Apech

Emotions are the path

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17 minutes ago, steve said:

Is thought primary or secondary?

Primary or secondary to what?

17 minutes ago, steve said:

Does thought create or comment?

Both

17 minutes ago, steve said:

Is there a distinction between knowing and thinking?

There is a kind of knowing that occurs without thought, but the recognition of that knowing requires thought. 

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8 minutes ago, dwai said:

Primary or secondary to what?

Anything really but the question game up for me in the context of our discussion of emotion. Some seem to suggest that emotion arises from thought, others that thought comments on emotion. While we can certainly offer examples of each that seem plausible, I wonder if our answers go deep enough?

 

Quote

Both

Are you certain?

 

Quote

There is a kind of knowing that occurs without thought, but the recognition of that knowing requires thought. 

When you first recognized/knew the deeper truth of who you are, was thought required or did it come after, offering its commentary?

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42 minutes ago, dwai said:

I agree with that -- although, thoughts are patterns of consciousness, that appear in consciousness, are illuminated by consciousness, known to consciousness, and dissipate within consciousness. 

Isn't recognition a thought as well? Can you recognize without a thought? Can you tell me who you are, without thinking? 

 

Telling you who I am and knowing/recognizing who I am are two different things.

Knowing and recognition may be possible without conceptualization.

Of course it all depends on how we define our terms. 

 

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche recently offered a talk and guided meditation on the distinction between thought and non-conceptual awareness called Knowing vs Thinking: Direct Realization in Meditation. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but hope to do so today (I've got a rare day off work, YAY!)

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, steve said:

Anything really but the question game up for me in the context of our discussion of emotion. Some seem to suggest that emotion arises from thought, others that thought comments on emotion. While we can certainly offer examples of each that seem plausible, I wonder if our answers go deep enough?

Are consciousness and energy two separate entities?

25 minutes ago, steve said:

 

Are you certain?

Yes - in a transactional model. 

25 minutes ago, steve said:

 

When you first recognized/knew the deeper truth of who you are, was thought required or did it come after, offering its commentary?

Thoughta arises from that deeper truth. I am therefore I think. :) But the self-reflexivity is the notion "I am". It is the first...this is called the "aham-sphurana"...I think it is the proto-thought :) (the root of the mind, so to speak). 

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3 minutes ago, steve said:

 

Telling you who I am and knowing/recognizing who I am are two different things.

Knowing and recognition may be possible without conceptualization.

Of course it all depends on how we define our terms. 

When I try to find out, all I get is silence and stillness. All I know is I am. 

3 minutes ago, steve said:

 

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche recently offered a talk and guided meditation on the distinction between thought and non-conceptual awareness called Knowing vs Thinking: Direct Realization in Meditation. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but hope to do so today (I've got a rare day off work, YAY!)

 

 

 

Thanks will give it a listen later tonight. :) 

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3 minutes ago, dwai said:

Thoughta arises from that deeper truth. I am therefore I think. :) But the self-reflexivity is the notion "I am". It is the first...this is called the "aham-sphurana"...I think it is the proto-thought :) (the root of the mind, so to speak). 

 

I'm referring more to the experience than the labels.

 

1 minute ago, dwai said:

When I try to find out, all I get is silence and stillness. All I know is I am. 

 

Is knowing "I am" a thought?

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23 minutes ago, steve said:

 

I'm referring more to the experience than the labels.

 

 

Is knowing "I am" a thought?

 

 

There's something in even basic recognition or cognition which does not depend on serial thought at least.  Just as say, when you walk through the park you recognise a dog as a dog without running through an inventory of what constitutes a dog.  In fact if you ever try to construct an inventory of what anything actually is, a chair, a table or whatever you run into serious problems quite quickly.  And yet you easily see and recognise all those things and indeed ideas without trying.  This must come from consciousness itself.

 

While the nature of consciousness may be non conceptual, it is not a product of object based or imagined perception - that does not mean that it is, how would you say, blank.  It is more that it is illuminated or illustrated by all concepts.  If you came to be self-aware as consciousness then you would 'know thyself' without being bound by any particular form or name but at the same time not be an anonymous nothing.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, steve said:

 

I'm referring more to the experience than the labels.

 

 

Is knowing "I am" a thought?

This describes it best to me — 

 

There sight travels not, nor speech, nor the mind. We know It not nor can distinguish how one should teach of It: for It is other than the known; It is there above the unknown. It is so we have heard from men of old who declared That to our understanding. 
 

(Kena Upanishad  1.3)

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Returning to “taking emotion as the path,” I thought to share a current practice, a core practice from dzogchen teachings.

 

Spoiler

Rest into the Nature of Mind, or your version of that, and work with emotion in the following way. Bring to mind, or notice the spontaneous arising of, a charged situation, fertile memory, worry, strained relationship, annoying pattern, challenging person, whatever occupies “me” in some way. Embody it fully, feeling it emotionally, physically, notice the story that wants to engage you... for a few moments; but minimize any internal chatter or intellectual engagement. Then look back at the sense of me that is experiencing all of that and open arms to that one, allow warmth to arise for that one, recognizing it is coming from a place of pain or vulnerability. Give it a luminous, spacious, warm hug. It can be hard at first to allow and accept that one as being a part of “me.” Then stay with that experience fully, openly, nakedly and non-conceptually for as long as it stays fresh and immediate. Allow the experience to dissolve naturally, which it invariably does provided we don’t engage conceptually. And if we do, simply notice and let it be, let it go. Then rest in the openness and freshness of being in its dissolution as long as possible or as long as you choose.

 

I imagine others have ways of practicing with emotion. I wonder if anyone wants to share?

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8 hours ago, dwai said:

There is a kind of knowing that occurs without thought, but the recognition of that knowing requires thought. 

Bön teachings say the self-knowing is not thought, the equivalent to what you’re saying for me seems like path rigpa. Knowing that has not fully liberated all obscurations... and likely won’t until death for all but Buddha.

 

7 hours ago, dwai said:

 Thoughta arises from that deeper truth. I am therefore I think. :) But the self-reflexivity is the notion "I am". It is the first...this is called the "aham-sphurana"...I think it is the proto-thought :) (the root of the mind, so to speak). 

We call it clarity, the clear aspect of emptiness.

 

6 hours ago, Apech said:

While the nature of consciousness may be non conceptual, it is not a product of object based or imagined perception - that does not mean that it is, how would you say, blank.  It is more that it is illuminated or illustrated by all concepts.  If you came to be self-aware as consciousness then you would 'know thyself' without being bound by any particular form or name but at the same time not be an anonymous nothing.

Bön defines that as clarity, a characteristic of the base. The closest we come to the base in life, according to the Bön ma gyud teachings is the clear light of sleep.

 

Spoiler

 

 

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I’ve written about the importance I place on emotions in various discussions scattered throughout this forum, including starting a topic a while back with the title, The Dao of Emotions. It’s an important subject because, to my mind, it’s handled badly by mainstream Daoism and Buddhism. To illustrate this, as is my want, I’ll expand on a quotation from Carl Jung. In “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” he writes about how he handled his almost overwhelming emotional reaction1 to the deluge of images that welled up from his unconscious:

 

“I stood helpless before an alien world; everything in it seemed difficult and incomprehensible. I was living in a constant state of tension; often I felt as if gigantic blocks of stone were tumbling down upon me. One thunderstorm followed another…..I was frequently so wrought up that I had to do certain yoga exercises in order to hold my emotions in check. But since it was my purpose to know what was going on within myself, I would do these exercises only until I had calmed myself enough to resume my work with the unconscious. As soon as I had the feeling that I was myself again, I abandoned this restraint upon the emotions and allowed the images and inner voices to speak afresh. The Indian, on the other hand, does yoga exercises in order to obliterate completely the multitude of psychic contents and images.

 

To the extent that I managed to translate the emotions into images – that is to say, to find the images which were concealed in the emotions – I was inwardly calmed and reassured. Had I left those images hidden in the emotions, I might have been torn to pieces by them. There is a chance that I might have succeeded in splitting them off; but in that case I would inexorably have fallen into a neurosis and so been ultimately destroyed by them anyhow. As a result of my experiment I learned how helpful it can be, from the therapeutic point of view, to find the particular images which lie behind emotions.”

 

Although my way is not to translate my emotions into images as Jung does, I fully concur with him that the methods of Eastern traditions for dealing with emotions, including the well-known method of just witnessing emotions without engaging with them, while appropriate for anyone who has placed their trust in the guidance of a lineage, are inappropriate for those of us whose disposition is such that fate directs us to find our own individual path. For me, the vital questions are, “What is my psyche trying to tell me with this emotion? What significant content hidden within me does the emotion arise from? Not easy questions to answer because, by definition, its content that’s hidden from me. For that I need appropriate teachings, contact with other people, and a firm ming-xing practice. With those established, I’m still in the process of discovering the profound significance (and difficulty) of exploring the path of my emotions for navigating my way into my own personally appropriate connection with Spirit, with mind of Dao (daoxin 道心 ), or, to use Jung’s term, with Self.

 

All my life I’ve experienced powerful emotions. At times they tear me apart. Yet experience has shown me how Spirit can reveal itself through those cracks – through my inner fragmentation – along with the demons that live within my own unexplored shadow. And for those of us finding are own way, the distinction between gods and demons has to be found through individual exploration. An external moral code that speaks in generalisations does not suffice. I’ve experienced the truth of this saying: “Anything can be a path, even a demon. Anything can be a demon, even a path.”  Hence, I’ve had to do massive amounts of cleansing work – a process I’m still involved with. That’s how I hone my sensitivity so that I can directly feel what’s appropriate and what’s not in any given circumstance. It’s a path of purification through ongoing cycles of being torn apart and regathering myself. Painful at times for sure, but one guided by numinous insights.

 

My active practice, extending over the last three decades, has shown me how difficult it is to shift from an egocentric perspective to a Self-oriented perspective, yet attempting it is the meaningful core of my life.  It’s a path that continually takes me to the limit of my endurance. And in the final analysis, easy or difficult has no relevance. It’s the path Spirit has given me. To not explore it means a meaningless existence. And nothing could be more painful than a meaningless life, as I know firsthand from the experience of my younger self.

 

Note:

1.  Jung uses the term ‘emotion’ as a synonym with ‘affect’. For him, emotional reactions are marked by physical symptoms and disturbed thinking. And that’s the sense I use the term ‘emotion’ in my above account. He distinguishes ‘feeling’ from ‘affect’ in spite of the fact that the dividing line is fluid, since feeling, after obtaining a certain intensity, releases physical innervations, thus becoming an affect.  Furthermore, Jung considers the sense of feeling we all possess, so vital for anyone on a spiritual path, has become atrophied in our contemporary culture because of the massive emphasis on thinking.  (Incidentally, he defines the field of our consciousness with four attributes: thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation; all of which need to be developed for wholeness.)

 

 

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