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Six Dimensions of Life

Cory Muscara






Scan the following QR code with your camera app to open it on your phone

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.


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?


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.


The ear, sounds.

Can I be with sounds that arise?



I can mostly be with sounds.

Some of them are, might be a little

uncomfortable, but I could be with them.


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.



It can be with that.


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.


That's all for now.

Have a day and take care.

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