The Union of Sentience and Karma
In union with sentience, accumulated prior actions (karma) give rise to all the structures, contents, and meanings that constitute experience. The stream of sentience that flows from past to future in the evanescent present animates the bodies and worlds in which living feels, moves, and breathes. Like form and color, unified yet distinct, sentience and the sediment of past actions (karma) must be known as both unified and distinct. The mind that realizes this conscious momentum as living may be one wherein suffering can be attenuated and satisfaction be found.
Like a bottomless canyon--layers of sediment influencing subsequent layers, in turn influencing subsequent layers, impinged upon by the conditions present in each present providing novelty give rise to the ongoing accumulating formation of the canyon--the life of each sentient being is driven by the past toward the future in the present. Similar to the movement of the formation of a canyon, each of us lives a present laden with novel conditions as well as the contents, structures, and meanings constituted of the sediment of past actions while consciousness remains within and without animating the past into the future in the present. This is the vectorial, intentionally structured movement of conventional experience. This ordering of experience is no work of a free will but the work of a matrix of causes and conditions in which human life seeks a homeostasis of satisfaction, i.e., peace. Survival yes, but ultimately satisfaction in which survival plays the role of a necessary but never a sufficient condition.
Awareness, variously designated as consciousness, sentience, the knower, the seer, rigpa, Buddha, purusha, atma, nirguna-brahman, God, and more is one aspect of the union that gives rise to the ephemeral movement of experience. Awareness along with the accumulated actions (karma) of prior existences form a future-oriented and intentional vector that is experience itself. This desire-driven vector laden with impassible sentience has one aim, to provide experience for the sake of that very sentience. We find no satisfactory answers in metaphysical speculation with regard to the origin, goal, or meaning of experience other than the meaning found in the movement of the experience of the life of each sentient being’s life as that life is lived. There is no outside of this living union of phenomena and sentience. All of life, including alien life and speculation, is part of this life. There is no outside of experience. What appears in experience, i.e., phenomena, is what is. Each and every present moment of life is simultaneously decision-making, not by a free will but by that very movement of life itself. This is way too large and complicated a project for an agent that makes decisions. Decision-making relies upon far too many variables that constitute what is and what to do with it. This is the project of reality making not simple choice making.
It is on the basis of our own sentience that otherness is constituted.
Within the lives of each sentient being is one primary goal. We may disagree about that goal but the goal does not lie outside of those very disagreements. The disagreements prove the point. It is an unspeakable yet tangible and unique goal as it lives in each moment of vectorial living. It is never abandoned, even in its satisfaction. Sentience is always at rest. Desire never is. However, discovering sentience and taking its offer of refuge offers the possibility of accessing its peace. Sentience offers tranquility while the beginningless momentum of historically driven desire and its resultant adherence to its dictates is a life of...you tell me.