Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Posts Tagged ‘buddhism’

The OK mudra

Posted by majutsu on August 5, 2010

There is an opening into the dimension of the timeless awareness that is the source of everything and in which we are all one. This opening or keyhole is total, personal awareness. There are many tricks and methods to get to that place of being right on the verge of experiencing total, personal awareness in the now. The final step over the precipice of selflessness, however, must be taken by faith – for it is a place where the mind alone cannot lead.
The mind can lead the seeker right up to that precipice, however. In fact, the accumulated store of mantras, mudras, meditations, practices, bhaktis, and so on, is nothing but a collection of tools, pointers to that precipice where grace must take over. In particular, I was reading recently about an analysis of a certain mudra (meditative hand-gesture) that has been used in the past. Sometimes, when reading about ancient mystical traditions, one is struck by the powerful thought and analysis that has gone into to some of these cherished pointers over the years. It might say something about our spiritual and cultural degradation that so many of these mean so little to anyone now.
The mudra being studied in this piece is rather simple – its ramifications are not! The mudra is the thumb touching the forefinger of either hand, as though you were saying, “OK!” The main thought of this mudra is that the experience and the experienced are relative, semantic distinctions, and in reality, they are really one. To begin, touch the thumb to the forefinger as described above. Now, imagine you are the thumb, a stout little creature, and that as you touch and untouch the thumb and forefinger repeatedly, try to be conscious of yourself as a little thumb being stabbed repeatedly by this external, poking first finger. Usually within 30-40 seconds, you can really be conscious of yourself as experiencing thumb and the finger as the experienced. Relax your hand and mind and begin again. This time, try to be conscious of yourself as a slender finger being pounded on repeatedly by this smashing, thick thumb. Again, within an average of 40 seconds or so, you will be conscious of yourself as the experiencing finger being mashed by this oppressive thumb. You can do this repeatedly, back and forth, getting a sense of yourself alternatively as thumb or finger, with the roles of experiencer and experienced changing rapidly. In this way, within a few minutes, you can build a sense, a feeling, of the truth that experiencer and experienced are one event. Both Newtonian physics before and quantum physics now discuss the idea that experiencer and experienced are tied together in a profound and essential relationship. What else is fascinating about this mudra is the readiness with which we, as we play the game, willingly shrink our consciousness down to a body part – “I am a thumb” – when that same consciousness is capable of saying “I am a person” or even expanding to comprehend the entire universe!
So there are two main points that can be internalized on the bodily, experiential level through this exercise: 1) Consciousness can be so easily limited (“I am a thumb, “I am this body part,” or “I am this miserable situation in my life”) that it throws serious doubt on any assumed limits we tend to place on consciousness or true identity. 2) Experiencer and experienced are one, inseparable being. Since we tend to divide the universe into myself and all-that-other-stuff-out-there, experiencer and experienced, we must accept by the mudra that the world and I are really one being in a complex interaction since experiencer and experienced are arbitrary and inseparable. This is why, in quantum mechanics, sometimes, the universe or other system is described in terms of a wave state, a totality of the way things are. This is because the proverbial butterfly flapping her wings in one part of the world might provide the critical molecular stimulus for some crucial physical event elsewhere in the world. With such vast interdependence, it is futile to talk of parts or complete causes.
Also, if the experiencer (me) and the experienced (everything else) are really one totality, having already cast doubt on the assumed limits of our consciousness, we must certainly see that the consciousness and being that pervade the universe must arise from the consciousness of me, my self, much as the finger’s consciousness or “I am-ness” arises from the same source as the thumb’s consciousness or “I am-ness.” That matter-energy field that is me-and-the-world-together sings without limit or border, much like a beam of light keeps going through space indefinitely in the absence of reflection, refraction or absorption. And since the vibration we are contains everything, timelessly, what could there be to bounce off of? So we sing the song of creation, everywhere, timelessly, without border.
What sort of implications does this belief structure have? First of all, personal identity, which requires that certain experiences being acquired or excluded, and that the awareness of the universe being limited to a particular fleshy body, collapses in the faces of an indistinguishable experiencer-experienced pair as well as an inability to draw a border around awareness. It is the artificial structure of the personal identity that causes us chronic unhappiness, experiences we crave or don’t want to have, identities we don’t want to live out etc. This is what causes us to hurt the ones closest to us that we love the most. On a larger scale, our misidentification with race or nation causes genocide and war. Our severing the oneness we share with the earth is the cause of our rampant environmental degradation. Our knowledge that our true identity always was and always will be, unchanged, erases our identification with birth and chronic dread of death. This absence of fear enables us to love ourselves and others effortlessly and fully, celebrating our joy and oneness instead of suffering our divisiveness and fear.
You can see that understanding who we really are is one of the most important tasks we face at this time. The implications of becoming “OK” with who we really are can transform our lives, our relationships, our nations and our planet. If we don’t soon wake from this nightmare and figure out how to become “OK” with our selves, the suffering could be so deep and catastrophic that our compassionate queen may well shred apart everything to end the suffering of delusion as well as to teach the doctrine of love and awareness. There is the path of suffering and the path of reason and practice. The path of suffering is hard and is one I try to save myself and my own children from when possible. Since we need no time to become “right,” merely an instant, let it happen now like sunshine fills a dark room once the window is un-shuttered.

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Villanelle for a Shot of Jameson

Posted by majutsu on July 28, 2010

A shot of whiskey joins ice and warmth
and does not question rocky errant paths
like humans who forget the final step

is but the last and counts as one of all,
the final sum of but forgotten math
a shot of whiskey joins. Ice and warmth,

and pleasure and pain do bind together all,
protect the self with swings of lust and wrath
like humans who forget. The final step

we take to realize we are very small,
a nothing, salt dissolving in a bath.
A shot of whiskey joins ice and warmth

and does not hide in casks or shirk it’s call
to rest in tapestries of days, a single lath,
like humans who forget the final step

arrives, and wanders-past aren’t tragic falls,
just narratives to unknown aftermaths.
A shot of whiskey joins ice and warmth
like humans who forget the final step.

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The Box

Posted by majutsu on July 27, 2010

My wife, who’s a writer, often tells me it’s good for the soul to write. My protestations of lack of craft and sufficient free-time she over-rides by saying that making a sonnet is like making a little toy of words. I love little toys, trinkets, pieces of art, etc as they tend to re-awaken the child-like joy that is the state we aspire to when we seek to find the root one-ness of all, that state of what the Shiva Sutra calls “joy-filled amazement”.

So here’s my naive sonnet filled with fixed formal ideas about stanza purpose, force iambs, and anachronistic contractions: Enjoy! 😉

The Lacquer Box

An antique shop I passed on route to school
had on display a painted lacquer box.
Desiring leafy lacework ‘til I drooled,
I saved to buy the key. My piece, unlocked!

Between my hands, alive, wood resonates,
Enamel tendrils snake ‘round fingertips.
The tiny key’s intelligence innate
pries tumbler pins with clicking, kissing lips.

Once opened, red velour lined coffin walls
entombed a tiny, dazzling, crystal man
with probing sapphire eyes and chiseled jaws
the craftsman’s sacred message held ‘tween his hands.

The secret hid in carvings, secured by locks?
One chip of wood, a simple uncarved block

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The Illusion of the Self

Posted by majutsu on July 21, 2010

The Illusion of the Self

We humans suffer from a serious mental illness which results in terrible crimes against others and the earth. Instead of correctly seeing ourselves as nothing other than the one, formless source of all life, consciousness and being, we identify ourselves with our personal narrative sustained by the running commentary in our heads.

Imagine, as a metaphor, that our thoughts – our past, our relationships, our likes and dislikes, our concepts about the world and its objects – are marbles. Imagine a big bowl filled with these diverse, multi-colored and enchanting marbles. Now, imagine ourselves as obsessive marble collectors, that we have insanely mis-identified our true nature as this collection of marbles. In that case, like an obsessive marble collector, we will perpetually be seeking to add another prize specimen to our collection to “complete” it, or, alternatively, be petrified of losing one of the precious marbles in our prize collection. In this way, we, like the obsessive marble collector, by mis-identifying with our collection of thought-forms, will vacillate between excitement to add another marble (another possession, experience, relationship or achievement) to our collection and fear of losing what we have in the unknown future. Because this chronic unhappiness, this emotional roller-coaster, is the necessary outcome of our mis-identification with the mind, our individual existence and its thought-forms, this unhappiness can never end, despite our stringent, but ultimately irrelevant, attempts to either augment or secure our identity.

As another metaphor, imagine a very skilled metal-smith has fashioned a water fountain, the top of which has an intricate network of twisting conduit-pipes and outlets, fashioned so that water coming from the bottom emerges as transient water-sculptures of birds, angels, people, landscapes, etc., in a dizzying show. In this case, our thought forms are the pipes, the conditioning of our culture, gender, race, and past. This conditioning turns the raw power of formless consciousness, the water in the fountain, into the transient, individual consciousness we experience, the show at the top. This is why we only perceive this cosmic consciousness as the transient dance of forms we call our individual life, and this is why it is so easy to mis-identify with the transient, individual self. This is also how it is that cosmic consciousness becomes imprisoned in our individual self. But it is the feeding of the cosmic consciousness that gives us life and is the source for any new idea we have, impulse to act, or creative endeavor. However, because of the conditioning of thought-forms, our creativity and cosmic consciousness become enslaved to supply the freewill to the actions we create to chase after future objects or achievements, or to run away from fears we may imagine. But as soon as one of the watery doves or other transient thought forms we experience disappears, we see the cosmic consciousness once again fall to reality and return to the source, much like the water from the top of the fountain falls back down and soaks into the earth and eventually back to the sea.

By learning to cease identifying with our individual selves and its thought-forms, we may experience the source of cosmic consciousness. We may be spared the agony of recurrent cycles of excitement and fear that ultimately make us miserable.

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Notes from the zafu

Posted by majutsu on July 8, 2010

I recently acquired a zafu while buying one for my wife. I haven’t sat in about fifteen years. When I did sit, without the purifying that suffering over time provides, I’m afraid I was better at observing the trappings of Buddhism: sitting, dietary rules, and a book collection, as opposed to being anywhere close to an understanding of the profound change required in terms of the way one interacts with the world in order to have accepted the teaching of the Buddhist path. Of course, over time, one loses many things: people, money, objects, and opportunities, and this enables you to accept reality in its ups and downs versus building an elaborate fantasy world in the head to rage against the world-as-it-is on a stage built to your design. This unadorned awareness is the beginning of sitting and practice.
While I no longer think of myself as a Buddhist, and find Shaivism and Christianity interesting as well, meditation draws to mind, for many people, Buddhist teachings. Buddhism encourages de-attachment from the ego-centered world. Certainly, the source of much suffering in this world is people wanting many things when they really need nothing. Not only are “small-scale” sufferings like depression and anxiety caused by this wanting, but many large-scale sufferings like war, poverty and environmental damage to an extent incompatible with sustaining human life. But chasing down whiffs of ego and snuffing them out can be tiring and unproductive as I know from experience.
I prefer to focus on “the now” because it’s one of the few English word/concepts that is by itself formless and inconceivable. Grasping now is like trying to stop a river. There is no hunger right now, no poverty, no family, no possessions. If, for example, you were sad about not having friends, you could realize that if you had them or not, you could hardly make use of them right there at that moment on that zafu. If your partner is dying this week, s/he is not dying right then at the second on that zafu, and you don’t even have a partner at that instant on that zafu. You can’t lose your job at that second on that zafu. At that second, there is no oil spill, no political corruption, no environmental damage. All these concepts are contingent upon the passage of time. This practice negates the illusions of ego while performing a positive activity, being intensely aware of this very moment. In this precise moment, rather easily, a very peaceful, beautiful nothing is experienced – what I suppose many would call experiencing God. It is very easy to expand this awareness into compassion for every human being you meet. It is very easy to expand this awareness into an experience of the Earth as a cohesive whole that we should respect, love and enjoy.
I hope my thoughts and tips on sitting may be helpful to others. I know Eckhart Tolle and the Shiva sutras have been helpful to me. I hope I have communicated my internalization of some teachings well. Please share any thoughts or tips on sitting.

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Experiencing Now

Posted by majutsu on June 28, 2010

Experiencing Now
I’ve been reading some Eckhart Tolle and listening to his lectures. In summary, I can say so far that it seems to be a very lucid, modern description of the state of being fully aware in the present moment. I also find this state to be the mystical core of all faiths that can generate saints, or loving beings in love with all being. Therefore, being a long-time seeker myself and being interested in the core experience that sustains and uplifts humanity, I’ve become motivated to start putting into practice some of these teachings.
While everyday life, in brief interactions with the myriad types of people in the world, provides plenty of opportunities for practice, the essence of the practice is to remain centered in the midst of these interactions. I think remembering and being focused upon something one has never experienced in the first place could be difficult, therefore it seems that I might need a remedial practice to prepare for the greater practice that is life.
In Tolle’s teachings, as well as mystical Christianity, Buddhism, and Sufism, many practical techniques are taught. Those that make sense immediately to me, that I might consider following are as follows: silence, space, inner body, and mind watching. All of these seem consistent and obtainable with daily practice on a cushion.
Silence meditation involves sitting and listening to all the sounds of the world. Then try in that to hear the silence, the vast silence from which all those sounds emanate and to which they return. Space meditation is the same sort of idea, but visually or conceptual try to feel the space in which all things are. Inner body meditation involves feeling the life within your body, within each cell. The whole being is one pulsing energy field of life. Instead of imaging this or conceptualizing it, try to feel it, tactilely. The feeling might start first as tingling or warmth, but let it engulf the whole organism. This particular meditation appeals to me because it is frequently lauded in Western mystical tradition and is said to be the vegetable body, or the place magick, the crossroads, the meeting of the spiritual realm and the material. Mind watching is the practice of watching the mind like a rabbit hole, waiting to see what pops out. Note it without judgment and wait again. It is fascinating in doing this how much of the content of the mind is based on regrets and wounds of the past, or fantasies or fears of the future! The mind seems to fight Now viciously at every step, attacking the true self most cruelly.
I hope to take up one or more of these meditation practices daily soon. Please share your practice and experiences as well. I will share my experiences as they unfold.

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World’s first poem written in python

Posted by majutsu on December 23, 2007

# This poem was generated from Python 2.5 using a series of list object operations.
# All output (including the output authoring it's own source code)
# was sent to the textfile using a virtual compiler during runtime.

Wise Remembrances

I am not the things I have.
	I am not the people I love.
		I am not the labors I do.
			I am not the perceptions I experience.
				I am not the thoughts I think.
					I am not the emotions I feel.
						I am not the rules I follow.

							But in this moment . . .

						The rules I follow become me.
					The emotions I feel become me.
				The thoughts I think become me.
			The perceptions I experience become me.
		The labors I do become me.
	The people I love become me.
The things I have become me.

 Rules I follow. 
	Perceptions I experience. 
		Thoughts I think. 
			Labors I do. 
				Things I have. 
					People I love. 
						Emotions I feel. 

							But I will be unhappy if I forget . . .

							I am not the things I have.
						I am not the people I love.
					I am not the labors I do.
				I am not the perceptions I experience.
			I am not the thoughts I think.
		I am not the emotions I feel.
	I am not the rules I follow.

# Like any good poet, I bare my own innards below:

import random, sys
print '# This poem was generated from Python 2.5 using a series of list object operations.'
print '# All output (including the output authoring it\'s own source code)'
print '# was sent to the textfile using a virtual compiler during runtime.\n'
print '\n\nWise Remembrances\n\n'
global itemcounter
    'the things I have',
    'the people I love',
    'the labors I do',
    'the perceptions I experience',
    'the thoughts I think',
    'the emotions I feel',
    'the rules I follow']
def denunciation(objectlist,itemcounter,grade):
    for item in objectlist:
        print itemcounter*'\t'+'I am not '+item+'.\n',
    return itemcounter
def repunct(objectlist):
    for index in range(0,len(objectlist)):
print '\n'+itemcounter*'\t'+'But in this moment . . .\n'
for item in objectlist:
    print itemcounter*'\t'+item+' become me.'
for item in objectlist:
for item in copylist:

for item in newlist:
    print '\n',itemcounter*'\t',item,
print '\n\n'+itemcounter*'\t'+'But I will be unhappy if I forget . . .\n'
print '\n\n# Like any good poet, I bare my own innards below:\n\n'
print myinnards_exposed

# This is software that composes a Buddhist sutra "renunciation poem" "on-the-fly". 
# It further displays it's own source code as above.  If you run the code above in a Python compiler, 
# you will get a different, but similarly-ruled poem.  Interestingly, the Artificial Intelligent "author" 
# reflects on her own process at the end of the poem by displaying her own innards (Including this commentary).

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