Monday, February 27, 2012

Different ways to look at the same onion

I am generally quite sensitive to what I consider to be spiritual mumbo-jumbo. If I have not concretely experienced something or had some realizations in something, I feel it is dangerous to get too carried away with it. I believe in the principle of self-honesty. I feel this keeps me safe. And even though I have not concretely experienced 'chakras,' I find the notion of them to be quite fascinating. It almost sounds like our body has inner-gyroscopes to give us a sense of balance and equilibrium. How it relates to the Earth's grid system is pretty interesting. Reminds me of Global Positioning Systems. So with that in mind, I decided to take a few intuitive leaps in this article. I'm skipping stones on water.

The problem and beauty of spirituality is it's subtle nature. Because it is subtle, it is hard to grasp it with our gross senses. It is easy to imagine things that are not there. We are prone to make mistakes. So these are the challenges in spirituality. It is easy to get lost in it and speculate and see things that are not there.

The spiritual process is to make yourself into a precision tool. A precision tool that is very sensitive to the slightest changes. We need to turn ourselves into a tool with the level of precision and sensitivity that is shown by tools like mechanical watches or a compass or gyroscopes. And even that is not enough. Spirituality is subtler than that. The more well oiled and well-tuned you can get, the more you can function as technology to detect spirituality. The more you can shape yourself into this type of technology through sadhana (tuning or oiling), the more in tune you become to subtle vibrations both outside of your body and inside of your body.

The subtlest of these vibrations is spirituality.

The human body consists of layers of bodies. It starts off physical and gets increasingly more subtle. So the idea in Vipassana is to start with the most gross level of inner-sensations and by acting in equilibrium to purify the mind. Then slowly you detect subtler and subtler levels of consciousness. 

I think of it like nano-technology. To make the tiniest devices, you have to use tiny tools. And if you want to create even tinier tools, you need tiny devices that will serve as the cogs and wheels for these tools. So it is a recursive process. Every layer or set of tiny tools can contribute to making even tinier tools. But to move to a new layer you need a new generation of tools.

So I feel that taking your consciousness from a gross level to a subtler level is kind of like that. You start from the gross level, where ever you feel comfortable. You take what you are tangibly aware of. And from there you keep discovering subtler and subtler bodies within yourself. You use the gross body to discover a subtler body. And then when you have comfortably realized that subtle body, then you use that subtle body to discover the body that is subtler than that.

Depending on how you're looking at an onion, you will appreciate different perspectives. There are multiple ways to understand the same onion.

When you think of an onion, what is the first image that comes to mind?
Are you looking at it from a frontal perspective? A side perspective? Or maybe you're looking at it angular perspective like below? Are you looking at the whole onion or a part?