Archive for impermanence

Nothing

Posted in Beauty, Happiness, love, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Each being has a fundamental impulse to have the world spinning beneath their feet, moving with their desires. But the world is spinning no matter what happens, for nobody in particular. The world spins because all it is doing, in a cosmic sense, is coming together and then coming apart — just like that. It’s really quite crazy that even the most phenomenal things are as simple as that. So no matter how slow we move, culture and the world hurdles forward, ever-changing. No time to think in this maelstrom! The more you think, the less you understand. And as you think less, as you go deeper into pure existence, experience, emotion, whatever it is that we all are going through — it starts to feel like your protective skin (both physically and mentally) has been ripped off. But then beneath that you find it’s so melancholy, warm, sad and beautiful.

I wonder if maybe this whole universe is a broad, shallow experience at the bottom, you know — because all phenomena are inherently empty of self, and furthermore, substance. But then, sometimes the most shallow or fleeting things are the most profoundly deep. To give a basic example: upon first glance, artists and creatively driven individuals seem to do a lot less for society than philanthropists or charitable organizations. But in truth, artists touch everyone on such a broad, sweeping, deep level, which further influences and inspires the way people live. In many similar cases, the more shallow something seems on the surface, the wider its grasp of influence.

And so it is with the universe, and all the fabrics of this existence. No matter how hard we try to absorb ourselves in our desires, in our passions, thirsts, needs, obsessions, loves and drives — they always go into overdrive, short-circuit, blow out, fail to satisfy. And so I have to ask, what happens if we short-circuit our samsaric experience? What if we wake up and realize nothing ever satisfies, ever? It seems like a major attachment to existence is the desire for satisfaction, or contentment. Which is an insanely selfish passion. What is existence like without passion, without individualism and human understanding? Whether or not it’s liberation, it seems to be beyond human understanding. Parinibbana, and so forth.

There are no cosmic guarantees to be handed down from above, but that is perhaps a good thing. Because it means that no one can give you orders, or the straight answer on how things are going to end up, or what you should do. You can’t just follow orders and be a disciple and expect to gain anything. You’ve gotta see it for yourself.

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Bag o’ bones

Posted in Asceticism, Beauty, Buddhism, Monasticism, Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, sex, Uncategorized, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Old Man Smoke’s got a nasty sore throat today. I suggest you stand back several feet (or a couple of metres, for you non-Yanks) as you read this post. You don’t want to catch what I’ve got… *gurgle* (insanity) *gurgle*

***

At random moments, like today when I was walking up some steps, I am overwhelmed by direct awareness of the coarse nature of the human body. The human body is so… icky. It’s all slimy with its mucus membranes, full of gelatinous and soggy liquids, smelly organs, dry skin, tepid hair, and so on. It’s raw and globby (not a real word, but the onomatopoeia works, doesn’t it?), lacking any real solid substance. Objectively, the body is so unflattering.

And the body is so ephemeral — in a constant state of decay. If you really listen, you can feel your cells shedding, splitting and regrowing. You can feel that the body actually sprang forth from the earth. It’s totally wild that we look at some creatures, like insects or animals, as being dirty or disgusting.

In fact, aren’t animals just a more pure manifestation of beauty? Not that they’re perfect; animals are funny in that they represent some kind of pinnacle of aesthetic beauty and then possess no reason (for better or for worse). Animals are like the purer manifestation of mimbos/bimbos. That’s why people love animals so much — they want a stupider creature to feel sorry for. That’s what it means to call something cute — to condescend towards it as its “protector.” (Hrmm… I wonder if people have sexual relationships based on these condescending perspectives…)

Viewing the body in this way, I am reminded of a meditation (and chant) from certain Theravada forest traditions of Thai Buddhism (students of Ajahn Chah and so forth). It involves meditating on the “32 parts of the body” — the various individual organs and so forth. It’s sometimes prescribed when a student has trouble overcoming sexual lust and desire for the human body. I’m not sure if there is ever a complete remedy for that, except the arising of wisdom and the developed will to give up sexual desire. As they says, when we identify with defilements, it is just the defilements talking. But all thoughts that sail through the mind can be dropped.

Certainly there are folks who are not remotely bothered by the disgusting objective nature of the body. The body is attractive for all due to inherent, violent, exploding cosmic drives — given a doorway through the alignment of the physical sense and mental worlds. I have a different problem though. I admire certain insect bodies too much. Because some insects have mandibles!

Ah… to be a spry, young, mandible-laiden imago in the springtime of his youth…

Born to be wild

Posted in Beauty, Fighting, love, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Relationships, sex, sex and violence, society, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Sometimes I think sex is a total scam. This whole element of “physical attraction”. Yeah, there’s something fishy about it. The same with violence too. I don’t know about it. It’s very fishy. Why is it so alluring?

Okay, rhetorical question: I know why “scientifically” — that it’s nature’s drive to self-sustain, impulses to create offspring, survival, etc. And I also recognize that nature makes the finest sense pleasures so strong that every physical existence is forcibly drawn in a gravitational pull to partake of it. That’s why self-replication, self-reflection is incredibly pleasurable. To continue the species, the ego has to be convinced of its own individual importance, which is accomplished by this sexual desire — we descend into total egomania via our lust — sorry, love. Hence it seems the twin manifestation of sex and violence is the tree or river of life itself, and all other experiences and life flourishes are the branches and streams that sprout from it.

But on a physical level, I’d say sex and violence are manifestations of ripping change and the exploding, expanding/contracting movement of the universe. Like, we’re standing in the midst of a mind-boggling explosion, but we’re so small it seems to be happening in slow motion. So sex and violence are these mediums through which the exploding molecules shed their skin.

If size is an issue in perceiving time, do you think bugs perceive everything incredibly slowly? Let’s say a bug lives six weeks — it probably feels like a whole century to them. No surprise, since all windows of time are just little temporary avatar blips in the eternal transmigratory lineage. Size/age/virility is a big factor to perceptions of time. Kids seem to perceive time incredibly slowly, probably because they’re shedding and regenerating cells so insanely fast. Thus everything whizzes by an old person. Yeah, I think one’s perception of time is possibly related to one’s rate of bodily regeneration.

Or is perception of time exclusively a mental construct? We all know time moves according to our perception of it. But this is because when you’re enjoying yourself, time ceases to exist. You are living in the infinite realm of love! And when time passes slowly, it’s because we’re analyzing it and dwelling in those uncomfortable thought-worlds, which are in themselves eternities. Strange how that is, huh? Dwelling on a thought is an eternity in itself, but not concentrating on anything is a direct perception of eternity.

Then there are those clinchers of sex and violence. Absorption in anger, hate, lust, love — they totally warp your perception of time again! That’s what I don’t get about sexual desire. It’s so endless, mind-bending and yet so disappointing. If we took the hinges off of the door to sexual desire, if there were no limitations to its power, it would explode and consume itself endlessly. So I feel like all existence is this dangerous build-up to sexual climax, this insane violence.

I used to wonder, when people in past civilizations — Ancient Rome, Ancient China — were castrated for insolence in court or were made eunichs, what did that do to their outlook on life? Most of us who have sexual urges will cling to them desperately, say how we want to have kids, don’t want to let go of our lustful attachments. But if they just disappeared — if they stopped functioning — how would that make us feel? We’d still have emotions and so forth, but no more sex drive. The average person would be pretty bored, at least in a society that endlessly markets to one’s sex drive. So I wonder if total liberation isn’t totally boring too, haha.

Anyway, nature must really have the hots for itself.

Something quite impossible

Posted in Beauty, death, Drug Abuse, Happiness, love, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, Wizard Quotes, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by wizardsmoke

And one thing I have learned, or I’m learning – I think I’m learning it – is that your life is not a story. So when something like this [tumor] happens to you, it’s kind of futile to go back through your life and ask, “What did I do wrong? Was it playing with the asbestos dust in the construction yard? Was it the carbon tetrachloride used to kill the butterflies? Was it daily Cannabis for 28 years?” —Terrence McKenna

I have always had some crazy stuff going on with my spine: scoliosis, herniated discs and disc degeneration, pre-mature curvature of the spine, one leg longer than the other — all since I was a wee little tyke. A real sob story, I know, haha. But in truth, for these among other reasons, I thought I was going to die or end up living in seriously reduced circumstances a few times in my life. Those were pretty scary passages of time.

The interesting part about almost dying, or sensing your innate mortality or whatever, is that the typical things in life that pissed you off, the people you hated or were afraid of, they just float away and become totally irrelevant things. The only things that resonate with you towards the end are the honest feelings of personal integrity, the fleeting nature of every experience, the well-being of those close to you, and so forth. Obvious stuff, but all the obvious things escape us when they aren’t hammer-smashed into our direct perceptions and experiences by our life circumstances.

The unorthodox North American mushroom-ayahuasca philosopher Terrence McKenna apparently spent many years traveling all over India, looking for esoteric truth, but all he found was “old-man wisdom”. Ahaha, of course, he could’ve just hung out with Jhanananda, but no… he spent his days tripping like crazy on the strongest psychedelic drugs possible. He did do an interesting cultural service by recording his trips in very concrete terms and concise language, and even came up with some interesting ideas about 2012, time, space and aliens. But eventually he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor in his mid-40s. The thing is, being given 6 months or so to live totally changed his perception of the world. All of sudden, things like an insect moving across the ground became amazingly beautiful to him.

We never see this stuff until it’s shoved in front of our faces. That recognition of impermanence is the beginning of that “old man wisdom.” It’s a horrifying thing, and yet liberating from those desires for a fleshly pleasure and permanence that absolutely cannot exist. It is ultimately revealing and yet I’ve known friends who absolutely cannot deal with the consequences of mortality, were horribly inconsolable on psychedelic drugs and then spend their waking/sober moments trying as hard as possible to push death and mortality out of their heads. Not just pushing it aside to be productive, but actively forcing themselves to deny it. What a disturbing way to live.

Life is short and when you live as though every moment were your last, it becomes a lot more meaningful and bittersweet. Then you’re generally a much nicer person who uses their time more intelligently. Still, what’s amazing is that so many folks can read Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich and somehow not take its message to heart…

‘Maybe I did not live as I ought to have done,’ it suddenly occurred to him. ‘But how could that be, when I did everything properly?’ he replied, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sole solution of all the riddles of life and death, as something quite impossible.

House of pain

Posted in Beauty, Buddhism, death, Doom and Evil, Fighting, Happiness, Reality Bites, sex, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by wizardsmoke

I actually find the writing aspect of this whole “blog” thing to be monotonous and unsuccessful. No matter how fast I write, it’s never fast enough. Just like everything else, it in itself can’t actually satisfy me or communicate anything properly. I always want more, more, more! ‘Spose I’m just another human who wants to bite off more than he can chew. But maybe that’s the wrong phrasing, as even eating is such a dreadful bore!

Yeah, even eating occurs to me as another thing I just have to do which I’d rather not do (almost all the way up there with excreting waste). Like everything else, it seems really wonderful at first (consuming the food, when you’re hungry) but then becomes uninteresting, and even painful, as you continue doing it. How depressing that is! It reminds me that all things are like that: sex, violence, eating, excreting, using ‘n abusing, music, art, movies, vacations, work, friends, countries, money, blogs, sleep, reading, etcetera ad infinitum. They’re all satisfying, temporarily, only in contrast to these other things that also eventually become tiresome chores.

But surely we all know why all the things we do are unsatisfying. It’s because they’re all conditioned phenomena. They’re all doomed to die and fail. Isn’t death just total failure? Totally unimaginative (in)activity? Fortunately it makes life look sorta beautiful, because if animals just walked around and shat everywhere and ate food and fought amongst themselves for all eternity, this would be a purely hellish existence. At certain times, death is a blessing.

It seems like everything is manifestation of desire — of violence. That epic drive to soar: that’s violence. It’s in each and every one of us. Not that the desire itself is inherently bad, but typically we point our desire at a stupid target that doesn’t yield permanent results. And to get the results of your desire, you have to make sacrifices. Sacrificing good things to get a stupid desire (like a lousy spouse, a high-paying job, a higher position in the cult) is really just sad — IMHO, LOL!

The quest(ion) then, is this: can the “epic drive”, the fundamental “violent desire” that causes the universe to exist via some sort of sexual and explosive penetration — can this drive be used to cut the fabric itself? And if it can, what the hell was the point of creating the fabric in the first place? Probably no real reason, since everything that exists is arguing (aggressively) for its own existence. Just more explosive violence.

I think when you realize this conundrum, you understand the whole “samsara is actually nirvana” thing they always chant in describing the Buddha’s enlightenment.

Tears of Sylph

Posted in Beauty, Happiness, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , on July 14, 2008 by wizardsmoke

The two things that make me cry:

(1) Mental illness — I’ve seen several people close to me lose their mind. I also have some relatives who have always been mentally ill. Insanity is the ugliest thing in the world. It isn’t visible to the eye, but it contains a truly hideous presence — a purely ghoul-filled manifestation. Didn’t HP Lovecraft write that the darkest, most frightening thing is madness?

(2) Impermanence — The big kahuna! Every single thing fades. Life is just a fleeting glimpse of the ghost of creation. This is the real thing to absolutely realize. It’s where compassion and all that stuff comes from. The realization of impermanence is like the most pure realization of the dichotomy of sadness and joy.

***

Sure, other things do really bother me — such as: murder, rape, cruelty to animals, environmental destruction, exploitation, ignorance, and love-sickness. But those two things I mentioned, to me they cause the ultimate heartache. Heartache is different from anger or emotional disgust. Heartache is blameless, isolated and without any answer or possible solution. It is deep and, as it reads — aching.

The most surreal thing about people dying is the fact that our experiences with the deceased were never conclusive or epic the way we’ve been led to expect (been programmed) by movies, stories, television, and other propaganda. People expect a pinnacle of poignancy.

In the vein of madness, I also know some people who voluntarily pursue insanity. Truth is they don’t realize that’s what they’re pursuing. To anyone with a serious interest in crazy people and ugly emotional situations, all I can say is — good luck in the next world!