Tuesday 03 Oct 2017
I have had a couple of questions following my last two blogs (Hypnosis, Buddhist Mediation & Reality) and (Relaxing & Releasing Consciousness) that I would like to share with you. Consciousness is a very subtle condition that has huge effects with just the smallest of movements. It is a real magic show, and I think the answers here along with the original blogs do help in understanding this all-pervading experience.
“I would like to know what your thoughts are on what may or not be the intersection between hypnosis-caused recollection of past events and the Buddhist Jhana-facilitated knowledge and vision of past lifetimes?” Here is one of the Sutta’s where the Buddha describes his experience. (See MN36).
Directing a completely unified mind into this area with what the Buddha called Supra Mundane clarity is still something I am still trying to understand and realise. My practice to enable “letting go” to sustain this experience is still a work in progress. I can however, intuit that that the experience of directing a completely unified mind into this area would bring very clear results with a seamless thread, just as the Buddha describes, because essentially, there is no more subconscious mind. I can imagine that the fog present when seeing an indirect experience in the past would be removed with the Unification. Sustained unification would cause the mind to be as it were, “superconducting” without any resistance to access.
It follows that directing the mind into this area after deep meditation sessions, where the unification has subsequently reverted to normal, will bring increasingly clear results. These results should get better as the momentum of the sessions include an increasing time with unification right up to point where the question can be asked and answered with unification in place. I presume this is what the Buddha did?
So my experience of past lives and I assume the experience of my clients, is into the sometimes foggy realm of the sub-conscious where the protective and opinionated conscious part of the mind has been, as best as it can be, side-tracked. Here it is not always the case that memory is so precise, although It can be for some people. Remember Dhammaruwan and his childhood chanting and recollections. (Click Here) There are many people that have precise past life memories. A lot of children remember past lives well, but usually it all disappears from this current life by about six years of age. The most convincing memories for my clients, is when the memory is balanced with Head & Heart --- Emotion & Intellect. Often for a client, it will be just as if they are telling a story (all intellectual) and then all of a sudden they burst into tears (emotion comes to balance) and the memory is then completed. This happens often and it is true that I sometimes use an emotional hook to fish up the memory. It can also happen the other way around.
In truth though, we confabulate the stories of our lives. This is true for anything we take into the sub-conscious mind that by-pass the conscious mind. It is taken in hypnotically! (As described in the blog) Most of our lives are the result of us confabulating dissociated information that has been fed into us without awareness! Confabulation can justify or explain our standing in society. We easily confabulate why it should be so or why it should not be that way. We can justify war or be capable of the grandest of deeds based on dissociated input; because we believe it is our own true thought. The way we hate or love people is invariably conditioned with dissociated input. All of these Sankhara’s (past volitions) that come into our mind are for the most part, explained by confabulation that comes from our previous conditioning. It is only when the Buddha comes along and says to look deeper and then deeper again that we have any chance at all to clear it all up at the balance point of reality.
In looking at past lives and trying to understand whose memories are right or whose are wrong, we also need to factor in the Buddha’s core teaching that our lives and the world are formed from “Desire, Aversion, Delusion and Fear”. It follows that the Buddha’s recall of his past lives are just as much delusion as our own past life recall. There is a bigger picture to grasp in all of this. There may be relative truths here to help us understand how it all fits together, but I do have faith, backed with strong personal evidential experience, that there is a point of balance called enlightenment, discovered by the Buddha, and that we are all, in our own way, on a mission to realise it. Your next question goes to the heart of this matter.
Another question I have for you is related to how the transition to different rhythms of mind is experienced. How can one facilitate that and how can one identify that transition? Is it something one should seek to identify through noticing changes in the way the subtle tinnitus silence sounds to oneself? Or maybe it is something experienced at the body / skin level?
I don’t know that it is possible to facilitate (intentionally force) the mind to do anything this subtle. A latent intention is good though. These changes in “State” just naturally happen when you practice to relax and let go into stillness. It is good to start as you say with the “subtle tinnitus silence”. Then you need to relax more, until the silence balances and completes itself by leaving aside the conditioning of it being just an ear thing. Eventually the perception of the experience moves to surround everything you have an interest in. It goes wherever your mind goes. If you are looking at a tree you can experience the stillness around the tree. This is mindfulness par-excellence because you can know you are always present. Your perception has moved to start seeing things more as they really are.
As you relax (let go) more, your perception changes again to notice that it is not the stillness going to where your mind goes but that the stillness is always there --- everywhere, and that it is your presence, your conditioning that is arising in the stillness. By this time it is easy to see the stillness as spaciousness or emptiness but probably a more important realisation is that it is really pure consciousness. You see that everything is arising and passing away in this pure still consciousness. The conditions are nested in it. Eventually you notice that you are experiencing the Buddha’s second and third Noble Truth. This is where you can really start to see the truth of your individual mind stream of consciousness, flowing in the present moment with everything beginning and ending very fast. This is a simple “analogue” method of practice (gradually dialling down to stillness) and for me, it is a very acceptable pathway. The process of getting to stillness that I have described here can be seen more dramatically and perhaps more directly by using a meditation practice that allows for a build-up of latent energy in meditation practice. This is what I would describe as “digital” stepped method.
When practicing to be still in the mind, there comes a point in its energetic flow that allows you to see easily that the mind is still and not moving. This is the point when the stillness can start to become overtly experienced, but often our conditioning is such that it is missed, or more to the point, we are so used of it that we just don’t notice it. (Because it is always there anyway) If we continue on practicing to make the mind still from this point, stabilising any Nimitta’s (lights or feelings) that might appear, we will eventually pass the point where stillness should have theoretically appeared as its own separate condition. There is a noticeable instability happening in the mind at this point but it is extremely still. Practice will tell us when this is so and at this point we add a catalyst of beauty to the mind. We might momentarily think, “Beautiful Breath”, and the mind will collapse to one point and stillness will be standing there unmissable. The latent energy or momentum built up will determine the time scale of the absorption. The matrix of the mind is now on show! All the conditions have collapsed accept for consciousness and it is indelibly etched into our being. When the momentum of this state normalises, I believe most of us will be able to remember it (if it is important to us) and bring this still consciousness into everyday life as a datum or first filter in our lives.
There is an analogy that I like to think about when describing this “collapsing mind” scenario that I remember from my school boy physics. We were learning about natural “Energetic Phase Transitions” where Matter or Energy changes its State. In this example we would fill a beaker with distilled (Pure) water. The analogy is already good because the mind needs also to be relatively pure. We would then freeze the water very carefully without movement, and the water would remain liquid way past the theoretical freezing point of zero degrees. Way past its “Phase Transition” point. The purity of the water means there is no dirt or grime particles for the ice to condense around, so the water would remain liquid right down to minus six degrees without turning to ice. The supercooled water is of course very unstable and just a tap with a glass rod would instantaneously turn the water to ice. It is very analogous to the “Phase Transition” for the mind as described above.
Pure Consciousness is now known beyond any doubt. It can be seen feeding back on itself in the present moment. The experience of the feedback is visceral and very real. You know that it is so, because of the way pure consciousness is feeding back on itself. This gives it an identity. The experience realises that the still consciousness is rising and passing away in the moment, bringing the whole universe with it. It is nested within the still consciousness, arising and passing away every moment, countless times in the wink of an eye. Once again we are seeing the second and third Noble Truth. This is its smallest possible scale of beginnings and endings. It conditions all the increasing scales of experience that are nested inside. The scales of conditioning extends right out to the beginning and ending of the universe that in turn brings about its creation again as seen in the Many Worlds model of Quantum Mechanics. Our individual births and deaths are written into this conscious stream.
Sustained practice with the eight fold path sets us up with a clarity that is not impinged upon by moral doubts and we are also sustained by Samadhi (Concentration) and Mindfulness that eventually allows the right energetic balance to be there. Then the right view comes into focus. It is in this environment that the pure consciousness we have come to know so well, just finishes! Contentment with the stillness is complete and consciousness naturally finishes quite abruptly. It is a phase transition that unifies the external world and the individual mind. The feedback of consciousness has finished. There is no longer a separation between the individual and the world. There is unification and there is knowledge that you and the World / Universe are one and the same. As mentioned in the original blog, the momentum and the extent of time for this experience to remain is dependent on the balance of the energy brought to it and the momentum of purity behind it. If this state is realised at death there will be no more rebirth. As Ajahn Chah (Click Here) used to say, let go a little you get a little peace, let go a lot and you get a lot of peace.