It's My Life -- Not???

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It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Sighclone » Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:55 am

Is this my life? What a silly question. So if it’s not my life, just whose life is this I’m living? I mean, I was born, I bump along through ‘my life’ and then I die. Real simple. Everybody understands that.

Well, not everybody. Some folks don’t “have” anything…least of all some kind of nasty, brutish and short thing called ‘my life.’ Now this is a nonduality forum so I can ask things like how deeply do you identify with your body-mind? With your “separate inside self.” That ‘self’ that has all kinds of habits and quirks and preferences and weaknesses and strengths and a few extra pounds. If that is not “me,” then exactly what is it? Some kind of alien life form? Who is living my life? The cable guy??

Adya has a book called “The End of Your World.” In that, and in many other writings, he and others remind us that this thing called “my life” is a convention of speech, created by a Western world, beginning with modern languages. (It is not certain that the primitive cave paintings and earliest forms of expression clearly identified unitary beings/people…there were certainly archetypes, though.) But the “first person singular” was a handy tool…and a handy word for a centering on and developing the “I-thought.” And an infinite variety of personalities and disorders and talents and theater and stress and grief. And we all grew up encouraged to refine our ‘healthy self-image’ and to win things. And then society held up all the ‘standards on how to be.’ And lots of hierarchies that require a struggle to climb up. All of them exalt “little me.” Also, there was competition and survival...me live, and maybe you die...a DNA incentive for identification with the body-mind. Just because some monkeys exhibit altruism does not mean that the reptilian brain is not hard-wired for self-protection.

It is a very hard cultural step to take to say “This is not my life…it is not ‘who I am.’” Even the body is designed to protect itself from ‘outside’ threats – further imprinting our identity as the body-mind. Ever looked over a bridge into a raging river? One has to be pretty advanced spiritually to be real calm…to be the Eternal Witness to a primitive fear.

Are your days filled with a seamless unity experience? Where you are equally identified with the chair and the car and the keyboard as you are with ‘yourself.’

I think it’s OK to look at yourself and see ‘this life.’ As an expression of the Infinite, each of us, the ‘occupant’ of this skin-bag which is our identity in the relative world of bodies and personalities, is unique. And we can enjoy the differences!! Lila in Maya, or play in the world of form can be a delight. But ‘taking yourself seriously,’ that is contracting your identity into “your life,” is a recipe for transitory pleasures that must fail ultimately to fulfill. The best that can happen from the pleasures of the ego, the highest Maslovian self-actualization is what he finally referred to as “self-transcendence.” Good for him. Give up the ‘separate inside self.’ It’s hard, though. Uncaused non-doership is pretty scary and vague. But try it. Surrender to the flow. Then when you say “my life” you will know what you really mean is “this life” – the word “my” will begin to drop away.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Rob X » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:30 pm

Sighclone wrote:
Are your days filled with a seamless unity experience? Where you are equally identified with the chair and the car and the keyboard as you are with ‘yourself.’

I think it’s OK to look at yourself and see ‘this life.’ As an expression of the Infinite, each of us, the ‘occupant’ of this skin-bag which is our identity in the relative world of bodies and personalities, is unique. And we can enjoy the differences!! Lila in Maya, or play in the world of form can be a delight. But ‘taking yourself seriously,’ that is contracting your identity into “your life,” is a recipe for transitory pleasures that must fail ultimately to fulfill. The best that can happen from the pleasures of the ego, the highest Maslovian self-actualization is what he finally referred to as “self-transcendence.” Good for him. Give up the ‘separate inside self.’ It’s hard, though. Uncaused non-doership is pretty scary and vague. But try it. Surrender to the flow. Then when you say “my life” you will know what you really mean is “this life” – the word “my” will begin to drop away.

Andy


Good stuff Andy.

In my experience I recognise two distinct modes of being in the world.

For the purpose of this post I'll call them 1. Empty self/mode and 2. Memory self/mode (not the greatest of descriptions but it's difficult to get a precise handle on this.)

The memory-self is our default setting. Mostly we are not aware of it but as we go about our business we are constantly referring experience to a mind-made, remembered, historical self - a 'me and my story' that extends back into the past and forwards towards an anticipated future. For instance (poor example) when we walk into a supermarket there's not simply the bare experience 'walking into supermarket' there is the low-level sense of a 'me' or Rob walking into the supermarket. It's as if we carry around with us a 'middle man' (so to speak.)

Contrasted with this 'normal' mode of being is a state that is revealed in certain circumstances (often at times of absorption or quietude; meditation, moments of intense experience and immersion in nature etc.) In this mode there is the apprehension of life simply happening exactly as it is happening (in real time - so to speak.) Past and future are suspended in this immediacy. There is simply this… and now this… walking into supermarket… getting into car… sitting… breathing… there's no need for a Rob who is doing the breathing. Breathing is simply happening… existence is simply unfolding. This is what I'm calling the empty-self (though it's not really a self since in this immediate present unfolding, autobiographical considerations are all but absent - this is why it is sometimes referred to as 'no self'.)

In my experience, at times of stress and emotional turmoil the memory-self takes hold… again and again. Life is seen through a fog of 'me and my story.' And time and time again there can be the waking up to the immediate presence of the natural state… just this… now this…

Sometimes I awake in the morning to a familiar sense of claustrophobia and contraction. In these moments I ask myself am I full of Rob or am I empty for the world?

It's a good way to start the day.
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Sighclone » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:09 pm

Wonderful summary of the autobiographical self. The default mode network in the brain is active most of the time in most of us - your memory/self mode. Researchers also have identified the "task positive network" that they see in people who are completely absorbed in a task -- no real sense of Rob or Andy doing it...like rock-climbing. But the meditative 'no-self' mode is third network that has not been formally identified (or perhaps I'm not current.)

Absence of a "separate inside self" is also the presence of a "diffuse unity self." (Adya discovered that he was his chair, his carpet, even his sleeping wife.) I find that I can also "call up" or "become" the Oversoul self, as you mention. But there are constant pulls to contract into a reactive 'little me.'

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby DavidB » Mon Feb 20, 2017 2:52 pm

The mind was an evolutionary adaptation, that for the most part, has been a very successful adaptation.

In order to find food for example, we need to be able to remember a great deal of things. All of those memories are abstractions/apparitions, representations of real things in the world. Memories can be strung into stories and then ideas can form. Add a formalized language to label all those forms and the memories and stories can become personalized as a sense of me/I, mine/ours, and the rest is history.

Division, competition and exploitation, are not exclusive domains of the human animal, these occur throughout the natural world. The natural world has shaped the human organism into what it is today.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Rob X » Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:16 pm

Sighclone wrote:Wonderful summary of the autobiographical self. The default mode network in the brain is active most of the time in most of us - your memory/self mode. Researchers also have identified the "task positive network" that they see in people who are completely absorbed in a task -- no real sense of Rob or Andy doing it...like rock-climbing. But the meditative 'no-self' mode is third network that has not been formally identified (or perhaps I'm not current.)

Absence of a "separate inside self" is also the presence of a "diffuse unity self." (Adya discovered that he was his chair, his carpet, even his sleeping wife.) I find that I can also "call up" or "become" the Oversoul self, as you mention. But there are constant pulls to contract into a reactive 'little me.'

Andy


Yes Andy, I have suspected for some time that this might have some connection with the default mode network and the experiential mode network. Perhaps in conjunction with the differences in hemispheric processing.

Whatever the science, the shift is as palpable as the shift from (let's say) the sense of hearing to the sense of seeing. And just as we can't see a Chopin Nocturne, we can't think ourselves into the natural state. This is why stillness, absorption and contemplation can be valuable - they help unhook the analytical and conceptualising tendencies of the mind.
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby dijmart » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:43 pm

Nice posts guys! :)

Yeah, I know I'm not "really" Dijmart, I'm awareness (which is nondual, so Dij is "apparently" real at best), but damn does she get her ass in hot water anyways! :lol:

This mind sometimes likes peace...and quiet, but also a good debate/ argument that let's the mind chew on stuff, like a dog with a bone.

And habits...yep she/I have thoughs too. I know it's Mithya (illusion), therefore not ultimately real, but there is a desire to get unbound from them...At some point.

Anyways, nice thread Andy!
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Rubber Soul » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:29 am

Rob X wrote:The memory-self is our default setting. Mostly we are not aware of it but as we go about our business we are constantly referring experience to a mind-made, remembered, historical self - a 'me and my story' that extends back into the past and forwards towards an anticipated future


Oh I like that wording - got me back into Presence.

Thanks, guys.

Sighclone wrote:But the “first person singular” was a handy tool…and a handy word for a centering on and developing the “I-thought.” And an infinite variety of personalities and disorders and talents and theater and stress and grief. And we all grew up encouraged to refine our ‘healthy self-image’ and to win things. And then society held up all the ‘standards on how to be.’ And lots of hierarchies that require a struggle to climb up. All of them exalt “little me.”


Like this even better, upon revisiting
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Sighclone » Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:19 pm

So here we are, with a profound inertia towards identifying as and with Mithya, little me, the separate inside self, etc. Eckhart said, briefly in his Oprah webinar series - about session 4, that the ego is a "natural" condition until about age 30. And maybe that condition is related to the organism's self- and species-preservation genetic coding. But after a certain age (different for everybody), a sense of transcendence-potential or a deep spiritual seeking begins or expands. And we end up with 3,400 members on this forum, etc. And 240 recognized religions.

It is a "both-and" paradox (not "either-or".) Decades of conditioning is not lost...just placed in perspective as "provisional." I prefer that word to "false." Yes, from the perspective of the Absolute/Brahman/Ishvara/Unity Self experience which is Pure Awareness, the contracted "personal self" is a false self. But the uncaused dance of the universe plays on. And we are stuck with our conditioning to some degree. Ramana had the incredible luxury of sitting in a cave for 10 years or so while people fed him and brushed off the bugs, etc. It might not have been luxurious surroundings, but he did not have a job, for example. Possibly his mom brought food - I do not know. The rest of us have rent payments, families, jobs, "manifested world" responsibilities. And personalities, too.

The transient pleasures of the ego come and go - which is why that condition will never be a final refuge. Does that mean that I should not look forward to an afternoon with my grandson, or a long bike ride with good friends, or a lovely dinner with my wife? Or any of dozens of different transient pleasures? Of course not!!

In her fine book, "Born to be Free," Jac O'Keeffe returns several times to "lila in maya" or joy in the relative world. And that world includes very unique "people." People, those "false" separate selves are fine vessels to contain, send and receive love. Which we enjoy, differently for each, after discriminating among them...separating them...liking some more than others...identifying all those other relative-world mental and emotional distinctions. Lila in maya. Preferring Chopin to Kid Rock (or not)...preferring Ramesh Balsekar to Jiddu Krishnamurti...etc.

We can experience that we ultimately do not "have a life," that we are life itself and also death, and that this Unity is seamless and splendid and a true refuge and our shared, merged identity. Fine...more than fine...infinitely fine. That is not reason to not take one tiny step back into the relative world, with our splendid tools for that world, the mind and heart, and have some fun, as a simple, caring person.

...but I repeat myself.... :!:

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Mystic » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:28 am

Eckhart Tolle says that the ego tends to equate owning or "having" with being. I agree with his wisdom, yes :D The ego does not want to share... My life is not my own unless I share this life with all. The most fundamental law of reality is the law of cause and effect and we are all connected, we are all one. I am still learning to share; to learn is to teach and teaching is being. Being is sharing.
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby DavidB » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:52 pm

Being is sharing.


Being is conscious doing, in whatever it is we he happen to be doing, whether it's with others or alone. Conscious doing, is being present, honoring the form of this moment. In this sense then, we become one with the present moment, one with all that is.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Mystic » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:27 am

DavidB wrote:
Being is sharing.


Being is conscious doing, in whatever it is we he happen to be doing, whether it's with others or alone. Conscious doing, is being present, honoring the form of this moment. In this sense then, we become one with the present moment, one with all that is.


Yes, this is true. Thank you for helping me to articulate DavidB :D
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby Sighclone » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:53 am

In 2007, ET had a radio show with Oprah. I was listening and he stunned me with the following phrase, missed completely by Oprah: "You are the present moment."

"Huh?? How could that be?? I'm Andy -- I ain't no present moment nohow. How could I like "be" a moment, present or past or future or whatever?? You must be nuts."

The phrases above might be a "normal" response from yer average guy or gal. But it is a fine way of deconstructing our personal identity completely. And it brings up another sadhana...go ahead and sit quietly and decide to experience the exact 'right now, not one ten-millionth of a second ago' present moment. See if there is any room for thoughts....

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: It's My Life -- Not???

Postby DavidB » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:34 am

I was listening and he stunned me with the following phrase, missed completely by Oprah: "You are the present moment."


I've had my suspicions about Oprah for quite some time, but that's a topic for another thread. :wink:

And it brings up another sadhana...go ahead and sit quietly and decide to experience the exact 'right now, not one ten-millionth of a second ago' present moment. See if there is any room for thoughts....


This is were we might understand the expression, enlightenment is very much like patiently waiting. But nobody ever really becomes present, nobody ever really becomes consciously aware. These already are as they are simply by the virtue of being alive. Nobody ever create, developed, added to nor took away from this, it is as it is already, there's nothing at all we did nor can do about that. The mind though, can draw the attention away, more or less claiming ownership of what happens.

So spiritual development then, is entirely about human development, about the maturation of the human condition, bringing it into alignment with it's true nature, which is oneness with being, or a human being. :)
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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