Category Archives: KHTK Book

Exercises: Buddha on Body (Set 2)

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach
Note: These exercises are derived directly from Buddhist scriptures, specifically, from Satipatthana Sutta: The Foundations of Mindfulness.

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The following exercises help discern various aspects of the body. These aspects shall be common with others as to how they discern their own body.

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EXERCISE # 1: BODY PARTS

PURPOSE:  To discern the parts of the body under the discipline of mindfulness.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercises: Buddha on Body (Set 1)

STEPS:

  1. You may do this exercise anywhere. Simply discern the parts of the body.

  2. Keep the discipline of mindfulness throughout this exercise. In other words,  be grounded in what you are focusing on, while not interfering with whatever else is going on in the mind, and, furthermore, opening the mind to the widest context possible.

  3. Reflect on the body being enveloped by skin.

  4. Reflect on the body from the soles up, and from the top of the head down.

  5. Reflect on the hair of the head and the body, nails, teeth, and skin.

  6. Reflect on the body flesh, sinews, bones, marrow.

  7. Reflect on the kidney heart, liver, midriff, spleen, and lungs.

  8. Reflect on the stomach, contents of the stomach, intestines, feces and urine.

  9. Reflect on bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, saliva, and tears.

  10. Reflect on the body fat, grease, and nasal mucus.

  11. Just as if there were a double-mouthed provision bag full of various kinds of grain, just so reflect on this very body enveloped by the skin and full of various kinds of organs and fluids from the soles up, and from the top of the head down. 

  12. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  13. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  14. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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The following exercises help the student discern the fundamental elements of the body and their impermanence.

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EXERCISE # 2: BODY ELEMENTS

PURPOSE:  To discern the fundamental elements of the body under the discipline of mindfulness.

PREREQUISITE: Review Exercise # 1 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you reflect on the fundamental elements of the body regardless of how it may be placed or disposed.

  2. Keep the discipline of mindfulness throughout this exercise. In other words,  be grounded in what you are focusing on, while not interfering with whatever else is going on in the mind, and, furthermore, opening the mind to the widest context possible.

  3. Reflect on the fact that there is in this body the element of earth. In other words, this body has the solidity of the material world.

  4. Reflect on the fact that there is in this body the element of water. In other words, this body has fluidity of fine-tuned machinery.

  5. Reflect on the fact that there is in this body the element of fire. In other words, this body operates on its own impulses.

  6. Reflect on the fact that there is in this body the element of wind. In other words, this body has much finer and abstract aspects in terms of the mind.

  7. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  8. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  9. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 3: BODY IMPERMANENCE

PURPOSE: To discern the impermanence of the body under the discipline of mindfulness.

PREREQUISITE: Review Exercise # 2 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you reflect on the ultimate impermanence of the body regardless of how short or a long period it may survive.

  2. Keep the discipline of mindfulness throughout this exercise. In other words,  be grounded in what you are focusing on, while not interfering with whatever else is going on in the mind, and, furthermore, opening the mind to the widest context possible.

  3. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead one, two, or three days; it will become swollen and blue, and it will fester.

  4. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead in the open by itself, it will be eaten by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals or by different kinds of worms.

  5. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to a skeleton with some flesh and blood attached to it, held together by the tendons.

  6. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to a skeleton blood-besmeared and without flesh, held together by the tendons.

  7. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to a skeleton without flesh and blood, held together by the tendons.

  8. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to disconnected bones, scattered in all directions here a bone of the hand, there a bone of the foot, a shin bone, a thigh bone, the pelvis, spine and skull.

  9. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to bleached bones of conch like color.

  10. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to bones, more than a year-old, lying in a heap.

  11. Reflect on the fact that if your body is left dead then, after a while, it will be reduced to bones gone rotten and become dust.

  12. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  13. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  14. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 4)

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach

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Mindfulness is seeing things as they are. It provides the discipline for looking and contemplation

The following exercises help you see things as they are. You may do them while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed, and then patiently observe the world go by.

Name acts as a broad reference point to something. Form is one of the many ways that thing may be represented. The perception of a thing goes beyond its name and form. Fixation on name and form may act as built-in judgment of what is there. To know something, one must go beyond name and form and look at it more closely including all its associations.

When mindfulness is practiced, thinking becomes contemplation. Problems are solved by looking at them non-judgmentally and recognizing the relationships. One looks around to get the missing information instead of try to “figure it out”.

When you let it be, it becomes effortless. Effort comes into play only when there is resistance to letting it be. It is completely safe when one lets the body and mind unwind gradually on its own. Trouble occurs only when one gets anxious and starts to dig for answers.

Mindfulness seems to be fundamental to all scientific observation, meditation, prayer, and other forms of spiritual practice. Incorporate mindfulness in your life as much as possible.

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EXERCISE # 1: Name and Form

PURPOSE:  To practice not to get hung up on name and form.

PREREQUISITE: Review Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 3).

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you observe things beyond their name and form.

  2. Prepare yourself as in earlier exercises.

  3. Observe the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  4. Notice the name and the outer form of the object that you are observing.

  5. Contemplate on the ideas associated with the name and form of this object.

  6. Contemplate on the purpose, possible uses, and history of this object. Explore all such associations.

  7. Contemplate over this object looking at it in the context of the whole universe.

  8. Repeat steps 4 to 7 with as many different objects as possible.

  9. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  10. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  11. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 2: Contemplation

PURPOSE:  To contemplate thoughtfully.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 1 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you contemplate thoughtfully.

  2. Prepare yourself as in earlier exercises.

  3. Observe the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  4. Observe name, form, characteristics and all possible associations.

  5. When you perceive something discontinuous, disharmonious, or inconsistent become very alert. Do so even when explanations are provided.

  6. Look more closely around the area that seems out of place and focus on what does not make sense.

  7. Be non-judgmental and follow the trail of what continues to be puzzling.

  8. The trail may take you to some childhood question that never got answered, or to some confusion in school that never got resolved.

  9. Apply all aspects of mindfulness to these unresolved questions, confusions and emotions. Consult references from books and Internet as necessary.

  10. The trail may also take you to some traumatic incident that you feel emotional about. Let the attitudes, emotions, sensations and pain purge themselves out.

  11. Follow through to the end of trails of what does not make sense. Exhaust all such trails until the missing piece is found.

  12. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  13. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  14. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 3: Effortlessness

PURPOSE:  To let it all be effortless.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 2 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you practice effortlessness.

  2. Prepare yourself as in earlier exercises.

  3. Observe the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  4. Observe what is there in the environment using all your senses. Let various forms, sounds, smells, taste, touch, thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. come to you. Do not strain to perceive them.

  5. Become aware of the body and stay aware of it without interfering with its natural movements, such as, that of breathing, or responding to natural impulses.

  6. Let physical reactions, such as, twitches in muscles, minor pains and aches, sleepiness, etc., come and go. Experience the body as a whole without resisting it.

  7. Become aware of the mind and stay aware of it without interfering with its natural thought processes. Let your attention be non-judgmental.

  8. Let mental reactions, such as, memories, feelings, emotions, thoughts, etc., come and go. Experience the mind as a whole without resisting it.

  9. Simply observe the physical and mental objects necessary to follow the trail of interest. Let the mind contemplate on discontinuities, disharmonies and inconsistencies as they present themselves.

  10. Let your eyes be open, half-closed, or closed naturally and not be controlled. Keep this exercise as effortless as possible.

  11. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  12. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  13. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 3)

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach

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Mindfulness is seeing things as they are. It provides the discipline for looking and contemplation

The following exercises help you see things as they are. You may do them while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed, and then patiently observe the world go by.

Experiencing is the deepest form of mindfulness. A person is deeply mindful of his feelings, emotions and impulses when he is experiencing them fully. So, dive into the very heart of whatever arises in the mind without resisting. If the mind is racing, then experience it racing without contributing to it.

Not suppressing anything from yourself is being totally honest with yourself. Follow your attention wherever it goes and do not suppress. Do not pre-judge and avoid something just because it seems shameful or painful. It is the suppression of perceptions, memories, knowledge, visualizations, thinking, etc., that causes all difficulties in life. By not suppressing you establish complete integrity of your perceptions.

In order to practice mindfulness you will have to let your mind associate data freely. Mindfulness is being comfortable with the very activity of thinking itself. So let the mind associate data freely on its own.

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EXERCISE # 1: Experience Fully

PURPOSE:  To practice experiencing fully.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 2).

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you simply experience whatever is going on in the mind without reservations.

  2. Address any medical condition appropriately before starting this exercise.

  3. Make sure the body is well-rested, well-fed and free of stimulants.

  4. Make sure the environment is safe and free of disturbance.

  5. Look at your old family album or old pictures. Whatever emotions are arising in your mind experience them fully.

  6. Visit some old familiar locations if you can. Experience any nostalgia fully, as long as it lingers.

  7. If you are afraid then experience the fear fully. Dive into the very heart of the feelings without resisting them.

  8. Review the exercises in Discerning the Environment to ensure that you fully experienced what was needed to be experienced.

  9. Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 1) to ensure that you fully experienced what was needed to be experienced.

  10. Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 2) to ensure that you fully experienced what was needed to be experienced.

  11. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  12. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  13. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 2: Do Not Suppress

PURPOSE:  To practice not suppressing anything from oneself.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 1 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you do not suppress anything from yourself.

  2. Address any medical condition appropriately before starting this exercise.

  3. Make sure the body is well-rested, well-fed and free of stimulants.

  4. Make sure the environment is safe and free of disturbance.

  5. Observe without suppressing anything. Be totally candid with yourself.

  6. If something shameful appears then observe and experience the shame.

  7. If something threatening appears then observe and experience the threat.

  8. Do not pre-judge and avoid something just because it seems painful. Experience it without suppressing anything.

  9. Allow all thoughts, memories, visualizations, etc., to come up regardless of their nature.

  10. If there is any dopiness or unconsciousness then do not suppress it. Simply go through it.

  11. Review the exercises in Discerning the Environment to ensure that you didn’t suppress anything.

  12. Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 1) to ensure that you didn’t suppress anything.

    Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 2) to ensure that you didn’t suppress anything.

  13. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  14. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  15. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 3: Associate Data Freely

PURPOSE:  To practice associating data freely.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 2 above.

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you associate data freely.

  2. Address any medical condition appropriately before starting this exercise.

  3. Make sure the body is well-rested, well-fed and free of stimulants.

  4. Make sure the environment is safe and free of disturbance.

  5. As you observe let the mind associate that data freely on its own.

  6. Observe the mind without interfering with it.

  7. Review the exercises in Discerning the Environment to ensure that you associated data freely.

  8. Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 1) to ensure that you associated data freely.

  9. Review the exercises in Mindfulness (Set 2) to ensure that you associated data freely.

  10. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  11. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  12. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 2)

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach

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Mindfulness is seeing things as they are. It provides the discipline for looking and contemplation

The following exercises help you see things as they are. You may do them while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed, and then patiently observe the world go by.

If something does not make sense, then recognize that it does not make sense. Do not try to justify it. Justification simply puts the blame somewhere without resolving the inconsistency. When you are faced with an inconsistency, and you feel an impulse to explain it away, then be alert to what you might be taking for granted. At times it may take some out-of-the-box thinking to realize what is going on.

We associate the idea of sense organs with eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body. We use them to observe physical objects, such as, chair, car, house, etc. However, the mind is also a sense organ, which senses ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. These are mental objects. When being mindful, recognize both physical and mental objects for what they are.

Let the mind un-stack itself naturally through patient contemplation on whatever comes up. Observe the issue uppermost in the mind, and then the next, and the next. Let the mind deal with issues in the order it wants to.  There should be no effort to recall, to dig for answers, or to interfere with the mind in any way.  Simply look at what is right there in front of the mind’s eye at any moment. The mind will never present anything overwhelming when allowed to un-stack itself.

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EXERCISE # 1: Something incomprehensible

PURPOSE:  To discern that something incomprehensible is, indeed, incomprehensible. 

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercises: Mindfulness (Set 1).

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you simply become aware of something that is incomprehensible and do not try to explain it away.

  2. Notice the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Notice if there is something that does not make sense.

    For example, Kantian philosophy says that pure knowledge cannot be sensed because knowledge becomes impure the moment it is sensed. Recognize this as Kant’s idea that does not explain how Kant “sensed” it. Do not pretend to understand. Simply become aware of the incomprehensibility of it.

  4. If there is an impulse to explain it away then become aware of it. Do not avoid, resist, suppress, or deny any other thoughts or feelings arising in the mind.

  5. Let the awareness of what does not make sense continue to be there. Simply look at it more closely without explaining it away.

  6. If this area can be researched using a dictionary, encyclopedia, or Internet then do so. Just keep looking until the mystery goes away by itself.

  7. If you recognize a contradiction or inconsistency, then check for any assumptions involved. Be alert to what you might be taking for granted. Verify any doubts.

  8. If there is criticism that does not make sense, then check to see if it points to a real workable solution. If it does not then it is just “blame” that is pretending to be an answer. Ignore all attempts at blame and move on.

  9. If it is an explanation for some unwanted condition that does not make sense, then check to see if it has ever led to a workable resolution. Ignore all explanations that have not led to resolution in the past and move on.

  10. Expand your span of attention to as wide a context as possible, and let the physical and mental perceptions pour in, while doing this exercise.

  11. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  12. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  13. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 2: Mind as a Sense Organ

PURPOSE:  To discern that mind is an organ that senses mental objects.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 1 above. 

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you become aware of mind as a sense organ.

  2. Notice the environment and the people in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Notice if there is something that does not make sense.

  4. Notice some physical objects in the environment, such as, the wet feel of water, the sight of the trees, the sound of birds chirping, the smell of flowers, and the taste of coffee.

  5. Notice that memories, visualizations, thoughts, evaluations, conclusions, emotions, impulses, etc., are mental objects being perceived by the sense organ called the mind.

  6. Recall a memory from your childhood. Notice that it is a mental object that is made up of physical perceptions received in the past. Such perceptions are reflections of physical objects.

  7. Visualize your favorite activity. Notice that this visualization is a mental object made up of the rearrangement of perceptual elements that are derived from physical perceptions.

  8. Think of some thoughts, such as, physical, mathematical, and philosophical. Notice that these thoughts are mental objects made up of patterns in the mental matrix made up of perceptual elements.

  9. Observe some mental evaluation going on. Notice that these are association being activated and settled very rapidly within the perceptual matrix where the mental objects are formed.

  10. Look at some conclusions you have arrived at recently. Notice that these are associations that have been settled within the perceptual matrix where the mental objects are formed.

  11. Feel some emotions, such as, fear, anger, and boredom. Notice that these emotions provide feedback on the general stressed or relaxed state of the perceptual matrix.

  12. Feel some impulses in the body or those, which move the body. Notice that these impulses are responses in and of the body to potential differences in the perceptual matrix.

  13. This exercise is done for 20 minute, which is the normal duration of a session. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  14. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  15. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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EXERCISE # 3: Un-stacking the Chaos

PURPOSE:  To discern the approach to un-stacking the chaos faced by the mind.

PREREQUISITE:  Review Exercise # 2 above. 

STEPS:

  1. In this exercise you become aware of the approach to un-stack the chaos faced by the mind.

  2. Notice the physical and mental environment in a causal, easygoing manner.

  3. Look at the physical and mental objects present in the environment. You may find physical objects to be relatively stable, but mental objects to be in a chaotic state.

  4. Use physical objects to stabilize your attention. Do not avoid, resist, suppress or deny the chaotic state of the mental objects. Allow them to settle down on their own accord. Do not interfere with them.

  5. Identify the topmost issue that needs to be resolved to calm the mind. Start observing it from various angles.

  6. Notice, if there is something on this issue that the mind is trying to avoid, resist, suppress or deny. Observe it closely to see if something is being justified. If you spot a justification then simply become aware of it and move on. Spot as many justifications as you can.

  7. If the issue is still persisting, then observe it closely to see if something does not make sense. In other words, look for an anomaly (discontinuity, disharmony or inconsistency). If you spot one then simply become aware of it and move on. Spot as many anomalies as you can.

  8. If the issue is still persisting, then observe it closely for a shock. It is a shock containing pain, loss, or confusion that pins the issue in consciousness. If you find a shock then carefully re-experience it from beginning to the end. Re-experience it several times until its shock-value is gone.

  9. As long as the issue is persisting continue looking for justifications, anomalies and shocks. Its persistency shall start to reduce, If another issue now becomes topmost then repeat steps 5 to 8 with this new issue. You can always go back to an earlier issue if it starts to dominate again.

  10. All these issues are entwined with each other. Always follow the most dominant issue until it loses its dominance.

  11. Never dig into the mental matrix looking for answers. Let the chaos un-stack by bringing up justifications, anomalies and shocks to view.

  12. If there is dopiness then let it run itself out. Do not interfere with it. You will become alert after some time.

  13. Expand your span of attention to as wide a context as possible, and let the physical and mental perceptions pour in, while doing this exercise.

  14. This exercise is done for at least 20 minute. You may do it for a longer period if justifications, anomalies and shocks are coming up easily and running out. Several sessions may be given during a day, and over the course of days, until progress is observed.

  15. This exercise is completed when it becomes effortless.

  16. When this exercise is completed you may proceed to the next exercise.

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The Quest for Certainty

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Reference: Mindfulness Approach

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Buddha declared.

“The Absolute Truth is that there is nothing absolute in the world, that everything is relative, conditioned and impermanent, and that there is no unchanging, everlasting, absolute substance like Self, Soul, or Ātman within or without.”

DEFINITION: Absolute means, “Viewed independently; not comparative or relative; ultimate; intrinsic.”

This postulate may appear self-contradictory to some, but it essentially says, “There are no absolute certainties; all certainties are relative.” This statement does not degrade any certainty we have. It simply means that one can always come up with a better certainty.

That is how science makes progress. Einstein declared the speed of light to be a universal constant. This is a certainty for now, but there possibly may be a wider context in which the speed of light is a special case.

Similarly, in the field of spirituality, we cannot be absolutely certain that self or soul is permanent. The phenomenon that is described as self or soul must be open to further investigation.

There is little progress possible for a person who believes his certainties are absolute. One can always improve upon a certainty one has by making sure it is based on truth.

Truth, as perceived, is never absolute. However, it shall proceed from one logical state to the next in a continuous manner. The truth in an area shall be harmonious, and it shall be reflected in the consistency of observations.

Thus the truth shall depend on the continuity, harmony and consistency of observations in an area. Determining the absolute truth may be an impossible task; but we shall definitely be able to restore truth in an area by resolving all discontinuities, disharmonies or inconsistencies.

The whole logical structure of the universe may be looked upon as a single truth. The universal truth may or may not be absolute, but it definitely acts as the context against which all other observation in the universe may be examined for truth.

Maybe if we start seeking continuity, harmony and consistency in everything, we may someday arrive much closer to the absolute truth, even if we never reach it. 

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