There is no history… nor future… but only always the language-filled present. Linguistic convention creates the illusion of time’s arrow… We are steeped in the medium we discuss.
There was a time when I wouldn’t’ve had a clue as to what Sagan means to say with this thought. But, thankfully, with ceaseless introspections and meditations, I have figured it out.
I hope you have.
Insights such as these – in my opinion – cannot be taught. These revelations have to be personally and immediately discovered. And once personally understood, they are forever crystallized and deepened.
You know what I am saying?
Record says I was born 42 years ago, on March 25th, 1969, in Moscow, Russia. The year of Woodstock, the year of Moon Landing, the year Muammar al-Gaddafi came to power in Libya. But, of course, it’s nonsense: I am far older than 42. Older than Earth, in fact.
Indeed, the fundamental matter* I am made of has been in existence for at least 13.75 billion years (give or take 0.11 billion years). So, I am at least that old! But chances are I am even older, far older than that. The Big Bang, of course, couldn’t have been the absolute beginning. The ex nihilo argument of the Universe coming into being from a total nothingness is pseudo-scientific nonsense.
Mind – in its dichotomous*, dualistic** nature – is a prehistoric reality-cutting tool. Mind is archaic cutlery, a primitive reality-sorting utensil. That’s all.
But it’s a tool that cuts itself. So, use it appropriately, only when necessary, and keep safe. Clean it when done.
How? Wash it down with mindfulness, i.e. empty your mind of its own self.
Remember: Mindfulness is not fullness of mind but emptiness/openness of mind. As such, mindfulness is mental hygiene.
*Dichotomous, from Greek dichotomia which means ”a cutting in two”
**Dualistic, from Latin “dualis” meaning two (a dualistic view sees the one and only Oneness of Reality as “this” and “that,” i.e. as manifold***)
***Manifold: many in number
Cleaning Resources: Lotus Effect
I don’t like biting into a hard spherical surface (the mechanics of this action just don’t seem to feel good). And then, of course, there is the issue of the core and the seeds… But the taste is just so to my liking…
What to do? “Keep eating apples,” mind says, “mindfully, not labeling the experience into “like” or “dislike”… Ok… “Or,” mind adds, “keep on labeling (since it helps to know what you like and what you don’t like).” Ok…
Mindfulness – it seems – answers some questions and poses new ones. Makes sense: mindfulness is a quest.
Po is a kind of signal to open your mind and consider a seemingly crazy idea with the hope that doing so will help you turn off your conceptual autopilots. In De Bono’s own words, po is a kind “laxative” for the mind, and its function is to facilitate “rearrangement of information to create new patterns” (1990, 226-227).
So, I’ve got a po for you.
Po: there is no potential.
Indeed, show me your potential now. Where is this potential you identify with? There’s you, on a chair, on a couch, in a recliner, on your bed, standing on a subway train, reading this post. But where’s this potential you talk about? Step away from the computer (put your smart phone aside) and show yourself your potential right now.
How: eyes closed, mind’s eye open
Experience: bewildering tai-chi-like dance of the tongue synchronized with washer-machine spin-cycle of the moving jaws, a mixing of crispiness and chewiness into a homogeneous swallow-ready mass, mind watching all this mouth-work and wondering “Am I really doing this, movement by movement, or is this happening on its own?” and answering itself: “Both.”
Back in the late 90s, as part of my doctoral training at SUNY Buffalo, I did a psycho-oncology practicum at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and was later briefly employed in their pain clinic as a clinical research assistant.
Naturally, in those days cancer was very much on my mind (as well as the interplay of pain and time perception). It was back in those days that I finally dropped the hyphen of distinction from the notorious mind-body dichotomy: it became starkly self-evident to me that both words (body and mind) refer to one and the same system.
It was also around that very time that I harvested my first crop of conclusions from my readings of Eastern philosophies and one of these conclusions was the following: anything that is alive is also conscious.
There are two ways to look at yourself and reality: a) dualistically—as either perfect or imperfect, or b) nondualistically—as neither perfect nor imperfect. You have a choice of psychological software: seeing the world as a discrepancy between “what is” and “what should be,” or seeing the world as it actually is.
The following ten points are a kind of new operating platform to serve as an antidote to the dichotomous/dualistic/all-or-nothing cognitive style that ruins our lives.
1. A state that is so flawless, so immaculate, so error free, so complete that nothing can be added to it to make it better is a state beyond improvement. That is theoretical perfection.
Mindfulness is not fullness of mind, but emptiness of mind. Let your mind be as empty as a soup bowl before you fill it up with soup. Remember: mindful eating is eating with an empty mind.
Re-mind yourself to start your meals with an empty mind-bowl. Empty your mind before you fill your stomach. Or, put differently, open your mind before you open your mouth.
adapted from Eating the Moment
Mindful eating is different things to different people. To some, mindful eating is a weight management strategy. To others, it’s a way to leverage more pleasure. To some, eating mindfully is a way to pray. For me, mindful eating is a way to meditate, a way to keep myself existentially awake and alive.
Most of the time when I am eating I know this:
I am eating Earth (one part at a time) and I am becoming Earth (one moment at a time).
What is mindful eating to you? Share: