Is there any such thing as total freedom? And of far more significance, are we aware that the very answering of this question is a form of bondage? That is, upon looking at this question does one see the fact that any movement of mind in a particular direction creates an illusion of arriving somewhere, in this case, arriving at an answer? Generally speaking, if the answer is: ‘yes, there is such a thing as total freedom’ then it is implied that I somehow know what that freedom is, what it looks like, or where it can be found. All implies a place in the mind where I am to arrive at an answer, a place of security, stability, knowing.
And if one were so convinced that they found the answer one would also be convinced that they could show others, teach others, bring others, convince others of this truth. This, of course, is nothing other than bondage, nothing other than the conditioned movement of mind, that of knowing, that of certainty, that of authority and enslavement to that authority. And if I say: ‘no there is not such a thing as total freedom’ then the question dies, the inquiry ends, and I am left with a purely mechanical life of habitual mind movements, psychological insecurity, and the consequences of such a marriage.
Of course, as we've said, which ever answer sways me I can convince myself of its truth and therefore attempt to convince others, defending this unconsciously manufactured truth as if it were an aspect of my very being, which inevitably leads to one or another forms of violence, seeing as my fixed position puts me in conflict with the opposite position, which is equally as fixed. So how about the perspective, the middle path, which says 'there may be such a thing as total freedom but I do not know what it is'. All I know is that I am currently bound, i am currently not free. I’m bound by my body, its physical capabilities and limitations, I’m bound by the conditions of my life, my culture, my upbringing, my experiences, the power of my capacity for memory, the way my mind moves, my constitution, the period of time I live in, etc. I know that I am bound in these ways, and many, many others. So what? Where does this leave us?
Doesn't it leave us with exactly what we presently are, and we therefore have the possibility of looking directly at what’s left, all that I am, all that I am currently aware of, looking at my current state of being bound? And in this alternative position of not knowing we all share an equal ability and understanding, don't we? We are each bound and we can each share with one another the ways in which we are aware of being bound and how we experience that bondage. There is no longer an authority, inside or out. As we share in our common experience we learn to understand one another, our perspectives and how they bind us, our opinions and how they bind us, our conditions and how they bind us, etc. In this sharing there is no conflict between me and you because no one is trying to convince the other of anything, none of us are trying to manipulate the other or get them to change themselves, their perspective, or mind, because again, we are not pursuing an ‘answer’ nor are we convincing one another of a 'correct' or 'superior' position.
We are only collectively, passively watching the movement of mind as it clings to varying positions due to its particularly conditioned, momentarily relative, mental landscape. We are simply discovering, together, the limitations/boundaries/bondage of the mind and the lives we share, hence we are sharing in the experience of mind and body, and the limitations of each, as one body and one mind. We are sharing in observing, and discovering together, the accumulating movement of mind as it operates without distortion or resistance. And as this inquiry continues we share in the realization that we can, without compulsion or conflict, be aware of an ever widening understanding of the ways and means of our own bondage, the nature and movement of mind and body. And as this network of bondage comes into clearer and clearer view, as the interrelatedness of all matters of life, mind, and bondage to them, reveals itself, there is the possibility of discovering that this very seeing, this very observation, is the other, is total freedom.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Is there any such thing as total freedom? And of far more significance, are we aware that the very answering of this question is a form of bondage? That is, upon looking at this question does one see the fact that any movement of mind in a particular direction creates an illusion of arriving somewhere, in this case, arriving at an answer? Generally speaking, if the answer is: ‘yes, there is such a thing as total freedom’ then it is implied that I somehow know what that freedom is, what it looks like, or where it can be found. All implies a place in the mind where I am to arrive at an answer, a place of security, stability, knowing.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
How can one describe consciousness? We often take out present day consciousness for granted and therefore questions like how one describes consciousness are rigidly framed, set in a static landscape of conditioning. Meaning, we look at a question from our current background of accumulated knowledge and formulate an answer. But what if you could step back 1 year's time, 2 years, 6 years, can't you see how consciousness has changed, your consciousness...expanding, contracting, becoming set in ways of perceiving, thinking, formulating opinions? Can't you see how knowledge changes the landscape you perceive, as well as, the perceiver?
Remember when the 'world' was the yard surrounding your house, or your neighborhood? Remember consciousness before the arising of one's chemical need for the opposite sex? Remember when language was difficult, grammar, punctuation, spelling, reading, writing, all took time, study, memorization, effort to repeat correctly? Remember when all the objects in your house were disproportionately larger then you were, when you had so little knowledge about so many things? Consciousness is intimately related to the content contained within it, is it not? As more content is added, consciousness grows in complexity, grows in scope and depth. Remember when it didn't matter if you got soaked in the rain, or tore your jeans from sliding in the grass all day? Remember when time was utterly insignificant, something others were aware of but bore no value to you personally? When you would touch anything, was curious about everything, and even put anything into your mouth? What is the difference between that consciousness of yesterday and that of today? Is it not it's content?
I am not talking about remembering images that these words evoke in your mind. I am talking about experiencing the consciousness that was present through the consciousness that is present now. How would you describe consciousness, keeping in mind how radically fluid consciousness is? Is consciousness the product of our brain? Without memory would one be conscious and if so, conscious of what? Of course, we are not interested in entering into speculation here, so what can we actually examine that might shed light on the nature of consciousness? I want to bring your attention to the content of consciousness because it is through the content that one can come to sense the nature of consciousness. So, what are we referring to when we speak of content? The content of consciousness, is it not all things that one is capable of being conscious of? So my computer screen, television, the room I am sitting in, the chair, hammock, table, books, pen, my physical body, all content within consciousness, right? And my thoughts, feelings, images in my mind, opinions, judgments, memories, knowledge, etc. are they not content as well? In fact, all that takes some sort of sensible form, gross or subtle, is what we are considering the content of consciousness. And so myself is also included, right? 'I' takes some sensible form, right, so I too am an aspect of the content of consciousness.
So clearly there is this intimate relationship between the content of consciousness and consciousness itself, which one can directly discern through their own awareness of consciousness as content is added to it. A simple, albeit trivial, example takes place when one's mind is changed. Having been informed with certain content one beliefs one thing, but when more knowledge is added, well, not just added but assimilated, accepted, held as a steady form in consciousness one's belief has the tendency to shift, become different than it was before, perhaps momentarily, or perhaps indefinitely. So content fundamentally effects consciousness. And this is very widely understood and accepted. Consciously or unconsciously, all human beings intimately, universally know this relationship. One only need look at the behavior of the human being, each and every one, to see that this fact, of the relationship of content with consciousness, is fundamentally understood and acted upon.
It can be seen in the drive of humanity, the drive of the individual, the drive of the species and genes, it is one of growth, growth and expansion of knowledge, adding content to consciousness. No matter who you are, where you are, or when you exist in time, you are attempting to fundamentally alter consciousness through adding content to it. But is that the way forward? And why are we attempting to alter consciousness? Is it that growth, survival, living, and the expansion of knowledge has become one movement? Are they one movement or do they only perceive to be part of one movement? Is it true to say that to live is to add content to one's consciousness? Is it accurate to separate consciousness as yours and mine? Is not the ‘you’, ‘me’, and ‘other’, simply forms of content in consciousness? Where do we go in our investigation from here? And could we say that the content of consciousness remains forever held in consciousness. Meaning you may add knowledge to 'your' consciousness and, in time, it may be forgotten, altered, or seemingly disappears, but in fact it still exists somewhere in consciousness whether you have access to it or not.
What is consciousness? For another possibility seems true as well, that being that the content of consciousness can vanish? Is the very content itself conscious and therefore, consciousness is the movement of association, the associative, or reflexive movement of content relating with other content? So from this standpoint we are not attempting to go beyond the content of consciousness. Rather, we are asking, what is the consciousness of man when all man-made content has been put aside? Has not man created the Gods, as well as, the self, the collective, me, the individual? And so we must first understand the content of our consciousness as it is now, cluttered with man-made knowledge, and how that content effects consciousness. For we tend to think of the content as the observed and the consciousness as a separate observer, independent. But the suggestion is that there is no such separation, that the content is conscious and it is the relationship of content that creates the movement of consciousness.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
How can one describe consciousness? We often take out present day consciousness for granted and therefore questions like how one describes consciousness are rigidly framed, set in a static landscape of conditioning. But if you could step back 1 year's time, 2 years, 6 years, can't you see how consciousness has changed, your consciousness...expanding, contracting, becoming set in ways of perceiving, thinking, formulating opinions?
Remember when the 'world' was the yard surrounding your house, or your neighborhood? Remember consciousness before the arising of one's chemical need for the opposite sex? Remember when language was difficult, grammar, punctuation, spelling, reading, writing? Remember when all the objects in your house were disproportionately larger then you were? Consciousness is intimately related to the content contained within said consciousness, is it not? As more content is added, consciousness grows in complexity, grows in scope and depth. Remember when it didn't matter if you got soaked in the rain, or tore your jeans from sliding in the grass all day? When you would touch anything, and put anything into your mouth?
I am not talking about remembering the images the words can create in your mind. I am talking about remembering the consciousness that was present. Which brings me to the question, can the content of consciousness vanish? How would you describe consciousness, keeping in mind how radically fluid consciousness is? I want to bring your attention to the content of consciousness because it is through the content that one comes to sense the nature of consciousness. So, what are we referring to when we speak of content? The content of consciousness, is it not all things that one is capable of being conscious of? So my computer screen, television, the room I am sitting in, the chair, hammock, table, books, pen, my physical body, all content within consciousness, right? And my thoughts, feelings, images in my mind, opinions, judgments, knowledge, etc. all that takes some sort of sensible form is what we are considering content of consciousness. And myself as well, right? 'I' takes some sensible form, right, so I too am content of consciousness.
And clearly there is this intimate relationship between the content of consciousness and consciousness itself, which one can directly discern through their own awareness of consciousness as content is added to it. A simple, albeit trivial, example takes place when one's mind is changed. Having been informed with certain content one beliefs one thing, but when more knowledge is added, well, not just added but assimilated, accepted, held as a steady form in consciousness one's belief has the tendency to shift, become different than it was before, perhaps momentarily, or perhaps indefinitely. So content radically effects consciousness. And this is very widely understood and accepted. Consciously or unconsciously, all human beings intimately, universally know this relationship. One only need look at the behavior of the human being, each and every one, to see that this fact, of the relationship of content with consciousness, is fundamentally true.
And so the drive of humanity, the drive of the individual, the drive of the species and genes have been one of growth, growth and expansion of knowledge, adding content to consciousness. No matter who you are, where you are, or when you exist in time, you are attempting to radically alter consciousness through adding content to it. But is that the way forward? And why are we attempting to alter consciousness? Is it that growth, survival, living, and the expansion of knowledge has become one movement? Is it true to say that to live is to add content to one's consciousness? Is it your consciousness? Is not the ‘you’, ‘me’, and ‘other’, simply forms of content in consciousness? Where do we go in our investigation from here?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
A day after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the tiny, impoverished island country of Haiti, the fact that the United States will be spending $2 billion dollars a day on war in the Middle East seems all the more absurd. From my point of view, the amount of money consistently spent on perpetuating the most barbarous of human actions, technologically sophisticated or not, is nothing short of a 9 year violation of the human rights of over half a billion people, including the 360, or so, million people of North America.
And to know what could be done with so much money, so much human effort and energy, other than waging war makes me ponder why so many of us just allow it to continue to be o.k. Wake up tomorrow morning and another $2 billion goes up in smoke. Go away for the weekend and another $6 billion is gone. Are we all crazy? Can people not see how thought dictates the actions of the planet and how this thought is sick, twisted? You sit in a semi-vegetative state and hear, but do not listen, to a man in a shiny uniform say, 'well, we can't just pull out, if we do, the enemy wins.' And you buy it? This is what I would call crazy-land and thought is leading the tour.
I'm sorry to be the one to inform you, I'm truly sorry because I'm no one, I don't have a title, or uniform, or authority, but human rights are not denied by a regime, or a group of individuals, or a system of government or tribal guidelines in some far off place. Human rights are denied through the continual ingestion of the narcotic we call thought. Human rights are denied through the content of consciousness. Enlightenment, such a dirty little word, is a matter of human rights and nothing more. So put down your signs, step away from the protest line, take a break from your political banter, stop stuffing your face or supporting the troops and WAKE UP!!! The issue is in your very own consciousness, you are the one responsible, no one else. Or, don't bother and we can continue to spend $2 billion a day on death, destruction and the birth of future hatred.
May all the people of Haiti find peace in their hearts and the strength to rebuild their lives without their loved ones.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Time is how the accumulating movement of mind measures itself, it is the very sensation of the movement of mind itself, for the movement is of continuity, recognition, and isolation. Time, and how one personally measures it, is one of the single greatest factors of isolation. And it is through isolation that one comes to define and recognize their environment and themselves.
The world of your parents, gurus, siblings, teachers, friends, enlightened peoples, role models, those attaining this or that, is a world of recognition which breeds isolation. And a world of recognition is one constructed by and of the accumulating movement of mind, it is what we call reality. And, unfortunately, this reality is a sorrowful game one has no choice in not playing. Being born is your entrance fee and every moment there after unfolds within the reality we unconsciously construct through allowing the accumulating movement of mind to operate without our awareness of its nature or consequences. Within this landscape called reality the accumulating movement, the movement of the past, constructs a self for each physical body from the accumulated information of past constructed selves. Clearly it is a collective movement which merely creates the illusion of individuality through its own ability to fragment, or separate, some information from other information. This fragmentation allows the isolated information to evolve in a matter one experiences as more or less individual, separate, unique, at least when perceived from a purely superficial standpoint.
This ability of the past to fragment/isolate itself is strengthened to the point of solidification through the fact that the movement continues to evolve and accumulate based on its now self-centered desire to become more, different, grow, live, express itself, know that it exists as it recognizes itself as being. And it is how this movement of the past conceives of itself, during any particular period of time, that defines and drives the actions and decisions of mankind since thought and memory began. The concept of self is rooted in the accumulating movement of mind, is rooted in the past, it is never beyond this movement, big or small 's'. Self has no independent, actual existence beyond the movement of the past. It is a concept and concepts represent aspects, qualities, or forms in reality but that which lies beyond the movement of the past, and its grip on the mind and perception, if such a 'something' exists, is not of reality and therefore no concept can accurately or inaccurately represent it.
It is out of bounds, the rules of the game, of reality do not apply. It may seem possible to the mind but then again, the mind is a prisoner to its own movement. Or in other words, the mind is its movement and that which is beyond the mind is not, if such a 'something' exists. Let us refer to that which lies beyond the mind as life, and the mind is but the movement to remember it, hold it, record it, represent it in one way or another. Now this is obviously not the life we commonly refer to, the one separated from death, the one dictated by our senses or perceived reality. It is a life that cannot be approached through and of the movement of the mind, of accumulated knowledge. Therefore, to approach this life, to live, one must understand the accumulating movement of mind, its nature and the consequences of its continual, unconscious operation.
To me, this is a matter of human rights, not spirituality, religion, or any other such separative non-sense. If you believe each human being has the right to live, free of the sorrow, suffering, and torment inflicted by another, then this inquiry is your only option. Everything else is but a movement of isolating deception, every other choice is but your next move in the game of life, the reality you construct to feed your own appetite. This inquiry into the accumulating movement of mind is the action of liberating humanity from self-inflicted tyranny and suffering. Are you serious, are you listening, or are you merely entertaining yourself as you pass the 'time?'
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Out of a world of over 6 billion people, how many are able to listen to what we speak of here together? If it is not your life that will be effected, your life that will turn a corner, who's will? Your life, being that concentration of awareness on and within a particular form, what is it for? Why does one continue to live a life based on the concept of other? For a self-centered life is a life based on the concept of other-ness, did you know that? The image of self is a construct of the conceived of 'other'. Are we following one another?
A self-centered life is but the internal imitation of what one considers an other life to be. Living as a self is internalizing imitation to such an extent that it is no longer noticeable, it becomes unconscious. Isn't that quite something, that being an individual is to be the imitation of another? Self-centeredness is the concept of other-ness evolving, becoming, growing, being more, better, improving. If your life is held together by the thread of need, the need to be secure, comfortable, admired, recognized, valued, correct, justified, greater than, (fill in the blank) you are living the imitated life, the life of a shadow attempting to influence that which casts you. Are we hearing one another? To live a life as the 'other', which is to live one's life as a somebody, a self, me, centered in self, is to live life from the outside looking in. You may call it beautiful, you may call it magical, you may call it mysterious or grand, but you will never know what life is looking from the outside in.
You can invent all sorts of fantastic theories, you can experience all there is to experience, you can push the concept of otherness to the far reaches of the known universe, but life will always escape your grasp, your sight, your understanding. Everyone, caught up in looking at everyone else, imagining what and who they are, imagining where and why they stand, imagining what life is through conceiving of it in another. That 'other' is God, Shakespeare, your Guru, professor, mother, friend, and lover, a million times over again. It is the 'other' you live for, the 'other' you live through, the 'other' which defines your reality, sets your limits, and closes the door to your prison. There is the 'other' and the reaction to the 'other', which is but the 'other' evolving, or becoming different through the continual modification of itself.
In the web of relationship, the world we share, there is no individuality, only a collective sense of otherness, modifying itself. To be an individual, by the true sense and meaning of that word, one would have to be alive, and in the field of life there is no 'other'.
Monday, December 21, 2009
So we have introduced the word ‘resistance’ to our discussion. And, for reference, let us equate the movement of resistance with the movement of the past, with continuity itself. In other words, the past reacting with the present moment, in some way, indicates a resistance to the present moment. The past is a counter force to the movement of the present moment, it alters, changes, resists. And fundamentally, we would have to say that this resistance to the present moment is a resistance to not knowing what is happening.
Not knowing the outcome, risk, purpose, orientation, cause, reason, meaning, not knowing in its totality, gross and subtle. But where does this need to know come from? In a purely reflexive interaction there would be no need to know, only reflexes. However, as you may remember, these reflexes of ours are conditioned. They are conditioned but not dead, meaning a conditioned reflex arising in the moment at hand effects the memory of this moment, which when compressed in the storehouse of accumulation, alters the conditioning that will arise the next moment it is called forth. The conditioned is part of a continual, conditioning process. So I think one can see how the movement of the past, of conditioning and continuity, can refine itself through time, possibly for the purpose of becoming more precise and efficient reflexes, but need no outside agent to do so.
Self: a Mindset, the Psychological Outcome of the Movement of the Past.
But one may ask, more precise and efficient for what purpose? Are not these reflexes of the past serving the physical body/brain? Are they not reflexes created through the desire to survive, the need for the physical body to continue? Can the most basic of these reflexes not be found to be serving the needs of the body to eat, sleep, and procreate? And the ever increasing need to secure these needs into the future? So somewhere in the last two or three sentences we created a self, did we not? It all started with introducing purpose to the reflexive moment of the past. The recognition of purpose seems to be a basic building block in self-centered consciousness. And as we’ve said, recognition is simply the measuring of fragments of knowledge against one another, or comparing one fragment of information with another. Through comparison one arrives at purpose, where purpose is a purely future-based form of knowledge. That future may not be very far off, but it is still a clear departure from the purely past-based reflexes.
The Introduction of a Future is the Introduction of a Self.
In other words, as the capacity of the body for memory is still small, purely reflexive interactions with the present moment take place instinctively, automatically. But as the capacity of memory increases one continues to have purely reflexive interactions but also exhibits the ability to remember said reactions within the context the reactions took place. And it is through the ability to compare reflexes within their remembered context that creates purpose. And with purpose you have the seed of individuality. Purpose also feeds the evolution of continuity, for now you have continuity with purpose, which creates a directive, or a direction something in particular continues to follow through time. And putting purpose, directive, continuity, and language together creates, in time, an incredible sense of being, a self-informed form in consciousness. Though forever but consequences of the accumulating movement of mind, mechanical in nature, purpose, directive, continuity and language create an intoxicating form that completely hides this reflexive process from view.
The Self, Far Beyond an Instrument of Measurement.
How does this infusion whose very being depends upon the accumulating movement hide this movement from view? For one, the self harnesses the ability to direct attention, for it has harnessed the authority of need. The need of the self supersedes all other need and so there is a distorting of thought, feeling, and perception in order to serve the needs of the self. And, therefore, the illusion of self becomes part of the conditioning process, enters the compression stream of memory and knowledge, that reflexively interacts, with purpose, directive, and a need for continuity, in the present moment. And once this interaction is compressed in memory, moving through, and as, the accumulating movement of mind, the very movement which spawned its birth in the first place, the self becomes an objective reality, seemingly independent of the movement of mind. Which, of course, brings us back to order and the past’s demand to establish order in its own image. For the order the past must establish and maintain, is not only an order rooted in all things known, but an order for, and with, an independent self at the center.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
So let us begin by suggesting that this self is not fixed, or centralized in consciousness. Our suggestion is that the self is more like an implicit consequence of an otherwise reflexive interaction between the accumulating movement of mind and the present moment, as perceived through this movement. Lets look at it this way, when there is a reaction from the past in this moment, it is viewed from the standpoint of it being ‘my reaction.’ In other words, the self encompasses the reaction, it is the reaction and yet simultaneously beyond the limits of the reaction, more then simply the reaction at hand.
In order to get at this ‘more than’ the reaction at hand, let us first take a look at the reaction itself. The momentary reaction is but a fragment of the past, it is a piece of the past activated by the circumstance in the present moment. This fragment is a conditioned response to how the present moment is perceived, given what may have transpired or been accumulated as knowledge before now. So, by nature, the movement of the past meeting the present moment is a movement of fragmentation, for it is but a fragment of the past, a fragment of accumulated knowledge or information that interacts with the moment at hand. And being but a fragment, or piece of information reacting in the present circumstance, its response is limited, by nature. And so this fragmented, or limited interaction of the past with this moment, in turn, limits the moment at hand, does it not? Thus fragmenting the moment at hand, for each moment the past reacts becomes an isolated moment of defining and serving the continuity of the past. Each moment the past reacts is a moment the past continues to be, at the expense of something other than the past being.
The Psychological Birth of Identity and Self
And yet from one standpoint, due to its nature, even the continuity of the past is dis-continuous, for it is but a series of fragments of information, that need not be related in any way, re-enacting themselves in the moment at hand. In other words, up to this point, what continues 'to be' is but a fragment of knowledge, reflexively called forth by circumstance beyond its control. However, through the evolution of this sense of continuity, the evolution of the continuity of the past, the birth of identity and self take form and gain strength. So what, exactly, do we mean by the evolution of continuity? For starters, the reflexive movement of the past is a movement of conditioning. Everything retained as memory in the brain conditions the brain, in fact, to remember is to condition, and the brains capacity to retain information is the foundation of the accumulating movement of mind (the past). So, at this level, continuity is simply defined as continuing, or the fact that as long as there is reaction of the accumulating movement in the present moment, the past is continuing to be. This continuity is the continuity of conditioned responses to the perceived challenges of survival, biologically based and thoroughly reflexive by nature. One can witness this phenomena throughout the animal kingdom and beyond, and yet would not necessarily attribute it to a self as we know ourselves to be. In fact, these responses can be likened to blind reactions, automatic impulses, or a conditioned instinct to respond to danger or disharmony.
Memory, Measurement and the Conditioning Process of Mind.
One also needs to expand their take on memory in order to understand the scope of what we are suggesting. Memory is not simply a psychological faculty based on images, it includes the neurological connections and chemical relationships in and of the brain and body as a whole. And so as the capacity of memory increases, in all of its domains, we see the evolution of continuity as well. Continuity evolves through the conception of becoming, grounded in the fact of impermanence and the desire for non-disturbance. One must also, always keep in mind, that humanity has always been a social creature, living together, depending upon one another. So we cannot examine the self, the individual, without understanding the context of the self, the other, others, humanity as a whole, whether that whole is experienced as one other, the family, tribe, community, nation, planet, or oneself. For it is through relationship that continuity of the past evolves and a self emerges. How? Could it be through comparison? Could comparing, or measuring, one reaction against another give birth to the demand to change said reaction, turning the accumulating movement of mind upon itself? Or does the feedback received from a reaction begin to change the reaction itself? Meaning, for one thing, that conditioning is not a dead thing, the conditioned becomes part of the conditioning process, which further mutates its own state of conditioning, perpetually influencing the conditioning process. And, of course, one must introduce language, the complex system of symbols, whom, without which, continuity, identity, and self would not be possible.
So, all of this movement, the response of memory, comparison, the conditioning process, registering feedback, reacting, takes place within an ever changing landscape, that of the body and the environment. This impermanence not only exists in the natural world of body and environment but also in, and of, the world of this mind-movement, of accumulating and conditioning. Like an angry sea, the totality of what is taking place is forever in flux, with our current sense of continuity evolving as the resistance of such flux.
Monday, December 14, 2009
So we are saying that the accumulating movement of mind is a universal movement, decentralized, and fueled by the relative knowledge and conditioning it is exposed to through its subject or host. In other words, it is not an independent phenomena, but rather a universal movement of mind that relates each and every particular brain with its environment in an increasingly subjective, relative, and isolating manner.
The brain is the seat of understanding, the home of the senses. It is do to our brain, and the manner in which it functions, that there is this world of sensation and form, inside and outside the skin. And yet, once the capacity of the brain to retain sensation and form is set, which must, to a great extent, coincide with the fundamental neuro-connections being established in the brain, there is this more or less stable environment the brain seeks an orderly relationship with. And we are also suggesting that this environment, the one established through the brain’s ability to sense color, light, form, sound, smell, and consistency through touch, is more or less universal, existing for each and every brain with only modest differences in quality.
However, with the further development of the brain one comes to define, refine, and perceive this environment in a more and more subjective manner. There is the sense that it is becoming individual, mine, unique. Yet, this too is a universal phenomena, meaning the creation of the individual, locked in a landscape of its own meaning, is a collective movement taking place in each and every brain as well. And it is, more or less, at this point that we begin to recognize what has been referred to as the accumulating movement of mind which builds upon the brain’s capacity to recognize its environment of sensation. For it is upon this ground that the movement of the past not only establishes an individual for the brain and body to identify with and protect, but establishes the environment the individual exists within, as well as, the relationship between the environment and the individual. So it would seem to be due to the nature of this movement, there being no-where and nothing it hasn’t either created, informed, set in motion or defined, that there are several absolute assumptions formed in consciousness that we must now address.
First, that there are independent, and therefore fixed, subjects and objects in consciousness; the assumption of an independent and fixed ‘self,’ as opposed to ‘other than self’. Second, that the fragmentation of consciousness, as separate functions or qualities, does not effect the functioning of consciousness as a whole. The significance of this second assumption being that the isolating of such movements as thought, feeling, perception, or knowledge from one another does not effect our experience of consciousness as a whole. And lastly, that one perceives or experiences life in an objective manner, or rather, that our capacity to perceive is true, unfiltered, actual, what we see is what there is, independent of our influence. Now clearly, these assumptions each verify the other, strengthen and enliven the other, all being aspects of the same chain of effect set in motion by the movement of the past itself. You see, one believes that they can perceive things happening out there, in the world of relationship and form, and what they are perceiving is actual, real, independently true as it is, without our influencing what we see in any way, shape, or form. We also believe this to be so when perceiving ourselves, within so to speak.
This first assumption leads us to believe that consciousness is in fact fragmented, divided, compartmentalized and that this fragmentation, and the recording of the moment as such, is natural and, therefore, doesn’t alter the functioning of consciousness as a whole in any way. That is, there is no distinction made between the whole, the moment at hand, and the sum of its parts, or how the brain perceives, compresses, and records that moment. Which lends itself to the notion that the self/me/observer is a fixed, independent point in consciousness. This point, which has both feet in the present, can observe other points, relate to other points, even interact with other points in an objective manner, one independent point interacting with another, without our subjective influence interfering with the nature of the interaction, or the other, unless we choose too. And vice-versa. So on Wednesday of this week, let us tackle these assumptions, starting from the last one and working back to the first.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Does not the environment exhibit an incredible influence over the individual? Are we aware of how the environment pulls the past out of us, reflexively, beyond our control? Does not the environment dictate almost all that transpires within the moment; the environment being that which unfolds beyond one’s control? Is it not the reason a primary function of the brain seems caught in the formation of habit, routine, tradition, and maintaining customs in our lives? And the individual’s unquenchable desire to control and condition their environment, is it not due to the fact that a predetermined environment will, in all likelihood, produce a predetermined response of the past, the self.
Therefore we hope to control our environments to such an extent, make it as static and predictable as possible, that the scope of uncertainty is limited and therefore the reactive impulses called forth by environmental demands, the self, can be, more or less, foreseeable, known, and met by the present moment within the realm of self-control. And is it not this sort of “stability” in the present moment that opens the door to what is referred to as the future, or the possibility of directing the path of one’s reactive responses towards a predetermined image of what they should be, or who one ought to be and how others ought to see me? And so it should be all but obvious what is involved in what we refer to as the future. The future, being the predetermined modification of what presently is, naturally involves the changing or reconditioning of the present environment in order to call forth a set of different reactive responses from the movement of the past. Which is accomplished through the active agent of change in the moment at hand, the movement of the past. And so this movement of conditioning and being conditioned flows back and forth as one and the same movement. And yet, due to the nature of this movement, how does one call forth something new, different, from the associative and conditional movement of the past?
Is it not safe to say that there cannot be anything new arising from the movement of the past, for, by definition this movement is of what has been? Therefore, we must inquire into what the movement of the past calls change, or the modification of what has been into what should be through the gathering of knowledge. The idea being, the more knowledge gathered the more different it becomes, and knowledge gathered for the sake of reaching a predetermined goal will eventually lead to that end, become the end it moves towards. And this modification of what has been into what should be is considered being something new by the mind-movement. And so knowledge conditions, through the accumulating of knowledge one's perception is distorted and what is observed begins to appear different. Or rather, there is the appearance of change as long as one perceives through the prism of the accumulated knowledge, as long as one accepts the conditioned state of the moment dictated by the knowledge at hand. And so, it is conditioning that is the indivisible factor binding the world of the inside to the world of the outside. Quite simply, when one comes face-to-face with the ramifications of conditioning, and its reach, the idea of a self separated from otherness no longer holds any weight, for there is no such separation, there is but the movement of conditioning, the movement of the past.
Now I am not suggesting conditioning is ALL THERE IS, only that within the context of our current discussion, conditioning fills the duality gap, it is both the ebb and flow of the tide. Self and other exist solely as an implied matter of convenience, as a perceptual tool capable of focusing attention in areas of need, to re-establish order. This more liberated perspective also suggests that the self/me/observer we have been looking into is not a centralized, fixed, or permanent point in consciousness, for consciousness itself is not centralized, fixed, or permanent. The suggestion is rather that the self/me/observer is largely an implicit assumption based on the interaction of a form in consciousness with it's environment, when the principle of order is functioning. And of course, as we’ve said, this interaction becomes conditional, being set by the movement of the past in order to establish self-centered order in the moment. So can we take a look at the universal aspects of this movement of the past, with its demand to establish order, a little closer?
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Picking up where we left off, let us look at what this term self refers to. For one, it seems to me that we call what I have been referring to as the movement of the past, the self. Well, sort of. We think of ourselves as having a past, remembering the past, or having the capacity to recall events in our past, but not necessarily that we are the past. So there is a separation between the self and it’s past. But as we’ve seen yesterday, this sense of separation is itself a quality and capacity of the movement of the past.
So, could it, in fact, be the case that the movement of the past refers to its own movement as the self, as me, in comparison with what it refers to as other than itself, or the present moment at hand? The past recognizes it's own interaction in the present moment and refers to itself as the self, me, the individual, Robert. For, in order for there to be a self, which is also referred to as the individual, there must be an independent agent, a firm distinction, or line draw in the sand, that separates self from other, past from present. But is that the case, actually? Is there such a separation or only the perception of one when perceived through the distortion of the mind-movement? Did we not suggest yesterday that the movement of the past and the present moment at hand are inseparable, utterly dependent upon one and the other? Which means they share of each other, qualities of one may in fact be qualities of the other, for without one there is not the other.
A simple, yet essential example of this point, is the quality of awareness. What is awareness? Where is awareness? For it seems to me that the movement of the past represents awareness as the self, equates awareness and the self, claims that it is the self that is aware. Not only self-aware but the self being that which is aware of all that is, or the self, being the seat of awareness itself. This representation also creates what we refer to as the observer phenomena, or the introduction of the permanency of the self, that the self is always present whether recognized as being so or not because one is always aware, or observing. So let us take a closer look at this awareness, the awareness harnessed by the self. For, as you may recall, the self is of the movement of the past, it is a response of this movement in the present moment. Therefore, it is the product of compressing the content of the present moment into a language of mind that is stored as memory and capable of reflexively acting in the present moment. But if the self is aware, as we claim it to be, then that awareness, as well, would be the product of the act of compression.
And yet, if awareness is not of the self, if it is not seated in and as the individual, which would make it a product of this compression, then we must say that the self, the movement of the past, is adding something to awareness without claiming to do so. Or possibly adding something in place of awareness. And so if you watch and listen very closely, in this moment, you may be able to see and hear, first-hand, what the movement of the past equates with awareness. Is it not information, knowledge? That is, the movement of the past views itself in relation to the present moment as awareness acting, which it translates and equates as knowledge acting. The past views awareness as centered in, and as, the individual, and it views this awareness as knowledge.
Now, this misconception stems from the manner in which the present is recorded, for through the compression process there is an implication that awareness is an active agent, referred to as the self, objectively existing in the present moment, and this self observes, it is aware, and it acts. So one can see how perceived qualities of one, the past, are in fact qualities of the other, the present moment, and vice-versa, without the mind having the ability to discern. In other words, the self views the present moment, through its own distortion, as being an objective fact, meaning, it doesn’t see its own influence, its own ‘making it so’, it's own infusion. It is then recorded and compressed as fact, and more and more, little by little, the influence of the past is unrecognizably embedded in ‘reality’. Now, I think most of us, if we are at all serious, can discern the fact that there is awareness and there are responses, conditioned responses, reacting to stimuli in the moment. And these responses are not awareness responding, but rather information, conditioned impulses created through accumulated knowledge recorded in the brain and reactively interacting with present stimuli.
However, the past, itself a compressed matrix of information compiled from the present state of living, accepts no distinction, believing that awareness and self are one in the same. And it is this position that lends itself to the belief that the self is permanent. For an observer, a thinker, a doer, an experiencer, all imply an agent always present, always there, whether they are observing, thinking, doing, or experiencing anything at all in any particular moment. And so, like awareness, the self now sees itself as being permanently present, yet unlike awareness, this self is forever incomplete. Of course, this makes perfect sense when understood to be the natural consequence of the mind’s equating of awareness and knowledge, for knowledge is always incomplete, unfinished, there is always more to be added to, taken away, or modified. And as it is all too apparent today, this translating of awareness to knowledge, and equating the two, is a tremendous limitation that creates extraordinary conflict, within and without.
For is not the individual’s drive to alter one’s environment, as well as oneself, born from the need to fulfill this unconscious incompleteness? Is it not through the recognition of known movements and patterns of being in the moment at hand that our very existence as somebody is continually implied? And yet what we recognize as our own is never finished, never complete. So where are we? Can we go into the self, the environment, and the movement between the two a little deeper?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Let us look a little closer at why the movement of the past meeting the present moment is a relational movement of disorder. For one, there is a degree of deception enfolded in the nature of language itself, isn't there? Or rather, due to the effect language has on the mind, the mind is incapable of discerning between what is merely a word and what is actual. The compression/translation of the living moment into a language of mind, or an image of representational information, creates what we refer to as memory. And it is this movement, born from the brain's capacity to retain information, that we are examining here together.
Language, as we will see, is such an influential system of symbols. The language we know and share is the binding force behind the language of mind, between symbol, impression, and image. And as we've said, it is language that renders the mind incapable of discerning between a word and the actuality the word represents. Now, let us be clear on the meaning of actuality. For our purposes here, actuality simply refers to that which is, free of the influence of this mind-movement effecting how one perceives it. In fact, the word exhibits such power over the mind that there need be no actuality at all for there to be a word and the mind will accept the word as an independent, objective reality all its own. The word may be the mind's most powerful tool for through the word the mind movement perceives itself as if it is an objective reality existing independently and beyond the grasp of its own influence and nature. It believes it is other than itself. With the word, the mind also has the ability to separate itself from an aspect of itself, which in turn, it perceives as being other than itself, or having an independent, objective reality. And it is from this standpoint that this movement believes it can change, fix, alter, or get rid of this independent part without effecting itself in the process.
So the ‘compression’ that takes place as the present moment becomes the past is a translation, into the language of mind, of what the already acquired past considers to be the significance of the present moment in relation to itself. Therefore, the perception of the moment at hand is hampered, or limited, by the previously acquired knowledge or information already gathered. And the chief function of language is to serve as translator, for the meaning of the moment at hand is conveyed to oneself through language, or the word. Not solely the word, but without the word there is no meaning, and without meaning there is no recognition, and without recognition there is no ability to meet the present moment with the intention to establish order according to one's preferences. And it is due to the fact that the word conveys meaning, a meaning that does not exist without the word, that the mind mistakenly equates the word with the object it is representing, in its entirety. To the mind infected with this movement the word and the actual are indistinguishable from one another. The word and the thing it is supposedly representing are the same, uniform, equivalent, and utterly interchangeable. So this process of ‘compression’ is significant, for the past it creates, a hybrid of symbol, language, and image, carries the same weight as the actual, in other words, the mind believes the nature and quality of that which is actual has not changed through the process of compression.
The consequences of this process are that one is incapable of discerning between knowledge formed and accumulated in the mind and the actuality of a present event or circumstance. That the nature of the past is as the present moment is, the only difference being it is a present moment that was. However, nothing could be further from the truth, for the present moment, divorced of this influential mind movement, is a more or less objective, neutral phenomena without a foreseeable center of interest, while the past is nothing, if not a movement of subjectivity. The past is a movement with a center, the self, and so everything bends, and is distorted, under the gravitational pull of self-centeredness. One may begin to see how easily the mind loses its grasp on what is objectively so, as opposed to mentally invented or influenced as this mind movement becomes interwoven, more and more embedded in the living present.
This is further complicated, as we have seen, through the fact that the mind conceives of the word as being on equal ground with that which it represents. For the fact that the mind cannot discern between a word and that which it represents gives the word free range over creating a landscape, for the mind to live and relate within, that need not have any basis in truth or actuality. However, to the mind, hypnotized by the word, this mind-made landscape is taken to be an objective fact existing outside the influence of mind, one that the mind must relate to as an existing reality in the hope of establishing order. A world of illusion perceived as a life or death reality. And this landscape we speak of extends inside, as well as, outside the individual, it is one indivisible landscape of mind where there is a self that relates to itself, and the world around it.
And when one discovers that one cannot separate the moment at hand, the objective fact of being alive, from the movement of the past meeting that moment, one has to accept the fact that this is a collective phenomena, transcending the individual enfolded in the process. I do not mean the movement of the past cannot end. I mean, there is no movement of the past without the present moment and no present moment, as you know it, without the movement of the past. Two sides of the same coin. Therefore, the suggestion is that this movement of the past meeting the present moment and creating disorder is a universally shared phenomena. And the reactive desire to establish order is universal as well. And with the need to establish order comes the two degrees of order, the first of which is establishing a field of the known and the second, the blossoming from that field of the individual, or the active agent which continually alters the conditions of this field in response to maintaining an ever-shifting sense of conditional order. Both degrees or order being universal as well.
And ultimately, universal for the simple fact that the present moment that this movement of the past is interwoven within, and continually reacts to, is beyond limit or boundary, there being no conceivable beginning or end to it, no inside or outside. The present moment I am aware of here and now is the same you are aware of there and now, shared, universal in scope and nature. And so it is with this movement of mind. This accumulating movement is active, in its entirety, in and as the collective consciousness of human kind and as such, each of us has the ability to inquire into its nature and movement. We will continue with this inquiry on Friday, December 11th.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Could it be that, to the mind, the present moment is experienced as disorder because it is unknown and utterly unknowable? To be unknown, or in a state of not knowing, is to be insecure and so the mind equates insecurity with disorder, something to be got rid of. For there must be some reason the mind cannot perceive the fact that the arising of the past to meet the present is what creates disorder. Unless, of course, the mind and the movement of the past are one in the same? And as we have seen, this very movement alters, effects perception, possibly in such a way as to deny the awareness of its own movement and nature.
Or rather, let us suggest that the awareness this movement knows is of a different nature then awareness itself. As you may remember, we spoke about a function of this mind movement that compresses any given moment at hand into an informed image that can be translated into knowledge for future orientation and use. And how through this process the mind comes to equate awareness with acquired information or knowledge. In other words, there is born the belief that awareness and knowledge are one in the same. Let us imagine it somewhat like an awareness that speaks to you from the information it has acquired. I am not necessarily suggesting this is an accurate representation of what actually transpires within oneself, but rather a functional way of highlighting this point. The awareness that this mind movement pays attention to is an awareness that speaks, one that it has created, and it speaks from the knowledge it has accumulated. So, in other words, what the mind movement calls awareness is not awareness at all, but knowledge, acting. And so it may, in fact, be an aspect of the mind movement itself that denies awareness of its own movement. And this denial would be natural due to the fact that, in lieu of awareness, there is a concentration on the knowledge acquired through the movement itself. And it is this knowledge that tells you what you are aware of, what is real and not real, significant or not, etc.
Now by concentration we mean an ever-narrowing focus upon the knowledge acquired with the added consequence of developing an ever-increasing dependence upon this knowledge for security and order. In other words, this movement ends up seeking security and order through the degree and quality of the knowledge acquired and the environment it attempts to condition and create because of it. And as we have suggested, it does so for an all but obvious reason. For from the perspective of the past, which is the movement of the known, the unknown and actively unfolding present moment is experienced as being disorder, utterly insecure. And it is this perspective that fuels the continuous movement of attempting to alter the environment in such a way as to make it known and knowable, always, in all circumstances and at all times. And this brings to light another aspect of how the very movement set about to find and acquire order is itself the movement and definition of disorder.
Fundamentally, the mind finds a sense of order, security, in the simple state of knowing and yet what it knows inevitably creates a disturbance or disorder in the mind. It is like, through this movement, the mind is forever planting seeds, the act of which it finds very orderly and secure. However, the seeds always grow into circumstance that disturb the mind. And so we have a contradiction, for although the act of sowing is soothing and establishes a certain sense of order, the reaping is inevitably of conflict, disturbance, and disorder. It is a contradiction because it is the same movement responsible for establishing the realities and consequences of both actions, the sowing and reaping.
So, in terms of order, an order the mind demands, the value of knowing is fundamentally greater then, and established prior to, the value of the experiencing of what one knows. So the first degree of order is in knowing, for instance, the knowing of what someone thinks of you in any particular moment. There is a security in that knowing. And what follows, the second degree of order, is the establishment of non-disturbance in the field of the known, that the person thinks fondly of you. But herein lies the problem, for the order of the first degree does not depend upon the particular needs, desires, outcome, or perspective of the individual, for its significance is in establishing the landscape for the self to knowingly relate with. and on top of that, the order established through knowing is conditionally set and reflexive in nature. It cannot be turned aside by the individual, the self, which is but a conditioned consequence of the very same movement. The individual is what we are referring to as the order of the second degree, or the attempt to establish order in the experience of life as it continually unfolds in the field of the known, which has already been established. This is the desire to establish order in the experience of one’s life, in themselves, in relationship to the life they lead, physically as well as psychologically. So in other words, the ground, that which is fundamentally known, can never be turned aside, only conditionally altered by the individual building upon it.
And we are suggesting, fundamentally, that what is known, the ground, landscape, and individual are all of the same nature as that which knows it, which is the movement of the past. And in relationship to the present moment, this movement of the past is isolated and isolating, incomplete, creating conflict, disturbance, sorrow and suffering. In other words, fundamentally, it is a movement of disorder. Therefore, no matter how much pain, sorrow or suffering there may be in any given moment, the mind will always prefer to continue in this state of knowing rather than die to the possibility of not knowing, for the act of knowing will always remain a far more fundamental form of security then what is known. To the mind, which is this movement, to know is to be.
Monday, December 7, 2009
In this manner, knowing who we are, our presently conditioned environment, and where we came from, our conditioned responses to life, we can strive to become what we set out to become, a differing set of conditioned responses reflexively arising in a differing conditioned environment, in a far more stable, non-disruptive manner. Are we not always attempting to make life subservient to our conditioned need for order, both personal and collective? And what is disorder?
How does one recognize disorder? Take this moment at hand right now? Is there disorder? Are you experiencing disorder right now, in this moment? Does not disorder arise with the movement of comparison? Something is not right, I don’t like something, it is not good for me, it upsets me, it must be different, why did they do that, etc. And is not the movement of comparison a movement of the past meeting the present? Disorder is always related to me, right? And yet we have suggested that the fundamental function of the past is to create order, right? But what if the movement of the past meeting the present is, itself, a movement of disorder, which once it arises, attempts to ‘re-establish’ order according to its own movement and motives? In other words, the very arising of the past in the present moment creates a disruption, disorder, in which case, the very same movement that created the disorder now sets out to create, or re-organize the present moment to cohere with what it conceives of as order, what should be. But if the arising of the past in the present moment creates disorder, why should it arise in the first place? The answer is two-fold. First of all, the arising of the past in the present moment is a reflex, it happens automatically, a triggered reaction to stimuli, there is no choice about it. And second, the arising of the past in the present moment is the self, is me, is the individual you recognize and take yourself to be.
So, as we were saying, the arising of the past is a movement of disorder because it’s very arising is a movement of separation, division, and hence conflict. The self/me/observer is an isolating movement in conflict with what is taking place in any given moment at hand. And it is through this conflict, or disorder, that one hopes to establish order. So let us take a closer look at this self/me/observer. The nature of the past, from which the self takes its form, is obviously different than the nature of the present moment the self reacts within, right? And let us suggest, for the sake of clarity, that one cannot, with any accuracy, describe the present moment. There is a subtly, a life and depth to it that escape the confines of language, at least the present moment I am referring too. But we are saying that the past is of a different nature. We have gone into the nature of the past a bit, I think enough to bring to light this point. The nature of the past is much more like a photo, snapshot, or symbol than a living moment, and it has a distinct directive. What one means by a distinct directive is that the past has a future, has a direction or desired outcome that it must continue to move towards. It is unfinished, as is, and therefore is always seeking its own fulfillment, or to further the cause of fulfillment, in any given moment. It moves in a given direction with a distinct purpose and it does so in the space the present moment affords.
It is like, as the present moment passes, all the aspects of it that the mind believes are significant and it can comprehend, are compressed so as to lie on the same plane of reference, so to speak. Compressed to a language of mind, more than simply the word, that allows the mind to study, comprehend, edit, and otherwise use for its own purposes. This accumulated and assimilated information is what arises as a reaction in the next moment when stimuli associated with its nature arises. But what do we mean by, as the present moment passes? Does the present pass? Clearly, things within the present moment move and change but what we are referring to as the present moment is far more then simply the objects moving and changing within it. A very obvious and general example is how the earth moves, displacing where the sun is seen in the sky. This is an aspect of our concept of time as well, or measuring the movement of something in particular through space. Even the notion of one moment and the next is a measure of time which refers and depends upon the displacement of objects, gross or subtle. But all of this is a narrowing down of attention to concentrate on the content of the moment. And the content of the moment is recognizable, measurable, and known. The content of the present moment is always of the past. And it is within these narrow confines of concentration on the content of the moment which has been established through past recognition that the self takes root and 'relates'.
Now that we are orientated in the moment, let us continue to examine the process of self. So as these things within the present moment move and change the ability to remember how or where something was before is memory, and ‘the what or where’ that is remembered is of the past. Therefore, the past is always in reference to the present moment, how that particular thing is, or is behaving, now, in comparison to how it was, or was behaving, before now. The past depends upon the present and where there is dependence there is a relationship of implication. Where there is one, the other can be implied. So the nature of the past is interwoven in the present moment because it only exists in comparison, or in reference, to the moment at hand. In other words, the past is the moment at hand, accompanied by a particular movement of mind. And as we’ve seen, an aspect of that movement is memory, for information can be added or taken away, which, in turn, affects the entire movement, and thus the moment at hand as perceived and therefore experienced. And because the living moment is forever beyond comprehension, because the living moment is beyond the grasp of the mind, the mind, needing order, security, non-disturbance attends more and more to the movement of the past interwoven in the living moment, the movement of the known.
Friday, December 4, 2009
To me, it is all one phenomena, the same movement, the past, the image, the self, the me, and the observer/observed perspective. Therefore, let us attempt to approach it as such, as one, indivisible movement in order to grapple with its complexity in the simplest and most direct manner possible. For instance, I think it is quite common to believe, and therefore conceive, of the self, the me, the observer as being an independent subject, a centralized or focused point in consciousness, having a reality all its own, perhaps subject to death, but not necessarily subject to the death of the physical body. Maybe it lives on, some may believe, as the soul or spirit.
We believe that the self is independent of thought, that it thinks thoughts, is the creator of thoughts, yet remains separate from its creations, objective. In fact, to limit this sense of separation merely to thought would be doing our investigation a disservice. The belief is that the self has an existence separate and independent of the accumulating movement of mind as a whole, that it exists beyond the particular movements of mind believed to be tools at its disposal. And it is this lack of clarity that manifests itself in all sorts of delusion concerning what is and is not actual, actual meaning having an existence independent of the accumulating movement of mind’s influence. So, first things first, wouldn’t the independent existence of a self (the me and the observer are implied in the term self) be the equivalent of saying that the past, in some way, has an independent, objective existence as well? For how can one separate the past from the self? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Is there any separating the past from the self?
Or is it that the past, in actuality, is far different from what we vaguely think of it as? Is not the past only alive as discontinuous fragments, in so much as an aspect from the past relates, or is associated with, something present in the moment at hand? Which brings to light a certain function of language, the ability to crystallize an event which transpires in real life, in real time, into a symbol or two which hold the overarching significance of the whole experience? Does not language serve to compress experience, channel it, focus it, create a potent morsel out of a sprawling feast? Does not language claim to encompass the whole in its symbolic fraction? The past is only known, awakened, through association with a present stimuli. In order for the process of association to take place there must be recognition, and where there is recognition there is language, or the commentary which serves as the index of the past. Language is the associative factor of mind, the bridge from the present to the past. And could one not suggest that the primary role of the past is to produce an effect? As we've suggested, fundamentally, the past serves to produce order, order for the individual, which may in fact be an oxymoron, but there it is.
And so would it not be more accurate to say that the past lives on in the present moment more through its ability to condition one’s responses to stimuli rather than objective, factual images, scenes, pictures, or accurate representations held objectively in the mind? In other words, the past lives on through the conditioned responses to the present moment, with the intention to create order for the individual. Now, the meaning of the term conditioned is two fold. Conditioned means having a particular, restrained quality whose nature arises automatically, habitually, when called forth from the present moment. Conditioning, therefore, lends itself to seemingly creating a particular permanent, real, or actual being, thing, or action. With again, recognition, which is a function of the past, serving as the fundamental ground on which this perceived permanence takes root. And this sense of permanence is important, the ability to react in a predetermined manner is crucial, for the reactive arising of an aspect of the past is governed by the unknowable moment at hand. In other words, the unbridled movement of life ceaselessly provokes the individual to respond, and this response is of the past, with its particular, predetermined, reaction to re-establish order based on what is already known and desired.
So the suggestion is that the conditioned reaction of the past is forever being evoked and determined by the moment at hand, which ever lies outside of the individual’s ability to control or have ultimate authority over. Therefore, since one is not in control of, nor do we exhibit authority over, what transpires moment to moment as life moves ever forward, our reactions become all important. It is through the reaction that one can recognize and define themselves as being independent, actual, real, and unique. And yet given this environment, the fact that the unknowable moment at hand will ultimately determine which conditioned response will be called forth to be met, there is always uncertainty, insecurity at the root of this reflexive being. For instance, how can we say that the self/me/observer is centralized, independent, or an actual subject in consciousness when its arising is utterly dependent on the unknowable moment at hand? Not to mention the contradiction and conflict rooted in the fact that what arises as a reflex, moment to moment, what we call myself, arises from differing conditioned sources created in the past. Is this not the reason our collective effort as human beings is to bend the environment to our will? Have we not forever been striving to condition the environment as well, so that one’s own conditioned reactions are more foreseeable, known, able to be counted on, relied upon? Do we not see and understand what transpires in our consciousness yet turn a blind eye for the sake of this unfinished, incomplete establishment of order?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
What is order? Does not the brain, the individual demand order? Doesn’t comfort, security, non-disturbance depend upon having order, within and without? And yet order has a significance far beyond mere comfort. Order, fundamentally, refers to survival, doesn’t it? Or rather, where there is order there is the best possible hope for survival, thus the multitude of shades of what one comes to refer to as order. And so how is it that the individual attempts to establish order? How is order defined?
Is not the past the measuring stick for order, both individually and collectively? When faced with the uncertainty of the present moment does not the past rear its head in the attempt to establish order? And what happens if we suggest that total order is only possible when the present moment is free of the past and its interference? In other words, order is not a product of the past, cannot be brought about through the movement of the past meeting the present, the accumulating movement of mind. Order may, in fact, be established in the moment at hand with the total cessation of the past interacting with the present, the past being the accumulating movement of mind. Now, how could that be? Is the problem in how the past interacts with the present? How is one to describe the movement of the past as it interacts with the present moment at hand? And the need for the past to interfere in the first place, is it not reflexive? Is it not primarily a matter of order, establishing order and maintaining what has been established?
What is the past? Does not, primarily, only a fragment of the past interact with any given moment? And isn’t it due to this limited, conditioned response that a fragmentary chain of action/reaction is set in motion? And once set in motion, this chain, whose intention is to establish order, now and into the future, must continue arising, for it is this movement that implies a self-existing. Is not each of us seeking an ultimate order to our lives, in our lives, day to day? Big or small, noble, righteous, or normal, do we not seek the non-disturbance of order? Does not belief establish a sense of order? Faith, hope, ideals, tradition, culture, goals, the future, becoming different, better than before, are not all such notions order-based and maintained through the past interacting, changing, molding, tampering with the present? And do we not believe that the past, the knowledge we have accumulated from past experience and education at our disposal for the purpose of establishing order in the present moment, both collectively, as well as, personally? Are not the guidelines of like and dislike, of right and wrong, of desire, choice or our needs being met, to name a few, but the movement of the past establishing itself in the present for the sake of order? Do we not seek order in our relationships, how one should treat me, how I treat another, why this or that happened?
So how is it that we preserve the past? How do we access it, use it? Is it not through images of past circumstance held in memory? Clear or vague, with acute detail or fleeting impressions, images of the past accompanied by a particular meaning seem to be pervasive in the mind. So language is involved, as well, in accessing the past. Then there is knowledge, or what has been gathered and learned from the past, and emotion, feeling, or the recording of particular sensations. All of this, and more, encompass aspects of how the past lives on in the present, creating a commentary, a storyline of recognition, context, meaning, and continuity that fill in and give depth to what has been. So let us see if we can further clarify how the past and the image, as well as, its relationship with the me/ego, and the observer/observed perspective effect the present moment and our idea of what is real, true, and actually taking place. We will be continuing this discussion for the next few weeks. Any additional input is welcome.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Seriously, why can I not find anyone who wants to deeply engage in the inquiry of self? I have written many posts describing what I have come to refer to as the accumulating movement of mind, as well as, a particular aspect of it, the observer phenomena. But this isn't knowledge to be stored away or used to protect oneself on the battlefield of individuality. This is solely the fuel for a living, breathing inquiry into the movement of life, an inquiry of no beginning or end. And there is no one out there interested? Is it that each of us is so frightened of putting down the positive?
Putting down our affirmations, our knowing of who we are, our shared, or neurotically unique, perspectives on God, self, life, death, or love? Isn't a mind that affirms what it is, as God, or light, or love, or consciousness, really just a petty, lazy, deluded excuse for a mind? And I am not suggesting that to not affirm the positive, as in defining who one is, is to, in turn, affirm the negative, I am not that. We are simply suggesting that our inquiry remain neutral, no affirmations of any kind, no knowing or stating what, if anything, lies beyond the movement of knowing and stating as such. It is an inquiry of common sense. Observing ourselves very simply, without adding the complexity of judgment or comparison to what one is aware of. For when inquiry into oneself begins, what one is aware of is, in itself, quite complex. One becomes aware of the forest of the mind and it is incredibly easy to get lost in the dense foliage. It is rather ironic, even as the forests and jungles of our planet are being depleted, destroyed at an astonishing pace, the forest in our mind thrives, growing exponentially beyond all control or limit.
It is the forest of the known, the forest of conditionality, the forest of recognition, resistance and unconscious reaction which culminates in self-identity. And it is a forest which blankets the Earth, for the mind is a collective mind, a collective movement which spawns the delusion of individuality when reflecting on a human form. For individuality allows the collective consciousness to focus upon, touch, and interject in what is relatively manifesting within it, at any given point in time. However, with more and more focusing upon the relative, the fragment that is the individual begins to believe it is the whole. This delusion gives rise, through time, to an exclusive, and fortified focusing upon the relative, separate, and unique, with the attempt to extend it beyond the relative, extend it forever, make it objective, permanent, everlasting. The fragment believes it is consciousness itself, universally speaking, not solely self-conscious. Which of course takes place through creating a universe of images, and embedding these images in the world of form through relationship and action. And once the image and the actual are bred together, the realm of the image takes the upper hand. One must now be informed about everything happening in the world, and in oneself, through the storyline of the image realm.
The storyline becomes more actual than the actual, more real, trustworthy, and true than the image-free life it's superimposed upon. And this is the universally shared delusion of independence, separation, uniqueness, and relativity that each of us take part in as subjects of the mind. And the world it creates. And inquiry is the observing of this marvelous movement within oneself. The inquiry we speak of here is awareness itself, simply being aware of the movement of mind as it moves unencumbered. And it is this awareness, this inquiry that we are interested in here. Not the defining of this or that, which is done for the sole purpose of communicating, but the active, actual, inquiry into the accumulating movement of mind. In fact, inquiry itself, the movement, may be of more consequence then the content inquired into. We will discuss inquiry, the nature of inquiry, a little more as we more forward in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Now just to be clear, why, if the observer is such a destructive movement of mind would awareness allow for the misplacement of attention to continue? Could it begin with the fact that the arising of the observer phenomena is a natural, healthy aspect of life in form and that it’s dominance, it’s shift to being the default position for living happens incrementally, unnoticeably, over vast stretches of time? And since there is no facility of measurement within the field of awareness without an observer the frequency, necessity, and duration of the observer’s arising goes unnoticed, for it is but a natural occurrence and a healthy functioning of phenomena.
Isn’t it so, that in the infancy of humanity, as is also the case when one is an infant themselves, and governed by a much weaker capacity to retain memory, the arising of the observer seemed to be dictated by a world and environment beyond one’s control? Sane and logical was its arising and falling away from the standpoint of survival. However, as the capacity to retain memory grew, the habitual nature, and perpetuation, of the observer’s activity shifted to depending upon a world and landscape of its own design, one within its iron-fisted grasp on control and the known. And since the existence of the observer depends upon attention being siphoned from the field of awareness, the more time attention is bound to the observer, the more significant the observer becomes. And what may begin as a movement, a transference of attention, for the means of survival becomes, unconsciously through time, the single greatest threat to our intended survival.
Of course, none of this takes place maliciously, this is not a conscious effort, a premeditated act staged by a conscious being, self, or enemy of awareness. There is no one doing it. This is simply the natural, albeit unbalanced, outcome of a purely reflexive mind-movement of accumulation. No self to be found responsible for it anywhere, only the association of images, language, meaning, and recognition that naturally takes place with the growth and strengthening of memory. This movement we speak of is the observer, it is the self, an ever-isolating movement of survival for a particular form in consciousness. And therefore we are asking the question, is this self-isolating movement in consciousness necessary for survival in today’s world? Now, obviously, if we are to approach this question with earnestness we cannot simply say yes or no because of, and fill in your opinion. You see, that mind-game, that movement of self is part of the very fabric of being we are inquiring into.
So, in order to approach this question in all seriousness our sole concern must be freeing up our capacity to understand this self-isolating movement. Understand it, observe it functioning in its entirety, not how to get rid of it, not how to strengthen it, change it, or get something from it. For the movement of influencing what is observed implies that what is observed is needed or not needed, which further implies an observer who knows one way or the other while remaining separate from the effects upon the observed. And it is this very relationship that we are interested in, the fundamental contradiction embedded in the observer/observed phenomena. For the contradiction goes beyond the arising of any particular aspect of the observer’s relationship with the observed, it lies with the very existence of the observer itself. Who is this observer who remains separate from the effects upon the observed?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Why is it that humanity has so little energy, effort, and time to address our shared, universal issues, problems, conflict, and sorrow? Is it not due, in large part, to the fact that this world of ours is smashed in billions of pieces and it is up to each individual piece to survive, thrive...to make it? Forget about communism, culture, or coming together for a cause or ideal. All such madness is but a reaction to being smashed and scattered to begin with. There are individuals who want to bring humanity 'back together', but please, we are not talking about that. For certainly seeing through the fallacy of fragmentation lends itself to seeing through the fallacy of re-union as well.
However, everyone takes the fragment, the individual for granted, as a fact, as the foundation of life, being, and action. From there, a person's reactions to the challenges of living differ, naturally, but individuality itself remains unchecked. Some fight for the nation, some for the family, some for themselves, some want all to live as one, some want whole populations to vanish. From the standpoint of individuality these options, and many more, are available to anyone, at any time, as they struggle or thrive in this world. Each fragment setting out on it's own course, fumbling towards a distant, hazy goal, need, desire, or accomplishment. Hoping the reaching of THAT will bring the warmth of connection. Utilizing other fragments to get where one needs to go. Securing, discarding, using, abusing, needing, wanting, yet always remaining a fragment in a sea of fragments. In this maddening sea, where individuality is the boat, the foundation of being, where it is the 'state that God intended us to be', every aspect of living becomes personal, becomes a personal problem to personally overcome. Losing a loved one is personal, growing old is personal, going hungry is personal, not learning to read is personal, being raped is personal, not having the right to speak is personal.
This can leave a person to grapple with the common challenges of living on their own, however, with every issue terrifically magnified through the prism of individuality, of existence, isolated. And it is this prism, this vacuum, through time, that has such a depleting effect on consciousness and humanity at large, for individuality alienates our very being from itself. Individuality renders relationship impotent. One's being becomes haunted by the phantom of its own making. This haunting has the effect of 'internally' isolating a person to such an extent that even when surrounded by family, tribe, kin, or friends one can remain locked in their personal prison. The all-to-common experience of being wrong, bad, evil, singled out, pushed aside, forgotten, ignored, ridiculed, or abused can be set in motion by simply reacting to one of life's challenges the best the individual can, given there isolated conditioning and life-circumstances. With every other individual using their relationships to confirm and validate themselves through their differences. Telling you what you should have done, how you could have changed things, fix things, how to think, how to feel, what to do, and what they would have done differently.
Individuality, being the crystallization of insensitivity, ignorance, and misunderstanding, can only react to it's nature through laying down one contradictory layer upon another in the hopes that what is built will change the the nature of where it started from. And so it is, through this prism of individuality, that the river of life is lost in the sediment and the common lot of humanity is divvied up, unequally, among the different peoples of the world. Some condemned to carry a monster of a load while others seemingly none at all. Have you ever wondered, for example, 'what is the experience of the crushing nature of grief when held by humanity at large, instead of when isolated in the chest of the individual wife who suffers her husband's death?' And no, I'm afraid we do not know the answer, although one may like to imagine it. For as long as individuality thrives in the consciousness of man, there is only the believe in such a possibility, the idealistic impression that it has come to pass, or the simulating of it in an isolated pocket of humanity still 'connected'.
Who among us knows what individuality is, it's nature, how it arises and what it's actions and consequences are in relationship? Do you? If not, why not? Isn't it a natural reaction, for most, to defend oneself when physically threatened? Why not here, when facing the threat of individuality? Or is it that we do not feel, nor do we see, the danger in the isolating movement of individuality? That's it, isn't it? Due to the effects of individuality on the brain, we see danger as being an isolated event as well. Isolated in the person with a drug addiction, or the one who believes in suicide bombing, the one who does not believe in God, or in the far-off nation at war. Or maybe I do acknowledge it as being a part of me, this danger, this movement of isolation, but a part I can control, starve, keep hidden away. For the individual will only sense a relationship with someone or something through utility. If it is useful I will use it, know it, acknowledge it. If not, not. Where there is no utility, there is no relationship for the individual. What a sad state of consciousness we find ourselves in. Lacking understanding of ourselves and the movement of mind, isolated by the very desires one covets, we cling to the greatest danger of all, 'individuality' itself.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Contemplation is the asking of a question without the quest for the answer. It is the heightened attention to a question, with the vigilance of mind to see to it that there is no movement, whatsoever, in any direction, to find, arrive at, or seek out an answer. In other words, contemplation is the moment-to-moment abeyance of the mind-movement which seeks to make the unknown, known. There is a deep and lasting beauty in not-knowing. A beauty untouched by time, substance, or circumstance. A beauty that knows no conflict, pain, or suffering. Though language seems to fall short, one cannot help but add that our most prized possession, our self, ceases to be when the mind contemplates the unknowable. For the self is but the dusty corral of the known, and all that plays within it. And this beauty, this beauty knows no such limitation. Like a breeze, it blows clear through the corral and far beyond.Read more
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So how does one wrangle this discussion, this inquiry from the strangle-hold of spirituality, the isolating compartmentalization of something of great value in a sub-culture of delusion? And why do we find this inquiry in the realm of spirituality and not, say, politics, or on the morning talk shows? Is it not, essentially, due to the fact that God (or Gods) and Self have always shared a close relationship? Or rather, we have always thought highly of ourselves, so highly, in fact, as to begin to equate ourselves with the God(s) of our own creation? God, or the personalizing of the impersonal, the unknown, has always crippled the mind with delusion.
And yet its inception is all but necessary given the degree of fear that grips the young mind, alone, finding its way through the forest of unknowing. To know, to know anything, is experienced as the power one needs to beat back fear's ceaseless advance on our fledgling stance of being. To explain the way of things quickly becomes the brain's drug of choice, creating a calming effect on the mind/body, a comfort that affords the young brain time to think, time to search, imagine, and create. This security also affords the accumulating movement time to take hold, organize itself and its landscape, and eventually reign in the image of how one imagines their God to do so. And so it would seem, nowadays, that the seat of God is not that far off from where the self sits. Therefore, it is no small wonder that the inquiry into, and discussion concerning the self, big and small s, the ending of self, strengthening of self, etc. take place in the pockets of society still infected with spirituality, still battling with a mind stuck in a conflicted relationship with God.
The cleverness of the mind may have exponentially grown through its years of evolution but the subject matter has remained the same, God (unknown), personalized or impersonalized, and one's relationship with THAT in their lives. And we can see quite clearly that in order to hold onto a sense of self, while progressing closer to God's grace, the self has to split itself apart into the small 'self' and big 'Self', the self and ego, the higher and lower, the self and its reflection, or in other words, into good and evil. From here, the battle begins between what is considered good and what is considered evil, and the progression of one winning over the other . And it is this battle, this break, division, duality, that sucks life's energy into the realm of self striving for God, the imperfect striving for perfection, now, in the after-life, or next life. And one will either succeed or fail, some believe there is an in-between, but eventually it will be chosen, up or down, good or evil, success or failure.
And this rift gets framed in every way imaginable, through all walks of life. Will the Earth live or die due to humanity's missteps, will we win or lose the war on terrorism, on drugs, on violence, will God save us or not save us, will America remain the most powerful nation or fall, will my wife continue to love me or not, will I go to heaven or hell, be born again in a better or worse condition, and on and on and on. Self-improvement, no matter what form that self takes on, of the individual or the collective, is a movement born of our God-complex, born of creating a higher-purpose and battling to obey that purpose, to not stray. Isn't it rather amusing how the very grooves that guide and govern our lives follow the rules laid down by the accumulating movement of mind? That is, that everything we consider to be beyond the mind, beyond our own creation or fallible influence, is in fact utterly defined through, and by, the nature of our own mind movement? Isn't it, therefore, possible that we have this existence thing all backwards, that the seat of all that exists may not be beyond our mind, the domain given to God, the great mystery, and the unknown, but rather within the field of our very own awareness, created through the accumulating movement of our very own mind?
And it is only after we create God that we place it beyond the mind, while the self, the reflection of God, remains caught within it. Now, I am not suggesting there is no great mystery, no unknown, no 'God', beyond the reach of mind, only that it is not what we know it to be. Only that the mind, no matter how it trains itself, defines itself, or hides itself cannot go beyond itself, cannot know the beyond knowing. That mind is forever anchored within the bubble created through two opposing forces, self and other, self and God, self, the fallible, and God, the infallible. And it is the relationship of these two opposing forces, both images in the mind, that defines the accumulating movement of mind; the self, seeking to know, know what is right, good, true, in order to live up to its own idea of perfection, and always coming up short or afraid to lose what has been found.
And so in the spiritual realm they say, do away with the self, this is the only path to success. Do away with that which is the measuring stick of good and evil, the self, and you are left with what is, all being perfect, as it should be, where God and I are one. Some call this state the higher self, Self with a capital 's', and some call it no-self. No matter which school of thought you prescribe to, it is the reaching of the end, the attaining of the goal, enlightenment, the end of the search, blah, blah, blah, etc. At least that is the delusional resting place promised the spiritual seeker, and accepting it as such, one lives in that bubble. Why one would believe that bubble is somehow superior to every other bubble the delusional live within and protect is beyond me.
And yet, beyond all of the nonsense surrounding self, God, and spirituality there is an inquiry. An inquiry having nothing to do with proving one thing, or ending another, changing this for that, or improving one's lifestyle. It is an inquiry into the nature of the mind, and that is all. An inquiry into what the mind is doing and how it goes about doing it. It isn't mystical or magical, nor is it a practice from India, China, or California (thank God). It has nothing to due with self-improvement, attainment, search, being right, or enlightenment. It is simply the honest interest in a most fascinating phenomena. One you do not have to travel to find, improve upon to observe, change to be worthy of, or study to understand. It is an inquiry into the nature of the accumulating movement of mind. The discovery of the entire world of existence, the foundation and structure of our experienced sense of reality as human beings, and the possibility of ending suffering as we know it. There are no rewards to be had, the mind is far to clever for that. For it is only when you effortlessly drop your spirituality and need for more that you may enter this inquiry into yourself. Simply check your preferences, opinions, hopes, and desires at the door and walk into the wonder of this movement naked, unsure, and utterly interested in the clear observation of things as they are.