What do we know about the self

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What do we know about the self

Postby rob » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:48 am

Hi All,

A few years ago i started interest in the teachings of Echart Tolle. I have red the power of now and new earth.
I think he is partly wright, but i am not able to link it all with scientific proof.
For instance the notion of the self the I. Echart is talking about two I’s. The I
of yourself and the one observing this I.

There are a few statements which according to me have a high scientific possibility.

a The I is an illusion made by evolution to gives us the power to survive.

b The I is nearly a constant feeling, because it is related by an unknown mechanism to the internal organs. These internal organs do not change much.

c The conscious or I (the awareness) is situated in the brain stem. If people get a stroke in this particular part of the brain stem they can change in a plant and have no conscious.

d Their is more about conscious then we understand or can explain at the moment. For instance the results of global conscious project.
Why can the way people think and feel as a group influence the result of a random generator?

e Is the ego a self or I, in that case I understand Echart if he his talking about two I,s.

f The ego is situated in the left part of the brain. If people get a stroke in which the ego is damaged, they can have a complete change in personality.

Our brain is the most complicated structure in the universe, it is certainly possible that in the 3 billion years of evolution our brain is connected to something we are not able to understand at the moment. For instance can we understand that possibly time is an illusion and that we are all emptiness.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby abc123 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:35 pm

Forget the brain , you will know that it is a subset when you go deep inside (Don't believe me yet though) .MOST people never go deep, they just posture and intellectualize around their fears in a materialistic belief trap.
Notice what you think. Notice what thoughts happen through conditioning and what thought it is noticing these thoughts. Practice to notice over and over and over until you can prove to yourself you know for certain what is real and what is not.
A sad (for some) fact is you won't get an answer here or anywhere else that will satisfy unless you 'scientifically' prove it to yourself. Let those intellectual thoughts go...

"My Big TOE" by Thomas Campbell is the 'peace de la resistance' you look for my friend :-)
Listen, smile, interact and grow. We are learning in a toddlers playground.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby randomguy » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:28 pm

abc123 wrote:Notice what you think.

What I have noticed is that neither snowheight or runstrails have responded to this thread. I curiously thought it would have been different.
And I really like abc123's message. For this type of science, you are the subject and the instrument and the observer and there is no other authority on what you discover other than your own experience, perspective, sense, and intuition.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby ashley72 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:39 pm

Rob,

Have you ever contemplated "attention" and how it constantly moves from one thing to the next. Have you ever played with the direction of attention? Look to the left, now to the right. Maybe put attention to your foot or your nose. What about sounds, or smell or taste. Have you ever turned the arrow of attention 180
Degrees to the space between your major sense organs... where the head/face reside? What do you notice directly? I found empty space. A Headless void. While maintaining this attention I noticed thinking subside and a deep weightless and calmness come over me.

Checkout Headless Way for some experiments you can do that should give you some direct experience into your true formless nature. Particular the "finger pointing" experiments.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby goldieflower » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:06 pm

ashley72 wrote:Checkout Headless Way for some experiments you can do that should give you some direct experience into your true formless nature. Particular the "finger pointing" experiments.


The videos were/are my favorite. Thanks ashley! :)
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby Kutso » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:40 pm

We know that we know.
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby rob » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:03 am

Hi All,

Thanks for the reaction. I want to believe their is more, but if science result are for me an important.

For instance the notion of free will, science is saying it not existing and an illusion. See the experiment of ben libit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhyeoiKUExQ

The brain is not separate it works together with the body, perhaps even with all the other live systems.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby randomguy » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:23 pm

It's interesting isn't it?
The brain is not separate it works together with the body, perhaps even with all the other live systems.

Yes, what if pointing to the brain as the cause of decision is like pointing to the horizon as the cause of sunrise? Science is offering a confirmation in the form of experimental results of what sages have discovered through self investigation, namely that no distinguished action happens in isolation from the rest of the universe/reality. (Not to mention what is the distinguishing and what distinguishes.) That small narrative voice that emerges and explains what is happening from a self centered view is a part of the sense of self, but also appears largely prone to fictitious content based upon embedded assumptions in the form of beliefs or accepted stories. Taking it for truth can lead to confusion and suffering, but to a point more relevant to this thread, can lead to gross inaccuracy about what this reality is. To tie it to the thread title, "What do we know about the self?", with another question or two, I propose, 'what is knowing, in what context is the knowing assumed as well as what is the true value of knowing itself?'. Also, to know anything really, do we first have to know what is doing the knowing? Even among these queries I would also like to offer that it can be known the nature of "self" (with a little 's') in contrast to the unknowable source of it all, by the counter intuitive measure of scrapping all that is previously known and starting from what can only be absolutely known. This is real science, to not even deal in hypotheses and prior qualified conclusions, just first hand observation, alone.
Do the yellow-rose petals
tremble and fall
at the rapid's roar?
- Basho
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby Ananda » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:20 pm

Hello rob,

science result are for me an important


Science is an investigation into the nature of and rules governing observable phenomena, and, as such, is limited in its capacity to provide facts about the self. Why so? Because the self is not counted amongst the observable phenomena, but is rather the observer of phenomena. One cannot probe into one's own nature using instruments of science, since they serve only as extensions of the means of knowledge provided by the senses, and the self precedes the senses (therefore it is non-objectifiable). A physical object can be observed, tested, prodded, probed, and detected- but the self is not an object, it is the singular subject by which all of the objects are known, and is therefore outside of the realm of scientific enquiry.

One must utilise introspective (or spiritual) methods in order to get knowledge about the self- that is what spiritual teachers and texts are there for. Furthermore, eventually one must enquire for oneself first-hand as the recognition needs to be actualised in direct experience- therefore one cannot rely solely on the authority of the words of other humans, be they spiritual teachers or scientists. Self-knowledge is not subject to peer-review or group consensus; it is direct recognition of one's real nature beyond speculation of the material world. I could refute some of the theories you posited in your first post but perhaps it is unnecessary.


Hello Ashley,


I found empty space. A Headless void. While maintaining this attention I noticed thinking subside and a deep weightless and calmness come over me.



What did you discover in that state? What happens when your attention is no longer maintained in this way?




:)
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby ashley72 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:21 am

Ananda wrote:Hello Ashley,


I found empty space. A Headless void. While maintaining this attention I noticed thinking subside and a deep weightless and calmness come over me.



What did you discover in that state? What happens when your attention is no longer maintained in this way?




:)



Hi Ananda,


What do I discover in this state?

When I turn the arrow of attention 180 degrees to where my head/face resides... I don't find anything I can perceive... I dont find a solid head or "face" to examine with eyes.... rather I see one big Single Eye.

This single eye leaves me in a state of pure looking... I can't add or subtract any thing to this emptiness. It just is a nothingness that is always available and constantly there completely undisturbed by everything else going on. Its like the edge of my existence, the boundary between nothing and everything.

What happens when your attention is no longer maintained in this way?

I can only seemed to hold the arrow of attention on this spot momentarily, before the emptiness is replaced spontaneously by fresh new "things" or sense perceptions. Usually something in the scene within the space (Single Eye), thoughts come back in again but usually it's a rebirthing or renewing of attention. So old mental stories or conditioning is dropped in favour of new mental interpretations more aligned with the present moment.


I love this quote by Maharshi about the "Single Eye"... it is a direct pointer to headless seeing.

If you have the idea that you are something with form, that you are limited by this body, and that being within this body you have to see through these eyes, God and the world also will appear to you as form. If you realise you are without form, that you are unlimited, that you alone exist, that you are the eye, the infinite eye, what is there to be seen apart from the infinite eye? Apart from the eye there is nothing to be seen. Ramana Maharshi. (Day by Day with Bhagavan. 18 April, 1946.)
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby snowheight » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:09 am

Ananda wrote:A physical object can be observed, tested, prodded, probed, and detected- but the self is not an object, it is the singular subject by which all of the objects are known, and is therefore outside of the realm of scientific enquiry.

One must utilise introspective (or spiritual) methods in order to get knowledge about the self- that is what spiritual teachers and texts are there for.

While it's not necessary and rather secondary a course of intellectual inquiry can lay the ground work and motivation for a course of self-inquiry.

Cultural conditioning is a factor in this in that early spiritual learning might make such a course unnecessary, or, if a believer comes to a place of doubt, they can follow that vector all the way back home.

For someone in these conditions, the texts of Einstein, Bohr and Darwin can be as useful as Astravarka or Ramana, and, especially if the scale of apparent space and time and some of the achingly beautiful wonders of the Universe are deeply contemplated, the perspective can come away with the same non-mental knowledge, just by looking at what is.

In this there is a similarity between what a scientist does and the simple act of surrendering to the paradox and giving the nameless a name like Source or Self in order to point the way.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby ashley72 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:57 am

Your true centre.... is not dependent upon intellect for confirmation, but upon experiment. It remains incomprehensible to all but those who are willing to carry out the experiment with their very lives.

The experiment can be carried out by turning the arrow of attention 180 degrees to where the head/face resides....

If you're looking correctly it should appear as a Single Eye.... Formless, but at the same time a container of everything in the Present Moment.

Apart from following these simple instruction no further intellectualization or mental pondering is required, in fact any kind of thinking will obscure the clarity of the Single Eye Seeing... which is an alignment with the Now or Present Moment. You could also call this seeing pure awareness or no-mind.

I found this quote which relates well to discussion about intellectual inquiry... Change the word "scriptures" with "science" or intellectual inquiry.

When a man lacks discrimination, his will wanders in all directions, after innumerable aims. Those who lack discrimination may quote the letter of the scriptures (science), but they are really denying its inner truth. Those whose discrimination is stolen away by such talk grow deeply attached to pleasures and power. And so they are unable to develop that one-pointed concentration of the will, which leads a man to absorption in God.  Bhagavad Gita
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby ashley72 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:15 am

This Mooji video posted by Goldieflower in another thread makes the same point very clear at the beginning of the video. The video is titled "The Centre of Everything"... Again another clue.
The Centre Of Everything
Last edited by ashley72 on Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby rob » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:18 am

Hello Ananda,

Independent observations of the I are of course not possible. But for me scientific results are important.
Some people find it strange to have this topic in a general discussion, so I will end this by my appraisal for the teachings of Echart.

We know so little about the brain and the illusions it can produce. Perhaps the I does not exist separately and is created by the brain.
The same as the illusion of free will. Is there one I or are many different I's in which we have the illusion that there is only one? Is it an emerging property?
It are all hypothesis. We have the near death experiment, is it an illusion or real. The scientific results of the God Helmet in Canade,
in which in certain people spiritual experiences are provoked.

For me a few topics of Echart are true and possible the way for survival of the human race.
Living in the here and now. The existence of a pain body. The harmful effects of the ego. The attachment to things.
We need to reduce our ego. Use thinking more effectively (less and no repetition).

Love and kindness and understanding other people are important pointers to a change.
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Re: What do we know about the self

Postby rob » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:09 pm

Hi All,

Today I saw a video of the ted talks about the subject

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini ... l_you.html
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