The path of the perfected is always unfolding before us as the necessary work is undertaken. The issue of addressing (one’s) inner dynamics is a persistent challenge in this regard. In discussing some of the challenges of walking the eternal path of the perfected, anger was something that emerged as a crucial point of focus. The concept of the four formless states (the four arupajhanas) was presented as a means of addressing those inner states of anger. The goal is to not struggle against the inner states. They are to be observed, accepted and resolved, on their own terms.
The path of self-knowledge, of self-knowing is not, is NOT, completed overnight. Many times, a discovery is made that reveals the need for further work, deeper inquiry. One should not be dismayed by this phenomenon. After all, life is lived in a dynamic of accepting prescribed norms and suppressing inner knowing. To begin the deep work of self-knowing means that layers must be peeled back. Self-knowing cannot take place without efforts to discover the deeps revelations that will bring about a lightened state of existence
To feel as though one has it all figured out is to be and become stagnant or non-evolving. The extent of one’s longevity in this life has exposed them to many things. Most of the these ‘things’ are mundane and repetitive; many more experiences are retained within the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the bulk of a person’s mental aspects and by far dwarfs the conscious mind. Triggers, proclivities, and urges are all under the purview in the subconscious. The unconscious contains contents that are unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. One must do the work necessary to resolve (the) deep-seated issues that reside therein.
All inner issues stem from the past, from memory, from time. Since time is a construct, issues, by proxy are also constructs, deep seated though they may be. They are constructs because they are held onto as something worth reveling in. Some actually view their issues as a trophy, a badge of honor, or as a source of emotional inspiration. This may work , and it may work (out) well. Yet the existence of the issue or issues still persists. The repository of the subconscious is a perfect place for these issues to abide. Since most people are not cognizant of the deep recesses of the mind, they stumble along and allow themselves to be tossed to and fro by those triggers, sleights, regrets that haunt their memories.
There are the four arupajhanas of Buddhism. They are called formless because they exist beyond conscious mind. They are great for establishing mind in deeper levels equanimity and calm abiding. To approach them is to minimize the incessant turbulence of the mind. A lake of crystal clear water cannot be appreciated when the surface is agitated. Yet cessation of the turbulence allows for viewing the quiet simplicity of existence within the depths. This is the beginning of being present at the end of form. The fourth jhana is here; it is where equanimity is all pervasive, with neither positive nor negative sensations in mind or body. Instead, there is an all-encompassing peace, with the mind singularly focused upon itself.
The four arupajhanas exist as follows:
- In the fifth jhana, the meditator discovers that there is no object, but only an infinite space, which is empty. This perception motivates the interest of claiming arupajhanas.
- In the sixth jhana, it becomes obvious that space has no existence. There is only infinite consciousness.
- In the seventh jhana appears the feeling that there is no consciousness, but nothingness; the state beyond infinite consciousness.
- The eighth jhana consists in the most discrete possible state of mind, which justifies the using of “neither perception nor non-perception”; the state beyond duality / non-duality
These are the formless states as they exist being material form, beyond material conceptualization
Of particular import, is the fifth jhana, that of infinite space. The fifth jhana is where those lingering issues can be wholly observed and resolved. Our reaction to states such as anger, despair, longing can be released into that infinite space. It is here that one can unburden themselves of those emotional states that exist as hinderances (selective doubt, heaviness, restlessness, attachment, desire) within mind and body complex. Anger, based upon memory, does not really exist as tangible substance. It is a result of mental turbulence. Once the state of anger is seen as such, it can be released into that infinite space. The state of anger does not end, per se; it becomes more recognizable. It can then be lead to a place to be transformed. Calm the emotional waters. See clearly into them and experience the organic flow of the depths . . . Peace, Be Still (Mark 4:39 KJV).