Alan Watts: Boat and wake

 

Adyashanti talks about this analogy in Ideal Spiritual Orientation.

Is the present created by the past, or is the past created in the present? Or are both true, each in their own way?

The boat and wake analogy invites us to explore this. A boat creates it’s wake, so is it similarly true that the present creates the past?

If so, in what way is it true? What do I find when I explore this through simple, real and specific examples?

And is it true in just a moderate way, or in a more profound sense?

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Adyashanti talks about this analogy in Ideal Spiritual Orientation.

What I find is that my past is created in the present. My images of the past creates my past, all of it and all of the time.

And this past creates the present. When I believe my stories of the past, the mind has to make them appear real. I have to live as if they are real.

I notice this in at least three ways:

(1) When my stories of the past changes, my present changes.

(2). Believing my stories about the past has consequences now.

(3) The three times (past, future, present) and their contents only exists here now in my images. I cannot find them outside of my images.

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  • boat and wake
    • essence
      • the present creates the past (my images of the past, #3 in the work)
      • and this past creates the present (#3 in the work)
    • examples
      • when my stories of the past changes, my present changes (#4, turnarounds)
      • believing my stories of the past has consequences now (#3)
      • the three times and their contents only exist here now in my images
    • …..

 

 

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In our conventional view, we often think that the past creates or conditions the present. What went before determines what’s here now. It’s a view that often works in a pragmatic and practical sense.

In the boat and wake analogy, Alan Watts invites us to look again. The boat creates the wake, not the other way around. Is that the same with the present and past? Does the present create the past?

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draft….

Adyashanti talks about this analogy in Ideal Spiritual Orientation.

Is the present created by the past, or is the past created in the present? Or are both true, each in their own way?

The boat and wake analogy invites us to explore this. A boat creates it’s wake, so is it similarly true that the present creates the past?

If so, in what way is it true? And is it true in just a moderate way, or in a more profound sense?

…………….
…………….
…………….
…………….
…………….

Adyashanti talks about this analogy in Ideal Spiritual Orientation.

The boat (here now) creates a wake (the past). There are two ways to look at this: The wake creates the boat (past creates the present), or the boat creates the wake (here and now creates the images of a past). This analogy obviously favors the latter.

In a conventional view, it makes sense that the past creates the future. It’s a view that works in a limited and pragmatic sense.

Yet, when I look closer, the boat and wake analogy makes more sense. It’s more aligned with reality.

I cannot find the past outside of my images of a past. The past may be presented in history books, or a family photo album, or what someone says to me. And I cannot find that past outside of my images.

(1) When my stories of the past change, my experience of the past and present and even future changes with it. I thought a kid at school bullied me, and felt tense and resentful towards him. I found that reality is quite different and that something else is really more true for me (he may have been afraid, he may have responded to what I believed about him, he was in several situations a good friend). So I experience him, my childhood and the world quite differently. I relate to him, myself and the world differently. I find compassion for him and myself. I find trust. I find a sense of connection with him and myself.

(2) When I explore what happens when I take a story as true, I get to see how my stories of the past creates the present. My beliefs about the past creates my whole past and this creates how I experience and am now. I believe I was bullied as a kid, and feel tense, resentful and fearful about the world. I find something else is more true, and find compassion and trust and relate to myself and others differently.

(3) And I also find that my stories about the present and future come from my stories about the past. My stories about the past create my stories of the present and future. I believe I was born, so I believe I am mortal and will die.

My stories of the past create my present. And that’s not only true in a cosmetic sense, but in the most profound sense possible. There is a reinterpretation of what happened, yes, and it goes further. There is also a questioning of my most basic assumptions about what happened, including that which seems the most obviously true. And there is a noticing that the idea of the three times and their contents is all happening within my mental field, it’s all my stories and images.

 

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  • boat & wake
    • boat – here now, wake – stories/images of the past
    • the boat creates the wake, here now creates the past (images of the past, stories, whether taken as true or not)
    • the stories here now also creates the *effects* of the past, #3 in the work
    • ……

 

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