Securing by not securing it

There’s a peace that unfolds with released openness. And the way to secure this peace is by not trying to secure it.

Because whenever we tighten to grasp onto this peace, it is gone.

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System 1 fast heuristic and System 2 slow reasoning

When we encounter severe difficulties that require fast solutions, such as a complicated traffic situation. We immediately call on a large repertoire of escape strategies that we have learned and practised, and then we choose among them without much reasoning, relying mainly on subconscious heuristics.

In the naive state, one uses conscious control to perform a task. The task is broken down into a series of subtasks that are sequentially executed. This requires attention, takes time, and is effortful. Later, after practice, the performance becomes automatised. Usually, the execution of the skilled behaviour is then accomplished by different brain structures than those involved in the initial learning and execution of the task. Once this shift has occurred, performance becomes automatic, fast, and effortless and no longer requires cognitive control. This type of learning is called procedural learning and requires practice. Such automatised skills often save you in difficult situations because you can access them quickly. They can also often cope with more variables simultaneously due to parallel processing. Conscious processing is more serialised and therefore takes more time.

– Wolf Singer, neuroscientist

Investigative contemplation

What you have to learn then is to adopt a much more subtle approach to your internal emotional theatre, to learn to identify with much higher resolution the various connotations of your feelings.

It is not unlike a scientific endeavour except that the analytical effort is directed toward the inner rather than the outer world. Science also attempts to understand reality by increasing the resolving power of instruments, training the mind to grasp complex relations, and decomposing systems into ever-smaller components.

An analogy for this process of refinement could be the improved differentiation of objects of perception, which is known to depend on learning. With just a little experience, you are able to recognise an animal as a dog. With more experience, you can sharpen your eye and become able to distinguish with greater and greater precision dogs that look similar. Likewise, mental training might allow you to sharpen your inner eye for the distinction of emotional states.

In the naive state, you are able to distinguish good and bad feelings only in a global way. With practice, these distinctions would become increasingly refined until you could distinguish more and more nuances. The taxonomy of mental states should thus become more differentiated. If this is the case, then cultures exploiting mental training as a source of knowledge should have a richer vocabulary for mental states than cultures that are more interested in investigating phenomena of the outer world.

– Wolf Singer (neuroscientist) on meditation

Good and evil: A dilemma of religions

Once the notion of a Sky God had begun to evolve into a deity shaping the world and its destiny from the heavens, the question was asked: why would such a deity allow human beings to suffer?

It is a dilemma that religions still struggle to answer to the satisfaction of many. One solution was for religion to shift the blame, so that whatever went wrong in the world, and in individual lives, was now the fault of an evil spirit rather than an omnipotent God.

– 50 ideas you really need to know: Religion

Awareness 2

Often, in meditation, we are besieged by desire. One desire after another, they cycle through our mind endlessly. We’re alone with them, with nothing to distract us and no way to fulfill them. We can only look at the endless parade of desires. 

– Tim Burkett

The stories of our lives

Shunryu Suzuki said, rather than seeing the world as we wish it to be, it’s important that we accommodate ourselves to the world as it actually is. 

Often we don’t do this. 
Instead, we try to fit the world into our stories, ignoring what doesn’t fit and emphasising what does. According to Nassim Taleb, we create narratives because we prefer a world that is predictable, structured and safe. 

– Tim Burkett