Your future self wants to say hello to you!

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My future self has white hair… and dandruff!

The past and the future …. Many people have their minds existing in these illusionary places…. Living in the past or dreaming of the future…. In Zen, it could said that we strive to have our minds exist in the present moment..To be mindful of what is occurring now.

In practice, it may seem very hard to truly be ‘in the present’ ‘in the moment’ ..

At some point, after meditation and deep thought, a certain realization may occur… This striving to be in the moment, to stop living in the past and to stop desiring the future… is not very hard at all. In fact, we may see the opposite.. it is very hard to live in the past, and very hard dreaming of the future!

So, say, for example, we try to reverse our goal – to avoid fully living in the present and only live in the past and future – we realize something – you can’t escape the present! You simply can’t do it! lol

So, we may reach a point where we see that this is all there is.. this present moment – we may see that in this present moment, we can think of the past, we can visualize the future – but its only done right now. It can only be that way. This is all you have. It is really, really simple. This is it. Right now. It can never leave you no matter how hard you try!

All of the past and all of the future can only be contained and exist in the present.  The arrow of time is not straight…. Just as the horizon on Earth makes the world seem flat.. at some point we can begin to see it’s not straight, not flat and it curves…so much it loops back onto itself. This is how the future can influence the past. Sound crazy? Perhaps! Lol.  But the scientific method of seeking truth is also coming to this realization.

So what does this all mean other than giving me a headache? Lol.

For me, sometimes when I am struggling and suffering, I try to think about my ‘future Richard’ – and I know he has my back and I know he is affecting me right here, right now, sending me deep love and understanding. I love that guy.

Of course these are all just words, just models, conceptions.. but I hope they may serve as a medicine when taken as directed. 😉

Looking

accurate but not quite precise.... Is our vision 'wrong' if we need glasses?

Precise but not quite accurate…. Is our vision ‘wrong’ if we need glasses? Be careful how you answer, you may get pricked! 

Sometimes when we look directly at something, we get saturated with what we see and clarity fails…we might have precision, but accuracy of what it is lacks…. So we look slightly away from what we what to view and it comes back in our peripheral vision. It is now accurate but the precision is out.

Is it possible to view Enlightenment both accurately and precisely? It reminds me of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle… You can’t know where a particle is and also know its momentum at the same time.

Now, Enlightenment is not an electron! lol.

Everything… today.

fleetingly forever

fleetingly forever

Contained within a moment exists all that ever was and all that ever will be. How can it be any other way? Just as the Big Bang contained all that ever could exist, it is that same right now, billions of years later.

In that moment, billions of years ago, there was no time, no space, no matter… vast emptiness… yet it certainly was not nothingness. It was everything-ness! Lol. And perhaps that emptiness wasn’t vast, but the opposite… tinier than tiny, lol. In fact, size didn’t exist. There was just emptiness. The fullest emptiness ever, lol.

That moment, it was timeless, and, by definition, it penetrates now. It transcends now. It is now.

The speed of light is the cosmic speed limit, yet within a Universe that began timeless, that limit doesn’t apply… it cannot apply.

Feeling one with all that is… feeling interconnected with all that is….. these are not airy-fairy, hippy-dippy words. They are not head-in-the-clouds, out of touch with ‘reality’ words. Yes, they can be, and perhaps they frequently are used in that manner, but when purpose and intent fall away from these words… these words ring true…ring Truth.

Now, I am not trying to say that science proves transcendental wisdom, that physics proves Buddhist philosophy.

Seeking truth requires honesty. It also requires courage… courage to temporarily let go of our deepest beliefs and see what we see remains.

A soft heart is not a weak heart… its softness actually is its strength. Let’s melt our hardened hearts a bit, let go of what we think is ‘protecting’ them and see what happens. What Truth emerges today? It has been patient for billions of years… is today a day for its freedom? For our freedom?

The Infinite Universe?

Sun on the tops of leaves, Sun on the tops of our heads.... seeping into our brains and bodies, loving each without difference.

Sun on the tops of leaves, Sun on the tops of our heads…. seeping into our brains and bodies, loving each without difference.

Infinite is big. I mean, really big… HUGE in fact… It is infinitely big! Lol.

I often think about whether or not the Universe is infinite. I have written about this before and will probably write about it again, and again..perhaps an infinite amount of times! Haha.

So, the Universe might be infinite. If it is, then that opens up a huge can of worms! It means that every situation that is unfolding, a ‘duplicate’ situation is unfolding somewhere else in the Universe… an infinite amount of times. So, this instant you are reading this, has happened, in a sense, hundreds of times already in the past, hundreds of times right now and hundreds of times in the future… and not merely hundreds of times, but thousands, no, millions, no billions.. no… an infinite amount of times!

You would have thought we would ace all our exams in school if we studied all those billions of times! Haha.

But if the Universe is infinite, then not only are all ‘duplicate’ situations unfolding, but they are also unfolding with slight variations, and also major variations. Perhaps in another situation, your cat is black not white.. perhaps your car is red not blue…. Perhaps you’re grumpy and not happy! Lol.

So, if, and it is a HUGE if (an infinitely huge if!)… if the Universe is infinite, then all our experiences are spreading the whole of all experiences. We won that lottery, we got that job,  we got a 100% on the exam, etc…. but just as true, we also went bankrupt, we got fired and we failed that exam! Lol. That sucks!

So, where does that leave us? What does it matter? Is the Universe actually infinite or just really freakin huge?

Understanding to our core that we simply do not know, that honesty, is something special, something powerful. Now, that is not to say we give up trying to understand! Trying to understand the Universe while realizing it is impossible to understand seems, well, rather stupid.

Is there a way to understand without using understanding? Without getting into semantics, yes, yes we can understand without understanding. The goal-less goal.

If the Universe is infinite, ‘you’ have figured this out already, billions of times, and you will figure it out again, billions of more times, forever, without end.  When will you make it ‘your’ turn?

Let go of what binds us and feel what remains.

Transformation

Who is in the driver's seat?

Who is in the driver’s seat?

Transformation.

When most people think of water, they usually think of liquid water. Of course, water can be solid – as ice, or gaseous – as water vapour.

Water can transform itself from one state of matter to another. It does so without effort….when the conditions are a particular way, water will become either loose or rigid….

A Zamboni is a great machine..it makes ice smooth again! It shaves off the top rough layer of ice, melts it and pours it back out as a thin uniform layer to refreeze. If you love ice hockey, you love Zambonis! lol.

Our minds are like the ice and our hearts are like the Zamboni. Our minds can become rough and filled with bumps to trip us up on our journey through life. Our hearts can melt away those rough ridges and bumps and smooth them out.

Now, these are just words, of course, but they are meant to serve the purpose that transformation of ourselves is possible. I use the dualistic function of the mind and the heart a lot in my writing, as I personally find it a useful tool. However, as it is dualistic, it separates each from the other and from all other things too. That is ultimately not correct.  We must pay attention to this.

Now, water transforms without effort (unless you are using a Zamboni! Ha)… how about our minds? I said we can use our hearts…. Now, our hearts, I feel, operate without effort, they do what they do and they do not lie…. So, looking deep within our own hearts, feel the love it has for our minds, how it loves us, and protects us… let it guide us, without effort, to calming the chaos in our minds.

Time, Suffering and Liberation

Cat watching the Starship Enterprise in space and time. (Photo from the children's book 'The Man Who Wore All His Clothes' by Allan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Katharine McEwen)

Cat watching the Starship Enterprise in space and time. (Photo from the children’s book ‘The Man Who Wore All His Clothes’ by Allan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Katharine McEwen)

If we are suffering, in one sense, we are paying off some karmic debt.

I remember back in school thinking about doing homework… I didn’t actually want to do it, but I also did want to… so I got good grades, etc ..

I thought about this apparent paradox a lot… it seemed to boil down to a sacrifice of sorts.. sacrificing the present for a better future.  I also understood that I could get hit by a bus the next day, so this sacrifice was a gamble. I always thought it was a healthy gamble to assume I wouldn’t get hit by a bus tomorrow! lol.

But, we always might get hit by a bus tomorrow…

In Buddhism, there is talk of being present, being in the present… that the past and future are illusionary.. we can’t live there so don’t attach ourselves there.  Mindfulness…

While the present may seem to be the only time that exists, this too, is illusionary.

The future affects the past. Time is not truly linear.

In Buddhism, there is co-dependent origination. All things co-created all other things and the beginning of it all was beginning-less.  

What does this mean? It hurts my brain to think about! Lol. Yet it also excites it.

As I mentioned, we can conceptualize suffering as a payment back of previous wrong actions, thoughts or words. When we see good, decent people suffering.. what did they do to deserve that horrible suffering? Maybe nothing at all. If rebirth exists, maybe it is from a life left long ago… or even a future life yet to unfold.

Is it worth arguing over the cause of suffering though? Be it external or internal? That oppressive government is to blame! My past misdeeds are to blame! Blame, blame, blame….

It doesn’t matter.  Sure, it can matter in terms of proactive and reactive actions to help reduce or end that suffering, sure… But, that’s not what I mean when I say it doesn’t matter…. In terms of liberation, of freedom, of Enlightenment… blame is worthless. We are all to blame, yet no one is to blame. Blameless blame!
Back to time. What is time? Time, is, well, an illusion, yet it can be a very useful one! It is an excellent tool. A conceptual tool… a model.. A very convincing model.

Science is a truth seeker. The Buddha was a truth seeker. Holding on to our knowledge as if it is a given, as if it is truth, is dangerous. Knowledge is co-dependently created. You need some knowledge to create other knowledge..when thought through… knowledge is nothing more than a house of cards…. It can be a beautiful and amazing house of cards! Lol. And it can be damn useful too! If I ever need heart surgery, I will rely on that surgeon’s knowledge when he cuts me open! Lol.

But we must not be afraid to replace cards from time to time.. sometimes it makes the house stronger, sometimes it makes the whole house crumble.

We can do this experimentally too, thought experiments.. we can play! What if I temporarily think that the center of the Universe is, in fact, Saturn! How does this effect our knowledge house? What are the ramifications? What if we think that time actually is flowing backwards? OR not flowing at all? This makes us think deeply about what we even consider time. It forces us to define ‘time’. This is very important. Hey, this is how Einstein did some of his greatest thinking… he just thought.. ‘what if..’

Is knowledge Truth though? What is truth? Can we ever understand Truth through knowledge? When we realize that knowledge is like 49 reeds, each holding the other up but each would fall without the others, we can begin to realize that Truth has to, must, lie outside of knowledge..outside of conceptual thinking…

Let’s explore this, eh?!

Bam!

The Universe is exploding with wonder and dleight!

The Universe is exploding with wonder and delight!

In my last post, I wrote that compassionate acts are the Way. I also wrote that acts of horrific violence are also the Way. I feel I need to ensure it is clear what I mean by that. I do not condone acts of violence. Acts of violence will not help dissolve the illusion of our ego-mind. In very practical terms, they are not the Way. However, what I was doing, was referring to the operation of the Universe. In one sense, if any actions do not violate the laws of physics, then they are the Way of the cosmos. The Way is not merely the laws of physics though.

So, what am I saying? I suppose it is all about natural function and flow. I am reminded of the following comic:

cartoon

Now, a penguins natural function is not to climb trees. It can sure as hell try, and may even get somewhere. What is a humans natural function? What is you natural function?

Now, of course, the great thing about evolution is that animals (and plants, etc) can adapt so over time, a penguin would become an excellent tree climber!* So, there is a dance. We must learn our natural function and be in tune with that, but also be open to the fact that our ‘natural function’ is empty of inherent substance. It is always in flux. So we dance with our abilities, what we have been adapted to do, along with those things we are not adapted to do and therefore sometimes we trip and fall flat on our face!

I have veered away from my point however, lol. In the end, our natural function is about allowing the Universe to flow freely through us, beyond us. Our ‘free will’ and our ‘fate’ both dissolve into meaningless…. Neither exist as the Universe flows.

When we dissolve our ego-minds, who is left to experience free will or fate? Both are illusionary traps.

I trust the Universe and the Universe trusts me, we make the best team, the natural team, its our natural function, is it not?

 

*I seem to recall that maybe there are some tree climbing penguin species down in South America’s tip perhaps. Maybe I am wrong though!

Earth Centered Solar System (is not wrong!)

A building on my campus.. not exactly sure what a satellite applications catapult is, but it sounds awesome!

A building on my campus.. not exactly sure what a satellite applications catapult is, but it sounds awesome!

The Earth orbits around the sun… so we are told.

It just fits so much better with what we observe than the thought that the Sun orbits around the Earth….

If we think about this deeply, we can realize that any thing… a star like our sun, a planet like our Earth, any object, can be seen to be stationary and the whole Universe in flux around it. Thinking like this, we can model our solar system so that the Earth is the center and does not move. Everything in the Universe moves around the Earth, or at least moves away or towards it…. That model of reality can work. It can be used to make predictions and can be useful. Now, equally, we can model our solar system with the sun at the center, unmoving, and everything in motion about it. This fits much easier with what is observed, makes better predictions and makes much more sense. That said, it is still just a model, and not the Truth.

When people talk about ‘finding your center’ and ‘being grounded’….. what do they mean? Do they even know themselves? Lol. Do you own something that is unmoving? Can you? Is it even possible? What is it that is reborn if reincarnation does not exist?

So, what is in your center? Can it actually contain anything at all? If it does, can those contents remain unchanging? For how long? At what point does the flux of its contents make it no longer your center?

Do you actually have a center in the first place?

Find your center, then let it go… it wasn’t yours anyhow…. and who knows,  you just may find an iron mountain in your belly.

Infinite Universe? Infinite you?

How many times has this scene been seen? How many times has it been ever so slightly different? How many times has this spider been worshipped and its movements decide the fate of millions? In the end, the spider dances on the web, as the blue dwelling never realises its impact

How many times has this scene been seen? How many times has it been ever so slightly different? How many times has this spider been worshipped and its movements decide the fate of millions? In the end, the spider dances on the web, as the blue dumpster collects garbage.

If the Universe is infinite, then, by definition, anything that is possible, has already occurred, is occurring and will always occur. One way to try to grasp this idea, is that there are infinite other ‘Earths’, that have the same positions of continents and oceans, all have the same species of monkeys, pine trees and lice. Once you start to allow your mind to fall into this thought, it starts to become almost too absurd. Taking into account that the only restraint is the laws of physics, this still does not limit the infinite absurdness of it all.. For example, if the Universe is truly infinite, then there are countless other ‘mirror’ Earths, with mirror versions of yourself…. countless ones, countless ones identical in every way, countless ones that vary in the finest way, maybe you are a millimetre shorter or taller, and countless other versions of yourself that are, well, not so identical… So, we can easily open up the questioning of how far does one of these ‘mirror’ versions of yourself have to deviate from who you are before you might say, hey, wait that’s not actually me. Maybe you say none are actually you. Fair enough.

Now, I think about this quite a bit, usually when I am driving to work… Now, it is possible (within the laws of physics, remember), that 1000 baboons will fall from the sky (released from an airplane?) and land all around me. It is possible that every single dog on the planet will happen to make noises from their mouths that sound like they are saying hello all at the same time. It is possible that your back yard will always have a cloud above it making the sun never shine there. It is possible that whenever a person says the phrase “I command thunder to appear right now” that thunder does appear coincidently every single time. It is possible that everyone in the world says the word ‘lollipop’ at the same exact time. Every day for a week. For a year, for a decade, for a century. Even people who don’t speak English. It is possible all these things happen all together, always. I could go on and on with the ridiculousness of the possible situations. And, of course, they can be even much more far-fetched than these…

Now, if the Universe is truly infinite, than these ‘possible’ scenarios, are not just ‘possible’ but actually occurring. They have already occurred, infinite times, are occurring now an infinite amount of times, and will occur in the future, again a countless amount of times. And each very specific bizarre situation you can think of, dream up, will be played over and over, with the subtlest variations, countless times.

To me, this makes my head get blown! It makes me conclude that the Universe simply, can not be infinite, it is just too ridiculous! Purple monkeys are not going to be in my bathroom this evening. 10,000 years of hidden planning by countless people to place a half eaten grapefruit on my toothbrush, although within the laws of physics, just can’t be! Can it? If the Universe is infinite, this bizarre planning has occurred!

I also think, well, if the Universe is infinite, then surely the Earth would be filled with countless bizarre situations! Well, you may say it is! lol. In some ways it is, but, in reality, you do not get a shadow that is permanently over Stonehenge and only clears to reveal the Sun when a donkey goes ‘hee-haw’. In an infinite Universe, this is the norm!

So, if the Universe is infinite, then you can visualise this shredding of reality into any form you desire, bounded by the emptiness of infinity. If the Universe isn’t infinite, but ‘merely’ very,very,very kick-ass large, then, well, this shredding, this diversification still exists, albeit, on a reduced level.

So, regardless, there is probably a version, many versions of yourself existing in the Cosmos right now. What would you say to them if you met them? What about the ones who are 10 years older than your current self? What would they tell you?! What would you tell your younger self? How close to ‘yourself’ would they be?

So, this visualisation, this contemplation, is good medicine for trying to define yourself… Who are you? Do you own your uniqueness? What makes you, you? What happens when you do place a definition on yourself? Is it liberating or restricting? Is it truthful?

What is the opposite of opposite?

What is the opposite of this vehicle? When does the meaning of opposite become worthless? Seeing this vehicle, we compare, compare, compare it to other vehicles we already know - its not a car, not a truck, not a train, not a motorcycle - what is it?! Hey, it is what it is, just have a look without trying to name it. It is rather beautiful.

What is the opposite of this vehicle? When does the meaning of opposite become worthless? Seeing this vehicle, we compare, compare, compare it to other vehicles we already know – its not a car, not a truck, not a train, not a motorcycle – what is it?! Hey, it is what it is, just have a look without trying to name it. It is rather beautiful.

Off / On

High /Low

Back/ Front

Black /White

Many things have their opposite. What does this mean? Are things this cut and dry? Well, let’s see… if something is ‘off’, than means it is not ‘on’, and if something is ‘on’, then it is not ‘off’. Each word, each term, requires its pair to exist. For example, you may say that the lamp is on, or it is off, but you wouldn’t say this to things that don’t have the opposite….. so, for example, you wouldn’t say that the air is ‘on’… it is always on! Lol. If you did say that the air was ‘on’, this would inherently imply that it can be ‘off’. Maybe you were talking about the air conditioner! Lol.

So, there is a subtlety here, which grows even more so with words like ‘black’ and ‘white’. One part of our brains thinks of them as opposites… yet, they are not…. You can have white without black and you can have black without white. Additionally, black is the absence of light and white is the combination of all colors of light. So, perhaps black is ‘off’ and white is ‘fully on’! Maybe that makes green ‘partially on’, lol.

Certain things we try to figure out do not benefit from using our opposite-minds. The big questions, really. Like, what exists outside the Universe? If time was born during the Big Bang, what existed before then? These questions use as a foundation the notion that the pair ‘universe’ and ‘outside the Universe’ is accurate. Is this accurate? We can get into a deep semantic-al discussion over this, but if we drop that, what remains? In some ways, the term ‘Universe’ means ‘all that exists’… so in that context, it cannot have its opposite, its pair, as nothing falls outside its realm. So, if that’s true, what is wrong with our question then:  ‘What exists outside the Universe?’?  The problem with this question is that the questioner assumes it is a valid question! Lol. What do I mean? Well, if the questioner accepts the definition of the Universe as all that exists, then there is no room to think of what exists outside this! However, our minds are curious! Let’s take a peek outside the bubble of our expanding Universe.. what is it traveling into?! … Ah, so now we get into geometry really, if we begin to think of the Universe as some sort of 3-D bubble ever-expanding into space….INTO space? That’s just it… the Universe is expanding space, not expanding into space. So, our dualistic, pairing, opposite-minds clunk. They can’t work properly.

I think of it like Newton’s laws of gravity and motion…. They aren’t really correct, but they work awesome-ly when applied to motions on the Earth…. So, just like our opposite-minds, our dualistic minds work really really well in helping us to evolve and survive on Earth as humans, they fail when we try to figure out things much deeper.

So, Zen is not about banishing our dualistic mind, our ego-mind (our illusion that we are separate from everything else), but rather about not attaching to this ego-mind… letting it function in this manner when it appropriate, and letting it go when it is not.

Who/what decides when it is appropriate? Be careful!