We want to live, we want to experience, we want to break away from the old, from the norm, from the treadmill. We want the new, and so we desire the new. However, we do not know what the new is; we have never seen it before so how can we know what we are looking for? Instead, our future imaginations drive what we do today, but these imaginations have been formulated from the past. These imaginations are formulated from the image that the mind has created around both our sense of self (our identifications from past experiences) and what we think certain future experiences will bring us. This happens by default of the nature of the sensations recognised within an experience (or what we think that experience may be in the future) and what has accordingly been translated into memory. So our past memory determines what we become identified with and this shapes what we desire today. As one sensation reinforces the desire to seek out the next sensation, so begins the process of cause and effect. If this process continues without an awareness of what is happening, how it is happening and why it is happening, then our perception of what fulfilment is narrows, and subsequently we become shackled to this narrowed perception. Until we wake up, for a very long time we will continue to seek fulfilment only according to this narrow perception. This cause and effect process and our self-imprisonment within it is our karma, and it is a self-binding process of our own making. All karma can cease if there is awareness of what is the process of karma. In this process the future is being determined by the past, and when we place our identifications on top of one another, thereby adding more layers onto the ego, the ego gets constructed out of the desires from a mind that is past. Our sense of self is the product of our own karma, of the past; even our hopes of the future are formulated from what is past.
The ‘I’ is introverted desire. We know that the ego is also built up of memories (of compliments, flattery, insults and achievements) and our knowledge, beliefs, values and attachments that we have accumulated in our life to date. Remember that the ego is not a tangible thing, but is a process of these memories, expectations, beliefs, hopes and all the rest of it; driven forward primarily by desire. Think about it. How much of what you do is determined by the people or places that you want to see, activities that you want to do or items that you want to own? All of it. We are constantly changing this or that, improving our surroundings or our appearance, thirsting for gratification in any way possible. Gratification of your desires is what drives you, it is a fundamental part of you and there is no point denying this truth. All desire is projection of the ego and it is the desires of the ego that largely construct the ego. The ego is a process not a thing; it is the momentum that is being carried forward based upon what it is that you desire; where your desires are based on your projections of fulfilment or denial. Ego and desire are two parts of the same process; a process directly linked with that of karma.
Questioner 1: I agree with this although do not necessarily experience it on a visceral level. My question is that I do find the things I desire enjoyable, not only that but satisfying in their pursuit. If the life I experience is ultimately a fiction (not true) based on a myriad of inauthenticity and assumptions, by a self that doesn’t really exist in the way I think it does. Even if all this is the case, I still love this life. I love thinking of loved ones, of pursuing love, while at the same time holding love in my heart. I enjoy setting goals, and having visions for the future. I like this game of ‘karma’ and psychological time. Is it possible to enjoy it even if it is a hoax? What value does it have if it is a hoax? What tangible improvements are available in stepping outside of this slavery to psychological time? I appreciate the benefits for mankind, given current global issues. However on a personal basis is there value in knowing something is a hoax and loving it anyway?
Keeb: If you kick a rock like a football, is it a hoax? Perhaps your understanding of Maya is incomplete. Cherry picking some of your questions, one in particular stands out. Can one pursue love? Going into this is a real meditation. What one finds satisfying in one’s pursuits is sensation and love is not sensation, nor is it a product of time. Love is not a reward, something to be achieved or pursued. To do that in fact denies it.
Questioner 1: I will look into this. However my original question still stands. Even if it is impossible to pursue love (which I understand, although not at a deep level) does that mean its pursuit is futile (i.e. has no benefit) in this world. If a person dreams of romance as a child and then finds her sweetheart as an adult and lives a happy life together, does this process have benefit, or is it pointless? Is sensation in itself valuable? Recently I have found the trappings of this world of psychological time quite attractive. I enjoy pursuing goals and endeavours, and ultimately I experience a level of satisfaction. Does this process have any value in itself? Even if it has no value I still enjoy it of itself. I like getting better at making stuff happen, its fun, like playing a game.
Keeb: If you pursue love what have you done to it, have you not turned it into an idea? In the nature of pursuing you must have an idea of what you are looking for. There is self-deception within devotion to an idea; the idea is self-chosen and therefore isolating. Ideation creates conflict. You cannot think about love, cultivate it or practice it; these are all of the mind and thought is not love. Thought is sensation and in sensation there is always the danger of attachment. Whilst you are being gratified all is well, but when that is denied – as it inevitably will be – there is fear, frustration and aggression. When you love there is no exclusivity, i.e. love for one and not the many; there is only love. Romance is beautiful but do not turn it into a means of fulfilment. The true value of sensation lies within our non-attachment to it, then there is a deeper experiencing; quite different from the indifference of detachment, such as a psychological denial of its realness (the hoax / maya stuff from earlier).
Try not to confuse the various forms of self-expansion, like sentimentality and emotionalism, with love.
Questioner 2: I have a question, Keeb. If we accept that our attachment to desire and its fulfilment is wrong, can we not knowingly embrace our attachment to a great many things whilst at the back of our minds remain unattached, if you see what I mean? For example, after much ‘ponderance’ on this kind of thing, now at the base level of my experience of reality, I accept that everything is a construction of mind. I play my personality out to the world and engage with it on many levels, the perception of which I can say is ultimately just that, perception…a construction. Knowing this, is it then ‘wrong’ to play the personality out towards what might be perceived as attachment to sensation, desire etc?
Keeb: Let’s first be clear. There are no wrongs, only mistakes. Whatever is not joyful is a mistake. We must not confuse contentment, happiness, satisfaction with joy. Joy, being also freedom, is free of causation; it happens of its own accord. All causes must cease, and only through understanding not effort. Effort is conflict. Effort is attachment, replacing one form of attachment for another which is just plain silly – yet people do this all over the world. There can be intellectual understanding of attachment, the mind appreciating the computational aspect of outer reality, it as just information, perspective or Maya or whatever and yet we go on being attached, which means the intellectual understanding has no value. Either we are attached or not, we are disturbed or not.
Understanding the true nature of reality means we need not enjoy it any less. We must know the process of sensation and desire, how it works and how it arises. Attachment to sensation only exists in the minds reaction to sensation, in interpretation, translation in between contact and experience.
Questioner 2: Thanks very much for your reply, Keeb. It’s truly fascinating stuff. Can you just clarify one sticking point for me? It’s like you’re saying that all action should be completely spontaneous with no forethought involved. Like, life in its most perfect sense would just somehow live itself, and joy would be the result. My question is, firstly am I correct in my understanding (previous sentence)? and secondly, if so, how can it actually be a functional way to live when it seems such a necessary thing to be reflective of the past and projective of the future in order to actually ‘live’ in either the simplest or most complicated sense?
Keeb: Completely spontaneous unchecked is in some respect and in terms of memory to live like a goldfish. We cannot live entirely that way. The difference lies in understanding the limitation of knowledge, what it can and cannot do. We need knowledge to build a bridge and walk to the post office, do we need knowledge, the future which actually the past or the known, to be joyful? Or is there only joy where there is freedom from the known – see 1st chapter of the book. (What is the difference between knowledge and self-knowledge?) Remember pleasure is not joy nor is it bliss, pleasure is thought determined. Pleasure is not wrong or right, it is merely pleasure. There is no must ‘to do’ anything or behave a certain way, i.e. take on a fixed mode of behaviour, that would then be compulsion / control / narrow / determined which is dualism.