I’ve been sort of wondering if the quality of understandability is an aspect of reality. It seems a little bit strange to me that pretty much anything we turn our attention to rewards us with an ever more intricate and fine-grained knowledge of what it is and how it functions. I think I used to just think we were smart, you know? Like, we figure shit out, that’s what we do, that’s what brains do. Process information, process data, look for patterns, and come to some provisional conclusions about stuff out there. But lately it’s been seeming to me that the shoe is on the other foot- everything is waiting to tell us its story. It’s just waiting for us to shine the spotlight of our attention in its direction, and once the spotlight hits, things start tap-dancing like mad for us.
Or maybe that’s overstating things- of course our brains are part of it, too. It is a dance. It’s just not that things are kind of dead and static from their end and we approach and we use our big giant brains and figure out everything from our end.
And it is a dance because there are intelligences animating both sides of the equation.
That’s what I think. And, no, I don’t mean that tables and minerals are intelligent. For that matter, I don’t mean that we are intelligent, either. Just that there seem to be an awful lot of areas that succumb to our curiosity, sooner or later, and there are awfully few areas where we just don’t get anything back at all. And I think most of those exist mainly because we don’t yet know how to look or where to look or even that we should be looking. How do we look to find out what happened before the big bang? How do we look at what exists outside of space-time?
We’re trapped, somewhat, by the scale of our lives, the scale of our bodies, the speed of light, the duration of the universe, etc. But going back to the dance thing, going back to the idea of there kind of being intelligence on both sides of the equation- if you put the human neural network on one side and the large scale complexity of the known universe on the other, they both look like the same thing, pretty much, if you mapped them out and then corrected for scale.
The inside looks like the outside. The big looks like the little. The left looks like the right. The past looks like the future. The future looks like the past.
And of course, the Buddhists will say that this is just a side effect of the nature of how things are because, well, everything is mind. That’s why everything looks kind of the same. That’s why it all responds to attention. That’s why it has this infinite fractal scale, why it’s referential and enfolded and recursive and emergent and phantasmagorical. It’s all made out of the same stuff.
It’s all the blanket. The blanket truth, as revealed by Bernard Jaffe to Albert Markovski.
But, you know, so what?
I don’t know. I think about shit like this- I don’t know if it does any good to do it, I just can’t help myself. I’m like a dog with a bone- there’s a bone, I’m gonna chew it. But there is something, there is something here that ties in with what I’m doing, this spiritual thing I’m embarked on.
If I’m going to awaken to how things are, then this kind of knowledge is important, right? It’s an aspect of reality, isn’t it?
Or isn’t it?
One the one hand, there’s a woo-woo aspect to Tibetan Buddhism- there’s emptiness, there’s no self, there’s non-duality, there’s pure lands and Buddha fields, rainbow bodies, prayers, chants, magic shows, buried treasure, mind reading- really, there’s no end to the woo-woo shit that goes on. In the real deal, in the very core of Tibetan Buddhist teachings- not the wingnut branch of the in-bred cousins. The shit is actually a very core aspect of the teachings, of the path and the skillful means and all of it.
On the other hand, there’s this entirely basic, entirely pragmatic aspect, too. You know, sit still. Sit up straight. Stop harming, stop killing, calm down, do good. Understand your feelings, gain control of your body, speech, and mind, and try not to be a dick.
I guess to me what it is is that I like to run on both tracks. I like the woo-woo shit, the emptiness, the joyful bliss, the nature of mind, the prayers, the visualizations, the experience of non-duality in my bones, in my own mindstream- the closeness of the teachers, the devotion, the weird shit that goes on when you start doing this stuff- the constant flexing and bending and prying open of the mind, the constant questioning of experience- is it this way? is it that way? really? really?
And I like the other track, too. The sitting practice. The quietness. The not thinking. The intention to be kind, to do good, to not be a dick. The real world application of bodhichitta to the best of my currently limited ability. The universe is empty, but this diaper needs changing. The diaper is empty, yes, but it’s also full of poo.
Now looking inside. Now looking outside. Now seeing emptiness, now seeing form. Now relative, now absolute. Now you, now me. Now here, now missing. Now lost, now found.
And mind doing all of it, everywhere, all the time.
See Jesus in that toast man?
He’s in there.