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TOPIC: What If....

What If.... 16 Mar 2012 13:49 #5957

... all our meditation and effort was only creating a sense of a difference? What if we're actually only creating an alternate view of our experience, not actually tapping into the "real" view of experience (as we like to think we're doing)?

How would we test this?

If it's true, that this view is just a kind of theater of the mind, then what?

Does it still matter?
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 14:01 #5958

I think Mara asked me that once or twice: "what if all these so-called enlightened people have just had some kind of weird trick played on their minds where they think they're seeing things as they really are, but it's just another illusion?" etc.

I'd say experientially it doesn't matter much, because the resultant "contentment that is not dependent on conditions" is worth it.

Thought off the top of my head, anyway. I'll ponder further. :D
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 15:10 #5959

Great question.

I think that it is probably kind of true, in that a sense of a difference is probably the best we are going to get.

It seems like what practice does is just kind of "calibrate" the mind in such a way that things look and feel ... better, clearer, brighter and we have more ability to make good, skillful decisions and see ourselves more clearly. But, the mind is always callibrated in some way to create some resultant experience and any of these experiences is just as real as the more wonderful one that can be had from practice.

I think this is why the Dogen/soto way of "just taking the posture of zazen is itself enlightenment" is so compelling and effective.

It's about peace and joy and kindness, isn't it? Does it matter how we get there and whether or not it is "real?" whatever that is ....
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 15:23 #5960

Is this idea of "sitting like the Buddha" misunderstood? Does "like the Buddha" include not only the physical posture, but also the "posture" of the mind? I don't know, but it seems possible.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 15:31 #5961

Well, I see "taking the posture of zazan (buddha)" as not limited to sitting in zazen, but it refers to being totally present right here, right now with whatever is happening -- whether it feels or "seems" like enlighenment or not. Treating all things and all experiences as perfect dharma gates.
It's an amazing thing.

And, I'm not takling about experiencing the senses or eating raisins and being some kind of uber mindful meditator, I'm talking about letting ... just this ... be as it is, with "just this" being anything from intense boredom to sadness, to rapture and untive experience -- just this.

Okay, but ... practice certainly shows us, because we SEE it, that we make up the world out of what seems like nothing moment by moment. And that we are really really good at doing this. And it shows us that everything is born, changes and dies all the time and never ever lasts. And, this is all true. However, that doesn't mean that our moment to moment view of experience becomes more "real."
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 15:56 #5962

To answer the question, it wouldn't matter all that much to me. I've mostly given up on the idea that the purpose of awakening is to align my awareness to some correct way of seeing, based on what is "real."



I think this is why the Buddha framed things in terms of the suffering and its alleviation. He knew that he suffered, and that he didn't want to anymore. I think what makes his four truths "noble" isn't that they are the most real, but that they point to something meaningful for all beings.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 16:01 #5963

Bingo! for Ona and Jackson both. It wouldn't matter, as least in my eyes, since everything we experience is filtered through mind anyway.

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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 16:18 #5964


Bingo! for Ona and Jackson both. It wouldn't matter, as least in my eyes, since everything we experience is filtered through mind anyway.
[image]

-cmarti

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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 16:38 #5965

Aw, you get a Bingo!, too.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 17:01 #5966


Aw, you get a Bingo!, too.

-cmarti

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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 18:14 #5967

Mikey was saddy, but Mikey happy now.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 18:16 #5968

Monkey happy too.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 19:05 #5969

The mental filter keeps changing shapes and colors and density.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 19:07 #5970

Monkey happy that Mikey happy now. Monkey likey Mikey.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 19:24 #5971


Monkey happy that Mikey happy now. Monkey likey Mikey. [image][image]

-awouldbehipster

don't tell monkey that my happiness won't last, I don't want to break his heart
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 19:28 #5972

Monkey hear no, see no, speak no evil.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 19:54 #5973

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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 20:16 #5974

@Chris: Yay!
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 22:18 #5975

Oh, BTW -- whether it's a cosmic joke or truly a manifestation of what's "real" it's a great gift that has to be used to good for anyone at all. So forget about the question I posed and answer this one:

You wake up, just like the Buddha did. Now what? Of what use is that the gift of awakening? What's your next move? Do you hide it like Jed McKenna? Or do you go the route of the saints and devote your life to service? Or do you do nothing different at all?
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:00 #5976

I think there is no "have to," because each person's calling and skills and abilities are different (ie there's nothing wrong with being an awakened janitor or pilot or businessman - you don't have to become a monk, priest or leave your family to go serve gruel to orphans or be a teacher or other specific roles.)

But what does seem to be a healthy part of continued development is to bring awakening to the world. In other words, allowing awakening to flower in your every action, behavior, etc in the world, rather than fighting to keep it segregated. I think it is possible to do the latter (Adyashanti is one of many teachers who talk about the traps that can come with awakening, such as clinging to feeling special, superior, etc.) rather than allowing our realizations to ripen and mature through continued practice and surrender.

I like what St. John of the Cross says, which is that the moment of realization we call awakening is like the peak of a mountain reached after an long climb. And then one begins the descent, bringing heaven down to earth, continuing to be aware of attachment to concepts, rituals, delusions, etc that resist the continuing work of the Divine. I don't think we can stop the process at all, but we can certainly put up a big fight, hanging onto delusions, trying to protect the remnants of ego, and making the process rough, difficult, and slow.

My ten pennies. ;)
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:04 #5977

It's probably best not to decide ahead of time. Be open and willing to discover something new and original in each moment. Let things naturally unfold and do the next thing that seems right.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:07 #5978

"I think there is no "have to," because each person's calling and skills and abilities are different..."

Absolutely, Ona. But my comment wasn't that anyone who wakes up has to do anything in particular or anything at all, but that for the gift to do anyone any good it must be used somehow. It's a very narrow point but it's critical to the question, I think. There is a perception out there (I've run into it in a few people, a few very developed meditators) that says "I'm less useful this way" after they get to a certain point. My version of this is the opposite (they are actually more useful and capable), and that a gift like this begs to be useful. In fact, it almost requires it.
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:08 #5979

Mike, you have dodged the question ;-)
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:32 #5980

My answer shows my orientation to to the subject. I think one is only awakened NOW. The Jesus and Buddha stories are myths - I don't think humans ascend to some all-knowing enlightened place from which they can never fall and from which one has the luxury of deciding specificaly how one will proceed. Intimacy, to me, comes from really not knowing, from being willing to do or be anything right now.
.

Of course I may be very very wrong, but for now this seems right. Maybe in the next breath ill see things differently?
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What If.... 16 Mar 2012 23:41 #5981

I do want to say that re: what you said @mike, I think there is truth in the "letting it unfold" part. But that takes a certain sensitivity and awareness that both grows by itself and is also part of what we (should) cultivate in practice.

This relates too to what @chris said about people feeling "less useful" after awakening.

Here's why: because it may easily be the case that what you did all your life is no longer the right thing, no longer seems important, or does not fit in with awakening. So it may be that what you need to do or are called to do (or however you like to say it) will change and develop.

Just as an example I have a friend who was a very driven, hi-power business type. What she discovered was that after awakening that changed. She used to get a thrill and a "high" from certain kinds of tough interactions. That fell away. She used to identify with being a tough go-getter. That faded. So she began developing a new line of work (drawing on her education, network, and skills) that worked in the new context.

Make sense?
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