philosophic inquiry into life and meaning

...if truth were not for man the desire for truth would not be as a burning unrest in his heart...

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If I take on a reading or thought of one who seems to know something about Reality, then I can take it on temporary consideration and test it out. Yes, but assuming this reading or thought is true, suspending disbelief, how then does it apply or affect me and what I know to be real and true and how does it affect my life now?

 

What am I reading and how does it pertain to truth and reality as it is or as I know it?

 

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

 

 

What is my question my motivation behind the reading? What hits home?

 

Surrender to what is rather than what I would wish or like to be. Reality is what it is and as it appears to me now. My reaction is secondary to what I take to be reality.  I am reacting to my beliefs but unconsciously. The beliefs are there, but as of yet, unquestioned. And without questioning the underlying beliefs the reactions happen automatically and the patterns are repeated.

 

I must acknowledge my dissatisfaction.  I suffer because of what I think I am. Suffering happens because of the thoughts which go unquestioned. Then there is fear that questioning these thoughts would be bad and that holds the suffering in place. Why do I fear questioning my beliefs when the Truth withstands all scrutiny?

 

Feeling can undermine thoughts. It is prior to. What do I really want?  And why? For what purpose?

 

Am I some human being with human wants and desires? Human aches and pains?  What does it mean to be human assuming I am that?  Is there part of me which does not die/is eternal?

 

What is experience? What is seeing and aware of all that is (for to not be aware of it, it doesn't exist to me). I cannot simply assume ANYTHING. I do not truly know anything. Everything appears as seeming reality. It cannot be denied but THE WAY IN WHICH IT IS KNOWN CAN BE QUESTIONED AND INVESTIGATED FOR THE REALITY BEHIND PERCEPTION-APPEARANCE.

 

A shift in perception is a shift in the seeming reality. What is prior to the seeming experience? Truth comes in multiple levels. Within each level there can be more true and less true, yet can 'truth as only true' be known in a world of 'true as true and false as false'?

 

Richard Rose mentioned in his epic poem Three Books of the Absolute: “Is not man a question asking questions, frustrated by the unanswered, laboring to answer himself....and creating a mountain of questions in the answer?”... and yet he had AN ANSWER.  The desire is to get close to this answer by becoming it.  Can you become what you are? And how can what I am, what you are, not be known truly to Truth as that which is.

 

By limitation I define myself but can self be beyond limitation and include it?  Is the universe a friendly place and can I trust that truly all is well, all is well. When trust is given proof is shown. When doubt is given proof of that doubt is shown. What gives reality to reality as I know it? Can my own perceptions of all I have ever know be wrong...kind of humbling.

 

I'm wrong in my perceptions. My seeing cannot be trusted.  Whatever evidence is searched for is found to be as it was sought. Belief behind perceptions colors appearances of reality.

 

Doubt is unsettling and pervasive. A resolution is hinted at yet unrealized. If there is no solution then there is no problem yet the perception of a problem exists so the solution must be because there is a problem. A splinter in the back of your mind that maybe, just maybe something isn't quiet right about life or about reality as Morpheus describes it in the movie the Matrix.

 

Investigation requires discrimination. Discrimination is simply knowing the difference between two things. It must be a clear cut knowing between what is true and what is false. This distinction occurs in all the teachings in some form or another and seems to be a preliminary but necessary step towards true Knowledge which is also described as "not knowing" but an absolute not knowing.

 

When listening or reading a teaching of another there is automatically an effect upon my mind as one tuning fork of a stronger power will cause another tuning fork in close proximity to come into harmony with itself. The effect may be temporary but the fact that it happens points to a natural law and challenges my ordinary perception of all I take to be true.

 

Prayer is what is under admitting one's ignorance. I do not know the truth but my desire is to know the truth and I am open to whatever it is or isn't. Please allow me to see past my preconceptions and truly know.

 

I also allow my own lack of knowledge to be substituted by the seeming wiser knowing of others. I may automatically distrust others by default yet in truth they may have my best interests at heart and I may have their best interest at heart. I'm willing to test out opposing beliefs to my standard comfortable ideas. This usually requires going outside my comfort zone and usually involves doing something that I've never done before or trying out a different way that didn't previously occur to me.

 

It can seem hopeless at times because it is all there is.  It is hopeless but there is no other way. Do not be discouraged. Only continue. Go until there is no more going and then go further. Listen to what you feel rather than your thoughts. It is a lighter feeling which is more true than the heaviness.

 

Find some way to get a reading on a situation. Check in always with your feelings and note which feelings go with which thoughts. Note the patterns and see if there are feelings which do not match the thoughts. These are the ones to really listen to...such as the feelings from your dreams. Day dreams count too! (As do night dreams). Do not doubt your perceptions or dismiss them. Investigate them, question them but do not deny them your attention.

 

Take everything with deadly seriousness even the lightness of humor. Not everything is so serious or need be so dire. It may be important to set worry aside for a time and see how things go without your involvement.  Can you laugh at your mistakes? Is that past journal writing about yesteryear’s problem so terrible now?  Letting go of old event can happen naturally though forgetting.

 

That forgetting happens also means we need a system of remembering if we are to counter nature to accomplish the unusual. It is unusual to see those who have awakened and their stories often involve much effort and reaching for their goals.

 

Remembering may be accomplished through association automatically. You plan to leave out a spiritual book until the fact that you haven't read it gnaws at you and you decide to pick it up and read it. Or perhaps it may come as an inspiration and motivation just sitting on a desk until that feeling seems to grow within you that the book is calling to you and that reading it turns out to be a good idea.  It need not be a book but it is good to have a physical object to remind you of what you want to remember.

 

You will trick yourself and that reminder alarm that was set up every hour on the hour to remind you to be mindful will be inconvenient later as you become distracted again. Yet it is still important to set up such reminders to see how your mind works.

 

What pulls you away from spiritual action and what brings you back? Can the pull from within be described?

 

Try emptying your schedule and your worries. Set aside certain tasks and remember that while you are not infinite, infinity is.  Time will go on beyond the petty concerns I have for the world as does everyone else have and does. Slow down with deliberate purpose to get at what is really bothering you. The clearer you can describe it to yourself the closer you can get to resolving it. Spend some time with your dissatisfaction not because you want to get rid of it but allow it to be there and look at it from another angle.

 

You can get another angle or shift in perspective by taking on a view point of another. They see things differently than me. I’ll consider that I may not be right and allow that they may not be wrong.  What does my problem or gnawing feeling look like then?

 

Being of service to others can also shift your perspective away from your self concern. A whole new world awaits one who does for others selflessly even if it is at a cost. In fact, the greater the cost the higher the rewards. If seeking such rewards of selfless service to others then no rewards will be found. You can't do for others because you want to do for yourself.  But even with a mixed motive, you might occasionally forget your self concern and truly be selfless for a time... and what a time that will be! Newness and brightness and wonder can be seen beyond the darkness of the status quo.

 

These times are openings and when progress appears to be made. It is as if one is traveling in a forest for so long that the sun can't be seen. Then climbing a tree and looking back and looking ahead part of the path you were on appears so clear as does part of the path you have yet to traverse. An ultimate perspective isn't there, yet hope and inspiration come to ask one quietly and gently to go on...continue.

 

Know your machinery. If you’re not sensitive and eat meat, try a respite from it. Those fruit and vegetables will seem much more subtle and tastier and so might other qualities be seen. Caffeine after a break from it might induce heavy thinking for a while. Fasting can bring all sorts of insights. Going for a walk can bring back forgotten ideas from the day or even memories of last night’s dream.

 

Don't understand poetry? Poetry requires a finer understanding than the intellect can produce. Try to find something you already appreciate such a song lyrics (which are poetry set to music) and work backward. Ask all the questions the intellect wants such as "why did the performer use these set of words?" “What does this part of the song mean?” And so forth. The more you appreciate it the better. What you value you will keep. It may lead to a better understanding and appreciation on the path. You may feel gratitude replacing indignance or resentment. Allow gratitude to fill you up.

 

Guidance is available within. Within is other than without.  The lessening of the external is helpful for a time to find a help that which only you can give to yourself. This will require external listening to guidance and teachings from others, from books and recordings or videos or from observation of the world around you. Guidance carries a humble certainty which doesn't boast and doesn't even care even if it is wrong or can be doubted. It's all alright.

 

Doing an 'opposite thing' can change who you think you are. Don't be stuck on any idea of who or what you are until you really know. There may be times when there is relative clarity but they often are temporary. What is, Is, always was and always will be. Anything that is temporary is false and not true in an absolute sense.

 

Working with others can accelerate all parties involved by an exponential factor. Unseen help is given for every honest effort. Effort without an expectation of the result is truer than doing for something. Do for the sake of doing not for what doing might bring.

 

Awareness of death, mortality, illness, temporariness and one’s own role in these may help motivate action and decision where there is inaction and indecision. We don't have long before life passes by but are able to do something about it while we can. Work with what you got, lemons or whatever. 

Why Suffering?

 

Each moment stands still in Time Eternal,

but passes away so swiftly,

it is as if it never was.

 

Suffering makes us stronger but at a great cost. We lose part of our self when we lose another who is close to us or when we are in great pain from life's various negative circumstances. This part that is lost burns away a former identity or belief we once held and with it comes a kind of purification. The 'dross' is separated from the 'gold' but only through the raging fires of suffering does this process occur.

 

This trauma is not to be sought for; it will find us in due time. Life's lessons are given exactly as the curriculum demands, no more no less. But at the end of the viewpoint of the individual, it is a slow and painful process. The only comfort in these times is that "All is change" and nothing remains the same, although it may appear to be unchanging there is an ebb and a flow: a time of rapidity and a time of dullness. In these two times suffering can be long and drawn out, or quick and sharp like a knife cut to our being.

 

We hold on to that which never was, a story, yet real to all accounts in all forms of belief and is true in almost all cases -- except for the part of the individual which knows that it isn't real; that life as we know it is a lie and we alternately rage or cower in fear at the impossibility of this reality, this 'so called life.'

 

Suffering causes change (or more accurately is change) to the individual. Comfort and security and wanting everything to be the same are at odds with the fearless courage to set out on this grand adventure in hope of finding Reality. Change in your being at the core, is required to change the world. As above, so below; the internal man (or woman) changes and thus reciprocates a change in the outer. The outer changes and thus reciprocates a change in the inner. Outer and inner worlds are not set apart but innately linked as one reality, one world. Change in one affects the other and so each comes into alignment gradually or suddenly depending on the nature and power of the force of the change that occurs. Corrections are made for those worlds which are too far removed from the greater (whichever the greater happens to be at the time -- whether that means one imposing a will upon the masses or the masses imposing a will upon the one or in the more esoteric aspects).

 

Thus modes of acceptability and 'rightness' (cleverly masked as 'righteousness' sometimes) are forced upon the individual in the society he lives in and excluding those worlds deemed too far apart from the norm to coexist. We take these 'normal' (mass) viewpoints on as our own and wonder why we feel so bad or separate because we do not live true to ourselves.

 

The Truth wins out in all cases versus belief, even if belief is right. But belief is a cause of suffering if it is found to be erroneous. So searching for the correct erroneous belief may be a option but it is better still to simply tear down those beliefs which are known to be false, and put to the test those beliefs which are suspected at being incorrect.

 

"The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another. Love all, or none of it, and stop complaining. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs be done." --Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

This tearing down process in the individual can only occur from the inside out and in it's own time with deliberate care. Forcing anything will lead to more devastation and not the proper growth needed to move along the individual on their life's path (whatever that may be). We need patience, forgiveness and open heartedness not to mention open headedness, a developed discernment and right judgement factor, operating at all times to permit ourselves to go beyond suffering as it is brought upon us, even in it's seeming reality.

 

May we all find that which is beyond suffering, and go there ourselves.

 

 

GATE GATE PARA GATE PARASAM GATE BODHI SVAHA!

 

 

What does it mean to define something and what does this have to do with self-definition?

 

We check in the dictionary to define something and see other words. Words that if their definitions are looked up, equate to more words which use others in their definitions. The basis of words contain a working but cyclic mind state where all "definitions" hold true so long as the language they are made of binds them to relative verity. They are only words and do not define the objects or concepts themselves.

 

A child points at an object and asks their parent, "What is this?" The parent answers back: "This is a clock." (Or insert your favorite object here). So the item is given a name. We mistakenly take that name as a definition of the item. We point, and that item is now item name.

 

Later that child grows older and to that item name adds the workings and functions and various characteristics of that object. It's definition is modified, enlarged, and so the child thinks, made more real by adding knowledge.

 

The item is not ever really defined. It is only given a name and given descriptions of its properties or workings. These added things do not get at the essence of the object. So it is with our self.

 

The child pointing at the item before it knows what to call it, knows it more closely to its real definition than after it labels and categorizes the item (mistaken definition). We are given knowledge of the world and ourselves through our senses and then we try to make sense of this information. This is already one step removed from that information/item/object/being itself.

 

Of course this making sense of the world is required of daily living and making our way in the world...but the child has knowledge we "forgot" as adults. How does this apply to our self, who we really are, self-definition?

 

Information we receive about the world through our senses is not the true definition of our self. It is like the words we give to things, separate, a step removed from the thing itself. (Ideas can be used interchangeably with things here).

 

As we begin to see that the things we attribute to ourselves or belonging to our self such as our stories and habits, likes and dislikes, and other things that are "ours," are not in themselves a working definition of "I," our being, it dawns on us that we do not really know who or what we are. The workings and functionings (psychology) is not the definition of our self.

 

Definition is knowing. Directly, not through words or concepts but through being/identity. And to get there we must know the knower. That consciousness (or awareness) that is the source of our being beyond the label of "I" and its workings, THAT is definition. So the masters say: You are THAT.

 

So the question becomes: How do I define myself? Who's defining? And what do I take myself to be? These are good questions to ask and may make the mind stop or contemplate without an easy answer. It's not an easy question but there are those who have found a way to answer it satisfactorily (to themselves at least). So with proper faith in our ability to accomplish this we meditate and contemplate, think and don't think on this (and if we're lucky, "in between think" as well) hoping for an answer to come all the while working through various practices or suggestions of our fellow seekers.

 

We are given various seemingly worthwhile advice from those who have traveled farther down the path than us.

 

Look first at what you are not...because there's supposed to be a lot of that.

 

Look until you see you're not that and keep going. This is a subtractive path with no end until it ends for real in Definition.

 

Look at the body. Is that what you are?

 

Look at your response to pleasant and painful, likes and dislikes. If those were not there what would you be?

 

Look at thoughts and moods. How do they affect you?

 

Look at awareness/consciousness can you see what that is clearly?

 

Definition again may change as we age. As prides and various egos fall away from traumas or simply time taking its toll upon us, we lose a previously cherished self-belief, a false definition and once again redefine ourselves. "Well I'm really not this at all (stop here) but I must be that now." If we are able to stop at the "stop here" point rather than immediately go on and assume a further or replacement self-definition, there is a possibility of questioning or looking in earnest at the identification mechanism itself (which is still at least step removed from identity itself being in the mental realm). Stop at that point and ask if I am not that, then what does that make me? Who am I? You must be clear on this. If not, then your definition, though it may be a relatively correct and 'working definition,' may be actually flawed and not ultimately true. A test: If you remove it, that definition, where does that leave you?

 

 

Roulette WheelWhere do we turn?

 

The search is often one of frustration and despair. Frustration and anger at not getting what we want (or getting it and finding out it isn't really a permanent solution or what we really wanted) and despair at working, working, working....for what? God? Some mysterious grace to come down and save us from our weariness?

 

The fact that we're searching indicates that there is something to search for, perhaps by negation only. Meaning we may not know what it is we really want out of life, but we can certainly know what we do not want and avoid 'lesser rewards' in search of the 'higher.'

 

So where do we turn? Intuition is imperfect and messages may be misinterpreted in any case. Logic is of no use when the mind tries to go beyond its limits. We can hope and pray all day and our prayers are answered...by silence. Teachers can be useful in showing us where not to look but they cannot do the looking for us.

 

And then there is the mysterious direction of 'look within.' This naturally leads to the question 'Where is within?'

 

We are again directed from the many spiritual teachings to look at within as being, life, what/who you ARE, ISness, Awareness and many other words which we all presume to know their true esoteric meanings of, but have yet to really settle the matter for our self once and for all.

 

It really is like that picture of the stop sign with no turns, no place left to go but stop and listen. When the mind is quiet answers come. And they may come more readily if we admit our ignorance and that we just don't know. Don't know why we were born, what life is, or where we're going after death. We may have stories we tell ourselves about these things but if we stop and listen these things fail to satisfy us in a deeper sense; we are not 'settled in our souls'.

 

And taking another's word for something (or words written down) also does not settle us in any great measure (except perhaps some peace for a little while until life stirs us back up to misery).

 

So where do you turn?

 


Roulette Wheel"Chance favors the prepared mind." I saw this quote in a book on martial arts (Warrior Mind by Dick Morgan) and it got me thinking. Luck improves with practice. It's the same kind of sentiment expressed in countless volumes of spiritual literature: do something!

 

When the mind becomes synchronous with it's activity, there is a certain kind of feeling which allows a 'flow' or a kind of 'hands off' moving into perfection. This happens to runners and everything is perfect and the act of running is like floating or flying through space (yet you are at the center, motionless). It happens in video games, you're clicking and moving your character around and somewhat surprised at what's going on, it was too good for what you could have done trying to think through it all. It can happen in the spiritual search as well. With countless spiritual practices, meditation, reading, prayer, fasting, watching awareness, to name a few, if you become adept at any one you can see a pattern in the mind and body as to what was once separate from it becomes no longer so distant, the object and the seeker fuse.

 

A certain amount of energy and effort is needed to peak at this 'high' point of practice and many seek out this state. But the nature of all states is to change and it is no different here. Practice even in the low states may actually lead to a high state. In fact, usually when there is great opposition, then is the time when progress is made and steps toward the goal are taken.

 

And this happens when we're caught off guard, not thinking about it. The practice is happening, forgotten is the method, but we're still acutely aware of what's going on. Take driving your car, for instance. You're not constantly thinking about checking mirrors, turning the wheel or if your foot is on the right pedal (or the left?). It just happens. Just like that. Yet this doesn't come without the effort that was put into learning how to drive. Doing something like driving enough and it will be automatic.

 

Yet the spiritual search is something different. Everything is already automatic, already and always. Yet we don't see that because that is not the natural pattern that we've lived with for so long. Our thinking and identification with doing presumes that what happened was because of us. In fact, it may be in spite of us or without regard to the one doing.

 

Enlightenment has been described (by Richard Rose and perhaps others) as 'becoming accident prone.' This is referring to enlightenment being like a lightening bolt and we practice to try to get hit by a seemingly random encounter with the infinite. Eddie Traversa in his blog termed practice as co-related but not a determinate of realization. Yet it all may increase one's odds of finding out something in the end. Something of Ultimate Value beyond the minds thinking and conceptualizing.

 

May we all be prepared.