Walking The Path, Experiencing the Path
The Myth of the Two Week Master - Part 4 - Walking The Path
I was watching a video by the late, great philosopher, Alan Watts, on Mahayana Buddhism, and he really speaks to the heart of what I've been writing about here. Watts was amazingly well versed in the many Oriental religions and philosophies. Now you don't have to be into Buddhism or any sort of Oriental philosophy to get something out of what Watts was saying. I'm going to quote something I got out of the video:
“There is a theory in Mahayana Buddhism that is called, the doctrine of mind only. And this isn't quite like Western ideas that we call subjective idealism, the idea that the whole world is something that exists only in your own mind. And there isn't any outside there at all. […] The important point to understand—this was contained in the Buddha's original teaching—is that the whole of our worldly experience is an experience of pure pattern. […] A pattern of form, constantly rippling and changing, and always flowing from one thing to another.
All that we see in terms of an outside world—are color, shape, texture, and so on—is going on inside our heads, going on inside our nervous system. So that when we touch something, and feel that it's hard, what we are actually experiencing, is not so much the outside thing—it's true, the stimulus is coming from the outside world to our body—but what we actually feel and experience as hardness, is a particular activity or process, going on inside our nervous system. So that we could say, all that our experience of the external world, is felt directly, only as an experience of the nervous system.
And even that is not quite correct, because when I say an experience of the nervous system, that what we are experiencing is a state of our nervous system. This still isn't a simple enough way of talking about it, because it sounds again, as if there were, behind the nervous system itself, an experiencer. What we have to try and get clear, is that our sensations, our processes in the nervous system, and that those processes are us. The self is the process of sensation. In other words, there isn't a sensor behind the sensation. When we have a sensation, we don't have it, we are it.”
So in practical terms of what we do, when we play our instruments, we are not experiencing the instruments, or the sound, but we are the experience. We are the sound.
Be the experience. Be the sound…
Next week, Part 5 - Walking The Path Further
Chop Wood | Carry Water | Play Gongs