When I become quiet and have let go of chasing my images and my desires for a short while I get a glimpse of what is meant by this statement:
“We move in the space we create as we move.”
It is very uncomfortable to disengage from ‘doing’. As long as my body-mind is engaged in some pursuit it feels comfortable. “Now I am going to brush my teeth and now I am making my bed and now I am cooking my coffee and.. and.. and.” From the time I awaken and slowly come out of the dream landscape until I close my eyes at the end of the day images arise in my mind that keep ‘me’ moving along.
This has become so ‘second-nature’ to us that we feel it is natural and just fine, even if we encounter turbulence and upsets along the way. “That’s just life.” What if this is NOT ‘just life,’ but there is another dimension of experience that we are blocking from our perception by our incessant focus on the ‘objective world’. What if the objects we perceive are truly just our imagination?
Imagination means ‘image production’. Should we now become interested in the state in which there are no images then we might have the patience to consider the following texts from a few of my favorite sources.
The first text is from Krishnamurti, in which he describes in modern terms how this process of ‘imaging’ works.
The second text is from a philosophical scripture that dates perhaps as early as the 4th century CE. The text is structured as a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama and expounds “ajativada” which is a Sanskrit term for the view of non-origination.
- “A” means “not”, or “non” as in Ahimsa, non-harm
- “Jāti” means “creation” or “origination
- “Vāda” means “doctrine”
Taken together “ajātivāda” means “the doctrine of no-origination” or non-creation.
This view holds that all of the phenomenal world arises spontaneously without cause out of the Unmanifest (Noumenon). It therefore has no lasting substance and is a transient appearance in our perception alone.
The third text is from Alan Watts’ book “Out of Your Mind” and speaks to our propensity to take this drama of life, as it appears to us, to be real. That is technically what the philosophical term “identification” means and is the cause of all our trouble and the horrific suffering in the world.
Consciousness is its content: the content makes up consciousness. The two are indivisible. There is no you and another, only the content which makes up consciousness as the “me” and the not “me”. The contents vary according to the culture, the racial accumulations, the techniques and capacities acquired. These are broken up as the artist, the scientist and so on. Idiosyncrasies are the response of the conditioning and the conditioning is the common factor of man. This conditioning is the content, consciousness. This again is broken up as the conscious and the hidden. The hidden becomes important because we have never looked at it as a whole. This fragmentation takes place when the observer is not the observed, when the experiencer is seen as different from the experience. The hidden is as the open; the observation the hearing of the open is the seeing of the hidden. Seeing is not analysing. In analysing there is the analyser and the analysed, a fragmentation which leads to inaction, a paralysis. In seeing, the observer is not, and so action is immediate; there is no interval between the idea and action. The idea, the conclusion, is the observer the seer separate from the thing seen. Identification is an act of thought and thought is fragmentation.
DISSOLUTION OF THE MIND (excerpt)
1. Consciousness which is undivided imagines to itself desirable objects and runs after them. It is then known as the mind.
2. From this omnipresent and omnipotent Supreme Lord arose, like ripples in water, the power of imagining separate objects.
3. Just as fire born out of wind (fanned into flame) is extinguished by the same wind, so also that which is born of imagination is destroyed by imagination itself.
4. The mind has come into existence through this (imagination) on account of forgetfulness. Like the experience of one’s own death in a dream it ceases to exist when scrutinized.
5. The idea of Self in what is not the Self is due to incorrect understanding. The idea of reality in what is unreal, O Rama, know that to be the mind (chittam).
6. ‘ This is he ‘, ‘ I am this ‘, ‘ That is mine ‘, such (ideas) constitute the mind ; it disappears when one ponders over these false ideas.
7. It is the nature of the mind to accept certain things and to reject others ; this is bondage, nothing else.
9. The mind is the cause of (i.e. produces) the objects of perception. The three worlds
depend upon it. When it is dissolved the world is also dissolved. It is to be cured (i.e.
purified) with effort.
10. The mind is bound by the latent impressions (vasanas). When there are no impressions it is free. Therefore, O Rama, bring about quickly, through discrimination, the state in which there are no impressions.
(My Comment: The term ‘impressions’ as used here are the result of our brain recording what is perceived and storing it away for future reference. This happens when some event or perception creates a kind of overwhelm in the system and is categorized by our data processing system ‘not sufficiently processed’ and in need of additional scrutiny and evaluation at a later time. This is what happens when a center as the “I” or “me” arises, which is identified with the body. Everything is then analyzed as to whether it is to be accepted or rejected (as being safe, pleasurable and desirable or unsafe, painful and undesirable. Only when we are able to disengage from this movement of “like-dislike” (vrttis) is our mind free to see beyond this conditioned and limited view.)
11. Just as a streak of cloud stains (i.e. appears to stain) the moon or a blotch of ink a lime-plastered wall, so also the evil spirit of desire stains the inner man.
12. O Rama, he who, with in-turned mind, offers all the three worlds, like dried grass, as an oblation in the fire of knowledge, becomes free from the illusions of the mind.
13. When one knows the real truth about acceptance and rejection and does not think of anything but abides in himself, abandoning everything, (his) mind does not come into existence.
“According to this idea, that’s the whole nature of God. To play that he’s not God. God abandons himself—he gives himself away and gets lost. In this way, everybody is the fundamental reality—not God in a politically kingly sense, but God in the sense of being the self. Deep down, you’re all this basic reality, but you’re pretending that you’re not. And it’s perfectly okay to play this game, to pretend that you’re not God, because that’s the whole notion of drama. You go to the theater and assume your seats to see a comedy, tragedy, thriller, or what-have-you, and you all know that whatever you see on the stage is not for real.
But the actors conspire against you. They’re going to try to persuade you that what is happening on the stage is for real. They want everyone sitting on the edge of their seats. They want you terrified or crying or laughing—absolutely captivated by the drama. And if a skillful human actor can take in an audience and make people cry, just think what a cosmic actor could do.
She could take herself in completely and play with so much reality that she would start to really believe in the game.”