Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Introspection - 2 : Experiencing Change


We will attempt to experience change directly. We will try to see where this change happens and how it gets interpreted by the mind.


Everything as before, plus it is best seen where there is some activity, such as a public place, but not too crowded or noisy.

Question - what is happening? 

Simply observe everything in an inclusive way, as was done for the previous introspection. There is Presence and there is Self as usual. Since the enquiry is formulated in a particular way, your attention will be drawn to differences in the experiences or activity. Do not name or describe them, just observe neutrally.

This introspection shows you something extraordinary - there is Change. The experiences are never the same. Some things change slowly such as your house and some change quickly such as the traffic outside on the road.

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Now ask - Where is it happening? If you are not zoomed out, the mind will jump in and answer - out there. Its ok, simply ask - where is "out there"? Those who are identified with their bodies will see that the change is not in their body, and so is "outside". Those who are intellectual will see it all as happening outside their mind, the body also moves and changes outside the mind. You will find that the "outside" is always relative to an "inside". If you have done the first introspection, you will immediately see that this duality is an act of the mind. It is somehow creating a division where there is none.

Its fine, just ask - where is this world, body and the mind? And where is inside and outside all taken together? This will silence the mind. Widen the awareness to include the body and the mind and all that activity you think is somewhere “outside”. You will find that its all just Presence as a change, including experiences "inside" the mind. You can shift the mode to Self and you will see that its only the Self that changes, there is no inside or outside. Those are beliefs, ideas in the mind.

Next, ask - what was there before this moment? Now the mind acts again and accesses the memory. The change has impressed upon the mind and appears as memory. You may get something, some image or thought etc. Just notice that the "before" goes only as far as the memory goes. The continuity of memory starts becoming more and more fragmented and uncertain, and what was "before" starts getting blurry. Anyhow, widen your awareness and notice that the recall is happening now. It is also a change. The change is now, the recall is now, but the mind labels the faint impressions as "past". In other words, past is only an idea, not an experience. The experience is always of now.

Next, take a look at your clock. See that it is changing in a pattern. It is not showing "time", it is showing change. Time is the label your mind puts on it. Note some event around you and check the clock, note the time. Try to recall the event and the time of it. See that the recall, time and everything else is still in now. The mind has arranged that event alongside the reading of the clock. There was never not now.

Analysis and conclusions

You just experienced that the Presence is not static. Its a flux, activity. Everything is impermanent. Stability is just a concept, a belief, activity is all there is. Without the change there cannot be any experience and hence change is there by necessity. You cannot reduce it further.

Lets try to code it in language. This is Experiencing, as defined in this blog. It is Change experienced continuously. Also known as the Energy of Consciousness or movement of the Self [1]. Without this Energy the Presence is just a barren Emptiness. The Change appears as an unceasing process, we named it as the Fundamental Process. Fundamental Process is not separate from the Self or the Presence, it is only a convenient way to see it from the point of view of the Mind. We saw that change gets organized in lower entropy structures automatically, this is the Fundamental Process in action. Of course, not everything gets organized, some structures increase in entropy till they reduce to randomness, they are consumed by the change - the impermanence.

The change in physical world is a small aspect of the Experiencing. The physical change appears as physical energy, mostly as motion. Motion is organized or understood by the mind in terms of space and time. So the belief of time is derived directly from the experience of change. We saw that the clock is just a regular sort of motion, a change, it is not a measure of time, it simply helps to organize the change in a more regular way.

Change or changeless?

We saw that it is the Presence that is in flux. The Self sees it in the form of experiences. But then the Self is nothing but Presence. So one must conclude that the Self itself is changing. One can question this outcome - how can something that is changing, experiences change? The screen must remain white and uniform, unchanging in order to see changing pictures on it. If the screen changes colours everywhere on it, no pictures appear, its just a random mess of colours. So we need a Self that is unchanging, yet we see it as changing. It doesn't make sense.

At this point, one can theorize that there are two parts of the Self, the unchanging static Self, the consciousness and the moving, changing and creating part, the Energy. And indeed, some ancient philosophies actually consider that. They are categorized under the dualism kind. It makes sense. But direct experience shows that the Self has no parts. Emptiness cannot have parts or separations, not even functional ones. We clearly see the change as the Self, there are no doubts about it. So then how to solve this puzzle?

There is one way to solve it, by considering the change as a virtual change. The Self "appears" to change and take on different forms and movements of the forms, but never really changes. In other words, nothing ever happens, its a play, a dream of the Self. As a metaphor, say in your dream, you construct a house, you buy furniture and place it, you paint it and live in it. You marry, have kids, grow old etc. Then you wake up, and the first thing you notice that nothing has changed. The changes, a whole lot of them were illusory, just a dream.

To be honest, this is a bit difficult to swallow, since I do not have a direct experience of it yet. Still searching. Probably you will find a better answer via this introspection. The trick is to disregard change while abiding as the Self. This solidifies the experience of the Self as the unchanging one, which merely witnesses a dreamlike change.


[1] If you fancy old metaphors and anthropomorphism, it is the popular Shakti, the consort of the Self (aka Shiva). She gives birth to experiences, and hence creates everything.

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