Clarity and Illusion

A place for anything that doesn't fit into the existing forums
User avatar
Mouse
Posts: 377
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:15 pm
Location: Kyogle, Australia

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Mouse » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:39 pm

Mouse wrote:Subject and object = duality

Inner space is all there is. Anything that appears in this is self. That may be emotion or sensation, thought or speculation.

This brings about the appearance of awareness. The original state of inner space is pure consciousness or nothing arising. With the arising of something, I arise as the subject and perceive the object, my self or self.

I in this case is extremely subtle, but it is none the less I, the entity, the knower.
I need to add that only in separation does self reflection happen, or in other words, self reflection causes separation.
If I maintain oneness with sensation then all is one. This is not so easy with thought and emotion, in fact I would say that once either thought or emotion has arisen then separation has also occured. If I were to stay one with thought it instantly disappears and emotion gradually dissolves but it usually has to run it's course.

The act of separation allows a space for thought and emotion to flourish. I close the gap by being my sensational body. I have no problem with being I, because I merge with sensation in being it every moment, until I separate.
I have been inspired by Barry Long's teaching and I write this so as to acknowledge my source of inspiration. It is a wonderful help, and it is a wonderful gift.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6391
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Sighclone » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:02 pm

I wonder if in all the posts concerning the concept/reality of ego we aren't all in agreement. I do not think anyone who has read Eckhart and felt the truth in his books would argue that the ego is anything other than a concept. Its "structure and content" as he discusses in ANE simply flesh it out conceptually.

However, for the large number of unconscious people, it is the primary driving/motivating force in their lives. Christianity is a concept, so is Judaism and Islam. And many people lead their lives based on those concepts.

great2be reminds us in no uncertain terms that concepts are simply creations of the mind and as such are transitory, changeable, subject to waxing and waning popularity with us, and certainly no basis for eternal trust. I think all the rest of us agree with this.

One difference is our forms of expression -- great2be is giving us "tough love" -- drop the concepts, now!! He is not at all unaware of the impact of the illusion:
All those feelings and thoughts that follow on from the original mistaken idea are very real. They have real impact on the body in terms of feelings, emotions and thoughts.
I fall in a gentler group recognizing that many years of conditioning has produced some very deep habits which have old, strong hooks, and moreover, that dropping something. false as it is, which has been our dysfunctional "home" is not easy for most people. Yes, we need to hear the message, the revelation that we can let it go, and indeed must let it go. But doing that "all at once" does not honor the fragility of most people's constitutional foundation. I think Candice O'Denver's suggestion of "short moments of clarity, repeated many times" builds a new foundation in experience which lets us see the rope, not the snake. So that we can face the ego's ultimate fear dart, death of the self and complete loss of 'control' so abruptly, and maybe regress.


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

karmarider
Posts: 2141
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:00 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by karmarider » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:22 pm

Beautifully said, Andy. You have acknowledged the value and traps of many of these perspectives in a balanced way.
Sighclone wrote:...Yes, we need to hear the message, the revelation that we can let it go, and indeed must let it go. But doing that "all at once" does not honor the fragility of most people's constitutional foundation.
Yes, exactly. There is also the danger of intellectualizing an insight. When this happens, there is an insistent energy about it. We see everything through this one hard, hyper-critical filter, and fail to honor others' experience. Adyashanti talks about it, and I have experienced it in myself. As with many things, it's always easier to see in others than ourselves.

Developing self-honesty is just as important as many of these single, hard-nosed pointers.

Thanks for a very balanced explanation.

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6391
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Sighclone » Mon Aug 16, 2010 5:53 am

Thank you, kr.

I have experienced enough in spirituality and in life to know that the softer messages allow grace arrive more easily; that special divine energy does not often accompany a hammer.

And this is only speaking in general -- the direct neo-Advaitist pronouncements may be just fine for a few.

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

User avatar
great2be
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:58 am

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by great2be » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:39 am

Sighclone wrote:I wonder if in all the posts concerning the concept/reality of ego we aren't all in agreement. I do not think anyone who has read Eckhart and felt the truth in his books would argue that the ego is anything other than a concept. It's "structure and content" as he discusses in ANE simply flesh it out conceptually.
Insight is required, not agreement.
And it is clear that there are many different positions expressed on this forum.
Anyone who says "my ego", cannot be seeing the fact of ego being a concept.
It's the same as saying "my illusion has helped to keep me safe, my illusion keeps me company, my illusion isn't bad, my illusion has been helpful in bringing understanding and balance, my illusion is kind of like a friend I have. I watch her and smile" - it's nonsensical.
However, for the large number of unconscious people, it is the primary driving/motivating force in their lives. Christianity is a concept, so is Judaism and Islam. And many people lead their lives based on those concepts.
Any repetition of what someone else has said, without a present moment insight is no different, whether the referent is Christ, Buddha, Ramana, Krishnamurti, ET or Joe Blogs!
great2be reminds us in no uncertain terms that concepts are simply creations of the mind and as such are transitory, changeable, subject to waxing and waning popularity with us, and certainly no basis for eternal trust.

Not quite.
Concepts are images of something. They may be the image of something real/true, or of something unreal/untrue. Any thinking about a concept creates another image (let's call that a second level image). A second level image of an original concept that is a reflection of truth may not be accurate and can lead to illusion. All second level images of concepts which are untrue will 100% lead to illusion. Second level images of either type can never lead to insight.
One difference is our forms of expression -- great2be is giving us "tough love" -- drop the concepts, now!!
Actually this is a perfect illustration. Sighclone has made a concept of what I'm typing, his representation is flawed, and thus will spawn additional flaws. This precisely illustrates the nature and problem of concepts.

An accurate summation would be; Unless one investigates and has an insight into the nature of concepts, there will be no end to illusion/confusion/suffering.
One doesn't have to drop the false, it's the truth that sets one free.
I fall in a gentler group recognizing that many years of conditioning has produced some very deep habits which have old, strong hooks, and moreover, that dropping something. false as it is, which has been our dysfunctional "home" is not easy for most people. Yes, we need to hear the message, the revelation that we can let it go, and indeed must let it go. But doing that "all at once" does not honor the fragility of most people's constitutional foundation. I think Candice O'Denver's suggestion of "short moments of clarity, repeated many times" builds a new foundation in experience which lets us see the rope, not the snake. So that we can face the ego's ultimate fear dart, death of the self and complete loss of 'control' so abruptly, and maybe regress.
It doesn't matter how gently, politely and kindly one shares concepts not based on insight. It can be popular, especially as most people are very conditional in their friendships. But ultimately it's akin to 'the blind leading the blind'.
I share what I see, not to aquire friends, but for the love of clarity.
Above I typed "it's nonsensical", not to be harsh or unkind, but because it's true.
An imaginary seeker, seeking an imaginary goal.
Realise the nature of imagination and the fallacious effort ends.

Have you ever seen a dog chasing it's tail?

What happens when the dog runs faster?

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6391
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Sighclone » Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:45 am

Until one has had an experience of awakening, "enlightenment, awareness, Brahman, and self-realization" are all concepts...no less concepts than "ego." People dwell on and believe in illusions everywhere. The simple identification of something as a concept is usually insufficient to help people banish it.

The goal of all the teachings is to bring people to self-realization, not just point to the truth. Truth without an element of compassion is pretty dry and unappealing to many. And then there is the risk of appearing proud -- in my opinion, Ken Wilbur is rather guilty of that. His behavior, and others like him have given rise to another concept "the spiritualized ego."
Anyone who says "my ego", cannot be seeing the fact of ego being a concept.
Sure they can...they don't care about labels. They care about their "comfort zone" which can be full of delusional thinking and depression. Announcing to someone that they have "obsessive-compulsive disorder" is utterly insufficient to end their suffering. Being "concept-free" is a concept in itself and, while it might sound OK, or even wonderful, some kind of a pathway or some pointers or hand-holding is often badly needed...even if there is an "image" or two included.

Perhaps for some the stunning recognition that their self-image, their entire sense of self (like, say, "my ego") is "a concept" is enough to awaken them. But in general, the mere attaching of a dreaded label ("Concept") to a life-long identity ("me") is an academic distinction, sadly lacking in the gravitas and power to cause its dismissal by those who badly need something to cling to. People remain attached to their false identities without regard to great2be's or Andy's or anyone's admonitions or labels. Even if they are somewhat nonsensical. That's because everyone who remains unconscious has their own "hang-ups," neuroses, hopes and dreams -- complete with their accompanying suffering. They deserve more than labels to help them break free.

And of course, we are "typing" in the currency and ultimate repository of concepts, the English language.

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

karmarider
Posts: 2141
Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:00 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by karmarider » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:41 am

great2be wrote:...Anyone who says "my ego", cannot be seeing the fact of ego being a concept....
This is a highly conceptual assumption.

This sort of a hard filter comes about when people intellectualize their "insight." When people get very attached to something they think they have discovered, they see everything through the hard and inflexible filter of this intellectual belief, and are unable to even honor that language and manners and context and labels are a matter of convention, or that everyone has their own path and way out of illusion. It's reminiscent of people who go around quoting the "I" to indicate that they understand something better than the rest of us poor folk.

great2be, I say this with compassion. Apply your insight to yourself. Turn it inward rather outward. Inquiry is only inquiry when turned inward. Pointing out to others can be useful and compassionate, but it's not inquiry. Discover if there is truth to the Buddhist saying that when we are overly critical of others, it is because we are afraid of the same thing inside of us. As Tolle said, one can write a thesis on honey without ever tasting it. Observe whether your own repetitions come from insight or from the dogma of a hard belief. Explore whether you've built up entire mental structures based on a specific definition of the ego and emotional attachment to the belief in non-beliefs.

The things you say make a dry sort of sense. But it's full of repetition and learned concepts, and the manner and energy with which you apply your "insight" to others suggest it's not an insight at all.

And if you decide that it is indeed an insight, then try to find the laughter of the insight that the awakened and awakening experience.
Last edited by karmarider on Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
heidi
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2703
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:37 am
Location: 42nd parallel, Massachusetts, USA
Contact:

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by heidi » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:39 pm

the softer messages allow grace arrive more easily; that special divine energy does not often accompany a hammer.
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (Anne Lamott)
You don't always have to slash with the sword of truth. You can point with it, too. :)
Heidi
http://www.heidimayo.com
wonderment on the third wave

User avatar
great2be
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:58 am

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by great2be » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:29 am

Sighclone wrote:Until one has had an experience of awakening, "enlightenment, awareness, Brahman, and self-realization" are all concepts...no less concepts than "ego."
True, and believing in any of them is a guarantee of illusion.
People dwell on and believe in illusions everywhere. The simple identification of something as a concept is usually insufficient to help people banish it.
True, there also has to be insight into the nature of concepts.
The goal of all the teachings is to bring people to self-realization, not just point to the truth.
Not true. Many popular teachers are just regurgitating secondhand 'teachings' which often carry elements of falsehood. These 'fakes' cannot recognise the false, so they include it.
If one doesn't accept any concept/belief, regardless of the heritage, then no illusion will result.
Unfortunately most don't see the true danger of concepts and so they get caught. They compound this by well intentioned sharing with others.
great2be wrote:
Anyone who says "my ego", cannot be seeing the fact of ego being a concept.
Sure they can...they don't care about labels. They care about their "comfort zone" which can be full of delusional thinking and depression.
You misundertood me. When the fact of the rope is seen, then how can one still say "the snake", "my snake"?
Being "concept-free" is a concept in itself and, while it might sound OK, or even wonderful, some kind of a pathway or some pointers or hand-holding is often badly needed...even if there is an "image" or two included.
It can either be a concept or a living fact.
Explore the nature of concepts and make your own discovery.
Truly, if you have an insight into this then the whole thing is finished.

I am here and willing to hold anyone's hand who truly wants to explore.
Perhaps for some the stunning recognition that their self-image, their entire sense of self (like, say, "my ego") is "a concept" is enough to awaken them. But in general, the mere attaching of a dreaded label ("Concept") to a life-long identity ("me") is an academic distinction,
I have never suggested "the mere attaching...." this actually just becomes another concept.
Again, see the truth of concepts and it's all over.
sadly lacking in the gravitas and power to cause its dismissal by those who badly need something to cling to.

Enquiry will only take one all the way for those for whom the truth is the single most important factor in life.
If comfort or security is the goal, then this isn't going to work.
People remain attached to their false identities without regard to great2be's or Andy's or anyone's admonitions or labels. Even if they are somewhat nonsensical. That's because everyone who remains unconscious has their own "hang-ups," neuroses, hopes and dreams -- complete with their accompanying suffering. They deserve more than labels to help them break free.
If you honestly mean that then you will do the work, and stop labelling what I am doing.
And of course, we are "typing" in the currency and ultimate repository of concepts, the English language.
I'll leave you with a quote;
great2be wrote:J Krishnamurti often said "the word is not the thing, the word door is not the door, obviously!".
If one sees the truth of that statement then one will not be caught in words.

When one is sharing words, then it makes all the difference in the world as to whether those words are born of living insight or not.
An imaginary seeker, seeking an imaginary goal.
Realise the nature of imagination and the fallacious effort ends.

Have you ever seen a dog chasing it's tail?

What happens when the dog runs faster?

User avatar
great2be
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:58 am

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by great2be » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:58 am

karmarider wrote:
great2be wrote:...Anyone who says "my ego", cannot be seeing the fact of ego being a concept....
This is a highly conceptual assumption.
You too (see above) misunderstood me.
This sort of a hard filter comes about when people intellectualize their "insight." When people get very attached to something they think they have discovered, they see everything through the hard and inflexible filter of this intellectual belief, and are unable to even honor that language and manners and context and labels are a matter of convention, or that everyone has their own path and way out of illusion. It's reminiscent of people who go around quoting the "I" to indicate that they understand something better than the rest of us poor folk.
All this follows on from the initial misunderstanding and the bias which resulted.
Discover if there is truth to the Buddhist saying that when we are overly critical of others, it is because we are afraid of the same thing inside of us.
I see you being overly critical of me, apply thine own medicine KR.
If you would like to quote specific instances which particularly illustrate your concerns, then by all means bring them up.
As Tolle said, one can write a thesis on honey without ever tasting it. Observe whether your own repetitions come from insight or from the dogma of a hard belief. Explore whether you've built up entire mental structures based on a specific definition of the ego and emotional attachment to the belief in non-beliefs.

The things you say make a dry sort of sense. But it's full of repetition and learned concepts, and the manner and energy with which you apply your "insight" to others suggest it's not an insight at all.

And if you decide that it is indeed an insight, then try to find the laughter of the insight that the awakened and awakening experience.
I can assure you that I will not type a sentence on this forum that does not come from integrity.
If you would only explore what I am saying, rather than finding fault with how it's being said, you may also discover that integrity.
You know the old saying about not throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
heidi wrote:
the softer messages allow grace arrive more easily; that special divine energy does not often accompany a hammer.
Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes (Anne Lamott)
You don't always have to slash with the sword of truth. You can point with it, too. :)

The surgeon has to cut out the gangreen before he can apply the healing balm.
An imaginary seeker, seeking an imaginary goal.
Realise the nature of imagination and the fallacious effort ends.

Have you ever seen a dog chasing it's tail?

What happens when the dog runs faster?

hanss
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:14 pm
Location: Gothenburg - Sweden

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by hanss » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:33 pm

I hope that this discussion is only an illusion 8)
"In today's rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being."
(Eckhart Tolle)

User avatar
Marcel Franke
Posts: 655
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:28 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Marcel Franke » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:05 pm

> I hope that this discussion is only an illusion

No, its a discussion.

; - )
---ooOoo---

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6391
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Sighclone » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:12 pm

great2be -

I do not mean to discount your point.
what I am doing
The only thing I can see that you are doing constructively is attacking concepts, the principal target being "ego." You are also distinguishing concepts from "living fact(s)."

I frankly think that the distinction is indeed helpful. The future is a concept, and dwelling there is pointless...etc.

Perhaps to make that distinction a more effective and helpful pointer, you might define "ego" to be a conceptual self, built from a collective understanding of "life forces" including sex drive, competition, attachment to material items, sense of self based on employment, and opposition to others with different ideas, etc. This kind of fleshes out the concept, and brings it closer to home for most readers. And perhaps you have done this here and elsewhere in the forum. However, the ultimate tragedy is that, even understood as such, most people don't care. Which is the weakness of the "recognizing a concept" pointer.

People have this "sense of self" which we bloggers label "ego" and they have some comfort with that, even if it is artificial and/or dysfunctional: "Well, I know who I am -- I like this and don't like that -- I'm good at this and not so good at that -- I recognize myself when I wake up in the morning and maybe I'm a little different than I was five years ago, but not much ( or even 'very much different' ). I have this dream and that regret, my hot buttons are A, B, C.....etc....."

For them, that life is a "living fact." Even if bloggers can point out that it is a concept only. Eckhart spent a lot of time defining the ego in both his books. He is less concerned with the label "concept" than with the pointer that it is false.

great2be, I just see you waving the "concept banner" frantically when the problem is really that most people's sense of identity is based on a false foundation. Whether it is conceptual (as defined by you) or lived (as experienced by others)...it is illusory and false. Many of kiki's fine posts strive to emphasize that issue, which is to me, more critical.

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

User avatar
great2be
Posts: 251
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:58 am

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by great2be » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:35 pm

Sighclone wrote:The only thing I can see that you are doing constructively is attacking concepts, the principal target being "ego." You are also distinguishing concepts from "living fact(s)."
I know that that's all you can see, and I continue to ask you to look again.
I am not attacking concepts, but showing how the process of conceptualisation creates illusion.
Anyone can call the magician an illusionist, but showing how the illusions are created is the only way to break their spell.
I frankly think that the distinction is indeed helpful. The future is a concept, and dwelling there is pointless...etc.

Perhaps to make that distinction a more effective and helpful pointer, you might define "ego" to be a conceptual self, built from a collective understanding of "life forces" including sex drive, competition, attachment to material items, sense of self based on employment, and opposition to others with different ideas, etc. This kind of fleshes out the concept, and brings it closer to home for most readers. And perhaps you have done this here and elsewhere in the forum. However, the ultimate tragedy is that, even understood as such, most people don't care. Which is the weakness of the "recognizing a concept" pointer.

People have this "sense of self" which we bloggers label "ego" and they have some comfort with that, even if it is artificial and/or dysfunctional: "Well, I know who I am -- I like this and don't like that -- I'm good at this and not so good at that -- I recognize myself when I wake up in the morning and maybe I'm a little different than I was five years ago, but not much ( or even 'very much different' ). I have this dream and that regret, my hot buttons are A, B, C.....etc....."

For them, that life is a "living fact." Even if bloggers can point out that it is a concept only. Eckhart spent a lot of time defining the ego in both his books. He is less concerned with the label "concept" than with the pointer that it is false.
Here's the same argument again, I'm not just labelling something as 'concept'. I'm also showing how the process of conceptualisation actually creates the illusion.
As I said above, the naming of something as false, doesn't demonstrate how and why it's false.
Actually, the effect of just naming it as false creates a new belief for many, where every Tom, Dick & Harry can say "the ego is the false self", whilst demonstrating in their lives that no such realisation has taken place.
Just look at the proliferation of non-dual teachers, where many of them state that after waking up to non-conceptual awareness the ego still exists!
great2be, I just see you waving the "concept banner" frantically when the problem is really that most people's sense of identity is based on a false foundation. Whether it is conceptual (as defined by you) or lived (as experienced by others)...it is illusory and false. Many of kiki's fine posts strive to emphasize that issue, which is to me, more critical.
OK, so I put the question to you. You say the ego is false, please tell me a) how that was ascertained, and b) how the ego came into existence?
An imaginary seeker, seeking an imaginary goal.
Realise the nature of imagination and the fallacious effort ends.

Have you ever seen a dog chasing it's tail?

What happens when the dog runs faster?

User avatar
Sighclone
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 6391
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:22 pm

Re: Clarity and Illusion

Post by Sighclone » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:37 am

You say the ego is false, please tell me a) how that was ascertained, and b) how the ego came into existence?
For a) I think ET does a pretty good job on explaining the illusion and falsity of the ego in both of his books, and also John Welwood in "Toward a Psychology of Awakening, first third. For b), below is a small piece I wrote about a year ago -- just my theorizing...


The History of the Ego

Sense of Self is the set of behaviors, habits, preferences, styles of being, etc. that our organism has learned and adopted since birth that remains after awakening. For Nisargadatta it included smoking, for Adya, it includes bike riding and sky-diving. For Ramana it included cooking and reading. Self-realization does not mean the end of personality, lifestyle and uniqueness.

Ego, or the fundamental “I-thought” is the misconception that those unique elements of behavior, and habitual thinking actually constitute a substantial independent identity, a “me” that is the final and ultimate essence of who we are. As a form of species and individual self-protection, those responses to environment, those habits and instincts, combined with the biological drive and competition inherent in life forms, was natural, organic and essential.

Societies formed to make life easier for groups of people. But competition and survival within the group was still normal. Survival changed from avoiding saber-toothed tigers and other natural challenges to finding a place or position in the group, extended family, clan or tribe which was safe, and if possible, contributed to the well-being of the group. That need encouraged establishment of an identity based on the needs of the group, and the natural inclinations of the organism. (To over-simplify: men are strong, outward focused, mechanically inclined, more able to till fields, and kill animals for food. Women have stronger feelings for living things, maternal instincts, and are more intuitive and inwardly inclined.) People began to build identities as members of a society, starting with natural animal instincts. Each organism (homo sapiens) could observe all this going on in others and began a natural application of that observation to itself. Even today, in humans, a sense of “self-awareness” begins to form around age 1-1/2 – largely identified with the body. Of course, adults encourage identity formation in their children for many reasons: 1) they love them and they know that an observable identity will be honored by the group, 2) having a child who quickly conforms to some normal role in the group makes parenting easier, 3) they know that a child who “fits in” well will have adopted a "healthy self-image, aka "'ego-strength'" which aligns somehow, somewhere with the needs and expectations of society, etc…

So laws, institutions, traditions, collective habits all encourage development of a “self-identity” which conforms to the basic model (be it a clan or cavemen/cavewomen or an entire civilization.) Ego-drive is considered a strength. Healthy egos remain normal for developing men and women today, as a rule. Eckhart Tolle suggests that most Western men and women have a strong conditioned ego which is too deeply rooted to be dissolved at all by any continuous practice until about age 30. His personal shift was sudden and disorienting and required years of study, reflection and practice before it was abiding.

* * * * * * * * *

After a relatively stable society was able to form, and languages allowed communication, larger questions remained obvious: “What are we doing here? Who am I? What is the sun, why are there animals, why do we die, what is fire, why are there sexes, what are feelings for, What is time, What is love, what is life, what is matter, what is energy?” They go on and on.

The concepts of God or gods arose as answers. Higher beings. These conceptual institutions have tended to have human or animal form, of course, because that is what people knew. Stories also got started and written down. These stories became the answers…”Our answers.” (Since other people’s stories had different answers.)

But the stories usually had an anthropomorphic being as an essential part or parts. Of course that further encourages egos: “Zeus is like this – he is strong, he can create things and influence human lives, he is male, he has a wife, he lives forever. There are other gods too. Be like them.” Archetypes formed also – across cultures (cf. Joseph Campbell). These archetypes arose as men and women began to create ideals and perfect models representing certain behaviors, further validating identity based on a set of desirable or at least representative behaviors. Consensus in societies reinforced these models.

At the root of it is the transition from “sense of self” to “egoic me.” The difficulty is the challenge to the individual by unconscious egoic people. In an ignorant society, tacitly approving of big egoic self-identities, young people need personal strength for protection and a basic self-image. And their primitive sense of Pure Awareness got buried in the early avalanche of thought and word-based structures…they had to build a “me-story” to deal with the powerful physical and sociological imperatives they ran into.

The I-thought

We discover thoughts really early -- particularly if we have intelligent parents. They like to encourage thinking because it’s a good tool for earning money, and enjoyment, and fitting in, and “winning.” Yes, associating thoughts and discovering concepts and math and laws of nature and use of language is fun. Other people, also thought fans, love you for it. Thinking can even be a source of intimacy. People pay you to use your thoughts and mind to serve them. And naturally you take that big mind full of thoughts and “think” about yourself and your experiences and begin to identify with your thinking skills. And then you go to school and get exposed to the big international thought machine. Wow, is that cool. And you are hooked – you become “me, the thinker,” by age six. Or as Descartes says, “I think, therefore I am.” Soon you are a little thought-engine just like everybody else. Thinking is encouraged everywhere – and beliefs are introduced: “Conserve energy,” “love your neighbor,” etc….

And you use your own personal thought engine to look at yourself. “I” becomes an increasingly complex collection of personal observations which are all qualifications of the “I-thought.” And “I” becomes a multi-dimensional structure of thoughts. A “personality” forms – habits form, behaviors repeat and you forge an identity – built by your mind, encouraged by society and much literature and some music. In this long process – say 25 years, awareness” and “the present moment” get shuffled aside as trivial.

Whoops. But that’s all you really knew, really experienced for sure!! Remember??? Everything else is a big layer of conventional behavior and thinking.

The problem is that transmogrifying our “sense of self” into a personal, separate identity was false, unnecessary, un-natural and isolating.


----- Enlightenment -----

Bad term. A better one is “Re-awakening.” Or “recalling Pure Awareness.” All forms of matter are as aware as they can be. Trees never lose their level of awareness, neither do birds nor flowers. But you can. After you have formed your egoic identity, it takes on a life of its own. But it is an artifact, a set of memories, patterns and individual quirks all bound together by the stream of consciousness – thought after thought – forever.

We forget that, at birth, we had not learned how to think, or even see. But we were aware – in fact that is all we were: aware. Enlightenment is a return to that fundamental and unequivocal certainty – we were and we remain Pure Awareness. And that awareness is a shared thing…we all have it, and it is the same awareness, the same vibrant liveliness. Because our sense of separation ends at our center of awareness, how can we not love all of it – when we love another, we love ourself, and vice-versa.

After we realize, or re-realize that truth, we understand that the “I-thought” was the beginning of duality, of separation and opposition. We see that it is just a thought – kind of like the “you-thought,” or the “tree-thought,” but way more complex. Another compelling difference is that the observations leading us to the “I-thought” take place within our very personal body/mind. And since thoughts form so naturally when they are nourished by our family and society, they intrude very early on in our lives. And that intrusion and over-valuing of thinking, particularly conceptual thinking, suppresses the initial awareness of Presence, of Source. Moreover, the early and undeserved promotion of mind obscures and disables the evolution of our natural Pure Awareness. That process has to restart after awakening.

Even after awakening, the initial conscious redirection of attention from the unmanifest to the manifest occurs as a thought. Unconscious manifestation (say, breathing or heart-beating or compassion) is natural and occurs in Presence. After awakening, however, while thoughts exist, they are not “my” thoughts. Another person in the same room, given the same problem or event, might have the same thought. Furthermore, there is no “me” to identify with thoughts. Because thoughts are the essential tool for maya, for managing duality, it’s understandable that, in our youth, we might identify with their toolbox, the mind. It’s unfortunate that the designer of the toolbox, and the universe in which it resides got obscured in the temporal world of our senses and the narrow perspective of the gameboard.

Time to step outside the envelope. Time to step outside of all envelopes. Time to step outside of time. Then we can go back and play…and know that we may appear to be the gamepiece, but we are actually the game designer, too.

Namaste, 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

Post Reply