Don’t Watch The News

I often bash mainstream news.  It doesn’t matter which network we’re talking about; I find them all dishonest.  Let’s use Fox News for example.  If you were watching their network news a few years ago, everything Obama did or proposed was evil and misguided.  He couldn’t do anything right.  Now let’s fast forward a few years; we have President Trump doing the exact same things they criticizing Obama for, but he is praised to wide acclaim and fanfare.  The video below illustrates this perfectly.

Other networks such as MSNBC and CNN are the same way, though they root for the opposing team.

The bias is getting so bad, reporters and journalists are having to stay away from mainstream networks out of fear of appearing compromised.  For instance, the New York Times has recently announced that their reporters are no longer allowed on CNN’s Don Lemon or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s programs because the shows are too obviously left-leaning.  Similar sorts of things are happening on the conservative end of things.  Things are so polarized it’s impossible not to notice.

But while I’m happy to see some acknowledgement of bias, now the news climate is so bad, we can’t even have a dialog with one another.  You’re banned from talking to them, they’re banned from talking to you, and we all sit in our isolated bubbles, talking to ourselves.  What a mess.

Now that I’m on Facebook I watch my family and others fighting over this news stuff.  It’s a strange form of entertainment or something.  Pick your team: red or blue.  I followed it all intensely for some 20 odd years, from my late teens until I was in my later 30’s.  However, it’s come to a point where I just can’t invest my attention in it anymore.  It’s just not worth all the effort required.  There’s no payoff.

It’s not that I don’t care.  I do.  It’s mainly the struggle to get any information that is truly unbiased.  I want information that is complete and trustworthy.  That has the full picture.  But that seems too much to ask for these days.  Everything is just spin, opinion, and bad-mouthing.  It’s a huge undertaking to get to the bottom of what’s really going on, and I no longer find it worth the energy.  It’s a massive drain on your time.

You could be composing music, creating art, researching things you’re interested in, meditating, out hiking, spending time with family, the list goes on.  Instead you’re listening to these propaganda networks who are so bent on gaining views and keeping interest, they’ll do anything to build a loyal following, even if that means skewing the facts and pitting you against your neighbor.  On top of this, they have their financial interests to consider, so they also must manufacture all of our consent to elite interests.  After all, they make their money from advertising, and who advertises?  Large corporations.  And who has most of the power in our society?  Large corporations.  So it’s kind of hard to expect these journalists, funded by the corporations, to keep a close eye on the corporations.  If you’re interested in what’s actually going on, you have to take little pieces from here and there and put it together, like a mystery novel or something.  It just becomes a really toilsome affair.

In the past we could use the internet, but the tech giants are working tirelessly to push what they want to push.  Everyone has an agenda now.  They’re tweaking their search algorithms in such a way that certain types of information displays up top in the search results and other pages are buried where no one will ever see them.  They arbitrarily choose what we see and don’t see.  More and more it’s based on who has money.  Whoever gives these social media companies the most money get the most exposure.  Don’t do what they say and you’re banned, demonetized, or banished to some portion of the website where nobody will ever see you.

In today’s world we have access to information we never had access to before.  But then again, the old elite interests are working double time to make sure that that information gets buried in places we’ll never find it.

The Problem Of Others

I’d like to briefly discuss the problem of proving that other people exist.  I feel this is impossible because there’s no way to hop outside yourself and experience anything outside of yourself.  In the philosophy community, this is the problem of solipsism.  I see absolutely no way around it.  This post will be a continuation of my last post, so I recommend reading that before moving on to this material.

Let’s imagine that I am in the supermarket and I run into the woman in the figure below.  As before, I will identify my “self” as the “space” from which forms manifest, my body manifest “up close” and a woman’s figure will be projected from divine Ground into my awareness.

Just to recap a few things, I argued that people typically (wrongfully) identify themselves as their body (the two hands in the figure), along with the thoughts and emotions manifest in their experience.  So called “other” forms, such as this woman, are identified as “others” because they’re experienced differently.  For example, if a bowling ball fell from the ceiling and smashed this poor’s woman’s head in, you wouldn’t feel pain, but if that bowling ball landed on “your” hand, you’d feel pain.  These sorts of experiences lead people to believe certain forms (such as the hands and body) are “theirs” and other forms, such as the woman standing there, do not belong to them.  I argued this is incorrect.  You are the total awareness of everything you’re experiencing.  The form of “your” hands, the form of this woman, the thoughts you’re experiencing, all the sensations, the emotions you’re experiencing, it’s all you.   You can’t have an experience outside of yourself.

Alex was thoughtful enough to leave some comments on my post, and we got into a discussion about whether or not other people exist, and that lead to some considerations of ethics.  Let’s look into this.  The major point of contention seems to be the claim that this woman in front of me is just a form within my awareness, empty, like a hologram or something.  This belief that there’s nothing more beyond this appearance seems unethical.  She’s not just a form to be viewed; she has an inner world of her own!   That demands that she be treated morally, that there might be karma or something if she’s treated poorly, etc.  Ok, fair enough.  I can believe in all that, but could I ever know that?

To know that she has an inner world of her own, I’d have to somehow experience it firsthand for myself.  Is that possible?  I am the awareness of what’s happening within this “box”, this “space” of Emptiness, including all the projected forms, thoughts, and emotions currently being manifested.  How could I ever experience anything outside of the box of my own awareness?  The second I experience something that’s not me, supposedly from the “outside”, anything at all, it becomes a part of my awareness and is me.

We could try to overcome this limitation?  Let’s assume that if this woman’s form is being projected into my awareness, I not only experience “my” thoughts and emotions, but also “hers”.  Now I directly experience her “inner” world.  Surely I must now claim that she’s more than just the form!  She has an inner world and it’s being beamed straight into me when she’s right there in front of me!  But does this make her separate from “me”?  Does this solve the problem?  Only if you identify yourself as certain thought streams, emotions, or sets of forms, and not others, otherwise there is no way to make the distinction between “my” thoughts and “her” thoughts, “my” emotions and “her” emotions.  There is just forms, thoughts, and emotions manifesting within awareness.  The experience is richer now, more complex, but if you identify yourself as the total awareness of everything happening within the “space”, then we still have the same problem.  She’s still “you”, and there’s no distinction between “you” and “her”.

Hmm, let’s take this even further.  Say I not only experience “my” life, with all of its bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, etc., but also all aspects of “her” life simultaneously!  Within my awareness is two of these “spaces”, one with the life of Jason and all of its experiences (on the left), and another the life of this woman (on the right).  This is illustrated in the next figure, where Jason and the woman are looking at one another in the supermarket.

Has this solved the problem of me being me, and her being her, and us being separate from one another?  Can I now be sure this woman has an “inner” world that is separate from “my” own?  No.  Now I am both Jason and the woman, and everything they experience.  There’s no reason to identify with the person on the left or right, exclusively.  I’m both of them.  I am the awareness that includes the total experience of Jason and the woman; this awareness includes both of their bodily sensations, both of their thoughts, both of their perceptions, and both of their emotions.

You could try to play around with this in various ways but it won’t change anything.  Say for instance I feel bodily tactile sensations of Jason on the left, but not for the woman on the right.  For her I just see what she sees and hear what she hears, but nothing more.  Then would I be predisposed to identify as Jason and not the woman?  -shrugs-  It’s up to you how you identify yourself, but if you identify as Emptiness and the total “space” of your awareness, then it doesn’t make any difference.

When I tend to believe others exist, outside of myself, I think of some massive split-screen view, containing all “existent” conscious beings, each with a “space” of their own,  populated with forms, thoughts, emotions, and other experiences which manifest from the same common Ground which we’re all using.  God is manifesting all of us, and is viewing the complete display, containing a split-screen view with innumerable “spaces” for every human, every animal, every insect, every alien, and anything else that can be consciously experienced, from all possible timelines, from all possible perspectives, from every form of life, in every possible existence; God is looking at this timeless super-split-screen-space containing all of that.   Then you say, but Jason, how do you know God exists in this way?  I don’t.  I’d have to become God and be immersed in this super-experience first-hand to know that it exists.  But assuming I became this experience, and my awareness reverted back to being Jason, how could it be described?  A fullness cannot be fully expressed using subset of its completely unique pieces.  This is especially true of experiences which are foreign to humans for which there would be no words.  But as I would like to argue, am I even choosing the forms, thoughts, and emotions which manifest, moment to moment, as Jason?  I’d argue I’m not, they’re moreso happenings.  So the degree to which God could be described by Jason is based on what God feeds into Jason to be experienced within his (and ultimately within God’s) awareness.  But if you think about it, how this any different for ANY experience?

And here’s a key insight.  If free-will were happening on the fly, like most of us believe, time would be stopping every moment, and you’d be presented with this wide variety of split-screens to choose from at each moment.  And if full-freedom were available to you, where all possible split-screens were available to you at every moment to choose from (which quantum physics seems to point to), you’d basically have that God-like perspective, make a “decision” (whatever that would mean, maybe “zooming” into one of these perspectives temporarily?), and then revert back to that God-like perspective for the next decision.   And this God-like perspective contains everybody, all possible identities, timelessly.  You’d select to be aware of something selectively for a temporary period, and then revert back to timeless awareness of the all.  This idea of “identity” seems incompatible with full-freedom.  I’ll get to that in my next post.

I’d like to write an entirely separate post focusing on the ethics of this perspective of identification with Emptiness (the “space” of your awareness).   I’ll save that discussion for then.

Reflections on Self and Emptiness

Recently I’ve been reading the works of the Tibetan monk Longchenpa Rabjampa, considered one of the most influential writers on Dzogchen meditation.  The Dali Lama is a big advocate of this type of Tibetan Buddhist meditation.  As I was reading Longchenpa’s Precious Treasury Of The Way Of Abiding, I thought I should write a blog post trying to describe the state of Mind he’s trying to point to, which he calls ‘the way of abiding’.  I practice it a great deal, and it leads to tremendous peace.  I find it a profound way to look at the world.

I want you to imagine an empty box filled with a magical substance, or if that seems too strange for you, imagine it filled with special type of field.  The magical substance within this box contains every possible form, every possible thought, and every possible emotion.  Don’t try to think of how exactly, just for now, say that it does.  When a person, in this case conscious awareness, enters this box, It can selectively experience the different possibilities through a focus of attention.  It’s like a virtual-reality machine containing every possible experience, controlled by thought and intention.  This box is displayed in the following figure.Notice that it’s like an empty box with nothing in it.  That’s what the box-like grid signifies, though in this case it is not a 3D box.  It can have any sort of geometry or number of dimensions.  I just made it a 3D box because it’s intuitively simple and easy to understand.  Also notice that I have two added rectangular boxes along the top, one for Thought/analysis, and another for emotion.  That’s my attempt to signify that this box, this “space”, also contains invisible “inner” thought, and emotional states such as happiness, anger, or depression.  For now, I have a straight line within these boxes, signifying that there’s no signal, no stimulation.  No inner thoughts are happening, and the emotional state is one of peaceful indifference.  That’s the native emotional experience — a quiet joyful peace.

This is who you are at the most fundamental level.  You are this super-entity, containing all possible thought, all possible emotion, and all possible experience.  This magical substance and the box containing it never changes.  It’s just one super-entity, a divine oneness.  It’s always been and always will be.  There is no specific structure to how the infinite contents are organized.  That’s always up to the conscious awareness controlling It.  All of it is unceasing, spontaneously present.  There is no principle of causation governing how it operates.  There are no limitations or restrictions of any kind.  There is also no ultimate reality or ultimate state of being, no particular “state” preferred over another.  All is permissible.  There is also no specific reference point.  There is a sort of divine indifference to what happens in this divine virtual-reality machine.  The emotional states, the thought patterns, and the forms just are, and can be arranged in any way desired.

The most common confusion people have is wrongful identification with the body.  A more correct view is the body is just one of an infinite variety of forms “projected” into this “space”.  Any body can be experienced, and one can just as easily experience any set of forms without a body.  Anything can be projected into this box and played with.  To be incarnated in a body simply means that a particular form is projected up “close” and “follows” you around when you explore the environment (which is also projected in exactly the same way).  I’ll show this in the next figure.

Imagine that this “box” never moves.  In other words, those grid-lines you see there never move.  You’re not flying around within this box.  Your observation point also never moves.  You’re always in the same position within the box and locked looking in the same direction.  “You” never move, “You” never change.  To give the experience that you have this human body, you project these arms “up close” and other body parts from that first-person perspective, similar to what’s done in a video game.   They’re just forms, like any other forms.  In some sense this is “your” body, I guess, but ultimately it’s just a form like any other.  It’s projected into awareness in the exact same way as everything and everyone else you encounter.  What I’m trying to say is there’s no reason to identify with the body and not the environment.  They’re of the exact same nature.

So let’s take a typical moment we experience.  You’re at your parents house, in the dining room, and your mother is there, calling for you to join her.  How is this event created?  First a form of your mother is projected into the box, then that of a table, and the walls, and the paintings, and also the forms of your body, along with smells, sensations, and other thought/emotional experiences.  I’ve tried to indicate all of this in the next figure.

Notice the arrows I put in this picture.  That’s simply to indicate that they’re projected into the “space”, the “box”,  out of the infinite possibilities available.  This “database” of all possible experiences is called the Ground, or others refer to this as the Source.  Your mother, standing at every angle, along with all possible ways of perceiving her, all of this is contained in the Source.   The same is true of the table and the entire household you’re looking at.

Is this woman your mother in actuality?  No.  Is this “her” house?  No.  You were never born.  You’ve always been, and this “mother” you’re looking at has always been contained within you, along with “her” house and everything in it.  So more correctly, you’re looking at one of your pet forms, now playing some fictitious role of your mother, all while standing next to other projected forms, all of which are yours as well, such as tables, couches, televisions, and the rest of it.  Everything is yours, including your body, your mother’s body, and EVERYTHING you experience.  EVERYTHING.  That’s why it’s stupid to get jealous about what “others” have.  The others are you, as is all the stuff they have.  You’re looking at yourself, and things within you, which you’ve always had.  All of this will always be available to you.  This fake mother never dies because she was never even alive.  You never die either because you were never this person you think you are.  It’s just forms popping in and out of focus.  There’s nothing to worry about.  Nothing is ever lost.

The sequence of time you experience is simply one projection after another, in any arbitrary ordering.  This same womanly form you’re using as your loving, wonderful mother could well be a random disinterested passerby in the next adventure you write for yourself.  There’s no inherent emotional experience contained within any form.  Heck, this same woman figure could be used as your arch-nemesis in a different story, a person you absolutely despise.  Or if you really want to be imaginative with the possibilities, in your next adventure you may be a bluebird eating out of this woman’s bird-feeder and see her with complete indifference.  It’s all up to you.

People mistakenly believe these forms to be pinatas or something, like they inherently contain properties and characteristics.  You just got to keep them around and hold them tight, and then this special stuff oozes out of them, splashing on you by proximity.  It’s like if you bust them open, some emotional experience pours out of them like candy.  That big beautiful home somehow contains happiness!  It’s in the walls, the stove, the fridge.  It’s just in there, somehow.  Or for another example, a lover is believed to contain a special kind of irreplaceable joy.  Your lover’s form is manifesting and you’re so happy, but if she’s gone, you’re deeply lonely and miss her terribly.  And oh, what about the one who got away!  Isn’t life cruel!  Or another example, some place of employment or special adventure was your only chance at having an interesting, exciting life.  The list goes on.  It’s all illusions, a big dream.  There’s no such thing as a lost opportunity.  All possibilities are always within you, and these forms do not contain this kind of power.  They’re empty.  This may sound really bizarre to you, but if you get deep into meditation, watching how this “movie” operates, you can step out of these streams of thought and emotion.  You can snatch the emotional power away from these forms and reclaim it! That baffled me when I first learned about it.

To “step out” of the movie, you utilize what’s called the Way of Abiding within the Great Perfection (as the Tibetan Buddhists call it).  If you do that, you can emotionally and mentally revert back to something very close to root Source consciousness, in a very beautiful mental silence and peaceful, quiet joy.  The first step is to realize that these are forms popping in and out of your awareness (your “space”).  Know what they are.  The same goes for thoughts and emotional experiences.  Next, experience them purely.  By that I mean do not give them names, labels, or conceptualize them.  This is why the end result of this process is silence, just like Ramana Maharshi realized.  No further elaboration of an experience is necessary.  Every experience stands alone, unique, ineffable, without need for anything further.  To try to add to an experience only invites diving deeper into illusion.  To chase experience is to chase your own shadow.  What are you doing?  It’s silly.  Let thought and emotion spontaneously arise, without you “aggravating” it.  Don’t touch it.  Let it all be.   There’s nothing to say, nothing to do.  If words spontaneously come out of your mouth, so be it, but live without effort.  The end result of this is there will no longer be any false “you” thinking it’s piloting this movie.  It knows this is an illusion, and your awareness knows what’s going on.

Do not accept or reject anything you experience.  While watching this progression of forms unfold, you have degrees of mental freedom and that can get you into trouble.  For example, don’t ascribe a moral sense to what you’re seeing, saying this is good, this is bad, or this is worth experiencing, and this other type of experience is to be avoided.  Do not identify yourself with anything you experience; know the nature of experience and that it’s what we’ve been discussing.  (For example, don’t identify with your body, or your thoughts, or emotions, etc).  Do not differentiate objects, or exclude objects, saying some things belong, and others do not.  They are all part of a divine super-entity union, and any attempt to break it into pieces, into your own subjective division of objects is to invite suffering.  For example, some experiences may seem ugly, like a pile of trash along the side of the road, but who knows, maybe in the future you’ll want to have an adventure in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, like living the Fallout video games, and you need forms like that heap of trash.  It has its uses.  Remember that all of this is beyond imagination or expression.  It speaks on its own.  Let it speak and don’t let it move you.  Just watch the movie, and remain in divine indifference, unmoved.  Don’t chase anything (do not desire anything).  That’s the Way of Abiding.

I can speak from firsthand experience that this way of perceiving the world is infinitely superior to “ordinary” ways of thinking.  If you master it, you see people beating themselves up, caught up in some sort of madness, and you think to yourself, “Was I like that?”  And you were!  You used to get all worked up about what’s happening at your job, like it was the end of the world or something.  You were caught up in some dog eat dog economy, this Matrix, and wearing yourself to the bone.  Or if things went south with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, life was over!  You went into self-destruct mode, thinking it’s all over.  Oh no, what will you do!  But what about now, after learning these practices?  -shrugs-  You’re left in a state of glorious indifference.  You’re no longer a slave to the stupidity of this world!  You used to get all worked up at politics thinking you had to save this illusory world.  Now?  What’s there to save?  You feel there’s some special need to rearrange the forms within your little dream?  You used to chase adventure, thinking you only had so much time to experience what’s out there.  Now you know you’re eternal and it’s no big deal.  Chill out.  It’s not worth stressing over.  None of it is.   Judging of any kind only limits yourself and what you can experience.  If you wall off certain experiences as “improper”, you limit yourself.  That’s all.  This is all a big topic, but I don’t want this post to get too long.

I guess we should talk about death a little before we go.  Let me give you an example using a real-world near-death experience I’ve read about.

Say you experience physical death.  The script is now over, at least for the time being.  It’s been played to the end.  What happens?  Well, to enter this movie you took on limitations, wanting to forget who you are so that it’d be more immersive.  Thing is, even when you died, you may not have set the stipulation to turn back on your divine awareness at death.  So you die and you’re like, “Uh, now what?”  Shame you didn’t think about these things while you were alive.  You could simply say within your mind, “I hereby remove all limitations on myself”, and you’d become all knowing, fully aware of All, etc., but if you don’t know this is possible, you sit in the “box” you set up to view your own little movie.  You’re sitting in a dark, empty theater space.

So here’s the thing.  Say you were attached to many things in the “movie” you just experienced, such as your home, your children, your parents, etc.  So at death, your attachments thrust you right back into dreaming.  You start thinking, “What will happen to Sarah, my daughter?”  And quite amazingly, this “space”, this divine theater you’re sitting in, it is infused with divine intelligence.  It’s not like a stupid computer.  It will respond to your intentions now, which it treats as divinely ordered commands.  So, what happens?  What do near-death experiencers tell you?  Next thing you know you will be right next to Sarah, your child, watching them, hovering over them, hearing all their thoughts, feeling all their emotions, and seeing everything taking place.

Do you now see why the Tibetan Buddhist masters tell you to remove attachments, especially if you’re not enjoying this life?  This young woman was never your daughter.  The movie’s over and you’re jumping in the back room, loading new film into the projector.  This can’t end!  I’m too heavily invested in this thing!  And now you’re prolonging a bad movie.  If you want to, sure, go for it!  If you want this divine intelligence to continue making up some realistic series of events “happening” with your daughter and family, why not.  But it’s over.  Move on.  Surely there’s better things to do than watch your fake daughter and her puppet husband bicker and go grocery shopping.  Do something else, something you actually enjoy.  All possibilities are open to you at this point.

Or say you have a Christian belief system.  From my own research on this topic, it seems we’re in a dream within a dream, so even after physical death, your mind/memories remain intact, or at least, they can.  So what happens now?  You die and think, oh, it’s time for me to go to heaven!  So what happens?  You manifest some beautiful heavenly buildings, and then, what is this?  A wonderous light is approaching you!  Who might it be?  My gosh, it’s your “deceased” mother!  You’re then engulfed in mother’s warmth and light, and you embrace in some strange spiritual way.

What’s going on?  More of the same.  Now the form of your mother has changed, but this experience has enough of your “mother”  in it to remind you of your time together.  But is this your mother?  No.  More projections from the Ground within you.  Neither form is your mother.  You’re unborn!  You’re timeless, remember?  You have no ultimate characteristics or properties.  No ultimate identity.  Any being can be your mother or you can have no mother at all.  It’s up to you!  You have no creator, no mother, no father, no past lives, no anything, unless you choose to believe in it and drag certain things along with you.

If you identify with your old body, or old thought patterns, old desires, the history from your previous life, the past events of your previous life (such as feeling of guilt and feeling you need to make amends, etc), then you drag all that with you and perpetuate it in complex ways.  As for the full details of the mechanisms one will experience at death, I can’t say.  There are so many variations in how your divine self could manifest these things into your experience.

I won’t say exactly what will happen at death.  I don’t know for sure in all respects.  I have some detailed theories, but I’ll leave those out for now.  What I want all of you to remember is that there are no levels, no masters, no spiritual paths, no “evolution”, no progress, or any need for special training.  There’s no reason to be in a soul-school, or take part in any sort of “evolution”.  It’s just confusion.  There is no such thing.  At best, evolution is an arbitrary sort of game you can play with yourself, if you want.  I personally am not interested in forgetting who I am and trying to evolve back to who I originally was.  Seems kind of stupid.  Just think about and come to understand the things I wrote about in this post.  Tibetan Dzogchen meditation is basically the route to a complete reset.  It will help you reunite with the Source, the divine Ground.  You’ve taken on limitations, gotten involved in who knows what, and if you’re wanting to “log out” and reeexamine what you’re up to, and maybe take on something radically different, something far more enjoyable, this is the way to do it.   I’ll leave it at that.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Just yesterday I was writing a new blog entry and after looking it over, I decided not to post it.  Someone had asked me if I enjoy traveling, so I wrote a whole post talking about my experiences traveling, what I liked, didn’t like, and the rest of it.

The main argument I laid out was that very few things I experience in this world stimulate me on many different levels at once.  I sort of got sidetracked, examining my own life experiences, across many different domains, and whether or not they managed to stimulate me emotionally, challenge me mentally, physically, and emotionally, make me think, allow me to be creatively engaged, whether or not I’m bonding and connecting with others around me in the process, whether I’m becoming more connected with the environment, whether there is interesting sensual and bodily engagement, are things aesthetically pleasing, etc., and concluded that such “deep” multi-dimensional experiences are few and far between. Within that framework, I concluded that traveling rarely engaged me and I found it unsatisfying.

Before long I was talking about my university life, and used this framework to examine why I didn’t particularly enjoy being a student.  Then I talked about my business pursuits, and examined them in this same framework, and why I didn’t enjoy being an entrepreneur.  I even talked a little about dating, and examined that within this framework.

Here’s the thing.  All of that sounded very thoughtful and even intelligent.  There was highly thought out reasons behind everything I was saying, there was logic, there was analysis, there was this framework that everything fit within, and it all sounded like I was making some solid arguments for why some experiences are interesting and exciting, and others are boring.   But in reality, I wasn’t.

Before posting that entry to this site, I looked over everything I had written and said to myself, “This is all nonsense.”  You want to know the problem with all of that?  Instead of just letting an experience speak for itself, I was instead putting every experience through this strange mental blender before I experienced it.  Once I’d highly modified the experience with my own mental judgments, comparisons, chopping everything up, infusing my own emotions and feelings into everything, I would then witness my own deviant creations and say, “This experience is no good.”

The most powerful lesson I learned from Ramana Maharshi was that I am the problem.  Happiness and contentment is my very nature, but we so easily sabotage it with our own stupidity.  Our own delusions.  It’s like I was saying the other day.  If I had a button I could press on the side of your head which just turned all this crap off, all these filters, all these judgments, all these stories you’re telling yourself, and you could just get back to raw reality, 95% of your problems would just fall away in an instant.  As I got into meditation and practiced mental silence, I realized this is the case.

I’ll give you an example.  I wake up in the morning and I’m just sitting there in bed.  If you were to analyze this experience in terms of that complex mental framework I had established earlier, just sitting in bed is boring.  I wasn’t being stimulated emotionally, physically, and mentally.  I wasn’t challenged.  I wasn’t feeling further connected to the world around me!  I needed to get up out of bed, rush out there, and make something of the day!  It’s time to chase that exciting experience that will make me feel alive!  And that’s what that mental framework will do to you.  It will take control of you, and then push you to go chasing after your own delusions.  If you refuse to do so, it will punish you with depression, and make you feel that you’re not living up to the best “you” you could be.  What are you doing wasting time!

Now let’s just hit the mental silence button.  You sit up in bed and there are no judgments.  Therefore nothing pulls your attention away from that moment.  Now you’re just lying in bed, the covers are warm, the bed is soft, the hum of the air conditioning is pleasant, the rays of the sun are coming in through the window, you notice the shadows, your cat hops up on the bed with you, you hear her purr, and you quietly and peacefully rub your cat, with no worries, no anxiety, and no self-hatred.  That is Rigpa, that is reality.  True reality.  As for that complex mental framework and all your delusions, they’re illusory nonsense.  You have essentially filtered out this beautiful moment of waking up in the morning and have transformed it into misery, and it’s all your own doing!

But that’s the thing.  Before I learned all of this stuff, I thought I couldn’t enjoy an experience unless it met some huge list of complicated conditions and specifications, and I was always searching and revising those conditions because I was continually disappointed!  I’d think things like, I can’t enjoy being with a person unless they think this way, believe this set of ideas, and look and act this way.  I can’t enjoy working in an environment unless I’m challenged in this way, and the room I work in looks like this, and the people I’m around act like that.  I can’t enjoy this or that activity unless it all lines up with my sense of self-identity.  After all, I’m a nerd, not a meathead.  I’m from the city, I’m not a country person.  I’m a Democrat, not a Republican.  Wrong!  What a lie.  What a delusion.  What nonsense.  People erect all these complicated mental blenders, these filters, these lenses through which they see the world, and they don’t experience reality as it is.  They experience their own distorted illusion and blame “reality”.

This spiritual stuff is the most powerful material I’ve ever came across.  You discover Christ-consciousness, or what Tibetan Buddhists call Emptiness, or what someone like Ramana Maharshi would call the Self, and you abide in this unchanging peace, and I wish I could give it to you.  It’s so simple.  There’s nothing to it, yet somehow it eludes almost everyone.

Like the other day, I went with my little brother to see the new John Wick movie.  I had no interest in it, but he wanted to see it.  It was a long drive to the movie theater, around 45 minutes, and I rode with him.  I sat in the passenger seat, at total peace, not bored, not excited, not anything.  I was just watching the forms of the road, admiring the trees, listening to the hum of his truck engine, and the rest of it.  We got there, and the most violent imagery I’d ever seen was on the screen.  I sat there, unaffected.  It’s just forms, colors, sounds.  I’m just staying in this Ground and these things are manifesting.  I then gaze around the movie theater. I’m admiring the lights they have mounted on the walls and rub my hands on the chair.  What a nice texture!  I’m aware of the John Wick movie and its entire plot, but it has no effect on me.  I remain unmoved.  I’m not for it, not against it.  It’s there within my conscious space, within my awareness, and I just witness it.  And it passes.  The movie ends, I’m in the parking lot, and I’m noticing details of the asphalt parking lot, things I never used to notice.  I kick a small rock and am amused as it bounces.  I feel my own bodily weight on the soles of my shoes.  I move my toes.  I’m hyper-aware of everything, without effort.

I’m not in a totally thoughtless space.  My brother would talk to me, then words would spontaneously arise from within me, by the exact same “power” which is manifesting all the forms making up reality at that moment.  It’s all happening without any effort on my part, and I would respond to him without problems.  I’m holding conversations, but not having to try.  There’s no deliberate effort.  Everything is spontaneous.  I’m not like a blank zombie or something.  I could discuss theoretical physics with you in this state.  I’m actually more aware than ever, fully present, and fully engaged with you, without distraction.  There’s no spacing out.  No daydreaming.  No drifting off into my own world.  No analyzing what just happened, or putting the movie in some complex framework, analyzing whether it’s a good movie or a bad movie.  There’s no judging my brother for wanting to see the movie.  Just peace and quiet awareness.

But to bring us back to the original question, do I enjoy traveling?  Sure, why not.  I can sit in one spot, for hours, doing nothing in meditation.  It’s no different sitting in a car, watching the road go by, for hours and hours, on a “boring” interstate.  I’m not bored.  I’m just there in this quiet peace.  Then we refill at a gas station, I grab some candy.  I nibble on my M&M chocolates, I stare at the cars, the trees, the clouds.  Watch the forms pass by.  I spontaneously converse with you.  There’s no problem.  We arrive at the destination, we do some activity.  To me, it’s just more forms, sounds, colors, all manifesting from within this Ground which contains infinite possibilities, which has always been and always will be, all accessible within myself.  I’m the “space” and this stuff is manifesting within “me”.  It comes, it goes.  Ok.  I’m supposed to witness all this?  Alright.  I’ll witness it.  We then go back to the motel room, I go sit in the hot-tub.  People are exhausted, they’re talking about their experience.  As far my inner world is concerned, I’m at the exact same place I’ve been the entire time.  When you talk to me, or bring me along on your trip, you’re talking to whatever force or power generates this reality.  I’m just witnessing it.  I can go on a trip, I can stay home, I can work.  What’s the difference when you abide in this unchanging place?  None, none at all.