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. 😉

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Lots of conceptions about concepts

IMG_2833One event transforming into another event is time. Time is the final distinguisher. We can categorize, differentiate or separate events in many, many different ways.  However, without the conception of time, no distinctions can be made.

Time is not absolute. Time is an idea of our minds. It is a very powerfully useful conception. It lies as the foundation of all our categorizations. Hey, this is good news when we know to eat an apple and not a rock! Distinctions, categories, whatever you may call them are inherently neutral. They can be, and are, life-saving tools. They also can be the very things that ensure our suffering.

Again, without our ultimate distinction, time, all others fall away… What I mean is that they fall away from us being attached to some and repulsed by others. Therein lies freedom… freedom from suffering.  When time falls away from our conceptual mind, the stranglehold of living in the utterly realistic illusion of our conceptualized reality is released.

Our conceptualized reality is neutral. Our brains are very clever and we get 100% convinced that this reality we believe is not illusionary. All models, all conceptions, are just that… they are never the real thing. Our brains create truly remarkable conceptualizations that trying to believe they are nothing more than this is almost impossible.

When we let go of our ultimate model-maker, the mother of conception…time… the house of cards that formed our view of reality is clearly seen.

Is any of this useful? lol. Lots of thinking here, lots of concepts, lol.

When we seek the origin of our thoughts, we realize that our thoughts are mostly born from concepts we developed since we were born. Is not our first concept that of time? How could it be otherwise? What were we before time?

 

The Truth is Far Out, Man!

This is beautiful! This is Truth!

This is beautiful! This is Truth!

From what I understand, the Buddha said he would not explain the depth of his understanding because people would simply not believe it. He understood that his value as a teacher would be greater if he kept his mouth shut about certain things he understood to be true.

Oh, my mind races with this! Lol. What did he know that he couldn’t tell us? I mean, he did teach very deeply about the underlying nature of reality, and that in itself is pretty unbelievable! Lol.   But I think he meant understandings that would frighten people or make people think he was insane, incorrect, or worse. Perhaps he understood something like we are all living in many multi-verses, where infinite versions of ourselves exist. Maybe not. Maybe he knew of extra-terrestrial beings. Maybe not.  Maybe he knew of ways to transcend time and space and therefore could witness any point of the history of the cosmos, past, present or future. Maybe not. Maybe he knew of secrets that are even more insane and unreal! Maybe not!

Oh, my brain loves thinking about these things. Now, in and of itself, this is not good and not bad. It just is the mind working. Now, when I get caught up in these thoughts and attach to them, then I can feel the Buddha reaching through space-time and tap me on the shoulder! Tut-tut! I smile and realize that exploring truth is joyful and correct.. but when I attach an idea of what the truth will be before I experience it, then I fall. You know, the same is true with science. Proper, good science always is done without an attachment to the result.  When we think we know what the answer will be beforehand, then we might skew the result. Maybe that’s the simple reason the Buddha withheld information.. so we do not skew our results!!

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.

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?!

Time travel!

The original Tartis from the Dr Who TV show. Get in and fly away!

The original Tartis from the Dr Who TV show. Get in and fly away!

Sometimes we may want to get into a box and just disappear… travel off into time and space and explore new realities.

Sometimes this is out of fear of where we are, so we want to run away.

Sometimes it is simply a natural curiosity.

Our minds are like this, they are this….

Why do we meditate? Is it to escape our situation? Is that healthy?

Is it because we are simply curious what lies inside our minds?

Perhaps it’s a bit of both sometimes.

Sometimes it is a good idea to meditate on the thought of ‘why am I doing this?’

Being honest with ourselves, we might not like the answer. Let’s work with that and grow.

Crow Time

Crow dancing with the Universe

Crow dancing with the Universe

Sometimes there are no right answers, yet this is the Way.

Sometimes the answer is crystal clear, and this is the Way.

The saying goes.. the Sun will still rise tomorrow, and this is the Way.

One day, billions of years from now grant you, the Sun will not rise tomorrow, yet this is the Way.

Triumphs and follies, compassionate acts and acts of horrific violence, they are all the Way.

The ‘Way’ is nothing more and nothing less than the Universe, all that is. It flows… sometimes smoothly without hindrance, sometimes rocky yet no hindrance is inherent in that hindering rockiness.

This Time has happened long ago and yet has never happened yet… but only is ever happening Now. Sometimes, we can see that the future actually flows into our Present and this changes the past.

How many times has this experience happened? Only once, yet countless of billions of times as well. Our counting minds, like crows counting up to 5 or 6, do not understand, yet the crow knows how to look past its counting and spread its wings and trust the abilities it has.

I can’t count that high, but that’s ok, my heart counts with a different mathematics and always gets the correct sum.

Black feathers ruffle in the gusting wind, head bobs up and down, flying to the ground. A worm awaits and is ripped apart and nourishes the counting-less heart. Caw Caw Caw.

Free your heart, full of love and understanding and let the tears stream down your face. Caw Caw Caw!!!

Who knows..

Who gnomes?

Who gnomes?

Who knows what will come?

The ‘arrow of time’ refers to the apparent fact that the past is always behind us, is always what has already happened, and well, is in the past, which leads us to the present moment, in which we travel forward into the unknowable future… the future that is always in front of us, is what has never yet happened….

Thinking of time flowing in any other direction leads to thoughts of sci-fi movies, of time machines…Thinking of time not having this arrow-like quality, directing us from the past, through the present, into the future, is difficult to do.

Logically, our minds work like an arrow, so this is how we naturally map out ‘time’.

But, ultimately, time isn’t directed. It doesn’t actually flow from past to present into the future. Now, our logical, thinking brains can not resolve that. So, how can time to be claimed otherwise? Through experience and through experiment. The best ways to prove to ourselves that time is not quite linear is to explore it oursleves…to think deeply about it, tie our brains into knots trying to solve it, to meditate on it, and to experience it. We can also look at experiments, not just the qualitative ones we can do with our own minds, but quantitative ones done with the scientific method. Recent experiments can show how an ‘effect’ can also have an effect on the very cause of that effect! I have talked about this before.

So, who knows what is truly happening? Lets explore this ‘who’ in depth and see what illuminates our path.

Science meeting Dogen’s Uji

Uji and quantum-ness

Another Oxherding interlude.. I saw this article and wanted to post it… I will probably post about Zen Master’s Dogen ‘Uji’ in a future post.. but this was too cool an article not to post it…

Basically, quantum mechanics entangle cause and effect… time is not exactly linear.. Dogen taught this many many years ago…

Switching cause and effect in quantum world? A causes B causes A.

Universe Perceiving Itself


The Universe really likes itself. I mean, really, really likes itself.. so much so that it loves itself!

The Universe, by definition, is everything, contains everything, nothing is not part of the Universe. The Universe is thought to have emerged from a singular point, a singularity. Infinite density and mass within a space so small, that space itself did not even exist. It kinda blows my mind and it kinda doesn’t make sense to me!

I am a very sceptical person. I have this natural part of my personality that attacks my own beliefs and views. In terms of the creation of all that is, i.e. the Universe, there are 2 main views in the cultures I have lived in. One is the Big Bang theory in which Science has its back and the other is the God ‘theory’, whereby God simply created everything. Most people, if they have a view on the subject, are strongly aligned with one side or the other.

A modern Zen master was once asked: “Do you believe in God?”. Now, in Buddhism, there is the belief of many gods and goddesses and various consciousness-es outside the normal realm of animals and plants we normally experience, but there is no belief in ‘God’. It is not a monotheistic faith. It is not really a multi-theistic faith either as the faith resides within one’s own self, not the various gods, etc. The creation of the Universe is thought of as beginning-less… and its origin was the unfolding of inter-dependent forces. So, in Buddhism, there is no creation ‘event’ and no single being who created everything either. No room for God!

However, the Zen master replied ‘Of Course!’

The questioner asked again: ‘YOU believe in God?’ unable to comprehend the answer he heard.

Zen master: ‘Yes, of course I believe in God!’.

The questioner got a little bit of a ‘mind-slap’!

Regardless of who or where the Universe came from, it truly does love itself, and this love is truly boundless. God’s love is infinite as is the Universe’s love. We are not removed from this equation, we are a variable, an x2 somewhere, a negative number or perhaps an imaginary number, but we are there, somewhere, and sometimes we are positive, sometimes negative… but we are part of the equation, and hence, we are critical for the ‘solution’.

The Universe desires to perceive itself. It has been unfolding from beginning-less time, working on this equation towards this end. What is the meaning of life? The meaning of the Universe? Why do we exist?

When we realize what we truly are (i.e. x2) then we effortlessly fit into the equation (i.e. the workings) of the Universe and, like magic, we can finally see the answer on the other side of the equals sign (=).

Both sides are equal, by definition.

The boundless love and wisdom of the entire cosmos, of all that is and is not, has a direct connection to your heart. Your heart pumps, and pulses and pounds the fire of this love. This Love.

Let us all find our x2, plug it in where it belongs, feel the deep love of yourself perceiving yourself, feel the love of seeing in the mirror the entire Universe, seeing, feeling and realizing who you truly are… and with this Love, help all beings to find their own x2 and turn the wheel of the Dharma.