The limited psychological world

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The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:34 pm

When we have an idea, a named feeling, a memory etc, it is a limited or abstract occurence/phenomenon. How come we do not see them as this but find ourselves identified with these, as in both enjoying and suffering them as if these things were 'me'. I think a lot of people understand the error in this, but the movement still goes on. Is it too big a thing to change it?
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby rachMiel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:43 pm

In a very real and immediate sense, these things ARE me.

The (only!) body-mind I have first-hand knowledge of is the body-mind experiencing the idea, feeling, memory. No other body-mind is. So why WOULDN'T this body-mind identify with the experience?
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:01 pm

Good point, I have thought about it. I have a memory of my childhood, no problem. But then again sometimes it makes me sad, angry, depressed, unable to act, etc, which is a problem because I am sliding into the past, something which is not actually happening. We could call it a fantasy (abstract, limited as I said in the first post) The ideas that pop up because of my childhood may have very little to do with this moment.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby Zizitop » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:14 pm

The things you named (ideas, feelings, memories) are things that come into the conscious mind, but which are given in by patterns that exist in the unconscious mind (respectively convictions, supressed emotions and long-term memory). So you can observe these things that come to the surface (thoughts, feelings, pictures of the past, tensions,...) and not identify with it as you are observing in the moment and so creating a distance between consciousness and thoughts or feelings. Everytime you know to observe it or catch it when it comes, you don't feed the things that exist in the inconsciousness eather (although you're not watching these as such).

lmp wrote:I think a lot of people understand the error in this, but the movement still goes on.

Try to take a couple of moments to feel and observe the movement and accept it, but then shift your attention fully to more neutral or positive things (for example a task you have to do) and be in the flow. Too long focus on ego or pain body can cause more stress, frustration and fatigue. Let us know how it works out.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby rachMiel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:47 pm

lmp wrote:I have a memory of my childhood, no problem. But then again sometimes it makes me sad, angry, depressed, unable to act, etc, which is a problem because I am sliding into the past, something which is not actually happening.

The thought/memory of a past object (event, mood, image, etc.) is actually happening, but not the remembered object itself. So it's just an echo of the past, the firing of some neurons in an established pattern, not the past itself. Knowing this, in the gut, goes a long way imo to removing the problematic, suffering-inducing aspect of it.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:51 pm

Zizitop wrote:The things you named (ideas, feelings, memories) are things that come into the conscious mind, but which are given in by patterns that exist in the unconscious mind (respectively convictions, supressed emotions and long-term memory). So you can observe these things that come to the surface (thoughts, feelings, pictures of the past, tensions,...) and not identify with it as you are observing in the moment and so creating a distance between consciousness and thoughts or feelings. Everytime you know to observe it or catch it when it comes, you don't feed the things that exist in the inconsciousness eather (although you're not watching these as such).

lmp wrote:I think a lot of people understand the error in this, but the movement still goes on.

Try to take a couple of moments to feel and observe the movement and accept it, but then shift your attention fully to more neutral or positive things (for example a task you have to do) and be in the flow. Too long focus on ego or pain body can cause more stress, frustration and fatigue. Let us know how it works out.


In principle I can agree with what you say, I think that there is such a thing as catching it as it comes and not feed it. But for all of us there will eventually be hard problems where we must go into it further and investigate more the unconscious basis for our thoughts that pop up.

Let's say, as an example, that I have had an abusive father (I didn't have an abusive father) and so I avoid crowds because I'm uncertain if I might hurt somebody who says the wrong things to me. The past makes me uncomfortable with crowds. If I instead pause and notice the discomfort but shift my attention to the fact that I need to go and buy something, I might venture into the crowd of people and end up hurting somebody who tells me what to do in a way that I can't handle very well. So agression might be a case where it's not the wisest thing to shift away from it. There are more examples.

If there is such a thing as 'in the flow' it is there that these ideas pop up. Ideas that make us sad, angry, afraid. And then we act in a sad, angry, afraid way.

In my case for instance, I pay a lot of attention to the sensation in the body, it's a habit to be identified with it. If I feel relaxed or tense. The ideas I have about it, I want to talk about it.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:11 pm

rachMiel wrote:
lmp wrote:I have a memory of my childhood, no problem. But then again sometimes it makes me sad, angry, depressed, unable to act, etc, which is a problem because I am sliding into the past, something which is not actually happening.

The thought/memory of a past object (event, mood, image, etc.) is actually happening, but not the remembered object itself. So it's just an echo of the past, the firing of some neurons in an established pattern, not the past itself. Knowing this, in the gut, goes a long way imo to removing the problematic, suffering-inducing aspect of it.


With the memory of the past object may go such things as like or dislike. I may like or dislike you because we have spoken before and not look at what is being said. That I want to like you may not seem to me as malignant as that I dislike you. Do we see that evaluation as an echo of the past too? I take it that by gut feeling you mean that one has ceased to be fooled or colored by certain patterns because the behaviour is understood well. Either we relate with clarity in the moment, or colored by the past so to speak. I'm looking at it for myself, which is it, for me.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby rachMiel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:01 pm

lmp wrote:I take it that by gut feeling you mean that one has ceased to be fooled or colored by certain patterns because the behaviour is understood well.

Pretty much, though it's probably more that you are LESS fooled by the patterns, you recognize their workings instinctually (in the gut, perhaps subliminally?) and adjust accordingly. Bohms proprioception.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby Zizitop » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:15 pm

Just saying for no misunderstandings: With 'in the flow' I don't mean 'go with the flow' in the meaning of crowd, but it has to do with flow psychology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29). You then have a single minded focus on one single task. Normally, being in this state of being doesn't give much space for negative thoughts to pop up. They might pop up, you can then take a few moments to give them attention and accept them, and then refocus on your activity. When being fully absorbed in activities, there is no perception of time and hence you're in fact been always in the now, without realizing it.

lmp wrote:In my case for instance, I pay a lot of attention to the sensation in the body, it's a habit to be identified with it.

I suggest don't being in the body all the time, only in the moments you feel you have to be grounded. A few minutes a day is enough.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby epiphany55 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:13 am

lmp wrote:When we have an idea, a named feeling, a memory etc, it is a limited or abstract occurence/phenomenon. How come we do not see them as this but find ourselves identified with these, as in both enjoying and suffering them as if these things were 'me'. I think a lot of people understand the error in this, but the movement still goes on. Is it too big a thing to change it?


One theory is that identifying with thought or feeling as "me" once had a survival utility and our brains have evolved along those lines. Basically, if we go back far enough, our ancestors had more chance of surviving partly because they developed a sense of self that gave them some kind of advantage in nature. What benefit this was is beyond my understanding right now.

So we have developed this very ingrained sense of self that permeates pretty much all aspects of our life. Like all evolved functions, they are a form of conditioning that is not easy to change. Add to that the fact that, in modern society, we are bombarded with messages and images that attempt to create attachments (e.g. to products we don't actually need) and connect our sense of self with external objects and ideas. So that reinforces the conditioning that once had a survival utility but is now being exploited by people who benefit/profit from our attachment to their ideas or products.

It doesn't mean the conditioning can't be broken down. There are many authors and teachers who have devoted their life's work to awakening people to the illusory nature of the self and its attachments. But people have to be awakened to the illusion in the first place! It's not likely to be questioned until someone or something raises that question.

A lot of people are aware of the illusion, but there are so many things in their life constantly rebuilding these attachments and making the illusion real again. It requires constant, daily attention and a vigilance against all the attachments in our life that we do not need, or worse cause suffering.
Thought is the object, not the essence, of consciousness.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:19 pm

epiphany55 wrote:
lmp wrote:When we have an idea, a named feeling, a memory etc, it is a limited or abstract occurence/phenomenon. How come we do not see them as this but find ourselves identified with these, as in both enjoying and suffering them as if these things were 'me'. I think a lot of people understand the error in this, but the movement still goes on. Is it too big a thing to change it?


One theory is that identifying with thought or feeling as "me" once had a survival utility and our brains have evolved along those lines. Basically, if we go back far enough, our ancestors had more chance of surviving partly because they developed a sense of self that gave them some kind of advantage in nature. What benefit this was is beyond my understanding right now.

So we have developed this very ingrained sense of self that permeates pretty much all aspects of our life. Like all evolved functions, they are a form of conditioning that is not easy to change. Add to that the fact that, in modern society, we are bombarded with messages and images that attempt to create attachments (e.g. to products we don't actually need) and connect our sense of self with external objects and ideas. So that reinforces the conditioning that once had a survival utility but is now being exploited by people who benefit/profit from our attachment to their ideas or products.

It doesn't mean the conditioning can't be broken down. There are many authors and teachers who have devoted their life's work to awakening people to the illusory nature of the self and its attachments. But people have to be awakened to the illusion in the first place! It's not likely to be questioned until someone or something raises that question.

A lot of people are aware of the illusion, but there are so many things in their life constantly rebuilding these attachments and making the illusion real again. It requires constant, daily attention and a vigilance against all the attachments in our life that we do not need, or worse cause suffering.


Hi, thx for your words, they were easy for me to understand.

I have looked for a cause but can't say that I've found something that, to me, resembles a single beginning, no big bang so to speak. Although I'm certain that the memory function and the capacity to think is at the core of the problem, they open up quite a lot, an identity over a past and a future is one psychological view that is easy to understand, that doesn't mean that they have no value at all. Perhaps it is a matter of degree? A little bit is fine, but to live by it as the main instrument is a mistake, as there is division built into it. Although pain is a result, there is immediate pain in not conforming to established patterns too so that may motivate to keep it. There are many motivators to keep it going, some of them you mentioned. The word bittersweet relationship comes to mind. Also the words from Krishnamurti about giving up something we love without remorse or regret comes to mind, he also says that truth comes like a thief in the night, darkly - I take it that we succed in an unexpected way to resolve certain aspects of the problem. Jean Klein says that what we love and fear the most is our own absence. In my own reflections I have come to the simple conclusion that there is something which is not to think about.

Let's ask a question, say there is attachment to positive memories, ones childhood for instance. Because of them there is some joy and a remembrance and feelings of happiness. But part of these memories are also my mother, who is gone, so there are some fond memories of her and some sadness. Being attached to these memories I might come up with building playgrounds or nursery homes, being attached to money I might come up with the idea of charging people well for them. But not being attached to these memories, what is left is not the opposite of attachment. Not entertaining the idea of me, ego, is not the opposite of being selfish. What is it then that lives? Perhaps the answer is not to think about? Thinking about it turns it into something small, limited and abstract. I don't know. Do you have something to say about it?
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Sat Mar 21, 2015 3:47 pm

rachMiel wrote:
lmp wrote:I take it that by gut feeling you mean that one has ceased to be fooled or colored by certain patterns because the behaviour is understood well.

Pretty much, though it's probably more that you are LESS fooled by the patterns, you recognize their workings instinctually (in the gut, perhaps subliminally?) and adjust accordingly. Bohms proprioception.


There is an amazing and detailed, precise, awareness of the body which makes us able to do very skillful things, surgery, sports, make watches, juggle, play instruments, all kinds of things. It is a precision instrument. In contrast we seem to (sometimes) be afraid of thoughts and the warning signals, sensations, of the body itself. Although I like Bohm I haven't read about proprioception. Perhaps you can point out something that you found important and interesting.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby lmp » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:01 pm

Zizitop wrote:Just saying for no misunderstandings: With 'in the flow' I don't mean 'go with the flow' in the meaning of crowd, but it has to do with flow psychology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29). You then have a single minded focus on one single task. Normally, being in this state of being doesn't give much space for negative thoughts to pop up. They might pop up, you can then take a few moments to give them attention and accept them, and then refocus on your activity. When being fully absorbed in activities, there is no perception of time and hence you're in fact been always in the now, without realizing it.

lmp wrote:In my case for instance, I pay a lot of attention to the sensation in the body, it's a habit to be identified with it.

I suggest don't being in the body all the time, only in the moments you feel you have to be grounded. A few minutes a day is enough.


I understand and agree about the flow, I play guitar for instance, cook, visit nature and may other things. But what about the more inward activities? Fear, must we not understand it rather than flow away with something else? What's your opinion on that? Life has many challanges, military service, work, etc. When there is leisure and so forth I think flow is right, I'm just being sceptical to it as an ongoing view of living. What do you say?
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby rachMiel » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:13 pm

lmp wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
lmp wrote:I take it that by gut feeling you mean that one has ceased to be fooled or colored by certain patterns because the behaviour is understood well.

Pretty much, though it's probably more that you are LESS fooled by the patterns, you recognize their workings instinctually (in the gut, perhaps subliminally?) and adjust accordingly. Bohms proprioception.

There is an amazing and detailed, precise, awareness of the body which makes us able to do very skillful things, surgery, sports, make watches, juggle, play instruments, all kinds of things. It is a precision instrument. In contrast we seem to (sometimes) be afraid of thoughts and the warning signals, sensations, of the body itself. Although I like Bohm I haven't read about proprioception. Perhaps you can point out something that you found important and interesting.

It's like I said: that you recognize the workings of your thought patterns instinctually, and adjust accordingly to minimize/prevent delusion and suffering. Similar to how when you're sitting and doing something (typing at the computer, for example) your body knows on a subliminal level that your posture is hurting your back, and it adjusts (shifts position) to minimize/prevent it.
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Re: The limited psychological world

Postby Zizitop » Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:24 pm

lmp wrote:I understand and agree about the flow, I play guitar for instance, cook, visit nature and may other things. But what about the more inward activities? Fear, must we not understand it rather than flow away with something else? What's your opinion on that? Life has many challanges, military service, work, etc. When there is leisure and so forth I think flow is right, I'm just being sceptical to it as an ongoing view of living. What do you say?


It depends of the moment whether or not you attention is focused inward or outward. But know that the human mind is limited, only able to focus on one thing at a time. So trying to focus on the inner body while the outer activities (military service, work) ask you attention can evoke fatigue, frustration and inner conflict. It is far more useful and far more practical to be focused on the task that is demanding attention, noticing though the emotions that may arise in this situation, allowing them to be there, without needing to do anything about them. Being in the flow at work (this is a good example of an outer activity that ask your attention) also means that there's little perception of time, and where there's no perception of time you're already in the now. You then just are, you just do. Don't expect it is a state of bliss (although some positive emotions are connected with the state of flow). When some negative emotions arise when performing activities, you can recognize these, accept that they are there and then refocus on you activity.

What about the more inward activities, like fear? At first, it is very normal that some situations evoke fear, this is the same for us all. However, some of us experience fear during a large part of the day. The fear then has become an entity on itself, trying to survive through you. It is stucked negative energy from negative experiences in the past. Being aware of it, feeling it, when it arises is all you can do. It then doens't take you over. However, there is really no purpose in merely observing negativity for longer periods of time (in terms of hours) but to reinforce negative experiences in daily life. Being too busy with the problem and how to solve it is part of the problem. I think that focus and attention on ego and pain body is only necessary when the thinking mind crosses a boundary and tries to drag you into a spiral of negative thinking. Furthermore, you can do your spiritual practice at times when you feel you have to be grounded (when having leisure, a couple of moments in the morning, in the evening,...).

When having a strong pain body however, the pain body will try to inhibit or prevent that you (re)focus on something else (as described above). It’s like the pain body then wants to get attention for a longer period of time (couple of hours) in order to evoke impatience, fatigue, frustration, negative experiences,… It operates at an unconscious level, meaning that you cannot control this, despite of your conscious presence at best. When this is the case, I think that hypnosis or regression therapy or other techniques to talk into the unconscious, in relation with a good hypnotherapist, is a very good thing to do. The therapist can then suggest other ideas or thought patterns in the unconscious mind (for exemple relativizing the fear, the memories of the past,...). This allows you then to be able to choose putting attention elsewhere, after having observed or felt the arisen pain body.

I don't know if this is an answer to your question, let me know.
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