Supporting info (7) – patterns

by dave0searby0mason

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If you throw a pebble into a pond, ripples move out from where it sank – patterns. There are patterns in a pond and there are patterns in human lives too. It is very hard to see the patterns in our lives for most of them come from unconscious sources. The patterns within our lives reflect the structured patterns of our minds. What is ‘outside’, that is the shape our lives take, reflects what is ‘inside’. For this reason, patterns can be important but we get more out of them if we are not too hasty to pin them down with explanations. Constancy is about watching all your thoughts and feelings: the act of watching (constantly) is more important than interpreting what you see. The act of watching all the time allows the Deeper feelings to surface and that is, at the end of the day, more important than how you interpret them.  The Deepest feelings surfacing bring their own meanings.   So with watching patterns, allow their meaning to emerge over time rather than be too quick to fix their meaning early on with theories and speculation.  This ‘too early’ fixing can create blocks to further emergence.   It may take time for meanings to emerge, and/or, meanings may appear but in layers, not all visible at first glance.

Imagine a clear pond in front of you. You drop a pebble at on end of the pond and quickly walk round to drop a pebble in at the other end. At first, the ripples spread out uninterrupted. Then the two converging sets of ripples meet, interference occurs and a new set of ripples forms. When two patterns meet, they create a third pattern. Cause can be seen but it is complex. Too often we see “third pattern” and assume the second pebble caused it. Really, it is interaction and interference that caused the third pattern. We look for interaction but mostly we find interference. Another reason that caution is best exercised when looking at patterns.  This interference factor is another compelling reason to be cautious with interpretations and speculation.

“Patterns have an underlying mathematical structure; indeed, mathematics can be seen as the search for regularities, and the output of any function is a mathematical pattern. Similarly in the sciences, theories explain and predict regularities in the world”.  (Wikipedia)

Patterns also have phases.   There is movement. We move from one state to another; we move from one place to another. We look back and identify a “past”, that is where we have moved from. We look forward to where we expect to “go”, to travel to. Even if I sit still and do nothing, it is not a “nothing”  –  my body is decaying, my brain is moving from one state to the next. States like “being still”, “balance” and “nothing” are thus illusions and linguistic conventions only, albeit helpful ones. We invent time, by creating a measurement system, seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years are all measurements, that is, an order we impose on a fluid ‘now’.   And then we have to modify it by creating nanoseconds and even smaller units. But really, this measuring is just an act of perception, codified and mechanised to be sure, but it is still us looking.  We invent mathematics because that too, at the end of the day, is still just us looking.  Mathematics does not exist outside of those who are counting and calculating.

Whichever direction our perception goes, whether out in to the astonishing distances of cosmology, or in, towards the equally astonishing distances of the sub-atomic, it is just a form of travelling, we move from one perception to another, from near to far and back. In the same way that “nothing” and “balance” are illusions, temporary linguistic and perceptual conventions, so to is the concept that “things end”. The most we could say is that a phase might seem to end.   Phases are connected to other phases, both consecutively and concurrently, with subsequent interference.  This is demonstrable in almost any place you look. Phases are parts of patterns. So, death is the end of a phase. “You” die but the body decays into something else or is burned and converted to gas and ashes. If consciousness is just a by-product of neural complexity, then it ends when the neural network decays. Then again, phases are connected consecutively and concurrently; this certainly seems to be true, so why would consciousness be the only thing not connected to other phases? Seen this way, consciousness cannot be an isolate thing, (even if we cannot see the connections), because there are no isolate things, save for convention and temporary linguistic convenience.

So in summary, in terms of Constancy practice, it is probably unhelpful initially to try and grasp all the patterns that present to our looking  –  they go too deep and too far.  On the other hand, patterns stimulate in us a desire for meaning.  It seems this is best fostered by allowing rather than grasping.  The emergent Deeper feelings will bring their own meaning, eventually.  Put another way, it is not necessary to know all or even most, in order to ‘be’.  The pursuit of knowledge is limited, being open to ‘being’ is something that happens right now, (constantly) and helps our Constancy practice.

” . . . within the heart, there is a heart hidden, like a horse-man, hidden in the dust”

Rumi

 

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