Thursday, April 23, 2009
More and more I am realizing how much I indulge in glamorous thinking. In almost every corner of my mind, its like layer of fat that covers everything. We are so used to and for the most part aren't conscious of it.
My process is something like this..
Start thinking about something.
Flit from thought to thought until it hits me...
Wait a minute... I am flitting from thought to thought!
Thank god I caught myself.
Relax in the awareness of ones self.
Consider the process of catching yourself on a runaway train.
Mild self congratulations for being aware.
Indulge in self aggrandizing positive thoughts.
Catch yourself indulging in self aggrandizing positive thoughts.
Repent, punish and take a more serious attitude.
Feel the relief of handling a small existential crisis.
Indulge in more more self aggrandizing positive thoughts.
Catch yourself once more.
Repeat until totally disgusted.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
There are times when I feel especially close to things. Its as if I am actually more in touch, more intimate with everything. Its a feeling of being absolutely present inside. As if the things which separate you or make you feel separate, fall away.
Strangely, thinking about this state and writing about it doesn't help me towards feeling that state of mind. Its only when I manage to throw off the ever present analytical part of my mind, can I take these steps and feel closer to the world in the most intimate way.
But its not just not thinking about things either. Its a real movement internally. Its something that feels like 'relaxing into' but not in an unconscious way. I feel more conscious in these moments than ever. I also feel absolutely naked in my sense of being completely exposed and intimately in touch.
I experience these moments periodically. Interestingly, I find it somewhat elusive, and only rarely can invoke it at will. Its as if the wild pendulum swings and occasionally hits the spot just right.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I believe in the cosmic significance of our existence.
I believe I am sacred and holy, and that I am a part of god, and that I exist as a spark of its essence, learning and gaining experience so that god can know itself.
I also believe there is no god, and that our existence is meaningless and insignificant.
I also believe that we have evolved in a mechanistic biological evolutionary sociobiological system. and that what we think of as thinking, experience and the soul, is but a aspect of the system in which we exist.
I believe all of these things, at the same time.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that consciousness might be an inconsequential aspect of a living organisms.
I don't say that because I think consciousness and/or experience doesn't matter. Clearly it does.
Whether you value the experience of consciousness or not, it is an inescapable fact that it serves the species. It enhances the ability for the organism to survive.
Whether the existential aspects of consciousness reflect some other realities of existence really cannot be known. Or maybe it can. I just don't know.
I can imagine how sentience favors survival. But does it reveal a numinous existence?
Can we understand these qualities without either diminishing them to un-relegated biological functions, or elevating them to cosmic significance and destiny?
Saturday, April 4, 2009
That all of this is just the most basic preparation for other things. I don't even pretend to know. I imagine deeper experiences. I tend to imagine more comfortable experiences. And a more desirable waking life.
I cant help but notice that all of the commotion about consciousness is really focused on escaping much of the misery, uncomfortableness and undesirable parts of our daily lives.
Clearly, this is only preparation. But preparation for what? And we can guess all we want, but in truth we don't know. And even when we have references from people who happen to have gone beyond the daily struggle of simply developing a meditative state of mind. It varies so much in what they report. And tends to be connected to whatever path they happen to have assigned themselves to. And is many times subject to interpretation in the context of that path. Or the particular practice of that path.
That is difficult to differentiate or distill out the aspects of that which are meaningful, and true for everyone (if that is even a reasonable assumption to make).
We like to say that all paths ultimately lead to one path but we really don't know what that is. Its probably just a guess anyway. Maybe a good one.
It sounds or hints of something true, its seems logically true, in a weirdly intuitive fashion, which is kind of ironic in its own right. But there is nothing explicitly requiring that. We just tend to assume that all things ultimately come together in some common way that we can then explain how one thing is simply the instantiation of some more generic thing.
I want to talk about the difficulty in choosing or finding your path. Because I have had terrible difficulty with this all my life. I suppose that makes me somewhat qualified to talk about it, because it is in more or less the center of my struggle, to come to grips with my own consciousness from day to day and moment to moment.To explore my experience, and to grow as I think I want to. As I imagine I want to, into a higher being. I don't think that is very well stated.
I am guessing that there is nothing special about our evolutionary state, in that whatever progress we make is incremental to what our fore bearers may have made. And that there is no great leap, and also, no step too small to take.
We just all find ourselves at one particular point, lost and somewhat confused (me anyway). And imagine that there is some greater, freer clearer less fettered path awaiting us if we can just get our shit together and stop distracting ourselves from the essential aspects of our own lives.
So getting back to choosing a path, I cant help but think that the difficulties that I have had certainly related to whatever deeper issues I have with being connected to things, with making commitments etc. Maybe its fear of making mistakes (so don't do anything!) or just getting lost in the sauce of some path, in that it may bring you along the way but it will also skew your perception by the whatever apparatus surrounds it.
This may be rationalization, may be inevitable, but still I resist it.
So I have skimmed around a lot, taking up study in several different paths. Always when I get to the point where what I perceive is a ritualistic change in my life is required, I bow out.
Yet those changes cannot be insignificant in what they mean for a person to change their life. I am searching for a way that doesn't connect me to something I can identify as 'out there' and as a 'member of', just because that's what they call themselves.
I do think that the difficulty I have had can work for me. I think it defines a perspective of non-participation, yet with the very strong impulse to proceed. In my own experience, to a more enlightened viewpoint, to achieve a deeper understanding of my life and life in general. To experience others in a deeper fashion, at least in a fashion that is less peppered with the bits of uncomfortableness which I tend to feel.
Its a way to finally understand oneself in a simple form of just being comfortable with oneself and with others. To come to understand things through reflection and focus of consciousness.
The problem with all of this is that at a certain point you have to leave the ground. You have to establish certain things in your daily life that end the struggles which make up most of your daily life. Struggles like calming your mind, struggles like watching your thoughts.
I think the practice of that has to be comfortably understood and comfortable in its own way, before these other things can happen, because the struggle with this is so persistent in the daily life, that until its approached, I cannot imagine how you can really make any progress except perhaps in the one off-ness of the awakenings we experience throughout our lives.
So what are those qualities that I remember in that moment of coming back?
One of them is a kind of shrinking back to the boundaries of the body and mind and gaining orientation from the standpoint of, I guess I would call the 'seat of perspective'.
It is somewhere in back of the third eye on top, like being on top of the hill. and its perspective is above the eyes and behind them.
It has to do with coming back to the source or the seat. And that feels like the most fundamental point or the most fundamental character or attribute of this moment, the feeling of 'coming home', with a perspective such that the orientation of the mind is 'back to this point', back to 'what do I do', 'what do I remember', what's going on here? Not thinking anything in particular but to be in the perspective of thoughts themselves.
One of the earmarks of this is the cessation of activity, conjoined with a kind of of emotive relief that comes from an out breath or exhale, sitting down, or just coming to rest.
I keep coming back to the moment of self-remembering. Realizing that I've been away from the moment, away from conscious of being conscious.
And I find that the moments when I come back are small celebrations for having come home and taken a moment to restock, reflect and remember myself.
Unfortunately these moments are very short, although I do try to cultivate the more important aspects of what it means to be conscious when they occur.
One of them being the quality of being conscious in all that we do. And being aware of ones thoughts as things are happening on a level which is independent of them. That's not so say not being immersed in what is happening, but to have a reflective quality that is watching all the time. And not just in the sense of watching, but in the sense of becoming familiar with that process and recognizing what is happening when it is.
What I find most astonishing is that there are moments when I am watching my thoughts and I suddenly realize that I am not watching my thoughts, I am watching something else. I am trying to watch my thoughts, and I will realize that I am thinking something entirely different from what I think I am watching. The whole episode escapes me until the moment of its conclusion, then I realize 'wait' I was just thinking about such and such and I did not have any consciousness of that in the last few moments. I thought I was being conscious of something else.
This is, I think, one of the points of the exercise. And one of the insights we've got to bring into other areas of our experience of swimming into consciousness.
It's a very odd thing to realize that you are not conscious at all. And that what you think is only a small part of what you actually are, and there are things going on right next to you in your own mind that are not in your conscious mind.
This is disconcerting as well as enlightening.
So, in these moments when I do come back to myself and I realize (its definitely on differently levels each time, its not always at the same depth. some are more far reaching than others) they all have the quality of remembering and remembering to remember. and rejoicing in that moment of remembering.
It is like coming up for air after swimming in the unconscious for a long time.