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Thread: Seeing the back of your own head...

  1. #1

    Seeing the back of your own head...

    Instructions for seeing the back of your own head:

    1. Find a simple stick about a foot long.
    2. Push it a bit into the ground so it stands on its own.
    3. Study the stick from a standing position.
    4. Lay down next to the stick and put your eye as close to it as you can, still facing up.
    5. Study the stick from this new position.

    This process is the same as stopping and letting your self take another step forward, so that you see the back of your own head (which is impossible).

    gassho
    :wink: :wink:

  2. #2
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Are you stoned?

    Chet

  3. #3

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    T,

    I have no clue what your going on about, but keep going.

    Gassho

    W

  4. #4

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    I haven't been stoned since my son was born 15 years ago, but I still remember enough to do a decent impersonation :shock: ...

    However, that's not what I'm going on about.

    This is what happens when I take metaphor a step beyond the normal literary or comparative application. It means doing something out of the ordinary, something no one would do on purpose (except me, I guess) in order to develop a metaphor for something that's hard to think about, like looking at the back of your own head (in real life, not in a mirror), or infinity, or enlightenment. There are things going on all around me I was never aware of before I started hanging out with all you other stoners- I mean, Zen practitioners, and this is my way of packaging them so I can examine them and poke them with a stick.

    Which leads me to what I was thinking about earlier today, which I was going to post in a new thread but what the heck- thinking about this thread is what started it anyway:

    I was at work a few hours ago, doing maintenance on my machine. I was doing the Samu part, which involved solvent and rags and sweaty rubber gloves. I knew that when I finished, I could go home a couple hours early and dash to the computer to talk to the people in my head (that's you) so I was working along at a good clip, being all efficient and cleaning every part in the same order, not really thinking about anything- you know, absorbed in my work. Then I realized, with a bit of bewilderment, that there was a conversation going on in my head between an elderly Nazi prison camp guard and a tribunal judge. You may have heard about this guy almost getting deported to Germany from America a day or so ago. Well, he was pleading his case in court, IN MY HEAD, and I wasn't in charge of the dialogue.

    WTF?

    Of course, the same thing happens in dreams, no big deal. But it took me a minute to put that together. What stuck with me was the fact that there was thinking going on while I was awake, to which I became consciously privy after it was already going on for a while. That still weirds me out a bit when I think about it too hard.

    I know this is normal, but I have never picked it apart (or poked it with a stick) before, and being Buddhist kinda shines a new light on it.

    The point is, while mindlessly (mindfully?) doing my work, I walked up behind myself and looked at the back of my own head. It still freaks me out.

    gassho
    from Tobiah, who just finished his long-windyest post ever, and likes to make up new words.

  5. #5

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Then I realized, with a bit of bewilderment, that there was a conversation going on in my head between an elderly Nazi prison camp guard and a tribunal judge.
    LOL

    That's part of practice Tob. You notice your constant thinking (or commentary), and drop it paying attention to what's actually going on. That's a big step in the right direction.

    Don't make it a big deal because it's not. We shouldn't really try to hold onto anything in particular, but just notice even the urge to make any experience a big deal. Just come back to what ever your doing.

    A big part of practice is dropping and allowing Bodymind to balance out.

    Will

  6. #6

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Don't make it a big deal because it's not.
    Yeah, once I thought about it for a minute, I knew this kind of thing is always happening... but for the first time I saw it as something else, something like a gnat in my face. I really don't know how to explain it.

    So I just drop it, huh? You guys aren't gonna throw me a party or anything? No cuff-links for the new guy who finally got his name on the door? Geez. Drop it... ok.

    Fin!

    gassho

  7. #7

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    So I just drop it, huh? You guys aren't gonna throw me a party or anything?
    Well, I was thinking of baking cake, but the surprise is ruined.

    W

  8. #8

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    "So I just drop it, huh? You guys aren't gonna throw me a party or anything?"
    i was going to make you brownies :twisted:

    Great post Tobiah, and yeah Ive been there too i think, but i couldn't quite put my finger on which parts weirded me out most but you hit it dead on ...the first post was making me really scratch my head but your next one was a winner

    Gassho, Shohei

  9. #9

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Then I realized, with a bit of bewilderment, that there was a conversation going on in my head between an elderly Nazi prison camp guard and a tribunal judge.
    LOL

    That's part of practice Tob. You notice your constant thinking (or commentary), and drop it paying attention to what's actually going on. That's a big step in the right direction.

    Don't make it a big deal because it's not. We shouldn't really try to hold onto anything in particular, but just notice even the urge to make any experience a big deal. Just come back to what ever your doing.

    A big part of practice is dropping and allowing Bodymind to balance out.

    Will
    Hey Will,

    Well, this is very much related to the "just drop the commentary" talk on the "Adya" thread. I would say that, to live life well day to day, sometimes we do ... and sometimes we don't. So, sometimes we realize the little "prison guard" play inside our head is going on and we drop it, returning to our cleaning the machine. Sometimes JUST ENJOY THE COURTROOM DRAMA!

    Same with the equally fictional, yet simultaneously real story we call "our thoughts in all of day to day life".Sometimes we drop them, sometimes we go along with the show.

    Kevin had a very nice analogy in the bookclub today ...

    I've taken lately to thinking of it sort of like a movie. When we watch a movie in a theater, we see the movie screen, blank and real. When the movie starts, light is projected onto the screen in shifting patterns. The light is just as real as the screen. However, when we focus on the patterns the light makes on the screen (both light and screen are necessary, and both appear as one), we get sucked into those patterns, so much so that we forget all about the screen and the light. Even if we were to think of them, chances are good that the patterns of the light would seem more real in that moment than either the screen or the light themselves.

    Are the patterns real? Yes. Are the patterns imitations? Yes. Is the screen real? Is the light real? Yes. And no. But the reality in that moment truly is screen, light, patterns, all distinct, all one, all real, all not real.

    Not to mention the thoughts and emotions we experience as we watch the film. Are they real? Have you ever left the theater after an intense movie that was wrenchingly sad and suddenly felt sad about your happy life, somehow, for a few minutes or hours? Is that sadness real? Yes. And no.
    So, that is our life. Sometimes you remember it is "just a movie", and see the screen, projector and light. But sometimes you just let the show play out. (And sometimes you just let the show play out, letting its movie-ness inform the reality of the story ... both at once, not two). Back and forth and back again. The thoughts and images in our heads may be a "movie", but it is our movie. Grab some popcorn and jump on in!

    BOTTOM LINE: I think this "just come back to what ever you are doing" and "dropping the thoughts and commentary" gets played up a little too much in the Zen world. We live in both the world of the absolute and the relative, nirvana and samsara, truth and fiction. So, sometimes just please enjoy all the thoughts and emotions just like a good novel ... get sucked into the story completely ... knowing that you can put the book down and come "back to the moment" sometimes, when you wish.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - I am influenced by Dogen on this who, unlike many Buddhists, did not see the "still mind" as the Only Truth, but saw the words, ideas and stories of the mind as the Truth of the stillness come to life.

  10. #10

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    I think this "just come back to what ever you are doing" and "dropping the thoughts and commentary" gets played up a little too much in the Zen world.
    Depends on your practice.

    You know Jundo (I'm just going to let this sit for now), but sometimes you sound more like Adya then Adya.

    Gassho

    W

  11. #11

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    You know Jundo (I'm just going to let this sit for now), but sometimes you sound more like Adya then Adya.
    That's interesting! How so?

  12. #12

    Re: Seeing the back of your own head...

    Don't mind me Jundo. Carry on.

    Gassho
    W

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