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I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?

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I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 5/14/18 11:41 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? streamsurfer 5/15/18 3:27 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? neko 5/15/18 9:44 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 5/15/18 10:43 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 5/16/18 10:04 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? seth tapper 5/16/18 3:40 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? terry 5/16/18 9:48 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? alguidar 5/17/18 10:44 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? seth tapper 5/15/18 10:01 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 5/15/18 10:48 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? seth tapper 5/15/18 11:25 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Stirling Campbell 5/15/18 3:00 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? rik 5/16/18 9:20 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? shargrol 6/16/18 6:27 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? An Eternal Now 1/24/19 1:50 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? William Jeffery Pratt 1/24/19 8:14 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? An Eternal Now 1/24/19 9:00 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Dream Walker 5/15/18 5:05 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Stirling Campbell 5/17/18 4:06 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 6/15/18 3:31 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Srdjan Slobodan Laketa 6/17/18 8:42 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Richard Zen 6/17/18 10:59 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Matt 6/17/18 10:26 AM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? William Jeffery Pratt 1/23/19 2:42 PM
RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain? Jim Smith 8/4/19 4:55 PM
I have a question about understanding not-self and how it relates to awakening. If anyone can answer it, I would be grateful. If it is an unhelpful approach I would also like to know that...

As I understand it, awakening is realizing not-self to the point where it diminishes the ego, you don't feel a sense of loss when things go wrong and you don't feel insulted when people are inconsiderate, etc.

I have no problem understanding intellectually that "self" is an opinion or an illuison. It might be the body, or the brain, or the personality. I've even had experiences of deep absorbtion during meditating showing me that the sense of self can disappear or change radically when, I assume, certain parts of the brain become dormant.  When I look inward for my sense of self it is something I observe, so it must be outside me - therefore there can't be a self to observe. When I try to find "who moves" or  "who thinks", there is no one there doing it, impulses and thoghts arise from outside my awareness. But this doesn't really have much affect on my ego during daily life which seems to be related to very primitive parts of the brain that produce emotions like anger and fear.

Unless awakening means walking around in a deep state of absorbtion, (which it doesn't, right?) how do you connect high level congitive functions like understanding self is an opinion with the primitive functions like anger and fear which are the products of ego?  Does spending a lot of time in deep absorption in meditation do that? Does it eventually come from many hours of insight practice where you watch the activity of the mind closely and look for a self in it? I am interested in the details of how that process works.


Thanks in advance.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 3:27 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
No, absorption will not necessarily lead to awakening. And awakening is not absorption.
Intellectual understanding of no-self leads to nothing, cause your intellect can figure out why it might be a good idea to practice, but can't anticipate the fruits of practice.
(Insight) practice leads to insight, and insight leads to awakening. Vipassana noting practice does that really fast. (for example, besides others)


You mix up these in one premise: cognition, ego, primitive functions.
My buddhist answer: Anger and fear are the result of attachment. Through practice, attachment will be diminished, therefore defilements of your mind are less like to arise.
My biological answer: Psychological ego and self, as we understand it in meditation, are not the same. The first is is a complex construction of our personality, formed through our nervous system and brain, hormonal system and rest of our body. The second is a (mal)function of our concíousness.

How do these two interconnect?
Ta-dah, there it is, the question that will provide so much content to argue about between psychologists, philosophers and brain researchers.


Edit:
How do you convince your primitive brain?
Through practice!

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 9:44 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
What do you mean by "ego"?

You seem to be using a definition of "ego" that makes it different from your definition of "self". Could you clarify the difference? You seem to be mixing up two different schools of thought: Western psychology (e.g. Freud) and Buddhism.

What do you mean when you say that fear is a product of ego?

Irrespectively of all of this: It would be harmful to convince yourself intellectually that there is no self against all evidence coming from your senses. You will serve yourself better by looking at whether there is a self or not than by convincing yourself philosophically.

Last, but not least, not everyone agrees that there isn't a self. For example, Hindus and Christians believe that it exists. One more reason to be sceptical of all that the Buddha said about it and check for yourself. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 10:01 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Hey Jim, 

The mind goes through many different "mind states" hour after hour.  In some of these mind states, it feels like it is a character in a very important story and worries about what it did or what it might do or what it feels or what it felt or what it might feel.  The stories shift constantly as well, the work character is often different than the one that snuggles the child or goes to see your dealer.  All of these stories are made up by your own mind and have no basis in actual fact.  Meat is really just moving around for no good reason. 

Some mind states are free of being inside a story.  Watching the sunset, paying attention to the breath, crying at a video of a dog greeting its owner who has been gone for a year.  As the mind accepts that it isnt really a seperate being with control and responsibilities and a plot to follow, it spends more time in states that are not inside a story.  This is just happening for no particular reason and it is perfect as it is.  It isnt hard to accept and doesnt take effort.  It is actually plainly obvious.  What is  hard is to stop chasing the stories we have been chasing our entire lives. 

neko:
What do you mean by "ego"?

You seem to be using a definition of "ego" that makes it different from your definition of "self". Could you clarify the difference? You seem to be mixing up two different schools of thought: Western psychology (e.g. Freud) and Buddhism.


I am using ego and self as synonyms. I say ego when I mean an attachment to self that produces emotions like if someone insults you and you get angry or if you have to speak in front of a group and you feel nervous.

Yes, I am trying to connect western ideas and Buddhism.

What do you mean when you say that fear is a product of ego?

I assume if i didn't have any attachments to self I wouldn't experience fear because I would not be disturbed by any harm that might come to the body.

Irrespectively of all of this: It would be harmful to convince yourself intellectually that there is no self against all evidence coming from your senses. You will serve yourself better by looking at whether there is a self or not than by convincing yourself philosophically.

It is too late. I am already convinced intellectually "self" is an opinion. And I can't find a self when I look for one. But even though I might have conscious beliefs, I think my unconscious mind (primitive brain) doesn't accept it yet because I still have attachments to self. 

Last, but not least, not everyone agrees that there isn't a self. For example, Hindus and Christians believe that it exists. One more reason to be sceptical of all that the Buddha said about it and check for yourself. 
All these different ideas about self are just one more reason I say it is an opinion, ie an illusion. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 10:48 AM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
This is just happening for no particular reason and it is perfect as it is.  It isnt hard to accept and doesnt take effort.  It is actually plainly obvious.  What is  hard is to stop chasing the stories we have been chasing our entire lives. 

I agree with this for the most part. How do we stop chasing stories? Would it help to if every time you find  yourself chasing a story, you remind yourself you are just chasing a story?

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 11:25 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Yep, that is what the whole following the breath thing is.  Mind wanders off into a story, bring it back. Repeat until done. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 3:00 PM as a reply to seth tapper.
seth tapper:
Yep, that is what the whole following the breath thing is.  Mind wanders off into a story, bring it back. Repeat until done. 
The whole path in a nutshell. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/15/18 5:05 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Here is my take on it, it is evolving still so - https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908

Good Luck!
~D

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/16/18 10:04 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:


Yes, I am trying to connect western ideas and Buddhism.


I understand my experience in western terms (stress hormones, amygdala etc) and my practices in buddhist terms. I am trying to understand how buddhist practices affect the machinery of the nervous system..

There are various kinds of attachments. Some are simple and you can let go of them easily by letting go of a thought - you move your mind back to the breath and immediately the unpleasant emotions (the unpleasant sensations in the body) stop.

Some "attachments" are different, something unpleasant happens and you can feel the immediate effects of stress hormone release washing over you. It affects how you feel and how you think. Simply moving your attention back to the breath doesn't really do much, you still feel tension in your body that you can't relax and it is much harder to concentrate - distracting thoughts keep coming through.

Does anyone recognize what I am saying from their own experience? What can be done about the latter types of attachments? Renunciation - avoiding attachments that  might produce stress? Keep practicing meditation and be patient and or mediate more? Is there a stage of progress in the practice where this stops happening?


Thanks in advance.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/16/18 3:40 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Thats a great question. 

Attachment is better understood - in my opinion! - as conditioning.  Attachment gives the impression that you did something to become attached and can do something to let go.  In reality, of course, our attachments are conditioned into us by experience and we cannot intellectually overcome that conditioning.  BF Skinner was once conditioned, as a trick,  to lecture out a window by a graduate class in behaviorism.  He was very upset, because it took a long long time for him to be able to stop doing it. 

So we are each carrying around a huge hoard of conditioning that makes us desire some stuff and some sensations and be averse to some stuff and some sensations. We think we are cosmicly responsible for all this conditioning and that the suffering it creates in our minds is very important, but we are just rats in a maze doing our mammalian best to get some cheese.

So as a rat who doesnt want to run around, you have to figure out how to be satisfied with out the cheese.  The way to do that is to watch in your mind when stuff arises and then watch when it goes away.  Eventually, you stop caring what arises and you reach equanimity.  It is all rat nonsense about cheese problems anyway.  This is alot easier to maintain when in meditation or on retreat.  It takes a lot of work on the cushion to not punch a motherfucker on the street if he tries to grab your cheese. 

 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/16/18 9:20 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
seth tapper:
Yep, that is what the whole following the breath thing is.  Mind wanders off into a story, bring it back. Repeat until done. 
The whole path in a nutshell. 

Yes, in my experience following the meditation instructions creates the conditions under which insight "moments" arise on their own without any sort of warning.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/16/18 9:48 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Jim Smith:


Yes, I am trying to connect western ideas and Buddhism.


I understand my experience in western terms (stress hormones, amygdala etc) and my practices in buddhist terms. I am trying to understand how buddhist practices affect the machinery of the nervous system..

There are various kinds of attachments. Some are simple and you can let go of them easily by letting go of a thought - you move your mind back to the breath and immediately the unpleasant emotions (the unpleasant sensations in the body) stop.

Some "attachments" are different, something unpleasant happens and you can feel the immediate effects of stress hormone release washing over you. It affects how you feel and how you think. Simply moving your attention back to the breath doesn't really do much, you still feel tension in your body that you can't relax and it is much harder to concentrate - distracting thoughts keep coming through.

Does anyone recognize what I am saying from their own experience? What can be done about the latter types of attachments? Renunciation - avoiding attachments that  might produce stress? Keep practicing meditation and be patient and or mediate more? Is there a stage of progress in the practice where this stops happening?


Thanks in advance.

aloha jim,

   There are probablly many if not most of us in your precise predicament: we know that we are no individual self intellectually but we still suffer as though we were. Our attachments compel us to realize we are not as enlightened as we think we are.

   What can be done about attachments? Deal with each one as it comes up? Renounce or avoid? Practice and be patient? Is there an end to it?

   These are excellent questions and I ask them all the time. I have tried all of these strategies and know that anything we contrive will be futile, on that we can depend. What can you do but accept what comes as your karma, and work through it as best you can here and now?

   Letting the mud settle, clarity comes. We separate "afliction" from "suffering," and we accept affliction as the human condition. Without self, there is no one to suffer, even when afflicted. Any affliction may be borne, when there is no one there to find it unbearable. Who is here, "what is it that thus comes," if not an ego, self, personality or liver-of-life? Pure awareness is here, and only that. Call it Self, atman, brahman; or call it non-self, it is neither of these in the middle way; or both, or both neither and both, or neither neither or both (the tetralemma of nagarjuna). Between existence and non-existence, between perception and non-perception, is the Way of mind-full-ness, mind full of awareness. This mind slash non-mind or rootless awareness is not a self which can be distinguished from what is seen or understood, cannot be distinguished in any way but only can be... ascended to? Identified with? Realized?

   As for permanent nirvana, I don't know. And it doesn't matter, because the approach is so effective in reducing anger, hatred, greed and thus attachment; the reduction is enough. There are two basic methods, known in buddhism of old, the method of insight and the method of practice, which are complementary. Also called "sudden" and "gradual." Through insight and clarity we incrementally gain the power (virtue) to modify our behavior, train the animal soul in human graces, and to see with the divine eye the oneness of all in dependent coarising, the emptiness of things (dharmas) due to their transience, the way one form slides into another, never stopping to be one thing, always conditioned and ephemeral. Through practice we gradually attain the same as is attained by insight in a flash. The former manifests in quantum leaps; the latter in irreversable gains in being truly human.

   Like many who can formulate such a question, you pretty much have the answers. Insight, practice. 

   The problem with being automatic about acting like a self can be helped through being more wakeful, of course. Try to step aside from the thoughts of the ego and recognize the attached quality of them. As simone weil says, "It is no accident that nobody loves you." You are on a path to diminish the ego. Accept the pain of the attachments that currently cause anger and fear, loathing and resentment and bitterness; be grateful for these gifts that help you awaken.

   The worst afflictions, and therefore the most stimulating, are the double binds, where the best you can do is still wrong and there is no easy way out. The gordian knot becomes so restrictive that finally we cut through, and transcend the dilemma. There is no happiness without unhappiness, no good without bad, no beautiful without ugly: these opposites define each other, and measure each other. Our heights and our depths are one and contain each other. In nonduality the self exists in tension with not-self, with other; self and other create each other, and are annihilated in union, in the realization that all awareness is identical among sentient being(s).

   I know you are asking for a pracitical suggestion or insight... Simone weil speaks of creating voids within ourselves. Places empty of self-concern where god can come in. That we find a way to "step aside" in our interactions and let god interact with the "other" instead of us. That we see ourself and our personal concerns as an unwelcome outsider in social interactions. That we fix on duty instead of self, and accept the pain of this self-denial until the pain goes away. Through systematically diminishing self, attachments become less and less compelling.

   I think each of us has our own way of dealing with these universal problems. And you have yours. It is terrifically difficult, as hard as anything there is, this grappling with the delusion of self and driving out ignorance without succumbing to it at the same time. It's all in "emptying out" and "letting the mud settle." A trick of the wrist...

   Return to the Way.

terry


from simone weil's "gravity and grace":



By nature we fly from suffering and seek pleasure. It is for this reason alone that joy serves as an image for good and pain for evil. Hence the imagery of paradise and hell. But as a matter of fact pleasure and pain are inseparable companions.


and



We cannot have a horror of doing harm to others unless we have reached a point where others can no longer do harm to us (then we love others, to the furthest limit, like our past selves).

The contemplation of human misery wrenches us in the direction of God, and it is only in others whom we love as ourselves that we can contemplate it. We can neither contemplate it in ourselves as such nor in others as such.

The extreme affliction which overtakes human beings does not create human misery, it merely reveals it.

Sin and the glamour of force. Because the soul in its entirety has not been able to know and accept human misery, we think that there is a difference between human beings, and in this way we fall short of justice, either by making a difference between ourselves and others or by making a selection among others.

This is because we do not know that human misery is a constant and irreducible quantity which is as great as it can be in each man, and that greatness comes from the one and only God, so that there is identity between one man and another in this respect.

We are surprised that affliction does not have an ennobling effect. This is because when we think of the afflicted person it is the affliction we have in mind. Whereas he himself does not think of his affliction: he has his soul filled with no matter what paltry comfort he may have set his heart on.



and




When we love God through evil as such, it is really God whom we love.

We have to love God through evil as such: to love God through the evil we hate, while hating this evil: to love God as the author of the evil which we are actually hating.

Evil is to love, what mystery is to the intelligence. As mystery compels the virtue of faith to be supernatural, so does evil the virtue of charity. Moreover, to try to find compensation or justification for evil is just as harmful for charity as to try to expose the content of the mysteries on the plane of human intelligence.



and



To say that the world is not worth anything, that this life is of no value and to give evil as the proof is absurd, for if these things are worthless what does evil take from us?

Thus the better we are able to conceive of the fullness of joy, the purer and more intense will be our suffering in affliction and our compassion for others. What does suffering take from him who is without joy?

And if we conceive the fullness of joy, suffering is still to joy what hunger is to food.

It is necessary to have had a revelation of reality through joy in order to find reality through suffering. Otherwise life is nothing but a more or less evil dream.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/17/18 10:44 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
It is too late. I am already convinced intellectually "self" is an opinion. And I can't find a self when I look for one. But even though I might have conscious beliefs, I think my unconscious mind (primitive brain) doesn't accept it yet because I still have attachments to self. 


same here,

lol so much real life...     emoticon

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
5/17/18 4:06 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Here is my take on it, it is evolving still so - https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5800908

Good Luck!
~D

Excited to see your updates to this when you get to them D. I'm sure the Misty Wizards Club NW has to be a good sounding board. When do you think you'll get back to it?

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
6/15/18 3:31 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Am I getting warmer? (Thanks in advance)...

"I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?"

You don't lose attachments and aversion by convincing your primitive brain (subconscious mind) that not-self is true. It's the other way around. When you can stop making stress (dukkha) with your mind, when you let go of attachments and aversions, you will no longer believe in self.

When you observe the activity of the mind during meditation and at other times, and you notice the feelings produced by thoughts, you can see that thoughts of winning and losing, right or wrong, good and bad, mine and yours, self and other, produce stress (dukkha).

And you can see that when you are relaxed, not subject to stress, not experiencing dukkha, then you don't make distinctions of winning and losing, good and bad, mine and yours, self and other, etc because those ideas are sources of stress that you have been freed from. You are non-attached. When you are in that state, you do not distinguish among individuals or your own individuality.

In other words, in the instant the thought of self vs other or mine vs yours arises, there is stress or dukkha. When you are freed from dukkha, there is no concept of self in your mind. Watch the activity of the mind during meditation and notice what causes stress (dukkha) and learn to relax (let go). When you stop making stress, when you are relaxed, you don't believe in self.

It doesn't make you numb or nihilistic, it makes your compassion universal and unconditional. That does not mean you ignore the bad deeds of others, it means you can make better decisions because you are not acting out of heedless passions.

rik:
Stirling Campbell:
seth tapper:
Yep, that is what the whole following the breath thing is.  Mind wanders off into a story, bring it back. Repeat until done. 
The whole path in a nutshell. 

Yes, in my experience following the meditation instructions creates the conditions under which insight "moments" arise on their own without any sort of warning.

+1 on all of the above. With another caveat: ...and don't feel bad or beat yourself up because the mind wandered or you aren't getting out of practice what you think you should be getting, that's just another story to notice. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
6/17/18 8:42 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Over the course of this one and half year i tried to see how exacly this awakening is coming to be.. What i think now is this. Meditation exist as a tool to see more clearly, by becoming calmer, more aware, more comcentrated and by extension more concius. Meditative states exist as a tool to see clearly true self, or that you are not your emotions, you are not even your senses, so only thing that leaves is conciusnes. Or true self, or no self or ataman or whatever. Simply jhanas, nirvana or *attainments* are there to further *connect* with this *insight*...  For instance take metta. Its basically warm wishes right? Then you concentrate on it and naturaly you open to people. Its benevolent is what is the key. Same as classic breath meditation. Dark night is product of too much meditation and bad practice. Too much chasing goals. Also expectation are what fucks people up. These expectations are what you fuel into practice. Now practice becomes fueled and by extent this leads to sense of dissapointment and regret. I myself worked day and night to *get there* and mockery is i got to nirvana when i just let go. From this moment 3 months passed and some things are becoming evident. If i could meet myself from before all this, well lets say i would practice differently. All this shit bout dark night is bassically you wont aknoledge whats what. Misery is i had to get mad as shit to understand im going overboard, now its trying to get back in shape. Its not diminishing in classic sense. Its basicaly you get on deep level whats what, like anger for example, im angry on myself cos i forgot something so i yell at bank teller.. Now if your concius and know why you yell, isnt it obvious youl calm easier, specialy when you know how. Like this stuff only stronger. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
6/17/18 10:59 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Explore the self. You can even read psychology books on what the self is and see how important the self is to your survival.

The closest I can come to the self is the intention to direct your attention span. The self is there mimicing everything intentionally, and a lot of the times unconsciously. This is including being a meditator. That movement stills when you go into nirvana. The movement happens again when you are aware of reality and reacting to it with the self. As the brain learns to let go of reactivity, your waking life improves.

You also want to look at the self when it is reacting to object relations. We are rehearsing and manipulating scenarios with copies of people in our minds. The brain reacts emotionally to those fabrications a lot and in a way it's more dangerous than the actual people. You can introject an abuser into your mind and have it damage you with negative self-talk.

EDIT: Then when you meditate, try to relax the mental movements, and learn how many of those mental movements are actually optional. They hurt and can't give permanent happiness. Learn to use your intention to pay attention to condition yourself. This is very important in waking life, but you are now more aware of when that works and when it doesn't. Control what you can control but let go of what you can't control.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
6/17/18 10:26 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
sorry I can't read all the other probably good answers, but I want to chime in.

The answer I feel is to look for evidence of self in your realtime sensory experience. You will find evidence, and you will realize that it's fake because 'you' are looking at it so obviously it is not you. Simple as that. Simply look/feel/sense etc. It's a nested egg problem, you go one layer at a time getting more and more subtle as you go, and along the way the brain wiring adjusts to the facts, and the fetters/illusions get eroded away. I think this is the basic idea of vipassana. It's cook book and non intellectual, but it ends up effecting the basis of experience and intellectual justifications (I think of them as 'realizations') for the experiential change will pop up.

Same story for the illusions of permanence and lasting unadulterated satisfaction.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
1/23/19 2:42 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I share this frustration and it reminds me of the fable of the scorpion and the frog. There is the evolutionary biological and psychological humankind self that is more primal than awakening, IMO; deeper than self, was around before self and any awakening ever happened.

I suffer from PTSD/Dissociative disorder and despite my attainments, my "conditioned" primal instincts of survival, defense and vigilance kept me from attaining practical equanimity. They still do, but through a therapy called, "Somatic Experiencing," I've begun to be able to help my elephant come off constant high-alert.

My condition is clearly more symptomatic than what you may be trying to portray, but what I've learned is that, my primal instincts and reactions aren't unique to my truama, everyone has evolved, at a very deep and primal level, with these same inclinations with differning intensities and are able to mask them to varying degrees. Those in this process, awakening, are the ones who mostly begin to see them and want to resolve them somehow.

Somatic Exeperiencing isn't fully vetted scientifically and it's founder likes his woo-woo, no judgement, but I think, so as long as one uses discrimination, and avoids fanatical belief, I think it is a potentially good tool for dealing with this deep level of who we are as human animals. It has helped me significantly.

I've always thought that there must be some correlation to somatic yoga practices with the awakening technologies of the east. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
1/24/19 1:50 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Hi Jim Smith,

Maybe check this out:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2009/03/on-anatta-emptiness-and-spontaneous.html

Also, I wrote in another thread:


Fear and panic arises due to the misconception that 'I' have existed in the first place and has to dissolve. This is a misunderstanding. There is no 'I' behind the seeing which is none other than colors, no 'I' or 'hearer' that is behind the hearing which is none other than sounds. Nothing needs to dissolve, it is seen through and realized to be always already the case. You think that hearing and seeing is the job of an agent, a perceiver, a doer, and you are some detached perceiver, but in reality scenery sees and sound hears. The agent never was. It only appears to be real, and while the delusion is there, the appearance is very strong and hypnotic. There is a constant self-refencing, a tiresome and tedious process of referencing every experience back to a presumed agent out of ignorance, from 'just the seen' to 'I see'. The seeing/colors, hearing/sounds, action/activity happen first, followed by an unnecessary self-referencing to an imaginary agent. This sense of being a self, an agent, a perceiver, a doer, can however be challenged, investigated, and seen through. With the illusion seen through, the process of self-making naturally stops, it is not so much that a self is destroyed as it was never truly there. Nothing is lost, and in losing an illusion you 'gain' the world.

The old Zen koan goes:

The man sitting atop the hundred foot pole:
Though he's gained entry, this is not yet the real.
Atop the hundred foot pole, he should step forward:
The universe in all directions is the whole body.

Nothing is destroyed any more than seeing through the belief in the real existence of santa claus actually destroys some santa claus. You just wake up to reality. Oh, life is happening brilliantly without a center, without the need for the fiction of a center, and life is much more marvellous, wondrous, alive, boundless and free than the tiresome and fearful holding and grasping on to an unnecessary self-contraction and imagined entity and all the related sufferings. It's like holding on to hot charcoal and yet strangely not willing to release it due to fear of the unknown. Once the illusion is seen through and released there is a sense of freedom, release and fearlessness in facing life (see: https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/08/fearless-samadhi.html )

Then there is no fear as this is realized to be always already the case. The notion that 'I' had existed at the center, experiencing and coordinating everything is unnecessary and unfounded. The absence of self and agent is also experienced positively as everything is brilliantly alive and self-luminous, the quality of 'witnessing' which was once seen as a background observer now is felt as a quality of everything revealing itself to itself. The seeing is seen-seeing, colors and sounds and sensations are just felt vividly where they are instead of being experienced from some vantagepoint of self. It is not a static state of detached uninvolvement in life, there is complete engagement and intimacy in all actions, chop wood, carry water.

What is called pure consciousness experience becomes effortless and natural: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/library/topics/pce.htm , and in this state there can be no dissociation. If you do not experience the aspect of intense luminosity then joy and liveliness will not be felt (see: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-importance-of-luminosity.html ) The intimacy is not the intimacy of two entities meeting each other but the sense of gaplessness, when hearing a sound the sound is as if 'you', closer than your breath, when seeing the blue sky the blue sky is as if 'you', closer than your heartbeat. Everything is alive and vivid. So how can there be dissociation and derealization?

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
1/24/19 8:14 AM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
Dear AEN,

Poignant and veracious.

Yet, the organism that hasn't awakened and the awakened organism will both automatically recoil when it unknowingly touches a red hot fire. 

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
1/24/19 9:00 AM as a reply to William Jeffery Pratt.
William Jeffery Pratt:
Dear AEN,

Poignant and veracious.

Yet, the organism that hasn't awakened and the awakened organism will both automatically recoil when it unknowingly touches a red hot fire. 
The recoiling as a pure bodily function and activity will happen spontaneously without self-referencing. It is necessary and useful for the survival of this organism, be it awakened or not. It does not come with the kind of self-contraction and fear and grasping before awakening.

Some people will have glimpses of this 'spontaneous happening' even without realizing anatta. For example they may wake up from sleep and experience the body coughing by itself, too fast before the sense of self kicks in as they just woke up (the structures of subject/object, identity, selfing, takes some time to kick in after arousing from sleep). But then the sense of a detached observer then quickly kicks in, and there's a sense "oh I was just watching this thing, the body is doing its thing and I'm not the doer, I am the watcher". This is an experience of non-doership but NOT what I call realization of anatta, therefore dissociation still happens. Most people who have certain glimpses of non-self are talking about an experience of non-doership, which is not necessarily a non-dual experience, or a peak experience of PCE, but even if he/she experiences a PCE it is still not what I call the realization of anatta. Even one realizes non-dual luminosity as always undivided, they may still fall into the case of Thusness Stage 4 - subject/object non-division rather than realizing true anatta or no-subject of Thusness Stage 5 - http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

As I often said (elsewhere) - for 8 years now, there has not been the slightest sense of agency, an agent, or subject/object division in any situation. Non-doership, no agent, and no subject-object division (vivid non-dual luminosity) all at once. Spontaneous and effortlessly so as a natural state. The aspect of no agent must be clear, not just non-doership, and not just subject/object non-division or non-dual luminosity either.

Like seeing a picture puzzle, once you see it and the insight stabilizes, you can't unsee it even if you want to.

RE: I know "self" is an opinion. How do I convince my primitive brain?
Answer
8/4/19 4:55 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
...

As I understand it, awakening is realizing not-self to the point where it diminishes the ego, you don't feel a sense of loss when things go wrong and you don't feel insulted when people are inconsiderate, etc.

...

Unless awakening means walking around in a deep state of absorbtion, (which it doesn't, right?) how do you connect high level congitive functions like understanding self is an opinion with the primitive functions like anger and fear which are the products of ego?  Does spending a lot of time in deep absorption in meditation do that? Does it eventually come from many hours of insight practice where you watch the activity of the mind closely and look for a self in it? I am interested in the details of how that process works.


Thanks in advance.

I will try to answer my own question.

Understanding anatta does not really help. You have to feel it. I wrote in another thread:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/8496517?_19_delta=20&_19_keywords=&_19_advancedSearch=false&_19_andOperator=true&_19_resetCur=false&_19_cur=2#_19_message_14208950
I also noticed a new kind of feeling. When my mind is calm from meditation and my body relaxed, there are very few thoughts and emotions arising and very little tension in response to unpleasant thoughts and emotions. If I observe, waiting for the next thought or emotion to arise, I see there is very little activity. I have done this many times in the past but what is new is that I have begun to notice a feeling like something is missing, like there is a gap, a hole, like an emptiness, like no one is home. Like if another person would say something unpleasant, there wouldn't be anyone to be offended.  It is not like dissociation. In dissociation the observer is watching the actor. Here it feels like there is no actor.

Then after you know how to feel it, if you notice an unpleasant feeling (emotion or sensation), you look into that emptiness where the self is not and ask: who is having this unpleasant feeling? Who is angry? Who is offended? You see there is no one having that feeling and it doesn't bother you in the same way after that.

For software engineers: it is like redirecting the unpleasant emotion to /dev/null,  anger > /dev/null, loss > /dev/null, etc.