Howdy! I hope you are happy and healthy. There is no way to properly introduce this topic. There’s more gravity in the experience than words can carry. How far down the rabbit hole you go with it, or have already gone with it, is going to vary a lot between readers. So let’s just dive right in.
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Be well. Love, Tenzin
***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you! FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG
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THE BACK STORY
The ancient Vipassana process was not widely known in the modern world until its popularity was rejuvenated in the mid-twentieth century by a Burmese man named Goenka.
An initial ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat involves intensive instruction and practice. Total silence and a very structured schedule begin at four a.m. each morning.
Having repeatedly done megadoses of nearly every hallucinogen available to humanity, I can safely say that the Vipassana experience is the most mind altering of all mind-altering experiences. It doesn’t readily wear off.
This system of focused breathing and meditation originally comes from India and is reputed to be the historical Buddha’s own base-station system.
Vipassana literally means “to see things as they really are.”
It is a totally nonsectarian practice and so does not conflict with any religion. The goal of the Vipassana process is to eliminate mental impurities and thereby eliminate suffering. Perhaps not all at once—but if the process is done diligently and consistently over a period of time, it can result in a balanced, compassionate state of mind that creates harmony and happiness more easily.
Happy people don’t usually kill, injure, insult, or even disrespect others—or themselves. Life may always contain illness, old age, and death but the way we view these things can increase or reduce much of the actual suffering that often habitually accompanies those experiences. The Vipassana training and mental exercise (practice) helps us constructively influence the way we view our life experiences in the present. It can also help us to decrease the number and severity of situations and circumstances that might lead to future sufferings. As is true of many common sense practices that are referred to as spiritual, this involves a lot of self-observation.
There’s a very strong and generally underrated link between the mind and the body. Practicing Vipassana gets us more in touch with that link by paying the right kind of attention to physical and mental sensations. This attention can lead to the common root of mind and body. From there, a lot of the emotional crap we’ve accumulated during our lifetime(s) can be dissolved.
The basic method that is learned during the initial intensive retreat needs to be practiced as continuously as the participant likes after they leave. The ten-day initial session leaves a serious mental imprint—but in the long run the benefit from this process, like everything else in life. is a use-it-or-lose-it type of thing. Try taking only ten days of piano lessons. Even if you tinkle those ivories for the entire twenty-four hours during each of those ten days, if you don’t continue practicing after that you will never play in a band.
Here is a brief description of a process that is impossible to describe.
p.s. This wasn’t an easy piece to write. Once you get used to writing and editing within the confines of the accepted grammatical rules of your language, it is harder to ignore those conventions in order recreate a standing-firm-while-bouncing-off-the-walls feeling within whatever you are writing about. You will notice how in places the story floats amorphously around between subject and object, and also between us/we/I/you/ and they. It sounds in places like the Beatles singing I Am The Walrus! “I am he as you are me as you are she and we are all together.” You will also notice broken, partial sentences that may seem fractured individually but still cling together enough to relate a(n at least partially) clear thought—and also that tenses sometimes float between past, present, and future within the same paragraph. There is also an unorthodox amount of repetition as several ideas that seem to be walking through the same door do it from different angles. These are things that won't get you an English language degree from any reputable college, but that many have described as being part of their initial Vipassana experience!
Separation. Men here, women there. No communication at all. With anyone. No speech, no waving, no eye contact, no hand signals. Up at four a.m. Meditation and instruction until nine p.m. with teachers who very rarely speak. Infrequent rest and meal breaks. Silence and awareness maintained during break times as well.
Thoughts, feelings, judgments arise. Thoughts, feelings, judgments subside. Any and every thing that has the nature of arising is shown to also have the nature of subsiding.
Simple awareness dispels several varieties of ignorance. That awareness habitually slips and is followed by a wandering mind and a regression to ignorance. Then a reawakened awareness sponsors a clarity-and-growth spurt that is a little stronger than the first one, but then another regression, followed by… The loop seems endless, but soon one can notice how the periods of awareness and clarity keep getting a bit longer and stronger as the periods of attention-less wandering into flickering ignorance keep getting shorter. Practice may not make perfect, but it can certainly make improvement. Connections recognized—mind to body, body to mind, person to person, and person to everything through person to self. Constant, constant, constant attention paid to one’s own breathing and bodily sensations. We become highly sensitized to every molecule within—and without. The air inside me is the same air as the air outside me, and the air inside you. Then intimate contact with and focus upon heartbeat. Fear, agitation, discomfort percolate to the surface. They are released and replaced by calm, focused clarity. This clarity somehow feels as if it has always been here but has also taken forever to get here. Self-realization, seeing-the-light, Enlightenment, self-awareness, or whatever you want to call it is a concept that has suffered too many definitions and become unnecessarily difficult to grasp. It is actually not an end-point or laudable accomplishment! “Realization” just means it was always there but you had it so covered up with nonsense that you couldn’t see it. Clearing stains, obstacles, and blockages from the conscious mind and realizing its true nature is more of a recovery than an accomplishment. Mental training through multilayered awareness. Method as both tool and vehicle. Vehicular transport toward psychological freedom from drama and trauma—past, present, and even future. Discovering root states of agitation and misery. Discovering the ability to pluck agitation and misery out by those roots. The introduction to a new and clearer experiencing of every thing is sponsored by a new and clearer experience of oneself. We start seeing things as they are instead of seeing them through subjective, enculturated lenses and thought patterns that have been conditioned by decades and decades of absorbing both real shit and bullshit. Fossilized patterns of thought and emotion that have tinted and tainted perceptions are recognized. We find old problems at new, previously unconscious levels. Once they are recognized, they can be dissolved. Unconscious life schools itself. It eventually graduates. There is no more subconscious. Everything is conscious. Every thing. With all mental activity now in the realm of Conscious Mind, negativity no longer has a chance to gather strength on the dark path it used to travel from the autopilot thoughtlessness of knee-jerk-reaction-subconscious-mind toward regrettable action. Respiration and sensations of the physical body become the signposts of what is happening in the mind. Pay attention softly, with equanimity and no judgment of what you see and feel. Just Observe. You are watching your own movie, emotionally distanced enough from yourself to be objective rather than judgmental. Every thing, every feeling, now enjoys an equal status. No thought or feeling actually ever was more important than any another—except in your subjective relation to it. That is rapidly ending. The world you knew has started melting. Gradually increasing freedom from habitual overindulgence in the importance of self and self’s perspectives begins to show results. “When you judge someone, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa. That effect holds just as true when you judge yourself. Observation without judgment is not always easy. It often requires facing up to your ghosts and demons. Each sudden flash of clarity can be a painful blessing. Poisonous attitudes, and the previously hidden memories of some very negative experiences, are now draining and releasing. They can be just as unpleasant working their way out as they were while working their way in. It seems we all have bills to pay. Didn't I pay some of these bills already?! Oh God, I’m going crazy! Nah! When you lose your mind it doesn’t really go anywhere. Truth be known, it was never really there to begin with. We kind of make the whole fucking thing up, don’t we? And actually, the history you’ve been fed since birth has likely composed more of your mentality and fueled more of your actions than you did! Peer pressure that all too often comes from the misinformed and improperly motivated has been responsible for most of the ideas we live by. By losing the manufactured self-image, a beautiful space is left in the mind. It is an emptiness that is somehow laced with bliss. Is leaving the space there what life is all about!?! Do good or bad things come to fill that space from elsewhere? Do you put the good and bad things in there yourself? Is it your option? Shouldn’t it be? Can you answer your own questions? Detachment from unconscious habits and reactive tendencies can result from your effort. This detachment does not involve any escapism, denial, or indifference! The mind clears of the historical delusions it has built over time. A vision free from those historical clouds sees the bigger picture. What is the bigger picture? Unity Consciousness. A nearly borderless sense of inclusion increases our desire to help everyone and everything in any circumstance possible. The line between individual and universal heartbeat starts to fade. Caring for everything is realized as the definition of caring for self. Knowing one’s self at a deeper, much more intensely aware, much less self-consumed level provides us with a totally different life experience. Everything is indeed every thing. Does this all sound like a lot of la-la, wacko, space-case bullshit to you? It would to me too, if I hadn't experienced it! Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns. ***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!