When SELF feels Tangible
*NOTE to the reader/ viewer:
It seems inevitable
that there will be some conceptual overlap
between this and previous lessons.
And so if you’ve mastered
the Buddha’s teachings and techniques
and find my lessons too redundant
to continue enjoying them
I’ll completely understand
if you leave for other prose:
more intellectually stimulating and diverse.
I am struggling
with feelings of SELF.
I have some triggers
that release feelings
that seem almost real
to the touch.
that they are feelings
but have a hard time
letting them go.
on helping me release these
would be appreciated.
A., my friend,
I completely understand
I’ve stood where you stand,
I’ve felt what you feel,
I’m here to help you.
The frustrations and turmoil you’re enduring
are not due to one set of problems
but rather two.
The FIRST set of problems
are quite obviously
the triggers and their consequences.
The SECOND, far more insidious set of problems
is the misinformation you’ve been fed
my a genre of teachers that I like to describe
as stupid white people.
For greater clarity
let’s consider academia:
What the difference between
a masters degree and a doctorate?
Well other than time, effort,
and crushing, student debt;
The recipient of a master’s degree
has successfully regurgitated the expertise of others,
whereas a doctor of philosophy
has performed unique experimentation,
submitted it successfully
to the rigors of peer review,
and have, ideally, contributed
to the advancement of their field.
Now, back to the wide, world
Most stupid white people
who posture as teachers
have not: gathered ten thousand hours of formal study,
nor collected ten thousand hours of formal practice,
nor mastered their emotions,
no less the Buddha’s teachings and techniques,
nor accomplished full enlightenment
no less the tenth Bodhisattva Bhumi
yet they persist in spreading disinformation.
Why? Sometimes they find it profitable,
Sometimes they find it prestigious.
Sometime they do it out of malice.
But often they do it out of lazy mindedness.
Regardless of their motivation
is that they multiply the stress
of good hearted dharma-practitioners
such as yourself.
And on their behalf
I sincerely apologize.
I shall now roll up my metaphoric sleeves
and attempt to extricate you, my friend,
from the morass of others’ disinformation
that is needlessly multiplying your stress
like bunnies in the spring time.
Let’s break it down
into bite sized chunks:
“I am struggling with feelings of SELF.”
The Buddha’s teachings have been around
a VERY long time
and over the centuries
scholars began FIRST to blindly accept the teachings
of any text that claimed to be the actual
words of the Buddha,
despite that fact that they were written
centuries after his death
and differ wildly in content, theme and style
without submitting them to the test
that the Buddha himself devised:
namely that the test of a teaching (or its teacher)
is not their age, reputation, prestige, nor popularity,
nor their credentials,
nor letters of recommendation,
nor one’s intellectual
nor intuitive reaction to them.
The Buddha taught that the only test
of a so called teaching
were the effects one generates
by enthusiastically applying them
perhaps twice daily
for seven consecutive days.
In essence the teaching that evolve us in so little time
are worth relying upon
and the teachings that don’t
are worthy of disregarding.
After generations of scholars
blinding accepting every sutra that crossed their field of vision
folks’ spiritual attainments became increasingly more
flaccid, impotent, worthless, and weak.
In their frustration and confusion
SECONDLY they began relying upon mere commentaries
to the sutras
and then commentaries to the commentaries.
And like thirty-five children
standing in a line playing post office,
the message whispered in the ear of the first child
differed wildly from the message uttered by the thirty-fifth.
Over time folks began to rewrite the earliest teachings
such as those of the four noble truths
to harmonize with the later so called teachings
such as those that fetishize emptiness
who’s origin could be traced back
to the influence of neo-Taoism upon Buddha-dharma.
As such it was taught
that all suffering was caused
by a belief in a self.
But the Buddha never taught that.
On one level the above statement
infers that one must believe in the non-existence
of a self.
Sadly both belief and disbelief
share two things in common
they are the product of grasping
at the rigidity of idea AND emotion.
Allow me to shed some light on this.
From a certain point of view
the FIRST noble truth is simply:
there is Stress and plenty of it.
The SECOND noble truth observes
that we humans have the unfortunate
talent of taking whatever stress life tosses upon us
and exacerbating it by grasping at our impulses
to strive to shove some things away
and strain to reach for other things.
It is the fundamental duality
of pushing and pulling,
dread and desire,
fear and hope,
hate and greed,
that exacerbate our stress.
Luckily the THIRD noble truth
is that there is a state
wherein one is free NOT of the presence of Dread and Desire
BUT merely their tyranny.
The FOURTH noble truth
teaches that this is attained
NOT by the caprice
of some real or imagined celestial being,
BUT by practicing and then mastering
eight sets of techniques.
My friend I am delighted
that you are experiencing
feeling of self.
For that means you are practicing
the SEVENTH fold of the path: mindfulness.
There are so many foolish teachers
who infer that such experiences
are a spiritual failing.
But that myth
could not be further from the truth.
So what then are we to do with triggers
and feelings that feel almost real to the touch?
First we are to persist in noticing them
from a courageous place of vulnerability
which is the practice of Mindfulness:
the SEVENTH fold.
Then we are to harness the raw energy of the experience,
first by practicing the active contemplation of letting go:
the FIRST fold of the path,
second by practicing the active contemplation of wishing-love:
the SECOND fold of the path,
and third by actively physically relaxing
into the passive mental release of the experience
which is called Meditation:
the EIGHTH fold of his path.
All these techniques will be explored momentarily
in this, and every, livestream.
The beauty of applying the same techniques
to ALL that we perceive
is that is undermines of dualistic habit
of shoving somethings away
and reaching for other things.
My friend, as one who has also struggled
with profound triggers
due to numerous physical disabilities
and many mental traumas…
I know it can be difficult to feel
that the aphorism:
let it come,
let it stay,
let it go!”
is remotely grounded in reality.
But I assure you,
the techniques we are about to play with
are Mary Poppins’ spoon full of sugar
that makes the medicine go down.
But don’t take my word for it.
Put it to the test
by practicing with me momentarily.
Let us conclude
with a simple
call to action
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