Playing out conditioning


Our human life and interactions is conditioning playing itself out.

A simple way to explore this is to take any view we have or activity we are doing, and then find a cause behind it, and then another, and then another. They are innumerable, and stretch back to beginning of time and out to the widest extent of the universe.

When we see this, there is a softening of identification with our identities, views, and actions. They are not personal. They are universal in the sense that they (a) belong to the universe as a whole, and (b) we and everything live out conditioning.

It’s also quite beautiful. It allows the universe – including us – to exist and function. It creates a great deal of diversity and richness. And it allows us to find ourselves as that which all this happens within and as.

In daily life, we can notice this whenever we interact with others. We each perceive and live from our conditioning, and it can be helpful to notice or guess some specifics about it. For instance, I prefer quiet over loudness. What may have lead to that preference?

I grew up in an educated middle class home in Norway, and quiet is valued in that subculture and culture. Being quiet equals being considerate and a good person and citizen.

I am used to quiet at home. I prefer it because it’s familiar.

I feel nervous and restless if it’s not quiet. It’s uncomfortable.

I have CFS and had PTSD, both of which makes me more sensitive to sound. Silence feels deeply nurturing and healing.

I am a mammal, and mammals tend to prefer silence or quiet. Silence or near silence is part of our evolutionary history, and it also allows us to detect danger more easily. It’s built into us to prefer silence.

And so on. I could probably always find one more possible reason, and then another.

Another person may not have this preference, and may even prefer loudness. What are some possible reasons?

They may have grown up in a lively and loud home. It feels familiar and comforting to them.

They may not have sound sensitivities. Their consititution may be more robust.

Their ancestors may have been very comfortable with loundness, and passed on those characteristics. Those traits can give a survival advantage in some situations.

They may use it to drown out uncomfortable sensations and thoughts. It can feel like an escape for them, a way to find a sense of safety.

When I see this, there is more understanding and compassion for both of us. I see that we are both playing out conditioning. And, really, we are both conditioning being played out. I still have my preferences, and I’ll still seek more silence, but the identifications around it have softened a bit.

These lists of possible causes are just that, a list of possible causes. They are questions. In this context, it doesn’t matter how accurate they are. They just serve as a reminder of innumerable causes.




Silence is something that many say they seek or wish for, especially among those into meditation and similar things.

And silence can be understood in different ways.

First, it’s the everyday notion of silence. It’s what we find in nature, or on a quiet day indoors. It may have the sounds of nature – of wind, waves, birds, and it’s mostly free of the sounds of civilization – cars, machines, the “dragon breath” of the city.

Then, there is another silence. The silence that’s always here. The silence that’s what we are. The silence that appears as the conventional silence and noise. The silence that cannot be disturbed or interrupted by conventional noise. Although it can be noticed or not, and it can notice itself or not (so much).

And it’s similar with relaxation.

There is the conventional relaxation that’s opposed to tension.

And there is the other relaxation. The one that allows and appears as the conventional relaxation and tension that comes and goes.

And there is the first leading into the second. I especially notice this when I hold satsang with parts of my field of experience. It allows these parts of me to relax. They are met with love and understanding. They do their own inquiry, perhaps noticing what they really are. They relax more deeply. And “I” relax more deeply. And this makes it easier to notice the deep relaxation that’s already here. Everything is this awakeness, this presence, this love, and when this presence, awakeness, love notices itself, there is a relaxation. And it’s here, and perhaps even noticed, even as it sometimes appears as conventional relaxation and tension.

Journey: blue stone and deep silence


After waking up this morning, I lied in bed for a few minutes just being with whatever was present – sensations, dreams, feelings. My attention went to the heart area, and the image and sense of a deep blue brilliant stone surfaced. I stayed with it for a little while, and also chose to not go further with it right then as I had to get up.

Late in the afternoon, I sat down to relax, my attention again went to the heart area, and the same image of a a deep blue brilliant stone in the heart area came up. Now, I go into it.

I see and sense the deep blue brilliant stone in the physical heart space. It has the qualities of a gemstone, and has a translucent thin blue sphere around it. It sits on top of a small horizontal dark blue or black circle, surrounded by deep blue still water.

The blue has a deep and profound stillness… It is a vast void, timeless and spaceless, with no forms or objects arising anywhere. It is profoundly quiet and still.

There is a death of everything here, of any form, any objects, including any sense of me and I, and anything this sense could be placed on. There is a stirring of fear (and an allowing of the fear, and of the profound silence and stillness.)

The vast deep silence is now arising as everything, and all form arises as and within this profound silence and stillness.

This vast silence and stillness, arising as and within everything, stays with me. Everything is arising as and within this profound silence. It is a different ground of everything.