We all see things differently. Seeing is sensing. Hearing is sensing. Touching is sensing. Smelling is sensing. What each of us happens to sense is different. And our different senses are differently effective under ever-differing circumstances. Our individual brains coordinatingly integrate all the ever-different sensings of our different faculties. The integrated product of our multifold individual sensings produces awareness. Only through our sensings are we aware of the complementary “otherness.”
“Know Thyself.” all wise persons have said.
We are each convinced of our own individuality, uniqueness and importance.
But do we really Know our selves; our essence.
The Buddha determined that a human being is a composite of five processes, four mental and one physical…….
The physical aspect is the most obvious. We can tell we have a “body” and can, if we are lucky, make it move the way we want to.
However, how much do we know of the functions of the internal organs?
Their functionality is beyond our control.
At an even subtler level, we know nothing, experientially, of all the biochemical and neurological reactions occurring all the time and in each cell of the body.
Through our understanding of quantum physics we know that the seemingly solid body is really composed of subatomic particles and empty space.
Furthermore, these particles are arising and passing away at great rapidity.
The physical process is really more of a flow of vibrations rather than a solid, stable entity.
The Four Mental Processes:
- Consciousness: This is the receiving part of the mind. Consciousness simply registers the occurrence of any phenomenon. It receives data. It makes contact without assigning labels or making value judgements.
- Perception: The act of re-cognition. It identifies whatever has been received by the consciousness. It distinguishes. labels, and categorizes the incoming raw data and makes evaluations, positive or negative.
- Sensation: A signal, in the form of sensation, arises as soon as any input is received. As long as the input is not evaluated, the sensation remains neutral. But, once a value is attached to the incoming data, the sensation becomes pleasant or unpleasant.
If the sensation is pleasant,
a wish forms to prolong and intensify the experience.
If it is unpleasant, the wish is to stop it…..push it away.
A wish is a desire, a want, a request.
When one wishes then one is drawing, asking for the Light of Fulfillment (Sharing/Bestowing) to enter into The Vessel of Desire (Receiving/Accepting).
Remember …… The cow wants to share more than the calf wants to feed.
4. Reaction: The fourth and final mental process is the wish. The wish is the seed level (the catalyst) of the “reaction” of liking and disliking. These fleeting reactions of liking and disliking are arising every moment. When the sensation is pleasant one wants more of it. This can lead to craving and addiction. When the sensation is unpleasant then it leads to aversion and isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, desolation and disillusion.
Here is another way to “view” it.
Awareness of the “otherness” is information. The complex of successively experienced informations produces interweaving episodes–and the complex special-case-episode-interweavings produces the scenario that our brains’s memory banks identify as our individual being’s “life.”
It all starts with consciousness.
The working assumption in The Yellow Brick Road “map” is that …The Cause contains within it the Effect and The Effect contains within it The Cause.
It is ok to assume if you are doing it consciously.
That is what science does, or, at least, it should admit it does.
Let’s assume Consciousness is The Final Effect of Creation.
It sure looks like it.
That means Consciousness isThe Cause; The Seed.
The Buddha determined that Ignorance of the nature of impermanence is the “root”; the seed of suffering, chaos, dis-ease, unhappiness, lack of fulfillment….
Two primary “branches” emanate from this primary root of ignorance;
- The reaction of liking….leading to craving….leading to…
- The reaction of disliking….leading to aversion….leading to…
What’s the Answer?
Am I not suppose to like or dislike?
What kind of a life is that?
Vipassana Meditation Training teaches that the answer is in finding The Middle Path.
First, we become aware of our reactions by noticing sensations (physical, mental, emotional).
Second, we apply a conscious neutral reaction to the sensation; non-reaction.
At first, it is painful
The reactions have become automatic and beyond conscious awareness.The reactions have become so persistent that they have created a kind of “rut of reactivity.”
S.N. Goenka compares the Vipassana method to undergoing surgery.
In Sanskrit this rut of reactivity is called Sankhara.
Sankhara is conditioned phenomena; formation.
Reaction, in and of itself, is not bad.
It is a required component for life.
There is good reaction. Great athletes have great reactions.
Many who study Buddhism and Eastern Aestheticism come away with a conclusion that all reaction is bad.
I don’t think so.
Unconscious, repeated, addictive, non intentional conditioned reaction is bad.
Awareness drives growth.
Equanimity supports it.
The way only-our-own, individual integrity of being responds spontaneously only to our own exclusive sensing of any given otherness episode is what I mean when I use the word feeling. How do I feel about life? How do I feel about it now?. . . and again now? Our feelings often change. What do I feel that I need to do about what I am feeling?
I played soccer and hockey from when I was five until I was twenty-five.
After that I played golf and poker. Well, I don’t play that much golf anymore since I realized it is a freakin waste of time and space. And I suck at poker…so….
Loved playing hockey.
Especially “back in the day.”
Soccer was ok too.
I just hated running long distances.
There is a “move” in both soccer and hockey that can be incredibly successful, powerful and effective.
And it looks good too!
It is called “The No Move Move.”
Basically, it goes like this…..
You are being defended closely by an opponent and the ball or puck is coming towards you with pace. You have the vision to see that you have a team mate who is open behind you. As the puck or the ball approaches – you pretend like you are going to play it, however, you simply let it pass by you to your open team mate.
The No Move Move is a restriction.
It is having the awareness that the best move is to not make a move.
The No Move Move can be extended into how we react in relationships, business, family and, perhaps most importantly, with our “selves.”
I think that the Paradox is that in order to move faster along the circle one must know when, how, where, why to be still, not talk, not move, listen, hear, sense without liking or not liking, observe; Become The Witness.
The accumulated reactions that have formed into beliefs, disbeliefs, opinions, truths, habits, addictions; all parts of your “identity,” must be seen for what they really are; Reaction Formations.
The Healing Path; The Path of Recovery is a step-by-step process of:
- Confronting the reality of the situation openly and honestly.
- Exploring different paths of inquiry, thought, behavior, attitude, perspective.
- Do the hard work of study, evaluation and growth.
- Achieve Mastery of a new way of being; Transform.
- Rejoice and Share with others.
Sound familiar to any of you addicts out there?
In my opinion, the reason that the relapse rate is so high for alcoholics and drug addicts is because the affliction of addiction is, at the seed level, a Spiritual Recovery Process.
Unless one connects to the spiritual seed level the addiction will be like mushrooms in mud. Going to be popping up everywhere.
Or like that Whack-a-Mole game at the Fair.
Perhaps the Yellow Brick Road can contribute to the evolving approach we are taking towards addiction.
Cuz it ain’t working.
The Vipassana Training is 10 Days.
I recommend it for everyone. Lmao.
The Buddha said…….
“All Sankharas are impermanent.
When you perceive this with true insight, then you will become detached from suffering;
This is the path of purification.”
The Buddha was going to sit under the tree until he found the cause of suffering.
Are you willing to do the same?
Many of the mystical maps and metaphysical maps of the territory suggest that HUMAN LIFE is a process of healing, recovery, a journey back home.
“Man” has fallen, been abandoned, lost his way, sinned and needs to find his way back to the garden.
I can tell you from my personal experience of going through the Vipassana 10 day training that we are all living in a kind of prison or matrix of physical, mental and emotional reactivity.
In college, I use to have to go through 2 weeks of triple soccer practices in August for pre-season training.
The 10 days of no talking, no phone, no reading, no writing, no nothing except eating (not much), sitting, sleeping and going to the bathroom was much harder than that.
Before going I was in the midst of working out a lot; yoga everyday, long walks or short runs, etc.
There was no doing yoga or working out during the 10 days.
My insulin requirement went down by 50% while in the training.
The day it ended and I could talk again it went back up.
I write about my experience in my blog if you are interested.
This “Brick” is dedicated to my brother.
He is the master of the no move move.
He has also been my partner in crime when it comes to making a “break for it. ”
Guess which one of us is Captain Kirk?
Awakening to Reality is Hard Work.
According to The Buddha the 10 days of silence and training is the minimum requirement in order to even have the capacity to recognize the path of enlightenment.
I have not escaped yet.
Is there a way out?
These posts are introducing the maps I have found so far. If you have found any I would like to hear about them.
I am excited about the next two posts.
They will be the final two posts for a total of ten in The Yellow Brick Series.
This experience of writing them has been more like revealing than creating.