Good afternoon, and welcome to the Curious Bodhi Podcast!
On our show, we are talk about one of the most mysterious and misunderstood terms in Buddhism. This is the notion of “not-self” or Anatta.
The Buddha taught the Middle Way between eternalism and nihilism. In Zen, they say: “if your mind is leaning [to the left or right], then you have lost the Way”. We often forget this as our mind leans towards either philosophising/intellectualising or clinging to our notion of self (in the false way).
So, how do we explain what not-self is, if it’s not mere intellectual and not completely personal?
Firstly, the Buddha taught there are five aggregates which compose our everyday experience. They are:
All of these make up each moment for us. However, when we don’t have enough distance from them (non-duality) or cling to them as definitely “me” and “my experience, as opposed to anything or anyone else” (duality), then our mind is leaning.
When we understand the Middle Way, composed of duality and non-duality simultaneously, then we can make light of our experience and stay in the moment.
Have a listen to our podcast for an in-depth explanation. Here is Sri Acharya’s video on Sanatana Dharma & Buddhism which I reference in our show:
*Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com and I will answer them on our next show.
Rob Cobbold is the founder of a global mind-heart-spirit movement called Conscious Evolution. Rob’s work focuses on the higher evolution of human beings and as a global conscious structure — indeed, as the entire human family we are. His upcoming podcast will bring in guests who talk about this greater perspective and what it means for us. Catch him on his Twitter at conscious_evo.
Humans and the entire cosmos seem to be evolving into endlessly more complex systems. Think about when you were ten years old and what you knew; now you can see that with each year, more complexity on your worldview has become accumulated based on a vast number of personal experiences, education, and social interactions. Of course, some peoples’ worldviews do not necessarily change that much over a lifetime. However, it has become easier to communicate across the globe with enhanced technology and travel, so open-mindedness is coming to a peak. (We’re not there yet, but my feeling is good that we are co-reaching this stage of development).
This is where spiral dynamics comes in. Spiral dynamics is an observational “theory” that Ken Wilbur and others have created to explain how humans evolve beyond biology. The stages are ordered by colour:
Beige for survival: Babies are in this phase along with some animals. Those in poverty and war-torn areas can be here. Also, when extreme conditions arise requiring sacrifice of moral boundaries in order to stay alive push otherwise comfortable people into this phase.
Purple for security: Tribalism is at the root, where survival is taken care of but the needs of the tribe have to be kept sancrosanct. Ritual, magic, and patterned behaviour make sure the tribe is safe and grounded. Organised religions fall here.
Red for relentless power: The red phase comes in when purple gets cocky. Red societies realise their security is met but they still see a threat from somewhere out there, including other tribs. Red will do whatever it takes to gain more control, including murder. Powerful and ruthless dictators are here along with government officials who care only about their own interests and not their brethren.
Blue for nationalism and rule: Blue is more civilised than red, because it has learned it can use the power of the mind and subtle tactics to keep order and control. Rather than rule by sword, it can also rule by manipulation and word. Blue societies are highly ordered so that members keep their belief. Laws, regulations, religious sectarianism, absolute right and wrong / black and white thinking fall here.
Orange for individualism and success: Individuals are seen as key players who rely on themselves for success. Egocentrism, self-image, and mental strategising to gain prestige, fame, or wealth lie here. Goals, achievement, and planning rule orange. This is the current phase the western world is in on the whole.
Green for cohesive community and environmental concerns: When orange begins to notice there’s not much to get ahead of, it will seek the green phase to worry about other people and the natural world. Individuals organise themselves into communities and express themselves freely and compromise on what the other wants and needs. Egocentric behaviour still governs green, as it does not yet see the larger picture of the whole; it still relies on small tribal behaviours within an in-group, such as political liberals or a specific charity organisation.
Yellow for holistic integration: Yellow is the phase we want to see in our lifetime. We realise that human beings are not the centre of the universe but a cohesive part of the universe. Strategies for picking up the pieces from the other phases will be thought-through (such as un-doing the damge from the industrial revolution) with the power of intelligence, working together, extreme open-mindedness, and taking all sides into account. It is like holographic or diamond-thinking, looking at all angles and stepping in one anothers’ shoes. Creativity and invention and innovation without profit rule. When yellow makes a mistake, they admit it wholeheartedly and move on to a better way of behaving.
Turquoise for compassion and harmony: Turquoise is the highest level we can imagine thus far. It is the total integration of all it has learned from the other stages and is the embodiment of peace and harmony on earth and universal systems. When body, speech, mind, spirit, and all the factors that make a person come together in perfect synchronicity, then we have this stage. It’s likely the garden of Eden but nobody knows yet!
Spiral dynamics takes a step back and looks at how complex humans and their conceptual creations have been and can be in the future. This is one way of looking at human evolution in the new sense of the word. As complexity increases, so does novelty. When novelty gets boring, then peace and harmony will be the outcome.
Did you ever get that sinking feeling that this is the true purpose of life?
In this episode, I go over briefly which insights I’ve had recently; they tumbled out and snowballed into one after another after another. In hopes that it provokes something in you — when you’re most yourself, most relaxed, or even during intense activities, you can catch the ways in which life hands you what you need to be shown without the cloudiness of the everyday mind.
I distinguish “insights” from “thoughts and feelings”, because “thoughts and feelings” come and go — even the sense of “self” thinking a thought or performing an action. There are often times when we are daydreaming about a beautiful image — or even a horrible situation — and we’re lost. Gone.
Insights are like flashes of things we haven’t seen or experienced before. Yet, they come and go also. They are gone just as the “thoughts and feelings” but have a positiveimpact upon future perceptions, judgments, and actions.
Listen above! May all beings be happy, free, and peaceful.
Danny Levin was a prospective billionaire who gave it all away to focus on connectivity in the human kingdom. When speaking with him, his humblnesss came across; when you listen to the episode, you can feel what sort of vibe Danny has. His interest is clearly not on himself but on a wider message for humanity and his role in the mosaic of life.
I wondered, “What leads a person, verging on being a billionaire and dining with the finest, to throwing it all away? And what is the solution he found after this noble step?”
He also doesn’t delve deeply into this topic, nor the fact he had been a monk for 10 years — but he does reveal what fascinates him most deeply as we open up and talk.
Clearly in the present, he found what has meaning in terms of appreciation and gratitude for the differing perspectives in the world: the farmer is just as important as the business man… they just have a different view. And we are inextricably interlinked and interdependent on each other.
Danny has authored the book, The Mosaic, where different characters in the puzzle intertwine to find their connectivity. Find The Mosaic and connect with Danny at www.themosaiconline.com!
As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.