Hello again, fellow travellers! In the intense heat of July, I give you three pieces that have struck me intensely.
Welcome to the Forum.
Who are you really? I mean really, who or what are you? Who do you think you are?
What you really are and what you think you are, are not necessarily the same thing. It is not something most of us think about a lot. We usually accept society's definition of who or what we are.
As Douglas Harding, the great British mystic said, “You are not what you are advertised to be.” What he meant by “what you are advertised to be” is another way of saying what society has conditioned you to think—the external view of what you are.
The first line of thinking is that we see ourselves as a body. We give a description of our physical being as a description of who we are. All you have to do is look at the data given to any dating agency to see this.
Our physical appearance is a matter of major concern for most of us in the West. The attempt to enhance our looks and deny all signs of aging is a multi-billion Euro business.
The health and age of the body are seen as indicators of our prospects for how long we will live.
Death of the body is seen as the same thing as death of us.
The assumption that what we are is a body is so prevalent in our modern culture that it is not often discussed except in what are known as spiritual circles, where people are looking deeper for answers to deeper questions than are normally asked in mainstream society.
In order to check up on your own assumptions about how you identify yourself, all you have to do is listen to how you describe yourself to others.
Are you a doer? Do you speak about your experiences, your travels, your activities, your hobbies, your adventures in life? Do you see life as a series of experiences?
If so, chances are, you are identified with your activities and get your sense of well-being from accumulating experiences and from the intensity of these experiences.
Maybe you tend to describe yourself by your skills or functioning is society. Do you tend to tell people what your profession is or your role in society? Do you feel proud of your skills, talents, academic or sporting achievements?
Do you take your identity from what you own—your material assets? Do you derive a sense of security from owning things, having money, property, jewellery and so on? Do you collect items? Do you feel superior to others who own less than you do, or who are not interested in owning much?
Do you feel inferior to others who own more than you?
Do your think of yourself as your mental functioning? Do you think of your mind as your main identifying feature? Would you describe yourself as a historian, a great reader or a linguist? In other words, are your intellectual capacities a major aspect of how you think of yourself?
Are you a feeler, an emotional personality who sees itself in terms of its emotional changes? Are you one of those who describe themselves as crying at every film, suffering from depression, or happy-go-lucky?
Do you describe yourself in terms of personality attributes? Would you say you were responsible, lazy, thrifty or impulsive? What attributes would you ascribe to your personality?
Are you your personality or do you possess a personality?
How you describe yourself is the clue to your identifications and your identifications are the causes of all your suffering.
Your identifications are always in relation to others and your attributes distinguish you from those around you. All identifications rely on differences.
All identifications are unreliable and changeable.
Society operates on a consensus reality, and that consensus is heavily dependent on assumptions, which are, of course, unquestioned beliefs.
To notice your underlying beliefs and to examine them is the high road to Self, to your True Nature.
What you truly are, underneath the beliefs and the identities, is unchanging and ever-present. The problem is that most people do not even know to look for it or where to look for it.
It is under all these false identifications. It has been there all along. All you have to do is look behind the many layers of identification—these attributes by which your describe yourself.
Why not check them for reliability?
Ask yourself, Where did I get this attribute from and how did I take on this particular identification? In all cases, you will find that they are traits that you have accepted from society. You have been told by other people that you are this or that and you have accepted their word for what you are at the expense of your own direct perception and assessment.
This is the root cause of your problem—and your dissatisfaction with life is the result of you having lost contact with your true nature in favour of taking on a false nature from society. Your true nature is present; it is intact underneath all the conditioning… and it is discoverable.
This is the really good news… But don’t accept that from me—find out!
"I had dreamed once before of the problem of the self and the ego. In that earlier dream I was on a hiking trip. I was walking along a little road through a hilly landscape; the sun was shining and I had a wide view in all directions. Then I came to a small wayside chapel. The door was ajar, and I went in. To my surprise there was no image of the Virgin on the altar, and no crucifix either, but only a wonderful flower arrangement. But then I saw that on the floor in front of the altar, facing me, sat a yogi in lotus posture, in deep meditation. When I looked at him more closely, I realized that he had my face. I started in profound fright, and awoke with the thought: "Aha, so he is the one who is meditating me. He has a dream, and I am it." I knew that when he awakened, I would no longer be."
~Carl G. Jung, from Memories, Dreams, Reflections
From the book Stuff White People Like:
#15 Yoga: Though its roots are in India, the global tree of Yoga has most of its branches in rich white neighborhoods. Yoga has been so thoroughly embraced by white people because it requires large amounts of money and time, two things that white people have a lot of.
Yoga is essentially stretching with guidance. Advanced Yoga is just regular Yoga done in a very hot room.
You might think that since Yoga is such a minimalist activity, it can be done almost anywhere. But you would be wrong. Yoga must take place on hardwood floors at a studio. Exposed beams are generally believed to enhance Yoga experiences by 40 percent.
Being non-competitive, you might think that Yoga can just be done in any type of clothes that allow for a full range of motion; again you would be wrong. Yoga is much more than just an activity, it is a chance to showcase $80 pants that are tailor-made for the rigors of Yoga.
And last, but not least, Yoga feels exotic and foreign. It has become sort of like a religion that prizes flexibility and expensive clothes. Also, deep down, white people feel that their participation makes up for years of colonial rule in India.
"Hi all at TAT Forum,
Sorry, but it has to be said - TAT Forum is not "...a place for the deep questions of life"; it's a place for subjective solutions and answers. One deep question of life is - what is it to be a human organism with consciousness sensations - sensations as the totally unknowable out there, outside (blind) brain activity, taking place in here, inside the dark of skull as (blind) brain activity, in which there is no space or time only relentless emergence as psycho-visual sensation mind-as-the-out-there separated objects as so-called space and psycho-physical sensation mind-as-the-in-here separated moments as so-called time.
The separation of out there is the effect of the evolution of everyday space-time language infecting and dis-easing (blind) brain activity to affect this sensation and the sensation of moments been or (possibly) to be as so-called experiences as so-called past and future. (Called 'blind' because brain doesn't, cannot know brain content, activity, condition - brain cannot look in on brain activity, content, condition for there is only relentless emergence.)
The effect of this relentless, incomplete (blind) brain activity is to affect subject sensation, sensation as the organism existence, both as physical and existence in time as so-called passed/future. There is no entity/person/agent variously named 'I', 'Me', 'Self' existing inside brain/body. So when reading/listening to TAT Forum and the use of these words seems to be a clear indication that it is 'subjectivity', personal opinions without any foundation in what it is to be a human organism. (This is not to deny the use of I, Me, Self in everyday conversation - without their use communication becomes rather difficult, turgid.)
Without a foundation for describing human, or any organism's existence, there can only be subjective ideas as an effect of existing conditioning (what has already been read/listened to) and the continued illusion of entity/person/agent existing inside brain/body that is having ideas (or having no ideas!).
Typical is the serenity prayer spoken of by Paul Hedderman. Who or what is God? To whom or what is prayer directed toward? What is happening as (blind) brain activity for prayer to take place? What is serenity? Is it a state of being that exists in the so-called future, which means it's an idea from the so-called past? Can serenity be pursued or is the very pursuit the prevention of freedom from (blind) brain activity attack/escape from what is, what is being (blind) brain activity?
Although serenity has a description, if serenity can take place as human organism (blind) brain activity, is the recognition which is measure, of it, the ending of it? What is change? Can there be change to that which already exists as it must already be (blind) brain activity? The broken window cannot be changed: the glass can be replaced (changed) for a new piece but existence of the broken window is part of (blind) brain-structure-content-activity as a condition. As is the existence of (blind) brain activity psycho-physical sensation so-called memory, so clearly this cannot be changed: it can only be seen, sensed for what it is - no-thing but electrochemical (blind) brain activity that (blind) brain activity cannot escape from because it is part of (blind) brain-structure-content-activity as conditions.
There are many 'deep questions of life' but they can only be asked in the constant rediscovery of seeing, sensing what is actually taking place. The alternative, or so it seems, is there is constant momentary incomplete (blind) brain activity psycho-physical sensation thought affecting further (blind) brain activity silent/audible verbalisation thinking/speaking as an effect of existing conditioning. The constant rediscovery of seeing, sensing what is taking place as (blind) brain activity is taking place as now-moment-continuum (blind) brain activity.
This response will probably meet a similar response to many other replies sent - but then this reply, as is all response, an effect of further incomplete (blind) brain activity relentless emergence as momentary completion.
In what practical ways have you transformed your experience of life into a spiritual exercise?
Almost every experience turns into an exercise in the spiritual way of seeing it!
For example, when I was describing a problem with my car showing a "Check engine" light to a friend, he told me, "Looks like a big expense item; what you going to do?" etc etc. Standing nearby, his son overheard us while doing his chores and told me to add a can of Sea-Foam cleaner, remove the battery terminal and connect again. I did and the problem was solved, costing only $9.87....!
Is this a coincidence or a miracle, I ask. Spiritual vision may give one eyes to see miracles otherwise thought of as coincidences, bringing joy with tears!
Getting diseases (some of which, apparently, are not even mine)
Did you enjoy the Forum? Then buy the book! Beyond Mind, Beyond Death is available at Amazon.com.