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  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on May 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , dhyana, , meditation   

    Because, that’s why: Buddhism, Descartes, Castaneda and the urge to merge in meditation… 

    Words can cut like knives or heal like bandages, so be careful what you think, and even more careful of what you say.

    The fact that we think in languages is the starting point for many a fine thesis and many a sleepless night, because in one sense Descartes was right when he said ‘cogito ergo sum,’ i.e. I think therefore I am.

    And if that is usually taken as a badge of pride for the West, and a flag of caution for the East, in fact I think it is neither. It is simply a status update for the human condition.

    Because we can debate endlessly over whether human beings are indeed the homo sapiens, wise men, that we claim, but we can certainly agree that they do think, whether or not they are some arrogant s-o-b’s to label themselves as ‘wise’, at the expense of all others, which at that point in history was largely limited to the white ‘race.’

    And so it is with thinking, which we assume as our birthright, and limited to us, and only us. But all animals think. They just don’t all do it with language.

    And that is why we meditate, many of us, whether you categorize it into one of the two original Buddhist classifications or one of the four now in vogue, complete with the obligatory ‘mindfulness,’ as guided by your local ‘dharma teacher,’ namaste.

    When really all you need to do is sit down and STFU, and don’t move a muscle, or scratch an itch, or swat a fly for at least a good quarter hour for starters, and quadruple that for peer professionalism, without moving a muscle, I repeat.

    Because I don’t know what’s going on in your head inside, but I know it’s directly related to what’s going on with your body outside, and this is easily measured by perturbations in the visual field.

    If you’re twitching, I think we can assume that you have yet to achieve any of the four dhyana states, or was it five? I lost count.

    Because all that really matters is to stop the internal dialogue, if only for a moment, and that’s almost the only thing I took away from Carlos Castaneda and his avatar Don Juan and all his tales of Ya(n)qui power in the deserts of our own mind-fields, as they leapt off cliffs with intent and little else.

    And that is what the brain researchers who wanted to scan my brain in and out of meditation alluded to, also, and asked if I understood what they’re talking about. Huh? Doesn’t everyone?

    Now I don’t know if they read Castaneda, but of course I understood. I just don’t know why Buddhists don’t say it that way, or at least not in so many words.

    Because that is why meditation exists, for me, to return to basics, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, if you will, i.e. thought without language, just like the old days, just like the animals do, before all the new frontiers, and all the limits of language.

    Curiously many Buddhists think that is an injunction to not think, but I don’t think that is correct. Once we have language, then the choice is ours what to do with it. Because the Buddha never said not to think. He said to think rightly, and quite rightly…

     
  • hardie karges 12:11 pm on March 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , meditation   

    More on Meditation and Language, and the Prison of our Own Minds… 

    Meditation is the best medicine; twice a day keeps the doctor away. And I think that is accurate, even though the causes and effects may be debated endlessly, at least partly owing to differences in definition to begin with. Is it ‘concentration’, probably the most common translation of the Sanskrit word that is usually transcribed into the Roman alphabet as ‘samadhi’ (give or take a few palatal and labial signs for consonants, and long and short vowels for the adepts)? And then there are other Sanskrit-based words, such as ‘dhyana’, maybe implying something closer to ‘trance’ than ‘concentration’, not to mention ‘bhavana’, referring to something like ‘development’, or ‘patipatti’, the ‘practice’, of whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. And that is the precisely the question, is it not, of just exactly what it is we’re supposed to be doing, as we sit cross-legged on the floor, as so brilliantly evoked in the band Chicago’s classic ’25 or 6 to 4′ (please don’t ask me what that means)? Well, I think the Buddha and others pretty much had it figured out way back when, but when the Americans and New Agers got hold of it, now all of a sudden you need an ‘app’ and you need someone’s soothing words to guide you through the beauty of it all, and pseudo/sorta/secular Buddhists explain that skateboarding is just another form of meditation, when what you really need to do is just sit down and STFU, in my humble opinion. Because language is the problem, not the solution, in this case, that quantum leap of linguistic consciousness 50,000 years ago that doomed the Neanderthals and Denisovans and a couple other smaller homos to oblivion now embedded in our minds as the preferred method of thinking, rational and syllogistic, such that other forms of thinking, visual or intuitive, are relegated to second-class status. And while this may be perfect for the strategic advantage necessary for the conquest and ultimate extinction of those pesky other hominids, it wraps us individually in feedback loops of language, and may ultimately be the inspiration for that kind of karma that we can never really shake. To ‘stop the internal dialogue’ was the lasting gist for me of Castaneda’s tales of Yanqui (:-) power as well as the goal of more than one neurologist measuring the motions of mind on an MRI scan. Because this is what meditation can do for you, if only for a moment, if only for an hour. It can allow the mind, whatever that is, to function without language, i.e. paleo-consciousness, pre-verbal, non-consonantal. It certainly beats argument. And if that makes me a cheater, dodging a fight rather than ‘standing my ground’, then so be it. Most fights have no winners, only losers. Because people say mean nasty ugly words sometimes, and seem to enjoy it, for some reason. I don’t know why, but at least now I know how to shut it off, and shut it out…

     
  • hardie karges 12:59 pm on February 16, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , meditation,   

    Buddhist Meditation: Feedom from the Fetters of Language, and the Defilements of Money… 

    Money is the square root of all evil; kindness is the reward for all kindness. And this is more than just idle word-play, and linguistic sleight-of-hand, because it goes straight to the heart of the nature of our system of rewards and punishments, whether there truly is something like ‘currency’ that can mediate between the world and our bottomless pit of desires or whether that is something dark and unknown that is forever fated to lurk hidden and unseen, only to rise and strike with the suddenness of synchronous sensation, as if the fate of all time and space lay in the simultaneous conjunction of desire and object, self and the world, subject predicating objects with apparent prepositioning and with only scant adverbial regard for the adjectival implications. So money is a poor substitute for language as the medium of our interplay with nature, and language itself is flawed enough to begin with. But such is the world that we live in, our humanness now defined by language, and our lives now defiled by money. Ironically there seems to be a path forward with money, with the advent of technology, such that instead of physically dealing with money itself, we can simply click ‘Pay Now’ on the digital screen and numbers change locations in a way that either harms us or hurts us, while physical objects may also change locations in a roughly parallel way, unless we’re talking about books, in which case I’ll just read them all right here, thank you, at least fifty in the last two years from the beginnings of written time to the latest screed from self-described scribes, and I’ve not touched paper even once. But I hope that Buddhist monks have not succumbed to the temptation to click ‘Buy Now’, while at the same time they are forbidden to touch physical cash, thus subverting the intent, if not the letter of the dharma. Call me old-fashioned, but the problem goes deeper than all that, in that we feel the necessity to mediate ourselves (non-selves) through symbols and time-stamps, when life is still arguably at its best when not mediated at all. And that means getting rid of language, too, at last for a while, at least a little bit, hopefully every day, if not every hour, on the hour. And that means meditation, at its finest, proto-consciousness, unmediated by language, or God forbid money, when all that is needed is conscious awareness and lack of desire for anything else, for as long as that moment can last. For the best moments are not moments at all, but conscious continuums of unfettered awareness. And that is the challenge in this world of unrighteous debate, we standing our ground, until death do us part, older and hopefully wiser. There’s too much talk, not enough inaction…

     
  • hardie karges 12:29 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , meditation, , , uppadana,   

    Buddhism and that Special Flavor of Sadness… 

    Plato not Prozac. Buddha not Benzedrine. In other words, don’t go running for the medicine cabinet every time you feel a little sad, or bored. Life is not about getting all charged up, whether looking for thrills, or looking for bliss. Life is about being aware, not much more and not much less. So if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps today, or just can’t seem to pump it up any how any way, I can’t recommend experiments of the chemical sort, unless it’s the last resort, and you’re the experimental sort. Because the results don’t always work out well. Pills are not always equivalent to thrills, and thrills are not what they used to be, better for kids in playgrounds, than adults in real lives. (Unless you have serious clinical depression, of course, and then you should get thyself to a doctor, post haste, and follow his instructions to the letter, because they are the masters of experiment, and can save you some time and trouble). But depression and sadness are two different things, and boredom is even more insidious. Boredom may be a call to action, true enough, but that action is best when more than the zen koan: what is the sound of one pill popping? This is a Western disease, and American, especially, home to amusement parks and extreme sports, daredevil stuntmen and short short shorts. We know what we want and we want it now. The only problem is that once gratified that sensation, there will always be another, and another, and another. This is the main realization of the Buddha: craving, ‘uppadana’, closely related to ‘tanha’, thirst, and the need for constant needs. This is a vicious circle, of course, and the best way to nip it in the bud is to gain control over yourself, to whatever extent that is possible. And this is the essence of Buddhist ‘practice’, the control that you gain, primarily by meditation. But self-control can still fall short, especially if you have a history of chemical imbalances. Buddhism always reverts to causes, and even if 90% of those are ‘mental’ and ‘impermanent’, some of them are more intrinsic to this particular manifestation of our transitory physical dimension, and are best dealt with in that way. Sometimes you have to treat symptoms first, worry about ultimate causes later…

     
    • Alexia Adder 9:09 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      That is the only way to survive. For myself, it isn’t just awareness but the idea that chaos or loss of control [self] =/= fun for me. I find joy in experiences and ideas, even if I disagree. I like to be intellectually stimulated, I got bored if I am not. To do this I try to learn more, talk to people, get their perspectives… there’s always a subjectivity aspect to life even if one is part of a culture, unique ideas and opinions may or not be born from a combination of experiences and cultures.

      One thing I love science and always philosophize and think about it. But science is only about the objective which can get one only insofar, there are subjective areas science can never cover. Most rational people are blind to the subjective part of living and reality, putting too much “faith” in the objective.

      Real harmony is finding the balance between both views, and not seeing the mutual exclusives. Instead knowing that both perspectives have their place. This is the Middle Path.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I’m a big fan of science, actually right now trying to put together a Facebook group for a more science-oriented Buddhism, stay tuned. Thanks for your comments…

      • hardie karges 5:39 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Here you go, just got the group page up, so it’s pretty empty, but if you want to discuss anything, then doing it there might make it a little less lonely! Basically the idea is to discuss the possibilities of a modernized Buddhism without the burdens of rebirth, past lives and karma. But we can discuss anything, hope to C U there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/196544654825092/

        • Alexia Adder 5:55 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          Thank you so much! This will help me and others a lot.

        • hardie karges 5:59 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink

          You’re welcome! C U there!

    • Robert@69 10:27 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Nice read hardie. to paraphrase I read you to say that the american disease is wanting instant or damn near instant gratification, and the problem with this wanting is that it’s never sated and we end up in the cycles of craving and thirst. – agreed. but isn’t the wanting to be in control just another form of craving/thirst? And is gaining control over ? the essence of Buddhist practice? It isn’t for me.

    • hardie karges 11:00 pm on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      SELF-control, yes, and self-control only, which for a Buddhist is only natural, since no permanent self is even acknowledged. I know it sounds a bit draconian from an American perspective, point of the post, but it works, it really does, with meditation, non-confrontation (don’t ‘take the bait’), etc., and it all starts with the breath (maybe). No, it’s the opposite of craving, really, purely non-grasping, the power of inaction. It isn’t a subject that gets written up in Buddhism, really, but I’ve discussed it with Asian monks, and it’s often acknowledged that yes, that’s the deal. Think about it. It can be very satisfying, actually, foregoing the white noise of sometimes mindless action. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 10:51 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , meditation, silence   

    Buddhism and the Power of Silence… 

    Many of the world’s problems might vanish if certain people could only learn the power of silence, blessed emptiness. And by silence, of course, I mean self-silence, to the extent that ‘self’ refers to something largely indefinable, but we all know what to do with it, and in this case, as in many cases, the thing to do is simply STFU. Because we are indoctrinated in the arts of debate from childhood here in the Europe-descended West, and so imagine that this is the natural way to be, chomping at the bit, and foaming at the mouth, all for a chance to assert our rights to pre-eminence, and if we’re lucky, maybe even monopolize the deep end of the gene pool. But to pretend that this is normal is where the hubris and the ultimate fraud come to play, simply because violence and arrogance are choices, just as is silence, and ultimately rewarded by behavior, of others, in that everyone has a right to decide whether the behavior they witness is conducive to their cooperation, or not, and so the ultimate submission to power, or not. But the only way to ‘speak truth to power’ is to have other options than reliance upon that source of power for any perceived benefits, whether real or simply imagined, and ultimately the spread of genes, which will heavily determine whether this behavior is repeated indefinitely and infinitely into the distant future, or not. And this is where evolutionary psychology kicks in, because these patterns become ingrained across the generations, and will continue to haunt us far beyond the present circumstances of power’s abuse, whenever and wherever it perceives there to be a vacuum, and thus an opportunity. For ‘Type-A’ male behavior may exist across the range of species, but only humans, and chimpanzees, actually go to war over it. For all others it’s simply the gratification of the urge to merge, and the will for thrill, as the also-rans look on in envy. Human consciousness is capable of changing all that, though, the self-correcting addendum to the will to warfare, an instinct for survival, and the ability to see futures where no clear paths yet exist. And that is the path of silence, now that we have run amok for so many years now, stuffing ourselves on so many unearned rewards, far beyond what is necessary to survive and reproduce. So we over-produced, and now it comes back to haunt us, when the main causes of death are obesity and suicide. We need to relearn how to simply survive. Buddha to his credit discovered this some 2500 years ago, from the twilight’s first gleamings, as the age of cities took hold, and the potential for disaster became obvious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is another way, the path of non-aggression, and non-cooperation with tyrants. Our silence is our ultimate act of freedom. Whether Homo Sapiens will be a successful species is uncertain still, yet anybody’s guess, and everybody’s choice…

     
    • Tim 3:29 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It is the 70th anniversary of George Orwell … there is some interesting discussions on the disillusionment he had in his engagement with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The obsession with not only leftist doctrine but ‘my leftist doctrine’ saw multiple fault lines run through the opposition to the rise of fascism. I find myself withdrawing from political activism for the same reasons … finding my radical voice lost in so many contemporary provisos and caveats … but is silence the answer? But I think that you do not refer to this sort of silence? Perhaps the silence is a listening silence … one that tries to understand, through listening intently, from whence the provisos and caveats emerge … and why.

      • hardie karges 5:02 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it’s a bit of a conundrum, how to maintain a noble silence when the world is clamoring for details and opinions, especially when one’s own well-being is being threatened in the process, whether real or imagined. So there is no absolute mandate for it, but I do believe that it is best in many situations, not least of all meditation…

  • hardie karges 12:53 pm on December 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhsim, , meditation,   

    Reality Po’ Boys: the Light Within Us and the Light Without… 

    A kind word can heal forever, just as an unkind word can wound. Indifference is not the best option, but a healthy silence is okay. Such is the hand we play, as opposed to the hand that we’re dealt. Because this is not the best of all possible worlds, enshrined in legend and showcased in gold. The best of all possible worlds would be pure light, magnetic and electric, but we can only barely perceive that world, so imagine it as a force, outside us and distant. But once we perceive that force as inside us and accessible, then the equation changes and the call to action becomes explicit. It is our position as intermediaries to retransmit that internal light back outward to its external locus of purity. Because the reflected light within us is muddled and muddied, conflicted and confused, by virtue of its inferior status of self-ness, earth-bound and body-tired, while the light of external space is godly and illuminating. But that is neither here nor there, because the light is just indicative of our reflected status, a function of frequencies, and tendencies to exist, when there are no better options available. So we fall in love with this earth and this body, for as long as it lasts, and for whatever good it will do, because it is ultimately doomed to failure, no matter how hard we try, and the common phrase for that is ‘we’re all going to die’. And so the pretensions of humanity fall flat on their faces, no matter the lineage or the appearance of race. This physical world is but a tiny whirlpool in the cosmic stream, where the going gets slow and white light passes through the spectrum of physicality, rain and snow and fog and steam and all the colors of the rainbow’s stream, in full panoramic display, beauty incarnate and suffering, too, the price of our perfection its negation. So cries and crises ensue and volcanoes erupt, earthquakes and landslides and the rising price of a 20-ounce cup. Now the only path forward loops around and comes back to haunt us, every time and in every place. But there is no cause for anger, as this is simply the way of our world, by definition. There is no cure. The cure for anger would be a creative solution to the cause, but Buddhist meditation can work in the meanwhile…

     
    • KINDNESS 3:06 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Merry Christmas 🎄

      • hardie karges 4:19 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks. Merry Christmas to you also, and a happy new year.

  • hardie karges 2:54 pm on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lust, meditation, ,   

    Buddhism and the Fleshly Prison of the Body 

    Solitary confinement is not torture, if it’s voluntary. Then it’s meditation, a retreat, renunciation. And if this is one of the messages of Buddhism, then let it be known that many religious and philosophical traditions make the case that the body is a prison of sorts. But this is the ultimate irony, is it not (?), that pleasure and pain are but conditioned reflexes, conditioned by culture and sanctioned by nature, such that one man’s torture is another man’s enlightenment, solitary confinement (presumably in prison) and meditation (presumably alone, silent and with no material rewards) are, on the surface, quite similar, differing only in the expectations, and the nature of rewards offered, accepted, and acknowledged. Because if you’re looking for money or street cred or hot nights in a cold crib, then meditation is not your best option. You’d do better out on Sunset Drive after dark with a fistful of dollars and a pocketful of tissues. Whatever you’re packing, it won’t be enough, though, because that is the nature of craving, lust and desire, whether for meat, onions, or sex. It’s never enough, because the sliding scale of satisfaction constantly resets the top dead center of zero, from which all further measurements are calibrated. So it’s like the Asian schoolboy addicted to spicy food who adds hot sauce, to his taste, in a fresh bowl of noodles. The only problem is that after five minutes, it doesn’t taste spicy anymore, because the new standard of ‘normalcy’ has slid up the scale of spiciness, already. So what do you do? You add more hot spicy stuff, of course, and so on and so on, adding more and more beyond all reason, even though your body knows exactly what’s going on, and will protest on the morrow. And if this sounds like a frivolous example, then I assure you that it’s not so frivolous when the ‘spice’ in question is heroin, and the sliding scale of normalcy is tolerance to a drug that cares nothing about your feelings. So people die every year chasing a feeling that will kill regardless of how you feel. So some feelings are best avoided, especially those that are destructive to yourself, or others, generally measured by their hardness, not their softness. There should be no hard feelings. There is no time for that, too much work and too little gain. Life goes too quickly for quibbling over the details of a desire best left unrequited…

     
  • hardie karges 7:07 am on September 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chicago Manual of Style, , , meditation, , subconscious   

    The Enemy Within Is Still My Friend–Language… 

    There is too much talk, opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, but not enough: silence, blessed silence. And this is symptomatic of the problems in our modern world, form over content, not that there is much good here and now, or not, or that there are things wrong here and now, or not, but that there is simply too much, here and now, of everything, particularly the medium itself, language and its facilitators, vowels consonants dots and strokes, verbs nouns subjects and predicates, adjectives adverbs prepositions and objects both direct and indirect, indicating questioning exclaiming enjoining and subjoining, actively or passively, conditionally or hypothetically, all pointing to the obvious conclusion, that our most brilliant invention is now working against us, for reasons unknown, and perhaps best unexplained, that once language gets in the vast unprotected subconscious mind, such as it is, that it will erect walls and barriers with doors and windows, in an attempt to create order out of disorder, paleo-consciousness, sweet blessed disorder, prime and pristine, and unpolluted by language, such that the real danger in our lives is obscured in the process–eat or be eaten, escape the cold or freeze, and take care of those who take care of you. Language only cares about itself, happy endings and the dictates of the Chicago Manual of Style. That is all well and good, or bad, but non-essential to the business of life and possibly its greatest obstacle to happiness. That is why we meditate, is it not–to stop the internal dialogue, at least for a few minutes? Don Juan the eagle’s shaman said it best, if not first (that’s the Buddha and his buddies), and the most adept among us can sustain it for hours, floating unattached in the ether, or stuck inside a long dark hole. Choose your best metaphor, because it will surely fail. The most important things in life are beyond language. This world and this life have great beauty, but ugliness, too. Best to not get too attached to either…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:28 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Words never enough, of course, though I admire your determination to get behind them. Helpful writings for sure!

  • hardie karges 6:04 am on October 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fallacy, , , , meditation, , , soteriology   

    Buddhism and Language: the curse of narratives… 

    IMG_0599Though not often heralded as such, language is arguably the world’s greatest invention, and I think that, like most inventions, it might have a limited lifespan of prime utility, and it’s a very arguable point that the world just might be better off without it. I don’t arrive at this conclusion lightly, given that fact that I love language with all my heart and all my soul, but if it’s outlived its usefulness, then it just might need to be put out to pasture (and there just might be something better)…

    Of course, whether people would be willing to do this is debatable, but still, it’s probably worth having the discussion, just to make the point, if nothing else. And the point is that many of the world’s problems are verbal. A policeman gives an order, and you are supposed to obey, immediately and without question. Otherwise they’ll shoot you, in America, at least, no matter that you’re deaf or not an English speaker. That’s not their fault. And, of course it’s not the language’s fault, either, for the bad intentions of its major malefactors. But still one of its main functions is aggression, to be sure, e.g. ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:32 am on July 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , meditation, , ,   

    Love Pictures Meditation Buddhism… 

    img_1935Falling in love is probably the closest we’ll ever get to magic in this life, that unexplainable attraction, the eyes the mouth the hair the touch the smell, irreducible to rationality, or math, or the silly logic of syllogisms, so this is reason enough to be suspicious already, correct? BUT—this is the goldfield that Christianity tries to mine—the swoon and the swearing and the general lack of sobriety, and stopping just short of climax, over and over, the better to forestall final payment, in order to accrue interest…

    We Westerners are love junkies, but almost any emotion will do, the crazier the better, any reason or rationality thoroughly rejected from the outset as antithetical to the mood. But I don’t think it’s any accident that it’s mostly the West that is in love with love, as this is the air we breathe, the pheromones and the physicality, the sexiness and the six-packs, whether abs or IPA, any drug will do. And that’s fine, if that’s what you want, as long as you consider all your options, as long as you are free to make an informed decision, BUT… (More …)

     
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