Kai-An's Training Journal

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Jax replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

People rarely stop to consider the implications of words. For instance, with Miss vs Ms vs Mrs vs Mr (the only male option). Miss is used with young women. Ms. typically with professionals, Mrs with married people, though married women also use Ms in professional settings. That's just using the definitions, adding in the implications of the words when used in a setting such as a debate. To call a grown adult professional Miss is disrespectful and likely a subconscious tactic to minimize them. It's the same type of behavior shown on many (not all) conservative talk shows. The language they use is demeaning and disrespectful to women, trying to get them to minimize themselves and defer to the power of the men. People don't see it because it's so subconscious most of the time. I bet if we started doing more brain studies, like they do with racial bias we'd show the connection more easily. Of course people would still say the science is biased and not believe it. lol

By the way, did you read about MBOs?
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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

I totally agree Jax, I tend to find 'Miss' kind of belittling as well, although that doesn't bother me as much as people using juvenile terms of affection, such as baby, kiddo, honey, sweetie etc. It just makes you feel patronized and angry. Being treated like a little girl, even when I was a little girl made me mad, but now that I'm a woman? Its unacceptable really.

The only times they don't bother me is from my parents, probably because they used them when I was little, and honestly they don't use them much anymore, and from my boyfriend, where we both call each other things like sweetheart and honey, so the words in that context are stripped of their inherent gender.

I did read about the MBO's, although I couldn't find the link for benevolent prayers, which I would love, as there are some people in my life that could benefit from a little positive vibes in their direction. Actually, I got an internship shortly after I made one; I only just put that connection together now. It's unpaid and long distance, but its way better than nothing. :)

Its a little bit of a weird format for me: I'm not used to asking the universe for things like that, unless the situation is desperate and I fall back on my Catholic roots. Somehow it feels greedy or selfish to ask for things for me when I know my problems aren't a big deal. But I also know that that's a ridiculous and fairly bullshit attitude to have about them: if the universe has a finite amount of help, I'm sure it'll distribute properly whether I ask or not. It's also weird because I still haven't settled on the universe having the kind of sentience required to understand my request. But if I think of it as sending positive vibes into the force, and getting some sort of cosmic echo as a benefit, it works. And I clearly can't argue with results. :)

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

Benevolent prayers are the same, with a slight tweak. Simply say something like "I ask for a mbo for __person___ for ___outcome___." I usually say "I ask any and all beings to assist in creating a most benevolent outcome ....." It's long, but it works for me.

Don't worry about selfish. You're right, the universe is infinite and you aren't taking from another to receive for yourself. Also, if it isn't benevolent, you won't get it. It's foolproof. That's why it's better than regular prayer or trying to use law of attraction or something, in my opinion. The benevolence requirement means it is completely in line with the light and our highest good. That's always been my concern with other modalities.

And just wait until you're in your mid 30's and beyond and someone calls you miss. lol I really don't think people get it most of the time.
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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

I was thinking recently, what does it mean to really do as a Jedi does. The things we talk about as regularly being training: meditation, martial arts... are they really important?

Because who are we training for? That's really my question. Jedi are supposed to help others. But helping others doesn't make you a Jedi, it just shows hat you are thoughtful and socially responsible. Jedi are supposed to better themselves through meditation and physical training, but why? Being stronger physically, intellectually and spiritually is a good thing, but it doesn't make you a Jedi.

Although we all often fall short of doing instead of thinking, what does it mean to be a Jedi and act like a Jedi?

Is the only thing that separates us from other people trying to better themselves and help the world the idea of the Force, a power of some sort that we don't even agree on as a whole?

Really, what is a Jedi? I feel that we are different somehow, but is that just my perception as someone who considers myself one and is proud of this wierd nebulous feeling, or am I right?

I may also post this on the forum to get some discussion, but I just wanted to write this down.

Much love,
Kai-An

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

I'm at the gathering, and I thought I'd write down some of my thoughts on it and the two workshops I've done so far.

First, its really neat to meet all these people I knew online. It's a bizarre but lovely social situation. :P Everyone is so comfortable with each other already.

We did zen meditation in the morning with Jeremy (Zen-ryo Senshi), which was lovely. Although I have practiced zazen before, I do not regularly, and usually close my eyes while I meditate. It was more challenging than I remembered, and I struggled at first to quiet my mind, but I eventually made some progress. I will need to try it more often, it makes a great balance to my usual meditations.

Andy taught us some basic sword techniques based on his western martial arts experience, and I finally was able to incorporate my fencing into actual technique, which I've always thought of as just a sport and not useful. However, my muscle memory for that and my reaction patterns are totally as useful as anything else I know about swords. It was really fun. Thanks Stan for showing me how to view my knowledge in a different light. :)

That's it for now. I wish all of you were here!

Much love,
Kai-An

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Kai-An Tatok replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

So it's been a while since I've posted here. I've started keeping a holocron via dictaton these days; I think it'll be interesting to go back and actually hear myself; I get a lot out of the way I write, but hearing my intonation should help. Its also a nice way to talk ideas out when I don't have someone to discuss them with.

Addendum to the last post: The gathering was indeed awesome. Master Angelus' shamanic journey in particular was wonderful and powerful; I'd never journeyed spiritually like that, and it is probably the most powerful spiritual experience I'd had until yesterday, and even then, very different.

So, starting at the beginning. It's been a crazy new and amazing couple of days recently, spiritually speaking.

I've started doing yoga again, and went to a jivamukti class. I like chanting sanskrit in a group. Words are so powerful, and the sound of 10+ people unified is pretty incredible. Other than being a very good workout, I had, very much on accident, an actual moment of satori, of transcendental revelation. We were in savasana, which translates very literally to 'the seat of the corpse', (aka lying down), and the instructor said that in a way we were 'practicing our own deaths'. She didn't mean much by it, but I thought it was a fascinating statement. Western culture is very anti-death, so it's not something you really think about, its considered morbid.

Anyway, although it wasn't intended, I took her literally and tried to actually practice my own death. First I thought about my body, particularly what would happen to it after I died, aka cremation. I envisioned flames, my skin blistering and crackling, my bones snapping and disintegrating into ash. Obviously the normal reaction to this is "AAARGH that's terrible, I don't want to think about that" but the you have to stay there and remember that it isn't really your body, that it isn't painful, it isn't anything at all, because I'd be dead. I began to have this very literal sense of being inside but unattached to my body as I became more comfortable with the idea of my body very literally and permanently being destroyed, although I didn't really notice it at the time. Then I started to think about my mental state and presence. I don't really have beliefs about the afterlife, but, if I'm being honest with myself, its probably that I will cease to exist: no heaven, no afterlife, not even my consciousness as a whole blending into the universe. I as an individual, my perception of myself as separate from other things, my memories, ideas, opinions, will completely dissapear. Sure my energy will return to the universe, even just scientifically, but it will no longer have any association or perception of it being "my" energy (if it ever was to begin with). I was not entirely successful with this, it was much much harder, even in the meditative state I was in, but I brushed on the actual complete realization of the illusory nature of reality.

I haven't been able to think of anything else since honestly. (Do you know how hard it is to copy-edit business jargon when all you can think of is that nothing, not even non-existence, exists? :P) I've been listening to this recording of the Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutram by Imee Ooi (The Sanskrit Blissful heart version) on repeat for two days now, rereading the english translation, looking up some of the buddhist terms I wasn't super familiar with, and trying to reconcile my experience with what I've thought for so long.

I've never really been into the whole idea of the world being not real; my reasoning was usually that even if it is, it doesn't matter, because you have to interact with it, and also, life is great! The physical and emotional can bring you so much joy! The taste of food, the burn in my muscles when I climb, the jolt of colors, the sweeping emotion of sound, and the simple and powerful way that observing the universe *through* our senses, through a *physical* medium, can bring so many incredible truths about the universe to light. I'd always interacted with the spiritual very much through the living force and the physical. Even my meditations are usually very rooted in the earth, my perceptions, even my own emotions and body. This experience was a whole different animal.

So to make what I say next make more sense I'm going to discuss the Skandhas a bit here.
Here's from wikipedia:
"The skandhas (Sanskrit) or khandhas (Pāḷi), aggregates in English, are the five functions or aspects that constitute the human being. The Buddha teaches that nothing among them is really "I" or "mine". The Mahayana tradition further puts forth that ultimate freedom is realized by deeply penetrating the nature of all aggregates as intrinsically empty of independent existence.

The sutras describe five aggregates:
"form" or "matter"[e] (Skt., Pāli rūpa; Tib. gzugs): external and internal matter. Externally, rupa is the physical world. Internally, rupa includes the material body and the physical sense organs.
"sensation" or "feeling" (Skt., Pāli vedanā; Tib. tshor-ba): sensing an object as either pleasant or unpleasant or neutral.
"perception", "conception", "apperception", "cognition", or "discrimination" (Skt. samjñā, Pāli saññā, Tib. 'du-shes): registers whether an object is recognized or not (for instance, the sound of a bell or the shape of a tree).
"mental formations", "impulses", "volition", or "compositional factors" (Skt. samskāra, Pāli saṅkhāra, Tib. 'du-byed): all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices, compulsions, and decisions triggered by an object.
"consciousness" or "discernment" (Skt. vijñāna, Pāli viññāṇa, Tib. rnam-par-shes-pa):
In the Nikayas/Āgamas: cognizance,[5][m] that which discerns[6]
In the Abhidhamma: a series of rapidly changing interconnected discrete acts of cognizance.
In some Mahayana sources: the base that supports all experience."

So, this means, in a nutshell, that all things physical, all that I can absorb with my senses, form ideas and opinions on, all of those ideas and opinions themselves, and my own consciousness (by far the hardest thing on this list to conceptualize), must be let go in order to become enlightened. As the Heart Sutra says, "Therefore, in the void there are no forms and no feelings, conceptions, impulses and no consciousness: there is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind; there is no form, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea; no eye elements, until we come to no elements of consciousness; no ignorance and also no ending of ignorance, until we come to no old age and death; and no ending of old age and death.

Also, there is no truth of suffering, of the cause of suffering, of the cessation of suffering or of the path. There is no wisdom, and there is no attainment whatsoever. Because there is nothing to be attained, a Bodhisattva relying on Prajnaparamita has no obstruction in his heart. Because there is no obstruction he has no fear, and he passes far beyond all confused imagination and reaches Ultimate Nirvana. "


This is nuts. Form and the perception of my senses I can understand: its basically that we are in the matrix. I could believe that pretty easily. But that everything that I feel, my vedana, does not exist? I don't know what to do about that. Normally I'd say (pardon my language) fuck that, my feelings and thoughts are real. Is the love I feel for my fiance, how important he is to me, not real? How am I supposed to let go of that? Why should I let go of that?

But the I realize that its not whether its good or bad, real or unreal, but about whether it ties you into this universe or not. The problem with the skandhas is that anything under those categories is about 'grasping', about staying firmly rooted in our idea of reality. It doesn't matter how I feel about Bradan, only that that feeling ties me to this world. Because that's what enlightenment is about. A joyful releasing of reality, shuffling off this mortal coil pre-death. Things that tie you down can bring suffering, and that's what Buddhism is about, the release from suffering.

But suffering is part of being human, and I like being human. But does that matter? Can you still participate in reality, have emotions and ideas and dreams and connections while trying to understand the truth of existence? I didn't really care about realizing that truth until that moment yesterday, it wasn't a problem. Now I can't imagine life without this sliver of understanding I have, even though I have to fight to even hold onto it. I can't- no, rather, I don't want to divorce myself from my percieved existence.

Anyway, basically that's where I am. How do I live with this realization, let it show me the truth while still participating in the physical? I'm sure it will settle, but right now it's electric and huge, and doesn't fit in my brain.

Whew. Anyway. I will probably record this when I get the chance, but wanted to put it down before it faded, and so maybe people could comment. I'd love some ideas from outside my own brain. :)

Much love,
Kai-An

"Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you." -Maz Kanata
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Kai-An's Training Journal

::: wavies :::

Hi Kai-An -- long time; no read.
Nice to 'see' your handwriting on the wall again.


According to many schools of Hinduism, the world is an illusion, a play of the supreme consciousness of 'God'. It is a projection of things and forms that are temporarily phenomenal and sustain the illusion of oneness and permanence. The illusion of phenomenal world is created and sustained by stand alone objects thrown together either by an act of randomness or through the deliberate choice of conscious will.

From the human body to a giant galaxy, each object in the material universe is what it is because of the aggregation of things that sustain its current state. Change one of them and the object becomes something else in time and space. Thus what we experience as our world and what we consider to be our existence are real in a limited sense and limited perspective. Research (and some faiths) declare that creation is the play of consciousness. It differentiates itself into diverse things and in the end withdraws everything into itself for no apparent and specific reason because God does nothing with any particular aim or desire. Says the Yoga Vashista, "The world is nothing but a mere vibration of consciousness in space. It seems to exist even as a goblin seems to exist in the eyes of the ignorant. All this is but Maya: for here there is no contradiction between the infinite consciousness and the apparent existence of the universe. It is like the marvelous dream of a person who is awake."

According to Hindu tenets, our existential and the objective reality with which our senses interact every moment and which we hold to be true, is either the deliberate projection of the primordial Nature or the mechanical movements of its blind force. Whether it is an independent and eternal entity or an aspect of God is a subject matter of speculation in various schools of Hinduism. However, most agree that Nature is the cause of all manifestation, either on its own or through the enfoldment of the Divine Will.

'Mathr', the universal mother, with its 'matra' (matter or material wealth), is the cause of all whirling and churning of the universe and the consciousness. She is also known as Prakriti, Nature or the field (kshetra), while God is described as the owner or occupier of the field (kshetrajna). She is the force behind all diversity, activity and movement that take place in the universe. Whether she is independent of God or dependent upon Him, we leave it presently to the mystics and scholars to debate.

Illusion is, therefore, part of our normal existence. We do not have to be spiritually inclined to notice it. For example, everything in the universe is in a constant motion, but we think as if we live in a stable world because we do not perceive the motion, unless we pay particular attention to the planets and the stars and the movement of time. The sky has no color. But to our eyes it appears as blue, because of the reflection of the light by the molecules in the air. This is an illusion, which we see everyday but do not acknowledge mentally unless we begin to think about it consciously. Even in the night we remember the sky to be blue! We consider the milk to be a white liquid. This is also an illusion, because in reality milk is a combination of several atoms and molecules that come together to give the appearance and taste of milk.

The appearance of a person as a combination of the mind and the body is also an illusion, because man is more than the mere union of the two. A simple analysis of our perceptual experience establishes beyond doubt that the world is not what it appears to be and what we perceive through our senses is just a superficial reality. Science tries to go beyond the visible universe and unravel the truth hidden in the the depths of matter. But at times it gets caught in the appearances of things and layers of complexity that is part of our analytical approach. Hindu scriptures remind us of this fact when they compare the world to an illusion. It is an illusion because it conceals truth and reveal itself differently each time we perceive it.

Hinduism considers the world to be false or unreal not in a physical sense but in an eternal and absolute sense. The world is an illusion not because it does not exist, but because it is not what it appears to be all the time. From an absolute perspective, the material universe is a temporary creation. It changes from moment to moment and is never the same. We cannot say we live in the same world each and every moment of our existence. (The old adage, "you can't step in the same river twice" comes to mind)

The senses may take time to perceive the changes that happen in our environment, but change is what characterizes our world and our existence all the time. Duality and plurality are facts of life. Without them we cannot make sense of ourselves and our experiences.

All that said, we should not be misled by this ordinary sensory experience of ours. We should pay particular attention to our perceptions and go beyond the appearance of things to know the truth. (maybe that should be all in caps) We can arrive at truth by understanding the various states of our consciousness. For example, when we are awake everything looks real. We can touch and feel things consciously. But in our dream state the world becomes different. Here we are vaguely aware of what is going on, but from an experiential point of view, do not know clearly whether what we experience in a dream is true or not. When we are in deep sleep and our senses are in a state of complete rest, the world almost disappears from the field of our experience. Here we do not experience any duality or plurality. We even lose the sense of self or the ego sense.

Thus for a spiritually awakened person, who begins to comprehend the illusion of appearances, the material world presents itself as a stage in which things appear and disappear according to the state of our consciousness, awareness and inclination. When people are caught in the maze of things (samsara) and develop an attachment with them, they become vulnerable to ignorance and suffering.

Why this is important for an individual?
How does it matter whether the world is real or unreal?
No one can dispute the fact that, at any given moment, the world in which we live is real. It does exist in some specific form and state, independent of whether we exist or not. It is real in the physical sense. It is also tangible to our senses. We experience its existence in innumerable ways in our minds and through our senses all the time. Right now at this very moment we are in a real world. We cannot say the world is an illusion, unless we have lost our minds literally. This does not mean it is not an illusion. This is the paradox, the real truth, to understand which we have to go deeper into ourselves to discover our true nature and the meaning of self-absorption.

From a dreamer's perspective, a dream is real when he is in the state of dreaming. At least that is what we feel when a dream is actually enacting itself out in our consciousness. But what happens when you wake up from your sleep and the dream actually comes to an end? Was that dream real or just a projection of your mind? If it exists where is it now? Was it an illusion caused by a zillion neurons in your brain or a product of your astral travel?

Similarly, what happens to the virtual reality we create in the internet space, when we disconnect the computer from the internet? We know that internet is a vast network of computers. But we are not sure whether what we see and interpret as internet is its essential form. Maybe a few years from now with different set of browsers, devices and technology we experience the same internet differently. Our world is not much different in in its essential aspect from the virtual reality we experience in the internet space. It exists but in a limited sense. It is a qualified state which perceived differently by different individuals or by the same individual at different times, relative to their awareness, state of mind and expectation.

So...
The world is an illusion because it is not what it appears to be, it is never the same, it is an aggregation of matter and a mental construct, just like in a dream, that can be different things to different people according to their perception of things and states of mind. It is an irrefutable fact that the world is not the same all the time. We do not live in the same world all the time just as we do not swim in the same river or the ocean every time we enter it.

Neither are we the same people all the time. We change from moment to moment. Our minds and bodies are transformed and renewed all the time. Many things die and regenerate in us each moment we live. We do not see all this because we do not pay particular attention to the happenings in us and around us or our perceptions are limited. We do not comprehend the truths concerning our existence clearly because we are subject to delusion (moha) which in turn is caused by ignorance (avidya). Therefore we believe in many things that are not true. We consider our world as permanent although it is impermanent and we live as if we are immortal although we see death and decay as a part of our existence.

Going all meta-spiritual...
An individual soul is subject to the illusion only so long as it is caught up in the material things. But the truth dawns and the soul remembers its true and essential nature, when the mind and the senses are withdrawn and the ego is subdued. The ego and the bonds formed by our desires form a veil of ignorance around the soul and keep the soul in bondage to the Nature.

When these are removed through various practices, the soul is freed from the hold of Nature and become self-absorbed. This happens usually when an individual is shaken out of his mindsets and undergoes a paradigm shift in his awareness and thinking. The yogis call such experiences as samvegana, which is actually an intense churning of the mind when our worldviews and beliefs are shattered and we stand before the elemental forces of brute nature in a totally vulnerable and helpless condition. The Buddha underwent a similar experience when he saw death and sickness in the streets of Kapilavastu. Jesus had a similar experience when he went out into the desert.

Something similar to that happens to many at the time of their spiritual awakening. They shed their old beliefs and ways of living and awake into a new world of awareness and thinking in which they see things differently as the play of consciousness. When there is a spiritual awakening, we see the world differently. We become aware of a new reality. It is as if the world in which we lived had disappeared, like a dream and all the things to which we became attached and thought to be the source of our happiness and fulfillment were actually the cause of our suffering and inner imbalance.

As we discard the worldly things and become centered in ourselves, our equation with the world undergoes a tremendous transformation. It is then we become aware of the play of maya, the apparent illusion caused by the movement and appearance of forms and things.

Maya is a state of existence, a point of view, caused by the imperfect discriminating intelligence (buddhi), which according to Hindu scriptures, is an aspect of Prakriti and the nearest in the hierarchy to the pure consciousness. From that limited perspective we experience duality and plurality. We see the world, but not the consciousness hidden in it and the things that are found in its space, which is responsible for their appearance.

Because of maya, we see ourselves as different, distinct and diverse, not as individual souls of pure consciousness but as beings made of minds and bodies. We mistake our egos as the souls and our minds as the consciousness, seeking fulfillment through self promotion and self-preservation, and competing for attention and recognition even when such goals tend to destabilize our minds and inner peace. We seek things in order to fulfill ourselves and alleviate our fears and anxieties. We indulge in selfish actions out of desires and habits. As we indulge in selfish actions with a desire to get things and reach our goals, we reap the fruits of our own actions and become subject to bondage, births and rebirths.

Maya cannot be overcome without a fundamental shift in our awareness and inner conditioning. Where there is duality, the sense of separation, there is maya. When our minds and senses are active, we remain under the influence of Maya. When we perceive things in a state of duality, we remain in the domain of Maya. Maya disappears only when our minds and senses are fully stabilized and we are able to experience things without the division of the seer and the seen. Even the gods are not free from the influence of Maya because they also experience duality and plurality. Truly no one is ever free from maya, till one has lost all sense of duality forever. The only way to steer clear from maya is to be able to see the truth as it is, which is possible only when our egos yield place to our real selves.

Back to the initial reason for responding...
If it is all 'just' an illusion, why bother? Why bother helping another person or why be good? Why is it still important to be virtuous anymore?

We have to know that despite the 'fact' that we live in an illusionary world, there are also certain things that are real in the program. Our consciousness is real. Our soul is real. Our experience is also real. Our experiences matter because just like the All-That-Is is always seeking to learn and grow, we are the reflection of the ATI. As such, we are part of the Whole. This is the meaning that is implied in the phrase that man (mankind) is created in the image of God (Creator, All-That-Is).

As a creative/creating being, we know instinctively that virtue matters. We should "follow our conscience" so to speak, be ourselves and follow our heart. Living is to experienced and that is certainly real.

So.. become One with the Force and the veil of Maya will drop from your eyes.
And you can live LIFE in a more meaningful mode creating 'good stuff' to share with the All.

(( ya, I know... a lot of verbiage to get to a rather 'simple' conclusion. ))
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