Tuesday, February 26, 2002
- ERIC BLACKSTEAD
Jan, in Ithaca the sun is frequently never seen in
Jan. and Feb.as a result of some inversion over
Cayuga Lake. Never, not for 2 or 3 months, although
there is plenty of grey light to see by.
When I 1st arrived in Santa Fe NM to visit some
friends, some years ago when I still lived in
Ithaca, I was in a state of near ecstacy for more
than a week. People would tell me "I know it's high
here, but why are you so happy"? and I'd tell them
that I hadn't seen the sun for almost 3 months.
Later, I settled down to mere happiness. I also
came to learn that there were other reasons the
high desert West made me feel so satisfied, but
that's another story.
Thanks for the story Eric. With inversions i'm
familiar too (see attached pic): each year they
happen, but never are predictable. It's funny to
see the sun set before it has descended to the
horizon... It also affects birds, for whom it gets
dark a few hours too early.
One factor is the Calima, a hot, arid and dust
laden wind, coming from the Sahara: humidity
sharply drops and people will show similar symptoms
as caused by the foehn. That only shows the body is
filled up to the brim with toxins, the
concentration of which is exceeding the"alarm"
level when the body is evaporating more than usual
amount of water. Hence euphoria/ecstasy under those
conditions is a good sign:
A yogic body shows vibrant health hence is highly
responsive but never a nuisance.
JOYCE: O dear! Where is that car backfire-never one
when its needed!
NINA: Joyce, My mom had a cure for hiccups:
frightening me with a loud yell. I suppose it
worked once, but after years of loud yells
following the first or second hiccup, I have come
to associate loud yelling with hiccups. The two go
hand-in-hand now. Perhaps if you are expecting or
hoping for the car backfire, the universe is
scheming to surprise you with something else. Or
perhaps no surprise is your surprise.
JOYCE: Yes, laugh. At a Dzogchen retreat, students
may be trained to give loud yell like PHAT! to
break through habitual clinging to mental
proliferation. Unfortunately, this does not work
when you are doing it for yourself since by the
time you get to shouting youve already woken up
(for a bit). Also hard to do when travelling in a
bus. Works well when someone ese is appointed PHAT!
Shouter as then it is for a time unexpected. But,
this is really only a finger pointing to get the
idea across since, on occassion, some students
think that cultivating mental proliferation is what
we are supposed to be doing-laugh.
Setting kitchen timer randomly, setting out to
remain in awareness only and then seeing where mind
is when timer goes off is fun. I have a tape by a
Rinpoche, theres Lamas chanting as only they
can..dudmdudmmmdmdmroar rumble-and then soft
Rinpoche voice. "This is all there is, nothing to
be done, nothing needed". Then more chanting and
then repetition. So-sheer bright awareness moments
triggered from Rinpoche's voice and then watching
mind sink like a stone -quite fun. At least its my
idea of fun. Blast of Tibetan horns is also good.
But, I do this in a relaxed way, not out of any
particular need to get away from "here" into
"there". Just curious. Rather like Nina whose mind
does not seem to be at all "murky". Surprise is
good, no-surprise is fine. Being a recovering sukha
addict I enjoy surprises and anything Guru Universe
hands out is welcome here.
JAN BARENDRECHT: The probably most old-fashioned
trick to stop hiccupping is to hold the breath as
long as possible: it is similar to stretching,
which gets any muscle out of cramp. The hiccup is
unlikely to disappear at the first hold of breath
as without some pranayama basics, that doesn't last
long enough. For those who want some practice, fast
drinking of hot and spicy tea (like strong ginger
tea) surely will cause hiccupping :)
Any version of enlightenment or non-enlightenment
and any person achieving it or otherwise is pure
fantasy. It is "pure", because who is fantasizing?
Perhaps all is Buddha-activity?
"That is, it can't be discussed as achievable
unless achieved, and this is the rationale for
inventing a Buddha-figure to whom such an
enlightenment can be attributed."
The concept of "enlightenment" is an interesting
postulation put out by postulants-those who enjoy
playing with religious order. Beyond being just
assumed to be true, it also presumes certain
principles and preconditions. Quite an interesting
and time consuming play with "limits".
But any claim or postulate remains to be proven.
And the paradox remains that "enlightenment", not a
conceptual complex, is beyond comprehension of mind
because conceptual mind is a formative structure
and so it must conceive in terms that are meant to
correspond to something (rather like
scientists/localized beings who have all the
answers until the next question comes along to
destroy all previous structures or car backfires,
or life backfires). Enlightened mind does not have
any real qualities of being but neither is it non
existent -cannot be said to be a mere nothing.
All beings are already "liberated"-does anything
hang around for more than a few moments? Or is this
just a problem with my attention span-laugh. A
"kalpa" is actually a flash, a mind moment. There
are no sentient beings and there is self-liberation
of sentience all the time. Nothing else but this,
"As space is always freshly appearing and never
filled, so the mind without limits and ever aware.
Gazing with sheer awareness into sheer awareness,
habitual, abstract structures melt into the
fruitful springtime of Buddhahood.
As the darkness of night, even if it were to last a
thousand years, could not conceal the rising sun,
so countless ages of conflict and suffering cannot
conceal the innate radiance of Mind." -Tilopa's
Song To Naropa-
The source of our advantage as human beings and
also our problem is what we call the mind. The
problem is not thought itself. Thought is the
medium through which we interact with all the data
which the senses absorb. The problem is that we
interpret input-data subjectively, drawing
conclusions about everything we experience. There
are three primary aspects of human consciousness:
the menatal sapect or thinking process; the
emotional aspect, which is the feeling process and
the moving aspect, ie, our ambulatory functioning.
Typically data is first recognized by the mind even
when it is felt by the body or emotions. We are
feeling and moving beings but our main form of
interaction with the world is, by training, mental.
If we were able to have Draw-no-conclusions-mind,
input would be viewed with perfect objectivity so
we would see things, and feel things and move in
relationship to things directly, without any
qualifications. The body simply does what what
instinct requires, but the mind is tremendously
manipulative. Even before birth, during pregnancy
the mind begins to develop a particular strtegy
that it will use essentially forever unless
something alters that. And the strategy is always
related directly to the minds fear of extinction.
The impressions made in infancy are unbelievably
strong and as we grow up and have more experience
they are strongly reinforced. By the time we are
mature adults we have this immense mountain of data
to substantiate our neurotic strtegies. It is like
an upside down mountain, however, because the
entire mass of data rests primarily on those
initial impressions recieved in infancy. The
possibility for dealing with this problem of mind
is simply to sever the minds relationship to
conclusive or analytical thinking. The mind is like
a computer that analyzes every bit of stimuli that
is picked up by the senses. It then selects the
stimuli that reinforce survival, and rejects what
doesn't support it. If you sever the minds
analytical process, you have a senile and impotent
dictator, just a figurehead with no power
whatsoever. This severing process is what could be
called Draw-no-conclusions- mind.
Draw-no-conclusions-mind is enlightened life and
there are particular ways to of practicing that
will tend to to attract that state. This
enlightened side of "beingness" is not attracted
from outside of oneself, but rather by eliminating
those things that mask its presence in us already.
Another way of speaking about Draw-no-conclusions
-mind is to say that "the body knows". "Knows
what?" you ask. That question in itself already
reflects a conclusion. "The body knows" means just
what it says without qualification. The body knows
and at the same time the body rarely expresses that
knowledge because mind enforces such a total
control on all the elements of the being.
Mathew, I particularly like the poetic image you've
selected to illustrate this point:
By the time we are mature adults we have this
immense mountain of data to substantiate our
neurotic strtegies. It is like an upside down
mountain, however, because the entire mass of data
rests primarily on those initial impressions
recieved in infancy.
as well as your characterization of
GLORIA LEE contributes
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world--
or have you too