Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: stress

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 Man Machine

I sometimes wonder about the relationship between things we do and thoughts/emotions about things we do. How much energy is consumed by processing “around” our action and how much goes into the action itself? The obvious answer is; way too much is spent around and way too little into. I guess most of us know that, but I’d like more clarity than just “too much” and “too little”. They say that when action is taken without excessive elaboration and post action-analysis a huge amount of energy is suddenly available. I believe that, and getting there will probably be the only way to get a solid answer to my question. First hand experience is like always the best measure.
Sometimes I wish I was a machine that just did one action after another. Someone that just ticked off the boxes in the todo-list slowly but relentlessly, no hurry but no side tracking. No “maybe if”-s, no “I should have”-s, just press play and the music starts playing. Wouldn’t that be great? I guess I’m hesitant after all, but not sure why. I’m thinking one reason could be confusing action with appreciating action. Like, if I become the man machine, by default I will “feel” like a machine. That is, I will feel nothing and be totally senseless. But that must be a big mistake. When I try to remember how spending a lot of energy “around” action have been gratifying and felt good, I cannot pick one instance where it has. I don’t count the excitement that comes with looking forward to something fun or thrilling. That is not to waste energy in this sense because it’s not about “how should I do this” or “wouldn’t it be better if”. It’s just looking forward to doing exactly what will be done. Come to think of it, most of the thought before and after is either worrying, hesitation or regret. To make it less depressing we could call it planning, analysing and evaluating. In that perspective it’s exactly what youre supposed to do. But is it really, and if so, why am I supposed to do that? Is it because I thereby learn how to behave correctly and make the right decisions? Then, who is setting the standards for correct and right, and what will happen if I succeed or fail? Where does all this anxiety come from that makes us wobble and freeze in our tracks?
Insted of being a soulless, mindless “machine”, acting like one seems rather subversive and potentially dangerous. Most of all, it gives me a faint scent of what freedom smells like. All the worrying about doing it “right” might not be mine to have in the first place. Maybe I worry so the other, who- or whatever it is, can sleep good knowing I will watch my step carefully? What would happen to society as we know it if we all turned into Man Machines, relentlessly going about doing things and enjoying it?

Meditation vs Meditation

A. I meditate to cope with the stress of everyday life. The desired outcome is that I can keep up with the pace and not burn out. I love things as they are but sometimes feel stressed out.
B. I meditate to find out how everyday life fits me and vice versa. the desired outcome is that I can find a pace that suits me. I question how things are but sometimes feel fine.

If you’re in category A, then meditation is a good technique to push yourself a bit further without having to make drastic changes in the overall situation. You can keep your job, family, social life and leisure time intact. Maybe find space enough to find out where you can be more effective in time management and maybe create some blank spots in the calendar where you can add relaxing activities to further wellness and health.
If you’re in category B, stress reduction is only a possible by-product. Here signs of stress is more regarded as valuable information about the big picture. Something is not 100% right about your everyday life. There’s an itch somewhere and you wanna find out where it comes from, not just scratch. Here you will probably find that stress or unease will expand and intensify rather than fade away. Looking hard¬†into yourself is not spa-life to begin with.

Well then, why is an activity that absorbs you, like gardening or cross words, the opposite to meditation? The answer is; it isn’t for as long as you remain in category A. But then “meditation” is equal to a lot of activities with a function of “relaxation”. Of course, anything you do that narrows your focus will turn of a lot of internal chatter which is good. Breath counting can do it, jogging can do it and reading a book can do it. It’s everything that isn’t useless ruminating or mindless to-do-listing. Everything that brings your attention to a specific spot will generally have that effect.
If in category B, then everything that keeps your focus away from what is going on in your mind/body a distraction. You cannot meditate in this sense if your occupied with something extarnal that requires all your attention. Such activities makes it especially hard to take an observers view. There’s no panoramic awareness going on in a person absorbed in his/her favourite activity.

So, depending on how and why you meditate, being caught up in “flow” can be either pro or con.

This post was not that good. It took to much effort. It’s too vague and maybe too obvious. I’ll publish anyway. There’s a practice in accepting the mediocre too. Sloppy post, well done.