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Reaching Nirvana: Crossing the Ocean of Samsara

Continuing in this series on Buddhist philosophy, we explore different teachings of the Buddha that are easily relatable in our modern life. In this episode we discuss:

  • What is Nirvana?
  • How to reach a higher state of consciousness beyond Samsara (the illusory world).
  • How to access the State of Nirvana through Meditation as a direct way of transcending suffering.
  • Discuss the Contradiction of Nirvana – being in the world and in spirit at the same time and Jung’s idea that embracing the contradiction gives the spiritual practice its power.

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

Reaching Nirvana: Crossing the Ocean of Samsara

Transcript

Debra Maldonado  00:02

Hello, welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. How are you today, Rob?

Robert Maldonado  00:09

Very well, thank you. We’re talking about Buddhism. Our favorite topic, one of the big influences definitely in our relationship, our work, and our life.

Debra Maldonado  00:26

Today we’re talking about Nirvana, crossing the ocean of samsara. We’re also going to be telling you how to reach Nirvana today in three easy steps. Let’s do a little review. This is the last series. Next week, we’re going to start a new series on social neuroscience, that’s going to be interesting. The concept of there’s no suffering, what is suffering and the suffering of the world?

Robert Maldonado  01:32

It was the concept of no self. In Buddhism, which is a really cool philosophy because it’s had such a big influence on both east and west. In the East, it’s just took over very much like Christianity did in the West, and influenced cultures all the way from India to China to Japan, left its mark and continues to leave its imprint on those cultures. The philosophy, of course, lends itself well to a scientific study because Buddha was very much interested in the everyday, what’s verifiable for us right now. Not so much in thinking about Gods and heavens. That came later, in the development of religion. But he was interested in the mind, very much like a psychologist, a cognitive neuroscientists, but also looking at the deeper dimensions of the mind. What is the essence of our being? He comes from that tradition of the Vedas. You can’t really separate his philosophy from that cultural context of the Vedas, meaning he was coming from understanding of consciousness that it’s a conscious universe, it’s not a material universe.

Debra Maldonado  03:17

Some Eastern philosophies, some schools of Indian philosophy are materialism. When you hear that Eastern philosophy is all the same, we have to remember there’s so many schools. What we’re talking about here is a conscious universe, which means that there’s oneness, there’s no separation. We talked about why we suffer, we talked about the no self concept.

Robert Maldonado  03:51

We suffer as human beings because of our misperception of the world. We focus on the objects of the world and expect those objects to be permanent, which they are not. They are totally impermanent. If you look at anything, it’s ever morphing, ever changing. Therefore, one of the key principles is that if you expect impermanent things to give you happiness as permanent objects, you’re setting yourself up for failure and suffering. This idea of no self was around that time when Buddha was studying, he was going around to different gurus and practicing with them, and he almost killed himself essentially, doing some of those practices, to castigate the body, try to get to the spiritual essence of the human mind. But this idea of no ego and no permanent entity there is still very intriguing because neuroscience backs it up. If we look for the ego in the brain, it’s not there. If we look for a permanent, stable self, we can’t find it anywhere.

Debra Maldonado  05:26

We cling so much to our ego and persona, what people think about us, what we accomplished in our life is so real and solid, we’re gonna leave a legacy, us in our name. It really is just an idea. It’s not real.

Robert Maldonado  05:53

No self is a key part of Buddhist philosophy that distinguishes it from some other philosophies that focus on the mind or the individual soul. And then the matrix, his idea that everything is interrelated.

Debra Maldonado  06:17

We talked about that last time, about the Enlightenment in society, there’s so much going on in the world. A lot of people think “How can I make that change?” They’re trying to make the change out there. We talked that we’re connected to it, we can make the change within ourselves.

Robert Maldonado  06:39

Indra’s net, this vision of the universe intricately connected. Everything, every piece of the universe reflecting everything else. It is also backed up by current, or progressive neuroscience and quantum physics, it’s showing us that the universe is not the way it appears to us. We started by thinking about atoms and molecules. The table is not as solid as we think it is, if we look at its molecular structure, it’s vibrating, it’s mainly empty space, it appears solid to us because of the structure of the molecules. But it is not what it appears to be. But even deeper, quantum mechanics goes into this idea that it needs an observer. It only exists as a table the way we are perceiving it because we’re perceiving it. The observer creates the universe, the universe creates the observer. That interdependence is what Buddha was talking about. Now think of this, him sitting and meditating, realize this truth, whereas we require a whole team, scientists, telescopes, observation to even get close to that idea. The difference from the scientific perspective and the Buddhist perspective is that science is looking at it from the outside, whereas he was directly perceiving, directly looking at this reality.

Debra Maldonado  08:38

So let’s go to what Nirvana is.

Robert Maldonado  08:48

Buddha emphasized how to transcend suffering. If we’re not able to transcend suffering, then what’s the point? All these meditation, all this philosophy, it’s just separate in the world, just beautiful thoughts or interesting ideas, but they’re not really hitting the mark. His emphasis was on how can we as human beings transcend our suffering? This sea of samsara that we are in, samsara is buying into the appearance of things and believing that those things are going to make us happy.

Debra Maldonado  09:39

It’s interesting how samsara sounds like sorrow. We have this sorrow in the world because it’s changing all the time. We can’t hang on to anything. It keeps moving. Pema Chodron calls it the groundlessness of life that can be very unsettling for people because we’re always looking, the ego is always looking to latch on to something like a life preserver, like this is going to make me happy finally, and the samsara is moving. That’s why we call it the ocean because as you see the ocean, it’s not still, it’s constantly moving and shifting with the tides, and the waves, and weather. So what is Nirvana? For those of you who don’t know what Nirvana is, besides the band?

Robert Maldonado  10:30

If we were able to define it, we’d be the gurus of the world. The verbal definitions are not it. Because just like [inaudible] says, the Dow that can be named is not the Dow. Anytime you define Nirvana, that’s not it. Basically, you’re approximating it or you’re trying to explain it from the outside. But it’s not what Buddha meant. There’s a story where they asked him something similar to this, tell us what is the end game of it all. He doesn’t say a word, but he put lips up a flower and just held it. That’s pretty much what he’s getting at. That it is this presence, this reality, this consciousness, this awareness, that is empty of concepts. No self, no object. It’s not a nihilistic philosophy. It’s not saying there’s just nothing. It is that if you want to understand and experience the true essence of life, you have to let go of the appearance of things. It’s more in terms of dropping this idea of over identification with ego, with a body, but also understanding that the objects that you’re experiencing in the universe are your own reflection. When you understand that, then you ask what is left? What is that space or that awareness that persists beyond the no self and the no object? That’s Nirvana. It is a freedom, release from samsara.

Debra Maldonado  12:59

So basically when we say crossing the ocean of samsara, we have to be in samsara and recognize we’re in it, so that we can see what we’re not. It’s like anything else, you can’t know cold if you don’t know hot, you can’t know up if you don’t know down. Samsara plays a role in helping us understand Nirvana. Samsara is filled with all these objects, dualities, and movement. Nirvana is the opposite of that, the opposite of identity, individuality, it’s freedom. People say, at the end of the life people die and they have this incredible sense of peace because of dropping all the things of the earth. They’re coming closer to Nirvana. But we don’t want to wait till that happens to do that. Just this morning, I was reading my Facebook feed, just to see what people are talking about. This one post caught my eye, someone I didn’t really know, but as a friend on Facebook. She was talking about how she’s at the end of her life. She had this really long, beautiful post, she suffered her whole life with her body, a lot of pain and suffering. She was at peace with letting go. What struck me is that she couldn’t wait to go away, get to the next thing, get out of this body. That in itself is suffering. It’s like there’s this other place I’m going to go after I drop this body. The whole idea of Nirvana, the real concept is how can we be in both worlds? How can we embrace that contradiction of being in samsara and also Nirvana at the same time? That’s really the key, you don’t want to wait till the end of your life to say “I get it now, I get all my regrets.” You want to use your worldly life to experience those blissful moments and the escape from the ego. Why would we have samsara if we weren’t here to have both worlds at the same time. I was thinking how we’re seeking for Nirvana all the time, when I find the right partner, I’ll have this beautiful state, or when I get married, or when I start my business and leave the corporate role, when I make a certain amount of money, when I get the right weight and lose all the weight I need and get in shape. All these things that we cling to for this state of happiness that is causing our suffering in life because we miss out, because we’re always looking for the next thing. I remember you said to me once, when we first met. I was like “This is going to happen next week.” I think it was when my book was coming out. You said “Where are you going?” I’m not in the moment. The answer is not to find those things in the world with objects, it’s to find it in the moment because that’s the only place we can have it. We were going to talk about meditation and how that is the key. Because we try to go out there and find Nirvana in things like pistachio ice cream or that next great meal, we’re going to have the trip, vacation we’re going on.

Robert Maldonado  16:57

At its simplest, you see somebody meditating, obviously, they’re looking inward. They’re not caught up in samsara and chasing after objects. They’re taking a breath and saying “Who is the observer?” It’s self inquiry. What is the nature of my mind? Why am I chasing these things? Where am I going?

Debra Maldonado  17:23

It’s interesting what you’re just saying, I want to clarify that. When I was a hypnotherapist, all I did was help people meditate, guided meditation to visualize what they want to get in their life. It was actually building up the ego versus having them do the real work of letting go of the attachment. It’s not bad to visualize what you want but to be so obsessed with “When I get this thing, I’ll be happy” is what’s causing you being not happy in the moment, it’s postponed happiness somehow. When you talk about meditation and going inward in that examination, it’s different than visualization or guided meditation. Other people say “I meditated today, visualized my ideal partner or visualized my dream home.” That’s not meditation, it’s a type of meditation but you’re talking about more of a self inquiry meditation.

Robert Maldonado  18:21

Definitely self inquiry, but also a very disciplined approach to the mind. You can think of it in stages. You don’t just sit and go automatically into a meditative state, you have to prepare, you have to practice. Non attachment, obviously, one of the keys, because you could be sitting and looking like you’re meditating. But like you say, you’re trying to get a car or trying to get a house.

Debra Maldonado  19:03

Or fighting with someone in your mind, that person that irritated you the day before. You’re obsessing over it. Some people try to meditate and get stuck in thinking and worry. Then they say “I hate meditating.” Because it’s so hard to do, it makes you really focus on your mind. What we tend to do, especially in the Western world, is find ways to distract ourselves from paying attention to our mind.

Robert Maldonado  19:29

It’s bringing the body first of all under the discipline of the mind, so that your body is not dictating to you what you should do, get up and get some water or move around. You’re saying to the body “I’m going to direct you.” The postures are very important, to sit in a proper posture for meditation. Then bringing the breath under control. Why the breath? Because breathing is the bridge between the external world and the internal world. If you can’t manage your breath, essentially you’re still caught up in the external. But managing the breath, meaning directing it from the mind and making it steady, is one of the big practices of real meditation. Then withdrawing the senses inward. Again, because if my imagination is attached to things out there, for my mind it doesn’t make that much difference whether I’m perceiving something and lusting after it or desiring it or if I’m imagining it and desiring it. It’s the same principle, I’m still caught up, I’m still suffering, I’m still attached to things. So bringing the senses really into the mind and stilling them is a big part of meditation that requires practice and discipline.

Debra Maldonado  21:10

Could you explain what you mean by bringing the senses into the mind?

Robert Maldonado  21:15

The senses operate essentially on their own. If you ever have driven home from work, you look back and think “How did I get here? I must have just blanked out.” Your body did sensory operations, continue to operate without mindfulness. The senses act on their own, meaning they’re not under the guidance and direction of the mind. What we do in meditation is bring the senses under the realm of the mind. Then the mind directs them to come inward and to be still. Like a turtle drawing in its limbs, its head and its tail into its shell, the mind contains all that. Once the senses are under the guidance and direction of the higher mind, then meditation begins. We can then start to concentrate, you can then direct the internal focus anywhere you want. You can focus on your breathing, you can focus it on your navel, on your seventh chakra, whatever you want. That’s the beginning of real meditation. That requires practice. But once you get there, it’s leading you to that liberation.

Debra Maldonado  22:59

It’s not just closing your eyes for five minutes, and then maybe the last 30 seconds you get that bliss state, it’s that five minutes and 10 minutes, I don’t know how long the beginner might take, 30 minutes to warm up, and then getting into that state.

Robert Maldonado  23:17

What’s going on internally then in the mind, and in some practices described as if you have seen olive oil being poured, when there’s a smooth flow, there’s no break in the oil as it’s pouring out into another jar or a pan, they describe that continuous flow as meditation. Undisturbed, just steady mind of pure awareness. That is the meditative state. Now, that’s not Nirvana still, but it’s the way to get there. It requires that practice of bringing the senses under control, bringing the breath, being able to focus, to direct the focus of the mind, so that it’s not wandering all over the place.

Debra Maldonado  24:32

We’re so conditioned to be distracted and to be jumping all over the place. That’s the ego. We just like looking for the next thing and to worry about. It’s unsettling, we wonder why we’re unhappy. Because the ego’s never satisfied. There’s actually a wonderful story, I think Vivekananda talked about it, he is not a Buddhist but from Vedanta, which arose out of Buddhism. He talks about the hungry genie. There is a similar idea in the Buddhism, called the hungry ghost, where they say, imagine someone with a big giant stomach and a little tiny mouth, it’s never satisfied. There was a man who went to the guru and said “I would like a genie. I heard that these genies can give you anything you want. Can I get a genie?” The guru said “I don’t think that’s a good idea. If I give you a genie, you have to give it something to do every moment, it always has to be busy. If you don’t give it something to make for you, it’s going to eat you up.” He said “I don’t care, I have plenty of things I want. I’m gonna keep that genie busy forever, don’t worry.” He gives the guy the genie, and he said “I want to be the mayor of the town.” Boom, he’s the mayor of the town. I want to have the biggest house in town, boom. I want the most beautiful wife in the world, boom. He kept asking, then he was starting to run out of things that he wanted. The genie’s like “Give me something to do.” He said “I don’t know what else I want.” He runs back to the guru and says “Please, take this genie back. I have everything I want, I don’t need it anymore.” He said “I told you, you got to give it something to do or it’s going to eat you. I’m going to give you a task, find a dog with a curly tail, take that tail and give it to the genie and tell him to straighten out the tail.” He gave it to the genie, and the genie straightens it all out. As soon as he lets it go, it curls back again. The genie goes back. Now the genie was busy. It’s like the mind, it always needs something to do. And like the curly tail, it’s never going to get straightened out. The ego believes one day that tail is going to be completely straight, I’m going to have no problems in the world. Meditation can help you watch the process of the mind trying to straighten out that curly tail. It’s such a great visual because if you think about it, in life everyday, just think about something you were worried about today. Just think about that curly tail, it’s going to get straightened out, but then something else will curl up that tail. So meditation and Nirvana is letting go of that. What causes that need for things is the ego.

Robert Maldonado  28:09

The practice of meditation, of getting to the even flow of awareness, where it’s undisturbed awareness, then it leads you to that liberation, which is Nirvana. It’s a release from the world of samsara, a complete sense of oneness, non duality. That is transformative, because it wouldn’t do us any good if that state only got us there when we were in deep meditation, because then we would have to just sit in meditation all day and not do anything. Buddha was very active. He started the mangas, he would go from city to city, to instruct people, to initiate different people into the Dharma, into the work. He was very active. When they ask him “What are you?”, he said “All I am is awake.” That state of Nirvana transforms your mind to where you’re seeing things as they truly are. You’re having a direct perception of reality, you’re not caught up in the appearance of samsara. That’s the important aspect of Buddhist philosophy, you as an individual have a mind, and everyone has a mind. You’re responsible for this mind and for yourself. You can do this on your own. You can seek out teachers, you can seek out the Dharma and practice, but it’s your responsibility to practice the higher knowledge, deeper philosophy.

Debra Maldonado  30:39

You do need a guide, you can’t just try it because your ego loves to convince you that everything’s okay. The ego is designed to pull you away from enlightenment and higher knowledge. You need someone who has a higher knowledge to help guide you, not just reading books. Your ego will pick and choose like a smorgasbord, what it likes, or not really understand. For me, there were so many things I did not understand, and listening to the gurus talk and teach helped me understand it deeper. Hearing someone who’s studied this for years, not a self help. It’s a part of dedicating yourself to this path.

Robert Maldonado  31:30

That’s so important. Because we do see a lot of picking and choosing from different traditions and giving up when it gets too difficult and saying, “Over here, they’re just telling me I have to just believe.”

Debra Maldonado  31:45

Or I have to be non attached, I like this spirituality where I get lots of money, and I can visualize checks and gathering things, and making life abundant, and not really getting to the root. There’s a lot of attachment, the ego infiltrates a lot of the minds of people.

Robert Maldonado  32:12

That’s one of the misconceptions, Buddha is not saying you cannot enjoy the world. All he’s saying is you have to be awake in the world, so that you understand what these objects are, what is money, what is success, what is having a house and having a family. If you are misunderstanding, if you’re attached, if you are going into this world and saying “When I gather these certain things, I will be happy”, then you’re setting yourself up for much suffering. That’s samsara. So the awakened state liberates us from that. It allows us then to act in the world, to be in the world, but be awake.

Debra Maldonado  33:10

A lot of people who’ve heard this term “spiritual bypassing” were getting rid of the world, like “I want to go somewhere that’s better, this other place.” Nirvana or meditation, trying to seek that state isn’t about rejecting the world, not addressing your emotions, not addressing the things that aren’t so spiritual about yourself, that aren’t the perfect human being in anger and jealousy, integrating that into your life and understanding that that’s not really who you are. That all is a part of that. When I first started meditating, I think before I met you, I had these beautiful escapes of meditation that took me away. I did not realize I was really bypassing, trying to leapfrog my way to Nirvana, getting that first class ticket. If I visualized enough and got all the things I wanted in the world and ignored my problems or ignored this suffering, just cover it up and make it pretty. That is really what we’re not talking about where you want to wrestle and be present in our mind and have that discipline when we’re uncomfortable to be with that discomfort, not wanting to escape from it. I love what you say about if we’re truly trying to understand the nature of the mind and the way it thinks and the ego’s structure and the its MO than actually believing and buying into it. Like trying to straighten out the tail all the time. Constant running.

Robert Maldonado  34:59

Someone is asking how would you introduce a meditation practice to someone who is new to this? First of all, you have to explain that meditation was developed in a very different context than the materialistic philosophy that modern societies operate. If you approach it from the materialistic perspective, meditation just become stress management, something about mental health, about relaxation, stress, which is good stuff, but that’s not its aim. You can relax better by doing an activity, exercising, going for a walk. You don’t need to exert so much energy in meditation if all you’re after is stress management.

Debra Maldonado  36:09

I think what they think of meditation is listen to calming waters and relaxing, at the end of yoga you’re just laying there and you’re like “That’s really beautiful.” You’re just letting go. But meditation is actually very active. It’s not this passive relaxation, we’re sitting up, we’re more alert.

Robert Maldonado  36:35

If you think about the western paradigm that we live in, it essentially says the only reality is the physical reality, what we can measure, observe, touch and see. Of course, it’s a very powerful system. That’s why most people are so attached to it, they can’t give it up, they say it’s given us so much comfort and convenience, this method must be true, it must be real. Of course, it’s true, it’s real, because we’re assuming that it’s real and true. The way consciousness works is like water, we are pouring it into the vessel of materialism, it becomes that reality for us. But meditation was developed in a very different worldview, in a paradigm where awareness, consciousness was the essential element of the universe.

Debra Maldonado  37:45

This is a beginner who never meditated before.

Robert Maldonado  37:48

You have to explain this because otherwise it only becomes stress management of the mind body. Even if they don’t understand it, you’re planting the seed and explaining that this different perspective is important as the ground for meditation, then you’re on the right track, then you can instruct them on the practice of sitting, observing the breath, moving inward and asking those questions. What is the nature of my mind? Who am I? Is there a real self in me? And if there is, where is it? Is it a thought? Is it an emotion? Is it the body? Is it the identity, the persona as Jung would say?

Debra Maldonado  38:52

I find that the breath part is probably the easiest, especially for beginners, just watch your breath, count to 10, and watch your breath, then count down again and watch your breath, you’re just counting in and out, one, two, and you’re just giving the mind something to do. Then you get to a place, maybe a couple of times, and then there’s a shift that happens, it’s like changes in your body where you slow down, and then you stop in the question. Who am I? Is there someone real inside of me that I can find within me? What is the nature of my mind? It’s unstructured. When you get to that state of just being open to what arises, you’re really not like looking to analyze, it’s more like you just ask the question and you drop it. You’re not chasing the answer, I think that’s really important. Don’t chase the answer when you’re in the meditative state. You want to just allow it, just be in this allowing state. They may meditate for 30 days and do “Who am I?” and nothing comes up. But on that 31st day, something’s going to emerge. You’re inviting in your higher nature to come meet you where you’re at.

Robert Maldonado  40:19

Buddha emphasize three things, you need a guide, like you were saying, somebody to instruct you, to keep you on track. You need the Dharma. You don’t necessarily have to do the Buddhism teachings. But you need a deeper context of what is this activity that I’m doing called meditation. If you don’t have that context, it just becomes another thing to do. People say “I don’t have time, it’s just another activity I have to do in the morning.” That’s not really what meditation is about. When you see it in the right context, in the Dharma, it is a sacred activity, it is you doing the most important thing you can do, looking inward and reaffirming to yourself the true nature of existence. Then you need the Sangha. Sangha is a group of people that are like-minded and are actively doing the Dharma, they’re seeking the same Nirvana as you are. Because without that, we know from neuroscience, our brains tend to calibrate to the group of people that we hang out with. We’re hanging out with people from the office, and they’re all into the materialistic paradigm. It’s not going to work. It’s not going to take us very far.

Debra Maldonado  42:21

I was always the weirdo in the corporate. But then when someone had a problem, they would always come to me, but they would be like “Debbie, she’s into that stuff.”

Robert Maldonado  42:31

A lot of our students tell us “When I’m listening to you, when I’m practicing with you, I get it. But as soon as I go out the door, I forget it, it just seems to vanish, I’m back to being caught up in the world.” That’s the principle right there that if you don’t hang out and cultivate in that community, that Sanga, even if it’s just another person, your mind will tend to calibrate to those important people in your environment. And if you examine their mind, just ask, what are they up to, most of them are on the materialistic plane.

Debra Maldonado  43:27

I think one great thing— because we’re on different mediums like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, notice how you feel when you’re scrolling through your feed and reacting to different political posts or people. You become fearful about something that’s happening in their life or celebrating something and you’re jealous. You just watch your mind and how your mind can get. Actually social media is designed to trigger us and to keep us out of Nirvana. We want to use it to connect with people, but also watch your mind as you go into those groups. Now we have to wear masks everywhere, we don’t think about how do we protect our mind when we’re on the group in the different medias. Jung talked about the psychic epidemic, he said what really happens in the world is that there’s an epidemic of ideas of people getting riled up about things, creating that suffering in the world, with countries and with wars, since the beginning of time. Doing this work with yourself and then having a sangha and creating that beautiful space, creating an epidemic of peace and Nirvana would be a way to shift the world like we talked about in the last episode. This thing is not just about your personal life and making your life better, which it will, but it’s also about you being an active part of seeking the truth, you’re basically creating a ripple effect to and with other people. Neurologically, we’re resonating with those people, and we’re making shifts, and those people are maybe putting a seed of inspiration in people. This is very important, we need a little Nirvana in the world right now. We can’t describe Nirvana but what would you say is the benefit of someone having those type of states or entering those states? If we can’t describe what it is, how it can help, why go there?

Robert Maldonado  45:52

Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin has been doing this research on Buddhist monks who have been meditating for 40-50 years, he actually found meditation changes the brain structure. It rewires your brain. It shifts your whole perception of yourself, the world, the way you respond to things, everything. Think of what’s going on here. The mind through its understanding of deeper spiritual principles now is directing its mind body, the appearance of our individuality, to reconstruct it, to redesign it, to create it in a higher way, in a more spiritual way. It’s literally changing the structure of the cells and the neuron connections in a very direct way, through meditation. We can think of meditation as the mechanism, the molding of your self from the higher self, from your deeper mind, the Buddha mind as some would say.

Debra Maldonado  47:29

In a tangible way, what would be the benefit, besides the physical? How would someone live their life differently in the world?

Robert Maldonado  47:43

The only way we experience the world is through our mind. There is no other way. It appears to us as if there’s an external reality that is independent of our mind. But it’s an illusion, that’s part of the samsara, it creates an illusion of things being out there, independent of our experience, but we are the observer in the equation of universe/observer. In other words, that universe you are describing doesn’t exist without you observing it and describing it.

Debra Maldonado  48:31

Let me put it this way. When you practice this work, understand the concepts of Nirvana having experience of the no self for this wonderful place, you don’t get caught up in the negative and positive of the world, you start to enjoy the highest more than life. When things go well in that moment, it’s rich and beautiful, but you don’t get too deep into despair when things aren’t working. Because you know that you are seeing yourself in difficult people, difficult situations, it becomes more— I hate to say a video game, but it becomes more of this playful, creative activity that we’re doing in life versus this “I got to white knuckle it and make everything happen because I have to leave a legacy behind and I don’t want people to think bad of me, and I got to prove something to the world or myself.” It becomes more free flowing. Basically, it’s being in the world, but not of the world. Like having one foot in the world and one foot in Nirvana. It’s a beautiful place to be. We can have glimpses of it in the beginning. Like “Today was really blissful. I didn’t get caught up in that thing, that situation.” Maybe the next week it’s a little troublesome, you keep meditating. And you’ll notice that those times become more consistent. You’re less reactive to life and more creative in your life. That’s where you’re not afraid to take risks. You’re not afraid of doing things that you never thought you can do. You become more in love with life. Unlike the woman that was suffering from her body, her whole life was suffering because of her physical body. If she would have known that she had the key to change that suffering, it would have been different. It’s sad that the last moment is where you get it. We want to be able to have that kind of release throughout our life versus just saving the desert for the end. You want to have the desert all through your life.

Robert Maldonado  51:00

It is a peacefulness because you’re seeing the deeper reality of things, a true reality. You’re not as disturbed or as agitated, your mind is not agitated by the ever changing flow of things. We have to be careful here, it doesn’t mean passivity, it doesn’t mean we don’t care about what’s going on in the world.

Debra Maldonado  51:32

We will still feel suffering but we understand its nature. You’re not living on a cloud, you feel that’s uncomfortable but you know its nature, you understand what’s happening versus trying to fix it out there. You’re saying “I know the source’s within my mind”, you feel more empowered to investigate what that is. It’s really a chance for you to go to higher levels of states of consciousness by facing difficulties versus avoiding them and only surrounding yourself with non toxic people and pushing away people from your past and blaming them for your suffering in life. You’re seeing that all this suffering is really helping me understand myself. You’re using it versus trying to compartmentalize your life.

Robert Maldonado  52:23

It is good way to see it. The very things that most people are trying to run away from, through Dharma, through this deeper understanding, through meditation, we’re able to approach those things and learn the lessons of what is the nature of the mind, what is the nature of reality. The very things that most people would consider things to move away from, things to ignore, things to solve, to get rid of or fix, in this philosophy we’re moving towards those things. We’re examining them. We’re using them as the greatest lessons of the true nature of the mind and existence, which is ultimately consciousness. In Western science right now, there’s this big question of what is consciousness. They call it the hard problem, because they’re trying to figure out where it is in the brain essentially. They’re not going to find it there. It’s essentially the indescribable, Nirvana, or dow, the pure awareness that cannot be named, it cannot be contained. Because it’s not an object.

Debra Maldonado  53:52

After going through individuation and continuing the process of individuation as Jung would say, I noticed there’s this undefined part of my life, of myself, that is me. There’s a Debbie, and then there’s this other undefined part, which is really wonderful. It’s that Nirvana of myself. “People dealing with chronic pain, will it make sense for them to look forward to physical death so they can finally be free.” Yes, that would be the case. But if they understood that they can use their mind because the mind could direct the body, there could be a way for them to transcend that chronic pain in the physical body. Not everyone has the commitment and the consistency and teacher to help them. But we’ve noticed that people just going through individuation and doing Shadow Work have dropped a lot of symptoms in their physical because all these things have emotional and psychological aspect to them as well.

Robert Maldonado  55:07

One of the reasons I emphasize the paradigm a lot too, is because that underlying structure of how we think the universe works sets everything up for us, sets everything up that follows from there. Because if you think if I live in a material universe, only certain things are possible, only certain mechanisms are operating in that physical universe. Whereas if I live in a conscious universe, it’s infinite basically, it allows for many possibilities, perhaps an infinite amount of possibilities. It’s an important concept. It is difficult to grasp but think in terms of what is the worldview, the universal view of things? If it’s materialistic, your pain and suffering has to be addressed through drugs, through surgery, through some eating pads, and some physical mechanism that’s going to impact the body.

Debra Maldonado  56:23

Even energy work, people thinking “I’m just gonna move the energy in my body”, that’s very materialistic way of looking at it.

Robert Maldonado  56:30

But if you’re operating from the conscious universe, then all things are possible. It accounts for people having these incredible instantaneous remissions from deadly diseases and those kinds of situations.

Debra Maldonado  56:56

My father was dealing with that. He was going through chemo, the first round, and he almost died from the first round, he was 70. They said usually at that age, it’s really hard to see them go into remission. I just taught him how to work with his mind. He was Catholic, so I had him imagine Jesus there and just working with it. They told him he had a 20% chance of surviving and I said that’s 20%, that’s better than zero. We were working with the mind and helping him talk to the chemo going in, saying “Only go to the bad cells, keep my body healthy”, and visualizing himself healing. He went through this second round without any side effects. Where the first time he was basically almost debilitated. He said it was a miracle. The difference is that I told him how to work with his mind. That’s really powerful. I’ve worked with women to go through childbirth, some women have had horrible childbirth, and then other women barely felt any pain. It’s because they learn to work with their mind.It’s hard with chronic pain because you’re so used to feeling pain, it’s hard to get out of it. But it’s not impossible and to be open to that possibility that you’re more than just this physical body, that the body can’t dictate to you who you are. I think we fall into that when we’re sick. We think we’re helpless to this body, shifting that paradigm of this body is consciousness, I am consciousness, which means I can direct it. It’s a tough one. Next week we will delve into the brain, getting out of Nirvana and coming back into the body. We’re going to talk about neuroscience, we’re going to talk about the brain on God, the brain on love and relationships, the brain on the body, the mind, and the brain on success. How that works, what’s happening neuro psychologically as we go through life. Getting back in the body again.

Robert Maldonado  59:24

Back to the Western paradigm.

Debra Maldonado  59:27

We’ll see you next week. Hope you’re having a great Labor Day weekend.

Robert Maldonado  59:33

I just wanted to say that going through this series, I hope you are seeing that all these traditions that come from different parts of the world, different cultures, are saying the same thing essentially that it’s the mind and the inner work that counts. They have different languages, they emphasize different techniques. But ultimately, because the truth is always the truth, it’s always one, everyone reaches that same conclusion, that we are living in a world of appearance and that the appearances are important, but they’re not the absolute reality, the absolute reality resides within us. That message for all students of the mind like ourselves, is so important. Our intention is simply to reiterate that, to translate that into our everyday world that we live in now, so that people can use it, absorb it and learn from it. We come from very wise traditions that are still very much alive today. We should not give up this spiritual seeking just because we have technology and comfort and accessibility to wealth or comfort. It is the essence of our human life to seek out this truth and to practice it.

Debra Maldonado  1:01:34

It’s important for humanity. We’re dealing with climate change and these struggles with the challenges we have as human beings. There is a division, we need to come together, we need to understand what we’re really experiencing before we destroy each other and the planet. The ego has a lovely way of destroying things and causing suffering, so we can do our part to create that ripple effect for the world.

Robert Maldonado  1:02:07

Absolutely.

Debra Maldonado  1:02:08

So anyway, take care everyone. Pack your bags, go to Nirvana this weekend if you can. We’ll see you next week for our next segment and series on neuroscience.

Robert Maldonado  1:02:20

Thanks for watching. 

Debra Maldonado  1:02:22 

Take care.

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