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Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: practice

To Do & Not To Do-list 2014

If there is one new years resolution I’d like to make, it would be this:

In each situation;
To do what is called for
without hesitation

In each situation;
Not to do more
than what is called for

When doing is done;
To abstain from doing
without hesitation

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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.

The Total Consumption of Something

Exhaustion is not a choice
it is a happening at a certain point
A consequence of other happenings

Exhaustion is the end of effort

Possible only after effort is done
Not small effort, not big effort
But just as much as there was energy
to make the effort possible

Trying to achieve is a choice-like happening
Letting go of effort is not a choice

Letting go is just another form of effort
The “trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “not trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “letting go of not trying to achieve nothing”-effort
which easily turns into
The “letting go of the letting go of not trying to achieve nothing”-effort

That is The Path

The Path is designed to burn up the energy
driving the desire to become:
Wise Egoless Compassionate Knowing Empty-Minded
Atman One With All The Original Self
Free of desire to become

When all out of fuel
The seeker collapse with the seeking itself
When all out of fuel
No effort is possible
No letting go of effort is possible
The hand can not hold onto anything
Nor can it let go of anything

The concept of desire cannot be dealt with
The concept of aversion cannot be dealt with
The concept of illusion cannot be dealt with
The idea of dealing or not-dealing with anything
cannot be dealt with

When out of fuel there is no way in changing anything
Changing is not an option
and finally change is possible

 

 

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.

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…

No Practice No Retake

So what’s up with your practice? Is there progress in meditation, are you being present enough?

Have you balanced the root chackra and done your yoga positions? Is progress taking you anywhere?
I’m sure you have checked with the curriculum of choise and asked some head-master about it.

-Am I doing it right?
-What do I do now?
-Am I thinking wisely?
-Is this an insight?
-Is it right to …?
-Is it wrong to…?

All of that is perfectly fine. It is not futile or meaningless. It is not lame or stupid. If it were, I’m King Stupid for sure.
If what we call “spiritual practice” happens, it happens. Maybe it’s a good happening, maybe not. Who knows what happens next?

Just notice, there is no one doing the practice and there is no practice time separate from lifetime. There is no hiding from life. No place to go where you can refine your apperance to make it worthy elsewhere. Wherever you practice and whatever you do, the camera is on. Life is live and direct. A broad, if not boundless, cast that goes on 24/7. It doesn’t stop for you to rehearse because rehearsal is part of the play. It’s an episode called “Rehearsal”. There are no stand-ins for your part. In fact, there are no parts. There is just One Great Show and the One Great Show goes on and on and on.

You didn’t have to audition for the One Great Show. No one was dissmissed. Everything, including “You” and “Me”,  is signed up by default. There were no obligations, no strings attached. Life made us happen, no questions asked. You didn’t choose and you were not selected by anyone. There is no one or no thing to blame for any thing. No reason, no expectations, no jury.
Life is not American Idol, but Everything Happening is an expression of Life, including American Idol.

So keep “practicing” or let go of “practice”. It’s all the same. It is Life Happening in various forms and ways. It has no direction, so the “Director” is an equal part of the play. Controlling no one, controlled by no one.

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.

My Understanding of MU

Who should practice the MU-koan?
No

What’s the purpous with MU?
No

How can you understand it?
No

Seems rather ridiculous, right?
No

Why has it been around for so long?
No

Is every answer a negative?
No

So what’s an affirmative answer?
No

Is the point to bore you with your own questions?
No

Is MU representing The All?
No

What can possibly come out of this?
No

So “No” is all what it is?
No

Dang it, I’ll go back to counting breath!
No

Whaddya mean “No”?
No

Hey, I’m talking to you…
No

This is just my thoughts
No

I’m tired
No

Ah, I see. When…
No

Wait a minute
No

This is so cool
No

I say “No” to everything!
No

I say “No” to every-THING
No

I should stop this, right?
No

But if “No” is all I get..
No

…then I know the rest of this
No

So I should just keep at it?
No

OK, so I’ll quit right here?
No

This if freakin’ useless
No

This gives no insight whatsoever
No

Luckily, there’s only five minutes left ’til the gong
No

Whaddya mean “No”, it is!
No

Shut Up!!!
No

You just won’t cave will you?
No

You’ll always be here?
No

Two minutes left…
No

YES IT IS!
No

?
No

You wait and see
No

I’ll just relax for now
No

Oh yes, I’ll abide in…
No

So it’s impossible for me to relax?
No

Aha, I must let go of trying to relax
No

I gotta let go!
No

You are so wierd
No

When is that bloody gong?
No

GONNNNGGGGGG

Yessss!
No

You can’t fool me to go on with this
No

That’s right, I win
No

________________________________________

Ok, so that’s how I see it. No matter what I come up with, the response is the same. It’s reliable and solid as a rock. It tells me that there’s no “I” to make up all those questions and in the end “I” will understand that and the real I will shut up. It’s also “No” to all of concepts, rationalizing, analysing and effort to “understand”.
I’ll just sit with it and that will arise in me.

-How about that Joshu?

-No

Why Dicipline Is an Absolute Must

Having ADD-functioning and no compulsiveness to balance it out, I’m no big fan of structure and dicipline. This is one of my major issues with Buddhas method of waking up. When it comes to actually changing my erratic and flimsy behavior patterns I often resist, more or less consciously.

So apperently I need dicipline more than I like dicipline. A lot of Buddhist practice is about dicipline and controling your actions.
A lot, and I know all the good reasons for it.
* Structured practice is an expression of Enlightenment
* Dicipline is required in dealing with forces like desire and attachments
* Right actions will not come out of sloppiness
* And so on

My mind is very innovative and creating in argumenting against that kind of talk. I will not bother you with all the wrong reasons for my obstruction of dicipline. They are very clever, rational and boring.
Most of the time they work very well thank you.
So, how can I overcome this stuckness of “Yes, but”-s? As long as I don’t, my practice will be ok, maybe even good, but never excellent and inspiering.

Hopefully my answer lies in ultramarathon running. Or rather in the wisdom of ultramarathon runners. I do run ultras and in a lot of ways it resembles The Path. It’s hard work and the payoff is sometimes hard to explain to the non-practitioners. You just have to do it. Like sleeping and eating. Once you’re in with both feet, it’s hard to give it up.
In Bryon Powell’s Relentless Forward Progress this tip for newbies struck me as irrefutable:

– If you see all the pro’s in the game doing the same thing it’s usually a good thing to do

The logic in this held my pants down so to say. I won’t even try to cover my “Yes But”. I will of course keep resisting dicipline, but from now on I’m aware of how stupid it is. I will no longer pride myself with finding the most obvious reason not to change my ways. 
I’ve seen what the top dogs do in regard to dicipline.
When they act “spontaneously” it’s always from standing on solid ground. That solid ground is that which is void and I will never touch that space without dicipline as steady hand to guide me there.
I wouldn’t dare.