Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday, April 4: The Language of the Brain

Sense your right hand. Now sense your left hand. Who did that?

You did.

That is who you are, someone, something, an organic being who has awareness and can shift it from one place to another. And why do we have this at our core? So we can reach out with the right hand or the left hand and pick an apple or a fig off a tree and put it into our mouths. This brings pleasure, and if we are hungry, helps keep us alive. We learn to move when we are young so we can become independent beings that don’t need to be carried around or fed, we can dance with another person, and then maybe mate with that person and keep the whole show going on.

And if we couldn’t move awareness from one hand to another, none of this would happen.

We are life, in a field of life, and when we wake to the moment, we can sense our arms and legs and spine, we can sense our breathing, we can get a deep sense of ourselves. This is our birthright, which we often throw away with all the mental chatter in our minds. Can we stop this chatter? Sometimes, usually by giving ourselves something more interesting to do, like learning a musical instrument, or reading a good book, or learning to move in new and unexpected ways.

We can meditate, which rarely stops the chatter, but it gives us a chance to see what the chatter is all about. Are we making plans, imagining arguments, rehearsing speeches, worrying about our health? To see where the attention goes when we sit down to stay present is to begin to understand the structure of our unawareness. This is important, to learn how our not doing is a certain set of doings.

So when we can’t easily move our arm say, this is a set of doings. We do certain things, usually stiffening the ribs and de-activating the pelvis and lower back and by doing these things make a certain trouble for our arm. So planning and worrying and inner argumentation are doings that keep us from being present in meditation.

Is being present better than not being present? Try both and see which you like better. If being present sounds like too big a job, start simple: sense your right hand and then move the awareness over to sensing the left hand.

Who did that?


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