Am I Always Right?

The mind is constantly righteous as in, in the mode of self-righteousness. Every thought it takes on is always right, at least when wisdom is not available, or to be exact, when delusion is in default. No matter whether it is right or wrong from the perspective of comparison or judgment, the mind is constantly right.

Take for instance, the statement “why am I so stupid” – at that moment when this thought comes into existence, we believe entirely in it, else we wouldn’t have that thought in the first place. We rightfully believe we are stupid, from what we perceive of something done “wrong” – a judgment that can only arise when it is done, not during the doing itself. It is just an idea but yet that idea is right and true to us.

There is no one idea in our system that we see as wrongful even if we see it as wrong upon ourselves. For example, if I think “I shouldn’t have done that in the first place” – a wrongness we make upon ourselves – we see that as a rightful thought to have. We beat ourselves up simply because we think it is right to judge ourselves. Get what I mean? Whether it is right or wrong we are constantly making it right in our space. We seldom see both right and wrong as entirely wrong, as in wisdom seeing incorrectness in perception.

When wisdom is unavailable, ideas that pop-up are constantly righteous, until wisdom interrupts. Just awhile ago I was having a conversation with my beloved friend who mentioned that she felt guilty for a perception she was having over a thought and out of the sudden in that presiding moment, she realized it was just a thought and that freed her from her guilt. Without wisdom she would have felt terrible for what she was thinking as she entirely bought into what she was experiencing – it was real and true to her – and hence she was righteous about it and made herself guilty. But with wisdom kicking in, the guilt simply diminished – guilt detached from her instead of her trying to detach from it. To be more accurate, attachment to the thought arises simply because of wrong perception and detachment arises because of right perception. Both attachment and detachment are simply effects of ignorance and wisdom.

If we are not aware that the mind is constantly making every idea right, we will constantly see the world as wrong. For right and wrong have to come together as opposites that are inseparable. That’s how pride comes into existence, be it inferiority, superiority or equality. When you buy into my idea, we are both equal. When my idea is right in my perception as compared to yours, I am superior. And when my idea is wrong, which I entirely believe as right, I will feel inferior. That is how silly the mind game is. Only by seeing its meaninglessness, frivolous and trappings are we able to come into freedom from its bondage. Before that we will be playing the delusional game of being right all the time.

A Lover of Experience, I am

A Lover of Experience
I am
though it is not what I want to be
but given the moment
what choice do I have?

“I love you”
is my feeling of love
of thought directed to you
of idea I perceived you as love
these never left, me
except as my own experience.
Do I really love you
or simply loving my own experience?

“I hate you”
is my feeling of anger
of thought directed to you
of idea that I perceived you as wrong
these too, never left me
except as my own experience.
Do I have a choice
of not loving it?

I choose not to be angry
simply because I think anger is wrong
and not wish to be angry
but do I not see that I am simply
talking to myself
experiencing every meaning
of each moment
arising within
and again, do I have a choice
of not loving it?

Hate as I could
Judging as I am free to have
Jealousy creeps in me
Grief too I will encounter
And happiness,
love, joy and whatever.

YES everything
is here for me
Can I choose not to experience?
and make anyone
responsible for it,
save for myself?

Insane, insane
is all I could say
for I am always
for me
not once have I left ME.

Can I not, not love my experience?
Do I have a choice?

The Wisdom of Non-attachment

She is aware that her growing attachment towards her family is unhealthy and yet she cannot help getting herself out of that sticky feeling. She fears that she may not be able to handle herself if ever anything was to befall her loved ones. She seeks for guidance trusting that meditation can heal her woes.

I listen ardently and see that there is no way out for her, at least at this moment – as the foundation work is not done. And I invite her to ponder on a counter question which I offer lovingly. Do you know your reasons to this attachment? She shrugs her shoulder to express her vulnerability. As I browse around for further replies, many answers come across the floor assisting her in the answer – insecurity, separation, fear of losing and specialness.

Not that all those feedbacks are incorrect – in fact they are valid reasons to attachments – but to bring out the very essence of that woe I simply state that it is because we have not fully realized that nothing can be attached, even though as hard as we’d like to try not to thread that path; we are caught in attachment again and again. A sense of quietness prevails across the floor. And I further illiterate – it is by ignoring this basic fact that we have to keep repeating our attachment, having the idea that we can attach, to possess. Not that we like to attach, as if we do not have enough on our plates to chew; we have no other choice as it is not us who are attached but rather the idea that caused the attachment.

This idea has not been resolved and thus attachment has to continue. Attachment is not the problem, as it only arises because of a wrong idea. But this idea could only exist because the mind has not seen any other contrast than this. Imagine if two scenes are to be presented to the mind – both of contrast reflecting its opposites – whatever pick made from either, is based on the wisdom of the observer. We only choose what we already know. We cannot know what we do not know. Hence if a new opposite scene were to be introduced to the mind, where the mind has not seen before – a scene that nothing can be attached to, than the observer herself will truly experience firsthand the contrast of the former, thus allowing the mind to naturally turn towards what is true to her. This new understanding becomes her new operating system, so to speak, and what follows is the natural detachment undoing itself.

The question is what scene would one be able to realize the folly of attachment, that nothing can be held on and from it detachment arises naturally? Detachment cannot be done through intellectual rationalization or reasoning, except to be realized. And this scene has to be found within the mind, not out there in the world. To experience a new way of living, the cause of it has to come from within the mind, the source itself, as it is the mind that determines the way we look at the world.

To experience directly the nature of impermanence of things – as they perishes, the very moment it arises – and that one has no control over this process – that there is no “you” in those processes, seeing them as meaningless as it comes and goes, brings about the realization of “non-clinging” to maturity at that point. “Things” is to mean the processes that occur in the mind and body, being experienced by the mind and realized through wisdom. The summation of trilogy – realization of impermanence, coupled with no-I and meaninglessness, brings forth a new understanding that has never been experienced by the mind before and bring forth a new perception – that nothing, entirely, can be held on – hence a new idea is born.

If this scene is viewed repeatedly, again and again in the mind, non-clinging naturally becomes apparent. It is not an overnight overcoming of the entire clinging as within the deep abyss of the mind, there are multiple facets of clinging – clinging to consciousness, to perception, to feelings, and to mental formation – in short, clinging to self. The little, little, repeated reviewing of the trilogy, leads momentary freedom to the ultimate culmination of Freedom – enlightenment itself.

From here it dawns upon one that it is not a training of non attachment per se, but rather the idea of attachment that can no longer exist due to right perception coming into scene – the perception of impermanence, no-I and meaninglessness. And that could only ever happen when one looks deeply into the mind.

Thus the spiritual journey of ultimate freedom is not of any kind of creation but rather undoing itself. And that there is no wrongness in attachment per se, or rightness to detachment as it is not a matter of right or wrong but simply to understand the true nature of the working of the world – the mind itself. That each every cause has its own effect, and cannot be otherwise.

Take the Bull by its Horn

There is a Chinese saying that goes as “biting at the teeth tendon” that finds its meaning in English as “take the bull by its horn”. This saying frequently jumps up to my forefront whenever I am being confronted with my own inner demons – when my unaddressed ancient emotions take their myriad forms of abandonment, disapproval, loneliness, unfairness, hurt, and many of its relatives.

So easily it is, in those moments, to direct those feelings into someone else’s responsibility and to champion the righteousness of what I think is right and wrong. So quickly do I come to defend my hurt, and attack whoever that seemingly created my pain. Have I acted out insanely that instead of dousing my house on fire , I busily set another on fire? Where is wisdom? Difficult indeed is the journey of reclaiming my innocence, as so often do I end up being a victim of circumstances, though ironically it is those events that are indicators of my innocence given up.

The spiritual journey is difficult, it was said, and yes, I have to attest to that. But it is only difficult because we are not taught to see correctly, to see what is behind the veil of our emotions. There is no sufficient right information available that allow us to “take the bull by its horn” so to speak, as to enable us to come face to face with our own stuffs, instead of projecting it elsewhere as a backdoor for us to escape. But is there really a backdoor or just a fabrication which, we have to come to terms with in a matter of time if we wish to find our way out to freedom?

I was there before and still am, especially when I am not mindful and play the game of projecting my unconscious guilt. And I am deeply grateful to many teachers and guides that showed and informed me that everything that I require to cut the entanglement of bondage, is found right here and right now in the mind, only if I am willing to look at it.

But it is not a pleasant and easy journey that anyone of us likes to face, for it brings out so much anguish, grief, suffering and pain whenever it arises. It takes overwhelming integrity, commitment and faith to work on those stuffs. Surprisingly we only get familiar with them whenever we are being triggered but sad to say, even in moments of our perceived happiness, we are constantly plagued by those stuffs, in short – ego, defilements or demon, whatever word you wish to have.

And what is it like to have them entirely gone, at least for one moment? My teacher once asked me what is it that I experience when I come out of anger. I was not sure and found his answer rather amusing – non anger! Now it dawns upon me the simplicity of that experience and yet profound – bliss deriving from the freedom of cankers, even for a moment. To be free from anger, or for that matter any defilement, is indeed a great blessing. More importantly is to see blessing in anger itself, when, in the midst of that strong emotion, is the spirit of non-anger working simultaneously together with it. Peace is always here for me, not necessary after or before the storm. And not to mention Freedom too.

Do you hear Silence in the midst of sound? Do you recognize Peace in the midst of ruffle? And do you find Freedom in the midst of bondage? It is here, and will be, as always, only when u journey within.

And this article is in reverence to an entry written by another soul who too is towards her journey of innocence, of freedom – Full Frontier. I trust the integrity you find in her is in you too, perhaps if not now, then in the very near future. Welcome to Spirit!

A Dance of Deception

Ideas meeting ideas
conversation opens

views exchange views
contemplation deepens

righteousness exchange righteousness
contradiction happens

intent to convey
turned out to convince
in subtle defense
returned with attack

hence begin
the dance of love
in tandem flowing
opposing each other

in giving in
the other giving out
and yet in giving up
the other giving in

defeat and victory
seems to rear
and yet,
both lost in end
except clinging
stand in victory

wisdom in sight
no thing occurred
except in delusion
mighty helm

another space
another time
for another
unfolding again…

till one wakes up from the dream
with Love waiting at its end

What’s in Fasting?

There was a potluck party recently and the food brought by friends were delicious and mouth watering. Amongst those friends were a few who were in the midst of a spiritual fasting regime – spiritual in the sense that it is not for any physical purposes; though it is part and parcel of the fast; but more than that it is for the sake for one to face what comes up in the mind experiences during the fast – at least, that is how I view fasting from my personal opinion.

In the midst of that party, I heard the many voices of desire of those who initially considered replacing that day’s fast to another day just so to exchange for the good food offered on that particular potluck party. It sounded so familiar to me as we were all there before.

And I couldn’t help but remember those days when I was in the midst of fasting and friends around me were feasting with joy. During those occasions, I was constantly checking what was in my mind and was surprised by the non interest in the food served at that moment. That had made me ponder on the purpose of fasting.

Fasting is just a form of a deeper essence which many of us may have overlooked. As in anything, the form is always taken to represent the essence, which most of the time is not entirely correct. To see a person in a robe does not mean anything in reference to what is in his mind. Similarly to see a murderer does not mean anything as to what is in his mind or our minds too. We can never know what is going on in another’s mind, not to even mention our own ignorance. What is important is the unseen intention and motivation that embark us to do each action.

Hence, when we do fasting from an ill-informed intent, instead of bringing up something deeper and spiritual within us, the opposite may occur. The mind generates according to what we put in – negativity naturally begets negativity, and vice versa. Wrong intentions may seemingly give good result in the beginning but it is a matter of time before negativity catches up. The metaphor that came to mind is of a thief waiting patiently at the door where we think we are safe; until we are required to leave that place. Similarly when we do fasting without much wisdom in it, what we think had been controlled and purified comes back to us in full vengeance. We are only suppressing what is within instead of giving it a voice, and hence awaiting its time to return at any time. And that makes a difference between practising a fast with ignorance and wisdom. With ignorance, there is backlash; whereas with wisdom we give space to what comes up in us for us to heal.

Thus for me, the best fast is when we are consistently faced with the aroma of delicious food and the desire arising from it. Instead of seemingly killing the desire by ignoring it, or to some, moving away or avoiding those food places so that they will not be enticed by their inner demon to succumb to it; I would suggest that they allow what can possibly come up in them to arise. It is only in this way can we give what is within us a voice as an opportunity to address so that what is ignored can be faced and what is faced can be healed. This is truly the way of a spiritual practise, as it is not about running away or holding on to any set of views but through observation and understanding, those views releases themselves. What we hold on is what that holds us tightly.

It is good to remind ourselves to see every experience of life as a spiritual endeavour, through the doorway of the mind.

The disciples asked him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?” J said, “When you go into any region and walk in the countryside, and people take you in, eat what they serve you. After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will reveal you.”

–  The Pursah’s Gospel of Thomas

Poem from Chuang Tzu

Letting go of thoughts

The mind remains undetermined in the great Void.
Here the highest knowledge is unbounded.
That which gives things their thusness cannot be delimited by things.
So when we speak of ‘limits’, we remain confined to limited things.
The limit of the unlimited is called ‘fullness.’
The limitlessness of the limited is called ’emptiness.’
Tao is the source of both.
But it is itself neither fullness nor emptiness.

[translated by Thomas Merton]