Friend/Stranger (with blue)
Bring up a thought about a character labeled "friend."
Then bring up a thought about a character labeled "stranger."
Compare these thoughts.
Is there a difference in these thoughts?
'Friend is sitting in a chair, drinking a coffee, walking to the door, ...'
'Stranger is sitting in a chair, drinking a coffee, walking to the door, ...'
When I label someone 'Friend' it has a sense of warmth and familiarity about it. Because we feel we know them, it feels like there's a sense of connection there, like an invisible connection, but it’s just association.
But you're not asking 'what is the difference between a friend and a stranger?', or how we think about them or feel about them, but 'are the thoughts about them different?' And they're not. They're just thoughts arising. The thoughts are the same.
Is there a true difference or is it just different content?
The difference is in the content. Thoughts are just thoughts.
Now, bring up a thought about a character labeled "friend."
After that, look at a thought about the character labelled "me.”
Thinking 'me is sitting on a chair in Coffee #1, me is writing, me is waiting for their phone to charge, me is waiting for a call.' It makes me feel disconnected from 'me'. Like I don't have responsibility for me anymore, in the way that I'm not responsible for what other people are doing, or not doing.
But that’s thinking about Steph, not ‘a character called ‘me’. When I call another character ‘me’, it feels so abstract that it’s meaningless. Or I name them, and then I feel an association with them, another invisible connection, as with ‘friend’, but stronger. It’s hard to separate myself from them.
Is there a difference?
Again, thoughts are the same. It's the content that is different. The labels are all labels for person. Labelling a person as ‘friend’ doesn't change the nature of the person, nor does labelling them ‘stranger’, any more than if we label them 'green', or 'elephant' or 'Sarah'.
Labelling this person 'I' or 'me' doesn't make them different from 'friend' or 'stranger', we're all just a person. Naming someone doesn't add anything to them, doesn't give them any extra qualities, doesn't add that invisible extra something that seems to make 'me' more special or important or unworthy. Just another person. Just another continuum. Just another pattern in the universe, eternally unfolding.
Sitting on the bus now, looking at each passenger in turn, including this one, naming them 'friend, friend, friend...', then 'stranger, stranger, stranger...', then 'me, me, me...'. Imagining being one of the other people and looking back at Steph.
Is there anything special about thoughts with the content "me-character?"
'Me’ is sitting on a bus, typing on their phone, watching people, looking out of the window at the landscape passing...'
It's hard to think of. It seems all wrong! I imagine watching 'myself' doing these things instead of another character called me. I can't find what it is I'm supposed to be looking for.
It feels like there can't be another 'me'. Although everyone is a 'me'.
The thoughts about the character 'me' should be the same as those about 'stranger' or 'friend'. We are the same. But it's hard to create a character called 'me' without casting myself onto it; it's 'me' but over there
Red is still red, no matter what name you give it.
Whatever name we give a person, they are still just a person. But we feel we are 'this person' and others are 'that person'.
Let me know what is found.
Frustration, still! That this is all still just so many words. I still don't really see it. At some level I get it, but I need to look deeper.
This process feels like a birthing. Like I'm being squeezed. And sometime, eventually, I'll pop out into the light!
Red is just red, no matter what we overlay it with by naming it.
Persons are still persons no matter what we overlay them with by naming. And ‘this’ person is no different than ‘that’ person.
Trying to get back to actual experience.
Thoughts about someone labelled ‘I’ are just thoughts.
The direct experience is just the thought arising, not the content.
‘I am thinking of a character name ‘me’.
Thinking of a character named ‘me’.
No one is thinking.
Thinking is merely arising, dependent on causes and conditions. The programme running itself.
‘I am’ thinking is a lie. Can I feel that it’s a lie?
Today I can
feel it. Not in the heart, but in the gut - yes.
What does it do to call this person ‘I’? It creates a tension. It adds a weight of responsibility.
I wonder why ‘I’ feel like I’m responsible for what this continuum does or does not, when I don’t feel that for ‘other’ persons? There is a degree of that re my son and partner, but I feel the responsibility for them really lies with themselves. Another delusion!
It’s all such a nonsense! No one has a magical ‘I’ who can control what they do. I know it to be a myth now. It still persists, but the veil is getting thinner.
This is a bit of a ramble again today, sorry.
Many thanks again for your dedication.
With love and gratitude xxx