Meditation Offerings

Meditation At Be Yoga and Wellness Mondays at 7 pm at Any Time Fitness, Okaville Fridays at 6 pm.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Nirvana of a New Born

Teachers often point to the serene simplicity of a new born as a metaphor for Nirvana. A newborn sees no separation, sees the universe as its own extension, doesn't yet know how to delineate snensations; a loud noise or intense hunger both  have the same feeling to a child, that of a general discomfort. And the child cries until it gets the desired result releasing dopamine or the happy chemical. A purturbation subsides back to its ground state or serenity and nirvana.

The big question is how and why does it get lost? Why don't we maintain this state all our lives obviating the need for spiritual seeking later in life when dissatisfaction sets in as nothing produces enough or sustained level of happy brain chemicals?

The answer lies in the natural buiild of the body that supports life and has an inherent program to sustain the species. Happy chemicals are naturally designed to reward actions of the body towards preservation of the species.

Consciousness on the other hand starts and stays in nirvana but starts to identify with the body more and more as the quick hit of happy chemicals create a state which has the same albeit temporary characteristics of serenity or nirvana.

We end up chasing the quick fix to have small hits rather than stay in the all pervading. This creates craving and aversion. Only after ignorance is lifted and wisdom of impermanence, suffering and annatta is the only way to return back to the child state of nirvana.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Unscholarly Buddha's Four Noble Truths

Great spiritual masters like Buddha or Christ didn't write a prescription for elite scholars and bourgeois  Yet millions of pages fill interpretation of their work through the centuries. Followers struggle to understand and follow the paths pointed by the Buddha. Perhaps a better way to follow him is to use your heart and place yourself in his heart. Something happens when you do.

Become a privileged young man with all pleasures of a principality, castles and servants. Or become a privileged child today with no financial worries, a good job, seemingly good life. Then cast your heart onto billions who suffer. Do you feel their pain? That's the feeling that caused Buddha to abandon it all, like doctor without borders or volunteer workers in war torn parts of world even today. Just like you, Buddha searched for an explanation of why all this suffering in a world that is apparently protected by an almighty benevolent kind God. He followed priests and gurus, did penance, chanted hymns, performed yoga and rituals. Found no answer. Only when he gave up the prescribed contemporary methods and sat under the bodhi tree in resignation that truth dawned on him. This he summarised as four noble truths, not a Sanskrit or pali dissertation for a Ph.D in Asian and Buddhist studies but a compassionate sharing with rest of humanity as his suffering ended.

He didn't use big words to describe his findings. He told,
  1. The truth of suffering (dukkha)
  1. The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)
  1. The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)
  1. The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)

These pali words are still in use where Buddha was born. They are simple words. All he meant by them is that indeed there is a cause of suffering that can be ended by following some simple techniques. 

All hell broke lose after, as gurus and priests then and now preach arduous and complex path to liberation, some suggesting an impossibility, only death can free you. So the wise ones, perhaps the same scholars who were writing texts for the priests and gurus got busy and wrote long elaborate Buddhism practices.

Just take the simpleton approach like Buddha. Be compassionate not scholarly. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

If You're Unhappy Clap Your Hands

I tweeted a while ago that if you're unhappy, you are making a mistake. Actually you are making two mistakes.

First is you are identifying a suffering emotion as being unhappy. Your mind is creating this feeling of unhappiness to protect you from further harm. Remember the prime objective of your brain and mind is to keep you happy, healthy, safe and at peace. Unfortunately it often acts without deep wisdom and makes mistakes. So these mistakes cause another suffering and then it acts again. This is life. And this is why Buddha said life is suffering.

Second, there is no one to be unhappy.

So, he prescribed something to end suffering. Mindfulness meditation to gain wisdom. A natural outcome of ultimate wisdom is compassion. Compassion for all and hence a wish to make everyone happy, safe, healthy and at peace. Without this, we are all unfulfilled.

So, anger is mind's way of releasing the body's frustration from being unable to achieve its perceived contentment. Sadness associated with a broken heart is mind's way of dealing with unfulfilled desires. Fear is false evidence appearing real as Hedderman says. Mind's action to prepare for a potential threat.

All of this is mind acting according to its plan to make you happy. It will keep making these mistakes until you eliminate its ignorance by gaining wisdom.

But this is still acting in the realm of the body. Brain, a body part acting to protect the rest of the body. An endless loop until full enlightenment or buddhahood.

What is enlightenment? A recognition that there is no one to be enlightened!

No one to be enlightened means no one to suffer or be unhappy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Why do anything?

Sometimes in the midst of chaos and anxiety and activity and wellness programs and satsangs and sadhanaa, a question like this has to pop up. The mind wants to know why are we doing anything at all. Gita does have an answer. When Arjuna asked Krishna about inaction and action. Krishna replied that there is really no such thing as inaction. Sure, it may seem like you have solved your immediate problem of facing adversity and unpleasantness by withdrawing from the battlefield or picking up a good book and vegging out on the couch but that too is an action. Whatever it is that you are avoiding by ignoring never eally goes away.

 Like Buddha said, even if one person is unhappy in the world, that  will someday come to you or your progeny or what you call home. He went on to instruct his bhikkus that you must act to bring about enlightenment and happiness by ending suffering for all not just yourself. One enlightened being is a very temporary affair and no enlightenment at all.

You may go on further and ask but why even do that i.e. why seek end of suffering. Think deeply on this, even when you avoid trying to end suffering, you are actually trying to end suffering. Acting to end suffering is not an option, you are doing it even when you are not.

But "why do anything" is even a deeper question once you truly realise that you are not the body. Krishna taught another gita called the Uddhava Gita which is the next step, once you have transcended the mind and body. For then, there is truly nothing to do as all actions are in this realm of what Buddha called the conventional reality. However if you delude yourself into thinking that you have transcended the body mind, inaction will be premature and bring suffering. That is not nirvana.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Gems from Culadassa

Insanity

Paraphrasing Culadassa(at 1:31 to the end. you tube clip}, Insanity is whenever you do not accept or rather reject what is at the present moment.Definition of insanity is to resist what is.

This summarises Gita's teaching on Karma very well. Your action at any moment is based on your mindfulness principles now. You have a vision now what is the right choice. When the future arrives you must accept what is. Any time you resist what is, you will gain insanity.

Doesn't mean you don't do the absolute best every moment what you think has to be done without resentment without prejudgment. We are born every moment. Live in that space.Outcome is what outcome was, you are just noticing it now.

Suffering and Empathy

Suffering is essential for awakening otherwise it is simply a theoretical or hypothetical exercise. How else could a Buddhist know what compassion is? Be mindful of compassion done to you, that is the best teacher and will linger in your mind longer than any theory or preaching.

Nirvana and Samsara

They are the same thing. Nirvana is to accept samsara completely, a radical acceptance. Yogi in a cave is waiting for completion of his knowing. Body and speech is in the market place but the mind of the Buddha is in nirvana.

Loving Kindness

Your ability to rejoice in other's happiness loosens the knots of craving and suffering.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Are you the body?

The first and toughest block on the path to liberation is the body. From the moment of birth, everything in the body is designed to establish itself as a separate, successful and protected unit. This is of course a throwback from the days as hunter gatherer when we neded protection against predators. Animals are gone but the threat is still encoded. We act 24/7 as the body with a name, owner of stuff, related to other bodies with a vague feeling that there is more.

Is there any direct evidence to support that you are the body? First, is there such a thing as a body? Well, there is flesh, there are bones, there is blood, there are limbs, there are glands, all conceptualized into a label called the body. Even the components are labels attached to cells, tissues and further down into molecules and atoms and so on.

There is another organ called the brain which receives inputs from five senses in form of electrical signals translating into images of vision, taste, smell etc. What makes the taste your taste and your palet? Look carefully and you will find just a signal and an idea rushing into calling it your taste. Stub your toe and first there is a signal which quickly become my hurt toe. Light signals become my vision by a complex software riding on your mental hardware which it labels as mind. First there are sensations and then there is ownership claim.

All sensations and thoughts exist already in a very quantum mechanical probabaility way. Certain signals from one of the five detectors prompts the mind to label it red or painful and then attach a tag of mine. Paul Hederman calls it selfing.

In reality there is no body just an idea claimed by an imaginary algorithm called the self created by the brain and mind.

It gets worse. Not only we walk around, thinking erroenously that we are the body but often we say this is my body. Now here we are really sending confusing and paradoxical messages to our mind, we are the body which owns a body. No wonder much our life is upside down.

Let's see if there is any reason to believe we own a body. The body which is a bunch of chemicals grew from a couple of complex molecules from our parents fed by natural stuff that came from earth, wind and sun. Did you actually do anything to acquire this body that you claim to be yours?

Hmmmmm !

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Heart of Sutras



This should be called the heart of sutras rather than a heart sutra. Very little in the sutra refers to the heart, love, compassion or meta bhavana.

Here are some excllent explanation of the sutra.


prajna paramita hridaya sutra
(perfect wisdom heart sutra)

aryavalokitesvaro bodhisattvo
(Saintly Avalokateshvara bodhisattva)

gambhiram prajnaparamita caryam caramano vyavalokayati
(deep perfect wisdom action perform luminously)

sma panca skandhas tams ca sva bhava sunyam
(saw five bundles them own nature empty)
THEIR EMPTY NATURE
pasyati sma iha sariputra
(crossed beyond all suffering and difficulty. Shariputra:)

rupam sunyata (...) va rupam rupan na prithak
(form emptiness evidently form form not different)
THIS EMPTY NATURE OF IMAGE IS THE IMAGE NOT SEPARATE
sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam
(emptiness emptiness not different form)
EMPTINESS IS ALSO EMPTY AND HAS NO OTHER IMAGE
yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata sa rupam
(this form that emptiness this emptiness that form)
AS IS EMPTINESS  of the IMAGE SO IS IMAGE's emptiness.
evam eva vedana samjna samskara vijnanam
(like this feeling thought choice consiousness)
AND PRAYERS, SAMSKARA AND KNOWLEDGE
iha sariputra sarva dharma sunyata
(oh Sariputra all dharmas emptiness)
ALSO SHOW THE EMPTINESS OF ALL DHARMAS
laksana anutpanna anruddha avmala anuna aparpurna
(mark not born not pure not increase not decrease ?)
WHICH IS NOT BORN, NOT PURE NOT SOILED, NOT COMPLETE, NOT INCOMPLETE

ta (...) sariputra sunyatayam
(therefore Sariputra in the middle of emptiness)
THUS IN THIS EMPTINESS THERE IS
na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskara na vijnana
(no form no feeling no thought no choice no consciousness)
NO FORM, NO FEELING, NO .......
na caksuh srotam na ghrana jihva kaya manah
(no eye ear no nose tongue body mind)

na rupa sabda gandha rasa spistavya dharmah
(no form sound smell taste touch dharmas)

na caksur dhatur ya van na mano vijnanam dhatur
(no eye-area up to no mind-consciousness area)

na vidya na vidya na vidya ksayo na(*) vidya ksayo
(no clarity no clarity no clarity exhaustion no clarity exhaustion)

ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo
(up to old age no old age exhaustion)

na duhkha samudaya nirdoha margajna
(no suffering end of suffering path)

na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti
(no knowledge no ownership no witnessing no thing to own)

tvad bodhisattva prajnaparamita asritya
(therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells)

viha ratya citta varano vidya ksayo na vidya ksayo
(in dwell thought no obstacle clarity exhaustion not clairty exhaustion)

ya van jaramaranam na jaramarana ksayo
(up to old age no old age exhaustion)

na duhkha samudaya nirodha margajna
(no suffering end of suffering path)

na jnanam na prapti na bhismaya tasmai na prapti
(no knowledge no property no witnessing no thing to own)

tvad bodhisattvanam prajnaparamita asritya
(therefore bodhisattva perfect wisdom dwells)

viha ratya citta varano citta varano
(in dwell thought no obstacle thought no obstacle)
WITH THIS PERFECT WISDOM
na siddhitvad atrasto vipa ryasa ti kranto
(no existence fear fright inverse reverse ? separate)

ni stha nirvana tya dha vyava sthitah
(perfectly stands nirvana three worlds thing experiences)
STAY IN PERMANENT NIRVANA IN THREE WORLDS.
sarva buddhah prajnaparamitam asritya
(all buddhas perfect wisdom dwell)

(a?)nuttaram samyaksambodhim abdhisambuddhah
(unexcelled ultimate perfect insight together ? buddhas)

ta smai jnata vyam
(therefore should know ?)

prajna paramita maha mantram maha vidyamantram
(perfect wisdom great charm great clear charm)

anuttara mantram asamasama mantram
(unexcelled charm unequalled equal charm)

sarva duhkha prasa manam sa tyam ami thyatvat
(all suffering stop terminate genuine real not vain)

prajna paramita yam ukto mantrah tadyatha
(perfect wisdom declaired charm saying)

GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA
(gone gone totally gone totally completely gone enlightened so be it)


(prepared by: Dr. Michael E. Moriarty
Communication Arts Department
Valley City State University
Valley City, North Dakota 58072)
Redistribution permitted.)

The Heart Sutra


FIVE AGGREGATES ARE EMPTY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS THE MIND ASSIGNS THEM. SINCE THERE IS ONLY THE MIND THAT ASSIGNS THESE CHARACTERISTICS IN REALITY THEY ARE EMPTY. SO, ALL CHARACTERISTICS ASSIGNED BY THE MIND LIKE THE SENSES, FEELINGS, EVEN DHARMAS, BIRTH AND DEATH ARE MIND's ASSIGNMENT. THEIR TRUE NATURE IS EMPTINESS. THIS INSIGHT IS NIRVANA..

METAPHOR BY GIL FRONSDAL, MOVIE SHOWN FRAME BY FRAME. FORM APPEARS TO BE FORM BECAUSE MIND PROJECTS IT TO BE. IN FACT IT IS EMPTY.

A TABLE IS ASSIGNED TABLENESS BUT IT HAS IN FACT MANY OTHER QUALITIES AND NOTHING AT ALL AT A MOLECULAR LEVEL. EARS ARE ASSIGNED HEARING ALTHOUGH IT IS ALSO FLESH, COULD BE LUNCH FOR MAGGOTS AND AGAIN NOTHING. SO TABLENESS AND HEARING ARE IN REALITY EMPTY. ALL THE CHARACTERISITCS ARE IN FACT EMPTY ONLY HAVE MEANING TO THE MIND WHICH ITSLEF IS EMPTY.

SIMILAR TO IMPERMANENCE TEACHING BUT A DIRECT PATH. IMPERMANENCE TEACHING ASSUMES THE CHARACTERISTICS OF FIVE SKANDHAS REAL BUT IMPERMANENT, I.E. CHANGING FROM FRAME TO FRAME HENCE SUFFERING. HEART SUTRA SAYS BOTH THE FIVE SKANDHAS AND THEIR IMPERMANENCE ARE MADE UP PROJECTIONS BY THE MIND AND ALL ARE EMPTY. THE ONLY CHARACTER IS EMPTINESS.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Heart Sutra

Om namo bhagavatyai arya-prajnaparamitayai!
Om! Salutation to the blessed and noble one! (who has reached the other shore of the most excellent transcendental wisdom).
(In this invocation the perfection of transcendental wisdom is personified as the compassionate mother of bodhi -- wisdom -- who bestows enlightenment upon the bodhisattvas who had vigilantly followed the course prescribed for the aspirant to full enlightenment -- samyak sambodhi.)
Verse 1
arya-avalokitesvaro bodhisattvo gambhiram prajnaparamitacaryam caramano vyavalokayati sma: panca-skandhas tams ca svabhavasunyan pasyati sma.
The noble bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, being engaged in practicing the deep transcendental wisdom-discipline, looked down from above upon the five skandhas (aggregates), and saw that in their svabhava (self-being) they are devoid of substance.
Verse 2
iha sariputra rupam sunyata sunyataiva rupam, rupan na prithak sunyata sunyataya na prithag rupam, yad rupam sa sunyata ya sunyata tad rupam; evam eva vedana-samjna-samskara-vijnanam.
Here, O Sariputra, bodily-form is voidness; verily, voidness is bodily-form. Apart from bodily-form there is no voidness; so apart from voidness there is no bodily-form. That which is voidness is bodily-form; that which is bodily-form is voidness. Likewise (the four aggregates) feeling, perception, mental imaging, and consciousness (are devoid of substance).

IMAGE OF EMPTINESS IS THE EMPTINESS OF IMAGE.  IMAGE IS NOT SEPARaTE FROM EMPTINESS, VICE VERSA.
Verse 3
iha sariputra sarva-dharmah sunyata-laksala, anutpanna aniruddha, amala avimala, anuna aparipurnah.
Here, O Sariputra, all phenomena of existence are characterized by voidness: neither born nor annihilated, neither blemished nor immaculate, neither deficient nor overfilled.
Verse 4
tasmac chariputra sunyatayam na rupam na vedana na samjna na samskarah na vijnanam. na caksuh-srotra-ghrana-jihva-kaya-manamsi. na rupa-sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavya-dharmah. na caksur-dhatur yavan na manovijnana-dhatuh. na-avidya na-avidya-ksayo yavan na jaramaranam na jara-marana-ksayo. na duhkha-samudaya-nirodha-marga. na jnanam, na praptir na-apraptih.
Therefore, O Sariputra, in voidness there is no bodily-form, no feeling, no mental imaging, no consciousness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind; no sense objects of bodily-form, sound, smell, taste, or touchable states; no visual element, and so forth, until one comes to no mind-cognition element. There is no ignorance, nor extinction of ignorance, until we come to: no aging and death, nor extinction of aging and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no cessation, no path; there is no higher knowledge, no attainment (of nirvana), no nonattainment.


EMPTINESS HAS NO FORM, NO FEELING, NO.....
Verse 5
tasmac chariputra apraptitvad bodhisattvasya prajnaparamitam asritya vibaraty acittavaranah. cittavarana-nastitvad atrasto viparyasa-ati-kranto nistha-nirvana-praptah.
Therefore, O Sariputra, by reason of his nonattainment (of nirvana), the bodhisattva, having resorted to prajnaparamita (transcendental wisdom), dwells serenely with perfect mental freedom. By his non-possession of mental impediments (the bodhisattva) without fear, having surpassed all perversions, attains the unattainable (bliss of) nirvana.

THE BODHISATVA WHO HAVE NOT OBTAINED THE SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE DWELL IN INCOMPLETE MENTAL CLARITY,  BY LOSING THESE MENTAL VOLITIONS THEY RECEIVE PERMANENT NIRVANA.
Verse 6
tryadhva-vyavasthitah sarva-buddhah prajnaparamitam asritya-anut-taram samyaksambodhim abhisambuddhah.
All Buddhas, self-appointed to appear in the three periods of time (past, present, and future), having resorted to the incomparable prajnaparamita, have become fully awake to samyak sambodhi (absolute perfect enlightenment).
Verse 7
tasmaj jnatavyam: prajnaparamita maha-mantro mahavidya-mantro 'nuttara-mantro samasama-mantrah, sarva-duhkha-prasamanah, satyam amithyatvat. prajnaparamitayam ukto mantrah. tadyatha: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. iti prajnaparamita-hridayam sa-maptam.
Therefore prajnaparamita should be recognized as the great mantra, the mantra of great wisdom, the most sublime mantra, the incomparable mantra and the alleviator of all suffering; it is truth by reason of its being nonfalsehood. This is the mantra proclaimed in prajnaparamita. It is:
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond (to the other shore)! O enlightenment! Be it so! Hail!


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Friday, June 2, 2017

What are you?

You can not be both a body and a soul and they can not be the same.

You have to first agree on what is meant by the question itself. If we define a something as being detectable by our five senses or extension of them through scientific instrumentation then there is no you as no object can be found that meets the qualities of you. There is a sense of presence other than the five or there is an idea, neither of which can be confirmed by conventional means.

If we settle on you being an idea or a concept like truth or lies or sky or space; meaning a label for something whose presence can be felt but only indirectly by the senses, then by that definition the body turns out to be a concept too. A hand is a label, all you know is the tactile sensation. No one has actually seen their own eyes or her own taste.

This has incredible implication. If you can not find a you then how can you find suffering? Who is suffering?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Will Humanity Ever Wake Up?

Isn't that the question for majority of us tired of wars personal suffering and future worries?  Buddha has been quoted as saying 2500 years ago that it was not he personally who got enlightenment but it was all sentient beings who now know the truth. In common parlance that's like seeing is freeing. How often do you question whether the moon is a sphere  not a disk or that earth goes around the sun not other way around?

Of course a general and common understanding of who we truly are is unlikely to be sudden and soon. Decades before and after Gallelio was hanged, many still believed that earth is at the centre of the cosmos. But just because you don't believe something doesn't mean it is not true. It is the very fact that all of us suffer, the search for relief will never end. And that points to the fact that our ultimate destiny is enlightenment. There is no alternative. The mind will continue looking for material solutions to suffering through more stuff, more consumption, more love and more improvement of the body until the true you shines through.

So, what do we do to make this happen? Here too there are no alternatives. The methods as prescribed by our ancestors have many names like spirituality, prayers, yoga, wellness, veganism, religion, qi gong, self help, behavior therapy and many more. The common thread that runs through all modalities is the process of meditation and self inquiry.

Join us in either a two month weekly (June 3 to July 24) or a four day (24 to 29 August) fifty hour intensive at Be Yoga to polish your mirror mind and let the true your shine through. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Who Meditates?

The body is a label for a complex array of sensations and experiences. The mind is synonumous to thoughts, although some ancient teachers see the mind to be a substratum of an all encompassing Mind at Large. Nevertheless my mind and my thoughts are not two.

Then, who actually meditates?

To answer that we have to first establish, what is meditation? Nearly all meditation techniques require you to concentrate on something; the breath, a candle, a thought, a deity etc.

 Patanjali delineates meditation from concentration. He teaches a system of three limbs; dharana or concentration, dhyana or mental absorption and samadhi or complete self absorption. This he calls samyama. 

Zen teaches concentrating on your breath to let thinking subside.

Most religions ask you to concentrate on God or Divine.

So to answer the question we must now look at concentration, which mostly requires focusing your attention on the chosen object. Which means ignoring all other objects and bringing your attention to one point. 

Thinking or thoughts need not be involved in focusing your attention on one point. You can stare into the sky, enjoy the taste of chocolate or listen to Mozart without thinking. These are all excellent concentration exercises. Similarly focusing on your breath is not thinking about the breath but bringing one pointed attention to the sensation created by passage of air through the nostrils. Vipassana teaches that also.

But who is bringing this one pointed attention to the breath?

Can't be the body which is just a label, or the mind which is just thought, incapable of doing this.

Could it be that it is the unknown, unknowable emptiness teachers point to?

Could it be just that simple?

Why not?


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thoughts of Love

Thoughts of love

Thought is a label attached by the brain to one of its apparent functions; thinking. It names breathing to the functioning of lungs, seeing to eyes, hearing to the function of ears and so on. Love is a special thought but another label for the thought that tries to explain attraction felt by a human body. Similar attractions occur all through out the universe but they are labelled differently by the brain, e.g. Gravity, magnetism and electrical energy.

If we try to go deeper into the meaning of the label "thought or love", we quickly end up at the bottom of the rabbit hole. This is not unique to this label but to all names and labels. Take "table", a word used to describe the functioning of a rectangular object made of something called a tree, which is made of something called molecules, atoms and then strings and eventually energy. What is energy, another question at the bottom of the hole, begging for what philosophers call the "one free miracle".


I wrote an essay on "nature of thought" here in April 2011(check the archive). My thoughts (pardon the pun) have changed somewhat. I used to agree with the then experts that thought was a function of brain; hearts pump, lungs breathe and brains think. But more recent neuroscience research shows that thoughts actually follow a human act not precede them in most cases.

The most appealing albeit controversial theory about thoughts, memory and other seeming brain functions is that they actually exist outside of our organic brain. An event or trigger brings a thought into consciousness and the brain takes ownership of this calling it "my" thought. It turns out upon serious looking that there is no I, you or self as we know it and so anything being "my" thought is incorrect. "You" don't have a thought, but thoughts do happen. They are in that sense the same as breath which happens or walking that happens. It is part of living that happens without a me or you.

Let's look at it another way. How can we stop or significantly reduce thoughts? Meditators will tell you and neuroscientists will confirm that by retracting your attention from the senses and concentrating on one object such as breath, you can indeed reduce or even eliminate thoughts for long periods of time. Also, in deep sleep when the brain activity has slowed, thoughts do subside.

That means there are two essential interactions that spur thoughts; between the brain and one of the other five senses. So thoughts happen as a result of seeing, breathing, sitting, eating, sensing. It is an integral part of living. The brain calls this a thought and claims it as it's own creation. There is no evidence to support that brain produces thoughts. Most likely it is aware of thoughts after the fact. It does the same thing to other acts of life. Life happens and  brain claims it is "my" living.

Love is another label or name of a special thought. Attraction between two objects is a fundamental aspect of the material world. Negatively charged electrons love positive protons, particles love other particles and planets love the sun. We call it gravity. It takes extra energy to repel things from other things. But the ground state, when all energy has been spent is love. When this primordial feature touches consciousness, it is expressed by the brain as the word love. Everything is part of this one whole which is in love with all of manifested creation. But rocks can't express their love of water or trees their love of the sun, the same way humans do. So love becomes a big word instead of a very natural feature of existence.

Love is the very nature of consciousness. It too just happens as life happens. Until a human brain becomes aware of it and claims it to be its personal thought of love. There is no such thing as "your" love. There is just love. Just as there is no your thought, there is just thought. There is no my life, there is just life.

Is thought, or love (a special thought) hinderance or help on the path?

I find the "I" thought to be a great hinderance. These are thoughts that have an incorrect ownership attached to them. Just removing the personal connection makes them quite tolerable. Even when "your" house is on fire, you will do a better job to try and put out the fire by considering it  just another house. This works well in most aspects of living or loving. When this understanding of true nature of thoughts takes hold, it is of great help in keeping me true on the path.