Thursday, September 13, 2012

The process

Similar to yesterday's post, I'll write a little about how I see the process unfolding.

1. Start with first principles.

What do you know beyond any doubt? Only that you know (or cognize, witness, experience). If you close your eyes and wait for a gap between thoughts, do you disappear? Do you stop experiencing? No, you experience (almost) nothing, and yet something knows this to be the case.

This is similar to Descartes' "I think, therefore I am," but even that misses the mark by presupposing an "I" and by requiring thought. Really it's more like "awareness is happening."

Next, notice your usual model of thinking about something like "I see a cup." It can be deconstructed into:

Perceiver (I) ---> Perceiving (see) ---> Perceived (a cup)

2. Investigate the Perceived.

Do you know there's a cup there, or just that you see one? If this is hard to answer, let me ask you this: do you know you're not in some elaborate dream right now, or The Matrix? No, you don't. Therefore the idea that there's a cup is a useful one (it helps you drink from it) but not a necessary one.

What you do know is that there is the perception of a cup, so we simplify:

Perceiver (I) ---> Perceiving (seeing) ---> Perception (form of a cup)

3. Investigate the Perceiver.

This one is a bit trickier. How do you know there's an "I"? Well, you feel it! But a feeling is just a perception. You've seen it (in the mirror). That was just your body, which anyway is a perception. I don't have enough room to explain this one in detail, but suffice it to say that nobody who's looked for an "I" has found anything other than perceptions, which all belong on the right side of the diagram above.

So now we're down to two:

Perceiving (seeing) ---> Perceptions (form of a cup, hopes and dreams that there is an "I" oh god let there be an "I"...)

4. Investigate the Perceiving / Perception divide.

What does it mean for there to be an unperceived perception? Where is it hiding? Again, it's like an unthought thought, which has the same status as an invisible unicorn or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Yes, materialists, you are die-hard religious fanatics when you insist that there is a physical reality "out there." That's just a convenient model, which is instantiated as... a thought, which falls under the category of "perceptions."

There is no perception apart from perceiving. The two are really the same. So we're left with


5. Profit!

Congratulations. You now directly experience the nature of mind and reality.

Now, you might think "oh, I do that all the time -- I'm very perceptive." But if you still harbor a suspicion that you exist, or that there's a world "out there" that must exist, then there's work to be done. Yes, there's a "bit of a lag" while step 4 percolates.

This is not just a ploy. It's really all you can know, and when it fully sinks in, well hello, Buddha. Do you cease to function as a "normal" person? No, you can still pass the salt. But you have lost the essential hallmark of "normal" people: we suffer (i.e., experience emotions like anxiety, worry, stress, hurt, ...)

With that little snag out of the way, you're free to function as you may long have suspected you could.

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