Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
May 14 1991
I want to work with the analogy of the four sections. We have the circle divided into the four general sections, a way to cut the pie. And the pie has a central theme with the four sections of body, relationships, work and mind which includes spirituality and philosophy. I hope you spent some time thinking about yourself. In looking at the way you act from day to day will indicate which of these four quadrants you are predominant in. Do you spend a lot of time working? Or do you put a lot of energy in dealing with your relationships? Or are you very much involved in the philosophy of life or your mind?
So you have those four are as and you should look at yourself and see which are a you demonstrate more than another one and you will start to understand where there is a predominance. Like, instead of being 25% each one, you might find yourself more drawn to some than others.
The reason this ties into meditation is because there is a goal which we strive for. I think we can generalize that we strive for fulfillment, to be happy and successful. Simplistically, we want to be happy and not want to suffer. This pie does not have to indicate what we aspire for has anything to do with any reality. We might have a goal, if we attain it, let's take for example material wealth. We might attain incredible wealth and have devoted much of energy to this to the exclusion of relationships and so on. So we do it, we strive for it, and finally get it, and then we find we are unhappy. We could end up becoming an alcoholic or having a drug addiction which would indicate that we did not get the fulfillment that we expected, and therefore are relying on material substances to somehow give us a sense of satisfaction. Of course those are not going to be productive. We will end up being hollow and empty again from those reliances.
Some goals will not be fulfilling. Whereas others may be closer to fulfilment. It depends. I do not want to dissect these too strongly. In dealing with this, it ties into meditation because we want to be happy. And if we want to talk about real happiness, fulfilment in a real way, it has to be conscious. If we are not conscious of what we are, who we are, fulfillment will be a dubious thing. Maybe we might even get it and not recognize it. Not realize that we are getting it and strive off for something else and miss the whole experience. It is possible.
Why this ties into meditation is because it deals into being conscious. And why I set this up this way is because, well if we talk of dreams, dreams are not important. What is important is your trying to become fulfilled and happy. And that is what the real goal is, and dreams merely indicate what is going on. It is merely there are these little stage plays that go on in the whole process. And it is nothing more than to become conscious. If you become conscious, then, the little stage plays we have in the night time become more informative as to where we are at.
In reading the books on Jungian dream analysis, it gives you a structure to think about yourself, talking suddenly about complexes and such. I am going to take that information and apply it to this analogy. And you can see how you feel about it.
So, there is an aspiration for fulfillment. I will try to make you appraise yourself and question the theme you run towards. In doing that, you are beginning to break into a realm of consciousness into "Who am I?" Which is what meditation is. Meditation is who am I, what am I, what is happening? Like I am having these emotions and experiences. What is happening and why? There is always the question why. Why am I not as happy as I would like to be? Why do I get upset? Why do I experience these various things?
For the answer to why, you need consciousness. As in I am consciously aware. And to do that in this realm we have to start to identify the four areas. And in taking of that, we have to become conscious. Well, I have a lot of energy into my work, and a bit in these others, but I put a lot more time in my work. So you start to get the indicator of why you have dreams the way you do. Why are things happening?
This will bring up, if we were wonderfully whole or balanced, we would have these four quadrants in proper perspective. We would have balanced and would not have complexes. But the situation is, we are all a little neurotic. And we have complexes. And in any one of these quadrants, there are areas where we are neurotic. The energy is not clean, clear, simple. There was a bad relationship with our mother or father. Something traumatic happened in our youth. In Buddhism we could say past life time karma was ripening, as in something was created from previous lifetimes imprints is functioning in this lifetime.
Let's just talk about who you are right now! These things create a complex. I like to think of it as the energy striving for fulfillment, but as it comes up, all the circuitry gets shot to hell! Instead of just flowing towards this, it gets up to here and everything gets messed up. And then you do not experience fulfillment and you wonder what is going wrong. Why are not things getting their act together for me? I am starting to think that I would like to become realized, I would like to get my act together, but I have problems.
So complexes are merely that the energy does not come out right. We get all emotional or uptight. Or we get aggressive or insecure. Whenever those things happen, it is saying there is a complex there. There is something which is not working right and that is why it is demonstrating itself that way. If everything was wonderful, and the energy flows through your body and everything is fine, when something is not right, suddenly this one is going off! A nice example for the body, saying there is something which is not working right, that is when my hand is sitting there shaking and I am getting jerks and things, well your mind is exactly the something. It would like to be smooth and harmonious and in tune, natural, mind would love to be that. But we have experiences, we have things which have affected us.
You can take a previous lifetime karma ripening in this lifetime, or if you want to be just in this lifetime only, you could say mother and father relationships, brother and sister relationships, maybe D.N.A. wasn't right! All those things are valid in Buddhism too! Because in Buddhism we say everything is an interdependent phenomena. So all those areas are valid reasons why, for when the energy flows, it hits this particular area and suddenly everything goes berserk. There is an emotional out play which is not very smooth any more. I am sobbing and crying. I am getting angry. I am being defensive. So it indicates something in there is not right any more.
That is why we dream. Because mind is not smooth and going easily. And that creates tensions. Whether we dump them onto people around us, or we internalize them and they work themselves out in dreams, that is the way I like to present what a complex means.
You could say enlightenment is everything smooth clean and clear. And it has a nice quality of being positive. If in my enlightenment or being a bodhisattva of a lower and lower level, finally down to being just a regular sentient being, the energy is all tied up in knots. Attachment. Aversion. And basic stupidity or lack of awareness. All those things tie everything up in knots.
A simple way of knowing how do I know I have a complex is to see what happens when objects walk by you. Mother walks in the room. What happens? Or father walks in the room. Take some basic ones. A member of the opposite sex comes into the room. What sort of energy is there. Do you want to flirt, attract their attention? Or are you going to be establishing how intelligent you are? And when this person comes in, you have to prove that you are very intelligent.
At work I hit on this one. It is interesting. You will get three or four men sitting around there talking about their knowledge regarding a particular area. And, someone says this is my experience. And you agree. And then I have this one. And then you lobby something back. I find that when the conversation is over, there is a sense of unease, something is not quite natural. And mostly, I find I am with people that maybe did not graduate from school. And maybe they are not too intelligent. And this is my guess as to why I feel uncomfortable when the conversation is over. I think it is when some people who are not too intelligent get together, they make statements to say see how intelligent I am. If you are going to do this, then this is the way you do it. And if someone comes up with a different opinion, the person is uneasy because they are trying to make a statement that I am alright, and I do not have a lot of self esteem, but I have this knowledge which makes me feel like I have self esteem. So the reason they are saying things is because they are insecure, they do not feel good about themselves because maybe they never graduated, so they say things to make a statement to show how intelligent they are.
Also it happens some time when you are presenting some facts, and you present something and get a little hostile about it. So you either back off or get mad at the person. Again, why are they doing that? What is the underlying current in that person? Again, it might be insecurity, and they cling to some knowledge they can demonstrate which validates them and makes them feel a real person with esteem.
I went into that because I want you to realize that those areas exist for you too! They exist in many little things and it is subtle. A situation comes around, relationship, whatever, suddenly we will act in a particular way. This is where meditation is so important. You can become conscious of your insecurity. I am insecure right now. And I am acting this out.
And I don't want to attack basic instincts as in attraction or aversion or something. I am talking about the little idiosyncracies of your ego. And, the objective is we would like to be fulfilled, and we do not get the fulfillment fully as we would like to. So why not? Well, there are complexes which are not smooth in us. So let's become more conscious of them. And in that, we start to understand ourselves better. And within that, dreams are really a wonderful playground demonstrating what is going on in us because they have free licence. The director, the producer, sound effects and everything are in this wonderfully powerful creative hand of someone, because you can get terrifically interesting imagery in dreams.
Having dreams, depending on who and what you are, if you become more conscious of yourself as an individual with meditation, if you start to realize basic discrepancies in being a natural and realized person, you are starting to get in touch with it, maybe you have a few hang ups. And with that, meditation then becomes so real because you are actually starting to work on the fundamental nature of yourself and you are experiencing yourself with more awareness. And like I say, dreams are there so you can take this light of realization and apply it to dreams. And some dreams will be fairly descriptive of where you are at, and others won't. Mind is like that, very highly unpredictable.
But you are moving into a terrific area of awareness. That is all I want to talk about tonight. The whole thing of realizing dreams is you. Each of you fits into the cone I identified. Each has a goal. Maybe it is valid and realistic, or maybe it is unrealistic. You will never fulfill yourself in that goal. So, you have to appraise that and realize where you are. Certainly we need a little materialistic achievement. It makes us feel good and puts food on the table. We also need relationship fulfillment because we are social beings. We need relationships. We were created from relationship. The body is important, we have a relationship with our body, how is our health, our general sense of physical caring. We need to take care of it. Finally our mind as in philosophy, spirituality, the meaning of life. That is also important. However, each is equally important.
We are in those four. That is us. So, are we balanced? Are we fulfilled? Are we striving for realistic goals which can fulfill us? Or are we way off in left field?
Finally, if we were perfect and pure, we would not have hang ups or emotional problems when certain people or circumstances showed up. But, we all have them. We all have areas where we get mixed up when certain things happen. We have to really control ourselves, or we have to ignore. Or we have to bite our tongue. Whatever we do! Which indicates there is a complex. The energy is not smooth. We are feeling agitated, insecure, anxious, defensive, all the different ways of manifesting that something is going on. There is an area of lacking. It is becoming more conscious of yourself. In that you start to develop a framework for understanding yourself and your aspects such as dreams and imagery.
The meditation might not be too successful as in you have to grab something from the past to work with. It is always much better to work at this in the present moment. When someone walks in the room, and there is a particular emotion, then you can be quiet, sort of pleasant but more conscious of what is going on. Like way am I feeling this way? And it is open minded, not that you want to be uptight about it. Just openly aware of some of the energies that play with you. This is the objective of this particular part of the course on dream awareness.
The real point for the meditation is that point of freedom to observe. Conscious awareness is that which makes a possibility. So it must have freedom to be conscious and aware. If your mind is uptight, fixed on something, I want to be this or that, these are conceptual things you can set up tightly in yourself. It is difficult then to be aware because your mind is rigid. It is sort of dogmatic. If you are dogmatically religious, then mind cannot see a lot. So you want to create awareness which is open and has a sense of confidence about itself. That it can sit there and be open. Go back to those three analogies I use. Like being like space, solid like a mountain, and deep like an ocean. It works perfectly.
So allow yourself to be conscious within your own mind and then, when a particular thing happens, that you can look at it. This is the soap opera of my own being. If you can have a sense of humor about yourself, it is the best thing! It is refreshing to start to realize the soap opera of your being, and it can bring a lot of humor into yourself.
In your meditation it is awareness and observation, from that observation you gain realizations so the knowledge of the observer, the experience which generates that knowledge, is very real. The whole point is conscious awareness which is open to gain experiences, more knowledge, more realization. And it is not an intellectual thing, just understanding.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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