A statement can be defined as true only within the limits of a certain system. There can be an infinite number of systems. Which in themselves can produce an infinite number of true statements. For example within mathematics.
Each system is a subsystem (or rather a part) of reality. Therefore no system is able to make a true statement about the nature of reality. The infinite nature of reality always escapes any set number of rules.
Further, each statement about reality is made from a certain, finite point of view within infinite reality. The search for an ultimately true statement always reveals it's own tool or mechanism by which it tries to define reality as inadequate and illusory.
Truth is undefinable. No statement can ultimately be made about it. That's why it is so difficult to talk about enlightenment.
The Power of Yes: An Approach to Mindfulness
All Day Awareness or mindfulness in daily activity is the extension of formal meditation practice into your daily life. Over time I have found this practice to be extremely powerful in transforming my outlook on life, my happiness, my capacity to witness emotions, my ability to concentrate, my contentment in difficult situations, my ability to reason and in general my feeling of well-being.
|Embracing all of (your) reality.|
But there is an important aspect to this practice that I want to talk about in this article. And that is how to approach this state of radical openness of whatever arises in the present moment.
When you practice awareness of the senses and your thoughts, automatically another function of your thoughts will arise. Your thoughts (or your ego) will try to hijack your higher state of awareness. You will start to hear comments about your mindful observer mode. Thoughts will try to take over this new position of being aware of the rest of your experience. This happens in really sneaky ways. If you are mindful you will hear a lot of commentary when you witness your current experience. Comments about other thoughts, about emotions, about sounds, sights and feelings. And those commentary thoughts will claim to be the observer, it is easy to identify with those commentary thoughts. Include those commentary thoughts also in your mindful observation. Treat them as any other sensations. This is difficult step and requires and additional level of mindfulness.
And the main reason for this article is the attitude with which we approach mindfulness. It is like the color of the filter through which we observe our moment to moment experience. As soon as an experience has some special meaning to you, your mind is going to judge and comment on it. And with applying the right filter we can learn and embrace more of what we experience. And the filter I recommend is a Yes to all of your experience.
What does this mean? Welcome everything. Be of no resistance to what appears in your consciousness. Be a superconductor. Let everything flow through you. Open the flood-gates as wide as possible.
A Yes feels widening and freeing, whereas a No feels constricting and limiting. Allow yourself to feel also the emotions that are commonly labeled as bad. You begin to embrace the full spectrum of your humanness. Experience will become richer. You will learn that challenging emotions only become problematic when you try to resist them. We cannot change what actually exists. We can only observe and learn, so that we may create a different future.
When you allow all emotions to flow through you, they quickly resolve and you can observe them with an open and genuine interest, like a scientist who wants to learn more about how his inner mind works.
Learning by observation greatly helped me to understand situations and my resulting judgments and desires. Often times the root causes will be revealed, but without a rational explanation. Instead you will know in every moment the underlying emotions that triggered your current state of mind. This is a kind of self-knowledge that only observation and no rational talk-psychotherapy can teach.
You always have the possibility to control the level of openness though. Should the emotions become too overwhelming ,for example when you are dealing with some serious trauma, you can still put the lid on. But as long as you remain firmly rooted in the presence of wide open awareness, you will feel that none of the content that appears can actually hurt you. Your identification with any content in your awareness will greatly decrease. You realize there is no difference between you and consciousness. There never was any separation. You are consciousness. And all that ever happens IS. Changing, fleeting, ultimately groundless and substance-less, self-aware appearances. On a deeper level of reality consciousness is not separated from that which appears. It is all just ISness as different forms and in different dimensions (as the sensory experiences and thoughts).
Summary of the benefits to approaching your experience with a Yes instead of a No:
- negative emotions don't last as long the less we resist them
- as an open observer we are not longer fully controlled by our emotions
- we gain the ability to do the best in more and more situations
- from observation we can learn where our current motivations are grounded in
- our experience becomes richer and we act more authentically
- we open ourselves up to have realizations about deeper aspects of reality
- we will feel happier with our moment to moment experience
- fears and worries have less of grip over us
- getting lost in mental scenarios about the future or past is less likely
The Nature of Memories
How our minds construct memoriesWhen I think about my past, I unconsciously assume that what I have in my mind is actually a pretty good representation of the events that happened. You have probably already learned that this is not the case. Our brains are not truth machines. But rather survival-machines. Energy was highly important in our evolutionary past and conservation of energy an important adaptation. This resulted in a sorting mechanism for your memories that is geared towards securing your survival, so that you can pass on your genes and keep your offspring alive long enough so they can do the same.
|The further we go back in time the more vague our memories are|
This situation is fundamentally counterproductive if we try to remember the past as it actually was. Emotions and sensory input blends into a vague feeling of who and what it was that we encountered in that situation. Inner and outer world have no clear distinction. And to make it worth, every time we remember or tell our friends about a past event, our memory actually changes. What we remembered in the past of an event becomes the event. This is where it get's interesting.
Over time we construct a story of who we think were in the past. The further we go back in time, the more we become the stories which we have told ourselves and others about ourselves. A few of our memories stand out more than others, even though they only represent a tiny slice of our past. We need to realize here that what we think we are, is mostly a self constructed story. Our egos are these self-constructed, biased stories we believe was actually our past. The ego is larger than this, but this is a fundamental part of it.
How this understanding leads to deeper insight into ourselvesThe first step is the realization of this. If we understand that the past is mainly a self-created story in our minds, which is geared towards survival and not a mechanism to accurately represent truth, it allows us a greater degree of freedom. In not taking the past so seriously, we gain another degree of freedom. It opens us up to the path of truth-realization, in the sense that we can now begin to realize what we truly are. A story, among an infinite number of stories, playing itself out as it has to. Because otherwise, absolute infinity would miss exactly your current experience. We gain the freedom to realize that in all this, there is no consciousness which is separate from appearance. That appearance is inherently self-conscious, and that what we are is not what we thought we were.
We become free from the limitations of the ego through the realization that the self-identification is no more than a story. And this story is playing itself out without a separate I. But with strong attachments in the dimension of thought and with a particular strong emphasis on thoughts about a largely illusory past, which it calls "I".
Further down this path, it opens us up to the deepest insight into our human psyche. Which is the insight that we are not that story and that what we are is not separate from the ground of all being. The stateless state that already existed before our universe with all it's inherent qualities and dimensions of time and space was born. That state where all of existence is fundamentally one and not yet manifested as the seemingly separated world which we perceive now.
The practical methodsThere are people out there, many of them following the neo-advaitans, who believe that the logical understanding of this is already enough and all is already realized. In my experience this is not true. The manual is not good enough, we also got to practice. And most enlightened beings have worked hard to reach a high level of truth realization.
If you want to improve your capability to deal with your every day life, than I recommend you install a daily meditation practice. Meditate for about 30-60 minutes every day and make it a habit. Largely focus on developing concentration. Sit still and allow yourself to rest in simple being and focus on the breath.
If you are interested in seeing through the illusions of the ego for yourself you got to do self-inquiry and probably psychedelics.
If anything, I would wish that this article gave you some sense of freedom. I hope you were able to realize that you are in the position to choose how much of yourself you want to be defined by this story of your past. Maybe it can even set you free to discover those realization and insights for yourself.
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