i identify myself with my thoughts …

taming_the_ox

taming … bringing the ox home…

What if mind is silent, emotions are under control and body is comfortable … what happens if we stop identifying with thoughts? There are no more thoughts to identify with. What happens?

Consciousness is the totallity of body, emotions, memory, reasoning, thought, opinion, …
But what is that thing that identifies with thought? And what if we don’t identify any more?

Now meditation comes around the corner. In meditation we are asked to watch our mind, and to watch how thoughts and emotions well up and sometimes calm down. Eventually we might conclude that we are not our body, emotions, mind, thought, opinions, reasoning. We can stop the identification. Not by thought, not by opinion, just by the realization that mind is not the center.

Then we have to keep silent, and see what happens.

When we really engage in asking ourselves what we really are, we might discover that our conceptual image of who we think we are, is not who we are. We are not a concept, we are real. But more than that, we are also not our thoughts and opinions.
It’s easy to say “I am not my body”.
It’s a bit more difficult to say “I am not my emotions”
But how difficult is it to let go of that self image,
the identity that I carry around since the age of three.

When we are very very young, it is difficult to find the boundaries between our own self, and the rest of the world. But when we bite our own finger, it hurts, and when we bite Charlie’s finger, Charlie makes the noises but we don’t feel much ourselves. Slowly we discover that we have a body and identify with it. Likewise, at a later age, we identify with our emotions.

Somewhere, beginning at 18 months – and speeding up at ages 2 and 3, language truly develops. We learn concepts as words and words as concepts. We start to identify with what we say, in fact, our thoughts … our mind. This identification only grows stronger over the years. We identify with our mind, and our image of our self becomes a mental concept. This is amplified by society, in plastic and paper tags like passports, driver’s licences and credit cards.
When we are asked to introduce ourselves, we will disclose this conceptual self image, and spice it up with our past and history: our curriculum vitae.

And that is not who we really are.

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32 thoughts on “i identify myself with my thoughts …

  1. I completely agree with you here; this is the way the investigation goes: ‘… what is that thing that identifies with thought? And what if we don’t identify any more?’ And a nice picture of the cow too…

    • And the answer remaining in the not-mind area 🙂
      The bull didn’t want to be photographed.
      The cow was grazing in Sudernagar, 5 months ago, not so far from Chandigarh.

  2. We are not our body or our emotions (soul), We are deeper than that; we are our spirit where the uniqueness of what God created resides. It’s getting to the surface that is tough. .

    • I dare to challenge that view, and so I might discover that what you say is true. 🙂 (it probably is)
      For me soul is different from emotions. Soul is that interrupt, and my conscience, intuition and my long distance connector. Just a matter of definitions.

      • Okay. I’ll take the challenge. :o)

        In my own experience (and study), I see myself as in three parts.

        (1) Physical being:
        The physical me is the part which was originally created from dust and was dust in His creation of me; that is; until life was breathed into my body. I believe we are all created for His specific purpose; unique in our character, personality, and will.

        (2) Emotional / Mental being (Soul):
        The emotional or mental part of me is the emotional or thinking part of me. This part is the where reasoning resides. Most decisions are made through the emotional or mental parts of ourselves. What we feel…what we think. Our will.

        (3) Spiritual being (Spirit)
        The spiritual part of me is the side that guides me. It is my gut. It works against the emotional and thinking side of me. It is the place from where I hear that still quiet voice the ministers to my spirit which guides me through the darkness of my emotions and thinking. It is my inner man, my intent, my very being that will live always. It is the side that will guide me through this world and onto others.

        Life is conceptual. It is how we see it. We all seek the truth whether we admit to it or not. Truth brings peace. This is my conception. :o) I look forward to your comments on the subject.

        • I could agree with another definition, as you put in (1), (2) and (3). It is a conceptual definition, (just like mine) based partly on preconceived ideas, and on a conglomerate of addenda based on interpretations of your experiences. It might be true, and it might not be true. It is an image, a blueprint, and hence never reality itself. I have given up in the past 12 months of trying to know what goes beyond all knowledge. So I’m not very sure about (3). I only know that (3) exists, and that’s more or less all i can know with my mental capacities.

          Mind cannot comprehend or conceptualize what goes beyond it. To find Truth, we have to still the mind. The life of a mystic is post-conceptual, the life of a one year old child is pre-conceptual. Most people on earth are in a conceptual phase, and indeed, that is how they interpret what they see. This is what they see through their mind and its past memory filters. But you cannot see (3) through the mind, and if mind tries to record the perception of (3), the perception itself is contaminated.

          Life itself is not conceptual at all. It just is. I agree that Truth brings peace, even more than peace, Peace and Love together.

          • I agree that we all have our own definitions of life. The great question of What is the purpose of life? Everyone has their own ideas. Your comment ‘and hence never reality itself’. My own mind has played with this concept for years.

            In high school health class, I learned that the average human brain only uses 17% of it. So I can also agree that we are not equipped to in this realm to use the the full capacity of it. It is the last frontier on the health front. It is a mystery.

            But I stand that all humans seek. They seek truth, peace, and why. I think you hit the nail on the head though in your last sentence. “I agree that Truth brings peace, even more that peace, Peace and Love together. I believe that everything exists because of Love.

            I enjoy your blog. You are insightful and the perfect person to debate such mysteries.

            • Thank you for your encouraging comment. A dialogue is so much more interesting compared to posting stuff without feedback.
              Mysteries will remain,and people will continue to look for answers. I don’t think about that purpose any more. The answer will also be out of my mind-zone. Someone suggested to me that Consciousness wants to experience itself in a gazillion of forms.
              These days I see myself looking for silence. Is that seeking? It could be addiction!

            • I believe the collective mind is a powerful thing. No one person has ever been completely responsible to any of part of humanity. Maybe one got all the credit, but it’s never just one. So, yes, I also appreciate the collaboration with others who can actually think.

              Cheers!

              PS: I also embrace silence. There is lots to be heard there.

  3. Interesting. When I read the part of biting someone else’s finger, I got a clear image of a psychopath hurting someone to see what his (or her) pain looks like. They are in a child state of mind not understanding – or caring – that what they to others hurts. Or not able to express their hurt, so hurting other people to see what it should look like. Cut off from their own emotions, they do not need to meditate to stop their emotions from taking over. Maybe meditate to get in touch with them?

    • What I read in your comment is quite a correct observation. When growing up, there are some hurdles to take that not all of us seem to be able to take. Childlike tantrums are not uncommon in psychopaths, except that they have an adult body and often access to lethal household equipment, sometimes to guns.

      Just 2 examples:
      * If the child never conforms to society and is always allowed to do what he wants, this can grow out to Narcissism. The hurdle must be taken somewhere from the age of 5 till just before the age of 7. The really bad Narcissists are socio-paths, and sometimes psychopaths, for them it’s about power, self love and doing what they want, they need a lot of attention, adoration.
      * Borderline Personalities have somehow never connected. That happened very early in their childhood (before the age of 2). They have an anxiety problem and a connection problem. Vacuum cleaners of love, givers of sex, but most often not of love and compassion. They never learned to really love. BPD’s are always triggered, often by something we don’t observe. Suppose you got extremely beaten as a very young kid, just after your mother dropped a bottle of milk. Now, any breaking bottle can become the trigger.

      Above examples have nothing to do with autism and related problems. An autistic person knows and gives love, feels empathy, but has difficulty expressing it.

      It is also very important to know that most NPD’s and BPD’s never become psychopaths

      This is just the top of the iceberg. There are a lot more subtypes of psychopaths, but they all lack empathy and conscience.

      Be very careful with street gangs. Their leader must be a crazy socio-path, and the individuals follow the leader like the SS followed hitler in the second world war. While the individual follower might have a conscience, as part of the group, it is lost. During riots, nice citizens somehow can lose any sense of right and wrong. The dictator is aware of this and abuses the crowd as robot executioners of his policy.

      • Ha. You covered the DSM IV. (Is the new one published yet?) Let me add two more cents.
        It seems that society as shown on television and in ‘news’papers, embraces narcissistic and even psychopathic behavior. Actors show people how feelings and emotions should look like according to the movie director. ‘Normal’ people imitate the actors and show the same behaviors. , which makes it difficult to discern the real psychopaths from the proto-psychopaths. Still, the real psychopaths know how to manipulate other people to inflict harm on others. Enjoying themselves from a distance.
        I consider many psychopaths also sociopaths. There is no love lost on other people or themselves. They know how to act their way out of social situations, but are not connected except to manipulate and control. Sociopaths who are not psychopaths, seem unable to fit in social groups. They will try to act there way through social situations, but unlike the psychopaths, they are not able to act well enough to fool the ‘normal’ people. They make good prey for psychopaths who can see that they do not fit in, but would like to. A psychopath can offer friendship in return for entertainment – leading the sociopath into difficult social situations and wath him sink – or worse.
        Borderliners have fuzzy boundaries. The line between their feelings and emotions, and those of others never got established well enough. The worst thing that can happen to them is to to have a psychopath prey on them. The psychopath can very easily keep them confused – and doubting themselves – while getting his or her way.
        Excellent point on the loss of conscience when individuals join ‘sick’ groups. The sickness seems contagious, and the individual powerless. It is as if their ‘free will’ gets checked at the door, and they join the (lack of) group conscience. This is only possible if indoctratination has taken place already. To accept authority of the one who shouts hardests, or is the meanest, and to adjust to the group. It reminds me of school. Instead of education, one gets taught submission. To only speak when the teacher allows it. And then wonder why children freak out, have anxiety disorders or ADHD.
        Autism is a more complex subject to tackle, because there are now more types and causes. Autism caused by vaccination and GMO food is now so much on the forefront that it seems to have become a symptom of poisoning.

        • Well, I didn’t realize i indeed covered DSM4, I didn’t even know that it was called like this, but I suppose that most of this material is covered equally by many systems. It seems that the further we venture into consciousness, the more things can go wrong here and there, but the worst cases are those who went wrong at the early end of the line.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for liking it. I have always admired Buddhism and have managed to grasped its (very) basic premise over the years, which I think you present in a beautiful, culture-specific way. I’ve decided that Buddhists are like trees, providing oxygn to those of us whose way through life just seems bound to be a lot more cumbersome and noisy: more and more, revolution seems the only coherent response I can offer to a level of global injustice that leaves me gasping. So, I’m counting on you guys to keep giving us all some air!

    • I love your fight against injustice. We need to make the world aware that few are plundering it completely just to accumulate. I hope that the internet gives more voice to the many websites like yours, and their hundreds of readers, so we won’t have to face a ‘meltdown’ in the years to come, and solve all problems by discussion.
      … but I am not a buddhist … simply unconvential … agnostic about what mind will never truly know … finding wisdom wherever it will come from.

      • So many of the people who have literally taught me how to live, who have maintained something essential – often themselves, their personhood – in the face of unrelenting expressions of negation, have been people that others assume have nothing to offer anyone. Such contempt in the face of a clear triumph of human dignity just enrages me. I have figured “Who better to learn from?” People think, because I was a reporter for years, that I must be writing some sappy human interest story, or doing charitable work. I want to yell over, “I’m sitting with this homeless person (or this teenage drag queen or these incredibly noisy, shrieking middle-schoolers whose pants only appear to be falling down, or driving these six old ladies to the food stamp office because THESE ARE THE PEOPLE I WANT TO BE WITH. Now be quiet, you might learn something! ”
        I’m sure my blood pressure is going to go through the roof someday. I’m more of a rabble-rouser than a peace-keeper, and I have a feeling that I have a lot more to learn than I will ever feel like working at …hopefully I’ll be able to slip by with the minimum requirements.
        It worked in Catholic school. : )

        P.S. Sorry for such a long comment

        • Well, thank you for this elaborate comment showing your passion for people. I started following your blog eagerly wanting to read more .. learning about humanity and doing something about the deplorable situation of our planet.

  5. Yep !!!! It’s been helpful to me to examine all the moments and “experiences” I have which really are unworded, and outside of thinking. There are a ton more than the mind likes to admit, haha. And it’s to THOSE that a lot of spiritual teachers tell us to begin to direct our attention, that is a good improvement in life, and helps open us to the Grace which sometimes brings Awakening.

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