiring more knowledge. Life, itself, is reduced to the circumference of the image at hand and no matter where you go or how you change, no matter what you do or how you do it, one thing remains the same, your undying devotion to image-building. Consciously or unconsciously, you know nothing more than the movement of your image from what, and where, it is today to what, and where, it will be tomorrow. Everything (how much more inclusive can one be), everything you experience, everything you have come across, everything existing in this manifested world of ours, serves only this purpose, building one's self-image. There's no secret place, no secret book, no secret person, no secret practice, no...secret existing anywhere that lies outside of this purpose. Everything is serving to help or hinder your perpetual building of 'me,' for you're translating everything according to the accumulated knowledge you've already acquired and it is this knowledge that colors and adds to itself in every next step you take. Have people pointed this out before? Yes. Have certain places or times awakened something inside you that knows this to be true? Yes. Has doing something a particular way, in a particular moment, shown you this truth? Yes. And yet the very next moment you slip back into the skin of your image in order to hold onto it and it is lost. Therefore, the person who pointed it out becomes important, the place, the practice, and you are lost.

If a person allows you to follow them, if a person places themselves between you and what you know to be true, if a person interprets what's true for you, they are lost, and you're being led to the slaughter. Nothing given from another can help you escape a trap of your own making. Watch the accumulation of knowledge yourself. Watch the separation it creates. Watch the division that ensues. Watch the ruthless perpetuation of your image as it strives to become more and continue another day. See the effects of this circular motion and ask yourself...how can anyone other than me see this?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Root Of All Evil...Relationships?


tree at dusk, beautiful tree
Have you ever examined the movements of your own mind? That is, bringing one's awareness to the movement of thought, feeling, memory, and experience? If you have, then you are equally aware of how these facets of mind do not arise independently of each other but rather blend together to form the indivisibly familiar movement called 'me.' And one of the fundamental elements of this movement of 'me' is the duality of relationship. Where there is a 'me' there is not only a 'you' but also a manner in which 'I' can relate to 'myself.' In a very basic sense, the movement of 'me' is divisive, creating separation in order to transverse it through its own, predetermined means of relating. Let us define relationship, within the realm of humanity, as a connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with each other, especially as regards how they behave and feel toward each other and communicate or cooperate. Most may think of their relationships with those they know and love in much the same manner and yet what the definition of the word 'relationship' leaves out is the actuality of the objects in relation to one another. Again, in the human realm, the actuality is that each person relating to another, or themselves, is relating through the multi-dimensional movement of mind: one's own particular thoughts, feelings, memories, and experiences.

This places each individual's movement of 'me' directly at the forefront of our relationship with each other, and I am proposing that it is our relationships that create all the known, and yet to be known, conflict, suffering, and problems we face as a human race today. If this is so, then wouldn't it make sense to understand this movement of 'me,' which operates within the field of each individual's very own awareness? Why has so much time and suffering gone by without a group of concerned humans giving themselves to the understanding of that which operates right under their own noses? It is the movement of relationship that one must pay attention to in order to understand and end, conflict, for it is within the movement of relationship that this movement of 'me' manifests itself in our world. In other words, we can no longer simply say that 'they are the problem,' or 'if only he/she changed,' or 'why can't others be more like us,' because the issues, conflicts, and problems at hand exist between the observer, me, and the one observed, you. Conflict has never independently rested with the observed, the 'other,' as we so conveniently suppose most of the time. And what is it that lies 'in between' the observer and the one observed, between you and me? There is nothing but the relationship we create, there is nothing but our thoughts, feelings, memories, and experiences coming between us, bombarding each from the other side.

Why don't we see this relationship? Could it be because when one is not aware of the totality of this 'me movement,' one believes certain aspects of it, operating in certain moments, as being a reality objectively arising beyond one's own creation and continual influence? Is it that this basic ignorance creates conflict because one is believing something to be objectively so, when it is in fact subjectively generated as part of the movement of your own mind in relationship to something or someone else? What do we mean by such comments? Well, for example, you believe a thought is factually informing you about something concerning the world around you, or the person sitting next to you, when it is, in fact, subjectively generated by a movement of mind you are not paying complete attention too. In reality, this thought has more to do with your remembered past than the 'real world' that's presently before you. Therefore, when you act on this information, as if it were objectively real, conflict arises, for your actions never accurately interact with the present moment. This inaccuracy may not be noticeable in that first moment, but since this 'me movement,' and the action springing from it, take place constantly the cumulative effect will inevitably manifest as conflict.

Even your seeking of help creates conflict, for others can only tell you what to DO, not how, what, or where to observe. And so you train yourself to imitate another according to behaviors you're told have a certain meaning. Through doing so, you never awaken your intrinsic ability to observe this movement of mind that's presently operating within your own field of awareness. Therefore, your self-help dulls your mind. Your relationships dull your mind. Your books, techniques, practices, and beliefs dull your mind. Your life dulls your mind. And a dull mind is a conflicted mind and a conflicted mind creates conflict wherever it goes. The root of all evil exists, it is created, and re-created, within the realm of our relationships with ourselves, the Earth, and each other. It is through the understanding and direct observation of the movement of 'me,' in relationship, that uncovers conflict and our near total misunderstanding of ourselves and the beauty of life we're a part of. Are you willing to take a hard look?

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Magnificence Of Life.

Sitting outdoors one can feel the depth and magnificence of life. The wind was blowing quite forcefully and everything was being shaken to its roots. Trees swayed and leaves blew from there branches. The sun was bright and its light reflected off every surface, everywhere. The blades of grass were all alive, individually standing out with a vivid green only the Earth knows. The sky was such a stark blue and the big, bellowing clouds were in such sharp contrast that one could almost get lost in the movement of shape and colors. The air was cool, with each forceful gust of wind blowing right through one's sense of self, waking one up to the ceaseless activity of life all around. As one continued to sit and bask in the joy of the day all the things of the mind began to slip away. Reference points in time and remembered aspects of one's being were all carried with the breeze to a place where they no longer held any meaning. The day had its own movement, with its own agenda, and one was simply apart of that.

One's survival has become such a petty affair. The occupation you keep, the duties you adhere too, the respect you give some authority, are all so small and utterly insignificant in relation to the beauty of life itself. Our progression through time, towards becoming a people of comfort and privilege, has left many with nothing more than the isolating sense of a life come apart and lacking intrinsic depth. Slipping, half-consciously, into routine and habit has become a cornerstone of surviving in today's world. Routine is the signpost of a mind no longer active or alive, a mind that's simply following the motions of yesterday, the motions of those around it. The idea of revolution was to break this mold, break out of the deadening of mind and create something new, but it too has become yet another pattern of a sleepwalking mind. Fighting something one intuits to be untrue only establishes another untruth in its place and the march towards complacency and despair continues unabated. If the mind can imagine it, it is not the way. If the mind can help bring it about, it is only bringing about further delusion. Any experience simply creates a template to be repeated, and repetition is surely not the way out of mediocrity. Our world today is interested in the survival of the sick, the survival of the self-centered and our world today is entirely mind-made. Look no further than yourself, look no further than the functioning of your own mind, the virus without a cure.

Sitting outdoors today was like no other day before it. The beauty of life was so immediate that there was no room, anywhere, to compare it with anything else. Life's movement was purely melodic, mesmerizing, and all inclusive. If one were not careful one could almost lose oneself in the sheer wonder of it all. The birds overhead were enjoying the wind, gliding here and there, and the squirrels were running up and down the neighboring trees as the wind blew them back and forth. This day had the sun to thank, for it was the sun's light touching each inch of Earth that seemed to grant all the permission to play. Without it, today would have been an entirely different place.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tibet's Suffering...And Beyond.

Tibet, mountains, prayer flags, Himalayas

I feel for the people of Tibet as they struggle against an unjust rule. I have no way of knowing what their rule was like before the Chinese invaded in 1950, but I can only hope the Tibetan people have the opportunity to rule themselves freely and openly in the not so distant future.
Of course, feeling for those who are suffering knows no national boundaries and so my heart also goes out this evening to all those suffering for normalcy in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as, those living in Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Nigeria, and D.R Congo. There are really so many areas on our Earth were people, just like you and me, are suffering. May each and every one find peace and know that they are loved.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Life: The Understanding of Consciousness. Part 2

As the mind continually identifies itself with the physical body, thoughts and feelings begin to surface from the silent background of consciousness. Both owe their existence to this marriage of consciousness with the body. However, these thoughts and feelings spring from the limited perspective of this newly emerging identification and are therefore 'self-centered' in nature. By ‘self-centered’ we mean that all of these thoughts and feelings seemingly arise from an individual body, called ‘me,’ and move out in a linear direction towards ‘the world,’ which we're referring to as everything other than ‘me.’ The experience of life is, therefore, translated through this screen of 'self-centeredness,’ which weighs every encounter against whether or not ‘I need or do not need, want or do not want, am or am not.’ Through time and experience a dichotomy solidifies between ‘me’ and everything else, as a means of guaranteeing survival. Consciousness, or mind, now identified with the physical body is transfixed in this identity through the attention being paid to the body and the interests it has in the things it needs.

As this attention gets caught up more and more in the realm of this particular body, and its needs, there is a residue that accumulates. This residue is called memory and it is the action of memory that firmly cements the formation of the identity, for memory is, in essence, the recording of repetition. Through recording the experiences of life it is repetition that allows consciousness to recognize something as having self-value. This recognition allows patterns to emerge, which play a fundamental role in creating the constitution of the newly emerging individual, for these patterns are what one will be commonly referring to as themselves. Consciousness and memory are now hopelessly intertwined. The constant by-product of consciousness mistakenly referring to memory, as itself, is the self-centered movement of thought, feeling, and the personally translated experiences that continually fuel this closed cycle. Consciousness, being snared in the knot of the body, becomes narrowed down to a point of only being conscious of itself in reference to the physical body. This body-bound consciousness, therefore, experiences itself as completely separate from consciousness as a whole, and must now survive in a world of infinite bodies struggling against each other for the same basic needs.

The question is, how different is the consciousness that has identified itself with this particular body, calling itself 'me' and 'I,' and the consciousness that has identified itself with every other particular body on the planet, also calling itself 'me' and 'I'? Is the difference superficial or fundamental? For when we speak of the independent physical body, we simply mean that it has distinct limits, boundaries seen and felt, and that it has certain needs for its survival. For example, if one body doesn't get what it needs to survive, it dies, but the body standing right next to, living under the same conditions, may not. It is this relative separation we are calling independent, but surely our bodies would be considered absolutely dependent objects in every other sense of the word, right? So our bodies look different and experience the world quite differently, but the consciousness that has identified itself with each and every body and refers to itself as 'I' in each distinct place, where is the difference? Is consciousness actually divided or does it just seem to be given our relative, self-centered perspective? (Part 3 will be posted next week.)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Life: The Understanding of Consciousness. Part 1

What we’re speaking about is not a religion, nor is it the perspective of a religious person. It is not new-age theory or even some ancient Indian thought system concerning the non-dual. It hasn’t been practiced or handed down from one guru to the next, nor is it some fanciful concepts strung together to lead one astray. It is simply a series of observations gathered from the practical, and truly functional, lifestyle of being aware of one’s own mind at work. Since one cannot be compelled to become aware of one’s mind, nor can one do so in the hopes of achieving some desired result, it is left to those who have a genuine interest in doing so. It is left to those who feel deeply that understanding one’s own makeup is in absolute line with the natural movement of life itself. Maybe you are one of those people.

There are human beings everywhere, but can there be said to be an individual consciousness for each human? Surely the memories of each individual are varied and starkly different, but when memories are not triggered in a particular moment, where is the line in consciousness between one body and the next? I’m sure we all can agree, the human body is a unique and individually arising phenomenon, but in regards to consciousness, and its many innate abilities...the ability to feel, to think, to remember, to be, is there any true difference, or line separating any one body from another? Every body born on Earth depends upon the very same objects for survival and it is this need to survive that drives one’s consciousness out into the world surrounding it. It is this outwardly experienced life, with its colors, shapes, variety, and infinitely subtle distinctions that transfixes the mind, holding its attention fixed on these outwardly experienced objects. For the mind, becoming intoxicated with the experience of this life, which it conceives as being separate from itself, begins to believe it is in fact a separate object, isolated and independent within a world of other transient objects. This belief is solidified when the mind discovers the limits and boundaries of the human body. This newly formed perspective begins to color one's reality more and more, and is repeatedly confirmed through the information being received from the body's sense of outward life. The mind begins to interpret that it must survive just as the body must, and therefore the connection between mind and body begins to take form.

The mind, through experience and time, actually identifies itself with the physical body and crystallizes the belief that they are one in the same. After more and more experience is translated through this newly formed frame of reference a separate 'I,’ creating a sense of ‘me’ and mine takes shape. This becomes the one in control of life and in charge of fulfilling the needs of both mind and body. In a sense, the mind-made 'me’ now owns the body and mind, and yet it’s concept of the mind it now owns is severely limited, for this mind only has access to a tethered consciousness, a consciousness where the human body alone defines its nature and becomes its focal point. Therefore, the consciousness ‘I’ has access to, believing itself to be an object that was born and will die, is solely concerned with its own survival, and therefore severely limited in its scope and nature while operating as such. This phenomenal knot is what creates and sustains the experience of 'self,’ the ‘I’ and ‘me’ of living. (Part 2 will be on 3/15/08.)

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Truth Is A Pathless Land.

Costa Rica, sunset, Poas,

"Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest, or ritual, nor through any philosophical knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation, and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection. Man has built in himself images as a sense of security- religious, political, personal. These manifest as symbols, ideas, beliefs. The burden of these dominates man's thinking, relationships, and daily life. These are the causes of our problems, for they divide man from man in every relationship...The uniqueness of the individual does not lie in the superficial but in the total freedom from the content of consciousness." J. Krishnamurti 'Total Freedom'

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Understanding Goes Only So Far As Your Identity Allows it.

Ones identity can be thought of as that which one protects. Wherever there is resistance, defensive posturing, avoidance, conflict, or ignorance there is bound to be an identity operating. For the most part one is quite unfamiliar with the depth and scope of their identity, for one only comes into contact with its totality when it is threatened. Once the threat is over, the identity sinks back into the murky depths of consciousness where it lies low until threatened again. The surface features of this identity are those aspects which one wears around like an article of clothing, the ones that has been field tested throughout one's life. It is the identity that one feels comfortable claiming as its own, the one that is no longer challenged much, and the one who's surroundings have accepted as commonplace. However, even though one may not be 'in touch' with the full depth and scope of one's identity, it has a heavy influence on the way one views the world, and themselves within it. One's senses operate through one's identity, kind of like the programs of a computer run through one central operating system.

The identity is rooted in the manner in which the particular brain functions. Countless stimuli come into the brain every moment and in order for the brain to function it must narrow down, isolate, and exclude all the information that doesn't serve its immediate purpose. Through concentrating on something, one loses sight of all else, there is, in a sense, only the object concentrated on. This constant need of the brain creates an identity within the individual. From the very beginning of life every influence imaginable is at play, molding, pushing, pulling, effecting, and conditioning the body to view itself and the world around it a certain way. Climate, food, family, tone of voice, facial gestures, attention, physical interactions, emotional interactions, school, learning to read, write, playing with others, physical appearance...on and on and on. Every last bit of input has an effect on the brain receiving it and needing to have stability and order to function, the brain creates a reference point from which it can consistently address life's input from. This reference point is one's identity.

Are you aware of how one's identity operates? For example, if you consider yourself a democrat than you defend certain principles, you think about certain subjects a certain way and when faced with an opposing view, you defend yourself. It's a crude example but it makes at least one thing clear, being identified with something limits one's ability to take in new, possibly contradictory, information. Because, at the root of any given moment, no matter how big or small the issue at hand, is the life and death struggle of those particular identities presently interacting. Which brings to light another telling aspect of one's identity. Identities are extremely impermanent. They are always changing and this is a constant source of both fear and frustration. If one makes one's identity in the world a central aspect of their being happy or whole then one should be prepared for a constant battle and needless suffering. And looking around the world today, a world dominated by identities, one sees two basic reactions to the impermanent nature of one's most prized possession. First, constantly struggling to succeed in making it appear as if one's identity has become permanently set or isolating oneself in a tiny world of one's own making so that one's impermanent identity is challenged as little as possible on a daily basis. Of course, these two options are not mutually exclusive, each individual seems to fluctuate between the two on a moment to moment basis, depending on their assessment of the risk and reward of each play.

There are, of course, examples of people succeeding in following only one of these options to near perfection, but for the most part these reactions are tools in the hands of the identity in question. So what? So what is one to make of this business of identity-making and its constant maintenance? Well, for one, becoming aware of the movement of identity awakens another movement quite naturally. That 'other' movement is observing. And it is only through observing that one is capable of discerning that which is false from that which is true. An identity has a view point but it can never observe and although it can claim things as true, it can never know for sure. Observation is free of identities and therefore available to all. Observation is the root of understanding.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Listening To What Life Has To Say.

Walking through that door is unlike anything else one has experienced in quite some time, if at all. The dozen or so young children, ranging in age from 18 months to 2 years old, are already playing on the mats and cushions laying on the floor. Their eyes turn to see who has arrived and their faces light up as one walks over to them for a morning hug. Each child rushes over, arms extended, and runs, unbridled, into ones lap. Love is so effortlessly transmitted when the very young are involved. After a hug and pat on the back most run back over to the playground, hardly able to keep their legs under them as they go. A few stay close, however, and gaze up with those eyes that are so full of expression during these predominantly pre-verbal times. It only takes but a moment and one is engrossed in the play, laughter, and love that bounces from wall to wall, hour by hour, day by day in this place where children run free. It's an arena where conflict can melt in a moment, disputes are settled with a hug, and anything can hold ones attention...at least for a little while.

Does the human being still have the capacity to listen, to observe? Or has the human being been trained to behave so mechanically that the possibility of listening has been wiped out? What do you know about the mechanical aspect of the mind? Not what you've heard from someone else's lips, but from your own honest observation, listening to oneself? We've automated every aspect of life, created habits so intrinsic to our social functioning that we've rendered spontaneity an enemy of any given moment. And listening/observing is indeed a spontaneous act. Our world has been built up in the name of progress, safety, comfort, security, ease, and individuality. And there's no difference when it comes to the space one refers to as 'within.' The 'within' is simply previously recorded commands, dictated from the world around you, plus ones habitually formed reactions to them. Long before any of us can remember we were being programmed, tampered with, and molded in an other's image. That spark that comes into this life with us is harnessed and trained to behave in accordance to images already established in the mind and dictated by the world around us. That precious spark's possibility is what gets sacrificed for the automated appearance of security, comfort, and ease. Therefore, thirty years down the line of this constant conditioning, what do you imagine is responding to life's challenges? A mysterious, uninfluenced, and uncompromising 'individual,' or a series of recorded commands firing off from the misunderstood memories of the past? Is that what everyone is so very proud of, their own particular cluster of recorded commands? Comparing my recorded commands with your recorded commands, adding more commands, changing commands, trying to forget some and remember others, while keeping score with oneself along the way. Listening, however, is not a command you can give yourself or another. Listening to yourself, as you are, is the first and only action required. It is the doorway to a totally different life.

As the children run around the playground one could not help but feel an immense sense of peace and well-being. It wasn't the fact that no one was crying, because a few were, and it wasn't the sense that their lives were always this carefree, because their lives are not. This peace and well-being existed there on that playground because the moment had never been before and it will never be again. There were no other children, on no other playground, during no other day, anywhere. The joy was here among us and we all bathed in it. The preciousness of those tiny pattering feet only added to the smile brought to one's face as a little one came running up to grab hold and pull one over to the sandbox to play.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Life Has No Meaning, It is.

Costa Rica, waterfall
Hiking in the mountains was a beautiful way to spend the early afternoon. The sun was bright but not too hot and the trees and bushes that have overgrown the trail created many cool, shadowy sections to relax under. So many different scents filled the air, many more than one is accustomed to in the towns and city below. As one ascended step by step up the twisting trail a curious stillness moved in. There was a sense that the natural world contained everything and therefore there wasn't a single thing missing from the moment at hand. All of nature was rejoicing in itself. There were a number of lizards darting here and there and quite a few would allow one to get within a few inches of them, even allowing one to touch it on its spiny back. There was affection in these shared moments, a degree of trust along with a sense of the familiar, for in holding each others attention there was a recognition of the consciousness that we share. As one continued up the steep trail the sunlight filtered through the dense bushes creating havens of light intermingled with valleys of darkness. The stark blue sky could be seen through the dark branches lining the trail and all the contrasting colors were the magnificent characters of this day's play. This beauty engulfing one could not be touched by the people passing by, forever gossiping about their tiny lives that they've left waiting far below.

Human life, as we know it, is of little consequence in and of itself. That is, the life that we’ve put together, built up and torn down only to be built up again, lacks intrinsic worth. It is swayed by opinion, approval, and images already established in one's mind. It is in need of constant improvement and the promise of suffocating safety. It is a life which compares one with others, is concerned with its appearance, its ideas, its feelings, its judgments, its interpretations, its race, its country, its past, its future...you know, endlessly concerned with its insignificant self. It is a life that struggles, suffers, hurts, uses, and discards people on a daily basis, including itself. It is a life of loneliness, isolation, despair, rage, pain, treachery, and ugliness all buried away from view. A life we judge to be good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse, high or low, and yet will always fight to keep what we have and get rid of what we don't want. And this life, which we’ve only begun to describe, yet live each and every day, is of absolutely no consequence. Whether one points to the life that surrounds us or the life that crowds in on us from within, you arrive at the same place. There is no purpose for this life we've described, none whatsoever. You can invent any purpose you’d like or follow a purpose handed down to you by another, maybe even have the entire 'civilized' world believe your purpose is so, but a world full of people believing others amounts to nothing. What do we have to say for ourselves? You and me, the one's who are living this life and investing all our hearts in it, all our energy, scratching to get ahead, to beat our neighbor, to be respected. What is your response when you are faced with this fact that you may have never considered before now? Can you face it? It is so obviously true.

Have you ever looked up at the night sky? If you are away from the light pollution of a major city you can witness directly for yourself the weight of such tremendously empty space. Countless lights, signifying an object at least as large as the Earth, all shimmering in an empty expanse unfathomable to the senses. And here we are, under this blanket of endless space and utter silence, playing make-believe in the dark! This life we've created and accepted as so is quite honestly no more than a dream, plain and simple. It is here for a period of time and then gone, like a scripted performance on stage. Are we so attached to our character that we cannot let it drop?
Alone on that mountain trail everything was the only way it could be, alive. Even the fallen trees rotting next to the beautifully vibrant wild flowers played their part to perfection. As one walked on and observed the skyline ahead the simple fact that this mountain was alive and welcoming one to walk it was enough. There was no where else to be and no one to be there.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Away From Understanding.

As one walks down the street today one notices all sorts of construction taking place. A home being built where there was previously an empty lot, a wall being torn down only to be built up again, several small sections of the street being mended, and two separate businesses improving upon their exterior facades. And yet no matter how urban the setting, how asphalt-based the landscape, the natural world is all around, crowding in. Grass must be cut, weeds pulled, trees trimmed, debris picked up, all in order to keep the natural world at bay. We humans have carved out a space and called it our own only to become locked in a near constant battle with natural elements. On the one hand, we must constantly keep the natural world at bay and on the other, we must ceaselessly maintain the space we've created from being worn down and destroyed. Walking down these few streets towards the coast one could see the joy of spring all around. The blossoming trees, budding flowers, chirping birds, and freshly watered grasses were all aglow in the generous sunlight. The air smelled fresh and the breeze was comfortably cool.
Can the world be improved upon? Not merely physically, through science or technology, but also psychologically, as in our relationship with one another? And if it could, who would improve upon it? You? Me? A group of concerned citizens or some organization somewhere? How does one know our world needs improving upon? Does one use their own sense of right and wrong with each bringing their own moral measuring stick to the table? Can one honestly say it is about the world, and its needed improvement, at all? Or maybe just one's own particular need to improve upon oneself? Maybe one is not happy with what they are conscious of within themselves? How is it that we measure ourselves? Isn't it, through becoming aware of the vast reservoir of memory, with its accumulated past, we attempt to change its course through creating an image of where we want to be in the future, and keeping track of our progress? And so part of me becoming better may, in fact, be seen as me improving upon the world. So the world's improvement is a part of my own desire to become a better 'me'. It may, in fact, be nothing but a selfish, self-centered activity, for my motive is improving my own image, not changing the world.
Again, how do I know the world needs changing or that it can even be fundamentally changed at all? Because I have an image of a better world in my head? Isn't it a rather fascist idea to presume one can improve upon another or tell another how to be? I mean, have you ever acted upon an image in your mind? That is, manifested, that which you previously only thought about, into the realm of an actual, living relationship? Does it ever stay the same as you imagined or even as you intended? How long does it stay as you intended before it too, changes? Haven't you lost all control once that which you merely imagined is being shared in the actual world of human relationship? Can one become so aware of the disharmony between an image of the mind and the movement of life that image-making comes to an end? Without the image there is nothing to improve upon, there's only the scared movement of life itself. For one has discovered that fixing the world and fixing oneself are one in the same movement. A movement away from understanding.
As one walked past a group of men knocking down a concrete wall, one couldn't help but wonder what each of them were aware of in that moment. Did they notice the breeze blowing the scent of jasmine their way? Did they notice the birds flying overhead, looking for food and warding each other off? Did they notice how the sunshine set everything green and natural aflame with light? Or were they too consumed with the task at hand and the lives they lead to stop and see the beauty of the Earth all around them?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The World.

Life is experience based. There is no life, as we know it, without what we would typically call experience. There is a need for experience. We need the experience of eating food, the experience of drinking water, the experience of warmth, the experience of thought, the experience of love. Without these experiences, over and over, on a daily basis, our experience of life would come to an end, our experience of being a body, wiped out. So the experience of life depends on certain experiences being repeated over and over, day after day, year after year. The human body, in other words, demands experience in order to survive. Survival is need and need is a form of conflict. What is conflict? Is conflict some thing, or a relationship between two or more things?
As we've said, the human body needs the experience of having, or consuming, other things in order to survive. But we know survival in today's world to be made of much more than that. I experience many needs on a daily basis. When I examine myself further it seems to reveal a peculiar fact. That fact being: 'I am need'. I often times don't need any thing in particular to survive, I just need in order to know that I am. And in order to fulfill this need, anything and everything will do. I can use any thing, event, or person and conflict is created. That movement of conflict becomes my nourishment, it is my survival. So am I, the same 'I' that every human embraces as themselves, nothing more than a continuous movement of conflict?
For if I am, then the continual demand to fulfill my own needs would make it impossible for others to fulfill theirs, therefore creating conflict between us, as well as within each individual, automatically and exponentially.
Looking at this from another point of view, what if the same consciousness is simply identifying itself with differing bodies? Conflict would then be defined as the relationship of two or more self-conscious objects existing within the same space, for these objects are seemingly separate and yet of the same consciousness. Therefore, 'me', 'you', 'I', and 'we' would all be found to be completely conflict based for they isolate and break an indivisible consciousness apart. And we call this conflict, this survival, human life. Do you know what word the following definition defines? A state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces. The word is drama.
Are our lives not full of drama? Are you not the story-line of drama itself? Of all the possible movements of energy between two people, why is the predominate movement one of conflict? What if conflict arises from consciousness meeting itself in differing forms and, not recognizing itself, takes from the other that which it needs for itself. If every human being is operating from this center, this 'I' of survival, what would be the result? The world we live in today.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Society.

What are the consequences of one's perspective on life changing? Please, don't be to quick in interpreting what you think is meant by this question. Society, if one could generalize, shares particular perspectives, and it is the adherence to these perspectives that holds society together. Take the idea of patriotism. Yes, it is an idea, a word, but one must also be seeing the world through this patriotic spectrum in order for it to ring true and bind us together. By seeing it, one means you see others behaving patriotically, speaking patriotically, defending themselves as if they were patriotic, and you either do the same or do not. So it is our learned perspectives that help create and maintain the social structure...we learn to fit in by seeing what it means to fit in and we behave accordingly.
Even revolt follows the same song and dance, one may accept or reject any particular perspective but one does so through following another perspective. So, as we have suggested, society functions, more or less orderly, because of this group adherence to certain agreed upon perspectives. Now, what happens when one's perspective changes and no longer fits in with that of the particular society that surrounds you? On the one hand, the one who drifts away finds themselves momentarily outcast, misunderstood, or even disliked. But, in most cases, in time, others share this alternative perspective and create a sort of sub-culture. Of course others come to share this perspective through the same means as any other, they see one's behavior, listen to one's speech, and assimilate through interpreting your actions, inside and out.
Now all of this implies something else about a perspective. It has a fixed point, a center from which it perceives. Learn about the center and you learn about the perspective. Become like the center and the desired perspective will follow. And so most of us grow up operating in this fashion. We are taught to do 'this' and so 'this' is how we become what we become. Nothing, in this social world of ours, lies outside of this pattern, for anything momentarily outside would be considered anti-social and quickly re-assimilated. In many ways, society functions like a large organism and so it's very survival depends upon having no influences outside of itself. But we've arrived at something new. The real issue at hand is not any particular perspective, held by anyone, anywhere, at any time in human history, but the fixed point that each and every perspective is perceived from. It is that center that creates the true issue at hand and raises the question asked earlier about what the consequences are of one's perspective changing. For there is no changing the center, it always remains the same, added to or taken away from, but always essentially the same. It's most significant feature is that it is fixed, always fixed, no matter what it's perceiving.
So what about when there is no center, no fixed point from which any of a number of perspectives about the world around us, and those living among us, are perceived from? What is one's perspective without a center? If there is no center there is no assimilation, no learning to become similar through imitating another, no path and no way, for there is no destination point that would fix one's perspective. Therefore, no way for society to hold itself together, at least not through the pattern that guides and lends itself to society's very existence right now. Before you call this discovery by some name, and therefore assimilate it into your own acceptable social category, let's suggest that the one who perceives without a center would be functioning intelligently. And this intelligence would be the same intelligence present for anyone, anywhere, at any time in human history, perceiving without a center, for it has always been the center that has obstructed intelligence. And it is this intelligence that would ultimately hold our society together.

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