The mind can endlessly discuss these conclusions, never once realizing it knows nothing.

 Love & Light Blog by Diane Donovan-Vaughn 5/25/2019

Look at what is known and unknown in world. Look again. Everything that is seen or heard, everything the senses encounter are explained and formulated with patterns in the mind. To navigate this world, the brain learns to break it up into separate parts complete with files including labels and all the beliefs stored over time.

The eyes see what the brain believes they will see and makes images of what the brain has decided is important to see. Every other part of the scene does not exist as an image.  The same is true for hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling.

Remember that the brain defaults for negativity, has redundant files for negativity and gives negativity the bulk of its focus and space.  Positive is not as important and is often dismissed as the brain scans for problems. Therefore, what is known most of all is what can or has gone wrong as defined by the brain. In fact, the brain often overreacts to negativity making it bigger than life.

It could be accurate to say that like and dislike are completely true in the moment. It would also be said that not liking something would be defined as negative and liking something would be defined as positive. This selection process is so fast it can be missed because the giant brain and survival system races to engage with dislike. With lightening speed, the brain actually knows like and dislike but that speed can block its human from noticing like and dislike because of the reaction. Slow down and notice what you like and dislike.

I really have to backtrack to know any part of anything. In other words, it requires first observing the talk in my brain to understand that I encountered something I like or dislike. Mindfulness practices teach one to observe what is going on as well as if the mind labels it as good or bad, like or dislike. Of course, even those two reactions are colored by my past meaning that I can dislike or like something simply because it reminds me of my past associations, which I could go even further to judge to be right or wrong. Notice now that I have traversed several layers of artificially constructed layers of knowing a it goes from like or dislike, good or bad, and right or wrong.

The mind can endlessly discuss these conclusions while never once realizing it knows nothing. Mindfully, one can observe the brain excessively talking, usually about something it dislikes and one can observe like and dislike about the world around it or itself. However, other than the observation of the self, one knows nothing. As soon as the mind says it knows something about the mystery around it, knowing has ceased to exist.

The good news is that not knowing is relaxing. Observing likes and dislikes without knowing or understanding is liberation from suffering along with guidance for making choices in life.

Mindfulness practices teach observation of the present moment, inside and outside. Mindfulness is much more than simple observation as explained by the Buddha.  It involves noticing many aspects like the body, feelings, mind and categories of experiences. (Satipatthana Sutta) The Buddha said that there are instances when like and dislike can be used for enlightenment.  Noticing what is disliked and noticing what is liked could be compared to kinesiology or muscle testing.  Dislike can direct one away from what is harmful, while like could direct one toward enlightenment.  It is of no benefit to endlessly ignore what is going on by being mindful because that is more like being dogmatic about emptiness rather than being. Being in abject dislike is a message just as being in like is a message. The Buddha warns against being attached to emptiness. You are in a life in a practice to awaken the heart “not for ourselves alone but for the welfare and benefit of all.” Compassion and loving self-compassion can be found while observing like and dislike.

Imagine that I observe that I love ice cream.  Then I observe that my body dislikes how I feel after I eat ice cream.  True story! What can I know?  Add the element of loving self-compassion to like and dislike and mindfulness and you have a choice to move to love. This choice to me is the one to give up knowing that just because I love ice cream, it is a good choice.  The loving choice is to be loving. Ultimately, love is being in the mystery and choosing over and over to remember that love is a path and the destination.  Mindfully this path is the only one I know and paying close attention to my reactions can set one on that path.

Today’s selection from Living a Life of Awareness – Meditations on the TOLTEC Path by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. is titled “Engaging in Relationships – Not Imposing’ on page 46.

Ruiz Said: “The Dream of the Planet can be as small as a dream shared between just two individuals or it can be a large as a dream shared amongst everyone in existence – and anywhere in between.

“ What constructs the Dream of the Planet? It starts with you and {me}… This relationship between us, however small it may be, is the dream called us. It happens when we interact with one another and the ideas, concepts, and agreements flow between us.

                                    The Five Levels of Attachment

“The Dream of the Planet is constructed by that need to share and communicate with one another. We either engage in a relationship based on respect, or we impose our own beliefs and ideals on each other disrespectfully, subjugating others to fit the mold.”

Ruiz Practice: “Look at the relationships you have today with those at work, at home, and most important, with yourself. Are you engaging in these relationships based on respect? Or are you attempting to impose your beliefs on others?

“with awareness, say to yourself: “Today I choose to engage in my personal relationships instead of impose.”

Practice:

Close your eyes and breathe deeply.  Breathe in through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth.  Take several of these deep, relaxing breaths. Place your attention in the center of heart. Imagine that a  beautiful rosebud is resting inside your heart.  As you exhale, imagine that the rose is blooming and your heart is awakening.  Now move your attention to observe your own suffering, whether it is in your body, in your mind, in your feelings, or in some categories of your experiences in the world like traffic, work, money or relationships. As you mindfully observe your suffering, breathe slowly allowing yourself to observe without knowing, to recognize what you like and dislike about your suffering. From the center of your flowering heart, allow love to flow to all the areas of your suffering, offering you loving self-compassion. If your suffering involves others, allow loving compassion to flow into the world. Inhale and exhale slowly and embrace love as the path and the destination. Namaste.