* Image: Infinite Fire by infinitefiend on DeviantArt
* Image: Infinite Fire by infinitefiend on DeviantArt
We’re going to use lightly guided meditations this week because the creative imagination is important to utilize in the undoing of dualistic thinking.
Human creative imagination is always operating. We create with it. Sometimes that’s to our benefit, sometimes not. Creative imagination is at the root of all prejudice and bias, low self-esteem, creating a meal, as well as in children’s play and methods of learning.
Use of certain kinds of creative imagination in a meditation practice assists the practitioner to notice creative imagination at work off the cushion. Through out one’s day, one imagines all kinds of things: the road ahead or how to avert a traffic pattern, the taste of and pleasure of a good cup of tea or coffee, the mood of a colleague, or how to navigate personal relationships. We imagine that the dog is thinking something in a human way, or how certain clothes will look, or imagine something frightening when it is not present.
A beneficial use of creative imagination creates new neural pathways in the brain and relieves well-trodden neurotic ones of ongoing emotional-mental traffic. Creative imagination is used throughout shamatha practice; consider your inner images when you are following your breath. It is also at the root of vipashyana, in that, to see things as they are is do perception without imagination involved: pure perception, truer perception.
We use the energy centers (chakras) for this meditation, and will through the week.
Insight is already present within us, yet it requires causes and conditions in order to arise or be noticed as insight. The causes include:
All but the first point are shamatha established in the practitioner off the cushion in one’s life. With these attributes in place, one will enjoy the in-the-moment ah hah of vipashyana and benefit from the spontaneous application of it throughout the day.
You see, tranquil abiding (all that includes) and vipashyana are inseparable. They are a conjoined unity. Insight requires equanimity first, then insight’s arising furthers one’s neutrality. Seeing things as they are requires luminous transparency, a natural lucidity of mind-awareness. At the same time, luminous transparency reveals the same transparency of everything that our mind participates in.
Play with these two and experience these features for yourself.
All interpretations of the Sanskrit vipashyana or Pali vipassana have two things in common: perception and true or truly. To see things as they are, to look correctly, perceive directly, pure perception, insight, or penetrating insight are a few common interpretations.
Each phrase illustrates or demonstrates an activity that results in purified or truer perception which provides insight, understanding, truth or clarity.
Vipashyana is a discipline and disciplines are gifts that we give ourselves. Discipline is not “should” but is honesty and kindness to one’s self. Only I can provide honesty to myself about myself, only I can act upon that honesty in kindness as a kindness to myself. The discipline of vipashyana stems from a fundamental acknowledgement: that self colors everything. The coloration manifests as preferences, desires, hopes and fears. The self shows up through projections onto others or situations or one’s relationship to time, money, habit, and life. To acknowledge this coloration is not a judgement but an honest observation. With that in place, now one can open one’s self to look more correctly, to perceive through one’s own filter systems and little by little penetrate self-made reality and arrive at insight.
Why do this? Because ignorance is actually not bliss. Ignorance has many costumes. They include complexity and confusion, denial, convenience, dismissal, self-centeredness and self-importance and the various forms of aggression that these two produce. Vipashyana is the ongoing invitation to clarity and joy which are like the brightness of sunshine as the costumes of habit and self are seen through.
Vipashyana can sound ominous, serious, even punitive. But, the opposite is so as one begins to live with penetrating perception more and more. Seriousness is another costume, like pride or worry or doubt. These are seen through. They are manifestations of the hollowness of the self that is afraid in its incompleteness. But, you and I and all beings are not merely this sense of self. We are profound extraordinary Presence-Awareness-Being (called any name you like). We are dimensional beings, intuitive beings, beings of compassion and joy and open-minded radiant awareness. What is there to be serious about? What is there to doubt?
Health and sickness are like the weather. They change. Human beings have devised methods to predict the weather, and umbrellas to shield from the weather, and windshield wipers so as to be undeterred by the weather, but the weather is bigger than all of us and we cannot control it. Health and sickness change. We shield ourselves from the fact of our mortality and fragility, we create bubbles or zones of temporary health and temporary sickness, and we have all manner of machines and chemicals to imbibe so as to be undeterred by the fragility and mortality of this human form. But, death conquers all. It is bigger than everything humanity has thrown at it since forever. However, pure Being is beyond death. Our body is not, ike the tree outside our window. That’s honest, that’s true. But inner essence, radiant Presence, universal Awareness-Compassion most certainly is. Suchness is deathless; birthless, too, for that matter.
To penetrate into any emotion, arising of thought or craving or judgement or concern is to undo the habit of same old/same old ignorance and instead frolic with luminous perception. Let’s meditate.
The world needs it and we have it: light within us. Light expresses as creativity and inventiveness, ingenuity and collaboration, as love, joy, lightness of being, and play. Light demonstrates in our tone of voice, choice of words, foods that we eat, choose to grow and how we grow them. Light is clear. Clarity is, too. Light is bright, a child’s smile is, too. Light manifests as aspiration and responsibility and inter-being.
Light is equal and only knows equanimity. Living from the light within, equality and meeting all needs would ensue. Light is heart, goodness, and illumines what is possible. Light is our potential and our potency.
Let’s live it fully and bring it into our needy world in every way possible. Let’s be like the sun!