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August 26, 2020


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I’m listening to this book on audible too!! Alternating between this one and ‘Bottle of Lies’. I listen while I’m working even though multitasking supposedly isn’t possible (try telling that to your autonomic nervous system).

“The idea of meditation as a path to calmness is somewhat more realistic, since calmness -- unlike unbroken ecstasy -- can indeed be one of its side effects. Yet all these associations have contributed to a modern image of meditation as a sophisticated form of positive thinking, which is almost the opposite of the truth.”

Amen! 🙏

Forced positivity is positively draining. But indulgence in negativity is just as bad, probably worse. Objective awareness feels better. It’s calming.

When you think about, even those who have achieved some sort of Nirvana or whatever, don’t walk around in a state of bliss every moment for the rest of their lives.

None of the Masters of any spiritual path that I’m aware of were ever in a constant state of bliss and ecstasy. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, modern day saints and self-help gurus—none of them stay in a perpetual state of ecstasy. If that actually happened we’d all sit around on park benches for the rest of our lives. We’d eventually starve to death or die from exposure to the elements because we had no motivation to work.

It would be a little like having a drug addiction minus the withdrawal but plus the lack of ambition or concern. Just imagine it. Our society would become extremely dysfunctional.

I think meditation can have other effects too. I think it can trigger parts of the brain that most people never use allowing people to develop their senses much further. After eye surgery many people describe seeing the most amazing colors that they’ve never seen before. They can’t even begin to describe the colors.

But back to having realistic expectations and not “forcing” happiness—it actually takes the stress off. It makes life so much more comfortable.


"Non-attachment need not mean withdrawing from life, or suppressing natural impulses, or engaging in punishing self-denial. It simply means approaching the whole of life -- inner thoughts and emotions, outer events and circumstances -- without clinging or aversion.

To live non-attachedly is to feel impulses, think thoughts, and experience life without becoming hooked by mental narratives about how things 'should' be, or should never be, or should remain forever. The perfectly non-attached Buddhist would be simply, calmly present, and non-judgmentally aware."

These words are very helpful for me in my present condition - looking into Aged Care Homes. Having to leave where I am living which is a lovely area near the sea and I have everything I need and yet now there is change and I will no longer have my own free will. Have to change my attitude and let go of my self independence. Such is life. Will have to learn to be "simply, calmly present, and non-judgmentally aware".

But this is how I feel inside...
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the 'light'.

Hi Jen,

I hope you find just the right place for you. Oddly, I started ‘Aging as a Spiritual Path’ by Lewis Richmond just last night. I don’t know why—I just wanted to see what free books came with my audible account (my eyes take a strain from staring at a computer screen all day so listening gives them a break).

It stood out because I’ll be 50 in a few years and even the past 5 years I’ve become very aware of “aging”.

It’s written from a Buddhist perspective. If you get a chance to read it or listen to the book I think you will like it. The narrator has a very uplifting energy. He does a really good job.

I added a few other books to my library from the free collection that have to do with the Buddhist approach and acceptance of dying. Change is inevitable and I want to be prepared when it happens—more so for dealing with loss as my parents are getting older and aunts and uncles. Some who have been “given a certain amount of time” by their doctors.

‘Being with Dying’ by Joan Halifax and Ira Byock MD

‘Preparing to Die’ Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhism Tradition by Andrew Holecek

I’m not implying you’re going to die soon! Not at all! It’s just at some point we all have to face it and losing loved ones is probably the toughest... much harder than our own death.

Hi Sonia, thanks I appreciate your comment. I think you are an empath and have picked up on the challenge I am going through, also I agree losing loved ones is very tough.

I have looked up and found a PDF written by Joan Halifax 'Project on Being with Dying'.

Also found a PDF ‘Preparing to Die’ by Andrew Holecek. Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.

I will spend some time reading both and absorbing.

Brian you write: ‘Non-dualistic approaches typically see us humans as being part and parcel of the natural world, physical beings in a physical world. The goal of meditation is to accept this reality, not being attached to the world being any particular way, but coming to accept things as they are’.
I interpret what you're saying as - keep it simple, humans are no big deal, not that special. We’re just one small part of the evolutionary process which is essentially just a physical thing. Meditation will help clear up any confusion that this isn’t the case.
Well I guess it’s also about how non-duality is perceived and how big/expanded that part and parcel can actually get. To me, it can range from ‘what a nice feeling of connection and peace/harmony I just had whilst walking the dog along that forested lakeshore’, to ‘holy crap, I just basically disappeared, yet some part of me recognised that I’m essentially the same as everything else and that somehow thoughts that ‘I’ have are involved in the creation of the world this ‘I’ experiences. Recent discussion pertaining to Sam Harris’ psilocybin trip take this to yet another level when Harris says:
“It’s not merely consciousness without the feeling of self, its the utter erasure of anything recognisably human about your mind”
WTF - how do you get your head around that? - What is it that realises this? What is left?
So in my view there’s much more to this non-duality stuff than you are letting on - you are underplaying it.
These days I think it’s less about loss of ‘self’ and more about expansion as SELF. Meditation is one methodology by which such a transition can occur, obviously certain drugs are another as is deep wilderness ‘immersion’.

The more this ‘I’ can let go ‘without clinging’ the easier it is to be ‘sky’.
In regard to this letting things be and not grasping/pushing away, I very much enjoyed watching this the other day: https://youtu.be/PZxj6_CARqg

And Jen - I hear you and acknowledge and appreciate the honesty and realism in what you said the other day. All the best.


Thank you Tim Rimmer for the youtube that you posted: "Allowing Everything To Be As It Is".

It was like a wakeup call for me, making everything so simple and easy and at the same time realising that this practice is not at all that easy!

My notes...

"Optional suffering, resistance to what is, what we are identifying with. Pushing and pulling. Trying to accomplish something internally. Being anxious.

Just be still. Just stop.

Let any experience be as it is. Really allow everything to be as it is. A split can heal itself in a split second."

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