Way by Contrast

Darkness is not known
until light comes into picture.

Water is not known
until the fish is brought out of it.

Life is not recognized
until death robs it away.

Wrong is not known
until right is shown.

Bondage is not seen
until freedom is experienced.

Hence no meaning of darkness
where there is no light
No meaning of bondage
where there is no freedom.

Everyone living in oblivion
until opposite has been experienced.

But then again what is opposite
except a different perspective
a different aspect
a different experience?

Giving up both
only until both are realized
one leaves to the other shore
where opposites no longer reign.

Hence freedom too has to be given up
upon giving up bondage
for something beyond
to arise.

What is it?
No words, no meaning, no definition.

Bringing Spirituality to Light

There are two ways of learning in differentiating right and wrong. Right and wrong not from the space of judgment of good or bad but what it entails when each is done as the end result is what we have to face when the cause is applied. In other words, right action entails freedom of the mind whereas wrong action brings about further bondage from what is already wrong.

Strictly speaking, right and wrong stems from the mind, specifically ideas or views; and from it, reflects the speech and action. It is impossible to have right speech or action when the view in the beginning is already wrong and vice versa. But how do we know what view is right and what view is wrong?

Many of us learnt about right and wrong through subscribing to what others say. This way of learning is blind by nature as it usually comes from personal judgment or experience that was derived from wrong view rather than understanding or wisdom. When we don’t use our intelligence to question them, we are also bought into those wrong views. When our meaning of right and wrong does not comes from our own realization, but instead from mere hearsay, our follow up actions conforming to those ideas usually come with much fear, guilt or even shame that leads to self-punishment instead of self-realization.

The mind is easily bought into ideas, due to its latent delusional ignorant nature. We are seldom encouraged to investigate or reflect wisely but instead fed with information that may not necessary be true. When our right and wrong meaning does not spring from wisdom or self realization, our harsh tendency of forcing change upon ourselves or others leads to further entanglement of wrongness that breeds deeper resentment and retaliation as what we can see in the world today. Instead of been healed, the errors goes underground, making the mind more insidious and evil. One can learn through guilt or through wisdom and both have different end result. One ends with fear, having all subsequent actions bind in bondage of fear, and the other from true freedom as the action is no longer repeated not because of fear but from understanding that it is detrimental to the wellbeing of oneself and also of others.

Thus the other way of learning right and wrong is through self realization of contrast. It is in the contrast of both actions that the wisdom in us picks up what is for our highest good. It is interesting to note that the mind can’t differentiate what is wrong or right ideas until it has been presented with the opposites. Where there is no opposite or contrast, whatever the mind already has is always right. In other words, any wrong ideas will be perceived as right to the beholder until the opposite comes into picture. In this aspect one will understand why changing ideas like positive thinking, does not work many a times, as the mind has yet to see the contrast brought about by wisdom.

In fact we can’t do change. If we do, it is only taken as a preventive measure rather than a total cure. True change occurs when the opposite comes into the picture. It is also interesting to note that when wisdom recognized what is wrong, the mind is already in the right state for the wrong to be recognized. It is not because of wrongness that one becomes right, but rather it is because of rightness that the wrong is recognized.

In term of Insight Meditation, the purpose is one – bringing what was right to wrong and sowing right to recognise the wrong; hence disentangling oneself from the unknown bondage to freedom – and it can only occur naturally, not through forcing change, but through long observation and an investigative mind that leads to understanding and wisdom.

Madness at its Helm

I define my own life script
by giving specialness to each meaning
and upon it
my storyline unravels

Hence each experience
has my supporting meaning
behind it
If I see you as unfair
it is because I have my own meaning of fairness
added to the experience
but I forget all that
and make you responsible for my creation
how then can there be fairness played?

If I perceive you don’t love me
it is because I have added a script into my experience
a script called
you should love me
just as I love you

and when it does not turn out the way I want it
you become the scapegoat of my pain
isn’t it an insanity plot
against myself?

Meanings, meanings, meanings
I keep adding
making specialness
one after another
from what once had no meaning
became special meanings of want, and not want
specialness of love and specialness of hate

I define my rules
and yours, your own
and we expect another other to play our game
living in oblivion
to what we have done
expecting others to bear our doing

Indeed mad, indeed mad
is this game
unending stories of misery replaying itself
until one ends his script
and rewrite what one has erred.

What’s in Specialness?

The mind gives hierarchy of meanings to the things it associates with, making specialness out of it.  And to each specialness, is found compartmentalization of preferences. It is the manner the mind works and by so doing, the beholder feels the sense of exclusiveness from his or her experiences deriving from each degree of specialness it gives meaning to. The world has not a meaning until meaning is being given to it by the mind and hence each relationship is defined by its specialness attached to it.

Specialness creates a range of hierarchy of feelings categorized under pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Yes, even neutral feeling is a result of specialness as the mind has already categorized it under “non-specific”, which also has a compartment of its own, hence special. To be able to watch with detachment each moment the mind gives meaning of specialness to its experiences without identification is equanimity in action.

Specialness proliferates each moment of our senses. If you wish to know how much attachment the mind has on its object, look not far. Simply be mindful of any of the senses and you will be surprised by its rampant orders of specialness. The mind, as if a life of its own, chooses what it wants and does not want to experience through order of specialness. And it can be quite a shock to recognize how bias the mind can be towards its object it gives meaning to – seems heartless at times to the innocence of the objects! In reality each object the mind comes into contact with, in itself has no meaning, except the mind giving meaning to it. The world is made real through the mind’s definition.

That defines how conditional we are when it comes to experiencing each moment. Where then is unconditional love? What is the difference of relationship between say, a floor mat and a computer? Doesn’t each of these have its own specific important function that serves our needs? Yes, and yet, no. How we treat the floor mat in comparison with the computer already defines our specialness towards it. What about eating meals and washing the dishes? What about the sound on the road compared to the music played in the room? What about processes that finally leads to its result, to mean the journey and the destination – which preference does the mind give to? Is the destination more important than the journey, that many a times this attitude makes us focus on its end result mindlessly without giving much awareness to the journey itself?

And when it comes to meditation what about daily mindfulness in comparison to formal sitting? Do we give specialness to each sitting and when we get out from it, whatever mindfulness we develop ends together with it?  Is it the hierarchy of meaning the mind gives to the practice that makes the daily practise unimportant, for the mind see not the benefit that is derived from it? What about when one is not mindful? Does one see wrongness in unmindful moments? Does one recognize that by having that meaning in mind, one tries to create mindfulness instead of allowing mindfulness to naturally arise through remembering and thus had created a false sense of awareness that is accompanied by righteousness as its base instead of wisdom?

The spiritual journey is very much within and it takes one to recognize and realize for himself or herself to come to the state of grace, of balance and whole.

Blessing or a Curse?

In slumber
knows not asleep
until awaken
to realize
a dream was it all

In slumber
knows asleep
yet within the dream —
oh! what a curse!

Not to know
better off than
to know
if dream persists

Not to know
in total darkness
and yet knows not —
oh! what a curse!

To know
darkness is known
with hope of light —
oh! what a blessing!

Better to know
or not to know?
Is it a choice?

When the clock ticks
No turning back ever possible
Is it a blessing
or a curse?

Wisdom Leading the Way

Who am I?
How would I know?

Where do I come from?
Can I know?

Where will I be led to?
Can I be certain?

These questions
burning in one
leads one to seek
and hence begins his spiritual journey.

It does not come when there is no reason for it
and when it comes, there is no stopping or turning back from it.
And how one takes on the journey
depends much on his own wisdom
without which one will be lead to and fro
meaninglessly, confused and astray
longer than necessary for the realization to arise

But then again does he have a choice
if wisdom is not at hand
Guiding him?

What yardstick can he look for
What guidance can he trust
What measure can he take
To make sure his journey is one of surety
And not in vain?

That too has to do with his wisdom
for without wisdom
any yardstick can be misinterpreted
any guidance can be overlook
any measure can be misevaluated
and hence making what is near to be far.

So, ye, my dear truth seeker
Seek not anything but wisdom
As wisdom leads to further wisdom
to the other shore
so difficult to cross.

A Path of Deliverance

In the practice of Insight Meditation, where one will finally be led to know about himself through his own initiative; as the name of the meditation implies; an important criteria to the success of this practice is inquiry. Obviously to know oneself is to mean realized and for realization to arise, the prerequisite is understanding, for it is understanding that makes a person realize. And understanding can only come into the picture with observation. And for observation to take place one obviously has to inquire. Thus inquiry is the beginning and wisdom is its end. Between both are aspects and effects of inquiry that finally leads to realization.

Inquiry is twofold. Firstly, to motivate or to direct the mind to observe, and second, to recognize the play of causal relationship that leads to understanding. In the beginning of the practice, the initiate is encouraged to pose questions to the mind, so that it sparks the mind to seek. For simple reasons the mind is constantly taking things for granted and rarely seeks for understanding unless it becomes a necessity, as a problem to solve. Who am I is a mystery and hence to solve the mystery I have to start the journey of inquiring, unless that question is not a priority to me at this juncture.

The beginning purpose of inquiry is to jump start the mind to look for the solution to the mystery. And that is all its purpose, for a start. It is important to remember that the sole purpose of inquiry is not to get an answer, but rather to invoke curiosity as to lead one to the final answer. To seek the answer is to jump the gun of the process and doing so impedes the natural unfolding of realization. Even if ever there is an answer to it, it is merely just another information but not a realization.

And through a little perseverance on the part of the practitioner, the inquiring with its questions directed at the mind, one opens up a new horizon of understanding that one may not have seen before.  More than that, one starts to observe the connection between the object of observation and the corresponding reaction of the subject – that there is a correlation between the subject and the object. In brief, how the world is perceived has much to do with the perceiver. Through long observation, without interrupting what is already going on in the process, one starts to recognize and understand the workings of the mind, its cause and effect. He starts to realize how his suffering and happiness has much to do with the way he operates the mind.

It is at this period that his inquiry takes on a new level – it is no longer about invoking inquisitiveness or curiosity, for by then he would already have the interest to understand further the mechanics of how his mind works and how the effects he is experiencing has much to do with the causes he has been creating unconsciously. Naturally his inquiry comes to the level of seeing the causal relationship of his experiences and he starts to undo what is unnecessary for his wellbeing. He starts to assimilate a conscious living through the wisdom he has acquired and continuously abandon the unconscious state of mind that he was before. He becomes more aware or mindful so to speak, and that leads him further into undoing what binds him before which now offers him freedom. In this way his life moves towards the direction of greater freedom, in comparison to bondage that he was unaware of before.

This is a brief idea how Insight Meditation can lead one to understand himself or herself better and ultimately realize the meaning of existence – the “I”.