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Asoka

The subjective experience

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Wednesday, 1 Feb 2023, 12:17

Seem to be getting back into writing again, not really feeling the painting at the moment.

I think I have some deva (spirit) friends who hang around with me which is comforting. I can't see them, although there have been times in deep states of meditation where I have seen them in my mind's eye. I tend to sense their presence, and feel their energy around me, and sometimes within me. Some are people I have known in this life who have passed away now. One is my Gran who I was very strongly bonded to as a child. She is a being of light now, like an angel. In her human life she was very kind to animals and to me. A person who was very in sync with nature, which led to her generating good kamma and she was reborn as a deva. She regularly comes to encourage me when I feel stressed and alone.

There are other spirits too, and they often reassure me when I feel weak and afraid. They fill me with peaceful fearless energy, and they tell me all sorts of things. Such as where a being who has recently died has gone. And how I can best help others who are suffering. They teach me about meditation and how to manage my failures. They recently said to me very clearly not to worry about money or finances when I became very stressed about the cost of living and the possibility of future poverty. They said they would take care of me and ensure I always got what I needed to survive if things got desperate. I often feel their gentle encouragement to keep practising the noble eightfold path and develop meditation further, to develop wisdom and emancipate the heart, so I can be a light in this world.

I have helped some spirits too. One's who experienced something tragic when they died, or ended up in darkness and became suffering angry ghosts. Upon encountering them, I felt compassion and I offered to share the merit of my spiritual practise with them, and it worked! It did help them find the light again and they sometimes come to visit me and support me with their jovial good energy, especially when I feel downhearted, or unwell.

There are beings who were wild animals in this life who I helped and prayed over when they were dying who are devas now, and I feel happy for them and glad they are doing well. 

The devas sometimes reveal things to me I can't know with my limited human senses which has been helpful in my practise. I doubt I would have got this far without their help, and I am really grateful for their support. It makes me realise that the sangha is truly great, composed of many different kinds of beings, and taking refuge in the sangha goes beyond just the human realm.

None of us are ever really alone, there are beings of all kinds around us (-:

This may sound crazy to those who hold the annihilist view that there is no existence beyond death of the physical body, but my experience is different. I have no way of proving that spirits exist, nor do I want to. But I have a strong conviction that reincarnation and rebirth is real. And the seeds of karma, the mental tendencies we nurture in this life are what we carry over into the next and they will sprout and grow into a new being.

This may well be my subjective experience. But it is our subjective experience that matters, as that is where we live. We do not live in the objective experience. For example if you are trying to lose weight and you step on the scales, some days you may feel lighter like you have lost weight, even if the scales, (the objectice experience,) tell you your weight is the same. The subjective experience is different, and it is this subjective experience that feels real, as that is where we live, that is where we come from.

There are a lot of stories in the Buddhist suttas about psychic powers and miracles performed by the Buddha and his disciples. Such as flying through the air and teleportation. And there are two ways one can look at these, and both ways of looking at it are correct. The first is that these miracles really did happen, and after experiencing some profound states of mind, I now believe such things are possible. The other way of looking at them is they are describing the subjective experience of being enlightened. The sense of freedom from suffering can make you feel like you are flying through the air, even though objective reality is telling you your feet are on the ground. Time also feels different for an enlightened being, so the subjective experience of moving from A to B may feel like hardly any time has passed at all, as if you have stretched out your hand and instantly gone from one geographical location to another. That is how the passage of time can feel subjectively for an enlightened being.

Another example, is sometimes after practising loving-kindness meditation (metta) it can feel like everyone and everything is my friend, even inanimate objects feel friendly and warm towards me. And when I stand next to the sea, it feels like it is happy to see me, each wave coming towards me like a friendly greeting. That is my subjective experience and there is nothing wrong with this, it can be a very beneficial and heart opening experience.

Part of right Samhadi, the eighth factor of the noble eightfold path is about playing around with our subjective experience of reality, and making it into something beautiful. We all have these beautiful spaces within us that can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. But some of the circuits that activate these spaces are located deep within the mind, and meditation can teach one how to connect with and activate them. How to become still enough to reach the divine states of consciousness.

We modern humans spend a lot of time stuck in the pre-frontal cortex, it is a useful and important part of the brain, but it is only a small part of it. And it can feel unpleasant and limiting being stuck there all the time. This is why I think humans enjoy intoxicants so much. Intoxicants relax the executive functioning and inhibitions, and allow us to go beyond the boundaries of the prefrontal cortex and connect with the rest of the mind. This can bring a sense of relief and freedom. And it can feel very rewarding and enriching to connect with the deeper parts of the mind. It can refresh our view of things, help broaden our perspective, and see things differently, see everything in a new light, help with problem solving and creativity. The experience of connecting with the rest of the mind and body can bring a feeling of wholeness, of joy, of purpose, peace and oneness.

It is our subjective experience of reality that matters, it is how we feel that is important. If you feel like you are walking on air then you are (-: 

In Buddhism the question is how do I feel? Am I suffering or not? The goal of the Buddhist path is to realise the end of suffering, and this is a subjective experience. The objective experience is not important, it is how you feel within that matters. If you feel lost then you are lost. If you feel free, then you are free. The way to tell if you are making progress in Buddhism is to notice whether the practise is bringing a decrease in suffering. If it is then you are on the right track (-:


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Asoka

F#ck Samsara

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 21 Jan 2022, 21:35

The wind is howling out there, my wheelie bins are knocked over; but I decided to leave them be as they weren't in a place that would bother anyone, and they seemed harmless enough laying sideways on the ground. I will put them back up when the storm has passed. 

Went for a walk, the sea was coming right over the sea wall and flooding the road and pavement, huge waves that looked like something biblical.

 At one point I came across where the sea had flooded over the pavement, blocking where I wanted to be. And I remembered a story about the Buddha when he was with some of his monks and they came across a patch of road that had been flooded by the Ganges and the people around him where frantically making rafts to get across. But he just lifted his foot and like someone taking an effortless stride, teleported and placed his foot down on the other side along with all the monks who where with him. Apparently all the people there looked on in amazement. 

So I tried to imagine I was the Buddha and yes I really was about to make a stride across, then suddenly remembered I wasn't a Buddha yet and that my mind was too full of aversion (a psychic irritant) meaning I would most likely end up f#cking it up and getting soaked in the cold water and would look rather foolish. Luckily though, I spotted a way to get round it, which involved a bit of hopping from one jutting out stone to the next. I consoled myself as I did this by thinking the Buddha would have done the same. He only used miracles to get past obstacles when necessary, and if a non-miraculous alternative presented itself he would use that instead. He even once criticised a yogi who had spent 12 years practising how to walk on water. The Yogi was showing off, and the Buddha un-impressed and rather dryly said to him that he would have been better off using the nearby ferry to get across the river and instead spent those twelve years practising to be free of greed, hatred and delusion, as that was the most valuable power of all, the liberation of nibbana.

The weather today feels like it is reflecting my current mood.The angry bitter tears of Samsara.  I feel fed up and annoyed with everything. Fed up of trying and failing. Feel like I am going round and round in circles, getting nowhere. I try my best, I really do, but that doesn't seem to be good enough for the universe.

 There's also an assignment to do which I am struggling with and I don't anticipate I will get a good grade. It bothers me how bad my memory is getting. I seriously wonder if I have what it takes to do this degree. Still, I won't give up, I will persevere, and maybe one day I will succeed (I hope) and be able to tick the 'Right Livelihood' box on the road to enlightenment, either that or live the rest of my life in poverty. I suppose I could become a homeless solitary monk, meditate with a begging bowl. I think I would rather keep trying as a lay person though.

Here is a 'F#ck Samsara playlist' - enjoy (;

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ_OuDCKlf-EgR8Wx1goze7toOB4orL


Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Judith McLean, Tuesday, 7 Dec 2021, 17:37)
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Asoka

I need magic

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Friday, 24 Dec 2021, 21:50

I am someone who has always liked the fantastical, the magical. In the stories of the Buddha and Jesus I love the miracles. Don't get me wrong and judge me for this, because the wisdom is appreciated for sure, and I understand it well enough cognitively, but sometimes it would be nice to get some simple practical steps to enlightenment, instead of just what we're aiming for. I e. It is all very well talking about nibbana, love, serenity and equanimity, but how does one develop these states of mind? I also feel without the fun of magic and miracles, without the devas and the myriad different realms of existence, the wisdom contained in the scriptures would feel a bit boring. I am someone who likes, (no, needs to alter my consciousness,) and go beyond this reality. I find the industrial scientific money-centric consumer world tedious, dry, empty and dissatisfying. It makes me feel dull, unhappy and alone. I long to expand my consciousness and explore other spiritual worlds, other realities, experience the psychedelic, open my mind to other possibilities, meet other beings in different dimensions, see things that go beyond this mundane grey financial existence of the 21st century, with it's bleak concrete, algorithms and neverending traffic. 

Aye magic, I feel very drawn to magic, not the spell casting kind, just the boundless feeling that this crap material existence isn't all there is to life or the mind and that one can transcend it.

Sphongle - Divine Moments of Truth (DMT):



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