Insight  —  The Body Speaks

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Body Speaks

The Zen of Insight

Insight: Our focus pulls inward, and then, as pre­dictably as the sun­rise, we’re pulled into our minds, there to tell our­selves sto­ries and dis­tract our­selves out­ward. We bring our­selves back by ded­i­cat­ing our­selves to insight.

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Today, we turn to the Brow  —  The Zone for the Zen of Insight

This Zone has several names  —  the Third Eye, the Seat of Insight

To begin, notice that word  —  in-sight.

insight - outsight

There’s a ton of con­fu­sion about this:

  • about how we see what we see,
  • and what “what we see” means.

I don’t think I’d be exag­ger­at­ing say­ing that 100% or the issues in the world, and in us, come from miss­ing the fol­low­ing point:

Your rules, the ways in which you struc­ture your real­i­ty, are implant­ed by your cul­ture, and what’s ham­mered into you head is that these rules are right.
Even if you stomp your lit­tle feet and do things anoth­er way, as soon as you think your oth­er way is “right,” you’re back in the soci­etal game of, “My view is right, yours is wrong, and I’m going to change you.”

The alternative is right in front of your eyes, if you would choose to see. Here are two hints about it.

  1. The Uni­verse, and you, are the same. Every­thing is One thing. I don’t real­ly care if you accept the big bang the­o­ry or not. (On the oth­er hand, if you think Yah­weh invent­ed the world 6,000 years ago, why are you read­ing this???)
    In the Tao, form arose from form­less­ness, and this fits the Big Bang The­o­ry. The uni­verse was emp­ty, and sud­den­ly, it was every­thing.
    Now, the thing I like about this is that every­thing that is, from stars and plan­ets to microbes and you, are all made of the same stuff. Our atoms are the same as the atoms of, say, that moun­tain over there.
  2. The Uni­verse does not care about you. The uni­verse has “Kept on Truckin’ ” for bil­lions of years, and will, like­ly, for bil­lions more, and you are, both in time and in size, a micron of a micron in all of this.

Sounds grim, right? Well, I think it’s actually liberating.

Our cul­ture tells us we “should” strive to make a dif­fer­ence, be unique, and change the world. Now, on the sur­face, this sounds all noble and poetic.

The prob­lem, how­ev­er, is that such an approach often leads to “think­ing you are entitled.”

The key is doing–going out and doing something. This is very Zen.

The prob­lem with “fix the world,” how­ev­er, is this. It rein­forces our erro­neous belief that our prob­lems, the solu­tion, our sal­va­tion, etc. is “out there, some­where.” We waste our lives on “out-sight,” frus­trat­ing our­selves when the “out­er” refus­es to yield to our specialness.

This approach misses the point. Out there is and always will be, out there.

Noth­ing out there needs us the way we want to be need­ed. Indeed, out there exists with­out us. It just is.

Sec­ond­ly, what is is not “real” until we appre­hend it and label it.

Nothing exists until it enters us, and we label it.

For exam­ple, bring your atten­tion to the sounds around you. Did they exist before you heard them? Can you prove it? Of course you can’t, and this can be very, very scary. We think, “I just heard that fan motor, and it obvi­ous­ly was “there” before I heard it.” But, you see, there is no “there before you heard it” that you can prove exist­ed, because it’s already in the past, which does not exist now, and can­not be proven.

We take it for grant­ed that there is a past, but it’s just a social con­ve­nience. We tell sto­ries of the past, and we all wink and pre­tend that they are true.

Here’s a hint: they’re not. They are made up, and so are you.

Now, most peo­ple, read­ing this, want to fair­ly fly up into their heads, cre­ate a stun­ning argu­ment for why Wayne is off his rock­er, and maybe even stop read­ing fur­ther. But again, that would be you, up in your head, hav­ing an imag­i­nary con­ver­sa­tion with me, who has nev­er even once vis­it­ed your head.

Every­thing you think I’m say­ing in this arti­cle is you, in drag, play­ing me.

Zen insight is see­ing that our minds are pre-pro­grammed to invent the past and future, to label, judge, blame, and to cre­ate divisions.

The Tao tells us that from the “One” of exis­tence comes the “Two” of dual­i­ty (right/wrong, good/bad, attraction/repulsion, me/others) and the “Three” of the rela­tion­al “inter­ac­tion” that exists between the sep­a­rate things.

It appears that there is me, you, and our interaction.

Seems to be so, does­n’t it? Yet, if you can pull back a bit, insight will show you that there is noth­ing more than your judge­ments and divi­sion-mak­ing  —  your “role and rule making.”

In Zen, this under­stand­ing of Real­i­ty (cap­i­tal R) is para­mount for achiev­ing Free­dom (cap­i­tal F). Free­dom is free­dom from our own men­tal processes.

Meditation serves the purpose of letting us see how pervasive our labelling and thinking is.

We sit, and observe, and sud­den­ly the back­ground men­tal chat­ter is right there, as plain and obvi­ous as can be. 

It’s large­ly crap, and con­sists of half-formed sto­ries that catch our atten­tion. We get all intrigued, and push “PLAY” on the sto­ry machine that is our mind.

Except that we are the direc­tor, writer, and cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er, and all the work hap­pens after we push the PLAY button.

We’re mak­ing it up as we go along.

It still isn’t real, as in True (cap­i­tal T), but it’s ours, and we’ll defend this men­tal cre­ation to our detri­ment, right up until we curl up our toes.

So, what’s the alternative, you ask?

Wak­ing up.

See­ing what we see as it is. Life con­tin­u­al­ly pro­vides raw data, and all of it is colour­ful and mean­ing­less. If we can stop our­selves from mak­ing the leap into our heads, to cat­e­go­rize, label, and judge, we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to just Be (cap­i­tal B) with what is.

This changes every­thing.

Because beng awake means liv­ing the present expe­ri­ence, savour­ing the present moment, doing what is required in the present moment.

Here are some ways:


Yup. Again. Sit down, stop whin­ing, and observe the games your mind plays. It’s not called Mon­key Mind for nothing.

Notice the men­tal gym­nas­tics, the effort you put into dis­tract­ing your­self from just sit­ting. Notice how bad­ly you want to accom­plish some­thing  —  get enlight­ened, have peace, be different.

Notice how that is not work­ing out.

Med­i­ta­tion brings us into the moment, and gives us the chance to sim­ply Be. No goals, no things to accom­plish. Just Sit­ting, Being, Breathing.

Open Your Eyes

See with your “artist eyes.” We all have them. It’s about open­ing your sens­es to input, and hold­ing your rush to inter­pret at bay. You do this by con­tin­u­al­ly com­ing back to the object (sight, sound, feel­ing, etc.) at hand. Or eye. Or ear. Be present with the feeling.

Open your eyes and be present for your life, and your experiences.

Get the Joke

This fol­lows the last one, in ways oth­er than the sequence. The joke is, you’ve been so busy liv­ing in your head, (and by def­i­n­i­tion, “in your head” is either past or future) that you’ve missed your life!

You’ve been so busy with “the sto­ries,” you’ve missed the Real­i­ty.

And then there’s the joke about your sto­ries! They’re crap! Not True! Fig­ments of your imag­i­na­tion! Moron­ic! Fool­ish! And, boy, do you love your stories!

In fact, you bend Real­i­ty, oth­ers, events, and his­to­ry to fit your pre­con­ceived notions of who they are, how they are, and what they mean! And you’ve missed Real­i­ty. But boy, have those sto­ries in your head been fun! Char­gy! Dra­mat­ic. And boy, are you ever impor­tant, up there in your head.

And you can’t for the Life of you, fig­ure out why every­one else does­n’t think you’re as mag­nif­i­cent as you think you are.
(Mag­nif­i­cent in either the “great” direc­tion, or the “poor me, I’m such a vic­tim” direc­tion, as those are the movies that sell  —  both in the “real world,” and in your head.)

Get the joke, get over your­self, have a breath, and go back to step 2.

Refuse to Argue

Many peo­ple try to per­suade me that I don’t know what I’m talk­ing or writ­ing about. I don’t care. This is not, for me, a debate.

  • I do not care if you approve, get it, or what­ev­er. My choice is to write about this stuff, hope­ful­ly to twig your imag­i­na­tion, and to get you to look (see step 2) at what you are doing. 
  • I do not think I am right, and there­fore that you “should” do as I do. 
  • I want you to do what you do, and to be clear that you are choos­ing. Not forced to. Not genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­po­si­tioned. Not the poor help­less vic­tim bilge again. Choosing.

Stop argu­ing, with any­one. What are you try­ing to prove? That you are right, of course. You have it all fig­ured out.

Here’s a hint. If you had it all fig­ured out, you would­n’t need to argue, to con­vince oth­ers of your bril­liance.
You’d just be present in your life, hav­ing your expe­ri­ences, and you would know Real­i­ty and your place in it. You’d have noth­ing invest­ed in oth­ers agree­ing with you or chang­ing for you.

And if per­chance how you were liv­ing your life seemed, to oth­ers, to be worth emu­lat­ing, you’d just smile and say, “Have fun!”

I do have a belief. If your life is work­ing for you, it shows. You are con­tent, and you do not com­plain nor judge. You just Live Life. If you think you know, and your life is a mis­ery, hmm.

Have fun!

Be with oth­ers, as they are.

This fol­lows. Oth­er is any­thing oth­er than you. And you don’t real­ly exist either, so oth­er is also you.

Nope, not crazy. Let’s “do you” first. Sounds like fun, eh?

The only you the one who just read these words. And these words. When you pre­tend you are the per­son who exist­ed in the past and is exist­ing into the future, you are caught in the big lie. When you go into your head and invent your­self, ever again, you are pick­ing and choos­ing a sto­ry out of your mem­o­ries (which are noto­ri­ous­ly faulty…) and like­ly mak­ing stuff up. And then, you want oth­ers to agree with your made-up story.

Or, let’s say you were vic­tim­ized when young. Does that deter­mine how you are right now? Of course not, unless you choose to view your life through that filter.

Same with oth­ers. You have an opin­ion about every­one, and they’re just sto­ries. How they are right now, is how they are right now. Does­n’t mean any­thing, or bet­ter, they are only as you see them. If you want to demo­nize them, feel free. That’s just you, play­ing games again.

You could also be with the per­son as they are. If you are attract­ed, move close. If repelled, move away. If neu­tral, hang around and see what hap­pens. Simple.

Look­ing for more on this topic? 

Check out my book, Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall.

Wayne’s “East­ern” book takes you by the hand and helps you to find peace of mind. Half Asleep in the Bud­dha Hall is a Zen-based guide to liv­ing life ful­ly and deeply.

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