Buddhism Explained by Alan Watts

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Reality

Been experimenting a bit with meditation. I try to, give or take, do 2 hours of meds a day. I find it is definately easier and seems to be more beneficial for me if I do those 2 hours in divided sessions, rather than doing the 2 hours all in one sitting.

I have also been feeling unwell, been getting a lot of physical aches and pains that I need to take medicine for to get some relief. I suffer from a chronic neurological illness that makes me have mobility problems as well as extreme tiredness at times.

One thing I have learned is that being awakened/enlightened doesn’t change things like sickness and death. Even the Buddha himself got sick and died. I have learnt to accept my physical limitations, being awakened doesn’t change those.

One of the four noble truths is impermanence. Nobody gets to escape shedding their mortal coil, that is not what being awakened/enlightened is all about. I’m sure there are such things as miracles, we’ve all witnessed things that we call miracles, but being awakened isn’t about performing miracles. It isn’t about developing super powers or psychic tricks. Don’t get me wrong such things can happen, but they aren’t the reason for meditating, and they aren’t the goal – if you aren’t careful you can get attached to mystical stuff and the illusory self will identify with it and then you are right back where you started.

Being awakened just means seeing reality for what it is, understanding mind and the true nature of things. You still keep whatever physical form you have with all it’s limitations, you still have the same brain and the odd quirks and traits that go with it. The only thing that’s really changed is you know yourself and can see things as they really are, and this creates a feeling of being completely at peace with yourself and everything around you.

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Who Are You? ii

There is something important Christianity has tried to suppress over the years, and it has been done very effectively by putting Jesus on a pedestal and making him out to be a higher being than us. This disinformation was created by priestly classes who enjoy the special privilege that religion brings to them and so it is in their interests that people never know the truth of who they are.

Jesus was deliberately elevated to the position of an omnipresent God outside ourselves. He was made into an idol, he was worshipped and once again an altar was created and so was the bizarre idea we need the blood of Jesus to go to heaven, that we are hopeless sinners who constantly need to ask forgiveness for our sins. It’s a load of nonsense. It is a way of programming our thinking to trap us into never knowing our true selves. It is an insanity – it doesn’t free our minds.

The upper classes they don’t like the idea of us all walking around realizing that we are Jesus equal, that we are the Buddha – that we can all do the same things these people did and more. Oh no that won’t do at all, they can’t have people walking around like that. They can’t have equality, it would be a disaster for the establishment and the wonky system they have created. So anyone in the past that realized the truth, like Jesus himself did, usually came to a sticky end, and the information was suppressed and demonized as blasphemy. Nowadays in Western society people aren’t burnt at the stake anymore or tortured for knowing the truth; they tend to be ridiculed, isolated and portrayed as mad. Some fanatical Christians will even accuse awakened people of doing the work of the devil and scare their congregation into remaining trapped in a false reality.

Interestingly Jesus himself was accused of doing the works of the devil. (Mathew 12:24)

So how do you know the truth? You need to quieten the mind and know yourself.

Meditate.

When you meditate regularly, you begin to understand the nature of the mind. With practise, you eventually gain the insight that you are not your thoughts, that the stuff you identify with as being the self is an illusion. Once you understand this you start to wake up and see things as they really are.

For many this can be a frightening realization; depending on how many layers of conditioning there are and how important that conditioning is to their sense of identity. So for some people it is best to go slowly with meditation and work their way up gradually, get some guidance if need be from experienced meditators, go on a retreat so you have the support of other people around you – cause this is your mind and you’re the one who has to live in it. If a person has built complex mental structures and they identify with those as being who they are, if those structures come tumbling down it can send people mad, so go easy if you need to. People should go at a pace they feel comfortable with. Just walk the path one step at a time and you will get there in the end.

I started with 3 minutes meditation a day and struggled to focus at first, my mind would be all over the place. I used an app on my phone to time my meditation and tell me when it was time to stop. I just kept doing it every day, and that is what is important. Regular daily practise. I gradually worked my way up by adding an extra minute each week. Now I can do nearly two hours of meditation a day and I actually look forward to doing it; but when I first started I didn’t really like it very much.

Some folks are so busy they don’t have time to do that much meditation. That’s OK. I think for them they should work their way up to roughly 15 minutes of sitting meditation a day and once this has become a regular part of their daily routine, they should try to watch themselves as they go about their daily life, do some self observation in the midst of activity; this will help them gain insight into how their mind works. You can meditate at any time really, whatever activity you’re doing can become a meditation.

This is easier to do at first if you set a timer to go off at random moments of the day, and when that alarm goes off, spend five minutes or so being mindful of whatever it is you are doing. Sometimes it helps to look at your hands and just feel the sensations in them, this can help bring you into the present moment, you can be aware of any part of the body or all of it at once, feel the different sensations, the feet on the ground, the feeling of walking, the feeling of being sat in a chair, the feeling of the cup in your hand, the breeze on your face. Is there any tension? What is causing the tension? Can you let go of the tension? This can be a meditation.

If your head is racing with many thoughts and chatting incessantly to itself, just watch it, watch what you’re thinking about without becoming attached or emotional, just watch. See if you can notice any tension or agitation in your body and how it correlates to what you are thinking about. Can you relax the tension you feel and does this in turn effect your thoughts and vice versa. Ask yourself at random moments in the day: Where am I? Focus on your surroundings, be present in the moment. This is also a meditation.

If you manage to get to the stage where you can just watch your thoughts and you are able to do some self observation, ask yourself who is the one doing the observing? How can you be thinking and watching your thoughts at the same time? Where is the presence of mind? Is the presence with the one watching, or the one doing the thinking?

Can you still be consious even when you’re not thinking?

Can you be aware of what is going on around you without thinking?

If you are conscious and aware of your surroundings when you are not thinking – Who are you?

The idea is to awaken,  and you do this by realizing the fake self we all create in our heads, the conditioning/programming that we identify with and think is us, isn’t actually who we are.

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Find your true self

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Christians can replace the word Buddha, with the word Christ. Us Westerners have grown up with the teachings of Jesus and that’s fine.

Be wary of religion though, be careful it doesn’t become a cage for your mind. I think many religions have lost the point of the original teachings, and instead of freeing people from their ego, they add more fuel to it, the ego or maya self is a tricky bugger. It doesn’t care what it identifies with. It will quite happily identify with being a hopeless sinner, a devotee, priest, mystic or great teacher; as it will identify with a job title, career, leader, patriot, race, class, consumer, victim or anything else it can conjure up and trick you into associating with. None of these things are who you are.

Religion can become a trap. It teaches people to depend on something or someone outside themselves – and that isn’t freedom.

The truth is everything you need is already within you. The Buddha, Jesus they point to a path, but you have to walk that path yourself and put the effort in.
Not everyone likes meditation, especially in this busy modern world with all it’s distractions, screens and stimulation. It can feel like hard work, and not much fun; but of all the tools available it is definately the most effective. I started at just 3 minutes a day at first, and worked my way up each week. I found this worked well for me. You do a little meditation each day and gradually work your way up. Regular practise is more important in the beginning than length of time spent doing it. If you try to do too much sitting meditation in the beginning, it will put you off and you won’t want to do it anymore, you’ll just see it as a chore. So you do what feels comfortable for you and fit it in to your life. If you add an extra minute to your practise each week, in a year you will be doing an hour of meditation a day, and at that point it won’t feel like a chore or a bore anymore.

Ego and Weapons of Mass Destruction, not a Good Combination.

Did an hour and 35 minutes of meditation. Still got some ways to go, the insanity is still there, although it’s more like a background noise now than something I identify with. Like a radio I can tune out of.
 
The most difficult thing I am finding, is how to describe what I am feeling to other people. I am not just walking this path for myself. Awakening takes a long time, but at this time we don’t have that much time. There has to be a way to explain what is, in as few words as possible, a way that transcends cultural and language barriers, so people everywhere can immediately understand what the path to freedom is. Something that cuts straight through the conditioning and helps people see clearly.
 
People of this age need to wake up fast, unlike previous ages, the maya self now has the power to destroy more than ever before. An ego mixed with weapons of mass destruction is a bad combination.
 
There needs to be a mass awakening on earth, not just a few enlightened beings dotted here and there, no that won’t do, there needs to be a mass blooming everywhere – that is what will save the day and bring peace and balance back to the earth. We all need to lose our egos, or at least the majority of us do, cause the majority can pull the rest along if need be (;

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Stick to the Path

I’m still seeing Buddhas everywhere in almost every thing I look at. A side effect of the hour long meditation I did yesterday. I feel a bit euphoric, perhaps even a wee bit trippy – I am trying not to get attached to this pleasant mental state, as I’m guessing it is also part of the Maya self. It could be the ego trying to distract me from meditation practise with nice hallucinations. I watch, without thinking, It is insane that a part of my mind is working against me like this, I don’t fight it though, it isn’t really my enemy, it is a mental illness that I can hopefully sort out if I just keep walking this path…

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Who Are You?

I did an hour of meditation today. At one point I started seeing buddhas meditating in the stones and the flowers. I felt really lucid man. I didn’t get attached to the patterns and images I saw, hallucinations I guess, probably best not to get distracted by them, I’m not sure what they were, just watched them without thinking and felt this calmness inside.
 
When I got up I noticed a butterfly sitting next to me and it flew away. The corvids and seagulls were gliding about in the breeze having a great time. They are normally at war with each other, but today they just shared the sky and it was great watching them glide together.
 
I felt sorry for Chack Chack not being able to join them. I wondered if maybe I did the wrong thing and should have let the vet put her down, perhaps it was mean of me keeping her alive knowing she wouldn’t be able to fly again. Chack Chack looked at me and I got a feeling that if she wanted to die she would just stop eating or would let the cats get her; and I don’t know if she was talking to me in a wordless way or not, but I got a sense that she wanted to be alive even though she can’t fly. (It might be my ego self playing tricks on me I don’t know.)
 
I’m deliberately avoiding the news, caught a bit of it this morning.  I’m tired of conspiracy theories. I feel the best thing I can do to help the world, is to walk the path. Free my mind of this madness. I can’t do much about healing the insanity of other human beings until I have cured the insanity in myself. It’s the same insanity we all share, this egoic self that constantly talks to itself. This whole world of man is crazy.
 
Adverts and movies are constantly trying to show us what is missing in our lives, yet when we get those things we still feel empty, and ironically this is why consumerism works so well, we keep chasing after stuff we desire and think we need and the wheel keeps on turning but never getting anywhere. 
 
We’ve lost touch with our true nature. Our real self isn’t the ego that we are conditioned to believe is who we are. We aren’t our thoughts. Meditation is a tool that helps you remember, helps you let go of the ego and be free.