Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What's this all about?

Imagine a crime scene. A police inspector and his team are trying to find out whom the culprit is. They’re interrogating a number of witnesses. One witness saw a man in a grey overcoat leaving the house in haste. Another witness saw a man in a cap who drew off in a blue Toyota. One neighbor heard strange noises the day before and another neighbor had a feeling that something wasn’t right in that house.

In trying to understand what life is about, you are like the police inspector and his team. Many people have important things to tell in this mysterious case.

Some people look at life from a spiritual perspective, some are more down to earth, and some see things from a scientific point of view. You must listen attentively to what everyone has to say. If you only listen to one Guru, one kind of scientists, or one witness, you will get a very limited view.

I know very well that I will never be able solve this case, no matter how many clues I will follow up, but I will still never be able to drop it. To give up is simply not an option for me.

Many people give up because they’re convinced that they already know what life is about, others give up because they’re lazy and don’t care, but many people are very persistent. They can’t give up. I belong to that crowd.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too much emphasis on the now

Hippocampus is a part of the brain that is important for the formation of memories. If this part of your brain is damaged or destroyed, you may find yourself living in the eternal now. You will not even remember what happened thirty seconds ago. The future will also disappear. You will not remember that you have to go to the laundry to pick up your clothes or that you have an appointment with the dentist in the afternoon.

Eckhart Tolle and many other spiritual teachers put too much emphasis on the now, I think. To focus all attention on the now will not lead to spiritual transformation or awakening. Why bother about climate change, environmental pollution and injustice if only the present now is real? Why bother about anything if only what you have here in front of you, at this moment, is real?

However, to completely loose touch with the now is very harmful. Many people suffer from this disease in our modern societies. They’re always somewhere else. They’ve lost contact with themselves and the reality. Trying desperately to reach a goal or playing one’s old cassettes over and over, is to be gone. It’s very important to be able to be present.

It’s good for both mental and physical health to be present in the now. For example, Jon Kabat-Zinn has showed that psoriasis patients will respond better to UV-light treatment if they are mindful of the present moment during the treatment. Isn’t this an interesting discovery? Why would mindfulness of the now improve psoriasis treatment? In addition, you will more often be in a better mood if you spend more moments in the now.

The mind is planning for the future and looking back at what happened, but returns to the present, again and again. A normal healthy mind works this way. The now is very important but memories of the past and making plans for the future is also important. Without memory and plans for the future, we would need people at a nursing home or a monastery to take care of us.

Fantasies, daydreams, theories and ideas are also very important but we must not forget that all such mental bubbles will eventually burst. Our minds are often fooling us. The world is not as we think it is.

However, nothing is more important than warmth. A cold, intellectual analysis of life is the most serious delusion of all. This approach is to give up our humanness and settle in a theoretical reality.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The reality

The reality is not only what you have here in front of you. The reality is very much larger. The cosmic horizon is 46 billion light-years away. This is as far as the light has traveled since the Big Bang. No one knows what’s beyond that edge. Maybe there are tons of universes out there.

If you look at the stars at night, you’ll look back in time. The stars you see can have gone out thousands of years ago, but you’re not aware of it. The twinkling lights you see have traveled for thousands and thousands of years before it reaches your eyes. If our sun would explode, it would take eight minutes before we would notice it.

Moreover, if someone in another galaxy were looking at our planet through a powerful telescope, he would see what was happening here thousands of years ago. What’s happening here right now can only be seen in that galaxy after thousands of years.

The now is irrelevant from the cosmic point of view. Everything is irrelevant from the cosmic point of view. We’re stuck here, in this time. If there are other civilizations out there, we will never be able to get in contact with them because of the distance and the time difference.

Some people believe that there is no reality outside their own mind. Philosophers call this idea solipsism. What’s this idea good for? Is it useful? I don’t think so.

Others believe that there are highly advanced civilizations out there which can travel faster than the speed of light or that angels and other strange beings can sneak in to our dimension through mysterious loopholes. It may well be so. I don’t know. However, is it meaningful to speculate about such beings if you have never met them? In what sense do such speculations improve your life situation?

To ponder space and time is maybe fun but it’s not particularly important. We need food and shelter. We need love and friendship. Such things are important. We don’t need war, greed, environmental disasters and injustice. We spend too much time and energy on unimportant or idiotic things and too little time on what really matters. This has to be changed. We need to wake up.

The world is unimaginable huge and life is unimaginable complex. The mistake most religious and spiritual people make is that they believe that they know what everything is all about. They know it all, but they arrive at different conclusions.

Many scientists have similar problems. They believe that they on the whole understand what‘s going on, but they don’t. What they know is just a small fraction of the totality. They look at life as if they were on the outside looking in, but they’re not. No one knows what life is all about. Life’s an incomprehensible mystery.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What is time?

What are we measuring when we’re measuring time? What is it made of? What is time really? Such questions are important for philosophers and physicists. To us everyday people it’s enough to know what time it is. It’s half past two here. I have to be at the wine shop before three o’clock because it’s Saturday, so I’m in a hurry. Time can be very important also from this point of view.

Physicists say that time was created at the Big Bang along with everything else. This means that time didn’t exist fifteen billion years ago. Nothing existed fifteen billion years ago.

Nothingness and timelessness are meaningless words for me. I don’t understand anything of what Buddhist monks and physicists mean when they talk about such matters. It’s like Greek to me. So, to me it doesn’t matter at all, if time is relative or if time is simply a social agreement. I live my life here at the surface of the reality ocean. The depths and the space are not for me.

Now I have to rush.