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About forestofemptiness

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  1. How are you?

    This is an odd time. This year, the world has been literally on fire. The sun is dimmed from the smoke, all the way to Eastern Colorado. There is a pandemic. There was a hurricane in the middle of the United States. Hurricanes are more frequent and intense. We are in a post-factual world, titling toward fascism. Guns and ammo are sold out. People believe a satanic cult is running the world because of internet posts on 8chan. Politicians are robbing from the poor to give to the rich. When I was in high school reading Animal Farm, I thought "At least this could never happen in this day and age." Wow, was I ever wrong. Despite all of this, I feel fine (even though I feel a lot of sympathetic suffering). Part of it is due to a combination of good choices, good luck and undeserved privilege. A large part of it is due to practice. I thoroughly recommend strong spiritual convictions, of any kind. Living without them seems heartbreaking. I think a lot of Victor Frankl here: “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”
  2. Lovecraft Country

    The Lovecraft mythos capture perfectly the modern times for me. It seems to be a blend of modern scientific materialism and consumerist materialism. The idea of a blind, godless universe ruled by demonic forces that are hostile to mankind, and humanity itself seeking to bring these destructive forces to manifestation is not unlike our own drive to consume the planet and destroy ourselves. The central figure here is not a kind, benevolent creator deity but a deaf, dumb, blind god of randomness. Truly, the only sane approach in such a world is madness. Similarly, institutional and systematic racism as is as senseless as it is intertwined with American culture. "Othering" seems to be so fundamental to humanity, given how widespread and popular it is (racism, sexism, ableism, anti-LGBTQ, colorism, etc. the list is endless. Like Lovecraft's cults, it is a deeply embedded part of our existence, it is very self destructive, and it should drive us mad.
  3. What do you see? (This is a test)

    Actually, your arguments are weigh against a reality that exists independently of any observer. The different beings observe different appearances suggests that these appearances, far from being solid and real, and in fact illusory (or magical).
  4. What do you see? (This is a test)

    I would actually be curious about what you learned about eyesight improvemenet, but that is for another thread. Going off of @steve's point, there is actually no three dimensional "space" in the photo--- the photo is really a two dimensional representation, a flattening, of objects and space. The 3-D space here is created by the mind. It is an illusion (i.e. you can't store your coffee cups in the space next to the cow). So are you "noticing" the space, or creating it (if you like, co-creating it with the photo)?
  5. What do you see? (This is a test)

    I followed the rules and did not see the image. However, after it was pointed out, I cannot unsee it. It is sort of like those magic eye things, which are always hard for me (I have issues with depth perception.) The image arose out of the muddles colors almost like the image of a dream forming. But unlike those magic eye things, it remains. For me, this is a perfect lesson in reifying perception. At first, you are just presented with a swirl of color. Then, when you are able to "grasp" at a the pattern, the image appears and looks like an object.
  6. What do you see? (This is a test)

    It looks like an old photo, or what I have no idea. No objects jump out. It just looks like dark colors in one corner, some light colors in the middle, and a sort of blur of colors in the lower right. It looks sort of like an abstract painting, or something you'd see in a microscope.
  7. The necessity of thought.

    Thought certainly isn't limited to language. For example, if some one says fish, a little image or several images of a fish pops into my head. For others, the word "fish" may appear. For others, there may be a mix, or some other method.
  8. Kobra Kai

    If you like cheesy 1980's inspired action comedies that are shamelessly over the top, then it's a great piece of pop culture. It also appears to be aware of its own ridiculousness, and does criticize some of its own tropes. My family and I DO happen to like cheesy 1980's inspired action comedies that are shamelessly over the top, so we've thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the best piece of cheesy, over-the-top martial arts movie about the (spiritual) path is Circle of Iron. Unfortunately, it stars David Carradine instead of Bruce Lee (who of course had died by then), which is a kind of sore spot given how the tv show "Kung Fu" panned out (i.e. Bruce pitching the Warrior about a martial artist in the old West, but then passed over the role for DC).
  9. The necessity of thought.

    It seems to me that conceptuality is one extreme, and nonconceptuality is the other. It is fashionable in spiritual circles to deride words and concepts as meaningless or obstructing the truth. It strikes me that it is easy to bullsh!t oneself and hide behind inexpressibility. However, not everything that is inexpressible is the same. The taste of sugar and the taste of sour candy are inexpressible, but very different. The qualia "red" and the taste of sugar are also both inexpressible, but quite different. There are a few ways I've seen conceptuality addressed in a reasonable way. One is by using subtler and subtler concepts to lead one to conceptuality. In Vedanta circles, this is often illustrated by using tree branches to point to bright stars, and using bright stars to lead one to a subtle, dimmer star. This happens with Tibetan Buddhism by leading the student through different vehicles or yanas. The other is using concepts as a pointer. I got a very real taste of this with Zen meditation. In Zen, I realized everyone was doing something different on their cushion. Some people were just thinking. Some people were resting in thinking. Some people would sink into a dull trance. Some people would develop fixed concentration and develop concentrative states.However, these are all nonconceptual states, but none are what Zen was pointing to. Yet using my words, most meditators will know what I am referring to. To me, this is the real value of Indo-Tibetan sources-- they have found a way to point to the inexpressible quite precisely.
  10. Dissolving meditation not working after 8 years

    My probably unpopular opinion is that energy work isn't really a good idea for most people for some time. In some regards, it can be tossing gasoline on the fire if you have serious mental/emotional/physical issues. In my limited experience, I have noticed that people who tend to focus on the energy aspects often get more energy, but this only makes jerks into BIG jerks, arrogant people into REALLY arrogant people, and violent people MORE violent. Of course, this happened to me, and so I stopped energy practices for many years. Many people on this forum (again, including me) used to jump willy-nilly into whatever practice came along. I note that many people ended up burned by such an approach, and many of the seasoned folks now practice within a tradition. I am a Buddhist so the usual order is to first develop one's morals, then develop a calm and peaceful mind (relatively speaking) before increasing the wattage or amps one pours through the system. Starting with basic morality and mindfulness is often a good foundation, because these things tend to calm the mind to the degree that we can look and see what is going on. I would strongly recommend working with a living teacher rather than trying to give it a go from books or recordings. I don't know a single person who never made an error on the spiritual path--- some might say making errors IS the spiritual path. Having a teacher can really help ensure those errors don't mess you up. This can be especially important if you have mental, emotional, or physical illnesses, which everyone does to some degree.
  11. The necessity of thought.

    I am sorry Limahong, but I have blocked you because I find your pictures/graphics fill up threads which makes the forum unreadable to me. Have you considered using them less?
  12. The necessity of thought.

    That would be nice. I appreciate it when translators include key terms in the back, or put them in parenthesis. I feel like I am constantly having to "untranslate" key terms so I know what they're talking about.
  13. The psychology of conspiracy theories

    We are very good at disenfranchisement. Gerrymandering, purging voter rolls, prohibiting mail in ballots, etc. People like to talk about conspiracy theories, but the scary stuff is actually fairly out in the open.
  14. Am I who you think I am?

    I'm not sure how to even phrase my question: What do you think about it? or How do you feel about it? or How do you see it?
  15. Am I who you think I am?

    Personally, I've never bought into the division between theory and practice, or thinking and experience. Thinking is an experience, isn't it? Feelings, colors, textures, and so on can all be a part of the mental landscape of thought. In addition, experience shapes thinking, and thinking shapes experience, at least from my point of view. I've never found the line or boundary between thoughts, feelings, energy, and perceptions. For me, all these this/that dichotomies tend to crumble. One thing I like about this forum is seeing the many displays of human expression. I used to want everyone to agree with me, but now I see that there is beauty in diversity. Imagine how boring rainbows, sunsets, and the autumn would be if they were one color.