Sunday, October 26, 2014

The same thing over and over again

I realise that I am writing the same thing over and over again, gradually getting more abstract as time goes by.

This is essentially what I am trying to say:

1. Learn to relax
2. See the workings of the mind
3. Keep repeating this process

It turns out to be quite a remarkable thing to do.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The mind wants to believe anything it encounters

This can be a good thing or a bad thing.

It makes us highly susceptible to suggestions - I could say anything and you would have a tendency to believe it, even if you thought it was not true. It also means we are at the mercy of our thoughts and thought patterns - and these are generally negatively biased in order to protect ourselves from hurt. We have an alarming habit of believing what we think and what we think can be a little dark at times.

That's the bummer. The good news is that if we give it positive messages and we prime it with wholesome things, the entire atmosphere of the mind will change. This is quite a challenge but one worth pursuing. You could start by eating brown rice and some salad, then move into neurolinguistuc reprogramming, followed by some bliss enhancing visualisations, and rounded off with some practical wisdom and teachings. Rinse with mantras and body therapy and then have a nice bath. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A sea lion will do anything for a fish

We like to think we have free choice but this is kind of an illusion. We only have freedom to choose when we act from awareness and wisdom. Most of the time we are not very wise or aware, we are reacting to circumstances with the faulty set of reasoning that life has bestowed upon us.

Now, the secret mechanism that underpins our reaction is pleasure or a reward. A sea lion will do anything for a fish and we are constantly acting in ways that will release pleasure into our system - probably in the form of dopamine, but let's not get technical. We are constantly driven by this pleasure seeking - we get rewards for thinking the right thoughts, for behaving in a certain way, for eating biscuits, for going shopping - there is a constant action / reward cycle. There's also the opposite - avoiding unpleasantness - but I'm tired so let's leave that for now.

You might think we are more complex than this, and we are tremendously complex in the way we behave and think, but this simple pleasure / unpleasant dynamic is underneath it all. Our emergent behaviour is different to the mechanics that underpin it.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Be still

I have learned many, many techniques over the years but it's useful to remember that they are only techniques - they are tools that help get back to the open pastures of a calmly contented mind. The alternative is a reactive sense of functional helplessness.

Anyway, enough of that. This month I am using stillness as a focus. There is a great deal of pleasure in being still - silence, no movement, a sense of being present without being engaged, all that kind of stuff. One interesting thing to notice is what gets in the way of stillness? Why can't we just be still? Notice the resistance in the mind and then return to sense of silence. The mind will wander. Focus on no sound. Experienced practitioners will know the terroritory well but they will also know what lies beyond the tussle between the busy mind and the silence. The sense of release, of openness, of being fully together - calm, contented, clear, relaxed and basically happy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Free will

Here is an important notion - do you have free will?

The answer is no. 

My interest in this has been rekindled by finally finishing war and peace - there is a long piece at the end and how history is made and whether individuals who make history are acting through free will or through necessity. In this case, necessity is another way of expressing causality - if that happens then this is the response. Theoretically if you could work all the contributing factors to a particular moment in your life then you'd know what would happen next. This is impossible in reality but it's a nice theory.

So, to cut a long story short, we are programmed by the conditions of our life to behave a certain way.   This programming comes from all different directions but the most worrying is the conditioning we receive from the media and entertainment - mainly because we have a tendency to believe anything we hear. This makes us behave in a certain way that we are almost powerless to control. I think that will do for now - I don't want to get too political.

When we act or think a certain way, we might like to reflect on why we do so. It is not our thoughts, but the way we have been conditioned. Now, we might further realise that because we are not really the owner of our thoughts, we might wonder who we are. And from here you can glimpse what freedom might actually be - which brings us back to feeling good and happy in some bizarre way.

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.