Shifting attention from thought

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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby ashley72 » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:04 pm

Thanks Andy for your caring & compasionate comments. I feel somewhat honored you've singled me out to be the target of your morning loving-kindness-meditation practice ;)

That experience was at least 10 years ago now, but otherwise the memories & the knowledge how to overcome them endure.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:07 pm

Sorry I haven't jumped back in, but I've been reading! :wink:

There isn't just one approach that works best for everyone, that's obvious, just from this discussion . If shifting to the body doesn't work for you, then don't do it, it's that simple. If it does, then keep doing it. I'm glad everyone was able to state their views without being too pushy and making someone else feel like they are wrong.

Personally, If an unpleasant, unhelpful thinking pattern starts, I check to see if this thought/ thinking pattern actually needs attention. If not, I dismiss it. If it's "sticky", but doesn't need attention I shift from the "person" channel to the "awareness" channel, then this negates it. I watch it...I witness the mind and the thoughts arise, peak and decend back to where they came from. I do the same with unpleasant feelings and emotions (which are both caused by thought). I sit with them and offer them some tea, until they're ready to leave. Again, if they actually call for attention, which I decide of course, then I will see if there is an action that needs to happen, if not, I negate them and wait for them to dissolve.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:33 pm

If it's "sticky", but doesn't need attention I shift from the "person" channel to the "awareness" channel, then this negates it. I watch it...I witness the mind and the thoughts arise, peak and descend back to where they came from. I do the same with unpleasant feelings and emotions (which are both caused by thought). I sit with them and offer them some tea, until they're ready to leave.


Shifting from the "person" channel to the "awareness" channel...how beautifully said. Awakening, in my opinion does not end the old triggers...it just ends their powerful and continual adverse impact on living. A strict Advaitist, a nondual policeman might get their shorts in a wad about doership here..."So just who is 'shifting' channels...and what are these separate channels, anyway." The reality, at least for me is that the arising of difficult thoughts or feelings into a now-expanded consciousness does continue. There is just too much egoic inertia and autopilot habitual energy in the system. Page 68 in "Buddha's Brain" discusses the 'Negativity Bias of Memory' - (and the solutions are just as dijmart has suggested!) With respect to the nondual cops, since our true identity, our deepest identity is the "Awareness" channel, that is the new default condition. Speaking personally, for most of the day, minor and incidental stresses surface and dissipate quickly...(like ETs ducks who just shake off conflict.) But sometimes a big old Velcro belief climbs out of the memory banks and thrashes around in present awareness, and can call up emotional responses. Most of mine are ancient parental "shoulds" about how I should have led my life...and they have those shaming fingers waving. But like those, and others, they all require a fragile and hypersensitive egoic self to nod in agreement for them to occupy awareness at all, let alone actually bring grief. And that old ego is not really in the driver's seat anymore. So what tends to happen is I'm bumping along through my day and some old "guilt baggage" thought arises...I automatically begin "Standing as Awareness" (Goode). The thought/feeling dagger remains for a minute or two, then falls back into the swamp, exactly as dijmart describes.

The old "sense of Andyness" is still there...and for the most part it is a comfortable place. But it has old baggage...less these days, but still some remains. Hanson and Mendius in "Buddha's Brain" have some exercises on how to internalize the positive (turn positive facts into positive experiences...), in addition to not engaging the negative.

Andy
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There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:17 pm

. A strict Advaitist, a nondual policeman might get their shorts in a wad about doership here..."So just who is 'shifting' channels...and what are these separate channels, anyway."


Great post Andy...

"Nondual policeman"...
Lol! That's funny! Anyways, awareness is not a doer, Ishvara (God) is, he's the creater, sustainer and destroyer. The jiva/person is part of Ishvara, so "has to" make choices and "do", it has "no choice" in that, even not choosing is in fact a choice, but awareness is the fundamental essence of them both and that is who I am, although I'm forever associated with Dijmart until the death of the body.

So, to get to your question, it's the intellect who is the discriminator between Satya (real/awareness) and Mithya (apparently real/ the relative). So when action (subtle and gross) are occurring, the intellect is the decision maker. Which also then applies to where attention would be placed, including the 2 channels- if attention is focused outwardly (the "apparent" person channel) towards objects, both subtle and gross or inwardly (awareness channel) towards the Self (figuratively speaking, as there is no true location of the Self, as it pervades every-thing).

Personally, when attention is shifted inward (awareness channel) there is a feeling of diving in deeper and expanding aware focus and becoming the Witness, more so then usual. Where as outward (the "apparent" person channel) feels like a stepping out from center and with contracted focus, concentration and/or relaxed interest, in objects.

So, at any time my attention is on the " apparent person" channel, I can at will switch to the "awareness" channel for clarity, reprieve or to allow an emotion, thought or feeling to pass that doesn't need any action or further analysis. Truly we are all awareness, that's all there is and we all just have had an ignorance problem, ignorance of our true Self. The problem is ignorance is hard wired! So, the seeker (ego) works very hard to become free and in that freedom realizes he isnt real, but that awareness, the real "I", the real you, has been free all along. Nice little paradox... :lol:
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:46 am

So what tends to happen is I'm bumping along through my day and some old "guilt baggage" thought arises..I automatically begin "Standing as Awareness" (Goode). The thought/feeling dagger remains for a minute or two, then falls back into the swamp, exactly as dijmart describes.


So, now the nondual police want to know from you, "who" automatically begins standing as awareness?

I believe it's the same answer as mine, but wonder if you feel differently?
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:57 am

Dij - we are on exactly the same page. The problem is language. The concept of "person" in linguistics is very primitive, but, of course followed the arrival of it in society, around 1,000BC. Julian Jaynes in his seminal "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" speaks repeatedly of the "analog I" which is the "person" who does things and imagines things. Flash forward to today, and you and I and particularly Gary Weber are stuck with the "I" concept and the "I thought." (Ramana) And the "first person" in the English language.

Gary never uses the uppercase "I" - always lower case "i." That's his style - I prefer to just hang with the old way of speaking and writing. But the "local" (your outward) self and the "nonlocal" (your inward) Self can indeed be distinguished by the intellect. And, moreover, to the extent that we are operating as the separate self (and that can shift in an instant), use of the first person "I" is ok, in my opinion. After all, we are writing here in this forum to readers with widely varying experience with awakening, from broadly skeptical, intelligent but unconscious folks, to less intelligent, but very aware people who have had stunning experiences of awakening.

the intellect is the decision maker
Again, what is this isolated decider, "the intellect?" Is it some kind of disembodied agent of Ishvara / Satya?

I'm not arguing or discounting anything you say, dijmart. I know exactly, from "personal" experience what you are saying, and always smile when I read your posts, because it sounds just like what's going on in my awareness, expressed with slightly different words, and much more Pali and Sanskrit!

It is exactly a "both/and" paradox. There is both oneness and diversity. "Little me" is an operational identity that functions in the manifested relative world. And it has a name and many roles to play. I have occasionally disagreed with Gary regarding the concept of "personality." He maintains that "personality" is an epiphenomenon of the body-mind. I say "so what," it is a handy term to use when cataloging the infinite variety of "people" we know. All gamepieces in the large enterprise of lila in maya, or "play" in Mithya. All good, for sure!

Andy
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:45 pm

the intellect is the decision maker


Again, what is this isolated decider, "the intellect?" Is it some kind of disembodied agent of Ishvara / Satya?


Bear with me while I try to explain this, I hope I don't fudge it up and confuse you. Before I start though...everything subtle and gross is Ishvara (awareness + maya), including the intellect, which is a function of the mind. Of course, we call this particular "jiva/person" separate, but really, it's an aspect of Ishvara.

In Vedanta, It is said that awareness "illumines and enlivens" the subtle body (includes the mind). The subtle body is inert without pure awareness shining "upon and within" it (it is composed of awareness, but dependent upon pure awareness, for it's apparent existence), it is what makes the subtle body sentient and conscious.

Awareness itself doesn't have a mind to think or know (it's called the "knower and witness" only in a figurative sense), the inert mind -plus- awareness, can think, know, witness and discriminate. An analogy would be if the brain was a computer, the mind the software and awareness the electricity that makes it all run (pure awareness is impersonal and attributeless, so I'm not saying it is energy). If you took away any of the pieces to the computer (hardware, software or electricity), the computer wouldn't work. Same with experiencing objects (anything subtle/gross) you need- pure awareness, the mind (subtle body) and the brain (gross body), without all three there is no thinking, knowing, discriminating, etc

Now, the "intellect" is the discriminative, decision making function within the mind (there are other functions, but I won't get into that), the mind is not the brain or within the brain, the brain is within the mind. The mis-take of awareness identifying with the mind/body/sense complex happens within the intellect (ego is an "aspect" of the intellect). It is the intellect that registers/apprehends its true nature is awareness, usually through seeing a reflection of awareness within the subtle body- It registers as a "thought of limitlessness, unity, oneness". Self knowledge cleans the mirror of the subtle body allowing the reflection to be re-cognized, removing the Self ignorance. Allowing the intellect to realize that the B/M/S complex is "illuminated" by and "composed" of... awareness. Therefore, awareness is non-dual and since awareness is non-dual and you are awareness, through and through... there really isn't an Andy! There's an "apparent" Andy, he exists, but he's not "real".


I know exactly, from "personal" experience what you are saying, and always smile when I read your posts, because it sounds just like what's going on in my awareness, expressed with slightly different words, and much more Pali and Sanskrit!


Nice, sometimes I've wondered if anyone gets what I'm saying... :lol:

It is exactly a "both/and" paradox. There is both oneness and diversity. "Little me" is an operational identity that functions in the manifested relative world. And it has a name and many roles to play.


Right, it's not an "either/or", it's a "both/and"...I agree completely!

I have occasionally disagreed with Gary regarding the concept of "personality." He maintains that "personality" is an epiphenomenon of the body-mind. I say "so what," it is a handy term to use when cataloging the infinite variety of "people" we know. All gamepieces in the large enterprise of lila in maya, or "play" in Mithya. All good, for sure!



Yeah, the personality stays, imo, it may gets "refined", maybe a "bit" sweeter.. or not. Look at Nisargadatta, he had a bad ass persona/personality.....yelling, screaming, chain smoking, probably scaring the yell out of some people...lol.


Dij~
Last edited by dijmart on Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:32 pm

Andy,


This may get more to the point!

Ishvara is always in control of the intellect. But as long as the apparent individual is ignorant of its true nature, it thinks it is controlling the intellect. Once the apparent individual has gained self-knowledge, it knows that the intellect is simply an inert mechanism that is brought into being through the power of maya and operated by Isvara as a means of perceiving, processing and projecting subjective meaning onto the holographic “picture show” of the apparent reality and thereby “creating” or coloring the apparent individual’s experience of it. ~By Ted Schmidt
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:41 pm

One more thing, awareness is "self knowing", self evident, self aware and doesn't require objects or the mind to no itself, as pure awareness.

Only when the power of Maya (Self ignorance) is operating does awareness "apparently" need a mind to know/see/witness the "apparent objects" (both subtle/gross) within the dharma field (Maya- a shaki/power, within awareness).
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby Sighclone » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:07 pm

Dij -

Thanks for clarifying "intellect" as a function within the mind, and for reminding us that mind is not a product of the brain.

And for re-introducing modern interpretations of Vedanta to the forum!

Andy
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Re: Shifting attention from thought

Postby dijmart » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:09 pm

Sighclone wrote:Dij -

Thanks for clarifying "intellect" as a function within the mind, and for reminding us that mind is not a product of the brain.

And for re-introducing modern interpretations of Vedanta to the forum!

Andy



Your welcome, I enjoyed writing it! :)
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