The son of man is the beast machine
- The son of man is the beast machine (the true meaning of godliness)
- Life is not an obstacle that needs to be transcended, and yet this is how most people (myself included) approach it. Why is that? Why do we think that we need to work hard and suffer now, in order to be happy later? Where does this goal oriented thinking come from? Why do we worship the future? Why do we think that everything needs to change in order for us to be happy? Why can't we just leave ourselves alone, and let everything take its natural course? Why don't we allow ourselves to be ourselves?
- We approach life as if it's a problem that needs a solution. Even meditation and mindfulness are approached in the same mechanical and computer-like way. We see it as a means to an end, but meditation is the art of letting go, of the past, of the present and of our expectations of the future. I have come to think that the main problem is identity, specifically that we identify with the nonsensical stream of thoughts that's constantly babbling on inside our heads. As Zzenn often says, everything stems back to childhood trauma. Frozen in a past moment of suffering, the separate self is born as a consequence, and tries to manipulate and control the current moment in order to avoid the suffering of the past. We've basically let our brains run the show. The body, along with its oldest and most primal sense (emotion), is neglected. We don't even look at the situation, but immediately make assumptions and go straight to trying to control everything.
- We can't even leave our brains alone. Instead, we try to hammer our minds into submission. We try to remove thoughts in order to create silence, and we try to change negative thoughts into positive ones. There's no end to our self-deceit and manipulation, but we only act this way because we're identified with thinking. The separate self lives in its reality bubble, which is a reflection of the real world outside. It's hard to get out of that prison cell when it's so comfortably furnished. Most people prefer the illusion to the real thing. We need to put down the hammer, and bring out the silk gloves instead.
- “Don't try to tame your mind. Watch it, and let everything come and go. You will see it for what it is - empty.”
- As Zzenn reminds us, thought generates a virtual world in the brain, a local mirror image of the real world. Even our sense perceptions coalesce into the brain's best guess of what's "out there". We don't see the world as it is, but as we are. How we understand ourselves and our relationship with the world around us are two sides of the same coin...
- Two parts are necessary for the brain to be able to understand something. At the core of it all is the separation between subject and object, the body-mind and the objective world. This primordial schism is what gives birth to the mind, which is also called "psyche" or "soul". It's what we refer to when we say "I", "me" and "myself". This invisible entity, that we believe ourselves to be, can perceive only itself. The separate self arises in the brain and merely consists of the thoughts themselves. When thinking subsides, so does the separate self. The endless cycle of birth and death is the endless progression of different mental states. The separate self is like a chameleon that constantly changes its appearance, for as long as we are interested in the pretense and deception of the hall of mirrors.
- Nirvana is the omnipresent undifferentiated reality, the silence and stillness of the zero-point. It's the dark void of the no-self, being nothing and everything at the same time. The unknown is overlooked by humans, because the raging fire of mental activity is louder and brighter. The questions we ask can never have a final answer, because the seeking itself is the food that the hungry ghost requires in order to keep performing. That's how our thoughts stay in the limelight of our attention, by creating interesting problems that are impossible to solve. There's no need to look for demons outside, because they're all projections coming from our own mind.
- The separate self is always on its way to liberation, but never quite there yet. Dualism is at the root of every religious and spiritual tradition, because it's at the root of everything that the mind conceives. It could be said that the devil created all our gods, and they are equally unreal because of their common origin. When something is named, the mind separates it from other things and claims ownership. To understand something means taking it apart, and to understand ourselves... well, you get the idea. The experience itself is the source of both the question and the answer. Our use of language only distracts us from the the transcendent nature of the present moment. A paradox such as "the journey is the goal" doesn't ring true or seem relevant from the perspective of the mind. When told to "seize the day", the mind asks "how?", as if action was required or something needed to change. The separate self approaches the world as if it's a mathematical equation that must be solved.
- The dualism between the human being and the spiritual person is because spirituality is thought to be something different than "everyday life", and it's believed that liberation will take place not "right now", but some other time in the future. Because of our preconceived ideas, liberation is imagined to look and feel a certain way, and this is what keeps us from seeing that we're already free. Everyone would be able to see this, if they would just breathe...
- Both me and Zzenn would agree that spirituality is a religion, because all spirituality and religion have one basic thing in common: a dualism based on separating mind and body from each other. This dissociation is a subtle way of resisting the current moment. Because the separate self, which is the mind or what spiritual people would call the "soul", doesn't arise unless there's a problem. Its fuel is fear, because its job is to secure the survival of the physical body. We (human beings) deceive ourselves in many ways, and the main deception is that we hide our own motives and intentions from ourselves. We have many psychological defense mechanisms, and they distort our subjective reality, making it a false reality. Because the mind is only a reflection of reality, not something other than reality, and most spiritual people don't know this.
- We are like the other animals, automatic beast machines, like Chess pieces being moved by the Universe (or "god", if you prefer that word). That's all that we are; meat computers that are programmed by mommy and daddy's DNA, and by our life experience. If you think this is a bleak and cynical conclusion, I can only welcome you to the "desert of the real". Our value systems are inherited from previous generations. We are deeply programmed and blindfolded by our culture. If we're looking for the matrix and how to escape it, we're really just trying to get out of the box that culture put us in. The way we think and reason is part of the hive mind. We learn how to perceive reality "correctly" from our culture, and even if we resist and try to break free from the consensus reality, we still remain in the same box as everyone else. Everything we feel, think, say and do is a reaction to the program.
- I sometimes ponder how far away from our original relationship with nature we've wandered as a species. Lately though, I wonder if there has ever been a "correct" way to live. It seems like everything just happens, and then we can react to that in whatever way we prefer. The law of cause and effect reveals that we are being moved by the Universe, and the ego (separate self) is that part of us that refuses to acknowledge the truth. If causality is properly understood, then every action is nothing but a reaction to the previous one. We need to ask ourselves why we react the way we do, and if it's improving the situation or not. Our narrative is coupled with preconceptions and "algorithms" that make us interpret the world a certain way. Our behavior is caused by what we believe to be true. How we respond to the world, no matter if it's in a hostile or friendly way, depends on how we perceive the world.
- Before we do anything else, we need to drop the story about who we are (the ego), and discover what we actually are in the moment. The body doesn't speak in words, but in emotions, because emotion is a sense and it's the oldest sense. Evolutionarily speaking, it developed before all the other senses. Even bacteria have emotion, because it helps the survival of the organism. Avoiding suffering and looking for happiness is the basic drive of every living being. Being in touch with our true nature is about feeling deeply, but doing this without getting lost in the illusion, the thought projections that arise out of the emotions. Get in contact with your animal self (the body), which lives in the moment and doesn't know a past or a future, but only knows here and now.
- Thinking happens in time, and the more you allow your mind to rest, by sinking back into the emotion that gave rise to the thought in the first place... the closer you get to the moment. And if you keep doing this moment to moment, as a daily practice, then eventually you arrive at non-action, perfectly aligned with the unfolding of the Universe.
- Non-action is the highest form of action, and what it means is letting everything take its natural course. It means going with the flow, by letting action arise by itself, without interfering or resisting anything that arises. It means trusting the moment completely, and watch as the action happens spontaneously. It could be said that it's like being passive and active simultaneously, always paying attention and being alert to change. It doesn't matter what arises; sense perceptions, emotions, thoughts and actions are all observed and allowed to come and go.
- This is what meditation is trying to point to, but most people don't know how to meditate. We have a mind, but instead of admitting that the mind arises only when we ask for it, we find the mind chatter annoying and try to turn it off. The problem with this logic is that the mind can't turn itself off. The part that chatters and the part that wants to turn off the chatter are both coming from the same mind. And yet, this is a very common misunderstanding for people who start learning meditation and mindfulness. They want a quiet mind, but don't know how to quiet the mind. The way to work with the mind, instead of against it, is to understand one basic rule: every force has a counter force. Then it becomes obvious that the way to quiet the mind is to completely accept it without any judgment, the way it arises in the current moment (right now).
- Be the eye of the storm. Don't manipulate yourself. Don't try to correct your current relationship with yourself or the world. Don't try to tame the beast machine that is your brain. Simply watch it, allow everything to come and go, and allow everything to move the way that it already does. Watching the activity of the mind through this openness of allowing and letting go, sends a signal to the mind, "you're no longer needed" or "your job is completed". When the mind is quiet we get a clearer perception of the moment. Time is the realm of thinking, but the silence is a timeless dimension. I hope that you, dear reader, can understand that these words are all metaphors, and no language can describe reality. We only have theories about life.
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