Sum Ergo Sum

Tag Archives: trungpa

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.