Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

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snowheight
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Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by snowheight » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:39 pm

This topic has been visited here before, but I’ll re-introduce it from the ground-up for this thread in terms of personal experience.

Tolle’s PON clarified, amplified and brought into very sharp focus a point that I had picked up from some science-based works (Goswami’s “Self Aware Universe” and Capra’s “The Tao of Physics”): The concept that understanding or describing any non-dual Whole (“Self”, “Awareness”, “The Now”, “What is”, “Sacred”, “God”) is ultimately limited by our dualistic existence. We might get close, the way that ET has, but ultimately we produce only signposts and will never hold Infinity in the palm of our hand or a nook or cranny of our brain. This in turn explained why in the past, in spiritual/philosophical conversations with my wife we would quite often arrive at an apparent paradox, such as the great power one can gain by relinquishing any attempts at conventional control in certain contexts. …

One particular example of such a paradox that popped into my head today was that of the human condition in and of itself. Despite our Divine inner spark it seems to be our nature to seek insulation from What Is. A good meal can go beyond our instinct for preservation in the joy it can give us but there is a reason that fasting is part of many a religious tradition. Nothing like hunger that for some reason cannot be immediately (or reasonably immediately) satisfied to pull one into the moment. A warm (literally, well-insulated) home on a cold day or a cool one on a scorcher can give us a sublime cozy feeling but the sweat lodge or the ski slopes can lead us to such Presence. A steady income and/or a healthy nestegg are a few of the ultimate hiding places of the “little me’s” inside of us all, but have you ever experienced the mindhalting grandiosity which is the result of these stores of wealth such as the streets, people and skyline of Manhattan?

At the root of this, to re-iterate, is our very existence, our association with the “To BE!” polarity: that identification with this extant Universe which seems to begin with our first moment in awareness of the pulse of our lifeblood be that within or outside of the womb. That moment, which, by way of a digression, was a subjective infinity if we take into account the relative nature of time as measured by us – how preciously short does a day seem to us in middle age … how tediously long did the hours tick so grudgingly by on those clocks affixed to the walls of the first grade classrooms? (“are we THERE yet!”).

Seemingly wondrous indeed is the apparent paradox of those who seek to touch Forever through meditation or prayer and the layers of “insulation” that we often seek in these practices such as an affinity for a still, aesthetic place to meditate or the resonance of other people within the hallow of a grand, stained-glass cathedral.

Namaste
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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eputkonen
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by eputkonen » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:27 am

What comes to my mind is the story of Buddha's enlightenment. After years of austerities like fasting, it was when he ceased and accepted food from a girl and sat under a tree (in relaxation) did he realize it was all for naught and woke up.

Fasting and hunger (austerities in general) can add insulation from What Is as well...they too are refuges of the "little me".
Namaste,

~ Eric Putkonen
https://www.youtube.com/EricPutkonen

snowheight
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by snowheight » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:19 pm

Yes, Yes, of course I understand what you are pointing out: "insulation from insulation" so to speak :)

This in turn leads me to comment on the Eastern concept of balance -- can seeking balance in and of itself turn into a form of IMbalanace? What I am reminded of here is a two-dimensional graph of a function -- balance is found at the local minima, while instability is found at the local maxima. One leads to stasis, the other to inevitable movement.

I'm sure this has been done to death in literature and scripture by those with more intellectual and spiritual heft than myself long long ago but I just couldn't help myself.
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enigma
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by enigma » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:47 pm

What is the Eastern concept of balance? Not being cynical, I just don't know.

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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by snowheight » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:34 pm

enigma wrote:What is the Eastern concept of balance? Not being cynical, I just don't know.
For example: the Hindu concept of Karma and the Buddhist concept of the middle way. To re-iterate I'm sure there are better sources than myself for details on this.
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by enigma » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:08 am

Okay, thanks.
What threw me was the notion of "seeking balance". Balance is anathema to dualistic creation by virtue of it's duality, and so there is no actual seeking of it since the seeking is a movement toward a particular polarity, not to balance anything. All experiential movements are reverberating continuously between the polarities that form the tension for the movement itself. All movements are seeking reconciliation of this tension, which is not balance but transcendence. Balance would end the movement, which is to say end the experience of life, which is movement.

Nobody seeks to attain the neutral point between happy/sad or peace/chaos or live perpetually in some kind of twilight world devoid of feeling. The balance point between dualistic polarities is barely a way-point between where you were and where you want to be, and is literally not noticed.

Karma is not a balance so much as a consequence, and it does not ideally lead to any kind of balance, but rather a transcendence of both polarities involved. To transcend good and evil is not to find oneself at the midpoint between, but rather beyond.
Buddha's middle way is not a recommendation to choose a path midway between austerity and gluttony, but to transcend both in the understanding that neither constitutes a path to anywhere, which is the transcendence of both paths.

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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by runstrails » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:28 am

Wow! Great post, enigma.

A related issue comes up:

As awareness stirs or awakening starts, and the illusion of 'self' becomes more apparent, to what extent does conditioning start to dissolve?

The movement toward polarities appears to be in large part due to conditioning--(at least in my case). For example, on a particularly busy day at the office, "I" react as I always did in the past, even as I remain simultaneously am aware that there is no 'me'. The conditioned reactions don't result in much suffering anymore, since the reflective mental chatter is pretty much ignored. But from a human point of view, I don't appear to have become more wise, or kind or loving or patient or whatever. Its the same old, same old, just does not result in as much suffering because when the mental chatter starts, I can see how the illusion of me forms and needs that chatter to remain sustained. Once you realize its an illusion, you loose interest in it. But the conditioning seems to remain.

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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by enigma » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:03 am

Yes, that's what I mean by transcendence. The 'movement' continues, but the movement, and the polarities between which the movement occurs, are seen for what they are. You find yourself beyond the polarities rather than encased at some balance point between them. The conditioning is not 'your' conditioning, and the seeing of this is the transcendence of it. This may alter some of the conditioning that originated in that ignorance, but the whole point is that you were never that to begin with, and so realizing that doesn't change much in the conditioning. Realizing that you were never the tree in your backyard won't cause the tree to do anything different.

the key master
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by the key master » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:21 am

Geez, he is quite good, nothing like ive ever encountered...

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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by Natalie » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:21 pm

Thanks for asking that question runstrails. I have noticed the same thing as well. Still get caught up in old behavior patterns yet the mind set that sustained them in the past, either no longer exists or is seen for the ghost it is and fails to last, like an inflated balloon, the outer 'shell' is there and it looks full, but there is nothing inside. This transcendance as enigma calls it, has been the most liberating experience I've had. The realization that my life is not as dreadful or hopeless as I once believed it to be is grace at it's highest. The most effective antidepressant I've ever been prescribed.
Thanks enigma for your lucidity.

Natalie

snowheight
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Re: Paradoxes in General and One in Particular

Post by snowheight » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:08 pm

Thank you enigma for the distinctions you draw and your presentation. I find them valuable.

'trails, perhaps additional understanding on the persistence of conditioning can be explained by co-opting one of the most venerated meme's surrounding the concept of "enlightenment":

Before enlightenment traffic lights are traffic lights. Green means go and Red means stop.
During enlightenment traffic lights are traffic lights. Green means go and Red means stop.
After enlightenment traffic lights are traffic lights. Green means go and Red means stop.

Here in form there are no Absolutes, as our perception requires relative reference points. Now the fact that we can conceive of enlightenment and that an underlying "Reality" was perceived long ago by ancients without a detailed scientific model of how the universe actually works clues us in to what an Absolute is, but scientists will never achieve absolute zero or accelerate something to the speed of light. Expressed as a social observation, are there really any True "good guys" or True "bad guys"?

But in the context of our day-to-day existence there may as well be Absolutes. The rules of the road of this place are merciless to forms identified with the "To BE!" polarity:

Before enlightenment traffic lights are traffic lights. Green means go and Red means stop.
During enlightenment traffic lights are not traffic lights. Green means stop and Red means go.
<>

I share your experience of the impact of staying awake while using or being subjected to a given set of conditioning. By "using the conditioning" what I mean is accepting it rather than resisting it. HA! another Paradox! In an attempt to extend enigma's point, I would speculate that it is our lot as participants in the American routine to transcend any tension between staying present and following the rules of the road in the office or of that sometimes heroic job of getting the kids to bed in some sort of decent condition and hour.

ET was right but I was ahead of him -- somewhere in PON or ANE he suggests that the mind, once observed, will amuse us with folly. By the time I had read that I'd already had a sack of laughs. I chuckled just now at the spiral of contradiction that my mind followed in considering how the recognition of a conditioned pattern when encountered and the choice not to identify with it are a form of judgment.

Namaste
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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