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Why We Can’t Hold On To Stillness

In this talk I want to discuss what might be our biggest challenge. To find a state of stillness, and remain productive in the world. How do we accomplish, while remaining present.

Why are most of us unable to hold on to stillness? Many of us can find stillness, but why isn’t it easier to just stay there? This talk assumes that you know what I mean when I say stillness. Some call it big mind, or a state of presence.

I did a talk before called Stillness in Motion. While this talk is similar, it will differ in the level we’re talking about. Stillness in motion was a talk about the feeling of holding stillness while we do things.

I’ve heard Ken Wilber say things like you can’t be in a non-dual state and in a state of duality at the same time. I’d be interested to speak with him about that because I have a deep sense of being still, or in a non-dual state while still seeing and being aware of, and able to function in the world full of duality.

This talk will discuss, and point out that we definitely still have the desire to accomplish and do things. We may drop the attachment to that desire, but we still discern.

At the base of our being is a function of judgement. This judgement leads to most of our discomfort. It puts us on the treadmill of time. Judgement says this situation isn’t as I would like it to be, so let’s change it. It leads to inner becoming. I’m not enough, etc. Many spiritual teachings seem to imply that this is a bad thing. But it’s important that we don’t vilify this idea. We need this function to survive. It’s the same impulse that tells us we’re in danger. It also allows for us to better the world.

We don’t lose the ability to judge when we’re still. I usually begin to describe this judgement as “discerning” to show that there is a difference. It isn’t a lost, deeply judgemental, place that we come from, but we can tell what our preference would be. We do chose to walk, and eat, and talk, etc.

Many stereotypical representations of meditation imply that the meditator is unable to discern when in a deep meditative state. That’s just not accurate. I mentioned before the Burning Monk, who had gasoline (or some flammable liquid) poured over him and lit. Then there was a picture taken of him not moving. While his experience of that might have been different than yours or mine, he still was aware that he was burning. The amazing thing is not some otherworldly state of mind he found, but rather the choice to stay. The discipline to stay.

The trick is going to be to learn to remain still while we judge and think. Can we remain aware while we judge? We need to learn to watch our judgements. The subtle distinction is this: A frustrated meditator learns about a pleasurable state of mind and then catches themselves thinking and discredits all the stillness they achieved. Whereas, a centered meditator finds himself or herself in a thinking state and watches it, thereby remaining centered.

In this world, we have things to accomplish. There is work to be done. In every moment we look at the world and have opinions about how it could be better, things we need, things we want to have, or do, or give. None of that is wrong. It’s really important that we allow for that. There is such a thing as growth. There is betterment.

So is stillness in conflict with betterment? Doesn’t stillness imply that we’re done? While it is an appreciative state, we can be aware of movement, and the need for change while holding on to stillness. Stillness is a state of awareness. One that is realized and awake to the truth of a situation. If there is betterment to be done, do it, but try to remain aware.

Our innate ability and need to create and judge is what’s impairing our ability to remain still. And that’s a wonderful thing. The work we’re here to do is to marry the two. We’re here to blend the duality. We can engage in both experiences, and do our best to remain aware of where we are and what we’re doing.

Referenced: Ken Wilber, and Burning Monk

Language is a Lie

This talk is about the box of language. The main point is that since we are all one, when we create the separate reality (the one to talk about), we are “lying” to ourselves.

Language creates a box of agreement. But we are still separated by perspective. A smaller point but something we tend to miss. Perspective is what language is trying to relate, but we trust memories as if there was little or no perspective. Again, this is a different point than the main theme, but still important.

Language will always be incomplete. You can’t capture things with language, you can only point. The structure of thinking ends up being a detriment because we tend to remember our judgements about things. The language of the situation. We tend to get stuck in the labeling mind rather than the listening mind. The party was “bad”. But not to someone who enjoyed the party.

Language is a descriptor. It is an abstraction of truth. It adds a layer onto truth. So, what’s the point? Why discuss the box of language? Well, as we’re trying to open our minds, we need to learn that we can think differently.

I discuss the need to talk. The need to fill space with commentary. Truth comes from the act of listening, not speaking.

I also mentioned oneness and unity consciousness. Mentioned the book Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Bucke, and Ken Wilber’s No Boundary. All the greats had this state of mind, or state of being.

Other interesting points: Math is a language. We use words to define other words.

Nationalism and Levels of Identification

Consciousness expands from being an infant through different identifications with social groups. The highest level on average is the national level. We identify with our family, our neighborhood, our state, our nation. Why not our world and beyond?

When survival of the team or family depends on loyalty, it is important that we are able to identify with that level. Our survival at this point is becoming more and more dependent on a world view. There are views beyond the world view, but the world view would be the next meaningful level of identification.

At the base of this identification is the ego clinging to an idea about itself. The problem starts when we let that identification get so deep that we make choices that are against our values. Nations that go to war would be potentially the greatest example of this. How does taking human life become so easily justified during war? It does because it falls under the umbrella of protecting a nation. Protecting the idea of “us”. But there is only “us” in a world view. There is no “them”.

Nations often fight because they are lost in value systems that are out of sync. If we were able to widen our level of identification to a world view, we would grow past many, if not all, of our conflicts.

Do we gain anything, or lose anything by identifying with different levels of social structure? Is it better to identify with a neighborhood by being in a gang, or a city by being proud to be from that place, or a nation, or the world? There are less people to fight, less outsiders as we widen our identification.

The next view beyond world view would be a universal view, or a unified view. I only mention this to say that we are not done once we’re at the world view.

We use these levels of identification to grow. We expand as we move from one view of our group to the next wider view. That said, what would change if we, as individuals, started to identify with a world view, instead of a national view?

Show Music: At Home And Unaffected by Decomposure

Referenced: Bill Hicks, Ken Wilber

Discussion on Beliefs

A discussion of the importance in understanding what beliefs are and how they affect us. Beliefs are the filter we see our world through. We need to begin understanding their use.

Three ways to perceive the world: Truth, opinion, and belief. Truth is what is. Opinion is when we make a judgment of a truth and take a separate stance on the truth. Beliefs are when we erroneously treat opinions as truths.

There are many facets to life. There are levels of intention and perspective. Opinions can be used effectively to enhance performance on some of these levels. Referenced Ken Wilber’s book No Boundary about boundaries of self – body, ego, persona.

Beliefs are the most powerful ideas there are. Every war has been fought because of beliefs.

How do we watch beliefs? One way is with meditation. Beginning that is to watch when we get upset. That tells us that we are bumping into a belief we have.

Referenced: Ken Wilber