Sunday, 25 March 2012

When Consciousness Realises Itself

To understand powerlessness it is necessary to understand the problem of choice in regard to the ego. The ego is the result of all the ‘events’ that occur in childhood in which a network of beliefs are formed that become a blueprint for the way we view ourselves and others. These beliefs take on a life of their own and we believe ourselves to be what we are not. The beliefs that we believe ourselves to be are not true and the result, the ego is also not true. What we ‘choose’ is not really a choice as it is determined by false assumptions made by something that does not exist; the ego. Believing ourselves to be unlovable we ‘choose’ actions that prove this belief. We are forced by our beliefs to prove that our assumption that we are unlovable is true. If we could really choose why would we choose suffering? It is more accurate to say that we are programmed to expect to suffer. Another way of saying this is that we ‘want to suffer. When we expect something enough it becomes a need and therefore what we want. The universe is infinitely subtle, complex and unknowable and we are not different from the universe. To believe that we are able to choose when what we are and what we are surrounded by is so infinitely subtle, complex and unknowable can only be called ignorance. The ego cannot tolerate vulnerability because vulnerability is truth and the ego views truth as a vampire would view a crucifix. The idea of accepting anything can only be an idea of the ego. It is not possible to accept anything or to understand anything and if there is any acceptance or understanding then it is the ego that does so. The ego wants something to hang on to and this is because the ego does not exist. The ego’s purpose is always to reinforce the illusion that something that does not exist does exist. Believing that we accept or understand anything is a trick to convince ourselves that we exist. What does exist can never be known and this is why those who claim to be enlightened or awake may be very convincing but also deluded. There can be no knowing what is or what is happening and as a result it cannot be true that we are powerful or powerless. Nothing can be said about what we are or what we are not. Consciousness itself has no concerns with any of these questions.
If you take a glass and dip it into the ocean you will see beyond doubt that the blueness of the ocean is an illusion. This is not so different to the moment when consciousness realises itself.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Hypothesis – A Bridge to the Absolute

A definition of the word hypothesis - a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis)  or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.

Krishnamurti once wrote that logic should be taken as far as it can go or to be as truthful as it is possible to be. This is good advice, another way of saying this is to look for a truthful and consistent hypothesis that can be tested and if necessary adjusted or even dropped. I realize I have been doing this for many years without really knowing that was what I was doing. My first book ‘Blood Washing Blood’ is full of these hypotheses and my recent book ’Everything That is Not a Belief is True’’ is concerned with what I consider to be the ultimate hypothesis.  If used correctly a hypothesis can be a bridge to the absolute. Logic or truth are honed relentlessly until their limit is reached. This limit involves another hypothesis which is that the limit is seen as a point in which all beliefs break down and we are left at the door to the absolute. The absolute is another hypothesis that is similar to a singularity in physics – a place or event where all the rules of nature break down. Some of the early hypotheses I worked with were to do with power and the ego. Blood washing blood is a very powerful hypothesis first used by zen master Bankei in regard to meditation. I found that blood washing blood is a universal hypothesis that when applied to the ego makes many important questions clear. Blood washing blood when applied to the ego becomes – the cause of suffering in the world is the result of the ego or believing something to be true that is in fact not true.  The ego is the cause of suffering yet it is also the ego that offers us solutions to this suffering which usually involve more suffering. For instance when we feel unloved the ego may suggest that the solution can be found in food, drugs, alcohol or sex. The ego invents solutions such as thinking, religion, philosophy, science and just about everything that the human mind can construct. All these things are constructions of the ego and sometimes they are useful  and sometimes they are disastrous. Most of these things excluding the simply practical and useful cannot be trusted as they are blood washing blood – trying to wash a blood stained garment with blood and expecting to clean it. This is not possible, not only are the solutions of the ego futile they can also deepen the problem.  In the world most of us as a result of experiencing pain arrive at the conclusion that we are unlovable and then resort to strategies to attain various forms of power like money, intelligence, beauty or even aggression and violence. None of these can ever give us true power because the power that was lost is the result of what we came to believe about ourselves. None of these strategies for attaining power can ever reverse this kind of belief. Having a lot of money for instance may feel good for a while but only for a while,  it cannot change what we really believe about ourselves. Blood washing blood is a hypothesis that quickly and clearly shows us all the constructs of the ego that cannot be trusted. Once we are free of the trap of looking for the solution where it cannot be found the true journey can begin. I heard a physicist recently say "we have to experiment with every stupid wrong idea before we can get on to the right one".

One night a neighbor of Mullah Nasrudin was walking home and found Mullah squatting on the ground beside a lamp post evidently looking for something.
"What's the matter mullah?" asked the concerned neighbor.
"I have lost my keys" replied mullah
"Oh! Here let me help you." and the kindly neighbor got down on his knees and started searching for Mullah's keys as well.
After some time spent looking the neighbor straightened up and quite puzzled asked "are you sure you dropped your key's here?"
"Oh, I didn't drop them here." replied Mullah.
"Where did you drop them ?!?" exclaimed the now bewildered neighbor.
"Over there" and Mullah pointed to the front of his house that was in darkness.
"So why are you looking for them here ??!!??" shouted the angry neighbor.
"Because there is light here." replied mullah.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


What we understand is determined by everything that went before. It is formed from the totality of our experience. We do not choose what we understand because we do not choose what we experience. We view what we experience through the filter of our level of understanding in the moment. Understanding can and does change but at no point can we control it. What we are and what we experience is not the result of choice. What we ‘choose’ is what we compute we should choose which is based on whatever level of understanding we have in the moment. This is one reason why we find it so difficult to get along with each other. We all have a completely different level of understanding and our level of understanding tells us how to relate and how to act. Each human being has a unique perspective based on the experiences that only that person has experienced. From our particular level of understanding we form conclusions about everything and tend to believe those conclusions. When we disagree or become angry about another persons point of view it is simply because it is different from our point of view. We can only be angry about a point of view if we believe something that is not true. What is not true is that we are right and someone else is wrong. What we believe is determined by experiences we did not choose and could not control. We hold to these beliefs as though our life would end if we found that what we believe is not true. Everything that is not a belief is true because a belief by definition can never be true. A belief is an abstract notion. The word cat is an abstract representation in a word of a creature we all agree to call a cat. Understanding the word cat in no way helps us understand the creature this word represents and this is true of all words. Words and beliefs have the power to make us believe something that is not true and even to fight to the death to protect what we believe. In Zen the goal is not to increase knowledge and belief but to reduce and end our reliance on knowledge and belief. Consciousness is pure intelligence in which belief is absent. Beliefs arise in consciousness but when they do they tend to obscure the pure consciousness that we are. Wanting to be enlightened involves a belief that causes pure intelligent consciousness to be obscured. This is true of anything we want to be or even of what we don’t want to be. We are what we are regardless of what we believe and what we are is pure intelligent consciousness. Effort is not required to be what we are; effort is only required to be what we are not.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


I find it useful to look at aspects of consciousness such as thinking, vulnerability and belief individually but also at how these aspects work together. Belief is deeply linked to thinking but I have learned that it warrants attention in its own right. Thinking could also be seen as believing because thinking and language are composed of belief. What is the relationship of thinking and believing to vulnerability?  My definition of vulnerability is  ‘the physical sensations that occur through our senses’. Our senses give us data concerning the world and our place in it. Before thinking there was vulnerability and consciousness. For a long time this was enough but at some point in human development probably as a result of some drastic change to our environment language and the cooperation that goes with it became necessary. Thinking/language and belief came about as a need to cooperate. Its function was therefore practical and useful but thinking/language and belief are very complex systems and there are unforeseen consequences to using these systems. Vulnerability is what the body experiences when faced with the world/others directly; that is without the buffer of thinking/language and belief. The unforeseen consequence of thinking is the ability to buffer or separate from what we are naturally and physically feeling. When we are buffered from our physical sensations they are reduced in intensity. This reduction in the intensity of feeling is seen as a form of control. It is very appealing to be able to control unwanted feelings. Unfortunately this is not true, while it appears that the intensity of feeling is reduced it is also repressed and what is repressed has gone nowhere. To be vulnerable is a condition in which physical feelings come and go without repression. It is possible and necessary for us all to live without the repression of feelings. In my own experience this only became possible when the degree of suffering involved in repression reached a certain point. This point is a point of surrender where we stop fighting and trying to control what we are feeling. Once this Rubicon is crossed there is no going back as it is soon seen that living without repressing and controlling what we are feeling is infinitely preferable.