Two views that are only One

“We don’t create a fantasy world to escape reality, We create it to be able to stay. – Lynda Berry

Experience right? Gautama encouraged paying attention to your own experience in order to find what’s truthful for each of us. To not accept anything on face value no matter who said it. Check it out. Try it, observe others doing it, see if it works, and if it does, then accept it for as long as it works.

So, my experience indicates there’s only two modalities of experiencing life.

One is when attention is in streaming thoughts. In this mode I’m filtering life through ideas. Ideas that are only about life. That’s conditioned personalities running commentary about life, and much like my beating hearts constant rhythm, will continue without any conscious effort. This world uses labels, philosophies, fantasy, delusions, conclusions, opinions, and stories to change and manipulate reality at will. We can imagine flying to the moon, but then, we can use that story, recreate the story in real time, and fly to the moon. I can can believe whatever reality I want in this world, anything can happen if I can imagine it. It’s the mode I can use to utterly change what’s real into an idea, and change an idea into what’s real. If I don’t accept my world I can “live” in an alternative world. How amazing. It’s the world of the conditioned personality, the separate self, a world of “I.”

Two is when attention turns to sense input. Here there are sounds, tastes, smells, sights, and bodily feelings. Here is where there’s a direct connection to emotions, and moods. It’s a place that’s empty of labels, words, thoughts, concepts, opinions, and most of all stories. The stream of thought is so far out of attention that it seems to disappear, running under the radar of attention. This is direct sense experience. The physical world as it exists in these moments in engagement with body and breath, a world of body, breath, and senses.

However it’s not a world where I can use imagination to give myself the best odds of what may happen next, or remember what has happened as a template for future actions. Or self express in the way of writing, art, dance, or any other function that need both worlds, combining streaming thoughts for creativity and the body sensing and moving.

Neither of these worlds works on it’s own as a perspective. Living predominantly in one or the other will throw off any sense of balance and send me wobbling away, feeling uneasy and attempting to rebalance myself.

The middle path appears when I sit on my cushion and practice noticing which modality I’m in at any time. I begin to notice moments when thought shapes my world, or direct sensing engages. And once this occurs I start to experience that the predominance of my life is spent in ideas, concepts, wishes, fantasy, delusions, opinions, desires, cravings, constituting living a life of ideas.

And I start to pay attention when I’m in sense presence. When the body, emotions, and feelings, are used to engage life. A rebalancing starts to occur. The strain of the imbalance starts to ease, life becomes more of an integration between the two realms, wobbling slows, and balance returns. No, it doesn’t fix the world or anything else, no Nirvana, parties, or superior abilities. But the middle path is a way to reduce the suffering that occurs when I’m out of balance by noticing and moving back to balance.

There’s nothing to do or accomplish, nothing to attain or present to others. Mediation is a way to rebalance that which has become extremely unbalanced and reduce suffering when attention gets obsessed and stuck in those otherwise useful illusions and delusions. Mediation rebalances what we see as a middle way or path.

And illuminates a world that hasn’t changed a bit, but the view is slightly clearer.

Take care of you today,

Bryan Wagner

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