Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: mindfulness

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…

Discovering a Path To Abandon – That’s The Real Shit

In order to free yourself from your self you must give up the apperance of  a self in the first place. To do that we’re supposed to enter some kind of path towards that very end. When we enter the path, we’re stuck in the beliefe that there is actually someone, me, doing it. It has to be that way. If not we wouldn’t bother with it, right? If no one is there, who’s doing all the required practice?

The purpous of all religious or spiritual practice pointing to the supposed liberation of the true self is to deploy a cul de sac, a path which leads nowhere, a dead end. The dead end can be viewed as a symbol of how seeking, in itself, is an activity leading away from actual life. Paradoxically, it is generally seen as leading towards the much desired “real” life, the ultimate being.

From my current perspective, you are advised to stop seeking altogether. But how is this possible when there’s no one there to stop it, or so I prupouse. Well, you have to start on the wrong foot, like it or not. If there is something to give up there must first be an activity which to give up. If I don’t do anything – which is ultimately true – how can I stop doing it?
Now, assume we’re all searching for something we believe is missing, the first step towards giving up the search is the sense of being a seeker. It is when you define yourself as a “seeker” that the marketplace of spiritual practices appears with all it’s incence, bells, hymns, scriptures, vows, rituals and rules of conduct. It’s a very strange marketplace because it appears as the anti-marketplace. Still it functions as marketplaces do. There’s directors, employees, offices, offerings, merchandice and buissness per usual. There’s nothing bad or good about all that. It just is as it is and that is It.

Anyways, if you, the seeker, buys into the practice of seeking in a very structured way, you have finally something to give up. The giving up has been made possible by this dualistic construction of seeker-practice-liberation. The absurdity is that it works the other way round.
Liberation is already here, so you can drop the practice and then you can drop the seeker. Voilá, what´s left is that which Is. We end up with Everything That Is and the fact that Everything That Is equals Everything That Ever Was as well as Everything That Ever Will Be. It’s omnipresent and all inclusive. The Mother of All Inclusives.

But the way to get here is to first recognize that you are in fact seeking, and then to get there, into the dead end. Striving on the path on which the sense of self is indeed enforced you must try really, really hard. you must meditate, concentrate, jump up and down, recite sutras and sing gospels, rub your chacras, live mindfully, praise the lord and so on.
 If it happens so that the seeker knocks herself out sufficiently on this brick wall of “trying to achieve liberation”, then she might give up the practice. Then it can go either wayI suppose. As long as she doesn’t also give up the “seeker”, some kind of depression may arise. She’s stuck with a “self” that has failed it’s suicide attempt and that’s rather depressing ain’t it? On the other hand, if she drops not only the practice but also the practitioner, there is no one there to have failed. Also, there is no one there that have succeeded. Faliure and success becomes completely irrelevant, and that is maybe the taste of freedom.

What then causes the situation to go either the depressive route or the liberating route?
Well I guess ther is no one to answer that.

Shit Happens. Sometimes “good” shit. Sometimes “bad” shit. Always The Real Shit.

Where is my mind?

According to the Buddhist tradition, the working basis of the path and the energy involved in the path is the mind—one’s own mind, which is working in us all the time

Fundamentally, it is that which can associate with an “other”—with any “something” that is perceived as different from the perceiver. That is the definition of mind

Mind makes the fact of perceiving something else stand for the existence of oneself. That is the mental trick that constitutes mind

It is the fact that the existence of self is questionable that motivates the trick of duality

The method for beginning to relate directly with mind, which was taught by Lord Buddha and which has been in use for the past twenty-five hundred years, is the practice of mindfulness

Mindfulness of body is connected with the earth. It is an openness that has a base, a foundation. Without this particular foundation of mindfulness, the rest of your meditation practice could be very airy-fairy—vacillating back and forth, trying this and trying that

All the above come from Trungpa’s text on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. All seems very true and workable to me. Again it points me to the importance of basic simplicity, and where to find a solid starting point for my particular path. I find most basic questions in meditation to be jumping the gun a bit. You know most of them I guess;
– Who am I
– Who is asking the question
– Who are you
– Where do you come from
– etc
It’s not that these questions are wrong in any way, they’re brilliant, but all of them which I have read takes the actual existence as a given. If Trungpa’s on target, that “existence” has to be established by experience, as a personal fact, before I can move on. The basic question is therefore – Am I?
What does it take for me to answer Yes? Could mindful meditation of body be seen as a quest for evidence of my actual existence?
That seems redundant at first glance. Of course I exist!
Think again about Trungpa’s words; It is the fact that the existence of self is questionable that motivates the trick of duality. Maybe it isn’t so easy to answer Yes after all. If the massive and persistent perception of duality is indeed a result of our ambivalence towards our own existence, the basic answer would be – I don’t know for sure? So why is the question so hard to answer? My current thinking suggests that the problem is we’re barking up the wrong tree, and trying to find Me in my physical body won’t do it. I’m thinking parts of Me resides somewhere else, and that “somewhere” is seemingly empty. Trick is that whatever there is to find in that empty space exists only in relation to my actual physical form. Furthermore, my actual physical form exists only in relation to other physical forms.
That leaves us with a mind that can only deal with different types of form, my form and the forms outside of it. So being “mindful” would mean to establish the actual existence of these forms by bringing into awareness that there is a transmitter (other form) and also a receiver (my form). If that’s the function of it, then mindfulness “with the mind” can never discover the True Self in it’s totality since parts of the True Self is to be found in-between the various forms recognizable to the mind. Bottom line would be that by using my Mind, I can only connect with half of my True Self. The other part is untouchable so to speak. And it won’t help much to be consciously “aware” of this since “awareness” is also a function of my physical form. Only thing I can be aware of, and that’s a good one, is that finding my True Self, my Whole/Holy Self, lies beyond my minds reach. That in itself could save me some wasted time on mind-gaming. So what Trungpa says to me is;
– mindfulness of body gives you evidence of your physical form – if you experience this, then you will soon realize that everything about “you” is in relation to “other” – if you experience this, you’ll eventually find that your mind cannot deal with anything else than duality – if you experience this, you’ll stop searching for your True Self by sitting on a cushion. What then happens is an open question. Maybe you try finding your Self in others. Maybe you try to find your Self in relation to others or maybe you just go home and do some dishing.

I won’t fool anyone by saying this is “my thinking”. Obviously it is Buddhadharma for Beginners. I just have to write it down to let my playful mind have something to juggle with. It’s all nonsense anyway. It’s all I am. Now it’s all I was.

Now I’m a new thought; if the My True Self is to be found in-between forms, namely My Form and Other Forms, and My True Self is to be regarded as an expression of Oneness, how the heck can Oneness be without the duality of different forms?
Jeeeeze, is this the paradox that leads us to the Ultimate Reality being neither Oneness, nor Duality?
This formal expression of the ongoing Big Bang needs a cup of coffee real bad.
As for Me, I’ll soon be  the joy in having just that.

Bored to the bone

What Chögyam Trungpa has to say about boredom is worth reading. I’ve never come across something so clearly put and so totally to the point. On mindfulness of breathing:

– Nothing happens, it is absolutely boring.
– When you take away the idea of credentials, then there is boredom.
– Boredom is important in meditation; it increases the psychological sophistication of the practitioners.
– It’s a good feeling to be bored, constantly sitting and sitting. First gong, second gong, third gong, more gongs yet to come. Sit, sit, sit, sit.
– … the introduction of boredom and repetitiousness is extremely important. Without it we have no hope. It is true- no hope.
– Simply relating with the breath is very monotonous and unadventorous…

It’s very refreshing and fun to read this, it’s hard not to laugh out loud. Someone is slamming what everyone is thinking- bang- on the table. Look at it, acknowledge it, relate to it, accept it and really go into it. Boredom will play it’s tricks in almost every aspect of meditation, at least if it’s about getting to the core and not just for “credentials” and entertainment.
I often read that mindfulness of breathing is The Basic Excercise, but Trungpa puts this in a new prespective. The Basic Excercise is to deal with boredom in a new way and what would make better practice than meditation? I can really relate with this view because my 1 month of daily sitting has been 95% about not getting up from the cushion before the gong. It’s more about not doing what feels neccesary than actually doing something useful. I’ve failed a couple of times, but all in all it’s been a success.
I sit, mind wanders, body hurts, I breathe, mind wanders, I’m bored, I sit, breathe, sigh, mind races, I loose it, I catch it, frustration, boredom, breath, restlessness, I sit and- gong- I’m free.
Reading Trungpa helps me realize how much progress I’ve actually made by being bored to the bone and staying with it.
This weird practice is a paradox in itself. Why am I surprised that failig to follow instructions, achieving nothing and getting bored could mean doing it right, having progress and enjoying that what is not-fun?

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.