blackfence

Chasing reflectivity: seek to notice the 'mirror' quality of each moment

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Reflectivity is a central concept for the seeker... each moment has a kind of unchangeable quality which isn't about its content, but is a reflection of the experiencer, of the Self. The seeker needs to chase that reflectivity, which is nothing but being, awareness, bliss and, the I. The chase for reflectivity can never result in catching it, but it can result in a restructuring of the mind that destroys the ignorant belief that "I am an experiencing, doing person" that conceals the *true* reflectivity.

 

 

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1 hour ago, blackfence said:

The seeker needs to chase that reflectivity, which is nothing but being, awareness, bliss and, the I. The chase for reflectivity can never result in catching it, but it can result in a restructuring of the mind that destroys the ignorant belief that "I am an experiencing, doing person" that conceals the *true* reflectivity.

Are you positing here that the outer world of forms reflected by the mind is awareness, bliss and the I, and for that reason practice is required to 'chase' such reflections down despite knowing that such effort is ultimately futile and exasperating? An interesting, radical perspective which seems to imply that reflectivity is a siddhi of some sort, key to eliminating the ignorant belief in an experiencer and actor, both of which are impediments to *true* reflectivity? Is this what you're conveying? And also, how does *false* reflectivity manifest, and how would one know the difference?

 

Cheers, thanks :) 

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7 hours ago, C T said:

Are you positing here that the outer world of forms reflected by the mind is awareness, bliss and the I, and for that reason practice is required to 'chase' such reflections down despite knowing that such effort is ultimately futile and exasperating? An interesting, radical perspective which seems to imply that reflectivity is a siddhi of some sort, key to eliminating the ignorant belief in an experiencer and actor, both of which are impediments to *true* reflectivity? Is this what you're conveying? And also, how does *false* reflectivity manifest, and how would one know the difference?

 

Cheers, thanks :) 

 

Not exactly. What I'm saying is that the world of forms has two aspects: content and reflectivity. The content changes, but the reflective quality is constant. Seekers should attempt to attend constantly to this reflectivity, to try to notice what it is. If they try this, they will find that the reflectivity is extremely elusive... every time they think they have it, they will have just grasped more changing content... but the effort will eventually silence the mind, and then in that silence, if the inquiry continues to be pursued, the reflectivity that is being chased will give way to the true reflectivity, which will be known because it is not something that is grasped. It is what one is.

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14 hours ago, blackfence said:

 

Not exactly. What I'm saying is that the world of forms has two aspects: content and reflectivity. The content changes, but the reflective quality is constant. Seekers should attempt to attend constantly to this reflectivity, to try to notice what it is. If they try this, they will find that the reflectivity is extremely elusive... every time they think they have it, they will have just grasped more changing content... but the effort will eventually silence the mind, and then in that silence, if the inquiry continues to be pursued, the reflectivity that is being chased will give way to the true reflectivity, which will be known because it is not something that is grasped. It is what one is.


Is this your form of an expedient mean to realize the quality of mirror like wisdom which is undisturbed by reflections?

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Reflectivity seems like a clunky concept to me. I think I sort of get what is being talked about, but I am not comfortable using that label in direct experience. Reflectivity, at best, is an inference, and at worst it would be a mere concept. For me, it sounds like something is originating from somewhere, bouncing off of something else, and then returning to the originating source. I experience none of this except as a thought. 

 

Typically, when I imbibe Advaita, I like to take it from Swami Sarvapriyananda. I have also found Carol Whitfield (Radha) from Arsha Kulum to be helpful, and Michael James from Happiness of Being/Sri Ramana Teachings. You might want to check out those teachings as well. Of course, I am a Buddhist, so take my opinions with a grain of salt. 

 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness
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3 hours ago, ilumairen said:


Is this your form of an expedient mean to realize the quality of mirror like wisdom which is undisturbed by reflections?

Yes.

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3 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

Reflectivity seems like a clunky concept to me. I think I sort of get what is being talked about, but I am not comfortable using that label in direct experience. Reflectivity, at best, is an inference, and at worst it would be a mere concept. For me, it sounds like something is originating from somewhere, bouncing off of something else, and then returning to the originating source. I experience none of this except as a thought. 

Yes, and this is in fact very much along the lines of a conventional advaita vedanta understanding of experience -- inasmuch as experience exists. The light of the Self bounces off the ego and is reflected; that manifests as the I. That reflected light undergoes further superimpositions in the mind, body, etc. 

 

The reflectivity manifests as the illumination of the I in every experience; followed back, it traces back to that originating ego thought, and then back to the light of the Self.

 

Of course this is a thought, but all teaching is a thought. The point is that this is another way of showing that element of experience which is closest to the Self, which, when followed, leads back to it. It is the weak point of the illusion. 

Edited by blackfence
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In Kashmir Shaivism, these are known as PrakńĀsha (Illumination) and Vimarsha (Reflection) and they go hand-in-hand. Illumination is the nature of Shiva, and reflection is his power (Shakti).¬†The vimarsha part¬†is articulated in chidńĀbhńĀsha of Advaita Vedanta, in as much as I can grok it :)¬†

 

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22 minutes ago, dwai said:

In Kashmir Shaivism, these are known as PrakńĀsha (Illumination) and Vimarsha (Reflection) and they go hand-in-hand. Illumination is the nature of Shiva, and reflection is his power (Shakti).¬†The vimarsha part¬†is articulated in chidńĀbhńĀsha of Advaita Vedanta, in as much as I can grok it :)¬†

 

Interesting re: Prakasha and Vimarsha. ChidńĀbhńĀsha refers¬†to how the ego is¬†neither¬†pure awareness¬†nor¬†simple dead, insentient matter... but is the reflection of one off the other. It is the "location" of ignorance, so to say... because dead matter cannot be ignorant, and pure awareness cannot be ignorant either. So it is a kind of shimmering illusion which appears to be ignorant, and which, in the process of realization, is 'destroyed.'¬†

 

This reflection is also why realization is known as the destruction of the chit-jada (awareness-matter) granthi (knot). That knot between the two is the reflection, is the "superimposition thought" which mistakes one for the other. That's what has to be cut with the light of Knowledge, so to say.

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All teachings are thoughts, but some teachings point to direct experience and others do not. How experience arises (supposedly outside of experience) is one of those. One never experiences what occurs "behind the scenes" so to speak, experience always arises as it is. What happens outside of direct experience is no more than speculation in my view. Some of these speculations are more useful than others, of course, but usefulness has no necessary connection with truth. 

 

The mind (at least my mind, maybe others are different) likes to fixate and grasp. When confronted with "something" (words fail) that lacks reference points, it will often make one up (usually an experience, a thought, a sensation, even a perception). 

 

29 minutes ago, blackfence said:

Yes, and this is in fact very much along the lines of a conventional advaita vedanta understanding of experience -- inasmuch as experience exists. The light of the Self bounces off the ego and is reflected; that manifests as the I. That reflected light undergoes further superimpositions in the mind, body, etc. 

 

The reflectivity manifests as the illumination of the I in every experience; followed back, it traces back to that originating ego thought, and then back to the light of the Self.

 

Of course this is a thought, but all teaching is a thought. The point is that this is another way of showing that element of experience which is closest to the Self, which, when followed, leads back to it. It is the weak point of the illusion. 

 

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22 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

All teachings are thoughts, but some teachings point to direct experience and others do not. How experience arises (supposedly outside of experience) is one of those. One never experiences what occurs "behind the scenes" so to speak, experience always arises as it is. What happens outside of direct experience is no more than speculation in my view. Some of these speculations are more useful than others, of course, but usefulness has no necessary connection with truth. 

Reflectivity is not outside direct experience. It is that aspect of direct experience which is not its content, but is the shining awareness of the experience.

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Why not just call it that then, rather than come up with a clunky concept?

 

1 hour ago, blackfence said:

Reflectivity is not outside direct experience. It is that aspect of direct experience which is not its content, but is the shining awareness of the experience.

 

This is the first explanation of Chidabhasa that I have heard that actually makes sense. 

 

3 hours ago, blackfence said:

Interesting re: Prakasha and Vimarsha. ChidńĀbhńĀsha refers¬†to how the ego is¬†neither¬†pure awareness¬†nor¬†simple dead, insentient matter... but is the reflection of one off the other. It is the "location" of ignorance, so to say... because dead matter cannot be ignorant, and pure awareness cannot be ignorant either. So it is a kind of shimmering illusion which appears to be ignorant, and which, in the process of realization, is 'destroyed.'¬†

 

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6 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

Why not just call it that then, rather than come up with a clunky concept?

 

 

This is the first explanation of Chidabhasa that I have heard that actually makes sense. 

 

 

The second sentence is the answer to the question in the first sentence. Reflectivity not a clunky concept; it's an important one with a long pedigree in vedanta and yoga. Experience does have a reflective aspect to it, and that reflective quality is key to the illusion. When our minds contact an object, the flavor the object takes on as a result of the light of awareness falling upon it, that particular taste, that particular ineffable aesthetic quality... is most certainly describable as reflective.

 

And to reflect also means to contemplate/introspect, and essentially the search is about introspection...

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For me, it makes sense, as a concept. This is a different thing than verified by experience. 

 

Have you ever seen an object apart from awareness? I have not. The idea presented here is that objects are somehow sitting out there, presumably colorless, soundless, etc. (those are all mental phenomenon), that awareness (which has no form or shape whatsoever) somehow goes out (through the eyes?), bounces off those objects like photons, and returns (via the eyes?). Awareness is formless--- it can't bounce or reflect off of objects. Objects, eyes, bodies, etc. all arise in awareness. 

 

So, from my POV, not only is the idea of reflectivity inferential (i.e. therefore it lacks corrigibility or certainty), but the whole thing cannot be directly experienced (as one would presumably have to be aware of objects prior to being aware of them). 

 

40 minutes ago, blackfence said:

The second sentence is the answer to the question in the first sentence. Reflectivity not a clunky concept; it's an important one with a long pedigree in vedanta and yoga. Experience does have a reflective aspect to it, and that reflective quality is key to the illusion. When our minds contact an object, the flavor the object takes on as a result of the light of awareness falling upon it, that particular taste, that particular ineffable aesthetic quality... is most certainly describable as reflective.

 

And to reflect also means to contemplate/introspect, and essentially the search is about introspection...

 

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1 hour ago, forestofemptiness said:

For me, it makes sense, as a concept. This is a different thing than verified by experience. 

 

Have you ever seen an object apart from awareness? I have not. The idea presented here is that objects are somehow sitting out there, presumably colorless, soundless, etc. (those are all mental phenomenon), that awareness (which has no form or shape whatsoever) somehow goes out (through the eyes?), bounces off those objects like photons, and returns (via the eyes?). Awareness is formless--- it can't bounce or reflect off of objects. Objects, eyes, bodies, etc. all arise in awareness. 

 

So, from my POV, not only is the idea of reflectivity inferential (i.e. therefore it lacks corrigibility or certainty), but the whole thing cannot be directly experienced (as one would presumably have to be aware of objects prior to being aware of them). 

 

 

That's not the reflectivity I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fact that within experience there is the content of objects in awareness, let's say their feel and color and associated sense perceptions and thoughts, and yet in and through any of those, but not reducible to any of them, there is the ineffable illumination of those things. 

 

There is the fact that the rose is red, but then there is the fact that redness of that rose shines in my consciousness, reflects the light of my consciousness, and that shining is both unique to that rose in that moment in space and time and to that person who senses it, and also at the same time the same between every experience.

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2 hours ago, blackfence said:

That's not the reflectivity I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fact that within experience there is the content of objects in awareness, let's say their feel and color and associated sense perceptions and thoughts, and yet in and through any of those, but not reducible to any of them, there is the ineffable illumination of those things. 

 

There is the fact that the rose is red, but then there is the fact that redness of that rose shines in my consciousness, reflects the light of my consciousness, and that shining is both unique to that rose in that moment in space and time and to that person who senses it, and also at the same time the same between every experience.

Why not reference it by highlighting the brahmarŇępam/jagadrŇępam aspects of objects?¬†

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52 minutes ago, dwai said:

Why not reference it by highlighting the brahmarŇępam/jagadrŇępam aspects of objects?¬†

 

There's nothing wrong with those concepts, but they are more theoretical and philosophical. One is not a substitute for the other.

 

Reflectivity is referring to something that can be noticed in experience. Every experience is quite obviously on the mirror of awareness, and that constantly-unique-yet-somehow-unchanging shine that glows off of it, that shimmering quality, is something that all of us can become familiar with if we pay attention.

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8 hours ago, forestofemptiness said:

So, from my POV, not only is the idea of reflectivity inferential (i.e. therefore it lacks corrigibility or certainty), but the whole thing cannot be directly experienced (as one would presumably have to be aware of objects prior to being aware of them). 

I'm astonished by your posts in this thread. What blackfence is describing is, to my mind, exactly what Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche was pointing to when he would say the nature of mind is like a mirror. Remember how Rinpoche would always say don't try to explain about direct introduction to certain sects that emphasize Madhyamaka dialectic because their logic negates it?  

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8 hours ago, blackfence said:
 
 
 
 
8 hours ago, blackfence said:

 

There's nothing wrong with those concepts, but they are more theoretical and philosophical. One is not a substitute for the other.

Actually it is very much in line with what you're describing. All objects have 5 qualities. 

 

Asti - Is-ness

Bhati - Luminousness

Priyam - 'Loved-ness' (best I could come to translating the word into english)

Nama -- Name

Rupa -- Form

 

Asti-Bhati-Priyam is Brahmarupam

Nama-Rupa is Jagadrupam

 

While normally in our transactional mode of being, we only see the names and forms (Nama-Rupa) and operate as if that's all there is to the world, when we understand our relation wrt the object (aka world), we can see the Asti-Bhati-Priyam aspect too and with that a realization that what Nama-Rupa is an effect, while reality is Asti-Bhati-Priyam (Sat-Chit-Ananda). It is to be practiced and recognized, not just theorized. 

 

Quote

Reflectivity is referring to something that can be noticed in experience. Every experience is quite obviously on the mirror of awareness, and that constantly-unique-yet-somehow-unchanging shine that glows off of it, that shimmering quality, is something that all of us can become familiar with if we pay attention.

 

Edited by dwai
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Huh I’m somewhat lost on this topic and the use of long terms. Though I feel like this observation may relate? 
 

The objects of the world are ever changing, but the mirror they reflect off of never really does. Whether that mirror/reflection is awareness or also the I, I’m not sure. But It reminds me of a story:

 

A King and Buddha are talking by the Ganges River, and Buddha asks how the king has changed with age. The king explains how he has gotten old, his eyes lack sight, etc. And then Buddha asks, even though your eyesight has diminished, this river Ganges is the same? It has never changed in your memory since you first saw it; it is the same river Ganges. The king agrees.

 

Thats a paraphrase of the story. Dunno how much it relates but I felt that it does. Kind of like finding the unchanging nature within the changing...

 

But it makes me think about how I may experience the taste of ice cream per say, but if I try to imagine a taste of a specific flavor... it has never really changed.

Edited by Mithras

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What @blackfence is presenting can be utilized as a pointing towards method for individuals without the specialized jargon of the framework @dwai is presenting - which I think is kinda neat. And imo actually lends itself just as well (if not better) to the practice and recognition beyond theory dwai suggests.

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Framework is important... but I’ve never been one good with terms. I prefer realization of concepts rather than names describing them. This is likely also the case for people who extensively self study.

Edited by Mithras

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Just now, Mithras said:

Huh I’m somewhat lost on this topic and the use of long terms. Though I feel like this observation may relate? 
 

The objects of the world are ever changing, but the mirror they reflect off of never really does. Whether that is awareness or also the I, I’m not sure. But It reminds me of a story:

 

A King and Buddha are talking by the Ganges River, and Buddha asks how the king has changed with age. The king explains how he has gotten old, his eyes lack sight, etc. And then Buddha asks, even though your eyesight has diminished, this river Ganges is the same? It has never changed in your memory since you first saw it; it is the same river Ganges. The king agrees.

 

Thats a paraphrase of the story. Dunno how much it relates but I felt that it does. Kind of like finding the unchanging nature within the changing...


This unchanging, unaffected, undisturbed by whatever is reflected quality of wisdom (mirror like wisdom) is just what is being pointed towards imo. The rest is framework and intellectualization which for some is a support and others a hindrance - something to debate and converse over, but in the end only a means of sharing, explaining, and expressing experience. If they get in your way, you can always leave them to those who find value in them - and return to them later if you find them of interest.

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8 minutes ago, Mithras said:

Framework is important... but I’ve never been one good with terms. I prefer realization of concepts rather than names describing them. This is likely also the case for people who extensively self study.


The more you come across them the more familiar the terms may become. 
 

Perhaps think of them like a map? The map isn’t the place it represents, and yet was compiled (at least in the time before satellites) by someone who has been there. Some prefer to wander and discover and experience as it comes, some like to have a map in hand, and still others fluctuate somewhere between the two. 

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50 minutes ago, ilumairen said:

What @blackfence is presenting can be utilized as a pointing towards method for individuals without the specialized jargon of the framework @dwai is presenting - which I think is kinda neat. And imo actually lends itself just as well (if not better) to the practice and recognition beyond theory dwai suggests.

What I shared is not 'just theory' :)  any more than a map is 'just a drawing'. Teachings are there to show the way, similar to maps. 

It is something that helps grasp what is being pointed to more easily than abstract statements without a proper framework.

 

But at the end of the day, each person will take from something whatever their limitations allow them to. Little by little, or all at once, the limitations will reduce and finally disappear. 

 

 

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