silence is the medium

Ruth Whippman’s short article (on page 22 of the August 8th issue of Time Magazine) on “Women’s empowerment” was eye-opening. In her write up, Time mentions she has a book coming out October 4th entitled How Our Pursuit of Happiness Is Creating a Nation of Nervous Wrecks.

I know a little about the subject of pursuing happiness. She is right. It’s the pursuit that’s the culprit.

Here’s the deal, most psychology professionals will agree that when we pursue something we have to have, the pursued tends to be harder to catch. So, to obtain it, somehow we must get to the point where it doesn’t matter whether we have it or not.

This is the point where many professionals may part company. The ancients say a deep-down satisfaction cannot be found, it finds you. So here’s where the “somehow” comes in. How can this happen? The ancients say satisfaction is residing inside of us, and when we do helpful things for ourselves and others, happiness or satisfaction will happen. What could happen to influence us to be more helpful?

The ancients say the top most respectable thing we can do is to honor and be truly grateful for our own human animal.

They say our happiness is not out in the world around us; it’s in our animal, and we can commune with it and do it on a regular basis as you would commune with a loved one.

Silence is the medium.

Our animal is our all. Our appreciation of our being’s skills, talent and awareness is key.

Our animal keeps us safe in a pattern in its brain. [I don’t know if the ancients would agree with that statement.] And long ago, our animals put you an me in charge of their care about the time we learned to respond to our names.

So, how does this communing work? We use the animal’s awareness. Classical meditation (using a mantra and correct posture) helps at this point and allows us to drop our language habit for longer and longer periods and in different circumstances.

When there are no thoughts, you and I do not exist and our animal responds to this recognition of its total underpinning of our existence. Awareness or sleep happens. We need to practice being in the moment until we no longer need to practice it.

When we are in regular touch with our animal, our being, it can give us a continuous deep satisfaction even when we experience sad or hurtful situations. Happiness is something else and happens in a wide spectrum from joy at an enemy’s death to giving birth to a normal and healthy baby.

Deep satisfaction happens and is available if we don’t have to have it.

Meditation without expectation.

no longer trapped

The masters of the past put
a lot of emphasis
on simply

observing
things with
an alert awareness.

They say observation without
judgment changes the
body’s chemistry
and energy in
a positive
direction.

Why
and How?
We are no longer
trapped in language.
“Just watching” is an ability
which comes about from a daily meditation practice.

Meditation provides a way to be fully aware.
This happens when we experience
moments without listening to
or using language

which
meditation
allows to happen.

getting to silence

Knowing how to meditate allows us to rest our thinking to the point of having no thoughts for periods of time.

Some folks claim all types of weird and fantastical things one can experience by meditating.

Magical thinking is passe, yet many because of their heritage cling to it. It really is a great comfort to believe there will be an eternity of bliss for the faithful. When it doesn’t take place, he or she will never know it. It’s a win/win situation…specially for the hell-fire-and-brimstone preachers.

Meditation is good for undoing stress, and meditation is also a way to commune with one’s being (one’s body and steed).  This communion happens during the silent periods of meditation. Meditation allows us to become more positive.

Imagine what a relief it would be for the language going on in our brains all of our waking moments to gradually become still, silent. Meditation gives the body and brain small vacations.

Getting to silence is not easy because we are hooked on language because it’s the best tool available. 

So, we use words – listen to words – or produce thoughts constantly. This is why music and good stories are so restful because they can take us away from ourselves for a while.

Meditation is
the dimension of silence,
and it’s free and open to all humans.

Classical meditation:

We sit or lay down and get comfortable and begin to relax our body parts one at a time from the top of the head to the bottoms of our feet or the other way around.

Then to slow down our thinking, we put attention on our breath by noticing the air going in and its coming out again and again. There are tiny hairs at the openings of our nostrils which are affected by the flowing air of our breath which can be sensed if noticed and can capture our attention.

It’s normal for us to eventually begin to use words while meditating, and when we do, don’t worry about it because it’s natural for the mind to reestablish its normal activity, and we’ll eventually notice the thoughts, and without a sense of failing, we’ll go back to noticing our breath again or we’ll begin using a mantra again: Ommmmmmmmm…Ommmmmmmm again and again until we notice our thinking and will return to noticing our breath or a mantra again. 30 to 45  minutes daily will put us on firm path. We can break this amount of time into 10 or 15 periods or have a single period of meditation.

Daily meditation is best because its affect becomes greater and greater, yet any amount of meditation is good for us.

its everyday use

The
constant
wishing to have
and do what others have and do

makes us miss looking after ourselves, and
what’s more, we are entranced 
by this language habit.
All the while,
away it
goes, our
precious time.

As a steady stream of time comes from a hole in
one’s time balloon, does our being
in the language trance make
us too busy or so lost
to notice it?

The
idea of
time comes up
once in a while, but
what about its everyday use?

Would having better health lower the volume
of time escaping daily, all things
being equal for
tendencies
sake?

Are all
things tending
one way or another?

i dream therefore i am

Below is my attempt to introduce some of the greatest insights ever dreamed, and they suggest there’s another mindset available to us, and as the mindset sets in, the sages say a person becomes harder and harder to offend.

Indian sages have described reality as having three parts:

The main reality is the world of truth. Truth is everything existing. Us too. All is truth. Only truth can exist. When a lie is told, it will always be true a lie was told. Situations cannot be any other way.

The next part of reality is non-truth. It is composed of nothingness: the total nonexistence of physical things, non-truth = non-being, non-existing

The last part of reality is dreaming and is called maya. The dictionary definition of maya is “the illusion or the appearance of the phenomenal world” which is to say dreaming is the illusion or the appearance of the world which comes about when we experience our surroundings via our senses.

Maya has no real existence because it’s not physical, but it’s also truth in a way because the dreaming actually happened. Maya is a combination of the first two parts of existence: the real and the not real together at the same time.

Why think about maya? We dwell on maya in order to realize we dream even when we are awake. The brain is full of maya and produces it automatically. Maya is the state between being and non-being developed by the brain.

Our minds interpret what we sense, so what we get is secondary and not primary. The primary is reality itself. And between the primary and the secondary the sages say a dream is formed. (The dream might be of having a better wife or wanting a more caring husband or thinking about a friend who’s a real friend or thinking of friend who might be an enemy or the dream of having a new car, etc., etc.) Dreams aren’t real but they have happened and are happening.

All of this means dreams don’t last but atoms do. The search for fulfillment could be called Let’s get to know the Atoms. Since dreaming keeps one’s identity in place, I dream therefore I am. By daily interrupting the unbroken dreaming habit, one can come to know truth.

What advice, if any, would you expect here? If you are searching for that something extra in life, start meditating

(classical meditation: relax by sitting comfortably with eyes closed and repeating a mantra and/or relax by sitting comfortably with eyes closed and paying attention to the breath)

and read what the sages have left for us. Do these things (daily is best) and you may experience being an actual part of the Universe knowing for sure you are not separate and knowing you belong.

Don’t rush because you are able to rush. The trip is the thing. Become constant with the philosophy “easy does it.” Life’s greatest adventure is not a dash for the finish line. Not having to complete life’s greatest adventure will bring it within reach. So be cool.

If you don’t know where to start, I recommend Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice) by Shunryu Suzuki. Also, the recorded conversations (in book form) of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh are excellent regardless of the mess he got into here in the U.S.

 

covered by words

Is everything real

or

are we dreaming it’s real?

Are we dreaming

and

missing the everything?

How

can we

enter the real?

Is there a conscious state we’re missing

because our pure awareness is

being covered by words?

Do we have to recognize our beings

by stopping our language

habit for a while

which shuts

down our

I ness.

Why

don’t we get

the bull by the horns?

Is it because we’re afraid?

Of what?

Loosing our position of captain?

Are we really

slaves to

fear?

Is 

good enough

enough?

If so why adventure?

picking the lock

Is language a beautiful cage? Knowledge is a very useful thing, but does it fall short of knowing?

If so, how does knowing come about?

The sages say there’s a time for both knowledge and knowing. Knowing comes from the deepest parts of our being and is felt by a deepening awareness.

If so, how does a deepening awareness happen?

Desiring it, then searching for it, finding a path to it, then practicing it by walking along the path. Why not give some time for the adventure of seeking out the deepest issues of life and living as a human being?

How will you experience knowing more deeply instead of experiencing the state of being full of knowledge?

When you venture into nature where you live (gardens, parks, shaded streets, a potted plant in your home, etc.) and give special attention to the life in the plants, insects, and animals, you start to notice in a different manner (having as few thoughts as possible helps), and you may begin to see and feel the connection with life by knowing (feeling) every bit of it contains DNA as you do and has evolved to its present state just as you have. Then you may begin to realize you are not separate. We already have the knowledge that all life on our planet is built from the most common elements in the universe. But how am I able to feel life?

Knowing is a feeling fed by awareness, not something recorded somewhere. I’m not an enlightened being, but I’ve searched and found a path which feels right according to my knowing. I’m still stuck in language like almost everyone, but I’m in a place where I have the tools to pick the lock if I dare to use them.

Getting out of the language cage by taking the time to experience silence without worrying about or desiring what may happen or not happen is what the sages say is the proven way to pick the lock of knowledge.

feeling sorry

If an agnostic has the quality of not having to be right, do we automatically know what an atheist feels when he or she claims the belief that there is no God? Would that feeling be the same feeling the religious fundamentalists love to feel? The rightness of it all, with the “all” hidden in a cloud of faith and words.

It’s wonderful to know and feel one is right. But what makes it wonderful? Traditional religions are zero-sum games, so everyone not believing as one should believe gets the ax.

The members of each of the thousands of religions are feeling sorry for rest of the world because even the very good and faithful folks of all the other religions will not end up in their god’s favor because their god has not been acknowledged.

And yet a deep natural freedom and relaxation can be found by living life not having to know for sure about some of the most important issues which confront us in life. And the benefits of freedom and relaxation are hidden because as human animals we are unknowingly trapped in a stream of language of our own making. Being trapped allows us to experience becoming free and relaxed. Being trapped by language is the setup to the ultimate spiritual game.

How is the game played? Sometime during a person’s life he or she may begin to ask the questions of Who am I? and Why am I here? When one gets past the answer “You are a child of the only true God and you are here to serve Him”, then one may start looking for better answers, and all of a sudden, folks with answers are everywhere, and normally, they are asking for money. 

Eventually, one might come to the sayings of the great sages of history. They give the same answers but expressed in a different ways. Of the major religions, Buddhist teachings come the closest to reality for me.

There are many factions in Buddhism just as there are many in Christianity. Main-line Buddhism teaches there is no afterlife, or god, and we suffer and are trapped by the strong habit language.

Buddhists use Zen meditation to escape from the language corral and as a centering tool to deal better with suffering and desire.

Only in the sweet silence of the present moment can a human sense the universe as a tree senses it. How is this possible? We are able to feel the universe because our bodies are units of its expression just like trees are.

We identities are in the way, and can be explained away, but what we need most is a daily period of silence.

It’s best to have the practice of sitting down in a comfortable position daily and then with eyes closed paying attention to one’s breath or a mantra for at least 20 to 30 minutes and by calmly coming back each time without blame or regret for not paying attention to every moment.

Getting better at paying attention is part of the trip, and this skill opens up the world to the seeker.

In this game, everyone can win because attempting is the only posture needed, sitting comfortably with silence as the horizon.

For those interested, I recommend the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice by Shunryu Suzuki. It is a small book (138 pages) and is full of practical advice and insights. In it he states “The world is its own magic.”

I learned to meditate using Transcendental Meditation (TM) which the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi made popular in the western world a little over two-thirds of the way through the 20th century. Shunryu Suzuki arrived here in the USA a little before the Maharishi, and their messages are still changing lives.

Their work prompted science to test and then adopt meditation as an important tool. We are fortunate to have had these missionaries from the east.

Suzuki’s book recommends you eventually be able to sit with legs crossed to meditate which takes a bit of dedication.

TM recommends “a straight-back chair with feet flat on the floor.” I have found that a comfortable car seat works well too. (Of course the car stays stationary if you’re in the driver seat.) The traditional Hindu mantra “OM” will work for anyone.

While researching TM in the early 1970s, Dr. Herbert Benson used the word “one” as a mantra instead of a TM mantra and found almost the same results as a similar group of TM students using the TM mantra given to them by their TM instructor. All of the participants of both group’s breathing rates, types of brain waves, and galvanic skin responses were recorded during their meditation and the results were almost the same. For the full story read Dr. Benson’s famous book The Relaxation Response.

It turns out almost any short nonsensical sounds ending with m or n will do the job. These two sounds have ending sounds which vibrate naturally (the mantras can be repeated silently in the mind or sounded out) and the vibration can last several breaths until it fades on its own and then restarted after a period of silence.

There are no rules. It’s what feels best for you that counts. TM recommends two twenty minute periods of meditation each day. A seeker can use meditation to lessen stress, gain a more positive attitude, better sleep, etc.

Today there a various digital meditation aids available which give positive results and work well along with traditional meditation.

It’s best not to be concerned about enlightenment. Then and only then, the sages say, can the mystery: the universe (in the form of your amazing body) come calling.

There are copies of the two books above being sold for bargain prices on Amazon.com and ebay.com. Libraries also may have copies.

All the best,

Marvin

all of a sudden

What would we do if all of a sudden we had to communicate without asking questions?

Someone would have to invent the question and then give the shocking news to the world of the discovery of a new golden tool and how it works. If questions hadn’t come into existence, we might be going around giving each other commands like: Give me your opinion! And I mean it!

Were there questions before language? Perhaps using body language, a gesture, or grunts of a certain tone? I wonder about the moments when a human first asked a question as we do today and got an answer.

Do animals ask questions? Do insects? Earthlings like us couldn’t function properly without them. Are questions instinctual?

Does our type of civilization require questions? Asking for something in a courteous and polite way generally gets the information or object we want or need.

The questions of science aren’t that easy because the answers are usually unknown to everyone. Sometimes in science, it’s like asking for a sweetener, but no one knows for sure if a plant like sugarcane exists, and the search begins.

There are at least nineteen forms of the word question, five noun-definitions, two verb-definitions, and the word is used in the expression of at least nine different phrases.

hat’s next?

hat about doing ithout diphpherent letters of the alphabet?