Last time: The weight of the future and a link to a short film.
This time: The three pathways and the roots of suffering.
Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. Fifth Week.
“To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”
In the previous four weeks we focused on the general structure and implications of the principle, investigated how it played out (or didn’t) in our past, how it might apply in the present, and what it could mean for the future. In discussing the future we also touched on the unusual emphasis Silo placed on our imaginings of what may come to pass. On more than one occasion he noted that we normally try to understand ourselves and our world by looking to the past and to present situations. However he pointed out that those aren’t the only things in play. He insisted that paradoxical as it might sound the future — what has not yet occurred — is also always acting on us, shaping our beliefs, hopes and actions. This week we turn to considering some related matters.
The Three times of Consciousness – or The Three Pathways of Consciousness – or The Three Pathways of Suffering, whatever you call them, Silo proposed that we explore these pathways. He suggested that we delve deeply into them and try to understand their structure, and function.
Whatever the consciousness is aware of, it is aware of only through the pathways of the senses, the memory and/or the imagination. Hence, the name “the three pathways of consciousness”. However, when we try to understand suffering we find ourselves exploring the same pathways. Suffering arises from sensation, imagination, and memory – and of course from their interactions… hence, the name, “the three pathways of suffering”. But memories and sensations can also be distorted, mistaken or illusions. So we can also talk about illusory pathways. Further more we can also see that these pathways are also “the times of consciousness”, the gateways to the past (memory), the present (sensation) and the future (imagination).
In chapter 8 of the Internal Landscape, Silo wrote:
“All suffering steals in through memory, imagination, or perception. But it is thanks to these same three pathways that thoughts, affections, and human deeds exist. So it is that even while these pathways are necessary for life, if suffering contaminates them they also become channels of destruction.”
A personal story:
My personal website and blog has been idle for quite a long time. However, a few years ago I posted a description of something that happened to me when I was 21 or so. Here’s a link to that story. It describes the event that helped shape my understanding of the three pathways. It has a number of spelling, and grammar issues. At some point I’ll clean them up. Meanwhile, I think you can puzzle it out. I hope it’s worth your effort.
Next week we will turn to the principle of action and reaction.
Working this way also teaches us that the principles can become the foundation of a discipline that you can practice in every moment of your life.
They are principles: general ideas that you can weave together into a coherent style of life aimed in a particular direction.
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list.
A slightly different version is available on instagram. Look for silo_toronto
We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts, considerations, artwork, etc about any of this.
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at www.silo.net or www.silosmessage.net
There are currently two Parks of Study and Reflection in North America. These are Red Bluff (www.redbluffpark.org) in California and Hudson Valley (www.hudsonvalleypark.org) in New York. The Parks of Study and Reflection are projects built and paid for by individuals inspired by Silo’s teachings. More information is available on their respective websites.