Thank you for your post. You’ve raised a number of points and in love I have responded. Please give the points I have made some careful consideration
If my brain is injured and if I can't function normally, then definitely my sense of I will take a beating. It's a shock and I would be depressed.
It could only be a shock to the “I” if the “I” was the brain, as you have indicated. But you are not your brain. Consider this. The brain is an organ of the body that carries out its work at the behest of other body organs. It is the computer, not the computer operator. Over a period of 40-50 years, every cell in the brain has been replaced (through the normal processes of renewal) a number of times. If you are your brain, then your sense of who you are must have absolutely changed an equal number of times. But you can look today at a toy you played with as a child and still recognise it. You can even look at a childhood photograph of yourself and recognise yourself as a young person. How could that be – if you were your brain it would not be possible to do that as the brain you have now is definitely NOT the brain you had as a child. You are NOT your brain. If you still feel that you are, then your egoic mind has created an illusionary belief to that effect
Think of what animates the brain – it has no battery pack attached, so what animates it? No power supply in the body either, yet it is full of pumps, filters and the like – what animates everything and keeps the whole thing synchronised and running for over 80 years? Instead of persisting with the “I am my brain” illusion, inquire of your self what is it that animates the brain and body. That whatever-it-is has done so for at least the whole of your bodily existence, has never changed during that time and would seem to satisfy the “always constant, never changing” criteria for real-ness
It's sort of conclusion arrived logically with the discussion we had so far. I feel near to the knowing-ness but still not there. Is the "shift" sudden? or gradual ?
The words “arrived logically” identify a conclusion of the egoic mind. Keep looking! The moment of realisation has often been described as the “eternal second” – but is often preceded by a more gradual “build up” of understanding
I was attached to my stories before now I am nearly free of them. I have learned to let go things. I need to let go many things still. I am recognizing holding to those painful stories is of no use.
You will only be free of them once there is no “I” to own them. Thinking that you can have no suffering while the “I” is present is delusional. The “I must honestly be faced and seen through. The egoic mind might be telling you that you’re “nearly free” but it is doing so to keep you occupied in seeking - thereby keeping you from finding the truth.
It looks like there is no joy or pain beyond this illusion. Then doesn't life become bland (mechanical)??
Joy, happiness and pain are imagined states of mind, popularised into goals by New Age teachings. There is no pain, there is no joy, there is no happiness – these are all simply dualistic labels put on things by your mind. Same with blandness (it exists only in your mind). If your expectation is that realisation will usher in feelings of peace, joy and happiness, then you will surely be disappointed as these states are dualistic by their very nature. You cannot have any dualistic state of mind without its opposite being close at hand – so close by joy is depression, happiness is followed by unhappiness. Buddha didn’t say that enlightenment is the achievement of joy, pain or happiness – he said that it was the “end of suffering”.
nothing to be happy or to be in pain...
If those are truly beliefs that you have of what a life without suffering would be like, then surely you must ask yourself whether it’s a goal you truly want to achieve in this lifetime?