And do you think when the self is seen through this labelling will stop? It won’t. There is already no self, and yet self-referencing is almost always on. Why would this change? It’s enough to see the self-referencing and labelling for what it is. Just thoughts on behalf on a fictional character.Good question...there is obviously a strong belief in the separate self. Because even when I look and see that it is not there, AND I can follow the intellectual argument that the separate self is a construct; there is still an automatic labelling of every thought with "I" or self-reference.
Dear Christopher, there are no hopeless cases, not even you! :) But there are some people who are not ready yet to deeply investigate their beliefs. And only you can know if you feel ready to really dig deep.You are patient and very kind to perservere with me. Please don't feel obligated to continue with me if I am a hopeless case.:)
Yes, conventionally speaking atoms, air, galaxies, etc. exist. But when we investigate the self, we cannot get anywhere with conventional ‘truths’. Since conventional truths are the results of thinking, which is exactly what is creating the illusion of the self, by creating concepts. We have to look ‘behind’ this conceptual overlay, and see what is really there without concepts.There are many things I believe in which I can't see: like atoms and air and galaxies, so the simple fact of not being able to see something is obviously not proof that it doesn't exist.
Conventionally speaking the atom is a useful concept, just as many other concepts. But when we want to see through the illusion, we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself.
Thought will always ‘want’ to understand and intellectualize everything, this is what thoughts are ABOUT: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.
And it’s not problematic in and of itself. But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, BEFORE any thought interpretation.
Why? Because the whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. The self is just a concept. It’s not a real thing. It’s a fantasy. It’s a mirage in the desert. For a newborn baby, there is no concept of self. For the newborn there is only pure experiencing. And just later, when language is introduced, the concept of a self emerges, out of the thin air. It’s just a fabrication, but with time this fabrication is taken as reality. And what is the problem with that? It’s suffering. Only a self could suffer.
So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not in reality. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.
Whatever thoughts ‘say’, is the truth/reality from now on. This is how humans live their lives. We hardly can connect with our immediate experience since we believe that the overlaying thought concepts are all there is. And of course concepts are very useful when solving a problem, building a bridge or a house. But concepts/thoughts are just tools. But for humans the tool itself is overthrown what is really happening and creating all sorts of problems. This tool cannot be turned off. It’s like having a hammer as tool. The hammer is very useful for hitting the nail into the wall, but it’s not so useful for making dinner. But for humans, thoughts (the hammer) cannot be switched off, and we hammer everything with thoughts.
Thoughts, as a tool, has its place and value when a problem needs to be solved, but when the task is done, we should be able to put the tool (thoughts) down and just rest in the natural peace of experience. But thoughts are constantly on in forms of self-referencing narrating talks. Which is the basis of human delusion and suffering.
But the aim is not to stop these overlays from appearing, but rather to see them for what they really are. The overlay in and of itself is not problematic, as long as we see that it’s just an overlay.
This is why we have to stick to our immediate experience while doing this investigation. Not to devaluate thoughts and concepts, but rather to see what is really going on ‘behind the scenes’. When investigating the nature of reality and the self we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself on the first place.
So, from now on, please try to put aside all doubting thoughts, and just trust the process. Trust your immediate direct experience. Trust that this process will yield result. If you stay with the actual experience and just keep looking and looking, you will be able to distinguish what is really happening and what is just a fabrication. At the end, many of your intellectual answers will be answered by your direct experience.
It’s the process of looking and looking and looking and not finding what brings about of the realization.
So, can you trust this process?
Can you commit looking at your actual experience rather than what thoughts has to say about it?