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February 07, 2019


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Yes, being 'here' now seems to me to be the 'key'. But its so utterly mundane, not at all exciting or stimulating, so not seen - or even noticed - to be of any consequence.

Steve Hagen says it well. "If we were truly 'here', we'd behold nothing that is not 'here'. We'd not be taken in by the illusion of self and by all the fuss that's required for its pleasure and protection".

And, "Meditation is finally, just to be here". And the same goes for enlightenment - not some extraordinary state, just being 'here', in reality, rather than being in the conceptualising mind.

Its all so simple once 'I' get out of the way.

Turan - well said - so simple. It’s taken me many years and decades of ‘meditation’ to seemingly arrive at a point similar to how I was when I first started all this searching/seeking. I could say as time progressed I got more into pushing shit up hill rather than ‘lettin it go’ and just ‘being here’ (as I remember my past self - could be delusional of course). What intrigues me however, is that if its all so simple why is it that so many folk in this world appear not to be in this space? Putting the enlightened Buddhist view that ‘Shit Happens - but is it really shit?’ aside, from my Western viewpoint I see a fairly crazy world filled with people running around reactively, many just trying to keep it together. Others have the comfort of some sort of belief, a few don’t seem to bother much at all and seem to live in blissful ignorance. One things for sure:

“In the age of dishwasher machine, he who stands at sink and washes dishes by hand in present moment very lucky”.

Best wishes

“What intrigues me however, is that if its all so simple why is it that so many folk in this world appear not to be in this space?”

An interesting time for me to hear that question Tim. It's been on my mind recently during encounters with friends (some who meditate) who still suffer greatly from being caught up in past and on-going 'stuff' – not to mention the conflict and anguish in the world at large.

I generally think it is due to our habit of living life through the mind with all the associated knowledge, beliefs and opinions we hold. Instead of seeing and acting on situations and events as they are, we act through our mind-stuff. Without being conscious of our relationship to – whatever – we react automatically. In Buddhist terms (according to S. Batchelor and Zen in particular) the realisation attained through meditation where the reactive mind becomes somewhat calmer, enables us to respond appropriately instead of unconsciously reacting.

My question at this time is, is the above foregoing explanation only real for some people and perhaps only a few? Could it be that it all depends, not totally on brain/mind conditioning but on the genetic structure of the brain. Just as some have a seemingly natural predisposition toward music, art, sports and so on, could there be an almost natural predisposition toward seeing the here and now?

Perhaps from an evolutionary perspective the here and now types are just a few quaint, nice folks (who are sometimes responsible for founding religions if they're not careful) and the majority of the world are composed of normal healthy types who are 'movers and shakers' – given the chance! Incidently, it often seems to be that a good number of genuine leaders of meditation groups have leadership qualities that could be genetic – as well as seeing the here and now.

So, can anyone learn to 'see' that there is no self, and instead of having the thinking mind dictating how life should be see the 'here and now' of reality – or are such folks an evolutionary quirk.

I've enjoyed reading this article/post of yours. It struck a chord, and made for enjoyable reading.

Some comments, if I may:

Quote Brian : It pales in comparison to what supposedly happened with the Buddha under the Bodhi Tree.

Does it? Does it really? Who knows what that man from 2½ millennia ago actually experienced, and who knows how externally/objectively valid was whatever it is he had experienced, after all, isn't it?

Quote Brian again: Try to keep your mind and body on the same page of reality.

Why, exactly?

After all, this map-making software that we've evolved into, it serves a purpose. It helps us navigate our world better.

Sure, I agree that it helps to realize clearly the limits of this map-making software. And it makes sense to be able to let go of this when this seems to run away with itself, and make things difficult for us instead of helping us. Sure, as antidote to OCD, for instance (as here), it works.

But why make a fetish of it? Is it necessarily a big deal?

(Incidentally, I'm a Vipassana meditator myself. That is one of the systems I myself follow, not exclusively but along with a couple other systems of meditation. I've found this Vipassana meditation very helpful, nevertheless I question whether it is such a big deal as the traditions that teach this meditation make out.)

Quote Turan: Yes, being 'here' now seems to me to be the 'key'.

"Key"? Key to what?

It helps not to get carried away, and to realize that our map-making software for what it is. Sure, it helps to get out of that mode when it feels overwhelming, at times when the "feature" so overwhelms one as to actually become a "bug". But beyond that? Why think of this as "key" to something else, why think of this as any more than it is? "Key" to what, after all?

Quote Turan again: Its all so simple once 'I' get out of the way.

What is simple, this "it" you refer to? Might you not be imputing to this stuff more importance than is warranted?

Sure, sometimes our sense of self, and our "map-making", tends to go on overdrive. At such times, it is important to realize what is what, in order to brings things back to sanity.

But beyond that? For instance, why would you even want to get this "I" out of the way? Our mind-body complex has evolved this "I" for a reason, why would we even want to jettison that?

I know, you've said elsewhere that our sense of self is illusory. I don't agree. Sure, our sense of self is transient. Sure, it is no more than a side-effect our mind-body-brain-neural-system complex, something we've evolved over the millennia to help us function in this world. So what? That does not make it "illusory", does it?! After all, the stars and planets themselves are wholly ephemeral processes, when seen in a cosmic scale, but that does not make them illusory. It is good to understand that our sense of self is no more than a process, and a very fragile transitory one at that. But for all that, it is "real", as real as anything else there is.

I don't understand this fixation some people have with wanting to "get the I out of the way", to "get out of the clutches of ego", and so forth.

What about you, Turan? Have you ever got this "I" out of your way, got out of this "I"-ness? Do you strive to? For what reason, why?

"Thus we are sucked away into the future"

Not true. A mental projection of a possible future is not the future - it's a present distraction. Meditation is about consciously "being here now" because here/now is where we always are, no matter how distracted. So enlightenment, it seems to me, is being as mindful of one's distracting thoughts as of the objective reality one seeks to escape from. Meditation does not solve the problem of distraction by reducing or eliminating it, but by expanding awareness of what the mind is doing.

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