Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Bell of Noticing

One of the more subtle, yet profound, practices i have maintained for the past 10 years is a simple one. Its something that i recommend to others when they ask me for advice on practices to incorporate their training into their daily lives.

Buy a small bell and hang it from the ceiling by a string. A good place is about 6 inches above the shower head. As you shower, you may notice a thought come to mind. As you notice this thought give the bell a ring.


               There is no competition intended, no striving to 'not think', but just a simple noticing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting There

In my Wujifa training i always seem to noticed 'point A'. Point A is where i am. Generally in my practice, i receive adjustments or remember adjustments from a previous practice, 'point B', and then i make the adjustments internally. As my training progresses i have noticed more and more of the 'getting there' process. This seems to be very important. Being aware as i am 'getting there' has some very profound implications and has been a part of my daily practice lately.

Sometimes it seems as though i soon forget point A once i allow my body to relax into zhang zhuang. Have you ever been sitting at your desk or leaned over a table, maybe working on something intently... then you may have happened to notice how hunched over you have become? You then adjust yourself and may ask: 'how was i even sitting like that?' Out of curiosity, you may go and try to tense yourself again... warping your body to imitate the contorted posture you were holding and find it may even be difficult to believe how you could even hold that much tension now that you are aware of it.

In awareness, i have noticed, there is a certain type of energy that demands health, alignment, and connection. Without that awareness i seem to become stuck in patterns of thought which can be unhealthy and lead me to sit at my desk, for example, unaware of the tension i hold. Isnt it interesting that when we are aware, healthy and connected we can take the time to go back and find the pathway that led us to our tensions... and maybe in noticing 'getting there' we can find something even more significant, which may be a clue as to an even bigger picture of the patterns we may rigidly be holding on to internally.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wujifa Side to Side Video Remake

This is a more complete version of the 'Side to Side' video i posted earlier. This one has other school brothers and i think is a bit more informative.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Conversation On Thought and Its Association as a Self

i understand more clearly now, what you mean about not being so invested in assumptions.

well, its the association with the assumptions that is the problem

assumptions in themselves can sometimes be alright, but when we define ourselves by our 

associations then we feel the need to defend them and that causes problems

that's what i meant by invested in the assumptions.

you have something riding on them, emotionally or intellectually, i guess.


your identity?

well, its a bit more than that

we mistake ourselves as those assumptions

and most action is based upon defending those assumptions as coherent and relevant

right. like 'i believe in this idea and that says something about the kind of person i am, and i have to 

stand by that"


so one looks upright, or respectable or whatever in others eyes

well screw that.

why don't we focus on finding out what is true together instead of worrying about being wrong because 

we've aligned ourselves already?

not sure what you mean by that

i mean 'we' in general, not you and me.

isn't that dialogue? talking with eachother instead of defending our assumptions?

right, like meaning flowing between 2 people, finding out together...

what do you mean by aligning?

aligned ourselves with assumptions

"this is what i think and i need to stand by it because it's part of me'



i think some people close themselves down to new information because they're so identified with what 

they think they already know. that seems very limiting.

like, man. there's always more to learn.


well, if we truly believe that we are our associations, our ideas, then we dont want others 

dismantling 'us'


but we aren't. what is, is, but it isn't anything or anyone else.

do you think there is such thing as objective truth?

well of course

i mean you could philosophize it and say that 'the sky is blue' is only true if you aren't colorblind.

but that's pretty impractical.

you know, like, 'if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it does it make a sound?"

right, well, thats where some of the new agers take this and say, 'everything is relative'

its not

there is a reality

how do you know?


i'm playing devil's advocate.

i believe in reality.

but i do think it is a belief.

one cant know reality


you ask, 'how do you know?'

that is just coming from the program 

the program is asking 'how do i capture it?' It wants to come first

by first i mean... we think the thought is 'what is', but the thought is only the 'what was'... 

it doesnt perceive its own backside, so it runs in circles chasing its own tail so to speak

it puts thought first, as most important, so it is confused and says, 'yes, but how do i know reality... 

how do i capture it?'

i understand.

and so it gets faster and faster at being reactionary, and continually disguising itself as the 

'what is' in order to remain coherent to a dynamic environment... but thats the thing, its thought 

and thought is memory, which is the past as it was percieved and recorded, and therefore it is limited

it can never be rational when it is first

when the cart is in front of the horse

but how can we have dialogue without thought?

i guess what i'm saying is we perceive a reality. how can we be sure our perception of that reality is accurate?

we can't, can we?

yes, well you see, this is where many people are confused. although it has already been established 

in our conversation that the problem is not thought in itself, but the mistaken identity as thought 

being the center, or central to the makeup of an 'individual' 

It believes it is the ideas it associates with and so it tries to defend , 

the associations are the ideas it has created from memory


i'm following

thought has its place, but it is not primary

we may have mistaken it as primary and, as we can see it leads to this whole mess

putting the cart in front of the horse

can we define 'thought'

i'm not asking that rhetorically

well i think thats pretty simple

i mean define it for me so i know what we're talking about specifically

thought is based on memory


thought is the active process of awareness mixing various memories in orders that appear coherent


oh, nevermind.


my mind just went in 15 different directions

it can also maintain its creations, what we call 'ideas', and in a way sort of 'overlay' these 

ideals/ideas in our perceptions... actively

so really it is just our previous conscious and/or subconscious perceptions, represented 

in a sort of theatrical way to awareness in the present moment.

alright, tell me if I've got this straight

are 'the present' and 'reality' the same thing?

in the sense that all that really is is what is now

well, reality only exists in the present, there is no past

or future 

and everything before and after is thought,

memory or prediction

right, i would say that

so to question reality is to question the present, which is the only thing that is, at all?

we have this distorted view of time, as if there is a past and future... of course, this is useful 

in a certain field, but when it is used as becoming (the psychological becoming) it is just 

meaningless, it has no place cause this implys escaping from 'reality', the present, to this image 

we have of the future, this ideal...

this only causes conflict and prolongs our suffering state by 'suppressing' it... we say, "i feel hurt, 

i will become happy"

you see? 

and now we are just where we started, we are caught in the whole mess of chasing our own tails... 

our tails being the past, which is limited and can not be the 'solution' psychologically, to freedom... 

it puts us in a state of ignorance, cause we are ignoring what is and 'striving' for what we 

desire to become

hate to use the word ignorance cause it is such a loaded word, but we are using it in the true 

sense of the definition

we are taught to go have fun when our mates hurt us or break up with us; to strive when 

we are feeling down.

you don't have a lot of people to talk about this with, do you?

well, not many people are interested in this, they are so caught up in creating their pet monster 

that they believe is them (as if they can) and in one sense they can, but as we see its just 

causing all this conflict in the world

this is why its such a dangerous thing... it is exactly not what appears to be what it needs to escape.

(laughter), that may be a difficult sentence to understand

if it is aware of the process... like it is aware of the fire that burns the hand, there is no confusion then

but you see, it doesnt see this whole process cause it is ignoring purposefully that very thing 

that may be capable of freeing itself

but i think if the mind is capable of seeing, by some means, the whole workings of it, it may 

then be free of the incoherence. 

when there is enough discomfort it seems that then the mind starts to question... 

or if by some other means it happens to be sensitive enough to get a clue as to 

what it is doing; chasing its own tail


too many "it's"

let me try to rephrase this back to you


* i meant if the mind is capable


i know

nice catch, though. that could've been taken pretty badly



what is "the process"?

the process of trying to create oneself by identifying with our thoughts?



the whole process of identification issss the 'my mate broke up with me, i will become 'happy' thing

the whole of it... the becoming

well, yeah, please dont accept what i say, or believe me, you must find out if its true and see it 

yourself if you are so interested ('must'

i mean that you will find out

if so interested)

(laughter), you know what i mean? it is difficult to say

that last part



i am definitely interested

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meditation, Boredom, and The Animals Mind

Some people have said that meditation can be quite boring and futile and that this creates frustration. Yet we dont seem to see this divided self, between intention and action, in the animal kingdom. Why is it that the animals appear completely content to 'do nothing', and we as humans have this sense of boredom and yearning inwardly?

The problem is the 'doing something'. The animals mind has a quality of being empty when they 'arent doing something'. We as humans, on the other hand, have created a movement in the psychological area... but it is a gap that can not be filled. There is no achieving psychologically; the achieving is an illusion that the mind has created, not realizing that it is a gap that can not be filled. 

On the outward... we can fill this gap. We achieve feats outwardly such as building a house, or obtaining food, but inwardly does this movement have any meaning? There is no 'becoming more' psychologically. Our attempt to achieve psychologically is division from what we are to an illusion of what we want to be. That movement from what we are to what we want to be is the essence of the divided mind. We have learned to meet our pain, our fear of the unknown with strife. We strive to be better or whatever it is. Meditation (can be) the realization of this... it does not matter, because it is observing; it is not achieving. It is not adding something, it is the awareness of that movement... and therefore that movement comes to an end. Not through strife, but it comes as a byproduct of being aware of that division. 

So meditation comes into being when it is observing this desire. And it may be that the mind has gone beyond observing that movement inwardly (that strife, conflict) and it is observing the ten thousand things (like the animals state[for lack of better word]). It is not biased. It is without a goal of achieving inwardly. 

Yes, thought has its place; even in the animal world. But they have not brought strife inwardly... in other animals it remains on the outward. Achieving inwardly is meaningless. Meditation is like the peels of an onion falling away. Achieving something inwardly, which is what you are trying to do, is conflict and the utter definition of division (in the sense of human conflict). 

So we must ask ourselves: Are we trying to become kung fu masters, or gurus, or whatever it is that we aspire to become in order to escape what we are? Or is it that we see all this disorder and out of the awareness of that disorder something else is born, which here, we are calling meditation. Animals (besides the human ones) do not aspire inwardly... they are empty of this movement. They have not brought achieving, strife, inwardly. Inwardly it has only created this division, conflict. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dantien Movement and Falling Force

I had a talk with Rick once, and we were inquiring into the nature of physical force in movement. He talked about how utilizing power via a wave from the ground and into the opponent is different from the expansive/contractive force that is generated in Wujifa and various other styles of internal martial arts when practiced correctly . I used to generate force from the ground and into the opponent in a wave like manner and was taught this way as well. But as i started to do push hands more and more i became confused as to how the connection to the ground could remain....

 I had practiced with various people often and we would take turns pressing gently upon each other. When the push was light and slow it was easy to see the importance of the connection with the ground. I noticed that as i applied force to the opponent the connection to the ground was breaking. So i learned to maintain this connection throughout the entire push. This appeared to defy my previous training which purported a wave-like action that transfered force from the ground and into the opponent. 

The problem was... "How do i maintain my connection with the ground and send force into the opponent and/or object without loosing my own connection to that ground?" You see, if the force was applied strongly, the wave, having so much momentum would eventually lift the body slightly and make an opening for the opponent.

As i continued to train, i developed the ability to stay connected to the ground better and better throughout my training, but it wasnt until i was at work one day when i was suddenly enlightened as to how the force is generated without loosing that ground. I was learning this concept subconsciously, through my training, and had developed a descent 
ground, but everything fell into place as the insight came: when i saw the entire process at once as it happened while trying to rip a piece of wood off the side of a wall with my hammer. 

If one was to be on top of a step ladder and have to apply a strong pulling force, such as trying to rip a piece of wood off the side of a house with a hammer, one would hope that the wood would not give unexpectedly. If the man on the ladder was to pull with great force and the wood gave easily, the momentum would surely be enough to off balance the man and send him flying off of the ladder. So when working on a ladder the learned man is very aware of the precarious situation he is in while applying force in either direction. 

The common way that i see most anyone do this (in fact i have never seen anyone who doesnt use this method besides people who are of high level skill in the martial arts) is to calculate two basic forces and hope that the wood doesnt give. The force of the man is applied as a pulling movement at the arm. If the wood on the wall is to be pried off, the man pushes his weight backwards, and in essence hopes that the wood does not come free with a net total of resistance that is less than the amount of weight that the man has applied in a backward direction. If he has miscalculated, and the wood gives way the man looses his balance and falls (hopefully not to his death or injury) or he must quickly catch himself before then. 

This method is a common problem in push hands. When force is applied to another it is resisted by 'falling' back into the pusher. If the pusher is to reverse his direction then the one who is resisting will succumb to his own inertia of resistance and fall forward, loosing his balanced connection with the ground. This principle applies either way, to pushing or pulling. 

                           Video illustrating the 'falling' action of a man walking
                                    through a door. The door suddenly gives way, revealing 
                                    the strained unhealthy habit of an ungrounded push. 

This problem is not so easily remedied. This resistance, in my experience, is the explicate manifestation of the psychological way in which we deal with situations. It is the result of the ego and its fight to establish itself as a coherent individual. This is the result of (trying to escape from)  feeling insufficient. The mind is fragmented and in turn uses force or a 'positive' action to create the illusion that it is coherent to itself. This kind of action i refer to as 'strife'. The mind is striving when it is incapable of listening; or you could say the listening is not creating the intention (the action) but it is the ignorance (the running away from the truth of what it is) that is creating the action. The latter is the strife that i am referring to. 

Similar to the way in which the mind resists others as a product of its content trying to present itself as coherent (cause it is not, otherwise it would not have to try [or strive]), one man resists the other mans force. In nature the path of least resistance is taken*, yet in man we have created a resistance to meet resistance. Some may say that our path of resistance is the path of least resistance due to our condition. This is true, but the fact is we are alive, and therefore are able to discover ever more efficient ways of being, which is proven here by the insight i had into the nature of the incorrect way that i was issuing/releasing force. This insight is what prompted the awareness of the new way of movement. It is important to note here that the insight was the motivating factor, and not a matter of ignorance, of running to another way of force out of my reluctance to pay attention to the way i was utilizing force. In fact, it was quite the opposite; it was the insight into the nature of the way i was issuing force that allowed the noticing of the new way in which to move. The mind did not have to strive to attain, but instead it was passively aware and open enough to allow the new way of movement be perceived. 

In internal martial arts there is an idea of connectivity. This connectivity is central to allowing the body to move properly. 'One part moves all parts': i remember someone asking master Chen Xiao Wang once, "Where does movement start?" He answered, "The dantien is the center, but if one part moves, all parts are already moving." This idea of the dantien 'interpenetrating' the entire body through practicing zhan zhuang is, as i understand it, at the root of my situation on the ladder. I have the option of falling into the weight, which is dangerous and unstable, or i can allow the connection throughout the body to travel through different 'pathways' that are connected to the dantien area and are an expression of my entire being simultaneously. 

                           The center is allowed to spin freely, rotating, and
                                    giving the force a pivotal point that remains
                                    inside the body as opposed to leaning, which makes
                                    the pivoting point outside of the body.

To better illustrate this, imagine a ball... On each side of the ball there are sticks that are connected to the ball via a joint (in the case of the body there are multiple joints and interconnected pathways that run through the fascia and connective tissue). This ball is the center of the bodies weight, the dantien. As this ball rotates it transmits force in a centrifugal fashion. This force travels throughout the body and, depending upon the way in which the fascia is connected at that time, is able to transmit in an outward fashion. Without the freedom to move in a connected fashion, the force will be unable to travel correctly; ie. if there are tensions that hinder that connection.

                                        Force has somewhere to go, without disrupting 

This is very different from the previous model of 'falling' into the subject which is to receive force. This model of the dantien as the pivotal point allows force to be either transmitted or received via a rotational motion as opposed to a backwards or forwards rotation directly. It is instead a product of all parts moving at once in response to the centripetal or centrifugal motion of the center. As you can see, any tensions would hinder the force from traveling in this motion and get 'caught up' in a sense, and therefore would send the direction of force in that forward or backward direction which is detrimental to the bodies center of balance. This is illustrated in the following video...

                                       Force is disrupting balance because of tension, 
                                                    theres nowhere for it to go within the body. Therefore
                                                    it propels the entire body backward.

To understand this motion intellectually is very different from understanding this kinesthetically. It can take many years to 'develop' the dantien area. The practice of zhan zhuang i have found to be the most vital in all of my training. I have been fortunate to have learned many great things from various teachers that i have had. Putting everything together and searching for that middle ground, carefully considering what people have told me and questioning all of them equally. To follow anyone blindly, accepting what they say is not necessarily learning. Until we can see what others are saying by listening without judgment we will be susceptible to error. I see judgment as different from listening. Instead, by learning what it is that the other is meaning and their intentions, we can then understand. Even this post must be questioned. Do not accept what i say as being the ultimate truth, cause truth can not be put into words.

*The only exception to this is in quantum physics where the behavior of particles is probabilistic  rather than determinant. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Potential and Awareness

"With the practice of functional discernment, there is a potential with this internal and external noticing in one’s awareness as we allow, accept, and notice change."  Rick Taracks ( Suggested Mental Unification Paradigms of Wujifa Practices [Part 3])

In reading this i wondered about the nature of this potential. The statement in this article written by Rick, seems to imply the actual definition of  what necessity is. Necessity, like this potential, is not the same as desire. Desire is like a loaded question. When we ask a question, we sometimes arent asking out of curiosity, but instead we ask in an attempt to do something. The key point is in the intention behind the action. The action that is born of awareness, or this noticing, is the potential as opposed to a desired outcome. 

  If i have the desire to feel, say, an ecstatic moment during my practice then the mind creates a filter of ecstasy to overlay perception. This filter which is laid over our perception is really the past. It is our memories of what we have experienced in the past, maybe an ecstatic moment, and we try and achieve this. Trying, which is desire, is based upon illusion. The illusion is the past memory that we are searching for in the now. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in desire, and we then have so many filters distorting our perception that it is quite difficult to be aware of anything besides what we are searching for. That is why this is a delicate thing. On one end we have this desire, this searching, this trying, and on the other end there is this other thing which is really the result of not having these thoughts, these desires. Awareness is therefore not something that can be striven for. To see something new is not the product of our desire, but it is, essentially, what comes as a result of the filters not being there. 

  This potential is the byproduct of being aware, of noticing. It is as J Krishnamurti would say, something that comes uninvited. Allowing, noticing change, is not doing something. It is actually quite the opposite. I feel it is very important to understand the difference between the two types of intention. We have intention that is born of desire, and we have intention that is the byproduct of being aware, and in that awareness is the potential, is the energy.  There, there is no separation between action and intention, there is no gap. The awareness is the energy for doing. We have created a distance from the now by striving for things, which is really only us meeting the present with the past.

  When i was younger i remember there was a concept that was talked about often in the martial arts, but i dont hear it as much today... the art of effortless power. It seems as though this concept has been lost to empty idealism and has faded away a bit. But to understand the principle of effortless power we can see that when we consider this on a deeper level, the arrow points towards the nature of intention. Physically, externally, we can see that the principle sounds a bit silly, but at this other level there is something of interest. The question of intention lies in putting the cart before the horse; is intention born of desire, or is a byproduct of noticing, of being aware, which does not imply thought, or strife, but a passive, alive mind that has silence, and therefore is capable of noticing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wujifa: Side to Side

Wujifa practice: Video of side to side.
for more information go to: Wujifa Liangong

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ability to Shift Perspective

I was listening to mike talking about his shoulder alignment at Wujifa class the other day. Rick was telling him not to focus directly on the shoulder but to get an over-all feeling of openness. This is after years of focus on the subtle adjustments and attention to detail that he has put into alignment.

I went to a seminar that was held by a Qigong practitioner who had developed a way of healing eyesight. I took a friend of mine who wore glasses. The man stated that the single best practice for developing ones eyesight, and/or healing it completely, is to look at something very closely, as close as possible to where it almost hurts slightly, then fix the gaze on something as far away as possible, interchanging between the two views.

At class, Dan was asked by Rick to look out into the clouds, not focusing on anything in particular, but to see as far as the eye could see. This was an experiment in perception and Dan, when asked, said he was also able to notice much of the minute details in the foreground of his perception simultaneously.

I was in china learning Yiquan under master Yao Chenguan. He told me that most styles of martial arts keep fajing or fali as a secret that is to be learned after many years of practice. In his system he said it is important that someone, from the very beginning, should learn fali even if they are not doing it correctly. He told me that practicing shili, moli, and a limited amount of fali helps one to get a better grasp and in turn speeds up the development of ones training. Fali helps to develop shili, and shili helps develop fali, as well as moli, all three practices he said help to support the other.

It seems clear that the ability to shift perspectives between the detailed and the 'broader scope' of things is an important part of the learning process, or at least that this is something to consider. So what is it that keeps us fixated or stuck in our perspective? Is it fear of letting go of something that we think we are? I notice that the very thing that causes frustration or friction when people, including myself of course, argue amongst one another is the association. When we associate ourselves with ideas we feel that they are us. And when someone questions what we think is ourselves, we naturally try and defend. We take it as an attack against what we think is us. This immediately initiates our survival mechanisms because we believe that we are being attacked or that we are in danger of being dismantled. Our blood pressure rises, maybe our adrenaline kicks in, we sweat slightly to keep the increased heat down thats caused by our increased heart rates, we tense up. Whether these effects are subtle or quite apparent, they are the result of us defending what we think is 'our' perspective. So can we put this question to ourselves... are we our opinions? Is it even possible? Is our association with various ideas, whether they be religious, intellectual, or otherwise; is that what makes us who we are? Is it possible to not associate with any ideas? Ask these questions yourself if you are simply just following along with what is typed here. I did not write this to entertain you, or to give you another perspective to associate with. This is not another idea to call your own, but a serious inquiry. We associate ourselves with so many things to tell the story of who we are, and i question choice. Can we choose who we are? We choose to associate with our music, our beliefs, our religions or non-religion, our groups.... see? We all have our little groups in life, our own little corners that we choose. Do we feel so insignificant inside? And if you can put this question to yourself... what need is there for these associations? If you have seen the trouble that associations have caused because you have been listening, and inquiring within, and you see the whole process of this association as futile and destructive then the question arises. The question comes as an inevitable result of inquiry, of attention, or listening. If you see the destructive nature of association the question is put to ones self; are associations necessary?

We have this tendency to get stuck, and its not until we are able to see that we are stuck that we are vulnerable to it. And in that vulnerability is freedom. Cause when we are vulnerable we are able to feel, to be hurt, to be happy, to live. And only by sensitivity are we able to respond, not respond with the known; not responding with a prefabricated perspective, but with intelligence. Intelligence is alive, not dead, it is not a result of putting forward the past to meet the present with. Intelligence is not something that is known, it is the uninvited result of listening with everything. It is alive.

Noticing simple things

This was written on paper the other day for Ricks request for notes on our daily practice. I have been quite busy so i finally am able to get this on the computer.

The other day, i was at work and was practicing some things from Wujifa class. Specifically i was focusing on feeling peng jin while doing various tasks such as carrying ladders and equipment around the job. He showed me a few things, such as using expansion to lift objects instead of contraction. I was beginning to get a good feeling for it as the week progressed when i saw someone walking close by that had a very sunken chest, and the head was quite forward and out of alignment. When i saw him i noticed a feeling of arrogance inside of myself. I felt compassion for him, and noticed that my chest was held up. This led to the feeling of peng jin which remained but was relaxed, full and open; a contentment that included all things, and was able to.

The interesting thing was that i noticed the initial intention was blind. It was unchecked by awareness of my surroundings. For something to remain true to itself it is in rapport with its environment; kind of like sympathetic resonance. When we go inside of ourselves with the intention of developing, as opposed to noticing, we may be easily misguided by blind drive for our desired outcome. That is why i see the extreme importance of differentiating between desire and necessity. Desire is simply a matter of putting the cart in front of the horse. Necessity is like the hand being burned by fire, there is no choice, you dont need to strive to take the hand away, and there is no imitation. Only the confused mind chooses, only the confused mind desires, which is really accumulation. Now, when looking back at the simple and practical situation such as the one stated above, one can say that the desire for peng jin was leading my intention as opposed to an open awareness of the state of the body and the environment and even the activity of the mind. The latter is born of necessity, as a result of the mind being passively aware, sensitive. There is no strife in necessity, there is freedom. Strife is born of desire. The confused mind chooses.

This is what i have learned...


I was at lunch the other day with my cousin when i asked what he thought compassion was. Him, being a priest, gave the typical answer, "love." Of course this was not satisfactory to me, cause it just traded one word for another. These words are generally used interchangeably anyway. So we went into it a bit.
Ive often wondered how it is that when a child does something such as hitting or crying when they dont get their way we, as adults, are not provoked to anger, but instead have a sense of understanding, or what some might consider compassion. Yet, when the same situation arises in an adult we are provoked. Most of us feel the need in situations like these, to execute justice upon that person, if we feel that they 'should have' learned this lesson. Theres a sense of pain inside and we feel the need to make the other feel this as well.
The child has nothing there to defend, unlike us, we have a feeling that we need to make others feel pain when we feel it. Its as if we are scared of feeling hurt, and so instead we feel anger, which is not necessarily a 'wrong' response, yet the desire to hurt the other in return can be the result of ones inability to feel pain (which is really their desires for happiness). The ego is competitive, we want to feel justice and satisfaction knowing that someone else is hurting worse or as bad as we are. I dont expect you to accept what i am saying. The question is, are you able to see this now, in your own life?
It can quite simply be stated that when we are able to 'eat bitter' , we are then able to feel that pain, that hurt. Im not talking of passivity. It is quite alive. Its not a matter of simply understanding that the child doesnt understand what he is doing; i can see that i may not understand exactly why the child is doing what he is doing. But when the child attacks its also not a matter of ones own sheer power, where his attack simply does not penetrate me cause i am so strong, that would simply mean that i am dull and insensitive. When the adult attacks, i meet that pain with all the 'shoulds' and 'should nots'. But what if i have no shoulds or should nots? What if i have no desire to control another? The adult attacks verbally, and there is nothing there to say whether he should, or should not; yet instead, there is an aliveness, a sensitivity that is able to listen to that without judgment.
Compassion, seems to not be something that we can strive for, because then we would be meeting that pain with a formula that we have so we still dont have to feel that pain. Maybe you have seen this or you yourself have done this; there is this idea of being "compassionate" but really there is no compassion, one is simply trying to be compassionate because they feel they should, or they are trying to ascribe or adhere to a certain philosophy or religious ideal. When the shoulds and should nots are gone, what else is left but a mind that is able to listen.... listen without judgment. So what is eating bitter? Is it something that we can strive for to meet our pain and suffering with? Or is it something that comes uninvited, as the result of seeing the whole workings of this process? Is it another formula that we are going to meet our pain with, so that in turn we really arent eating bitter.... much like the 'insensitive holy roller' who is simply associating himself to an ideal in hopes of gain, or power. Or is it something that is alive, sensitive, and without a goal, but with an awakening to our pain and discomfort? Are we able to feel the fire that is burning our hand? Or are we accumulating ideals in hopes of covering our pain?

Compassion is something that comes with a sensitive mind. A mind that is able to listen to another without our image that we may have of that person or group of people. And in that listening are we able to see our relationship with them? Are we able to see that we are that other person? The self is relationship. And in seeing this, is that not the end of the self? Is that not the ending of distance between you and me? We distance ourselves from others with images we have of them. We have our fear of being hurt, of being vulnerable, of being rejected, and so we look through images; we see through filters that we overlay in hopes of protecting ourselves. So when we look at our girlfriends, or our neighbors, or our enemies, we dont see them, but we see the images we have of them that we have placed there in order to 'protect' our 'selves' from seeing them, cause if i see them, then they may see me and all the weak and horrbileness that i believe i am. So i create this image of myself, and i try and build that image in others eyes. And then i have my image of them as well, and we go about meeting each other with these silly masks.
The whole working of it is quite simple really, but we choose to hide. We choose to 'be' happy, heh, as if we can. We choose to 'be' noble, or just, or righteous, or brave.... but it is clearly not possible to become these things because the becoming is the image that we are meeting others with. We are meeting others through these desires of what we want to appear like in their eyes. Can you see all of the workings of this; how the mind displays these images and then pretends as though it came from without instead of within? It must lie to itself to present itself as coherent because the mind demands wholeness. The conflict within is our reluctance to see, to feel... the mind feels pain and says, 'i dont want to feel that aweful thing again' and so it creates, it invents ideals, and associations with ideals and images it has, which are based on memories, of things that it believes are powerful, good, or noble, or whatever.... but it doesnt see that it is the past that it is really striving for; an invention it has created that is based upon memories of things it has experienced that it believes are good. So it is a dull mind, an imitating mind, not an alive, sensitive one.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Intention, Desire, and The Functions of the Mind

Here is a small piece i wrote on the nature of intention and desire.

The content of all of our experiences, our perceptions; whether conscious, or subconscious.... 'we' are that. The mind has a function which can mix memories, reorganize them cut them up, this is what we call thinking. The self mistakenly associates its self with these accumulations of memory. It simply doesn't know that it isn't an idea. For example, we desire to be like our rich uncle; he is funny, has charisma, everyone likes him. We may desire to be like a great kung fu master that we saw once; he is noble and brave, and everyone looks up to him. All these things, these ideas, we create from memory. We have the image of our uncle, or masters, or whatever; our assimilations of how they might act... all this is based upon memory, and the assimilations are simply rearrangements of those memories with other memories to create this image, this ideal based upon our desire to become like them, or not like them (which is the same thing). This is a very simple thing to understand. We can see this in our own lives, this process happening over and over. We therefore create these ideas of what we think happiness or freedom is based upon our experiences.

This brings us to another function that the brain is capable of. It has a very basic function that it uses to do every day tasks. Its easy to understand through example. Lets say there is an apple tree on the other side of a river. We feel hunger and see the apple tree on the other side. The water is quite deep and so we go about devising a plan to get to the tree by building a raft. From memory we know that logs float, we know that vines can be used to bind things, so we go about the forest with these images kind of laid over our perceptions whilst searching for these components to build a raft. It is similar to a filter that is placed between the sensory information and the comprehension that fits our necessity to construct this idea, this image of this raft that is in the mind. This is a basic and necessary function of the mind. It uses this process to accomplish tasks and is completely sane and orderly.

IPB Image
Picture i made describing the filter overlay of perception.

But there is a problem... at some point the mind mistakenly began to use this same function in the field of the purely subjective, psychologically. Here we can speculate how exactly that came about, but maybe if we go into it a bit further it will add some clues to our present state. What is our present state? The world is fucked up. We are killing each other senselessly, living in pain, fear, and so on. And in our fear, or maybe our ignorance, we use this function which overlays these filters into our perception (purposefully distorting our perception) in a manner that is fractional and divided. Let me explain, and maybe you can see it in your self. Like we said earlier, there is the image we have of the raft, of the right sized logs, of the vines and such, and this is a necessary function that is quite helpful in the process of constructing the raft. We use this same function now in a different realm, where it may soon become apparent that it leads to the mess of the ego and all the horrible things it has done in its quest for accumulation. I say accumulation because at some point the mind has mistakenly taken a self as association to these ideas. Like the memory of the correctly sized logs and vines, we have the image of the rich uncle, the master, the noble one, the compassionate one, and we go about our day using these images that come directly from experience, maybe mash them up a bit, jumble them around so it doesn't look so obvious that we are merely imitating instead of living, and we go about constructing our 'selves' (just as we construct the raft) according to all of our desires, our accumulations of images that we think will make us great (the objective; which is same as the goal of satisfying our hunger via the apple tree).

IPB Image

What we think we are is thought itself. Therefore, we accumulate, assimilate, and impose (almost literally super-impose) these memories in our perception; purposefully distorting our perception in order to assimilate our desires, or rather to cover our inadequacies and fear of the unknown. In assimilating these ideas, we warp our bodies accordingly, most of this is subconscious and shows up in our movements. When we are able to see this whole process is it not the end of it? Do you see our predicament? Any move towards happiness is only prolonging our suffering. We try and escape our suffering by running to the images of the uncle, of the master and so on. The running away is the accumulation, the desire. So we have a predicament. Maybe if you are with me, following along, seeing this whole process in your self, you now see this predicament. Any move towards happiness, or freedom is the self accumulating, imitating. It is fear. It sees what it is, well it doesn't truly see what it is or it would be over, but it has seen pain and hurt, and it doesn't want to experience that again, so it runs to these ideas it has so it doesn't have to feel that thing which it does not know. So really we are afraid of the unknown (but to our minds we are afraid of the known, which is the memories of pain), especially when the mind mistakes itself as known; the memories, the charismatic uncle, the ideas. My girlfriend breaks up with me so i go to the movies to feel good; i have the movies, like the logs, the goal of feeling good, and i strive for that. I dont feel the pain, or whatever it is that i believe is there. I dont know whats there, but im afraid.... so i run to the movies, to the rebound girlfriend or whatever.

We talk of intention, but im not so sure that intention is something that is to be striven for. I think we are putting the cart before the horse. The question of aligning intention with spirit... i see this as a byproduct. Right now we are fragmented, broken, divided. We have all these images, these conflictions that are incoherent... this is misalignment. Strife, desire; this is the division. We associate ourselves with our styles of martial arts, our religions, or whatever ten thousand things it may be, and this is division.Intention is the byproduct of wholeness, and to understand the nature of wholeness is to understand the nature of division, the nature of strife. Im not talking about the perfectly natural goal of getting the apple from the tree on the other side of the river. Im talking about the nature of the goals, or the desire we have psychologically. If you see this whole process, isn't that the end of the process? Its like the hot stove, maybe when you are a child you touched the stove unknowingly, you felt the heat. You saw this clearly, after that, there was no questioning. If i place the hand over the stove there is no question. There is no choice, there is no time. I dont choose to take my hand away from the stove. Seen clearly, and pulled away. When i am walking and almost step off of a cliff, i jump back! There is no time for choice, i dont say, "hmm, well should i jump back?" I have seen the danger of things fallen, and the damage it can cause, i have no room for choice. The confused mind is the one that chooses. So can we see this whole process of the brain, the whole of it at once, the tricks it uses, and how it uses them... Can we stay with that thing, when we experience pain or whatever it may be... can we watch it without calling it something? Cause when we call it something we are really running. Can we watch it, feel it with everything? Alignment of intention and spirit isn't something that can be striven for. It comes uninvited. It comes as the result of watching, of sensing and feeling. If you are with me on this, and not accepting what i am saying, but instead with me... then is that thing happening?