There is no free will. If all our consciousness is selfless then it can only be illusion or God (or could it be both?)
Too much presence of mind, without some insight and love to go with it, can bring one to the edge of insanity. I know, because sometimes I go there. I sometimes feel close to things I don’t want to feel close to, but I have trust in myself to use that closeness to observe and learn, rather than react in an unhelpful way.
(Too much samatha, not enough vipassana, the bikkhu warned).
I can never really know how I got here. I’m just here, that’s all.
The first practice is celibacy; sexual restraint. For someone like me, to be unrestrained is only to be frustrated and oppressed by a sexually unenlightened culture.
The second practice is gratefulness. Despite the years of mental illness I have suffered, I am a privileged white man with access to the middleclass wealth that has been passed down from my grandparents.
The third practice is ‘letting go’, or in Theravadin Buddhist terms, ‘samatha’ meditation. I sit and feel grateful, and then I let go. I let go of thoughts. After years of practice, I can fairly quickly reach a state of no-mind; one pointedness of mind, or samadhi. This is the basis for a practice of mindfulness in my waking life, from moment to moment. It gives focus.
Sexual restraint strengthens will-power and supports mindfulness and focus. In return, mindfulness and focus aid sexual restraint. Again, I am no prude. But in a sex-negative culture I would rather abstain. At least until I can find a community of sexually liberated and more importantly, heart-liberated human beings.
Epic tomorrows require warrior mystics for a new post-capitalist global civilisation. Mystics that can reconcile the Earth Sciences with spirituality and secularism, in a way that is divorced from patriarchy and destructive corporate capitalism.