Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

How to Build an Enlightened Society

August 31, 2021 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 4 Episode 76
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
How to Build an Enlightened Society
Show Notes Transcript

Continuing this series on Buddhist philosophy, we explore different teachings of the Buddha that are easily relatable in our modern life. In this episode we discuss:

  • How to deal with uncertainty and trouble in the world 
  • The Mystical Experience of Compassion
  • How to Practice of Equanimity - Mental calmness, composure, evenness of temper, especially in difficult situations

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

How to Build an Enlightened Society


Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado

Debra Maldonado  00:01

Hello, everyone, welcome to Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. Today's topic is to continue our series on Buddhist philosophy, how to build an enlightened society. I think this is perfect timing for this episode for everything that's going on in the world and all around.

Robert Maldonado  00:25

When we last left our hero, he was sitting underneath the Bodhi tree, trying to figure it all out, and he definitely came up with some very interesting ideas, much needed today.

Debra Maldonado  00:42

We're continuing our series on Buddhism. Those who haven't listened to the previous episodes, we're not talking about Buddhism as a religion, but Buddhism as a philosophy. We talked about the difference between religion and philosophy. Basically, it's a way of life, a way of thinking about the world and looking at how we can apply that in our modern life. We don't necessarily have to go to a Buddhist center, become a Buddhist.

Robert Maldonado  01:09

Unless you want to, there's nothing wrong with it. 

Debra Maldonado  01:11

You can actually apply this no matter what faith you have, or if you don't have any faith at all, you just need a little guidance in your life.

Robert Maldonado  01:26

It is mostly psychology, the way we approach it anyway. Buddha's talking about how to work with the mind, what is going on in your mind, what is the philosophy or the nature of reality the way we experience it. In this episode we wanted to talk about how we can apply it on a big scale. Are these ideas worthy of consideration when we're thinking about social structures, businesses, institutions, religions, politics, groups, organizations of all kinds. Let's start with this beautiful idea that comes through Buddhism, but it's much older, it goes back to the Vedas. It's called Indra’s net. So Indra’s net is a view of the cosmos that Buddha was very much aware of because it came up in that culture at that time. What Indra’s net says is that if you can imagine a spider web that extends in all directions into infinity, and in the intersection of each thread, there's a little crystal dewdrop that reflects all the other dewdrops in the net perfectly, very much like a hologram. It says that is the cosmos that we're living in. That is the matrix that we move in every part of the universe, every single thing in the universe, every single point of awareness is reflecting all the other parts.

Debra Maldonado  03:41

Jung talks about this. The world is showing us our own faces, parts of ourselves. We're seeing the world, people in the world as aspects of our own personality. The things we love, the things we don't love about ourselves are really shown up in other people. That is similar to this concept. I'm sure Jung read about Indra’s net in his studies.

Robert Maldonado  04:08

Actually many philosophers in the West were influenced by Eastern thought, as it was coming in the early 1900s. Back to Indra’s net though, if you think about what that means for us in society, each one of us is this point of awareness. It would say that our mind is essentially reflecting everything in the universe. That's why Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious makes sense because the experiences that we're having, the symbols that arise in our dreams are arising from a deeper level, what he called the collective unconscious. We can think of that collective unconscious as Indra’s net, that everything is interconnected, interwoven and reflecting everything else in the universe.

Debra Maldonado  05:15

Everything is that consciousness. And we are that consciousness.

Robert Maldonado  05:20

Indra’s net came up in Buddhism as a way of explaining this idea that Buddha came up with, dependent arising. Dependent arising was Buddha's idea of trying to find the cause of something. If we go by our senses, it appears that something causes something else, cause and effect. If we ask, somebody died, why did that person die? We might say, the illness killed him or her. But then if we dig deeper and use the principle of Indra’s net, we can say that's not the ultimate cause because we can ask where did the disease come from and what caused them to get that disease? You have all these extending tentacles going out in every direction as to what caused the death. Ultimately, just staying within the realm of somebody's life, you can say the ultimate cause was his birth.

Debra Maldonado  06:42

He died because he was born.

Robert Maldonado  06:45

But then you can also ask what caused the birth. Parents caused the birth. What caused the birth of parents, and so forth. You start to see that there is nothing that is independently arising. Everything is interconnected in this web of beingness. Buddha was trying to emphasize that if you go by the assumption that there is a cause and effect that is a definite cause of something else, you're in a delusional state, you're an error already. You can never really find the truth that way because you're assuming somebody hurt me, somebody did something wrong to me, and blaming that person. That is error right there. The cause of a lot of human suffering is that we ascribe causality to others.

Debra Maldonado  07:56

When I was a hypnotherapist, one of the things they taught us in the school was to look for the ISC, the initial sensitizing event. Then I would do regressions on people, they would regress back, when they were five, this happened. As I started exploring more, I realized that you really can't find that cause. Because when I looked at my life, I could say I had this issue with men because of my father. But then is my father the cause of the way he disciplined me? No, because he had parents that taught him how to discipline, and they had parents who were there. You can go back to the beginning of time and really try to trace back where is the initial event. People try to go into past lives and find the reason why their life is but you're really just getting lost in the story, trying to find blame versus looking for what is happening in this moment and how can I be free versus let me find the cause. I can go back in the past, and undo it in some way or fix it in some way. I spent so much time doing that. What I realized is that the regressions really weren’t effective as much as working with the client in that moment and what's arising in their mind right now, and where's their mind stuck in their misperception. That’s what frees people. Indra’s net makes great sense because you could be chasing yourself and the cause of everything. I always felt too when I would go to these workshops, that every time I would dig up something new, a new connection, this is connected to this, and you get lost in it, you get lost in the web of your past, you're never really living. You think if I can connect everything and make everything make sense, then I can move on but there's a freedom in knowing that there is. It's scary to think that there is no initial cause because we want to find that thing that we can hang on to. Why do you think that is psychologically, that we need that kind of confirmation “Now I know this parent was terrible to me, that's why I'm the way I am.”

Robert Maldonado  10:21

That simplistic causality model works on an evolutionary principle because we learn from the environment. If I learn that if I eat this kind of fruit, it makes me sick, then I learned that that caused my illness, therefore, I should avoid it. It's a very practical way of being in the world. You don't have to really think about anything, you just go by that immediacy of things. But it doesn't work when you consider the larger cosmic play of things. That's what Buddha was getting at.

Debra Maldonado  11:08

Even that fruit didn't make you sick. You're sick because you have a body that is human that doesn't know how to digest it. That's the cause, not the actual fruit that you eat. Then why do you have a body and evolution, we're chasing some wind source of one place that we can find.

Robert Maldonado  11:33

It sounds very mystical in essence to talk about Indra’s net. But it's the most practical because otherwise you're in error, no matter how logical you are and how smart you are. If you're going on the assumption that there is a direct cause to things, you're misreading the whole thing. You're going by that instinctual survival nature, that nature itself set up for us to survive. But it wasn't intended for us to understand the workings of the mind and the workings of the universe. That's what Buddha was getting at. You have to clarify your mind of conditioning, so that you can get at the truth, so that you can see the true Dharma of things, the true way things work.

Debra Maldonado  12:28

The scientists that are looking for the beginning of the universe, that big bang, that cause, they're actually in error as well in a sense. They're trying to find materialistic practicalities to how this universe was created. They're looking at the material and measuring energy versus understanding it from a spiritual perspective.

Robert Maldonado  12:54

Science is a whole other thing because it was never really designed to replace our cosmic view of things. It's simply an instrument. But what happened is it became a scientism, meaning people started using it as a religion, as a replacement for this larger cosmic view of things. They reduced everything to material. Materialism is a tragedy because then everything is reduced to what is its monetary and functional value. When you reduce life to that, you're asking for trouble because you're going to wreck the planet simply doing your work. You're operating from that assumption that nothing else matters except something's value. Trees are seen as lumber for building houses instead of this incredible living thing that operates on DNA very much like we do and has been around for thousands of years, gives life to the planet but nobody sees that, because they're operating on that materialistic philosophy. We know from psychology, the assumptions that we make of the world and its nature create our reality. Buddhist ideas are useful in this regard. They can help us understand a deeper pattern of things, a deeper understanding of what is really going on in the cosmos.

Debra Maldonado  14:40

Jung talked about this idea that we see the world that we believe is there. Basically, we're all looking through our own personal lens in this cosmos, in this hologram, our ego has its own perception of what the world is. How does that fit into Indra’s net and that idea that it's not this net that's out there that we're participating in, it's that we actually contribute to the net, as we have our ideas of what we’re seeing. What we believe is there, and we experience. If we experience something as dark and negative, it will appear dark and negative. I read this in The Secret of the Golden Flower, because he talks about Eastern philosophy and yoga and psychology. He said gravity is there because we believe in it, not because it's actually real. It totally blew my mind. We all have agreed on some level that there's gravity, it's part of our experience. Something that everyone agrees is absolute, you can't change gravity. How much of our life are we making assumptions on what we're seeing, what we're experiencing? What life is that's creating our reality in our own way?

Robert Maldonado  16:11

I think Jung and Buddha would probably say that we experience what we believe is possible. Therefore, it always goes back to working with our mind, both Jung and Buddha were emphasizing you have to understand what is your mind, otherwise, you're in error, you have to be able to work with your mind to direct it, because otherwise the conditioning that the mind accumulates, as you experience the world, will determine how you see the world.

Debra Maldonado  16:58

We think things are externally, as they would say, independently arising apart from ourselves, they're just floating objects out there. We're not an active participant, but everything that comes to us and arises, we can find it within ourselves. It's a part of ourselves mostly that we can't see.

Robert Maldonado  17:20

In Jungian psychology you see this emphasis on integration, meaning that you're experiencing things as separate from you as other people, as other situations and events external to you. The objective of growth, of individuation is to begin to see them as part of yourself, emanations of your own psyche, aspects of your own psyche, so that you can integrate them, so that they become part of you. You're expanding your awareness gradually.

Debra Maldonado  17:56

For an enlightened society, we have not only our personal beliefs, but culturally and in society, in the groups that we fall into, we have a certain belief, we resonate with them. We see things as the group sees it, they call it groupthink. We start to blindly follow our mini tribe, we see things from only a certain perspective. The more we allow ourselves to be moved by the group, the less power we have, the less independence we have. In society there's a lot of division, especially in different countries right now, everyone has their own opinions of COVID, the wars and all this stuff. Everyone's fighting amongst themselves, in their groups, projecting onto each other, seeing the other person as the cause of their problems, without understanding that their own seeing, their own shadow, their unknown self that they judge projected onto the other people. To have a more enlightened society is to understand what is really going on. Understanding that our mind has this filter that it puts on reality and makes us see things that aren't true or absolute.

Robert Maldonado  19:23

In Buddhist philosophy this idea of dependent arising was considered the key element to understanding all the other principles that he was talking about. It's really important, it holds the key to understanding Buddhist philosophy. If we ask why would that be, why does understanding this principle give you an understanding of compassion, for example? Here's an example. If you're trying to be compassionate towards other people, but you're reading it as they are outside of me, I'm disconnected from them, they are independent. They're independently arising in the universe, independent of me, if I close my eyes or if I go away, it's over.

Debra Maldonado  20:21

They wander off doing their own thing. It's not my fault what they're doing.

Robert Maldonado  20:26

Buddhist philosophy says that's a misperception. That's not the way it works. What is happening is that you are experiencing this world, this universe including other people, as part of this Indra’s net, as part of this cosmic interconnectedness.

Debra Maldonado  20:47

Until we know we're interconnected, how can we love each other and have compassion for each other, if we feel like everything is separate, they're the bad ones, I'm good?

Robert Maldonado  20:57

But there's a deeper implication here. It says that if I see people as independently acting, I can blame them, then I can say he hurt me, he robbed me, he cheated me. Buddha says in one of his Sutras, if you hold on to that idea, you're forever caught in resentment, all you can do is forgive or forget but you are caught in that misperception that things are independently arising, therefore people are to blame.

Debra Maldonado  21:36

Wouldn't you say that forgiveness then is not really— Because if you're forgiving, you're actually saying that that person did something wrong, but I forgive you, I’m the bigger person. Which might be a good step in the beginning. But the truth of what's really happening is that that person didn't harm you the way you think. You had an experience, but the nature of that experience isn't what you think it is.

Robert Maldonado  22:03

If we apply this principle of interdependent arising, we see that the cause of my suffering is not that person. The cause is infinitely spread out in this web of beingness. I cannot blame that person.

Debra Maldonado  22:30

Their parents might have conditioned them to be a certain way. Their parents maybe experienced something that culminated in that person behaving in that way.

Robert Maldonado  22:39

That's true compassion, you're dropping the blame, you're freeing yourself, your mind from attachment to blaming this other person, projecting, as Jung would say, your shadow on them. It makes more sense because that's really the way things exist, nothing is an island, nothing exists independently, even biologically, we know that to be true, nothing exists independently, your genes have come from way back, from the first human beings, and even before that.

Debra Maldonado  23:21

How much conditioning have we absorbed? What I find interesting is that when someone is causing a problem in your life, they act a certain way, you're triggered by their behavior. A great question is how am I like them. It may not be a direct connection, but I usually find that the person who's creating the trigger, the person who's perceiving it has that same quality, but they don't accept that about themselves. They judge themselves for having that, myself included, judging yourself for being too this or too that. We're just seeing that person play out our own stuff. We're judging them because it's so harmful to have that toward ourselves. Psyche tries, the ego tries to protect us by saying they're bad, let's not make us bad. I think the key is when you have compassion for someone else, you're actually working on yourself, you're actually working on that aspect of yourself that may be triggered or may be conditioned or may not be perfect human being. That is really how we grow. That's how we become whole again and connect. We reclaim that projection and see that what we're really seeing is that net, we're seeing that whole, but we end the cause of the ego The cause that we believe we’re this ego and all that conditioning that dilutes what is true about ourselves and about others.

Robert Maldonado  25:09

You see here dependent arising accounts for karma, accounts for the idea that Buddha brought about of wakefulness. If you understand this principle, you're awakening your mind to its true nature. You're seeing reality as it truly is instead of your own projections, your own limited assumptions. He says, this Dharma, this understanding, this teaching is the key to the ultimate dharma. If you understand what I'm trying to teach, which is how do we transcend suffering— It always goes back to this very practical goal that he had, how can we help human beings transcend their suffering instead of being caught up in it and continuously creating more for themselves.

Debra Maldonado  26:19

One of the ways we do that is compassion. Another thing is equanimity. The ego wants to judge everything as good or bad, as pleasant or unpleasant. That's how we've been conditioned. Equanimity is a beautiful Buddhist practice. It's a way to free ourselves from that conditioning, from our karma. The cause is the ego, putting the judgment on, so we want to take the judgment away. I think a lot of people have trouble with the equanimity because how can you say morally that murder is not bad or good? Or that hurting someone else is not bad or good, or anger’s not bad or good? How can you see that in equanimity? There was a great story of Buddha, he says that killing someone is bad. But if he was on a ship, and the captain was crazy and wanted to drown 100 people, if he killed the captain and saved 100 people, is that good or bad. Everything has its gray area. When we stop being so rigid, we start to see life being a little more open with possibility. Every time we judge something, it collapses into that fixed idea of what we learned from the past. Then we're in that net, just experiencing our past, we're not experiencing possibility. There's a great story I read, I think it's a Buddhist story. The guy was a farmer in a little village. He had a son born, everyone in the village was like “You're so lucky, you have a son, he can help you in the fields, he's going to be a strong man and healthy.” The farmer said “Could be good, could be bad.” Later on, the son grows up, he's doing the work in the fields. He leaves the gate open at night, all the horses run away. They're like “Such bad luck. You lost all of your horses. That's such valuable property, you're destitute without horses, how are you going to farm.” He said “It could be good, could be bad.” The horses that went away actually brought back even more wild horses into the corral. Now he had twice as many horses, so everyone in the village was like “This is great.” He said “Could be good, could be bad.” It keeps going on where the son tries to break one of the wild horses and breaks his leg. They're like “This is terrible.” The farmer kept saying “It's not good or bad.” Then the army came because there was a war coming and they were looking for able young men to fight the war. The son couldn't go because he had a broken leg. They say “You're so lucky. Your son didn't have to go and die in the war.” He's like “Could be good, could be bad.” The life goes on that way, we don't know in that moment if it is good or bad because you haven't lived your full life out yet. Sometimes you have to look back and see all the ebbs and flows of life and when we look at everything, it's gray. There's really nothing all good and all bad. Just like there's nothing all bad or all good about someone. We have to accept that dark and light in everything in life. That's really what the equanimity is. If you try to build your life on just being good, pushing away all the bad, you'll never be complete and never be happy. Having that idea that you have to be perfect is such pressure on yourself, to push away the things that are unpleasant about yourself and that you have to hide. That's the whole reason why we have a shadow and why we have an ego. It's just a trap. By using equanimity, that it's not right or wrong, let me see its true nature, its Indra’s net, its apparent reality, its the dance of life, we can start to see the truth of what is the absolute connectedness that we have.

Robert Maldonado  30:54

I like what you said about morality because that's precisely what Buddha was trying to get at. You can’t legislate morality, or you can, but it only works to a certain extent. What you want to do is using Buddhist philosophy as a blueprint for building society, teach people this deeper understanding of what is the nature of reality, so that people can understand what is really happening instead of attributing false causes to things and believing that other people are hurting them or trying to work against them. Understanding this deeper principle of interconnectedness would help people be moral from within, they would understand what is proper to do here instead of blaming other people, taking responsibility and creating situations that they know need to be played out in society.

Debra Maldonado  32:15

I think what you're trying to say, maybe I could break it down a little bit, is that morality should be a choice, not social pressure. I think for a lot of people, social pressure creates “I can't do this”, or religion creates “You can't do this and you can't do that.” Can't have sex before you're married. You have to marry a man or a woman. There's all these rules, but are you choosing it because someone else told you what's good or bad? Are you choosing it because within yourself, I'm deciding that this is how I want to live? There's something beautiful about making it a choice versus doing it because you think it's the right thing to do and what society expects, and it will make you look good in society.

Robert Maldonado  33:10

Of course, it's a very different way of being and we would not recommend trying that without having taught people this deeper Dharma, this understanding. In other words, they have to be awake. To create an enlightened society, the individuals in that society must be awake. I can understand people would object and say “When are you going to wake up everyone?” It's an impossibility almost. But we know there's these principles in nature that you get to a tipping point, to about 10%. If we can wake up about 10% of the planet, there will be a transformation. Just like when you learn something new. You don't have to understand everything about it thoroughly and completely. There seems to be a tipping point where you get it intuitively, instinctually.

Debra Maldonado  34:19

You can't put it in words. I think that's the hardest thing, you can't put enlightenment, what it means to be awake, in words because it's ineffable. You can't really describe it.

Robert Maldonado  34:32

That's precisely what Buddha was trying to do. He said there must be a way for us to understand this deeper principle of wakefulness, of really being enlightened. I think we've evolved enough as human beings, we’re at a point where we can enlighten ourselves. Like Buddha said at the end of his life “Be a lamp onto each other”, in other words, enlighten each other.

Debra Maldonado  35:02

Light each other up versus trying to tear each other down.

Robert Maldonado  35:05

The only way we can do that is through this introspective approach to understanding our mind, understanding the nature of what we're experiencing. We have science now that can help us, support our assumptions about things. Indra’s net, for example, seems to go along with physics. It supports this idea that everything is interconnected and things are arising in this one principle. Science hesitates in naming it, but what they're talking about is consciousness. Everything arises in consciousness.

Debra Maldonado  35:52

We have to light the light up within ourselves first. A lot of times we think we're enlightened and no one else is. The people out there that you're judging are parts of yourself that aren't enlightened. They're parts of myself that I haven't loved and had compassion for yet. That's what enlightenment is, it isn't trying to move the masses to follow you in a herd. It's more about doing the work within yourself of saying “What am I judging about that person? Why am I making that person wrong? How can I have more equanimity? What is that saying about me? What is that reflection in me?” You work within yourself, then the world seems to rearrange, first on a small scale, people around you start to change. For me, just changing my perspective of my father changed our relationship, because I had this fixed idea of who he was. Then I realized where my mistake was, my misperception was, and thank God, it happened before he passed, I got to have a great relationship with him before he died. But how many people in our life that we pushed away because they caused us problems? Maybe if we just figured out what that was pointing back to you, and that's the hardest thing. I think people don't want to make it about them. It's not me, I'm perfect, I'm good, it’s that person. The hardest thing to do is to look within, to be self reflective. It's nice to look at all our positive qualities, but it's hard to look at the things that we find unpleasant about ourselves.

Robert Maldonado  37:37

This idea of dependent arising is at the heart of it all, because it gives us the rationale, the deeper understanding of why compassion works and how we can really work. But it has to do with dropping the false assumption — he hurt me, he robbed me, he cheated me. Buddha says if you hold on to that, you'll always be caught up in anger and resentment. If you let go of that, you're seeing the true reality.

Debra Maldonado  38:15

You see your own potential because when you're hanging on to the past, it's always going to be there and influence your life, you're going to always say “This thing that I had to deal with, this is why I am the way I am. This is why I need it.” You're carrying this heavy sack around with you of past stuff that's weighing you down. Again, we're not discounting the experience, the experience may have been not pleasant. But do you want to keep carrying that experience with you every day of your life? Or do you want to say “I want to be free of it.” You're not going to be free by making the other person wrong, you're going to be free by saying “How can I look at the world in a different way? How can I look at myself in a different way? How can I see that at the core of me, my true self has never been damaged, has never been hurt, has never been harmed?” That’s what I'm seeing is Indra’s net. In this hologram of life, the Maya, as the Vedanta people call it, or samsara in Buddhism, this misperception of the world that we're seeing, we're stuck in that. We're not really free from chasing ourselves. Our old self is chasing us all the time, we're trying to fix it.

Robert Maldonado  39:34

In that regard, you see Buddha's one pointed mind, he's trying to solve the riddle of suffering. If you hold on to this false idea of the independent arising, meaning that things are separate and independent of your mind, you're always caught up in that stuff. You're carrying that bundle of grief and resentment and past experiences, and believing that that is your reality. When you believe something that strongly, it becomes your reality. You're recreating it over and over, you're creating your suffering. You’re bringing that suffering into everyday experiences.

Debra Maldonado  40:26

I noticed that if I have an agitation in my life or something that I'm like “I just don't want to be that way anymore”, the outer world, people will come up and reflect back what's really happening. What is the source of this agitation? Not the true source but where is it coming from? What's the nature of it? Then in dreams you start to see the picture and the connections and other people and other events in your life instead of feeling like a victim, that person hurt me, this happened, that happened. It's reflecting my consciousness, here's where your misperception is. Until you pay attention, it just seems as though the world is causing problems. I find this work so powerful to take responsibility for what this is showing me about my mind, then you're free, you're grateful for all the people that you were agitated about. You say “This person was just giving me the greatest gift in the world, they were showing me something I couldn't see.” Because it's really hard to look within yourself. That's where other people that cause problems show us the parts of ourselves we can’t see. To have compassion, look at it with equanimity, then we're actually working on ourselves through other people. It's very powerful. We could see the patterns, we're free. It's almost like that story where Medea left the trail of the thread for— who was the one who came out of the the maze? That thread to fight the Minotaur and came out, I forgot who the God was. Dante! Dante came out, he had that thread to lead him to freedom. The beautiful thing about this web is that all the connections are there. You start to see them yourself, you start to see the matrix, then we find ourselves back in freedom, seeing that everyone is reflected back, that we have control over our life. We're not this ping pong in the world bouncing around, we're actually seeing ourselves. If we could do that, imagine how society would change. We would stop projecting.

Robert Maldonado  43:07

When you consider the things we as human beings have come up with, Buddha's zen, Christianity, Rumi and his philosophies of beauty and music and poetry, we have enough knowledge to be able to create a peaceful enlightened society. All we have to do is put it into practice. That's all. It's always been around. All these philosophies are teaching us that the wisdom is within us. In other words, our true mind is already peaceful. It's already loving and abundant. It's harmonious. What creates the confusion and the misalignment with nature is the ego. It's the false persona, the roles that we play in society as Jung would say, the masks that we wear. That's what creates our misalignment with each other.

Debra Maldonado  44:26

Wouldn't you say that, on the root of everything, everyone is us. There really is no other. We're really just having these relationships, all these people are really us. That oneness.

Robert Maldonado  44:43

The deeper mystical reality is that, because if you go back to Indra’s net, every dewdrop is reflecting every other drop in the universe into infinitum. If you look at the reflection of each drop within the drop, it's reflecting everything else. Inwardly goes into infinity as well, inward outward infinity. It means your awareness is that infinity, that cosmic reality. We’re the source of the universe in that regard.

Debra Maldonado  45:31

It’s hard to see that that person is me. Think about the worst person in the world you would never want to be like, that is part of you. I think it is the most resistance people feel. But we start with just people that are our family, that we love but irritate us. We could start there, we don't have to start with the worst person in the world that we think, we could start with people that mildly irritate us. Start practicing that, then eventually you'll start to see that even the worst person in the world you can find compassion for. That's mastery. It's not something that you do right off the bat. Or judge yourself, if you can't, or if you're angry, or you have all those feelings, the best thing is to have compassion for your own conditioning, you're responding to those people based on your conditioning. Have compassion for yourself to do that.

Robert Maldonado  46:27

That is the ultimate lesson of Buddhist philosophy. He's saying if you want to save the world, create that enlightened society, you start with yourself. There is no way for you to go out there and create peace, you'll just create more confusion, more suffering. You have to start with yourself, you have to go inward, meditate, you have to find that wholeness within you, then you're contributing to the creation of that enlightened society. That is the hardest lesson for us to learn because we're operating on another paradigm. The current society is operating on the materialistic paradigm that says everything is out there, independent, floating around. That's separate from me, outside of my awareness. Buddha says it's the other way around. But you have to realize that first, in order for you to change it. If we want to create that enlightened society, we have to start with looking at our own mind and creating that equanimity, practicing that real compassion, that letting go of resentments.

Debra Maldonado  47:59

Loving everyone. We always say it's so easy to love people that love and adore us. It's really challenging to love people that give us problems. But that's the people that need our love the most, because they're reflective of the parts of ourselves that we don't love. We don't see it because it's unconscious. We’re like “I'm not like them. I'm not selfish, I'm not greedy.” But it's a part of you that you're rejecting. By loving other people, accept the understanding conditioning, why they act the way they do, not knowing the causes, they're not the cause of our suffering, that it's our mind that's creating the suffering — that's when we can be free. There's a question that says “Is there a possibility to listen to this again?” Yes, it's going to be on YouTube here. And then “We attract them through matching frequencies?” That would be a materialistic view of consciousness, which means everyone's separate, but we're not attracting people into our life, we're actually seeing ourselves. I think that's the hardest thing because the ego sees things as separate. The truth is that we're all one, we're just extensions, almost like a fractal, we've reflected off each other. True mastery is really seeing that that person is not matching energetically coming into our life. We’re connected because they are us. I think that's such a hard thing to say, especially with difficult people. Also when we fall in love with someone we think we're on the same vibe, we're vibing with each other, they’re our soulmate. But really we're seeing our own divine in the other person when we love someone, and then of course, we end up seeing the things that irritate us about ourselves in the other person. I think that would help relationships as well. Everyone's looking for that true love, and the love is within you first, then it will show up out there. All is a reflection of what's inside always. Outer is a reflection. It's the hardest thing to grasp in our life. I love this talk today, it was great. Thank you, everyone, for coming. “Can you elaborate on how do you see ourselves in a murderer who's killed an innocent person due to hate?”

Robert Maldonado  50:36

We'd go back to that idea of what is the cause of that? If you attribute the cause to that individual, that's a mistaken perception. Of course, that person acted out and performed that action, but the cause of it is extended in the web into infinity. Where would you find the original cause that ultimately ended up creating that violent act? You cannot find it. Therefore, to attribute the cause to that particular individual is a mistake. It's an error. It's a misperception. Buddha is not saying, there's nothing we can do and let that happen. He would say, enlighten yourself so that you can teach others and eventually, that ripple effect will reach that person.

Debra Maldonado  51:44

I would look at it, and we always say this to our students — what does that pull from you when you witness something like that? What's the judgment, what is the response within you when you witness something like that? You go inside and figure out what is this I’m witnessing that causes my suffering or creates a fear? Then you're going inside and that's why you're seeing that experience. Not that you caused the experience, but why your mind is focused on that. How can I light myself through that?

Robert Maldonado  52:18

Buddha would also say that once you understand the true nature of that experience, you can act appropriately. That's where he comes up with all those right views, right actions, right attitudes because once you understand this principle of interconnectedness, then you can act appropriately, meaning you can really help that individual and perhaps the family of the murdered victim, and so forth.

Debra Maldonado  52:49

And even the family of the murderer. There's a great documentary on the mother of Klebold who was in the Columbine. I lived in Colorado when that happened. The mother of the son who actually did the murder, had to deal with this “It was my beautiful baby that I brought into the world that did this terrible thing.” The murderer’s suffering, the innocent person’s suffering, no one gets out of here without suffering. The cause of that experience, or that dynamic of someone murdering an innocent person is the cause of suffering, the cause is a misperception. Because if that murderer knew, he wasn't ignorant of his own nature, he wouldn't do that. We have to say “Where am I ignorant of my own nature?” Then you start to see that it's not that you're a murderer, but you can be like someone who's ignorant of their own nature. That's the key. It's much deeper, but we always get that question “What about this extreme, Hitler and these dark things that happen?” We have to look and break it down again and say what is really going on. On face value it looks like this terrible thing, and the cause is that one person, but what is the true cause? It's that we think we're the ego, that is the cause of suffering. Next week, we'll have one more episode, but we will be in our new location. Finally, our move will be complete. We'll have a new set and better lighting, and more great topics on the Buddhist philosophy.

Robert Maldonado  54:37

Thanks for watching, and thanks for the great comments and questions.

Debra Maldonado  54:40

Thanks for coming and asking those great questions, and we'll see you next week.

Robert Maldonado  54:45

Stay well.

Debra Maldonado  54:46

Take care, everyone. Bye bye.