Section 4

First Chapter Section 4


John Holt once said : We learn something from everything we do, and everything that happens to us or is done to us.

What we see, observe, and ultimately learn in life, from friends and family, make us more informed or more ignorant, sometimes wiser or sometimes more stupid, but we always learn something from our experiences. What it is that we learn depends mainly on our inside experience, and above all, on how we are left feeling about it. We are very unlikely to learn anything valuable from experiences which are not interesting and are not important in the rest of our lives. Even more important, we are even less likely to learn anything good from coerced experiences, especially things that others have bribed, threatened, bullied, or tricked us into doing. 

Living a life on autopilot might bring unhappy consequences. In the same manner, to paraphrase John Holt: people who watch television on autopilot learn that characters they watch on TV are in every way better than they are. They see younger, sexier, smarter, stronger, faster, braver, richer, happier, more successful and respected TV personalities.

Zen Master Roshi Philip Kapleau in his excellent book called Awakening To ZEN says:

Ummon, a great Zen master of the T’ang period in China, said to his assembly of monks, “The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your seven-piece robe at the sound of the bell?”

Ummon is urging us: Experience for yourself this limitless universe—touch it, taste it, feel it, be it. Thoroughly savor it. Don’t speculate about life and the world. Live it! That is true freedom—religious freedom and spiritual freedom.

Ummon is saying, if you are a monk, put on your robes when the bell rings announcing the morning service. If you are an office worker, go to the office. If you are a husband, kiss your wife and children and drive to work. If you are a student, go to school. If you are a school teacher, open the door and ring the bell. Don’t drag your feet and complain, “Why should I?” Awakening brings the experiential awareness that the world is an unfathomable void. Yet every single thing embraces this immense cosmos.

Human Consciousness

The above illustration is the main theory behind our book. Human consciousness is more like a productive factory. You can imagine like a chocolate factory. If you input chocolate ingredients and the machinery is set up to produce chocolate, the output is always chocolate. There is nothing you can do about it. We will show the trick is to change the input (the way you observe things) and the machinery. Remember the two aspects of this factory. One is the input (observation and attention) which are the chocolate ingredients and next is the machinery (consciousness) that outputs chocolate.

Continue First Chapter Section 5

Author: Alexander Katiraie

Mentoring Program by Alex Katiraie