Jul 29, 2020

Further notes on experience...and your comments are welcome

                               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, purushaatmanirguna-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. 

Jul 26, 2020

π˜Ώπ™π™–π™§π™’π™–-π™ˆπ™šπ™œπ™π™–: The Heart Unleashed

There never was anything to renounce in the first place. The paths of Buddhism, Yoga, Samkhya, Taoism, and other Eastern practice-philosophies focus on a realization that time and space are a sentient and ephemeral movement that forswears the conventional reification of nouns and their supposed referential nature in the making of universes, social orders, nations, states, and identities of all kinds that sit in a supposed stasis as mechanisms for mass consumption and social control. 

When meditation unites time and space in one breath it forms the "Cloud of Dharma" or a simultaneous appearing/disappearing, an evanescent movement that is space/time itself in its becoming pervaded by and occurring within a pure, empty awareness or, if you prefer, consciousness. This ephemeral and holistic movement of spacetime is the Dharma-Megha, the cloud of knowledge, or the cloud of what is the case at any given moment. Its ephemerality denies what conceptual knowing would have us believe. Conceptual knowledge is filled with a language of things and their relationship to one another. What this boils down to is a relationship that holds between nouns, verbs, and other forms of speech that are the very stuff of our conventional world orders or cosmoi. Thoughts do not necessarily refer. Language is only conventionally referential. The insights gained via meditation (samadhi) may elicit a vision of what is always already the conscious case.

Spacetime exists as a sentient movement, phenomenologically speaking, of a first-impersonal evanescence that denies the often strangulate realities of our cultural constructs to release one into the sentient flow of life itself, in its very aliveness. Contemporary social orders constrain, control, and stultify consciousness into prescribed identities that facilitate control. The effectuation of the Dharma-Megha may be construed as breathing the "Breath of God," or the "Tao of Deconstruction," that both brings transcendence of the temporal and the release of time-space into the experience of their nonduality.   

Jul 25, 2020

Experience and Desire: some thoughts

Experience may be viewed as a sentient, breath-driven, felt, incarnate, vectorial, and recursive impulse of historically (karmically) conditioned intentions accompanied by a multiplicity of self-senses. This movement is synchronously paired with correlative responses that manifest as their ephemeral and complementary meaning-laden circumstances perceived as either fulfilling or obstructing those intentional impulses or desires. Therefore, intentions and their reciprocally generated circumstances form an experiential union wherein the drama of human life is played out as living. In this sense of the word reality, it may be used to denote experience as the evanescent movement of a karmic vector seeking the fulfillment of intentions. When these intentions meet with obstruction difficulty arises as suffering and new intentions arise seeking to remedy the suffering.

Often, the intentions, desires, are seen to be fulfilling and a kinesthetic movement of pleasure arises, more often not, sedimenting the drive to continue the feeling despite the evanescent or impermanent nature of all experience. This movement gives rise to further pleasure-seeking and difficulty-evading in a self-reinforcing and futile attempt to achieve a homeostasis of pleasure synonymous with the absence of difficulty—in a word, utopia. No such time nor place exists. Experience, in this sense of the term, admits to no such possibility.

This evanescent union of intention and circumstance becomes manifest too quickly too be grasped by the reflective activity of the consciousness of and thus is all-too-often mistaken for an independent and objective reality that either stands with me and yields to and fulfills “my” intention eliciting pleasure or thwarts my intention arousing various levels of difficulty or suffering. Intentions are, in the main, pleasure- or avoidance-driven thereby reifying conceptual constitutions into worlds seemingly independent and constituted from their own side. The sedimentation process or embodied memory process aids in this movement contextualizing all actions within the frameworks of pleasure-seeking and avoidance. And so it goes, on and on and on and...until.*

If one takes language as in thought, speech, or text--or more accurately languaging—i.e., narratives, stories of, by, or about self if taken as fundamentally referential, one is bound to suffer. This is simply the way things are. Not a great realization, but a significant one.

Self-natured, self-laden, or self-ish narratives, of whatever sort, also are carriers of feelings. These feelings arise from a very subtle level below, a topic too early in our examination to unpack, into full bloom in the esophagus, throat, and head. Narratives dictate the precise configurations of these feelings and, if narratives become habitualized, as they are inclined to do (another important topic to be addressed in due time) their associated feelings also become habitualized and form an isomorphic relationship with the narratives that produced them.

Now, it is very important to note that the beginning of this process has far too many causes and conditions to be analyzed in great detail. In fact, there is no perceivable beginning of this process of habitualized self, narrative, feeling (SNF) as it reaches far back into history where it has caused great suffering--of course, as well as great accomplishments. However, we are concerned, not with accomplishments driven by SNF but with the alleviation of the suffering the movement of SNF often brings in its wake.

The SNF proliferation process, driven by beginningless intentions, i.e., desires, seeking satisfaction, and inevitably encountering obstacles to fulfillment in many instances will give rise to suffering unless--and wait for this--one surrenders to the indicative, the "what is." This surrender we will term acceptance-attention (AA). Acceptance-attention will be discussed at a later date.

*The "until" is discussed in the Dharma-Megha blogpost.

Jul 17, 2020

The "Same" Itself

The Same Itself

Let us begin with a question, one that asks you to take a close look at experience. This experience is shared by all of us human beings and we rarely speak of it or even notice it in our daily lives and, as I hope we will discover, it is not something that we should take so lightly.

Do you feel like you are the same person today as you were yesterday?

This is a question that has many variants, such as:

·         "Do you feel like you are the same person you were 10, 20, 30, or more years ago?"

·         "When you awaken from sleep, what makes you feel that you are you? Know what I mean?"

·         "Gee, I just turned 50 and I don't feel any different?"

Questions like these are not unusual. We have heard them or similar questions many times, I'm sure. Looking at these sentences in the past, I have been urged, let’s say, to interrogate them. One question I had was, Why do we feel this sameness of personhood or identity temporally? Another question was, Why do we feel this sameness? And then, What accounts for this feeling of sameness even though many years have passed? What is this sameness all about? It became somewhat exasperating. So, I set myself the task of looking into this feeling of sameness and the many roles it plays in our experience.

Please give this topic some of your time and then check back soon because I'll be working on providing some interesting observations about this feeling of sameness that is so taken-for-granted that it is hardly noticed at all. Yet, I'll be attempting to demonstrate that in taking this topic for granted we deny ourselves an avenue of approach that may be helpful in both the alleviation of our difficulties and in the process discover that the peace of mind we all wish for has much to do with this sameness. to something we all wish we had, peace. Come back soon, please. 

Jul 15, 2020

The Wisdom of Anxiety

Have you ever experienced anxiety? I have. It is a dreadful condition. Uneasiness does not even come close to describing it. It is terror itself. Is this dreadful feeling understood? Somewhat. Here is my take on it. It’s a kind of rambling reflection on self and contingency. See if it is of any help both if you get anxiety or know someone who has it and think this take on it may be of some help. (I have also included, in an endnote, a “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” reference on social anxiety that you may also find helpful. )

I’m going to say something that I have yet to hear regarding anxiety. The self is anxiety. From my observation, there is not one hair’s breadth of difference to be found between self and anxiety. Where else and when else is anxiety felt? Looking directly at anxiety, when it is occurring, you may notice this actual identity between self and the feeling. The self feels anxious, yes, but the self is not separate from the feeling. Okay, let’s take a closer look at these seemingly outlandish remarks.

Upon very close observation, you will note that anxiety arises. This is no small matter. Anything that arises in our awareness is contingent. What is meant by contingent? That which is contingent is that which is dependent. Anxiety is dependent on causes and conditions. Let us say that a series of thoughts carrying the notion self in situations arise saying something like “This is not going to work out well,” or “I will look foolish,” or “I am feeling uneasy,” or any other series of thought or mind-narration that places the self in some sort of insecure situation, frightening uneasiness, and the narratives seem to come so fast that the self that appears to be the victim of these feelings aroused by the narratives is anxious. See what was just said, the victim, the self, is anxious. That is, the victim, the self is itself the anxiety. Why? What gave rise to this self that is anxiety? Contingency! When contingency is recognized, i.e., when dependency on causes and conditions is seen so clearly that nothing is certain, anxiety may result. Naturally, this is a self in insecurity, anxious, even fearful of what may happen without knowing what it is that may or can happen. There are simply far too many causes and conditions to settle upon. Contingency is like a raging sea with waves so high and rough that no solidity is possible. We feel so uneasy that we may even die or worse. Anxiety is seeing what is. It is actually a clear insight into what is, the insecurity of a matrix of causes and conditions that is far to complex to count on, to rely upon, to settle the feeling. Anxiety is an awakened mind, a mind that sees clearly what is always the case. The movement of life is far too complex for narrative thinking to comprehend, despite the culture of reason that we have been conditioned to believe that we can and should be able to figure it all out. Actually, more of us should become aware of contingency for the notion that we have life “under control,” we “have it all together,” or even “I’m sure about what will happen,” are narratives in denial of contingency. Each moment of life is contingent but we here, especially in Western culture , have been conditioned to believe that we are the agents of our actions, the self is the supreme doer of all actions, and the self “should” be secure in a reasoned approach to living. This is nonsense. Actions are not done by a self, despite what we have been led to believe. Through anxiety one may find that freedom lies in a sort of abandonment of self, of self-aseity, so that the notion that we should “have it all together,” and be “self-assured” in our feelings and doings is not a governing narrative freeing us to rely more on the contingency, the matrix of living itself, rather than on a fiction. We can and need to let go and realize that we are not ever in control. There is no one to be in control because the very self that we are at any given moment is impermanent and contingent and not solid and real.

Look at all of the problems that have arisen in the last few centuries as a result of peoples’ feelings and acting on this notion that they know what’s best, they are intelligent, they know how we should be, and how things should be for the better. This is the hubris of the self. The self is a foundation of enmity, pride, boastfulness, arrogance, violence, antagonisms, and so many more human problems. Wars begin with self and end with death.

These are simply some reflections on anxiety that may prove somewhat helpful to begin your own research and practice to deal with the nature of anxiety. More of us should realize the wisdom of anxiety.