Consciousness

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Beautiful image. Is it helpful? What is trying to be depicted? Awesomeness!

In Buddhism, there is the concept of Annata. The Buddha, a human being, figured this concept out. It is the idea that we have no soul. Okay, right off, many people will read no further. That’s fine. But if your’re brave, or curious, or want to prove me wrong, then please read on.

So, annata means that what we feel is our ‘soul’ is actually an illusion. For this post, I will use the words ‘soul’ and ‘consciousness’ to mean the same thing….for is it not our feeling of self-awareness that we consider our ‘soul’? Well, perhaps not – but for this post, I will use them to mean the same thing.

Modern neural science is concluding what the Buddha figured out long ago.

Animals can be taught to become self-aware. What does that mean? It means they can awaken. Awaken to a higher level of understanding…. And humans have taught them this.

We all can easily see how our sub-conscious is always thinking behind the scenes, so to speak. But what does that mean? It’s like a secret hidden version of yourself, operating countless thoughts – Have you ever been really grumpy and not realize it at first? Then you realize, ‘oh man, I am sooo grumpy’. Your secret hidden self already figured that out! haha. So we have lots and lots of thoughts we never ‘think’ about – on our ‘self-aware’ conscious level.  Even something simple as hunger or needing to pee! – Your brain thought of that before ‘you’ did! – ‘on man, i need to pee!’

So, this hidden-level, we can view it from our conscious-level mind.

So, sages, wise men and women, buddhas, saints, and holy persons – they all seem to say the same sorta thing: there’s yet another level above our ‘consciousness’ – and we can be taught to realize it – exactly like the monkeys can be taught ‘consciousness’ or ‘self-awareness’ . So this next level, a higher consciousness- can we have faith that these wise humans are telling the truth?

The word ‘faith’ has become a dirty word – for those not smart enough to think for themselves. That has some truth in it, for certain, but do not we all have faith in things that touch our hearts without understanding how it affected us so deeply? Or faith in those people who shine brightly and tell us how they figured out how to shine?

So, the Buddha said we do not have an unchanging soul, there is nothing about us that does not change- so what can remain to be called a permanent soul? This may sound depressing, but it is actually the opposite – we are always able to change into a beckon of light at any moment.

Let us contemplate for a moment , or longer, on the illusion of our own selves- how very real it seems , and it is real, in a way – but not the way we desire it to be – it is much, much better!

Remember, your brain is much smarter than you can ever be. See where it expands to and let us meet up in our dreams and smile.

 

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The spaces between….

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Electron microscope image of spaces between atoms. Not my image.

The spaces between….

This empty place, this in-between space….

The places outside can only be there with this companion of the space between…

So, we can begin to see that we can only be here with this companion too….

So that companion -whether it be good, bad, happy, sad, indifferent, whatever – is just that – a companion – that space between us and God, between us and ALL.

When I don’t know who I am, I serve the companion as a result. Not knowing who I am, I don’t know what I am doing and I serve the companion blindly and therefore, poorly.

When I know who I am, there is no me, no God, just companion – there is never a service needed, just a dance.

Find your dance and shine.

Witnessing Ram Dass

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Sometimes I crack myself up when I see myself seeing myself. Who is it that is cracking up?

I have been thinking lots about something I heard recently from Ram Dass. He was talking about being a witness to our thoughts and actions… a witness to ourselves…

I say I have been thinking lots about this, and whilst that is true, I have not tried to penetrate deeper meaning into it. That is unusual for me, but it is for two reasons I have left it alone – 1) the thought felt complete enough on its own – I didn’t feel my normal sense of ‘dharma-battle’  of attacking a ‘teaching’ to see what fails in the attack and what holds true; and 2) because of #1, I felt a conscious decision to not mess about with the thought – as it would only become mental masturbation (which I absolutely love lol).

But back to the thought – the reason I have been thinking about this thought so much – or rather, holding this thought – is because this is what I do, almost always- I am witnessing my life before my eyes – I am usually ‘stepped back’ . I can see Richard getting excited, or upset, or sad – I can see how Richard needs to move, or act, or think to accomplish Richards’s goals. It is odd. Who is this witness?

Yes – who is this witness?

I see Richard’s life unfolding and I rarely get caught up in this unfolding – I would just get in Richards way otherwise, lol. When I find myself not being a witness – I feel like a slave to my thoughts and emotions – or rather- I sense my witness trapped and unable to help the maniac who is freaking out!

Have you ever gotten really angry? Super pissed off, fuming – and in the middle of that emotion laughed? Laughed because perhaps you saw your face in the mirror and you looked, well, funny! Red face, downturned eyebrows, scowl ? Or laughed simply because you realized your brain was freaking out of control ?

Have you ever sensed that witness in those situations and felt, ‘no, they aren’t allowed in here right now, I have the right and I deserve to feel this anger – it is justified!!’.  Your witness obeys –it must – and cries in the back of your hollow skull.

So, who is the witness? Who is the Master? Should not the master listen to the witness? Then does not the witness become the master? If the witness always stays the master, than the old master becomes the servant.

BE careful – do not detach yourself from your witness or your master. Ultimately, these are just made-up distinctions. It’s all made up. The master, the witness, they are the same, and neither exists. I say this only so attachment isn’t given to any of this.

So, back to my point – who is this witness who is witnessing myself?

It is still an illusion, the witness – when you are ‘stepped back’ and see yourself doing whatever – making yourself crack up laughing when the witness sees you freaking out – whatever – turn that witness onto itself – witness the witness.  WHO turned that anger into laughter?  – Now the laughs turn into something else – wonderment – at a minimum – of what is ‘witnessed’.

 

 

Leaves

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Our ancestors fall among the autumn leaves.

As the last breath of a leaf departs the tree, the deep reds and oranges of woven clothing take up the drum.

Scattered piles of yellows, golds, ambers and greens….returning to the Earth, invoking Love.

All their wisdom….their laughter, sadness and love…all of their stories… triumphs and defeats… fears and hopes…are revealed when we breath in what is contained within the returning leaves….breathing not with our lungs…..

Do not doubt what is shown before you, but beware thinking you know what it is you are shown.

 

(not my own photo)

An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 4

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A rock on a log with a stick.

Click for previous chapters: 1,2,3.

Years went by after that time in the book store…..and he never actually thought about it again. That is, until one day, while he was out driving. He was speeding ,which he didn’t normally do, but he was late. As he sped down the highway, his mind was thinking about how late he might be, what he could do to mitigate the situation and the like, when.. out of nowhere…

“hello”

“Holy moly! Rock?!” He thought, and although he was asking for confirmation, he also needed none.

He just continued driving, speeding but safe, and for several minutes there was silence. Not the silence he remembered all those years ago as he could feel the rock with him and they both we simply enjoying each other’s mere presence.  Then he began to think about all these past years… how could he possibly have never thought about this all these years?  Then he thought about the last place he saw the rock… on his dresser… he knows it’s not there now, and he can’t remember moving it or seeing it… what happened to it?! Where is it right this very second?

“doesn’t much matter…. does it?”

“True I suppose but I feel like I failed you.. to protect you… to listen to you, learn from you”

He didn’t get words for an answer but felt it…. it was like a very very long, almost infinite plane of solid rock, almost humming – very deeply – very very quiet – almost beyond sound, or inside sound – the vibrations of the atoms in the air – so quiet yet almost infinitely loud. It didn’t make sense when he tried to comprehend it but when he simply felt it, he understood….. Protection is meaningless to the rock … how could the inside of a vibration need protecting?! And even that thought, he knew, failed to explain what he felt.  He also understood that he couldn’t fail the rock… how could the rock judge another’s vibrations? And it’s not even like that he thought… those vibrations…that ‘sound’ it pulses into everything ,everything is pulsing into everything .. to judge would be like snake attacking its tail…. It can be done but it’s not very helpful!

“police car”

“um huh?”

“POLICE”

He didn’t understand exactly but trusted the rock and he slowed down to the speed limit and sure enough after half a mile he saw a patrol car behind some shrubs with a radar gun.

Although he had plenty of reasons to be blown away already, this really floored him. Did he really just have an imaginary rock help him avoid a speeding ticket?!  His brain began freaking out somewhat and he couldn’t control the expanse of thoughts and hypothesis to explain this all. Nothing could explain it that didn’t involve some level of sounding completely crazy. He realized he probably shouldn’t tell anyone .. he was not even sure if he could believe himself, so how could he possibly expect anyone else to?

He tried desperately trying to talk with the rock but his brain was buzzy with so much internal noise he couldn’t hear the soundless sound anymore.  Although he kept trying, he knew the rock wasn’t going to reply to his calling out “Here rocky rock, here boy” as if he was calling a dog! But he was desperate. It was years since he last communicated with the rock and was afraid he may never again communicate with it.

He arrived a little late, which caused some issues, but nothing he didn’t sort out, but his mind the whole day was elsewhere.

An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 3

Find previous Chapters here: 1 and 2.

He watched the woman in the red dress as she picked up a book on ‘crystal magic’ and brought it to the counter to buy it. All the while, he was watching her.. making sure she couldn’t tell he was indeed watching her…

And that was it.. she bought the book and was walking out the door… but as she was leaving he noticed her reflection in the big glass store windows… and she was looking right at him!!.. with a little smirk on her face no less!

“What is that all about?!” he thought…

“Many people do not understand rocks…. and those who understand something.. most mis-understand most”

“Most mis-understand most?! – I don’t understand all this understanding and mis-understanding!!” he thought, half in frustration and half in amusement.

“Pick up that book”

He picks up a book on ‘crystal magic’

“It is just like that but absolutely nothing like that”

“I think I get you…. there is something important there but it is not as explained in these books”

“Perhaps”

“Perhaps?!” he says laughing… and with that… poof….silence… not the kind of silence in between words spoken… or between thoughts.. but nothing… he felt the rock was gone again.

He thought how very strange this all was.. and how the rock wasn’t even with him, so how could it have just left?

He considered buying the book for a minute then thought : “What am I crazy? I have my own personal rock tutor, I don’t need some other person’s interpretation of this when I can get it straight from the horse’s mouth! – Oh man, I am crazy – listen to myself! And for some reason, I think the rock would find it very funny I called it a horse’s mouth! “

And with that, although very confused, felt very relaxed and a big smile formed and could not be erased from his face.

An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 2

To see part one, click here.

So he put the rock into his pocket and gave it a little pat of reassurance.

“So, how long have you been a rock?” he asked… and while doing so realized how funny it sounded and this made him smile.

…laughter joined him ….

“yes, you know… a very long time”

“yeah” he said.

They kept walking through the woods, well, he walked, and the rock enjoyed the ride. This was highly unusual for the stone… It was used to not moving for eons at a time. At one point it was millions of years before it moved … A big storm had eroded the stream bank where it was embedded for (nearly) countless years….and released the stone…

“red dress”

“Huh?” he asked.

red dress” came again from the stone

“Um, okay… red dress…. Purple socks! How’s that”

…silence…

More silence….

Then it felt like he just had a rock in his pocket.. nothing special….

He got home and put the rock on his dresser and forgot all about it ….

Some days later he was in a bookstore and just starting thinking about the stone…First he wondered if he kept the stone and recalled he put it on his dresser… yes.. he kept it… and he wondered about his ‘conversation’ with the rock…. Maybe his brain was having some fun and he did admit he enjoyed greatly the short time spent with the rock…. But he just thought it was all a bit too strange …. At that moment he looked up and noticed a woman in a red dress enter the store.

“yes that’s the dress”

“What? You’re not even here stupid rock!!”  He said (not out loud!)

“You know that is the red dress”

“okay, okay, yes, I feel that… yes.. but what about it?”

An unlikely friendship

All of a sudden his gaze stopped on a little rock.  It was nothing special.. just one of countless others along the woodland path he walked. Leaves, twigs, rocks, roots, plants, soil… nothing out of the ordinary laying on the earth in the woods…. But this one rock… somehow trapped his vision from moving on….

He stopped walking and just stared at it… like it was speaking to him… so he laughed a bit, picked up the rock and asked it ‘So, what is it then, eh?’

He felt ‘You already know’ come into his heart.

He smiled, put the rock into his pocket and went on his way and that’s when their adventures together began.

Low self esteem

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London palm. Wisdom radiates and pulses throughout the cosmos, straight into my heart. 

Sometimes during contemplative reflection I become utterly disgusted with myself. I amaze myself that I allow myself to think and do certain things, that, when I look back objectively, I am stunned at myself.

Having low self-esteem is not healthy, of course, and meditation is usually not thought of as something to make you feel worse about yourself! lol.

Confronting our true selves can be hard. It is painful to accept we may not be the person we want to believe we are.

Ultimately, our true self is not ourself, and although we must have individual responsibility, we can never bear the load alone, no matter how isolated that burden may feel.

(I must say that sometimes during meditation I become utterly elated with myself… and although this may feel super awesome, it has its own dangers… mainly of reinforcing the illusion of my own self ego, but that’s a whole other story!)