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October 29, 2009


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Good news? GREAT news. Thank you for recommending this book, Brian. Metzinger's findings are complex, but that's to be expected when speaking of the mind and the perceptual self-model. It explains that timeless aspect of our selves we call the "soul" and takes that troublesome concept right off the table.

John, yes, it's a great relief to realize that we don't have to fret about finding our true self, since the evidence points elsewhere -- sort of like stopping worrying about seeing the unicorn in my backyard, once I realize that it doesn't exist.

I was pondering along the same lines as I went to sleep last night. Envisioning the lightness of being that comes from not feeling as heavy with a soul or self, but rather floating on the same reality currents as everything else in existence.

Feeling special used to appeal to me. Now, not nearly so much. I'd rather be real and true than imaginary and false, even if the latter approach promises stuff like salvation, eternal life, and reaching the lap of God.

- - - - - - - - - -

The basis of my 'confusion' seems to be that I
consider myself to be some kind of a solid, continuous reality.
Plus I take great care to preserve that self-invented
illusory-certainty. For instance, I hold onto the sense that 'I' am writing these words.

Also I feel certain that I am going to be here
tomorrow to read any response to 'my' post.
Obviously, intellectually, I know that is not certain at all.
But still, I'm extremely confident.

This is what rules my life!
I go after 'self'-fulfilment and avoid anything
that minimises my sense of 'self'.

My own sense-of-self converts EVERYTHING I experience
into yet further means of preserving this sense of self.
Even the pursuit of a 'spiritual path'!
How wacky is that?

I convert the teachings of 'Spirituality'
into a subject for rational argument,
intellectual dissection and academic learning
without actually doing the decent thing and
attempting to actually surrender the struggle
of preserving this 'self' by melting it in the sea
of the promised and sought after 'reality of love'.
And I do that, even after receiving a considerable 'taster'
which held out a promise of that being a reality,
which seemed to be obtained due to belief in the RS concepts,
application of the philosophy,
and via personal association with an RS Master...

Mostly that last one. The most sublime moments following
the path of RS teachings have been nothing to do with
receiving an answer to a question or learning
a new aspect of the teachings
but have been just being in the presence of the one
I accepted as my Master with an absence of any
analytical thinking at all, a state of just letting go.

It sounds corny and doesn't come anywhere near
to describing the experience but a state of just 'being'
almost like being merely an observer to the 'play',
but without any awarenesss of observer or observed.

I imitate the Master's teachings by intellectually positing
it is my ego that is creating all the song and dance –
and that is not to say that there is anything wrong
with singing and dancing –
but these moments of stillness and what seems to be a vastly
purer awareness stand out in my memory as the most vivid
and profound moments of my life.

If only I could "let go" more often...
. - -
May 24th 2000

i've ordered a copy of metzinger's book, but not sure its my cup of tea.

i prefer those who can explain their theories cleanly and vividly, and tend to distrust those who rely on techical, unclear or invented jargon - and the latter appears to be metzinger;s greatest problem.

he's almost dissapeared up himself with all his pseuso-scientific conceptualisations and definitions.

the tunnel metaphor is quite a nice one in that we humans are only able to percieve a small spectrum of reality, via our tunnels, but this seems to then this metaphor appears to get confused to.

as for the concept of a physical self (or soul), i'm not sure why he think this needs to be disproved. i thought the idea of a self-model generated by the mind as an evolutionary adaptation was the prevailing theory in any case.

in short i am not sure what he is really trying to say and what the implications of his theory supposely are.

Mystic Bumwipe, there are many ways to let go, to just "be," to dissolve into an intimate connection with someone or something else. I might make this the theme of today's blog post.

It's great that you felt this in the presence of your guru. But it's also possible to feel the same sensation via other means.

George, I agree that Metzinger isn't presenting any astoundingly new notions in his book. What I liked about it is that he isn't a neuroscientist, but a philosopher (who apparently specializes in the philosophy of mind).

So "The Ego Tunnel" has a different feel than other books I've read that were authored by neuroscientists. Metzinger knows his science, but also focuses on the philosophical implications of what has been learned about the brain in some fairly unique ways.

I have read Metzinger's book and yes, it's a bit technical. But the 'self' concept is not diffucult to understand -a 'self', 'me' or 'I' is composed of all our experiences and memories 'stored' in the brain. We identify these contents - my family, country, religion etc. as being who I am. The contents comprise the mind, the 'self' being just an aspect of mind. Minds are just information in the brain. Attachment to any of this information (contents) produces the 'ego' aspect of mind where all our conflicts of duality arise. Awareness of the process that creates the 'mind', the 'self' leaves only the reality we call 'Life'.

I have just watched the entire
Metzinger video. He says :

If it is true that the self is not a thing,
but a process, then it is also true that the tragedy of the ego dissolves.
Because strictly speaking, nobody is every born and nobody ever dies. end quote

(He got the nobody born and nobody dies
line from Ramana Maharshi.)

Metzinger appears to be making a mistake.
When enlightenment occurs it means the
realization of no self. (no ego)

It does not mean the ego disolves. Instead.
the enlightened use the ego like a toy to
project personality.

The enlightened use the ego, whereas
before, the ego used them.

The source of action comes from a new source
when the self, or ego is seen as a falacy.
The loss of identification with the ego
suddenly leaves a vacuum.

Something Else must enter that vacuum.

Metzinger has not experieced this for himself yet. So, like Mary, he has not seen color yet. He can only speculate.

Metzinger video. He says :

"If it is true that the self is not a thing,
but a process..."

The self is both a thing and a process.
Thought is a thing and it is a process.

The problem occurs when thought, a thing,
personalizes itself into a WHO.

How can a thing, as thought, become a WHO ?

Thought functions, but it somehow manufactures a permenant functioneer,
a WHO.

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