Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Noise Reduction – Find Stability in Peace

The first book I picked up on meditation was a mistake. During my second year in college, I worked in a microcopy lab that needed a faint signal to be expressed when it was deeply polluted by electronic noise. In utter desperation, I went to UCSD book store and searched through the technical section on noise reduction. Most books I encountered were too thick to be useful quickly so I decided to reach for the thinnest book on the shelf.

As I flipped through the pages I noticed the book wasn’t about lock-in amplifiers, image processing, or high/low pass filters. The book’s illustrations were about the body/mind, how when sitting still one can reduce internal chatters and bring about peace and stability of wellbeing. And within that peace, life’s compass – the signal – can be revealed. Clearly the book was placed in the technical section by mistake. It probably belonged in the new age section. Somehow there was a deep urge to know more about this type of noise reduction and I made the purchase.

In the recent years, meditation has become the cornerstone for many schools, medical professionals, and spiritual seekers alike. Because of that particular technical book mistake, I was introduced to a different type of noise reduction than my limited outlook could’ve ever imagined.

Since college, I’ve noticed the noise in my mind from chatters, distracting music, repeating patterns, and even conversations with itself. The more I entertained the noise, the more pompous it became – until somehow I realized it had hijacked my attention and made a mess of my life.

This white noise we tend to take with us everywhere we go is seemingly non-threatening. Until one day it dawns on us that it has taken control of our whole inner world and we have diverged from reality. During a conversation with another, we don’t just share our words but we share our state of being. When our mind is filled with noise, we cannot truly hear another and be purely present. In daily activities, this background noise can sometimes get loud and distract our focus and tasks on hand. Sometimes when we find ourselves in the most pristine and beautiful places on earth, we can allow our mental noise to pollute the environment adding chaos no matter where we go. Even when we make love, when a certain amount of mental noise is present, we cannot be in true affection as the signal of love is covered up by layers of white noise.

The goal of all spiritual and martial practices is to have mastery over ourselves and one way is via noise reduction. In Aikido, we speak of mushin (無心), which often translated to as “no-mind” in Zen or Tao. In higher level practitioners, any mental noise can reduce one’s ability for pure perception, slow down reaction, and in turn be killed in a battle. The goal of this higher level practice is to find a place or inner stability – an equanimity that never leaves us no matter what external situations we face. Only in this inner stability, we are able to move through life without fear, without judgement, and always filled with a sense of grace and true contentment.

Just something to ponder on. Have you encountered the mental noise within yourself? Did this noise have an impact on your mental wellbeing? And did this noise have an impact on your overall life? My daily practice is the purification of the mind so real life can be revealed. I hope you too can join me on this path.

November 10, 2022 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Books, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Can Enlightenment Do for You?

In Southern California, our idea of spirituality is "it is ALL ABOUT ME!"

In Southern California, our idea of spirituality is “it is ALL ABOUT ME!”

A friend came to visit. He excitedly told me how the universe gave him everything he wanted from meeting celebrities to being on TV without the chance to allow himself to take a full breath. “I must be in such high vibration that everything’s working out for ME!”

Smiling, without a word, I served him a cold iced-tea with a piece of freshly cut white peach on the side. He pushed it aside and went on to tell me about how people everywhere are stopping with envious stares since he got his amazing six-pack…

In Southern California, there’s a culture of speaking of such things as “cleanse”, “mindfulness”, “detox”, “healing”, “meditation”, “organic”, “yoga”, “reiki”, “zen”, “juicing”, “being in alignment”, “high vibration”,  “unity”, “love”, “enlightenment”… The list goes on and on. Lots of us here eat organic to be in a higher vibration – not as an aware expression but as a concept – for the purpose of becoming better.

In more ways than one, we use yoga, meditation or anything “spiritual” for our own personal gain. When I do an “OM” chanting practice, I can do it in several different ways – 1. I can use it to show those around me how peaceful and spiritual I am, 2. I can use it to open up my energy so my life can run more smoothly; or 3. I can do it with subtle awareness and witness the interconnections and changes as each “OM” progressively expresses through my body. For these three ways, these actions are exactly the same, yet the essence of each are completely different.

Consciously or unconsciously we are always asking “what can Enlightenment do for ME?”

Our collective ego structure is always interested in how to feel better. We find shortcuts in life and indulge ourselves in momentary pleasures often resulting in long drawn-out pain. We use alcohol, television, sports, sex, fashion, games, relationships, politics as ways to escape reality, as ways to turn away from looking within ourselves. As a result, we put on a false mask along with lavishly decorated armors to show the world who we pretend to be.

smart sexy personality purchase

Now this smart sexy personality can be purchased on ebay!

A young lady posts her intellectual achievements, re-shares the latest scientific discoveries, and shows-off how charismatically smart she is so she can gain the approval of her friends – only to find no matter how hard she tries to impress, she still felt like a black hole inside.

La Vérité - Truth (1870), Jules Joseph Lefebvre, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

La Vérité – Truth (1870), Jules Joseph Lefebvre, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

An older man got married to a glamorous “trophy” – only to discover 15 years later that he’s trapped in a marriage without ever experiencing true love.

Amy’s Baking Company asked Chef Ramsey to help improve their business, only to not take any feedback and decide that everyone else is wrong. The owners blamed the internet haters and never for a second quietly took a look to see if they themselves are to blame.

Like Chef Ramsey, Enlightenment is not shy to serve you a plate of truth. You might overlook and ignore it for a while, but eventually it will slap you in the face until you wake up to the reality you’ve been avoiding for years.

Yup, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the personal ego structure to the most delusional level and felt the collective ego structure on the most fundamental level within my own being. Our ego structure cares feverishly about the outer appearances of things while pushing aside the gut feelings, and ignoring the simplest truth.

The last time I witnessed myself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” I didn’t expect the honest truth it served me in such a timely manner. I got to look within myself and saw how egotistical my whole life was. All aspects of my life had been contaminated by a self-importance, self-consciousness, fear of failure, fear of looking bad, fear of rejection, a need to be accepted, a need to show-off, and the list goes on and on. I was that young lady, I was that older man, I was the owners of Amy’s Baking Company, and I too once played all parts in these roles. When I looked for what Enlightenment can do for me, I had hoped for a chance to win a million dollars, a top of the line sports car, or a way to look young and beautiful forever. Instead, Enlightenment has a different sense of humor.

For me, Enlightenment was holding up a mirror to reflect where my life was lived as a way to put on a show. It unveiled the naked truth that I avoided for so long – in every area and every moment of my life. I could not run away any longer. This time, I was stripped naked by Enlightenment, with a magnifying glass to examine each and every part of my self, my belief structure, and my hardened delusions. Then it took a scalpel, and surgically removed each and every untruth as they are being revealed – sometimes with insurmountable pain, other times with gentle awareness. The surgery is not complete. It has to be done over time. A time reveals more truth when each moment presents itself.

So if you found yourself asking “what can Enlightenment do for me?” If you are not ready for the truth, run the other way as fast as you can. Because Truth has a way of catching up to you if you are not careful. For some people, they can run and hide until Death comes to claim them. If you happen to slip and fall, know that Truth in her naked form will come with her bright mirror held up high and show you the truth regardless if you want it or not. Usually after putting up a fight, most of us can no longer keep up turning the other way in denials. There is a point that Truth will bring the arrival of Judgment Day when you are least expecting – and blows your masks and armors away without an apology. Truth is not nice. She is Truth. And Truth always wins.

What can Enlightenment do for you?

Enlightenment will strip you clean layer by layer until you recognize the naked truth of who you really are – Empty, Rich, Simple, Love, and Beautiful.

(A special Thanks to this simple and yet honest blog from Dragon Rider One.) 

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Choices, Enlightenment, Inner Growth, Self Realization | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments