Good morning Seldom,
Where are you, if I may ask?
i am in Australia.
The word "awake" in this context is a good example, as it can mean many different things to different people (also why the word "enlightenment" is problematic for me).
i also use the descriptor of 'asleep' to indicate those still deluded into thinking that there is an actual self running the show, and 'awake' for those that have had an epiphany and are operating with the illusion of a self.
Totally agree about language. When i use the word awake in this context I will put it in single quotes. i avoid the use of the E word, as it is totally corrupted by pop zen stuff.
just thought you might want to know that about how my mind works.
It seems that we are similar in this regard.
For me, I am awake most often when I'm in nature, skiing down a mountain or sitting under a juniper tree watching my little girl nap, her little breaths pushing against me. I feel the most awake when I'm not thinking, just feeling my senses interwoven with the natural world. I have had some "transcendent" experiences in meditation retreats, sometimes even in my daily practice. Actually I often feel awake when I'm sitting in meditation. Basically when I stop responding to my egoistic/self-oriented narratives.
This is a great start. Have you ever imagined that you could take that awareness out into the everyday, 'normal' world? (please quote then answer every ?
Basically when I stop responding to my egoistic/self-oriented narratives.
Am i reading you accurately when this statement informs that in normal daily life, you are triggered into these narratives all of the time?
My daily life feels like a dance between awareness and autopilot
Ah, yes. Autopilot is very useful. Like overdrive, it keeps things going with minimal effort. ..but the sad thing here is that the conditioning has been to reinforce the "egoistic/self-oriented narratives."
A story about re-wiring the neuronal pathways in the brain, is useful here.
When awareness occurs, i want you to consider that you have recognized that you were involved in the narrative.
The emphasis is on the recognition.
This will become a trigger.
In the brain, the neuronal pathways (created by synaptic connections) that are used repeatedly are enhanced. They are made stronger and more efficient by frequent use.
When we become aware that they are no longer useful, there are two ways that they can be decommissioned.
They can be pruned or they can atrophy from lack of use.
Neither of these seem to be able to be consciously controlled, but we can indirectly affect change.
Firstly, observe an intent to change.
Secondly, when awareness of that recognition occurs - laugh. Anything from a loud guffaw to a smile, or even a mental chuckle. This thwarts the completion of the old behavior and robs it of the satisfaction factor. It also floods the body with feel-good hormones.
& thirdly, imagine the new neuronal pathway being established that replaces the undesirable one.
On the second point.. the awareness of the habitual response. You will come to recognize triggers. Usually, some intense emotion will arise in response to a situation.
In a fairly short time, you will come to recognize that a trigger has happened but the response to it is short-circuited by the awareness of it. It simply won't eventuate and you will see the new response (a chuckle) happen instead.
I get that free will requires a self to exercise it. If there is no self, there can be no free will.
This is a logical conclusion. (a mental exercise) There is no free will but that neither is life deterministic.
Observe and investigate this from the perspective of your actual experience for the next 24 hours and tell me what is noticed.
Aren't we nearly always responding to a story,
Yes, yes. Absolutely. Can you differentiate between useful stories and maladaptive ones? Give me an example of each.