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August 29, 2008


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Brian thank you for a truly meaningful post.
Within no meaning there is meaning and in meaning
there is no meaning.
Talk of satori moments!


There has always been talk of a God, Absolute, Oneness, whole-mind, undivided mind, etc. as something that can be attained or known. But being relative to what itself is, it can't be conceived or known at all.

All that could ever be known about it is simply that, being absolute, it must necessarily be devoid of any kind of objective existence other that that of the totality of all possible phenomena which constitute its relative appearance.

Consciousness is all there is. Other than consciousness, nothing is, and this is a concept.

Whatever is said, however it rings true, is a concept. It is not the truth. A concept is something that someone may accept while another may not. The truth is that which no one can deny, and therefore the only truth in phenomenality is "This", the impersonal awareness of being.

And what is the meaning of "This", why, no meaning at all!

Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. -Avalokiteśvara

Each and every time I see this expressed, I smile. But then... I always find myself asking "now what?" So we're all here embedded in this thing together. What do we do? How does the conclusion that there is no meaning affect the way we act day to day? What guiding principles can it give us? From the non-premise, can't you prove all cases? So what is the consequence of having this clarity, event the momentary satori style clarity, to see this truth?

I am not attempting to counter point - I agree with the spirit of this post. This is just the question I face when I think these thoughts. I know how I answer (I think) - how do you?

jptxs writes: "How does the conclusion that there is no meaning affect the way we act day to day? What guiding principles can it give us?"

--The awakening to this "meaninglessness" is not the same as hoplessness. Nor is 'This Now' dry or empty in the conventional meaning of those words. Rather, it is a plenum beyond measure.

If one has understood this, profoundly, then one is free to snap out of the fixation of the psychosomatic "I" and live as one is, free from the illusory notions one may suffer. One lives without affective attachment, playing one's role in the play of everyday life as the actor does in his, living out one's living dream, simply and worthily, without remaining identified with it or taking it seriously. In this there is peace and in peace one is likely to behave peacefully and live in a feeling of universal benediction, manifested as kindliness and good nature towards the world around us which we now recognise as ourself.

Then why show concern over 15% vs. 24% taxation on short-term capital gains?

Robert Paul Howard


Always the wise guy.

Why care about anything? Because you can't help it. Life is running and you can't get off the train.

Upon realizing meaninglessness, it's not like you sit around in a stupified trance indifferent about everything. You might, but most likely issues and events will develop that require you to deal with them, make decisions, etc.

Even the yogi living naked in a cave has to make the decision not to crap where he's sitting and go do it in the corner or outside. He has seeming preferences and needs however basic they are. He prefers not to have shit smeared on his ass and his grass meditation mat.

My life happens to be a little more abstract, so I prefer not to pay excessive tax on my investments. These are the issues I find myself dealing with so I play the part of an investor who prefers not to be ripped off by a beaurocrat. It's just shit of a different order.

It's the perspective that is different. You see that you are an actor in a play and you play your part because that is all you can do. There is the appearance of free will and decision making, but you know you are being swept by an irresistable current.

Move your finger. Did the entity you imagine as "you" move the finger, or did it move of it's own accord and "you" just received the mnemonic impression of it?

Dear tucson (and all),


...If one has understood this, profoundly, then one is free to snap out of the fixation of the psychosomatic "I" and live as one is, free from the illusory notions one may suffer. - tucson, August 30, 2008 at 12:52 PM

...You see that you are an actor in a play and you play your part because that is all you can do. There is the appearance of free will and decision making, but you know you are being swept by an irresistable current. - tucson, August 30, 2008 at 08:30 PM


Ergo: if so "fated" (so to speak), one may (or may not) ~become~ "free from the illusory notion..." that s/he is not "being swept by an irresist[i]ble current."

Ergo: whether an individual recognizes it or not, all is fated to be as it is(/will be) - whether Obama is elected (or not), taxes on short-term capital gains are raised (or not), there comes suffering (or not), etc. (or not), etc. (or not), etc. (or not).

Ergo: the "free[dom] to snap out of the fixation of the psychosomatic 'I'" exists (for some supposed "individual") only if it is so "fated" (by the "dream" of THAT which manifests "us" in all our delusional sense of separately existing as though "we" were "real").

And some are "fated" to agree (or disagree) with my above observations. And some are "fated" to reply/answer/comment on what I have here written. (As - quite obviously - my composing this note was/is entirely "fated" by a "current" that cannot be resisted.)

Likewise, my not observing in this "tucson" "a feeling of universal benediction, manifested as kindliness and good nature towards the world around us which we now recognise as ourself" is nothing for which "I" deserve any blame: "I" "can't help it."

Robert Paul Howard

"I" can't help it to think that tucson is a naive and genuine fake--telling himself (and repeatetly and uninvitedly on this blog) the spiritual story of no-story. So Life thinks tucson is a naive idiot. Nothing wrong with that! It is just the irresistable flow after all, baby!

The wonderful and profoundly probing and discerning intellects such as those of RPH and the Elephant flatter me by even taking the trouble to react to my writings. At least I have provided grist for the mill and for that reason, if for no other, my writings are indeed invited here in this type of forum as are Elephant's, although I would say discussion is more useful than disparagement. However, I concede that a few words of disparagement, properly placed and timed, can be effective and amusing as evidenced by many of tAo's remarks.

Something is bubbling up and here it is:

Volition (free will) is the psychic chain which holds the phenomenal individual in apparent bondage, for volition is the pseudo-subject attempting to act independently of the force of circumstances. The absurdity of this performance is sufficiently evident.

By analysis of what I have said repeatedly here over the past year or two it should be utterly clear that there is no entity which could have effective volition and that an apparent act of voliton when in accord with the inevitable can only be a vain gesture and, when in disaccord, the fluttering of a caged bird against the bars of its cage. When one knows that, then at last one has peace and a great burden is lifted.

There was a ride at Disneyland where these cars traveled on a track. There was a steering wheel not connected to the wheels which a child could operate giving the illusion of actually controlling the direction of the car. Since the child instinctively turned the wheel in the direction the car had to go, there was the appearance to the child that he/she was actually steering the car. Such, exactly, is our volitional way of living.

What we see when we look at one another and at anything we see at all, including our own feet, is just our object, and our object is part of ourself as its subject.

Nobody can see us because we have no objective existence whatever, and we cannot see anybody else because thay have none. All of us can only see our objectivizations whatever they may be.

We do not exist as an object. That is why there is no such thing as an entity. How could there be? Space/time are purely mental, concepts in mind. Where else could an entity extend itself?

'Others' are yourself as whatever you 'both' are, and their apparent otherness as your objects is entirely part of your phenomenal mind.

No 'thing' is and therefore there is no 'us' because 'we' are only one another's objects as 'us'.

What we are is total objective absence which is the presence of THIS which has no form and cannot be known. All of us are neither this nor that nor any concept at all. Nothing mysterious about it. Nothing holy. Just phenomenal notness and the concept of that notness. We are not conceivable at all.

You cannot find the doer of any deed, the thinker of any thought or the perceiver of any perception. The unfindable is all that we are, and the unfindable is the found.

A duck walks into a bar with a rabbi on its head. The bartender looks up and says, "Okay, what's going on here?" The duck says, "It's opposite day."


Always a voice of clarity in the midst of misunderstanding and confusion. Thank you.

ne pensez rien à lui

Hi, I found your blog while trying to find commentary on the Enneads, which led me here.

I am still a beginner on the path so I'm very driven to find the answers. I do know that a human brain will never be able to comprehend the higher realms on an intellectual level, but with intuition perhaps I'll realize that everything is going to be just fine.

Drop your definition of "fine" and there is no problem left to solve....

(wish I could live by that advice)

Adam, good point. It was the insecurity of my human mind and fear of death that caused me to add "just fine".

hmmm... The consequences and guidance I'm hoping for is vastly more of a practical nature. I'm not worried about the "I", fate or that other stuff - at least, not yet. I have more immediate issues. Like that yogi in the cave, I need to know where to crap so as not to affect the quality of my moment to moment existence.

That sort of practical advice is what I'm always looking for from the "meaninglessness" camp and not finding. It seems like this school of thought gets to a place where you have come to understand and now the credits roll. Of course, having had some satori on the mat doesn't mean I have no need to roll the mat up, go home and deal with my pre-teen and other kid. And things don't feel so smooth in those dealings. (BTW, dealing with the kids is just one of a million potential examples of complex dat to day life. Please do not rush to type out reams of parenting advice.) How is one to bring the still waters of the meaninglessness to everyday life? Or is that question meaningless?

Knowing that IT could never be known,by the brain and mind, why do I still sufer existential angsts. Is there a futher knowing that I am not privy too. does this process require a faith in God or something?.

jptxs, you ask some good questions. My experience is that life appears clearer, simpler, and easier to deal with when the meaning of life is considered to come from us, not the cosmos.

If life is objectively meaningless, this puts the responsibility for finding meaning upon our subjective self.

We need to trust ourselves. To not worry overly much whether our course in life is being followed by anyone else, so long as it makes sense to us -- and isn't hurtful to others.

In my experience, confusion arises when we're simultaneously trying to march both to the beat of our drummer, and to some other philosophical or religious music.

That's when we get out of step with life, not being sure which way to move.

Hi jptxs,

I like your question. I think the answer is "practice." You practice on the mat and you practice in life. The karma yoga attitude is, "I am only playing this part, so I will do it to the best of my ability, but with a detached mind." I think that is a good attitude to strive for, and a very challenging one to achieve. It means being honest with our own reactivity, staying through the internal waves of intensity when your teenagers push your buttons in just the right way. Both ways of practicing (mat and drama) are needed. What's the point of satori if you can't take it out into the ballgame? I like the karma yoga attitude because it includes both an understanding and acceptance of human drama as well as a recognition of the temporal, fleeting nature of this play of existence. The mat and life are really the same practice in the end. You know the old joke about how to get to carnegie hall? Practice, practice, practice....

That's my 2 cents

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