The Nature of the Mind – The Nature of Reality – The Fascinating Study of Enlightenment and the Karma of Ego

nature of the mind

This is IT for me, you know?  Contemplating the nature of the mind and reality makes it all bearable.  No.  Not right.   Much more than bearable; it makes life a total celebratory event.

You see, we all think (or feel) that we have our own personal single mind that is so very real because it experiences and recognizes things.  Yet, how often (if ever) do we stop and examine those experiences that the mind thinks are so real?  Break them apart, open them up, see what’s there at the core–do people do that?

Trauma or crisis can help us contemplate this type of thing (or not)–happiness too; any intense experience.   Many times doing that drives us to addictive distraction instead of some level of enlightenment and joy.  But if we really examine the experiences that the mind is having and we do so carefully, and we really contemplate this experience that this mind has and we look for that mind that has this crisis or happy experience, we cannot find a single thing!  Not one single thing but a blend of many components that we call “consciousness’.    It’s NOT YOU!

Here’s what I mean–there is no solid mind or self at the core of the experience or no real experience-ER.  I know, it sounds crazy if you’ve never thought about it but give me a chance to explain.

Consciousness has many various components–parts!  You know like a car, a vehicle has many components, parts–engine, tires, frame, door and so forth.  Is not our mind and our consciousness the same?  Consciousness has awareness of visual objects (forms, shapes, colors) and then there is awareness of sound, touch (tactile consciousness), taste consciousness and all these are separate parts or functions of the mind.  It’s like the car analogy–separate parts, gas tank, gas pedal, speedometer, steering wheel and so forth.

Consider the experience of anything for a moment–it doesn’t have to be crisis or trauma.  Anything.  Happy experience let’s say.  If we consider that each type of consciousness recognizes a particular field of experience (sound awareness or consciousness recognizes sound and visual consciousness is aware of shapes and colors of forms)… if we consider this as part of any experience we see that each of the types of consciousnesses function in an independent way from the others.

So the mind is a blend of consciousnesses and not one single unit or not one single, unitary thing.  Rather it is a compound object just like the car, the vehicle.

There are said to be six consciousnesses and in some books I’ve read there are eight.  And one of those eight include the consciousness which clings to the notion of EGO or “I”.  And another consciousness that is part of what we think of as “me” is called ground consciousness — and I wrote about this a week or so ago.  

The ground consciousness  stores information from all other levels of consciousness and accumulated past lives.  You can see how this level of mind would easily support the idea of an individual identity called “me”.  It would seem so ‘real’ but it is a grouping of consciousness; a grouping of experiences.

To explain further, it is fairly easy to grasp that the visual consciousness perceives objects–that’s the potential of the visual consciousness.  If you look at a red cloth, you see red.  If you look at snow on a mountain, you see white.  We are able also, quite obviously, to see things in succession–first seeing one thing and then the next with one thing disappearing and the next thing appearing in consciousness.  So visual consciousness is multiple and successive and has the potential to see many things at once and so is not single or solitary or one thing.  Nor is it one single solitary unit of time.

strawberry fields foreverEven if we could isolate a single solitary unit of time, it would only occur within the framework of ongoing consciousness because awareness is never static–its fluid.  So every moment has to relate to a previous moment and a future moment—meaning, it is not any more singular than we ourselves are.  The future moment is the present being the past in relation to it.  Yeah, I know that last sentence is pretty deep; but the point is that time is not solid, solitary and static and neither is consciousness and neither are we!  

There is no single unit of identifiable reality in either the external world of appearances or in the subjective mind.  Even space does not have a fundamentally real, inherent existence. Space is not a compound, and does consist of various parts like the car or like our mind.  Space is not a thing–it seems to exist but it is the negation of a particular appears of anything else.  Even the space in a room only exists because of the walls–take away the walls and the space that you thought existed in the room is not there and only depended upon the walls around it to appear as if it existed.

So the whole point in this blog post brings me to the point of liberation–even if I can’t fully understand it all in a way to describe it in words; in an experiential way I’ve known this truth from meditation…   it’s all true.

For example, in a contemplative meditation last evening, I tried to find… well, I asked, “Where is Joy?  Where am I located?”  It took less than a nano-second to realize I’m not my body and once you get past that basic truth, look for the location and you will find it’s everywhere!  And now here!  and nowhere!

And this, my friend, helps me to chill-ax (chill out and relax) and to see the humor in it all…. appearances are empty forms!  And again, quoting the Beatles once more, in the Strawberry Fields song, “Nothing is real; and it’s nothing to get hung about.”  

DEDICATION:  May this post help another in a way that is in divine order when they come upon this post–for this is my true intent in writing it today!  

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Psychic residue from past lives create our reality! Latent tendencies and Boggarts

Latent tendencies interpret fast moving protons and neurons and project reality
Latent tendencies interpret fast moving protons and neurons and project reality

This whole ground consciousness and latencies or latent imprints is totally fascinating.  That information comes from deeper study of  Tibetan Buddhism which is really, in my humble terms, the study of the mind and the nature of reality.  They say that the imprints are not the experience itself, but more like dormant seeds.

I think about wildflowers when I think of dormant seeds that are not receiving the right conditions to bloom.  And yet, when they do (especially in the northeastern part of the country where I currently reside), they do not last long.  The summer sun and rain bring the conditions for the blooms and then in the fall and winter, they are dormant again.

Wildflowers
Wildflowers

I think the comparison to wildflowers is an okay or and adequate association in that these imprints are positive, negative or neutral depending upon whether they originated from a positive, negative or neutral thought or action.

Some things grow in summer but do not contain flowers—some contain thorns or brambles. As weeds and wildflowers grow, so go our own imprints–positive, negative or neutral.  And we are creating new imprints all the time–reality.

I really like comparing psychological, spiritual, philosophical aspects of ourselves to nature.  The natural world is a fertile ground for this type of relating.

Anyway, we are told by the Tibetan teacher (s) (the Rinpoche) that these seeds or imprints are activated with experiences in the here and now.  Those everyday types of experiences in life are then activated like the Sun and water and soil conditions activate the wildflowers in the summer.

And here’s the kicker!

These activated imprints are what give us the impression of solid reality (it is all energy vibrations and reflections in actuality and a quantum physicist will agree that a table or a wall is nothing more than very faSt moving neutrons, electrons, protons.  Horray for physics!  Anyway…

Back to latencies…. these are associated with external sensory experiences and give rise to the belief in dualism.  What that means is a belief that I am separate from other or interpreting everything in terms of “I” and “other”.  It is these sensory experiences provided by the dormant seeds come to bloom (so-to-speak) that give rise to a sense of individual ego or separation from All That Is.  And then we create actions based on that belief in dualism that create more and this is how we go round and round in the world of illusion.

There are those who believe that if there is a self that it is a conceptual stream of consciousness that receives these latencies and projects them as external phenomena.

Just consider that a moment as you contemplate your reality!  your life!  A stream of consciousness projecting latencies!  And in every moment we are creating more latencies based on how we respond to any ‘now’ moment!  Mind blowing!  🙂

Well, it has to be extremely more complicated than this;  but what if it’s not?

Sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, body) receive input and then process and transmit it to the brain–and when reading the word ‘input’, think energy vibrations.  The mental consciousness receives something like, “red, round, moving to the left, sharp edges” and then interprets it.

When you think that this has been going on in our stream of consciousness for eons of lifetimes, consider the amount of latent tendencies we have stored which create our reality as we experience it!

No wonder we have developed a belief that external objects are solid and real…  and no wonder we perceive what the latent tendencies tell us,  which is that the external phenomenon is solid and real rather than empty.

Psychic residue containing diverse thoughts rooted in past lives creates the forms.  The mind is transitory (fleeing, passing through, temporary, brief, in flux and in movement)–such is our life .  And eternal reality is actually nonexistent.

Conventional Reality vs Ultimate Reality

But then again, conventionally it is, meaning that conventional reality does exist.  Especially when you think of explaining to your landlord or mortgage holder that your external reality does not it exist and therefore you don’t need to pay your rent or mortgage!

We have all agreed upon this reality due to these latencies and karmic actions and therefore conventional reality exists but ultimately, as just explained, it does not.  So it’s a paradox that the Buddhists call “The Two Truths”.

One reason I believe all of this is that of my personal experience of it  in meditation is just as  has been as described by the Buddhist teachings and long before I read the Buddhist teachings–so, therefore,  I know the truth of  this via my own meditative experience.  Not intellectually.

There is what the Buddhist call shamatha meditation and this will show you the true nature of reality as one turns to look at one’s mind directly.

Well, enough for now.  Understanding these latencies and even just a wee bit can help a good deal in relieving ourselves or releasing our grasp on our attachment s and aversions.

Contemplate this and fear dissolves and aversions become laughable and attachments,  too,  seem ridiculous.

And the last word in the paragraph above reminds me of the brilliance of the scene in the Harry Potter movie (The Prisoner of Azkaban)  when the witches and wizards in-training worked with the spell to transform the Boggarts.  The word of the spell used was “Riddikulus”.

(A Boggart, by the way, is a shape-shifting non-being that takes on the form of the viewer’s worst fear.)

The image to the left is the result of a wizard student projecting an image of his grandmother onto a Boggart ,transforming the professor he fears into a comical image of his grandmother.

Learning about the mind and nature of reality from the Buddhist perspective helps us to transform our own Boggarts realizing they are no more than mind projecting  latent tendencies… what transforms a Boggart after all is humor, laughter!  (according to author J.K. Rowling anyway)

So, keep it Light!

Aspiration:   May this post help someone in cyber world who comes upon it at a time of need to help ease suffering, enhance happiness and renew their sense of freedom and true liberation!  

Peaceful Reflection in Post Aversion and more on karmic tendencies

Not all apartments here are created equal, nor are all karmic imprints the same!
Not all apartments here are created equal, nor are all karmic imprints the same!

This post is me being bare-to-the-bones honest.  Sharing what I’m learning on this journey.  You may remember the posts since last year have reflected my struggle with… well,  straight to the point shall we?

Not all apartments are created equally, nor do all humans carry the same karmic imprints and tendencies in consciousness.

My inner question over many months involved knowing on deep levels that every irritating sound (or even smell; well, maybe especially smell) was illusion and my response of intense aversion to it was of course of my own making.

The sounds is ‘me’ and the smells are ‘me’ but at the same time in conventional reality obviously coming from the source of the downstairs neighbors.  For months on end, I realized this and argue with self, “…but it is so real (the loud voices the curry/garlic stink),… so real for something that is an illusion!

How could this be me when everything that remains of me that is still sane indicates the opposite?  

I knew the truth of it but the aversion was so strong that the reality of it increased in proportion and the whole thing kept feeding itself.  By the way, since moving I’ve learned that the apartment building itself where this experienced hell-realm is located is cheap construction and the townhouse I’m in now has very good soundproofing. Our neighbor to the right (this is a 2-level townhouse) consists of 3 people and a dog and we never hear a word, nor do the 3 of us living in this townhouse even hear one another’s TV or words from room-to-room or from upper-to-lower level.  So life is much more pleasant as far as that goes.   Not all apartments and townhouses in this complex are equal.

The other apartment  situation may have been karmic but it provided me the stimulus to ask more deeply about the nature of reality and the nature of mind.  I would never, ever wish to repeat it but I do see how the experience benefited my evolution.  

I knew deeply then as I always have in my core being that the external sounds, smell, appearances were empty and coming from the mind but the aversion was so strong… it was very confusing and I resisted it desperately causing myself compounded suffering.

The thing is when we look at something in meditation, we see the appearance of it in the mind.  Sounds, smells, all senses are this way.  The mind interprets everything and assigns meaning or judgment to it…  “i.e. this is pleasant, this is horrible, etc.”

And when we try to find the consciousness that see’s and interprets the energy, when we try to find the visual consciousness or the auditory consciousness or the olfactory/sense of smell consciousness that is doing the looking or receiving the smell, we cannot find it.   Mostly because it is constantly changing and in Buddhist terms it is “empty”.

Being a psychic this is known to me and seen in my work–energy is constantly changing and what we perceive is not the true nature of things, it is only our own perceptions which are deeply ingrained patterns (see last blog post)… latent karmic imprints.  

I have to admit here that there is difficulty in explaining in this written word what I know and what  am learning here now, post-aversion, in my continued  reflection and further study of  Tibetan Buddhism.  It’s complicated on one hand and so simple on the other!  All the Libra energy in me can hold the paradox but my Mercury in Scorpio feels it and has trouble with the words.

I realize even more clearly now that the sounds and smells [from my boisterous and cooking Indian downstairs neighbors and the guitar-singing neighbor who followed] were all simply energies which hit my senses that these sense consciousnesses had absolutely no opinion of those sounds or smells.

And further, and more importantly, I realize with more clarity that  it was my mind that  was giving it whatever meaning it had back then which was that of extreme aversion.

For another person with different karmic imprints, the situation would perhaps even been pleasant (although that’s hard to imagine) or at least the aversion may not have been as strong.

Why would it differ?  All those latent karmic imprints and tendencies were awakened and it seemed very difficult to have control over my intense aversions.  I am not making excuses, I’m demonstrating, hopefully, how something pleasant or unpleasant (attractions/aversions) may differ with person-to-person based on the karmic tendencies in ground consciousness [see last blog post].

Back then, I kept thinking [getting the thought]–this smell is ‘me’ and their yelling in Hindi is ‘me’ but (at the same time) how can that possibly be?    Karmic habituation of interpreting certain energy a certain way is part of the answer.

I don’t have all the answers but it’s all getting clearer now that I am in a new setting where peaceful reflection is possible.

(I share this in the hope that it may serve or be helpful in some way to another out in cyber world who may be experiencing any type of difficulty or confusion.  May we all be brought to clarity and contented happiness and freedom from all suffering and causes of suffering.)