The Mind Illuminated archive

Stronghold 14 November 2010

Sunday 11/14/2010

Automated transcription

Anything that anyone like would like to talk about this morning? Mh. I'm reading that books and physics, which is completely fascinating. Mh. And I'm just thinking about memory. I don't think know if I have a question, but maybe you could talk about the role of memory in helping us maintain the sense of self and i and a sense that there is an in essential eye. Mh. Well, the aspect of memory that is most involved with this and is really right if the court of. Is narrative memory. Oh that's that's what it's sometimes called.

It's n it is just like it sound. It's the story that we're telling ourselves of our life and and who we are. And as with any story, you know, there's there's the main character and the main character is the cell. And so although the events that take place, in real time in the present moment at the moment, often don't have that much relationship to the the conceptualize self that we carry around. The narrative that we store about them always does. So, you know, we're going along and This body in this mind or chugging away through the world and some situation comes up.

And based on our past conditioning, everything from genetic programming to what people have said to us and what we thought recently. Causes us to react to the circumstances of rising a particular way. And you know, we could describe that objectively as well. This this this being reacted to these circumstances in this way, probably because of this that the other thing. But the narrative is started that way. The narrative is stored as as I was going along and this happened to me. And so I decided to do this and when I did it, then this happened.

Right? And so it it makes sense from in in terms of storing storing our experience for future reference, I mean, the main point of reference is his i. But it does distort what really happened. Mh. Because very often, I didn't decide anything. Cumulative conditioning produced a result. But I take... But there's the imaginary eye that that takes credit for it. So Less one sense in which memory is involved in the the sense of Roi. And the important aspect of the self that we're trying to see through is that the appearance has of being a single permanent thing that is in some way to some degree separate and independent from everything else.

That is the illusion. Because it's not single. It's always many different parts and and it's constantly changing. And it's totally inter interdependent with everything else. So so that's the part of it. On the other hand. It is the case. There is this body in this mind that that is engaged in interaction. So we need... Functionally in order to be able to learn anything and apply any of our past experience and learning to any useful way in the future. We do need to store that information in a way that takes body in mind as as the reference point, because that's the whole point of that process.

That that's why our brains evolved a function in that way And and it's how it does allow us to to burn and develop and so forth. So up to that point, it's completely fine. But the problem is that it tends to support. Good morning dumb. Good to see you. Make yourself comfortable. It chance this support just this perception that I am separate and I am important and and I am permanent, which dan greatly reinforces those other built in mechanisms that help us survive desire for things that causes this pleasure.

Which only causes pleasure because we're programmed that way and we're only programmed that way because they contribute to survival reproduction, and it causes us to have a aversion towards and avoid both things that are painful, which are only painful because we're programmed that they'll be painful and we're only programmed that they'll be painful because it they're they potentially interfere with our ability to survive reproduce. But the concept the the the problem of the concept self is that it it it lots us even more deeply into acting out of those compulsions, even though we have this this higher capacity of mind that could allow us to see things and and behave in a different way.

So that's what your question triggers in my mind. I know how close it comes to the bots that that knew that initiated the question. Well, it does. It just brought up two other questions. One is about meaning, I guess just as part of these processes were just trying to imp meaning or. Ad meeting where... Aren't things... What's meaningful. Good behavior or behavior that produces happiness and others for wise behavior. I mean, is there anything that's meaningful then? I mean, things aren't just relative, I guess.

Well Are you asking is there anything that's inherently meaningful that everything imp meaning? Is everything imp meaning? And to answer that or to examine that, You need to you need to say, well what do we mean by naming? And what are the hidden assumptions behind? Meaning? And really... That's a good question to look at. You know, because a large a large part of our concern. That I I don't think I don't think most animals are too concerned about meaning. Right? Or at least they're concern was meaning is is very limited, you know, The dog's this is no food my dish tonight.

That means I'm going be hungry. Just something like that. But we human beings are always looking for. Some leaning on purpose. I mean if you look at legends, legends and fairy tales and mythic stories and everything else and and popular literature. We always like meaning. Right? I the whole idea of the Mh the hero who is destined to become King arthur or, you know, or or all of these different stories we have. So we delight in these simple stories that say, a, there's a naming behind all of this.

There's a purpose find all of this. It makes us feel comfortable. It makes us feel happy. God has a purpose, you know, I may not understand why my child died, but, you know, there's some god has some purpose not meaning and this thinking in that way, it it's something that that we want. We need we look for. Because it has a lot of comfort and what seems to be and otherwise, totally in imp reality. Okay. That's the hidden assumption in there is that I'm a person, and things have meaning in relationship to this person.

And rather than being a person trapped within this cold feeling imp reality, that arbitrarily and randomly visits good and bad with no purpose or meaning or justice or anything else. We we long for the notion that perhaps, there is it's not imp that that there is some kind of person a god you know, god or gods or something that had some sort of meaning to all of this. But What you have to ask is is that is that really necessary, Like is that the only way that we can be comfortable and happy in the world is if there is some other kind of entity modeled after ourselves.

And modeled after our notions of purpose. You know, this this happens for the sake of that and on or this happens because of that rather than simple causality, which follows the same model, but but purpose purpose, implies some intentional, some some creative intelligence more than just the simple causality of the universe itself. Don't we like that. We love that. Right. It's some sort of security or... If... Yeah. Guys we're always asking, What does that mean? What does your dream mean? What does this story.

What does this mean? What's the meaning? And people have always done that And they always look for meaning, you know What does it mean that the buffalo didn't come this year? Why this a mean that that it didn't... you know, it didn't rain and the crops didn't go. Grow. And and we really want meaning that's until we look for meaning and everything. We look for him dreams. We look for it I mean, you know, the people are shaking bones in a bag and dump them out and looked for the meaning. Right? And into my terror cards for meaning you know?

You're looking your charm So... And we and we imp meaning, when you look for meaning, you find it. Psychologist discovery destiny they made ink watson on pieces of paper, and then they could show them to people and say, when does this mean you? And then why what? Of course, the patient is imp the meaning into the ink block because the ink what was created at Random. And it has a different meaning for every patient that it's faint. So the psychologist to the psychiatrist knows that the meaning is imp and therefore, when hears the patient's reply doesn't say, so that's what this means.

It says, oh so that's what's going on in your mind. Sure That's it's giving information about the nature of the mind that imp the meaning. And you can do the same thing, you know, if you look at cards and it gives you meaning. That's great. That's natural. We find meaning and everything. We have to we without even realizing it we're finding meaning and then everything. So but if you look at terra cards, and you find a meeting in there. You could resort to. Turn it to thought pattern and say this this is magic.

There's a message from some somewhere else, some other intelligence out there that's telling me that that... I mean, usually we look at terra cards because something's bothering us we have the decision or something like that. So all of this other intelligent, I don't trust my own mind. I can't. I can't find the answer, but something or someone wiser than me is communicating through these cards, and that's the meeting and I'm more comfortable on saying that. But you could you can do exactly the same thing from a little more sophisticated perspective and say, well, Considering that the vast majority of my own mind is not accessible to my consciousness, the meaning I'm saying, It is indeed coming from an intelligence that I don't have direct conscious access to.

And so this is what the deeper levels of my own mind are suggesting that i at least take into account and interpreting my wife's situation or making my decisions and things like that. And so it has it has validity without taking us into the realm of of of magic. So we're we we know where the meanings time behind this is useful. And there's still the possibility that it that we might follow the meaning we see there and it turns out later in not to doing such a good idea. But if we believe this was a message from some other from a some other entity than and say, well, i I I guess the spirits I was communicating with weren't all that smart.

But Most of the time, we don't. We we just we we forget about that. We look for meaning. We wanna find Me. But leaning is something that our human brain. It's an expression of the way our human brain works Our human brain evolved to evaluate experience and to guide action, like all animal brains do. And we developed a very sophisticated brain in a very sophisticated mind. All for the purpose of interpreting experience. In order to predict the future and to guide us and the actions that we take in the future.

Which is meaning. So the human brain is a device that came into existence, gets inherent design function. That it the the the whole way it was created, and the function that is intended to perform is to derive meaning in the sense of being able to guide actions and and behaviors. And so it's natural that the human mind is going to want to... Because it has a greater capacity than like I said, the dog understands the meaning of the dog the dog food Dish being update. Right? We have... We have a much more sophisticated mindset.

So it's only natural that we're going to want to apply that this brain this mind is going to want to. To apply itself to much larger reality and find the same sort of understandable comp meaningful relationships and that. So okay. I... Have you ever read Victor Frank? All holocaust... Yeah. About forty years ago or... But. One of his famous things is that human beings will do anything given a meaning. Yeah. But if you... But if you looked at of research that's out there now with the water where we do in cute meaning to everything.

Mh. So that... So everything that we see whatever however we perceive it is our is what we have created. That's right. So I'm so glad that she brought this up because so one of the my questions, is I've read a lot also Michael Ge Wrote. He his idea is that we plant seeds like causes and conditions and that they arise and that that this gives us a chance to work out our karma and to create to cute a higher meeting or a higher more beneficial to meaning for all beings. So it... So one of my things that I've been noticing lately is the amount of anger that that is manifesting, not to much myself putting in people around me.

So this is my opportunity. And so... But so I have... So would you say that I have created the anger? The anger that you see and how you people? People... Yeah. Yeah. Well, there's two answers to that. I mean to a certain degree. You're saying anger, there's a question is whether these other people are actually experiencing it or not. Say I'm angry. Okay. If somebody says they're angry. Right. Then you're definitely not creating that. Oh, okay. Okay. But you're creating everything everything every response to you out to that, so that it's occurring in my in my little field of...

That yeah. Somebody Somebody if somebody else is manifesting anger. There's so many ways that you can respond to that. So many, many ways. Everything from hardly even noticing it and forgetting about it a moment later to becoming intensely engaged with it and becoming angry and turn or feeling guilty and responsible or all of these other things. That is what you have planted the seeds for. Okay. That's what's taking place. But as far as them feeling angry, no. You have elderly and unless you unless you did something, you have no role at all to play in there anger.

And even if you did do something, it's a very minimal role. All you did is provide me excuse for the anger that they had already already cultivated and nurtured in themselves to come forward in that particular situation. Okay. So that's how I'm proceeding in. Mh. Alright. So then... But where I'm having some I don't wanna be un compassionate towards these people generally people whom i love. So So... But I don't... So I... But I also... It's like really, it's in their domain. It's something... So how do you what do you do John?

You don't just let somebody rip at you like that. Well, it depends. If Sometimes you can. If, you know, If you plan the write seeds in yourself, you can let somebody grip at you and feel no hurt, no harm. Only love and compassion and the willingness to to okay. Let me let you get this out of your system, and then let me see if I can do something to help you. I mean, that's quite possible. But, no. You don't have to let anybody do anything to you. Mh. What's important is what you do and why you do it.

That's what's really important. Not what somebody else does. But when somebody else does something that affects you, then that puts you in that place of okay. What Am I gonna do? And and why am I doing it? That's where it becomes really important. But, yeah. You're not responsible. You you're not responsible for other people. And you're not responsible you know, for the... Like, if a forest fire came through here and brenda place down, I'm not responsible for that. I mean, I've done what I could.

We clear things so hopefully, feel fire goes through here we'll survive. But I'm know more responsible for acts of nature or other people's anger or anything else I am for the rising and setting of the sun. Although I could take credit for that. You guys are really lucky. I hope you're irrelevant. If it wasn't for me, you know. So. So it you just think you you just try to, like, imp kindness loving kindness compassion. Is that... Exactly. Yeah. If you understand that if you understand the nature of meaning, it's not something that is meaning is not independently self existent.

Meaning is imp by the mine. And and that doesn't mean you say, whole time, that's terrible well I think I'll go shoot myself. There's no meaning. I mean, you could do that, but that's not very good. Instead it's to go to that place it's say, this means whatever. I make it me. You know, I create the meaning in my life. Right? And see how did people... When people people are naive even haven't been studying the environment or meditating? When their mind tries to imp meaning, and if things don't go over the way their mind thinks that should.

They react with anger. I did I spent years in my life, In frustrated anger, against, the way things were. Basically, you know, I I spent some time then as a as a teenager I began trying to work through these different things, which led me to become a catholic and spent some time in a seminary thinking I was going to become a priest. In the end result of that, I dropped out seminary, at I spent, a few years just so totally angry at God or the idea of god. But that was all... That was all my mind reaction to the fact that things weren't the way my mind thought they should be.

And that's that's that's where we don't wanna be. We don't wanna be projecting meaning, and then coming into conflict with what is. Far better to come to a place where we discover the highest kind of meaning and everything. I mean, it it is better to say, say, I can't. I'm not capable of understanding the meaning of of some things. You know, but on the other hand, I am... I'm responsible for creating the meaning that I do. Used to guide me in the life in the world and so you create meaning basement based on loving kindness compassion and in a realization that of of one, you know, that we are all, but enter.

Things take on your mind, the two a completely different kind of meaning. When It doesn't see you as separate from everything else as compared to the meaning that it imp when it does see you a separate from anything else, that's. A mine that sees you as separate imp a kind of meaning to events that is the basis of conflict anger suffering striving, struggling, grasping, greed, wanting, all these things. I mean... This is this is really the basic message of the whole dynamic. I didn't realize it that we arrived at this point.

Just. Yes. If your mind constructs me, On the basis of being a separate self, those are all the characteristics of the world that you find yourself living in. Whereas if you can transform your mind, so that it constructs meaning on the basis that you are and an integrated part of a a a whole an inseparable part of a whole. Then your mind will still do its thing like any computer program does, it will include meaning. But it to to completely different kind of meaning One results naturally in a much higher kind of behavior and a lot more happiness and a lot more enjoy.

I'm saying it out loud. No you're welcome. Thank you for creating opportunity. Just this morning on Npr before I left home, they were speaking of this general topic of a meeting. For those who don't believe that I, they would talking you on eight agnostic. Kind saying And and those who question whether or not there is meaning to life to our lives. For those who don't believe that there is and that the world, they can operate in any way. Mh. In the world that that they that gives them pleasure for instance.

He hopes them in some way or another that it it's a cause of immense suffering where the self company mh. You being our sick believing that we're separate and what we do doesn't matter. Yeah. Sort of the opposite. You know, two completely different things unfold. Mh. For the world and for ourselves. I mean, how holly you meaning. It's a wonderful sync that that was on in. Because... Yes. See that is the big danger. That's nihilism. Nihilism is That's that's the word used to describe what happened.

When you begin to realize that meaning isn't a self existent reality that leaning comes from the mind, and If you approach that with some other faults of assumptions, which is that If it comes from my mind, it's not real. Therefore there really is no meaning Well, that's not true. There is meaning. It's just that meaning arises within the mind. It doesn't arise self existent out there some. And the neo is the one who denies denies the potential value of the of the line itself and the meaning that the mind can.

Can project and sinks into essentially a kind of desperation an existential desperation. You know, I'm caught in a nightmare. So either I put the barrel of the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger, or else I just go out there and grasp every pleasure I can possibly get. Still carrying this enormous burden of despair. And even those pleasures are are they're they're just desperate distractions because they're... If you believe in meaningless, that's the pleasure itself is meaning what so it doesn't really give you any satisfaction.

And because it seems that nothing you do matters any rate, you're you know, your real loose cannon spreading spreading pain and yet every direction. Because because you pay no attention to what you do, You you don't you don't? You don't allow your mind to manifest its potential creative potential and generating meaning. It seems that when we have internal states that are very much inclined. For loving kindness. And then we from that interstate, we manifest out in our lives, which people in all kinds of ways that because every everything, whether cedar unseen is energy that loving kindness and its resulting behavior has an energy signature so to speak.

So that when you are working in the world that you are generating that particular energy signature that particular energy characteristic. That that that becomes something. It spreads. It's contagious. Yeah. It connects. It brings things and people to get people to get. At times. So that it seems that meaningful when viewed from an a a point of view of energy actually does have me and is something because it. It's energy. It becomes. So so it just seems like it... It is... It really is but... Yes.

If it's just a big one of our mental state. I mean, something. Yes. And as it really is something. And what we what you need not to forget or or allow yourself to become confused at about? Is that We become misled when we create that duality. Of self and other, and we imp self existent cell self existence and self nature to the self that we think we are. And then mirror that by imp self existence and self nature to what is other. And so that's where we start looking for the meaning that's out there.

And if that doesn't exist then the meaning that the self that we think is real creates, you know, we can we can doubt its reality and validity. But there is no here and out there. It's all a part of the same thing and everything is Everything is totally interconnected. When do you create When you create your own meaning, that is grounded in loving kindness and compassion. Non duality and these these sorts of higher perceptions. Then that becomes a part of what that becomes an aspect of the whole that you are an ind individual and inseparable part up.

And so it does have a reality. But it's not an their reality separate from reality. They are one in the same. They're not distinct from each other. Yeah. And in that regard, you know, we talk about Karma. Karma is a specific means causality. It's a specific kind with. But absolutely, because you are an inseparable part of the whole, absolutely everything that you do or say or even the internal things that happen in your own mind affects the hole that you're part of. It cannot be separated from it.

So everything has result. Everything is causal nature and everything has result. And so you recognize that and you realize that everything you do produces results and so you own that and you take responsibility for that. And when some of those results come back on you, you accept there as your own. That is causality in general. Karma is the way you create the mind that is the experience of this. So it is an aspect of that. If you though, but this all pre suppose that you understand or at least your your intellectual understanding is that you are an inseparable part of a hold.

If at any moment, you slip into thinking, I am a self embedded in an out there. That's when you start to slip into the mistaken notions of thinking that oh, if you're angry at me, that might made that happen. I created that. Well, that's not true. The the experience and the one who's angry are not separate. And and it's only slipping into the delusion of thinking where we are that... What you were talking about say. Say, oh, the anger I see in other people. I create that. But this is high that's doing this training.

No I mean, that's exactly what we're that's exactly what we're disputing the existence of. But there's an energy like, I think what I'm hearing pam say is that each... Now, I really believe this not whether it's true or not. I don't know. But each of us has our own manifestation of an energy. We perceive things differently. Yes. Mean we're all walking around our own little. Exactly. We you are. Yeah. And so... And we all have gifts to give. They're not all the same. Mh. They're all completely different like I'm I'm very linear, very linear thinker, very organized, very damn very creative and very So we all have things that we have to offer that contribute to this net this beautiful wonderful thing.

I think what I'm trying to understand for myself is that with... When I'm reading about planting the seeds and the seeds coming to ripen and like the seeds of anger or ripen in my existence right now. And so I have to ask myself so like, this is... This is an opportunity for me. This is something that's created as an opportunity for me to grow and and become I don't know connect to a higher reality concerning that. Rather than just receiving it as the But my energy or whatever it is is what is bringing out forth.

Does that does that make what is he saying when he says you plant the... You plant the car seeds that I mean, isn't that what he's saying? I'm not sure what he's saying. Mh. But the car seems that you plant. Let's take the example here you're you're finding that... So there is a u that's planning the car exceeds. I mean, that's basically what I'm they they need. Like the near to or go... They're planning their Car seeds. Right? Yeah. Well, there's not a u that's fine the current age. That's if you think of it, Energy that's coming through this entity.

But so long as you're thinking you'd yourself, as they sell, as long as you're holding this mistaken in view, then it can be helpful to you to add to that mistaken view. Another not really quite true view that since there's a u that you can plant seeds. So this this becomes somewhat like useful intellectual strategy. But did you look at the nature of the seeds that you're planning, and that let's look I assume that because of some of the things that you say that in your life right now. You're confronting people who are angry.

Then perhaps i'm not anger is directed to you. Okay. These are... This... These are the scenes that you are planned. Okay. Your plan or have planted. You have have planted seeds in your mind. To see anger and other people. And sometimes the other person will be experiencing anger that you see. But if you've planted those seeds, it's almost a certainty that sometimes that other person isn't experiencing the anger that you're projecting. Okay. If you've said planted seeds to see anger in others, then both seeds are gonna ripen and you're in see other angry and others, even when it's...

When it's not there. That's that's the important seat. Your seeds aren't making that person angry. Now if that person is angry, You may have planted seeds that cause you to react to the anger in particular ways. Right. Likewise, you may have been engaged in the causal processes that led to that person experiencing the pain or whatever it was that triggered their anger to arise. You may have said something to somebody else out of unrelated motives, but it causal went through a pass that right back to this person, and now he's in your face saying, how dare you say that?

Right? So there's many ways that you've planted seats and to be sure what the buddha said is what you experience. Not what happens to you. What you experience is the fruit of your karma. It's the result of the seeds that you have planted. And see how that works. So... Yeah. Yeah Destination the perception is So essentially you that perception of anger or the energy or whatever it is. It's just filtered by that view. That's right. It's filtered by that u. But here's is this other aspect to it too.

That you've made decisions that cause you to be in relationship with this person who is angry at you. So you planted seeds in that way too. I mean, you do have to take responsibility or. Why why is this person in my life? Right. You no. I didn't create the person. They're not in my life because I created them. Mh. But I made the decisions that made them be a part of my life. And you're looking for many. Yeah. What about you? You I'm looking seeing here looking around the yard and I'm seeing net all around this.

Yeah. Yeah. Thanks. I knew there was something about this lattice. Dive. Very special. I'm pet every every every one of these is a facet or the the dual and makeup. Net. Are you sat? Okay. Talking to me about. This this anger or these things that come up, they... They usually come up with people that you're in the closest to All these family members are whatever long time stuff from on time wishing a event it's it's... You can I can just Well, this my body can get caught up in the whole thing of some pattern habit patterns been built up over the years.

And then have to sit down and quiet and trace it all back like you were saying, where this start? Mh. You know, It might be have to go back long time and and see how it's all. I I can always see how I contributed to how I, you know, how it happened. And then it's so wonderful to be able to just have a sit and do all is just like, clouds in the sky. Passing off. And if it's not too too deeply entrenched. But it just comes up all the time and I I think what you said somebody said an opportunity. I oh boy.

This is an opportunity for me. To look again, Oh, yeah. And I was wondering thing about that Because if we're back to the beginning of my morning. They were looking at those things, trying to explain it to the memories of what we have then with fooling ourselves again. Mh. We sure can prove ourselves. I... Yeah. Mh. But we can... But we can get a calmer mind and we... you know, if if we get to a place where where we're not blaming it on somebody else. That's what makes the mind calmer the place we got to.

And however we got there, you know, it's good by virtue of the fact that it's Scott didn't got it there. Got is there. It won't always be. But he's. She's really bad... Finally got to the place. Well, okay. I didn't let this go. No. It's it's kind of like finding meaning. If we... You know, I think that it's been demonstrated plenty of times by psychologists that that our memories are pretty bad. The things rarely happen the way we remember them. So you know, so if you think back and and about the causes of chances are it didn't really happen that way anywhere.

But if it gets you the place of being able to let go and be free and whatever it is you're I mean, probably the thing you were carrying was based on memories that weren't really accurate anyway. So it doesn't matter if memories that we're not particularly anymore accurate allowed you to let it. Go, It's important as you look at all. Mh. So That's the main thing. That's like finding meaning. If you if you can find a way of looking at things that liberate here, That's like finding meaning, their full fulfill.

That's. A thing of purpose of meditation, I think that and you can get into that new sky space where you can see these thoughts just coming and floating off and and it's... When you're in the medi space, you can see that they don't have any solidity, and they don't... But there's nothing. You know, like, it's just say memory or it's it's nothing that that you can put any you can get hold of or do anything with. So then you can see that. Just anyway, that's... I guess what meditation is for mh. One of the things is for.

Yeah. And then you can just start left me. It's. I end to this day. I got into this thing with my son the other day. I mean, I just made up all this stuff. And we got into this thing and I've... I'm so frustrated. You know, oh, done this over and over again. Then I just sat down the cushion that i start quite sure. Head of patterns. Just see the... See the whole thing. Oh, and how it all worked out how it. And then there's a kind of a joy that happens, you know, it's like. It is really kind of a joke isn't it?

Really? Oh you. Just see it. Yeah. So serious about that... What we want, and how it should be and How we wanted it to be. Why that way because I did this that didn't happened. Hope I'd only been better and no, you know, Right. Yeah. That's a good thing. You to remember. I always try to like no sometimes when I think i might get to... Yeah. People often come up with little sayings they didn't encapsulate these things as you know, like life too important to be taken seriously. And I I really like, byron eighties, where would you be without your story? you know, so we.

Any anytime you find yourself getting into this story? You know, Just say what. Or gonna be without this story. Yeah. And the one that I often think to myself and and remind Nancy of how gets tired of It yes that. We're only here to have So whatever is we're dealing with, if we're not having fun with it, we're not doing the right thing. People so good when though. Really is. I heard good one the other day, which is the past history the future is mystery, Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.

I like that. Absolutely.

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