Penetrating dualistic perception with the self-realized mind — and how to de-program a binary world
We are now witnessing the de-tethering and showcasing of two emergent and dominant branches of human orientation – the spiritual and the materially centered. Determining which direction all of our overlapping communities take, will ignite and be initiated first in the individual. We must now choose.
We are each individually at a crossroads. No longer able to shuffle along the perimeter of either direction — the spiritual life or the material one — cherry-picking aspects that serve our hedonic and philosophical pleasures and remaining committed to a confusion, energizing the later of the two.
We are now prompted to choose our grounding and proceed from a completely different vantage point. The middle path is on new terrain.
By Josh Reichmann
— Bio below.
Impossibly binary — an unavoidable choice
The option of material vs. the spiritual may seem impossibly binary. Still, a sequence of events exemplified through this global pandemic of 2020 opens us to choice and opportunity rarely afforded and unavoidably present. It will inform how we activate our relationships and worldly engagements for many years to come. It does not start with smart ideas, sobering realizations, or re-worked external systems. It begins with something much more subtle, profound, and hard to gain — a spiritual framework for truth, alive without dogma and living in a nexus of oral tradition, ritualized activity, and embodied self-awareness and practice. If we embrace this surrendered inner invitation, we will proceed in a very different direction than if we do not. There is an expiatory aspect and an expiry date on that invitation.
The two paths of material and spiritual value weave and offer a display of tension and fabricated mazes and challenges, forever doing so. As long as we are manifesting in time and space as sentient creatures that suffer and experience joy, we will navigate this tension. But the essential conscious lens must be re-sculpted to determine our “truth-set” and the natural values that follow. A shift flowing from a spiritually emanating core that sets up the type of material display we engage in physically and systemically as scale-invariant and full of integrity is happening.
Spirituality — a vitality of awareness
Perhaps we should better describe “spiritual.” The spirit is neither ontologically defined as a relief object de-laced from the mind, body, or environment. It is the complete vitality of awareness both singular and in harmony with all phenomena and the emptiness that characterizes the absence of Karmic imprints of delusion, producing the misapprehension of discretely self-arising objects, including what we call the Self, manifesting the world of Samsara. If we take on board that the interdependence of phenomena is total, then we make room for the spirit of all.
The dualistic description of spirit and the material realm is penetrated by the enlightened or self- realized mind. A mind evolved to see both Samsaric display and spontaneous arising of all phenomena as the same. Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form, as the refrain goes. The central tenants of what is called the prasangika madhyamaka, or middle path — tell us that we are each the conscious cosmos and yet remain a unique awareness and singular angle onto it, always in flux. The spirit is the ever illuminating conscious energy binding this dance of together and apart — light and dark. Form and emptiness, or totality without beginning and end, as one.
Dualism and the illusion of Self
The dualistic view is one where an ever illuminated state pervades and another, which generates through delusion and confusion, giving rise to impermanent objects of perception, which are like holographic projections or mist.
This dualism, which includes the illusion of Self, is a product of Karmic formation and property of this realm of perceptual being — the construct of defiled imprints of mind, the incorrect belief in permanent mental objects including the Ego Self.
These are not ideas or machinations of separate or dislocated properties from our beingness and lives. They are alive in the exact way we read or write this essay, feel our bodies and emotions at this moment, and experience time. They are not abstractions but experienced realizations for those who practice seeing within. The spirit pervades and remains entwined with both its ever illuminated state and that of the impermanent holographic one. When we make contact with this through the practices which allow direct realization (meditation)- we see and come to know that there are directives for how we navigate the desires of the constructed Self and its visions for life in this secondary holographic reality we call Samsara. That Self takes a back seat to the living energy of the spirit being realized by the mind in real-time as ever illuminated. We find an ultimate reality in this ever illuminating state, and from here, we organize our ontology, motivating our reason, which flows into our behavior and, ultimately, our system building!
Previously, the ability to envision porting an ecological utopia that had bested the worst of money, and spun a holistic view of labor, body-health, and meaning into its construction was still pinned to a set of presuppositions inherently antithesis to a spiritual path for humanity. Anterior to that was a focus on “self-actualization,” and empowerment through the portal of an acquired “self” built by accomplishments and conceits gained by conquest all premised on a Sameric delusion. The delusion is a “Self” ever reified by mediated reflection. The grasping and aversion dance set to the tune of public pornographic self-promotion. The post-modern Self, always building, crumbling, and being erected again by external projections and voices internalized and corrosively unstable. The material world as “first value” is premised on these selves and consequently builds more of these selves. The modern era was exemplary for encouraging this position and is currently offering us a choice — exponentially speed up our delusion, or get off the train and flip the perspective.
The accelerated materialist position builds a self that is stewed to life in a world templated on scarcity, power struggle, and competition for physical, emotional, and energetic resources. This templating makes conjuring an ecologically integrated utopia impossible and dangerous.
There is much groundwork to be done before an ecological utopia — stable across all strata, has more than a few new roof gardens positioned over ground level slums fomenting a brutal orgy of sensual violence and addiction to gain, fame and addictive pleasure-seeking. The tension in hierarchical notions of prestige and other features educated in the “system-overlaps” we inhabit today- make that premature conjuring a waste of time. How can a coping method of hedonic stimulus and illusory happiness produce objects, goods, services, or relationships that are anything but broken, vampiric, or unstable? The total disregard for the Earth and an orientation towards resource mining of human slave labor and the planet as a commodity produce a bounce-back discharge of constant disease and danger.
The upside-down view of “stuff first”
Resource sharing and currency revisioning, renewable energy harvesting, and distribution will not repair until the spiritually centered position is realized and adopted. The human beings cooperating and lacing ideas and action together will be humans carrying around ego-constructs that are self-immolating psychic bodies of flickering blue flame fuelled by infinite kerosene, hungry for other things to burn. These selves are not in accord with a spiritual dimension premising the material one. They will always invert this and build from that upside-down point of view of “stuff first”, which degrades our relationship with the spiritual dimension of reality. Awareness and the energetic signature quality of the human and the Earth herself will flail into more profound despair.
Let’s clarify further what constitutes the spiritual dimension. In its most refined physical display we see the geometry of forms co-generating through light and wave. The movement and spark of energy giving rise to form in it’s most rudimentary expression are fractal symmetry and multi- dimensional — the dimensionality of perception and the positioning of awareness nest within these. The mind generates by a self recursive loop or reflective Escher like mirroring that gives rise to the ability for perception to evolve in scope or regress and implode into lower dimensionally. Within the lattice of dimensions, resides a totality of the whole along every node of light as it curves and embedded in response to every wave as it penetrates the next, forming further reflection and waves ad-infinitum across all spectrum of phenomenon. Consciousness permeates the entirety of this.
The sense gates: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, thought
As we move down or into the lower dimension of time-form, we see where consciousness has necessarily “recorded” imprints through the sense gates (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, thought-form, etc.) of conscious creatures. In whichever way beings have received imprints through their bodies, those imprints remain as subtle signatures shared across the dimension of mind-rendered-emanations glued to that fractal geometric lattice. That is the etheric realm. It has as many “levels” as there are qualities of awareness for sentience in the cosmos. These levels are given cohesion by their constancy of being imprinted in a realm by sentient beings.
So, as spiritual beings, when we move into working with the material realm, we are prompted to consistently maneuver with an awareness of how formations and systems originate and echo back and forth into an etheric plane. It is a Platonic view mixed with a knowledge of something like a “morphogenic field” and the world systems of Buddhism that best describe the domains of form-time. This platform of understanding, coupled with direct realizations gained through meditations which I’ll mention in a moment, and a faith producing ceremonial practice, helps guarantee a spiritual foundation for action in the material world.
Love — the transformational binding quality
Love is the embodied, co-enabled, and transformational constant binding quality of all activity. We experience it as the ultimate relief and joy state, no matter its direction or location, as long as we are in form-time, it is the pinnacle of recognized states. Love in our realm is a coming into simplified accordance and harmony by furthering the connection between minds and bodies. Love by this definition is the fuel and the ether behaving as motivational essence that we endeavor to amplify and include in our organizing principles for civilization across all ecological planes.
If we work to observe the quality of thought, the sensations of the body, the transient nature of phenomena, and incorporate the baseline truth of love as the constant, we can begin to move accurately into construction and cooperation in building a world premised on spiritual principles. From here, we see what in Tibetan Buddhism is referred to as the LoJong practices, or mind training, which will lead to inevitable ethical platforms without relativism or obscurantism.
LoJong Mind Training
Here is the first set of LoJong slogans as updated most recently and initiated by Atisha, a profound spiritual teacher who passed into Paranirvana in 1054:
“1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.
2. Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone; Impermanence.
3. Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; Karma.
4. Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will experience suffering. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want does not result in happiness; Ego.
The slogans continue and become ever more concerned with our mind-observational practice. The slogans next focus on the antidotes to our delusions and obsessions with a permanent and materially centered self by practicing the inversion of our self-centered orientation. If we are selfish, we practice selflessness; if we are jealous, we practice praise, and so on. These can be easier said than done, but even the most cursory act or attempt at them offers instantaneous relief and enlightenment from suffering.
Spirituality is a practice, a surrender, an energized focus, and a letting go of mental habituation at once, initiated with ever-present compassion.
Typically the practitioner interested in “purifying the view” launches into what is known as Lo- Rig, the study of the mind and its functions, divisions, objects, and causes. We recognize the underpinning of all activity is led, created, and premised in consciousness and understood through our particular mind-stream. This investigation can and should take a lifetime or more. But merely setting sail into the ever Self-reflective nature of mind continues our ability to liberate the Self and consequently ennoble, envision, and generate a collective effort at realizing and ultimately at enlightened civilization-building. Even a conceptual and heartfelt desire to lead from this perspective opens the spiritual dimension we wish to work from to alleviate suffering for ourselves and others.
Self-liberating from delusion
Building an advanced civilization begins with the Self, the “true self,” a Self that is the core quality of consciousness self-liberating from delusion and maneuvering beyond form and time while acting in this world with generous intent and an ever compassionate point of view.
Our compassionate point of view engineers around these all-important guiding principles — all sentient beings suffer, and all sentient beings deserve joy. Joy is achieved by liberating from delusion. Therefore we work to enable liberation for all.
If we metabolize all of this and then adopt the Earth as a sentient being, an ancient, essential being, we have our first launchpad for engaging with the material realm. We acknowledge the elements, the organic concert of life, the perfection of our planet as a megalithic mind and heart, cradling us as the cilia like outcrops and beacons on her exterior. We are the conscious cells autonomously emboldened with extra mobility, toiling upon her back, ingesting and sharing the cosmic waves of light and information from our galactic neighborhood and beyond into her, and from her back out into eternity. We are the psycho-organic antennae, and we must remember our role and our gift as such.
The materially centered perspective completely perverts this even as it flourishes in these always pure dynamic states. The material view places the immortality of the ego-self and the body as an antecedent goal.
Within the geometric and energetic cosmos of light and waves, the hyper-structure of consciously underpinned ultimate reality presides the minds which co-energize the totality. Minds of unique and discrete sentience flowing through a multiverse of overlapping realms and
re-births activated by an equation of karma — cause and effect — far more complicated than can be comprehended with linear thought. The imprints of those minds make co-generated spaces of reality, which help inform our own as our own does them.
This, of course, suggests that there are different qualities to these mind produced projections that solidify as etheric structures. If a resonance of fear and recoil is rehashed and practiced by a mind or minds, that energy becomes a signature hooked onto by mental accounts that parallel the signatures’ quality- the frequency of wave and spectrum of light connected to it. These bandwidths and activation of like-mental formations and solidified etheric structures generate feedback loops. Essentially, the more we energize a template of any plane of the etheric realm, the more we are fed by it and so on.
The fear gate of oblivion
The materialist point of view has a particular designation of energy, which is one of entropy. By essentially worshiping the material and immortality through a fear gate of oblivion, we center the mind-stream into a narrow dimension, thus shrinking the capacity of consciousness for that midstream, ultimately resulting in a minimal experiential state and the continuation of suffering from which it is harder to navigate. Fear is the mind-killer.
A society made of individuals suffering from the delusion of permanence and a narrow focus on the acquisition of prestige and sensual pleasure, while complying with power structures that enhance this, is not a free one.
The individual responds to the messaging, energetic signature permeating all institutions, and the universal resonance of a society in which they are molded. The heuristics of such an atmosphere will be so profoundly limiting that the mind will degrade and become pliable to full external control.
We now navigate a world with two divergent paths. To attempt to have them run happily parallel is not to understand the complete perspective which births either and charges them with values, rules, and outcomes.
We must choose to investigate complete freedom by looking inward and gazing with clear lenses at all phenomenal displays including our deepest impulses. As we connect to our fundamental and perfect nature through unmasking and courageous self healing, we will never allow degraded energy of thought and form to interplay with our minds and close off our hearts. We will liberate, and while we inhabit bodies, each time we will toil to bring freedom to other bodies and hearts by living in accord with the Earth and each other through an inventive systems-generation that knows its bedrock. The spiritual dimension is that very bedrock.
A decision must be made and re-made continually for us to de-program from a world. A world that asks us to yield away from a clear choice. The appropriate choice is to care for the Earth, our lineages and all sentience. The appropriate choice is to approach civilization building upon the spiritual organ of the inner view, where the eternal heart emerges beyond belief.
— Josh Reichmann April 2020
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Author | Buddha Weekly
Josh Reichmann is a multi-disciplinary artist and dharma student-teacher. He relays epochal shifting visions through modernist views of spiritual practice, devotion, and creative artifacts.
His work engages clairsentience and poetry to spread Dharma and discuss the arising psychic template prevalent today.
Josh Reichmann teaches traditional meditation and uses visualization and energy work, leading recovery and mindfulness retreats for over six years. He is a student of Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism through the Gelugpa sect and uses other modalities to augment his offerings.
Josh Reichmann has released multiple musical recordings internationally and directed music videos and the feature film "Tenzin" which is spoken entirely in Tibetan featuring an all Tibetan cast. The film was presented to Cannes festival programmers on behalf of Telefilm Canada in 2018. His film work includes scriptwriting and creative direction.
Latest record link: https://joshreichmann1.bandcamp.com/releases