Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stream of Perceptions

Life delineates itself on the canvas called time; and time never repeats: once gone, forever gone; and so is an act: once done it is never undone. Life is a sumiye-painting which must be executed once and for all time and without hesitation, without intellection, and no corrections are permissible or possible. Life is not like an oil painting that can be rubbed out and done over time and again until the artist is satisfied.

With a sumiye-painting, any brush stroke painted over a second time results in a smudge; the life has left it. All corrections show when the ink dries. So is life. We can never retract what we have once committed to deeds; nay, what has once passed through consciousness can never be rubbed out. Zen therefore ought to be caught while the thing is going on, neither before or after.

D.T.Suzuki in his 1924 essay,Practical Methods of Zen Instruction explains something we all know. Physical life works just the way Suzuki describes it. We can’t change time and we certainly can’t change our experiences. Of course we only see less than half of our entity so the part of us that is living outside of the limits of time and space are able to change the sumiye-painting we call life, but that fact is not validated by the ego.

We paint life with perceptions that change the activity of atoms. Each particle in the atom is perceptively aware of all the other particles and they respond to the stimuli they receive from other atoms. In the entire act of perception there is oneness between the perceiver and the objectively perceived event so the entire act has its own electromagnet reality and the event becomes electromagnetic motion.

During the initial process of perception the ego takes a back seat as the inner self reaches into the pool of consciousness and a reshuffling takes place. Impulses that create thought are received by the ego, which dilutes them in a bath of beliefs. Those thoughts become physical perceptions, but a psychological bridge is constructed between the inner self that exists without the limitations of time and space.

Our personalities are not static concepts. Our entity is eternal, but it does grow and change as we perceive. It makes decisions and it uses the physical body for some development, so we are always becoming. We are all portions of an event that is taking place in the universe. Our consciousness mixes with other portions of consciousness and portions of our perceptions become their perceptions. Our identity is part of other identities that function in their own fashion.

Each of us operates as a particleized being which in itself is inviolate, but on another hand is ever-changing in a stream of perceptions. Consciousness or Zen is caught when the ego stops making arbitrary designations of necessity in that stream. The ego wants to be an independent structure, but it is part of a greater whole that knows itself.

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