Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: attention

Trying To Be Is Not An Option

Everytime you put effort into “trying” to be something, you are already being it. There is no such thing as “trying to be present”, because either you are present or you’re not. If you are present, then what’s the problem. If you are not present, what’s the problem? Precense is Existence and that which exists is always present. It may not be percived by someone or something else, but that doesn’t mean it is non-existent. The tree deep in the forest doesn’t vanish as soon as it isn’t seen or felt by some “other”. If it “is” then it “exists” and so do you. It takes no effort. The deed is already done and there is nothing you can or need to do trying to change that.

A common task on spiritual to-do’s is to “practice the capacity to stay present in the moment”. What a red herring that is! How could you ever be out of the present moment to begin with? The practice suggests that you are in fact floatin in and out of time and space. Sometimes being “here”, sometimes being “elsewhere”. When we say that the mind wanders, where the heck does it wander off to? Does it go to the local pub for a pint of Guinness or what? Isn’t it more likely that your mind always is in it’s right place? The thoughts that arise as a result of your mind doing what minds do, now that’s  a different beast altogether.
We never say that “the current content/thoughts that, without someone controling them, arise in your mind is sometimes in line with what is happening around them, sometimes they’re not“.
Instead we build the misconception that the mind wanders as a concequence of the “minder” being inadequate in controling the mind. So the solution to this propoused problem is generally that the inadequate minder corrects that by doing mind-practice, like meditation.

By this practice we hope to become more “present in the moment” and “mindful”. A lot of things can come out of this. It is not bad or useless in any way. It is what it is and that’s it. The point I’m trying to make is not to discard meditation. Not at all. All I’m saying is that you don’t need to train yourself in any particular way in order to gain anything in particular. It might happen so that you are practicing meditation. Well, then you are being “meditation”, together with the cushion, the incense, the guru and/or whatever makes up the concept of “meditation”. If it changes you in any way, than you are “changing” for a while, together with thoughts, actions, feelings and whatever constitutes “changing”. Meditation isn’t a “thing” that changes “you”. It’s a living process along which a lot of happenings arise and then fades away.

If “trying” is happening somewhere in this process, then so be it. There’s no one to stop it anyway. But beware of the tendency to separate “trying” from “being”.
I never tried to write this. It was written, and I was totally present when it happened. It took no effort at all. It couldn’t possibly have been any other way.

When you meditate, you are always there.
You are what’s happening all the time.
There is no separate part of that “meditation” that can fail.
It is existence doing what existence does.
That’s the Doer and it needs no to-do list.
It Is the to-Do list and everything is on it.

Just let yourself be done…


How To Play Hide And Seek With Your Thoughts

I only have 10 minutes for this post so this it’s very “on the go”. I just read This:

For all thoughts the source is the ‘I’ thought. The mind will merge only by Self-enquiry ‘Who am I?’ The thought ‘Who am l?’ will destroy all other thoughts and finally kill itself also. If other thoughts arise, without trying to complete them, one must enquire to whom did this thought arise. What does it matter how many thoughts arise? As each thought arises one must be watchful and ask to whom is this thought occurring. The answer will be ‘to me’. If you enquire ‘Who am I?’ the mind will return to its source (or where it issued from). The thought which arose will also submerge. As you practise like this more and more, the power of the mind to remain as its source is increased.
Sri Ramana

I then thought  of a litte game I sometimes play with my mind during meditation, try this:
Ask yourself  “What am I thinking right now” and then be attentive.
You might try to gently leave out the “now” like when you count in a song – 1,2,3,-. Just so you don’t mix up counting with playing the actual song. Leave some space after you’ve established the rythm.
“What…Am…I…Thinking…Right…” and then full attention.

In my experience, when I succeed in nailing down my attention to that space (usually take nine inch nails and it’s hard work), then I find nothing, When I say “nothing” I mean no Thoughts. There is of course awareness of whatever is prominent in my perception, but I have no Thoughts about them. It is as if the five senses can be experienced without thought, but the sixth sense of thought itself dissolves when it tries to look at itself. That would be rather “so what”-ish since the eye cannot see itself. But it’s kind of interesting anyway. Maybe this assignment of attention creates a situation where Thought dries out as a result of not getting any input.

If not hearing, touch, taste, smell, vision and not memories or fantasies, then what?
Space, emptieness, peace…?
I dunno.

Is this what Sri is saying with “the power of the mind to remain as its source is increased”. Or is it the other way around? Probably it’s a matter of word-entanglement and misconception on my behalf. My experience is Sri’s but inverted, haha.
Asking my question gives me the answer;
– If Thought is the forerunner of all things, then all things are based on emptieness because when I pay close attention to my Thoughts it seems like they’re totally dependent on other sense input and/or memories to arise at all. A consequence of that would be that all things are the forerunner of all things. They just pass through our minds in order to manifest as action.
– Thought, seen as such a transformer between input/output, past/future is only present here and now and is inherently empty in itself. You can either let it be filled with all that is here and now (mindfulness), or you can direct it to your vast archive of then and there-memories to build fantasies about when and where (mindlessness). If you direct it towards itself, thought looking at thought, there’s nothing to find.

Oh well, times up and Old Joshu screams, MU! I’d love to hear from anyone trying this.
Maybe it’s just me?


Oceans of distraction

Chögyam Trungpa has just confirmed one of my pet-theories on why people with adhd has the kind of problems they have. In this particular case when it comes to planning and organizing. A couple of weeks ago I tried to use my cellphone reminder as a mindfulness-gadget. I set the reminder on eight a clock and hit snooze throught the day. The message was “Are you mindful?”. So every 10 minute that popped up and I looked at it and paused briefly. Few days later came the thought – If you don’t know where you are right now, then planning where to go will be difficult. Sounds rather obvious a first glance, but is it really? Could it be that we have different “internal reminders” so to speak? I think of it as a mostly covered operation going on unconsciously. A sort of silent monitor that checks our position in reference to whatever goal we might have. Say that my goal is to pass an exam or completing some other paperwork and I have the weekend to do it. Having difficulties like those that come with adhd doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve forgotten what to do or you can’t get yourself to start doing it. That might work alright, but the problem can be to maintain the task at hand. So when you sit there and start working, in no time you’re distracted by something and start doing something else.  Two hours later you’ve done a lot of thing and the original task might be one of them. For two hours of “work” the result is often disappointing. This is quite a common thing for some of us. Happens to everyone of course, but not 90% of the time and not to such a great extent, it’s a continuum and not black/white. Well then, what makes us different in this situation? A lot of things I guess, but especially concerning “maintaining goaldirected action”? My thinking was/is that what look like poor planning might be poor precence. That the tendency to get distracted and off target could be somewhat depending on how mindful you are about what you do right now. There is a difference between “being distracted” and “not coming out of distraction”, and here I’m focusing on the latter. What keeps me “off track” once I get there? Say for arguments sake that I have an “internal reminder” of sorts, which scan my present action and decides if it’s in accordance with my goal or not. If not, then I snap out of distraction and get back on task. If I’m still on it, nothing happens. For readers well educated in the scientific way of describing such processes I’ll add; there is no little homonucleus involved and, yes, this is speculative and with no valid references to state of the art neuroscience. I have access to such knowledge but this is not the place. Recommended reading would include Reichle’s work on the brains Default Mode Network. Google and it will come.
Anyway, if this hypothetic “internal reminder” is lazy or out to lunch, what then? Likely you will stay distracten when distracted and time will pass without you noticing. What about the goal of completing the task? It got lost completely. Note here that the “diciplined” and “responsible” person who did what s/he intended in these two hours wasn’t thinking about the goal all the time. That might have been a way to keep it in sight, but a less effective one. The would mean they had to re-focus between present action and ultimate goal and I don’t think that is what happens. Insted, they are repeatedly reminded of the goal by being mindful of what they do right now because the two go together.
I’m looking for this information…(because it’s needed to finish the task)
I’m writing this paragraph…(because it’s a part of my assigned task)
Something like that, and mainly un- or sub-consciensously.
The crucial aspect of this function appears when distraction enters the scene. That happens to all and especially if we concider the task rather tedious, right? So when distacted, you loose track and start checking your mailbox. After a little while the internal reminder  doest it’s thing and, ooops, – you’re checking the mailbox aren’t you? Oh right, I’ll do that in a while. And you switch back to the task at hand. If it doesn’t do it’s thing properly, in the same situation, you keep checking mail and then read the news and then…
This example deals with the little picture. If we go to the big picture and look at planning/organizing, it might play out in a similar way. Say for example that I wanna be good at meditation and live a more harmonious life in general. Vague indeed but have mercy, I’m not payed to write this and it’s way past bedtime so I take what comes up. There’s a lot of planning in that. A lot of everyday things that together makes it more or less likely that you will cover some ground in that direction. It’s not enough to just decide it. You have to work it too. So you have a goal and you have 1000 distractions. Same as in the little picture, but over time and not as a one time effort. Writes Trungpa;

Planning for the future

Humans are the only animals that try to dwell in the future.You don’t have to purely live in the present situation without a plan, but the future plans you make can only be based on the aspects of the future that manifest within the present situation. You can’t plan a future if you don’t know what the present situation is.
You have to start from NOW to know how to plan.