The “enlightenment” that the sages always point to is the realization that the sense of personal doership is an illusion. Buddha referred to this at one point: “Actions happen. Deeds are done. But there is no individual doer thereof.”
The future doesn’t exist. It can’t. It never will. What exists, of course, are THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FUTURE, but at the moment when the future “exists,” it is no longer “the future” but instead it is “this very moment.”
All thought ~ every single thought ~ is, in some way or another, judgment. Thought is a dualistic process and, as such, compares “this” with “that,” judging, evaluating, assessing. What is wrong with judging? Even an answer to that is a judgment.
Form IS the nothingness from which it came. It is never separate nor distinct (it just “appears” to be so via the experience that arises in localized consciousness).
There is no self. It is a thought, or a collection of thoughts thought in rapid succession.
Realization:The deepest part is the Realization that there is no psyche, that the self is a mental construct propped up by thought. When this is seen, there is nothing left to strive for (vis-a-vis “enlightenment” or some elevated “spiritual” state), because the “house builder” (to use Buddha’s terminology) is seen to be the chimera that it is. What is ultimately grasped is That which one is seeking (via spiritual practices) is That which is doing the seeking. It is reduced to a cosmic joke (although the punch line isn’t always experienced as very funny if one has spent an inordinate amount of one’s life attempting to “get” this “prize”).
Teaching Style:Yahoo groups and email.
I am not the thinker
From 18 years of (not-very-successful) meditation, I did have the method of labeling my thoughts and a profound experience of Realizing that “I” (that which “hears” the thoughts) had no say in what thoughts arose in consciousness. THAT was a primary turning point for me: the “I” that hears (or has”) the thoughts was not the willful creator of the thoughts. I was not the thinker but that which was thought.
There is no real “me”
Our thoughts are not “ours” nor are our actions or choices. On the most elemental sense this is because there is no “me,” no “self.” At a single moment (a time span of immeasurably short length), there is an “arising” which one may call “me.” But in the next moment, the “me” that arises (if it does) is not the same “me.” There is a conceptual “glue” that links this momentary arising together, thus creating the illusory sense of an on-going “me.” That conceptual “glue” was called “rebirth consciousness” by the Buddha.
There is no real choice
In my experience no choice is conscious. From personal experience and ongoing discoveries in neuroscience, all thought originates in unconscious regions of the brain. Basically, the conscious region can be thought of as a “holding place” for the results of thought all of which is processed unconsciously. There is no “me” who thinks “my thoughts.” There is a mechanical, biological, hormonal, neurological collection of very complex processes that happen, prior to conscious recognition, out of which thought arises and, at some point, thought enters the conscious realm where we believe we are “thinking our thoughts.” Using brain scans and MRI’s, neuroscience has shown that this belief, “I am making my thoughts, I am choosing consciously my decisions,” simply isn’t how the brain operates. The choices do happen, but in regions of the brain that are not conscious. By some “trick” we are led to believe that when the already-made choice “arrives” (via the neurons and synapses) in the conscious region (i.e., we “have” the thought, we “make” the choice), when that happens, we are led to believe that it is occurring in real time. It is not, science now says. It happened about 500 milliseconds prior to our “having” the thought/decision (i.e., being “aware” of the decisions).
“I” ~ the energy field that “has” the suffering moments ~ is fully aware that I have NO CONTROL over when, or if, the suffering, the upset, will arise again. Nor do I have any say in how it will be responded to. I would hope, with intelligence, but I have plenty of evidence that this is not always
The tipping point
There is a “tipping point” …… a point at which it is no longer difficult. A point at which it is relatively easy to see the emptiness of all thought, of each thought. That point, for me, was in realizing that no thought is inherently true. That all thoughts are equal. For some bodymind mechanisms, the thought “Mothers should love their children” carries more emotive weight than “Friends should not tell lies.” That is the individual conditioning at work. But the essence of each of those thoughts, the biochemical/electrical energy that generates each of those thoughts, is the same.
I don’t know “why” we want to argue with someone else’s world, but it is apparent that this happens. A lot of the time. There are answers to this “why” and you can find them in many places: sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, etc. But it is very evident that we frequently argue with other’s worlds. The trick is not to take the arguing seriously.
Stress is part of life. A balanced mind knows how to deal with it, how to cope with it, not how to ignore or dismiss or evade it. A centered pov allows one to undergo stress AND, simultaneously, to hold it in a way that we bend with it, not break because of it. And there is actually some value in stress. It has the potential to galvanize one, as long as one is not over-whelmed by it. To achieve this one practices to develop the faculties of mind that allow this to happen. And some of that is psychological, and some of that is a spiritual perspective. The two work in tandem, complementing each other.
Spiritual and mundane
Why insert an arbitrary line of demarcation between “spiritual” (or, in some circles, “holy”), and “mundane” (or “worldly”)? As I looked deeper and closer, it became clear that “spirit” was just another concept and I was unable to locate anything that was “spirit” (thus making the word “spiritual” rather impotent and useless).
Light and darkness
“Within light there is darkness,
but do not try to understand that darkness.
Within darkness there is light,
but do not look for that light.
Light and darkness are a pair,
like the foot before and the foot behind in walking.”
~ The zen sutra The Sandokai