A Reader Questions:
Dear Ed, it was recommended to me by a friend that I contact you with a few questions that I have. I am a 21 year old University of XXXX student majoring in Classics. I am having difficulty understanding the definition of existence in Mind 4 of the Blue website. I understand that since the world is defined by the mind's perception that it has no foundation in reality because thoughts are not real and do not exist. According to the definition of existence provided on the blue website there is nothing that exists because there is nothing that is tangible, and there is nothing that is tangible because perception defines tangibility, and perception is simply a thought, and thoughts are not tangible so they do not exist. This is where I stumble. The suggestion made by this definition that thought and perception are one in the same is true on a biological level. Chemical and electrical signals in the brain and body work to affect thought and perception in a similar manner, but I wonder if it might be incorrect to suggest that sensory perception and thought are no different. In addition it seems to me that the given definition of existence is too narrow. When I hear the word exist I assume it is referring to something that "is," or rather something that "is not a lack of something," although making nothing the subject of a sentence, and making nothing into something that I can refer to seems paradoxical. I understand that what is and what is not depends solely on my perception of it and in that way there is nothing without the mind's perception. Is it possible that the only way to understand non-existence is that non-existence is that which the mind cannot fathom or perceive, and by that definition it is impossible to ever reach a higher state of awareness? And if that were true might it also be true that enlightenment is just another mind state.
p.s. I am aware that I use the word "I" a lot, and I realize the implications of this. But I am not sure how to convey through speech what "I" am thinking.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my ramblings.
For future correspondence can you use a larger type, such as 12-14 pts and break up your questions into separate paragraphs to make it easier for this old mind to follow?
I am not defining thought or the world there. I am pointing out my understanding.
To use an analogy, thought is like a mass that distorts awareness, grabs hold of it, and creates a condition, such as an apparent object. Without the thought to give the formless awareness form, there would no form, no objects, no external world.
When the thoughts are no longer identified with through practice, they lose the ability to create forms including objects. Then they are seen to be unreal compared to the “seer” who is You.
You have the primary existence, all else is secondary to you, impermanent, having no substance. It is a passing imaginal form. You, as a person are as nothing in this scheme, just a passing form.
In any event, this is not a definition. Definitions are between words and concepts. It is more like a description which binds the world to concepts.
Ultimately awareness, the real, whatever you call it, cannot be described or defined. You need to get beyond this bottleneck of trying to understand with words, anything. The mind will never give you freedom. To go free you need to lose your mind.