Exploring Consciousness and Realizing Wisdom

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Exploring consciousness with the aid of Buddha's teachings is a path to discovering and realizing deep, liberating Wisdom. Consciousness may be experienced as confining and confusing; at the same time it offers opportunities for learning skills and making discoveries.

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So I propose to you that consciousness offers the opportunity for study of the Buddha way. It's like a study space. It can be like a study space for learning the Buddha way. And part of the reason, part of the conditions for me suggesting this is that I also propose that consciousness is where the self, there's a self. And so we can also, consciousness offers a study space, a learning space, a workshop for studying and learning the self. And in some sense, there's maybe like the real way the self is, the reality of the self,


and then sort of the misunderstanding of the self. So in the consciousness, the self may appear in a false way. And with the aid of our practices and the teachings, we can study this self that appears falsely and in that process of study, the way the self really, basically is, may become understood. So in this learning place of consciousness, the self appears, maybe not as a process, but as a thing. And then, as a thing that could be grasped, as a thing that is the way it appears.


So it appears, and there's a strong inclination to think that the way it appears is the way it is. It doesn't appear, you know, revealing all of its dynamic interdependencies. It doesn't say, I'm here only by the power of things that I'm not. It looks like it's saying, I am here by my own nature. It looks like it has an essence, but it doesn't. By studying, and when it appears that way, we can get a hold of it. But also, by studying, you have an opportunity, you have an opportunity, there is the opportunity.


And there's a you who thinks that the opportunity belongs to her, to learn about her, and to learn that grasping the self is stressful. Grasping this confined, constricted, and limited version of the self that appears, grasping the self the way it appears as the self, is a mistake, and it's a painful mistake. Learning that, and being kind to it, might encourage you to continue to be kind to it, so that you can continue to learn about it, because learning about it may relieve you of grasping it, and relieve you of the stress. Not just relieve you, not just relieve it of the stress, but relieve the whole consciousness of stress. And in the chant of the vow of the ancestor Ehe that we just chanted, it says, by revealing


and disclosing our lack of faith and practice before the Buddhas, we melt away the root of transgression by the power of this practice of confession and repentance. So what kind of lack of faith and what kind of lack of practice might you confess in the study of consciousness, in the study of self, where you might, for example, you might notice that you aren't being compassionate to the situation, you aren't being compassionate to the self, and to the pain that's around when there's grasping of the self. You're not being kind to it, you're not being generous. In the pain, you're not being careful. Like, people kind of say stuff like, I'm sick and tired of the self, I want to get


rid of it, why do I have to be with this, you know? Because there's so much problems around it, people just want to get rid of it, or even they want to get rid of the self, they want to get rid of the self-concern, they want to get rid of all the obsessions that are around it. But getting rid of is not exactly one of the practices, it's not on the list. Being careful of it, being respectful of it, being generous towards it, being patient with it, that's on the list. And when we don't do those practices, that's an example of a lack of practice. And also, being diligent about this study, being diligent about this observation of the self in consciousness. Sometimes we're not so diligent. So that's another, I wasn't so diligent just then, I wasn't studying the self.


And there's a lot of opportunities to miss, every moment of consciousness is an opportunity to miss study. Yes? If that question, so that question comes up and it's like, you're aware of that question? So that question is something that is also being observed maybe when you say it. So, when that question arises, I would say, when I hear the question, I would say, good, but don't keep looking at the question, turn around and look back. It's fine, the question is fine, but when you ask the question, do you distract yourself


from studying the self? So you're studying the self, and then you think, who's studying the self? Okay, which is fine, but don't let that distract you from the self that just asked that question. The self is what feels like, I asked that question. Did you kind of think you asked that question? Were you aware that there was somebody who thought she asked that question? That it was your question, not somebody else's question? Okay, you're not sure about that, but anyway, we didn't think we asked the question, did we? No, we didn't think so, we thought you asked the question. So when you ask the question, that's a fine question, but it's not so much like, I'm going to tell you, I can say, when you say, who is studying the self, you can say, well, the


self is, but it's not exactly that the self is, but there's a process there where the self seems to be involved with this activity, but the self isn't exactly doing the activity, it's just the self comes with activities, and there's a sense that the self owns those activities. And you can say, well, who owns it? Well, you can say, well, the owner owns it, but you can answer it, but the thing is, look and see, keep looking and seeing and find out there isn't a thing over there that's doing it. It's not like there's a doer and an action, like there's a questioner and a question, but if you have the question, then don't let that make you bifurcate again, go back and look. Go ahead. You don't know what to do with infinite regress?


Be kind to it. Well, you just said to me, I don't know what to do, and then I told you, and then you said, who is it? So that's the infinite regress. So you can say that every time you ask, say, what should I do, and I tell you, and then you can say, well, who's doing it, that's fine, but you just asked me, you just asked me what you should do, and I told you what you should do, and then you said, who does it? Right. Well, you can say, just you can say it conventionally, you can say self did it, but that's just the way it looks, it looks like you did it, and then when you say, who did it, could there be in that question an attempt to get a hold of something? There could be, right? And that's the problem. And I can tell you it's a self, and then you get a hold of the self. If you get a hold of the self, this infinite regress phenomenon could be nauseating, but


if you do it without abiding in the self in the process, you find out that that way you can study without getting sick. Okay. And I'll say this again, but when you first start trying to turn the consciousness around back on itself, that may be not only difficult just to even try or remember to do, but there's some kind of like, I don't know what the word is, short-circuiting may be happening, some kind of like, it might be kind of uncomfortable when you first start doing it too, but it is possible to learn and get more comfortable with it. But when you first start doing it, it's kind of like your brain is overheating or something, some kind of discomfort of, you're looking at something and then turn the light back


to what's looking, rather than what's looked at. And then you have a chance to realize that what's looking is aware of what's looked at, rather than what's looking is aware of something that's other than mind. If you look at something and don't be aware that somebody's looking at it, you might think that something you're looking at is not your mind. The mind can't look at things other than mind. And usually, mind thinks it is looking at something that's other than mind. Or anyway, often, when we look at the world, we think, I'm looking at the world which is not my mind. When you turn around and look at the looker, you get to see that there isn't a world out there that's not mind. And there isn't a looker in here other than the world, which is mind, in which the


looker lives. But before the question, I just want to mention, I brought this thing about confessing and repenting melts the root of transgression, so I'm proposing to you that the root of transgression, transgressions occur, the transgressions you're confessing, the lack of practice, the transgressing from the practice that you're confessing, you're confessing something that's discovered in consciousness, you notice you're not being diligent in consciousness and you confess it in consciousness, that's the transgression. The root of the transgression is not in the consciousness. The root of the transgression, the direct root is unconscious cognitive processes. So the root of the transgression is not exactly the past transgressions, it's the consequence


of past transgressions. So, if I'm not diligent, that transforms my body and mind, and that body and mind is the root of more non-diligence arising. And the practice of confession in consciousness transforms the body and the unconscious mind, they both get transformed by confessing lack of skill in consciousness. And every time there's a noticing of a lack of practice, that noticing is sponsored or supported or grounded on the consequence of past action. So somehow, one might wonder, how do you start the process, well, I really don't know.


I don't know what the conditions are, the beneficent conditions are, such that your body and mind supports noticing what you want to do, or actually wanting to do something, noticing you're not doing it, and confessing that you're not doing it, and feeling sorry you're not doing it, I don't know how that process starts, but anyway, it does go on, somehow, in consciousness, for many people. When that happens, that's one little transformation of the vast cognitive process that lives with the mind, and that then supports another consciousness where, if there's any lack of practice, it can be noticed, confessed, and repented, and that again transforms, until the basis for consciousness has been transformed so that there's no more transgressions. Yeah, that's the amazing suggestion, that you finally get to a place where there's no more,


but in the meantime, you go from mostly transgressing to less transgression, to quite a bit less transgression, and so on, to none. So the one description of the essential process of learning all these Bodhisattva practices is fourfold. One is, you receive a precept, you receive a practice, correctly, like you receive the practice of generosity, you receive the practice of ethics, in the sense of being careful of all your actions, because, I say ethics in this way because generosity is ethical activity, too. But generosity isn't so much about being careful about what you're doing. It's more like just opening and giving. And then, after that, you start being careful of how you give and how you receive.


And then you practice patience. These practices are ways of dealing with the study. And we can then receive that precept, and then we can say, those precepts, and we can say, I want to practice them. In other words, you aspire to practice these practices which you've heard of. They sound good, you want to do them, you aspire to do them, and the aspiration is the second aspect. So the first aspect is, receive the precept, correctly, from another, not from yourself. Correctly. Talk it over with the other to see if you got the precept right, and then aspire to it. Those are the first two aspects of the process of learning Bodhisattva ethics.


The next one is, you fail. That's the next aspect. The third aspect of this practice is, you fail at the precept which you received and aspire to. And then part of the third part is, you fail and you confess and repent. That's the third aspect. And the fourth aspect is, you don't fail anymore. But it isn't like you receive a precept, you aspire to it, you fail once, and then you don't fail anymore. There's usually more than one failure. But while you're failing, you continue to receive the precept and aspire to it, and fail. Continue to receive the precept, aspire, and fail. You don't always fail.


Sometimes you receive the precept, aspire, and succeed. You do sometimes succeed, and that's encouraging, but you also fail. When you fail, then you confess and repent, and the confession and repentance melts away the root of the failure process. And the root, again, is in not conscious, and how the root supports the transgressions, and how the root, there's also a root which supports the success, but when there's no more support for the transgressions, then there's only support for success. So this is a discussion of consciousness, where we practice, but it's also talking about more than just consciousness, it's talking about the foundation of consciousness. And that needs to be transformed in order for consciousness to be freed completely.


Leon? My question doesn't inviolate what you've just said, but it's very pertinent, and it's important to move out to a point. Okay, go ahead. What keeps coming up for me is, I think, therefore, I don't know. I'm trying to figure out how that fits, or if it does fit, or perhaps it evokes that idea when you're talking about my unconscious state. I'm used to it, but I think I believe in that. Well, maybe I still do, but I think therefore I don't. I think that the linguistic structure of that is such that, I think therefore I am,


sounds to some extent like, if I can think I am, if the I can think, then there is an I. Okay? Which is similar to say, the I is the thinker. Another way to say it, if there's thinking, there's an I. If there's no thinking, there's no I. Okay? And if you meditate on that, it's possible that you realize that if there's no I unless there's thinking, and when there's a thinking then there's I, then you can't get a hold of the thinking without getting a hold of the I, and you can't get a hold of the I without getting a hold of the thinking. This leads to the understanding that you can't grasp the I or the thinking. So, Karen's question and your question lead me to potentially bring up a Zen story, but


before I do, the Zen story just happens to be kind of related to this, of all things. Yes? I feel like the explanation this morning was really clear and helpful, but there's a little question that's coming from you, which is the question about failure and repentance and somewhat regret. It seems like those are processes of a self, and... I agree. There's another way, you know, it could be another way to say it. The implication is that somebody did it, and someone could regret it, because I did it. It's not so much the implication, it's not so much an implication that somebody did it, it's a statement that somebody did it.


Right. But the implication is, one could draw the implication that, not the implication that somebody did it, but that somebody... That the statement is that somebody did it, as you get into studying that, you realize there isn't really somebody there other than the statement. So why make the statement? To realize that there's not somebody there other than making the statement. Because we think there is somebody there other than the statement. Before you made the statement, there was already the belief that there's somebody there, even when statements aren't being made. I'm here before I just made that statement. I was here. That's what we usually think. Like, and I'm talking now, but I kind of think that I didn't start to exist right when I was talking.


I was here before that. That's the usual delusion. That the self is here before the actions of the self. That the self is here before there's thinking. I'm here, now, and now I'm thinking. I'm an a priori self, as we say. But that statement, I think therefore I am, could also turn around and say, before I think, I'm not. Before I make that statement, I'm not. So why go there? For example, yesterday, why go to I was and I made the statement? How about noticing lack of attention? The reason you go there is because you've gone there before. But what if I don't go there? How about if I just go lack of attention? Well, you can do that, that's fine. That's not going to hurt you. Lack of attention. However, lack of attention might not melt the root of


I have a lack of attention and believing that I am something other than lack of attention. But actually, that's a mistake. Melting away the root of not paying attention might not come from just saying lack of attention. I know some meditators just are sitting there and they're saying, just note lack of attention. Just note non-diligence. That's fine. But then there's also the practice of confessing I had a lack of attention. You don't have to say I, but the root, the reason we say I whatever is because we said I whatever before. And there's a lot of reasons why we say I whatever in addition to, what is it, that I've said that before. There's also been established this predisposition towards conventional designations. Because I've used language before,


there's an unconscious mind which is predisposed to make conventional designations and conventional means that conventionally we might often say I did it. But how about if you see that it happened and still there's kind of a regret, but, you know, if you see it actually, it happened, I really did it. If you see somebody else do it, you're not supposed to be practicing regretting that they did it. No, me. But you said, if you see it just happened, you didn't mention yourself. You said how about if there's just happening, it just arose. If you just see it arose, that's like seeing somebody else do it. And when you see somebody else do it, actually when you see somebody else do it, you're actually being diligent


because you notice that. And you don't regret the other person did it and you don't regret that you noticed it. But if you don't pay attention or if you do something unkind, if something unkind arises, when somebody else does something unkind, you do not confess and repent that. With other people doing unskillful things, you don't confess that they did it and repent it. You don't do it. You maybe feel compassion for them, but then you're doing your job so you don't have to confess anything. It's noticing that I did an unkind thing that removes, that melts the root of I do unkind things and also that I'm something in addition to the unkind things. But first of all, it melts the root of unkind actions by me, but also the root of unkind...


It doesn't necessarily remove the unkind actions of other people yet. But I may be going a little fast for you. I'm talking to her now, it's okay. No, I'm with you. And I guess what I'm kind of getting from this... I'm with you. Yes. But I'm just saying, there are times when you just really see that it wasn't, you know, I didn't do it. But I think what you're saying is when there's unkindness or unconsciousness, it's because I is here blocking something out or... Yeah. Well, going back to this thing I said before, these two worlds meet, right? There's two worlds meet. There's delusion, which is, I'm here before I talk. I'm talking now, but I was here before that. And there's the other world where I'm not here before I talk. When there's talking, I'm here. The world of delusion, I'm here before I think.


I am, period. And now I think. And now I talk. So I'm here and I'm talking to you. That's delusion. The other side is, I'm talking to you and I'm here. So one is carrying myself around. I've got myself. You know what it's like, there's this TV show called Paladin. Half-gun will travel. So, half-self will travel. I will travel down the various roads of action. I've got a self, a self is here, and I have it. And you can just reinforce that infinitely. You've got this well-established, I am here and I do things, and now I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that. That's delusion. The other side is,


all these things that are being done, when they're done, I'm here. That's enlightenment. And there can be moments like that. And you don't have to confess that. There's no repentance for that, that's enlightenment. But you also don't have to really repent, I am here. You don't have to necessarily be sorry that you're a human being. That's not really a transgression, that I think I'm here before the actions I do. That's a delusion. But you could also confess, well actually, if I believed that and I thought that wasn't a delusion, then that would be a lack of faith. The faith is that I'm not here before the conditions that make me have arrived. I believe that, maybe. That's the teaching. None of us are here before the conditions that make us are here. So if I don't believe that, then that's a lack of faith.


But when I do unskillful things, that's a lack of practice. Or when I forget to do the practices I'm committed to, that's a lack of practice. And if I just see a lack of practice, in some sense, and that makes me, then maybe I don't have to confess that. But when I see a lack of practice, that's your example, you just see a lack of practice, which happens to be not somebody else's. And it isn't quite mine yet either. I can't yet confess it. I confess it when it gets to be mine, or if I thought I was here before it would happen, then it's mine. Either way. But there's a little enlightenment in one example. And you can be enlightened while you're confessing your lack of faith. Or not.


But even if you're not, it transforms you in the direction, it erodes the basis of thinking that you can do things by yourself, aside from the things you do. Like I'm an actor, independent of my actions. That's basically delusion. But there either could be moments of enlightenment or situations where actions occur, skillful or unskillful, and nobody yet owns them, that could appear. For example, in consciousness there could be a sense of self, and something could appear, and there's not yet ownership of it. But the self here owns something else. So like I own Elizabeth, but I don't own Deborah. But the self owns something, because self does own things. It has its own, it has its mind.


But something can arise and you don't think you did it, and you don't confess it then. Unless the self comes in and goes, Ooh! If the self comes in and goes, Ooh, what do you mean, ooh? What do you mean by ooh? I ignored that. What? I didn't see that, I ignored that. I didn't do it. Yeah, then it's ouch, and it's supposed to be ouch. Got it. But before it's ouch, before it's ouch, it's not harming anything, it's just like a color. Yeah. You know? A color arises in the mind and you don't think it's... A color arises in consciousness and there's not the thought, I made that color, or I own that color. There isn't that thought. So you don't confess and repent that. It's not a shortcoming. It's a color. But also a shortcoming could appear just like a color and nobody owns it. And there's no problem


and you don't have to confess anything. But seeing that color does not transform the root of transgression. It's neutral, karmically neutral. It's not progressing. This is an example of something which doesn't contribute to more readiness for enlightenment and doesn't undermine it. There are cases like that. It's when some karmic act appears that's unskillful and you... It's not just, like I said, it's not just like somebody else's or like a color in the sky. It's something that you own. And you own that you own, and then it's your own, there it is. And then you confess that you own it. And you say, I own it, right? I own up to that, right? I own up to what I did. You do that and then you feel some regret. Somebody said to me that in Twelve Step people say


don't regret your life. It isn't that you regret your life. You regret that I did that. You regret that. That transforms the root of thinking that way. And also of thinking of unskillful things, of doing unskillful things. But first of all, it immediately starts transforming the root of doing unskillful things and it gradually melts away the root of thinking that the self is there before the actions, or that I am before I think. Which we do think that teaching from Descartes, that part of his teaching is pretty good. It's the split of the body and mind that's not good. See, he thinks there's a consciousness that's not based in the body. That was just... I had a question because I remember reading that someone asked Margaret the usual question you ask most people, like, where are you in your body?


They would point here. And they asked her and she said, all over. So I think that's kind of what you were saying. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yes? Just what Lin is saying, so sometimes when there's two people and they're practicing the right actions at the right time, as far as their conscious level, to be skillful, but then there's an unskillfulness that arises. So, if that unskillfulness is like a color, or is it more like one or both people are not quite aware or conscious of that, that there is an unskillfulness? Yeah. So, two people are talking, let's say there are two people who are dedicated to acting skillfully, they want their karmic consciousness to be skillful, and there's an appearance of an unskillful thing,


there's an image of unskillfulness. Which... And then there may be some pain and stress around it, too. And then there's one possibility, one of them thinks, I did it. Or the person might also think, you did it. The other person did it. Or they might be talking about something that somebody else did. They'd both be looking at something somebody else did. And when they look at something somebody else did, then they don't confess that they did it, and they don't feel bad about it. They maybe feel pain for that person, but that's more like compassion. That's not unskillful action to feel pain when somebody else doesn't pay attention to what they're doing and falls down the stairs. Now, what's your question there? And I hear that sometimes it seems that things arise even when it's not necessarily


the one or the other, it's just the difference, just that there's a difference. Well, for example, we could imagine now an unskillful action. The two of us could imagine an unskillful action. Neither one of us think that we did the unskillful action, but in our minds it arose. But we don't think we did it. And maybe we might not think the other person did it. It's like now if we imagine the other person did yellow. Is that a karmic act? It's a karmic act if I think I did it. Yeah, so part of what I'm saying here is that what arises in consciousness, not everything that arises in consciousness


transforms the whole body and mind. The transformative key is the things that arise in consciousness that the self owns, the self thinks it does. Yeah. Or a skillfulness. That's what transforms the root of further transgressions. It's an image of an unskillful thing that I do has karmic consequences and it sets the basis for more imaginations like that. This is all in the mind, right? When I notice it and see that it goes against the precept which I aspire to and I confess it and repent it, that transforms that which makes more things that I do that I have problems with and also, I don't have to confess and repent


skillful things I do, that's sufficient. The skillfulness, you don't have to notice it that you did it. Doing it is sufficient noticing. That transforms too. That's good, right? In the short run, that's good. And by the short run I mean in setting up the possibility of enlightenment, those are good. The things that we confess and repent transform the root of the transgression. But if the thing just appears, there's not much transformative opportunity If I don't do it, it's not a karmic act. So, to the extent that colors appear and I see people dancing around in the meadows, that's not a transformative opportunity for me. I didn't do that. And the other things that happened,


I didn't do them either, but I thought I did. I thought I did it, but actually the thing that happened and me are co-producing each other. And I don't see that. I don't see that what I'm saying made me, I think I made what I'm saying. And then that way of, and then if what I'm saying is unkind, then that particular delusion of I did it will have, if I notice it and confess it, it will have a very powerful transformative power. The chant we did, it didn't say if you confess your right actions that will melt away the root of transgression. It didn't say that. You don't have to confess your right actions. That's not necessary. It's okay to do it, as long as when you do it, you don't transgress by saying, well, I did that better than you. Yes?


I'm following along, but if I have compassion, if my consciousness brings up a compassionate feeling for somebody else, that doesn't have a transformative action. No, not unless you own it. Not unless I own compassion or own the thing that we have, or the object of compassion. Or you don't, the object of compassion you don't have to own. So if you have a compassionate thought and you say, I wish to do it, that transforms your consciousness. But if you have a compassionate thought and you don't say, I want to do it, or I am going to do it, or I did it, it's just an idea floating by. It doesn't really transform. It's like a color. And the conditions which gave rise to it are the same conditions that give rise to I did that compassionate thought. It's all based on the same body-mind support.


But some of the things that the body-mind supports are things like colors. And when you see a color of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, you know, that doesn't transform the root of transgressions when you see that. It doesn't hurt you either. What transforms is thinking of a compassionate thing and saying, I want to do that, and, or, and I'm going to, and, or, I did. That transforms. The other one, which has been more powerful, in a way, is I did something unskillful and uncompassionate. That transforms. But both of those two things, the compassionate act and the uncompassionate act, when they appear, if you don't work it, in either case, they have neutral karmic consequences. They don't transform. Yes.


There's seven hands. On different people. The desire to add in an I don't exist because I find that sometimes the admitting, the confessing almost has an effect of creating more of self. As if this self exists. Do you see what I mean? I do. So, and I think this might go a little bit what was I said, I don't know, but so it's it's admitting or confessing


that something's occurred and then relaxing around it that it doesn't compromise the self. Yeah. Well, you said several things. One is you said the last thing you said was doesn't doesn't con concretize concretize is. Is that the word you said? Did you say concretize? It doesn't you want to confess without concretizing the self. You also said maybe relax around it. I know, I'm just saying it's kind of the same thing. It's kind of a synonym. Relaxing is related to not concretizing. Okay? Those are kind of similar. So you make a confession, you feel some sorrow, and then you want to go back to work and you want to do that in a relaxed way. A non-concretizing way. Right? Well, relax with that.


Okay? Relax with that. What did you say? No, Leon. That's evil. That's the way to do it. That's the clean way of confessing and repenting is you see it, you confess it, you feel sorrow, and then you go back to work at what you wanted to do in the first place or before. You go back. Nice and clean, no concretizing, in a relaxed way. And if you want to, it's okay to say, and by the way, now that I've made this confession of repentance and I'm going back to work, one of the things I'm going to go back to work on is reiterating the teaching that I am nothing in addition to or less than the process of confession which I just went through, and I'm nothing in addition to what I'm saying right now. This is a teaching that there's not a concrete self. To say the self doesn't exist


is too much. The self does exist in the process of confession and repentance. The self does exist in the process of the original thing you did, which you're confessing. But the process of this confession is to make us see that there's nobody there outside the process. That's what we're trying to realize by this process. And the root of transgression, the fundamental transgression that will be rooted out, will melt, is the transgression of I exist in addition to my actions. The a priori independent self, the root of that will be melted away by the power of this confession. And so we want this confession to be cleaner and cleaner and if we notice that it makes, it somehow concretizes the self in the process,


then we say, that was not just a skillful confession. Excuse me, but just tell you a story about Samuel Johnson, you know that guy? He was an 18th century fellow, I believe, maybe 17th and 18th century guy. There's a biography of him by Mr. Boswell. I think it's called The Life of Johnson or something. Anyway, when he was somewhat old, for many years he had a kind of monastic schedule in the city and he would get up in the middle of the night, he would wake up and do what's called matins, which is a prayer in the middle of the night that they do in monasteries. He'd get up and he'd do prayers. And I think one of the times


he got up and something, some very painful things started happening in his nervous system, his body. And he thought he was having a stroke or something. So he got on his knees and prayed to God and said, You can do whatever you want with my body, but please don't destroy my mind. And he made this prayer in Latin verses. And then he got back in bed and then he thought, Those verses were not too good. You know, maybe partly because I'm having a stroke, it's hard for me to make good verses. So he got out of bed again and he said, Although the verses were not too good, I thank you, Lord, for preserving my critical faculty.


So this is like, you know, observing the quality of your confession. That confession was clean, great. That confession was kind of sticky, I wallowed, or whatever. I was so focused on the confession, I tensed up around it too much. That was kind of a self-centered confession. I was talking to somebody yesterday about some people in the process of confessing, you know, if other people try to talk to them, they sort of don't have time for them. Rather than, I'm confessing and somebody says, Could I talk to you in the middle of your confession? You say, Sure, what do you need? Or just a second, just to make a little note before I answer your question so I can go back to my confession. See, you know, you don't do this selfishly, but you sometimes notice that you're self-centeredly confessing self-centeredness. Right? So we want to skillfully, cleanly confess our selfishness


and skillfulness. Next question? Yes? Is the activity of the mind itself a sign of the lack of faith? Is the activity of the mind... Which activity? That's the answer to the question. Okay. Bruce? Oh, he said okay. Could you hear him? Can you hear him, Bruce? Can you hear him? Would you stand up, Bruce? Right. Right. Right.


And the unconscious is the effects of lots of action. You know, the actions of living beings create our bodies and our cognitive processes, which support our more activity in consciousness. Yes. Yes. And there is teaching about this, but I think maybe I could have a... set aside to have a special session on that, about this consciousness which isn't just ours. But I hesitate to get into it right now. But if you want to,


I'll just maybe, either in the next session or the one after that, I'll address this and give you a teaching about the different types of unconscious. I'll just basically say that there's a shared unconscious process and an unshared, or a common and uncommon. There's these two realms or two dimensions of the unconscious process which supports our consciousness. But I think... So I answered that briefly, that there are two varieties of unconscious, you could say, the shared and the unshared. So, can I get back to that later? Will you remind me? Thank you. Will somebody else remind me too? Okay. I like to stay on this... So he's shifting... He was shifting the topic to look at the theories of the unconscious process. We're still back...


We were back in the consciousness where we're talking about how does confession and repentance work in consciousness and then how does it transform the unconscious process and which kinds of activities in consciousness transform the basis of consciousness and which kinds of activity in consciousness really aren't transformative. That means neither way do they transform. And it's okay It's not like a shortcoming that you see a color and it's not a transformative event. It's okay. It's not a problem. It's part of the rhythm of the process of enlightenment is that there's some neutral time. Are there any other hands up? Yes? Let me call on these two people that I haven't called on yet. Catherine and Lucetta. I was thinking that this relationship between the unconscious and the conscious is almost like a call and response if we're really paying attention


and that I thought too of how in the illness whether it's emotional or physical there's a symptom dialogue that can happen where we can ask what the symptom what it has to say or what's in its voice and I feel that in a way that part of what this process is is what does the symptom need to let me know about myself or my unawareness or is the symptom actually the unconscious mind kind of flagging me down. And then your other process it felt like to me it was like projection. I'm projecting with my mind and it's taking that projection back and reflecting back this way in how I was understanding and realizing that the mind that I'm seeing is taking it back to myself that I understand so I can start to transform.


You can say, you can say, it's mind that I'm seeing and take it back to myself or you can also say, it's mind that I'm seeing and stop there. Because you already said I. So when you remember that what you're seeing is actually mind not the I part of the mind but the mind appearing in such a way so that the mind knows it so that the I knows it. Sometimes what the I knows it calls mind sometimes it calls not mind but in both cases what the mind is doing what the I is doing is looking at consciousness in both cases. And in both cases it could look and say in both cases I'm looking, I'm looking. I'm looking at mine, I'm looking at not mine. This is the self in these two actions. And the things I'm looking at are not outside mine.


I'm looking at inner things that look external. Then I'm not distracted from the meditation. The other thing you said, you said some other things. One is, consciousness really is kind of a response to the call of the unconscious. The unconscious says, please think this. The unconscious can't think. It says, please think. And the consciousness goes, okay. I'm like, yes, I think. The unconscious can't do I think but it can request I think. And you said something about symptom. I would say that the consciousness is a symptom area. I don't think that the unconscious is not the symptom area, it's the sickness area. It's where all the sicknesses are. But we experience the suffering of them in consciousness. And experiencing the suffering of them and confessing that transforms the illness.


The unconscious really has a sick part which supports the appearance of symptoms in consciousness, which if we practice compassion tourism cures the disease. There's another part of the unconscious which is not the sick part, which supports the birth of wisdom and peace. So the unconscious supports both. It has a pure part that supports nirvana and an impure part that supports samsara. In samsara, in the birth and death consciousness, if we practice compassion and listen to the teaching, we transform the root of these symptoms, which is a kind of illness which is the result of past unskillful thoughts. But the body is a call which has been responded to in biological wonderment as mind. The body said, Help, you know, I'm doing okay,


but I'd like some help. And the mind arose. And then the mind says, Help, help, [...] and consciousness arose. But there was design flaws in the consciousness. But the design flaws, you could say they're design flaws, but today I feel like they aren't really design flaws. I think they are symptoms of the design flaws of the consciousness which was calling for help. And those aren't really design flaws either. They are the consequence of not optimal action. So it is the case that non-optimal action has consequence and then bringing up in the consciousness is where we can see it, look at it, confess and repent it, and transform the whole process, including the whole body. So this arose to serve the body, and some unskillfulness arose in the process, and now we can cure the whole thing. Lucetta?


I was thinking about a conversation yesterday about abiding and not abiding. So I'm wondering how that relates to this subjective and immediate switch to sin? Or do you think of common ways to be more like abiding? Yeah. To notice, to make your confessional repentance more and more relaxed and not concretizing it and not being self-centered about it, but just doing your job. I'm just doing my job, man. That's the direction of this yearning for a non-abiding way. So it's possible that somebody who had cultivated this mind of no abode actually could still notice shortcomings and confess them in the spirit of wisdom. And this practice would enhance the non-abiding mind, which they're realizing


in the middle of the confession, and that would promote an even deeper non-abiding. So I notice it's been going on for quite a while. I have this story, which I want to tell you, and I also want to address Bruce's question about the unconscious process. It's different types, but I feel like we should have a little pause unless somebody has a question that they don't think can wait. Okay, so let's have a little walking meditation now. Or as Jackie Gleason used to say, let's have some traveling music.