Human beings have been trying to find fulfilment in Life.
That “effort” has brought intrinsic division: What “I” want, someone else also wants. There is competition, conflict.
Religious groups, political parties, intellectual factions, etc. are only extension of the individual, there is conflict between them.
Thus, there is conflict among groups making up larger groups such as nations, races, cultural traditions.
“Problem solvers” want to “change the world,” through policies, laws, beliefs, etc. But the core of the issue has always been the individual.
Within an individual, there is intrinsic conflict between his feelings and what is in his mind.
Conflict is part of our lives, but yet we would like to feel wholesome, united, fulfilled. We compromise with some happy moments here and there.
Our minds try to fix that conflict by coming up with “methods” or “techniques” to help us achieve what we ARE not.
What is natural, what we truly ARE cannot use any techniques or methods to BE something else. That has been the “spiritual” lie for centuries.
For instance, If I use a “method” to become loving with people, I am not love; but I am faking it. A “method” will define what love should be, I will practice what I am not.
That “technique” has been used from time immemorial: If the Buddha didn’t eat meat, I should DO that too. I should force myself to be like him.
If my guru says that TV is a waste of time, I should stop watching it. I should make the “effort” to be like my guru, to be “better,” to be like him.
If my sexuality manifests violence, I should cover that with a “technique; “so it is perceived as genuine care.
That is the Life of a dishonest person: To try to cover up the “truth” of who we ARE.
It is in the acknowledgement of who we ARE, the AWARENESS of that; how change starts.
That is natural. When we do not understand that something that is not natural is fake, we will force that change through “techniques” and “methods.”
That change is through violence.
The laws of our society are only concerned in what “I” do to another. We have labeled all kinds of violent acts for that with different kinds of “punishment.”
However, when a person is violent towards himself, that is not covered by any law.
Sooner or later, individuals who are suppressed of their violent nature towards others, will inflict that force into themselves.
What is the source of that violence?
Division. Conflict. It starts within us and it ends in the collective consciousness.
That energy of violence impregnates everything we touch.
We could talk about love, peace, compassion, etc. but violence is what we ARE.
Want to change? Be the change that you want to see? Just Do it?
Never mind clichés.
Be AWARE of that violence in the words we use while speaking to another, while driving to work, while eating, while relating with loved ones. It is there.
How can we “make love” with that violence?
How can we imitate the “Buddha” with that violence?
How can we “practice” compassion with that violence?
In the AWARENESS of this is how change starts. This is not a question of belief in a religion or a holy person, a politician or in some god.
However, those who are not ready for AWARENESS, will definitely need to believe in a religion, a holy guru, a God and a politician.
But violence will be hidden until it is uncovered.
Some individuals want to be “better” spiritually speaking.
Here some “reasons:” Because they may be causing problems to others without knowing. Because they want to be admired if they obtain some sort of sainthood. Because they are not satisfied with who they ARE.
In their minds, these individuals already have a “role model” to imitate. They have a goal to achieve through “hard work.” They are constantly comparing with others and feeling unfulfilled. There is something lacking in them, something to “improve.”
These individuals cannot realize that those pursues are simple mental abstractions and their “methodology” to reach their “goal” is plain conditioning from society’s ways.
Here is how the “system” works: If we want a “good” job with a law firm, we need to work at it. We think, once we become senior partners, we have “arrived.” We are someone in Society. “Role models.” We have a story to tell: How we went from our modest beginnings and rose to the top in no time… through hard work, dedication and discipline… Very familiar story, indeed.
That selling story is what we have been conditioned to believe as the “method” to achieve anything we want in Life.
However, BEING a fulfilled individual in Life has no relationship whatsoever with the above “method.”
“Achievements” are of no value when it comes to BEING fulfilled.
It doesn’t mean that “we shouldn’t achieve anything in Life.”
That is a gross misunderstanding, typical of individuals trapped in the mind: These individuals will go from one extreme to the other. Go ahead and “achieve” whatever you feel like, just don’t expect to feel fulfilled…
Enjoyment and fulfillment in Life are not “goals” or “achievements.”
Those are consequences of BEING harmonious in Life. There is no recipe to “achieve“ balance in Life.
You just play it by ear. What you ARE will give you a state of harmony or lack of. No way to fake it ‘til you make it….
Many would like to have an infallible recipe such as: One cup of rice, ¾ teaspoon of salt, etc. and “achieve” results without further involvement. That will not happen: In Life, we need to reinvent the wheel, for the outcome will shape who we ARE. Moreover, to reinvent the wheel is how we truly KNOW in Life. The “Office world” sells “shortcuts” so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. To save time, for “time is money.” 🙂
Basically, don’t cook. Microwave what someone else made and believe that you are a great cook…. After all it tastes good. You bought it!
Act like a saint. Copy your role model. Believe that you ARE that.
That is the conditioning that may need to go away before, Living Life in joy is entertained without the idea of “achieving” something.
It is a matter of plain OBSERVATION, AWARENESS.
When we ARE NOT AWARE of who we ARE, we need for others to tell us about ourselves. Because we cannot OBSERVE what IS inside, we need a magical dictionary word to pursue from the outside: Such a “compassion” or “peace.” Once the thing is labeled, we can “work to achieve that.” Moreover, we need to buy a “method” to be “right,” after we have carefully followed the “instructions.”
That is the state of many human beings; slaves of their own conditioning manifested through their minds.
The easiest way to decondition, is to get out from society for some time. Then with a clear mind, we could be able to recognize and OBSERVE the conditioning of our own minds. Society is not the “bad guy.” There is conditioning any time there is a group. All we have to DO is to be AWARE of that.
From that point, achievements will be achieved, without trying to achieve.
Betterment will arrive, without trying to be better.
When we cease to strive, we achieve, without the thought of achievement.
The above may not work in the “Office world,” but that “recipe” will work in Living Life in Joy.
One of the greatest conditioners, is the idea that “one solution/method fits everyone.”
Methods, books, teachings, religions support the “one size fits all” approach.
Certainly, here is where the belief of “truth” comes in.
The “truth” is your experience, but at the same time, it is only yours. This “concept” of “truth” is difficult to understand, if we take the “Office world” as our reference.
In the “Office world,” things are labeled neatly. Concepts are placed in “good” or “bad” containers. Judgments are based on our perception of where actions, ideas, ideals fit. However, we do not realize that our judgement is conditioned with the ideals that we have been taught to be “true.”
Common agreement with an upgraded label: ”Truth.”
A seeker may need to realize the above to be at peace with the World, and to open up to Life.
How this will work practically? The more definitions we use to identify ourselves with, then our freedom to BE and change, will be obstructed.
The “office world” is great on those labels!
“I am a catholic democrat from Nigeria. My soccer team is the Real Madrid.” Those labels are necessary in the “Office world” where identity is important; but in Life, those labels only separate, which in turn brings self-righteousness and opposition.
We BELIEVE in those labels beyond their place in the “office world.” The identity that those labels provide will give us the comfort that we are SOMEONE.
“Oh, I get… you are saying that we shouldn’t join any religions or be part of particular teams, for that brings separation, right?”
Observe your answer. Your mind is separating again. Ahnanda is not sharing these things so someone could make a commandment through these words, or some other religious BELIEF.
Ahnanda is sharing these realizations so we could perceive how our conditioning from the “Office World” affects our perception of Life. That is all.
“Once you die, you could go to heaven, hell or purgatory.”
Do we see how “One size fits all” is used?
What is the standard for that selection knowing that everyone has a different consciousness, different experiences and somewhat the same conditioning?
Death becomes a problem, even though we have not lived Life to the fullest, for we are stuck with our definitions, our “should be,” our “righteous” beliefs, our doubled-edge morality, etc.
In the path of self-realization, all of that will need to be left behind. It is not an ideal to pursue as: “From now on, I will not believe in a religion or join a political party.”
That is childish. That is rejection to what the “Office world” offers.
Just BE AWARE of the game. There is no need to make selections or to put our Life goals in a paragraph so everyone could read it and say: “This guy is something. How pure are his intentions!”
Some still need the medicine of “commandments and laws” to keep out of trouble in the “office world,” but this does not mean that in other “spiritual” dimensions, things are the same. Nevertheless, religions copy that procedure. After all, the collective consciousness, the masses, are already conditioned to follow that and consider that as “truth.”
For others, the medicine for a different consciousness is to be AWARE of how things operate without verbalizing it, and running the risk of putting their realization into a “black or white” commandment to be followed by others.
Have you seen the definition of “mindfulness”?
1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
That makes intellectual sense, right?
Intellectually, we want to practice that. We want to “achieve” that. As a matter of fact, some are making money by “teaching” that.
That dictionary definition can only describe “mindfulness,” as when we describe the Ocean to someone who has never seen it and experienced. Therefore, what are we going to “practice”? What are we going to “achieve”? An ideal.
Mindfulness is no-mind. Thus, it is not a “mental state.” It is not a purposely, willingly focus on something. Can we understand no-mind when our society has used the word “mind” to describe ourselves? Can we go beyond the conditioning?
It is amazing how the “keywords” are more important than the experience itself.
“You have to live in the now.” “Women want a sexual partner who has presence, who is fully present in the act.”
Those phrases sound amazingly good. Knowledgeable stuff. Best seller material, but…. what is presence and what living in the now mean?
Do you know? Do you practice it?
There is no definition. There is no practice.
Do we need steps or methods to get there?
How can we explain something which defies our language?
Through a common Life scenario.
When we drive a car, as we become familiar with its operation, things become “second nature,” that is “automatic.”
We are driving for some time and our thoughts will appear and process some incident of the past or fantasize about something in the future, or even create a story out of some current Life episode. Have you noticed that?
If we haven’t noticed that, we are not ready to live in the “now.” We don’t know what that is, even if we repeat the latest definitions and use the more hip-hop terminology. At that point, we need to read “best sellers” on how to practice “presence,” and how to live in the “now.”
We need definitions, we need “how-to’s” and ideas to make this practice permanent in our everyday life.
However, a time will come when we notice our fantasizing, our dream world or tele-transportation into a remote past… then we are AWARE. No more “best seller” material needed.
When the mind is full of thoughts, we are not living in the “now.” When we drive the car in the “now,” we are automatically alert, even though it is the same avenue that we drive every day to work. Thanks to our mind, we can remember the familiar sight. But, thanks to our mind, we will snooze into unconsciousness due to the familiarity of the sight. It is the same old thing. No need to be alert.
When the mind is empty of thoughts, we are alert, aware, conscious. When we add content thanks to the conditioned mind; that pristine moment is not. Then, we do things in “automatic mode,” thoughts take over and we forget what we did 10 seconds ago.
After hearing this “revealing” explanation, some will say: “From now on, I will practice to empty my mind of thoughts, so I can live in the now.”
Please don’t put yourself in that stressful situation. Observe that there is no practice whatsoever. AWARENESS is not a practice. Emptiness of thoughts is not a practice. As our consciousness and state of BEING are in a tranquil state, the necessary space to separate ourselves from the mind will appear, then we could observe the mind.
Ahnanda is not saying “my mind,” but just the mind.
At that point, we will become AWARE on how we have obeyed the dictates of the conditioned mind for so long, thinking that THAT was ME.
No wonder, the greatest teaching of all time to remember is “Know thyself.”
Paradoxically, it is not a “Best seller.” 🙂
“As you said, deconditioning needs to be done to live more sensibly and have a fulfilled life which can be done by spending lots of time in nature. Can you suggest some of the ways to incorporate that in daily life ? Taking a walk daily in nature, is that enough ? Or something more needs to be done ? May be taking a weekend off to some place ? What should we allow in ourselves in our daily life to be deconditioned ? To leave the society for long periods of time sometimes, is not possible.”
Thank you for your question. It is appreciated.
Your question allows me to clarify somethings about deconditioning.
Observe that in “spirituality” we want to “accomplish” things. Some want illumination, God, etc. and the expectation is that there are certain methods or techniques to get there. It is not like that, but that is the conditioning based on our goal oriented society. “I want that too” is the motto.
Life does not have “goals.” Consciousness keeps changing without human interaction, without the “I” DOING things.
Deconditioning is not to be done. It happens. Nature is not a method for deconditioning, but deconditioning happens through Nature as well as through other means.
Probably the last phrase does not make any sense. 🙂 I will try to explain.
I could easily say:” Sure, a walk in the park in the early hours is best for deconditioning. At least 3 times a week on an empty stomach.” But that is not so. This is not an exercise meant to fit our busy schedule, so we can accomplish deconditioning along with other things that we want in Life.
Ahnanda only shares his experiences. Ahnanda is not sharing methods or techniques.
In my experience, Nature is important to create the space for deconditioning. I did not “choose to be in Nature,” I did not go to Nature for the goal of deconditioning.
I love Nature. It is Natural for me to seek it without any purpose other than sheer enjoyment of it.
Then, deconditioning happens as my love for Nature took me away from the pursues and busy-ness of the “Office World.”
Nature is a very important part of my Life but, I incorporate the “Office world,” 5 times a week up to 40 hours per week.
If you join a religious group (the most distant from current ways of society, the better) out of a feeling rather than a thought of mental gain, deconditioning will happen as well, but you will be conditioned in a new way. Most followers are not aware of that.
Thus, in your last question: “What should we allow in ourselves in our daily life to be deconditioned?” Be open to Love. Love will do.
Love to Nature, Love to God, Love to Life, Love to someone else…
Love implies acceptance, openness for another, that will necessarily take you away from your comfort zone. That is the needed space to see things from a different perspective. Everything else after that is awareness. Most think that they love already, but they are conditioned, how come? Discover if your “love” is the one that will make you forget about yourself rather than reinforce it. Reinforcing yourself means to reinforce conditioning, and that is not the kind of love that I am talking about.
Deconditioning is not rejection of our previous conditioning. Deconditioning will give us the ability to see our old being, just like when we remember our days as little kids.
There are many ways to see the world. This vision is not about finding what is “right” and reject what is “wrong,” which is the prevalent conditioning.
Observe that every way to see the world will have its chance to manifest. It will appear and then disappear; thus there is nothing to hang onto, nothing to bring as the “truth” for change itself is not the “truth” but just another way to see the world, another vision.
Deconditioning will not give you “truth,” but openness. It is that openness what will bring fulfillment in Life… and that certainly, could be your unspoken “truth.” 🙂
Love is a pretty word. As the song goes: “All we need is Love, love. Love is all you need.”
Then comes the ideal: “The ultimate love is to love humanity.”
Bravo! I believe in that too. Great phrase. Everyone agrees on that!
Now comes the mind: “How do I get there? How do I achieve love to humanity?” “How do I achieve that state of sainthood?”
Then come religious/philosophical/scientific “methods” with clever answers to those inquires… but those answers require certain “doing” from our part.
Therefore, here comes “practice.”
After many years of trying different methods, and practicing then comes disappointment.
The ideal cannot be obtained. It is a mental thing which is fueled by our own greed.
“That is the top state of sainthood to love everyone. I want it for myself.”
That is called greed. It is the wolf dressed up as red ridding hood. Greed in the mundane is hard to recognize in the “divine.”
Where do we start?
Start with the only “real” place you could. That is with you.
Are you aware of how your mind throws violent thoughts around? It could be towards you or another. That violence cannot allow you to be Love.
See, it is not as the song says: “All we need is Love.” We ARE love.
Are you aware on how your mind dwells in the past and fantasizes about the future?
That mind cannot allow you to be Love; for Love is in the “now.” The mind cannot be in the now.
The pretty, “spiritual” words we say could be a trap for self-deception.
To try to achieve the dictionary meaning of those “good” words or virtues is like trying to hold air with our naked hands.
The clearer, the emptier your mind is of thoughts, the easier becomes to know Love without defining it, without labeling it, without describing it.
Thus, “all we need is love…” is just a catchy phrase.
“All we need is an empty mind,” is closer to Love, but … far from being a popular song.
Being is hidden behind words. The mind will not allow a strong ego to show himself as he is. To “save face” is important to maintain the integrity of the ego driven mind.
Words can be used skillfully and that skill is confusing. Out of that confusion, ego has the perfect scenario to continue his work behind the curtains.
Ahnanda says that love is when you are not. Someone else may quote that “love is to put yourself into someone else’s shoes to know his needs.” Yet another will quote their guru and say “love is empathy.” Then comes the Buddhist mind who does not use the word “love” but “compassion.”
Who is right?
The analytical mind may express that the “definition” that Ahnanda has given is worthless, if you compare that with well known Gurus who have written many books in spirituality. The analytical mind may say that the Buddhist tradition has existed for many centuries already and it must be right…
That is how a seeker confuses himself. That is how a word, the definition, to be “right” becomes more important than the experience behind the word. That is how “second class knowledge” becomes the source of authority.
That is how self-delusion starts and dishonesty will remain in the seeker’s path.
Which definition is the right one? I want to “practice” the “right one,” so I can be “right.”
That is ego in is utmost realm.
What is the difference between compassion and love?
What is the difference between love an empathy?
Trapped in words, we don’t see the reality of BEING.
Practice of any definition will not make you the definition.
Observe who you ARE. Observe what you feel.
The dishonesty of trying to live the definition of a word or a phrase is not love. Your mind is just trying to understand a word and that is the issue, the problem…
Do you understand what “you are not”?
When you “are not,” then you can be in “someone else’s shoes.” Not before.
When you “are not,” empathy flows because you are not just “you.”
When you are not, “compassion” is there for those who ARE something. You understand, you have empathy, you can put yourself into their shoes because you have been there, but now that you ARE not… you are love.
Otherwise, you are pity, you are “helping others,” you are “practice” of compassion or empathy, and that cannot be love.
Everyone is “right and wrong” at the same time. Seekers decide who is “right” or who is “wrong” and they have the reference of their own conditioning, their own pre-conceptions, their own beliefs… That is why there are many Gurus, many Gods, many “right” paths… offering different flavors according to the taste/consciousness of every seeker. 🙂