May 11th, 2010

chromatic self

Quasi-religious philosophizing

Once again, I find myself at pretty much a loss how to describe my religious views. It's not that they've been changing, so much as they've been stabilizing. They've been stabilizing in an odd and confusing direction, but I am an odd and confusing dragon, so I suppose it's no surprise that my path matches me.

I've been meditating and generally contemplating on my own spiritual perceptions and experiences recently- I always do, at least occasionally, but I've dedicated a lot more thought to it recently, and I feel it's to my benefit. Oddly, getting back into the habit of using my Livescribe Pulse (because they made the software not suck, I can use it again) has been a direct cause of this: I think more clearly with pen and paper than I do with a computer, and somehow I find myself more motivated to contemplate; something about pen and paper, despite my atrocious handwriting, makes me want to fill it.

And so it's filled with notes, recently, on my spiritual contemplations. They're getting more and more Buddhist, which I suppose makes sense given that I believe the Buddha was fundamentally correct about what it takes to understand the shape of the universe, and to perceive and experience its nature. I find truth in many of the Buddha's writings. And, as seems to be usual for me and religion, I find the dysjunction between the actual fundamental writings by its central figure and the religion as it is practiced today to be, frankly, bizarre. Where did all this chanting come from?

There's a Buddhist temple a couple of blocks from here. They seem distressingly evangelical, and it's extremely confusing to see their blog focusing more on worship and belief than mediation, experience, and understanding. That doesn't seem helpful to me. If enlightenment is a way of experiencing the world, how can one possibly reach it without puzzling out the ways one's mind is not presently thinking and trying them out?

Which, in my opinion and difficult-to-describe experience, is what really underlies enlightenment. Transcendental thought isn't difficult to perform, it's just difficult to find. Buddhist wisdom, when it's cryptic, is only cryptic because if our language had a clear way to say any of this stuff, we'd all be enlightened already. There are some pretty big assumptions you have to let go of to feel this way of perceiving, and it seems bizarre to let go of them until you try it and discover that the world makes even more sense without them.

Perhaps this is why Buddhist thought feels religious: experiencing it is this thought pattern that feels fundamentally alien to what you're used to, and when you go back to more mundane concerns, it can feel like something your mind didn't even produce- without those assumptions, your thoughts aren't so familiar. It feels like a higher power, when it's simply a more accurate perception of what was already there, using tools you already had; nothing changed, and nothing happened, just perception and understanding.

I'm phrasing this badly, as I knew I was condemned to; there's no good way to express these things. I just find myself drifting more and more towards the Buddhist view of the nature of self, identity, and the universe, none of which I can adequately articulate. My thought patterns have been rather non-dualistic for a while now, honestly.

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