Awareness vs. Brain

This is the place to post whatever questions you have related to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. The rest of us will do whatever we can to help you achieve a better understanding :)

Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Hello all,

I have read “A New Earth” two times, and I have browsed this wonderful forum for a few days.
I can feel the transformative power of becoming aware and present, at least from time to time.
I am much calmer than in the past. Definitely, I see the world with different “eyes” now, and it appears to be non-reversible.

However, at the present moment, the main “issue” that I’m fighting with is the feeling that awareness is simply generated by the brain. :?

I’m wondering what others feel about this. Has anyone had an “experience” showing that awareness doesn’t need the brain? :?:

(I apologize if this is an irrational question – I am only a beginner in nondualism and ET).
Thank you!
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby heidi » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:54 pm

That's a paradox since when we discuss awakening we need our brains to do so. And when we have enjoyed no thought, presence, our brains remember it. When the exquisite joy of awareness is experienced, then the brain has a tendency to step in and think - Wow! this is great, I want more of that joy, aliveness and peace, hence we tend to put ourselves in situations where we have been in no thought such as meditation and communing with nature. Awareness is generated by awareness, transcending the brain to awareness of our true essence - which is awareness.
Welcome to the forum. :)
Heidi
http://www.heidimayo.com
wonderment on the third wave
User avatar
heidi
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 2703
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:37 am
Location: 42nd parallel, Massachusetts, USA

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby bjornclausen » Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:04 am

Hi Glycine!
If awareness had no existence outside the brain, why would that be a problem?
For me, that is not a problem. To me a human brain is an entire cosmos. Even a single cell in the brain, or a single atom in that cell is a whole universe in itself. Your brain is your whole world. Please correct me if I'm wrong! Nothing exists outside your brain. Does it? I, for example, exist in your brain. Can you know that I exist outside your brain? If someone bring you some proof that I exist outside your brain, where would that proof arise?
This is not a silly philosophical puzzle. It's my direct experience. To see things this way has helped me a lot. Maybe it can help you too, maybe not. You see, in nonduality the brain and our ability to think can easily become Satan in disguise. ET says that thinking has to be honored BUT ... Thinking can be very helpful and very beautiful BUT ... it's satan in disguise. No, of course he never mentions Satan and doesn't insinuate it either, but that's how I tend to interpreted his teaching. I guess Satan is in me. It's all in the eye of the beholder... it's all inside my brain. Or was it your brain ... ? :?
User avatar
bjornclausen
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:17 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby innerhike » Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:03 am

Fundamentally the question you are asking is this:

Am I the brain?

Or am I awareness?

---

This is the biggest question of all: who am I, really?

I have no expertise nor experience in neuroscience or psychiatry.

But I do have experience in being me, the personality that I call me.

In this experience what I have learnt is this:

I suffer when I take myself and my story as something that is real, true and persistent.

I am much more at ease, even approaching what could be called bliss, when I am in a place where I no longer remember this story, but instead simply am the fundamental, indivisible beingness that is the ground upon which all stories are constructed.

To get to this place of forgetfulness, which really is a place of great clarity, not foginess, is simple.

I simply have to let go, make peace with everything that is, and just be.

In this beingness what arises is something quite miraculous, it is basically an unburdening of my soul.

My spirit soars. The still small voice within is LOUD, CLEAR AND HUGE. It is EVER PRESENT.

---

So you can ask me all you want about whether I am my brain or awareness.

And all I will say is this: why do you want to know?

If this is intellectual curiousity, then I say to you that your search is limited.

If this is truly a cry, or deep desire for unburdening yourself, then the answer is simple.

Ask not questions. Simply let go.
innerhike
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 4:23 am

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby HermitLoon » Fri Dec 05, 2008 3:30 am

"I" am Awareness - in the "recliner" - watching the holographic show called "The Human Experience of Hermit Loon" as projected in presence.
There is love and laughter and conflict and drama and exploration and joy - and lots of surprising twists and turns.
It's a great show!
And when the show ends, "I" (as Awareness) remain.
Last edited by HermitLoon on Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Peace
HermitLoon
 
Posts: 686
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 7:57 pm
Location: Good Question

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:01 am

heidi wrote:That's a paradox since when we discuss awakening we need our brains to do so. And when we have enjoyed no thought, presence, our brains remember it.


Thank you, Heidi
When we examine our own awareness and brain, this is indeed a paradox. However, is it still a paradox when we interact with (or investigate) another person (brain/awareness)?
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:11 am

Thank you, Bjorn! Indeed, our mind plays tricks on us, and limits us - if we identify with it.
bjornclausen wrote:Hi Glycine!
If awareness had no existence outside the brain, why would that be a problem?
For me, that is not a problem.

It matters to me, or at least to my ego. I guess the mind wants to make sure that it is more than the physical brain.

Nothing exists outside your brain. Does it? I, for example, exist in your brain. Can you know that I exist outside your brain? If someone bring you some proof that I exist outside your brain, where would that proof arise?

I consider that most things are outside our brains. What is in our brain? - A rudimentary/simplified image/version of the outer world! And our mind plays with these abstract representations... no wonder it gets confused.
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:13 am

Thank you, Innerhike!
innerhike wrote:Fundamentally the question you are asking is this:
Am I the brain?
Or am I awareness?
---
This is the biggest question of all: who am I, really?


Indeed, this is the biggest question... And would I (/who) continue to exist without a brain?

If this is truly a cry, or deep desire for unburdening yourself, then the answer is simple.
Ask not questions. Simply let go.


Yes, asking no questions really works! However, my mind revolts against it: it sounds like a dogma! :o
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:22 am

Thank you, HermitLoon!
HermitLoon wrote:"I" am Awareness - in the "recliner" - watching the holographic show called "The Human Experience of Hermit Loon" as projected in presence. There is love and laughter and conflict and drama and exploration and joy - and lots of surprising twists and turns. It's a great show!
And when the show ends, "I" (as Awareness) remain.

Very nice words!
I've started reading "The Power of Now" - my mind cannot rest...
I guess my mind wants something it cannot get - proof that:
when the show ends, "I" (as Awareness) remain.
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Intel » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:28 am

Consider this. The brain may be your access point to the world. Yet who is aware of this?
I would lick your feet, but is that the sickest move?
User avatar
Intel
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:34 pm
Location: Near wild heaven

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby domokato » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:29 am

Where's Sighclone with his Backwards plug? haha

Anyway, you are awareness. You are consciousness. You are that which remains after removing everything possible from experience - after removing your mind, your body, your senses, your actions, etc.. You are that which experiences. You are. I am. This is the only truth we know. Become present, and you will know that you are not form. You are not your brain. You can't be your brain. If you were your brain, there would be nothing which experiences. Only a brain. You are that which experiences.

You might say, "what if your brain is the one that experiences, and you are your brain?" If this is so, where does consciousness come from? If the brain generates it, what does it use to generate it? Electricity? If consciousness were only electricity, there would be no "you". There would only be electricity.

Try to hold in your head the idea that electricity actually does give rise to "you"...

You can't do it, can you? :)
~housecat
User avatar
domokato
 
Posts: 365
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:45 pm
Location: Bay Area, California

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby innerhike » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:14 am

Yes, asking no questions really works! However, my mind revolts against it: it sounds like a dogma!


There you have it.

You want validation for something that cannot be understood, described, measured or valued by using ideas of a culture that is vested in thinking, and its off-shoots: measuring, describing, validating, etc.

Don't accept anything.

Even the idea that no-idea is dogma.

You are bringing positionality, dogma to the game of letting go of dogma.

As long as you intellectualize it, instead of living it, it will appear to be a concept that you can "understand" or "think about" or "label".

Ultimately the question is how much do you want peace? How much are you truly desiring to transcend suffering?

All discussion is dogma.

We can use dogma to root out dogma.

That is the beauty of compassion for one's suffering.
innerhike
 
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 4:23 am

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby James » Fri Dec 05, 2008 2:31 pm

The brain is just the sensing organ for interacting and experiencing the world of form. As others have said here, there is consciousness that is aware of these experiences, that is what we are. On a higher order we can use the word Mind (with a capital M) to describe all intelligence in an infinite universe.

The brain can be seen as a microcosm of mind and is interconnected to mind as a whole. As ET writes in ANE, the brain interestingly has 100 Billion neurons or cells, (100,000,000,000) which is about equivalent to the number of stars in our galaxy; and our galaxy is just one of perhaps an infinite number of galaxies in an infinitude of emptiness or space. Even the brain neuron can be broken down into billions of smaller and smaller components such as the structures of the cell, molecules, basic elements, atoms, protons, neutrons and electrons. Perhaps there is no end to what lies inside this microcosm, worlds within worlds, within worlds. It is the great riddle of life, for which there may never really be an answer. When it comes to spiritual realization, asking why is often the least helpful question.

So there is an illusion that we have our own separate thinking apparatus that is cut off from the whole, when in actuality thoughts happen through us, we don't create them. The more we relinquish this illusion of control, (which we never really had to begin with), we see that thinking happens. We don't think, in and of ourselves, anymore than we cause our heart to beat or make the sun rise. The dream of free will is like notes of music in a divine dance of form, consciousness expressing itself, to itself.

J.
James
 
Posts: 983
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:06 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:02 am

Thank you for the nice words, James.
James wrote:The brain is just the sensing organ for interacting and experiencing the world of form. As others have said here, there is consciousness that is aware of these experiences, that is what we are.

My feeling is that part of the brain is indeed just a sensing organ, but other parts are able to generate consciousness.

So there is an illusion that we have our own separate thinking apparatus that is cut off from the whole, when in actuality thoughts happen through us, we don't create them. The more we relinquish this illusion of control, (which we never really had to begin with), we see that thinking happens. We don't think, in and of ourselves, anymore than we cause our heart to beat or make the sun rise. The dream of free will is like notes of music in a divine dance of form, consciousness expressing itself, to itself.
J.

This is true - it is what supporters of determinism have always said. Relinquishing the illusion of control makes us calmer and wiser, since we stop the noisiest part of the brain.

Although I can practice what ET suggests, I think I'm far away from awakening - I can't get out of the brain.....
Nevertheless, I strongly believe that awakening is the next step in human evolution.
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Re: Awareness vs. Brain

Postby Glycine » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:06 am

Intel wrote:Consider this. The brain may be your access point to the world. Yet who is aware of this?


The brain is a highly differentiated organ. Some parts of the brain are used as access points to the world, while other parts generate awareness.
I know I'm limiting myself to the physical world, but I can't help it....
Glycine
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:42 pm

Next

Return to Questions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests