“A positive state of mind is not merely good for you, it benefits everyone with whom you come into contact, literally changing the world.”
HH the Dalai Lama
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope:  The Essential Writings and Speeches

TEN OXHERDER IMAGES: NO. 9 – RETURNING TO THE SOURCE

TAMING THE WILD OX

Ten Oxherding Pictures, by Zen Master Kakuan, China, 12th C.

Ox9

9. Reaching the Source*

Too many steps have been taken
returning to the root and the source.
Better to have been blind and deaf from the beginning!
Dwelling in one’s true abode,
unconcerned with that without —
The river flows tranquilly on and the flowers are red.

Comment: From the beginning, truth is clear.
Poised in silence,
I observe the forms of integration and disintegration.
One who is not attached to “form” need not be “reformed.” The water is emerald, the mountain is indigo,
and I see that which is creating
and that which is destroying.

If we were to return to the absolute abstract space, beyond all manifestation and unmanifestation, would we choose to create again?

What if we were beyond eternity? To be or not to be, that is the question.

Helen

Source:  *Translation by:  Paul Reps in Zen Flesh Zen Bones, Tuttle Publishing, Boston, 1989.

From:  http://www.4peaks.com/ppox.htm – source

Identification, fascination and sleep

In our meditation, we find a thought crosses our mind, and before we know it, we have forgotten we are meditating and we are busy thinking.  We’ve forgotten to count our breaths, or to stay in the moment, or to separate ourselves into observer and observed. The process usually starts with a thought that captures our attention.  We would say that we become “identified” in other words our identity is lost, for a moment, in the thought.  We become the thought.  If we don’t immediately catch ourselves, we will start to elaborate on the thought because we find it fascinating.  Before too long, we are completely lost, or as we would say, the consciousness has gone to sleep.  We are no longer aware of what we are doing.  One thought leads to another in a long string of associated thoughts and the awareness of our practice is gone.  Its gone until something give us a conscious shock – perhaps a bell, or a nodding off, or another thought about the practice comes along.

Below is another excerpt from a talk by Samael Aun Weor which describes how this phenomena not only happens in meditation, but in our daily life.  We often walk around with our consciousness relatively asleep, due to identification and fascination.

The practice of paying attention to Subject, Object and Location, described below, can help us to stay in the moment and not get lost in identification, fascination and sleep of the consciousness, either in meditation, or in our daily life.

I hope this is helpful.

Happiness.  Helen

“CONSCIOUS ATTENTION excludes that which is called IDENTIFICATION. When we identify ourselves with persons, with things, with ideas, FASCINATION arrives and the latter produces the SLEEP of CONSCIOUSNESS.

We must know how to pay attention without identification. When we pay attention to something or someone and we forget ourselves, the result is FASCINATION and the SLEEP of the CONSCIOUSNESS.

Carefully observe a movie goer.

He is asleep, he ignores everything, he ignores himself, he is hollow. He seems to be a somnambulist. He dreams with the movie that he is watching, he dreams with the hero of the movie.

Attention divided into three parts: SUBJECT, OBJECT and PLACE, is in fact, CONSCIOUS ATTENTION.

When we do not commit the error of identifying ourselves with persons, with things or ideas, we save creative energy and we precipitate in ourselves the awakening of Consciousness.

The man who forgets himself before a person who insults him, identifies himself with him, he becomes fascinated, he falls into the sleep of unconsciousness and then he hurts or kills and inevitably goes to prison.

He who does not let himself be FASCINATED with the person who insults him, he who does not identify himself with him, who does not forget himself, and who knows how to pay CONSCIOUS ATTENTION, would be incapable of giving any importance to the words of the insulter, or would be incapable of wounding or killing.

All the errors that the human being commits in life are due to forgetting himself, to becoming identified, becoming fascinated and falling into sleep.

We have to awaken, friends, and learn to live alert from moment to moment, from instant to instant.

The action of always dividing attention into three parts cannot be delayed.

First: SUBJECT          Second: OBJECT        Third: LOCATION

SUBJECT:  Do not forget ourselves. Watch ourselves at each second, at each moment. This implies a state of alertness in relation to our thoughts, gestures, actions, emotions, habits, words and so on.

OBJECT:  Minute observation of all those objects or representations that reach the mind through the senses.  Never become identified with things, because in this manner one falls into fascination and into the sleep of the Consciousness.

LOCATION:  Daily observation of our house, of our bedroom, as if it was something new; asking ourselves daily: Why have I arrived at this place? At this market? In this office? In this temple? etc., etc.

“This triple set of attention is then a complete exercise to auto-discover ourselves and to awaken consciousness.”

Peace of Mind and Solving Problems

The following is an excerpt from a book, Introduction to Gnosis, by Samael Aun Weor – the man whose teachings have lead me to understand meditation and attaining peace of mind.  Its interesting, after initiating the first steps of meditation:  the relaxation of the body, focusing on breathing, counting the breath, etc., that the busy-ness of our mind often persists.  One reason for this can be that the problems in our daily lives creep into the meditation in the form of thoughts and feelings.  This essay on solving problems describes the dilemma of requiring a peace of mind to solve problems, and an absence of problems to have a peace of mind.  

We can take another step in our meditation each day, by spending some time reviewing our day and investigating our inner contradictions – as described in the practice at the end of excerpt.  We want to do this in the most objective state of consciousness we can achieve.  Not identified, non-attached and not letting ourselves become distracted and pre-occupied, forgetting that we are doing a practice.  Relaxation and concentration help us prepare for this next step in our meditation.

I encourage you to read this carefully and to take days, months and years to really understand it.  Only now, after years of inner work do I comprehend it on a very deep level.  Its been a worthy effort.  Why? because I have a much greater peace of mind and many fewer problems.

Enjoy the read.  Helen

“In life, man faces innumerable problems.  Each person needs to know how to solve each of these problems intelligently.  We need to comprehend each problem.  The solution of every problem is in the problem itself.

The time for us to learn to solve our problems has arrived.  Many problems exist: economic, social, moral, political, religious, family-related, etc., and we should learn to solve them intelligently.  The important thing to remember for the solution of every problem is to not become identified with the problem.  One has a certain tendency to become identified with the problem and the identification is so intense that, in fact, we become the very problem.  The result of such an identification is that we fail in the solution because a problem can never solve another problem.

One needs much peace and mental calm to solve a problem.  An uneasy, battling, confused mind cannot solve any problem.  If you have a very serious problem, do not become identified with the problem, retreat to any healthy recreational place: a forest, or a park, or the home of a very close friend, etc.  Distract yourself with something different, listen to good music and then, with your mind tranquil and calm, in perfect peace, try to comprehend the problem profoundly, remembering that the solution to every problem is within the problem itself.

Remember that without peace you cannot do anything new.  You need calm and peace to solve the problem that presents itself in your life.  You need to think in a completely new way about the problem that you want to solve and this is only possible by having tranquility and peace.  In modern life we have many problems and we, unfortunately, do not enjoy peace.  This is a true jigsaw puzzle because we cannot solve problems without peace.

We need peace and we should study this in depth.  We need to investigate what the principal factor is that puts an end to peace within and outside ourselves; we need to discover what causes the conflict.  The time has arrived to comprehend in depth, in all levels of the mind, the infinite contradictions that we have within because that is the principle factor of discord and conflict.   If we comprehend in depth the cause of an illness, we cure the sick.  If we know the profound cause of the conflict, we do away with the conflict and peace is the result.

Within and around us, thousands of contradictions exist that form conflicts.  Truly, what exists within us also exists in society because, as we have said so many times, the latter is an extension of the individual.  If there is contradiction and conflict within us, then in society they also exist.  If the individual does not have peace, society will not have it either and in these conditions all the pro-peace propaganda turns out to be, as a matter of fact, totally useless.

If we wisely analyse ourselves, we discover that a constant state of affirmation and negation exists within us: what we want to be and what we actually are.  We are poor and we want to be millionaires, we are soldiers and we want to be generals, we are single and want to be married, we are employees and we want to be managers, etc.

The state of contradiction engenders conflict, pain, moral misery, absurd actions, violence, gossip, calumny, etc.  The state of contradiction can never bring us peace in life.  A man without peace can never solve his problems.

You need to intelligently solve your problems and therefore it is urgent that you have peace constantly.  The state of contradiction impedes the solution of problems; each problem implies thousands of contradictions: Shall I do this?  The other?  How?  When? etc. Mental contradiction creates conflicts and frustrates the solution of problems.

We first need to solve the causes of the contradiction to finish with the conflicts; only in this manner will peace arrive and, with it, the solutions of the problems.  It is important to discover the cause of contradictions; it is necessary to analyze them in detail.  Only in this manner is it possible to do away with the mental conflict.  It is not correct to blame others for our internal contradictions; the causes of these contradictions are within us.  Mental conflict exists between what we are and what we want to be, between what a problem is and what we want it to be.  When we have a problem of any type: be it moral, economic, religious, family-related, marital, etc., our first reaction is to think about it, resist it, deny it, accept it, explain it, etc.  It is necessary to comprehend that with mental anguish, contradiction, worry, conflict, it is not possible to solve any problem.  The best way to react before a problem is silence.  I am referring to the silence of the mind.  This silence comes by not thinking about the problem.  The silence comes when we comprehend that nothing is solved with conflict and contradictions.  This silence is not anyone’s special gift, nor a certain type of ability.  No one can cultivate this silence; it arrives by itself.  It arrives when we comprehend that no problem is solved by resisting it, accepting it, denying it, affirming it, or explaining it, etc.

From mental silence intelligent action is born, the intuitive and wise action that will solve the problem no matter how difficult it might be.  This intelligent action is not the result of any reaction.  When we perceive the event, the problem, when we notice the fact without affirming it, denying it, or explaining it, when we do not accept the fact, nor reject it, then the silence of the mind arrives.  Intuition flourishes in silence.  From silence the intelligent action that totally solves the problem bursts forth.

Only in mental silence and quietude is there freedom and wisdom.

Mental conflict is destructive and ruinous and is a result of opposed desires: we want and we do not want, we desire this and the other.  We are in constant contradiction and this, in fact, is conflict. The constant contradiction that exists within us is due to the struggle of opposite desires. There is a constant negation of one desire for another desire; one pledge is placed over another pledge.  A permanent desire does not exist in the human being.  Every longing is temporary: he wants a job and after he has it, he desires another job.  The employee wants to be a manager; the priest wants to be a bishop.  Nobody is satisfied with what he has.  Everybody is full of unsatisfied desires and wants satisfaction.

Life is an absurd succession of fleeting and vain desires.  When we profoundly comprehend that all the desires in life are fleeting and vain, when we understand that the physical body is engendered in sin and that its destiny is the putrefaction of the sepulcher, then, from that profound comprehension, true peace of mind is born and contradiction and conflict disappear.

Only the mind that is in peace can solve problems.  Peace lies in the silence of the mind.

Contradiction surges from stubbornness; when the mind clings to one single desire, when it wants its desire to be realised at any cost, it carries out its desire; in this way it is logical that there has to be conflict. If we carefully observe two people who are discussing a problem, we will be able to confirm that each person clings to his desire, each person wants to see his desire satisfied and this, naturally, creates mental conflict.

When we resolutely see the vanity of desires, when we comprehend that desire is the cause of our conflicts and bitterness, then true peace arrives.

PRACTICE

Seated in a comfortable chair, or lying down in your bed, close your eyes.  Then concentrate on your interior, studying yourself, investigating your desires, your contradictions.

It is necessary for you to comprehend what your contradictory desires are so that, in this way, you may know the causes of your internal conflicts.  Peace of mind comes from the knowledge of the causes of mental conflict.  Practice this simple exercise daily.  It is necessary that you know yourself.”

~Samael Aun Weor~  Introduction to Gnosis

Discovering our mood

“The principle, basis, living foundation of Samadhi (Ecstasy) consists of a previous ‘Introspective Knowledge’ of oneself; our introversion is indispensable during in-depth meditation. We should begin by profoundly knowing the mood we are in before any mental form appears in the intellect. It is urgent to comprehend that every thought that surges in the Mind is always preceded by pain or pleasure, happiness or sadness, like or dislike.”

~Samael Aun Weor~

Following on from the post about labelling the thoughts, we can begin to distinguish between thoughts and emotions.  Its interesting to take some time to consider whether a thought triggers an emotion or an emotion triggers a thought.

The quote above indicates that our thoughts are driven by an underlying feeling or predisposition.  If we see a cup on the bench top, what happens?  Do we feel immediately grumpy followed by the thought, someone used a dish without washing it?  Did the thought of someone not washing the dish trigger the grumpy feeling, or did the dislike hit us and then the thought form follow a split second after?  Perhaps the cup triggered the desire to have a cup of coffee and the following thought was, I think I’ll have a cup of coffee, now where is the plunger?  Did the thoughts about preparing the cup of coffee come first or did the desire for coffee hit us immediately.  With further self study we will realise that within our subconscious we have a store house of pre-conditions and desires, just waiting to have the opportunity to express.

To put our body into activity, emotions serve as a much bigger driver than a thought process.  We may think that we should get more exercise, because it will be good for our health and make us trim.  Yet we have resistance to this, due primarily to laziness (a desire to be sedentary) so we let opportunities to exercise pass us by.  But, perhaps one day we notice the boy we have had our eye on has joined the gym and works out in the morning.  Now we get up early with no trouble and race to the gym because a desire is driving us, instead of the intellect.

While we watch our thoughts in meditation, see if there is a hint of like or dislike, pain or pleasure, happiness or sadness, behind it.  Don’t think about what we observe, simply observe it.  Let’s get to know ourselves through self-observation, with no judgement.  Little by little.

To have a deep meditation – moving towards Samadhi – ecstasy, we need to not only quieten the mind, but to let go of any emotion or desire that binds us.

Focus on the pulse

“It is necessary to try to totally relax all the muscles of the body and then concentrate Attention on the tip of the nose, until we fully feel the heart pulse in that organ of smell, then we will continue with the right ear until we feel the heart pulse in the latter, then we will continue with the right hand, right foot, left foot, left hand, left ear and nose once again, fully feeling the heart pulse separately in each of these organs where we have focused the Attention.”

~Samael Aun Weor~ Esoteric Treatise of Hermetic Astrology

Another method of relaxation and concentration we can incorporate into our practice is to focus on our heart beat and the subtle pulsation it creates around our body.  When we extract our mind from the preoccupation with our troubles, plans, or fascinations, we release  emotional and physical tension.  As with our breath, the heart beat is something that is continually happening in the “now.”  If our mind wanders off to visit the past or the future, we can bring our focus back to our heartbeat.

To experience our pulse at various places around our body is an expression of control of our own will.  The practice shows us that we can move our attention, and place our concentration where we like.  The opposite of this is when our mind pulls us this way and that, with one hundred uncontrolled thoughts.  We are like a ship with no rudder being blown around with the shifting breeze.

So a good daily practice is to find the heart beat and listen to its silence.  Feel its rhythm. Slow the pulse and find tranquility.

Be in the now…  now…  now…

Equinimity

“In these moments, Gautama Sâkyamuni Buddha comes to my memory. On a certain occasion, the Great Buddha was seated under a tree in profound meditation when an offender arrived, and cast his entire defamatory mud against Buddha; he tried to hurt him tremendously with words. Buddha continued meditating, but the offender continued provoking, insulting, hurting him. Much later, Buddha opened his eyes and asked the offender: ‘Oh, brother, if someone brings you a gift and you do not accept the gift, whose gift does it become?’ The offender answered; ‘Well, mine, it is obvious.’  ‘Then,’ said Buddha, ‘brother, take away your gift; I can not accept it.’ And he continued meditating.”

~Samael Aun Weor, The Science Of Meditation – Lecture~