Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Scarlet Flower: Notes on experience

I wrote this some years ago and noted that much of it contained the seeds of a growing vision and understanding of how life, as experience, works. I hope you will find it useful. πŸ”»πŸ”ΊπŸ”ΌπŸ”½κœ›κœœ

The scarlet flower against the evergreens shouts at me from inside, manifesting itself from a sacred movement within my heart.

Our selective attention catches hold of substances, not from some natural element outside of us, “the world,” but from the movement of experience itself, a movement that is life itself modulating into experience. This life is none other than my (and your) own inmost depth, our own solitary, pulsing, be-ing. All things take shape, become, through this life, as this life.  
Our aversions and attachments cast this movement of sacred manifestation away to become the perception of things we like, things we don’t, and things we are indifferent toward.  
Our selective attention, our conceptual mind, selects from a sphere or world that seems "already" there, as if it preexists our seeing it and post-exists our departure from it. However, that "already there" is not the world "out there," but the fundamental movement of experience itself. The world out there is the world already there as us. In other words, selective attention selects from experience and not the world-at-large. We are always already the world; it has its roots in our own felt-existence. It lives and has its being in our human life—beginning in our heart center. The heart center, the source of all life, modulates our depths into experience, into a world. Our lives, the life of each one of us, is the process of the whole. This is the only universe there ever was, is, or shall be. Or, to be more accurate, the world of experience is the modulation of our heart. To feel this modulation is to touch life itself and "know" how it arises to become this all. Tat-tvam-asi!!! 

Monday, July 03, 2017

History and Difference: Liberating Pursuits

When states of affairs are seen, through the lenses of history, anthropology, or even what is called "past life regression," one may realize that things are not the way they are because of their mere existence, but because there were processes, vast processes (acts/karma) of history at work to make them that way. We may regard this as a liberating view in this sense: Things have not always been the way they are now and therefore things do not have to be the way they are. When looking at the plurality of cultural practices via an anthropological eye, we may realize that, interculturally, things are different now, and what we face as states of affairs do not have to be the way they are (currently). The study of history and cultural diversity, seen from this philosophical perspective, can be quite liberating.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Corporeal Panpsychism

At the risk of becoming dogmatic, I will refer to the philosophical position taken in this blog as one of "Cultural Panpsychism." However, a cautionary note is in order. What we advocate here, primarily, is a refocusing on experience as a way of learning about "the Universe." (The scare quotes are very important.) One of the major results of the type of refocusing we are calling for is the realization, direct and embodied, that the world--as we have come to believe it--does not exist in an independent and radically objective manner. Tibetans often refer to this naive view as "the world existing from its own side."

What we wish to bring about is the fullest realization that we (i.e., our past actions of body, speech, mind, and history) are responsible for the character of experience we have. This does not mean our experience can instantly change for the better. The force of history is not to be underestimated. Thousands our years of the repetition of unenlightened actions of body, speech, and mind stand in the way of our happiness. When our history is more powerful than our ideas: Our worlds then become the world. This independently existing world then becomes the experienced world, i.e, what was once a true theory becomes a placeholder for a plurality of experienced worlds. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, when the world is perceived to exist independently of us, we no longer understand the responsible role we human beings have in the nature of worlds. It seems as if the world, as experienced, no longer holds the title of our world, but "the" world. That's when the many varieties of suffering plague all sentient beings. Our karma (i.e., acts of body, speech, and mind) holds little place as a guarantor of happiness. History plays a small part in our experience because "the" world is the way someone (else) dictates, e.g., in politics. When history in its incarnate role is forgotten, or its role is ignored, we human beings are as good as lost.

Our position is called Corporeal Panpsychism with the intent to lure the reader into a felt, i.e., incarnate perspective wherein the underlying union of body, self, world, and universe is held as the source of all experienced realities. This is a dynamic processual (impermanent) experience that is the womb of all realities.

Is there a world out there?

When we perceive something, anything, it appears against a totalistic background, the entire sensorium. In spotting a duck in the water, we are not generally conscious of the water, the visible background, the colors in the leaves behind the duck in the trees and numerous other "things" that are called into play when we spot a duck. More often than not, we do not focus on the living context--be it visible, aural, tactile, etc.--that is a necessary condition for anything to be perceived. This evanescent, living context is what many refer to as the background or "world." It arises so quickly that we are seduced into a primordial belief that it exists as a static world outside of perceived experience. It seems as though the world is already there. It seems as though when coming upon the duck, we have "picked" it out of the world. This is how fast experience takes place, i.e., embodied and ambient awareness. Experience moves faster than cognition. Our bodies are faster than our minds.

There is a sense in which we can say the world is something like a garden of Eden and we feel we are placed in it. However, being outcasts, like Adam and Eve, we may become aware of our beatific gardens of Eden and, through no small effort with few exceptions, suddenly find ourselves in the garden; or, should we say we are in the garden without finding ourselves at all. We may then find a garden view having abandoned the myopia of selfhood with its attendant cravings.

Yes, the world--as we are wont to call it--then takes on the face of pure experience. The world is no longer out there, but the outside has become the "objective" inside, i.e., inside of experience.

Burning as living, Living as burning

On the Dangers of Translation

One of the most important texts of Mahayana Buddhism is the  Bodhipathapradipam ("Path to Awakening") by Dipamkara Shrijnana Ati...