Posted by: Soh
The following article is a summary (by me) of some of the conversations Thusness had with me on the topic of Karmic Propensities/Karmic Momentum/Deep Conditionings and how it blinds us and completely affects the way we see phenomena.

Karmic Propensities is what blinded us from seeing the ultimate reality. Our entire mind is affected by karmic propensities such that our entire system of enquiry, even when we want to inquire on reality, we cannot know beyond "Who", "When", "What", "Where". Our mind is always thinking dualistically, in terms of subject and object (an I and a Not-I/an Observer apart from the Object of Observation, which cannot be found in reality). It is a momentum that cannot be located, yet it can be directly felt and experienced, and the momentum arises every moment and affect the entire way we see things. When we are affected by momentum the mind cannot know the ultimate reality (Emptiness).
Because our momentum is at work, we will always assume a subject-object duality. That is, there is a Self, an Agent, and observer, doer, thinker of thoughts. A self that persists in time in a connected way... experiencing things... It blinds us into seeing self and objective world as 'entities', as 'things' with inherent existence, as a separate and permanent 'me'.
So when momentum is in action, we cannot help but react with our karmic patterns. If we were to ask, "If you lost your shoe, are you still you?" or "If you lost your hands, do you still exist?". It almost seems certain to say "Yes, of course I am still I." because we always assumed there is a truly existing "Self" experiencing changes. This momentum can continue even after experiences of transcendental Presence, and distorting the experience.
Dharma Dan calls the karmic propensities of seeing subject/object division, or a separate Agent that is the observer, the "fundamental knot of perception". (See: The Non-Duality Models of Enlightenment by Dharma Dan)
Because it is our habit energy that made us think that way, we are so used to thinking in terms of subject-object duality that it has become so deeply part of us, deeply imprinted into our consciousness.
Apart from understanding our non-dual nature, what is important is the question of why is there a separation in the first place. Why is it that practitioners of all ages see thoughts, sensation, transience, the impermanence as not our Buddha Nature itself? Even when told non-duality, explained and experienced, how is it that it is not known? Understanding the power that blinds is equally important.
As my friend Longchen said, it's the working of the imprints and subtle recalling that makes us sink back to the illusion of a permanent background Source, Witness, Self... separating into form and formless, impermanence and permanence, and thus fail to see that the Appearance is the Source.
...From deep meditative observation, the witness is realised to be just an impression that is caused by subtle knowingness and sequential observation. Moment to moment arises in lightning fast speed. The second moment got a subtle imprint of the recently preceded one. This sequential change causes the sense of Subtle Witnessing known as the Eternal Witness...

If we were to eliminate this bond, then we can begin to realise, there is no "Self". In reality, there is only Self1, Self2, Self3 (which are not self), moment to moment our mental and karmic factors arise spontaneously but not in a connected way. We are not a permanent self, life is just a vivid, alive, yet momentary and insubstantial stream of mental and physical phenomena and nothing stays, everything is ever flowing. (Also see What is Self? and What Is The "Me"?)
Without seeing things as 'entities', we can begin to realise the nature of Dependent Co-Arising, Conditionality, Interdependence, etc, i.e Emptiness. The nature is always so, but our karmic propensities obscure us from seeing the truth, distorting the way we see things, enquire things, and perceive things. It is this bond that bonds us life after life in Samsara.
To eliminate the bond we have to feel it, feel the power of the bond, experience it. To eliminate the bond is a matter of insights, the insight into our true nature, the insight into self-liberation, etc. Not only must we eliminate the bond, we must be able to see how "Propensities" blinds us, and that is through naked awareness.
How can naked awareness lead to the insight of our "Propensities"?
Space, time, life, death, in and out are all ‘deeply held’ impressions. We are seldom aware of the “deeply held” until we are able to rest adequately in naked awareness. The nakedness creates the big contrast that provides us the condition for the arising of the insight of the 'deeply held'. The insight into the full power of our ‘propensities’ and resting in naked awareness are both equally crucial in our understanding of our non-dual (no subject-object duality, no separate permanently existing self) and empty (interdependently originated) nature.
To consciousness 'propensities' (deep conditioning or imprints) are all that matters. It is the only 'force' that blinds, bonds and prevents a liberating experience. Once formed it remains latent and only surface when conditions are riped for fruition. We are unable to get rid of it by will. Therefore to know consciousness, it is also to know the impact of deep conditioning, how it is formed and how it subsides. There is really no 'why', it is just how consciousness works.

If we drop our body, we experience astral body.
If we drop our thoughts, we experience “I AM”.
If we drop ‘I’, we experience non-duality.

Every major dropping results in a totally new experiential reality. Perhaps that is why Lao Tze teaches us to eliminate until none to experience Tao.
To drop the bondage/deep conditionings, the mind MUST realise that another way of 'knowing' is possible; an effortless, total sensing and experience of wholeness. Next the experiences of the joy, bliss and clarity of wholeness. Without the insight into the possiblity and the experience of the positive factors, the mind will not release itself from holding.

Even open pure and innocent inquiry is a deep conditioning. Makes the mind chatters incessantly. Every what, when, where and why by itself is a distancing from start. Freeing itself from such mode of inquiry aka 'knowing', the mind rests. The joy of this resting must be experienced for the 'willingness' to arise.

P.S. there are different types of meditative bliss/joy/rapture.

Like samatha meditation, each jhana state represents a stage of bliss associated with certain level of concentration; the bliss experienced from insight into our nature differs.

The happiness and pleasure experience by a dualistic mind is different from that experienced by a practitioner. “I AMness” is a higher form of happiness as compared to a dualistic mind that continuously chatters. It is a level of bliss associated with a state of ‘transcendence’ – a state of bliss resulting from the experience of “formlessness, odorless, colorless, attributeless and thoughtlessness’.
No-self or non-dual is higher form of bliss resulted from the direct experience of Oneness and no-separation. It is related to the dropping of the ‘I’. When non-dual is free from perceptions, that bliss is a form transcendence-oneness. It is what Thusness called the transparency of non-duality.
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