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Many people are not aware of the fact that they are almost constantly distracted. We tend to have an almost addictive need for some kind of emotional engagement and smartphones fill this need on a number of different levels, very effectively. In fact they have been designed with just this need in mind.
We almost never think to question our story or to investigate the nature and origins of our inmost sense of self. As a result, our attention remains locked onto the drama of our unfolding life and we remain none the wiser right up until the time it is about to end. Most of us are not even aware that we are fixating on a drama which is neither true nor real and we are accustomed to living almost all of our lives this way. For us, what is nearest and true, as our inmost nature, has become but a distant dream and what is dreamlike and passing is the obsessive focus of our day to day attention.
Day after day we can witness around us acts of callousness and cruelty of which most people are not even aware, because they simply do not acknowledge that other life forms are sentient and therefore feel and respond to energy, moods and pain. This is an extremely crucial point to understand if we are ever to come into greater harmony with all other life forms with whom we share this world.
We may not call them addictions or think of them in that light and yet habits, what ever they may be, have a hold upon us. Addictions imply that we are not free, that we are not unfettered. Whether we are addicted to TV, to being in love, to running in the park, to smoking, to our mobile phones, to music, to anything whatsoever. Yes, we can even be addicted to meditation.
No matter how complex a situation may appear on the surface, when we break it down we find a series of simple guiding posts. In this regard we can speak of two sign posts; relative reality and absolute reality. From the latter perspective we must remain just as we are. That is, as we really are; the changeless, ever present self from which all of this display arises.
In previous articles we looked at how the digital technologies of our modern world are affecting us physically and emotionally and now we come to their psychological impact. On each level; physical, emotional and psychological the affects are pervasive and widespread but perhaps their impact on our mind space is in most urgent need of our consideration.
Cyber technologies and social media have enormous potential for reaching out in a way that previously was never possible, but there is also a shadow side. They give us a degree of on-line anonymity that makes it easy to enter into relationships in which our normal responses and responsibilities can be evaded. What might this mean to the younger generation who are being brought up within this kind of environment?
While we appear to be more easily contactable more and more people are actually alone with their devices than not. Take the ever increasing instances of when family or friends are sitting together in a restaurant, or at home, ostensibly to share a meal together and yet all the while busily tapping out messages or fiddling with something on their smartphones and quite oblivious of one another.
Chadral Rinpoche encouraged us to recognize our ‘true nature,’ because absolutely nothing else will be of any use to us in the long run. This and this alone is the chief and crucial point. In recognizing and practicing, one brings into balance all other factors in one’s life.
There can be no doubt that our digital age has extraordinary and beneficial advantages but nothing in the material world comes to us without a price. What is the price of digital technology? Can we offset the dangers by being more aware or are we all inextricably caught up in this seemingly unstoppable electronic tide?
I lived less than a hundred meters away from an old village cremation ground and witnessed the unceasing flow of processions, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. The solemn groups of family, friends and community members who carried the deceased on their final journey to fires of dissolution all passed by my small abode.
No one was more observant, aware and dynamically present than the Maharshi. He missed nothing. From the tremendous power of his inner stillness and outer simplicity, he was far more present and vitally alive than most could ever imagine.
In the midst of a happy life are we likely to stop and ask ourselves; what is this all about?’ But when sorrows blight our existence nothing is more natural than that we should step back and question our existence. We need not shun our mind or our emotions, because, in time, they can become our greatest motivators and our staunchest allies.
Life is indeed dreamlike. So dreamlike that we often cruise through our days barely aware of what is really going on. Then suddenly someone we knew, someone we loved or hated or acknowledged at least, as existing, even if only on the fringes of our world is gone. They are no more; phoof!
I had heard the day before that Tulku Urgyen, a great Dzogchen master, would be offering a special long life empowerment to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, a contemporary and also a great Dzogchen practitioner, who had not been well for some time.
Giving our attention to this huge unknown, which we call death can help us to open another door into the even greater mysterious cavern of, what we call, our life. Which in turn, can point us at last, towards the greatest of all mysteries; that of our awareness.
We are not only fed a multitude of reasons as to why we need to be fearful but because we believe that what we think we know and what we perceive with our senses is true and real we become entangled. The whole spiral of delusory perceptions spins around relentlessly due to the momentum of these inherently faulty beliefs.
We get so caught up in the little dramas going on in our lives and in our minds; that we take them to be true and real. But if we stop for a moment and look up into the sky, be it day or night and let that vision touch us in that secret, silent place beyond thoughts and words, something can happen.
We have the power to turn our mind to whatever we choose, whenever we choose. This kind of freedom is something that we normally take completely for granted and yet so very much depends upon it and upon the knowing of it.
When I was growing up in New Zealand there was a motorcycle advertisement that used to be played a lot on the radio. It was before the days of compulsory helmets for motorbikes and bicycles. I can still remember the tune so clearly and the feeling which it used to evoke.
A personal account centered around the remarkable Buddhist master Fish Guru, as he is known around Kolkata, who bought millions of live fish to release into the sacred Indian river Ganges.
Zombiism is a word that encapsulates the rise of a modern trend; the age of the living dead. When having too much of everything has simply overwhelmed the senses and left an awful lot of people in a semi-conscious state.
Large tears began to roll down his cheeks as he looked at me steadily. It was the more heart-wrenching because he did not try to play up his situation in any way. He was simply acknowledging what his life had become.
We are endlessly distracted and preoccupied with things which are not intrinsically important to our inner well being. In fact our educational system is founded upon the very principles that remove us from the sacred inner knowledge which lies at the very heart of our existence.
It is amazing just how much of our lives is held to ransom by passing emotional infatuations. Life slips by, unnoticed, because we are so continuously mentally and emotionally busy with the things that appear to be happening to us and around us; to say nothing of our private mental preoccupations.
The Tibetans have a saying; You will have to stand for a very long time with your mouth wide open before a roasted partridge will fly into it. It is a rather droll way of expressing high levels of improbability.
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