Nature of the mind
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Here and Now Empty Here and Now

Tue Jan 04, 2022 7:34 pm
OK, I am renewing my strong intention to remaining present. I have again noticed I've come to a place where I think about being present much more than I am present. It is so easy for me to let hours go by during my activity, continually noting that I'm lost in thought, and almost immediately I'm just as lost in some new train of thought or activity. I'm just today moving back into my home after isolating due to COVID, and I could not maintain awareness for even 5 seconds continually so far until I just now forced myself to just sit. My mind was constantly moving to the next thing, how to pack this or that, how to not pass too many people, how to juggle my work on the computer today, so much constant planning and anticipating with no connection to the present moment.

I was hurrying down the street on foot with my heavy bags, thinking this and that, when thankfully I got some sun in my eye and finally stopped. Jeez, I've been isolating in a small hotel room for several days, it had been cloudy so not even much sun through the window those days, and here, here was a beautiful clear blue sky and sunshine and I was racing past it to the next thing, I couldn't believe it almost! The prior days I would have paid money for such sunshine and time outside in the fresh air!

Thich Nhat Hanh often speaks of recognizing the "habit energy" that drives us. He advises us to recognize it and simply smile to it, this transforms it. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche often speaks of the "winds" that drive us. He also advises us to feel the energetic structure of those winds in our body and mind, and use the breath to release them. He also speaks of hosting this energy and letting it self-liberate. Many other teachers have comparable methods. The main point being I think that we release and/or transform these forces in us, these karmic traces, through constant simple recognition and hosting them, not giving into them, and not fighting with them.

In all cases, mindfulness, awareness, is our friend and help in doing this. In this case the habit energy or wind I'm dealing with is actually about losing awareness so it's kind of funny. Actually maybe all habits are just the opposite of present moment awareness.

I want to stress again, recognition/awareness of being lost is crucial, but your immediate next step must be to maintain that awareness, period. Spinning off into thought about how it happened again, what you'll do different, etc. while still being lost, is not helpful. You can spend a whole day (or much more) just feeling like a failure and getting frustrated, or at any rate not making any progress.

Rinpoche often mentions basic processes of repetition to maintain:
Abide, Dissolve, Continue
OR
be aware of it (stillness, silence, spaciousness), feel it, connect with it, rest in that connection.
when you notice loss of connection, OK, reconnect, rest in that connection


I want to note that Rinpoche has often also mentioned focusing on the successes, not the failures. Also to focus on the space that opens up when something clears, instead of looking for the next problem. He and other teachers often remind us that what we place our attention on grows. So we should keep our attention trained on that which we want to see more of, instead of the things we wished there were less of.

Rinpoche also often mentions not following the past, not trying to change the present, and not inviting the future. Again, so many teachers talk of keeping connection to the present, even as you review the past to learn, and even as you consider what you should do now to help the future. Often it's mentioned that the best way to conclude the past, and to assure a good future, is to take good care of the present, by being present for it.

I believe, at least for myself, the key is keeping it as simple but as constant as possible. I have also experienced a version of what I believe Fabio mentioned where by just keeping awareness of the first line "vision is mind" or maybe even the second line, the other lines will spontaneously arise in experience here and there, for moments. I believe for formal meditation, maybe, actively go through the 5 lines to train yourself. And, even in life, in a particular hard moment, if you can, do the 5 lines right there to get to the other side of it. But I think it's too much to for all visions at all times to think so much about it. But, for myself, not only do the later lines spontaneously arise out of the first. Even experience of the first line spontaneously arises out of simply open awareness of the present moment.

Maybe you have noticed it too, but if I am very present, very internally still and silent, then things have a more vivid and dreamlike quality to them. I start to see them directly as "vision", without having to remind myself. But now I've shifted to having to remind myself to be present, which is my intention now.

Of course maybe again, these are all just alternate wordings or alternate roads to the same place. Various people have written about seeing things directly as vision/dream so strongly that they are automatically fully present. Where else is there for them to be? Wherever you go, there you are.

I wish us all the best of luck.
Best,
-Bob
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Here and Now Empty Here and now

Wed Jan 05, 2022 5:17 pm
Yes Bob, I also think it starts with being in the here and now. Being mindful and aware with body, speech and mind. You mention Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a living example. I once followed a retreat with him and went to talks he gave. The way he entered a room...he immediately filled the room with peace...
I think we need this base of mindfulness and awareness in everything we do, say and think for our 5 lines and keep reminding ourselves...
Marijke
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Here and Now Empty Re: Here and Now

Wed Jan 05, 2022 6:40 pm
I agree. It seems that we have to get used to abite with awareness more and more a different state of consciousness, the vacuity- spaciousness. The consciousness is not only horizontal, it's also vertical. Like a palace with several floors. From the first floor, the infernal loka, to the hightest, the mind of budhha. The lokas are in between. And we go up and down the floors of the building with an elevator. The attention. It's well described in Dante Alighieri " Divina Commedia". The lowest floors are the infer, the last one is God. In between all the lokas and many intermediate states. Any floor is hinhabited by beings with the same vibration of consciousness. Questioned how he got this insight, Dante answered that it was during a dream.
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Here and Now Empty Re: Here and Now

Thu Jan 06, 2022 4:43 pm
You know, The Divine Comedy has come up so many times in conversations in my life, but I've never read it. Now it comes up again, and you mention he got the insight in a dream. I'm sold! I ordered a copy today.
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Here and Now Empty Re: Here and Now

Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:49 pm
You will find it very interesting, but is not a book you read normally. It's a medieval poem . Full of allegories, myths, references to medieval theology and Greek and Latin philosophy. Very vaste and deep.
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