Descartes is undoubtedly one of the most influential philosophers of our time. He formed our concepts in the west about mind and our existence, although heavily influenced by the catholic church his ideas and theories are here to stay in one form or another. This discussion I intend to start is to discover what similarities can be found between Descartes’ western and christian theories and those of the Buddha Dharma one of the more influential wisdom traditions of the east. As I am here to learn I welcome as always welcome you to reach out and share your thoughts with the community here.
Descartes six meditations are truly a wonderful thought experiment in which he disassembles the foundation of all he believes to exist and then slowly builds them back up only as he in his mind can prove to himself their existence. I cannot understate how similar this process is to the Tibetan Guru Yoga that I practice almost daily. Where after focusing on the four basic thoughts and then taking refuge we dissolve the conditioned world and then slowly build it all back up again in a meaningful way.
Descartes rightfully understood that he held way too many ideas and concepts to doubt and move away from one at a time so he developed a way to deny the existence of large groups of concepts. This way instead of having to dismantle the wall one brick at a time he pulls away at the foundation and lets it all fall in on itself. He does this by doubting; if he can find a reason to believe that he might have been deceived or fooled in any way he removes everything he knows from his existence, even himself, his mind and god.
I think like most philosophers and physicists one must really come to a point where one seriously doubts or denies the existence of everything. We need to explore what the idea of nothing or nihilism might mean. Nihilism, the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless, but to an even greater degree that of existence as a whole. This is nothingness the absence or cessation of life or existence is at the centre of Descartes’ contemplation.
Over the years I have noticed in discussions with many people that a general conception about Buddhism is that we are nihilists. This misconception seems to be based on the idea that there is no right or wrong in Buddhism, only consequences or cause and effect. I would also add that when one mentions ego destruction it might seem like Buddhists want to kill themselves or something like this. The biggest misconceptions arise when we talk about emptiness, here almost every critic seem to think that Buddhists simply wish to end their existence in a pool of nothingness. These misconceptions could not be further from the truth the Buddha Dharma does not deny the existence of anything or anyone we simply say that things do not exist in the way in which it seems. The Buddha Dharma teaches us clearly that things truly exist but they do so in a way that is free of our concepts and ideas. This is the idea of emptiness, things are empty of the judgments we place on them when we decide or think that something is good or bad. Emptiness is not to be confused with nothingness. However, no thing, or no thingness, seems to be highly relevant in the discovery of our existence.
This is quite similar to the journey that Descartes begins here in his first meditation. Let’s meet soon for our next discussion in Rene Descartes’ second meditation.
As I approach my 50th year in life I am beginning to reflect, realize, and accept that I am well into the second half of my life.
When I was younger I would say that I did not develop a healthy ego at all as I had a rough childhood with an authoritarian mother. This is the situation of many, not just me.
The simple question arises when I read Jung’s statement, is it easier to let go of a poorly developed ego or a well-developed ego? I could surmise that by Jung’s statement that I should have an easy time letting go of my poorly developed ego. Maybe you just might have a stronger motivation to get out of the circle of samsaric suffering if things are really bad. Or another way maybe it’s easier to wake up from a bad dream than from a good dream, so say the words of my Lama.
Think about it another way, why would you jump from a perfectly fine cruise ship or a really nice ego? Not very likely, but the moment you know that you are sinking it’s not even an option to stay onboard.
One of the main teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism is to use one’s strongest emotions as fuel to fire your desire to change. This transformative potential of the Diamond-like practices are like no other. One must confront his anger or fear let them arise, recognize their essence, and let it go! The is tremendous wisdom in all our emotions,
How do we propose to do this? In one word meditation, we begin with the breath then guru yoga ngondro a yidam practice perhaps Tummo.
If we want to break free from samsara we need to see the connection we have with our emotions. Do we really feel them, do we allow them to arise, and most importantly do we let them go? For a long time I was so afraid of my feelings, all of them. I did not feel them very often, and when I noticed that one had arisen I did I had a very hard time letting it go. Sounds fun eh? not really.
Thankfully I have the tools of the Buddha Dharma to work with, firstly and most importantly MEDITATION. The practice of meditation gives us space in mind to choose better decisions, better reactions, and better outcomes for ourselves and those around us. A meditation practice helps us to look within ourselves honestly and fearlessly. A meditation practice helps us to let go of things we no longer need in our lives.
How do you turn inwards and let go of that which weighs you down?
Well there you have it it’s finally been proven that it’s good to be kind to others. Not that we really doubted it 😉
“What studies have shown is that when we are either thinking about kind acts or witnessing kind acts or engaging in acts of kindness to other people, there are several biochemical changes that happen in our brain,” says Dr. Bhawani Ballamudi, SSM Health child psychiatrist. “One of the most important things that happens is that it releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that’s been studied extensively for its role in promoting a sense of bonding.”
Oxytocin is associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. It is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” because levels of oxytocin increase during hugging and orgasm. And all I have to do is be kind to get this natural high, so how do I do that?
“Physiologically, kindness can positively change your brain. Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up. Endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killer, also can be released.”
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Hamlet
I wonder if Shakespeare knew this statement’s depth when he wrote it? I haven’t been blogging much in the last few years as I have been going through the most difficult situations in my life. Two and a half years ago my ex and I split up and the battle began over where our daughter was to live. As I am sure many of you have been through something like this you know things can get really bad really quickly. Even for two Buddhists who have promised their lama and all beings to work for their benefit until enlightenment. With such a shared altruistic goal how could things go so wrong?
For over one year I focused on all the bad things that she did and was doing and I spiraled down a very dark rabbit hole. I have never been so negative in my life. Slowly even my best friends started to wisely but compassionately warn me that they could not hear my constant telling of all the things that she was doing wrong. I was becoming bitter and hard not to mention very angry. I had been giving all my energy to and focusing on the bad things that were happening. And not to my surprise but bad things kept happening, it was as if I was willing these things into existence with my attention and awareness and then amplifying them to absurd proportions.
Just like Hamlet, I was a prisoner of my own mind as he was contemplating the murder of his father and his killer King Claudius.
Then the change came, at the behest of my lawyer and a few good friends I began to keep a log of all the things that “she was doing” so that if needed I could use this protocol in court. The first time I started doing this I was emotionally triggered. Fast heart rate, shaking hands, you name it. However, her bad actions had now become my ammunition and my mental health began to improve. I wrote the things down and began to let them go. I was actually happy when she did something stupid so I could write it down. As more and more bad became good I started to see more and more good all around me. Paradox?
My fortunes had begun to change, and I began to heal from deep within. Anger turned to joy and love. The more she did that was meant to hurt me the more healing I found. I found that my own thinking was the key I could decide what I wanted. Heaven or hell was my choice and my choice alone. By choosing to place my attention on negative things or thoughts I was feeding my anger and hastening my own demise. I managed to bring my meditation practice into my daily life and by resting in my heart and consciously directing my thoughts in the direction of love and joy I turned my mind around 180 degrees. I can even say today that I am thankful for her bad actions as I was able to transform them into love and now my relationships have completely changed. Old childhood wounds that had been festering for decades began to heal and the sun started shining brighter than ever before in even the darkest corners of my mind. I am less and less triggered by her actions all the time. It’s clear to me that if I had focused on revenge and anger I would not have only lost my relationship with my daughter but like Hamlet, I would have lost much more.
In my Buddhist practice, I have been taught to build up good impressions in mind. How do we do this? Through mandala practice or volunteering benefiting others, or even just in simple meditation. This is really an interesting thing to do. The more good memories or thoughts you have the easier it is to have something good to focus on. It is much better to wake up from a good dream than a bad one any day of the week. It is as if our minds are hungry and our very attention to one thought or another is the food or energy we expend. We choose to feed our minds with good or bad things at every moment. Of course, sometimes bad things come up in mind, we need only to think, about how interesting, and then let it go back to from whence they came. It is dangerous to deny the energy of stifled or repressed emotions. We simply need to use this energy or fuel in a new way. Give it a new direction and watch our lives change.
Choose today in this very moment what thoughts you want to feed and watch them grow in the garden of your mind. We are the sower and reaper of all things in mind, this is Karma. Remember that being angry is natural but if you feed it, it’s like drinking poison yourself and expecting the other person to die. This is never going to work.
We are in control of our mind in fact we possess mind. Mind does not possess us. This is what we learn in meditation. And to have this come forth in daily life is one expected result of any meditative practice.
I almost always focus on Quantum Physics but for a change, I have decided to delve into, if even for an instant into some Newtonian Physics.
Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or in other words, if Ido something there will be a direct measurable result to my actions. I don’t know about you but this sounds a lot like Karma or cause and effect to my very Buddhist ears. How so, you ask? Let us jump right in.
As I push on the wall with my finger the wall exerts an equal force back onto my finger. The result here is balance unless one force overpowers the other. This is relatively easy to understand.
Now, if I hurt you, you likely will hurt me this is also clear. If I hurt you, do I by default also hurt myself? I think so, at the very least from an emotional or psychological standpoint. Even on an interpersonal level Newton’s third law still stands. And the proof is in the pudding. The residual effect of violence is that one has mental imprints of guilt, sadness, and hate. Positive actions function in exactly the same way. Acts of kindness perpetuate more acts of kindness and positive emotions. I remember the “pay it forward” idea in the early 2000’s. In the drive thru lines in Canada people were paying the food bills for the others in the line with no expectation of anything in return other than a good feeling of doing something nice. This phenomenon continued for some time.
It seems that even Newton knew about Karma at least on a physical level. If it’s true that on a psychological or interpersonal level that a similar law exists we would be wise to begin treating every being as we ourselves would like to be treated or at least stop planting weeds in our own minds. If we don’t the wall will begin to push back on us in ways we will not like.
There is an amazing power that we all share and that is the power of the breath. This power stays with us from the first moments of our life and till the last moments of our death. In fact, there is no life without our breath.
Most of us however go on in life without ever giving our breath a single thought except when we have a problem. At this time it’s usually a bit too late.
Not only does our breath oxygenate our blood and rid our bodies of carbon dioxide, which alone is nothing less than amazing, but it can also be a force of healing and letting go. How so? Glad you asked. Let’s explore this on three levels.
Level one, most of us don’t breathe fully. This means that especially when we are stressed we might only take in 20% of a full breath. This is clearly an exasperation of the situation. When we are stressed we are ineffective in all that we do. One must simply take a few deep breaths and imagine with every inhalation peace love and joy coming into us and all our problems leave us on the exhalation. Recollection of the breath Shiné in Tibetan Shamata in Sanskrit forms the basis of almost all meditations. It also only takes a few seconds or minutes. Try it now, take 10 full breaths in a row without being distracted.
Level two is the level of the bhodisattva. A bhodisattva is someone who works for the benefit of others. So how does this work with the breath? Here we begin to really meditate. The meditation is called Tonglen in Tibetan. It translates as giving and taking. In Tonglen we breath in the pain and suffering of others as black light or energy and we send them back the bright clear light of love and healing. The exact process is that as the black energy enters us and touches our heart center it dissolves or is transformed by our compassion into the light that we then give back. We start with our family then our friends then the neighbors then the whole city, country, continent and then the whole planet. We repeat the steps a few times depending on how long we wish to practice.
The third level is called Tummo in Tibetan and this is quite similar to prajnanic breathing that one can learn in a Hatha yoga class. Tummo is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa and has been traditionally a very secret teaching. The practice fulfils several very interesting needs of the meditator or yogi.
Tummo is also known as inner heat and as one can imagine that a yogi sitting in a cave meditating in the mountains of Tibet might have been a little cold from time to time, this heat must have come in handy. Secondly, the complex series of bodily movements, some of which can now be found on YouTube would have been necessary to keep one’s body fit when one sits for many hours in meditation posture. Lastly, since the source of this heat is one’s emotions, the yogi uses this “way of methods” practice to free himself from samsara. This very powerful meditative experience is profound and life changing, to say the least. Nevertheless, this meditation should not be tried by the uninitiated and by rookies.
I believe that this question is fundamentally flawed and should be restructured. Instead of asking where does consciousness come from, what we should be asking is, what arises from consciousness?
Many of my subscribers are familiar with the theory of panpsychism, which presupposes that consciousness is omnipresent. It is everywhere, even your chair under you or your screen that you are reading or watching this on is in a small way conscious. Does this seem far fetched to you? The only other explanation is that consciousness is nothing more than a biological and chemical reaction limited to somewhere in the brain or body.
So if we presume that consciousness is everywhere and all things are conscious, then we could extrapolate that consciousness is the cause of everything. That the simple act of observation or awareness collapses the wavefront of all the possibilities of particles in superposition into our everyday world.
Now the stage is set for some more questions. The Buddha Dharma talks a lot about the unity of subject, object, and action. This is one of the many ways of expressing non duality. Let’s explore this, we have three things. A subject, (you or me), and an apple (object) that we would like to enjoy (action). So now, what good is a subject (you or me) without an object (apple) to enjoy (action)? What good is an object (apple) without a subject (you or me) to enjoy (action) it? And finally what good is action like enjoyment without a subject ( you or me) to do it to an object (apple)? This system of codependent existence is very interesting to play with. to understand what I mean here is that it is simply not meaningful or logical for one of these things to exist without the others.
Co emergence or co arising are two terms that are often used when comparing our very dualistic experience to a non dual reality. A general understanding of this would be that both good and bad, light and dark, and up and down only exist dependent on each other. We are pointing at the unity of two extremes and saying that what we want or what we perceive is actually in the middle somewhere, but we do not naturally perceive this. We see or understand only the separation or the borders between, in fact our total understanding of the world is based on an ontological seperation of all things. We project the idea of separation on to all that we see. The Buddha Dharma shows us otherwise.
Are we starting to see how all of this is connected?
Now if we ask both questions 1. How does consciousness arise? and 2. What arises from consciousness? at the same time, we begin to close the gap in understanding the conditioned physical world of particles and form, and the unseen world of forces, waves, and our conscious energy. Understanding that some things are not mutually exclusive but rather inclusive or both and, makes our world of experience full and complete. There is a lot of freedom in this understanding.
I want to close with two thoughts. Firstly to quote Albert Einstein when he was speaking about the famous double slit experiment, detailed in the link above. “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either” Einstein knew that a “both and” understanding is optimal for complete understanding of the very strange world of particels and waves.
And secondly that, consciousness is the universe’s way of seeing and understanding itself. What is an object, the universe, without a subject, our consciousness, to enjoy or perceive it?
Much to the chagrin of many Roman/Greko philosophers the idea of zero as a number was born in India. To quote Russel Peters, a Canadian comedian the concept was first used in the well-known technique of bargaining by an individual who wanted something but did not want to pay. There are stories and proof of zero concepts in several cultures, not just in Europe and Asia. Even the ancient South Americans seem to have some idea what zero is. There is, however, a Buddhist link expressed by my favorite philosopher Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna is famous for his groundbreaking treatises on sunyata Sanskrit for emptiness. What could be more empty than zero? Even in the cardinal script, the shape of the zero says “hey man there is nothing here look into the circle it’s empty.” One thing for certain even if the zero was not first conceptualized in India, Indians were with certainty the first people to take the concept out of the mathematical arena and into a philosophical debate. Philosophy and mathematics have always had an interesting coexistence. It is said that above the entrance to Plato’s Academy “let no one ignorant of Geometry enter” was inscribed.
The idea of emptiness is not an easy concept to understand in fact it is more often misunderstood that any other buddhist teaching. This is in part due to many translations of buddhist texts compiled by Christian scholars who had the intention of belittling and demonizing the Buddha Dharma therefore calling it Buddhism.
Nagarjuna’s premise is that things or objects in our world have no independent existence in and of themselves, this is emptiness.
The idea is that we as individuals project our own meaning, concepts, and ideas onto everything that we perceive. We label everything good or bad and so begins the constant samsaric battle of attachment and aversion. This step of labeling is a mistake of our egos as we see ourselves as separate from that object of perception. This separation or act of creating a border between that which we truly are and that which we perceive is the original mistake. Mind or our consciousness is compared to an eye. An eye cannot see itself it only sees outwards. This is why we must turn our mind’s eye inwards in the practice of meditation. Only then do we truly see that Ego = 0
Ngöndro is a set of Buddhist practices that one chooses to complete at the request of one’s lama. Ngöndro can be translated as “to go before” It is therefore known as the four preliminary practices or the four uncommon or extraordinary preliminaries. The full practice may be compared to earning a bachelors degree in meditation as the practices usually take years to complete and when one is finished one normally receives a Yidam practice from his or her lama as sort of a graduation gift. Yidam means mind bond and is usually a lifelong practice. I will be describing the Karma Kagyu Chag Chen Ngöndro from the Ninth Karmapa here as this is what I practice.
The Ngöndro consists of four and sometimes five practices the four practices are:
1. Refuge and Enlightened Mind (prostrations)
2. Vajrasattva (diamond mind)
3. Mandala Offering
4. Guru Yoga
The fifth is commonly referred to as the small refuge and is completed prior to the four main practices sometimes as a trial to see if one is suited for the Ngöndro as it usually entails only 11111 repetitions. The four main practises increase in complexity and difficulty of visualization. They all consist of a mantra or exercise that must be repeated 111 111 times, yes that’s correct, one hundred and eleven thousand one hundred and eleven repetitions per practice. I am not kidding here this is why it takes years to do.
The total package of the Ngöndro can be compared to that of renovating a house or in this case your mind. When one has a house that needs total renovation one tears down the walls replaces the wiring and water pipes and anything else that is in poor repair. This is the prostrations, they are hard work require time and sweat, and you will feel them the next day actually for me it really hurt. But they do come with many benefits, as one develops in the practice so does one’s devotion, dedication, and one-pointedness to the lama and the entire transmission lineage. One purifies all Karma that is connected to the body and its physical actions; one can also become quite fit in the process and they open up blocked energies from our chakras. In each prostration we are aligning our body, speech, and mind chakras on a physical level with our prayer mudras that touches each of these centers and on an inner level as we alternate our inner focus or attention from one place to another. On the physical side, I found it very beneficial that as one develops their core body strength one can easily maintain excellent body posture both in and out of meditation. Correct body posture is incredibly helpful. It’s even not uncommon for a 1 pack to finally become a 6 pack. Likely the most important benefit is two-fold, firstly one begins to repeat the promise of the Bhodisatva every time we meditate. Being a Bhodisatva is not always easy but with practice, it can be. As motivation to do the prostrations one can imagine that we do the prostrations for others. I have personally met one yogi who traveled 500km doing prostrations as he went all for those who could not do them for themselves. Secondly, we begin to work with altruistic wishes such as “may all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness, may all beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering, may they always experience happiness which is totally free from suffering, and may they remain in the great equanimity which is without attachment and aversion. These are very important steps on the path of the Bhodisatva.
The second practice of Vajrasattva or Diamond Mind is compared to the cleaning out of all the dust and dirt that has accumulated over the years and in the first part of the renovation once all the rough work is finished. Vajrasattva is intrinsically connected to emotions like anger, as one purifies even the most subtle and hidden aspects of the negative things that we have said, thought, or done since beginningless time. The mantra is quite long, 100 syllables to be exact, and one mala takes a minimum of 15 minutes. Here one can hone their concentration skills and enjoy the blessing and relief of removing even more negative Karma from one’s store consciousness. The practice of holding ones concentration so intensely can often, but not always lead to feelings similar to that of anger. This happens because we are in a subtle way creating the mental or inner conditions that are reminiscent of anger. As we develop with the practice we begin to see this narrowness or tightening in everyday situations as we really do become angry. The meditation is skillfully showing us that anger is coming, we then have realized the great gift of then being able to choose to react negatively or not. This is the essence of Vajrasattvas neckar it purifies our past response to anger and we are now only left with an unobscured observation of the situation. This deep wisdom can only grow from here into the openness we begin to develop in the next practice of the mandala offering.
The third practice is called mandala offering and it is for sure the most intricate and beautiful of all four practices. This is the fresh paint, new carpets, and beautiful decorating phase after the hard work of the renovation. Here one imagines universes of amazing and fantastic offerings for all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from all times and directions as one places piles of rice and semi-precious stones on a silver plate and wipes them away. We practice giving without regret or attachment and a deeper sense of thankfulness spills over into our everyday lives as one repeats the manta both on and off the meditation cushion. We may even begin to have an idea of what emptiness is, but don’t worry this idea is certain to change as do all ideas and concepts in Buddhism.
The fourth and final practice of the Ngöndro is Guru Yoga, this is meditation like many others in Tibetian Buddism because one directly meditates on the lama and in this case all the lamas of the transmission lineage. This seems only natural to invite everyone over to celebrate after your house is renovated and here the guests bring immense blessing for one’s future practice. On the subject of guru yoga, it would be irresponsible not to mention that when one is meditating “on” the Lama we are not meditating on a person with flesh and blood, we are meditating on a form of enlightened energy and light. This is a very skillful way in which to dissolve our selfish egos and to take on the profoundly positive and enlightening qualities that the lama represents. This effect is multiplied when the entire lineage is placed in mind above one’s head. Devotion and perseverance develop in the practitioner when one begins to realize and identify with the many exemplary examples of lives that were dedicated to the practice and teaching of the Buddha Dharma.
With an overview of the entire Ngondro practice, it is easy to see how all the individual parts fit in with one another. This is what is known as skillful means. Prostrations and Diamond Mind are heavily slanted to the Shinè side. While Mandala practice is almost entirely Laktong and the Guru Yoga is a combination of them both. The building up phase or the Kyerim phase is longer and more detailed in each subsequent practice and very clearly the Dzogrim phase moves from blessing to emptiness to a full Mahamudra experience. With this in mind, it is easy to see how the Ngondro really is the preparation for understanding the highest of the Kagyu Mahamudra teachings.
I have learned something very powerful from each and every practice and even as I am more than halfway through my second Ngöndro I can say that this experience keeps developing deepening far beyond what I could have imagined in the beginning. I have even considered doing Ngondro for the rest of my life as I personally know quite a few people who have done 5 or more Ngöndros and I am sure that they would say the same. If you are thinking that you may wish to undertake such a profound experience for yourself please ask many questions and find a Buddhist Centre near to you to get qualified explanations. The traditional “lung” or wind or word can only be received from a lama. Although it might seem oldfashioned or simply unnecessary a little tradition can go a long way.
Every once in a while I inspired to share one of my website pages instead of a science-based entry. This time around I chose a more recent addition because I find it so inspiring how my Buddhist lineage uses such skillful means to meditate. Meditation and my Lama have unquestionably changed my life for the better. So here is the page in full.
In a previous page I detailed the difference between Shiné and Laktong, here I would like to highlight Kyerim and Dzogrim two closely related but very different terms so as to avoid any confusion as to how Vajrayana Tibetan meditations are often structured and how skillfully they have been put together to enable one to work with mind.
Kyerim sounds like Cherim it is the building up or generation phase and is closely linked to the practice of Shiné. One could almost call it Shiné plus, as the student does not just calmly pacify mind or rest mind on an object of meditation, the object of meditation interacts and provides feedback. Through a process called self-initiation, the meditator receives a combination of lights, syllables, and sounds from the object of focus or the Buddha aspect. Sometimes even a feeling is transmitted to the meditator. This feedback is said to trigger subtle psychological changes or responses in mind, the cumulative effect of such feedback is not to be underestimated. A typical example would be as follows: A white light from the Buddha form shines out towards us from an Om syllable on the Buddhas forehead towards our forehead at the same time we and or the group we are meditating with say the syllable Ommmmmmmmmm out loud for a few seconds. We feel or experience the vibration of the light and the sound together. This process is greatly magnified when we meditate in groups especially when we are in very large groups.
Khyrem can be translated to the moment when the Buddha is born. Here the Buddha or Buddha nature is clearly born and activated in our mind. This conscious feedback is also the same feedback one receives in Tibetan empowerments or initiations, albeit with less ritual. This is why this phase is sometimes referred to as self-empowerment as the lights, syllables, and sounds all correspond to the main chakras that are blessed by high Lamas and Rinpoches during an initiation. This self-empowerment provides the meditator with a strong blessing and enlightened contact regardless of where the lama is. One can also use the analogy of tieing ones rapidly changing stream of consciousness to a pole. Within the meditation, one has a series of approved distractions or highly detailed archetypal forms to focus on. Often one can simply rotate ones attention from one specific aspect to another at will within a much smaller field of attention than one is normally used to. These skillful means are very powerful mind training techniques.
Dzogrim or the completion phase can be compared to hugging or uniting ourselves with the Buddha form. The full mixing of powerful light energy and one’s own energy form imbues the meditator with the enlightened qualities of the Buddha aspect and one is filled with blessing. When the term dissolving phase is used it can be understood to be where we dissolve the barrier or distance between us and the enlightened qualities of the lama or Buddha aspect, here one simply feels inseparable from the teacher and all beings. One no longer is looking into the mirror of mind, we are the mirror, reflecting our own enlightened qualities. Perfection phase refers to the total understanding or the absolute realization of Mahamudra the highest teachings in Vajrayana Buddhism. This is a CLEAR experience of mind unadulterated by the veils of our disturbing emotions and basic ignorance. All three are Dzogrim. Dzogrim and Laktong often share the same place and time in most meditations but as Laktong is the insight the “ah ha” moment or the connection to one’s deepest awareness, beyond the normal understanding. Dzogrim clearly points to a pristine unadulterated experience of the LUMINANCE of mind. This CLEAR LIGHT, when seen from an outside perspective but still within the meditative experience, is the mechanism with which mind shines on the form and sound realms in order so that we may perceive them. This responsive outward shining of consciousness is what we are mentally reproducing in the Khyrem part of the meditation. In its very essence, we are the CLEAR LIGHT when there is no longer any distance or barrier between us and our experience and when we have total unity within our experience, sounds perfect doesn’t it?
There is an old saying that you can never enter the same stream twice. This seems kind of odd to the uninitiated especially if you swam in a river or stream often as a kid, so what do we mean here? We have two Buddhist terms that I would like to introduce and discuss here in relation to the steam. The first is impermanence this is understood that everything is in a constant state of change and the second is “dependent arising”. Impermanence is simple and covered in detail here, but dependent arising can be a bit complex. Let’s use the following example of a stream to discover the meaning in dependent arising. We have a stream flowing past us the fresh cool water is clean and clear. As the water flows by it erodes the banks of the stream in some places and deposits the eroded earth in others, it changes constantly. When our stream meets another stream and the two merge and flow on together, soon we have a river. Then at the end of the long river, we often have all the sand or earth carried by the river deposited in the delta where the main river once again divides into smaller streams as it slowly meets the ocean. Once the river has merged with the ocean a new process takes over as the water evaporates into the air becomes clouds and falls back to the earth as rain to be collected by the stream once again. This natural environmental cycle is dependent arising constant and ever-changing based on the impermanence of the surrounding conditions. One part of the process depends on the other and when seen as a whole there is no beginning or end to be found. Take one part out and nothing exists. No start or creation point is then necessary.
“At first practice is like a river rushing through a gorge. In the middle, it’s the river Ganges, smooth and flowing. In the end, it’s where all rivers meet, mother and child.” Tilopa Ganges Mahamudra.
It is here where we realise Dzogrim or that we are a drop of water in the whole ocean.
It is like this that we can understand our own existence here on earth one big cycle of ever-changing conditions and we can never be the same person twice like we can never enter the same stream or river twice. How do we compare to the river, certainly we are more complex? Here modern science would have to include our store consciousness, that is the sum of all the knowledge, thoughts, and actions we have ever encountered or our stream or consciousness. William James in “Principals of Psychology” used the phrase, stream of consciousness, to describe an unbroken flow of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings in the waking mind.
Buddhist theory calls our store consciousness “Alaya” this is the sum of all our experiences or our karma from all our lives since beginningless time. This Alaya is constantly mixing and interacting with our new life situation. Based on previous actions we decide the new course of action and we cycle through our existence without beginning or end just like the water in the stream. We are never the same person from each moment of mind to the next. The point here is clear we are the result of our actions and ideas, we should be more responsible.
This quote from the physicist Böhm sums it up quite nicely:
“I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment….”
D. Bohm, _Wholeness and the Implicate Order_, p.ix
The coherent whole is his comparison for the cycle of dependent arising that is never static or complete. And the unending movement of the river unfolds slowly as new conditions arise in mind.
Modern neuroscientists cannot find the mechanism of how our vast knowledge or memory is stored and then recalled, there are theories but none that are generally agreed upon. There is evidence that certain areas of the brain are associated with certain types of memory but the mechanism is unknown and much of what we know is based on the theory from one man Henry Molaison who has his complete hippocampus removed. After the removal, Henry could not form new long term memories. While this part of the brain certainly plays an important role in memory there is no proof of the storage processes in the brain then the storage could be somewhere else. Just my thoughts but the hippocampus is rather small to store all those memories. Not to mention it’s removal prevented new memories from being formed. The memories formed prior to the operation were still there, showing that the hippocampus is not the storage location.
Alaya has no specific location it is said to be non-local, or more simply said, space is information, omnipresent or everywhere, like energy. It’s simple and beautiful think of it as a cosmic conscious internet or quantum network, flowing through the universe everywhere and always new. Our entire being changing with every new situation and experience. Like always in Buddhism, this responsibility is our own to decide what direction we take, ask yourself do you want a comedy or tragedy today? The choice and answer is clear, are they not?
I love reading and often have 4 or 5 books on the go at once. So I thought it was interesting that when I picked up my copy of “My View of the World” by Erwin Schrödinger and started turning the pages I found a quote that he cited that stems from the writings of the great Indian Philosopher Nagarjuna in roughly year 200 CE. that I had just read in another book about Nagarjuna. Here it is “A thing is neither A nor not -A, but yet it is not a ” neither A nor not -A”, nor can one say that it is “both A and not -A. ” So what is it? Logically we come to a mathematical answer of zero or philosophically we could say the truth. But what did Schrödinger mean when he quoted Nagarjuna, what could he have been getting at?
Erwin Schrödinger was one of the most renown scientists of the 19th and 20th Century was only interested in one thing, Truth and not just any old truth. He was not interested in finding or reiterating the same old same old that was in his words “perusing a line of thinking that is so obviously going to lead us to bankruptcy, just as it did 2000 years ago” He was dedicated to finding the ultimate truth with all the scientific furore he had. So when he came across this symbolic expression of contradictions he must have known that he is onto something. His words are more poignant today than ever in our age of big debt, fake news, and lying politicians.
Pictures speak a thousand words, don’t they?
Nagarjuna is arguably the most pre-eminent philosopher of his time and maybe even our time as well. Born into a Brahmin family in India he lived from circa 150 to 250 CE. Nagarjuna was the head of the Buddhist university of Nalanda and has at least 8 major philosophical texts attributed to him and maybe more. Another quote from his madhyamakakarika is:
“The Buddha’s teaching rests on two truths: Conventional Truth and ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction between them do not understand Buddha’s profound truth. Ultimate truth cannot be taught without basis on relative truth; without realisation of the meaning of ultimate truth enlightenment cannot be attained.” Nagarjuna, madhyamakakarika, Ch. 24, Vs 8-10
Let’s return to our series of contradictions that Nagarjuna proposed 1800 years ago. These statements are simply a dualistic expression like neither good and bad or not up or down. He says we cannot understand the ultimate without understanding the relative, so our ground level basis must be the world we live in now, be it black and white or left or right wing we must understand the polarization and the dualistic contradictions we see all around us. Relativity in a philosophical sense tells us that shortness exists only to an idea of length. We need an opposite to see the relation and therefore the relative truth behind what is to be understood. For example, we could never truly understand light without ever having experienced darkness. We need to know the truth so we can know when we are being lied to. Without some super quantum computer, how should we ever hope to understand all the duality in our universe? Enter the Buddhadharma a logical system for the discovery of Ultimate Truth, or dharmakaya. Dharmakaya or the truth state in Vajrayana Buddhism is one of the three kayas states or bodies that lead to enlightenment, and cannot be explained very easily but let’s try. Dharmakaya is synonymous or leads to an understanding with emptiness or Sunyata. This simply is that no thing made or constructed, thought of or conceived of, or conditioned or habituated has any existence in itself, of itself, or by itself. All the “things” we know of, are dependent on a plethora of other external factors, a quantum network, required for our perception or knowledge of them. They are empty of an independent existence. When there is no thing that is independent then everything is therefore interdependent. This interdependence is crucial to the Buddhadharma because when I realize how connected I am to you I could never do anything to hurt you without hurting my self. Moreover, when I love you I love myself and all other beings all at the same time. That is emptiness, not so easy eh?
Are you ready to embark on a journey of truth for yourself? There is no better way than the Buddhadharma to reach this goal and all along the way to benefit all sentient beings in their search to bring new meaning, joy, and freedom to this existence that is constantly challenged by the elite of this world who are purveyors of lies and dissatisfaction.
I find the field of Neuroscience totally fascinating as it challenges one of the most difficult questions mankind has ever asked, how or through what mechanism is consciousness produced. This is also known as the hard problem of consciousness. Neuroscientists have from a mechanical perspective dissected and probed the brain in many many ways, identifying all the parts big and small and how they interact with one another. But to no avail, there is no answer to the big question or at least no agreement or even a general consensus as to how consciousness arises, within the scientific community. If we compare a Neuroscientist to a motor mechanic we will have an amazing understanding of how all the nuts, bolts, and parts of a motor work but we will not know why they do what they do. Today we will explore the how and why of the Buddhist theory of consciousness.
Buddhism has for the last 2500 years also tried to answer this question but from a very different perspective. Buddhists began their understanding of consciousness by searching and studying consciousness from within or from an inner mental perspective. Aided by eastern philosophical training and through the practice of meditation, a practitioner is guided along a gentle path of looking deeper and deeper within one’s most secret place, the seat of our consciousness and our true being.
It seems to me the obvious solution is to not ignore the fact that these two opposites are asking the very same question, but are investigating it from completely different perspectives. What could they learn from each other and how might this benefit mankind? Could there be a new middle way or a consensus of consciousness to be found through cooperation?
To begin understanding the mental or inner perspective of how the Buddhadharma explains consciousness we need to understand two sets of ideas the Eight Consciousnesses and the Five Skandhas. We begin with the radio example. Many Buddhist lamas have likened the brain to a radio a mechanical device that receives signals from our sense organs or the gates of our perception. We are all familiar with them; sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Yes, there are other senses like balance and intuition but let us stick to the obvious ones for reasons of simplicity. In this example, the brain acts as a radio receiving signals from 6 different stations. In Buddhist terms, the stations are called the Eight Consciousnesses. They are as follows 1. Visual (or eye) consciousness 2. Auditory (or ear) consciousness 3. Olfactory (or nose) consciousness 4. Gustatory (or tongue) consciousness 5. Tactile (or body) consciousness and 6. Mental (or mind) consciousness. 7 and 8 will be covered later. The Five Skandhas or Mind and are as follows 1. Form, 2. Feeling or sensation, 3. Discrimination or Perception, 4. Mental Formations, and 5. Consciousness.
Ready to see how all this fits together? Let’s tune into the Visual station on the radio and take a look around. Oh, look what’s that? We have a form. The eyes sense something, for example, a rose, and sends the information to the sixth consciousness the Mind consciousness. Here is where things get interesting. The mind consciousness has received the first skandha of form from the eyes. Here we can think that the mind builds the picture or mental fabrication from the information supplied by the input or inputs. Once a mental fabrication has formed a feeling or sensation arises like good, bad, or neutral this is the second Skandha. The discriminating or perception Skandha then registers, recognises, and labels the object. Then the fourth Mental Formation Skandha has us act by taking a closer look, running away or simply moving on based now on all the information our sense consciousnesses provide. We are now in the fifth Skandha and consciousness of the rose. This state gives rise to the seventh consciousness.
The seventh consciousness or the defiled mental consciousness or better described as emotions arise. “Oh what a beautiful rose, I want it.” we say, and then we are fully aware or conscious of the rose. This is where all the trouble begins, you all know what I mean here.
After the stimulus ends or is no longer the focus of the mind’s attention the information or experience is stored in the eighth consciousness or the All Encompassing Foundation Consciousness. This is most like what we would call our subconsciousness, and is called Alaya in Buddhism.
Was that easy to follow and does it compare to your everyday experience?
Remember, Mind doesn’t mind, matter doesn’t matter! Mind is Boss.
Waves and particles seem to the unlearned to be two very different things. But as we look deep down the quantum rabbit hole we begin to see how words like Non dual and unity have a very big place in the quantum world of the tiny and unseen and Buddhism alike.
Although demonstrated by Thomas Young’s famous double slit experiment in 1801 Wave-particle duality only became widely accepted in Quantum physicists in the mid-1900s. It is very interesting that the theory states that particles can exist as waves, waves can exist as particles, and sometimes they exist as both at the same time. Young discovered that when shooting particles or photons at a steel plate one can observe either an interference pattern that indicates a wave function or individual spots indicating particles. The experiment seems to get weird when we understand that particle patterns were observed when a detector was placed on the screen to track the particles and when no detector was there the wave pattern was observed. Even stranger was when a single proton was fired it spit into two at the slot only to combine once again at the screen displaying qualities of both waves and particles.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. We are faced with a new kind of difficulty. We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.”
Buddhism not surprisingly has some 1000-year-old insights that compare almost exactly to this modern quantum phenomenon. In roughly 1320 the 3rd Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Dorje wrote his crowning treatise on Mahamudra. Written in song or poetry like stanzas he tries to show us how things are not perceived as they really are and the connection of mind in our experience of how things truly are. Verse 6 says “The nature of the ground is the dual truth, free from extreme views of a permanent reality and of nihilism” Karmapa states here that our reality is the dual truth that is free from any reality of permanent or unchanging existence and free from the nothingness of nihilism. I would draw the comparison here to Einstein’s words that point to the contradiction between our materialistic world of particles and the unseen world with wavelike properties or even possibilities. Einstein goes further to say that sometimes we need only one of the theories sometimes we need both. Young’ experiment would support both here by demonstrating how sometimes we are seeing particles and sometimes waves then sometimes both. In verse 11 Karmapa goes on to clarify this in case we did not catch it the first time, “May we recognize mind’s essence, which is free of any extremes. It is not existent, for even the buddhas do not see it. It is not non-existent for it is the basis of everything, of conditioned existence and of the state beyond suffering. This is no contradiction. It is the middle way of unity.” So what Einstein initially proposed to be a contradiction is countered by Karmapa’s conviction that the middle way of unity and ultimately agreed to by Einstein “separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do”. Young would again agree when he observed particles splitting acting as waves and then reuniting to a particle once again. This to me is a very clearly non-dual co-emergent reality. Verse 18, my personal favourite, Karmapa clarifies once more for the doubters among us, “Observing phenomena, none is found. One sees Mind. Looking at mind, no mind is seen, it is empty in essence. Through looking at both, one’s clinging to duality naturally dissolves. May we recognize mind’s true nature, which is clear light”. In complete agreement Einstein and Karmapa both recognize that a complete unified understanding of the seen and unseen or the particle and wavelike worlds between Quantum Physics and Buddhism leads to the truth of our existence. Moreover one cannot ignore the fact that Young and Einstein were both talking about light waves and particles called photons. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see this clearly?
Meditation helps us to see more clearly or likely even completely clear. Once the veils of our emotions like jealousy and anger are cleared away we see our world free from their constant blurring effect. Our newly developed wisdom transforms suffering into joy. In the double slit experiment, we see the evidence of particles when our attention or the sensor is turned on, this is what we see now normally. If we can train ourselves in meditation maybe we can see the world of waves and their functions, maybe we can even understand or see our consciousness in action and watch as our awareness interacts with the collapsing wavefront into our particle material based world. It sounds a bit crazy, I know, but why not it might be really amazing.
So it seems to me that my three friends seem to agree on quite a lot, maybe the only thing that Karmapa, Young, and Einstein might disagree about is the path one takes meditation versus mathematics. Do both roads lead to Rome? Why not do both, that’s why people like me are here.
Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment illustrates an important Buddhist teaching. Although Schrodinger originally created this experiment to illustrate the absurdity of applying Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics being applied to everyday objects, it’s genius can be used to show us other things and challenge our individual experience of reality. In the experiment, Schrodinger places a cat in a closed steel box where a deadly poison stands ready to be released by a Geiger counter and an atom that decays at an unknown rate. At any time during the experiment, the cat is either dead or alive. We do not know the status of the cat until we directly observe the situation in the box. This illustrates the idea of superposition as the cat technically exists in all possible states until the observation.
What can we learn from this that can be applied to a Buddhist practice? None other than that we are already enlightened and we just don’t know it yet while we have not been able to observe it properly. Many Buddhist teachers explain that enlightenment is closer to us than our skin. This is due to the understanding that we all have the potential to be a Buddha, the fact that we all have the Buddha nature. This means that because the Buddha, also a man, realised enlightenment so can we. We are simply in a state of superposition until we begin to observe, look deep inside with meditation and learn to see ourselves as the perfect beautiful beings that we already are. We need to look inside the box of our minds with trust and purposeful dedication that what we see and what we are is nothing short of amazing. We need to learn to think inside of the box long before we begin to think outside of the box. Most of us have reversed this process only to miserably fail at whatever it is that we are trying to achieve. Do we try to teach someone something that we cannot do ourselves? Are we putting the cart in front of the horse? Can we be of good use to others when we are suffering in an uncontrollable way ourselves, or can we be of best use to all when are in a position of surplus and wisdom? A well-composed meditation practice shows us our natural beauty and divine essence that we have had since beginningless time but have unfortunately due to our own ignorance we have learned to forget it. Let us, therefore, learn to be fully alive whether we are in Schrodinger’s box or not. It is really a choice that we must make to either wallow in our own sorrow or chose to realise our full potential for the benefit of all beings.
In any given moment in any given situation, anything is possible. Superposition gives us a gateway to understanding our unlimited potential and what we see and how we see it is what we receive. And here we can choose to see a comedy or a tragedy it is up to us. Meditation gives us the chance to do this not only on the meditation cushion but perhaps more importantly in daily life.
So was Schrodinger’s cat enlightened? Yes, but he may not have realised it, much like us.
Let’s choose to be amazing…
Have you ever wondered how or where consciousness arises? I have and “Pan what?” was my first question when a good friend mentioned to me in conversation that what I was actually describing to him had already been theorised hundreds of years ago. “Phew, I am not the first idiot to think this” was my second thought and then “wait a second it would have been cool to come up with something new” was the third though. After the discussion, I read up on the subject I could not have been more amazed, as the inherent beauty and wisdom slowly sank deeply into my being.
Panpsychism postulates that consciousness is everywhere and in everything and that this non-local or cosmic wide phenomenon is also without cause. Even stones and elementary particles have consciousness, not just people, bugs, or plants. Even for me, this sounds a little far-fetched until you delve into the subject a bit more. The earliest known references to panpsychism are likely attributed to early religions like Shintoism, Taoism, Paganism, and Shamanism. Even Aristotle is quoted as saying “that everything is full of gods.” Plato argued in his Sophist that all things participate in the form of being and that it must have a psychic aspect of mind and soul. “This world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence … a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” Wow, that is a big idea and not so easy for an individual to wrap his mind around it. That is probably the problem, the idea of panpsychism takes us from the comfort of our strongly held idea of an individual or ego and even the religious idea of a soul or atman to the understanding that not only are all beings one being but that all things are united in a blissful unity or beingness.
This is illustrated in Robert Fludd’s depiction of the world soul. I thought it might illustrate the idea of Panpsychism in an interesting way.
Panpsychism has some competition it is not the only theory about the origin of mind, the emergence theory has many followers as well. Emergence Theory postulates that consciousness has emerged from some as yet unknown evolutionary chemical process. Philosopher Professor Galen Strawson articulates the relationship between panpsychism and emergence quite acutely: “The issue of emergence of mind is important because it is the mutually exclusive counterpart to Panpsychism: either you are a Panpsychist, or you are an Emergentist. Either mind was present in things from the very beginning, or it appeared (emerged) at some point in the history of evolution. If, however, emergence is inexplicable or is less viable, then one is left with the panpsychist alternative. This line of reasoning … is the (panpsychist) ‘argument from Non-Emergence.”
Interestingly there is no proof anywhere of consciousness or mind emerging from any process but either is there any proof of panpsychism. Panpsychism is, however, in my opinion, far more elegant and takes mind or consciousness a few steps further than the emergence of mind as an evolutionary or materialistic process. Even with a rather superficial level of understanding of panpsychism, one might find some comfort in this theory that we are never alone and connected to everything in every way. However, this may also strike fear into the hearts of those who are so deeply attached to their own individuality or egos. Regardless if one finds comfort or fear lets discover some more of how Panpsychism, Quantum Physics, and Buddhism might be related.
When we analyze subatomic particles, one might say that there is no difference between the protons, quarks, and leptons in my body, and the protons, quarks, and leptons in the desk in front of me except that I am conscious and the desk is not. Or is it, but at a dramatically reduced level? David Bohm theoretical physicist and philosopher said “That which we experience as mind … will, in a natural way, ultimately reach the level of the wave function and of the ‘dance’ of the particles. There is no unbridgeable gap or barrier between any of these levels. … … in some sense, a rudimentary consciousness is present even at the level of particle physics” So here we can surmise that there is no barrier between me and the desk.
To this day we do not understand where or how consciousness arises and the role the brain plays in its formation if it plays a role at all. It could be just a receiver or radio, receiving information on several channels of perception that we would call our senses. Panpsychism skips this need to discover the relationship between the brain and the rise of conscious awareness completely, its simplicity is simply profound. No matter how shocking or strange panpsychism sounds I am reminded at what Sherlock Holmes said, that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Can science accept this deduction and if not how do we prove that which we have not been able to prove, other than keep trying even though the truth is already in front of us?
Buddhism teaches us that all beings have mind and or what we call Buddha nature, that is the ability to realize one’s full potential. Many teachers, when asked if plants have mind, would deny it and say that simply if it moves like an ant or something then it has mind. As we know plants only sort of move in their relationship to water and sunlight and the various degrees to which they require their nutrients. This could be a very basic version of attraction and aversion. This rather narrow view is on the outset not as encompassing as panpsychism. However, Buddhism requires us to break down any borders or boundaries between us and other things, this even applies to all concepts and ideas so why not to all phenomena as well. At an ultimate understanding of mind, where nothing has any true or independent existence in and of itself, all things would seem to have all the same qualities; conscious and otherwise. I would like to quote David Bohm once more here: “The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts.” From the Undivided Universe: An Ontological Interpretation of Quantum Theory
This oneness without separation or boundary is exactly what we are talking about when Buddhists say that subject, object and action come together as one. This is known as the state of Mahamudra or complete and full awareness or consciousness. Once we have reduced this ontologically either in meditation, philosophically, or scientifically all that there is left points to just consciousness or mind and nothing else seems to matter, even matter itself. Imagine that, matter doesn’t matter. In this simple state of just being, connected with everything, and aware of all that there is, a state of great joy and bliss arises. Total freedom of mind, no more running from or reaching for, just complete happiness and wisdom resting in the suchness of everything. Here is where we can be really effective in this confused and angry world. Here is where we can really be the change that we wish to see in the world.
So is consciousness everywhere and in all things? I think so. Its simple beauty is both profound and inspiring, especially to the Buddhist ear. Modern science seems to agree more and more with this conclusion and I can only ask when or will modern society see the light as well? Perhaps Panpsychism is even the solution to the hard problem of consciousness. Which is to question how and why sentient organisms have qualia or phenomenal experiences.
For my German speaking audience I found two very interesting videos that discuss Panpsychism. The first one from Professor Harald Lesch a wonderful physisist, astronomer, and philosopher who explores panpsychism from a purly astrophysical perspective with quite an open mind even though he does not agree with the idea.
The second video from Gerd Scobel actually a friend of Professor Lesch explores the topic from a philosophical perspective.
Personally, I think the Buddha Dharma has already answered this question, but that’s a topic for another post. This for me is just another way in which we see that consciousness is the vehicle in which the universe is becoming aware of itself. Why else would it be so beautiful and blissful to experience it either in meditation or by scientific discovery? Let us take this and use it as a tool to better the world and our fellow beings in every imaginable way. Whatever your view is on this topic I would love to hear from you, please feel free to comment below.