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Immerse yourself in the rapture of music, you know what you love. Go there. Tend to each note, each cord, rising up from silence and dissolving again.
Vibrating strings draw us into this spacious resonance of the heart.
The body becomes light as the sky and you, one with the great musician, who is even now singing us into existence. – Radiance Sutras
This reading, from the radiance sutras, asks us to live in the present moment more deeply by using our senses and allowing ourselves to be enraptured by the continuous stream of input we receive from moment to moment.
As humans, we are conditioned to identify with thoughts. We are predisposed to believing that we can think our world into existence. But with thousands of years of history behind us, many struggle with simple questions, such as, “What is the meaning of life?”
Wisdom suggests that we bring meaning into our lives as a conscious practice, driven by our in-the-moment experiences. Our thoughts and beliefs about the world, however fascinating or perplexing, exist solely within the confines of our own minds. What is real, is waiting to be experienced–and can only be experienced through the senses. Life doesn’t happen in the past. It doesn’t happen later. It happens now.
Life is Now.
We are conditioned from childhood to identify with our minds. Soon after we acquire enough skills for basic communication, we are given problems to solve, riddles to answer, and we receive praise for our performance. We learn to identify our self-worth, in part, by the grades we receive in school and through praise from our and parents and peers. Our ability to solve problems, to identify, remember, and figure things out, becomes not simply a means to achieving quality of life, but a way for each of us to quantify our own value, and the value of others.
When the ego becomes associated with problem-solving, the status and importance of thinking can easily move from that of helper to that of ruler. Instead of using our minds to bring us more satisfaction, we allow ourselves to become slaves to the very questions that were created by our minds–or the minds of others. Does the fact that a question exists mean that there is an answer, or is the question itself flawed?
Consider for a moment, that humans are the only animals that create puzzles to be solved. So highly regarded is the human ability for thinking, that we create books of problems, and even television programs, to prove our mental abilities, to ourselves and each other. We not only seek out problems to solve, we take pride in having solved them. What does this tell us about the need for the mind and ego to consume problems? Does solving problems lead to greater life satisfaction – or is there a simpler way–a more direct path to joy.
Is it rational to presume that we can think our way through problems of the mind? Is it reasonable to assume that we can use the same tool to fix a problem that we used to create it? Could asking a question such as, “What is the meaning of life?” be just another way to feed the mind a puzzle, one that has no absolute answer. Is there any evidence to demonstrate that thinking is a reliable way to enhance your life experience? Does spending great amounts of time thinking about life’s problems often result in joy? Consider those times when you feel most satisfied, joyful, or at peace. Are you thinking or are you experiencing? Are you planning or are you doing?
Spiritual teachers throughout the ages point us not in the direction of contemplation as much as towards our own life experience. Be here now. I am that I am. Attend to this moment. How should we find meaning in our lives? The answer is simple. Pay attention. Pay attention, not to the internal process of thinking, but to your surroundings. Listen to the sounds, Take in the sites, enjoy the smells, tastes, and textures of the universe at play.
People talk about mind and ego. Let’s just drop this whole conversation. Consider instead: There is no mind. There is no ego. There is only incandescent reality at play, beckoning. – Radiance Sutras