Showing posts from January, 2016

Whatever it is, you can deal with it

Human beings are tremendously resilient things. We fear the worse, but when it happens we rise to the challenge, we survive and we make things happen. Even if it breaks us, we can rise again and take on new challenges. So, don't fear disaster, don't fear failure, don't fear being a fool or weak or helpless - because these things can be dealt with when they happen.

How is this possible? you might not ask.

Well, you just need to change the way you see things ....

One thought away from mind blowing insight

Aristotle was said to be the last person who knew everything, who knew the world completely. Clearly he was deluded. However, we might like to ask ourselves if we could summarise the whole of humanity (our world) in one thought. Can we hold everything human in one idea?

Well, the answer is yes. It is possible and, if you are fortunate enough to have the thought, then it will take your breath away and set your heart racing. You probably want me to tell you what that thought is, but I'm going to keep it under wraps for now. Needless to say, it is something you realise for yourself in a kind of mind blowing fashion. This thought in particular is an especially amazing one.

Here are some pointer thoughts to investigate. The old favourite: what am I? (or what are we?). You might like to contemplate existence - there's a nun in "tales of the heike" who reflects (I will paraphrase slightly): "My existence is no more than a brief thingy. May it bring wisdom to others. T…

Can art (or culture) engender a sense of contentment?

Can we use external stimuli to lead us into the mu state? (I am using mu here to refer to that place of noble silence, where we are present but there is no-one there (I realise that this clarification may not have helped)).

I will cut a very long story short. We can attach external stimuli (images, sounds, smells) to mental states - I do it all the time with music. We can even engage in a join the dots exercise - this kind of music makes me feel calm, this new piece is interesting, I listen to it intently, I start to feel calm, happy even - now I am content. Here we have a new concept - novelty, or beginnersmind (Shunryu Suzuki wrote a book all about this). There is also another interesting thing going on - contrast, or noticing opposites - I was not content, now I am content. Noticing change also stimulates interest in the mind.
So yes, art can help us get into calmer states of mind, but it is not actually the art that is doing it - it is the natural curiosity that it stimulates in o…

A well conditioned mind is a lovely thing

You might be wondering what a well conditioned mind is - you don't find many examples walking around the modern world. It's something like:

- flexible, happy, responsive  - open - kind - aware / awake - sensible - generous - wise
I use wise in the sense that it knows what is actually going on,  i.e. Free of delusion.
Enlightenment is around here somewhere.
Cultivate positive qualities and the rewards will become evident.