Feel deeply and tell good stories: Vipassana-Landmark for writing


The attitude for writing well is the desire to be fearlessly honest about what is present and its deepest ground. The focal point for writing well is the horrible transparency present at every moment. Look into the heart-core of the horrible transparency present at every moment. Desire to be totally clear, factual, and honest about what you perceive there. Open in total honesty to what emerges out of language from the transparency’s deepest ground.

This transparency, so full of everything empirically absent, a silence full of the power to speak what’s given into an entrancing story, is the layer of the somatic. Realize that this realm of possibility and meaning is a puzzle at its core, because it is not made of language. Is it saying anything?

This is the method:

1. Find the pain, puzzle, or pull.

2. Get its story.

Actually, Nietzsche would say that this is also the covert method of philosophy. Because what an honest noting of reality will give us is a noting of mathematical-physical facts with no meaning and value. Going beyond the bare empirical requires accessing something as a source of content. That something is the body, the biochemical mood.

The method for writing well is also the method of the Sunday Epiphany in the Landmark Forum:

1. Find the pain.

The terror at your heart, chest, abdomen, throat. Everything about self is sensation, not just the obvious “gross” sensations. All of self, even the note-taking witness consciousness, is sensation. It’s just that some sensations can have near zero magnitude. When visual brightness hits zero, does vision cease?

Some parts of consciousness cannot be felt. This is how dull our note-taker has become. Yet we should persevere in our practice of predicating universals of our own consciousness as deeply and thoroughly as possible. This is, I think, how progress in the Eight Jhānas is made.

2. Listen to what this pain makes inside of language.

Find its automatic story. And see how the pain is actually a complaint told as a story, which makes Good and Bad. It has eaten the fruit, this part, and builds value into the objects that it names. How? Three of the five components of object-being have been supplied by language:

1. Apperception. This is the capacity to comprehend the specific marks of an object. When I properly take in a red triangle, I grasp its marks—red and triangular—through concepts. When I cognize an object, I com-prehend its actual physical parts into the concept. Wheels, seats, windshield, and doors are all taken into the concept car when I point at them and intend, “This car.”

2. Feeling. Sensations are felt as being good or bad, but these determinations are significantly affected by language. A painful “emotion” is really a sense consciousness plus the ignorance of the story that gives it the persistence of language. Every spoken thing inherits the trans-temporality of universals. This thing is triangular, and so a triangle forever (Parmenides would say, and he’s right). The spoken thing acquires the eternality of the spoken.

3. Mental formations. These are the habitual latencies that predispose and motivate the type of experience while at the same time conditioning the response to that experience. My reactions always have a cognitive (conceptual) element.

The other two components are the form of the object and our spontaneous sense consciousnesses.

A sensation is not in itself painful.

A story is a fabrication and not present as sensation.

Recognizing this, all problems vanish.