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?

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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

 

 

Searching the “I”

This is an issue of great importance because ignorance is the mechanism responsible for all our misfortunes and is something that is constantly running.

We identify with what we are, not who we are

The error occurs when we identify ourselves  with the things that we live,  the things that happen, and what we feel and think. The relationship with the world causes us a continuous series of internal movements (psychic) and each has its importance, but we do not live only its importance but we live as if we were the movements. Although I can identify with many things, all identifications are based on an original identification: identification with the idea I have of myself.

It is necessary to step back and see what little sense that you pass from one identification to another. It imposes the deal with the problem and said: “If I think at one point being that idea, that situation, that success, I’m representing that character, and then this happens, and I see that I play to be something else does not it make all this an artificial, false character? What is my true identity? Who am I, really? For, while I don’t discover who I really am, I’ll keep believing to be another thing, and I will keep heeding what will happen to that other thing which I’m confounding”.

I’m not the body, I have a body

The body is something of mine; it’s not me. It’s something that I possess, through which I express myself physically and act, but I am not the body. The body is subject to a number of changes over the years and is changing all its cellular condition, all his “tissue” and yet, I’m still me. My body now has no material element of which was 10 or 15 years ago.

I’m not my emotions, I have emotions

The entire range which is my emotions, states of euphoria, sadness, affection, rejection, resentment, illusions, etc., all that vast emotional range, are also things I feel, that I have, that I live, but I, as a subject, I’m not any of those things where I live, are things that happen through me. Because I stay and things are going, I‘m still the same before and after. So, the things that happen, the things I feel, whether pleasant or unpleasant, high or low, does not add or take away anything to my depth, the deep subject that I am.

If I learn to discover my deep identity and to live anchored in such I, then I would live all my feelings but would not be deeply affected by them. Feelings still exist because it would be natural that they exist, but the confusion between me are vanished, so I’m able to maintain a serenity and management capacity and control over situations. I’ll enjoy more the positive eliminating the negative by the absence of identification, but also I would live more authentically, more in line with the reality of my own deep identity.

Nor am I my mind nor am I my thoughts

I am none of the movements of my mind. My mind is constantly thinking, handles images and ideas and made judgements; but I’m who handled the mind. Before, during and after thinking process, I am always the same. I am the subject who is behind, and just because I am not none the thoughts, so I keep thinking and thinking and can leave remain the same.

When thoughts have a link with the basic thought of myself (the Iidea), then I confuse me with my thoughts. But a thought is just a representation of something, there is nothing in itself, is like a picture of something, is not the thing, just as the image of a person is not the person. And such representation is mine, is like an internal object within my mind.

I’m a subject, not an object

Both my body and my affection and my mind are all important, but they are instruments, are not myself. I am none of the things I can see or feel or think. I can not be anything that is an object for my consciousness, because I‘m on the other end of consciousness. I’m the subject who sees. I am the living subject.

Only when I see clearly that I am constantly making mistakes in my attitude, taking myself for my things, only then I will be motivated to try to discover who I really am. Unless I see the problem, I do not seek your solution. If I don’t find that I am living in error, I do not seek the truth. Therefore it is necessary to reflect and realize what happens when you live wrong, see what hurts and why, to discover on our own experience what are happening; rather than complain, protest or flee, look. Adopt an intelligent attitude to things that you are negatively living, and discover that what is pain or concern for me, it is because I am confused with something that I’m really not.

Then, who I am?

My conscience often live only the outer half of my experience and let forgotten (closed) the  inner end of the experience. We must be attentive to the notion that one‘s self as a subject while living everything. Is an extension of my current consciousness to include the subject rather than just the object of experience.

What I am never can be described in intellectual way, because what I am is no object. What I am is something that seems intangible. That’s why do not we pay attention. Seems nothing.  Yet it is the source of all experience arises; is the source of all my energy, all my ability of insight and understanding, all my capacity for affection and happiness arises all  from this core that I am.

We can not describe what this such “I”, because any description would describe it as giving a limited content, objective, what is essentially subject, which would be a contradiction. But we can guess that this is the most important of our lives.

Who are we really? Thrills, mental states, personality?

Emotional mind and rational mind

Science has known for some time that the emotions are brewing often beyond the control of the conscious mind, in the area of ​​the brain called the amygdala, a kind of independent “emotional brain”.

 There was an emotional brain before a rational one. – David Goleman, Emotional Intelligence pg. 16


It is then possible that, given a situation, or a choice we have to do, happen that our rational brain does not like the election of the emotional brain; Who will follow? who are we? From the moment that someone observes two “tips” or different impulses, emotional and rational, and must decide who to let go, the logical answer seems to be: we are not any of them, nor the rational mind and the emotional. Instead, we are “someone” who is carried away by them. In our present state of evolution as a human species, not yet have a clear understanding of who we are beyond the mind, so sometimes we identify with the emotional decisions, sometimes rational; how are you two do not always coincide, often behave and feel like “divided”.

And who is that somebody beyond the mind?

He manifests itself as a parallel stream of consciousness, which looms above or beside what is happening rather than being immersed and lost in it.. David Goleman, Emotional Intelligence pg 47

According to Goleman, we are (or can be) independent from what happens in our environment and in our mind consciousness. This distance gives us a new identity, we no longer feel “divided” between emotional identity and rational. A surprising statement, but not new, very old indeed; It had already been enunciated thousands years ago in various spiritual traditions. For example, if Buddha were among us, could have told Goleman: “I told you so” (though probably would not).

Who we think we are?

A king heard the sound of a lute and was delighted for him, so he ordered them to bring that sound. The servants brought him the lute, not the sound, and had to explain to the king that the sound has no independent existence, but is created by the separate ropes, box and arch elements acting simultaneously. Just as the king can not find the sound of the lute, we can not find our self. – Buddha, Samyutta Nikaya


Usually we get confused with our personality, which is created dynamically, moment by moment, by the simultaneous action of the body, perceptions, emotional reactions, rational thoughts based on the memory of past experiences, and giving unity to all this racket, the awareness. As the lute, personality does not exist independently of its factors.

Mindfulness meditation

We must be able to let things appear in the psyche. For us, this is an art which most people do not know anything. We usually interfering, helping, correcting or denying, without letting the psychic process is developed in peace“. Carl Jung, The Secret of the Golden Flower, 1962, pg. 93


It seems that Jung speaks of a mind that does not interfere or react with the contents of consciousness, an idea that reminds us to the modern definition of Mindfulness: when we simply observe, without interfere, a deeply therapeutic result occurs, a relaxation in the experience of the moment present, and cease trying to control everything. We realize that if we stop fighting for control, the world does not fall apart, we accept the conditions of life, and found a new source of satisfaction.

7-key-elements-of-mindfulness

Elements defining Mindfulness meditation, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn

Using awareness that does not interfere, do not destroy our ego, rather learn to “see through it” because we do not take it so seriously, we get a “self-liberation”. Meditation allows us free attention, makes us able to reject or at least weaken all the compulsive, automatic, reactions to stimuli, that if we get carried away by  them, could harming others and / or ourselves.

The meditative traditions continue where psychoanalysis ends … we cut the roots of the reaction … That eliminates much suffering. Then you become master of your own mind and experience.” – Daniel Brown, MindScience: An East West Dialogue, Boston, Wisdom Publications, 1991, pg. 101.

The importance of identifying emotions when they occur

Of course, one thing is detachedly observe our mind while meditating in a place specially chosen for this, with nothing and no one to disturb us, surrounded by peace, and quite another to observe without interfering what happens when we are in action and things do not go as we had planned. For example, one of the most powerful emotions is anger; comes to us as a reaction to something we do not like, it may be an injustice, someone inappropriately treat us according to our view, or just something that happens and hurts us. It is dangerous because it captures us a lot of energy, which aims to fight, fight, destroy what has disturbed us. In addition,

Anger and fear are the two emotions that impulse demand a more urgent response. Given these two emotions there is an eagerness to act.” – Rafael Bisquerra, The Universe of Emotions, pg. 79

This impatience to act can lead to perform harmful actions; even if we have spent years meditating, the big amount of energy captured by the emotion and the speed with which it acts can take the control. How to achieve being a master in regulating such emotion? Every time that happens to us once last episode, we must review the events, and realize retrospectively that have been dominated by anger. Over time, our appreciation of this emotion improve until there will come a day when we are so fast that we do not catch  by surprise, recognize it when it comes in; then we will be able to get carried away by it, if we deem appropriate, or pass up, in other words, we are free to act as best we may seem, we will not be conditioned.

Keep in mind that there is often anger episodes of low intensity, which can easily be overlooked. Do you feel tense? angry? ?impatient? peevish? I feeling disaffection? All these states can be related to the more or less disguised anger. It is important to be aware of any negative emotional state, learning to recognize and label: “I recognize that I am impatient … my mind is impatient … my current mental state is impatient …”.

 Making brief moments of mindfulness during the day

Another possibility to train attention for the action is to brief regular breaks from what we are doing and in that brief moment, may be only a few seconds to give full attention, can be our body, our emotions at that moment or thoughts. There are even various mobile apps that can help us; for example, there is a free app reminding us to stop a few seconds, and it does so with the beautiful sound of a Tibetan bowl: Mindfulness Bell.

mindfulness-bell

Turning your view of world outside in

I’ve found a talk from Jiddu Krishnamurti, and happen to found it very interesting, so I wrote an extract, adding some structure, here it is, hope you reader enjoy it!

Mind hides reality

arbresCan you observe anything – a tree, your wife, your neighbor, the politician, the priest, a beautiful face – without any movement of the mind? The images of your wife, of your husband, of your neighbor, the knowledge of the cloud or of pleasure, all that interferes, doesn’t it? So when there is interference by an image of any kind, subtle or obvious, then there is no observation, there is no real, total awareness – there is only partial awareness.

Real observation: no thoughts, the observer and the observed becomes one

To observe clearly there must be no image coming in between the observer and the thing observed. When you look at a tree, can you look at it without the thought of that tree in botanical terms, or the thought of your pleasure or desire concerning it? Can you look at it so completely that the space between you – the observer – and the thing observed disappears? That doesn’t mean that you become the tree! But when that space disappears, there is the cessation of the observer, and only the thing which is observed remains. In that observation there is perception, seeing the thing with extraordinary vitality, its colour, its shape, the beauty of the leaf or trunk; when there is not the center of the ‘me’ who is observing, you are intimately in contact with that which you observe.

Intelligence is not thoughts made for a conditioned mind

Intelligence comes when you understand and break away the interference of the conditioned mind. So you have to set about it; and the first thing is to be aware that your mind is not free. You have to observe how your mind is bound by prejudices and previous concepts, and then there is the beginning of intelligence, which brings freedom. To be creative, which is to have real initiative, there must be freedom; and for freedom there must be intelligence. A conditioned mind is not free because it can never go beyond its own borders, beyond the barriers it has built around itself; that is obvious. But you like your conditioning because you dare not go beyond; therefore you help to create the barriers which hold you. This is the prison in which most of us are caught.

A confused society produce confused individuals

We are aware of conflict, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, despair, lack of love, and fear, the political confusion, the divisions caused by nationalities and religions, the wars. Our social environment produces all this confusion and chaos; why do we live this way? Why is it that our educational system does not turn out real human beings but mechanical entities trained to accept certain jobs and finally die? Education, science and religion have not solved our problems at all. Looking at all this confusion, why does each one of us accept and conform, instead of shattering the whole process in ourselves?

Finding the purpose of life

People will go on inventing various purposes of life. The political group will have one purpose, the religious group will have another, and so on and on. But the important thing is not to ask what is the purpose of life, but to clear away the confusion that is within you, in your mind. It is like a blind man asking, “What is light?” From the moment he is able to see, he will never ask what is light.

Extracted from Waking Times.

Peace is within us, not out of us

Last night we were seeing with family a war movie, “Black Hawk Down”; the action happens in Somalia. At one point in the tape we saw hundreds of armed Somali militiamen acting as a horde of fools attacking a handful of UN soldiers, and killing them in terrible scenes; in that time crossed my mind the idea that the whole problem there was lack of full awareness, awareness “captured” by thoughts, and thoughts out of control.

black-hawk-down[1]

Violent mob in the movie

So this morning I first meditate about it: the damage a deranged psychic activity associated with consciousness entangled in it can produce. Indeed, I think these bad disturbed conscious states, better said, disturbed unconscious states, are the source of all the conflicts.

Then, I spent 10 minutes practising a visualization: imagining a car with armed men somewhere Middle East, watching over a road; suddenly these men remain attentive to the sunset, in its beauty, and then experience their own inner presence, in mental silence, then realize themselves, beyond any external conflict,  which leads them to return to their homes, his family, to leave the conflict and embrace people of his village. Then I visualized the same change in consciousness happening worldwide, even to the world leaders, and finally how peace is established in all countries. Leaving the meditation, I felt a little thrill … so nice thoughts.

beautiful_sunset_trees_pretty_clouds_road_hd-wallpaper-800px

From crawling to running and beyond

Talking from a spiritual point of view, 99% of human beings is like a baby crawling. In such state, we believe we are our bodies, maybe also our minds, minds that are not well trained, on the contrary, they react automatically in response to outer events. The unobserved thoughts create the personal ego, and we are in a mess with him. According to some beliefs, such state can last many lives, in which the true Self reincarnates again and again.

walking (source: http://www.yogaworld.org)

walking (source: http://www.yogaworld.org)

Some of us are just starting to learn to walk; you know, there are a big difference between crawling and walking: a new world opens their gates before us. We notice other planes of existence, more subtle, more peaceful. The ego, this maze of thoughts in which we have identified, becomes weaker, and occasionally we experience higher states of awareness but, like the baby just learning to walk, we often fall again to the previous state. Anyway, we already know by own experience that the new state is wonderful. As our awareness develops, our life changes, we start to know who really we are.

Imagine now you are fully awake, you no longer identified with your mind, you’re able to observe your thoughts without any craving, your sight is equanimous, you’re not longer any little personal ego, no selfish thought can dwell within your mind: maybe, from our present state, seems to us is the final stage of the human developing, right? What else? But, what about it were just a new start point? And if I told you it’s just the beginning? If I told you: these illuminated people are only  beginners in the spiritual development field, you’d think? Those people are like the children who already have learned to walk, but are still not able to walk long distances in the outer world because they are still  too weak, so they still have not seen nothing beyond their nearest environment.

As the child who master walking and just start to discover the outer world, a person liberated from their ego just starts to discover the chances that opens before him, because transcend the limited ego drives us to a transpersonal conscience, a sense of wholeness and to understand the true meaning of the word compassion. Perhaps our true nature is so great that we cannot even  imagine it their scope, like the baby who are learning to walk can’t imagine some day in the future he’ll run long distances on the mountains. Perhaps our true nature is as big as the Universe is.