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In every form of practice, whether meditation, medicine, or mixed martial arts, the external challenge or opponent disappears and we are left with the internal opponent, our own patterns of reaction that prevent us from effectively meeting or facing what is arising. From this perspective, courage consists in being able to endure the patterns of reaction without being immobilized or carried away by them. Thus, in daily life, when you run into problems, regard the problems simply as features of the landscape that have to be negotiated and focus your effort on meeting the reactive patterns that prevent you from doing what is effective, appropriate or necessary.
—Ken McLeod


A pattern of reaction. 

Are we all subject to patterns of reaction? Or am I alone in the experience of my mind drawing me back and forth, away from the present, into the regrets of the past or the aversions of the future. I read Ken’s advice over and over, yet this morning something shifted. It was not a “sky’s have parted” kind of shift, but rather a settling, like the moment when you watch a silted beach settle following large waves, and the bottom starts to become clear. It is a precious observation for the silt is slight, and any currents from waves or torrents will easily disrupt the silence. 

Yet, the bottom is always there. The foundation is always here. The centre is always the centre. The illusion of the bottom, foundation or centre disappearing is just that – an illusion. Yet we believe because our senses are presented an alternate picture, that the centre is dissolving; the foundation is shifting; the bottom is collapsing. 

Yet the bottom is always there. The foundation is always here. The centre is always the centre. 

So why do we succumb to the illusion? Why do we believe the illusion when we’ve experienced the return of the centre numerous times before? Why do we doubt the infinite nature of the light that is ki – the source of all moments?  

We succumb, for the illusion is the most insidious of illusions – an illusion that does not lead us to believe, but IS a belief. The illusion is a belief. A belief that the centre has dissolved, the foundation has eroded, the bottom has crumbled. The illusion is not an illusion of senses. The illusion is an illusion of belief. 

Illusions of senses, although powerful, do not shift the beliefs of the mind. They challenge them, trick them, mislead them. 

But illusions of belief are beliefs that attempt to replace, substitute or displace those beliefs that we have come to rely upon to frame our world, frame our view, frame our reactions. This is why illusions of belief are so much more powerful, for they not only frame our view, but more critically, they frame our reactions. As such, if they can frame our reactions, they become our reactions, and in become our reactions, they become — come-to-be — us. 

Such a view begs the question that are not all our beliefs illusions, projections, patterns? And if all our beliefs are projections, how are we to know which are “real” and which are “false”?  Are we not solely able of defining real and false by our preference, desires and aspirations?  What is the alternative? What is the basis upon which we can test our illusions of belief against a broader truth, a more universal truth?

The absolute present. Setsuna. The infinite now. 

Illusions of belief can only reside in the memories of the past, or the aspirations of the future. Illusions of belief can only thrive, grow and root in the regrets of the past — even the past of a few seconds ago — or in the fear, worry or desires of the future — even if the future is but a breath away. 

Illusions of belief cannot reside in the absolute present, in the infinite now, for in the now —setsuna— there is no illusion, there is just experience, just sensations, just connection with the infinite possibilities of the absolute. Illusions of belief cannot thrive in ki, they cannot live or contact ki, for illusions of belief are tension. They are tension of the mind, tension of thought, tension of consciousness. 

In setsuna, there is no tension for there is only experience, there is only absolute presence, there is only sensations underpinned, guided and created by Ki. 

And in no tension of thoughts, there is peace. In no tension of thoughts, illusions of belief dissolve, for there is no ground upon which to root, for there is no ground. There is nothing, for there is but emptiness and silence. There is nothing, including no illusions of beliefs. 

Our battle emerges from the incessant nature of our illusions of belief to drag us to the past, or rush us to the future, for the illusions of belief need air, need the tension of though to breath and thrive. 

Hence our battle will forever exist, for we cannot eradicate the past or future. Or is that but another illusion of belief which ensures that we will forever attach to the shores of the past or future? What if choose to head out to the endless ocean, where we loose sight of the shoreline, and have but the absolute present as our existence?

 In that moment, our battle would cease, for we would cease to keep close to the shores of the past or future, and would become immersed in the absolute moment which only the endless ocean of Ki can provide. In that moment, we would have expressed an absolute faith in Ki, for we would become immersed in the ocean of Ki — and we would abandon the desire, the aspiration for a shoreline. 

Then we would truly sail on the ocean, the waves, the eternal Ki. 

Then we would come to be but the infinite moment — setsuna — and all reactions would forever end.