I still have very many thoughts, my mind wanders a lot, even though I’m trying to be mindful.
Don’t worry about this, try to keep your mind in the present.
Whatever there is that arises in the mind or the heart, just watch it, let go of it. Don’t even wish to be rid of thought, then the mind will reach a natural state, no discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow, no “me” and no “you”, no self at all, just what there is.
When you walk, no need to do anything special, simply walk and see what there is. No need to go to a cave or cling to isolation. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It’s very simple. Hold on to nothing.
It’s as though you’re walking down a road, periodically you run into obstacles. When you meet difficulties, see them and overcome them by letting go. Don’t think about the obstacles you’ve passed already, don’t worry about the ones you haven’t seen yet. Stay in the present. Don’t worry about the length of the road or a destination either.
Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, do not cling to it, and eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice becomes automatic and effort becomes effortless. All things will come and go of themselves.
Sitting hours on end is not necessary. Some people think that the longer you sit the wiser you must be. I’ve seen chickens sit on their nests for days on end.
Wisdom comes from being mindful in all postures. Your practice should begin as you awaken in the morning and continue until you fall asleep. What is important is only that you keep aware, whether you’re working or sitting or going to the bathroom.
”—Jack Kornfield - The Eightfold Path for the Householder
Stare at the white dot in the centre of the red circle. The longer – the better (two minutes and you’ll get a much stronger effect). Always try to keep focused on the white dot. It’ll be worth it.
Soon after staring, you’ll start to see a thin rim of light around the edge. Don’t stop staring though yet! Wait another minute – keeping your head perfectly still.
Once you’ve done this, slowly – move your head backwards – making sure to keep your eyes focused on the dot at all times. The circle’s rim will glow brilliantly with true Cyan! Keep on moving your head slowly backwards, and it’ll glow very hot!…
About this mind… In truth there is nothing really wrong with it. It is intrinsically pure. Within itself it’s already peaceful. That the mind is not peaceful these days is because it follows moods. The real mind doesn’t have anything to it, it is simply (an aspect of) Nature. It becomes peaceful or agitated because moods deceive it. The untrained mind is stupid. Sense impressions come and trick it into happiness, suffering, gladness and sorrow, but the mind’s true nature is none of those things. That gladness or sadness is not the mind, but only a mood coming to deceive us. The untrained mind gets lost and follows these things, it forgets itself. Then we think that it is we who are upset or at ease or whatever.
But really this mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful… really peaceful! Just like a leaf which is still as long as no wind blows. If a wind comes up the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind — the “fluttering” is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t “flutter.” If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions we will be unmoved.
Our practice is simply to see the Original Mind. So we must train the mind to know those sense impressions, and not get lost in them. To make it peaceful. Just this is the aim of all this difficult practice we put ourselves through.
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”—T.S. Eliot
To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior. We catch ourselves one zillion times as once again, whether we like it or not, we harden into resentment, bitterness, righteous indignation— harden in any way, even into a sense of relief, a sense of inspiration.
Every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Halifax, Taiwan, Beirut, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, “Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?” Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, “Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?”
…things are empty. They are not as opaque and solid as they seem: they are transparent and fluid. They are not as singular and straightforward as they seem: they are complex and ambiguous. They are not only defined by philosophy, science, and religion: they are evoked through the play of allusions, paradoxes, and jokes. They cannot be pinned down with certainty: they trigger perplexity, amazement, and doubt.
“What the Buddha actually suggested is that it is the avoidance of the elusiveness of the object of desire that is the origin of suffering. The problem is not desire: it is clinging to, or craving, a particular outcome, one in which there is no remainder, in which the object is completely under our power…The trick as far as Buddhism is concerned, is to accept the fact that no experience can ever be complete as we would wish, that no object can ever satisfy completely. In the right-handed path, the Buddha’s followers turned away from the pursuit of sensory pleasure, but in the left-handed path, they allowed themselves to come face-to-face with the gap that desire always comes up against, as well as any pleasure that it might bring.”—Mark Epstein
"Frankly," I said, "I’m looking for the Pearl of Great Price."
He slipped his hand into his pocket, drew it out, AND GAVE IT TO ME. It was just like that! I was dumbfounded. Then I began to protest: “You don’t want to give it to me! Don’t you want to keep it for yourself? But…”
When I kept this up, he said finally, “Look, is it better to have the Pearl of Great Price, or to give it away?”
Well, now I have it. I don’t tell anyone. From some there would just be disbelief and ridicule.
"You have the Pearl of Great Price? Hah!" Others would be jealous, or someone might steal it.
Yes, I do have it. But there’s that question - “Is it better to have it, or to give it away?” How long will that question rob me of my joy?
“I haven’t gotten rid of one neurosis. Not one. The only thing that has changed is that while before these neuroses were huge monsters that possessed me, now they’re like little Shmoos that I invite over for tea. I say, ‘Oh, sexual perversity! Haven’t seen you in weeks!’ They’re sort of my style now. When your neuroses become your style, then you’ve got it made.”—Ram Dass
Reality testing (or reality checking) is a common method used by people to determine whether or not they are dreaming. It involves performing an action and observing if the results are consistent with results expected when awake. By practicing these tests during waking life, one may eventually decide to perform such a test while dreaming, which may fail and let the dreamer realize they are dreaming.
The pain test—”Pinch me, I think I’m dreaming!”—is only effective in very few dreams. Stephen LaBerge’s book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming shows that dreamed action produces real effects on the brain and body. Therefore, if the dreamer pinches his or herself, he or she indeed feels pain but it is unlikely to induce lucidity, because the schema for pain in the dreamer’s brain activates and the dreamer feels pain even if there is no real physical stimulus. This same logic applies for other sensations, such as pleasure, heat, cold and a variety of other feelings the dreamer could experience in the waking world.
Looking at text or one’s digital watch (remembering the words or the time), looking away, and looking back. The text or time will probably have changed randomly and radically at the second glance or contain strange letters and characters. (Analog watches do not usually change in dreams, while text and digital watches have a great tendency to do so.) A digital watch or clock may feature strange characters or the numbers all out of order.
Flipping a light switch. Light levels rarely change as a result of the switch flipping in dreams.
Looking into a mirror; in dreams, reflections from a mirror often appear to be blurred, distorted, incorrect, or frightening.
Looking at the ground beneath one’s feet or at one’s hands. If one does this within a dream the difference in appearance of the ground or one’s hands from the normal waking state is often enough to alert the conscious to the dream state.
Sleep Paralysis and Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction
Might have had an episode of sleep paralysis last night. I think it’s happened before; I feel an awareness of existing amidst two planes of reality but being unable to function properly in either, however, this occasion was especially frightening.
In the past I’ve felt things, like vibrations, and once, it seemed like a barrage of balloons were hitting me in the face, but this time, it felt like something on my bed was actually trying to grab me.
I remember trying to roll over, but I couldn’t move. I tried to look at ‘it’ but I couldn’t move my head. I also think my eyes were open, but they weren’t really working.
I was convinced I was being molested by some kind of demon. I didn’t occur to me that this was impossible. It was completely acceptable that a monster from my dreams had followed me back to the land of (nearly-)wakefulness, where it had a physical form and it could hurt me.
It seemed to last for a few minutes, when I heard a short, loud industrial sound, as if it had barked at me, and I think it just disappeared.
Hallucinations are common during sleep paralysis.
From Wikipedia …the paralysis may be accompanied by terrifying hallucinations (hypnopompic or hypnagogic) and an acute sense of danger. Sleep paralysis is particularly frightening to the individual because of the vividness of such hallucinations. The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it even more likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream, since completely fanciful or dream-like objects may appear in the room alongside one’s normal vision.
The article also mentions that visceral buzzing and loud sounds are part of the many perceptions associated with sleep paralysis. During previous episodes I’ve heard a noise or word that repeats over and over, often reminding me of the sound of a skipping record.
Some scientists have proposed this condition as an explanation for alien abductions and ghostly encounters. A study by Susan Blackmore and Marcus Cox (the Blackmore-Cox study) of the University of the West of England supports the suggestion that reports of alien abductions are related to sleep paralysis rather than to temporal lobe lability…
Interestingly, I was reading a book by Susan Blackmore, before I went to sleep.
“We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”—Kalu Rinpoche
“Whatever I can be aware of, whatever I notice or conceptualize, whether in the field of sense perception or intrapsychically, is always an object of my awareness - never awareness itself. I can become aware of being aware, but when this happens, what I have done is take this reflexive awareness as an object of experience. What I cannot do is be aware of the source of awareness in the act of being aware. In other words, I cannot directly observe my observing self. If I try, it recedes each time I try to observe ‘it’; I only turn the act of awareness into another object of awareness in an infinite regression.”—
Engler, J. 2003. Being Somebody and Being Nobody: A re-examination of the Understanding of Self. In: Safran, J.D. ed. Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue. Boston, Wisdom, pp. 35 -79.
Pahnke designed the questionnaire he used to measure the occurrence of a mystical experience specifically for the experiment. No similar questionnaires existed at the time (Larson, 1986; Rue, 1985; Silverman, 1983). Pahnke decided to measure the mystical experience in reference to eight distinct experiential categories.
The categories include 1) sense of unity, 2) transcendence of time and space, 3) sense of sacredness, 4) sense of objective reality, 5) deeply felt positive mood, 6) ineffability, 7) paradoxicality and 8) transiency.
02 The understanding that in the eyes of God – all people…were all equally important and equally loved by God. I have had other transcendent experiences, however, this one was important because it reminded and comforted me that God is truly and unconditionally loving and present.
03 Freedom from every conceivable thing including time, space, relationships, self, etc… It was as if the embodied ‘me’ experienced ultimate transcendence – even of myself.
04 A non-self self held/suspended in an almost tactile field of light.
05 That in every horrible experience or frightening experience, if you stay with it, enter into it, you will find God. That the horror is in reality only an illusion and God lies beneath it all. It has become a guiding principal in my life.
07 The utter joy and freedom of letting go – without anxiety – without direction – beyond ego self.
08 Collapse of ordinary space and time sense. Realization of unity of existence and relativity of ordinary consciousness… I have had glimpses of this before – but this was profound and sustained.
09 The ‘knowing’ was so powerful and yet personal. Experiencing the Beloved and falling in love.
13 The sense that all is One, that I experienced the essence of the Universe and the knowing that God asks nothing of us except to receive love.
17 I became like a point of awareness able to travel inside myself, others and the outside world. No reference to time or space… The feeling of joy and sadness at the same time – paradoxical.
21 The experience of death, which initially was very uncomfortable, followed by absolute peace and being in the presence of God. It was so awesome to be with God that words can’t describe the experience.
23 To cease to ‘BE’, as I understand it, was not frightening. It was safe and much greater than I have words for or understanding of. Whatever is larger than the state of being is what was holding me.
27 ‘Surrender’ is intensely powerful. To ‘let go’ and become enveloped in the beauty of – in this case – music – was enormously spiritual.
28 The feeling of no boundaries – where I didn’t know where I ended and my surroundings began. Somehow I was able to comprehend what oneness is.
29 The profound grief I experienced as if all of the pain and sadness of the world were passing through me cell by cell tearing apart my being.
32 The breath of God/wind/and my breath are all the same… I really enjoy the deep knowings or truths and laughing about them with ‘God’.
36 It opened my third eye – I could see many spiritual beliefs that I hold/held and linked them – a more cohesive and comprehensive spiritual landscape became apparent to me.
37 The experience expanded my conscious awareness permanently. It allows me to let go of negative ideas faster. I accept ‘what is’ easier.
39 [I experienced] a reality that was clear, beautiful, bright and joyful… In short, this experience opened me up (gave me a tangible vision) of what I think is attainable every day.
40 I felt as if tons of information about ‘what is’ was being downloaded quickly into my knowing/understanding.
43 The part that continues to stick out for me was ‘knowing’ and ‘seeing’ and ‘experiencing’ with every sense and fiber of my being that all things are connected.
45 When I confronted my shadow and yelled ‘What do you want?’ and it disappeared in a puff of smoke.
46 The complete and utter loss of self… The sense of unity was awesome… I now truly do believe in God as an ultimate reality.
47 My conversation with God (golden streams of light) assuring me that everything on this plane is perfect; but I do not have the physical body/mind to fully understand.
50 I remember feeling a profound sense of loss of [my family]… I remember after I resolved my fears, the shift then went to joy.