Cultivating a taste for reality

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Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:18 pm

"I'm not very good at reality." - Aunt Jean

For those who live largely in their heads, reality (actuality, what is) can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The inner narration, the movie with self as central heroic or tragic character around whom everything revolves is just SO compelling and deeply engrained. Reality often just serves as a backdrop, a setting in which the action unfolds.

The move to presence, a conscious dwelling in here/now reality, can be very difficult for these kinds of people. It's a whole different ballgame, to simply be with what is. It can feel boring and meaningless. A taste for reality needs to be cultivated.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:30 pm

Cultivated by whom?

:shock:
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Webwanderer » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:11 pm

EnterZenFromThere wrote:Cultivated by whom?

:shock:

May I suggest - the perceiver of experience.

That said, reality is as much about perception through the eyes of one's beliefs as it is about present conditions and focus of attention - unless of course one includes beliefs in those conditions. Reality is more related to experience than than it is to conditions present. After all what is real other than experience?

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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:47 am

EnterZenFromThere wrote:Cultivated by whom?

:shock:

By that which sees that reality can be a bitter pill to swallow.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:58 am

Webwanderer wrote:Reality is more related to experience than it is to conditions present. After all what is real other than experience?

Not sure I understand. You see the blind man's experience (feel tail) and consequent (mis)interpretation of the elephant (long thin wagging object) as reality, rather than the actual elephant as reality?
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:13 am

What I'm really getting at here is that attending to the actuality of the present moment/place is, for many, far less compelling than attending to the accompanying storyline, the internal voiceover so to speak.

For example, the moment to moment sensory experience of driving to work is for many far less compelling/interesting than the commentary, images, thoughts, and other mental objects that arise during the drive.

Und so ... perhaps cultivating a taste for mundane actuality is a way to deepen presence.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:30 am

rachMiel wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:Reality is more related to experience than it is to conditions present. After all what is real other than experience?

Not sure I understand. You see the blind man's experience (feel tail) and consequent (mis)interpretation of the elephant (long thin wagging object) as reality, rather than the actual elephant as reality?

Regardless of the interpretation there was an experience. Experience is always real even though it may include interpretation in many unique ways. The blind man had the experience of misinterpretation. The interpretation was part of the experience. It was quite real.

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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Manyana » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:49 am

rachMiel wrote:What I'm really getting at here is that attending to the actuality of the present moment/place is, for many, far less compelling than attending to the accompanying storyline, the internal voiceover so to speak.

For example, the moment to moment sensory experience of driving to work is for many far less compelling/interesting than the commentary, images, thoughts, and other mental objects that arise during the drive.

Und so ... perhaps cultivating a taste for mundane actuality is a way to deepen presence.



As an experience it seems to be more like being under a collective hypnosis/spell. And as we start to become free of that hypnosis, the more new and refreshing the world begins to appear.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:54 am

Webwanderer wrote:Regardless of the interpretation there was an experience. Experience is always real even though it may include interpretation in many unique ways. The blind man had the experience of misinterpretation. The interpretation was part of the experience. It was quite real.

Experience is real, I see that. All experience, including daydreaming, zoning out, listening to the inner narration.

One always experiences. You could say that to live is to experience.

But to be conscious of one's experience, to know you are experiencing in the moment the experience is happening ... this is quite rare.

Question is, does being conscious of an experience add any "value" to the experience? Or is it a diversion that distances you from the immediacy of the experience?
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Webwanderer » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:44 am

rachMiel wrote:Question is, does being conscious of an experience add any "value" to the experience? Or is it a diversion that distances you from the immediacy of the experience?

My sense it that it adds value to life, both in the larger context as well as in the more relative sense. I see life as fundamentally expansive and evolutionary. Being more conscious of one's experience contributes to the expansion of being in a way that a more unconscious, reactive relationship, does not. That said, it's those reactive experiences that set the conditions that inspire one towards greater understanding of their life and being. Nothing is wasted, and in the larger context it's all good. Seeing through one's own pain however, to that greater understanding, can indeed be quite challenging.

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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:52 am

Webwanderer wrote:Being more conscious of one's experience contributes to the expansion of being in a way that a more unconscious, reactive relationship, does not.

Makes sense.

There's being conscious of experience after the fact, via memory and thought.

Then there's something really quite different, being conscious of experience as it is happening. There's not much room for contemplative or analytical thought in this type of being conscious. All your energy is devoted to seeing the experience in real time, in this moment.

The first way is the way we are taught in this culture and age, and we are all aware of its benefits.

The second way is far more elusive to most of us. It's not intuitively clear to us how learning and evolution/expansion can come from simply being aware of your present experience.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Onceler » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:09 pm

I agree, RachMiel, that reality is elusive. I believe we see it through a mind that is distorted and in many ways neurotic. Are you suggesting that a healthy mind would see reality as it is and find it compelling and satisfying? I believe this to be true.

I've been thinking of this very thing and ran across a John Sherman quote yesterday, "Let life speak for itself." My take on this is don't add meaning and interpretation to reality or distance or distort life.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby Rob X » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:51 pm

rachMiel wrote:"I'm not very good at reality." - Aunt Jean

For those who live largely in their heads, reality (actuality, what is) can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The inner narration, the movie with self as central heroic or tragic character around whom everything revolves is just SO compelling and deeply engrained. Reality often just serves as a backdrop, a setting in which the action unfolds.

The move to presence, a conscious dwelling in here/now reality, can be very difficult for these kinds of people. It's a whole different ballgame, to simply be with what is. It can feel boring and meaningless. A taste for reality needs to be cultivated.


Most people I know live between the poles of repetitive narrative/mind chatter and occasional inspired moments of clear seeing. And they seem quite happy with this. My kids (in their 20s) are like this. They love their computers, phones and social media and the rest (very much narrow identity reinforcing programming.) My eldest reports that sometimes when she's depressed, a good work out at the gym or a long walk or run is helpful. She probably doesn't realise it but at those moments she is coming round to the ever-fresh pulse of present actuality. If people are (fairly) happy this way then I see no reason to feel a pressure to be otherwise.

But for many of us a crack appears in the veneer of consensual reality - it may be an intense unitive experience or it may be an existential crisis. Either way we are drawn to the possibility that all is not as it appears.

So I wouldn't recommend cultivating a taste for clarity - it'll happen when clarity smacks you in the face and feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the stale, claustrophobic air of the usual conceptual hall of mirrors.

And even then, this is not about a teeth clenching regime of trying to be present. Little reminders now and then may be enough.

I can't say I'm a big fan of this guy (don't know much about him really) but I do like what he suggests here (in particular the first half):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yG2INLOgdA

Again, this is about a realisation of something fundamental that's overlooked. When mind chatter diminishes the alive-ness of Life becomes evident.

This coming back to present actuality (or relaxing mind focus) reveals the mysterious IS-ness of existence itself. The seamless as-it-is-ness of Life spontaneously unfolding.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby EnterZenFromThere » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:37 pm

This conversation seems a little strange to me. All this comparison of actuality vs non-actuality. How can anything be non-actuality? How can 'what is' be more or less 'what is' than anything else?

I appreciate what is being said about a movement away from a perception of self as a confused mind-bound physicality and toward a clearer way of being that is more aligned with the moment - more accepting of the arising experience of the moment. But to label something as actuality/reality and something else as not this seems to be creating a perception of something that is an impossibility. What is is what is - regardless of whether it is thought obsessed and relatively less aware or thought allowing and relatively more aware.

The impulse to cultivate and the activity of cultivating a greater alignment with the present is an undivided aspect of the arising within the moment. Total valid when it arises. Totally invalid when it does not. Just as all things. Attaching yourself to the belief that you are cultivating presence is helpful when it is and not helpful when it is not. Ultimately, it will be another form of limitation. The moment does not require cultivation, though the individual form that desires alignment with it may perceive things this way and thus experience reality as this (for a time).

I think this is a fascinating discussion - thanks for your posts.
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Re: Cultivating a taste for reality

Postby rachMiel » Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:26 pm

Rob X wrote:So I wouldn't recommend cultivating a taste for clarity - it'll happen when clarity smacks you in the face and feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the stale, claustrophobic air of the usual conceptual hall of mirrors.

I think it's quite common for students of nondualism who are not skilled practitioners of meditation to have macro-level clarity and micro-level chaos.

What I mean is that at the top level, they have a good solid understanding of what makes things tick. They are reasonably awake. At the bottom level, the moment to moment mindstream is chaotic, un-silent, the monkeys are havin' fun!

So I'm skeptical about waiting for clarity to strike. It sounds a bit like waiting for Prince(ss) Charming to sweep you off your feet.
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