We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between a causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality.
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For there is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trap: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out. So to keep the farce going, the tubes find ways of making new tubes, which also put things in at one end and let them out at the other.
The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the I out of the experience...Sanity, wholeness and integration lie in the realisation that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate I or mind can be found .... [Life] is a dance, and when you are dancing, you are not intent on getting somewhere. The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.
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There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. You cannot talk yourself into it or rouse it by straining at the emotions or by dedicating yourself solemnly to the service ofmankind. Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hatingoneself, through calling self love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.
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If you love a person, you say to that person, "Look, I love you, whatever that may be. I've seen quite a bit of it and I know there's lots that I haven't seen, but still it's you and I want you to be what you want to be. And I won't be happy if I've got you in a cage. You'd be a bird without song."
We are at the moment looking at space as something to be entered by the tremendous thrust of a rocket because that is the attitude of attacking the unknown. And that causes us not to realize that we are already on the most magnificently equipped spaceship, which could hardly be improved upon. It has got a source of temperature and energy just at the right distance from it. It's beautifully equipped with oxygen, with food supplies, with all kinds of delightful things to do while on the journey.... and it's traveling through space at a colossal speed... and it's called the planet Earth.
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Everybody should do in their lifetime, sometime, two things. One is to consider death...to observe skulls and skeletons and to wonder what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up-never. That is a most gloomy thing for contemplation; it's like manure. Just as manure fertilizes the plants and so on, so the contemplation of death and the acceptance of death is very highly generative of creating life. You'll get wonderful things out of that.
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We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you're dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.
The Chinese word Li may therefore be understood as organic order, as distinct from mechanical or legal order, both of which go by the book. Li is the asymmetrical, nonrepetitive, and unregimented order which we find in the patterns of moving water, the form of trees and clouds, of frost crystals on the window, or the scattering of pebbles on beach sand.
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Of what use is the universe? What is the practical application of a million galaxies? Yet just because it has no use, it has a use- which may sound like a paradox, but is not. What, for instance, is the use of playing music? If you play to make money, to outdo some other artist, to be a person of culture, or to improve your mind, you are not really playing- for your mind is not on the music. You don't swing. When you come to think of it, playing or listening to music is a pure luxury, an addiction, a waste of valuable time and money for nothing more than making elaborate patterns of sound.
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It seems to be the special peculiarity of human beings that they reflect: they think about thinking and know that they know. This, like other feedback systems, may lead to vicious circles and confusions if improperly managed, but self-awareness makes human experience resonant. It imparts that simultaneous "echo" to all that we think and feel as the box of a violin reverberates with the sound of the strings. It gives depth and volume to what would otherwise be shallow and flat.
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There are two specific objections to use of psychedelic drugs.First,use of these drugs may be dangerous.Howev er,every worth-while exploration is dangerous-climb ing mountains,testi ng aircraft,rocket ing into outer space,or collecting botanical specimens in jungles.But if you value knowledge & the actual delight of exploration more than mere duration of uneventful life,you are willing to take the risks.
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To go out of your mind once a day is tremendously important, because by going out of your mind you come to your senses. And if you stay in your mind all of the time, you are over rational, in other words you are like a very rigid bridge which because it has no give; no craziness in it, is going to be blown down by the first hurricane.
"It is essential to understand this point thoroughly: that the thing-in-itself, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, is not only unknowable-it does not exist. This is important not only for sanity and peace of mind, but also for the most "practical" reasons of economics, politics, and technology.. This is not to say only that things exist in relation to one another, but that what we call "things" are no more than glimpses of a unified process. Certainly, this process has distinct features which catch our attention, but we must remember that distinction is not separation."
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To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it.
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The myths underlying our culture and underlying our common sense have not taught us to feel identical with the universe, but only parts of it, only in it, only confronting it - aliens... within I don't know how many years, but in not too long a time, it's going to become basic common sense that you are not some alien being who confronts an external world that is not you, but that almost every intelligent person will have the feeling of being an activity of the entire universe.
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If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are "crying for the moon." We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end.
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Time is a social institution and not a physical reality. There is no such thing as time in the natural world - the world of stars and waters, clouds, mountains and living organisms. There is such a thing as rhythm - rhythm of tides, rhythm of biological processes... There is rhythm and there is motion. Time is a way of measuring motion.
When death comes, it's just like winter. We don't say, "There ought not to be winter." That the winter season, when the leaves fall and the snow comes, is some kind of defeat, something which we should hold out against. No. Winter is part of the natural course of events. No winter, no summer. No cold, no heat.
If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or nonhuman, we must first come to terms with the minority wand the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the 'external' world - especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside.
Ego is a social institution with no physical reality. The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word "water" is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so too the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.
We think that the world is limited and explained by its past. We tend to think that what happened in the past determines what is going to happen next, and we do not see that it is exactly the other way around! What is always the source of the world is the present; the past doesn't explain a thing. The past trails behind the present like the wake of a ship and eventually disappears.
We have allowed brain thinking to develop and dominate our lives.As a consequence, we are at war within ourselves.The brain desiring things which the body does not want, and the body desiring things which the brain does not allow; the brain giving directions which the body will not follow, and the body giving impulses which the brain cannot
How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment - from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies - how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?
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We accepted a definition of ourselves which confined the self to the source and to the limitations of conscious attention. This definition is miserably insufficient, for in fact we know how to grow brains and eyes, ears and fingers, hearts and bones, in just the same way that we know how to walk and breathe, talk and think only we can't put it into words. Words are too slow and too clumsy for describing such things, and conscious attention is too narrow for keeping track of all their details.
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Substances like LSD, which give away a secret about the nature of the social game - the human game and what underlies it - are potentially dangerous, of course, like any good thing is. Electricity is dangerous, fire is dangerous, cars are dangerous, planes are dangerous, but not so dangerous as driving on the freeway. The only way to handle danger is to face it. If you start getting frightened of it, then you make it worse. Because you project onto it all kinds of bogeys and threats which don't exist in it at all.
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To remain stable is to refrain from trying to separate yourself from a pain because you know that you cannot. Running away from fear is fear, fighting pain is pain, trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his thought. There is no escape.
But the transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions. As Lao-tzu said, "The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.
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We therefore work, not for the work's sake, but for money""and money is supposed to get us what we really want in our hours of leisure and play. In the United States even poor people have lots of money compared with the wretched and skinny millions of India, Africa, and China, while our middle andupper classes (or should we say "income groups") are as prosperous as princes. Yet, by and large, they have but slight taste for pleasure. Money alone cannot buy pleasure, though it can help. For enjoyment is an art and a skill for which we have little talent or energy.
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