Saturday, 1 September 2012

Favourable Conditions

Consciousness is complete and there is nothing we could ever do to improve or enhance it. Even though this is true for all beings it is not known by all beings. Suffering is the clue that tells us that we do not know consciousness even though what we are is consciousness. We do not know consciousness because our attention is focused on something that obscures consciousness. Consciousness does not have a centre or an edge and so can be said to be without qualities. We can describe any object - animal, vegetable or mineral in terms of its qualities, its colour, shape or dimensions. This cannot be done with consciousness and so even though we are clearly conscious we can only know that we are because of the results of being conscious such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and thinking. We know that we are conscious because we have bodies that through the existence of consciousness inform us of the qualities of all objects but not of consciousness itself. Because one of these qualities is thought we are also able to add something new to what we experience – we can add belief to all that we experience and suddenly what we experience contains another new factor called suffering. It can be seen that if we reverse this process so that we observe suffering and notice that the reason suffering has come into existence is because we believe something that is not true and seeing that what we believe is not true suffering would disappear. When suffering and the belief that caused it have disappeared that which has obscured consciousness is no longer obscuring consciousness. The question then is what are the conditions that favour this removal of that which obscures consciousness? This is a tricky question because it is possible that any conditions could be favourable to this outcome. It could also be said that this then is like a lottery where a very few stumble upon those conditions that are favourable to this outcome. The ability to observe suffering and to see the connection between suffering and belief is clearly important so what conditions would favour this happening. Usually when we suffer we very quickly embark on a movement away from whatever it is perceived that is causing us to suffer or to cover up our suffering through self medication or the satisfaction of our desires which does in the short term help alleviate suffering. In the long term it does not and we find that our movement away from suffering only has the effect of burying our suffering to be unearthed at a later time. In meditation we begin to move not away from suffering but towards suffering, we begin to reverse the process I mentioned earlier we begin to notice our suffering and put ourselves in a position where it becomes possible to see the connection between belief and suffering. In the movement away from suffering this is very unlikely to happen for the simple reason that our attention is diverted away from the source of our suffering rather than towards the source.

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