Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Charting the Inner Experience: The Way to Peace Lies Within!

Charting the Inner Experience: The Way to Peace Lies Within!


This is my latest attempt to chart the inner experience.
If you want peace, love, gratitude, forgiveness,
if you want a non-violent world,
start within!
Look within.

The Eight* Dimensions of Conscious Awareness:
The Inward Looking Eye

(* note: I have added "Body Sensations" and "Impulse" as separate dimensions since the original version, hence it was 6, now 8 dimensions)

The view of Classical Western Science

All phenomena can be seen as effects of interactions of objects and energy in the world of Space-Time. This is called the "external world" (because it is external to the self which is aware). It is also called the "real world" . This is the view of Classical Science (defined by Aristotle, Newton, Galileo, Descartes, Maxwell, Einstein, etc.)

This is also called Dualism, e.g., matter/energy, or body/mind, material/spirit. Science seems to focus on one side: the material. The world "material" comes from the same root as "measurement".

So, types of energy which can be measured (gravity, electromagnetism, kinetic, etc.) are considered real, but energy which is difficult to measure (e.g., consciousness) tend to be ignored, denied, or disregarded. A side effect of classical science has been to deny both the Soul of God, and the individual soul. (although Quantum Mechanics seems to be changing this).

In classical science, the role of spirit / consciousness is denied or de-emphasized, due to the non-substantial nature and due to science's blind spot with regards to the immeasurable.

We see our happiness and suffering as being brought about by changes in the external world:

Pleasure, Praise, Fame, Gain => These bring happiness :)
Pain, Blame, Shame, Loss => These bring suffering :(

(....or so we think...)

The view of Classical Eastern Metaphysics

Here is a wonderful video by my friend Gerald Penilla which explains the connections between Quantum Mechanics and Buddhism: Where Science and Buddhism Meet
Another way of looking see
s all phenomena as modulations of mind, or waves of change in the internal world. This is the view of ancient wisdom traditions of Buddhism, Yoga, Vedanta, and is emerging from the New Science of Quantum Mechanics.

(As Fritjof Capra points out in Tao of Physics, it is really not new at all, and was clearly documented in some of the oldest human texts, written in Sanskrit nearly 4,000 years ago)

These modulations of mind can be described by Eight Axes or Eight Dimensions of Mind.

As we study this material, and practice the techniques, we discover that while some pain and loss and even death is inevitable, our suffering is largely caused by unskillful mind states, and is therefore, optional.

If we live in wretched land of suffering, Samsara, Babylon, the Matrix, etc., it is only by our own design. Perhaps it is a habitual choice, and an unconscious choice. We pretend we don't see a choice, in order to fulfill a dream, desire, or drama. When we really get tired of it all, and want to find peace, calm, happiness, there is spiritual practice.

With skill and practice, we can be free to return to the ground state of being: Nirvana, Heaven, Samadhi, Satori, Sat Cit Ananda, Moksha: Lasting transcendent happiness and true freedom from all burdens.

"Why do you stay in prison
when the door is wide open?"

-- Rumi

"The only difference
between Samsara and Nirvana
is yo' head"

-- Lama Marut

(from "Living the Perfect Life Here and Now",
Festival of Bliss, Nov 4 2009. Check Livestream for the video...)

Source Material:

This work is a condensation of nearly 3 years of study of the wisdom of Buddhism, Yoga. Although there is no single source text with this exact list.

If you carefully study the Five Skandas (aggregates of mind), Three Poisons,
Four Noble Truths, Four Brahmaviharas, Four Yogas, Five Kleshas, Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Eightfold Path, Eight Winds,Ten Hindrances, and the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, you will get an idea of the source material for this list :)

The practice of "Noticing the Present-Moment Experience in terms of Eight Dimensions" will prepare your body-mind for the truth held within Vedanta:

  1. Life is a dream within the mind of God.
  2. The individual consciousness is equivalent to the mind of God, differentiated and projected into the field of Maya (illusion).
  3. With this knowledge, comes the demand of the highest ethical conduct here in the relative world.

The Eight Dimensions of Consciousness:
  • 1: Perceptions (5 sense organs plus 2: Body Sensations)
    As with the sight of a spider, Perceptions , can trigger emotions or a body response without thought.

    Notice Body Sensations are intermediate between both Perceptions and Emotions.
    You can observe your Body Sensations they way you observe your Perceptions .
    You can also feel your Body Sensations they way you feel an Emotion.
    Like Perceptions , Body Sensations can trigger an emotional response without thought.
    Body Sensations are important enough to be considered a dimension.

  • 3: Emotions (Feelings)

    • positive/plesant, negative/unplesant, and neutral
    • BUT! Still watch out for anger, sadness, fear, as they almost always based on ego and story.

  • 4: Thoughts (Cognitive Mind) [maps to Jnana Yoga]

    • Thoughts, Ego, Self/Other, Separation, Story, Drama, Games, Measurement, Opinions, Views, Distinctions, Names, Voice of Knowledge, Analysis, Models, Theories, Prediction, Questions, Monkey Mind, Logic, Reason, Induction, Deduction, Sense of Time/Space/Causation, Preferences, Aesthetics, Likes/Dislikes, Ethics ("I must do what is right!" -- notice two components, ego and judging), Judging, Cursing, Good/Bad, Diagnosing, Moral distinctions/Moral imperative, Actor, Author, Doer, Enjoyer

    • Quiet Mind
    • Contemplation of Emptiness (Impermanence and Unsatisfactoriness of Material Existence

      Pema Chödrön
      on the Cognitive Mind: "It's not that thinking is all bad. That's not it. Shengpa is when you get hooked by a thought, into believing the story, into deriving identity from it."

  • 5: Energy

    • sloth, torpor,
    • hyperactivity, excitability,
    • balanced, calm, Kundalini

  • 6: Affect

    • Craving, Attachment (Shengpa), Desire, Greed,
    • Aversion, Resistance, Resentment, Hatred (these are also forms of Shengpa)
    • Gratitude, Patience, Forgiveness/Repentance, Loving-Kindness, Sympathetic Joy, Compassion, Equanimity, Allowing, Accepting

  • Volitional Forces: 7:Impulse and 8: Action
    • Impulse should be considered a unique dimension. Without impulse, there is no action.
    • A most important part of meditation practice is sit with, and observe impulse, without action.
    • Notice action for what it is. Even inaction is still action.
    • Advanced topic, not for householders, or the faint of heart:
      All action arises out of desire. All desire is based on ego. Ego is rooted in ignorance or delusion.
      Therefore, all action is based in ignorance or delusion.
      The problem is rooted in ignorance, and so is action.
      This is why no action can cure the problem.
      Ethical action is absolutely necessary. But it is insufficient to cure the problem.
    • Unskillful action can be seeking fruits. Unskillful action can be selfish (seeking self definition through action).Unskillful action is binding to a life of future suffering. Unskillful action is grasping, or clinging to that which we crave, or pushing away that which we despise.
    • Skillful action : selfless service, non-binding (action which is freeing, or releasing), renouncing, non-grasping, non-pushing, contentment practice, patience practice, gratitude practice, loving-kindness practice.

Additional Dimensions and Elaborations

  • Choice may be seen as a dimension implicit within in all the major dimensions of the consciousness process. Is there choice in perception? Is there a choice in thoughts? Is there choice in feelings? Is there choice in energy, affect, action? With practice, the yogis who master the present moment would suggest yes. There is much choice in all of these.

  • Imagination and Creativity seem to be a dimension within the cognitive mind.

  • The Psychedelic Experience may have some unique dimensional aspects.

  • Sense of self, and sense of outside reality also seem like dimensions.

  • All of the various roles we play, Witness/Actor, Artist/Enjoyer, Chooser/Educator, Historian/Planner, Savage/Hero/Victim, God/Animal, Parent/Child, Student/Sage
    ... yes all roles of the Ego/Cognitive Mind, but some of these sound like
    important dimensions of consciousness

How the Eight Dimensions of Consciousness map to the major systems of yoga:
  • Perceptions + Body sensations [maps to Dhyana, or Raja Yoga, Vipassana technique]
  • Emotions [maps to Bhakti Yoga, devotion is emotion]
  • Cognitive Mind [maps to Jnana Yoga]
  • Energy [maps to Kundalini and Hatha Yoga]
  • Affect [maps to Equanimity, calm abiding, Brahmaviharas]
  • Impulse [maps to
  • Action [maps to Karma or Kriya yoga]

    Note: these mappings are only approximate.
    All the systems of Yoga are interdependent and include each other.

    See also:

Within is All
All means: no thing left out.
No thing left out means not without.
Not without is Within!
All is Within!

The entire universe of experience
lies within.
Just look... :)

Six Dimensions of Consciousness (intro) on Vimeo.

Feel free to print this out from the link above.

High quality color 11x14 framed prints
are available at River Read Books for a $15, plus tax and shipping.
(they get $5, I get $5, and it costs me $5 to print and frame it.)
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River Read Books
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They're really beautiful, and this is art with a purpose!
This is art which can help you find happiness!

If you want a print but can't afford $15,
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Contact me if you want a 18x24 or 24x36 poster-sized
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The information in this chart comes from from about 3 years of research
into the ancient technologies of Yoga, Vedanta, and Buddhism.
This wisdom was recorded in India at least 3,500 years ago
and may be much older than that.

These are proven techniques to help you to be
free from suffering, and be healthy, whole,
and to find love, peace, and happiness in your life.

We study this wisdom at the
Spirituality, Empowerment, and Wellness Book Club
We meet at River Read Books (Binghamton, NY),
every Sunday at 1pm.
Arrive promptly and enjoy a short 10 min guided meditation.

See this page for our current book selection:

If you are on Facebook, join our group!

More info:

Here is another video which I think you will enjoy, and will help you along the path,
by my friend Peter Marchand a/k/a Peterpandoer@Youtube.
Related links to the material in this video:

Here is an 8min. Eckhart Tolle video on meditation. (If the video itself has a problem, just listen to the audio). I think Eckhart is one of the great spiritual teachers of our time:

Here is an extended video by Lama Marut on the Ashtavakra Gita. The presentation is excellent despite some video problems and noisy sound. This is the source of the Lama Marut quote above:

Alan Watts, Man and Nature: Jam packed with useful bits:

Permalinks to this page:

More info:

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