• June 6, 2024

    Question from reader: What does it mean to be impartial?

    To be impartial is not to be in parts. Mostly we observe by one part observing another. We comment on what we see. This is what we call self-observing (rather than observing itself). We have opinions. We have preferences. We have reactions. These phenomena intermediate, separating attention from what is attended to. To be impartial is for attention to have no observer to separate and label experience.

    The observer enters the observed and is thereby silenced.

    To be impartial is to be without like and dislike, clinging and averting as the Buddha said. Impartial is between them and not them.

    The opposite of impartial attention could be called headbrain attention. This attention is managed by thinking, funneled through thinking. In this way, it loses its force.

    Impartial attention is a direct connection of the source of attention to what is attended. Perception is united to will.  A bridge.  An enormous amount crosses this bridge if not interfered. Real knowing, the real nature of a thing, comes immediately over this bridge without the limitation of our past-determined opinions and reactions.

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  • May 27, 2024

    We run on energy. Our primary source of energy is sensation. Without sensation we die. We are sensing creatures, beings with bodies.

    The five externally triggered physical sensations of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting (really at least seven with the sensations of movement and location in space) are neutral in their normal functioning. There is another set of sensations which are internally generated reactions to external phenomena, ranging from euphoria to irritation, anger to depression. These we call emotions.

    Our ordinary emotions are sensations with a gloss of associated thinking. The sensations are valuable as energy, information and motive to act. They are precious. More so than the thoughts by which they are named.

    Our emotions and their underlying sensations need to be curated so that they are food for our own evolution and not hijacked and used by others, human or not, to involve us in external or reciprocal feeding. To that end, we need to be able to see our emotions unfold in real time, tracking not so much the associated thinking but mostly the sensations.

    If followed by impartial attention, emotions are digested and transformed into conscious energy, leaving no ugly residue for wasteful reverberations. This is difficult to do and requires much practice. The secret is that attention is a catalyst that enables the transformation of sensitive energy to conscious energy, and like all catalysts, attention itself is not changed.

    You may ask…what is conscious energy? That’s a discussion for another day.

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  • May 16, 2024

    How do we serve the lesser gods? We feed them. What is their food? Our sensations of anger, hatred, jealousy, frustration, obsessive desire. These sensations are held in the nervous system and the muscles and their vibration attracts unseen minions who revel in them, encourage them and look for ways to provoke them. In our work, these sensations are known as negative emotions because they arise as an electrical charge in the nervous system and eventually discharge.

    Religions have developed rules to subdue the expression of these negative emotions but rules most often operate on the basis of suppression, which is ineffective. Our work recommends that these phenomena be impartially observed, held consciously and absorbed as energy. In short, whose food is your anger…unseen vampirish beings or your functioning as a real human being?

    The key to all this is wanting. Consider, what is wanting? To want is to have a desire for something you do not have, meaning a lack of something you desire. Wanting is a loaded gun. In a state of wanting, you are not satisfied with what you have. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, says Psalm 23. Wanting is not intrinsically wrong but it is dangerous, meaning not only that in a state of wanting you may not appreciate what you have but also that you may be tested on the lengths to which you will go to get what you want.

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  • April 28, 2024

    It is said, in our work, that everyone serves someone or something, knowingly or not.

    There are extraordinary patterns of behavior arising around us. Governments are exercising growing control over their citizens. Nations are embracing and justifying war. Licentiousness and addiction are rampant. The innocence of children is being sacrificed; they are being publicly sexualized to a degree that would have seemed impossible a few years ago. Religious and family values are waning.

    Who do these trends serve? Can they arise with such speed and force without sponsors?

    Is there such a thing as objective evil…evil for its own sake?

    If you are seriously involved in work on self, these questions are likely to occur to you. I am going to offer you some tentative conclusions after more than 5 decades of observing and contemplating my behavior and the society I am part of.

    The Old Testament is a commentary on the battle between good and evil. I am learning to see it as a record of certain knowledge that has been lost. The people of Israel are continually falling away from the laws of Moses to serve other gods who promise them benefits to their liking. Prophets are sent to warn them to forsake these false gods they have chosen to worship

    These false gods are not imaginative, metaphorical or conceptual. The graven images that are worshipped are idols said to represent actual gods who demand service. They are non-physical beings about whom the ancients were very knowledgeable. They have names…Baal, he who wishes for power and dominion over others…Ishtar, she the seductress, who fosters wanton licentiousness and addiction…and Moloch, the destroyer who loves blood and death. When humans become incomprehensibly stupid, selfish and barbaric, are they serving them?

    It is said, in our work, that everyone serves someone or something, knowingly or not. If you seek power, indulge in pleasure or want the destruction of others, who do you serve?

    Those who have undertaken objective work for the world do not dedicate themselves to the ordinary motives of human beings. They become the psychoactive leavening of human society, making it possible for others to function in a more or less sane manner.

    There are three unusual qualities of those who truly work.

    First, they have a quiet confidence in God. He is for them an intimate Friend. Therefore, they know for whom they labor and it is not for themselves.

    Second, they work without the notice of the world. To be celebrated is to be at great risk of dissipation.

    Third, they perceive that there are intentional enemies of this work. They knowingly join a battle of good against evil.

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  • April 23, 2024

    We learn as children to charge and discharge our nervous systems. Charging is accomplished unconsciously by excitement. There are various forms of excitement…wanting or losing something, getting something I wanted, disagreeing, envy, surprise, physical shock, anger, frustration. These phenomena give rise to a temporary surge of sensitive energy. The energy is then discharged in habitual ways, ranging from expressions of anger, argument and disagreement to self-pity and euphoric laughter.

    Allowing the pump to operate automatically is to forsake evolution. The pump expresses the sensitive energy of the body down and out into the environment. The process of evolution begins when the sensitive energy is voluntarily husbanded, neither expressed, nor repressed, but held for the attention to digest and transmute, taking it up and in.

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  • March 18, 2024

    Vajrayana Buddhism has a form of meditation called Trekchö which is difficult to explain. It translates as ‘cutting through’ and ‘spontaneous’. It has been described as “recognition of one’s own innately pure, empty awareness”. Another trekchö instruction states: “This instant freshness, unspoiled by thoughts.”

    There is no approach, no development path, no gradualism in this practice. It is direct, immediate and lacking in content. There are only “pointing out” instructions.

    This practice is “inside itself”. There is noticing (“rig”) and there is noticing that you notice (“rigpa” or awareness). Can you combine them in one movement? Can you look directly into the awareness that experiences? Can you see that you are seeing?

    Thinking will not get you there. The question triggers the event, or not. It is a skill that comes more easily with repetition. Once you know it, you have a reliable ‘place’ of refuge from your thoughts. You have spaciousness.

    Trying to think it is solipsistic.

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