Still More Contemplations

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The sense of unity is inseparable from the sense of difference. You wouldn't know yourself, or what you meant by self, unless at the same time you had the feeling of something other.

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth."

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is."

We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment."

Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know."

We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain."

"No work for love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now."

How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god."

We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin."

Some believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their estates, because they are born heirs to them."

The more we try to catch hold of the present moment the more elusive it
becomes. It is like trying to clutch water in ones hands. The harder we
grip, the more it slips through our fingers."

To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4, 320, 000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it."

But at any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is.

In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all.

So then, the relationship of self to other is the complete realization that loving yourself is impossible without loving everything defined as other than yourself.

The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.

We identify in our exerience a differentiation between what we do and what happens to us.

You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.

We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment.

A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool: the shape alone is stable, for the substance is a stream of energy going in at one end and out at the other. We are particularly and temporarily identifiable wiggles in a stream that enters us in the form of light, heat, air, water, milk, bread, fruit, beer, beef Stroganoff, caviar, and pate de foie gras. It goes out as gas and excrement - and also as semen, babies, talk, politics, commerce, war, poetry, and music. And philosophy.

But at any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is. If you awaken from this illusion, and you understand that black implies white, self implies other, life implies death - or shall I say, death implies life - you can conceive yourself.

The sense of wrong is simply failure to see where something fits into a pattern, to be confused as to the hierarchical level upon which an event belongs.

You are the eternal thing that comes and goes that appears - now as John Jones, now as Mary Smith, now as Betty Brown - and so it goes, forever and ever and ever.

We do not "come into" into this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves, " the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.

It is obvious that the only interesting people are interested people, and to be completely interested is to have forgotten about "I".

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.

You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.

It seems that I know that I know. What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know."

Perhaps there is no other knowing than the mere competence of the act. If at the heart of one's being, there is no self to which one ought to be true, then sincerity is simply nerve; it lies in the unabashed vigor of the pretense. But pretense is only pretense when it is assumed that the act is not true to the agent. Find the agent.

The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality, to look at the finger pointing the way and then to suck it for comfort rather than follow it.

We are seeing, then, that our experience is altogether momentary.
From one point of view, each moment is so
elusive and so brief that we cannot even
think about it before it has gone. From
another point of view, this moment is always
here, since we know no other moment than the
present moment. It is always dying, always
becoming past more rapidly than imagination
can conceive. Yet at the same time it is
always being born, always new, emerging just
as rapidly from that complete unknown we
call the future. Thinking about it almost
makes you breathless.

When your eyes are functioning well you don't see your eyes. If your eyes are imperfect you see spots in front of them. That means there are some lesions in the retina or wherever, and because your eyes aren't working properly, you feel them. In the same way, you don't hear your ears. If you have a ringing in your ears it means there's something wrong with your ears. Therefore, if you do feel yourself, there must be something wrong with you. Whatever you have, the sensation of I is like spots in front of your eyes - it means something's wrong with your functioning.

This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

We are at war between consciousness and nature, between the desire for permanence and the fact of flux. It is ourself against ourselves.

We must see that consciousness is neither an isolated soul nor the mere function of a single nervous system, but of that totality of interrelated stars and galaxies which makes a nervous system possible.