[ Guest post today by Sam Watts, author of the blog FREESTYLE AWAKENING. Sam points out how the mechanism of confusion operates, and how to find some fundamental insight into our human experience. ]
Learn to Deceive Yourself by Sam Watts
October 5, 2011
The source – the knowing nature – is not a self. It is not a self because for it to be a self it would have to be able to possess something, anything, as “mine.” There can be no “me” without “mine.”
Talking about the knowing nature as though it is pure or impure is beside the point. The source is not unlike an innocent bystander which is co-opted through a great confusion that leads to the generation of suffering. Suffering is not uncaused. It is not intrinsic to reality.
Thoughts are powerfully deceptive. They form images which are known via the source, and which confuse themselves as the source. The thoughts think they are the ones who know. And from here it all goes downhill. Confusing that which knows and lasts with that which is incapable of knowing in and of itself, which is also that which is in constant change – birth, aging, illness, and death – they delude themselves into thinking there is a continuity of self from moment to moment of conditioned arising. All this is possible because of the knowing nature and its neutral, unbiased position.
It is the mind’s ability to fabricate that is both its damnation and salvation. When it remains ignorant of its own power, life is hell. When its wakes up to its own power, it can be turned against itself. It can realize all of the pain and suffering it causes itself; how futile the self-preservation-mode really is.
And as the mind becomes less infatuated with itself, it comes to see that the knowing nature need not be subject to this madness. It has been used for suffering when it has the potential to be the home of radical freedom. It is both the means and the end of awakening.
If you want to know a way to figure this out quickly, learn to deceive yourself intentionally! Imagine something you want, and notice how your mind and body respond. Picture something terrible, something you would never want to see happen, and observe what happens to the quality of experience. Then notice how no matter how long you try to sustain either scenario, each will die.
No state lasts forever. It takes too much energy. The mind gets bored and moves on to something else. When it does, pay attention to the way it happens! I thought arises, and the mind delights in the thought, and a new self is born. For example, when meditation becomes difficult, you may think, “Why am I meditating when it’s so painful. This meditation stuff doesn’t even work. I’m going to be happy just being myself and doing the things I like.” This thought let you off the hook. The burden of meditation relieved, you sigh with relief and go about your life, utterly deceived once again… That is, until life is seen for the mess of suffering it can be. Then you will think, “I’m going to meditate and get rid of this suffering!” Then the meditator is reborn, and the enthusiasm and delight return. How tricky, this mind!
When you bring this unconscious process out into the open air of conscious awareness, you can then learn to use it to your advantage. But maybe I’ll save the details for another post…
The first step on this path of practice, which is simply a path to here, is recognizing the difference between the knowing nature and that which is known. This distinction won’t always matter. It’s not some absolute truth to cling to. It’s just a step in the right direction. It sucks the power out of illusion by turning it back on itself. This cannot, should not, be under-emphasized. I hope this point is quite clear. If you haven’t made this first step, you’re still stuck in the thorn bushes.
Take the first step.
Many thanks to Sam Watts for this post, which has been reposted in entirety and unedited. The url is: