Psychological Self vs. No-Self

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rachMiel
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Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by rachMiel » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:18 pm

I ran into this very clearly and simply written article by a therapist and meditation teacher that compares Western and Eastern takes on self:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2011/05/ps ... s-no-self/

It's worth a read, I think. Especially if you're interested in different "expert" perspectives on the self.
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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by karmarider » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:04 pm

Good article. And I like his explanation that living the illusion of self is similar to believing that your memories are happening now.

A few years ago, Ciarin Healy suggested the technique "You do not exist" as way to see through the illusion of self. It's a good technique. But Ciarin unfortunately was rather acidic and he made maniacal claims that his technique led to enlightenment, and so people were turned off or disillusioned. The technique itself is good and useful, and the people at LiberationUnleashed seem to be able teach people how to see through the illusion of self, and are humble enough not make any other claims about the technique.

Many people are afraid to explore the illusion of self, because they interpret it as a nihilistic denial of existence. It of course is not nihilistic nor does it deny existence or individuality. It merely sees through a very common illusion.

Seeing through the illusion-of-self is useful as this author points out. But in my experience, I don't think it was critical. It was an interesting and good step along the way. The critical thing was the inquiry "Who am I", which, in my opinion, John Sherman has the clearest explanation of, as just "look-at-you."

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by runstrails » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:19 pm

Nice article. Thanks for posting. I like how he equates 'self' to executive function.

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:11 am

Good article, but it didn't seem to talk about the different modes of the psychological self(s)!

Future self versus present self is one very interesting dynamic we're all very used to.

This TED talk discusses it well.

http://youtu.be/t1Z_oufuQg4

For those who don't wish to watch the video.... a quick example. The present self usually likes instant gratification, temptations like the chocolate biscuit sitting on the plate. The future self is the image of a healthy and trim waste line. The present self obviously has the upper hand most of the time because the future self is off in the distance and doesn't really have much say in the present moment.... So there is always an ongoing conflict between the selves!

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by rachMiel » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:07 pm

ashley72 wrote:Good article, but it didn't seem to talk about the different modes of the psychological self(s)!

Future self versus present self is one very interesting dynamic we're all very used to.

This TED talk discusses it well.

http://youtu.be/t1Z_oufuQg4

For those who don't wish to watch the video.... a quick example. The present self usually likes instant gratification, temptations like the chocolate biscuit sitting on the plate. The future self is the image of a healthy and trim waste line. The present self obviously has the upper hand most of the time because the future self is off in the distance and doesn't really have much say in the present moment.... So there is always an ongoing conflict between the selves!
Nice. It's good to see TED taking on topics like this. :-)
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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:25 pm

The central idea being that the illusion of a solid self is a necessary developmental step that supports people in their learning and growth, but that once resilient mental health has been attained the direction for further growth lies in the shedding of this illusion.
I don't agree that we shed the illusion. I believe it's more of cooperation between selves that work.

Our present self, future self and even past self play an important role in how we experience & interact with the world. Even enlightened teachers like Tolle, talk about their past selves in discussions...to not speak of a past self in everyday communication would be fake & disingenuous.

I see enlightenment as more of a contextual shift in how we relate to our different psychological selves. Tolle shift occurred when he realised that he had at least two selves operating at any one time, a depressed & suicidal narrator who loathed the world, and a silent observer who attended to this suicidal self with indifference & knowingness.

I would further argue its possible that even more selves are operating at any one time. Our past self, present self, future self and even the no-self (silent observer) are all interacting & dancing with each other. It's this relationship with the selves which can either cause harmony or suffering.

In Tolle's case he found equilibrium or harmony by altering the context in favour of the silent observer. But I don't believe he changes how his past, future or present selves operate...he just changes the context or the framing in which they work.

Tolle's silent observer was always there, he had just neglected it up until that moment the shift occurred.

I'm not sure if others will see my view...but I just wanted to try and put it out there.

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by rachMiel » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:57 pm

ashley72 wrote:
The central idea being that the illusion of a solid self is a necessary developmental step that supports people in their learning and growth, but that once resilient mental health has been attained the direction for further growth lies in the shedding of this illusion.
I don't agree that we shed the illusion. I believe it's more of cooperation between selves that work.

Our present self, future self and even past self play an important role in how we experience & interact with the world. Even enlightened teachers like Tolle, talk about their past selves in discussions...to not speak of a past self in everyday communication would be fake & disingenuous.

I see enlightenment as more of a contextual shift in how we relate to our different psychological selves. Tolle shift occurred when he realised that he had at least two selves operating at any one time, a depressed & suicidal narrator who loathed the world, and a silent observer who attended to this suicidal self with indifference & knowingness.

I would further argue its possible that even more selves are operating at any one time. Our past self, present self, future self and even the no-self (silent observer) are all interacting & dancing with each other. It's this relationship with the selves which can either cause harmony or suffering.

In Tolle's case he found equilibrium or harmony by altering the context in favour of the silent observer. But I don't believe he changes how his past, future or present selves operate...he just changes the context or the framing in which they work.

Tolle's silent observer was always there, he had just neglected it up until that moment the shift occurred.

I'm not sure if others will see my view...but I just wanted to try and put it out there.
It's an interesting theory.

It reminds me of a self therapy I used to do: Identify my various different personas -- husband, composer, brother, writer, uncle, searcher, problem solver, problem causer, etc. -- and check in with each of them, one by one, like a series of therapy appointments. It worked quite well for a while, but at some point I realized I was dividing my subjective experience into a bunch of different compelling fictional characters. I needed wholeness, not fragmentation.

So, yes, all sorts of "selfs" exist in our minds, our memories. But, ultimately, these selfs are fictional characters in our personal movie scripts. It's what's "beyond the" script that interests me now.
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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:36 pm

rachMiel wrote:It reminds me of a self therapy I used to do: Identify my various different personas -- husband, composer, brother, writer, uncle, searcher, problem solver, problem causer, etc. -- and check in with each of them, one by one, like a series of therapy appointments. It worked quite well for a while, but at some point I realized I was dividing my subjective experience into a bunch of different compelling fictional characters. I needed wholeness, not fragmentation.

So, yes, all sorts of "selfs" exist in our minds, our memories. But, ultimately, these selfs are fictional characters in our personal movie scripts. It's what's "beyond the" script that interests me now.
Yes, but I see fragmentation slightly differently.

Our reality could merely be a fragmentation of different selves. The illusion is we don't see them as different separate identities operating independently, we unite them into a solitary psychological self, including the no self, and ultimately perceive it as one permanent unchanging self navigating thru life in a time bound way.

Both Maharashi & Tolle point to this fragmentation with the "who am I?"... Am I one or two?

Therefore it would seem, a simple shift in context, in which we see this fragmentation operating, may be a very important step in overcoming the suffering which can arise out of the disharmony of these fragmented selves.

The irony is we need to see the fragmentation going on, in order to see real wholeness over illusionary wholeness.

If you listen to a schizophrenic talking about their command voices. Or seeing how a split brain patient perceives the world. It becomes very obvious that our cognition operates with fragmented parts.... which are than perceived by the individual as a whole, just as a bunch of cars sharing roads can become traffic. A bunch of different fragmented selves can become a timebound "me".
Last edited by ashley72 on Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by rachMiel » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:49 pm

ashley72 wrote:Our reality could merely be a fragmentation of different selves.
Are you suggesting that these different selves are real in the sense of concrete, enduring, with independent existence/essence?
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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:56 pm

rachMiel wrote:
ashley72 wrote:Our reality could merely be a fragmentation of different selves.
Are you suggesting that these different selves are real in the sense of concrete, enduring, with independent existence/essence?
Just like traffic emerges from cars interacting on roads. Psychological selves, including the no self (silent observer) emerge as a wholistic permanent "me".

Are cars real or is traffic real? They are both real... It's the context in which you see them which is important.

If the present self is in conflict with the future self or past self.... we suffer!

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:11 pm

We overcome the conflict by shifting the context. Just like we have a range of tools for harmonising the interaction of cars. Stop cycles, round abouts, six lane highways etc. But devising solutions for different problems at different levels requires a shift in context. From driving training, to better roads, speed radars etc. No one level fixes all.

Likewise, have a range of tools in the psychological tool kit for dealing with our psychological selves, CBT, meditation, intospection, positive thinking, goal setting, socialising, building healthy self esteem etc.

No one method fixes all.

Eckhart Tolle views his past self & future self in an entirely different context than 99.9% of people. Most folk aren't seeing the fragmentation of the selves that Tolle's clearly sees, ironically Tolle's ability to clearly see the fragmentation of the selves makes his "experience" of self more wholistic & harmonious than 99.9% of people.

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by ashley72 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:37 pm

Lets look at the shifting selves.

If in this moment I'm getting hungar pains... I'm dealing with the present self. Do I immediately go and eat to eliminate those hungar pains? Well, that depends on what my future & past selves have to say about it. If I'm obese, my past self is setting conditions for the present self. Likewise, a future self is also setting conditions on the present self by saying I need to be slim in the future.

But what about the no self or silent observer? In 99.9% of people they don't look at things from the viewpoint of no self, even though its always operating as well. It's from the context of the no self or silent observer, we can best see the dance between our psychological selves... and possible suffering arising.

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by rachMiel » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:08 am

An illuminating Ted Talk by Daniel Kahneman on the difference between the experiencing self (that lives life) and the remembering self (that thinks about life):

http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahnema ... emory.html
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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by jimmyrich » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:18 pm

WOW! Thanks for that link! I have long wanted to read something about the seeming gap between psychology and spirituality and this does it quite well for me. I worked very hard to repair and empower my self/ego but reached a point where there just had to be something more or better, so I re-entered the spiritual arena and my old Ramana Maharshi books and other "spiritual/esoteric" things to find a way to get beyond just having a wholesome, happy me/ego. Somehow, it never made any sense that I should DUMP my now fixed ego and replace it with: THE SELF or ULTIMATE REALITY, etc. as good as all of that seems. Thanks for showing me that link and the article. I will keep in touch with the author ~ Ron Crouch.
jim :)

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Re: Psychological Self vs. No-Self

Post by jimmyrich » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:27 pm

ashley72 wrote: I would further argue its possible that even more selves are operating at any one time.
I'm not sure if others will see my view...but I just wanted to try and put it out there.
Your view makes sense to me. :D
Here's a study of the Selves that is rarely seen. Check it out.......
http://www.voicedialogue.org/FAQ/What_a ... Selves.htm
:)

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