On one level, life is the process of seeking out and enjoying experiences - from the transcendent to the tragic. Life has as cyclical pattern of movement and appreciation; even when you’re not doing anything, you’re probably in a situation you sought. On another level, life is the experience of the self’s interaction with the world. The self can be broken down into three main elements and their corresponding activities: first, the heart (knowing compassion, receiving and giving love); second, the intellect (acquiring and digesting information); third, the senses (acting and being acted upon). It is the soul, however, that focuses and inspires all three the soul gives us resilience -an essential quality since we constantly have to rebound from hardship... The meaning of life can’t be understood without first looking at the self and its interaction with the world. In effect, this amounts to examining the inner workings of the soul of the universe.
The divisions and boundaries that we perceive based upon our five senses are, in effect, an illusion. It’s my belief that the meaning of life changes from day to day, second to second. I believe we’re here to learn that we’re part of a creative force - I would go so far as to call that force divine. We’re here to learn that we can create a world and that we have a choice in what we create, and that our world, if we choose, can be a heaven or hell.
He who is held in bondage by his senses can never enjoy even a dream of freedom. It is only by complete escape from them that we arrive at a state of freedom from fear.
Here is a mystery, the stupendous mystery of the Christian religion, the ineffable mystery of three persons in one God. We cannot define it. Every human attempt at definition involves it in deeper mystery. The arithmetic of heaven is beyond us. Yet this is no more mysterious and inexplicable than the trinity of our own nature; body, soul, and spirit; and no man has ever shown that it involved a contradiction or in any way conflicted with the testimony of our senses or with demonstrated truth; and we must accept it by the power of a simple faith, or rush into tritheism on the one hand or unitarianism on the other.
Suffering itself does not less afflict the senses than the anticipation of suffering.
War is, after all, the universal perversion. We are all tainted: if we cannot experience our perversion at first hand we spend our time reading war stories, the pornography of war; or seeing war films, the blue films of war; or titillating our senses with the imagination of great deeds, the masturbation of war.
As long as man dwells in a state of pure nature (I mean pure and not coarse nature), all his being acts at once like a simple sensuous unity, like a harmonious whole. The senses and reason, the receptive faculty and the spontaneously active faculty, have not been as yet separated in their respective functions; a priori they are not yet in contradiction to each other. Then the feelings of man are not the formless play of chance; nor are his thoughts an empty play of imagination, without any value. His feelings proceed from the law of necessity, his thoughts from reality. But when man enters the state of civilization, and art has fashioned him, this sensuous harmony which was in him disappears, and henceforth he can only manifest himself as a moral unity, that is, as aspiring to unity. The harmony that existed as a fact in the former state, the harmony of feeling and thought, only exists in an ideal state. It is no longer in him, but out of him; it is a conception of thought which he must begin by realizing in himself; it is no longer a fact, a reality of his life.
If the senses were eliminated the world would appear as a unity.
Objects of knowledge maintain an infinite distance from us who are the knowers. For knowledge is not union. Therefore the further world of freedom awaits us there where we reach truth, not through feeling it by senses or knowing it by reason, but through union of perfect sympathy.
The rich and luxurious may claim an exclusive right to those pleasures which are capable of being purchased by pelf, in which the mind has no enjoyment, and which only afford a temporary relief to languor by steeping the senses of forgetfulness; but in the precious pleasures of the intellect, so easily accessible by all mankind, the great have no exclusive privilege; for such enjoyments are only to be procured by our own industry.
What is beyond the mind, has no boundary, in it our senses end.
The world is full of paradox. For example, [in Buddhism] though no notion of a creator is entertained, great stress is laid upon the need for faith and piety. By faith is meant not trust in a benevolent diety avid for love, praise and obedience, but conviction that beyond the seeming reality misreported by our senses which is inherently unsatisfactory, lies a mystery which, when intuitively unsatisfactory, lies a mystery which, when intuitively perceived, will give our lives undreamed-of meaning and endow the most insignificant object with holiness and beauty.
I do dimly perceive that while everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing power of spirit is God, and since nothing else that I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.
That which is `provable’ is not Reality but perception or mentation only. Reality is subjective and knowable only by virtue of identity with the known. “Provables’ belong to the classification and level of limitation and are arbitrary abstractions whose sole `reality’ is merely the consequence of selection and identification. The phenomenal is not the same as the noumenal [understood by intellectual intuition without the aid of the senses – opposed to phenomenon.]
Zen meditation does not mean sitting and thinking. On the contrary, it means acting with as little thought as possible. The fencing master trained his pupil to guard against every attack with the same immediate, instinctive rapidity with which our eyelid closes over our eye when something threatens it. His work is aimed at breaking down the wall between thought and act, at completely fusing body and senses and mind so that they might all work together rapidly and effortlessly.
The enlightened ones are neither attached to nor detached from their senses and thoughts.
Four senses in which something may be meaningless: (1) worthless where it has no intrinsic value, (2) pointless where it is not directed to any goal, (3) trivial where its point is insufficiently important to justify it, and (4) futile where the way the world is prevents the required end from being achieved. Something is fully meaningful if it has none of these shortcomings.
Our brains create a holistic image of the world by putting all the pieces together to create something greater than the parts. Intuition allows us to comprehend what the senses cannot perceive.
Beyond the senses are the objects; beyond the object is the mind. Beyond the mind is the intellect; beyond the intellect is the unmanifest. This is the end. There is nothing beyond.
Know thou the soul as riding in a chariot, the body as the chariot. Know thou the intellect as the chariot-driver, and the mind as the reins. The senses, they say, are the horses; the objects of sense, what they range over, the self combined with senses and mind, wise men call `the enjoyer.’ He who has not understanding, whose mind is not constantly held firm – his senses are uncontrolled, like the vicious horses of a chariot-driver.