Sunday, June 5, 2011

View

Hi Folks,

I just wanted to say a few words today about view. View is what I would term the construction of conceptual layers in an ordered (or chaotic) fashion keeping thought contained/constrained in particular ways. It is akin to the walls of a house, whether those walls are close (like a small shack) or elaborate and extensive (like a mansion). Lets say I have a wall on the north side of the room I am presently in. That means I am unable to move north because the wall acts like a barrier. If I am standing in a north/south corridor, I can only move north/south. My view, or the way that I see/interpret/experience this world is similar. There are many things that contribute to this view: upbringing, school, trainings, religion, "spiritual practices", the news, friends and family's influence, etc.
The word that Patanjali uses for this is vrtti. Vrtti in one sense can be cyclical thought, turnings of mind and also just "definitions/boundaries of the mind".
Patanjali says that vrtti (or in our case view) can be either klista or aklista, which means that it can be obstructing or non-obstructing. If we cannot get around or understand the walls of definition that create our view, we are obstructed. This can lead to suffering and contraction.
We have to be cautious especially when we get an "expanded view". We may misinterpret this as freedom, thinking because our view is more expanded perhaps than others or more expanded than it used to be that we have freedom. Our view in fact can be so large that we have trouble seeing the boundaries, and because we have vast freedom of movement we may fall into a sense of comfort or even worse expanded egotism. At this point it is difficult because our mind may be "too smart for its own good". It is very difficult to deal with a mind like this.
There is a concept in the Tibetan practices of Buddhism called Creation and Completion.
Creation involves actually creating a view. Sometimes very elaborate. At the end, the view is utterly relinquished, totally letting it go.
This is an important point to remember with all spiritual practice. Most of the realm of practice for us falls into the realm of creation. We may study or practice along certain ordered guidelines and actually "get somewhere" with these practices. But then what? What happens if we stay stuck in the view? What we've effectively done is to move from point A to point B. But if it is possible for us to then utterly drop the view, point A and point B disappear. There is no "us" that travels from point A to point B. There is no "practice".
Working in this way helps us to unite relative and absolute truths through our practice and discrimination.
I try to spend time with both.
Sometimes I work in a more ordered way, with a created view. Sometimes I let it all go, everything, the yoga/tantra/all the book knowledge/all the knowledge that has come before/everything the teacher says. And just BE.
I do think both are useful. For example if we drive wherever we want to, we run people over. View is good. For certain things. But can we step outside of it? At least once a day?
When we do this we come back with a totally fresh perspective.
We live more in spontaneity and the moment.
Life bubbles with more potential and the ability to create anew.
Enjoy life and wonder at the beauty of it all.