Message Boards Message Boards

Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

What does "sense of self" mean?

Toggle
What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 3:34 AM
The last few days I've been wondering... what exactly does "sense of self" mean?

I experience my body, I experience sensations and thoughts, but where does sense of self fit into the equation?

Is sense of self just the sense of your body?

Thanks in advance for your help!

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 3:44 AM as a reply to Jake T Smith.
Jake T Smith:
The last few days I've been wondering... what exactly does "sense of self" mean?

I experience my body, I experience sensations and thoughts, but where does sense of self fit into the equation?

Is sense of self just the sense of your body?

Thanks in advance for your help!


You mean a tangibly felt sense of being some identity within the body or as the body or in the mind or as the mind? Does it feel like Jake has a tangibly felt sense of presence in the world? is there a tangibly felt sense of existing in the world? Is there some sort of felt sense of placement in time and space? Is there a felt sense of 'me-ness' doing the daily activities? is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' doing this, 'me' reading this paragraph? Is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' and 'that'? Is there a sense of inner world and outer world? If so, does the innerworld seem like it experiences the outer world? Is there a tangibly felt sense of 'being' an identity of some sort? Being 'Jake'? I'd say any 'felt sense of self' is a mental overlay. An illusory one at that. Smoke and mirrors.

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 3:56 AM as a reply to Jake T Smith.
Jake T Smith:

I experience my body, I experience sensations and thoughts, but where does sense of self fit into the equation?


You say "I experience my body". The "I" is the process of identifying a self.

Self is not so much a noun as a verb. Maybe better to call it self-referencing or 'selfing'. Self-referencing is where the mind contracts down around objects through a process of identification. The objects it commonly contracts around are body, personality and thoughts, then anything that that body owns.

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 4:33 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Is there a felt sense of 'me-ness' doing the daily activities? is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' doing this, 'me' reading this paragraph? Is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' and 'that'? Is there a sense of inner world and outer world?


It's really hard to tell dude. I dunno about inner world and outer world, I mean, there's just sensations and thoughts, what other world is there...

When I am doing daily activities I just feel the sensations associated with those activities.

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 4:43 AM as a reply to Jake T Smith.
Jake T Smith:
Nikolai .:
Is there a felt sense of 'me-ness' doing the daily activities? is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' doing this, 'me' reading this paragraph? Is there a tangibly felt sense of 'me' and 'that'? Is there a sense of inner world and outer world?


It's really hard to tell dude. I dunno about inner world and outer world, I mean, there's just sensations and thoughts, what other world is there...

When I am doing daily activities I just feel the sensations associated with those activities.


Ok, scrap what I said. Is there any dissatisfaction in your life? Is there any tension, agitation, restlessness or something not quite right? Do you experience the arising of any or all of the 5 hindrances? If so and if you wish to end their arising, investigate their causes for arising as well as how their cessation comes about (it comes about via seeing how they arise and understanding how to cease fueling their arising). If the mind is not able to investigate the causes, cultivate a mind that can. If not, then i congratulate you on being free of all mental unsatisfactoriness.

Nick

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 5:02 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Yes I experience some of those hindrances, especially sensual desire.

Thanks for your answers Nikolai, I will continue with my insight practice.

Is it really possible to rid yourself of sensual desire though? I mean, that's something pretty fundamental to all animals.

RE: What does "sense of self" mean?
Answer
6/17/12 6:03 AM as a reply to Jake T Smith.
Jake T Smith:
Yes I experience some of those hindrances, especially sensual desire.

Thanks for your answers Nikolai, I will continue with my insight practice.

Is it really possible to rid yourself of sensual desire though? I mean, that's something pretty fundamental to all animals.


Well, there is one hindrance for you to become aware of....doubt!

What is the cause of 'sensual desire'? As far as i have seen in my own practice, it is the way the mind fabricates mental 'objects' that overlay the experience of the all which due to deeply engrained habits triggers pleasant, unpleasant or neutrally felt sensations, which then co-arise with a sense of longing, wanting, or not wanting the mentioned mentally fabricated overlaying 'object', or associating the 'object' with the pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral outcome of such sensations.

You are walking down the street and automatically the engrained habit is to give 'form' and shape and names to 'things' within the field of experience (the all). Oh, look a sexy woman! The mind has fabricated the mental notion of 'woman', and run that 'object' through the mental memory banks to designate the 'object' with the mental quality of 'sexy'. This triggers sensations in the chest perhaps which cause affective sexual feelings of desiring said 'object', i.e. the sexy woman. "'I' desire to be with this sexy woman.'

It is not about denying this seemingly deeply engrained automatic process and causing untold sexual frustration. It is about seeing how such a sequence comes to arise in the first place due to co-arising supports. If one has trained the mind to be quite peaceful, malleable, pliant, calm, and luminous then it will be easier to discern the sequence like so:

One can take it all the way back to where there is a very quick mental 'urge' that co-arises with a consciousness lunging and giving rise to the shape of a fellow 'human being' walking down the street. This lunging consciousness essentially gives the form of 'woman' to the clumping of empty ever changing atoms and bag of flesh,bones and guts, lingering on the 'object' but also due to this lingering actually giving it an assigned 'shape' and form.

The mind will then pass the newly fabricated 'object' through an evaluation process that assigns the 'form' of a 'woman' the mental qualities of 'sexy'. It is a mental quality, as a 'sexy woman' may not be designated a 'sexy woman' for every person as it is quite individual and a deeply engrained mental habit for each person to assign certain qualities out of habit, but also fueled by the deeply engrained survival instinct to breed.

This evaluation of 'sexy woman' will trigger more lunging consciousness that segregates aspects of the whole field of experience (the all). For example the eye sense door will be sectioned out at the detriment of all other sense contact, or perhaps the pleasant sensations arising in the chest and/or in one's pants will then have a lunging consciousness give shape/form and name/evaluation to such physical manifestations i.e. 'sensations/feelings of sexual desire'.

A consciousness that lunges onto one particular aspect of sense contact ignoring other sense contact is segregating the whole field of experience into fabricated 'parts'/'objects' all for a subjective-like reaction of wanting/craving to arise in relationship with said 'parts'. Maybe not for yourself as expressed above, but all of this sequence co-arises with a felt sense of existing as a personal identity craving the mentally fabricated 'object/s' (a 'sexy woman' and/or sexual gratification and/or the resolution of ejaculation) which overlay the all.

When 'the all' is experienced without any of the above sequence, it is an experience of unnamed, unevaluated, non-objectified, unsegregated, 360 degree simultaneous sense contact which is only named that in hindsight for conventional communication purposes. Here, there are no fabricated 'objects' nor subjective reactions to them as they are absent from the mind. A subjective-like reaction co-arises with the fabricated 'object'. The go hand in hand. One can cultivate a more positive and conducive subjective reaction via the cultivation of equanimity. But this is only to aid one in seeing the cessation of the object/subjective reaction overlay.

The absence of subject/object overlay may convey some sort of vegetable state or deep unconscious samadhi to some, but if one trusts that the mind/body organism can function perfectly fine without the need to mentally overlay fabricated 'objects' to mentally cut up the whole field of experience as it is, then one will discover that it is not necessary to feel like there must be 'object's and subjective reactions to exist on this planet. Cause and effect become extremely obvious in the absence of the illusion of the need to 'objectify' reality.

Becoming aware of how the mind starts the whole sequence off, one may then see its temporary (or complete) cessation. And then and only then will one be able to see how 'sensual desire' can truly end, if it is something one wishes to seek an ending for. It generally sucks balls, all that sexual tension and frustration, craving this and that woman/man. If one is truly honest about it, it never is 100% fulfilling compared with its temporary (or complete) absence.

Hope this didn't overcomplicate it. I tend to get complex in my descriptions.

This is simply my current subject to change take on it.

Nick

Edited x 3