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Tag Archives: mind

The practice of abstention

To abstain from putting effort into ones mind-ing is a wonderful thing. It can happen before something have grown tangible enough to be an object of letting go, before you are able to say for sure what to let go of.

There is a subtle movement of mind that awaits to be picked up and cared for. That is the habit of mind, to pick up movement from outside or inside
and “make something” out of it;
an instruction, an answer, an idea,
a question, a decision, an insight,
anything to make it real and useful.

When movement have formed to a mind-object;
a thought, a physical sensation,
a melody or even the concept of “silence”,
as soon as you consciously “know” it, there is some “thing” to let go of.

Now, if you can identify and connect with the energy of minds movement, there is the possibility of letting go of picking up. This is a delicate practice at the heart of effort vs. relaxation. I have spent many hours in meditation putting effort into letting go of something already present as a mind object. I guess that’s how the show goes for most of us.
You sit, things come up and then there’s the struggle involving effort, relaxiation, acceptance, naming, breathing, concentration and so on.

Having exhausted – enough of –  my capability to work along those lines, I have come to a place where all these concepts are words on paper. They look different but seems to come from the same place.
That place is where the energy of minds movement resides. I could not tell where that is, and anyway that’s besides the point of this post.
The point is to let that place open up.
That is where the “not- picking up” can happen.

The wierd(-est) part is of course that in a place where no thoughts or mind objects are defined or understood, there is no “you” that can “not-pick up” anything. Do you see the hillarious paradox?
Therefore, you cannot go to this place by intention alone. The intention itself keeps you stuck on the level of ready-made mind objects. If you start off with the intention of “opening up to the place where mental energy, or movement, has not yet been formed into specific mind objects“, you are already knee-deep in all those concepts.
“You” have to “open up” – whatever that means.
“You” are looking for “the place” – wherever that is.
Worst of all, you’re supposed to identify something that is without form and therefore cannot be identified as some “thing” without “form”.

The process I suggest is instead related to the acceptance of whatever will appear in your mind before it actually appears. The familiarity with an ever present mind- energy that doesn’t need to be care for.
You can read about it HERE and HERE.

That Unfolding

Someone asked me- “How do you act i everyday life after you’ve experienced the awakened state. How do others react to this“?

The seemingly cleaver reader will (like I would) wait for an answer that indicates a dualistic mind at work.
So let me begin with saying: There is no “me” that can choose to act in a certain way. Neither is there a “me” that have had the experience of “the awakened state”.
Mind games aside, here comes the answer:

It’s not that complicated really. If you are conditioned to be an actor playing a specific part in a specific play, you just play along.
The conditioning of this Me-actor  and this play happened, and continues to happen,  without me knowing it.
I did not choose that to happen. I was not aware of becoming an actor and I didn’t know the play was made up by the workings of human mind.
No one is controlling it. There is no author, no director. It just unfolds according to the given conditions.

The Director or Governing Laws of choise (God, Buddha, Brahman, Laws of the Universe, Randomness, Energy, The Divine Power etc) are themselves part of the play. They arise within the human mind.

They arise within the human mind” should also be added to the list above.
“”They arise within the human mind” should also be added to the list above.”  should also be added to the list above.
And the creating of external forces of creation thus grows ad infinitum.

Adding “And the creating of external forces of creation thus grows ad infinitum” makes the whole thing absurd.
When you realize that whatever your mind comes up with should be added to the list, there is laughter.
The play starts to become playful.

So the play is created within human mind because that is how the mind unfolds, how it works. But human mind is not all there is. Human mind is only part of what unfolds in the totality of ever ongoing creation.
Everything else is “What Is”.

What Is can only be understood by human mind.
But the understanding cannot be complete. Mind can only comprehend what happens on the staged reality created by itself. That is, the minds version of What Is.
Therefore, mind is always dealing with itself, without knowing what it does, without being mindful of itself.

The eye seeing everything but seeing itself.

The answer to the question is simply that I keep acting like before. I know my part and I know the play. It follows the rules of the dualistic mind.
It is about dividing, understanding, predicting, controling and achieving.
We all know the play, don’t we?
The difference now is that I know this is a play. I know my part is based on the basic premises of the play. I know these premises to be an artifact of the human mind. Nothing more, nothing less.
I also know that this knowledge, just like any knowledge the “I” can “have”, is part of the play.
It is in a sense artificial knowledge.

The concequence of this “knowing” is that I can play my part without being caught up in it, as if acting/action was all there is. When circumstances allowes for it, I can take my costume of and watch the play as a spectator. Relaxing in a comfortable seat, amused and amazed.

Just sitting
Just looking
Not acting

Gradually I have come to value this play for what it is. To become a true spectator made me uneasy for a while. I questioned the use of playing along. The acting suddenly seemed like “pretending” to be something I was not. The play seemed unreal.
Thankfully this play-aversion has lost it’s grip. The acting is not for real, nor is it un-real.
It seem like dividing What Is into play vs. reality is just another part of the play.
It seems like – since the human mind is also part of What Is – the undividable, the non-dual, can divide itself while still being whole. 

Not One
Not Two

All of this is of course not true, nor is it not-true.
This is not the way it works, still it works like this.
All of the above has unfolded within the play.
That is all there is.
That unfolding.

The Beautiful Bird

The mind picks up the image of a bird
First the image, then the picking up
Once in the minds hand, the image can be understood
The image is given a name
Bird
The image is given a value
Beautiful

The mind picks up the sound of a bird
First the sound, then the picking up
Once in the minds hand, the sound can be understood
The sound is given a name
Bird
The sound is given a value
Beautiful

Thus, the mind understands
The Beautiful Bird

Without the picking up
Nothing is understood

Only the image and the sound remains

Cascades

I’m told to keep my door open
To greet every guest with equal curiosity
No one is to be prefered
No one to be judged
as being good or bad

I’m told that the open door and the open mind
will allow the endless stream of visitors
to flow unrestricted

This is all good and well
but I keep asking
– Why this endless stream of visitors?
– Why do they keep coming?

The answer arise
seemingly out of nowhere
They come to my house
asking the one fundamental question:
– Am I desired or unwanted?
– Am I good or bad?

Answering them as they appear is a mistake
Not answering them is even worse
Say No to your guest and he will occupy your space
Say Yes to your guest and he will disappear
But every visitor, thus dissolved by your acceptance,
will soon come back
Unsatisfied with being erased

The proper way to treat your guests
is to accept them as they are
before they enter your house
before they become yours to care for

Do that and they will find no reason
coming to you for allowance
Do that and the walls surrounding your house
will be what dissolves
Without the walls creating the illusion
of host and guest
No one has to be let in by anyone
No one has to be kept out

The river, once running from here to there
cascades in all directions
I am no longer responsible for the
free or restricted flow
I am myself free, just as the river always was,
to cascade in all directions

Missing The Point Happens

If you want to learn how to miss points in arguments I recommend this text. It’s an email-debate on trad- advaita vs neo- advaita.

As in any academic dispute there is a lot of “misunderstandings” and “not adressing the critique”. It seems like the more advanced the converstion, the more likely people are to make simple errors in communication. That’s wierd.

So the question is – can you communicate the idea of nondualism in a way that is non-dual without leaving the listener, with it’s dualistic mind, in the middle of nowhere?
The answer is of course “yes but no but yes but no but that’s beside the point”. So as always we’re left with a sense of confusion and wasted time.

I won’t waste your time with a lengthy rambling on this, so here’s a short one:
The brain uses about 90% of it’s capacity on internal affairs and maintenance. That’s why we have the misunderstanding that we only use 10% of our brain power. That’s BS because the brain needs to keep this 90/10 ratio to work properly. The 10% we have for actually communicating with the environment “outside” the brain (rest of our body and everything outside of the physical body) is ideally kept open and ready for action. That is what a zen no-mind is about. That is the state of a flexible mind open for interaction with the world at hand. That is what non-attachment is about, not messing up the flow of interaction between our mind and the environment. A relaxed and alert mind has it’s 10% ready so it can respond directly and efficiently to whatever shows up.

Any practice or non-practice that enhances this readiness is a good practice as far as I’m concerned. Any practice or non-practice that claim part of the 10% is not so good.
It’s not hard to see why almost every instruction or teaching emphazises “letting go” and “non-striving” in order to facilitate progress.
The difference I see between spiritual schools is basically different perspectives on how to communicate this important notion of “relaxing your mind”. Some do it by saying you will not be ready for nirvana in many lifetimes so just keep on practicing with no hope of awakening or liberation. Fine, so you can let go. Mission accomplished. Others say the practice is nothing but a way to let go of your striving and efforts to become enlightened and when you finally give up, the light bulb goes on. Then we have those who say there’s no need for practice at all so you can start your way to liberation by giving up right away.

What all of these seemingly different teachings point to is a way to keep the alotted 10% of our mind open and ready for communication and interaction with our internal and external environment. It’s being decribed as “spontaneous action”, “being integrated with wholeness” or “the end of suffering”.
Bottom line is – if you somehow (by means of any practice as well as no-practice) can avoid having a mind that is like a locked closet full of janitors, then you will be fully functional and able to respond properly whenever reality comes-a-knocking on your sense doors. That’s the state of bliss. On the other hand, if your mind is cluttered with concepts, planning, analysing, memories and interpretations, there will be stress building up because there’s a sens of missing something important i.e. what’s actually happening. So you lose control over the situation at hand which adds to the stress. As stress builds the 10% shrinks and the 90% expands in order to keep track of the mess. You then experience something like a “burn-out” or the feeling of “losing your mind”.

Now, whatever the teaching or non-teaching is made up of, the important thing is communicating in a way that counter this internal stress. Different people may need different messages to get there. Therefore it is perfectly ok to have different styles and approaches to this.

Jeeez, that was NOT a short post and it’s still very vague and…well, a sitting duck as far as misconceptions go.

I’ll go wash my bowl.

There Is No One Doing Anything With Your Mind – Not Even You

Whenever you’re advised to do something with your mind, don’t listen further. At least listen carefully. Whatever the mind does, it does to itself. That is not to say it operates on its own, it doesn’t. It responds to a never-ending flow of internal and external input. Point is, there is no/not one standing outside of your mind able to do anything intentionally pre-decided with “it”. Not even what you usually think of as your “self”.

Imagine the object of such an action. The thing you’re supposed to cultivate or exercise in some way. A separate “mind” considered not good enough, and now you’re told to correct it. You’re supposed to train it and alter the way it works.
Maybe it’s too restless or too unfocused or perhaps it’s too attached to ideas. Some will tell you to develop a Big Mind instead the current small mind. So you believe that to be true. In fact, it IS true. There’s evidence all over the place. A wealth of literature and talk shows all fit so perfectly with your own experience. Others seem to have what it takes and they’re all getting somewhere while you’re stuck.
Damn genes, damn parents, damn education and…well, Dang Me!

Anyways, you’re desperate to acquire a still mind, a clear mind, an open mind or maybe a sharp and alert mind. Fair enough, there’s plenty of practices to go about that business. Teachers will appear no doubt. There are thousands of instructions waiting to be carried out so this could be a full-time job for you. Set everything aside and start your quest for the Right State of Mind. Why not go for the Buddha Mind while you’re at it.
That would be perfect, right.

One thing before you take off into the world of mind altering. Who’s gonna do the job?
Obviously not You for as long as you consider your mind as the very centerpiece of that “you”. I guess most people do exactly that. Stating that “This is Me, but my mind is not part of it” is pretty rare. More often we hear the opposite, like “This is Me and it remains Me even if I lose a leg or both my arms”.

So if you basically are your mind, how could you fix yourself? I guess having your arms doing brain surgery on yourself is ruled out. And even if that was an option, who is going to operate your arms?
You could – apparently by free will – decide to take some LSD and thus have your mind going southwest. Question remains, who or what did it? Was it you, your mind, your risk-taking personality, did the decision decide itself or was Dr. Hoffman in charge? Same thing if you tell a Guru to somehow magically alter your mind. Did s/he do it or did you do it by asking the Guru to do it, or was it maybe the Gurus “mind” that did it?

We can chew on this for eternity without getting anywhere besides totally confused and bored to the bone. Trying to isolate a specific doer or “agent” responsible for causing a likewise specific event that affects an isolated object is just impossible. It can’t be done. Of course it could happen, but to the best of my knowledge it hasn’t yet and I’m inclined to think it never will. Ever.

-So what happens next?
-No one knows!

-So no one can change my mind, not even myself?
-Correct!

-So I’m stuck with what I have?
-No, you’re never stuck because everything, including your mind, keeps on changing    constantly whether you like it or not!

-But I want my mind to change For The Better!!!
-Ouch, that’s as close to a constant no-change you will ever get.

-How do I change that?
-You don’t, but you can imagine doing it. It’s called delusion.

-You’re completly screwed up.
-Cheers my friend. Have a glass of wine.

 

The Gettaway Meditation

Try this if you’re prone to “mind wandering”
Meditate for 10 minutes with the only intention to lose track of the present moment. Try as hard as you can to make your mind wander off to past or future. Anything that has to do with “here and now” should be shut out. Your thoughts must contain only memories about the past or worries about the future. Induce mind wandering any way you can and stay out of the present as long as possible.
The only distractions allowed is internal thought keeping you away from the present.
Good Luck. Finally a practice that suites the wandering mind, right?

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?

 

What Makes My Self Mine And Not Yours?

My Self is the inter-action between my physical body with all is’s reactions to the environment and that particular environment with all is’s reactions to my body.