Zen, Tao, and “About Realty”

I was listening to a radio show and heard Ashwinni Narayanan say that Conditioned mind steps in as soon as there is judgement and opinion. That rings true for me. My Conditioned personality loves to weigh judgment and opinion. Awareness practice can bring us to a place where we understand that opinions and judgement are not related to reality. When examined in the light of awareness, thoughts can only be about reality.

Now this is not one of those complicated mystical Zen things. It simply means that thinking about reality is not about experiencing reality. So, thinking about the past, future, or now is not the same as experiencing now. We can only experience that past from the present. Every single thing we have a reaction or response to is only in the present. It might have happened last year but your reaction is embedded in right now. Here is where the emotional chemical reaction is taking place.

We can’t experience the future, period. Oh sure, we can assume all kinds of odds about the future. Bottom line? We have no idea.

Why is any of this important? Because so much of our lives are spent in the past and imagination about the future. And what emotional structure we generate from there has a huge impact on our experience of the present. We then start to take the emotional structure, cling to it, and apply it to the people, places, and things around us.

So I ask myself, “Do I want to be unhappy about about my past or future and bypass the perfectly fine moment that is passing by? Do I want to live outside the proximity of where I am?

I’m not sure I have ever been fond of the idea of “Dropping” things or just “Letting Go” which sounds great but I always had difficulty in doing. I found it more skillful to redirect.

Redirecting means we consciously move our attention somewhere else. That’s exactly what I did as an addict. I redirected my attention from my life for decades. What I’m suggesting is there are gentler, more skillful, more productive ways, to accomplish a redirect.

And no, it’s not a simplistic answer to clinging. But we are helping a process that happens anyway. We can only sustain a thought for so long and it moves to something else. Out minds scan. It’s what they do. Redirecting means we are consciously helping ourselves do that.

So we have a choice to live in a world where we believe that we “Have to think what we are thinking” or believe that we can redirect our thinking because we know that’s what works. Not because it’s easy. Not because it’s simple or works the first time. But because it reduces our suffering and in the long run works as a natural event.

Feeling stuck in your head? Take the time to nurture yourself. Get up. Move the body. Move the hands. Deflect and re calibrate. Move your attention to something else that involves the body. Clean something. Arrange something. Your thoughts will redirect, reform, and may return to being stuck. Do the process again. Ending your right now suffering means to do that however many times it takes for it to be effective. Conditioned personality will attempt to convince you that it’s a failure after only a single try. “I can’t do this.” But that’s not true. You keep doing it. You will succeed.

Love you,


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