Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Complex Simplicity of Being

The Inwardly realized signless sphere
Cannot be verbalized, having no expression.
The ultimate truth that stops all argument
Transcends all aspects of thought and deliberation


The Complex Simplicity of Being

Just as our human body is comprised of an autonomic nervous system which regulates our individual organ function and homeostasis through involuntary means, psychologically speaking, the inspiration for our mental/emotional plane of manifestation and behavior evidences how we are comprised of innumerable inner mechanisms which also involuntarily regulate who we are and what we do at any given moment. Draw back the curtain on our personal wizards of Oz and it is often surprising that who we are, what we believe about ourselves and reality, how we react to various stimuli, our needs and wants, our cultural/sexual identities, our likes and dislikes, etc. --- may all be seen as a series of intricate triggers. Like a web we are metaphorically woven into by unconscious autonomic reactionary experiences amassed since our embryonic conception, thus we come into being by our various responses to life's events, both within and without.

Many ancient practices of yoga, meditation, and energy circulation techniques (Qi Gong, Pranayama) are aware of this phenomena of misidentification of Being (physically/mentally/emotionally/spiritually), and hence focus on the healing of these various reactions within the self which mask who we are and shroud our cosmic essence in misunderstandings and psychological scar tissue. Within such a journey where we are surrounded by and supported in ignorance about our true identity and true purpose for existence, we may observe that the quality of understanding that is heard and perceived along the way, depends on the quality of the listener.

Taoist monk Liu I-Ming speaks of how "when the roots of a tree are deep, its leaves naturally flourish. When the source of a stream is abundant, its flow naturally extends far, This is the way it is with that which has a basis..." Similarly, it is offered in reflections by Baba Ram Das that, "The entire cosmos, at every plane and in every form, is energy. This energy is known as pran. Your body is a form of pran, so is your thought and feeling, and so is light. These forms of pran differ from one another in terms of the rate and amplitude of thier vibrations. Solids are pran in a grosser form; light, in a finer form. The finest form of pran, the tiniest quantum of energy, is the universe... the highest plane of form (as opposed to formless), from which all other planes are derived, is the Clear White Light: a homogeneous light field which includes everything. Every quantum of energy is interchangeable with every other one, and there is continuous change: continuous transformation of energy from one form to another. Thus everything in the universe is interrelated.

At the level at which there is only pure pran, a number of labels are interchangeable. This plane could also be called pure light or pure consciousness as well as pure pran. The implications of this are far reaching. For it means that the universe is consciousness. It follows that when you have succeeded in fully breaking the identification with your body, senses, and thoughts, then you merge into pure consciousness --- Universal Consciousness. What you thought was "your" consciousness turns out to be only a part of a Consciousness caught in the illusion of separateness. A person who has severed all attachments and has thus become one with Consciousness is said to be in SAT CHIT ANANDA: total existence, total knowledge, total bliss. This is the highest form of samadhi. Short of this state, however, there are many intermediate steps in which you become free of attachments to the grosser forms of pran and function in more rarified planes."

In The T'ai Ch'i Classics, it is also pointed out that "thousands of years ago, Chinese Taoists, whether from scientific observation, by mere hypothesis, or by obtaining information from sources unknown to us today, formulated the theory that there is an eternal power that moves the universe. They called this ultimate power ch'i (qi/ki). According to the legendary theory of Yin and Yang, ch'i exercises its powers ceaselessly, moving in a balanced manner between the positive (constructive) and negative (destructive) powers.

Because the Yin and Yang powers originate from the ultimate power, ch'i, they are able to move freely without any external limitation, immune from the restrictions of space, time, and even the material manifestations of existence . Because the two powers are always conflicting yet balancing each other, our universe is constantly and indefinitely changing. Everything, even unfilled space, derives its existence from the balanced interaction of these two contrasting forces. Since the powers of Yin and Yang are the origin of everything, they are the ultimate nature of everything in this universe."

Thus Liu I-Ming says "the moon is originally pure yin, without yang---it only gives off light after borrowing the sun's rays. The waxing and waning of the moonlight depends on the position and proportion of the sunlight. What I realize as I observe this is the Tao of borrowing yang to transmute yin. The human body is originally pure yin without yang---it must borrow the yang of the other to become yang. "Other" means everything other than oneself---sky and earth, sun and moon, myraid beings, myriad things. The so-called "yang of other" is the primordial open unified energy, which is the undying human being.

This energy is innate, but as it mixes with acquired conditioning it gradually gets scattered among the sky and earth, sun and moon, myriad beings and things, and is not one's own anymore, belonging to other. If you know this energy is in other, and gradually return it to self, restoring the existence of the nonexistent, regaining what had been lost, that is like the moon shining by borrowing the light of the sun. This is the celestial mechanism of taking over Creation and reversing yin and yang."

In "The Way of the Bodhisattva," Shantideva talks of the equality of self and others,

Strive at first to meditate
Upon the sameness of yourself and others.
In joy and sorrow all are equal.
Thus be guardian of all, as of yourself.

"We begin by contemplating the sameness of ourselves and others. Philosophically, we might discuss the insubstantiality and false security of a separate "self." But, when it comes to actually dissolving the illusory barrier between this self and others, we work on a practical level and keep it real.

The myth of separateness is very convincing. Even though it causes us enormous pain, it's definitely not easy to shake. This myth is addressed very directly by the practices and teachings on equality of self and other. They expose the agendas and strategies of self-importance, and change the way we see one another. Simply put, if you've ever lived on the streets, you can never look at a panhandler the same way again. You've been there; you know what it's like to be down and out and to ask for money. This experience automatically brings down the barrier....

Imagining ourselves in another person's situation shakes up our indifference. We begin to realize that in joy and sorrow, we are equals. Our suffering and happiness are the same: misery is misery and joy is joy; therefore, whether we feel sorrow or relief, we understand how others feel. Understanding the equality of our joys and sorrows widens our perspective. Somehow staying caught in the web of self centered thinking is not as easy as before."{Pema Chödrön, "No Time To Lose"}

{Compiled, & Programmed by DPC}

The beauty of the world has two edges,
one of laughter, one of anguish,
cutting the heart asunder.

~Virginia Woolf

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