Originally posted by epiphinehas
[b]Much more intimately, is the who-you-are just a bundle of thoughts and memories? That bundle is the “I-thought-complex” that I call the somebody-self-construct.
First off, I love the way you put these concepts into words. Cloud is indeed speaking of this. I believe he refers to the somebody-self-construct as the "external" self. The e Holy Spirit supplies -- i.e. that which I cannot work up on my own.[/b]
Thanks; that clears up any misunderstandings based on different linguistic terms I think.
I want to give this more justice than I can right now, but I’ll just stress that philosophical non-dualism, for me, is a conclusion reasoned from, in part the experienced non-separability and mutuality of tathata
. As such, it is certainly arguable.
In another thread, I was given the example of drinking a glass of water. The following is an excerpt to get at non-separability and mutuality:
Experientially, there is no such thing here as taste
separate from my tasting the water. The taste
is neither in the water nor in me. We can go into all kinds of metaphysical speculations, but I am talking about (aware) lived experience
It is the same with every moment of lived experience. At that moment, (1) there exists no I
that is not drinking the water, and (2) there is no taste
of the water except the sense impressions that are created by my brain from the interaction of the water with my taste buds.
The first is the principle of non-separability
; the second is the principle of mutuality
It is the same for all lived experience. There is no experience that is not shaped and formed by our brain.
That does not mean there is not a world that continues outside the boundaries of my skin. It does, however, mean that even the most forceful-seeming image might be a mirage, rather than an oasis. That must be decided on other grounds.
I have also before used the example of what I will call the maximally expansive orgasmic experience (MEOE). This is an almost paradigmatic analogy in the “mystical” literature, across religious and philosophical traditions.
None of this requires philosophical non-dualism, but does support it. Non-dualism concludes that there is ultimately one whole, of which we are: of which we are manifestations. Different traditions have different speculations about the nature of this whole.
On an experiential level, our difference is that I see any experience of personal presence as what I have called “immediate translation”—and James Austin calls “reflexive interpretation”—as a product of that mutuality. As long as there is “I” and “other”, the experience is not “maximally expansive”. One is not, to borrow a felicitous phrase from Dame Julian of Norwich (not to say that she would use it just this way), fully “at-oned” with the experience.
Now, my own case is that I have had flashes of “iterating” between those two states: I
in and with and even of all the rest; and just _________________. I have experienced non-separableness/at-one-ment only briefly, though more than once during a longer period of iteration.
That “at-one-ment” is ineffable because there is no “I” in that moment to form any concepts about it. (Which is why that blank is there, which is just the experience.) Just as, if you were to ask me to describe MEOE, I would have to use metaphor and poetry. Such metaphor and poetry either resonates to another’s experience, or it does not. It’s damnably hard work for me just to write what I am writing here, searching for analogies, metaphors, words—that all, in the end, can be only fingers pointing at the moon. (That's why I am very appreciative of your kind words for my efforts. Thank you.)
I wonder if our only difference at that level is the relative emphasis that we each place on the two sides of that iteration.
One of Seung Sahn’s attempts to use word-fingers to point to that ___________, is as follows:
Deep in the mountains, the great temple bell is struck. You hear it reverberating in the morning air, and all thoughts disappear from your mind. There is nothing that is you; there is nothing that is not you. There is only the sound of the bell, filling the whole universe.
Springtime comes. You see the flowers blossoming, the butterflies flitting about; you hear the birds singing, you breathe in the warm weather. And your mind is only springtime. It is nothing at all.
You visit Niagara and take a boat to the bottom of the Falls. The downpouring of water is in front of you and around you and inside you, and suddenly you are shouting: YAAAAAA!
In all these experiences, outside and inside have become one. This is Zen mind.
. . .
If you want to understand the truth, you must let go of your situation, your condition, and all your opinions. Then your mind will be before thinking. “Before thinking” is clear mind. Clear mind has no inside and no outside. It is just like this. “Just like this” is the truth.
—Seung Sahn Soen-sa (Zen master)