Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

Who opposes reality? (Who practices suffering?)

January 9, 2014

A:  Is this all suffering? Mental, spiritual and physical?

T: i think so. i believe he is coming from a perspective that our souls are eternal co creators of our experience of this “reality” and choose to have these experiences, all of them.. it’s kind of heavy and empowering at the same time !!!

A:  I’ve only read lightly on the subject, but how does this work as far as interpersonal dynamics? Like no one can effect another, it’s only our perception or reception of their actions?

JR:  Physical pain is not what is meant by suffering. Osho is talking about the practice of agonizing- a pattern of linguistic ACTIVITY. It reliably produces agony.

The practice of respect for all of life is related to “bliss.” If you reject parts of life and relate to them as “what should not be,” then that resisting is also called agonizing- over how to create or keep what should be and how to prevent or eliminate what should not be.

Those forms of terrified idealism and guilty perfectionism are behavioral. To respect the power of language is, as many authors have so eloquently stated, “heavenly.”

T: I like what J R said but after some reflection i feel that Osho is referring to all suffering – physical included. the whole of experience of life is one energy and the physical is not separate .. anyway it’s interesting food for thought and deepening awareness. as far as a method Osho taught.. I don’t really know what he taught specifically but I’m sure there was a lot of meditation involved…

also I think that one can and does affect other people all the time but our perception of everything including another’s actions is solely our responsibility .. just my 2 cents

JR: Part of what Osho is referencing is what we would call guilt as well as, as I said agonizing, which is related to guilt. It does not matter whether some historical instance of physical pain was “my fault.” He was not talking about fault, but responsibility as in power or influence.

In this moment, if I think of physical pain as “bad” (repulsive) and then I think of past physical pain as “my fault,” that is the present-moment “cognitve behavior” of guilt or shame or contraction or repression. Such repressing has it’s function, but so does EVERYTHING else, such as pain (sensation).

Imagine that a bright light is so “painful” that I turn my head away from it. Is that the suffering that Osho was referencing? That is a physical reflex.

A doctor strike my knees with a tiny hammer. My eyes see my leg extend but I do not even feel pain. My attention focuses on the movement of my leg. Again, that is a physical reflex.

In reality, there is only one reality. We can talk about multiple realities, but that is just a linguistic convenience.

In reality, the doctor striking my knee is an instrument of reality, as is the knee and the leg and “me” and also the nurse who puts the bright light near my face and then calmly says, “I know it is very bright, but it is important that you face forward so that I can examine your eyes, okay?”

What is “outside of reality?” Not the light or the light switch or the power lines or the electric company. It is all continuous. It is not just connected, but an uninterrupted, singular reality.

Those who are experiencing physical pain and reflexes are part of reality, too. The idea of guilt is part of reality, as in the linguistic model of relating to some portion of reality as “what should not be.” That mode of relating is SIN and we are responsible for that. Again, this is a message of power and responsibility and salvation.

An ancient Hebrew word for reality can be translated in many ways. Reality is continuous in time (eternal) and continuous in space (everywhere) and continuous in influence (omnipotent). There is no other competing identity which is outside of reality.

“Hear ye O Israel, the Lord thy God is singular, one, whole, inclusive, holy.”

We can use the word God or not. If we conceive of God as almighty, but then talk about a devil who threatens God with overthrow, then that is not the worship of an Almighty God. That is illogical. That is also agonizing. That is “worshiping the Devil.”

Oddly enough, everyone goes through that stage. Everyone eventually “sins,” (from the Greek word for “misses the target”) and that is why repenting is relevant to everyone.

“I am responsible” is a declaration of power and influence and alertness. “I am guilty” is the contrasting experience of disempowerment that naturally leads each facet of reality to the way of relating called “forgiving reality of not being how I arrogantly presumed that it should be (based on my innocent naivete).” We recognize sin, then we forgive reality for OUR sin of condemning whatever portions of Holy Creation that we previously condemned as repulsive or disgusting or disturbing, and then we relax.

Being occasionally repulsed or disgusted or disturbed- like by a bright light or loud sound- is the Will of God. There is nothing “outside of the Will of Reality.” However, it may be the Will of Allah that occasionally someone somewhere says “here is something that God did not make and that God even forbids” and then they get to experience that tension and distress and disturbance and repulsion.

Some practice agonizing for seconds or minutes before “waking up.” Some agonize for hours or even days or weeks or months or years.

In the long run, how long the run was makes no real difference once the finish line is crossed. It is Divine Will that we pass through stages in the development of our linguistic maturity.

As for a “separation” between different facets of reality, the physical reality is the only one, though there are various PERSPECTIVES that we can PRACTICE… in linguistic cognition. We can label the singular reality in a variety of interpretative alternatives.

“Mental” can refer to the unmindful use of language (ironically). Spiritual, for those who are operating from a naive “mental” foundation, seems to be some isolated “superior reality” or “superior perspective.” That idea is part of the experience of suffering of a deluded ego. “My perspective over here is better than yours over there (which I may secretly consider to be a threat to mine).”

That is still mental, actually- the unmindful use of language, unawakened, dreaming. Spiritual refers to the mindful use of language- which may be rather rare.

Language is a DISTINCT portion of reality, unique and quite unlike things like physical sensation. Linguistic activity is isolated in the sense of being distinct, but not in the sense of being disconnected from neurochemistry and biochemistry and so on.

“In the beginning, the all-inclusive reality spoke and created constrasting distinctions in language: day in contrast to night, heaven in contrast to earth, light in contrast to darkness. However, the darkness has no power over light because the word darkness is actually just a convenience of language. Darkness is merely the relative absence of light- like when you are in a very bright room with several windows and then you close the shade on one window, one could say that one has bought additional darkness in to the room by shading one of the windows.”

mantras of freedom and suffering

November 1, 2012

mantra (Photo credit: mailumes)

中文: 敦煌藏經洞版畫,聖觀自在菩薩千轉滅罪陀羅尼。

中文: 敦煌藏經洞版畫,聖觀自在菩薩千轉滅罪陀羅尼。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

mental chainsMany mantras of helplessness begin with words like “I should be free, but I am not free because those other people are….” I could call that a mantra of blame or resentment (or envy). We are free to practice mantras of helplessness and blame and resentment and victim hood and indignation. That is how some use their freedom. Some use their freedom to train complacency and to chain powerful beasts to chairs and to program the masses with various mantras about future liberation and rituals of slavery that promise freedom in only seven years or seven lifetimes.

Those who promote rituals promising future liberation or salvation- if they know that their promises are ridiculous jokes- may even offer a service of promoting liberation as they present people with the possibility of interrupting their karmic mantras of suffering by drawing attention to the fact that their karmic suffering is entirely a matter of neuro-linguistic spiritual programs of “symbolic context.” Symbolic contexts are inherently “empty and meaningless” (and it is empty and meaningless that they are empty and meaningless).

This is not the truth, and there are no words that have a monopoly on “the truth.” Truth is merely a word. If you want truth, you can feel the wind on your face or listen to the sound of traffic in the distance. Furthermore, if you do not want truth, you can also feel the wind on your face or listen to the sound of traffic in the distance.

The truth of the letter O is that it is a round shape. There! Did the truth set you free? Or, were you already free and the truth just used some symbolic metaphors to dissolve the illusion that you were trapped, such as trapped by words?

If you make a word or set of words in to “the truth” (as a context or as a way of relating to it), then it becomes a chain of slavery (as long as people relate to it that way). People may call such truths fundamentalism or superstition or statements of faith or idolatry or fanaticism. Beware of such so-called truth. Delusions about “the truth” can be the most challenging so-called “mental chains” to notice that you are pretending to hold on to.

A noble truth: the activating of agonizing (suffering)

July 27, 2012


  • Statue of Buddha in Vietnam

    Statue of Buddha in Vietnam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    What is agonizing? When I believe that I really need to know something that I do not know, repeating that sincere belief is agonizing. “I really need to know what I do not know. Something I do not know yet is what I really need to know already, or at least very, very soon….”
    That is also the activity of frustrating. “But, I REALLY need to know this one thing that that I just do not know yet, and it is so tragic and frightening and sad and disappointing and I just do not know what to do about not knowing what to do!” That is agonizing. We might even call it angst or grief or grieving or distressing (or just whining and complaining).
    When the activity of agonizing is clear as an activity, then there is no agonizing about the idea that “I may agonize in the future,” for there no urgency to prevent something that is easily ceased. People can ask me “yeah, but all that is clearly SOOO complicated and confusing and so must be only for VERY advanced masters, so how does someone like me stop agonizing.”
    How to stop agonizing may seem so mysterious at one stage and at another stage is ridiculously simple, like asking “how do I stop facing east?” Just face any other direction!
    For other people, there is a desperate, distressed search for methods to stop agonizing (to stop suffering), such as “take the weekend retreat introducing you to 101 steps for how to eventually face south instead of facing east.” There are also many chants for “how to face west instead of east after only 8 minutes of repeatedly chanting a six word foreign phrase.” There is also the alleged great importance of the method of talking to a competent teacher who is facing south, so, in order to face them, you face north, which prevents you from facing east.
    “Ah! That is how to stop facing east! Thank you, master for showing me the secret method.”
    This painting depicts Devadatta on one of his ...

    This painting depicts Devadatta on one of his attepts to kill the Buddha. He tried to make a large boulder fall on the Buddha while Buddha was walking in a mountaineous region. It is said that the boulder miraculously split in half while going through the air. A splinter of the rock entered the Buddha’s foot, and drew his blood. Because of this bad karma, at the time of death Devadatta was reborn in the very deepest hell, a hell which is known by the name Avici. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    For the Buddha, perhaps agonizing or not is not important- no more important to the Buddha than having a teacher to guide the Buddha or having scriptures to learn how to become a Buddha. The one who is already Buddha can sit down and practice agonizing for an hour straight without any lasting momentum (karma) the moment after that hour of practicing agonizing.
    Agonizing is just a linguistic exploration for the Buddha- no different than inquiring or curiosity. However, this is not because the Buddha the Buddha has something that others lack. This is because the Buddha lacks something that others have, a belief or self-concept or self-image or linguistic identity of someone like me.” The Buddha is not confused about self-concepts, recognizing them as mere self-concepts in language. They can come or go as little phrases of conversation, but the Buddha does not believe in them for the Buddha does not believe in words.
    The Buddha uses words, pointing with them. However, the Buddha is not deluded by concepts, including self-concepts. The Buddha is clear that linguistic concepts are just linguistic concepts. The Buddha does not confuse linguistic concepts for something else. The Buddha does not confuse language for something else.
    The Buddha does not confuse the label on a jar with the actual contents of the jar. The label in language is just a label. The physical contents of a jar (if any) are not linguistic. “Someone like me” is just linguistic. The reality of “me” includes language, but the idea that “my life” excludes any of life at all… is just an idea, a concept, a model in language.
    The Buddha may even use language to reveal irony, telling jokes. “This is not language.”
    Vishnu as the incarnation Buddha

    Vishnu as the incarnation Buddha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    So, the Buddha may say things like “why ask how to stop agonizing? Why stop agonizing? Do you even know what agonizing is? Do you even know what you are?”
    The Buddha can take a year-long retreat to figure out the best way to agonize, to get many famous teachers to certify that their way of agonizing is the most agonizing, and still the Buddha can agonize with other people (also called arguing). However, while the Buddha can do all of those things that everyone can do already, the Buddha can also stop doing any of those things, which not everyone seems able to do, perhaps because of a belief in a self-concept.
    Also inside the Tsuglagkhang Temple, a statue ...

    Also inside the Tsuglagkhang Temple, a statue of Avalokitesvara (or Chenrezig), the bodhisattva of compassion. (McLeod Ganj) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Can anyone face west at the same time they face east? I do not mean one of those statues with several faces pointing in different directions. I mean someone like you.
    We cannot face west (recognizing self-concepts as just being concepts) at the same time we are facing east (as in believing in a self-concept). However, when we first are exposed to language and linguistic self-concepts, it is natural to “believe” them, to even worship them idolatrously. We then learn that self-concept can change, so that one can have a different self-concept over time. Next, we may recognize that these various self-concepts that we can have are in fact just concepts. We can stop worshiping them, defending them, justifying them, and so on.
    English: Painting of Gautama Buddha sitting in...

    English: Painting of Gautama Buddha sitting in Dhyana, unharmed by the demons of Mara. Sanskrit Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript written in the Ranjana script. Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Does the Buddha fear agonizing? The Buddha does not fear the concept of agonizing because the Buddha does not fear any concept (including fear), nor does the Buddha cling to any concept or resist any concept. Concepts are just symbolic constructions of language.
    Distressing is just an activity. Agonizing is just an activity. Suffering is just a pattern of activation or arousal or a symptom of something else.
    Is there a self-concept that is the seed of some pattern of agonizing? What is the self-concept? Can one stop agonizing and relax enough to inquire, to wonder, to open, to pause, to stop, to notice, to be mindful?
    The Buddha does not resist any activity, cling to any activity, or avoid any activity. Or, the Buddha practices resisting and avoiding and clinging, but mindfully. How does one mindfully cling and avoid and resist? That is like mindfully facing east. In other words, it is a secret that can only be taught to the most advanced students who recognize the silliness of words.
    Finally, what is the concept that the Buddha says is the guiding concept for how to resolve any dilemma and simplify any challenge? “As the situation arises,” says the Buddha, which of course is the concept that some label “mindfulness.”
    English: Painting of the miraculous birth of G...

    English: Painting of the miraculous birth of Gautama Buddha, out of the side of Queen Maya. Sanskrit Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript written in the Ranjana script. Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Language, expectations, and the realm of possibility

July 8, 2012
Cover of "The Realm of Possibility"

Cover of The Realm of Possibility

In life, I began without any expectations. Expectations require language. I did not begin life with language. I simply began life as life.

When life started calling itself “I,” then soon this “I” started to form expectations: how life is, how life should be, and how life obviously could not ever be. In other words, life formed linguistic constructions about how I am, how I should be, and how I obviously could never be. Expectations, again, are just a certain kind of linguistic construction.

To focus on a particular possibility is similar to having a particular expectation. In both cases, I proceed while attentive to a particular kind of thing.

However, there is a huge distinction between an expectation and a possibility. An expectation is something that happens to us. A possibility is something that we invent or recognize. Notice the following models of reality.

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Those people are not how they should be. Let’s attack them!”

“That other person is behaving outside of my expectations. I will complain to them to fix their behavior!”

“My expectations do not conform to the reality of the behaviors I observe and the experience I am having. I would like to explore what is possible in conversation with others.”

“I am not fulfilling a particular possibility. I would like to explore how to fulfill what is possible in partnership with one or more people who are at least open to that possibility.”

Which of those linguistic models correspond to what is known as suffering or sin or hell? Which of those linguistic models are not hellish or sinful or agonizing?

Which is a model of victimhood and distress? Which is a model of mutual respect and influence?

Expectations naturally lead to tantrums and resentment and upset. Possibilities naturally result in breakdowns, which create the opportunity for breakthroughs in performance and results.

In life, I began without a focus on any particular possibility. Possibilities require language. I did not begin life with language. I simply began life as life.

Life is the realm of language. Language is the realm of possibility. Expectations are one possible form of possibility.

Possibility is the realm of expectations. Until possibilities are invented or recognized or distinguished, then expectations can only happen to us.

Possibility Pictures

Possibility Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is there life after suffering? (Yes)

June 17, 2012
here is the video that inspired this:
here is the audio of the below, which has a few “hiccups” as well as ad libs, so read along below….
Mooji tells the story (at 10:10) of a man who reports that wherever he touches on his body, he feels sharp, crippling pain. He touches his arm and feels sharp, crippling pain. He touches his leg and feels sharp, crippling pain. He touches his nose and feels sharp, crippling pain. He touches his ear and feels sharp, crippling pain.
So, he panics and then goes to a doctor for help and, after a brief examination, the doctor says- “aha, I have identified the problem: your finger is broken. Anywhere you touch- even not on your body- you will feel sharp, crippling pain until that finger heals. Try using your other hand more!”
Now if you touch some furniture and feel sharp, crippling pain, consider that the pain may be from a broken finger, not from an injured furniture. Mooji reveals the analogy next….
When consciousness identifies itself as an isolated personality, then every external thing that the isolated personality interacts with may arouse suffering for the isolated personality. For one external thing, there may be yearning and longing and frustration. For another external thing, there may be repulsion and disgust and animosity and terror.
However, what if there is no suffering without the identifying of consciousness with an isolated personality that can be offended or can worry about earning it’s way into heaven or can try to fix the ego or fix it’s own suffering or fix all the things that the ego blames for it’s suffering or to rescue all sentient beings from evil and injustice and… life? What if suffering is not caused by external developments- not inherent to the external- but is caused solely by an internal reactive processing? What if the internal reactive procesing can be noticed as just another passing development?
What if the problem identified by the ego is never the source of the interepreted experience of the problem? What if the intrepretative identifying of a problem is the source of the experiencing of something as a problem? What if the isolating and identifying of an external thing is an interpretative, linguistic process?
Can there be a problem found in a malfunctioning car without someone there to identify not just the external conditions as problematic, but even to identify the car itself? If there is pile of metal, it is not a malfunctioning pile of metal, but just a pile of metal. However, if the pile of metal is a car that is not functioning well as a car, then that pile of metal is also a malfunctioning car. Finally, for someone to have a problem with the fact that the car is malfunctioning, there has to be someone to have that problem, to interpret and isolate the problem into existence, to create the problem, the malfunctioning car, and the pile of metal.
Attention itself does not have any problems. Consciousness prior to identification does not have any problems. Only isolated identifyings of “this but not that” can experience problems. Problems must be identified as problems or else they might just be a pile of scrap metal. Maybe that pile of scrap metal is even a resource of several useful parts to repair some other malfunctioning car.
There is no problem in the pile of metal. There can be a problem with the pile of metal, though. For there to be a problem with a pile of metal, there has to be someone there to make that pile of metal into a problem. For there to be a problem with a pile of metal, there must be someone with that particular pile of metal.
The pile of metal is independent of the problem and totally innocent. However, along comes the broken finger of the ego which touches the pile of metal and says “oh, this pile of metal should be what it is not!” The ego makes the pile of metal into a problem. In fact, without anyone to identify the pile of metal as a pile of metal, no one could have a problem with it by making it into a problem.
A classic zen koan is this: “If a tree falls in the forest, but there is no one there to see it falling, did it fall?” So, if a piece of furniture causes crippling pain whenever it is touched, but there is no broken finger to touch it, is it still a crippling piece of painful furniture? If the pile of scrap metal is the source of a serious problem, but there is no one there to have that problem with it or even to make it into a problem, is it still the source of a serious problem, needing to be fixed, blocking the ego from earning it’s way into a painfully distant heaven set up by a cruel, stingy god as a punishing torture of shaming for not being how you really should have already always been?
Obviously, anyone who can fix a car can fix a car. But is the car a problem? Does it need to be fixed? Does the car need anything? Should it already be functional, or should everything be exactly however it is, including however it may or may not change? Should the ego be different- maybe more like a needy car or painful furniture and less like a broken finger?
An ego may need the car to be fixed. An ego may need the car to be different than it is. An ego may have lots of needs… and lots of shoulds and musts and can’ts and won’ts and nevers.
However, and here is the really good news, you are not an ego. You are consciousness. You as consciousness have an ego. In fact, you as consciousness have all of them- consciousness has all egos (assuming that there is really more than one, given that they all seem to be rather similar, which reminds me of a story I once heard about a broken finger…).
So, the ego may have lots of problems. It may even need to have a lot of problems. Maybe it should try to solve them and fix them and prevent them. Maybe it must do that. However, and this might be a bit of a problem, maybe it can’t do what it must and should. Or, maybe it is stubborn and just won’t, even though of course it really should and absolutely must.
To get rid of all of the ego’s problems, recognize that the ego’s problems are your mentors as well as your creations. You created the ego and it’s problems to mentor yourself, didn’t I?
This is called crazy wisdom. This is called sheer foolishness.
This is also called introspection. This is even called Advaita or the yoga of inquiry, as in dhyana/jnana or ch’an or zen. This is even called “life after suffering.”
The ego does not limit you and never could. You are the vine which has a branch called ego. You made that branch out of yourself. That entire branch is totally composed of vine.
But that branch does have some serious problems. Plus, it is your branch, though it is not the whole vine. Maybe that branch has a problem with every other part of the vine, but that is not your problem either. The vine just grows branches, including one or more painful, crippling branches with serious problems involving taking life personally. However, there could be such a thing as “life after taking things personally.” There could be life after suffering.
Or maybe there is life and suffering. But life and suffering may be a radically different interpretative experience than a life of suffering, a life as suffering, a life of problems, a life as a problem or a problem with life itself.
I hereby request that I stop having a problem with life and instead have, at worst, a life that is entirely composed of serious, crippling, painful problems. For instance, consider this serious, crippling, and painful problem, which requires you to devote the rest of your life to almost solving, but not quite…: “if a broken finger feels tremendous pain whenever it pushes up against an ego that is taking life personally, but you are not the ego taking life personally that the alleged broken finger would allegedly push up against, are you absolutely sure that it isn’t a broken finger or not?”
In conclusion, I hereby accuse you of being totally innocent… of the alleged crime of either taking life personally or failing miserably to do so. Maybe you should seriously try harder to become what you already have always been.
 Published on: Jan 25, 2011
Related articles

the 4 noble truths of Buddhism

June 6, 2012
Christ Suffering

Christ Suffering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4 noble truths of Buddhism:

1) there is a pattern of experience called suffering (which could also be called stress or even distress or worrying or aversion or simply fear or trauma or tension or, in the Sankrit language, dukkha)

2) the experience of suffering is a naturally-arising, conditional effect (a symptom)

3) Suffering is transitory (impermanent), so, in the absence of the conditions that produce suffering, the experience of suffering cannot endure.

4) The “middle way” of moderation recognizes the possibility of experiencing suffering, rather than avoiding the subject of suffering or trying to escape from the natural arising of suffering, which does not work anyway. Let suffering come and let it go. This is the way of moderation. This is the way of inclusiveness, wholeness, and holiness. This is the way of allowing, accepting, recognition, realization, being conscious. This could certainly be called the way of enlightenment or the way of grace or the way of the godly or the way of God.

Call it whatever! There are many ways of talking about it and different word sequences can all reference the same thing, but different words fit for different audiences. Be attentive to what fits, what works, what is functional, what is practical, what is relevant- including as it applies to alternatives for speaking, for economic activities, and even things for like emotional development and mental discernment.

English: The moment of revealing four noble tr...

English: The moment of revealing four noble truths by buddha 2600 years ago to 1st 5 disciples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dhamekh Stupa, where the Buddha gave the first...

Dhamekh Stupa, where the Buddha gave the first sermon on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Also seen behind the stupa in the left corner is the yellow-coloured spire of Digamber Jain temple, dedicated to 11th Jain Tirthankar, Shreyansanath, known to be his birth place. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being the great change (and the language of grace)

March 23, 2012

Being the great change:

The Great Comet of 2011
The Great Comet of 2011 (Photo credit: lrargerich)

Could you ever be how you should not be?

Many place themselves outside of their world, outside of their life, and in opposition to their life and their world. That way of identifying is conflict and suffering.

Here is how it happens. We learn words. That is when things get confusing.

The confusion or problem is not in life, but in the words. There is no such thing as a problem until someone says so.

A problem is something that (allegedly) should not be how it is. Problems are created by the concept that something should be other than it is.


Confusion (Photo credit: Kaleenxian)

As long as something should be how it is not, that is a problem- not the thing itself, but the perception that it should be how it isn’t. It is how it is. That isn’t a problem in itself, but we can make “it is how it is” into a cause for confusion, conflict, and suffering, simply with the use of words.

“Here is how it should be” is declared by words for a reason. The reason to declare “here is how it should be” is to hide how it is.

When one is operating from the concept of “here is how it should be,” then anything that is not how it should be is how it should not be. The concept of “how it should be” creates the possibility of “how it should not be.”

We may try to ignore how it should not be. We may violently oppose how it should not be. However, as long as there is a way how it should be, how it is may not fit how it should be, and clearly that is how it should not be.

How it should be is the source of how it should not be, such as “that traffic light should be green, not red. The one facing me should be green, not that one facing the other direction. Wait, I cannot tell which traffic signal is facing me. I should be able to tell. I should not be unable to tell. I should not be confused. This is wrong. Something must be wrong. It cannot be me. It must be someone else. Wow, this really should not be so confusing!”

Confusing signal

Confusing signal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, those who worship “how it should be” live in opposition to or even denial of how it simply is, then fear that “how it simply is” may be recognized as “other than how it should be, ” then, upon recognition that how it is may not be how it should be, anger arises. How it should be is how it should be! How it should not be is how it should not be!

Various versions of “how it should (not) be” manifest across the various times and places and language patterns. The frightened anger over the gap between how it is and how it should be is what leads to worry and war. Agruments start over which way it should be and how to fix it.

Frustration and exhaustion and blame all are branches of the concept of how it should be. The question may arise as to “who is to blame for the gap between how it should be and how it obviously is?” The urgent question may arise as to “how can we fix how it is and make how it is conform with the whatever particular version of how it should be?” The desperate question may arise of “how can we save our children from the gap between how it should be (which is allegedly very important) and how it is (which is allegedly only important secondarily)?”

Now, how is it that “how it should be” is used to hide how it is? By promoting “how it should be,” that automatically creates “how it should not be.” When “how it should not be” is worshiped as more important than how it is, how it is must be rejected as confusing. How it is must be experienced as a problem, as the cause of suffering. How it is must be fixed.

However, what if “how it is” is never the cause of suffering? What if suffering is just one way of relating to “how it is,” particularly relating to how it is as less important than a linguistic belief (idolatry) that we label “how it should be?” If it were not for the arrogant, vain worship of “how it should be,” then “how it is” would never have been labeled “how it should not be” as in “the problem” as in “the cause of suffering.” In other words, idolatrous morality (AKA shame) is the cause of suffering.

To the one worshiping the existence of sin and shame and so on, what must be fixed is one’s own self. When one identifies any aspect of one’s own self as how one should not be, that self-rejecting projects a “psychological shadow” at the world (at life).

Since one obviously must not be how one should not be, the world out there must be the domain of how it should not be. Clearly, over here is the domain of how it should be: just ask me! Over there, though, that is the domain of how it should not be: again, just ask ANYONE!

Words have a power all their own

Words have a power all their own (Photo credit: waɪ.tiː)

Then along comes some sages who say RIDICULOUS things like this: “I did not come to judge the world. I came to take away sin…. Do not remove the speck from the other’s perception, but the beam from your own.” Obviously, these folks are asking for trouble!

On the other hand, these folks seem not to be at all troubled- not by their world or anyone in it or their own past or present or future. How come they are not troubled like everyone else? Confusing, wasn’t it?

Be the great change. Do not make great changes to fix the world into how it should be. Simply notice the changing of the world, your world, your life, your self.

Reclaim what you used to call “over there” as you, even the language of “how it should be” which may be used to hide how it is. If you play a little hide and seek with yourself, so be it. If you pretend to be confused, so be it. If you pretend to be something other than the Great Change itself, so be it. If you pretend that there is a gap between how it should be and how it is, that is one way that you could be about how your life may be. A very serious problem, wasn’t it?

Published on: Dec 24, 2009

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the four noble truths

January 10, 2012
Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering

Image via Wikipedia

This is a lesson based on a tradition called “the four noble truths.” Briefly, those truths are the first truth of suffering, the second truth of the cause of suffering, the third truth of the discontinuing of the cause of suffering, and the fourth truth of the way to live life after suffering.

The first truth of suffering involves relating to life as if there is some part of life that should not be how it is. Suffering is not simply pain or illness or old age or dying or even violence. Suffering is a way of relating to life. Suffering involves ill will as in contempt as in enduring madness as in mental illness as in agonizing as in hell. While there are a variety of forms and intensities of suffering, what I mean by the word suffering includes all of them.

The second truth of the cause of suffering involves the recognizing of the power of words. Words are symbolic codes with an origin as signals of sound, though words can also be written. The term “words” can even include gestures and hand signals or “sign languages.” 

Words are distinct from a mere signal because of the importance of the sequencing of the words. Words are the origin of what can be called nonsense, such as “this should be what should not be.” The second truth, briefly, is that all suffering is caused by nonsense made of words.

Specifically, “this should not be how it is” is the kind of formation in words that can correspond to the experience of suffering, at least if there is a belief in the nonsense rather than a recognition of the nonsense as nonsense. “This should not be how it is” is rooted in “there is exactly one way that this should be.” In other words, suffering is rooted in the linguistic model of “there is exactly one way that this should be,” at least as it applies to some particular perception or experience. “There is exactly one way that this should be” is further rooted in “there is exactly one way that life should be,” which is nonsense.

However, if operating as if it is inherently true that life should be a certain way, then suffering is the natural and inevitable result. That suffering could be in the form of ill will as in contempt as in enduring madness as in mental illness as in agonizing as in hell. Or that suffering could be mere frustration, worry, resentment, sorrow or grief.

Earlier than the belief that “there is exactly one way that life should be” is another presumption in language. That presumption is “there is exactly one way that life is,” which is also nonsense.

So, if there is a belief in the nonsense that there is exactly one way that life is, then that leads to the belief in the nonsense that there is exactly one way that life should be (which is also the way that it allegedly is), which leads to the various forms of suffering such as shame and blame and rage. If there is a belief that there is exactly one way that a particular thing is (which is also the way that it should be), then that belief in nonsense inevitably leads to various forms of suffering.

Beliefs are made of words. Beliefs are all nonsense. They are the origin of suffering.

Beliefs in what should be produce suffering. Beliefs in what is also produce suffering. Belief is also called idealism and idolatry and foolishness.

So, before we proceed to the third noble truth of the discontinuing of the causing of suffering, let’s review. The first noble truth is that suffering is relating to some part of life as if it should not be how it is. The second noble truth is that suffering originates in the belief that there is exactly one way that a particular part of life is and that is the only way that it should be.

Now, by summarizing those two truths close together, the nonsense of suffering may be extremely clear. If there is exactly one way that life is, but then life is not that way, then how can there be exactly one way that life is? Obviously, a linguistic construction of how life is exactly one way is part of life. So, if there is a logical conflict between a linguistic construction (or belief) about how life should be and the actual experience of how life is, then suffering is neglecting the actuality of life for the nonsense belief in words. 

In the Judeo-Christian terminology, neglecting the actuality of life by worshiping a nonsense belief in words is what is referenced by “placing another God before God.” In Muslim terminology, recognizing the actuality of life as distinct from worshiping a nonsense belief made of words is what is referenced by “there is no God but God.” Of course, because language involves codes, various interpretations of the encoded messages in words are possible. However, worshiping language instead of God is the root idolatry. 

Even the phrase “literal interpretation” is ironic because if something is recognized as an interpretation, then interpretation implies the use of symbolic codes of language. How can there be a “literal symbolism?” Such idealisms and idolatries are nonsense from the start.

However, nonsense is part of life. Should there be no nonsense? Should there be no beliefs made of words and no words? Should there be exactly one interpretation of anything?

Those ideas fall back in to the same trap of nonsense. It is not that there should be no suffering, nor that there should be any suffering. There either is suffering or there is not suffering. That is all.

So, the third noble truth of the discontinuing of the cause of suffering is simple. To discontinue causing yourself suffering, simply recognize how you have been causing yourself suffering through the inattentive use of language. That recognizing is sufficient to discontinue the causing of suffering. 

In other words, suffering does not need to fixed. Suffering can be distinguished. The distinguishing of suffering results in a relaxing away from the beliefs that cause suffering. Once the beliefs are distinguished as nonsense, no additional beliefs are required to replace the presence of the prior beliefs. More beliefs will only bring more suffering.

To review again, the first noble truth is that suffering is relating to some part of life as if it should not be how it is. The second noble truth is that suffering originates in the belief that there is exactly one way that a particular part of life is and that is the only way that it should be. So, the linguistic belief that there is only one way that some part of life should be results naturally in relating to one or more parts of life as if they should not be how they are, which is suffering.

Further, the third noble truth is to discontinue causing yourself suffering by simply recognizing how you have been causing yourself suffering through the inattentive use of language. Recognize the power of language and you will never worship any beliefs of language. You will be free of the suffering caused by the inattentive use of language.

So, there is no single way that life should be. There is no single way that anyone should be. There is no single way that I am. There is no single way of labeling life with language that is the only possible interpretations. All of those constructions in language are nonsense. Many interpretations in language are possible.

As for the fourth noble truth, the way to live life after suffering is basically to be attentive to language. Do what you must do. Do what you can do. Do what you should do. Do what you will do.

Now, there may be other interpretations of these four noble truths. Since these four noble truths are just symbols made of language, why shouldn’t there be multiple interpretations?

Is there exactly one way that the four noble truths should be? Is there exactly one way that the four noble truths are? 

Are there exactly four noble truths? Are these noble truths even true? What if there is no such thing as a noble truth except as a symbol in language?

If someone says “attention to language makes no difference,” so what? If someone challenges you with a nonsense belief made of language, so what? If someone says that their nonsense belief made of language is not a nonsense belief made of language, so what? If someone says that idolatry is not idolatry, so what? If someone says that their language is not idolatry but some other language is idolatry, so what? If someone says that there is no such thing as freedom, so what? If someone says that there is no such thing as language, so what?

Remember, when nonsense is recognized as nonsense, nonsense cannot cause suffering. Only believing in nonsense can cause suffering. So, one can play along with someone else’s beliefs or not. If someone is speaking the language of suffering, you can speak in that language as well, yet is there another form of language beyond suffering? Also, is there another form of interacting beyond the use of language?

how to stop suffering

January 6, 2012


To ask “how do I end suffering” is to perpetuate suffering. Notice that suffering is a practice, a behavior, a habit.

How do you stop walking? You can just allow yourself to stand still, which does not require any effort and is not so much a new doing of a stopping… as the ending of an old activity or process of walking.
You can’t really stop walking. You can only walk or not walk.
So, how do you stop suffering? You can’t really stop suffering. You can simply suffer or not suffer.
How do you stop agonizing? You simply agonize or not.
How do you stop whistling? You simply whistle or not.
By the way, if you think that the suffering is you, you can either think that or not. How do you stop thinking? You either think or not.
What notices thinking and walking and suffering and whistling and agonizing? Agonizing does not notice agonizing. Whistling does not notice whistling.
Notice who you are. Suffering or not suffering is only a problem if you claim to be one who has that problem as your personal, private problem. Whistling or not not whistling is only a problem if you claim to be the one who has that problem as your personal, private problem. Walking or not walking, agonizing or not agonizing, identifying a problem or not identifying a problem are all various actions that you can either perform or not.
What is the best problem to have? What is the right way to agonize? How do I stop suffering? How can I become more like I already am?
These are all silly questions. You can either ask silly questions or not.
You can even pretend to be the victim of your own agonizing. You can pretend that your problems are causing you to suffer, but perhaps you have been agonizing various problems into your experience.
Now, stop suffering. End suffering. Then, push so hard on the wind that you stop the wind.


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