To Know or not to Know or Unknown?

I was reading the book Bearing Witness by Bernie Glassman this morning and came upon this statement – As soon as we know something, we prevent something else from happening. When we live in a state of knowing, rather than unknowing, we’re living in a fixed state of being where we can’t experience the endless unfolding of life, one thing after another.

Many causes create an effect – a known fact when you observe the play of the mind frequently. When I put something into linear, I prevent the reality of nature to come to my vision. Nature is non-linear. It has been proven in quantum physics that  past, present and future does not occur in sequence as what we normal know. When I bring knowing into my space, I collapse what is truly outside there into a flat experience. How then can I know what is Truth?

The work of the mind is know. In Buddhism, the basic nature of consciousness is know. In my early blog I mentioned that the mind can’t not know as a stand alone experience as it comes together with a knowing – you know you do not know. That’s the nature of the mind. And when I am blind to the limitation of this function I prevent myself from exploring the future what is right in front of me. My ability to recognize this function and to move beyond it is wisdom at work. Wisdom is impersonal and has the capacity of looking at things in many many different perspective.

Wisdom too has knowing as an end result. If given choice I would use the word understanding instead. Wisdom brings about understanding. And from understanding I know the situation. Knowing is a second symbol of understanding. Knowing has memory as its base. If I don’t stop recognize this, I end the journey of understanding and instead fixed myself in knowing. Knowing is dead. Wisdom is alive. There is nothing wrong with knowing – in fact knowing allows me to probe deeper, to question what I really know, to enter into the unknown with inquisitiveness and curiosity. But when I don’t recognize the limitation of knowing, I outgrow my capacity of being open, of being humane – of being wise.

I just realized an extra K on the word Now makes a world of difference between Now and Know. When I am aware I am in the Now. When I am not aware I am in the Know. Awareness has the capacity of possibilities, allowing wisdom and understanding to arise. Know has the incapacity – limiting, flattening and collapsing everything in its way.

New Year Resolution – who cares?

I asked a friend two days ago what will be her resolution for next year and she replied exactly as what I have heard before from anyone else, including my own inner chattering – it never last and it happened the same each year and thus there is no reason to do it anymore.

That sentence (though I have heard it umpteen times before as every new year approach) at that moment brought a new understanding to why everyone, including myself, failed in resolutions.

When we make resolution we wish for an experience that we do not have. Experience is an effect of causes we nurtured for it to happened. Many causes create one experience, like the germination of a seed is dependent on light, water, soil etc. When we fail to give those causes attention, but instead keep trying to create the effect, which in truth is futile, we are only creating something without any foundation, awaiting to collapse.

It is wise to be reminded that I don’t get what I want. What I immediately get from want is dis-ease, though it may not be obvious to me at that point of time while engrossing myself in my pursuit of want. Whatever I get or whatever I have in life is not derived from want. Accurately speaking, what I have is derived from causes that lead to the effect of what is for me. It is not my want that brought me to have but the nurturing of causes that resulted it.

My failure in seeing this truth fails me further when I don’t see result in my resolution. Instead of seeing this truth, I am blinded to think that I am a failure in keeping resolution and this wrong thought kept me away from making other resolutions, depriving me further from improving myself.

I have missed the mark all the while. I have bark on the wrong tree. How could I possibly achieve what I resolved if what I begin is not in total alignment with Nature, with Truth? I give importance to what is inessential, oblivious to what is essentially important for the manifestation of my resolution. It is not that I am weak in keeping resolution but rather I do not understand how the mind works. Everything comes into fruition when there is right understanding.

Dream and Awake – are both the same?

Many Masters equate life as a dream, an illusion, as maya. Is it just an analogy to convey their understanding of life or is it truly their first hand experience in seeing life as unreal? If it is truly an experience, how does it feels? What is it like to be brought face to face with the stark reality of the unrealness of life – a vast contradiction to what one unquestionably took for granted as real and tangible?

Many years ago I remembered waking up from bed one early morning, with my dream still going on in my head. In normal situation, as in anybody else, the dream will end when one wakes up from it but it did not happened in this case. Both the dream and the so-called reality of that moment occurred hand-in-hand simultaneously, in real time, so to speak. It is as if I was neither in the dream or in the reality but standing between both the experiences, allowing me observe and realized that the dream is like the reality and the reality is like the dream. I can’t differentiate which is real or unreal, but yet I knew for certain at that time what I call real is not truly real. It is like a mirage.

It is not possible for you to imagine what is it like if you have not experience it before. In normal case, the dream will be totally replaced by the reality of our wakefulness, defined by our awareness of the bedroom and the objects around it, including the walls and the floor, and we have an inkling that a dream has just occurred. But consider that just a few moments ago, prior to your waking up, the surrounding reality of that moment is real – everything – without you having or needing to question its validity. Do you call that moment a dream or only when you got out of it? What is dream then? Is it real – as real as you reading the blog now?

We call an experience a dream when 1) it disappeared from the seemingly reality of the present, and 2) the contrast of the present makes what just occurred unreal. When an event have both these criteria, the mind automatically interpretes the experience as a dream. You may have in your lives experience a certain passing event like a dream, as unreal, though you really knew it did occur. Why? Because the mind recognizes the two criteria and thus the meaning of dream came popping up in your head.

Why don’t the mind labels any immediate passed experience, a dream? It is because it does not give an impression of disappearance. On the contrary, it seems to continue into the present, making no contrast to what has just happened. Since both criteria is not met, the only meaning the mind could register is – real, as opposite to unreal, or dream. There are no grey shades except white or black in the eyes of the mind. The mind sees either good or bad, right or wrong, but never in between. It sees only one at a time, not simultaneously. When it sees right, at that moment it can’t sees wrong. Do you observe that?

In other words the mind cannot experience contrast at one given moment – opposites cannot come together at one time. The mind cannot be experiencing anger and non-anger at the same time. Neither can it experience joy and non- joy at the same moment.

Yet, wisdom has the capacity of doing so. When wisdom arise, it allows introspection on the immediate experience, together with its contrast or opposite, simultaneously, delivering a complete picture to what is occurring in the present moment, thus enabling deeper understanding to arise. This occurrence always arise in the now. It is introspective and never retrospective or prospective.

The ability to experience simultaneous dreaming and so-called awake state is the working of wisdom, allowing me to see the contrast of both which naturally encourages deep understanding to arise – to see them as real and also unreal, depending on which perspective understanding is coming from.

When you are with sound, are you with silence?

You ALWAYS Give Your Best

Do you realize that in any given situation, irrelevant whether you are sure or unsure, wise or ignorant – the decision you take or make, is always, to you the best? When I say the best, I take it to mean that it is exactly what you think is best for you at that point of time, irrespective whether it is beneficial or detrimental to your well-being or not. It is only after that situation that you ponder that you should have done it better. What you think later and what you did is entirely different matter all together.

Now we think it is good to exercise and each morning when we decide to do it (or not), the choice that we finally made is always the best – it is best to go back to sleep,  it is best to wake up, it is best to give it a shot another day – whatever it is, that’s exactly what is best for you.

If you truly see this truth that is constantly occurring in your daily activities, you will choose not to beat yourself up for what has happened is what you know best for that moment of time. It may be an event of a quarrel, or a big sweep number you choose not to buy but later came out as the winning stake, or a decision that brought about anguish and pain, or a job application, or to defense or to attack. Or when you wish to be sexually intimate with your spouse and the reply is a “no” and whether your reaction is resignation, bitterness or probably take steps to understand him or her, or even scolding him or her in your head – whatever…. you are doing your best! Whether you call it decisive or indecisive reaction or respond, all the choices you made is your very best as you know no other better ways of doing it at that point of time.

As such there is no such a thing as mistakes. Mistake is a sentence or judgment made on what has happened and it nails you to the past of guilt, shame and pain. The last thing you want is sentencing yourself to doom but that is exactly what you always do – nailing a coffin and keeping yourself imprison in your own created walls. You can only learn something through wise retrospection, but not by judging or condemning it. Bitterness only makes you stop repeating the action which you perceived as wrong but it surely does not stop you from the same kind of attitude that, in the first place, causes you to choose. All your actions are merely effect of the cause of your mental attitude, which in reality is the thing that you need to address.

There are always a constant stream of shoulds in our head and observe that the shoulds are the cause of our stresses and upsets. Shoulds are ridiculous and violent by nature, as it is simply wishful thinking, expecting what is done can be undone. We wanted it to be undone because we thought it was not the best choice we have made. That’s totally untrue as we always choose what is best for ourselves after much scheming from the data bank of our memories.

Recognize that each choice you make at any one point of time comes either from your defilement or wisdom (ego or holy spirit) and that determines your regret or rejoice. And also recognize that you can’t simply call up wisdom (holy spirit) when at that point of time what you are going through is indecisiveness. In the space of dilemma, stop choosing. Even if you finally need to decide, recognize that you are choosing from the best you could only know at the very moment and let nature takes its course. All effects, whatever they are, are always a learning point for us, only if we wish to learn from it:)

Knowing and Understanding

Have you heard of the statement Truth sets you free? I will rephrase it to two sentences.

Understanding sets you free.
Freedom arises from understanding this Truth.

Understanding is the hidden bridge between Freedom and Truth. Understanding has the effects of liberation, letting go and wisdom. It is from understanding a situation that makes you let go of the grip – it has the effect of freedom. It is also from understanding that you become wiser. Try observing your anger whenever it arise. You can be sure it is because you don’t truly understand what is happening and thus jump into conclusion of attack or defense. Both have anger in it. If you are observant of someone’s anger, you may realized that he or she has not come to realized the true understanding of a situation. There is a quote from Yeshua: You are never upset for the reason you think it is. If you truly see the reason of your anger, which is at the deep abyss of your mind – something that is very ancient and familiar to you – your anger will dissolve right from your sight. Thus the importance of understanding.

Does knowing has that ability? You know you are angry but do you not understand why you are angry. Well, your normal understanding is that someone is making hurtful remarks about you or someone is against you – but that is not understanding, that is a conclusion your egoic mind makes.

Knowing is a conclusion whereas understanding is a result of recognizing the causal relationship that brings about your experience.  We can say that knowing focuses on the experience whereas understanding give attention to the full processes that resulted in the experience. Understanding is on the journey, knowing is on the destination. Scientist give much attention to the process that finally make them come to an understanding of their observation.

In today’s hectic life, where we are fed with the impression of catching up with the Jones, we give ourselves no room for observation. Having said that, it is because of our attention other than the now, which is either in the past or future, that disallow us to observe, and hence the lack of understanding of each other, including with ourselves. We seldom understand ourselves, save in keeping doing and having more and more.

Do you observe that whenever you put knowing at the forefront you tend to react to situations, whereas if understanding is your forefront, foregoing your experiences (it never leaves you anyway), you will respond rather than react. Reaction targets on the effect, whereas respond gives attention to the cause. Seeing the cause you see the effect but not viceversa. Allow me to quote a statement from the Gospel of Thomas:

The followers said to Yeshua, “Tell us how our end will be.” He said, “Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Fortunate is the one who stands at the beginning: That one will know the end and will not taste death.

Only by understanding the matrix of the mind could I discover the ending of the ego, of existence. That is true freedom.

Infinite, Eternity, Unconditional, that Is

How would you feel when you believe you are intelligent. Obviously, the answer is great! On the other hand, how would you feel when you believe you are stupid? What about when you believe your parents abandoned you when you are young? Do you observe a consistent pattern occurring in beliefs? All beliefs make us feel.

What kind of believes do we have? I am ugly, I am beautiful, I am thin, I am useless, I am, I am, I am…  . ALL “I am” are beliefs about yourself. In other words, any views you buy into become a part of your beliefs.

Is there any possibility that your consciousness has a limiting space for beliefs, like somekind of limiting hardisk? Definitely not. And so there is a potentially, millions, or even countless of beliefs residing in your consciousness hardisk. Each file of beliefs has subcategory files of believes. For instance “I am thin” – I am a thin ugly guy, I am not heavy enough, I am unhealthily thin, I should not be thin etc. So imagine the numerous ideas that strengthen the believes that makes me think I am that.

Now if your hardisk space is unlimited, then it is possible to speculate that the so-called you, is infinite. It is like saying beyond all creations there are mere potentialities, which is infinite by nature. Each creation becomes a limit in itself thus projecting a meaning of finiteness.

Remember the verse quote in the Tao- te-ching:

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

Beliefs arise from all the ideas I held on to that nails me down to finiteness. When I work with beliefs that frees me from the tyranny of mental bondage, I free myself from the imprisonment of mind and body. Before I can reach the light at the end of the tunnel, my only work is to recognize ideas that binds me and doing so frees me from the bondage of those ideas. It is so paradoxical – using illusion to leads me out of illusion. All beliefs are illusion and yet it is the illusion that leads me out of it.

The Dead are not Alive, and the Living will not Die

You may observed that I have been, of late, quoting the Buddha and Yeshua in my blog, and if you find it offensive, I invite you to recognize that all resistances arise from non-understanding. Where there is understanding, resistance fades away. My teacher frequently reminds me to observe experiences through the perspective of understanding the causal relationships of phenomenon and doing so, allows me to move from being personal to nature – seeing experiences as a natural unfolding of nature rather than “I”.

The title is riddled with deep meaning, taken from the Gospel of Thomas. Coincidentally the Gospel starts with the statement made by Yeshua: Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not touch death.

We both knew that the dead are not alive and isn’t it something so obvious that needs no interpretation? That’s the beauty of riddle – behind the form lies the essence. Form and essence are always in contradiction, like for instance, words. Words are merely words if we do not understand the meaning behind those words. So the statement in the title is merely another statement if we do not probe deeper what Yeshua is trying to convey.

Remember the analogy of Darkness and Light in my previous blog? The former is, the latter exist. Anything that exist has to die, for if there is no birth where is death? So all existences are transient by nature, and if they are transient, it is with certainty that there is no absoluteness in it accept its conditioning.

That reminds me of a statement found in the beginning of A Course in Miracle:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of GOD.

Anything that can be threatened cannot be real brings me to understand that anything that changes has no substantiality, no realness in it. How can I say I exist when existence itself is beyond my control? How can “I” – what I thought is permanent existing on a body that is entirely breaking apart each moment and to be arise again the next moment? And what about the mind? How can I say the mind is me when I would not even know when and what it is going to happen in the next moment? I can only know how it works by observing the causal relationship of the conditionings but I can’t change or fix it. I can only pop in a new cause or a few causes and allow the effect(s) to take its natural course.

So if the body and mind is devoid of “I” how can it be called “alive”?
When I identified with my body and mind I am never, never alive, though I may seems to live and die in the end.
When I finally go beyond the body and mind, beyond the conditioning of all things, in that “space” there is no death. That is when the “living” will not die.

To quote a sentence from the Dhammapada:

Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death.
The heedful do not die. The heedless are as if dead already.

Beyond the illusion of Ego lies deathlessness….