Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘void’

A wonderful observation was made by Venkat Rao. People desire for things around them to be “legible.” He was quoting someone else, but he’s brought a lot of people’s attention to the concept. In this context, Legibility refers to how easy it is to understand the purpose and the meaning of a thing, not just a text, but anything.

On the very legible end of things is something like an office chair, or a cup of coffee.  These are designed by humans, completely contrived for the types of purposes that anyone can plainly gather from their adaptation to these intentions.  On the far side of illegibility is the pattern of plants in a forest.  Not to say that it’s random, but without an extremely specialized understanding, the patterning, the whys, the meaning of it is indecipherable.  The only other way to access a complicated image like a forest or a city is to simply experience the gestalt of it, the sense of it as you are there, in the moment.

Rao gives us examples of problems that arise when we humans try and impose legibility. His easiest example is the growth of a city.  Old cities have grown in such a complex pattern over decades, centuries, even millenia, and with such a collection of complex human interactions, that their patterning is as nuanced as the trees and ferns of the forest floor.  When planners come along and try to work out a method to set up a city artificially, it so often fails miserably because there is a forced legibility (indeed, it’s hard to imagine making policies about things without first rendering them legible, but for policymakers to grok the complexities necessary to understand things like city growth is more than most mere politicians can muster).

The important points here are that legibility is highest in man-made things and that people desire legibility.  In fact, Rao cites an interesting incident at a neurology clinic where a black and white checkerboard pattern is used to establish a “baseline” of someone’s brain activity, a “calm state.”  When the patient asked the doctor “shouldn’t you use something more neutral, white noise, perhaps?”  The doctor responds, “Oh no, people’s brains go wild when we show a random pattern, because they work hard to grasp at some underlying structure.”

Perhaps it is the fruit of Maharishi’s meditation on who am I? perhaps it is my vows, or just observation.  But recently I have found myself truly switching identity experiences rather easily.  After actual decades of wanting so much to be a woman, and an entire decade of being mostly submissive, I find myself being a true switch.  I can stop what we’re doing at home to force slap her ass, make sure she’s knowing she’s in submission, and leave her begging for more as we’re walking into town. Yes, I can still kiss a whip, scrub someone’s floor, and pine to get held down and fucked.  Honestly, I could beg God for either role just as sincerely, or forget the whole thing entirely.  All of it is surrender!

If you don’t build it deliberately, but let it form, like actions of nature, it isn’t going to have the same kind of legibility of an invention.  I smile this smile that old ladies and children seem to find irresistable.  I alternatively flush a bit from some men’s heat, and then wet some girl’s panties by our immediate mutual knowledge that I would chain her up alongside the others and perhaps horsewhip the living hell out of her in half a second.  And I gain trusting giggles and secret intimacies when I unwrap my Arab kuffiya and smile a blushing conspiratorial sister smile.  No one seems to try to cheat me anymore, in fact it seems they’re mostly quite generous with me.  My employees are artistic and seem satisfied.  I drive hard bargains with a shy voice.  My students mostly do what I say, alternatively seduced, in love, and afraid. My personality is a forest rather than a coffee cup, mysterious to even myself.

Then this all generalizes into other things.  I find myself more generous with money, and managing it all quite differently because I don’t even know what it is anymore.  It seems to have no value at all.  I don’t mean that in a naive sense, but in the sense that we’re all dying so quickly, what the fuck?  Perhaps I will find the capacity for even more generosity, or that great fabled freedom to just cast a fortune away in a moment, without a thought, and the power to create another kind or another kind or even a different kind than that….  How can I lack patience in this case?  How can I worry any sense of morality?  I tested this by lying outright a few times, and find the only thing I have that could be called a “conscience” is confusion brought on by blood sugar levels.

My friends seem to stumble with their reactions.  And I think it’s because I’ve become illegible.  So I do try and maintain some consistency around them lately, but it feels so stilted, and I notice that any real observer should be able to see through the plastic of contrivance. People want you to have an identity though, something to pin down and relate to with a known set of codes.  My girlfriend, fortunately, is blessed with enough innocence to just tell me when she doesn’t get what’s going on, and to roll with it.  She’s uncaring about social norms enough to either not notice or not care when I mix gender, dominance, social class signals, fashions, and actions with the kind of attitude that I would pack a backpack for a walk in the woods.  Toilet paper is good for so many things, I’ll bring a whole roll of that with me for even a day or two in the woods.

Read Full Post »

I put Kuan Yin on my computer desktop. A beautiful purple picture of the goddess….  I surrounded it with a purple gradient and there she sits.  The first day I tried to strike the same hand positions, since a friend had suggested that iconography was meant to be instructive in this way.  I would have sworn she smiled at me when I tried. I don’t mean that to be silly at all….  in that second, just as someone rang me on my phone, I thought she was smiling at me.

Since this, I have felt almost as if she watches over me all the time. Money seems to come from nowhere, a lot of new opportunities show up for me. Maybe my questions are being answered. I have been writing on the backs of the paper prayer sheets we use here in Taiwan. I don’t know if anyone ever does that, but I just write my question again and again, as beautifully or as rawly, or as simply or as ramblingly as I feel I must, “Who am I?” Now, this isn’t to make a mantra of the question, but it is to spur myself to trust the universe to answer it! To wake myself up to my own desire to know it, which I am afraid is a naive desire. When I finish two dozen of them, I will burn them at the chimney of the Temple of the Boddhisattva.

Some of my questions are already getting answered.  Long ago someone related the story of his long exchange with a zen master.  The master had told him that Karma was also an illusion, and it was kind of like how you wake up in the morning, and you go to the job you had the day before, and do some of the same things….  And I had been wondering, how do I come to see this for myself? In fact, I’ve asked the same zen master the same question, but he has yet to get back to me.

Yet last night I read someone paraphrasing something Sadhguru said, “Your likes and dislikes are your karma.” That’s it! Equanimity towards likes and dislikes, or at least seeing the impermanence of them is the key to seeing the illusion in them….  they are obviously dross.  “If I cut your hand off, would you still be you?” “If you had never had your favorite pet as a child, would you still be you?” “If you had never known your favorite pass-time, would you still be you?”

As I chat on the Skype phone, or type back and forth with friends, I see Kuan Yin’s beautifully placid smile. I find myself reflecting it back, bringing some equanimity to situations where I might otherwise get sucked into a maelstrom, even lending me more wisdom than I really possess. I swear she smiles a more brightly at times, filling my heart with clarity and equanimity.

I have returned to questioning “who am I?” Until recently I’d lost faith that the question could be answered, and I found myself stuck in ruts for months. Instead of plunging into the unknown for days to finally emerge with new knowledge, I just had the slightly lock-jawed and bitter taste of stagnation….

But in writing on those golden prayer papers, I have been emboldening myself to ask the question again, looking inside to grasp the answer. And I find myself standing at the doors of silence again. That question, of all of them I am aware of, brings me to the sense of impermanence and lack of inherence more clearly than anything else.

The feeling I get is of settling into a place that is both familiar and alien, where I seem to be nothing at all, and no moment holds any sway whatsoever except this exact one, where I seem to calmly observe everything fading like the trees in Autumn, or the setting sun. . . I even know what it is to sink into this entirely, yet I do not.  However, instead of mourning my fearful toe-dipping, I am simply realizing that it doesn’t matter if I hang about here at the threshold awhile longer….  the opening of the door is inevitable, and I care about nothing as much as the answer to Maharishi’s question: “Who am I?”

When I feel empowered, clear-headed, and open to possibility, I look out to make a move towards something, or even ask the boon of KuanYin, who seems to follow me most of the time.  When I’m innocent or naive enough to feel that ANYTHING is possible, it’s obvious that I don’t actually know what I really want, the only question that seems important is to find out who I am.  Otherwise anything else I seek is just a waste of my time…  But am I courageous enough to keep asking?

Read Full Post »

I was reading the most recent chapter of the book I’m helping my friend to edit. One of the sections came to an end and I was hit hard by it, as this chapter is continually doing to me.  So I let out a little whimper, a little mewling kitten sound.  It made me sick.

Now, the thing about this sound, it precisely reminds me of my mom.  It’s the kind of sound that someone who is struck by something in a self-pitying way, but doesn’t even have enough decency to let out the full yelp of it will make. It’s even a little contrived. Simply a dispicable worthless expression of weakness wrapped in miles of complex defenses and a disingenuous grasping, utterly lacking self-confidence.  It’s precisely the attribute I hate most about myself.  I catch it sometimes in a gesture, a sound, a few words, a posture, something I spoke.

Mom doesn’t know how to be herself. She tries so hard, but I’m quite certain she hasn’t a clue who she is. Sometimes she gets an inkling of an idea and holds to it like grim death, goes on a religious kick for awhile, takes up smoking out of rebellion, drops smoking in a fit of self-realization, dresses differently, talks with a thick Southern accent, buys a gun, does her hair differently….  any number of things that seem like such a horrifying veneer of tension and falsehood slapdashed over a personality that is desperately avoiding the fact of its own weakness.

Now, for me to hate this aspect of my mom so much, and mistrust her so deeply for it, mustn’t it also be the very thing I hate most about myself?

So….  for once.  For fucking ONCE in my life, I was just fine with it. I didn’t despise it in myself at all. In fact, even as I write this and feel the tendrils of contrivance born of some weak spirit creeping into my writing, I just let it be.  What else can I do?

What does it even matter if the salty food kills me and I have a heart attack?  What is the furthest possible reach, the bottom of the well of my own weakness and why am I so damned terrified of it?  I can only die, and I’m going to do that shortly anyways (relatively speaking?  What’s fifty years or ten or three?)…

And just last night the question, “who am I?”  Had finally been reinvigorated from mere technique to the blistering yearning need to answer it above everything else…  So..  Something is obviously changing.  You cannot stay dead forever!

Read Full Post »

The heart knows no boundaries.

Yet, I reach for some sort of content.

In love, The universe answers my questions, and my heart feels a pure and simple connection, like a great silver liquid flowing freely.  I can follow freely, not based on exclusivity, but simply following a knowingness.  Truth is, I can do little else.

Yet, I try to fill in details, to make a love story.  I correspond birthdays, or I look for commonalities.  This is why a book about the heart of magik lacks any sort of formulas.

In ethics, who is watching?  Who might I be justifying myself to?  What image of myself do I wish to believe?  What morality is there on an island alone?  Or in the darkness of sensory deprivation in my own apartment?  What about when I am alone on the street?  So which one am I holding internally RIGHT NOW and why?  Such fine, subtle deceptions, though they hint at morality, they masquerade as ethics…  However, with no reference point other than self-trust, the purest heart is born, the most innocent of intentions open up.

Free of ethics, they may seem unethical.

Free of morality, this may seem immoral.

But I haven’t glimpsed a purer light.

Read Full Post »

Want

“By what possible definition of the word am I not insane” — Jed McKenna

I am fortunate.  Almost 72 hours of easily accessible, silent, in the moment.  It changed everything for me.  I keep doing the meditation, “who am I?” Everything changes, but I find the silence and presence again and again.  It’s impossible to nail it down to something, but I do know the feeling of letting go.  I know when I’m doing more of it, and when I’m doing less.

I’m not sure how far into the truth I am venturing, but I know I keep touching bits of the void.  I won’t exactly know until I’m there, and there is no further.  But that silence and presence is closer to truth than the constant on and on and on, some or another thing inside a human brain.

I said that I am fortunate because having had the experience makes it so easy to grow bored of all the rabbit holes to chase rabbits through…  it doesn’t take discipline to make my only prayer to just.  let.  go.  of all the illusions and things I try to be.  It only takes a good memory.  No, it isn’t an “altered state” or “high.”  I think it’s just more reality.

Here’s another clue.  My orgasmic breathing has been taking me further lately than ever before.  The experience is basically like a rising and rising peak.  In the past, I’ve dissipated the peak earlier in the process (usually quite pleasurably).  Sometimes it is the sense of what most men call “the point of no return” that just goes on and on, gets stronger and stronger.  It’s an ache, an itch, a tickle, a burn….  impossibly, impossibly enduring and intense…  Then, somehow, in the moment of all that yearning, the yearning itself becomes the pleasure.  In one moment it is the thing that desires, in the next, the very same thing is wave after wave of pure physical satisfaction.

Tonight I was silent some.  I was just laying on a couch and watching a movie.  I found the feeling of “I” and I noticed the yearning, the little attachments in the body, the anxiety, the anticipation…  that which tried to bring me away from presence.  My god, it’s the beginning of the talk inside.  And I remembered the way that rising forever little piquing tickling burning yearning can be the very peak of orgasm itself.

It let me let go a little more….  the anxiety started to feel a little like pleasure in the same way.  I wasn’t able to have that experience entirely yet, but I see that it may be correct.  Anxiety is just what?  Energy?  Desire (the source of all suffering) may be energy that is stuck, cannot flow through?  We interpret it as anxiety or pressure, we clinch down in anticipation or aversion or something like that and stop the energy itself? I don’t know.  It seems that way.  I will keep doing the breathing and keep doing the meditation…

Read Full Post »

I should preface this with saying that I took a lot of inspiration lately from Toltec teachings of letting death be my advisor rather than self-pity.

“All of life, even loving, must be done with the awareness that it is lived on a fast train approaching death.”

I find it liberating how temporary everything is.  I guess it is helping me keep my head straight while it looks like my business will be successful soon.  If it is, even if it’s wildly successful, it’s for such an amazingly short time, barely anything to get worked up about.  Just be thankful for it like a lovely autumn with a new lover, or a beautiful winter in a fun location.

Honestly, almost everything is the same as this.  A bad season or a good one.  I have seen my grandmother die recently, after a massive head trauma.  My father went from healthy to dying in one winter.  Everything changes, often dramatically and often quickly.  Nothing lasts forever.  Generally most things don’t even last very long.  Even should I ascend to godhood, it is temporary.  This has been allowing me to simply let a lot go.

I keep coming to the point of noticing myself, maybe my intention, and even being very quiet with that.  Then, I notice that I’ll drag something around and into my awareness to dilute this simple presence of being.  All these things are either things long dead or things simply imagined.

The truth is, I just don’t have the courage to let go yet.  The first weekend I was getting it, I could just sit there and be very still and silent.  My head sat back onto my neck so peacefully.  Then it was like something inside me would feel an urge to disturb the peace by “thinking something through.”  I reminded myself a lot that it wasn’t necessary to think through contingencies, but if I had an intention and it was true, to simply hold that intention and remain present.

God how wonderful that is.  But there is something to it, something to simply being there fully, sitting in a coffee shop and doing nothing but drinking the coffee.  Something that is simultaneously wondrous and beautiful and amazing, and also hard to deal with.  So my mind rushes to think of something, even something useful and beautiful, EVEN THOUGH I know that simply being quiet and present is more sufficient and powerful.  If it is time to act, I can act, if not, then why bother the calm?  Yet I bother it so readily 🙂

So, I am turning to faith.  I am not a fan of asking the Gods for a lot of things.  Generally I think it is better to deal with life oneself.  Honestly, I don’t pray very often.  Sometimes I will stop in a temple and simply bow to Amitofo and say “thank you for your teachings” or something similar.  Once or twice a year I will ask for help with something.

But, I have thought about this lately, specifically with regards to asking for something that one God or immortal has set about to do.  For instance, I ask Kuan Yin (Boddhisattva Aviloketeshvara) to help me to let go of all the false things I identify with.  Bear in mind, that’s what s/he stayed on this earth to do.  It’s almost a kind of devotion to ask for and accept the very thing that the Pu Sa (Boddhisattva) vowed to accomplish!  I also read that Lord Shiva granted to Ganesha a boon that he would always be invoked prior to one’s going into battle or a new venture…  I believe that there is a way to be in line with the God’s intentions where asking for help is good.

Anyways, at this point I am simply turning to faith where I don’t feel like I have enough courage to just….  let….  go….  And that’s my only prayer now, for myself, “help me to let go of all the false things I identify myself with.”

Read Full Post »

I just practice every day. I notice the breath passing in and out of my heart. One important point of that simple meditation is not to hold onto it going in either direction, in fact, to grasp at or hold to anything misses the point entirely.

And I return to self-inquiry. It’s easy to pick anything and ask myself who is feeling this, and from whence does that sense of an “I” come. Inevitably the attachments weaken, sometimes ceasing entirely – as often does my sense of an individual ego.

And I can return again and again to the principles. Letting go of whatever I find myself clinging to. Observation. Acceptance. Staying grounded. Noticing what choices I’m connected to.

Much of the time, I notice an incredible flexibility growing and growing within..

Yet there is a deadness that shows up for me lately in this. I have been wrestling with it this whole month, maybe a little longer. Perhaps it is like when we are doing Standing Meditation in Kung Fu practice and we rigidify something, even a good structure, even a pattern of relaxation and a good way of balancing, and makes that one way into a crystalized absolute, as if it were encompassing enough to need to make a doctrine of it. Indeed, even a feeling can become a method. Then one often finds oneself standing like a dead post.

Ultimately I feel the truth of having no defined self. And many times, I sense a lot of connection with everything. In the worst of times, I feel a good deal of rightness in the world these days. In the best of times it’s like being immersed in such a dense fluid of life, everything flowing together and communicating in love and bliss.

However, I think the awareness of emptiness within should ultimately allow whatever is most appropriate for the moment, guided by intuition, to spontaneously arise. But for now my “dead post” way of approaching this is preventing such spontaneity. Absence of self-definition leads to freedom, because life is real – as Devi says, everything we touch is real, only our concepts of it are false. Maybe I am only requiring time to grow accustomed to it all.

I continue to cultivate, aware of the truths underlying my practice. I have a lot of joy and ease in my life. But from my own perspective it is hard to see what I am missing just now. So I continue meditating, hoping I’ll hit a tipping point within myself eventually. And continually watching for the solution to the constant tendency to calcify truth into some kind of concept.

To answer my own question as best I can: The obvious answer is in choice and intention. There is a need for vigilance against rigidity, but more than that — a need for a jumping into the ever changing sea of reality, a deeper kind of letting go — as there is nothing I can see that bears holding onto. And of course, I’m aware of my fear. I don’t mind fear. Still, I have only a dim idea of a way to hold such a vigilance, or to stay so keenly willing to flow with the tides of the moment.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »