Friday, July 23, 2010

Is There Any Such Thing As Total Freedom?

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.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Consciousness and It's Content: Revisited.

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.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Consciousness and It's Content.

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?

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti's Devastating Earthquake and The U.S War on Terrorism.

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.

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