Emptiness & the Human Mind (Eye Consciousness)

In my last post, we looked at the nature of emptiness & that according to Buddhism, the mind is a sense organ – not something tangible like the brain. So if the mind isn’t tangible, and we can’t pinpoint it to a specific location, how come it gets so affected by negativity etc?  

In Buddhism we have different levels of consciousness related to the different senses. Eye consciousness is one of these, as is ear consciousness, body consciousness, tongue consciousness & nose consciousness. In the west, we know these as sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, but how do they relate to mind and our perceptions of the world? More importantly how does this relate to future experiences? Let me explain…. The brain is the power station for the eyes physical movement & sight so when we see something, we recognize it with a name because of how we were taught  at school or by our parents. 

At night, I look up to the sky and my eyes see the golden orb immediately recognised as the moon. There’s no disputing it’s the moon,  but sometimes our eyes say something and the information passed to our mind may be incorrect. In Buddhismconsciousness is just one of the five defined  “aggregates” of experience. It’s called consciousness because it recognises. So Eye conscious sees something and recognises it & straight away it relates it to good or bad. For example…..On the table there’s a plate of mushrooms, my mouth starts watering because I love mushrooms but my friend feels physically sick at the very sight of them. This is because our eye consciousness sends messages back to our mind consciousness – which then makes sense of things & forms a bigger picture. So what we must try and do is learn to acknowledge and accept, what we see is only part of the experience & not everything. What happened in our lives to make me love mushrooms & my friend hate them? One thing’s for sure, mushrooms ane mushrooms – neither good nor bad.

Here’s an exercise you can try to prove the power of eye consciousness. It’s called the “Invisible Ball”

You’ll need a small ball that you can hold in your hand (make sure it doesn’t have patterns. 

  • Place the ball in front of you and stare at it but don’t move your eyes. Of course you can blink if your eyes get tired and close them for a moment but don’t look away from the ball.  
  • As you hold your gaze, you’ll get the urge to look in other directions, but try not to. Try to just hold the gaze of the ball. 
  • After a few minutes, you’ll find things start to happen such as the ball changing shape, moving slightly or even having some kind of mist or a halo around it.
  •  Just observe this visual phenomenon and try to understand and acknowledge how you can see or perceive so much that really isn’t there.

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Art of Emptiness

Many different viewpoints, concepts and opinions exist around why we are here on earth. For Christians, God the supreme being is the very reason we exist. For Hindus it relates to Karma and how we lived in our past lives. It’s pretty much the same in Islam & Buddhism too.

According to Buddhist philosophy & Science there are two main factors –  Emptiness & Interdependence. Nothing and nobody exists in the way we perceive it.  Here’s an example to consider;

In a room there’s a wooden coffee table. We know it’s a coffee table because it’s got four legs, a square wooden top & it’s made of wood – right?  We can walk around it, and from all angles we can pretty much say it’s a coffee table.

Now consider this…..

The next day you enter the room and the coffee table is in pieces on the floor. All 4 legs scattered around, the base somewhere else – just a mishmash of wood and screws. All different parts of the thing we call a ‘coffee table’ but not one of them identifies within itself as a coffee table. The table is what we perceive it to be, when all the parts are put together to create something we recognise. 

And now it gets even more interesting……

Each individual part of this thing we call a coffee table, is made up of several different components of its own.

Wood is one component & we know wood comes from trees. 

But for that tree to exist, it needs the right weather conditions & a seed to be planted by a human or at least an animal of some kind. 

But that human or animal also needs to be born in order to exist in the first place. So there’s parents too, who also needed to be born and so on. 

So you see…….. What started off as a simple coffee table, suddenly doesn’t exist at all in the form we first thought it did.

Although it seems complicated, the reality is very simple. Nothing exists independently in the world. There is nothing at all, whether it’s human, phenomena, material, plant or animal that exists independently of other factors. But all these different factors come together in an illusion, an illusion we perceive as absolute reality. 

This according to Buddhism, is why people suffer so much with stress, anxiety & other mental health problems.  We look at a problem and see it as massive, something big enough to ruin our lives.

When we apply the coffee table concept to the human body or to situations & experiences, it’s the same thing. We can’t actually pinpoint the problem as a single entity.

So here’s the big question…….

If nothing or nobody exists in the way we perceive it…..why do we get so hung up on things?  

According to Buddhism it’s because the mind is constantly racing and attaching itself to negative beliefs, concepts and ideas. The mind is a sense organ and not something we can see or feel.

We know this is true, because if we got even the cleverest surgeon In the world to open up our skull, they would never be able to locate anything resembling the mind. Yet it’s the mind that causes most of our problems.

This is why Mindfulness is so beneficial as it brings the mind back home. Home to a place of peace, tranquility & comfort. 

Only when the mind enters this space, can it begin to unravel itself and make sense of things. This is why bringing the mind into the present moment is key to good mental health. 

                   Gain control of your mind before it gains control of you.


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Early Morning Thoughts on World Peace

 

 

As I lay in bed watching the dawn break,and staring silently into the blue morning sky, I found myself pondering on the issue of world peace & how to achieve it.

Being 17 floors up, is sometimes a great bonus because the only thing I see when I open my eyes is sky.  There is a beautiful kind of silence as the dawn breaks, and these are the best moments for which to gather your thoughts. My thoughts were about world peace and whether or not it’s a possibility or something we can only dream of but never achieve.  Lying there, I found myself acting out a scenario and in my mind, it all works out beautifully. In reality, who knows?

So this is my scenario:

On a certain day at 12.00 noon everyone in every country a cross the globe stops what they are doing and hugs the person standing closest to them. Of  course, 12 noon May, different times of the day in different countries. This means that all over the world there will be people hugging at different times.  After each person has hugged the one standing closest to them, they should then share food together. This is my answer to how we can achieve world peace.   You may be feeling confused, not understanding my thoughts so I’ll explain. If for one moment we can break the link of the chain that keeps us tied into violent & self obsessed thoughts and replace it with actions of love and compassion, it surely becomes harder to pick that gun back up.  We humans are social animals, we need people around us and we need to feel loved and cared for. Over centuries, food and drink have been excellent tools for bringing people together in dialogue & reconciliation.

What are your thoughts? Please like, share and let’s discuss further.

World peace calm cooperation love compassion 

 

Life isn’t as bad as your mind would have you believe

Accepting or acknowledging our own minds may be responsible for the physical pain we’re feeling today can be hard. After all, no one would deliberately consciously choose to be in pain every day surely? Here I’d like to share a real account from one of my recent treatment sessions….

Recently a woman in her late 50s came to see me about pain in her lower back & neck. For 14years she’d tried practically every painkiller known to man (or woman) and was scared of the impact on her body.  So after she made herself comfy, I asked her to tell me about the pain. She looked puzzled and told me “Well it’s just a pain really, I’ve had it for about 15 years and it won’t go away no matter what I do. This pain just keeps coming back ten times worse if I stop the pain killers. My doctor says I’ll need them for the rest of my life”. She wasn’t impressed by my suggestion that we forget about the pain for a moment, and look at something much more important. This being, what actually happened 15yrs ago to create this situation. I could see she was irritated by my suggestion as the only thing on her mind was the pain.  She did decide though to remain in the session, and told me “The pain just happened during that period without any real cause. There’d been no accident, or such thing.”  We spoke at length about her life at that time for example, her job, family life, interests etc. It turned out, around that time she was working as a teacher, but lots of new legislation had placed immense pressure on staff to meet impossible targets and deadlines. At this point she went off sick, never 
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Questions I Dare to Ask

I don’t know about you, but I’m a person who gets their teeth into a topic, and holds on for dear life with the most extreme curiosity. This is almost always the case, when that topic is Spirituality or Religion.

There are questions I need answering, things that just don’t seem to add up. So here I am throwing those questions out into the arena – questions I’m daring to ask. Those who have been following my work will know, as a Buddhist God is not recognised as the creator.  However, I’m in full acceptance, that many religious denominations recognise God in this way and also that my viewpoint may be disproven. So here are my Spiritual dilemmas……

Is God a person or an energy?

I raise this question, because some people say he is a person and refer to him as the father. Others say God is a supreme energy Omnipresent & Omnipotent. Whatever the description of God, many people believe in him as the creator of the universe and everything in it.  But if God created the universe, surely he would have to exist somewhere to do it? Where could this be if he hadn’t yet created the universe? This now brings me on to whether God is a person or an energy. So let’s explore the two in relation to God having created the universe. If God is a person, which seems to be the case for many people even if this person is classed as a celestial being, he’s still referred to as the father. So if God is a person, then he must have been born of a mother or a father. Even if this was not the case and he was created in some other way, there has to be a root cause for his existence. Many people will have heard of cause and effect, the law of causality or the law of karma? This is a very Buddhist thing, but in a nutshell it means that anything which exists must have a root cause. This is the case whether its phenomenon, material or human etc it must have come from somewhere. Anyway back to the God question…..So if God is indeed a person, then he or she must have been born or created from somewhere. Therefore it kind of throws into question God’s creation of the universe. If he was indeed born of parents, they would need to have existed in a universe before God created it if that makes sense? However, some say God isn’t a person, but an energy that’s all around us and inside us. This is an interesting theory, because if God is indeed an energy it also throws into question, his creation of the universe. After all, an energy must exist somewhere in order to manifest. 

So I’m sure you can see my dilemma? But here’s something further to think about… God is believed by many to be both omnipotent and omnipresent. Here are definitions of the two from the Oxford dictionary.

Omnipotent: Having total power; able to do anything – an omnipotent God.

Omnipresent: Present everywhere

So here we have God who is able to be everywhere at the same time, having total power to do anything. So how is this actually possible? And at the risk of cracking that old nutshell once again-why then does he allow such cruelty to happen in the world? Some would say this isn’t God’s will, its man’s will but even if that’s the case, You’d think this loving forgiving source would be horrified to the point of intervention, if only to offer some guidance wouldn’t you?  But let’s say, a logical explanation exists to explain God’s lack
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