How can acceptance of the present moment be reconciled with wanting things in life?

 
kuzon
 
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kuzon
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Joined  26-02-2018
 
 
 
26 February 2018 01:16
 

Harris says in waking up that we have to TRULY accept unpleasant sensations and emotions as transitory appearances in consciousness in order to have real wisdom and lasting change. We can’t merely accept them and covertly hope they will go away. How can this be reconconciled with goals such as wanting to improve the world or yourself? True acceptance of the present moment seems to necessitate that you aren’t wanting to fix anything about it. You don’t wish it was different at all. Harris says this is a paradox, then says nothing more about it, leaving a lot to be desired…


(last page of the meditation chapter for reference)

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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01 March 2018 21:55
 

I think it presupposes the idea that ‘awareness’ is somewhat distinct from the goings-on of the moment. One thing you will notice if you spend any amount of time around meditators is that they have adapted their language - at least during official meditative events - to support this paradigm. You will not hear a lot of statements that start with “I am…”, but you will hear a lot of statements about “X is happening.” Not “I am breathing” but “Breathing is happening.” Not “I am tired” but “Fatigue is arising.” Etc. Standard English does not always support the framing of such ideas, I think, as we are a traditionally dualistic culture.


This still gets very abstract, as it’s not meant to be a sort of disembodied state, with some other ‘self’ watching what is happening from across the room. I find the concept frustrating too, but I accept that it is one that seems to have absorbed humans for eons (I think there are a lot of analogies in the old Christian debate over the nature of Christ - was he divine, human, both human and divine simultaneously, both human and divine but in a categorically distinct way…) I think ultimately it is meant to be resolved experientially - meaning enough contemplative practice leads to a felt understanding of what is being talked about. Fwiw, common analogies include the ocean and waves (Are the waves separate from the ocean or a part of it? Both? Neither? Etc.) and light particles on a movie screen (Are the light particles ‘really’ a movie, or do we know it’s all just light, ultimately? Both? Neither. Etc.)

 
 
Ground
 
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Ground
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16 August 2018 01:20
 
kuzon - 26 February 2018 01:16 AM

Harris says in waking up that we have to TRULY accept unpleasant sensations and emotions as transitory appearances in consciousness in order to have real wisdom and lasting change. We can’t merely accept them and covertly hope they will go away.

*lol* grin

On the basis of what kind of the evidence does Harris distinguish “TRULY accept” from “merely accept”?

 
burt
 
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burt
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16 August 2018 09:21
 
kuzon - 26 February 2018 01:16 AM

Harris says in waking up that we have to TRULY accept unpleasant sensations and emotions as transitory appearances in consciousness in order to have real wisdom and lasting change. We can’t merely accept them and covertly hope they will go away. How can this be reconconciled with goals such as wanting to improve the world or yourself? True acceptance of the present moment seems to necessitate that you aren’t wanting to fix anything about it. You don’t wish it was different at all. Harris says this is a paradox, then says nothing more about it, leaving a lot to be desired…


(last page of the meditation chapter for reference)

My present moment includes all the plans, intentions, goals but they’ve been bracketed as simply present mental content. The problem is attachments to future possibilities. Just from a pragmatic point of view, that sort of attachment gives a rigidity that blocks flexible responses in each moment.

With pressure from the past a plan is laid
With hope that in the future we’ll be paid.
Avoid all confusion!
Drop that illusion!
The past is gone, the futures not yet made.

Or,

An arrow in each instant doesn’t move
Yet the path from bow to target’s smooth.
An instant is caught
Beyond time and thought
As presence in eternity will prove.