I’m not trying to be difficult here, but going by your logic, isn’t this also just a view, just a belief, etc.? Moreover, how can you decide what is rooted in reality without using your discriminating mind (i.e., discriminating between what is and what is not rooted in reality)? If you are using your discriminating mind, aren’t you “just thinking” too?
What I am saying is not coming from logic, but from direct, immediate experience.
The thing is that we (all humans) have difficulties with distinguishing between experience and thought. We often fall for our thoughts and mistaking them with reality. This is how the self illusion is created, by believing the content of thoughts and not seeing that those are just thoughts. But no thought contains any experience.
So in order to be able to see that the mind is just a concept and nothing more, first, we have to be able to see clearly the difference between thought (imagination) and experience (reality).
This is very important.
Say, for example, I‘m meditating on a question like “What is a mind sense?” or “Can a mind sense?”. I will typically start by reciting the question to myself a couple times, and then I will shift out of language and abstract thinking to observe my experience in silence. I will usually remain silently observing for at least a minute or two, before repeating the process as many times as possible. Of course, thoughts, answers, theories, etc. will come up, but whilst I’m silently observing, I just watch them and/or let that mental activity pass away.
Thank you for sharing how you investigate.
This sounds good as long as you stay focused looking and searching for the thing that the question is pointing to. If the questions are about a mind, then you need to look for an actual experience of a mind.
But the illusionary nature of thoughts easily kicks in, and we often mistake visual images with actual experiences. Mind often appear as a visual (mental) image (as some kind of black place or some sort of a placeholder and origin of thought, in which thoughts appear in and known with), and when we don’t see this only as a visual thought, we mistake it with reality.
In the state of silent observing, the questions usually fall away, so too does any sense in giving answers. However, there is an awareness present that is sort of knowing the experience of silent observing, and that awareness can sort of scan experience and understand it directly, pre-linguistically.
Yes. So this is the state how to look.
When it then comes time to write my response to you, it seems I have to pick up language and abstract thinking again in order to communicate, in order to describe my experience, and, yes, in order to interpret and make sense of it to some degree
OK. Yes, we need to use langue in order to communicate. But there is a big difference between finding words that describe what has been seen as precisely as possible without adding anything extra
, and interpreting what has been seen.
Interpretation is an added extra, which is being distorted by our prior knowledge and beliefs.
So we interpreted our experience in a way that fits into our knowledge and beliefs.
We interpret through the lens of our beliefs. Thus we distort the raw experience.
But what we are doing here is quite the opposite.
We compare our raw experience with our beliefs and assumptions, to see if our assumptions can stand up to scrutiny.
So I’m going to give you very simple exercises in the following days to see the difference between thoughts and experience. Seeing this will be the bases of our inquiry.
Do you drink coffee or tea? Next time when you drink it, please investigate what is the difference between thinking about coffee and experiencing the coffee.
Is it possible to look at the coffee without thinking “this is a coffee, and I’m going to drink it”? Is it possible to EXPERIENCE it only by looking at it and SEEING it without thinking about it?
And when you take a sip, is it possible to just FEEL the warmth of it, without analysing and thinking why it’s warm, and how long will it stay warm?
And is it possible just to experience the TASTE of it, without analysing it, or thinking how bitter it is, or whether it needs some sweetener or not?
Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?
I would like to ask you to really try this out in reality, and not just think it through. In other words, not just think about it.
But of course, thoughts about it might happen! But that’s all right. You just ignore the thoughts, and you turn your attention to experiencing.
Do you see, I’m asking you the same thing: not just to think it through what I wrote above, but actually do it in experience. Do you see the difference?
This difference will be the basis of our investigation.
You cannot experience (see, feel, taste, smell) the coffee by thinking. You literally have to experience it.
Do you see clearly the difference between thinking and experiencing?
Please experiment throughout the day with all sorts of things. Like having dinner, washing your hands, going up a staircase, ect.