Sunday, March 28, 2010

PLEASURE-PAIN vs. BLISS, Part One

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An Advaita forum focusing on Realisation, enlightenment, non-duality, Real Love, peace, freedom, Your original nature, abiding naturally, the Oneness, the Nothingness, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Here, there is nothing that is believed, so there is no one here who wants you to believe anything, either. Here, the invitation is to be free of all that you have been programmed, conditioned, acculturated, and domesticated to believe so that you can be free, period.

F.:Recently, a couple of questions were received regarding what the teachings have to say about pleasure and pain and bliss. One lengthy e-mail boiled down to the confusion around the Advaita pointer that “pleasure leads to pain” on one hand and comments about “Realization leading to bliss” on the other.

In another letter received last month, a man promoted abstinence as opposed to the Nisarga / natural style of functioning that is offered here. (Later, he would contradict himself and promote "tantric sex.")

His writings exposed (1) debilitating levels of angst and strum und drang and distortion around sexuality in general, (2) much confusion around “his sex and love experiences,” and (3) a near-total misunderstanding of what post-Realization, natural living looks like, specifically.

He, too, has failed to grasp the differences in pleasure and bliss, the differences in suffering and misery vs. pain, and the difference in pre-Realization living vs. post-Realization, Nisargan (natural) abidance.

So, to clarify: pain is of the body, that is, it is a sensation which can be experienced by a plant food body. To continue with Maharaj’s teachings that science and the Advaita teachings are not only compatible but that science can facilitate the understanding, understand this:

At the nerve endings in the skin, the pain process begins as a neuron sends a signal toward the spinal cord where that signal connects with nearby neurons and eventually connects via a synapse to a second-order neuron that rises to the thalamus. The thalamus forwards the pain signal through fibers that reach the cortex, which results in the brain being conscious of pain.

As long as the consciousness is manifested in a body-cum-consciousness, then pain can be experienced. Nerves and skin and neurons and cords and the brain and fibers and pain are all natural. Conversely, misery and suffering are the product of the “mind,” which is totally unnatural.

Here is the distinction as offered in prior posts: “Consciousness is rooted in the Absolute; the brain is rooted in the elements; the ‘mind’ is rooted in wrong programming and faulty conditioning and lies and concepts and ideas and superstitions and falsehoods.”

To the estimated five million to one-hundred million species on the planet, add in also all of the species that have come and gone, then know this: only one of all of the species that have come and gone, and only one species among the millions that presently exist, has ever developed a “mind.”

That fact alone should make clear that the “mind” is most unnatural. What is “natural”? Specifically, that which is natural is defined as “that which exists in, or is in conformity with, nature—which is neither supernatural nor magical.”

So pain requires the presence of elemental nerves and an elemental brain and manifest consciousness if it is to be sensed; misery and suffering, conversely, require the presence of a “mind,” which is merely the conglomeration of all of the false ideas and beliefs and concepts and attitudes and identities that are taught via programming and conditioning.

Now, to the pleasure-pain conundrum. The teaching is that whatever leads to pleasure can lead to pain and that whatever gives the most pleasure will often produce the most pain. (Consider such pain as that associated with AIDS or other diseases that are transmitted when an elemental body is experiencing physical pleasure and can later experience physical pain).

That all deals with the elemental body and brain and consciousness only. (If unconscious, a doctor can cut open your chest, remove your heart, insert another in its place, and you will feel nothing at all, if not conscious.)

Contrast that with the teaching that whatever leads to pleasure can lead to misery and suffering and that whatever gives the most pleasure will often produce the most misery and suffering.

In that case, considering the earlier pointer that “misery and suffering are the product of the ‘mind,’ which is totally unnatural,” it should be seen that the teaching in the second case refers to the miserable, relative results that can manifest when being driven by the desires and fears generated by the warped content of the “mind.”

Thus, pain can be quite natural (unless self-inflicted) whereas misery and suffering and anything that is thought to be “supernatural or magical” are all totally unnatural. So, to the several that e-mailed about that part of the discussion:

pain can be natural when it occurs in an elemental body; can be unnatural if self-induced; and can be unnatural if potentially-threatening pleasures are engaged in—in ignorance—after having been warned of the relative dangers or in the ignorance of having no awareness of the relative dangers.

Suffering and misery, on the other hand, are a product of the content of the "mind." As long as the consciousness is manifested, it will register pain on occasion. If suffering and misery are to be eliminated, then the attachment to the content of the “mind” must be eliminated.

Tomorrow, the differences in “pleasure” and “bliss” will be discussed along with what is natural about both.

Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)

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