Do you know the difference between having a thought and being aware that you are having a thought?

Do you know the difference between having a feeling and being aware that you are having a feeling?

Yesterday we talked about how the self does not exist and how to personally investigate this in order to feel confident in this conclusion.  People that become obsessed with discovering the true nature of reality (which could be referred to as “knowing or seeing God”) create the causes and conditions for the direct experience of no-self or emptiness.

The direct experience of no-self or emptiness (also known as the Perfection of Wisdom) is what gives us the power to cut the fetters of limiting misbeliefs about the world and reach enlightenment.  Someone that has this insight is an arya or stream enterer.

I tend to identify more with my mind as being “myself”.  Exercises that use the mind to explore the mind are quite useful in loosening up this identification.  Anyone that spends much time watching their mind objectively will tend to not want to identify with the thinking processes of the mind.  In fact, one may conclude, “I am not my mind, it is possessed!”

The mind generates a long stream of judgements, opinions, repetitive thoughts, and the like.  When we disengage from identifying with them, these thoughts can be viewed as simple arisings and passings – much like a breeze that touches the surface of our skin.  They are not us.  They are something that seems to happen to us.

Then, what is left is identification with the observer.  It has become clear that we are not the thoughts that we think and we don’t even generate them consciously.  I was able to get to this point when I realized that I was still identifying with the part of the mind that was watching the thoughts.  “I” was the watcher, the observer, the part that says, “there is a breeze on your arm”.  It took an insight experience for me to blow that identification apart.

Slowly as you practice you will break down identification with self.  It is this dissolution of deceptive reality that leads to liberation.  The road is set before you and all you have to do is practice to reach the final goal.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta portrays an aspect of spiritual v for vendetta movie coverdevelopment that is frequently overlooked and rarely embraced.  In many traditions, both Hindu and Buddhist, there are fierce deities that perform the job of removing obstacles.  Two such fierce babes are Kali and Ekajati (Blue Tara).  Some of the many obstacles that these two remove are complacency and deep seated fears and addiction.

If that little bit of wine you take at dinner every once in awhile keeps you comfortable and not growing spiritually, then they can create circumstances that turns that into a devastating addiction.  Or if your great job and comfy home has lulled you into inaction, Kali or Ekajati will be glad to take that job away for you.

In V for Vendetta Natalie Portman, our lead star, has suffered from anxiety most of her life, probably due, in part, to losses she experienced as a child.  Then through torture and trial she overcomes the greatest fear (fear of death) and becomes free.  It might have been thought she did not have what it would take to withstand her circumstances and stay in integrity, but she did.  And through her strength of will she tapped into an even stronger and more eternal sense of self.

It is when we lose attachment to things and then finally ourselves that we achieve true freedom.  As long as we are acting from fear of any sort we are chained.  As my favorite quote of the week says:

…swept along on four fierce river currents, chained up tight in past deeds, hard to undo, stuffed in a steel cage of grasping self, smothered in the pitch-black ignorance.

 Je Tsongkapa (Three Principle Paths)

Natalie’s liberation came because of a choice she made.  Eventually, due to that choice, and the actions that followed she was able to realize a cessation of fear.  This absence of fear (a major mental affliction for many of is) means that she actually realized a greater truth about who she is.

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This term means a variety of things depending on the user.  On this website we use the following definition:

Enlightenment is the permanent cessation of all mental afflictions.

The “state” of enlightenment is characterized by a continual abiding in “no-self” or the prajna paramita (perfection of wisdom).  The “state” of no-self or enlightenment is described by some as being without consciousness (Bernadette Roberts) and by others as being a pure consciousness state (Eckhart Tolle).  Presumably, the differences are due to different definitions of consciousness.

Synonyms: nirvana, gone to bliss, freedom, liberation