Stop seeking Truth, instead recognize the Ego

I can only tell you the ways you cannot arrive at the Truth, and when you have found all the ways by which you cannot arrive at the Truth, you will find the Truth: then it will be yours, and not another’s which is but an imitation.
– Beyond the Himalayas

There is no necessity to seek the Truth, what is necessary is to seek what blocks you from the Truth. (ed)
Your Immortal Reality

My wise meditation teacher loves to hear about problems a meditator faced rather than what the meditator wanted to share to impressed him. To him, it is by understanding defilements can wisdom arise. Wisdom is hidden away due to defilements. That brought me succinctly to question why when a master finally arrive at his/her own enlightenment, he shares the Truth with the world.  Why the word “Truth”? Why not something else like Nature, Universe or what not? It came to my realization that the Truth is the opposite of False. There is a high possibility that what they thought they knew before came as a realization that they are all false, lies and fabrications and thus their need to share what is truly understood by them as Truth. Quantum physics call it optical illusion.

When we start to question the purpose of life at some point in time, we tend to incline ourselves to a specific faith or religion, to seek the Truth. Here lies the irony. When we seek the Truth by imitating what we should and should not do, we moved ourselves further away from understanding the nature of existence, from Truth, so to speak. We imitate what great masters have shared instead of learning to understand what they are trying to convey. So instead of moving closer to Truth, we are in fact moving further from Truth.

It is not the cause of the religionist, neither is it the fault of the seeker. What is more true is the nature of ego is to blind. Remember the quote mentioned by Yeshua? I stood in the world and found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. They came into the world empty, and they seek to leave the world empty. But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, they will open their eyes.

And there are those, while still seeking, goes spiritual shopping. Chogyam Truangpa labels it as spiritual materialism. You can never win the ego! except to recognize them when it arise. That reminds me of what Yeshua has to said:

A wise fisherman cast his net into the sea. When he drew it up it was full of little fish. Among them, he discovered a large, fine fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and he chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears should listen.

If you don’t fully comprehend the verse, let me share with you a parable by the wise Rumi, adapted by Osho, another wise soul:

One day Jalaluddin Rumi took all his students, disciples and devotees  to a field. That was his way to teach them things of the beyond, through the examples of the world. He was not a theoretician, he was a very practical man. The disciples were thinking, “What could be the message, going to that faraway field… and why can’t he say it here?”

But when they reached the field, they understood that they were wrong and he was right. The farmer seemed to be almost an insane man. He was digging a well in the field – and he had already dug eight incomplete wells.

He would go a few feet and then he would find that there was no water. Then he would start digging another well… and the same story was continued. He had destroyed the whole field and he had not yet found water.

The master, Jalaluddin Rumi, told his disciples, “Can you understand something? If this man had been total and had put his whole energy into only one well, he would have reached to the deepest sources of water long ago.

But the way he is going he will destroy the whole field and he will never be able to make a single well. With so much effort he is simply destroying his own land, and getting more and more frustrated, disappointed: what kind of a desert has he purchased? It is not a desert, but one has to go deep to find the sources of water.”

He turned to his disciples and asked them, “Are you going to follow this insane farmer? Sometimes on one path, sometimes on another path, sometimes listening to one, sometimes listening to another… you will collect much knowledge, but all that knowledge is simply junk, because it is not going to give you the enlightenment you were looking for. It is not going to lead you to the waters of eternal life.”

Respond and React

I used to get pretty confused by these two definitions, seeing them as similar and yet been reminded repeatedly they are totally different. The answers I got did not fulfill my needs, and so the mind is consistently on the alert trying to understand the two.

Inquisitiveness is one of the characteristic of wisdom and thus when a question is posed to the mind, it will naturally incline to a solution, without me needing to give it an answer. By giving it an answer I am only resolving the question at the same level where it comes from, making the question seems meaningless.

And it only dawn upon me recent in the retreat that both respond and reaction are indeed different. But before I come into defining them I would suggest to see every experience as either a cause or an effect (result). We can’t do anything to the effect as it has already arisen. Neither can we do anything to the cause of that effect. But what we can do is to set a new cause for the effect to take place. Thus to undo a similar situation in the future, it is imperative that we learn to recognize what are the causes to the effect that took place, making us wiser not to repeat it again. On the other hand it is also imperative to recognize what are the cause(s) that brought about joyful effect so that we are able to create or condition them to occur.

Observe that everything which we experience within our sense doors are all effects. They are results of the immediate past for experience to take place. You can also say that the effect is also the cause for another experience to take place in the immediate future. In other words, experience is effect from the past and cause for the future.

Another way of seeing cause and effect is on the subject and object level. If I am the subject, all experiences outside are objects for me to experience. When I am angry, my object is at someone outside there (if I am been triggered by him/her). If my target is on the outside, which is the object, I am reacting to the situation. If my attention is on the inside, which is the subject, I am responding to the situation. Reaction, which we normally referred as irrational, is truly irrational in the sense that it target on the effect – a unworthy action that is pointless. It is like barking on the wrong tree.

On the other hand when I give attention to my anger, I am responding to the cause of the effect, which is truly what I am experiencing, what I am feeling. I can only experience anger but I can’t experience  someone making me angry – the former is a feeling, the latter a thought in the form of a story. When I am responding to the anger, I am no longer in the story or thought, but instead on what is true to me at this moment – I take full responsibility to what is occurring in my space instead of getting someone to be responsible of my anger.

From this observation and understanding which I realized from my recent retreat, I am confident to say that response comes from wisdom, whereas reaction comes from the ego. I finally come to peace with these two words. :)

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.


Opposite Nature is still Nature

The Scorpion and the Sage

One morning, after he had finished his meditation, the old man opened his eyes and saw a scorpion floating helplessly in the water. As the scorpion was washed closer to the tree, the old man quickly stretched himself out on one of the long roots that branched out into the river and reached out to rescue the drowning creature. As soon as he touched it, the scorpion stung him. Instinctively the man withdrew his hand. A minute later, after he had regained his balance, he stretched himself out again on the roots to save the scorpion. This time the scorpion stung him so badly with its poisonous tail that his hand became swollen and bloody and his face contorted with pain. At that moment, a passerby saw the old man stretched out on the roots struggling with the scorpion and shouted: “Hey, stupid old man, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?” The old man turned his head. Looking into the stranger’s eyes he said calmly, “My friend, just because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”

Jalaluddin Rumi (retold by Osho)

It is the nature of the ego to make you forget yourself, and it is the nature of wisdom or holy spirit to make you  remember. Either you are aware or you are not aware. The more you remember to be aware the more you see yourself truly.

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.

Ego Exist, Wisdom Is

I used to take for granted that the opposite of darkness is light but as the wiser part of me grew I start to see the falseness of this so-called truth. In reality, darkness has and will always be, or, in other words, is. The whole entire universe is dark except for a few blob of lights here and there. Light is in existence amidst darkness. Relatively light is impermanent as it is in existence. The word “to exist” means, to be sustained and thus temporal by nature. Whereas darkness need not be sustained as it always is and thus no need for existence.

I like this analogy very much as it reminds me of the statement made by Yeshua: There is no necessity to seek for Truth but it is necessary to seek what blocks us from the Truth. Truth is, and will always be. Ego exist amidst Truth. As such I am not wiser than you or you are wiser than me. Truth or Wisdom, Is. What disallow me to see this are the blocks which I need to work on. The meaning of non-separation is based on this analogy. What separate us from each other is the illusion of Ego – but beyond (or amidst) the Ego is Truth, or Wisdom, which has and will always Is – thus the word Infinite Wisdom. There is no such thing as Infinite Ego as ego exist! And each existence is limited by its conditioning.

And that too reminded me back of what the Buddha said when he mentioned that he found the Truth. Truth can’t be created except to be found. To find darkness, you just need to dim or extinguished light. Darkness is always there, awaiting you. So it is interesting to note the word “ignorance” frequently been used in Buddhism – ignoring what is already here for one to recognize.

Putting the Cart in Front of the Horse

Seeing everything as illusion, experiencing Truth, or even acquiring wholesome mental qualities are all effects rather than causes for one to work on.  In other words you cannot practise “seeing everything as illusion” as they are effect of a certain causes that need to acquire first. In the same way you cannot experience Truth directly, nor try to be “compassionate”, “loving”, or non-judgmental. You can, except an imitation.

Imagine you have not eaten a durian before and someone came along telling you how nice the taste is. Without tasting it would it make any sense for you to keep repeating how nice the taste — whether to yourself or to others? That is what makes knowledge and wisdom a huge difference. One is a lie, the other a truth. When I use the word “lie” I am not saying a conscious expression but rather an unconscious experience that is totally devoid of essence.

Thus when one proclaim “everything is an illusion”, without experiencing it directly, one is only adding another baggage to the mind, an idea that is of no difference than seeing everything as real.It has far reaching implication than just baggage. Firstly, it creates conflict to the mind, as in reality the mind has yet to experience it and yet one tries to make the mind in believing in. Now that is a mission impossible as you can’t lie to the mind except lying to yourself. It is like telling a lie and yet ignoring it is a lie. That is compounding lie.

Belief and Realization have different effects altogether. Both don’t arrive at the same destination, though at times we are been convince that belief is the beginning of faith. Belief do lead to faith, but blind faith. Understanding leads to faith, a different kind of faith that sometimes refer to as confidence.

Secondly, misguided view leads to the strengthening of ego. Ego arises from ignorance of what is, an unconscious choice we made in our intent and action. Whenever ego is present, there is no possibility wisdom can arise, unless and until you recognize the presence of ego in you. Even then, it may not be as simply as we think it is. Try recognizing anger, when it arise and you will get what i mean.

In summary, understanding is key to spiritual growth. Specifically, understanding the principle of cause and effect. For example, to come to the result of seeing everything as illusion, one’s cause is realizing its opposite as as unreal. In the same way, to experience Truth, one has to recognize the falseness of things in perception. Or to develop wholesome mental qualities, one has to understand the aspect of the unwholesome mental qualities.

Recognize, realize, understand are all aspect of a wisdom mind. They are the causes to breaking open from what is not to what is, in other words from ignorant to wisdom. Wisdom is the beginning and yet the end of the journey.