Monday, September 22, 2014

Everybody wants more

We are created with the urge to want stuff. You may think this is obvious but when you observe your own behaviour you will begin to realise just how pervasive wanting is - from the chocolate biscuit to the latest gadget to the lipstick on your face (not that I have any, ahem), it rules the roost. Indeed, sometimes we just want anything to satisfy that little urge in our lives. We want without knowing what we want - if you want something but you don't know what, observe the mind creating a thing that you will suddenly want.

Now, the next thing we observe is that we always want more. Once we go through the cycle of wanting/getting, we want to do it again. There is no such thing as getting enough, because it is the act of wanting/getting that is the good part - the thing we get is largely irrelevant.

So what are to do? Well, nothing. That is the beauty of wisdom - we see something and then it goes away. Once we realise what is going on we can take it or leave it - until that moment when a little urge for something nice slips under the radar...

Other applications of seeing through the veil of desire are weight loss, giving up something, and lasting happiness in general.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Everybody wants something

This underpins a lot of behaviour and is quite invisible most of the time. It's an extraordinarily powerful driver of people but we don't like to see it. It makes us contradict ourselves, makes us divisive, manipulative and all those other self serving things. We can see it happening in Scotland. We judge people because of it, but there is nothing to judge. It is just wanting attaching itself to the next thing that comes along. We just have to be careful what we wish for.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Feeling the bias blind spot

The mind is very clever at doing things for us but it is ultimately operating in a world of its own - i.e. it is not seeing the world as it really is, just a constructed view of it. This constructed view is inherently full of flaws or delusions or tendencies to think in certain ways - cognitive biases.

I like cognitive biases because they remind me that I have been caught in some whirl of thinking that is not rational or balanced. The bias blind spot is when you operate under the assumption that you are not operating under any cognitive bias at all, but this is impossible. We are all operating under some form of interpretation of this world - one common analogy is that the fish cannot see the water it is swimming in, or another one might be the case where the eyeball cannot see itself. We all certainly have eyeballs but we'd be hard pressed to see it from the inside.

So first lesson in cognitive biases - we all have them and, if you have a constructed thought, you are operating within them in some form or another.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Is Platon Karataev enlightened?

Platon Karataev is a character in War and Peace by Tolstoy, in case you were wondering. This book is very surprising because it contains a lot of epiphanies and transcendent references, but the Platon character takes it one step beyond - he seems to have many qualities that you might find in enlightened monks. The question then becomes, do we want to be like Platon Karataev? 

(A side question might be, how did he end up prison?)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Saturate the body with happiness

Every month I like to give myself a little exercise or mantra to work with. This is what I am going to be exploring next month. The body is an amazing thing (also quite annoying when it goes wrong, but let's stick to the good bits) and it is chock full of nerves and sensations. Most of the time we ignore these things, and we can also numb them out by tensing our muscles. Unfortunately we are unconsciously tensing our muscles all the time, but if we relax we can open up to the full gamut of information coursing through our system. Initial attempts at relaxation can result in showering sensations of rapture or surging ecstasy, possibly even shaking and delicate tingling of pleasure. Once these subside we can fully relax into things and feel a deep sense of happiness in every cell of our body. If you wanted a feel good technique then this is it. It cures most poopoo  moods and sets you up nicely to experience the body as something akin to pure light.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Follow your own path

There is no other way really. I have forgotten what it's like to live a normal life but there is no normal really. Discover something better than normal. Discover yourself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Everything in the mind

Literally everything we experience, we experience through the mind. The good news is that the mind is 100% adaptable - we can change it. This means that if the world looks wonky then we can alter our mind to make it look a bit more super fantastic. You might not believe this is true but it is.

The first step in taking your mind under control is to see the mind at work - this is a bit tricky since we are using our minds all the time. One way is to take a step back, drop down and relax. Then relax some more until we are calm, and letting things go. Then, anything that appears in your awareness is the mind at work - marvel at its ability to twist and turn, to get lost, to create ideas, to get agitated, to make up stories, to see things, hear things, imagine things, feel things.

The mind is creating it all.