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contradictions...or not

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contradictions...or not
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9/25/17 3:24 PM
I am trying to reconcile what seem to be some contradictions, and have come up with some questions that I submit for comment:
Meditation allows you to 1) Carve out a place in your mind for the meta-entity, the watcher that watches the goings-on down below, be they emotional, sensory, thoughts, etc....the ability to put all things in proper perspective, including your own thoughts, and the ability to critically analyze and dismiss your own thoughts when they are not true or not useful.
-or-
2) Be in the moment, collapsing the watcher into the experience itself... to enter and remain in the "flow" state, even when the circumstances are not naturally conducive to it.
These things appear to be the exact opposite of one another. What gives?

Sam Harris and others have commented that you are not your thoughts and that you are not your sensations, but rather that you are a conscious entity that reflects these things like a mirror.
On the other hand, he says that enlightenment comes to one when he realizes that there is no self, but rather that there is only experience and
that meditation gives one the ability to collapse the delusion of the watcher/experience dichotomy. I think I have heard him draw a distinction
between consciousness and the self which I do not understand.

Harris is also an atheist and a consciousness "mysterian" at the same time, but that is probably another conversation.

Another way of looking at the the mediation pursuit, I suppose, is to view the mind as oscillating between (1) being immersed in a sensation or thought and (2) "awareness" that you were just thinking that thought or having that sensation. Awareness for me, when it occurs, seems to totally displace the thought or sensation for a moment. I don't seem to be able to truly hold two things in my mind at the same time. It is like windows software for me: clicking on a new thing seems to totally cover up the old thing (although "working memory" holds these other thoughts in some sort of temporary cache somewhere for quick access). There are probably many detailed descriptions of this concept out there in the archives of this site, Buddhism, psychology, or Greco-Roman philosophy, so forgive my ignorance.
I do know that I have slowly and tediously gained the ability to increase the frequency with which awareness intervenes in the process of the usual thinking game. My question is - what happens when you take this process to its limit? Can you ever truly integrate thoughts/sensations with awareness or will there always be a flipping back and forth?

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
9/22/17 6:30 PM as a reply to Hal.
A quick reply is that of course it can't be explained in words, otherwise things would be a lot more simple and direct! But that said, it's fair to say that it becomes a bit of a non-issue.

When approaching the limit, most meditators will have experienced many very very very clear experiences of both the pure awareness state (integrated thought and awareness in your terms) and the pure objective state (immersed in a sensation in your terms). When those views are really cleared up, then the knot of the self can be clearly seen for what is. And that's what is the important thing. It becomes clear that the important thing is not which one of those views are correct, but the actual longing of the self that has been seeking and desiring "what is correct?" this entire time.

Now some people say, the seeker is the problem, call off your search -- but this is bullshit. Other people say, the seeker is the problem, kill the self -- which is also bullshit. It is much more appropriate to say know yourself very throughly and you will know what you can let go of. And obviously a big part of knowing yourself is also directly understanding how your awareness works.

We all have the tendency to think of the end state (the limit, awakening, enlightenment, fourth path, etc.) as a state. But obviously all state-like experiences are limited experiences. The end is fundamentally an >insight<, not an experience.

Hopefully this makes you curious about your actual experience, rather than turning it into an intellectual thought problem. I tried to think myself to the answer and it was a real waste of a decade or more. So much better to just have a simple meditation practice, just a short sitting time, and become used to sitting for no good reason, and let the mind untangle itself.

Basically there will always be a bit of a contradiction when words are used to describe this stuff.

Hope this helps in some way.

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
9/23/17 10:37 AM as a reply to Hal.
Hal:
....../

There are probably many detailed descriptions of this concept out there in the archives of this site, Buddhism, psychology, or Greco-Roman philosophy, so forgive my ignorance.
I do know that I have slowly and tediously gained the ability to increase the frequency with which awareness intervenes in the process of the usual thinking game. My question is - what happens when you take this process to its limit? Can you ever truly integrate thoughts/sensations with awareness or will there always be a flipping back and forth?

You might find that Parmenides' The Way of Truth provides a useful hint for deconstructing this concept.

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
9/24/17 4:40 PM as a reply to Hal.
Who is watching the watcher?  It just collapses.  Nothing is happening at all. 

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
9/24/17 5:46 PM as a reply to Hal.
Hal:
I am trying to reconcile what seem to be some contradictions, and have come up with some questions that I submit for comment:
Meditation allows you to 1) Carve out a place in your mind for the meta-entity, the watcher that watches the goings on down below, be they emotional, sensory, thoughts, etc....the ability to put all things in proper perspective, including your own thoughts, and the ability to critically analyze and dismiss your own thoughts when they are not true or not useful.
-or-
2) Be in the moment, collapsing the watcher into the experience itself... to enter and remain in the "flow" state, even when the circumstances are not naturally conducive to it.
These things appear to be the exact opposite of one another. What gives?
There is no contradiction. Meditation allows you to do both 1 and 2, and both have their place in the path. From my perspective, not having advanced meditation skills, #2 is harder to achieve; while #1 is something you can practice methodically and see progress in.

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
9/25/17 3:40 PM as a reply to Hal.
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. I was not familiar with Parmenides; the bit I looked at was profound and tied into this, but was also very hard to grasp upon first viewing. I will spend some more time with it.
Shargrol's comments remind me of The Matrix, when Morpheus tells Neo, "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."
Making it into a logic puzzle with no solution is a trap I will watch out for.
I would love to hear more on this, if anyone wishes to provide further commentary, but I also hope that others will find this discussion useful as well.
I also thought of the Jeff Warren article in the NY Times, when he quoted Ingram as saying, "'Notice every detail of the sensation of breathing in the abdomen, as fast as you can, as many frames a second as possible. If you notice everything from the moment you wake to the moment you sleep, there will come a time when everything congeals into a single 360-degree fluxing field of awareness.' He opened his hands and clapped them together so forcefully that I startled in my seat. 'At this point you’ll get stream entry. That’s how it works.'"

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
3/15/18 4:40 PM as a reply to Hal.
For those interested in this subject, it it addressed, beginning at around 32:00 minutes, on Sam Harris's recent episode with Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davis. 

RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
3/16/18 5:24 AM as a reply to Hal.
It is like the ordinary dreams: the dreamer is dreaming the whole dream,  but he imagines that he is spesifically the protagonist of the dream. Actually, everything in the dream, the protagonist included, belongs to the same movie of imagination of the dreamer that lies in a bed that is in a different dimention than that of the dream. In a similar way, the intelect that lies beyond consiοusness, receives information from the objective world, then produces a.. movie, the conscious world, and then misinterprets the show and concludes that there is a self in this movie, a protagonist, which is the central point of experiencing and abides somewhere inside the perceived head at the area behind the eyes, when in reality there is no self to be found.

When we see a first person view movie like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npHV4-sOLJY, we know that no actual seeing or hearing is happening from the protagonist's eyes and ears: pixels in the center (where we assume that the eyes and the ears of the protagonist are) do not see other pixels nor hear any sounds from the speaker. 
There are just pixels on the screen and sounds from the speaker. In a similar way, in our conscious' life movie, there is no actual seeing happening, or hearing,or tasting, smelling, thinking...by anyone in the movie: there are just non dual phainomena, self luminus and selfawared

Something like that :-)


RE: contradictions...or not
Answer
8/7/18 9:10 AM as a reply to Hal.
Interesting conceptual commentary on Vipassana and the Six Sense Doors (from a floating heademoticon) that bears on this topic can be found here: https://vimeo.com/25066410