Ming the Mechanic:
Enlightenment

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Enlightenment2006-02-05 19:59
27 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Once in a while I wake up and notice something I haven't noticed for a long time. Some small thing. Like the contents of the stack of paper I have lying next to me on my desk. When I actually looked at it last month, I realized that it was mostly just some old papers I hadn't decided exactly where to file, some unopened letters that weren't important, and some notes on stuff I had to do on some particular day, last year. Nothing important, really. But, for several years, that stack has been lying there next to me, symbolizing that I had a lot of stuff to do, and that I was busy, and fairly disorganized.

And then, when one actually is present, things become very simple and obvious. That stack of paper disappeared in a half hour, and it becomes abundantly obvious that the right thing to do is deal with things when they happen, and not letting old unprocessed stuff lie around, cluttering things up. And, ok in this case, my desk has remained clear and organized since then. But that's usually not what happens. It is easy to stop noticing that which one noticed before. It is easy to forget being present.

I might suddenly remember something or someone or somewhere. Like, my home when I grew up, somebody I went to school with, or some particular thing I took great joy in earlier in my life. And I suddenly remember, and I also notice that I haven't thought of it for maybe 10 years. And I marvel at that. I rediscover something that has great meaning for me, and I really GET it, and I feel awake and alive. And at the same time I feel like a robot who's asleep most of the time. Because, it seems, there are certain things I will notice only once every 10 years. Things that are wonderful and important and meaningful to who I am. But I forget them again. Every 10 years, that would mean I'd think it another 3 or 4 times before I die. That's sort of depressing.

What I'm saying is that I'm doing most things on automatic. Some things I'm good at, some things I'm not, and I still keep doing them. And only once in a rare while do I actually pay attention. Meaning, I become present and conscious of what I'm doing. And I'm actually in a position to change it. You know, to change something, you have to at least be conscious of what is there. Once you see what is here, you might actually decide what else you'd like to be there, or where else you'd like to go.

It is something one is likely to do piecemeal. I.e. I might be quite present and aware of certain aspects of my life, and quite able to make good decisions about it, while other aspects are thoroughly forgotten. And at other times it changes, or various things pop up once in a while and suddenly, wow, I get it, why didn't I look at that before.

But the sum of that awareness, that presence, that consciousness, that clarity of mind, it doesn't really add up to a whole hell of a lot. Sort of like I might add it up over my life, and it is like I've only really been present for a few hours, or a few days. Seems like a waste, to go to all that trouble, and then not really pay attention.

Oh, it is not black and white. Of course I've been conscious enough to do many things, and of course I have to be partially present to write this here. But, truthfully, I can write inspiring philosophical essays while half asleep. I'm talking about something more.

What if you actually could be fully present here and now, fully conscious, keenly perceptive, and you could do that all the time?

OK, some people will wonder what the hell I'm talking about. Sounds like nonsense if you haven't particularly noticed any difference between being aware of BEING or not being aware of being. Sounds like just some new age mumbo jumbo if you haven't actually ever noticed that you exist. And, it is fascinating, but many people haven't really realized that they exist. Probably a majority of humanity is people who haven't ever been conscious of their own existence, of if they have, they've thoroughly forgotten.

The culprit is the mind. Both our strongest asset and our prison. We can think abstractly, which allows us to do amazing things. And it allows us to trap ourselves in stuff that isn't really there. It allows us to make abstract ideas as real or more real than what is really there.

The mind stores and processes incoming perceptions, and it stores and processes abstract representations of what things mean, and extrapolatons of what those abstract representations mean.

That allows you to learn about and influence circumstances way outside your local area of what you can directly perceive. For example, it allows you to be able to vote. That's a terribly abstract thing. You most likely haven't actually met any of the people involved, and you don't have any direct experience with any of the issues that are considered important. Your vote won't directly do anything either, but you can feel that you're part of something meaningful, and it does make a difference. Now, you could only do that because you have some fairly complex abstract models of cause and effect and connections and probabilities in your mind. Most likely they're ridiculously over-simplified, but you do have some structure there that tells you something.

But this abstract mental stuff easily gets to mean that you spend all your time doing stuff your mind tells you to do, and zero time actually looking for yourself.

Yes, I know, if you think that you ARE a mind, such a statement makes no sense. Even worse, if you think you're a brain, you've already locked yourself away and thrown away the key.

There's a certain circular reasoning thing which makes minds get out of hand. You prove abstract ideas only with other abstract ideas. That works some of the time. But if one has gotten so used to taking certain abstract ideas as The Truth, one forgets at some point that they're just ideas, and one no longer checks in with reality.

I'm saying we pretty much all do that, but you can see it most dramatically at the extremes, with people who're very religious or who're very scientifically, materialistically oriented. In the fundamentalist way. I.e. people who wouldn't recognize reality if it bit them in the nose, but who live inside a mental structure, and who deny the existence of anything that isn't situated and labeled within that structure.

But most people in the "civilized" world go around spending most of their energy on keeping up with abstract ideas. All your "shoulds". You should get up in the morning, get the kids to school, go to work, have meetings, file reports, do shopping, pay your bills, etc. Most of which you aren't doing because it is what is in front of you, but because of some mental structure you have in your mind. A structure that will predict the consequences of not doing some of those things, so you do the logical thing, and you do them.

But, back to my point. You're so busy being busy that you aren't even there most of the time. OK, maybe you are, so I'll speak for myself. I will frequently catch myself in not having been present for an extended period of time.

You know, how you find yourself in your driveway, having driven home, maybe from work, maybe something you do every day. And you notice that you weren't present the whole way, and you don't remember the trip at all. Maybe you were busy thinking about something, and that's where your awareness was. But you still drove the car perfectly fine, for a half hour, through rush hour traffic.

I'm talking about that in your life. Despite going through the motions somewhat successfully, you suddenly wake up and realize, where was I?

And, to get to the point, the ability of actually being fully present here and now is what we could call "enlightenment". Oh, I'm sure one could define it different ways, but I find that the most useful. You have somehow transcended your identification with the mind, plugged into a fundamental source of peace of mind, and you can comfortably be present here and now, without having to have anywhere else to go.

That's not necessarily any hocus pocus spiritual thing that you will attain after 33 years of chanting. Probably is a terribly simple and pragmatic thing. Just being present and not giving in to mental delusions. Noticing what is really going on, what is really there in front of you, and what is really there inside of you, and not obsessively overlaying a lot of opinions and filters and 'shoulds' on top of it.

Anyway, this is just a note to myself, to BE more of the time, and to not put up with being absent. To pursue enlightenment, although I strongly suspect it can't really be pursued. There's nowhere else to go to. It is right here, right now. No fancy technique or secret knowledge to learn. And that's a hard one. Would be so much easier if one could just go and take a class. No, one actually has to pay attention, really pay attention, be quiet and notice the obvious.


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27 comments

5 Feb 2006 @ 22:15 by Another Unknown Mind @65.32.79.16 : .............
I'll write back to you when my mind has come back... for now ill let it think  


5 Feb 2006 @ 23:48 by Andrius Kulikauskas @193.219.5.34 : Flemming, Excellent!
Flemming, Thank you very much for your posts on life. You write so well about the questions that are key to our growth. I've posted this one here [link] and have included it along with others in a sort of handbook that I'm gradually putting together on the culture of independent thinkers [link] in the Public Domain. It will be based on questions and sample answers so that the reader can go through the path in their own mind and develop their own answers. But I think there is a general path that is given by the existential limits of our minds. I imagine that our own freedom is deeply related to acknowledging the deep limits on our minds, or perhaps, that our minds are self-limiting. Perhaps that is the difference between the human mind and God's mind - God goes beyond himself or herself, but the human stays within himself or herself.  


6 Feb 2006 @ 00:10 by Andrius Kulikauskas @193.219.5.34 : Practical thoughts
Regarding those special moments of freedom, when we're not on auto-pilot.... I find them come up in a few practical ways. Every day when I wake up and I am most free, I try to contact God so that we are in touch, and listen to him as to what he might tell me, and take that in and write that down. I found a way to pray which opens this up for me, it is essentially the prayer "Our Father": I address God who loves me more than I love myself, wants me to be sensitive, responsive, alive more than I do for myself; and so I acknowledge that I'd rather he think than I think (thus in terms of his glory), he be than I be (so that for each person what they believe is what happens), he do than I do (good heart trumps good will); but when I'm not in touch with him, then I ask that he watch over me so that I might follow through on what I believe (and so be provided for at least today), I might reflect on what I follow through (including what I have done wrong) and I might take a stand on what I reflect (and not be led astray by my reasoning). That splitting of my mind (defer to God if I'm in touch with him; take responsibility for my own integrity if I'm not in touch with him) flattens me out so that I might recognize him as greater than me and might reft my closed shell of a world and open up a greater picture.

Then, I try to devote my best hour to what I care most to work in my life, and put my best creative energies into, which for me is my quest to know everything. It is awfully hard, often painful, but I try to do it so that I reach the point where I have found a new idea, observation, conclusion that means that I have come somewhere further in what I find meaningful, and so this day will not be wasted, but I can already mark off as a definitely meaningful day in my life.

I also find the freedom in those little gaps throughout the day where the opportunity to do good speaks up. It is the opposite of conscience. My conscience only says "no", this is wrong, which is important. But this voice says, I am free to do this, and it would be beautiful to live this. It might be that extra good thing to do which is not required, but simply and purely "extra credit" as they say in school. Something like: God wished this much, and that is fine, but he brought me here so that I might wish a little bit even more. And if that happens then I know that I can look back on the day and I did live.

You have written about how we are like crystals in a quantum world and designed to resolve ever growing complexities. I think that it is good that we set up parallel tracks (short and long time scales, many places in space) where we let loose the auto-pilots that we hold ourselves accountable to, because that is what interconnects our world. And then it all gets resolved in those little moments of freedom where we decide how to behave and we let things fall in place. Somehow they are connected.  



6 Feb 2006 @ 00:13 by Klaus Gormsen @81.19.226.145 : stay alert!!!
Yes Flemming! Well spoken!

If the doors of perception could be cleansed
We would see everything as it is - infinite.
William Blake (quoted by memory)  



6 Feb 2006 @ 00:39 by ming : Perception
If we look well enough, we might see that we aren't really seeing. If we think clearly enough, we might realize the limits of thinking. If we accept our limitations, we might realize they don't exist, and we can touch the infinite.

Intriguing paradoxes there, of finding our freedom by acknowledging the limitations of our minds.  



6 Feb 2006 @ 03:11 by judih : awake
sometimes, it's dramatically dropped in my lap. A sudden smell, or a coming together of sensations to thoroughly shake me awake. Ah, the taste of those moments - the clarity, the feeling of being my eternal self. (for in those moments there is a connection with all the previous moments or perhaps future moments - there's a plug-in to larger perception without the boundaries of time).

Other times, I work like hell to get a moment of clarity - I plan, organize, execute my plans and then, for a fraction of a second, afterwards, I feel tired but alive! together in mind, body, action. It's a mechanical process that leads to a feeling of wholeness.

Those precious mini-moments. If we add them up, will we get to an hour? Maybe...but what an hour!
What a fantastic hour.

Thanks, Ming, for the taster.  



6 Feb 2006 @ 11:15 by jazzolog : Speaking Of Enlightenment
I see your Unique Readership went up from 113 last Sunday to 7447 yesterday. I wonder how that happened. :-)  


6 Feb 2006 @ 12:36 by rayon : Again surprsied
by Ming! Is this really yours? After seismic activity there is usually alot of stuff around no one knows what to do with, and is difficult to shift, this is my state. My excuse is that I live by the seasons, so have 4 different work modes, part of the pallet. This weekend, it was morning dancing, it is allowed when one is Cornish, they dance in the streets at midday, in and out all the doorways and hallways throughout the town, except this turned out to more like Indian modern. I do just not believe you Ming, that there is ever a situation of your not being Present, it's too enjoyable surely? sleeping atop the mountain, no no h haha. . .
This here has to be a little experiment of yours, tempting fate that could hardly ever be: maybe others wish too? :))

Impossible to be glum while fast dancing!  



6 Feb 2006 @ 15:28 by ming : Present
Is it really my writing? Ha, yes, it sure is. And am I just kidding? Not really.

It is of course a bit paradoxical to be very present in speaking about not being present.  



6 Feb 2006 @ 15:31 by ming : Readership
Yeah, jazzolog, it seems that thousands of people want to talk about Islamic cartoons. But only a handful want to talk about enlightenment. I wouldn't have guessed.  


6 Feb 2006 @ 15:39 by vibrani : How about both
such as I have done in my latest log entry? Hmmmmmmm? I also have some comics you can add to your cartoon section.  


6 Feb 2006 @ 16:26 by Tim Rowe @80.1.224.4 : I sometimes forget...
.. how many people think that they are a body, or a mind, or a brain. When I realise that most of the time I have the experience that *I* am not those, it's actually quite humbling. Just giving someone the opportunity to experience themselves, however briefly, as a spiritual being is often enough to 'set the ball rolling for them' as it were. I love the pragmatic , down-to-earth slant of your posting Flenmming. Thank you.  


6 Feb 2006 @ 17:47 by ming : Experiencing oneself
Yes, I think that for most people, a spectacular moment, of experiencing oneself, or the universe, might just do the trick. The starting trick, at least. A few people have their minds wired so that it pulls the emergency brake whenever they get anywhere close to experiencing reality, and it might be much harder for them. But most people just haven't really noticed, and a few pointers might be all it takes to start noticing.  


6 Feb 2006 @ 18:01 by vibrani : Have you noticed
my post, Ming? I'm wondering if there is a double standard in place here. You can post the cartoons about Mohammad but you won't even acknowledge what the Muslims do in their cartoons on nearly a daily basis against Jews and others in their papers?  


7 Feb 2006 @ 05:02 by ashanti : Enlightenment
Ah, this is a much brighter topic to focus on. The cartoon issue has gotten just plain depressing, going round in circles, going nowhere slowly. Most of what you say here can be found also in Ekhard Tolles' "A New Earth : Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" which is about the sanest read I have had in a long time. The simple goal in life: to STAY CONSCIOUS all the time. A nicer articulation of what Aldous Huxley was trying to say in "Island": ATTENTION!!!!!

It was a simple act of unconsciousness that led to the recent devastating fire on Table Mountain in Cape Town.

There is so much gunk around. How to stay conscious while in the gunk - that probably is the single greatest challenge of life on Earth.  



7 Feb 2006 @ 05:04 by vibrani : Good book
I'm reading it now, by the way (Tolle's).  


7 Feb 2006 @ 13:24 by jupaci @68.105.165.74 : Good Morning Ming
and welcome.  


7 Feb 2006 @ 16:07 by rayon : Ming,
in yoga the word for being as conscious as one can be in whatever one is doing and maintaining it is - Prakuti - involves awareness and lifestyle bypassing daily stuff into the Being. Here my endeavours show more materiality, not less, and some of the gunk goes away!  


7 Feb 2006 @ 16:29 by john @69.194.40.174 : Sheltering Sky
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything only happens a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon so deeply a part of your being that you can't imagine living without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you see the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty; and yet it all seems so limitless.

-Paul Bowles's concluding voice-over from The Sheltering Sky (1990)

Sometimes, I'll be going along, and I'll get passionate about something, and I'll remember this whole other side of my life that I'd forgotten about. Easy to happen, I guess, when you're in "library school." :)  



7 Feb 2006 @ 22:40 by ming : Now
I love Echkart Tolle's "The power of now". A page at a time is sufficient to meditate on for quite some time. The best pointer in the form of a book that I remember seeing.

But, yes, maybe others that point the way.

"Attention. Here and now!" as the parrots said in "Island"

"Be here now!" as Ram Dass said.  



7 Feb 2006 @ 22:44 by ming : Muslims
I noticed your post Vibrani, and that was actually a nice post.

I prefer looking at stuff that might solve stuff, open things up, make things better. Sometimes I'll express my opinion, even if it is just to complain, just because it happens to be what is going on for me at the time. But generally I don't find any satisfaction in leaving anything as merely pointing out how somebody is wrong about something. What Muslims in general are doing on a daily basis doesn't speak to me unless there's some kind of insight to find somewhere.  



7 Feb 2006 @ 22:50 by vibrani : Now
Thanks. By my post, do you mean my article? Because I think my article does help solve stuff and finds a way to make things better. I understand not commenting (just to comment for comment's sake is silly).

My new year's article was about the NOW. NOW was also the key word for 2004. So you're right in synch with the energies. Here's an excerpt for this year's message:
The world "now" and [link]
mirrors play a very important role for all of us. This year we will experience more escalation in how things are manifested. Therefore, it is recommended that we pay more attention to our essence in the present, and what we are feeling and saying about ourselves and others. If we cry that we want peace in the world, WE must be peaceful within ourself, first. The world is the outer reflection of what is going on inside of ourselves. Look around - how many storms, fires, water damage has occurred this past year, up until the present day? There is the war with Iraq, the unsettled battles in several places on the planet, corrupt politicians, hate speeches from world leaders about Israel or Jews, threats of nuclear war with Iran or China. The energies are raging around, creating, destroying, creating anew.

This is a co-creation with the earth elements that is a reflection of the mass consciousnesses' (or unconsciousnesses') own inner
turbulence and polarities. This turbulence also creates uncertainty, insecurity, fear. And the more fear there is comes the desire to be
MORE separate from what is foreign, and cling to what is comfortable and known. So, I see the combination of all of these energies as
creating inner and then outer conflict on all levels of consciousness and physicality. The remedy for all of this is to go within and remember our Source, and that we all come from that same Source; we're always connected to it. No one is better or more loved by the Source than another because of their gender, race, religion, age, sexual preference, or country. We can all tap into this divine consciousness for ourselves, it's who we are!  



9 Feb 2006 @ 00:25 by saxahuaman @80.5.160.5 : awakening
A book by Jean Vaysee 'Toward Awakening' offers the chance to awaken. Even tho' only for moments. the shock of being constantly awake would kill us!
The point of power is in the now.  



9 Feb 2006 @ 15:45 by istvan @68.105.165.74 : awakening
Saxahauman...
Do not be afraid. Only the false perceptions die. As waking up after a nap only stops dreaming, so is being here and now only stops certain states of acquired reality. They may be necessary for mental health, as sleep is for physical health, but being attached to these states prevents one from experiencing one's true potentials. Being alive is perhaps nothing but an endless array of possibilities to experience their meaning.
These meanings may be called “sleepers” , until they are awakened ,they can not be described by words, nor talked about, taught, nor transferred to another because therein lies your true individuality that is only true for you, like your fingerprints. So knowing who you really are might be the same as being in the here and now. This is the true gift of life to you that you are to share and share alike.
In the state of “Here and Now” linear time disappears to be experienced as “Timeless Time”.
From “The Sphinx and the Rainbow”:”Forecasting, then, it seems evident, can potentially make use of all three kinds of intuition monitoring all three kinds of time. But as at present most of us are aware only of serial time, only dimly apprehend spatial time, and find it impossible to believe in timeless time, we make minimal use of these vast powers within each of us. All of which must lead us to wonder what vast changes humanity will know if and when these sleepers awake.”David Loyle.
Some segments of humanity are beginning to be aware of possibilities beyond what is. The movement “Another World is Possible” suggest this. We as humans experience only portions of life's potentials, because of the limitations of sensual experience. Most perceive spiritual awareness as a constant painful battle against the physical senses, against desires. It may only be a passing storm, a manifestation of nature itself.
From the book “Light on the Path”: Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm; not till then. It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted-not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, a a subject for experiment and experience-not until the whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its higher Self, can the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when Nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to t harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak-s messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance; or it is thew flower of the soul that has opened. It can not be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt, looked for and desired even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. You will carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that nature can be still.”M.C.
I think the religious fanatic is stuck in the false mind trip that oneness is equal to sameness. That is furthest from what may be called truth. Uniqueness can only be found in the silent mind. As Sengstan suggests “Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is is murky and unclear. The burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness”.
Having to live in serial time I must close for now.  



9 Feb 2006 @ 17:29 by rayon : Totally Agree
with Ming's 22.44 comment. What I wanted to say before on same subject but with different observations, as it is said here will do. It proves in a way a theory of mine being developed here, better someone else says it, than me. Thank you.  


15 Feb 2006 @ 16:18 by dea padme @61.94.218.70 : hmmm..
be aware with our live..., i suddenly realize all this years i do something oposite, i always make some illusion with my life, and daydreaming seems to be the maincourse, but with that i can run away for a while from the routine, for example when i have to wash so many dirty clothes, i imagine that i'm a "laundress goddess" i can clean all kind of spot of dirt, so the laundry job can be so fun, or when i have to deal with job interview i imagine that i'm one's of the apprentice finalist(the different is no donald trumph here...), so i become more enthusiastic

but i dont know is this some kind of positive attittude? or i'm to affraid to face reality??  



18 Feb 2006 @ 12:07 by Istvan @68.105.165.74 : Facing reality
Luckily you already answered your own question on your website:
" Into destruction
welcome to self destruction program (ambil kata-kata dari full metal panic), here U need nothing todo, no activity, no action, just thinking, daydreaming, making that f***ing crap theory of life, watching other people live and making judgement of that!

it is more easy and fun to be an audience of life, than to be a player, no energy to be wasted, just you and your cozy couch, and some of mr. pringles snack!
guarentee you'll become numb, dumb, and slumb!

* to much TV already kill me!
side effect dari indovision dan 160 channell, makaaannnnn tuhhh TV..."

Now all it needs is to sink in. Om Mani Padme Hum.

Interesting how sometimes we have puzzling(depressing) questions, yet we already have the answers atr times deeply hidden.
A wery good example is this post of Geff Starrs in his blog:
15 Feb 2006 @ 16:15, by Jeff Starrs

Have we always been like this?
Will we always be like this?
What can we do about it?
What can you do about it?
What can I do about it?
What can I do about it?
What can I do about it?



(photo of a girl in a bubble by JDK.)

Than he posts an answer to all the questions in his latest post:
"18 Feb 2006 @ 09:44, by Jeff Starrs

"Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching.
Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words.
Rely not on theory, but on experience.
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

The Buddha "  



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