Our whole idea of fulfilment is fundamentally driven by the desire to return to bliss. It is this disconnection from bliss - and your unawareness of this disconnection - that drives every aspect of your activity.
Question Mark – an examination of the deep philosophical questions.
Only when desire is not, when the mind that seeks to achieve, that thinks in terms of a result and is therefore divided and exclusive, only when such a mind has come to an end is there contact with existence and the arising of Truth.
Truth. No word can describe it, no text can cover it; it is much too vast and always changing. No practice, method, discipline, sacrifice, subjugation, sublimation or act of determination can ever reach it. You cannot go to it; it comes only to you. For Truth to Be you must cease and this is the only true meditation. Buddha was not the first to say it, nor will he be the last. To discover that which is true one must first understand the false. Your idea of yourself is false. Your ideas of death, meaning, fulfilment and spiritual progress are also false. Due to this society is sick – plagued with war, inequality, starvation, selfishness and greed. We have forgotten what it is to love, and be love.
We are corrupt because we have not understood inner conflict. Always there is lurking dissatisfaction within the human mind. If we can solve the problem of psychological conflict then all of the outward structures created by humanity can cease. All of our ‘ism’s, dogmas, doctrines, methods, systems and hierarchical power structures can be rejected. Never has this happened in the past, never has humanity been free of conflict. Surely this is the revolution of our time? Only when the problem of conflict has been mastered is there love. Only then do serenity and bliss truly begin.
1. The Global Sleep –
An important introductory overview to the book, introducing key concepts such as freedom and growth, and asking whether humanity can be considered inherently ‘good’.
2. An Abiding Truth -
Continuing to introduce some of the book’s central ideas, including primary or conventional reality and the separation of the observer from the observed, as taught by Buddha. A brief look at the way in which the book will be structured.
3. Your Life Has Meaning –
Drawing on what we know to be true from our own subjective experience, this chapter questions the role of belief and ideas of rightness, asserting each of our potential for growth and the understanding of Truth, integral to the human condition.
4. Life is a Game –
A discussion of the human ignorance of harmony, and our dismissal of the childlike sense of wonder which can be so productive to our growth and happiness. An introduction to the ‘Square Box Principal’ which epitomises the role of desire in modern consumer culture.
5. Lessons from History –
By looking at the history of knowledge and scientific theory, this chapter considers some of the pitfalls of specialisation and bias in human thought. It gives descriptions of certain relevant theories and models, whilst emphasising the importance of open mindedness in our investigation.
6. Religion is the Dominion of Man –
A pivotal chapter examining the ugly legacies of organised religion and the role of guilt and fear in our adherence to religious traditions. It also looks at the light that Buddhist thinking can shed on our ideas of religion, discipline and liberation.
7. Distorted Religion -
This chapter focuses largely on Christian history as an example of the way in which much of our religious knowledge is based on mistranslation and misinterpretation. It looks at the origins of religious belief in human societies and the real story of Jesus.
8. Ego Part 1: A Continuing Process –
What the ego is and how we generate our sense of a personality that is separate and distinct. This chapter also details how to recognise the pollution and noise of self-identity and the processes of the ego through Vipassana meditation.
9. Ego Part 2: Identification –
Whatever the source of our beliefs about the self, they lead to conflict and competition amongst individuals as we gather our sense of identity from external sources instead of looking within. This ignorance is a source of delusion and suffering; Buddha taught a means of stripping away the ego to uncover the emptiness within.
10. The Only Time is Now –
This chapter explains the role of thought in the creation of psychological time, and the location of suffering in the past and future. Exercises are introduced which intensify our experience of the present moment, enabling us to understand the ego in this context and thus realise our happiness and freedom.
11. Ego Effacing –
This chapter deals with the risk of ego effacing in the name of being humble, without truly understanding the process of the ego. This is evident in extreme ascetic practice, which is really desire by another name.
12. Dharma and the Source of Happiness –
Using the analogy of one’s life as a house of many rooms, this chapter looks at various definitions of Dharma and the way in which these can assist us to find harmony and fulfil the potential of our own lives.
13. A Mind Beyond Judgement –
A detailed look at our perception of right and wrong and ideas of sin. This chapter includes an analysis of the role of morality in human society and the way in which we respond to insults and judgements.
14. Mindfulness is the Only Virtue –
Continuing to develop the reader’s understanding of the self and ego, a mindful approach is advocated here, where we act out of intuition, intelligence and clarity of mind and vision.
15. There is No Seer and Nothing Seen, Only Seeing –
Drawing on the teachings of Buddha and practice of Vipassana, this chapter examines the power of pure awareness and authentic observation. It picks apart the duality of the observer and the observed to reveal the purity of our true Being.
16. A New Approach –
This chapter takes the reader beyond classical epistemology to question the reaches of reason and conceptually explain Truth, and how it came into existence. A new approach is advocated in which the investigator is both master and scientist; drawing from both experience and knowledge.
17. The Strange Attractor –
An eloquent introduction to the forces of serendipity, synchronicity and grace in our everyday lives and in the growth of consciousness. This chapter highlights the limitations of organised religion and proffers a new definition of grace as the ‘Strange Attractor’.
18. Reality is a Method for Mind to Explore Concepts –
A pivotal chapter, this draws on the investigation so far in order to rethink the divine and the structure of our universe as a system whereby consciousness can explore and grow. It details our individual roles within this system, and the importance of perspective in this model of existence.