No words

Words represent concepts, actions, and relationships between them, they help us to get an idea of reality, and to transmit it to others.

But the reality is too big, too complex, to be enclosed, represented by ideas, concepts and words. The simple direct experience of what is happening, moment by moment, is beyond any conceptual description. The same life is itself indefinable. The most important things in our life are almost impossible to describe, and if we do, we reduce them, we are not able to explain them as they really are.

What do you experience looking at that?

Think of some important situation in your life; if we have to reproduce it in words, we can only mention partial aspects of the life experience we had, even if we are very good at relating events, our inner experience will resist being conceptualized, reduced to words.

We live all that we are aware of, and only what we are conscious of, but our own consciousness itself is beyond any exact description, we can only describe partial aspects of it. Therefore, our contents of conscience also resist being fully explained, reduced to words. Frequently we live states that we are not able to describe accurately.

We have been educated to conceptualize everything, we spend our lives thinking almost compulsively, but life itself is not a concept, nor any set of concepts, is much more than that. There are no words to describe life, as there are no words to describe what we are, the totality that we are. And yet, we can discover what life is and who we are, but for that we must open our minds to the non-conceptual experience, it is necessary to directly experience life with curiosity, with attention, without judging, without wanting to reduce everything to concepts , simply perceive and understand. And what we understand, we can not represent it with words, because we will be left speechless. At most we can only give approximations, indicate clues for understand, but do not go further, you have to experience it in the first person, it can not be full explained.

Soul in action

IMG_331074902130976What is a soul? Here, we named soul the ultimate subject within us, beyond thoughts. Is not mind nor body, some people have the intuition of their existence, other people have gotten some direct contact, means their mind have perceived the soul, impressing in the mind a sense of stable identity beyond the world, and a wonderful peace impossible of forget.

Contact with the soul, meaning perceive it with the mind at some degree, transforms our point of view about everything. At a starting level one, If you do it only for a few minutes a day, while your daily meditation, the soft and sweet impression received lasts almost all the day, subtle, but real. If you often put your attention in such subtle and sweet sensation, searching it, it slowly expands in you, in your mind, and you’re in a second level of contact. As a result, peace of mind comes to you, starting to love silence, to love calm, and to be contemplative. You often looks for daily moments of solitude, of silence, and rest in contemplation of yourself and the world, as a whole.

With time, the initial duality between “you”  as a thinker, and you as a soul, leans slowly towards the soul, towards a deep sense of identity, and you become progressively more and more independent of the external world, in the sense of be calm, peaceful and happy in every situation. You don’t need nothing, or only need basic things. You don’t desire nothing, no more artificial needs. You are starting to live a spiritual life without effort, without follow any religion or tradition, naturally. We can named it the third level of contact with your soul.


I think only few people go beyond the third level. What are there? Our mind perceive clearly the qualities of the soul: perfect loving-kindness, permanent and indestructible stability, a sense of higher awareness and an unlimited inner energy. The soul has such qualities in their highest degree, such high that our mind is not able to accept that we are that. We perceive it but can’t accept we are that, our mind says to us “is impossible I am that, I know I’m very very limited, while the qualities I’m perceiving seems unlimited!” And is right: the mind is very limited, the soul not, and while we remain identified with our mind, we also will be  very limited. A patient work of relax our ideas about ourselves is needed, patient and slow, because the progress must be slow, because there are a danger in the way: to believe we are unlimited, resulting an inflated ego. The key word is believe, a mental position. The real progress drive us to directly live more  and more the qualities of the soul, and here the key word is live: direct experience, no believe, imaginations. In this advanced fourth level we learn to express such unlimited qualities in the world through our mind and body, that acts as instruments of action for the soul. I can’t explain exactly the experience of be the soul (even in some very imperfect degree) acting on the world, because is beyond the words. Is Yoga, meaning “union with the higher self”. Is self-realization, because the soul is our higher self.


The reduced eightfold path: dual path

A high-sounding title, yes, I know it. But is my feeling, the feeling that comes to me after my daily meditation, after I was reflecting about suffering, a central concept in the Buddha’s teachings.

“Oh Bhikshus, there are four noble truths. They are the noble truths of suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering.”

Here suffering does not mean grave pain, but rather the mental suffering; Buddhist teach that our tendency to desire pleasure clashes with the fleeting nature of life and our experiences become unsatisfactory and ungovernable, causing us suffering.

This morning, after my short session of Hatha Yoga and Pranayama, sit down in my meditation room, soon in the morning, all in peace, out me and also within me, I put in front of my attention the question “why we suffer?”, and surprisingly for me the answer comes almost instantly:

All the suffering is product of mind, she create suffering and maintain it.

And then, the consequence come to my contemplative mind:

Pure awareness is not mind, is beyond mind, so is beyond suffering. Dwelling on pure awareness is to live free of suffering.

So simple! No mention about desires, clinging, grasping, hunger, and other possible sources of suffering that Buddhism explain and study. No attachment that we must overcome by years of practice. Is more simple. Is a matter of awareness, is to realize the substantial difference between thinking and be present without thinking, and learn to simply stay present, moving our sense of “I” from thoughts to pure awareness (or “the observer”). Then, all the obstacles pointed by Buddhism, like attachment,  desires, etc, are overcome without effort, they simply vanishes, because they are created and sustained by the mind, and when the mind stops their thinking, when we disidentify or our thoughts, becoming only awareness, such sources of suffering lost their bearer, and vanishes.

Maybe, I don’t know, is only an idea,  in times of Buddha the concept of become pure awareness beyond mind was too exotic, so the more secure way recommended by him was more complicated, was the eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (samadhi: meditative absorption or union, a concept very similar to the union of Yoga tradition). I think in our modern times, humankind has a enough powerful consciousness, product of centuries of rational thinking, for reduce the eightfold path to a simpler dual path:  right mindfulness, and right samadhi; here, samadhi means reflective meditation, a kind of meditation about we wrote something time ago in this blog. Of course, humans beings exists in a wide range of mental developing, so still there are people for the classic eightfold path is still the recommendable, but not for all the people were the best way. The dual path can be much more quick; we must be aware that almost nobody of the millions of Buddhist practitioners achieve samadhi in their lives, is a slow way.


concepts, intuitions, experiences, and knowledge

We are mental beings, because we see the world through our mind; any experience, any object, produces automatically thoughts, reactions, memories, and concepts about the world. Even we make concepts about ourselves: I’m tall, I’m clever, I’m an engineer, etc etc. Our concepts model our world, and also determine our actions.

Some concepts presented to us by others, like the ones the reader are reading here and now, may produce in us a sort of resonance, they “sound as true“: something within us recognize the true in them, but they not are fully integrated in our mind because are foreign thoughts, like theoretical concepts that we are not fully realized. We can say we have the intuition that such foreign thoughts may be true, because they produce in us the feeling they must be true. So, there are our own concepts about the world that we fully accept (even when such concepts are inexact o totally wrong!), integrated with our mind at deep level, and there are other concepts that arrives to us from other minds that we also accept but are not deep accepted, integrated. Two different ways of model the world. Both of them can be more or less exact, real knowledge, and also can be more or less false, but accepted (of course, false accepted concepts is more ignorance than knowledge).


There is a third way of knowledge about the world: direct experience; here, no concepts are made, instead, we fully live a situation, we perceive it fully awake, fully present and with full awareness, so such experiences are evident, undeniable for us. Sometimes, we don’t fully understand such experiences, in the sense of to be able to relate it with our previous concepts, or make a conceptual framework for model the experience; but even without intellectual understanding, we can’t deny the reality of the experience because, simply, we live it. For example, we can be astonished looking at a sunrise, the mind simply stops their thinking, and we simply are there, living the moment, being one with the scene; no need for model the experience, for thinking about the colors of the sky, or about the rotation of Earth around the Sun that ultimately produces the sunrise, such thoughts are not necessary, even they can produce the lost of the feeling, the disconnection of the feeling, so better don’t think and simply enjoy the experience.

Reflecting about experiences

All of the three ways of knowledge are valuable, and every one can reinforce the others. In reflective meditation, we look deeply at something with the aim of fully understand and realize it. For example, we can meditate about the feelings lived in the sunrise, not thinking about but look at the feeling, searching their source, with a deep look and the solid will of discover, looking for answers. Maybe is not a way for everybody, but only for those who have the urgent need to really understand themselves and the world around them: the big questions, the “why?” about life.  Is the way of Vidya Yoga, the Yoga of wisdom, truth and knowledge; remember “yoga” means “union“, and “vidya” means “knowledge” (by the way avidya means ignorance, the normal state of humankind), so Vidya Yoga means union with knowledge, and this is a precise definition: by practice patient and constant reflection about our experiences, with time, our mind progressively “touch” the knowledge, and then “melts” with them. We and full knowledge become one. Here, “full knowledge” means we have the experience and also the understanding of the experience.

Peace and harmony are natural products of a health and full aware mind

Eknath Easwaran, an old meditation teacher, one of my references, a good example of healthy, peaceful mind

Unconscious is a mental state in which the person acts and/or thinks without really realizing what he does, or without exercising his will for perform it, reacting automatically. There is also talk of an unconscious person as the irresponsible or disregarded person who carries out harmful or dangerous actions without taking into account the consequences or the risks. Conscious it would be the opposite: the state in which you act and think voluntarily and realizing full account of what you are doing and why, being responsible and considered in the action, and taking into account the risks and consequences.

In fact, we are not totally unconscious or fully aware, but a mix of both in a variable state, depending on the moment and mood. How many of the words and actions we are doing are fully aware? Surely very few.

The key question: is it possible to carry out bad actions with full conscience? Or, when we attack, criticize, do wrong to somebody, even to ourselves, are we always a bit, or quite, unconscious? In a state of wakeful attention,we do not react, but act knowing that you do it and what you do, and you will do badly only if you really want to. But, is this extreme really possible? Full aware that you do harmful actions? It implies an extreme lack of empathy, and therefore a mental pathological imbalance.

So, a healthy, balanced mind is incapable of harming anyone voluntarily, moreover, it does not make any service, don’t fill any lack, to do so. Therefore, the pain that we cause between us can only be the product of unconsciousness, mental illness, or both combined. And peace and social harmony are achieved by taking care of our minds, and trying to be always awake. So simple. What are you waiting for?

Ship of shadows

Very seldom happens to me, but it happens to me, and today it is happening: a certain pessimism about the human condition, a reason for Einstein when he said that “two things are infinite: human stupidity and the universe, and I’m not sure about the second“. It happens to me when in a day I receive too much negative information about the society in which we live, those days my faith in the possibilities of humanity fail. Deep down I still believe in ourselves, but I see so much backwardness, so much blindness and confusion even in the most basic things, that my mood drops.

nave_de_sombras_fritz_leiberI write this article not to regret about the human condition, which would be a useless act, but to try to put some light on some issues; that’s where the title comes from: ship of shadows, by Fritz Leiber, a story from the mid-twentieth century that moves between the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror, a masterpiece of its kind, something like a work of cult, we could say that it is a Gothic fiction, and thinking about our society that title has come to me. To this ship of shadows that is our society and to ourselves as members of society, a good illumination is needed to clear obscurities.

I know very well that these lines will be read by very few people, and therefore probably their effect on society will be zero, and really the direct effect will be, but indirectly we can not know, the indirect effect is to put some light on certain issues in a handful of people, who in turn can bring some light to others, and thus propagate a more awakened vision. The original writing will fall into oblivion, but its effect, although minimal, may exist, and that is enough reason to try.


There are simple statements that we should accept and apply without discussion because they are basically statements of ethical principles. For example:

The end does not justify the means.

Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.

In our society these two basic principles are often not accepted or applied. Absolutely. Quite the opposite. We get lost in a tangle of disparate thoughts, feelings, emotions, blind ideologies, and we end up acting against those principles. Let’s see examples of current events.

Amnesty International and other international organizations have been documenting cases of torture and other ill-treatment in some countries for decades, committed by members of state security forces and bodies on public roads, in police stations, and within the context of the fight against terrorism, which does not they have been duly investigated or sanctioned.

Justice understood as revenge, and the fight against terrorism, are the ends that justify means of proceeding that violate basic human rights. The end does not justify the means.

A Maths department of an institute. At that time there were six teachers: four females and two males. One of the females tells another that she has a bachelorette party from a friend that night. She replies that the “boys” who usually “act” (without wanting to offend the guild of actors) are pigs, which disgust him, she tells that violently removed one of them, who asked “maybe are you a lesbian?Another female enters the conversation: they beat me, they throw you on top of me. The fourth female listens and agrees. The first female, the one that started the topic, says lapidary: “is that to enjoy you have to go drunk“.

The four teachers, all over 30, had participated in various occasions in that kind of light orgy in which bachelorette parties have become years ago. It’s like an obligation, whether it disgusts you or not, and if it disgusts you too much, get drunk. The ideology of feminist liberation has established that it must be done so, and, point, it is not discussed. You have to do it yes or yes to be equal, to defend equality … with whom? And what? In strip clubs for men, the woman was reduced to a sexual object, and that was not to be proud; well, let’s do the same with men, right? reduce them to sexual objects, so we equalize in lowering a human being to be an object for feel myself more powerful. Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you. The end does not justify the means.

Politics is another area of lack of common sense, empathy, kindness … although it should be the opposite. Just Google some assertions:

She gets out, and she starts asking me all kinds of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” D. Trump about Fox News reporter Megan Kelly.

“One thing to be supportive, and another is to be in exchange for nothing “- M.Rajoy., Spanish president of government.

Often politics degenerates is a kind of boxing match in which cheats are allowed. The end does not justify the means.

I think the whole problem centers on a lack of awareness development. The thoughts, the ideas, are very powerful, very useful, as tools at our service are irreplaceable. But without constant supervision they can degenerate and produce monsters. It comes to be like Asimov’s laws of robotics, that over all the artificial intelligence of robots, are the simple and higher principles that ensure that the robot will not fall into Machiavellian, destructive behaviors:


  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

pepitogrilloHuman beings also need simple principles of a higher level than we can think of, principles that we should not forget, on the contrary, we should continually review our actions and thoughts to verify that we are not losing ourselves in the shadow ship of our mind or from other minds. They may simply be human rights, or it may be that even those human rights are still too complicated to apply in all possible cases. Religions in part served for that, because that was the tables of the law of Moses, or the sacred books: basic rules directing all human action and thinking. In this 21st century we still do not have clear and present the basic principles of thinking and doing that should not be violated in any way. And it is not enough to know them, to apply them you need an awake, vigilant awareness that continuously monitors our activity, and alerts us when we deviate. A constant self-observation. Do not go on autopilot, it is dangerous, there are storms in sight. Something like Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio. Or in a modern language, a metaconscience, a vigilant awareness of consciousness, or a mindfulness awareness, extended consciousness that includes what happens and what happens to us, simultaneously.




About phantasms and attachment to the past

A movie

phantomRecently I saw a low-cost one but interesting movie; the protagonist, a young man in their thirties, living in love with a woman, die in a car accident. Probably due to their strong attachment to their nice live and his couple, their soul remain into their home, wandering. The look of our guy is very classical: a phantasm covered with a white sheet with two holes acting as eyes.  He can see  but he can’t talk, nor communicate in any way. The phantasm contemplate their couple, depressed, crying, for a while, then, she start to dating with other man … time flies, the woman sell the house, so the phantasm become alone in the empty house, observing, new people come to the house, … at last, after many years of wandering, the phantasm suddenly realizes their time has passed away, realizes there are nothing there connected with him, and he become free of attachment, and disappear from this material world. Being a movie not dedicated to achieve high amounts of incomes, the action is very slow, with long shots showing the monotone “life” of the phantasm, doing nothing, only observing, watching the house. I think this slow speed, that at first worried me due to the lack of habit (you know, all the commercial movies are on the other side, action and more action, with very fast conversations, etc) was necessary for really understand the mental state of a person strongly attached to something that has ceased to exist, waiting unconsciously for a impossible return. I didn’t be aware in that time, but now  I realize the message really penetrate into my subconscious.

Attached to a memory


Old times, people no longer there, but house still is there.

Last Saturday, I’m reading while traveling by suburban train;  the convoy stops in a railway station, and absently I look up from the book for find out where I am … oh … is the station where I lived many years before, with my parents, both died now. Nostalgia invades me, my lost childhood, etc. And then I think maybe some day I’ll go down in this station, then I will walk to my old house, now inhabited for another family, and I will sit there, in front of the house, for relive the old sensations for a while, yes, maybe is a good idea. Then, while I was thinking about, I saw my own reflection on the window of the train, in front of me; being a window, not a mirror, my reflections was very blur. And then, suddenly, I remember the movie, my image looks like a phantasm, not with a white sheet but blur, seated there, still, waiting, desiring reliving a past that never will return … I was a phantasm! Oh dear! Or at least, I was behaving like a ghost, chained to a house by memories. This thought deeply disturbed me, I never before had considered the emotional attachment to a place in this way. The train resumed, and I remain meditative, trying to see, to understand the lesson. Seems to me that every moment is unique, it exists for a brief moment and then disappears… sure? All disappears every moment? Seems absurd, seems nothing really exists, is like another phantasm, with no real existence, mm…

The book, the time and the present moment

At home, I mean the actual one. After lunch, I’m looking for a book about Bach’s flowers, an alternative therapy for emotional equilibrium, not for me, but for my wife. We have lots of books in home, distributed in many libraries, shelves, tables, and not very well ordered, so is not easy to find the book. As it often happens, while looking for a book I find other books that read many years ago, almost forgotten, and is a nice surprise see them again … oh! this one, interesting, and this other, also interesting, … so I finally return to the living room with some books, for reread them. One of the books is about inner work, I mean, meditation; I opened it randomly and read:

We have the illusion that time is continuous, but really, at every moment everything disappears and reappears. It is like a systole and a diastole of creation, but we only live through diastole. At every moment, everything is created. Therefore, each moment is unique and unrepeatable. As this happens very quickly, we have the feeling of continuity, as when we see a film composed of dozens of frames that parade at great speed in front of our eyes. When you work the conscience, you can get to see this.

Wow … what a coincidence! The movie, the station and my insight, and now this text, randomly chosen. Indeed, modern Quantum Mechanics is also pointing in this direction: time is not continuous, but discrete, advance by “jumping”, with very short intervals of … no time! This intervals are really short: named Planck time, is approximately 5.39 × 10 −44 s, a unimaginable little bit of time: universe is about 4,7304e+17s old, so in a scale from Plank time to a Universe age, the time “one second” is more near to the age of Universe than the Plank time, that is a very very little interval of time!


Scale of powers of ten: at left, 10⁻⁴⁴ is the Plank time, 1 represents 1 second, and at right, 10¹⁶ is near the age of Universe

Is possible that a meditator are able to perceive such insignificant time interval? Maybe the writer was aware of this quantum law and was influenced by it, imagining he can fell it. Anyway, it was a great coincidence.  

Indeed, my own experience is just the contrary; in deep meditation, feeling the unity of all the creation, I often also feel the unity of time: there are only one unique instant, eternal, that incorporate all. Is the unity of all in space and also in time. Maybe is a matter of point of view: when we see all from a whole view, with expanded awareness, the unity of all is the answer, but when we dive in our own awareness, looking for the center, then we find the pulse of the creation, that systole and a diastole movement of creation.

galaxia plana