Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: teacher

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.


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 Guru, No Method, No Teacher

If you’re familiar with Van Morrison you know the song. It’s about finding someone to make the connection that obsoletes instruction, explanation and understanding. It’s about having all that’s needed to do it right now. No more hows and whys.

For some reason that song came to mind on my way home from my first evening with Shambhala Training. I’ve never sat on a floor listening to a “buddhist” teacher before. I had no special expectations. It was like, well…like I’d expected. Nothing special.

yes I know that everything and every moment IS special but I’m not there yet, be patient

She talked, we listened. She asked for questions, we hesitated.
I couldn’t stand hesitating for long so I spoke, as usual. When someone says – any questions? – I instantly have at least 10, and every answer will spawn 10 more. It’s like the minds Hydra. I restrained myself to a level that parallel socially adequate but it took some effort. Nothing special.

If I sit down with a teacher there’s always the risk of an intellectual Indianapolis 500 death race. I can feel it here too. I have no idea how others prepared for this meeting. I’ve read Trungpa’s book on Shambhala Worriorship as well as Spiritual Materialism and on top of that a handful of scientific papers on meditation. Not to mention Osho Talks and loads of stuff on YouTube. I enjoy doing that. I have no TV, I hardly read newspapers and I don’t find reading novels that exciting. What’s a man supposed to do?

yes I know that hes supposed to sit his ass down and start counting. I’m working hard on my CCr, be gentle

So anyways…ehhhh, where was I…oh, right…no guru…hmmm. Maybe it’s like this; I don’t need someone explaining what this is all about. I need someone to hold me down long enough for the answers to unfold the way they should. That is, in my own body/mind as a result of practice. Maybe that’s as compilcated as it gets? Don’t even has to be a guru of any sort. Better be an intimidating knucklehead  saying – Sit down or I’ll meditated you down in this here singing bowl. I’d like one of those scary old Zen Masters who answered chatty know-it-alls with a 2×4 over the head. Maybe not, but you get the picture.
Of course loving kindness would do the job even better, but the loving kind is usually prone to give in to talking, even if it’s rather mindless.

Ol’ Chögyam TR wouldn’t have bought that and hopefully any teacher I get to know won’t either. Ours for tonight, the wonderful Beate, told this story (in short here):
A hot-headed drugdealer and pimp went to see CTR in Boulder. He’d heard about this crazy Tibetan Guru and wanted to have a piece of the Buddas mojo too. So he got his appointment and found CTR on a throne, sitting quietly smiling. The Yahoo sat down and started speaking, but got no response. His frustration grew because he was not used to this ignorance. So he continued talking, faster and louder to evoke some reaction. CTR just sat there and took it all in without commenting on the drugdealers monolouge. After 15 minutest he gently approached the blabbermouth, looked sincerely into his eyes and said;

– Welcome to Boulder…Asshole.