finding my mind … isn’t mine!

Last night I watched a TV program called “Finding My Mind.”

This is how the program was described in the TV Guide:

This program unravels the mysteries of the brain. For thousands of years philosophers have tried and failed to come up with satisfactory answers to questions such as ‘who am I?’ But recently neuroscientists have made some fascinating and unnerving discoveries. Here, Oxford University professor of mathematics Marcus du Sautoy takes a journey deep into his own brain – a willing guinea pig for some of the most extraordinary experiments known to neuroscience – to discover where ‘free will’ and ‘self’ actually come from.

Marcus du Sautoy is a rather attractive and personable 40-something chap whose quest is, essentially, to find out whether cutting edge neuroscience can help him find his sense of ‘I.’

Over the course of an hour we see him zip from one part of the planet to another chatting to a cross-section of experts in their fields and undertaking an array of experiments and brain scans. And we watch as his basic beliefs and assumptions about things like the ‘soul,’ the ‘self,’ the ‘person’ become unstitched. He’s a courageous kid.

There’s plenty to interest intrepid explorers of nonduality in this doco, but for me one experiment in particular etched itself in pokerwork in the local brain-space. Marcus had his head all trussed up in a cap like the ones hairdressers used to use when ‘highlights’ were fashionable. This one exuded wires rather than hair. He looked like a porcupine. The wires were attached to computers, of course, and he was simply asked to make choices in response to given ‘problems’ by pressing one button or another.

Which he did, with all the confidence of someone who knows their own mind and believes in free-will.

His face. I’ll never forget the look on his face when the scientist told him – and backed it up with the computer print-out – that he had known what choice Marcus would make a full 6 seconds (no, that’s not a typo) before Marcus pressed the button. With 100% accuracy.

Anyone out there who still believes they are an entity with volition and control should see this doco. But be warned – it’s hazardous to the ego. Fatal, actually.

You can watch a video clip at:  http://www.sbs.com.au/schedule/SBSONE/2010-07-06/SBS%20Sydney

Update: The link above is no longer live at SBS.   However you can view the whole documentary (52:10) here:

http://video.dailytelegraph.com.au/v/416922/Finding-My-Mind


this is how it is

wanting nothing from God or the world
desiring nothing
striving for nothing
expecting nothing
the Divine provides this lifestream’s every need
physically, mentally, and heartfully

 

This is not an affirmation. This is how it is.

What do I mean by the Divine?

I mean the wisdom-intelligence – inconceivable and immeasurable – that powers the universe; that grows the hair on my head; that orders the cells in my body and the stars in the heavens; that breathes my breath and the tides of the oceans; that is the womb from which the entire creation emerges, and the consciousness which knows Itself.

Knows Itself?

Here, now, It knows Itself via this sensory bundle – perceiving, cognizing, creating sentences by tapping on a keyboard – and via the sentience of each and every being.

It knows Itself via the Light of Awareness that is this very moment reading these words and recognizing that they were uttered by your own dear Self.

By your own dear Self, for your own dear Self.

 

– miriam louisa
Nelson
Aotearoa New Zealand


what a joke!

39

funny how I always yearned to be able to trust Life,
to trust the Universe,
when the notion of ‘me’ was the only thing
repelling trust’s embrace

what a joke!

with the absence of a center-stage-self
(the concept that invents concepts of trust or no-trust)
there is only pervasive trust-ing

I knows that it is wholly lived
by Life –

that Life is its Holy Name

~ miriam louisa
echoes from emptiness

everything is it, everything!

You are already awake.  And by you I don’t mean you as the imaginary separate individual.  I mean you as everything–you as this awake space that’s here right now, that is everything and no-thing.  

I mean the seeing, breathing, awaring being that is already awake, already complete–always complete, always awake.  

And everything is it, everything, everything!  The sunlight, the birds, the leaves, the traffic, the thoughts, the mental movies, the headaches, the episodes of acid indigestion.  

Everything is this one undivided, awake, alive–what?  I could put some word on it–beingness, emptiness, presence, God, the Self, oneness, boundlessness.  Those are just words and each of those words is it.  Every word is it.  Everything is it.  

And there’s no possibility of being separate from it or losing it or not having it yet, or not quite getting it, because there’s no one apart from it to get it or to lose it or to find it or to have it.  

And the thought, “I’m not quite there yet,” is only a thought.  And that thought is it too, playfully expressing itself as that funny little thought and the melodrama that thought creates, because apparently whatever this is, this awake emptiness or whatever you want to call it, apparently it enjoys melodramas.  It loves playing.

~ Joan Tollifson


Source – Joan’s website: http://www.joantollifson.com/writing5.html


free-falling through the fantasy factory

This Unlit Light: free-falling through the fantasy factory

 

Kabir’s poem brought up reflections on the day “the Day came” here. It was a far cry from Kabir’s bliss; no soul-drenching, no showers of love or abundance, no sense of glorious renewal for this brain. That would all come later, years later. But the catastrophic Day is etched in memory. There would be no going back. It marked the end of a way of being in the world. Searching for an analogy … I felt like a penny free-falling through a slot machine.

Although the free-fall itself happened instantaneously and spontaneously, there had been ‘stages’ where the penny would land on a level and spin or wobble for some time. The initial tumble occurred some time before the fluid free-fall which the notes attempt to express.

First the penny fell hard onto an existential plateau when I failed to find any argument to refute the fact that nothing whatsoever can be proved to have any existence apart from the sensorial technologies in the body/brain of a sentient creature.

It spun around there then toppled further when I failed to find evidence of anything other than the functions of consciousness anywhere.

Eventually it fell clear through the works with the logical conclusion that my own independent existence, and likewise the existence of all ‘others’, could be, therefore, nothing but a concept in consciousness.

These three metaphysical notions had been orbiting my brain for many years, and were understood at some intellectual level. I was quite comfortable with them, but the penny had remained safely in the purse.

Without going into details, the Rubicon had been reached via some pretty difficult times, and ripeness must have been ready. I was thousands of miles from my work, colleagues and friends. I was hobbled by an old injury and forced into both stillness and silence. My brilliant life was in shreds, a relic lost in the dark recesses of my brain.

A huge ‘letting-go’ of the old ‘me’ story was called for, and it happened. It happened spontaneously and without volition on my part.

When the penny fell clear through, it took the bottom of my gut with it. I felt like throwing up. I got up from my zafu and said to myself: Well then, old girl, that’s it! No one here. No one to suffer. No one to be depressed. No one to beat up. No one to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone … ha!

First there was a kind of numbness, shock. A feeling of disorientation. A feeling of falling into an inner vortex. Then, an opening out into unbelievably serene spaciousness. Oceanic.

No sense of a center, and no opacity.

I’ve no idea what had happened. It seemed that there had been a brain-leap … yet time and space weren’t involved in any way. It was like an instantaneous interior reorganizing of information. I repeat: it had nothing to do with any effort on my part.

The how and the why of it remain a mystery. But many brain files were trashed – one is only aware of this when habit reaches for them and finds them gone; a giddy moment flashes, vanishes.

~

An entity is defined as a thing that has real existence. I thought I was an entity. Doesn’t everyone?

But to be a thing, an object needs a subject to recognize it as a ‘thing’. If I’m an object with real existence, what’s the subject that’s recognizing me?

If I turn around to examine this subject I immediately find it has turned into another object being observed, recognized, by the same subject!

If I stop this lunacy, what remains?

If I stay still, not moving a millimeter into rationalization or conceptualization, if I track that which I believe myself to be in its every movement, if I watch that notion of a self with all its ideas, it reveals itself to be – merely another concept.

I find that there is only awareness – unchanging, ubiquitous, knowing no duality, holding no opinions or beliefs, experiencing no emotion – and no independent entity whatsoever to be found.

There’s just observe-ing, just perceive-ing, just recognize-ing, just a changeless functioning. That’s all.

Life has never been the same since that Day. And yet, it is exactly the same. The ups and downs float by, equanimity visits on occasion; it all depends on how the story tells itself.

Without a past to identify with or a future to attain, the Awareness that lives this body-mind watches the play of existence, as it arises in Itself.

This is a story without beginning or end.

– miriam louisa


An extract from the echoes from emptiness blog, where the notes – written daily for one year following the free-fall – are being posted retrospectively.


what gets your attention creates you

My mother’s mother was a wise one. She understood the dynamics of the thinking machine. She was aware that her thoughts were not her or hers, that they arrived uninvited and that not all deserved to be made welcome as guests. Talking about such unfamiliar notions in the early 20th century, a farmer’s wife on a high country New Zealand sheep station a hundred miles from anywhere brought sideways glances and cast her as an outsider. (What’s new, huh?)

She liked to say, “Stand porter at the door of thought.” Perhaps she’d read that somewhere, or even made it up herself, whatever – it was etched in pokerwork on my fresh young hard-drive.

My mother was a chip off the old block, philosophically speaking. Her favorite aphorism was, “What gets your attention gets you.” Come in after school with a bellyfull of moans about how one had been bullied or unfairly punished or cheated on, and that’s what you’d hear. Hmmm. She should’ve been called Kali, my mum.

So, unlike most kids (I suspect) I grew up with a healthy skepticism re thoughts, thinking, and even the ‘thinker’. When I came across the teachings of J Krishnamurti there was huge relief, because all through the years of my early education I had met no one outside my family who was remotely concerned about the way one’s thinking unfolds one’s experience.

But it would take the passing of many moons before the nonduality teachings of the Advaita sages would reveal the baseline error in both Granny’s and Mum’s pithy sayings, and explain why, in spite of their apparent wisdom, they actually made little difference. One was still locked into the effects generated by thinking – both one’s own, and that of others.

The error lies in the unexamined assumption that there is a separate self who can take up the role of that “porter”, or who can be ‘got’ if attention fixates somewhere it shouldn’t.

This morning, while mulling over delicate family business, the aphorisms reshuffled and restated themselves in a fresh cluster of words.

Thoughts are arising here.

The ones that receive attention create me.

 
Granny and Mum would know exactly what I mean. They’d be chuckling away like two crazy crones. Good company for this one eh?
 

meltdown is immanent

32

perception’s toolbox of technologies comes standard.
it’s hard-wired into sentient ‘be’-ings.

but ‘personal’ applications of those technologies, with the ensuing explanations, meanings and beliefs about objects/events perceived, are wholly acquired.

these acquisitions, imports from social consensus via parents, education, church and state, constitute the software called self.

don’t ask me how, but unclouded apperception of this phenomenon inserts a terminal virus into the hardware.

meltdown is immanent and inescapable.

~ miriam louisa
echoes from emptiness