Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

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sloth
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Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:30 pm

If I have fully understood the Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle often makes statements such as, you are most at joy when you accept the present moment for what it truly is. Also, you only suffer when you are not living in the present but your mind is caught up in the past or future - so if you are nostalgic about the past, wishing for something that no longer is, then you are not fully accepting the present for what it is. Similarly, if you are clinging to some goal or ambition for the future that is either unrealistic or simply has yet to be realised, you are also not living in the present. If you worry about something that cannot be changed, you are worrying unnecessarily, etc., etc. Coincidentally, living in the now is realising some blank state of mind - although personally I have not attained such a state of mind so I cannot understand this concept - in which you are aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise (the ego/personal identity) but realise that those thoughts and feelings are not you; you are the observer of those thoughts and feelings. It is in this way that you have a blank mind, you have just yet to realise that the mind is blank (which I have not as of yet).

So my question is, is this form of acceptance - acceptance of everything that is here and now - supposed to alleviate suffering, if not pain (since pain is just a physical/emotional reaction)? If you can learn to do this all the time wouldn't that make you immune to everything life has to throw at you? Wouldn't this be unrealistic to expect? In fact, society has moral expectations of you to suffer in certain instances, for example wouldn't it be considered cold hearted and cruel if you lost your child and were able to simply 'accept' the present moment as though it did not matter to you? Or is there something I am missing here?

The other question is that if you were able to attain such a state of indifference wouldn't it be indistinguishable from death? Surely you need to suffer to experience the beautiful subjectivity of life. If you are to avoid all suffering and attain a state of no-mind, surely there would be no difference to if you were dead.

Thank you for your assistance, and I wait eagerly for your responses.

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by rideforever » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:31 pm

Yes indeed, that would be like death.

How can one use suffering to grow ?

How can one be still but vibrantly alive, and engaged ?
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:36 pm

rideforever wrote:Yes indeed, that would be like death.
My apologies, are you saying that enlightenment makes one immune to the suffering of this world, or that enlightenment is indistinguishable from death?
How can one use suffering to grow ?
Do you believe that one cannot?

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by rideforever » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:57 pm

I am agreeing with you in your analysis that acceptance can be misinterpreted to mean inactivity which would be like death.

The other question is for you to ponder.
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by Onceler » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:17 pm

Sloth,

My take on things is that life 'should' be intense and in the moment. That not living in the future or past dials you in to what is going on in the present in a way that you are completely in tune with and responsive to what arises. If your child dies, you would feel the grief intensely, of course, and attend to it as long as necessary.

In a way I see this kind of living as the opposite of invincibility.....more like full immersion; a clean burning of experience as you go and not having anything left at the end of the day.
Be present, be pleasant.

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:01 pm

It's possible I have had such an experience but for me it was most psychologically painful and intense, like I had unravelled an unpleasant truth about life that was not meant to be known - a truth which we will all return to for eternity. So if meditation is facing the music, perhaps some times it is best to just bury one's head in the sand?
I am agreeing with you in your analysis that acceptance can be misinterpreted to mean inactivity which would be like death.

The other question is for you to ponder.
What exactly is acceptance if that is a misinterpretation? As for the other question, I believe we learn from suffering when we grow stronger emotionally from it: we have experienced the worst thing imaginable and now there is nothing else that we cannot learn to deal with. Or perhaps it is when we learn from our mistakes - so suffering is something that we do not need to experience and now that we have known suffering, we know why. Apart from that, sometimes suffering is in itself a beautiful phenomena - the compassion we feel for a loved one who has passed away, the sadness we feel when we watch a tragic movie, etc. Some would argue that these things are pain and not suffering, however.

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:11 am

What exactly is acceptance if that is a misinterpretation?
ET explains that acceptance is recognising this is what is, this is what is required of me in the present moment. If one is in pain, in acceptance would respond to that pain, if one is grieving one would accept and be with that fully without resistance. For me suffering is the distance between acceptance and resistance to what is.

It's the agitation and resistance that creates the sense of an experience being 'wrong' - this should not be happening, therefore I will resist it, in resistance we make enemy, obstacle or means to an end of what is. This is the sense of suffering, rather than the reality of experiencing pain.

It doesn't mean we become unfeeling or unthinking, it means that we move into what is, in this present moment.
We don't define ourselves by the past or the future, while we do accept the elements of it. We don't make enemy, obstacle, or means to an end of a person, thing or situation.

Imagine if you take away all the 'suffering' of arguing against what is a reality in this moment. Now, this does not mean we do not respond if able to a situation, but we do so with clarity rather than egoic response.

Hope that makes sense.
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:50 pm

smiileyjen101 wrote:ET explains that acceptance is recognising this is what is, this is what is required of me in the present moment. If one is in pain, in acceptance would respond to that pain, if one is grieving one would accept and be with that fully without resistance.
For clarification, let us call pain the physical and emotional response to some kind of traumatic or radical change. Suffering is the non-acceptance of change; sometimes pain is far too great for us to bear but sometimes we also make 'mountains out of molehills' and thereby we suffer unnecessarily. Sometimes the trauma is by our own doing or could have been avoided and in those instances we also suffer unnecessarily. I am slightly sceptical, however, that it would ever be possible to not suffer at all and be merely mindful of pains and pleasures as they arise and leave but I personally have no experience of mindfulness so I don't know what it entails exactly.

If one is in pain from grieving but not suffering, is this not still socially unacceptable in some manner, since people expect you to suffer for your loved ones? (I am not saying it is 'right' or 'wrong' to do this objectively, just that it seems to violate a lot of people's own ethical codes). On the other hand, is it possible to be mindful and still suffer?

The other thing is the state of no-mind seems to be defined by Tolle, and the Buddhist tradition on the whole as an emptiness through which one may simply watch thoughts, feelings and experiences come and go: the 'silent observer'. How is it possible for nothingness to observe though?
Imagine if you take away all the 'suffering' of arguing against what is a reality in this moment. Now, this does not mean we do not respond if able to a situation, but we do so with clarity rather than egoic response.
If nothing causes one to suffer, why the need to respond at all?

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by Enlightened2B » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:16 pm

The other thing is the state of no-mind seems to be defined by Tolle, and the Buddhist tradition on the whole as an emptiness through which one may simply watch thoughts, feelings and experiences come and go: the 'silent observer'. How is it possible for nothingness to observe though?]
The terms "nothingness" and "Something" are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the true formless state of what we are. The nothingness is in reference to the idea that there is NOTHING as opposed to SOMETHING. The relative reality that we see, feel and interact in that is constantly moving and changing and that IS subject to time and space...combined with.....the formless with is NOT subject to time and space are essentially one in the same. Therefore, in order for there to be a "Subject", there has to be an "Object", but there really are no objects, since the objects we perceive are all part of what we call the "Subject". Therefore, the subject can be more or less perceived as NOTHING. Therefore, it is said that there is NOTHING because it's all just that.....NOTHING. Yet, inside of that NOTHINGNESS, is EVERYTHING.

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:28 am

If one is in pain from grieving but not suffering, is this not still socially unacceptable in some manner, since people expect you to suffer for your loved ones? (I am not saying it is 'right' or 'wrong' to do this objectively, just that it seems to violate a lot of people's own ethical codes). On the other hand, is it possible to be mindful and still suffer?
Interesting noticing there Sloth.
Look at the first notion of why a thing would not be socially acceptable ... since people expect....
...based on individual ethical codes.

Two things here, firstly expectation is not real. And yes 'people' may have resistance to something occurring that they don't expect, but when they realise the sky doesn't fall in it allows them to move from 'assuming' possibly to enquiring, possibly to understanding and possibly to adopting.

Academically ethics merely asks 'What ought I do?' in a situation. Ethics looks and takes into account a universal point of view rather than a personal perspective. It includes the niggly realities and natural consequences of an action rather than demonising or fearing the reality.

Cultural bias and understandings will create a moral leaning of answer to that question - what ought I do? - but ethics and awareness 'widens' the possible answers to that rather than responding without awareness. Ethical behaviours and responses take on a more boundaryless view (universalizabilty) rather than a personal (egoic) view.
The other thing is the state of no-mind seems to be defined by Tolle, and the Buddhist tradition on the whole as an emptiness through which one may simply watch thoughts, feelings and experiences come and go: the 'silent observer'. How is it possible for nothingness to observe though?
E2B has explained this well, in universal viewing/understanding the things of self are nothing, the things of all are everything.

Jen said: Imagine if you take away all the 'suffering' of arguing against what is a reality in this moment. Now, this does not mean we do not respond if able to a situation, but we do so with clarity rather than egoic response.

Sloth said: If nothing causes one to suffer, why the need to respond at all?
It's relative to the situation, pain is real, physical needs are real, relational interactions are real, situations requiring choice and/or action are real. Aware responses respond I guess more ethically, rather than morally.
If your hand is in the fire, best response - remove it!!
Sloth said: For clarification, let us call pain the physical and emotional response to some kind of traumatic or radical change. Suffering is the non-acceptance of change; sometimes pain is far too great for us to bear but sometimes we also make 'mountains out of molehills' and thereby we suffer unnecessarily. Sometimes the trauma is by our own doing or could have been avoided and in those instances we also suffer unnecessarily. I am slightly sceptical, however, that it would ever be possible to not suffer at all and be merely mindful of pains and pleasures as they arise and leave but I personally have no experience of mindfulness so I don't know what it entails exactly.
Suffering can also be the resistance in the distance between expectation and reality, it can also be in overstepping the (relative) boundary of what is 'yours' to work through and what is not. Take the 'person' upset at the way someone else is grieving - is this upset necessary? Will it change anything - this upset - will it change anything? Is it necessary?

Let's take it a step further let's say they make assumptions about that person who is grieving and the 'way' they are grieving, why and how it is 'wrong', what it means about the person and/or their relationship to the one they are grieving for - is it true? Is there a universally 'right' way to grieve? Is what they are telling themself and 'upset' about true? Is it universally true?

Let's take it further again and say they share these upsets and these assumptions and they share that with others, creating discord, suspicion and fear about the person grieving - is this kind?

Awareness would respond to the initial 'irk' within oneself and firstly not assume that one was 'right'. One would in awareness look at their own thoughts and feelings and see where the 'expectation' was at a distance to the 'reality' and take their own journey of bringing them into accord - rather than spreading external discord about another. In order for expectation and reality to move into harmony / accord either the reality has to change - and if the reality is in the journey of another then its not my business, or the expectation has to change - and that is mine to figure out. It might be a quick snap of the fingers 'wake up!' or it might be hmmm what did I expect, and why did I put store into that expectation.

Is that expectation necessary - does it serve me and others?

Is that expectation true, is it universally true or personal opinion? Is it ingrained social expectation or experiential wisdom?

Is that expectation kind - is it born of love and compassion, or is it born of fear and ego?

It's not demonising me, or them, for that will surely create more suffering, but being more widely aware and consciously responsive, which I guess is more acceptance than resistance to what (really) is.
If one imagines that the field of ethics is a conversation that has arisen in order to answer the question, “What ought one to do?”, then moralities (and they are various) are voices in that conversation.
http://www.ethics.org.au/content/ethics-and-morality
Sloth said: sometimes pain is far too great for us to bear but sometimes we also make 'mountains out of molehills' and thereby we suffer unnecessarily.
^ is this necessary - does this thinking that sometime pain is far too great for us to bear - is this necessary?
^ is this true? is it a universal truth, an ingrained societal perspective or wisdom of personal experience? Is it true?
^ is this kind - is this notion that sometimes pain is far too great for us to bear... is this kind to suggest or expect that our back was not made for our burdens, that we are less than the experiences we encounter. Is this kind to self, is this what love and compassion would tell you, or is this what fear and ego would have you think?

Is it necessary, is it true, is it kind?

Just asking... :wink:
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Enlightened wrote:The terms "nothingness" and "Something" are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the true formless state of what we are. The nothingness is in reference to the idea that there is NOTHING as opposed to SOMETHING. The relative reality that we see, feel and interact in that is constantly moving and changing and that IS subject to time and space...combined with.....the formless with is NOT subject to time and space are essentially one in the same. Therefore, in order for there to be a "Subject", there has to be an "Object", but there really are no objects, since the objects we perceive are all part of what we call the "Subject". Therefore, the subject can be more or less perceived as NOTHING. Therefore, it is said that there is NOTHING because it's all just that.....NOTHING. Yet, inside of that NOTHINGNESS, is EVERYTHING.
I suppose that these are just words and that it does not matter how you use them, it is the concept that you are referring to that matters most - the words themselves are a means to an end. However it seems to me that there is not a lot of clarity in this idea, in so far as it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense: the outside world, the object needs to exist for there to be a subject - 'the true formless state of what we are' that is 'not subject to time and space'. However the outside world does not exist and is part of the subject, therefore neither exists and the subject is 'nothingness' because it does not exist.

How can you be so certain the physical reality does not exist? This is pure solipsism. Why does there need to be a subject for there to be an object?

It seems to me that I did not invent the laws of physics which govern the world I have supposedly imagined because I, the great inventor, have no knowledge of these laws. Nor can I predict what is going to happen and yet it was I that determined it to happen. It is either that this is not the case, or the great I - the master mind that invented the universe around me - has deceived myself that I am not the inventor and everything that has come to be is a mystery, a logical impossibility.

Either way we cannot know for certain. It is rational belief that leads me to the conclusion that it is not so. So I am a solipsist myself but in a completely different sense of the word: experience of the physical realm leads me to the conclusion that the physical realm exists.
Jen wrote: is this necessary...

It depends what you mean by necessary. I would certainly suggest that it is an inevitability, however, that some pains will cause us to suffer. Perhaps this is of no fault of our own - the physical world is greater than we mortals, or perhaps it is simply because we are volatile in the choices we make - we will eventually slip up and our egotistic nature will return once again.

So if you are questioning whether it is necessary to believe this, then I would suggest that it is, after all if we believe we are invincible to suffering this will not help us on our quest to avoid it. One will become arrogant in the face of danger - 'I can overcome this car that is about to run me over'.
is this true...

There are no universal truths, or at least none that I know of - it is beyond my cognition to comment - and no philosopher has ever accepted the argumentum ad populum as valid. I would say that experience suggests it to be true.

is this kind

It is not a matter of kind or unkind, it is what it is. The physical laws we are dictated by do not seem to know of any notion of fairness, or kindness or justice, or hurricanes would not destroy orphanages and plagues would not infect the poor. Nor would humans act so unkindly to one another.

Interesting noticing there Sloth.
Look at the first notion of why a thing would not be socially acceptable ... since people expect....
...based on individual ethical codes.

Two things here, firstly expectation is not real.
What do you mean?
And yes 'people' may have resistance to something occurring that they don't expect, but when they realise the sky doesn't fall in it allows them to move from 'assuming' possibly to enquiring, possibly to understanding and possibly to adopting.
Could it ever be fine and socially acceptable to rejoice at the death of a loved one? Most people would suggest that compassion presupposes some kind of ornate attachment to the one you love, that were you to lose that person you would feel a great sense of despairing. Not just because of the loss of the object of your desire but out of loyalty and respect. So I speak of 'people' that believe in this and that but the reality is that there is always a reason for believing in such and such. It is still very much a subjective belief, one's morality but the reasons that inform those beliefs may be subject to rigorous debate. The point is that if you truly loved someone, all notions of right and wrong aside, it would be beyond your power not to suffer.
Academically ethics merely asks 'What ought I do?' in a situation.
A question to which the answer depends on a person's outlook on life: what it is he believes based on what he has experienced and what conclusions he has come to based on those experiences. Some people have no problem performing a live vivisection on another human being. The Nazis didn't and neither did the Japanese scientists in Unit 731.
It includes the niggly realities and natural consequences of an action rather than demonising or fearing the reality.
Those consequences are as much subject to individual judgement as the intent behind the deed to begin with. From the universal perspective you speak of, the consequences of an action simply are. This is because such a perspective is indistinguishable from death: a rock does not possess judgement, thought, feeling or intent, it simply is. Perhaps this is why when Tolle speaks of 'nothingness', it is a misleading concept, because people only think nothing of nothingness.
It's relative to the situation, pain is real, physical needs are real, relational interactions are real, situations requiring choice and/or action are real. Aware responses respond I guess more ethically, rather than morally.
If your hand is in the fire, best response - remove it!!
But it doesn't make sense, if we were truly indifferent to pain there would be no cause for us to do anything, in the same way a rock does not move if you chip it with a hammer. When you say 'best response', the 'best' part seems to indicate that it is in our interests to do this to avoid the cognitive dissonance of suffering - which indeed, from a biological perspective, it seems to be so.
Suffering can also be the resistance in the distance between expectation and reality, it can also be in overstepping the (relative) boundary of what is 'yours' to work through and what is not. Take the 'person' upset at the way someone else is grieving - is this upset necessary? Will it change anything - this upset - will it change anything? Is it necessary?
If being upset is more in line with their own moral code, perhaps it will relieve their own conscience to disprove of the way others conduct their lives. We could be talking about judging someone who is not grieving properly but we could also be talking about judging someone who is a mass murderer or paedophile. Does being upset then change anything? And yet, people who experience compassion seem to care about these things and people that violate their principles will cause them pain and upset, suffering, even. (But then so do people who are overly judgemental and disapproving but for the wrong reasons).

Let's take it a step further let's say they make assumptions about that person who is grieving and the 'way' they are grieving, why and how it is 'wrong', what it means about the person and/or their relationship to the one they are grieving for - is it true? Is there a universally 'right' way to grieve? Is what they are telling themself and 'upset' about true? Is it universally true?
Again, there is never any universal validity to ethical beliefs, but in so far as the judgement they pass is more in tune with their own individual nature, it is 'right' for them. Perhaps if you can make these people realise that their assumptions were not valid, that their intentions have caused more harm than good, then they will change their mind. You could say the suffering they endured because of that initial perspective rendered it 'wrong'.
If one imagines that the field of ethics is a conversation that has arisen in order to answer the question, “What ought one to do?”, then moralities (and they are various) are voices in that conversation.
http://www.ethics.org.au/content/ethics-and-morality
Interesting that you should post this since my own distinctions, based on what I have personally read about ethics, was one that ethics is a social construct while the moral compass is something that digs deeper into the roots of subjectivity. In essence being ethical is not always moral if social norms violates an individual's notion of what is right and wrong. Nor is an individual necessarily moral if they do not take the time to fully contemplate the implications of their deeds, for they may do something now, which they may regret later. (Coincidentally, this is also an interesting argument against always living in the present.) So while ethics 'just are' - social norms that can be represented by societal institutions (the vote, the courts of law, the markets, expectations, etc.) - moralities are derived from our own philosophising.

In conclusion, I have certain scepticisms about the whole concept of enlightenment. I personally have no experience of such and only have the words of others to believe. I am not saying it is a false concept, however. There are truths to be found in Buddhism and what spiritual teachers like Tolle write about. Sometimes I wonder if it is words like 'nothingness', 'acceptance', 'suffering' that are the culprit. Perhaps it is more practical advice in how to conduct one's life - ethics - that a person needs. Wisdom and concentration should follow this. No abstract words of philosophy can convey the experience that life itself can bring. So if one truly wishes to experience mindfulness, they should immerse themselves in their life, their passions, their loves, their joys and know when to face up to pain. As for mindfulness, what is it? Is it simply a recognition that I live and breathe? If so, I did not even need to know the word mindfulness to know this for it is already instinctively my knowledge that what I experience is what I am and what I experience can change and therefore I change as well.

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:59 pm

How can you be so certain the physical reality does not exist? This is pure solipsism. Why does there need to be a subject for there to be an object?
The reason this doesn't make sense is because you're making it into a concept. The physical reality DOES exist. However, it doesn't exist in the way you THINK it does. This is why experience directly is literally the ONLY way to acknowledge this as it has been for me over the last couple of months along with great pointers from others on this board which have helped me. When Tolle talks of the "Now". This isn't a 'state' of mind that he is referring to. This isn't a "philosophy" such as solipsism. This is the natural essence of what you already ARE. There's a lot of great stuff on this website pertaining to self-inquiry. When you negate EVERYTHING that you can't possibly be (any object that is known to you including the body, mind/thoughts), there's literally only one thing left that you ONLY can possibly be. What is that one thing? It's pure existence. You cannot POSSIBLY deny your existence, right? That's your true essence. That's what you are. Therefore, everything is known because there is awareness of it. This whole conversation is known on your end, because there is awareness of it.

So, with that aside, the physical reality you will see is emanating within you because....for example. You are sitting in your bedroom, looking out the window at the world. Trees appear, cars go by, people walking. Everything is in CONSTANT change and fluctuation. What is that ONE thing that is UNCHANGING among everything that IS changing. That one thing is your EXISTENCE. You are the backdrop for literally EVERYTHING. Nothing can exist without awareness utilizing the 5 senses, right? Therefore, the physical changing reality that IS subject to time and space is happening WITHIN the UNCHANGING awareness that is YOU. The awareness that you ARE has not changed one BIT since you were a little kid, but everything in your life HAS changed.

Therefore, the only TRUTH and this is the biggest and simplest part of this whole thing.....the only TRUTH is again..... your existence. That's it. Everything else can't POSSIBLY be a truth. Once you know you exist, you can't POSSIBLY deny that. So, the physical reality becomes objective to you within that ONE truth.

Either way we cannot know for certain. It is rational belief that leads me to the conclusion that it is not so. So I am a solipsist myself but in a completely different sense of the word: experience of the physical realm leads me to the conclusion that the physical realm exists.
Are you willing to deny your own existence? Is that a rational belief? You can't know for certain if you exist? What is writing these words right now to me?

As discussed in another thread right now, the "how" of this physical reality and the "why" is merely a perspective by all of us. We can't possibly KNOW this. Again, the only TRUTH is your existence. Your timeless, unchanging existence while everything else within awareness IS changing and subject to time. No one can know for sure why this physical reality appears the way it does nor "how". You can look into Quantum Physics as they are developing some very interesting theories which seem to go right along with the idea that Consciousness IS the stuff of everything. Matter essentially holds no weight and is really NOT solid.

Once you see that reality can't happen without YOU, well, then you're there.

Who is the one that is a solipsist you claim? Who is this "you"?

Coming full circle now.....how can there POSSIBLY be an object without a subject to illuminate that object? Forget about the idea that physical reality does not exist. That's just another "concept" right now. How would an object EXIST with a subject to ALLOW it to exist? When you are in deep sleep, where are the objects there?

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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:26 pm

The reason this doesn't make sense is because you're making it into a concept. The physical reality DOES exist. However, it doesn't exist in the way you THINK it does.
I see, so to go back to your earlier post perhaps an accurate way of summarising it would be to say that the object is constantly in flux and the subject - 'I' - is what perceives it. So why does there need to be an object for the subject to exist? I mean, theoretically, one could just have mind and imagination, even though I do not believe it to be so.
You cannot POSSIBLY deny your existence, right? That's your true essence.
Indeed, no not at all. What I am saying is, why even mention it in the first place. I was already fully aware of my existence within every waking hour, and even my dreams. So why does Tolle - or anyone else - need to write a book about it? Why use words like 'mindfulness' and 'enlightenment'? 'Being', 'now', 'awareness' - lots of different words with language that Buddhists use to evoke poetic and mystical connotations, unworldly, almost supernatural experiences. In short, what help is it to tell someone that they exist?

"You exist."

"Yes, I know, thank you."
So, with that aside, the physical reality you will see is emanating within you because....for example. You are sitting in your bedroom, looking out the window at the world. Trees appear, cars go by, people walking. Everything is in CONSTANT change and fluctuation. What is that ONE thing that is UNCHANGING among everything that IS changing. That one thing is your EXISTENCE. You are the backdrop for literally EVERYTHING. Nothing can exist without awareness utilizing the 5 senses, right? Therefore, the physical changing reality that IS subject to time and space is happening WITHIN the UNCHANGING awareness that is YOU. The awareness that you ARE has not changed one BIT since you were a little kid, but everything in your life HAS changed.
Agreed. Consciousness perceives the world. The world changes, as does personal identity, dictated by material influences. Consciousness is always the same.
Are you willing to deny your own existence? Is that a rational belief? You can't know for certain if you exist?
No what I meant was that I can't know for certain the existence of the external world or other mindsbut rational belief leads me to conclude that both exist for the reasons I illustrated. I am saying that I am a solipsist in a very limited sense and that I am therefore not really a solipsist (at least not in what I believe), but a materialist. I said this because you were saying things like,
Therefore, in order for there to be a "Subject", there has to be an "Object", but there really are no objects, since the objects we perceive are all part of what we call the "Subject". Therefore, the subject can be more or less perceived as NOTHING.
Which lead me to believe that you were denying the existence of an outside reality. Saying the object is part of the subject is like saying it is imagined or some such.
What is writing these words right now to me?
Me, but another point is that 'I' am just a bag of biological bones, muscles and organs. Consciousness is electrical and chemical impulses through the brain, it's dictated by the physical laws surrounding it, actually.
Coming full circle now.....how can there POSSIBLY be an object without a subject to illuminate that object?
If I see a huge tidal wave crash on a beach, it happens in the manner that it does and I also perceive it in the manner that I see it.

If a huge tidal wave crashes on a desert island, I don't get to see it but it still 'exists'. So I am saying that the subject is not necessary for the object to exist.

Enlightened2B
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by Enlightened2B » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:01 pm

I see, so to go back to your earlier post perhaps an accurate way of summarising it would be to say that the object is constantly in flux and the subject - 'I' - is what perceives it. So why does there need to be an object for the subject to exist? I mean, theoretically, one could just have mind and imagination, even though I do not believe it to be so.
That's it! There does NOT need to be an object for the subject to exist. However, it wouldn't really be a subject then, if there were no objects. It would literally be "nothingness". If you can acknowledge what that subject is, you will realize that the subject we speak of cannot have ANY objective experience in and of itself. It NEEDS an object in order to experience itself three dimensionally. The subject is awareness. Awareness has no properties. It literally just IS. It's that feeling that "I EXIST". You can't really label that, right? Therefore, that's the true essence of what we are. However, in order for THAT essence to have ANY kind of experience, objects appear WITHIN that essence in order to CREATE experience.
Indeed, no not at all. What I am saying is, why even mention it in the first place. I was already fully aware of my existence within every waking hour, and even my dreams. So why does Tolle - or anyone else - need to write a book about it? Why use words like 'mindfulness' and 'enlightenment'? 'Being', 'now', 'awareness' - lots of different words with language that Buddhists use to evoke poetic and mystical connotations, unworldly, almost supernatural experiences. In short, what help is it to tell someone that they exist?
You can't BE aware of your existence. You ARE existence. All that Enlightenment means, is REALIZING your true essence with is....existence/Awareness. This is not about Buddhism, nor any other religion. Tolle incorporates numerous religions into his work to explain to people how organized religion has been so gravely misinterpreted over the years as the example with Jesus Christ. What he is pointing to is the idea that most people they believe they exist solely as a BODY in time and space. However, there is something DEEPER that ALLOWS that body to be there. THAT is what he is pointing at. The majority of the world is not aware of this. When the mind identifies with the body, that's what is called "ego".

Which lead me to believe that you were denying the existence of an outside reality. Saying the object is part of the subject is like saying it is imagined or some such.
Quite possibly :)

Me, but another point is that 'I' am just a bag of biological bones, muscles and organs. Consciousness is electrical and chemical impulses through the brain, it's dictated by the physical laws surrounding it, actually.
That's what your MIND thinks you are. However, when you try to find your SELF, what is there? Every part of the physical body is KNOWN. Correct? Thoughts are KNOWN. Correct? Why is it that there are GAPS between each thought? How is it KNOWN that one thought leads to another thought with gaps in between?
If I see a huge tidal wave crash on a beach, it happens in the manner that it does and I also perceive it in the manner that I see it.
And again, you indicate you PERCEIVE it. Therefore, it is KNOWN that the wave crashed the beach.
If a huge tidal wave crashes on a desert island, I don't get to see it but it still 'exists'. So I am saying that the subject is not necessary for the object to exist.
Can it exist though if there is no one to perceive it? I mean....how would it POSSIBLY be known unelss there were SOME sort of side effect FROM that wave? You might ASSUME, but can it be KNOWN?

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sloth
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Re: Does Enlightenment make you Invincible

Post by sloth » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:23 pm

Enlightened2B wrote:You can't BE aware of your existence. You ARE existence. All that Enlightenment means, is REALIZING your true essence with is....existence/Awareness.


But surely most people already do realise this, so why even bother to mention it/write a book about it? And also how does realising this alleviate suffering? What does it change precisely? Surely I am now 'enlightened' because I realise that my true essence is awareness and yet I don't feel different in the slightest.
That's it! There does NOT need to be an object for the subject to exist. However, it wouldn't really be a subject then, if there were no objects. It would literally be "nothingness". If you can acknowledge what that subject is, you will realize that the subject we speak of cannot have ANY objective experience in and of itself. It NEEDS an object in order to experience itself three dimensionally. The subject is awareness. Awareness has no properties. It literally just IS. It's that feeling that "I EXIST". You can't really label that, right? Therefore, that's the true essence of what we are. However, in order for THAT essence to have ANY kind of experience, objects appear WITHIN that essence in order to CREATE experience.
Agreed, except I would not say objects appear within the essence of subjectivity but that they appear outside of subjectivity and they are then perceived/known.
This is not about Buddhism, nor any other religion. Tolle incorporates numerous religions into his work to explain to people how organized religion has been so gravely misinterpreted over the years as the example with Jesus Christ.
Oh yes, I picked this up myself from the text. The idea is that the essence of God is simply awareness/Being/enlightenment, whatever (although personally, I think that describing it as 'God' can be misleading as it seems to give awareness a kind of mystical, almost supernatural quality and even implies that there will be life after death - our individual consciousness will most likely cease to exist in my view, although other people will still have consciousness, of course).

I referred to Buddhism because the teachings seem to be most in line with Tolle than any other religion: absence of supernatural beliefs (if you interpret reincarnation correctly in Buddhism, you will understand that reincarnation refers to the different forms that life changes into - literally dukkha, in a sense meaning change), the concept of emptiness (shunyata in Buddhism), enlightenment (nirvana), suffering (again, dukkha), ego and so on. Of course, the concept of meditation appears in the Judeo-Christian tradition - prayer - but on the whole, Tolle's writings seem to be primarily derived from Eastern philosophies and religions, mainly Buddhism. Of course, words like Buddhism can also detract because they are just labels and do not get to the essence of what it is that is being spoken about. There is a saying in Buddhism that one cannot get to the essence of enlightenment with words, words are just used like 'a finger pointing to the moon [enlightenment]'.
What he is pointing to is the idea that most people they believe they exist solely as a BODY in time and space. However, there is something DEEPER that ALLOWS that body to be there. THAT is what he is pointing at. The majority of the world is not aware of this. When the mind identifies with the body, that's what is called "ego".
I thought it was when the mind identifies with the thoughts and feelings?
Quite possibly
It's theoretically possible but most likely untrue.
That's what your MIND thinks you are. However, when you try to find your SELF, what is there? Every part of the physical body is KNOWN. Correct? Thoughts are KNOWN. Correct? Why is it that there are GAPS between each thought? How is it KNOWN that one thought leads to another thought with gaps in between?
I don't know that thoughts have gaps. I tend to verbalise most of my thoughts, forming words and sentences, some of them nonsense sentences, in my mind. But I think that when I am not verbalising them I will most likely be experience an emotion or a bodily sensation. And the mind will barely have any time to contemplate this 'gap' before another thought enters. Indeed thinking about the gap is a thought in itself.
And again, you indicate you PERCEIVE it. Therefore, it is KNOWN that the wave crashed the beach.
Not necessarily. I might have perceived a wave but it in actuality, it was something else - a giant whale that drifted ashore. Maybe it was just a dream and never happened in the first place.
Can it exist though if there is no one to perceive it? I mean....how would it POSSIBLY be known unelss there were SOME sort of side effect FROM that wave? You might ASSUME, but can it be KNOWN?
It is not known (by any particular individual) to have happened but it may have never the less happened but outside of subjective experience. I am certain that many things do indeed happen outside of our subjective experience, although I cannot specify those things for obvious reasons.

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