Buddhism, Philosophy, Reincarnation, Society, Spirituality

Episode 22: The Cycle of Birth, Death, & Caffeination

mde

It occured to me that I am in the cycle of birth, death, and caffeination. The first two are inevitable, and the second is my choice.

Coffee is like a grounding force inside my consciousness: as black, without sugar, maximum three and minimum one cup per day. It’s an ironically bitter, valuptuous, force that gets us legally high and becomes a staple in the day of multiple days.

We all have at least one idea or perception that we cling to, forcefully, as if it’s our last breath. Like that man who laid down to die with £20 in his hand, hoping he could still spend it.

In this episode, we go over some of the pitfalls of waking up — including why we don’t automatically fall into that state of non-dual awareness we are after.

The episode and my blog, here down below, are different. Here, this blog goes lightly into the deep edge of how the mechanism works to keep us from waking up. My episode goes hand-in-hand, speaking more personally and intuitively about this mechanism, so have your go at both!

As always, here we go…

The mind is a big player in the game of life, and she has been switched on since our birth, creating our physical and mental perceptions, our ideas about life, abstractions, responses to pain and pleasure, and pretty much every other facet of our personality we take for granted. This is the bubble of “me”, and everybody lives in their own; indeed, a person from the UK has mightily different values from somebody residing in the Amazonian jungle! For example, I have had the belief instilled in me that hard work pays off, and we must work hard for our money. Deep inside there somewhere is also the basic belief that if I’m not busy enough, then I’m not worth enough. The first is completely cultural and came from an idea my parents had from their parents whereas the second is personal and family-orientated (meaning that not all people in the UK follow that basic belief). So beliefs and perceptions can range widely from the societal level down to the personal level, and each individual becomes completely unique in their viewpoint of the world and themselves to try to make sense of what is going on their “screen”.

The screen of consciousness is not normally seen as a screen but as a true and accurate projection of what’s taking place. Whether that be sight, sound, emotion, or a recurring situation (potty training your kid, perhaps, or going to the gym like it’s a religion), we believe it’s all real and we’re in control of making the whole thing up.

That’s partially true. We have decided to make it all up, but not from “our self” — but from the standpoint of Awareness itself — which is responsible through all our life changes from birth until death. But we don’t recognise that. When we’re in the thick of it, we carry all our projected baggage and see mostly endless rows of bags: essentially, the construction of the self.

The easiest portion of ourselves to cling to is our body — if we have any doubt we exist, we can rely on our body to confirm that we do. (Deep sleep, comas, and being under aneasthetic cause loss of awareness of the body lead us to believe we don’t exist for a while. Think about that!)

So our brain sort of hallucinates a basic self-image into our consciousness that stays with us for a matter of time — until it changes, eventually. Maybe once we viewed ourselves as a serious person and now we’re a relaxed person. We had a different self-image when we were 16 than when we were 26. It’s all relative and constantly changing, but if we can’t see that that is the case, then we can “get stuck” in ideas about ourselves that no longer serve us. It happens all the time.

But I believe that consciousness is always looking to expand its awareness, capabilities, and smash down limitations of the mental, physical, and spiritual realms; we let go from time to time. It’s just that the ultimate smash-down is the death of the ego itself. And that is not going to happen overnight. So we have to be aware of the fact that there will be limitations and setbacks. This is a natural part of the awakening process, so don’t give up!

Maybe that’s why Buddhists says it might take lifetimes…

Buddhism, Philosophy, Reincarnation, Society, Spirituality

Episode 20: Buddhism is not a Religion!


Buddha Picture Elephant Lying Down Sleeping

Buddhism is not a religion.

That’s a bold statement, considering the sheer volume of monasteries, Buddha statues, and complex practices embodying Yidams, Devas, Mandalas, and Incense. Not to mention carefully laid precepts and the Noble 8-fold path… which sounds like the Christian ladder to heaven, doesn’t it? It does, until we discover for ourselves what Buddhism embodies. Like Christ was a man and the term “Christianity” came after him, so has “Buddhism” come after the Buddha. Buddha is not worshipped as some God we cannot be, but as an inspiring human being who has lived in our not-so-recent-past, engaged in unfathomable amounts of unconditional compassion for others. He came to embody “enlightenment” or “awakening” by figuring out the true purpose of life and passing it on.

There is historical evidence of this right here, folks.

This is from an article you can look up online called “Footprints in the Dust: A Study of The Buddha’s Travels”: the Buddha walked on foot for 40 years, without sandals, in the Indian heat and mountains, mixing with everyone, including dangerous individuals, until he was 80 years old and died of food poisoning. He slept on the ground, sometimes in the winter frost.

When a man found the Buddha sleeping underneath a tree, without a blanket in winter, he asked, “do you need anything? Are you happy?” The Buddha replied, “Yes, I am happy”, and went back to sleep.

He covered 200,000 square kilometres of Indian territory in his life, just to teach about compassion. He taught most days of his life and woke up at 4am, meditating first thing and looked for beings who needed help in his meditation. He would then feed others or beg for food himself after this. He walked, ate, meditated, slept, and taught, day-in and day-out. Is this inspiring, or what?

If people thought they loved Michael Jackson, think of the constant selfless service the Buddha engaged in just to help others. Wow.

Please listen above to find out more…

Buddhism, Hinduism, Philosophy, Society, Spirituality

Episode 19: Building an Ecological House – Part II


almondbutter

Building an ecological house… is what I am going to do. Because I feel a responsiblity towards taking care of myself and changing the current situation on earth.

People, like you and me, are starting to wake up and bypass the status quo, because the disillusionment of pleasing authorities that exist in our imaginations is over-grown, like disengaged tree branches falling and crippling away at their stems.

Bodily freedom comes with enjoying life’s blessings and eliminating the stress of chasing bills for energy companies who could give a damn if we stay warm or not. Freedom comes when we are living authentically, under less pressure, acknowledging the inner space to let thoughts, emotions, sensations, and material sense objects flow through our experience without having to cling to them. Our current cultures all encourage clinging: to business (busy-ness), to success, to sense stimulation, to future events, to familiar people, to our reputation, and more subtly, to habits (“Samskaras” in Buddhist/Hindu philosophy), and to self-image. That is: the external world and its multiplicity of situations.

In my previous episode (#18), I talked about how the Industrial Revolution ignited massive economic change in Europe and North America, spurring the growth of the consumer society we now live in. It’s not our fault, but we made rash decisions when the population boomed and kept growing larger. Cities replaced rural lifestyles, factory lines replaced craftsmanship, and railroads promoted long-haul transport. Now we have a system (again, imaginary, but passed right along by our forefathers) that encourages working to get by while life passes us by.

So… I will build an eco-house and harness wind and solar power to create a home where the family are reliant on nature and live closely with her; we will grow our own fruit and vegetables and freeze them over winter. We will nurture animals who come to live with us. We will spend time making music, taking long walks, reading, podcasting, painting, building guitars, and have a healing centre with massage and meditation.

I feel the responsiblity to be free — to inspire the rest of humanity to be free.

If you have similar ideas that need expression or an inspiring thought to share, then comment below!