Practical vipassana

(Continuation of the conversation with Robin)

robin wrote:

danijel wrote:

However, I managed to actually test this hypothesis personally, several times, when I was in a completely pure and detached state, after having finished writing a book; I was feeling an active external world-based force trying to very aggressively cause desires for something worldly (which felt quite silly because it was iteratively testing things on me), and if it wasn’t working it would try harder and act quite hysterically. After the second or third time it happened, I mapped it quite precisely and I now have no doubts about the way it works and the motivations behind its actions. Now, I’m not even taking desires seriously; I see them as something trivial that will always happen while I’m here, but I can let it all go instantly once the guys up there have mercy on me and let me out. 🙂

This is really interesting. I had a related experience recently after working on the desire thing for a while of arriving home one evening and walking through the front door feeling a state of complete indifference to the world. Everything in the world felt dull and uninteresting and I didn’t feel any attraction or desire towards it what so ever. The meditation I was focusing on was drawing my full attention and everything else felt completely irrelevant. Then I woke up the next morning and found myself checking current house prices since the people I was with were talking about it the day before and by the end of it, some slight desire crept in, my state of detachment was less, my meditation focus was less and I started to feel contaminated again. Then I was like: “where is this shit coming from, just yesterday I was completely indifferent to this shit, wtf am I doing here?”.

There are two interpretations as to why we are susceptible to this. First is the obvious one – there is some latent desire within, in “seed-form”, and this seed is “watered” by external influences and made to grow. The second interpretation is that this world creates its own problems, and by the necessity of being incarnated here, we are “persuasible” – we keep trying to find solutions to extant and obvious problems, such as food, shelter, transport, protection from harm etc., and I think this is the correct interpretation for your example. It’s not that you have a latent desire for owning a house, that would survive the death of your physical body and cause rebirth, as those things are explained in classical literature; you just have a realistic issue at this point of your incarnate existence, and you can be “persuaded” by the world-based forces to try to find workable solutions to the problem while you are here. It’s in the same order as knowing you’ll have to eat in the future so you need to plan ahead and buy groceries to make lunch.
I think the most important thing about it is to be constantly aware and vigilant. We need to do things while here, yes, but there is a difference between doing and overdoing, which is something I’ve been made aware of recently. 🙂 Also, we need to be able to let go instantly when the duties and services we perform here are no longer required, and that’s basically not always easy; when I test myself for this, by creating a hypothetical scenario of having to leave this world today, it’s not attachment to things that would bother me in the slightest, it’s the duty and responsibility to people. How would they pay the bills, how would they manage logistics, did I leave them with sufficient knowledge and abilities to make due without me? Am I leaving them in a death-trap, or in a workable situation? If I am told from above that it’s my time to go, so it’s not a matter of choice, would I still feel bound by responsibility?
It’s not an easy thing to quit “cold turkey” something you’ve been doing for the better part of your life, and this, I think, is the problem with attachment. Not the silly things the scriptures warn us about, the stereotypical nonsense about people worrying about their business, money, property and so on. It’s the real issues that are the problem, not the obviously illusory ones; and if there’s anything real here, it’s the souls that are incarnate, especially if it’s your specific duty to care for them, and it’s not easy to just stop doing that when you’re told it’s no longer up to you, because your time here is up. I’m not sure I have the right answers here, at least not the universally applicable ones, because the entire situation might feel like a non-issue from a different standpoint that includes a wider perspective, such as viewing the totality of karmic intersections and branches of all involved, and understanding that there are no good solutions and stable states in this world; it’s by definition a quagmire of quicksand and landmines and not a place to build your lasting home, and that is as true for me as it is for everybody else, so if I am completely accepting this fact about my own life, why am I still insistent on trying to fix everybody else’s situation, as if that were possible here? It’s obviously something I’m struggling with, the over-exertion of responsibility for others into the realm of unhealthy, where by “unhealthy” I mean behaviour that doesn’t accept that things are inherently unfixable here, and no amount of investment of effort will change the fundamentals.
I think the real answer would be that the struggle against the nature of the world is the right approach while we are here, because that’s the only way to maintain your spiritual sanity and have a working soul-presence in the world; however, it needs to be understood that it’s not a battle against the world, but the battle for presence of God in one’s life, and once you’re out, you’re out, and we need to preserve sufficient awareness as to cut all energy investments and expenditures instantly, when it is no longer required for the actual goal, not the fictitious ones that constantly spawn in this mirage of a place.

robin wrote:

danijel wrote:

If I don’t care about getting a better car for myself, I can be persuaded to get one for my son, and I spend the better part of the last year thinking about it on some level, checking the options, budgeting for it etc.

I did spend a lot of last year obsessing about something similar I’m ashamed to admit, but in my case it was for me and not someone else 🙂 .

Oh, I’m certainly not above such things myself; I would just have to be in a realistic position where I actually needed a new car. 🙂 But barring that, I can be persuaded to pursue desires by proxy, and since those have the false legitimacy of being “selfless”, they are easier to fall for. Sure, there’s a core of legitimate responsibility in getting your kid a car, but what I ended up buying him is shooting past this legitimate core and into the realm of wild overachievement by a huge margin; I got him a fancier car than I’m driving. 🙂

robin wrote:

danijel wrote:

so it’s obviously some form of desire by proxy attached to me through the concepts of duty and responsibility for others. I don’t think it would be healthy to cut those things off completely because there are actual realities that can’t be ignored, such as there being an actual family I’m taking care of, and neglecting duties would have severe consequences, all of them bad. However, it is possible to “overachieve”, to go beyond the necessary and even reasonable, into the area of unhealthy obsession, which I was caught doing, so one obviously has to be very careful about it. Excess of a normally good thing is a bad thing.

I think if the desire relates to duty or responsibility for the sake of others it would have a different quality and be less of a problem. It that case, its more of a selfless desire for the sake of others.

I don’t know about that; it might actually be more of a problem, because it’s masked by virtue and therefore reduces your ability to control it. That’s what women usually tend to fall for; they project their desires into their children, and since that is falsely perceived as “altruistic” by the society, they get so wildly crazy about it, that it is possible for them to completely lose their spiritual detachment and identity in it. Basically, how is women projecting desires into their reproductive vector any different from men trying to inseminate as many women as possible, which is perceived by society as sinful? I don’t see a real difference; both are pure biology, animal behaviour, but one of the two managed to successfully cloak itself in the appearance of virtue.

robin wrote:

Just as a follow up question, when you absorb something and it causes you disturbance, what is felt by you internally? For example, what is your emotional response when you experience the low emotional states as a result of the unsophisticated karmic mass? Do you experience all sorts of crazy thoughts, emotional states and desires which constitute the substance, actually identify with the substance and consequently feel that you have sinned, experience the resulting spiritual pain and feel remorse as defined as sincere regret over your own mistake or do you simply observe the suffering from a detached point of awareness with your sense of self extracted from it, equanimously without aversion or attraction until the suffering is spent? Since the karmic mass originates outside yourself is it appropriate to still own it and experience remorse? I would be really interested to hear anything further you could share about what you personally experience on the level of mind and emotions when taking on something and the steps you go through.

You absolutely feel everything because, once you absorbed the additional karmic mass, it *is* you. It became integrated into your soul-core and you feel all the emotions, trauma, stress, pain, attachment and other wildly energetic emotions that came with it; that’s the “increase in temperature” I so abstractly talked about, but it doesn’t feel abstract, and the “kinetic energy of the particles” feels like spiritual whirlpools, savagely violent; sin and justification for it, and when sufficiently detached, remorse and pain, violent pain you live through, and it’s no longer someone else’s, it’s yours because you integrated it within yourself. You need to “learn” the lessons again, because in this new state you “forget”, because you’re at the “higher temperature” now, and none of it feels like somebody else’s problem, because you are swallowed whole, and it often takes some time before you even understand what’s going on, why you are feeling all those things and why you are disturbed and in pain, or full of desires pointing in strange directions, and when you understand what’s going on, it means you achieved the first degree of control, that you attained detachment sufficient to understand that it’s energy vectors and not “yourself”, and as you increase in detachment and re-acquire the ability to observe the process with detachment and let the wild emotions unwind without you whipping them back up, you gradually remove “heat” from your system, which is the “secret” of vipassana, of just observing the emotions and thoughts and fears/desires, which divests energy from them and creates the conditions necessary for the gradual cooling of the system, and this process of cooling can be called either “suffering” or “remorse”; it feels like both, with a slight difference that makes “remorse” a better word, because it implies detachment; you can “suffer” while holding on to the “sinful” structure, and the pain of suffering can be selfish and arrogant, but “remorse” means the distinction of letting go.

Thermodynamical interpretation of karma

I’m posting parts of my private conversation with Robin, which, I think, would be a welcome change from all the politics and economy. 🙂

 

robin wrote:

Ok. The past few weeks break have been quite good for me since I was feeling quite clouded towards the end of last year and managed to clean myself up and achieve some clarity. I dissolved the lesser superficial desires which were clouding my mind and channelled all desire energy into desire for perception into the true nature of reality. Basically I’m focusing on seeing true nature of everything, without attachments and with clear vision. This is my goal at the moment. The thing I realized about worldly desires is that it’s a trap and a source of vulnerability where all sorts of shit from the global astral field can enter into the system. I’m not even talking about craving for worldly pleasure, it can be an innocent desire like: I need to replace my car or I need xyz. It doesn’t matter how small it is, the global astral will use it to bind, deplete, contaminate me and then leave me empty handed and ruined.

This is where both Hinduism and Buddhism got it wrong, and I think I know why.
They correctly perceived that attachment is the problem, but they thought that the soul itself generates it; somehow, it likes the world and what it’s offering, due to ignorance or immaturity, and as it matures, it learns to let go of attachment and, ultimately, attain liberation/enlightenment.
This is not completely false (the souls actually do react to the world), but it’s actually the opposite of what seems to be going on; it’s like saying that you are caught in a massive object’s gravitational field because you feel attachment. Well, you feel attachment alright, but it’s being generated by the object, not yourself. The mass curves the spacetime and unless you achieve escape velocity, you’re caught in a trap. My guess as to why nobody got this is that it’s both a very difficult hypothesis to test (you would need to be in a state of complete purity and detachment in order to perceive the forces neutrally and objectively), and the corollaries are highly unpleasant, because you have to get rid of the assumption that the world is inherently good because it has been created by a good God, and everything that’s wrong is essentially your fault, which empowers you to solve problems. If the world is a sophisticated mouse trap, it’s a highly unpleasant and depressing thing to consider, because the possibility that you’re fucked is much greater than the possibility that you’ll make it out safe, which would be likely if it were indeed a test or a school or something else created by a benevolent being for a constructive purpose. However, I managed to actually test this hypothesis personally, several times, when I was in a completely pure and detached state, after having finished writing a book; I was feeling an active external world-based force trying to very aggressively cause desires for something worldly (which felt quite silly because it was iteratively testing things on me), and if it wasn’t working it would try harder and act quite hysterically. After the second or third time it happened, I mapped it quite precisely and I now have no doubts about the way it works and the motivations behind its actions. Now, I’m not even taking desires seriously; I see them as something trivial that will always happen while I’m here, but I can let it all go instantly once the guys up there have mercy on me and let me out. 🙂
It’s not completely true, though; I did have, and probably still do to some extent, something I might not be willing to let go of quite easily, and that’s basically responsibility for my family, because I would not feel good if I had to just leave them here in some desperately bad situation, so I’m perhaps trying to take care of them too hard. That’s why I got a warning, or you can call it a slap on the wrist recently, when I got sick – I was trying to micro-manage everything and give them both resources and knowledge in order to keep them from making mistakes, and it was only when I was incapacitated by the flu and I literally couldn’t do it anymore that I perceived the pattern, and I understood that I should let them go make their own mistakes and learn.

robin wrote:

So this world can go to hell, give me nettle brew, I don’t need anything from it 🙂 . I don’t think I removed the roots of desire completely, so this requires constant vigilance on my part so my mind does not focus on new shiny things. I feel contaminated from even the tiniest investments into worldly pursuits, so the only solution is to channel all mental energy into perception of the true reality of things and have no worldly goals what so ever.

I can’t say attachment can be unequivocally reduced to desire; in my case, for instance, it translates better as “duty” or “responsibility”. I would need to know that I’m not leaving other souls in a mess, or at least that I’m not expected to fix the mess, and it’s here for a good reason and will ultimately serve a good purpose. However, there’s a trap in it, of course. If I don’t care about getting a better car for myself, I can be persuaded to get one for my son, and I spend the better part of the last year thinking about it on some level, checking the options, budgeting for it etc., so it’s obviously some form of desire by proxy attached to me through the concepts of duty and responsibility for others. I don’t think it would be healthy to cut those things off completely because there are actual realities that can’t be ignored, such as there being an actual family I’m taking care of, and neglecting duties would have severe consequences, all of them bad. However, it is possible to “overachieve”, to go beyond the necessary and even reasonable, into the area of unhealthy obsession, which I was caught doing, so one obviously has to be very careful about it. Excess of a normally good thing is a bad thing.

robin wrote:

After experiencing some contaminations last year, I’ve been thinking about astral pressure, external karmic influences, opposing spiritual vectors and inner vulnerabilities. This is best asked by postulating some possible situations. For instance, lets say you took a soul which was completely pure and that it absorbs a karmic mass from an impure soul which consists of a strong desire for fulfillment through the world. So this karmic fragment contains a vector which is opposite to the vector of the pure soul which is transcendence of the world and fulfilment in God. In this situation, what would the pure soul experience? Because the pure soul has no desire, weakness, compatible spiritual substance or point of resonance with the karmic mass it is absorbing, will it temporarily experience desire for fulfillment through the world and then experience pain and remorse as it releases the impurity as something incompatible with its core karmic mass or will it not experience the emotional content at all because there is no point of resonance? If it does experience the emotional content of the karmic mass, does this mean that the pure soul contained some vulnerability/ weakness/ misunderstanding which the impure karmic substance resonated with and was able to express itself through or was the magnitude of the pure souls spiritual vector not strong enough and consequently weakened by the opposing vector? When you absorb an impure karmic mass into yourself, what do you feel? Do you identify with the content and consequently feel that you have sinned and experience the resulting pain and remorse or do you disidentify with the karmic substance seeing it as something alien that does not belong to you and thus observe and transform it from a detached vantage point or do you simply experience generic pain as the substance breaks apart? Since there is no identification in the second approach, one would not experience any remorse as there is recognition that the sin was not ones own to begin with. In the Jewel, you wrote that in order to dissolve a karmic structure, one has to extract ones identity from it, if that’s always the case, how can one experience remorse?

First of all, I wouldn’t call the difference in purity a different vector. Rather, I would call it a difference in “karmic temperature”, like the difference between gaseous and liquified form of propane. The gaseous form has kinetic energies of molecules all over the place, going in all kinds of directions and causing collisions, and the liquified form basically had all that kinetic energy extracted in form of heat, and if you go a step further, you can remove even more heat from the liquid and produce a solid, where the molecules are essentially stationary, at least in comparison, although you’d have to cool it all the way to 0K to achieve a complete thermodynamic standstill. But the analogy is quite useful and it answers your dilemma: if complete purity is a supercooled solid, where all the “citta vrtti“, or kinetic energy of the particles of a spiritual system that usually creates mental whirlpools, has been removed, if you add unsophisticated karmic mass to the system, where all kinds of particles are bouncing around at high energy, perceived as highly energetic emotions, passions, attachments etc., the resultant mass would behave exactly as you would expect from a thermodynamic system; depending on how much mass you are starting with and at what temperature, and how much mass you’re adding and at what temperature, entropy would assure that the two mix and produce a larger total mass at mass/volume/temperature average, and you’ll have to apply the same method you originally used to get the original spiritual mass to lower temperature – you need to apply pressure, meaning spiritual control and detachment, in order to remove heat from the system, meaning release the energetic emotional states through kriya, suffering and what not. Basically, suffering/remorse is the way you release excess heat from the system, and if you keep applying the spiritual equivalent of pressure, you again end up with a low-temperature system but of higher mass.

The thermodynamic corollaries are all valid – there is obviously “too much” karmic addition, where you get a very bad result; if you absorb too much karmic mass for the size of your soul, you end up with total mass of too high temperature to be manageable, essentially degrading your spiritual state to the point where you can no longer apply spiritual pressure and remove excess heat, because you lost all control, detachment and ability to see the need for yoga whatsoever. This would be a very undesirable outcome. An analogy with superconductors is valid – there is a range of temperatures in which a material retains superconductivity, where superconductivity is the ability to apply sophisticated high-energy yoga which is able to transform karmic substance and retain control, despite suffering. However, if you absorb too much of the hot stuff, you lose superconductivity of your spiritual mass and it’s all over; the food ate you instead of the other way around.

robin wrote:

I also wanted to ask something about mirroring. Lets say you took a completely pure soul that had never experienced low human emotions, but at the same time had no boundaries and had extreme empathy. Lets say that the pure soul was placed together with an impure soul which was feeling greed and vanity which were emotions that the pure soul had never known. In that case, what would the pure soul experience? Would the pure soul all of a sudden find itself wondering if it appeared attractive and likable to the impure soul 🙂 ? Or because the spiritual substance of the pure soul was so high, is it simply impossible for its emotional body to even feel the low vibrational emotions of other beings and as a result, the low emotional energy of other beings simply bounces off the pure soul as there is no point of resonance?

Actually, what you’re talking about isn’t purity so much as a lack of experience, and if you lack experience, that means deficiency in spiritual magnitude and it’s not a good thing, because it’s experience that allows you to have detachment, because you have already seen a phenomenon, you know what it is, and you are not deceived. If you see something for the first time, it’s almost a given that you’ll fall for it, unless there’s a sufficiently large similarity with something else that you’ve seen already, but then we’re again talking about experience as a safeguard against attachment and error. Basically, a pure but inexperienced soul is like a child, that has no inherent evils of its own, but can easily be seduced into all of them due to a lack of experience. What you want to be is a wise old man who has seen everything, has a vast experiential basis for judging the quality of things, and his purity isn’t the result of no experience with contaminants, but of vast experience that rejects contaminants because of a strong will to maintain his chosen good path, and the contaminants are properly seen as distractions and detriments.

robin wrote:

Lastly, about the magnitude of the karmic mass being absorbed. Lets say that you have a pure soul without weakness and it absorbs a karmic mass such as vanity for instance which it has absolutely no point of resonance with and as a result, the karmic mass just breaks apart on impact and is absorbed without much being felt. Now lets say that you increase the magnitude of the karmic mass one thousand fold and repeat the process, would the pure soul notice a difference? If there is complete purity and absence of vulnerability, does magnitude of external karmic mass absorption even matter?

If you see it thermodynamically, it’s mass times temperature, and you can easily determine outcomes. Once the mass is absorbed, the concept of purity is irrelevant; the thing you’re talking about, the boundaries and empathy, play a role in a phase prior to that, where you decide whether to absorb something or to keep away from it. Once you absorb it, the mass times temperature equation determines the outcome, and if the outcome raises your “temperature” above the point where you “lose superconductivity”, essentially where you lose the ability to think clearly in a yogic fashion and apply spiritual pressure in order to remove excess “heat” as suffering, thus lowering your “temperature” back to the thermodynamic zero, well, it’s a case of “don’t try to eat something that’s bigger than you”. 🙂
Obviously, “purity” is not a useful way of thinking about it, because what is perceived as “impurity” is basically kinetic energy of the particles, or, in other words, “heat”. At least if we stay within the Patañjali-friendly metaphor.

The dead end of material progress

There seems to be something very wrong with the idea of progress and progressivism, in a sense that it seems to be a Trojan horse that’s filled by an entire army of bad ideas, ever since the times of humanism and the French revolution.

The progress was obvious and clearly visible in the beginning, but the whole thing was accompanied by the undercurrent of materialistic philosophy, which basically said that nobody will need God if he has indoor plumbing, electricity, sanitation, antibiotics, vaccines, education and wealth, basically assuming that God is some sort of a poor substitute for material wellbeing that will be achieved through progress.

In the meantime, the idea of progress reached a dead end, because the stated goals were either achieved completely, or shown to be completely unachievable, so now we have a civilisation that is addicted to the idea of progress but ran out of ideas about what direction further progress should take. Some are trying to absorb themselves into some kind of a virtual existence, basically increasing the level of illusion they inhabit by 1, the others worship Elon Musk who “invents” things that are either trivial and iterative, or nonsensical, others are trying to invent the new, improved digital gold, while others are obsessed with the navel gazing idiocy of gender and identity.

In the end, it has been demonstrated that all this real and supposed progress is a poor and unsatisfactory substitute for God – the opposite of the original thesis.

True progress, as it would be measured by the saints and angels, is to be closer to God, in both essence and will. This is the only way to attain true and lasting happiness and fulfilment. Removing material problems through progress is commendable, but happiness is not a mere absence of material misery. Happiness is something that happens when you are close to God. But for a civilisation that abandoned God and tried so hard for centuries to remove Him from every aspect of our lives, happiness is always a mirage in the future, something that will eventually happen once you get the n-th dose of some vaccine, once you get a new phone or a laptop, once you get that new electric car, once you remove sources of carbon dioxide, once you kill and eat all the rich people, once you get Dogecoin to the Moon, and Bitcoin replaces gold, and you get plugged into some Matrix where you will be enslaved by those who control your physical existence.

For saints and angels, happiness and fulfilment are now, because God is here.

God is the reality, and there is no happiness possible in illusions.

Apocalypse now

We are living in the worst part of the end times, where the Whore, the Beast and the Antichrist are having an orgy of blasphemy, rape and murder of all that is holy and precious to God, all righteousness is being persecuted and all villainy and sin is being advertised, promoted and implemented as obligatory practice. If we manage not to get murdered or hang ourselves in despair, we might live to see God putting an end to all this by throwing them all back to the deepest pits of hell whence they all came from.

 

In defense of negativity

It has been recently brought to my attention that I am a negative person – because I see this world as a negative phenomenon and I see all the “positive” efforts here as either outright delusion or as attempts at self-medication by focusing one’s attention at things that are opposite to this world. Basically, by doing good you fight the evil nature of this place and oppose it. If you live “in harmony with nature”, you’re basically choosing against transcendence, and surrendering to spiritual darkness and evil.

So, yes, I’m “negative”, and the fluffy bunnies from the “spiritual circles” should avoid me, lest they be contaminated by my nastiness. I don’t see why they should have a positive opinion of me, since I have a very negative opinion of them, and it is both fair and logically consistent that both sides be balanced in mutual contempt.

In my defense, I would say that I am in good company. Vedanta clearly states that only brahman is real, and everything else is an illusion (brahma sathyam jagat mithya), which is meant in a way that is properly translated, in context, as “brahman is hardware and all perceivable worlds are software”, because “illusion” in this context doesn’t mean something that is a fiction, but something that is a derived reality, a reality less real than a deeper reality that maintains it in itself. According to the Upanishads, brahman permeates the perceived world the way butter permeates milk, which is perfectly consistent with the concept that hardware permeates every aspect of the software that’s running on it, but, as Vedanta also states, every single thing in the world is “not that, not that” (neti, neti), meaning that brahman can’t be positively defined in terms of the world – it’s not the biggest thing in the world, not the greatest thing in the world, not in one thing more than in another, and yet nothing can exist apart from it and without it, and it’s the foundation and existence that supports all. Of brahman it can be said that it is unknowable (acintya) and without properties (nirguna), and yet it is sat-cit-ananda, reality-consciousness-bliss, which is in fact what we perceive, in a very densely filtered form, as points of meaning and purpose in the world – things that are real, blissful and conscious, things that are life and awareness and greatness, things we strive for, love and aspire to, but we are deluded if we think them to be of the world and attainable through the world. No – they are the dim aspects of the light beyond, the transcendental reality, consciousness and fulfillment that is brahman, the true light that manages to shine through even the darkest night that is this world.

So, yes, I think this world is the darkest night and evil, and if you find this to be negative, then I’m negative. However, I don’t see this world as darkness and evil because I am blind to the tiny specks of light that are present in this world, and which someone might find so desirable and fulfilling; no, I see it as a dark pit because I saw the true light and I know it. Don’t expect someone who saw the light of day to worship the glow bugs in the night; to me, this entire world is unimpressive, dull, boring and, as a whole, unworthy of either existence or my attention. I am not here because I like it, and I have sufficient perspective to see it for what it truly is. You might ask why I’m here, but you might not like the answer any better than you like my negative and abrasive person.