Deep Dive: Concentration

(1.21) The true method of concentration is to become so identified with your object of thought that you are conscious of nothing else.

Your object of thought should be what you are passionate about creating with your life. Passion, in this context, comes from within. It can not depend on people or conditions. You, alone, are responsible for maintaining your passion and developing it.

If your passion supports the plan of nature-which is to become conscious of itself-you have discovered your ideal state.

Do your actions reflect that you are absorbed in your passion? How much of your time is dedicated to practicing, visualizing, and developing, your object of thought?

(1.28) Concentration operates by the development of perception, wisdom, intuition, and sagacity.

Concentration is the cake. Perception, wisdom, intuition, and sagacity, are the ingredients.

Perception is maintained by our predominant mental attitude.

(2.8) Our environment reflects conditions corresponding with our predominant mental attitude.

Wisdom is developed by inductive reasoning.

Intuition is the voice of our authentic Self, which can more easily be heard when we silence internal chatter.

Sagacity is introspective discernment.

(6.26) Concentration is the highest personal achievement that can be acquired. It is the distinguishing characteristic of every successful person.

(6.28) Concentration is so important because it allows us to control our thoughts. And since every thought is a cause, every condition is an effect. Therefore, if we control the cause, we control the effect.

Again,

(1.6) Our ability to think is our ability to act upon the universal and bring it into existence. The result of this action and interaction is cause and effect. Every thought is a cause. Every condition, an effect.

(6.27) Concentration may be acquired by practicing mental exercise.

Mental exercise may be cultivated through mindfulness, visualization and memorization.

Mindfulness is an awareness our experience while it is happening.

(5.1) Visualization is the process of creating mental pictures.

Memorization is the foundation of recall. A scattered mind has trouble recalling what has been memorized. As a mental exercise, developing recall will remain a consistent tool for measuring your ability to focus in addition to being the tool to restore focus.

Deep Dive #3: Duality

(3.21) Extremes are designated by distinctive names such as inside and out, top and bottom, light and dark, good and bad.

(3.22) These are not seperate entities but parts or aspects of the whole.

Tantra often talks of “the end of duality.” This refers to the dissolution of judgement with regards to extremes, as refernced in 3.21-22. The end of duality does not mean that “good” and “bad” in the moral sense do not exist, rather that we do not judge experience as it happens to us. Karma comes to us as a result of our thoughts and actions. Thus, it should be clear that Tantra advocates the importance of personal responsibility. The end of duality is NOT an abandonment of morality.

Deep Dive #2: Breath

Awareness of breath is often repeated in meditation and yoga circles. Intellectual knowledge is irrelevant to our well being unless we integrate knowledge. Thus, our awareness of breath must go beyond head knowledge into the realm of our experience.

Correct breathing begins with an exhale. This means your default position-how you find yourself when engaged in activities-should be with lungs full of oxygen. For this resons, athletes are trained to act in sync with the exhale. With lungs full of air, the mind tends not to wander. With lungs empty, ruminating mind begins chattering.

Holding the breath can be an effective strategy to keep us in the present moment, as long as we remain conscious that we are doing it, and why. If you train yourself to hold your breath as a default position, you will discover a whole new set of problems develop. All psychosomatic change will produce a result. The conditions of that result (desired or undesired) depend upon a continuing awareness of how our thoughts and actions influence experience.

Tantrics are often reluctant to share techniques because without discipline and consistency they can be harmful to the physical body. This includes advanced nostril breathing.

In many ways the subconscious is already doing a fine job keeping the body running. How much do you want to compromise subconscious behavior? Put another way, if you could devote your concentrated attention to anything, why devote it to something the subconscious is already doing well? You don’t have to tell your heart to pump or make any of the millions of decisions to keep you alive, so think very carefully before you start tinkering with what’s already working or you may mess it up.

Like all strategies, unless they are constantly developing, they can turn from tools into weapons. Intentional repetition loses its effectiveness when it becomes habitual, which is why we must constantly introduce new challenges to our practice.

Tantra is not about quick fixes but about cultivating mastery, which is an ongoing task.

The Origin of the “Devil”

Dogma is born out of the belief that our model of the world is absolute truth.

“One must never forget that the devil enters psychology through reification – the process by which we are beguiled into treating a concept as if it were the real thing.”

On Jung, Anthony Stevens, PG 27,28

The Personal Unconscious / Subconscious is the sum total of all emotions, dreams, memories experienced or developed by an individual to which they are not consciously aware of yet have access to.

Complexes are a series of emotional triggers that develop from within the Personal Unconscious/Subconscious and, as such, may be understood as Patriarchal 2nd Pantheon of various mythical traditions: ie, Olympians (Greece), Æsir (Northern European). These triggers are related in content/qualities of behavior identified with emotional residue from thoughts and/or experiences. When one trigger is activated, all triggers within a given complex may become activated.

The Chhandogya Upanishad speaks to an early understanding of complexes: “The subtle impressions of the past are stored in the unconscious mind and lie dormant there. Unless something awakens them, they have no power to affect either your determination or your conscious mind.” 

The Collective Unconscious / Universal is the is the sum total of all emotions, dreams, memories experienced or developed by our species to which the individual may not be consciously aware of, yet have access to.

Archetypes are a series of (64) universal behavior blueprints that have developed in the biological evolution of Consciousness. They have developed from within the Collective Unconscious/Universal, and as such, may be understood as Matriarchal 1st Pantheon of various mythical traditions: ie, Titans (Greece), Vanir (Northern European)

Archetypes are not responsible for the creation of complexes–which are a result of conscious experience–though an archetype may become a symbol for the complex to represent itself.

Ego interprets experience for Self. Self creates experience for ego to interpret. In this way, nature has developed consciousness to experience itself.

“Contemplation prevents the unconscious mind from controlling the conscious mind, but it is your sankalpa shakti (the power of determination) that makes contemplation effective. It is more powerful than the unconscious mind.” ~ Chhandogya Upanisha, The Himalayan Masters: A Living Tradition, Pandit Tigunait, (Location 387, Kindle)

Becoming “conscious” of your experience of consciousness is enlightenment/self realization. To achieve this, we must detach ourselves from having identity reactions to experience, as identity reinforces our commitment to superficial reality, ie. that which will pass away/has been created.

Because all we experience has been created, it is temporal. The enlightened person dwells on that which will not pass away. And realizing that each individual possess a Self–which is an individualization of that which will never pass away/Brahman–any attachments we have towards the vessel (physical form) of the essence (spirit/soul)are redundant. Instead, the enlightened focus on the essence within the vessel.

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Standing Stones, Viðey Island, Iceland

Never Less Than Perfect

Craving and revulsion are physical (negative) expressions of divine (positive) emotions. The job of ego is to interpret tangible experience to intangible Self/essence. The nature of Self/essence is like a portion of water contained within the vessel of the physical body. All Self/essence (water) originates from the same source, which means that all physical identify is superficial. Water does not cease to be water when placed in a cup. Vessels create identity, and with identity comes judgement. We don’t compare water, we compare vessels.

(8.21) Every system of metaphysics depends upon a knowledge of the truth concerning ourselves and the world.

(8.22) The real “I” is spiritual and can, therefore, never be less than perfect.

Behavior Regulation is the unique feature shared by all religious and spiritual systems, and mimicked in politics. The Overman regulates their own behavior. They become a master over the impulses of the body, and in doing so, become a master oner the impulses of mind.

“Evil” is any mental or biological impulse/drive operating on a subconscious level that is not serving the greater good of the individual and their community.

“Good” is our recognition and ability to control our mental and biological impulse/drives. Recognition is consciousness.

This conflict between extremes is polarity, and forms the basis of all internal and external conflict.

Self doubt is an expression of polarity.

Self confidence is developed by cultivating will power. Begin each day stating a goal you must complete before evening. Start small. The important thing is to accomplish this task above anything else. Your ability to follow through with a task is your ability to move beyond ruminating mind into a mental state of liberation. With time, increase the challenge of your task to ensure you never let your confidence and ability wither.

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Reykjavik, Iceland

Default Behavior

(5.6) Who we inherently are is the result of all our past thinking, both conscious and subconscious.

A generic search for “default” produced this definition: “a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer.

The “other” mechanism -in our case- is mind. The preselected option of mind is determined by habit. Conscious mind is the “programer” and our great power is our ability to choose how we concentrate our attention.

(8.17) Thought is spiritual and therefore creative. To consciously control thought is to, therefore, control circumstances, conditions, environment and destiny.

We are constantly inspiring others, regardless of our intention. How we deal with conditions in life projects to others a a subtle picture of our character. In many cases, they have no conscious recognition of this picture, although how another feels is largely due to the mental pictures they are unconsciously receiving.

Adversity is the best method to test out this superpower for yourself. When everyone around you is stressed, remain calm and see what happens. When those around you anticipate that you should be stressed, angry, or feel sorry for yourself, express gratitude. Watch what happens. Those around you will be inspired to think, act and feel differently about their own adversarial conditions. And when gratitude becomes your predominant mental attitude, it replaces your old default system and becomes the new one.

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Reykjavik, Iceland

Rumination Filter

(7.11) The degree of harmony we attain is determined by our ability to appropriate what we require for our growth from each experience. 

The quickest way to transcend suffering and obliterate negative rumination is to attach value and meaning to conditions; to learn something. Value and meaning give purpose to hardship, and purpose is what mind is attempting to locate during rumination.Thus, if we can create or identify a lesson in our experience, mind will quit trying to come up with reasons to rationally explain what–in many cases–can not be rationally explained in a satisfying way.  More often than not, rumination involves reliving the past or imagining the future. Our rumination filter is the method by which we interpret all experience.  Our predominant mental attitude is the blueprint for the construction of our rumination filer.

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Þingvellir, Iceland

 

Seeing Things For The First Time

(7.20) Many seem to think knowledge applies itself which is, by no means, true.

How did it happen?

Sometimes we can pinpoint exactly when a source point has been created. Source Points are when new dialogues are introduced.

There are four gross aspects of mind:

  1. manas (mind)
  2. citta (consciousness)
  3. buddhi (intelligence)
  4. ahamakara (conception of one’s individuality/ego)

(1) Thoughts or desires begin in mind. If we do nothing, the thought/desire ends. (2) If we deliberate or consider it, this is consciousness. (3) Intelligence decides wether to pursue thought/desire. (4) If we pursue thought/desire into reality, it is passed onto ego, an individuals sense of identity apart from others.

In some cases, the event is so insignificant that we are unaware a new dialouge has begun. These are the ones that most often highjack us-when our guard is down and we are relaxed. Just like a physical altercation, if you are relaxed, yoy will end up in better shape. So it is with a mental altercation. The catch is, this can also be a source point for suffering. Suffering is when you feel responsible for what was not in your control and avoid responsibility for what was. The longer you do either, the more intense your suffering. The sooner you resolve either, the sooner you can let go and move forward.

Progress happens when we integrate knowledge we have learned. Without progress, we will continue on the wheel of suffering. Many try to busy themselves with distractions or addictions. Some people do this to intentionally to hide from confrontation, others do this ignorantly because we can not see awareness they have never been aware of. This is why integration and transformation always seem so profound, because we are constantly seeing things for the first time.

 

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Viðey, Iceland

 

Awareness of Opportunity

(7.16) Desirable conditions are secured by entertaining desirable thoughts only.

(7.77) Undesirable conditions are brought about by thinking, discussing and visualizing conditions of lack, limitation, disease, inharmony and discord of every kind. This mental photography of erroneous conception is then taken up by the subconscious and the law of attraction inevitably crystalizes it into objective form. That we reap what we sow is scientifically intact.

The greatest misconception about the law of attraction concerns the tendency to put the cart before the horse. The modern conception of the law of attraction is with regards to physical possessions or events. This is the great error.

When we speak of conditions we do not refer to physical/material conditions but states of being/consciousness. Our greatest power is our ability to control our state of being-our predominant mental attitude. More than anything else, our predominant mental attitude is responsible for creating states along the spectrum of inner peace through to inner catastrophe. These inner-states determine our perception and perception is awareness of opportunity.

We always have opportunity to control inner conditions. Often, a change of inner conditions will result in a change in outer conditions. If our awareness is limited, we are unable to recognize opportunity to instigate change. Inability is a reflection of our stubbornness or resistance to instigate change. Inability is a state of mind not an absolute truth.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
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Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland