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A crowd of selves

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Dear all,

I was considering today the difference between the feelings we observe in ourselves, and the beliefs which our logical minds tell us we hold. For example, I was irritated today when my mother in a shared discussion with my aunt told me that I would be cooking today. Mindfulness tells me that this irritation came from being ordered around in the presence of another family member, a little bit of ego that didn’t like to lose face.

Now my logical mind believes this is no big deal, hardly worth getting irritated about. But it’s interesting that my feelings should signal something different, that there is some part of myself which I do not understand all that well which still comes up with the feeling of irritation. My logical mind holds an opinion which is different to the feeling mind, and I know what Ajahn Chah would say, that the untrained heart is worth little.

In a way I am trying to educate my feelings self into a freer way of thinking. My logical mind accepts we are all interdependent, that on some level the whole universe is one, that the best way is compassion for all, but on another level my feelings still tell me about survival and caring for image and saving face.

It reminded me that Osho has said on occasion that the unenlightened man is a crowd of selves in one person.

Have you encountered occasions where you have caught yourself in inconsistencies?

With warm regards,
Kerome

JeffreypersonBunksShoshinhowDavid

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Not a day goes by, @Kerome ...

    personBunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I love this thought. I think we, or maybe I should speak for myself, often hold beliefs and views that often aren't in alignment with our reactive feelings. In the context of the current moment I'd say for myself that I don't hold racist beliefs and believe that everyone should be treated with equal dignity and respect, but still often find myself having an unfavorable feeling towards something I may see a black person do that I wouldn't be so quick to view negatively if a white person did it.

    Mindfulness practice really helps here, if I notice that happening I can consciously reframe my feelings and hopefully start retraining my reactive state into something more positive. Or not be reactive towards the feelings that arise but instead respond from my more rational, conscious intentions.

    There is something called the Implicit Association Test that is supposed to test people's instinctive feelings vs our conscious beliefs in that it tests our quick responses. Its still a little controversial because an individual's results can vary due to unrelated reasons, such as sleep or stress.

    Also there is a view of the human mind that I agree with known as the social intuitionist model that says most of our foundational moral positions are based on intuitions and that our rational brain primarily acts as a post hoc justifier or lawyer. Kind of like our moral sense is like an elephant and our rational brain is like a rider. We aren't hopelessly carried around by our elephant we can train it to some extent.

    KeromeBunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 18

    Have you encountered occasions where you have caught yourself in inconsistencies?

    ...All day and everyday...it's the conditioned nature of the self beast...

    However I'm finding my consistency in becoming aware of recognising inconsistencies is gradually becoming more consistent ....

    "Everyday in every (sense door) way, data's filtered as it passes through...and everyday in every (sense door) way, I aim to be consistently aware of all that I do"

    I (in this case awareness) consistently monitor thought patterns which interact with feelings & emotions=energy-in-motion, which arise when data enters through the senses doors...which is all day and everyday...no rest for the wicked.... ;)

    I am a work consistently in progress.....AKA on the move ....never a dull moment....

    person
  • ToshTosh Veteran

    All the time. Something happens and my feelings and I react badly.

    Then logical thinking kicks in, especially when I've regained balance.

    It happens regularly while driving; someone does something stupid and my first reaction is to chase them down and 'educate them'. Then logical commonsense kicks in and I tell myself I'm being stupid.

    For me the trick is not acting on my initial reaction; that normally doesn't turn out well.

    personBunksShoshinKerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    A crowd of selves

    When I first read the title I was reminded of this...

    Ven. Piyasilo (A Malaysian Buddhist monk and taken from a booklet called "On Being Your True Self" )

    WE ARE A "BUNDLE" OF SELVES

    "In our every day lives, very often we are but a bundle of selves - of which only normally one is operative at any time. One self decides at night to get up early in the morning, but what happens ? When we get up in the morning we find that another self has taken over in the night. The new self has now taken over and he (or she) does not want to get up.

    We all know that from time to time we are subjected to what are called 'moods'. For example, we may feel depressed, or angry, or restless. The moods take possession of us and we do no know why we are simply 'not ourselves'. And to the extent that they persist, we feel as through that we are someone else. If we analyse ourselves, we will discover that we are not so much a self as a succession of selves- a "bundle" of selves like a cable of wires- transmitting messages all at the same time.

    NO UNCHANGING, PERMANENT SELF

    There is no single unified, completely integrated self that is continually operative inside us. We can even say that we are each a collection of selves, each of which is fighting for supremacy,and this explains why we so often fail to do the things we have set out to do.

    Another way of looking at this situation is that we are always going through an ever changing process without any unchanging, permanent self. We are but the totality of this "bundle" of selves, which are often in conflict with one another. It is as if we were a bundle of selves loosely tied together by the thin string of personality with' a label bearing our name and address.

    GETTING "ON THE LEVEL" WITH OURSELVES

    In order to harmonize our various conflicting "selves", we should learn to know ourSELVES better. This is done through the practice of awareness, of which there are four aspects: the awareness of oneself, of others, of the environment, and of the truth. The awareness of oneself is best cultivated through the practice• of meditation. Such meditation methods, like the Mindfulness of Breathing, helps us become more calm and more aware of ourselves. When we reach a state of mental calm during such a practice, we are said to have reached "horizontal integration" - we are "on the level" with ourselves.

    "VERTICAL -INTEGRATION"

    As we become more and more of ourselves, we get a clearer understanding and experience of other people and our environment. We begin to see our untapped energies and enjoy our own higher potentiality. Our consciousness becomes more and more developed. This is called "vertical integration", that is, the integration of our conscious mind with the Unconscious (or the "higher mind").

    As our consciousness becomes more and more developed, our experience of things begins to deepen and the horizon of our thoughts begins to widen. People and things around us no more delude us, but appear as they really are. No more do we see merely the surface of things, but we begin to "see through" them!"

    Kerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 19

    @Kerome said:
    Have you encountered occasions where you have caught yourself in inconsistencies?

    Never! o:)

    oh wait ...

    @federica said:
    Not a day goes by, @Kerome ...

    Yep. #metoo

    Sure is tough being a peeple ... :3

    ... in a sense we have to be insistent in our move towards sila. In other words

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome

    Have you encountered occasions where you have caught yourself in inconsistencies?

    It's easier to ask if I've ever caught myself not being inconsistent.
    Not only are the goal posts dancing around the field but all of the players seems to be re inventing themselves from moment to moment.

    Oh for the luxury of having attachments willing to simply be called head or heart centric.

    lobsterKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited July 19

    It’s funny how widespread this seems to be, I wasn’t expecting that. I think the fact that I haven’t noticed it before is kind of due to the fact that my emotional self doesn’t make itself felt that often.

    But I think the whole aspect of training or educating the heart is difficult, because how exactly are you going to go about it? Obviously just thinking is no good, because otherwise it would happen automatically and these inconsistencies wouldn’t come up.

    @tosh’s method of not following the first instinct is interesting from the point of view of altering one’s outside behaviour, but it doesn’t seem to provide a path to inner unity.

    It does seem clear that these different selves, the logical self and the emotional self, learn at different rates.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    It does seem clear that these different selves, the logical self and the emotional self, learn at different rates.

    Logic? I heard of that ... [lobster puts on thunking cap] 2+2=3 ... that sort of thing?

    Logic is only one aspect of mind. Just as in some dharma schooling, 'all is Mind' so that includes wisdom, emotions, instincts and experience ... and remirth
    https://www.lionsroar.com/dharma-dictionary-yogacara

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 19

    I've totally caught myself in that snare and it's definately a teachable moment. I think it means we are learning how to recondition ourselves.

    Every time I catch myself like that it feels a bit like going back to the breath once I catch myself drifting off during sitting meditation.

    I think it is a sign of progress.

    Besides, @Kerome, it's your Mom and being useful is a good thing.

    lobsterKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    Besides, @Kerome, it's your Mom and being useful is a good thing.

    You don’t know my mom... she can be pretty tough. And feisty!

    David
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @David said:
    Besides, @Kerome, it's your Mom and being useful is a good thing.

    You don’t know my mom... she can be pretty tough. And feisty!

    Can't all mums of that age range?
    I suspect your Mum is in her 80's...?

    In their youth they had to rely on a survival instinct. It was a tough existence, and one which has left an indelible mark on the generation of that 'Difficult Time'.

    War changes people.
    Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But it changes people, and they plumb depths of character we can never imagine accessing within ourselves.

    (I hope we never have to.
    If this Global Pandemic is anything to go by, we'd hit the self-destruct button all too quickly. )

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    Can't all mums of that age range?
    I suspect your Mum is in her 80's...?

    My mum is in her 70’s, she was a postwar child but she was brought up with a lot of the wartime stories, she always blamed her being rather short on a decision when she was young not to eat a lot so that “if there was another hunger winter she wouldn’t need so much”. She is a character.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    ref Crowd of Selves;
    Within my mind, we are many. We don't mind except that the couch gets a wee bit crowded. Yet there is always room for all. =) ;) B)

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Lionduck always room for One more ... or one less ... <3

    Lionduck
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited July 20

    @Kerome said:

    @David said:
    Besides, @Kerome, it's your Mom and being useful is a good thing.

    You don’t know my mom... she can be pretty tough. And feisty!

    Oh hey, I didn't think she'd take offence, lol. I'm assuming she cooked for you often enough that if she says it's your turn that its bloody well your turn, haha.

    Just a bit of levity but good thought provoking thread!

    LionduckKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @David said:
    Oh hey, I didn't think she'd take offence, lol. I'm assuming she cooked for you often enough that if she says it's your turn that its bloody well your turn, haha.

    Just a bit of levity but good thought provoking thread!

    You are not wrong sir.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited July 20

    I have heard that Buddhist meditation, specifically shamatha, is supposed to reduce the effect, and allow you to bring different selves more into harmony over time. Breathing meditation and metta bhavana are both supposed to contribute.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Sometimes the best meditation is ride down a country road. Quiets the chatter and lifts the spirits.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    With all the different sense of selves we are in the habit of experiencing as we go about the day, it's as if we all (to a certain extent) suffer from mild cases of DID ...on a regular bases...
    Not a complete change of this sense of self, there's still a sense of original self within the sense of different self ..if this makes sense to self ;)

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited July 20

    I can't find a smaller image, this is a mosaic of a face. A crowd of selves.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I find what @Shoshin says is too true :)
    We might think of these masking selves not as a pathology but a way to deal with the parts of our lay life.
    During practice we have a Buddhist monkey mind-self that can integrate or make us aware of this imbalance.
    We are not trying to create another self except as a temporary measure.

    Here is a list of just some of my so called empties/emojis/shells ... oh none of them are real ... :o
    ... oh well back to The Search ...

    ShoshinKerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I do find that during meditation everything goes quiet. A gently aware presence, tending towards sleep but not asleep, is where I am and there are normally no emotions and very few thoughts.

    But most of the process of becoming aware is down to mindfulness, being conscious of what goes on inside you. Developing an alertness of these areas is a key part of practice.

    A friend of mine said, that’s part of the eightfold path, right mindfulness. But I consider it more an independent discipline, with its own sutras dedicated to it.

    how
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited July 21

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu often talks about the mind as a committee. For example:

    There are many different ideas of “you” in your mind, each with its own agenda. Each of these “you's” is a member of the committee of the mind. This is why the mind is less like a single mind and more like an unruly throng of people: lots of different voices, with lots of different opinions about what you should do. Some members of the committee are open and honest about the assumptions underlying their central desires. Others are more obscure and devious. This is because each committee member is like a politician, with its own supporters and strategies for satisfying their desires. One of the purposes of meditation is to bring these dealings out into the open, so that you can bring more order to the committee — so that your desires for happiness work less at cross purposes, and more in harmony as you realize that they don’t always have to be in conflict."

    KeromeJeffreyShoshinperson
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited July 21

    @Kerome said:

    A friend of mine said, that’s part of the eightfold path, right mindfulness. But I consider it more an independent discipline, with its own sutras dedicated to it.

    Its interesting the varying levels of emphasis that different schools and lineages put on different parts of the 8 FP. Personally, I see the 8 FP as an eight spoked wheel whose teaching and function is only as strong as its weakest spoke. The road towards sufferings cessation, is littered with the broken wheels that have failed largely because of focusing unevenly on some spokes to the detriment of the others.

    To listen to that part of the human condition that directs our focus upon those aspects of the 8FP that one has a particular affinity or aptitude for is understandable but is counterproductive when what is really going on is an avoidance of those aspects of the 8 FP that we have little affinity or aptitude in facing. A good teacher is just whatever keeps pointing us back towards addressing our weakest spokes.

    It will definitely not be as glitzy or as stimulating to be a generalist in ones development of the spokes of the 8 FP but what else is suffering's cause but an unbalanced wheel.

    Shoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited July 21

    I am not really sure about the 8FP in general, I find it a strange mixture of sila-based daily practice and aspects of being which one tries to develop. Mindfulness and it’s effects, that I can get my head around, and I can see its practical benefits. At the same time, I have been practicing a number of spokes of the wheel of the 8FP but others are opaque to me. I don’t feel the effects or see it’s benefit.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Good post from @how

    Most of us are unfit to fit our tire and just inflate our preferred misspoken ...

    Talking of witch ...

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