Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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The slowing down of thought


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Sun, 08 Jul 2018 #1
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

To approach, to start, this topic of the slowing down of thought, I would like to quote from K in 1944. But the whole quote is rather long, and I will break it up into several parts, on successive days.

Questioner: I find it extremely difficult to understand myself. How am I to begin?

Krishnamurti: Is it not very important that one must understand oneself above everything else? For if we do not understand ourselves we shall not understand anything else for the root of understanding lies in ourselves. In understanding myself, I shall understand my relationship with another, with the world; for in me, as in each one, is the whole; I am the result of the whole, of the past. This concern to understand oneself may appear superficially to be egocentric, selfish, but if you consider it you will see that what each one of us is, the world, the State, society is; and to bring a vital change in the environment, which is essential, each one must begin with himself. In understanding himself and so transforming himself, he will inevitably bring about the necessary and vital change in the State, in the environment. The recognition and understanding of this fact will bring a revolution in our thinking-feeling. The world is a projection of yourself, your problem is the world's problem. With out you, the world is not. What you are the world is; if you are envious, greedy, inimical, competitive, brutal, exclusive, so is society, so is the State.

The study of yourself is extremely difficult for you are very complex. You must have immense patience, not lethargic acceptance, but alert, passive capacity for observation and study. To objectify and study that which you are subjectively, inwardly, is very difficult. Most of us are in a whirl of activity, inwardly confused and wandering, torn by many conflicting desires, denying and asserting. How can this enormously complex machine be studied and understood? A machine which is moving very rapidly, revolving at a tremendous speed cannot be studied in detail. It is only when it can be slowed down that you can begin to study it. If you can slow down your thinking-feeling, then you can observe it, just as in a slow motion picture you can study the movement of a horse as it runs or jumps a hurdle. If you stop the machine you cannot understand it, then it becomes merely a dead matter, if it goes too fast you cannot follow it; but to examine it in detail, to understand it thoroughly, it must go slowly, revolve gently. Just so must the mind work to follow each movement of thought-feeling. To observe itself without friction it must slow down. To merely control thought- feeling, to apply a brake to it, is to waste the necessary energy required to understand it; then thought-feeling is more concerned in controlling, dominating, than in thinking out, feeling out, understanding each thought-feeling.

Have you ever tried to think out, feel out each thought-feeling? How extremely difficult it is! For the mind wanders all over the place, one thought is never finished, one feeling never concluded. It flutters from one subject to another, a slave driven hither and thither. If the mind cannot slow itself down the implication, the inward significance of its thoughts-feelings cannot be discovered. To control its wanderings is to make it narrow and petty and then thought-feeling is expended in checking, restraining, rather than in studying, examining and understanding. The mind has to slow itself down and how is this to be done? If it forces itself to be slow then opposition is brought into being which creates further conflict, further complication. Compulsion of any kind will nullify its effort. To be aware of each thought - feeling is extremely arduous and difficult; to recognize that which is trivial and to let go, to be aware of that which is significant and to follow it, penetratingly and deeply, is strenuous, requiring extensional concentration.

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Sun, 08 Jul 2018 #2
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Here is the continuation of the words of K that I posted yesterday.

I would like to suggest a way but don't make of it into a hard and fast system, a tyrannical technique or the only way, a boring routine or duty. We know how to keep a diary, writing down all the events of the day in the evening. I do not suggest that we should keep a retrospective diary but try to write down every thought- feeling, whenever you have a little time. If you try it, you will see how extremely difficult even this is. When you do write you can only put down one or two thoughts because your thinking is too rapid, disconnected and wandering. And as you cannot write down everything, because you have other things to do, you will find after a while that another layer of your consciousness is taking note. When again you have leisure to write, all those thoughts-feelings to which you have not given conscious attention will be "remembered." So at the end of the day you will have written down as much of your thoughts and feelings as possible. Of course only those who are earnest will do this. At the end of the day look at what you have written down during the day. This study is an art, for out of it comes understanding. What is important is how you study what you have written, rather than the mere writing down.

If you put yourself in opposition to what you have written you will not understand it. That is, if you accept or deny, judge or compare, you will not grasp the significance of all that is written, for identification prevents the flowering of thought-feeling. But if you examine it, suspending judgment, it will reveal its inward contents. To examine with choiceless awareness, without fear or favour, is extremely difficult. Thus you learn to slow down your thoughts and feelings but also, which is enormously important, to observe with tolerant dispassion every thought - feeling, free from judgment and perverted criticism. Out of this comes deep understanding which is cultivated not only during the waking hours but during sleep. From this you will find there comes candor, honesty.

But then you will be able to follow each movement of thought - feeling. For in this is involved not only the comprehension of the superficial layer but also of the many hidden layers of consciousness. Thus through constant self-awareness there is deeper and wider self-knowledge. It is a book of many volumes; in its beginning is its ending. You cannot skip a paragraph, a page, in order to reach the end quickly and greedily. For wisdom is not bought by the coin of greed or impatience. It comes as the volume of self-knowledge is read diligently, that which you are from moment to moment, not at a particular, given moment. Surely this means incessant work, an alertness which is not only passive but of constant inquiry, without the greed for an end. This passivity is in itself active. With stillness comes highest wisdom and bliss.

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Tue, 10 Jul 2018 #3
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

The first question arising from the above is simple, it is: have any of you ever tried this writing down of thought?

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

It seems that no one has tried out this writing down of thoughts as they occur. So I am on my own! :-). Perhaps so much the better, so that my experience is original. But before going into the writing down business, I would like to look at K's

Have you ever tried to think out, feel out each thought-feeling? How extremely difficult it is!

I seem to remember Tom bought this up not so long ago. As I said, I have the impression, I could be wrong, that K advocated the writing down of thoughts more in his earlier years of speaking, but the “thinking out”, or “feeling out” carried on to later years.
What does it mean? My difficulty in understanding it stems from the impression I get of duality in such a process. K asks have YOU ever tried ….. This may me the usual trouble with the structure of language, but I can’t quite imagine the process without an entity DOING the thinking out, the feeling out. And such an entity would be still thought at work.

Put it this way: At the moment I would say there ISN’T the thinking out (I think this means ‘to completion’) So what brings about the change from one state (when thought is not completed) to the other state?

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 #5
Thumb_donna_and_jim_fb_bw Tom Paine United States 2263 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
My difficulty in understanding it stems from the impression I get of duality in such a process.

I see a duality there too....thinker vs. thought. Also K is bringing in time, which he often said is an impediment, or something like that...that there's no time involved in transformation. But to answer the first question you posed, no, I never tried writing out my thoughts. Since thought is so obviously limited I don't want to give it any more emphasis or importance than it already tends to take for itself in my daily living. I'm not trying to deny thought either....just not wanting to get more involved with it...analytically. I really don't see the point of that. But then again, I never tried it.

Let it Be

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 #6
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Without coming to a conclusion about this exercise (which thought is always doing, or trying to do) this exercise changes the normal dynamic of 'being' the 'thinker' to being the 'observer' who is waiting for the next thought or word to appear. It seems to me very valuable in the sense that we usually believe that 'we' are doing the 'thinking' but in this exercise, it is more that the thinking is being done (which it is!)... but now there is a state of awareness or observation accompanying the thought process. This reminds of K. saying that his secret was that he didn't mind what happens. In this mode of following one's thinking, it can be felt what he meant...when there is a dis-identification with one's thoughts.; they just 'come to one' and they are choicelessly watched. (or in the case here, watched and written down.)

I think that this writing exercise is just a different form of the crux of K. teaching which is that of being choicelessly aware of oneself. In fact if we are coming online here and writing our thoughts and not being aware of them as they appear, what are we doing? So this is the very place that the 'exercise' he suggested can always be tried!

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Wed, 11 Jul 2018.

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 #7
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Tom Paine wrote:
Also K is bringing in time, which he often said is an impediment, or something like that.

That’s a very interesting question, that of time, and it not being involved in transformation. K did say we need to devote our whole life to the enquiry, which in one way certainly suggests time. Yet somehow I do not see this as a contradiction to (the act of) transformation not involving time at all – is it not the negation of time, in fact, the negation of becoming, and the negation of action based in the past? This deserves a thread of its own.

If we talk of “being involved with thought”, or “not being involved with thought”, does this not suggest we are somehow separate from thought? Is that a fact? Or is it that we ARE thought?

Indeed thought is limited as you say, We ARE that limitation, are we not? And thought is a fact, we cannot brush it aside, we cannot ignore it. It completely dominates our life, and it has created society itself. Thought is the problem, it seems to me. It is thought that needs to be understood, thought is not a tool FOR understanding. And I think it is fair to say that K has always said only through awareness of thought can it be understood and dissolved.

So can “following each thought through to completion”, and the writing down of thought, be regarded as tools of awareness? I am asking, not stating.

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Wed, 11 Jul 2018 #8
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Without coming to a conclusion about this exercise (which thought is always doing, or trying to do) this exercise changes the normal dynamic of 'being' the 'thinker' to being the 'observer' who is waiting for the next thought or word to appear.

Yes, from my brief experience of the exercise so far, I would go along with that. Or rather I find that I oscillate between the two. Sometimes there is the feeling that I am DESCRIBING thought, and others that I AM thought.

Dan McDermott wrote:
This reminds of K. saying that his secret was that he didn't mind what happens. In this mode of following one's thinking, it can be felt what he meant...when there is a dis-identification with one's thoughts.

Are you saying, Dan, that one doesn't mind what happens because one sees one cannot do anything about what happens - in thought at least?

It seems to me that there is one simple, obvious fact about thought - that it arises involuntarily (can we use the word "spontaneously"?) to the mind. It is not that "I think". I cannot even determine what the next thought will be. This might seem obvious, but is it not contrary to all that we have been "taught"; all that we have absorbed from our upbringing/education. Yet is this not a revolutionary fact? The mind cannot carry on as it has always done if this is seen as a fact, no?

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Thu, 12 Jul 2018 #9
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
It is not that "I think". I cannot even determine what the next thought will be. This might seem obvious, but is it not contrary to all that we have been "taught"; all that we have absorbed from our upbringing/education. Yet is this not a revolutionary fact? The mind cannot carry on as it has always done if this is seen as a fact, no?

Yes it is "revolutionary", this movement or "pursuit" as K calls it. Without it all is static, with it,there is movement with the "eternal present". There is no 'technique' here, the technique is all that we have been "taught" and all that we have done before coming upon this.

But about can the "mind carry on as it has always done?"...yes...but it does not mean that this 'revolution' cannot be picked up again. 'Writing' can perhaps serve as one reminder.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Thu, 12 Jul 2018.

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Fri, 13 Jul 2018 #10
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Yes it is "revolutionary", this movement or "pursuit" as K calls it.

The interesting thing about the discovery (and it is an ongoing discovery) that the thinker is the thought (and all the other expressions of this) is that it has its own action. “I” cannot act on the discovery - “I” am part of the illusion that the thinker is different from his thoughts. In fact can one say that the less the “I” tries to act, the more the discovery itself is free to act?

There is the perfume of freedom in this realisation.

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Sat, 14 Jul 2018 #11
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

In the thinking through of thought to each completion – that is my preferred way of putting it – and in the writing down of thoughts as they appear, I have made one discovery. Well, I probably “knew it” before, but this process has really bought it home to me – that generally each thought that appears is never completed. And I would say that it is never completely because it is always ‘interrupted’ by another thought.

I think this is another way of saying that thought B, in the guise of the thinker, arises as a reaction to thought A, in an attempt to modify it, control it, deny it, rationalise it, all the tricks that it plays. So thought A is not completed. And somehow this is registered in memory.

So memory becomes a huge reservoir of uncompleted thoughts. And this is what our conscious IS. By “our consciousness” I mean the common human consciousness, the stream as we have referred to it. Would it be extravagant to say this is how consciousness has been created over the millenia?

And further, I think – I could be wrong – that this a basic problem. This is why thought is so persistent, why it will not let go. All the time it is striving for completion. But it can’t find this completion, because the process of interruption described above is still going on. More and more incomplete thoughts are created. There is a sort of basic frustration in the mind, ever striving for fulfilment.

And this, perhaps, is why K lays so much emphasis on the thinking through of each thought to completion, or writing down of thought. Only then is a thought really finished with. Only then can there be an ending.

As I say, I could be wrong. The only way to find out if I am is by the continued watching of thought, What else is there?

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Sat, 14 Jul 2018 #12
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
that this a basic problem. This is why thought is so persistent, why it will not let go. All the time it is striving for completion. But it can’t find this completion, because the process of interruption described above is still going on. More and more incomplete thoughts are created. There is a sort of basic frustration in the mind, ever striving for fulfillment.

This is a good description of how 'out of place' thought/time is in the psychological realm. It always craves completion when no such thing happens in nature. Nature is always 'beginning' and thought is always craving 'endings' or solutions or conclusions (which are essential for survival and invention in the practical world.). Thought projects a 'time' grid on the world of nature which knows no such thing. In the "eternal now" there is no past, present, or future...those are thought's 'inventions' carried over from the technical, the practical into the psychological where they play their part in 'becoming' and 'desire': ("I am not this yet but I will be...I will one day understand" hopes the 'thinker')

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sat, 14 Jul 2018.

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Sun, 15 Jul 2018 #13
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
. Nature is always 'beginning'

Can you explain this more, Dan? it seems to me one could just as well say "Nature is always ending". From the moment a leaf bursts from a bud in the Spring, it is in decay, heading towards its fall in the Autumn. As soon as a star is created, it is growing old, like all living things.

Of course it is only the mind, with its trick of memory, that knows these things, that knows the mysterious thing called time. Otherwise there is as you say, only the eternal now.

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Sun, 15 Jul 2018 #14
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Otherwise there is as you say, only the eternal now.

I remember reading this and it struck me that this was a revelation for K., that things didn't 'end', they only 'began'...this for me, cut out the whole 'time' notion of beginnings and endings, that this was false. That there was only this 'movement' of creation that never ended...it was the living cell at the end of the branch...it is hard to describe because we think in terms of 'time': a beginning, a middle and an end, but that is just the 'overlay' that we impose on nature, how we have been taught to see it, but actually is it all and only, just 'creation'?

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Sun, 15 Jul 2018.

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 #15
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
That there was only this 'movement' of creation that never ended...it was the living cell at the end of the branch...it is hard to describe because we think in terms of 'time': a beginning, a middle and an end, but that is just the 'overlay' that we impose on nature, how we have been taught to see it, but actually is it all and only, just 'creation'?

That is a lovely analogy, Dan, of the living cell at the end of the branch. But the branch, and the tree, will die.

There is a defined “nature walk” near here, through native forest, along a mountain stream, that has some “educational” posters along the way. One of them concerns a large tree that must have fallen some years ago. Growing on the “dead” trunk is moss, lichen, fungi, and small saplings of new trees arising. Its decaying wood is being consumed, by grubs, all sorts of insects ……. The poster poses this question: “Is this tree alive or dead?”

Dan McDermott wrote:
I remember reading this and it struck me that this was a revelation for K., that things didn't 'end', they only 'began'...

Did not K say something like: "when things end, they create a space into which the new can be born?". This seems somewhat different.

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Mon, 16 Jul 2018 #16
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
This seems somewhat different.

It depends on the frame of reference that we are using Clive, doesn't it? The universe 'began'(?) but it hasn't 'ended' (as far as we know). If you put the beginning point for an oak tree say at the germination of the acorn and its ending when it falls in the forest, that works for our purposes...but it's arbitrary in any actual sense regarding Nature and the origins of that acorn and the acorns that come after the fall of the tree. It's continuous and in a way never-ending, changing forms perhaps but never-ending...it's 'life'... 'death' is something we 'invented' to contrast one state of form with another, again for our own purposes but the two, death/life are not in opposition, they aren't actual 'opposites' are they? More like the 'movement' of life energy 'through' forms...through one and then on through another...We've decided when life begins and when it ends for any particular form. Looked at in this way, there are only 'beginnings', no 'endings'. I don't know if that is very clear.

Relating this to thought and the 'plight' of the self when 'death' is imminent, this is all 'just talk'...the terror that self/thought feels when it ponders its 'ending' will not be assuaged by any theory about life, death etc. That all turns to foolish ashes at that critical moment ("no atheists in the foxholes" i.e.) Something other than formulations of words is called for at that crucial moment, thought goes into a frenzy looking for a 'way out' of the unbearable image of its ending: "where will I go?" "Will I still be aware of my body after it dies, as it's being mourned, buried, cremated etc?" (Credit those imaginings to the Tibetan Book of the Dead!) and on and on...
What thought needs to understand , I would say from experience, is that, at that important moment (should I be awake and aware) THOUGHT DOES NOT KNOW AND CAN'T KNOW what will happen, so give it up! And it needs to become aware of that now, not when death has announced itself and is waiting outside the door. I simply don't 'know' a thing about any of it. So be still... Period.

K.-"To us, the little space made by thought around itself, which is the me, is extremely important, for this is all the mind knows, identifying itself with everything that is in that space. And the fear of "not being" is born in that space."

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Thu, 19 Jul 2018.

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 #17
Thumb_open-uri20180717-8420-135f99u-0 Mina Martini Finland 236 posts in this forum Offline

Dan,

Dan:>I remember reading this and it struck me that this was a revelation for K., that things didn't 'end', they only 'began'...this for me, cut out the whole 'time' notion of beginnings and endings, that this was false. That there was only this 'movement' of creation that never ended...

Mina: Yes..the beginning IS the ending.. .creation as the endless unfolding of the new which never continues, so never turns to time..no need to try to find a beginning or an end to that which has neither..the egoic mind is an illusion of a beginning and end as separate, which is what creates psychological time..

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Tue, 17 Jul 2018 #18
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Mina Martini wrote:
Yes..the beginning IS the ending.. .creation as the endless unfolding of the new which never continues, so never turns to time..no need to try to find a beginning or an end to that which has neither..the egoic mind is an illusion of a beginning and end as separate, which is what creates psychological time..

Very refreshing for me this morning to read your post Mina...thank you.

Dan

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 #19
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
.it's 'life'... 'death' is something we 'invented' to contrast one state of form with another, again for our own purposes but the two, death/life are not in opposition, they aren't actual 'opposites' are they?

I certainly go along with this, Dan. And it is a wonderfully liberating realisation to let into one's life.

Dan McDermott wrote:
More like the 'movement' of life energy 'through' forms...through one and then on through another...We've decided when life begins and when it ends for any particular form. Looked at in this way, there are only 'beginnings', no 'endings'. I don't know if that is very clear.

It's clear Dan. And to a certain extent I have been playing "Devil's advocate", in order to investigate this issue of endings/beginnings.Death has very little meaning if one sees life as a total movement.

Dan McDermott wrote: "no atheists in the foxholes"

Smiling at this, which I have never heard before.

Dan McDermott wrote:
THOUGHT DOES NOT KNOW AND CAN'T KNOW what will happen,

Yes, and as I think I mentioned recently, it might be downright "dangerous" to have ideas, to think that one knows, as such beliefs might continue after death; condition death as it were.

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Wed, 18 Jul 2018 #20
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
it might be downright "dangerous" to have ideas, to think that one knows, as such beliefs might continue after death; condition death as it were.

Can you explain your thinking here, about "conditioning death"?

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Wed, 18 Jul 2018.

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Thu, 19 Jul 2018 #21
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
Can you explain your thinking here, about "conditioning death"?

First of all what I say is speculative. But quite reasonable, I think.

K has said “we” continue after death, in the stream of human consciousness – unless we have ‘stepped out’ before death. Here is the most pertinent quote I know, I think I have presented it before:

“There is the thought of human beings as a great stream - everybody wants to go on - and in that stream the thought of you remains. And when the medium calls upon you, you manifest, out of that stream, because you are still there, still there in your daily life, because you are still pursuing the same thing that every human being is pursuing - security, permanency, 'me' and 'not me', 'we' and 'they', this constant concern with yourself in that stream in which all human beings are caught. When you die your thought of yourself goes on in that stream as it is going on now - as a Christian, Buddhist, whatever you please - greedy, envious, ambitious, frightened, pursuing pleasure - that is this human stream in which you are caught. Unless you step out of it now you will go on in that stream - obviously. Can the mind step out of that and face complete impermanency, now? If you have understood, that is death, is it not?”

So “we” - I put that in inverted commas because I am not at all sure what it means – continue after death, in the stream. Presumably some sort of experiencing goes on. What is the nature of that experience? What is the nature of experience before death? It is conditioned, is it not? Conditioned by previous experience, by what we identify with, by our conclusions – and by belief. As we believe, so we experience.

So if I have a firm belief in what happens after death – a Christian heaven, or hell, reincarnation, the Hindu tradition, whatever– even perhaps the belief in nothingness after death – is it not possible this is what I might experience as reality after death? At least for a while.

As I say this is speculative, but it is suggestive of a rather obvious fact – that we need to approach death without convictions, without belief, without (the pretense of) knowledge. And don’t we need to approach life this way also?

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Fri, 20 Jul 2018 #22
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
First of all what I say is speculative. But quite reasonable, I think.

I have been looking at what I said here, and feeling it through, Feeling that it is a mistake to speculate at all. One speculates when there is no clarity. It may have a place in scientific inquiry, but how can it help in understanding oneself?

Seeing that knowledge is limited, and cannot lead to the truth, truth of living or dying, is not speculation, it is fact. The putting aside of knowledge, when its limitation is seen (of course it has its part in living), may reveal what is true.

I say "may" - is this speculation again? Knowledge has to be aside BECAUSE it is seen as limited, not because the "reward" of truth is dangled.

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Fri, 20 Jul 2018 #23
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Seeing that knowledge is limited, and cannot lead to the truth, truth of living or dying, is not speculation, it is fact.

It turns out that the attempts to follow one's thoughts are very 'important'. When you try to actually write what comes 'up', the process has to slow down and you can see that there is either this alertness to the next thought or the usual procedure of the process: thought without the awareness of itself. And the awareness of what thoughts are flowing through the mind is 'important' because it is thought with the thinker that is the cause of sorrow. I read this recently by K.:

"To us, the little space made by thought around itself, which is the me, is extremely important, for this is all the mind knows, identifying itself with everything that is in that space. And the fear of "not being" is born in that space."

The "fear of not being" is I would say the fear behind them all. And it is critical to know that this basic fear is the result of thought and, when it is upon one, to draw very near and realize as he says that this is "the little space made by thought around itself".

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Sun, 22 Jul 2018 #24
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
thought without the awareness of itself. And the awareness of what thoughts are flowing through the mind is 'important' because it is thought with the thinker that is the cause of sorrow.

Yes, this is an issue that keeps coming up for me. It is not so much thought that is “the problem”, but thought without the awareness of itself. This is when it is dangerous, destructive. Without that awareness of itself – which implies awareness of its true nature, doesn’t it? - thought takes itself as some sort of absolute. As truth, in fact. But thought is not absolute, it is relative. It is not true, it a merely a result of conditioning.
Until this is seen, how can there be clarity? And yet the normal, the usual, mode of operation of thought is this false mode, without awareness.
“Thought with the thinker” can only occur in this state of no awareness, no?

I was questioning with a couple of visitors this weekend, and I kept seeing that no matter what the starting point of enquiring, the inquiry always leads to the basic issue of “is there an observer, a controller, which is separate from thought?” If it IS separate than it can act on thought, perhaps solve thought’s problems (except it never has, has it?). If there is no such observer, no controller, then the process of solving mental problems, improving the mental landscape, cannot be attempted. Then one is faced with ‘what is’, and being faced, what is DOES change, of its own accord

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Mon, 23 Jul 2018 #25
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

When a thought/feeling arises – a thought/feeling that might conventionally be classified as a “negative thought”, or a thought/feeling that the mind finds disturbing, finds reason to not like, not want, the conventional, conditioned response to to oppose that thought. To condemn it, to try to “deal” with it – for example to suppress it, to deny it. To treat the thought as a problem that must be solved. All these ways of responding to it (and it is only thought in the guise of the thinker that responds/reacts) actually create conflict, and – can one say they continue the thought that is trying to be dealt with?

But when the emphasis of the mind (using that term loosely) is on observation of thought/feeling, when there is the watching of thought – and I include in this the writing down of thought that I have mentioned – the whole situation is different. Then there is only the issue of whether that thought/feeling can be completed. No, better to say “come to completion”. This is quite independent of the CONTENT of the thought/feeling.

It seems to me this a revolutionary realisation. A realisation that comes, perhaps, with the slowing down of thought. Earlier it had the feeling of an insight. It simplifies the mind so much. One might say there is only one problem, not the myriad problems that thought creates, but the issue (do not want to call it a problem though) of awareness. A thought can only come to completion in the state of awareness, can it not?

The above is somewhat of an over simplification perhaps because there are thoughts which demand actual action, in daily life.

Here is a recent QOTD, which deals with this issue:

Those who would understand the deep significance of meditation must begin first with themselves, for self-knowledge is the foundation of right thinking. Without right thinking how can thought go far? You must begin near to go far. Self-awareness is arduous; to think-out, feel-out every thought-feeling is strenuous; but this awareness of every thought-feeling will bring to an end the wandering of the mind. When you try to meditate do you not find that your mind wanders and chatters ceaselessly? It is of little use to brush aside every thought but one and try to concentrate upon that one thought which you have chosen. Instead of trying to control these wandering thoughts become aware of them, think-out, feel-out every thought, comprehend its significance, however pleasant or unpleasant; try to understand each thought-feeling. Each thought-feeling so pursued will yield its meaning and thus the mind, as it comprehends its own repetitive and wandering thoughts, becomes emptied of its own formulations.

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Mon, 23 Jul 2018 #26
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
. It is not so much thought that is “the problem”, but thought without the awareness of itself. This is when it is dangerous, destructive. Without that awareness of itself – which implies awareness of its true nature, doesn’t it? - thought takes itself as some sort of absolute. As truth, in fact. But thought is not absolute, it is relative. It is not true, it a merely a result of conditioning.

This seems to be the case that 'thought' itself is not the problem. As a tool for survival, it can be brilliant. but when it creates this duality of a 'thinker', an 'experiencer' (me) apart from itself is when all the 'mischief' occurs ...with just thought observed as what it is there is the possibility that it can discover what it has done and why it has done it (Permanence?) and how being active in other than the technical, practical world creates much misery, fear, and divisiveness. It seems there is nothing that can show this to thought except thought itself and it's why there has to be a "slowing down" and the accompanying awareness without choice or judgement.

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Tue, 24 Jul 2018 #27
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:
As a tool for survival, it can be brilliant. but when it creates this duality of a 'thinker', an 'experiencer' (me) apart from itself is when all the 'mischief' occurs

Would you say, Dan, that thought HAS TO create this duality of a thinker when it is acting as a tool for survival? The thinker rerpresents time, doesn't it, ie the idea of permanence (or at least semi permanence, continuity), as you say later in your mail. Time IS necessary for survival, isn't it. The very word survive suggests this.

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Tue, 24 Jul 2018 #28
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
that thought HAS TO create this duality of a thinker when it is acting as a tool for survival?

If I understand you, you are using 'survival' as referring to the 'continuance' (and progress?) of the 'me'. I was using the term 'survival' to cover our getting along in the world as a species: technology, communication, medicine etc., none of which calls for the duality of a 'thinker' apart from the thought process that is working in these fields. Just pure thought working to solve this or that challenge. And though the 'challenge' may be how to make a better bomb or nerve agent, it can also work for the good of all...the duality of thinker/thought in this type of thinking is (can be a) distraction from the arriving at the solution. Also in this kind of technical/survival thought, there can be co-operation, brains working together toward a goal, the thinker/thought duality can be a hindrance to that: Ego. Yes 'time' (by the clock) is a part of all this, there has to be a 'looking ahead', planning, step by step etc. but this is not the psychological time of 'becoming': "I am this now but I will be that"...In the psychological, as I understand it, 'time' has no place. There is only 'now', 'what is'... and it is the introduction of the 'thinker' into this space that is the perversion because rather than just there being the fact of (the "sacred"?)'what is', there is the attempt by the 'thinker' (the 'me') to control, or manipulate, judge, condemn, or change 'what is' to something else. Thought/time is out of place in the psychological where it is a waste of energy and the source of division, fear and conflict.

This post was last updated by Dan McDermott Tue, 24 Jul 2018.

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Wed, 25 Jul 2018 #29
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 4432 posts in this forum Offline

Dan McDermott wrote:

If I understand you, you are using 'survival' as referring to the 'continuance' (and progress?) of the 'me'.

Clive: Yes, this seems the basic demand of the (idea of) self, to continue in its (apparent) existence. Or at least for the IDEA of the self to continue,; to keep continuing, to survive.

I was using the term 'survival' to cover our getting along in the world as a species: technology, communication, medicine etc., none of which calls for the duality of a 'thinker' apart from the thought process that is working in these fields. Just pure thought working to solve this or that challenge. And though the 'challenge' may be how to make a better bomb or nerve agent, it can also work for the good of all...the duality of thinker/thought in this type of thinking is (can be a) distraction from the arriving at the solution.

Clive: Quite a big distraction! It brings in the separate me, with its own demands, its prejudices, its own priorities.

Also in this kind of technical/survival thought, there can be co-operation, brains working together toward a goal, the thinker/thought duality can be a hindrance to that: Ego. Yes 'time' (by the clock) is a part of all this, there has to be a 'looking ahead', planning, step by step etc. but this is not the psychological time of 'becoming': "I am this now but I will be that"…

Clive: Ok, that seems a clear distinction. But this necessary concept of time – is not a self, a me, the factor in creating it – as a sort of manager, organiser, of thought? In this me/manager there is still time, there is still becoming - but it is not ME who is becoming. If this is so (looking at it now, and I am not sure) it is easily understood the next step from this is the idea of the permanent psychological entity (the wrong turn?).

In the psychological, as I understand it, 'time' has no place. There is only 'now', 'what is'... and it is the introduction of the 'thinker' into this space that is the perversion because rather than just there being the fact of (the "sacred"?)'what is', there is the attempt by the 'thinker' (the 'me') to control, or manipulate, judge, condemn, or change 'what is' to something else.

Clive: Yes, I am very familiar with this Thinker and its operations!

Thought/time is out of place in the psychological where it is a waste of energy and the source of division, fear and conflict.

Clive: you seem to be using the term “psychological” in a different way from me, Dan. I have always considered the me, thought, division, fear, conflict as being the very essence of the psychological. Do you mind explaining?

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Wed, 25 Jul 2018 #30
Thumb_dm Dan McDermott United States 915 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Dan: Thought/time is out of place in the psychological where it is a waste of energy and the source of division, fear and conflict.

Clive: you seem to be using the term “psychological” in a different way from me, Dan. I have always considered the me, thought, division, fear, conflict as being the very essence of the psychological. Do you mind explaining?

If I can. I think now of the "psychological" or the "psychological realm" as distinguished from the 'practical' or 'technical realm', which is the 'proper' space for thought/time and which is out of place when it moves into the psychological. But in thinking about your question, what is the psychological?, I realize that I think of it as a 'space', a pure space, a calm clear pond, a spotless mirror, etc. that has been stained, polluted and filled with static thoughts, beliefs, cravings, fear, greed, hatred, sorrow....it is the 'temple' out of which the 'money changers' have to be 'thrown'. So it is a 'negative' a no-thing? It is what we are when the illusion of our 'individuality' is seen through, the 'mirror', when it is clean and undistorted and reflects 'what is' as it is. The pond, when the water is no longer disturbed. It is the 'truth' then, when the false has been seen as the false. Is it pure being, unadorned awareness? What we in 'essence' are?

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