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April 20, 2022


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If you can watch your own thoughts as an observer, that is very good. Because you are using executive brain to observe mid and lower brain functions.

Because then you are not just reacting blindly, unaware of what you are thinking.

Dualism is a great place to reach. It isn't where practitioners start. Harris is wrong there.

People realize in true meditation practice, that they can observe peacefully their thoughts and emotions, rather than blindly act on them, only aware of what they are doing after the fact.

To maintain that level of awareness of both what is going on outside and inside gives the practitioner greater control. Knowing more of what they are reacting to, they can choose to respond differently. Awareness always creates awareness of new options.

But being no different from their emotions, not seeing these dissipassionately, they have no choice but to react as those emotions dictate.

Harris seems happy to be ignorant. He seems to be arguing that it is better not to know. Not knowing, having no visible options, we have nothing to strive for.

But we do. We strive to find steps forward on darkness. Why not see those steps in awareness.

He is wrong.

The materialism of psuedo neuroscience is an overreach. We may well be dualistic.


“Mirghafori believes that equanimity is central to spirituality. She has a dualistic approach to enlightenment, or realization, where the goal is to attain an inward state of silent/pure consciousness that is separate from everyday consciousness.”

Sounds a lot like Mirghafori practice is more about therapy, which is fine and definitely fulfills a need. Years ago, I enrolled on an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course at our local university. A programme developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and now called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. The type of training wasn’t my ‘cup of tea’ but there was no doubt that people in the class benefited from the course.

Of course, it was by necessity dualistic. There were folks suffering from various stress-related problems who would not need to embrace the non-dualistic approach. Jon Kabat-Zinn had no reluctance in playing the Buddhism right down. “I got into this through the Zen door which is a very irreverent approach to Buddhism,” he says.

Perhaps as Harris indicates, while there remains this sense of a separate ‘I’, the structure for suffering still remains. Pain in all its forms still remains, but with life’s experiences no longer being channeled through an illusory ‘self’ structure there is no ‘me’ or ‘self’ who suffers. And also, as he points out: - “. . .it's also being sort of connected to thoughts about one's life or one's past or one's future, or the state of the world.”

Hi Ron
You wrote
"Pain in all its forms still remains, but with life’s experiences no longer being channeled through an illusory ‘self’ structure there is no ‘me’ or ‘self’ who suffers. And also, as he points out: - “. . .it's also being sort of connected to thoughts about one's life or one's past or one's future, or the state of the world.”

I think I'm getting it. Or at least I think I'm seeing something new in what you wrote.

Are you saying that awareness of ourselves, from the position of being an observer, is a form of Dualism that let's us realize that the persona we identify with is not real, or is just a construction..
Was that your point, or closer to it?

@ Ron E. : [ Perhaps as Harris indicates, while there remains this sense of a separate ‘I’, the structure for suffering still remains. Pain in all its forms still remains, but with life’s experiences no longer being channeled through an illusory ‘self’ structure there is no ‘me’ or ‘self’ who suffers. ]

If there's no 'me' or 'self' as channel, who can say what's experienced... perhaps in
this 'no me' state it now experiences the totality of everything though. So the totality
is immersed in it all including the suffering but just not channeled thru the prism of
a self. Of course, being totality with all that might imply, maybe it chooses to wrap
itself (or more accurately its non-self) in a temporary self to experience love or
gratitude or joy or excitement and then return 'home'. You'd have to attain that
'no-self' state to understand.

Outside of the human mind there is just causality happening in now-ness.

All THINGS physical, emotional, psychological or any combination thereof within human experience, in the known universe, only come into existence as THINGS via sensory data input and when assigned a language label to aid communication with each other. Without the human observer there are no labels. There are just THINGS happening in now-ness due to preceding causes and conditions in which no first cause can be established.

The label is not the THING in or of itself. It is the perceptive understanding of what the THING is. Accepting THINGS as they are and not how we perceive them to be, allows the experience to be as it is in order that we can respond as it appropriate to the experience without worrying about it.

These Things will not bite you
They want to have fun.
Then, out of the box
Came Thing 2 and Thing 1!

Really great post. And great comments, as well.

Nothing to add. I find myself entirely out of my depth, as far as this specific discussion. Which is a good thing, because this is a chance to add to what little I know.

I found these two to be the cream of the excellent crop of material in Brian's post and in people's comments: First of all, the article that is linked in Brian's article, and specifically the portion which very simply and very clearly discusses what non-dualistic practice might amount to, at a spit-on-your-hands-and-get-down-to-it level. Nothing new there, really, but very nicely summarizes/describes the whole thing using only a very few words, barely two or three easy-to-understand sentences, and in a no-frills, very-easy-to-take-out-for-a-test-run manner. And second of all, your short comment here, Roger. Again nothing new, but very concisely and clearly summarizes a whole mass of philosophy.

But like I said, I find all of this thread, Brian's main article certainly, as well as the rest of the comments here, very interesting and ...food for thought? Have bookmarked this thread, for a re-read at leisure later on.

From the Zen perspective the self is a construct, a construct derived from the contents of mind, which in itself is comprised of a lifetime’s experiences. I understand that Zen recognises the value and function of the self, which they see as a normal function of the total organism. The self then in this view is not something to be defeated, just something to be understood – along with the mind.

To understand non-duality is to appreciate that the concepts we use to demarcate the world are human constructions. These attributes are the sense our minds make of reality. Seeing without the screening of the mind/self is what I understand as non-dualistic. It tells of the interconnectedness of everything – or, the fact that one thing cannot exist without the other.

Harris says that in meditation practice everyone starts off with a dualistic approach. Well, our lives are naturally dualistic. Perhaps for infants and other living creatures the world is not dualistic. It is not until the senses and the brain, gradually absorbing information from the environment that the mind of information as we know it forms – along with the emergence of a self.

Experiencing life through a personal self, through a self that is coloured by one’s particular conditioning is to see what one believes is there rather than the reality of what is there. In Zen, terms such as ‘just this’, and ‘the first moment’ are used to convey that which is seen before the discriminating mind takes over. Watching the processes of the self/mind phenomenon is mindfulness. (In Zen meditation practice called Zazen).

Oneness is the goal and meditation is the tool. Or is it?

There are millions of forms of meditation as described by Shiva, the hindu alien demigod god, who is regarded as the lord of meditation. Mantra meditation, as practiced by RSSB disciplines and promoted by the clown gurinder singh dhillon is dangerous. The first name, jot niranjan, translates as light of the devil. The other so called secret names: Onkar, rar unkar, sohung, satnam, are a pathway to kaal, Lucifer, satan. Do not repeat them. Do not get initiated. Gurinder is not god in human form, which means he must be the opposite. Just look at his actions when he is not on stage mascarading as a perfect guru. You have been warned.

The human brain is several intelligences, and there is intelligence within the body.

Dualism is, physiologically, what we are.

Integrating into the whole is a matter of becoming conscious of that, and following the natural path of integration.

First step, learn to accept and observe yourself.

Now-ness explained,

Time is a human concept to communicate change. Change is the only constant in the known universe and as such can never be static. The past only exists as a memory and the future only exists as a projection. The process of causality, that links the past to the future, I refer to as now-ness. Now-ness is the non static flow of experience.
In our everyday communication we use terms such as now, moment or present to try and communicate our current experience, but even the word current is deceptive as it too is within the flow of now-ness.

Conscious awareness is going with the flow of now-ness and responding to the flow of experience as is appropriate to the experience. All human experience happens within now-ness.


I like where you’re going with this. To me, “Now” is really outside the restraints of time.

Time is a learning tool that will be abolished once it’s usefulness is no longer needed.

Tapping into the Now is a skill that, unfortunately, many people never master. It’s the Now that helps me see death as a short transition to something greater. I never realized how strong I am until recently. That said, I would rather be the one to suffer loss than to witness others trying to make sense of loss. If you can experience Now you realize time is so short it’s practically non existent. All this pain and suffering will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Love is the ultimate strength. If you can live with everything in you, then you can get through anything.

Hi Ron
I’ve been enjoying reading your comments re the Harris post (and others).
I think many of us would now agree that this so-called self that thinks and makes ‘decisions’ about ‘it’s’ life really is just something composed of and created by a lifetime (maybe lifetimes) of memories, conditioning, and stories/interpretations made up by itself to justify its existence.
I agree however that it’s not necessary, practical nor possible? for this I to be wiped altogether while alive. The trick like you say is to take a Zen approach and see it as something to be understood (I.e. put into perspective) with obvious usefulness.
I like when Harris talks of recognition of the non-dual state. I think he is careful not to say using this method or that, I or you will recognise this state, as clearly, the normal I we identify with is no longer there to do the recognising. For me this is the core of all the seeking, path travelling, inquiry etc. The recognition of reality as it is prior to our mind’s intervention. Pre-discursive.
Simple in theory, much harder in practice. That which has thought it has lived and been real for a lifetime doesn’t like the idea of being unimportant, impermanent, or worse - not being.
I believe Harris’ approach to use ‘momentary mindfulness’ is good as a ‘method’ . As a Roshi said (as I remember) enlightenment is a moment to moment state. Again very simple in theory.
For me there definitely is a resonance when Harris says: ‘In this moment is there something you can be aware of that is synonymous with freedom?…… the search actually is over in this moment…’
There’s a lot of juice in this sentence imo.


"Love is the ultimate strength. If you can live with everything in you, then you can get through anything." --- That is a very nice comment .................

Where is that inspiration for progress?
Always it within, even resonating with other ideas, that resonance is within us.

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