Relative – Ultimate
In the world – Of the world
Setting Sun – Rising Sun
Samsara – Nirvana
Ego – Heart/Mind
Time – Now
Intellect – Intelligence
Thinking – Feeling
Controlling – Following Guidance
There are many ways to describe the two different states of mind of being either in the world or of the world. Our experience in each is radically different and can only be truly understood by fully experiencing them both. It would be no guess to say that most people in the U.S. are living IN the world. They may find, though, a totally satisfying experience being OF the world, if only they’d try it.
Being OF the world can be accessed by a secular form of Tibetan Buddhist meditation called shamatha vipashana which leads us to experience the natural resting state of the mind: peaceful, open, fresh, alert, aware, and pure (unadulterated by conditioning).
Emotions are a product of being IN the world and are sparked by thinking, by storylines. If you’ve read my article on the Five Skandhas, you learned about how ego (our identity as a “self”) and thoughts come into being. The Five Skandhas are directly out of Buddhist psychology and are corroborated, not that they have to be validated, by more modern psychologists like A.H. Almaas and Rudolph Steiner.
Before the creation of ego, there is basic ground, basic consciousness, basic freedom, basic trust, open space. This IS the natural resting state of the mind: open, fresh, alert, aware, and pure (unadulterated by conditioning).
Once we’ve begun to identify with ego, the process of the Five Skandhas happens every moment, every millisecond, every time we receive information through one or more of our sense organs: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body. Through that process, we snap what we perceive into a solid form purely according to our conditioning.
This is true for thinking, too. Thinking is a function of intellect and happens 24/7 as a natural part of being human no less or more important than seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling. Thinking is a re-hash of everything we’ve ever seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and felt and it used by the ego for the expressed purpose of keeping it and you alive.
Meditation Masters over the millennia have taught that we only need the ego to keep us from putting our hands on an open flame, chopping ourselves instead of wood, or, in modern terms, walking in front of an oncoming bus. You get the picture.
The problem, according to the Meditation Masters, is when we identify with our ego and/or thoughts. Ego’s sole purpose is to solidify our open vast nature so that we feel separate, safe, and more important than everyone and everything else. Thoughts that come from identifying with ego have to do with desire, aversion, and ignorance – we want, we don’t want, we don’t care. These thoughts come into being straight out of the process of the Five Skandhas.
Emotions are a result of thoughts, sense perceptions, and conditioning together within the process of the Five Skandhas. Emotions such as fear, anger, hatred, jealousy, retaliation, and even pride stem from ego-based thinking. But, as we learned in my earlier article, there is no such thing as ego. So what does this tell us about ego-based thinking and its related emotions?
The FEELING of an emotion exists yet the thought or storyline that spark it does not. It’s completely valid to drop the storyline then FEEL the emotion. We can express the FEELING of any emotion that was once associated with a thought or thought-memory. For instance, what I once called anger, I can express as sharp heat rising in my body and a tightening of muscles. This acknowledges the emotion without memorializing what we may have been its spark.
Through the practice of meditation, we can see the reality of the process of the Five Skandhas and wake up to the reality of thoughts: they are not connected, have no beginning or end, are completely transparent.
By identifying with ego (which does not exist) and our thoughts (which are transparent and unreal), the Meditation Masters say we are stuck in a confused state of being. We’re lost in a world of thinking, reacting, and controlling, at the hands of ego.
What’s the alternative?
The Meditation Masters say by training ourselves to be one with the natural resting state of the mind, we awake in reality: peaceful, open, fresh, alert, and aware. There, we connect with our origin: the intelligence and life-force energy of the Universe and its pure and unadulterated guidance.
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