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Like a reed in the wind – in accord with the Tao – an Octopus morphs with incoming waves.
A Sea Eagle watches from the cliff above.
The waters cloud with every flow, become transparent on the ebb.
The Octopus shapeshifts into a crack.
The following post was inspired by a conversation with The Necromancer
For many years my deepest desire was enlightenment.
To this aim, I would spend large chunks of time meditating or in solitude, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month.
Then, one night completely out-of-the-blue something happened.
But what occurred, bore no resemblance to what I originally hoped might happen.
Previously, I had thought that enlightenment would be achieving a quiet mind, a harmonious mind, attaining some state of bliss or happiness, or being able at will to control or manipulate mind to this end.
However, what took place, and I use the word enlightenment very reluctantly (with the rider it means 100 things to 100 people) as one has no way of knowing anything about ‘it’ at all because ‘you’ is not, and thus ‘that state’ is actually no state of mind at all.
(Perhaps naturalness is a better description, but then that word has its varied connotations too.)
After this event I observed that this naturalness had become the default setting. Thought had receded completely into the background until the demand was there, that is, when thought was needed to perform some activity, etc, it would come to the fore for the duration of the function it was needed, and then burn up of its own volition.
So ‘it’ was/is not a thoughtless state; thought comes and goes as necessary but the desire to do anything about the movement of thought, had ceased. It (thought) happened as it happened. All the previous efforts to find enlightenment, bliss, Truth, whatever came to a permanent end.
One could say there were thoughts when needed, but they were not ‘my thoughts’ or ‘your thoughts’, nor my mind or your mind.
For what its worth, if I was to speculate I could theorise that ‘mind’ is the totality of all that has been known, felt and experienced by mankind, and ones thoughts reflect ones ‘connection’ to but part of this totality of ‘mind’, as dictated by individual background – ie – schooling, culture, nationality, wealth, career, society, religion, spirituality, etc, etc.
Furthermore, I feel enlightenment is physiological not psychological. One could even say that there is no such thing as enlightenment as the organism is already enlightened, its just that the separateness thought establishes is the barrier, unless there is some powerful change.
In my opinion what happened was a change in brain wiring, an alteration in the neurology of the organism at a biological level.
In hindsight, I believe that naturalness occurred in spite of the meditation, or even if it did play some role (and one could not definitively say) it was not in taming mind, or controlling thought, or accessing higher dimensions of mind. If anything, the long and continued periods of meditation caused a stress or tension on the organism, and it was this that facilitated a change to the neurological wiring in the brain. The change was a biological surrender, not something that I thought I would do, but rather the organism as a whole dictated thus.
In my opinion the human organism is designed to handle stress.
Man has probably always been subjected to stress, whether it is evading the clutches of a wild beast, or getting out the way of an out of control motor vehicle.
Or, feeling stressed during a heated tribal disagreement, or a fast approaching work deadline.
In my opinion, the problem is not the experience at the time – the body can handle these things – it is the stress does not cease when the actual experience finishes. That is, thought continues the experience long after the event.
An old Eastern parable that goes something like this (excuse my inaccuracy of the actual story, but the thrust remains the same):
Two monks were at a river ready to cross and found a pretty woman on the bank who was afraid the running water may sweep her to her death if she attempted to make the crossing. One of the monks offered to carry her across, much to the consternation of the other monk who believed doing so contravened their moral code.
However, they all managed to cross safely, the woman went her way, and the monks continued walking in silence.
Much later, the monk who was against helping the woman said to his companion, ‘you know you shouldn’t have done that.’
The other monk replied ‘I put her down on the riverbank more than an hour ago, but you are still carrying her now’
A nice story I think.
Myself, various sages and seers (or sundry ‘crazies’ as perceived by many) over the years have said that life is a series of independent events, that it is thought, that we believe to be ‘I’, that links them together.
Furthermore, the sages say that ‘freedom’ or ‘enlightenment’ or ‘acceptance’ is not some state of perpetual bliss, because bliss is but another experience of thought.
No, it is that whatever event that occurs in life, that experience has a life of its own for the duration of the event.
That life includes whatever thoughts and emotions that may incur, from unhappiness to happiness, anger to joy, etc, etc, and all the associated neuro and hormonal activity during that event IS harmonious functioning of the body. Then the experience is finished.
But, when whatever the experience may be, is carried on beyond the actual event, then the organism undergoes prolonged stress to a greater degree than otherwise would occur. And health and wellbeing can become compromised.
So to use an analogy: some experiences are like rain clouds, dark and heavy. Other experiences are light and airy. But all clouds are part of the sky. They come, they go. It’s just that we try to hang on to some experiences and be rid of others.
On the northern side of the Headland lies a clearing that is bordered by dense bush on one side, and ridgeline on the other (with protected cove below.)
The clearing has a smattering of Banksia trees but is clear of understory plants.
Many, many moons ago, the site was an Aboriginal Dance Ground, not used so much for initiation purposes, but more as a camp-stay in the area, and thus men, women and children participated in celebrations of the day. This included Dreamtime storytelling and engaging the animal, fish and bird spirits that inhabited the area (and subsequently fed the tribe).
This morning I walked out from the bush into the clearing to find a pair of abandoned shoes, that were lying at the edge of the Dance Ground. There was no-one around.
The empty shoes, at an area that once served as an Indigenous gathering site, was a nice synchronicity I thought.
If you sit down on the earth, the spirit of the place infuses your being.
Wallaby, Sea Eagle spirit hang heavy, and Blackfish and Abalone from the waters in the cove below are a strong presence.
You can feel the earth pulse rhythmically as feet stomp and shuffle collectively from times long gone, the sweat of endeavour and activity infusing the ground, nourishing the earth, enriching the environment.
The sea breeze courses up into the dance-ground uniting ocean with land, Blackfish with Wallaby, enlivening the bush.
After an indeterminate time, I continued on my way, climbing down the ridgeline to the cove below.
A Sea-eagle flew across my path.
Following the previous post, Brian suggested a follow-up piece to more fully explain the everyday workings of my ‘bodymind.’
Bodymind is not something I can do.
It is like the wind, beyond my control. It happens of its own volition.
It started coming to my attention after the cosmic smack on the head, or divine kiss. (whichever way you want to look at the situation).
I discovered that when thinking is not engaged, what remains is not a dumb, blank state.
On the contrary (it) is alive with life and intelligence.
I was also to discover that although thought may not be engaged, the body still ‘thinks.’
When this happens ‘thinking’ does not occur in terms of mind images, or emotions, or pictures, but in actual, flutters, thuds, pulls – physical sensations in different areas of the body.
I found that this ‘thinking’ (more accurately feeling ) occurs independently of ‘mind,’ via ‘mini-brains’, namely nerve plexi/glands that align in my case with abdomen, chest, throat, brow.
So two examples may be:- a car passing by, resonating as a physical feeling in the chest, or looking at a snake, (its) tongue flicking in and out which also corresponds with a sensation in my chest.
When these events occur, thought lies in the background – to use a motoring analogy – the clutch pedal depressed, thinking disengaged, the outer event registering as physical feeling, as indicated by one of the ‘mini-brains’.
There is awareness of the event occurring, but thought is not.
But, if thought is needed – say, the car skids in my direction, or the snake moves suddenly towards me – thought comes to the fore, and one naturally takes the appropriate course of action.
It bears repeating that this process is not something I ‘do’, or a meditation, or some other technique.
The ‘de-clutched state’ is the default setting. Thought comes when needed to serve whatever requirement, then burns up back of its own accord again into ‘not-thinking’.
It is a permanent occurrence, that happens regardless of outer environment. I have no control over (it).
As indicated in previous post, this situation also plays out as ‘mirroring’ in the case of ‘outer’ events – like someone coughing – registering as a feeling within me similarly.
The ‘inner feeling‘, whatever it may be, lasts for the duration of the ‘outer-event’.
An event may also be climatic – say – temperature fluctuations, humidity, storm activity, wind condition etc, which may resonate with the ‘brow mini-brain’ that responds with bright pulses of light, which vary in colour and intensity.
An event may also be a ‘setting’ such as inside a shop, neon lights, the smells, sounds etc, are all felt in the body.
And people are an ‘event’ also. Both in terms of general engagement but also I have observed that my ‘condition’ in some way, often brings to the surface people’s worries and fears.
I will feel the person’s concern as a physical inner sensation, but when our engagement ends, so to does the feeling.
A way of explaining this is that the feeling mirrors the event. Then its gone. There is no remaining residue. So each event is an individual occurrence. One occurrence does not link to another. Life then, could de described as a series of independent happenings, each with a life – or energy – of its own.
How do I handle this?
I know nothing else. I have no desire for any other ‘state’ and so no problem or conflict exists.
Family members and people who have known me for a long time, say there has been a noticeable change and in my younger years I was very different, and so obviously there has been a change.
Of course I know a change must have occurred because I can remember meditating day after day month after month, and so the desire for something to happen must have been there.
But, what transpired bears absolutely no resemblance to what I was looking or searching for at the time. What remained after the cosmic spanking, has a life and movement entirely of its own accord.
What I can say – ha! – that becomes pretty evident from my ramblings, is that I like to spend regular time in the outdoors. I derive energy there, lying on warm beach pebbles, walking in the forest, feeling wind updraught from a cliff on the face, bathing in cold ocean water, sitting on a beach on a moonless night, etc, etc.
Of course, these events have an energy of their own, that the body responds to, but these happenings also energise and enliven the organism depending on physiological requirements at the time. I sleep far less than I used to and the type of sleep differs also, but we are veering into new territory and so I wont go off on another tangent now.
My partner has had a respiratory infection for 5 weeks. My daughter had a shorter version. The neighbours have had it, half the town has had something similar, or flu. Some folk are still finding their feet after being laid-up for 13 weeks.
I have escaped its clutches. Well, the sickness part anyway, but more of that later.
Jokingly, I like to tell people I don’t get sick, I just get cancer!
Many of my posts touch on body sense.
I discovered that Adrian Harris of Bodymind Place shares a similar interest, and although from what I can gather he comes from a different angle, nevertheless we both share a similar belief that the body ‘feels’.
In the past I have touched on the sensation of bats flying through me; feelings in abdomen of a falcon plummeting out of sky; or a bird flying, its wingbeats echoing in chest; sitting on shore observing a surfer catching waves, the sensation in the pit of my stomach as the surfer takes off late dropping into a big hard-breaking wave; of expanding rocks in the hot sun cracking inside me; tree branches creaking within; cicada-song vibrating in heart/thymus; a wallaby bouncing off into the bush, each bounce thudding within.
But then there’s another aspect to this ‘feeling’ which brings me back to the respiratory infection that I have escaped, sort of!
I have had no infection, no coughing up goop or laid up in bed devoid of energy, as those who have had the sickness have had.
On the contrary.
But, every cough, every retch, every throat clear, mirrors within me.
My partner, or someone else around town, will be – as they say – coughing their guts up, and I will feel this with intensity down in the chest cavity. Clearing their throat, this registers in throat too, and so it goes for the duration of the happening. When they stop coughing, so to the sensation abates within me too.
Having the sickness without actually having the sickness!
Perhaps a comparison may be one used to describe the feelings some twins experience, that is, say one twin has a bad shoulder, the other one also feels the pain as well.
As to why this happens here, who can say absolutely, but I tend to think that when thought is disengaged and has receded into the background, the body is no longer separated from its environment in terms of thought ‘creating’ boundaries, and so what happens ‘out-there’ happens ‘in-here,’ and various parts of the body take over thinking, or more accurately, they ‘feel.’