The Droppage of Time

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No problem here. Always home.

Whenever I am faced with a problem, a problem where a solution isn’t immediately apparent, I tend to seek the origins – Many times, simply by understanding the genesis of a problem, how it began, its origin – is more than adequate to ‘solve’ the problem. Many times, it is shown to me that a problem never actually existed.

This is a practical application. But I often, daily, tackle the ‘problem’ of this life – I say ‘problem’ because life, to me, is like a riddle – a puzzle – What is the meaning of life? Yes, I Go Big in my life- why not? This life mystifies me and I want to understand all I can. I am curious. But, also, I am dis-satisfied with this life. So much suffering in this world – and this includes my own. Now please understand my life is great, in so many ways – I am just not satisfied in my understanding of it – particularly in understanding of suffering.

So this riddle of life- seeking the origins – I merge the koan of ‘What did your face look like before your parents were born?’ with where the scientific ‘what were my thoughts as my brain was developing in my mothers womb?’ – seeking origins, falling into an infant, a fetus, swirling and spinning, realizing that it is not I that is tumbling and swirling but rather time – linear time falls into the fetus. I can’t fall anywhere. What do I mean? It’s confusing – and it makes me think about a recent discovery in physics – merging the infinite (gravity) with the smallest (quantum) and spitting out a strange form of ‘time’.

Time flows forward not because of entropy, but because only a thinking mind can make distinctions. When we drop the thinking mind, we drop time.

Dropping time does something quite remarkable – it has to by its inherent nature – or lack there of – See, thinking in nuts and bolts, this universe is real, and in a very real way, 14 billion years ago, all of EVERYTHING, was infinitely tiny – one unified dot. That’s the power of the thinking mind – so powerful we can figure out it is more like 13.772 billion years old. But when we drop this thinking mind – does the Universe revert back to the Big Bang? No – revert implies time. All of all times all exist at the same time – and that time is now – and now now and so on. Now.

When a person speaks how ‘all is one’ and there is no separation between oneself and the Universe, this is what they mean – but these words really suck. They do! Saying there is no separation between two things , well, kinda separates it out. But that’s the limits of words – Are there better words? Perhaps. I am not sure I know them!

So, I am a scientist. But the realm of spirits, angels, goddesses and gods do dwell deep inside the folds of time. How can I say this, scientifically? Well, there are a few very important things I learned about science over my career and education:

One: all of science is through the lens of human’s minds. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it is a human endeavour. That’s the point to always keep in one’s head when studying science. (To be even more critical, just look at who is paying for the research and why).

Two: Humans find the facts that fit the models we build. It doesn’t mean the facts are wrong (they can’t be by definition) but we can only find facts where we seek (usually).

Three: If something is not falsifiable, a key tenet of science, that does not make it untrue.

This last one is the most important.  – From the most simple example, say, of a piece of complex electrical equipment that has an intermittent fault – those are the worst kinds as they are almost impossible to figure out as you can’t replicate the error consistently. It doesn’t mean the error doesn’t exist, you just can’t study it properly – and the service engineer will start to think the data is not correct (ie the human is lying  or wrong about the error)!! To the most beautiful of Einstein’s theory on gravitational waves – you see as it couldn’t be tested at first, it bordered on being not scientific. He was very smart – and correct- even if it took decades or a century to be proved correct.  But back to my point, just because an experience or thought is not repeatable, or falsifiable does not make it untrue. It makes it unscientific , yes, but it does not mean it is not true. This easy thought to grasp took me my whole life to accept, or to realize. It has allowed me to witness those unscientific experiences with more honesty and truth. The true scientist keeps seeking – just like Einstein’s unscientific theory was one day falsifiable, perhaps one day my ancestors who visit me through the droppage of time will be falsifiable.

As I can admit I honestly do not know what lies after death, I am attacking this life I have whilst alive. I want to understand what this life is – and how to help others not suffer or find life unsatisfactory. As a great man says, We are all simply just walking each other home. 

So, part of my exploration is having faith in a ‘solution’ to this riddle of life. Having faith that so many various consciousnesses are helping me right here, right now, from the distant past, to the incredible future. Are these all but not oneself and all of us? I used to like to say a-lot “All is one … just time-displaced”. I still like it and maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker one day!

But,

But, when we allow ourselves to drop time, well, All beauty is all unfolded already. It’s home.

 

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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’.

 

 

The Middle Way

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The Middle Way is an integral part of Buddhism… sometimes this distills into ‘everything in moderation’. While there is truth in this, there is also danger. You don’t want everything in moderation… you do not want any cyanide in your bloodstream! Lol.

But seriously, the Buddha practiced asceticism for years before he realized his Enlightened nature. I have written about this recently. By denying yourself of the nourishment it requires, this actually feeds your ego-mind. ‘I will deny myself pleasure. I will deny myself good health until I realize enlightenment. I will suffer.’ …. They all involve an affirmation of ‘I’.

I don’t think I need to discuss the opposite of this… of hedonism.

So I ask myself.. could the Buddha have realized his enlightenment if his body wasn’t taken care of?

The Middle Way is not about checking yourself if you have too much or too little. It is a result, not a precursor of realizing we are already complete, already buddhas. But certainly it is wise to follow the Middle Way before our realization.

All of the Buddha’s teachings are the natural function of realizing our Enlightened state.

There is a saying that God will never give you more than you can handle. In Zen, we say that a bad situation is a good situation. God knows what he is doing.. He is pure Love, no? He is the ultimate teacher so when we suffer, have a horrific situation… can we see good in that? I like to think these things out in extremes. For example, say we were witness to unimaginable massacres that do occur… We see family and friends murdered before our eyes. God as a teacher seems absent. We might not be able to handle it and have a mental breakdown. How horrible. Can we learn and grow from this experience? We might not allow ourselves to take anything ‘good’ from it, it may feel like we would be disrespecting what occurred. ‘I refuse to see anything good from such evil’. Does this not make the evil even more evil? Does it not make it triumph even more over us? I know if my family saw me killed in a horrific way I would want them to somehow learn from it. Mourning wouldn’t be diminished for this.

So, a bad situation is a good situation. It can provide us with the passion to find our true nature. Who we truly are. In times of extreme distress, nonreligious people will pray for God’s help, for a higher power’s help… desperate, they reach out for help… beg for help and offer repentance or service.

Zen Master Dogen said we must practice as if our hair was caught on fire….

Our hair has been burning for longer than time exists, we just haven’t realized it yet.

Shortcomings

A different night to the story below, but the song remains the same. Love.

A different night to the story below, but the song remains the same. Love.

Being kind to ourselves is sometimes the hardest thing to do. We constantly judge ourselves and perhaps magnify what we feel are our shortcomings. We never therefore are the person we think we should be. Who should we be if not who we already are?

Now, I feel I should be an understanding father, for example. And sometimes,  when I am feeling ill, for example, I will not be so understanding as a father. The other night, when reading bedtime stories to my 4-year-old son, he said he was thirsty. I was tired, in pain and wanted him to fall asleep already. I was impatient and the thought of having to walk down the stairs to get a glass of water made me imagine the burden on my hurting legs. I was fed-up. He also said his feet were cold and wanted socks on. I admit, I brushed his requests off and told him no, and to go to sleep. I was almost angry. Then I looked at his face.  He is 4. He was sad. He was cold and thirsty and I was being, well, frankly a jerk. To my own son. I swallowed my ego-mind, looked at him in the eyes and told him I was sorry, and I will get him water and kissed his head. His sad face melted a bit. After I got his water and he was drinking it, I got him some socks and put them on his feet for him. We laid down and he held me tight., now with a smile. I read him a story from his favorite night-time book and he quickly fell asleep.

I would have cried if I wasn’t still feeling angry.. though my anger was now at myself. I accepted my shortcoming and moved on…. But getting back to my opening … I think I should be a better father, and this keeps me trying,trying trying to always be the best father…but it also means I never accept myself for who I am right now. Sure, I never want to be complacent and think I am the world’s best papa, but I also know living in the future of some version of myself is not helpful.

So, there is a balance. Accepting who I am right now, but not giving up on becoming more… to unfold the Buddha already inherent inside me.

Reading a bedtime story can be the best Buddhist practice. Learning about compassion is there. Learning about Ego is there. Learning of acceptance and non-attachment is there. Learning about love is there.