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.
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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.

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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?

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

Familia

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!

Planckb

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

 

 

Deepening within us, why do it?

Exploration and knowledge of ourselves

What does the reader think about his world, about the world he is living in? Of course, there is a close world, the environment of the person, and there is a global world, that which we usually only hear about, perhaps through the news. Perhaps the reader of these lines is a well-to-do person, without serious problems, who looks at the great world problems by distancing himself, or perhaps on the contrary is an activist for human rights, or for world peace. Even the reader may not be enjoying a pleasant nearby environment. We have all the possibilities.

This blog, like many others, is dedicated to disseminating and sharing a certain type of knowledge related to the inner space of the person; In modern advanced societies we tend to be totally turned outside of ourselves, and our inner space is quite forgotten, and therefore these writings are predestined to have almost no audience. Indeed, observing the whole range of possible readers, we can perceive that there are many people who, so to speak, seem to have a well-organized life and a “well-furnished head”, that is, a highly organized mind, and with coherence of ideas. and contents; strongly intellectualized people, natural product of our model of society and education, who have accepted, who have internalized ideologies and a philosophy of life that are useful for navigating through existence.

These people do not seem to suffer for them or for the misfortunes of others, the torrent of bad news that we see daily in the media does not affect them at all; it is not necessarily that they are not empathic, nor that they are indifferent to the suffering of others, which can also be, it is rather that they are “vaccinated” against all kinds of doubts or emotional discomfort, they take a pragmatic, necessarily distant position. Hardly this type of people will read any of the articles of this blog or others of the same style, as much will not pass the owner and the first paragraph, why would they be interested? They will see it simply as a waste of time. Their interior works like a clock, it does not bother them at all, they do not need or want to access it.

Motivation

If we put it this way, in terms of utility, who can be useful to investigate the issue of interior life? Leaving aside the application of attention-mindfulness techniques to increase productivity, which in fact serves only a particular aspect of our interior facets, attention, but only to remain focused on the outside, on the productive, we have the people who they are not fully satisfied with what they see on that exterior, with what they themselves and / or others live. There may be a concern, a desire to know more about the why of things, beyond the descriptions given by science, very detailed, very technical, but superficial in the sense of not answering the question of … why it is so?, or may feel no longer a concern, but a true restlessness, an inability to accept things as they occur, as they seem to be.

Depending on the degree of concern, because in people, as diverse as we are, we find the whole range of concerns to any topic, from total indifference to absolute dedication and even obsession, depending on that degree, the person can be a simple reader with some curiosity, or it can be someone who gets involved and practices Yoga, Qigong, meditation, etc, and this in varying degrees, from sporadic practices seeking a well-being to making practice a way of life. It is this restlessness that motivates the person to submerge in herself, in an unknown inner space, since it has not been explored previously, on the contrary, it has been rather ignored. And when exploring it, it may be that things move, that preconceived ideas fall, ideas about the world and about the person, about their self-image, their own concept of themselves. It is an exploration of unknown terrain that can change you at the root, and the unknown and deep changes always scare, therefore, to explore in depth one’s interior spaces requires courage and determination, demand constancy and a good motivation to move forward.

Deep, strong motivation

Most people interested in cultivating themselves stay on the surface, like those children we see on the beaches who dive into the shallow water with a tube to breathe, and they watch the bottom, only one meter deep. If they entered the sea, they would see that there, below the surface, there is an immense world to discover, not without dangers, of an incredible depth and depth. But to explore it requires a good team and a training, and of course, a strong motivation. This simile of underwater exploration shows us another important aspect of the exploration of ourselves: when we immerse deeply within, what we find is not only our inner space, but the inner space, as well in general; it stops being a local exploration, close, to become global, universal: the deep mind is identical in all people, what differentiates us is the superficial. At great depth, there is unity. Therefore, our own individuality is blurred, we are inseparable part of a whole. For explore at that level of depth, without fear of what you will find, without fear of personal, radical transformation that will happen to you, what kind of motivation is needed? Few people come to venture so far.

Because many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14

I think that no one will be able to go deep until they lose themselves simply because of a basically selfish motivation, such as being well, increasing one’s well-being, or satisfying a personal desire for knowledge. If your motivation is to do yourself a favor, in any of the many ways to do it, when you reach such a deep level that the “yourself” begins to fade, at that level you will stop, then, what’s the point? continue to the point that the subject seeking his satisfaction disappears as such subject? That will be an insurmountable barrier that will prevent further deepening, because that level implies the disappearance of the subject that wants to know.

So who will be able to continue deepening even assuming the fact that he will lose himself? The only motivation powerful enough to overcome that wall that represents your own dissolution is love, not love focused on yourself, but Love with a capital letter. It is that Love that, according to legend, led the Buddha to abandon his luxurious environment to seek enlightenment, because he was unable to assimilate, to accept, the suffering of others, to see them in misery, in sickness, old age and death, could not continue living as before after knowing it. This non-acceptance of suffering in general, not of one’s own suffering, but of suffering itself, is an expression of impersonal, general Love, and provides the necessary strength to deepen the internal, hidden reality, and reveal it, even at the risk of ceasing to be what you thought you were: the psychological “ego”.

It is a radical nonconformity, the person is unable to accept so much suffering from others; it is to have a connection with everything, together with a wanting to know why. When you have that combination, and you also have a high degree, is when the person forgets himself, his burning desire to know and do something about suffering have the power for to take us to the depths of the Self, and there, at last you will know, and you will understand the why of everything.

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Inspired daily acts

Always act correctly … is it possible?

In life we ​​are acting constantly, we have no choice, we must do it. Our actions may have more or less success, it will depend on the circumstances and also on our ability.

Skills can be acquired and improved by practice, while circumstances are changing, dynamic; the action that can be appropriate here and now, maybe will not be in another time and place, which is appropriate for someone does not have to be for another person. Every moment and every situation is new, it must be evaluated without falling into automatisms, in predetermined actions. Therefore, a perfect act is a new creation, linked to the instant and the conditions. Automatic, repetitive acts can only be correct in repetitive, static environments.

But evaluating each situation can be difficult, even impossible, perhaps because we do not have all the information, or because it is inaccessible, or because we do not have enough time to evaluate it, or perhaps we have preconceived ideas that prevent us from realistically evaluating the situation. In fact, we will never have the security of not being mistaken in our actions, by much experience and ability that we have.

This reasoning is valid for every act, also for acts of kindness and love. It is well known that good intentions are not usually enough to carry out actions of kindness, of helping others; It may even happen that, wanting to do good, we cause evil, that loving, we harm.

Inspiration and inspired acts


Inspiration: Act of filling with air the lungs | State in which you feel a special facility for creation.

Inspiration is usually associated with artistic creation, also to scientific discovering. But we have just seen that an act can, and should be considered as a creation that we do, is our contribution to a concrete situation. So, if every act is a creation, we can talk about inspiration linked to every act. Let us therefore think of inspired daily acts. As we know from artists and scientists, inspiration must be sought before the act; when it arrives, we are passed to such special creative state: the mind is filled with ideas, sensations, feelings, and then the act “comes out” effortlessly, and it is an act we could say “perfect”. There is no prior intellectual process, any thinking, yet you experience a creative state, and an impulse to act, your mind is filled with creative energy.

Since there is no previous reasoning process, the inspired action is always impersonal, because anything that is personal always arise from our thinking.  Indeed, you do not decide, rather inspiration, when comes, decides for you, she takes you,  you are her channel of expression. By acting in an inspired way you are not striving, even if outwardly it is a demanding, exhausting work, internally you feel no effort, you do not need to force anything, instead, you flow with action naturally. Although it is impersonal, so you are not seeking any personal benefit, however you get it: the satisfaction of performing, of materializing an inspiration, fills you as no personal action could do.

The same rule applies to acts of love-kindness: if they are inspired, they will be impersonal, and always, always, they will benefit the receiver. The mind will know, beyond all doubt, the correct line of action for the benefit of the other person. There is no longer a possible failure in an action of inspired loving-kindness. And the satisfaction of performing an act of inspired love is the greatest of all, fills you with unconditional joy. In fact, searching inspiration for the material realization of love is itself a direct path of self-realization and happiness.

How do we get inspiration?

In the same way that we acquire any skill: with practice. You have to go for it. Some indications for the work:

  • The mind must be calm, relaxed, attentive. It is not a question of thinking as much as we have to act. Quite the opposite. The mind must be in a receptive, open, even expectant state. Only in this state of mind can we receive inspiration. This is an indispensable requirement. If we practice relaxation and / or meditation this requirement will not be a big problem for us, if not, is a good point for start to meditate.
  • Mentally we “put” the situation on which we want to act “in front of us”, but without thinking about, we only contemplate it, with voluntary attention and relaxed mind. We observe, and we also put “on hold”, as if we put a question in the situation, but waiting for the answer, calmly, without forcing. In a way it is a very mindful attitude, related to Mindfulness state, because we observe without judging, with a mind in silence but that is asking, very open to what comes. Even being perhaps experts in the subject, we get into mode “beginner”, asking for an answer.
  • Keep the impersonal attitude, we are only an intermediary between the situation and the inspiration that we hope will fill us. Maintain the will to want to act, but waiting for inspiration.
  • If we are faced with a situation that really requires our immediate action, the inspiration will always come, it will not leave us in the lurch, except when we do not have the right mental state. If the mind is not relaxed, calm and receptive, it will simply be closed to inspiration.

With practice the results will come. The more we practice, if we do it right, the more inspiration we get.

When the inspiration comes, I hope she find me working.”    – Picasso

Love story

A short tale about the realization of inner love, the source of true love.

At first, she treated me with great affection.
So my affection for her grew, and grew.
Even when I tried to stop it, I was unable.
Because I noticed that my attempt made her suffer.
When I tried to be distant, I saw her with her head down, and I could not bear it.

Eventually my affection for her overwhelmed me.
Occupying my mind, my thoughts, my being.
I used to imagine sharing with her every moment, every experience. I’m in love with her, clearly.
So I could not hide my great affection anymore.

But it happened that she had already changed her mind.
She had already decided to restrain her affection for me, because it was not convenient for her.
What I had not been able to do, was no problem for her.
So she rejected me, without any care.
And his dealings with me became formal, polite, correct … cold. No more affection from her.
We distance ourselves. We did not see each other anymore.

However, I wrote to her from time to time.
I wrote it with tenderness, with affection, opening my soul, as always.
But she always responded intellectually, analytically, with distance.

One night, after reading his cold reply, I realized that I was happy.
How was it possible?
She no longer offered me any affection, but even so, the mere mental contact, through e-mails, from a long distance, made me happy.
Then I realized that the happiness I felt was not produced by her.
It were impossible, because she was closed to me, she was not giving anything, anymore, to me.

Where did that happiness come from?
Focusing my attention carefully on the sensation, I saw it flowing from me. From within,
There was no reason for such happiness, even so there it was, subtle, but real, as if there was still mutual affection.

I realized then that I could live, feel, that state, a state of love-happiness, independently, by myself. She was not producing it, no longer, no more, never more.
She had only opened a door to my inner source of love; and I could keep the door open, even though she no longer loved me.

Thus, currently I remain in love, happy. But not in love for her, I’m in love. Within love.
And I stopped writing her. I no longer need her. I do not bother her anymore.

The inner reality of love can be recognized only by love. Hans Urs von Balthasar