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Six Dimensions of Life

In this talk, Cory explores why there are only six aspects of your human experience, and how when you learn to be with each, you learn to be with your life.

In today's episode, I'm going to talk about how all of your experience of life is nothing more than six things and why understanding this can be incredibly liberating. More to come on that cliffhanger in a moment. But first let's settle in with the sound of the bells. I'll ring them, you listen. Let the sound, bring your attention to a more refined quality of presence.

Okay. So I'm going to start this episode by sharing a very famous talk given by a very famous meditation teacher. I don't know if you've ever heard of him. His name was Buddha. And this talk that he gave is often considered one of the shortest, but most powerful talks he ever gave.

And the story goes that a bunch of monks were sitting in a room, he came in, gave this talk and then left without saying anything. And everyone was there sort of scratching their heads. So I'm going to read it to you and then we're going to explore the wisdom in it. The talk is called The All. A L L, The All, and it goes like this.

The eyes and sights, the ears and sounds, the nose and smells, the tongue and flavors, the body and sensations, the mind and mental activity. This is The All. Now, imagine if I just shared this with you and then ended the episode, walked out, and left you to explore what is this to mean. Well, I don't think we could fully understand it without first taking into consideration the title of it, The All. The reason this is called The All is because this is what constitutes all of your experience of life.

In every moment, there are sights, there are sounds, there are smells, there are flavors, there are sensations, and then there's the minds mental activity in relationship to all of it. This is The All. And the Buddhist claim, and I will stand behind this based on my own experience and exploration, is that there is nothing else to your experience of life. This is it. This is all of it, in every single moment.

It can all be reduced to these six main categories, sights, sounds, smells, flavors, sensations, and mental activity. So as you're sitting right now, see if you can drop into the truth of this, not something that you're going to take at face value, but really explore it for yourself. What is here? If you can see, there's what you're seeing. Since you're listening to this, I'm assuming you can hear. So there's what you can hear.

And if there are any flavors in the mouth, you might notice that. Sensations in the body, on the skin or inside of you. And any smells that you can perceive. And then of course there's what's happening in the mind. And the thoughts, the images that might be coming up in relationship to whatever's happening in your world or whatever your mind is generating.

But all of it can be reduced to this. And you can explore either now or once this is over, if there's anything else, even what you might consider, like soul based, enlightenment, expanding, super connected, like beyond the human world type experiences. It's all still going to be reduced to some sort of sensation. Maybe some sort of image in the mind, like colors, maybe what you can see or hear or smell. So all of these things that we often get caught up in, or that we create a whole big story around or take so seriously or make so elaborate can really be reduced to these six experiences.

Now on the surface, if you're like me, when I first heard this, it kind of sounds a bit dull or maybe, we could even say, dismal. It's like, okay. My whole life is just basically sense experience and then whatever my mind thinks about it? I don't really know if I want that. I don't know if I like that. But when you really drop into it, you know? Yeah.

It's, it's not so bad actually. We spend so much of our lives sort of running around, taking ourselves very seriously, so caught up in the story of who we are and where we have to get and why life is going so wonderfully for us right now, or why it's so terrible. And when you're in it, it just feels like this really thick, permanent big thing that can really feel overwhelming at times. But the, the liberating power of what this is pointing to, this truth or what I would consider a truth, is that yeah, all this, all this big stuff that just feels like so complex, so difficult, so tough, if you really just drop into a single moment, all it is is just there's what you can see, there's what you can hear, there's what you can smell, there's what you can taste, there's what you can feel, and there's what's going on in the mind. And that's not to belittle or trivialize like how all of that can sometimes come together to create a tremendous amount of suffering.

But the Buddha was someone that was interested in suffering and how to create freedom from suffering. And his prescription essentially was like, when you understand the, that these are the, fundamental elements of your experience, when you really understand the fundamental elements of your experience, and then you learn how to be with and relate to those fundamental experiences in such a way that doesn't create extra tension. Well, then you're getting at the heart of how to cultivate less suffering and more happiness. So I often like to come back to The All in both my meditation practice and in my life, because it actually gives me a sense of empowerment in my humanness. So we break it down, right, and go, okay, sights.

Every moment, if you could see, assuming you could see, there are sights. All right. Well, okay. Can I be with sights? Yeah, I can. I could be with sites.

Okay. The ear, sounds. Can I be with sounds that arise? Yeah. Okay. I can mostly be with sounds.

Some of them are, might be a little uncomfortable, but I could be with them. Smells. Can I be with smells that arise? Yeah, maybe a little uncomfortable at times, but I don't like all the smells, but I can be with smells. Flavors. Yeah.

It can be with that. Sensations. Sometimes that gets a little harder, but I could be with sensations. And then the mental activity. Thoughts, images, whatever's going on in the mind, sometimes that can be tough, but I train myself to more or less be with that.

And you see, you see what happens? I don't know if, I can't tell what your experience is listening to this, but at least for me, things just become a little more simple. And I, I really encourage you if you have, if you're not doing it already, to like drop in in this moment. And after this podcast is over and start to explore these fundamental elements of your experience to see, like in this snapshot of this moment, just be in the snapshot of what's here right now. Well, if we break that snapshot down, these are the elements: sights, sounds, smells, flavors, sensations, mental activity. And when you train yourself, this is what meditation is really good for, but it doesn't have to happen in meditation.

Although I still think is the best way to explore this. When you train yourself to be with each of those dimensions, categories of your experience, you're training yourself to be with your life. Let me say that again. If you can be with each element of your experience, you can be with your life. Now, I'm not saying you have to go through all of your moments and all of your interactions with people and go, okay, this is seeing, this is hearing, this is tasting, this is touching, this is smelling, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

You know, that would be frustrating and might get in the way of your flow of living. Unless you're really interested to go into these elements and I fully support it. I think it's a helpful thing to do periodically. When you're sitting on the couch, maybe watching TV or when you're in your meditation practice or when you're driving and you're totally caught up in your thoughts and worries, and the bad conversation you had earlier and things that could go wrong and your whole experience of life. And it's not coming together for me and what's wrong with me and why can't I get a ride, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Just drop in. What's actually going on? What can I see? What can I hear? What can I smell? What can I taste? What can I sense in my body? And what's the mental activity going on? And when we're not aware of it in this way, it all kind of coalesces and creates the experience of you and then the story and the journey of you and where you're going, and what's going well, and what's not going well and who you have to become and the childhood and all of the stuff, all of the stuff that just makes it feel so meaty and heavy and insurmountable. It's just seeing, just sound, just smells, flavor, sensations, mental activity. And maybe there's spirit, soul, heart, whatever else we want to put in there, but ask yourself what's what's the experience of those things. It's often going to manifest itself through these six categories.

But with all of this, with all of the practicing human stuff, anything I ever say, don't take it at face value. Explore it for yourself. I'm just like dropping little seeds, little things to consider. I'm offering you my own perspectives, what I've explored for myself. And this is something I have found to be true for myself, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be true for you.

The wonderful thing about the Buddha was that he was more or less saying, like this has been my exploration. This is what I've found to be true. You explore for yourself. And if you come to the same truth, wonderful. If not, then you must reject what I'm saying.

All that we're doing is just one big experiment. We're just in the laboratory playing around, mixing different things, trying stuff out and figuring out what, what's working for us on this journey of life. So that every day we're getting a little better. So this is just some food for thought. Play around with it.

Relisten to the episode, if you need to. I know some of the stuff can feel maybe a little deep, so it might take a couple of listens and some practice to really drop in. Don't let this stay in the cognitive. You're not going to be able to get it in just the cognitive thinking through. It's really something that needs to be embodied and explored through primary experience.

Okay. That's all for now. Have a day and take care.

Talk

4.5

Six Dimensions of Life

In this talk, Cory explores why there are only six aspects of your human experience, and how when you learn to be with each, you learn to be with your life.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

In today's episode, I'm going to talk about how all of your experience of life is nothing more than six things and why understanding this can be incredibly liberating. More to come on that cliffhanger in a moment. But first let's settle in with the sound of the bells. I'll ring them, you listen. Let the sound, bring your attention to a more refined quality of presence.

Okay. So I'm going to start this episode by sharing a very famous talk given by a very famous meditation teacher. I don't know if you've ever heard of him. His name was Buddha. And this talk that he gave is often considered one of the shortest, but most powerful talks he ever gave.

And the story goes that a bunch of monks were sitting in a room, he came in, gave this talk and then left without saying anything. And everyone was there sort of scratching their heads. So I'm going to read it to you and then we're going to explore the wisdom in it. The talk is called The All. A L L, The All, and it goes like this.

The eyes and sights, the ears and sounds, the nose and smells, the tongue and flavors, the body and sensations, the mind and mental activity. This is The All. Now, imagine if I just shared this with you and then ended the episode, walked out, and left you to explore what is this to mean. Well, I don't think we could fully understand it without first taking into consideration the title of it, The All. The reason this is called The All is because this is what constitutes all of your experience of life.

In every moment, there are sights, there are sounds, there are smells, there are flavors, there are sensations, and then there's the minds mental activity in relationship to all of it. This is The All. And the Buddhist claim, and I will stand behind this based on my own experience and exploration, is that there is nothing else to your experience of life. This is it. This is all of it, in every single moment.

It can all be reduced to these six main categories, sights, sounds, smells, flavors, sensations, and mental activity. So as you're sitting right now, see if you can drop into the truth of this, not something that you're going to take at face value, but really explore it for yourself. What is here? If you can see, there's what you're seeing. Since you're listening to this, I'm assuming you can hear. So there's what you can hear.

And if there are any flavors in the mouth, you might notice that. Sensations in the body, on the skin or inside of you. And any smells that you can perceive. And then of course there's what's happening in the mind. And the thoughts, the images that might be coming up in relationship to whatever's happening in your world or whatever your mind is generating.

But all of it can be reduced to this. And you can explore either now or once this is over, if there's anything else, even what you might consider, like soul based, enlightenment, expanding, super connected, like beyond the human world type experiences. It's all still going to be reduced to some sort of sensation. Maybe some sort of image in the mind, like colors, maybe what you can see or hear or smell. So all of these things that we often get caught up in, or that we create a whole big story around or take so seriously or make so elaborate can really be reduced to these six experiences.

Now on the surface, if you're like me, when I first heard this, it kind of sounds a bit dull or maybe, we could even say, dismal. It's like, okay. My whole life is just basically sense experience and then whatever my mind thinks about it? I don't really know if I want that. I don't know if I like that. But when you really drop into it, you know? Yeah.

It's, it's not so bad actually. We spend so much of our lives sort of running around, taking ourselves very seriously, so caught up in the story of who we are and where we have to get and why life is going so wonderfully for us right now, or why it's so terrible. And when you're in it, it just feels like this really thick, permanent big thing that can really feel overwhelming at times. But the, the liberating power of what this is pointing to, this truth or what I would consider a truth, is that yeah, all this, all this big stuff that just feels like so complex, so difficult, so tough, if you really just drop into a single moment, all it is is just there's what you can see, there's what you can hear, there's what you can smell, there's what you can taste, there's what you can feel, and there's what's going on in the mind. And that's not to belittle or trivialize like how all of that can sometimes come together to create a tremendous amount of suffering.

But the Buddha was someone that was interested in suffering and how to create freedom from suffering. And his prescription essentially was like, when you understand the, that these are the, fundamental elements of your experience, when you really understand the fundamental elements of your experience, and then you learn how to be with and relate to those fundamental experiences in such a way that doesn't create extra tension. Well, then you're getting at the heart of how to cultivate less suffering and more happiness. So I often like to come back to The All in both my meditation practice and in my life, because it actually gives me a sense of empowerment in my humanness. So we break it down, right, and go, okay, sights.

Every moment, if you could see, assuming you could see, there are sights. All right. Well, okay. Can I be with sights? Yeah, I can. I could be with sites.

Okay. The ear, sounds. Can I be with sounds that arise? Yeah. Okay. I can mostly be with sounds.

Some of them are, might be a little uncomfortable, but I could be with them. Smells. Can I be with smells that arise? Yeah, maybe a little uncomfortable at times, but I don't like all the smells, but I can be with smells. Flavors. Yeah.

It can be with that. Sensations. Sometimes that gets a little harder, but I could be with sensations. And then the mental activity. Thoughts, images, whatever's going on in the mind, sometimes that can be tough, but I train myself to more or less be with that.

And you see, you see what happens? I don't know if, I can't tell what your experience is listening to this, but at least for me, things just become a little more simple. And I, I really encourage you if you have, if you're not doing it already, to like drop in in this moment. And after this podcast is over and start to explore these fundamental elements of your experience to see, like in this snapshot of this moment, just be in the snapshot of what's here right now. Well, if we break that snapshot down, these are the elements: sights, sounds, smells, flavors, sensations, mental activity. And when you train yourself, this is what meditation is really good for, but it doesn't have to happen in meditation.

Although I still think is the best way to explore this. When you train yourself to be with each of those dimensions, categories of your experience, you're training yourself to be with your life. Let me say that again. If you can be with each element of your experience, you can be with your life. Now, I'm not saying you have to go through all of your moments and all of your interactions with people and go, okay, this is seeing, this is hearing, this is tasting, this is touching, this is smelling, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

You know, that would be frustrating and might get in the way of your flow of living. Unless you're really interested to go into these elements and I fully support it. I think it's a helpful thing to do periodically. When you're sitting on the couch, maybe watching TV or when you're in your meditation practice or when you're driving and you're totally caught up in your thoughts and worries, and the bad conversation you had earlier and things that could go wrong and your whole experience of life. And it's not coming together for me and what's wrong with me and why can't I get a ride, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Just drop in. What's actually going on? What can I see? What can I hear? What can I smell? What can I taste? What can I sense in my body? And what's the mental activity going on? And when we're not aware of it in this way, it all kind of coalesces and creates the experience of you and then the story and the journey of you and where you're going, and what's going well, and what's not going well and who you have to become and the childhood and all of the stuff, all of the stuff that just makes it feel so meaty and heavy and insurmountable. It's just seeing, just sound, just smells, flavor, sensations, mental activity. And maybe there's spirit, soul, heart, whatever else we want to put in there, but ask yourself what's what's the experience of those things. It's often going to manifest itself through these six categories.

But with all of this, with all of the practicing human stuff, anything I ever say, don't take it at face value. Explore it for yourself. I'm just like dropping little seeds, little things to consider. I'm offering you my own perspectives, what I've explored for myself. And this is something I have found to be true for myself, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be true for you.

The wonderful thing about the Buddha was that he was more or less saying, like this has been my exploration. This is what I've found to be true. You explore for yourself. And if you come to the same truth, wonderful. If not, then you must reject what I'm saying.

All that we're doing is just one big experiment. We're just in the laboratory playing around, mixing different things, trying stuff out and figuring out what, what's working for us on this journey of life. So that every day we're getting a little better. So this is just some food for thought. Play around with it.

Relisten to the episode, if you need to. I know some of the stuff can feel maybe a little deep, so it might take a couple of listens and some practice to really drop in. Don't let this stay in the cognitive. You're not going to be able to get it in just the cognitive thinking through. It's really something that needs to be embodied and explored through primary experience.

Okay. That's all for now. Have a day and take care.

Talk

4.5

Duration

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