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.

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?

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!

Who Do We Meditate For?

Buddha at the Forest Hermitage

Buddha at the Forest Hermitage

Who do we meditate for?

Ourselves?

Our Children?

Everyone?

No one?

All beings?

Meditation for

anyone or anything, be it ourselves, all beings, enlightenment, lower blood pressure… is dangerous!

Haha! Lower blood pressure is dangerous? Of course not!

Meditation for ….fill in the blank….. may be incredibly useful and powerful, but that’s not what the Buddha was getting at. Meditation for…. existed for a long time before the Buddha was born. Meditating for….. is dangerous because it instantly separates … and when all that is, empty of independent nature, separation is illusion.

Mediation is a sort of confirmation of the wholeness of all that is. It helps the Universe to flow freely. Just as eating raw vegetables over greasy cheeseburgers will help your blood flow more in tune with its natural function, meditation without purpose becomes the purpose itself.

 

May all beings not suffer.

Hair grows naturally on your head…

Blossoming

Blossoming

…Unless, of course, you are bald. 🙂

Now,

Flowers blossom without trying. They already know what to do. When the circumstances are correct, the unfolding of events which is a blossom, occurs without effort.

What actually takes effort?

Only our thinking minds require effort.

If we let go, effort disappears. Then even the most impossible situation is effortless to approach.

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!

How things should be

This clock should have IV for the 4, not IIII, or should it?

This clock should have IV for the 4, not IIII, or should it?

I often battle with thoughts such as ‘this is how things should be’ and more so battle with thoughts such as ‘this is not how things should be’.

So, how should things be? What a horrible question when it comes down to it. Nothing should be any way or another, things are, simply, how they are. It is our preferences, our ideals that make us want things a certain way. This isn’t a bad thing, in and of itself. In fact, it is downright necessary to live. Food should be not poisonous, or we will die. Eat the wrong mushroom, berry or fish, for example, and you will die.

But a constant background of thoughts creating an ideal personal world of what it should be can very entrapping… We naturally become attached to these thoughts and they can consume us.  Sometimes these thoughts can make us strive for, and accomplish fantastic things. Sometimes they can do the opposite. But either way, they both ultimately restrict us.

Sarcoidosis

Is this the tree's cone or the Universes?

Is this the tree’s cone or the Universes?

 

Sometimes our bodies seem to let us down. But whose body is this? Sometimes you hear how a persons body is just a vessel for the soul, for one’s inner spirit. This way of thought can provide benefit, as it is a form of non-attachment, which is central to Buddhist teachings. However, it also ultimately falls short in the end. It creates an attachment to the ‘soul’. In Buddhism, sometimes you hear or learn the idea of non-self or that there is no soul. 

How soulless! lol.

Image

Vessel

Of course there is a soul. But what the Buddha taught is that there is no unchanging self. This is called ‘anatta’ and just as ’emptiness’ does not mean ‘nothingness’
, non-self does not mean we are nothing! This understanding can be used to realize how, in Buddhism, the belief of past lives exists. How could a Buddhist believe in past lives if there is no soul to be passed along?! lol. From my understanding, Buddhism speaks of rebirth but not reincarnation. Although they seem to be the same thing, there is a subtle difference. Some would say it is a Buddhist get out clause! lol. 

But, whose body do we have? ‘My’ body has sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease, which sometimes hides and pretends to not exist, then sometimes it engulfs my body and makes life difficult. Of course I feel many different emotions, we are all human, and I feel sad, mad, sorry for myself, think ‘why me?’ and lots and lots of thoughts! 

Speaking of thoughts, I can feel how my brain chemistry gets affected by the disease, misfiring neurons, and creating floods and droughts of neurotransmitters. Perhaps thats just my mind making a model of what really is happening, but the model fits. It doesn’t really matter, but what is important is being ‘aware’. 

Sueng Sahn, a Zen master, once said that a good situation is a bad situation and that a bad situation is a good situation. What he meant, in short, was that if your life is good, you may become complacent and get lazy in realizing your inherent enlightened nature. All that good food and that big house hides the Buddha that you already are! But, a bad situation creates desperation to end the suffering, and they say that neccecity is the mother of invention. Many non-religious people will pray to God when their life is in danger.

Sure, I wish my body was in a better condition, I worry about the demands it places on my family, the limitations of interacting with my 2 year old son. Sure, I wish my body was in a good situation and also my realization of my inherent nature was also in a good situation! lol. Sometimes, of course, people are ‘lucky’ to have the double positive. But, sometimes people have the double negative… bad situation and bad realizations. It can be a self-feeding vicious cycle. 

So, it is easy to be sad and mad with my body, but it is empty and I try to think the Universe really does know what it is doing, so it makes my body suffer to help end the suffering of all beings by helping me realize my true nature. So, it is a painful blessing, not something for me to condemn, but also not something to be praised. 

Once it has been said that no one became enlightened without circumstances, and for the Buddha himself, this took the form of Venus.. once he saw the planet in the sky.. BAM! He got it. 

So, all circumstances can birth enlightenment, so it can happen at any time. Just as a radioactive atom can decay at any moment, only the correct conditions inside the atom will allow this to occur. Some atoms have a greater chance of decaying than others, just as some circumstances in our lives give a better chance of realizing our enlightened nature. 

This is why Zen is so very strict and disciplined. It says ‘Hey, the Buddha figured out a good way to see Venus, so lets do that! .. sure you might see Venus if you stare at the ground, but it is unlikely… you would need perhaps a puddle to reflect the night sky or something, but if you look directly where Venus pops up on the horizon, you have a better chance to see it! so lets go!!

Brain map patty-whack…

Does light master the rainbow or does the rainbow master the light?

Does light master the rainbow or does the rainbow master the light?

…give the dog a bone…

The human brain is a very complex organ, sort of like a powerful computer, processing tons of information, all the time, and producing output, all the time. Yet, unlike a computer, it is always changing, with neurons, brain cells, changing in shape, in length, in function. It is how ‘practice makes perfect’. Each time something is practiced, whether swinging a golf club, writing your name with your non-usual hand, learning a language, your neurons adapt after each experience. Neurons can grow in length, physically to have a better reach at other areas in the brain that can help perform the task better each time.

All the neurons compete, in a way, for dominance in your brain…which explain ‘use it or lose it’. But..

Because the human brain is super fresh, it can remember things, and even if you haven’t rode a bike for ten years, you will still be able to do it, maybe wobbly at first, but that memory, that map your brain made all those years ago, is dusted off and re-used.

It also explains how people can get into ruts, get into compulsions, and habits, both good and bad. Your brain is a powerful tool, and it masters most people’s lives.

When the brain is mastered itself, you can direct where those maps form, and you can begin to heal any ‘bad’ or unhealthy brain maps.

The brain doesn’t like to be stagnant, we didn’t evolve that way.

So, when humans are removed from their natural environment and ecotones, they seem to do either of 2 things..

stagnate and get depressed, fall ill, and have a miserable life….

or flourish, and create masterpieces of art and science…..

How many hunter-gatherer tribes have horribly depressed, chronically ill and drug addicted people? Not many

How many of those tribes have Einsteins, Newtons, Picassos, or Michelangelos?

Not many.

In one sense, it’s simply not ‘natural’ to push the limits of the mind as the great artists and scientists have done.

In another sense, it’s the human brain, of course it’s natural!

So, keeping our brains happy is keeping our societies happy. Or something like that…

brain wack patty map, give a crow a moan,

play piano upsidedown, a frown turns ’round

E=MC2 and turtles fly the night

looking for Terrapin

the lights always bright..

Photons shine white,

cut one open and black spills out..

and births the ying and the yang,

Neurons sputter, like bad sparkplugs,

they need maintenance too,

make them fire into the night

and form a circle of thought in your brain.

It will be real, as real as anything, and a physical circle of electricity will be conducted..

follow its path in your head, and its a dance, one neuron to the next, electricity flows inside the neuron, till it reaches its end, spewing out chemicals to find the next neuron, and this turns it on, literally, and it feels electric, because it is, and then it shoots this electric current down inside this next neuron towards its tip,s then explodes with more chemicals…

It sounds pretty sexual, and, in a way it is…

these bursts of chemicals and electricity create growth, create relationships, and make the brain work more efficiently. (okay efficient and sex don’t really go together, well, I hope not, lol)

So, I will continue to create this particle accelerator in my brain, using thought alone, as that is all that is biologically required, as the thoughts move the neurons into action, which moves the electricity which moves the chemicals….which makes neurons grow, and expand and create more and more connections…

I think I just gave myself a headache. lol.

The rain dances with photons.... and whoever the master was, falls to their knees and smiles at the colors.

The rain dances with photons…. and whoever the master was, falls to their knees and smiles at the colors.