Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Thought Impulses and Detachment

I love stroking the back of my neck and my arms because it feels nice. When I can't be bothered to do it physically and there's no one to do it for me, I imagine my hand stroking my neck and my arms. I still end up having the same sensations.

If I can have sensations by thought alone, I dread to think how many times I have done something because of one thought or another. For example, have you ever noticed how people are constantly looking at their watches. Even though I stopped wearing one years ago, from time to time I find myself looking at public clocks; I'm obviously picking up on thought impulses; clocks are sending out signals to check the time, and there are people constantly asking what the time is which makes people check their watches...and so the thought-form ticks on.

Thoughts drive our actions. You pick up on a thought about something and you have an impulse to do the very thing. You think the idea is coming from you when you're being thought into action. Sometimes thoughts sound like commands telling you to do something. You are convinced you're hearing the Voice of God/Spirit and you're off on a mission. Yeah right! How do you expect to hear the voice of Spirit when you can't be still for one moment to silence your thoughts? I would say that if you hear thoughts in your head, don't go rushing about following the "voice," be still for a moment and listen for the real voice, which can only be heard in the silence.

For the last few days I've been observing the world in silence, seeing the world as an art gallery and human life as still life, albeit moving, paintings. I observe the multicoloured hues, tones and textures without judgment. On another level it's quite entertaining. One day I had an impulse to visit a particular bookshop. I read a passage from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, which reflected my mood at the time.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche says:

"Once you have the View, although the delusory perceptions of samsara may arise in your mind, you will be like the sky; when a rainbow appears in front of it, it's not particularly flattered, and when the clouds appear, it's not particularly disappointed either, there is a deep sense of contentment. You chuckle from inside as you see the façade of samsara and nirvana; the View will keep you constantly amused, with a little inner smile bubbling away all the time."
As Dudjom Rinpoche says: "Having purified the great delusion, the heart's darkness, the radiant light of the unobscured sun continuously rises." (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, p. 170)
As I sat there reading, an old friend turned up and sat beside me. We met years ago at another bookshop and I see him occasionally. He's always fun to talk to. The last time I saw him he entertained me with his on-off-on relationship with his current girlfriend. He asked me what I was reading. I showed him the book. My friend smiled. He said he wasn't about to criticise my choice. While we chatted he said he wanted to show me something. He took out a book from his bag, opened a page, and suggested I read a poem. It was If by Rudyard Kipling. I said I loved the poem. I pointed out to my friend how similar what I'd read in "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" was to the poem, "If."

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying:

"Once you have the View, although the delusory perceptions of samsara may arise in your mind, you will be like the sky; when a rainbow appears in front of it, it's not particularly flattered, and when the clouds appear, it's not particularly disappointed either, there is a deep sense of contentment."
Kipling:

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;"
During our conversation, the issue of supply came up. I told my friend how I believed God or the Universe meets our needs perfectly and we only need to trust. I shared an experience I had recently about how my photograph was taken. My friend said I was an idealist. He said the kind of experience I had described didn't happen in the real world. He pulled out a copy of the Bible and opened it to a passage. He said he lived by the following principle:

"Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I've learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4: 11-13)
Again, I pointed out to my friend how similar the ideas in the Bible passage were to the Rudyard Kipling poem and the Tibetan Buddhism book.

As you can see, we are constantly being tossed about by our inner states. If you hold thoughts of love and joy, you attract experiences of the same. My state of mind of detachment had attracted similar ideas in the form of a friend who shared with me two more examples of detachment. Similarly, if you hold thoughts of pain and suffering you attract much of the same. The irony is when you're in pain, the last thing you want to think about is joy; but if you persist on holding the same thought you end up experiencing much of the same.

There is another way to ensure you're not under the influence of thoughts: by treating all experiences, painful or pleasurable, with detachment. How? By being silence.

As silence, I am in the world as an observer.
As silence, I am able to dissolve thought impulses.
As silence, I am bliss.

I am Silence,
Enocia

Related article: Who is Thinking Whom?