For quite a while I’ve been practicing and writing about vivid awareness, mindfulness and awareness, and things like that. I’ve noticed that there hasn’t been a lot of S-fract or Fractal Society stuff, but that just hasn’t been where my mind has been.
This summer I decided to study two text, VA, and Volume two, which focuses on Bodhichitta .
And one morning, lying in bed, it struck me – the connection between vivid awareness, Bodhichitta, and S-fracts. And not only did the connections come to me, but the import or repercussions of the connections came to me.
Vivid Awareness and Bodhichitta
The practice of vivid awareness allows us to
- See what we are thinking/feeling
- See that there is really no substance to the thought/emotion
- Recognize or touch/taste the wisdom or energy of that thought or emotion.
As a result of this we can either just let the thought/emotion go (and in my experience it seems to go/dissolve by itself) or hold onto the thought. This might be something like absolute Bodhichitta- which I take to be “seeing things as they are.”
But there is also relative Bodhichitta, which is more like being compassionate, doing things that can easily be seen to benefit others. One of the relative bodhicitta practices that I do is called “taking and sending” or tonglen. Tonglen is the practice of taking on other people’s suffering/confusion, and sending them our calmness/clarity of mind. So if I were practicing Tonglen I would think of soembody who is suffering or is angry, and breath in their suffering or anger, (kind of taking it away from them) and then breath out non-suffering or calmness. So if I were doing this, and flashed on Vivid Awareness in the middle of taking and/or sending, I might:
- See the specific details of what I am doing very clearly – how I am doing the practice
- Notice that this is just something I’m doing, and
- Deciding to stay with the practice.
And what is cool is that if I notice I’m day-dreaming (rather than taking and sending) I can just see the specifics of that, and then got back to the practice of taking and sending.
So while often I will let the thought of “I’m so pissed” go, if I am doing tonglen and actually in the process of taking all that annoyance/anger into myself in the “taking” part of the practice, I can just keep doing it. And it seems like in those instances there is more energy to the practice.
Bodhichitta and S-Fractals
So there I am, taking in all the anger and annoyance of anybody I can think of, and send out the sense of calmness and ease to those folks. And that seems to be a good thing to do.
But that morning I noticed two things.
First: When I send them the sense of calmness and being at ease (assuming this practice “works” at some level, in some dimension) i am spreading my calmness to them, and they in turn spread a little calmness to others. The calmness is contagious – just as anger can be contagious. One can view this as an S-function spreading through-out Fractal Society (but a different name might be good)
Second: In doing this practice with a particular friend in mind (any friend) not only am I sending them calmness, but to some degree I’m sending them (and sending is a very strange word to be using here) the desire or impetus for them to do Tonglen – in their own style, their own way.
Which is about as S-fractal as it gets.