Nature of Perception, the Self and the Senses – Drukama RadioTM Episode 12
This week Daishi talks with Deliyahu about the nature of perception, the self, and the senses. They discuss how we can go beyond our current level of perception, and the importance of the spiritual path.
Episode 12 Extract
Nature of Perceptions, the Self and the Senses
NIRVANA, SAMADHI AND LETTING GO OF THE ENTANGLEMENTS
“Deliyahu: When we start talking about the self, I know that in some practices it is said that only when one reaches nirvana or samadhi does one truly realize the self, the true self, the inner self, the atman, and the identity with the body and its ego is separated. Can we speak about this?
Daishi Nagiyah: Yeah, that’s exactly what we were saying earlier is that the entanglements go so deeply unconsciously toward the consistent or persistent identity crisis. Right, so every moment we have an identity that’s repeating itself. It’s constantly rebuilding itself and we’re carrying it along. It’s an illusory concept but it’s persistent. So we think that I am experiencing these feelings, these thoughts, these actions and in truth there’s no person there doing it. There is just an experiencing of them. But we have been conditioned societally and culturally that there is a person there; there is a static thing. But there is no static thing. The only thing static about the whole experience is the beingness of the cognition. So underneath that garment, that webbing of illusory conflict, that insulation of noisy mindstream, the aggregates, the memory, the projections and all these things that are going on, underneath there’s a pristine clear cognition. But really the path is not about building that cognition or building that awareness to become something greater, it’s about removing the husk or removing the garment that’s blocking that from shining through. And that’s really what the practicing and the processing of the path is about, is removing and letting go of the entanglements to that hypnotic transient identity synapsis that’s going on…”
Drukama™ podcast extract – EP12
Full Transcript of This Episode
Deli: Hi Everyone. Welcome to Drukama Radio. I’m your co-host, Deliyahu. We’re very grateful to have Daishi with us today. How are you Daishi?
Daishi: I’m doing great. It’s good to be here. It’s been a long time. I’m glad to be back.
Deli: It has been a long time. I’m sure our listeners are anxious to get started
again. Today’s subject is on the nature of perception, the self, and the senses. Of course, the most obvious question would be:
What is the nature of perception?
Daishi: That’s a great question, and a big question. That goes back to trying to understand the mental aggregates as a whole. If we try to chop them down into five bits, we can say that there are five pieces of a human being; pieces that come together like a symphony that seem to make one thing – the identity. But there are actually five interdependent parts. We can call these broken up parts: memory, identity, ego, intellect, and cognition/awareness. All of those things work in tandem as the brain fires the synapses, and the axon and dendrites sort of draw these files together as they’re needed, as we go throughout the day.
A lot of this stuff happens unconsciously. Cognition/Awareness is one of those five aggregates that gives us the ability to know that we’re knowing, or to know that we’re looking at memory, or to know that we’re looking at a perceiver perceiving perceived object, and so on. So, awareness/perception can be seen as the actual ‘I’ ness that watches these parts play the role of the illusory identity.
Deli: So, would you say that perception is something that we’re born with? Or is it something that is developed as we grow?
I’ve read in some places where perception is triggered by memory or impressions, that we brought on from this life or prior lives. Can we talk about that?
Daishi: Yes, I think that’s a good question. And there’s no real good answer for it because I’m not sure that anyone really knows the answer to when perception becomes obviously aware of itself, because at that point, it gets blurred. Right? Like, did it just start? Or before that and I just wasn’t recognizing that it started? So, it brings up a theoretical, metaphysical conversation that goes beyond what we’re capable of really understanding. So, when it becomes awakened, is debatable. Some people would say that you really only open perception once it’s free from the entanglements of the aggregates themselves. Another word, when it’s free from the illusory identity. And others would say that perception is always pristine and clear, it’s always been there and always will be there, and it doesn’t matter if you’re observing it or not; it’s still there. So, there are all kinds of philosophical discussions about that. But again, I think what’s most important is what’s in your experience.
It doesn’t matter that we can say life is Maya, illusion, it’s not real, and it is dream-like. But if you’re not experiencing that in your day-to-day, moment-by-moment perception, then it doesn’t matter what the truth of the issue is; it doesn’t matter what the facts are. It matters really how you’re perceiving. So, you can say “Well, life is good. Life should be happy. Life should be joyful.” But if you’re not perceiving it that way, that doesn’t mean anything.
Really, each individual has to look at how they’re perceiving their reality, and they have to go by that. So, it doesn’t matter about ‘the’ reality; it matters about ‘our’ reality, and that’s the most important thing. In that sense, the spiritual path is always about where you are. And if you’re happy, contented, free from suffering, free from the illusory entanglements of unconscious mindstream and the unconscious illusory identity, then for you, it’s that way. It doesn’t mean it’s that way in truth. It doesn’t mean it’s that way for everyone else. But what’s most important is for you, it’s like that. And that’s what I think is important about the path; to be honest and truthful about where you are and what you’re really experiencing, rather than what the theoretical or philosophical discussions say should be real, or say should be happening, or say what the truth is. Truth is what I experience.
Deli: I’ve noticed that, within myself, speaking of your realities, if you are experiencing lots of joy within yourself, you perceive everything outside of you as being joyful alongside with you. If your reality is in negative, you see disease around you and you see war.
Daishi: That’s a great way of looking at it. Absolutely true. The way that you feel inside reflects your macrocosmic view. If you happen to be blissful, if you happen to be joyful, if you happen to be loving, compassionate and impartial, you’re going to see the reality that way because that’s the way you’re reflecting out like a mirror. So, somebody who sees the world in pain and suffering, who has mental iterations, agitation, undulations, and they’re suffering by reactionary emotions and physiological disorders, obviously that’s going to reflect into the world in the same way. I think the problem inherently within the world right now is that 99.98% of the people happen to live in one of those conditions. So, they have mental iterations, problems with thought flow, problems with reactionary emotions that they don’t understand. They’re not sure why they’re coming up, they don’t understand why the song is playing in their head, or they’re having dialogues with themselves (who ever that is) in their minds…
They’re projecting this outward into the reality and that’s the reason why the spiritual path really has to be taken – not for any other purpose such as to focus more on your job, or to get a better income, or to have a better girlfriend, or boyfriend, or wife… It’s so that we break through the mental illusory identity. The attachments and entanglements to those aggregates are wiped out and the spiritual sense is activated. Then we can perceive, not through the five faulty senses, but beyond them through a higher sense; an order that transcends the binary or dualistic mind-set, which is either on or off, left or right, good or bad. The spiritual sense, or whatever we call this faculty that activates once the identity starts to break apart (or at least the attachment to it does), is this higher order/higher mind/higher self. That is the place where we can start to understand that both love and not love are one thing, or hate and love are both the same thing. And the polarity kind of blurs together, so we start to perceive in a different way, in a much more universal- not unified so much, it’s just not two. I like that a lot better; It’s not one, it’s just not two.
Deli: That’s beautiful, what you said there, because it also leads us into when we start talking about the self. In some practices, it says that only when one reaches Nirvana, or Samadhi, does one truly understand the inner self- the atman. And the identity with the bodies and its egos, are separated. Can we speak about this?
Daishi: Yes, that’s exactly what we were saying earlier. The entanglements go so deeply unconsciously toward the consistent or persistent identity crisis, so that every moment we have an identity that’s repeating itself. It’s consistently rebuilding itself and we’re carrying it along. It’s an illusory concept, but it’s persistent. So, we think that ‘I am experiencing these feelings, these thoughts, these actions. And in truth, there’s no person there doing it. There’s just an experiencing of them. But we have been conditioned societally and culturally, that there is a person there; there’s a static thing. But there’s no static thing. The only thing static about the whole experience is the being-ness of the cognition.
So, underneath that garment, that webbing of illusory conflict- that insulation of noisy mindstream, the aggregates, the memory, the projection and all these things that are going on- underneath is a pristine, clear cognition.
But really, the path is not about building that cognition or building that awareness to become something greater. It’s about removing the husk or removing the garment that’s blocking that from shining through. And that’s really what the practicing and the processing of the path is; It’s about removing and letting go of the entanglements to that hypnotic, transient identity synapses that’s going on. And that’s why plasticity of the mind is so important. Because we can shape how the mind glues into normal reactionary synaptic processes. We can change that. But that’s where the advanced parts of the path have to really be understood. Because it’s not just sitting in emptiness. There is a process there that has to be followed.
So, you can be just now, and you can be just mindful. But that’s a slow way of undoing that karmic echo; the weaving, or the entanglement, or the attachment of the synaptic flow. It’s very slow to just be mindful. There are other ways to get rid of that deeply unconscious karmic held identity, weaves, sutures or threads, in a much more aggressive way, if it’s understood well.
Deli: That’s an interesting way of putting it because from my past experiences I’ve met a lot of people – and I was one of them in the beginning of the practice – who was saying to myself “I need to be a better person, I need to be more mindful, I need to be, I need to be, I need to be…” But in essence, once you’re on the path, as you say, it burns away and erases the entanglements so that you can become that person that you want to be. That person blooms of itself like a lotus.
Daishi: Absolutely right. It literally just comes forth once we release the garment of the husk that’s shielding it. So, it’s the same reason why you hear in the Christian tradition, that you wouldn’t take a lamp and cover it. You’d expose it to the world. So, that underlying light that we all are, that constant being awareness and childlike perfection that lives underneath that essential nature. Our job is really just to let go of and undo, all the unconscious, deeply held entangled commitments to that illusory identity. And that does take work. There is a process there. You cannot intellectually agree to just let that happen. There’re too many unconscious habit energies that are there that have to be undone. But as we continue in the right path with the right ideas, those entanglements to illusory identity- the persistency of that- will release. And eventually, stream happens. That spiritual sense just pervades and comes back as the husk is released.
Deli: The more you start examining mind itself, and all its games that it plays with you.
Daishi: There’s a lot of ways to attack the karma. We can do it mindfully. We can do it through the simple Thera Vedic view, from Vipassana or Samata. Or you can go deeper into Shakti and understanding how to get karma by watching aggregates in deep states of meditation and through our waking practices. It depends on how fast you want to unleash this karma. Because really, they’re a bunch of underlying synaptic processes that we keep unconsciously empowering. So, once we see/reveal them consciously, and stop empowering them, they lose their friction, their energy, their power. And when they lose their friction, energy or power, the plasticity of mind will just say ‘this synaptic process of mind is no longer necessary. Let it go.’ It’s not being used. It’s not being observed. There’s no purpose for it, so it can go. And that’s really what happens in karma; We just consciously watch it, consciously become aware of it. And through that, we can let it go. It’s no longer useful.
It’s not serving a purpose. It’s like a shell around a small chick. Once it gets strong enough to peck through it, the shell yields to the chick because it says ‘It’s now more powerful than I am. I am no longer serving a purpose protecting the chick. The chick is now stronger than I am.’ That’s what we want through our Will.
Deli: Once you realize the self, is there a perception of who you were, or is everything (for lack of a better word) copacetic and at one?
Daishi: The memory doesn’t go away. We’re not actually destroying the identity, or the ego, or the memory, or the intellect. We’re not destroying any parts of the aggregates. We’re simply detaching from our unconscious entanglements to them. So, the moment that we make that detachment, we can then always go back and access them. But we can do it consciously. So, I can use the intellect to calculate whether six and five makes eleven or not. The intellect is not driving me. The ego is not driving me. The memories are not driving me, etc. So, the projections and fears that I have about next Saturday’s water bill, are not driving me unconsciously to have anxiety. Now I can access and say “Oh, I have a bill due Saturday”, it can just be what it is. So, that allows me to live in a completely different way.
There are degrees to this. Once we break through that stream, where that spiritual sense starts to become active, and the five senses/aggregates are seen for what they are. It takes us a little while to settle into that state because it’s a very radical state. You’ll hear most people who achieve this state of stream, or the spiritual sense, they need some time to adjust because it’s almost like you’re born again innocently. You’re kind of raw. You’re exposed, and you’re sort of like ‘Wow, this is a crazy, unfettered way of seeing the world and seeing myself.’ After that gets adjusted to, you can then move back into using the identity, the ego, etc.- using them in positive ways; to communicate with each other, to talk right now. If you just turned into a mindless zombie, it wouldn’t be very helpful. True, you wouldn’t have any suffering. But you’d be drooling in the corner and somebody would have to feed you. The idea here is we’re going to take control of the vehicle; the physiological brain, the body. We’re going to take control of that consciously, use it consciously, rather than it using us.
That’s the important part about mastering this whole thing called life. We can go get jobs, make money, get control, have sex, rock n’ roll and learn knowledge. We can do all these things. But really, that outward kind of possession is never going to get us to know ourselves in the vehicle. We’re not really going to understand who we are, how the minds working, how the emotions working, how the body’s working, how the speech is working. We’re not going to understand these things unless we actually have a practical method of exploring them and undoing our unconscious conditioning toward it. And that is where the authentic path becomes paramount to someone’s very short existence here. Come here, figure it out, live well, be happy and move on.
Deli: And that’s where the outside world is so busy trying to get us away from looking at ourselves. They’re constantly showering us with outward desires and stuff, instead of teaching us to focus within. That’s where a true teacher is necessary on this path. Because if you do it alone, it’s very easy to fall out and fall into illusions.
Daishi: It’s a scary situation because you haven’t been there before. So, the thing you need is someone who has authentically been there and understands the depth, because you’re going in unchartered territory. So, how do I get my intention, will and aspiration strong enough to point it in the right direction, to not only activate this sense, but also get down to the levels that I need to.
It takes this karmic, habit energy reduction, being done in a particular way. It’s like having a guide; somebody who says “Hey, watch out here, be careful with this, don’t go down that path.”, and sort of advising you. It’s the same way you’d need somebody if you said, “I’m going to walk to N.Y. and I’ve never even been to the United States, but I’m going to start in California and hopefully I make it.” If you’ve never done this before, you’re going to end up in Idaho probably. And you’re going to think it’s N.Y. but you’re not going to be in the right direction at all. So, that’s why it’s important to have someone that’s authentically, actually done it. If that hasn’t happened, then you’ve got trouble.
And I think in today’s society we have a lot of people who talk about it, as if we can intellectually decide to be non-dual. That’s never going to happen. You have the idea that ordinary awareness- the quiet space between thoughts- as being Essential Nature. On one hand, yes. It’s true that there is Essential Nature there. But on the other hand, you’re not experiencing it. That Nirvana that everyone speaks about, is not that. It’s a pristine, clear, radiant understanding of the total unconscious mind and the aggregate connections that entail the persistent collection and reinforcement of this illusory identity person. That has to be broken completely apart. That’s really where that Enlightenment, Realization, Nirvana, Stream Entry idea comes from. Not just from sitting quietly between your thoughts. Like right now, there’s no dialogue. Is that Nirvana? No! Because there’s underlying, unconscious noise happening that you’re not even aware of. But it’s causing you to have iterations. It’s causing you to have undulations of the mind. And that makes it so your ability to really rest in Essential Nature impossible.
Deli: So, how do we do that?
Daishi: Find somebody who’s done it and follow them. That’s most important. If you have access to somebody like that, we’re providing the teachings online. We’re finally publicly giving our teachings. We have hundreds of students throughout the world. We’ve had them for years, and we’re just finally going public with it. It’s a non-profit organization, so your donations go to help support those students. But we’re starting to fill up a practical application that we’ve been giving out to our inner students for years. And we’re giving those instructions out one step at a time so that you can take this path in a way that makes sense. It’s practical. We talk about the theory and we talk about the practicality of it. But if that’s not your way, at least find somebody who has truly broken through, and follow their guidance. Because you need that for sure. Trying to do it on your own is impossible. It’s like being in the middle of the ocean and trying to find your way to Hawaii. The odds of you falling into accidently are probably close to nil.
Deli: I totally agree with you, Daishi. I speak for myself that I, without a teacher, went into many different paths. All leading me to where I am today, but I could have done it, if I had met you much earlier, instead of going on all these different paths that I went on. Now that I’m in my fifties, I feel like I have to speed up a little bit.
Daishi: All really important; you had to go through them. But yes, you’re heading in the right direction and that’s the most important thing now. Understanding the fundamental nature of how you operate, is what the path has always been about. It’s been like that for thousands of years. It will always remain that way. Anything other than that is ancillary benefit. If you get more focused, if meditation makes you more clear, have a sharper mind, able to add numbers together better- that’s all great. But those are ancillary side effects.
The real thing is to concur and completely disassemble the attachment to the aggregates and to release that spiritual sense that transcends the limited five senses. That’s what it’s always been about. And that has to be the paramount goal. And it does take practice realization; it takes an attempt. The attempt has to be both Intention and Will together. Those are important, fundamental things. We talk about them, and we will continue to talk about them on this radio show as well, as we go forward.
Deli: There was something that Rumi, the poet, wrote. “Don’t worry if you don’t know what the path is. Just begin the walking. Begin your journey, and the path will present itself to you.” I think that plays in very well with this right now.
Daishi: Have the aspiration and it will take care of you. Absolutely right.
Deli: Ok, beautiful. Thanks so much for joining us today, Daishi. The website: Drukama.com. If you have any questions, please send us an email at email@example.com. Thanks for joining us for today’s show. We look forward to seeing you in the next.