Life as an Automaton vs. Presence

Perhaps it was in a junior high science class that I first saw this half-minute video of ping pong balls exemplifying a nuclear fission reaction. It comes to mind today when I consider how we live mostly as automatons in reaction to the day’s sights, sounds, and events – mostly devoid of an inner life.

The ball drops into the chamber with the first thought that stirs you from a night’s sleep. Perhaps it’s a worry, or a news item on the radio which woke you, or remembering an early morning meeting for which you need to rush. With that first thought, the mind’s chaos begins, and continues throughout the day until the last thought is expended, and sleep stills the mind.

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The First and Last Freedom

Have you ever wondered about the relative importance or unimportance of ideas? Of thoughts? The world is awash with ideas. In 2007, there were 165 million websites. Their 12 billion pages present ideas from the mundane to the sublime. There are 168 million different book titles (2009). With all this thinking, you might add your thought that our problems would be solved – or fewer in number, not growing.

Ideas rule the lives of people. What we think is right, wrong, how to live, why to live, etc. are nothing but thoughts. People dedicate their lives to their ideas. Some would even tear others limb from limb or even destroy themselves and the planet for these things called ideas! That’s how important they seem to be.

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Life’s Trump Card

Imagine your playing a card game. A very unusual card game. Matter of fact, it’s a game you play every day. It’s called, “Life.” Every day, you’re dealt the cards of your life situation. Every day the same other player wins. You can’t beat him, but you can learn how to split the winnings.

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Who are You? Who is the Self that Would be Authentic?

How would you reply, were I to ask you, “Who are you?” Actually, take a moment to consider who you are. Really! Who are you? Perhaps you might pause a moment, and say out loud who you think you are. Someone might reply to me, “My name is Sarah, I am a 41-year-old architect. I am divorced, and the single mom of two children. Between driving my daughter to karate, my son to soccer, minding a house, and keeping my career, I’m exhausted!” I might reply, “Sarah, I understand your exhaustion. Yet how can this be you? There was a time when you hadn’t children. A time when you were in love with your fiance. A time when you were a college student, not an architect. Wasn’t that you back then too? ”

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Authentic Presence and the Mind

Theme of the following quotations: We experience life indirectly through the filter of thought and images which are derived entirely from the past. Yet life ceaselessly unfolds only in this present instant. Vibrant, spontaneous authenticity is sourced by a presence which has established a proper relation to the mind.

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