Distillation is a process that can be used to break down a liquid substance to a base. Distillation is how people make whiskey, and how scientists break down chemicals. This process has been around for thousands of years, ironically the first moonshiner in the United States was George Washington who was also a Freemason. Freemasonry was based upon Western mysticism which included alchemy. Alchemy is the process of using Mercury, salt and water to create gold by breaking down each substance and trying to get them to intermingle with the others. The idea of alchemy can be found throughout many cultures such as Egyptian, Chinese, European and probably a few others that I’m not even aware of. So it is no surprise Freemasons like George Washington would be down with making some moonshine. So what does this have to do with consciousness, and duck Dynasty? Well it has a lot to do with consciousness and very little to do with Duck Dynasty. However, I do have something to say about Phil Robinson’s comments that I’ll mention at the end of this blog post. I could be lying just so you keep reading. Either way you’ll have to read entire post to find out.
So what is the distillation of consciousness, and why do it? The answer is simple because the awareness that everybody experiences is a great mystery. Even with all the tools that science has created we still don’t know anything about awareness. Is awareness energy? Is awareness a soul? Does it die with our body? Does it continue on after the body dies? Does it return to an infinite sea of consciousness, like a drop of water returning to the ocean? The truth is we don’t know, so why not approach this question the same way science would? That would be to distill consciousness all the way down to its basic purist element. The most popular methodology of distilling one’s consciousness that is commonly used is meditation.
We sit still for a long period of time without any distractions; until all we are left with is our awareness. Most of the time the mind is busy with discriminating thoughts, such as I like this I don’t like that, or oh fuck I forgot to pay the rent. Mind is always thinking and the harder we tried to stop it, the more active it becomes. So therefore, one of the most important steps to meditation is just learning sit with whatever’s present in the moment rather than fight the mind, just watch it without engaging with the thoughts that arise or judging them. At some point we will catch ourselves thinking about this or that, the trick here is not to beat ourselves up but simply just come back to home base which is usually our breath. What happens over a period of time is the mind slows down, and we find gaps between thoughts. It is in these gaps really see a glimpse of what our true awareness is like. It is only through this direct experience, that we were able to explore consciousness. Meditation gives us the opportunity to see what awareness looks like without the impurities of our own thoughts. Another form of meditation is simply being fully engaged in the present moment. For example while playing guitar there is no separation between me and the music I am playing, a lot of the time I am only playing for what seems like five minutes but when I look at the clock I discovered an hour has passed because so I am so fully engaged in what I was doing. This is something that we all experience without even trying. And if we are trying to experience it, the effort itself becomes a roadblock.
When we distill consciousness by letting the impurities filter themselves out we are left with is pure awareness. What I find most profound about this is my pure awareness is no different than somebody else’s pure awareness. The only thing that separates us is the thinking mind. The Dalai Lama and Hitler both share the same pure awareness. It is almost impossible for us to conceive this because we cannot grasp the mind with the mind. However, if my awareness is the same as someone else’s and whatever I do to them, I am also doing to myself. This is a great foundation for the golden rule to do onto others as you would want them to do unto you. When we are aware that there is no separation the golden rule becomes almost natural. It is like the old Buddhist analogy there is one moon in the sky in one thousand bowls of water reflecting the moon. Now that is what I call moonshine. It all the same moon.
The only reason I included Duck Dynasty in the title of my post is because rednecks and moonshine go together and so I get ranked higher in Google. As for Phil Robinson’s comments in GQ magazine about homosexuality, that his quote from the Bible. All I can say is that he’s never slapped a hand full of Crisco in a man’s ass and slid into the home base so doesn’t know is talking about, if you know what mean.
Thanks for reading
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I have just finished a course in Huayan Buddhism. Huayan is Chinese Chaan School of philosophy founded by Fazang a chaan patriarch. The book for the course was Hua-yen Buddhism by Frances Cook. This book covers the philosophy aspect of Huayan in great detail and from many angles. However it is very dry, and does not offer much insight into the application of Huayan philosophy in everyday life. When I write a blog post I like to use everyday situations as my topic. I am going to attempt take some what I learned from Cooks book and give some real everyday examples and possible uses for this ancient Chinese philosophy.
The heart of Huayan is interconnectedness which simply implies that one thing cannot exist without the all the causes on conditions of everything else. What we consider today as string theory in quantum physics or movie goers know it as the butterfly effect. Huayan uses the analogy of a net where each connecting point has a jewel and each jewel reflects all the other jewels on the net. For example if I were to through a cigarette butt into the net each jewel would add to its reflection a cigarette butt. Therefore the butt becomes a part of every jewel on the net, or if I toss a flower in the net, obviously the flower would be better than a cigarette butt especially when we take into consideration that it becomes a part of everything in whole net. The meaning of this is everything we do and say in our daily life becomes a part of the whole net eco-system. Therefore if I treat everyone, like crap it will cause suffering to others in ways that I will not be aware of. Furthermore the same goes for how we treat the environment everything we do has an effect in the eco-system. Everything is connect and there is no escape from that fact.
For example my neighbor takes my parking spot on the street; I get mad and piss in his bushes.. A seemingly harmless act, however my neighbor has a dog and I soiled his domain. The dog gets upset and disrupts my neighbor’s family. Let’s say my neighbor Harry can’t sleep because of the commotion caused by the dog, harry happens to be a brain surgeon. Harry goes to work the next day tired and messes up a surgery. The effects go on forever because I pissed in his yard.
There is good news here part of this eco-system is impermanence. Nothing stays the same all it takes is for one thing to change and whole cycle is interrupted and a new one begins. So rather than pissing in somebody’s yard, if we plant flowers infinite flowers will bloom throughout the entire net of existence.
Though this philosophy is over a thousand years old it is more important now than ever to be aware of how we affect each other and the environment. None of us will ever be perfect but awareness of how we affect each other and the world around us can make a huge difference. In today’s world of technology and social networking we are more connected now that ever. As result our influence goes way beyond family and co-workers. The revolutions in Syria and Egypt are great examples of how a few people had an influence over many, causing regime changes. Sometimes words don’t even have to be spoken, or action taken. Just being can change the way things are. Doing nothing may have more profound result than any other action the domino effect stops when either there are no more dominos to fall, or at the one domino that simply won’t budge and refuse to fall with rest and sits still among the surrounding chaos. We can sit still like the Buddha to attain enlightenment so that light of Buddhahood can shine and become a part of every jewel in the net.
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