Wednesday 12 Apr 2017
Stillness is the unmistakable energy that exists right in the heart of the present moment. Using a meditation practice that harnesses a stepped and increasingly refined calibration to observe the mind, anyone can experience it for themselves. It is however subtle and easily overlooked without dedicated and careful practice. It is also helpful to have some guidance from someone who knows the path, because without the development of right view and intention, stillness will remain disguised by worldly conditions. To this end, self-reflection in meditation is needed to neutralise, see through and “let go” the conditions that create and make the universe. This includes the conditions that make us into the physical and mental beings that we are. We need to see, at least momentarily in the beginning, the conditioning that aggregates and then fuses over aeons of time and space. With this knowledge we can employ a process of “calcination” that allows the conditions to relax, separate and unify back into the primary constituent before aggregation happened. This is where we find the “pure consciousness” of “stillness”, before it moves to be compounded and conditioned. This still conscious energy is fungible and is at the core of our being!
The Buddhist path is a way to set up the right conditions to experience this stillness. To see beyond any “doubt” we need to practice to make the mind content so that it is stable and not grasping at “desires” or, on the other hand, not trying to escape what it finds “averse”. The balance sought should also include a calm mind that is not “restless” or languishing in “sloth or torpor”. With these “Five Hindrances” (shown in italics) in balance the mind can then concentrate correctly and become “one pointed”. At the same time it can become mindful which allows the attention to be sustained over time. Then when the right balance of energy is present, the mind can be sustained with a penetrating awareness. To arrive at this “place” of stillness the mind also requires a certain level of purity. Preliminary work is required to satisfy our own mind that we are earning our living well, so that we are relatively free of guilt. Our speech and actions as we interact with others also needs to be relatively blameless, so that our conscience is clear and not nagging us. With these conditions satisfied the right view and intention will gradually arise. The above is basically a description of the Buddha’s eight fold path of practice which is also described as the FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH of Buddhism. The factors of the eight fold path are underlined.
Wisdom is the key that allows us to make deep spiritual sense of what we experience. As stillness, or more accurately, still consciousness gradually becomes well known, we begin to see that this is the energy that creates the conditions of our life. We realise that all conditions are created from this pure still consciousness. We can see the conditions of our life consciously arising from the still spaciousness and then going on to finish in this same matrix of stillness. We can also see how the aggregated conditions resonate with the still consciousness that is feeding back on itself --- all arising and finishing countless times in each moment. This in turn is resonating to create the momentum for the time scales we experience, right through to the cycles of the universe. Everything is beginning and ending! We realise that we are experiencing the SECOND AND THIRD NOBLE TRUTH of the Buddha’s path. We are starting to realise what the Buddha realised.
The truth and beauty becomes compelling and causes us to look even more deeply into the stillness. Clarity comes to the fore as the momentum of this paradoxical one pointed view expands with mindfulness to include all of time and space. Suddenly and very naturally the still consciousness is finished, with the knowledge that the entire world has unified in this mind. Consciousness feeding back on itself has finished leaving an island of knowing that paradoxically contains the whole. Stillness no longer has an identity because the consciousness that facilitates it has finished with the paradox of the external. It is no longer feeding back into the moment because this experience has unified everything. The realisation comes that this unified mind will not be reborn at death. It has seen the deathless.
As the momentum of this experience subsides, the Universe reasserts itself just as naturally as it finished. The stillness returns to feed back the space-time that has been re-established. But; --- things are different now! The mind knows that the re-established world is an illusion. The Dukka as defined in the FIRST NOBLE TRUTH has been clearly seen. One knows that the conditions of the world are illusory. Wisdom has matured and one knows there is no going back. The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths (in capitals above) have been seen and understood. The three characteristics of the Buddha’s wisdom can be clearly seen in the understanding of “Dukka” (unsatisfactory dis-ease suffering) “Annica” (impermanence) and “Anatta” (Not Self). “The tiger has you in his mouth and will not let you go!”