Awakening and Philosophy

05/12/18

The brain is wired for unity: Zoran Josipovic

 

The brain is wired for unity: Zoran Josipovic

 

 

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22/11/18

You are that Power

Ranjit Maharaj

 

 

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13/11/18

Who am I?

 

ramana

"The question 'Who am I?' is not really meant to get an answer. T

he question 'Who am I?' is meant to dissolve the questioner."

Ramana Maharshi

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11/11/18

The Self is an illusion by Sam Harris

 

 

 

 

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Looking for the mind

Sam Harris describe here a very simple way to find the Emptiness : by turning back the attention to the absence of observer.

 

jlr

Sam-Harris-Live




Sam Harris: Not at all. Though I think you could be well served if you ever had the opportunity to study the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dzogchen.

Dan: Joseph Goldstein, who’s a friend to both of us, recently put out this supplement to daily practice where he says, “Listen to all the sounds that arise in your consciousness and then try to find who or what is hearing them.” I find that when I do that, I’m directed into a space completely different from the one I arrive at when I’m sitting there watching my breath. I’m wondering if that is the kind of shift in attention you’re talking about. Is that what you would recommend as a way to bridge the gap you’ve just described?

Sam: Yes. Looking for the mind, or the thinker, or the one who is looking, is often taught as a preliminary exercise in Dzogchen, and it gets your attention pointed in the right direction. It’s different from focusing on the sensation of breathing. You’re simply turning attention upon itself—and this can provoke the insight I’m talking about. It’s possible to look for the one who is looking and to find, conclusively, that no one is there to be found.

People who have done a lot of meditation practice, who know what it’s like to concentrate deeply on an object like the breath, often develop a misconception that the truth is somewhere deep within. But non-duality is not deep. It’s right on the surface. This is another way the window analogy works well: Your reflection is not far away. You just need to know where to look for it. It’s not a matter of going deeper and deeper into subtlety until your face finally reveals itself. It is literally right before your eyes in every moment. When you turn attention upon itself and look for the thinker of your thoughts, the absence of any center to consciousness can be glimpsed immediately. It can’t be found by going deeper. To go deep—into the breath or any other phenomenon you can notice—is to start looking out the window at the trees.

The trick is to become sensitive to what consciousness is like the instant you try to turn it upon itself. In that first instant, there’s a gap between thoughts that can grow wider and become more salient. The more it opens, the more you can notice the character of consciousness prior to thought. This is true whether it’s ordinary consciousness—you standing bleary-eyed in line at Starbucks—or you’re in the middle of a three-month retreat and your body feels like it’s made of light. It simply doesn’t matter what the contents of consciousness are. The self is an illusion in any case.

It’s also useful to do this practice with your eyes open, because vision seems to anchor the feeling of subject/object duality more than any other sense. Most of us feel quite strongly that we are behind our eyes, looking out at a world that is over there. But the truth—subjectively speaking; I’m not making a claim about physics—is that everything is just appearing in consciousness. Losing the sense of subject/object duality with your eyes open can be the most vivid way to experience this shift in perception. That’s why Dzogchen practitioners tend to meditate with their eyes open.

Dan: So I would look at something and ask myself who is seeing it?

Sam: Yes—but it’s not a matter of verbally asking yourself the question. The crucial gesture is to attempt to turn attention upon itself and notice what changes in that first instant. Again, it’s not a matter of going deep within. You don’t have to work up to this thing. It’s a matter of looking for the looker and in that first moment noticing what consciousness is like. Once you notice that it is wide open and unencumbered by the feeling of self, that very insight becomes the basis of your mindfulness."

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30/10/18

Contemplation

Richard Rohr, a christian priest,  teaching non-dual contemplation in churches.

jlr

 

 

 

 

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24/10/18

Can we explain consciousness?

here is an interesting lecture by David Chalmers.

 

 

 

Now, about 20 years ago, all that began to change. Neuroscientists like Francis Crick and physicists like Roger Penrose said now is the time for science to attack consciousness. And since then, there's been a real explosion, a flowering of scientific work on consciousness. And this work has been wonderful. It's been great. But it also has some fundamental limitations so far. The centerpiece of the science of consciousness in recent years has been the search for correlations, correlations between certain areas of the brain and certain states of consciousness. We saw some of this kind of work from Nancy Kanwisher and the wonderful work she presented just a few minutes ago. Now we understand much better, for example, the kinds of brain areas that go along with the conscious experience of seeing faces or of feeling pain or of feeling happy. But this is still a science of correlations. It's not a science of explanations. We know that these brain areas go along with certain kinds of conscious experience, but we don't know why they do. I like to put this by saying that this kind of work from neuroscience is answering some of the questions we want answered about consciousness, the questions about what certain brain areas do and what they correlate with. But in a certain sense, those are the easy problems. No knock on the neuroscientists. There are no truly easy problems with consciousness. But it doesn't address the real mystery at the core of this subject: why is it that all that physical processing in a brain should be accompanied by consciousness at all? Why is there this inner subjective movie? Right now, we don't really have a bead on that.

Now, I'm a scientific materialist at heart. I want a scientific theory of consciousness that works, and for a long time, I banged my head against the wall looking for a theory of consciousness in purely physical terms that would work. But I eventually came to the conclusion that that just didn't work for systematic reasons. It's a long story, but the core idea is just that what you get from purely reductionist explanations in physical terms, in brain-based terms, is stories about the functioning of a system, its structure, its dynamics, the behavior it produces, great for solving the easy problems — how we behave, how we function — but when it comes to subjective experience — why does all this feel like something from the inside? — that's something fundamentally new, and it's always a further question. So I think we're at a kind of impasse here. We've got this wonderful, great chain of explanation, we're used to it, where physics explains chemistry, chemistry explains biology, biology explains parts of psychology. But consciousness doesn't seem to fit into this picture. On the one hand, it's a datum that we're conscious. On the other hand, we don't know how to accommodate it into our scientific view of the world. So I think consciousness right now is a kind of anomaly, one that we need to integrate into our view of the world, but we don't yet see how. Faced with an anomaly like this, radical ideas may be needed, and I think that we may need one or two ideas that initially seem crazy before we can come to grips with consciousness scientifically.

The first crazy idea is that consciousness is fundamental. Physicists sometimes take some aspects of the universe as fundamental building blocks: space and time and mass. They postulate fundamental laws governing them, like the laws of gravity or of quantum mechanics. These fundamental properties and laws aren't explained in terms of anything more basic. Rather, they're taken as primitive, and you build up the world from there. Now sometimes, the list of fundamentals expands. In the 19th century, Maxwell figured out that you can't explain electromagnetic phenomena in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, Newton's laws — so he postulated fundamental laws of electromagnetism and postulated electric charge as a fundamental element that those laws govern. I think that's the situation we're in with consciousness. If you can't explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals — space, time, mass, charge — then as a matter of logic, you need to expand the list. The natural thing to do is to postulate consciousness itself as something fundamental, a fundamental building block of nature. This doesn't mean you suddenly can't do science with it. This opens up the way for you to do science with it. What we then need is to study the fundamental laws governing consciousness, the laws that connect consciousness to other fundamentals: space, time, mass, physical processes. Physicists sometimes say that we want fundamental laws so simple that we could write them on the front of a t-shirt. Well I think something like that is the situation we're in with consciousness. We want to find fundamental laws so simple we could write them on the front of a t-shirt. We don't know what those laws are yet, but that's what we're after.

Thank you.

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19/10/18

A new video of Douglas Harding

 

Dialogue with Douglas Harding 1994 in South Africa.

 

 

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18/10/18

Look for yourself

What does that mean to leave without a head ?

by Douglas Harding

 

 

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religion and spirituality.

Ken Wilber shows us here the difference between religion and spirituality.

 

 

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