“When we begin practice, the self and the world seem to be material. Space is rigid, objects are solid, there is a carnality to the body and a somethingness to self. As we bring more mindfulness to experience, there is an overall trend for things to become more fluid”
– Shinzen Young
SO: you like to explore. How much?
Next Monday Sept 8th, the Consciousness Explorers Club’s Monday Night Reality Adventure is back at Octopus Garden (967 College St) after a 2-month summer break. We start the season at 7:45pm sharp with an exploration of what Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young has referred to as Three Fundamental States of Experience: Solid, Liquid and Gas. It’s sort of a metaphor and sort of not. Because it turns out that just as the material world can go through fundamental state changes – can have its particles rearranged to move from, say, ice to water to vapor (and back) – so can you. Or at least, so can the sensory experience of you. Concentration, clarity and equanimity are like catalysts – when you introduce them into the human sensorium, our experience of body, mind and world gets looser. More malleable. You find yourself hardening and contracting and reacting much less – you literally start to go with the flow. From solid to liquid, and then – if you’re real diligent – to gas. Poof – I done gone disappeared mammy! No worries – you’ll be back. As Shinzen once told me, “Hey Student Number 267 or whatever your name is – don’t get too uppity, the small self always come back.”
And why would you want to melt and flow? Because solidity – hardness – is brittle. Eventually life will beat the shit out of you and leave you smashed on the riverbank while cute redneck urchins steal your wallet and jewels. I don’t care how tough you are – nature will take you where it wants to go whether you like it or not. Far more dignified to go the Huck Finn route. Find yourself a nice raft, put your feet up, and puff on a corncob pipe as the scenery floats by. Work smart! Let nature do the pushing and pulling and directing. And then, from this soft and easy-going perch, you make brisk excursions into effective action. You choose your battles wisely, with a smoothness and fluidity that is responsive to the actual situation at hand. Like a soapy river bandit, all slippery and hooting with friendly plans and a big bang of reverse-looting for the child’un! Look at me telling you what to do. Do the experiment yourself. Better yet, join me on Monday night and we can do it together.
What else? Soul party, that’s what. At Handlebar – Thursday Sept 18th. Also, THIS WEEKEND: The CEC Meditation Retreat / Advance: Meditate Celebrate Lactate. Friday to Monday. $400. Why aren’t you going? We got room if you register TODAY. Description here, registration here. We’ll take you. We take all refugees from the Scary River of Life and help outfit them / you with a sturdy raft. And then we’ll set out in a fleet together – pirates! (friendly pirates) – looking for treasure, having spontaneous dance parties at every existential bend in the river, fixing shanties as we go, helping folks with their gardens, teaching them new irrigation techniques. Spreading the river love, melting, softening.
A month of Mondays:
TEACHER: Jeff; THEME: I am hard. I can take anything life deals out. MEDITATION: Sensory Experience 1: Solid and Liquid; GROUP PRACTICE: Tough gal / guy tickle fight. Words tickling via a conversation about your STUPID LIFE STRATEGIES. Strategy will battle strategy for cage match domination, and guess what? Softness and love wins. Haha.
TEACHER: Jeff; THEME: Ok things are getting a big bubbly and vibratory, wow dude you were right;MEDITATION: Sensory Experience Part Deux: Flow; GROUP PRACTICE: But can I flow in a group, with other people looking at my crooked teeth? This one will be a walking practice – a group moon-walking practice. For reals. How smooth can you walk? Can you walk in flow, liquid and frictionless, smooth like Michael Jackson, before he melted his own face off? Let’s see what happens.
TEACHER: Jeff; THEME: Sensory Experience the Third: I Done Goned Away; MEDITATION: Just Note Gone; GROUP PRACTICE: I have no idea. Something awesome and gaseous I made up that day. Maybe we’ll talk about some of the bullshit out there around ENLIGHTENMENT and ohhh STREAM-ENTRY and trying to get somewhere. Cause you can / can’t! It’s a paradox. The head-fuckeries of deep practice. Or maybe we’ll explore what scares us about practice, all this talk of disappearing … Can I let myself disappear? Am I willing to die? Wait – die?!? Who said anything about dying? My equanimity is disturbed – get me out of this cult! Which leads to …
TEACHER: Jeff; THEME: La Fin du Siècle: What about plasma? Anyway I’m sick of this metaphor – let’s do nothing; MEDITATION: OK ; GROUP PRACTICE: Ionized Star Guts Lava-Lamp and Mixed Tape Secret State-change Induction Ceremony. We’ll get every single pillow and bolster from the storage area and throw them in a huge pile and then lounge on them as if it were a den in the 70s and listen to this great mixed tape I made. Relaxing with pals, listening to music, turning into plasma, whatever that is. What could be better?
Already told you about our party – Sept 18th at Handlebar in Kensington Market. They are super fun and we play ridiculously good music and this time we are going to start it with a guided meditation at 8:30pm. The bar owners will think we’re freaks, but who cares? They need to soften up. Follow the way the winds blows and the river flows and the stars belch plasma.
President, The Consciousness Explorers Club