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June 23, 2023

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That’s fascinating. There are so many symbols in the the dream you described. Symbols are like keys to unlocking doors.

Is it not strange that we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping? What is the purpose of that?

Hi Brian
You wrote
"Because that evidence actually demolishes the notion of an enduring unchanging self. So those who claim that notions about awareness, consciousness, or soul point to a self that is a fixed North Star in a constellation of change have a lot of explaining to do."

The mind creates the identity, the memory and the brain reinvents your persona, the one you see and the one you don't see, several times a minute.

This does indeed demolish the notion of an enduring persona. You aren't the same person you were ten minutes ago. You are a memory clone of him. A reproduction. A memory photocopy. Alzheimers is just the evidence of how fragile this continuing reconstruction actually is.

If your dream is fleeting, it is simply a degraded version of the persona your mind creates and recreates in its waking state.

If you believe the body is temporal, changing and fleeting, neuroscience proves this is so to several powers of magnitude for the persona.

If this is so, then why do you believe your view is the same, your opinion is an immutable truth year after year? Your varying mind tells you so. The same mind that deletes what you don't want to know and magnifies into accepted and obvious Truth what you wish to believe. The same mind that is supressing information input and fabricating information to patch together a consistent image, memory, impression and opinion.

The sense of Truth from these flawed minds is equally illusory, built on a house of cards of logic mixed with self-justification. Yet it feels entirely eternal. Truth with a capital T. But that is an illusion.

So what is there to justify? Even the notion of a solid argument evaporates from a larger context, a larger perspective.

Is this persona all we are,or is there experience outside the persona that we can enjoy? The brain, afterall, is not only the persona it manufactures, just as an actor isn't only the role they play.

And what about the state of awareness of deep meditation, where we can not only see our own thoughts, but the symbol-generating machinery behind them? And when those thoughts evaporate, experience pure light, peace, love and insight.... Even see the moon and the stars, and travel beyond these, experience soaring through the stars

Those are also right there in the brain, in their own states, different from sleep, different from normal wakefulness, but accessible through practices that include meditation, prayer and worship. They arise all on their own and we only create the conditions of peaceful focus on a beloved ideal. That ideal can be God, Truth, Spirit, our beloved Teacher, The Now, Emptiness, even the truth of our own breath.

Different states of wakefulness adds to the mystery and depth of all the things that you see and believe.

Deep meditation and all the neuroscience evidence that this is a unique state of awareness is there for us to enjoy and explore. Prayer and meditation upon our chosen object of focus or worship is there to enjoy. And a large body of growing evidence supports the Truth that this is very healthy.

And some of that evidence includes participation in religion. That can increase your life span by 5-7 years.

Truth about things science hasn't been able to uncover may be beyond our comprehension. We are subjective beings, these personas. But experience that is outside these constructed personas, and a variety of systems of belief and practices to get us there, is within our capacity. And the focused attention and well being that acrues from it has hard evidence.

God and soul may not exist. Belief in them can be very healthy.

Those are two conflicting truths.

Can you live with both?

I can and do.


The brain uses about twenty percent of the body's calories, and that varies by no more than 8% during various wakeful states of rest and activity.

When you are resting the brain is using at least two thirds of the energy required for the most intense mental and physical activity.

Thinking doesn't actually require most of the brain's calorie consumption.

There is a theory of the Default Mode Network, which is more active when you are not focused on mental activity.

Is the DMN responsible for our persona?


" The DMN is a set of brain regions that exhibits strong low-frequency oscillations coherent during resting state and is thought to be activated when individuals are focused on their internal mental-state processes, such as self-referential processing,"


https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/autobiographical-memory


If the Default Mode Network generates that imaginary persona, and grows more active at rest, how strange that deep meditation turns the DMN way down. And long term meditators keep the DMN on low whether at rest, in meditation or activity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4529365/

Maybe we can improve the functioning of our brain and its thinking beyond the persona of our constructed identity?

Fuck, I dream weird shit all time.

Hmm, weird and super-intense dream, was it? ...Impermanence of self, and philosophizing about butterflies, that's all very well, but the important thing to focus on here is, was there a safe?

(It's always a safe. No matter the rest of the details of it, that part of it stays unchanged, the safe thing. You're somehow guided to it, and then asked to open it, and extract something from it. Except, of course, it's they that are doing the extracting.)

I've been reading the Bhagavad Gita lately. The 2nd chapter is devoted to this topic of self, arguing contrary to Buddhist ideas that each of us have an individual, eternal self.

I'm no stranger to the Buddhist/Advaita argument that a personal self is an illusion. And, I've spent more than a few hours on a zafu exploring the meditational experience of the ephemerality and emptiness of thought. So I both conceptually and experientially get what they're talking about.

But I think the Bhagavad Gita has it right. We actually do have a permanent self. This isn't an opinion wrought from metaphysics. That's because the perception of a permanent, enduring self is everyone's experience. It's our experience from the moment we come into this world until we die.

I can recall my earlies memories from when I was 3yrs old or so. The feeling of self I had then, is exactly the same as it is today, right now. My perception that the people around me are also distinct selves is a likewise constant.

And my, and I would argue your, constant perception of self is true even in dreams, such as the dream in this essay's example. The events of a dream may be fantastical, but we always see these events as a self. The events are fluid, but the self is not.

The same is true in our waking lives. That is, we may be beguiled by erroneous assumptions and come to see them as false. But we're never in truly in doubt that what we are is a self, that we see life as a self.

All of us really do have a distinct identity and destiny as selves, whether we like it or not.

@ Brian [ Is that sense justified? Arguably we have no way of knowing, since if everyday life is akin to a dream, it will seem absolutely real and true until we wake up... ]

Mystics say we're still snoring after waking up from any number
of dreams --even higher level ones-- until we reach God or the
"totality of consciousness". Socks will have nowhere to hide.

🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿

Loved this. That is exactly how dreams go. Glad you found them socks, and it was a little humorous that your life cannot go on without little links.
I am so relieved my math dreams and dreams of going in to take an exam/test are a thing of the long past.

🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿

"For mental illness can markedly change the contours of a person's self."

Sant Charandas's female disciple Sahajo Bai Ji authorized by her Master to share his teachings compiled poetry in Sahaj Prakash, which was later translated by a Harry Aveling as (The Brightness of Simplicity)
and wrote:

"Only those who give themselves completely
can follow the guru's path,
Only the brave
can follow the guru's path.
Only a warrior
can follow the guru's path.
No coward can ever
follow the guru's path.
The light of liberation shines
on the guru's path."
-Ch. On the Grace of the Guru, pg. 13-19: found
in-part at Google books
https://books.google.com/books?id=kSkLdSpp7acC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Sahaj+Prakash&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiUmZnCwN7_AhVhLUQIHd_SDTQQ6AF6BAgBEAI

I brought this up because Sahajo Bai Ji was persecuted for her views, people laughed and ridiculed her and also called her crazy because she shared the truth. Giving the facts straight. In my opinion, her way of describing the path lacked details about higher inner regions, but her expressions show that she attained much. Like when she says, "the light of liberation shines" this doesn't say anything about light and sound. But it suggests her inner eye had to have reached the Ultimate Goal. Because she freely shared her Master's message knowing the dire price she'd pay for going against the norms at the time. A lot of her poetry resonates with stories as told by Sawan Singh Ji and Maharaj Ji. Even Gurinder Singh Ji Dhillon is ridiculed for his unshakeable deliverance of the same message of how to attain degrees of light on the path.

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