Thinking that I think

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Phil
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Thinking that I think

Post by Phil »

Between arguments I've been had with CW Chanter to our friend Fred starting a new discussion about PA (on TOT) being an example of the issues in the alt media...I was compelled to gather and write (and so share here) my current thoughts:

Thinking that I think

I used a popularized quote to support what I believe to be the underlying problem with a specific situation we all can relate to which I strongly believe underlies a broader problem might relate to all humans' communication with each other.

The quote most often attributed to Thomas Edison sounds to me like:

A tiny percentage of people think "rightly" (to borrow from Heinlein's "Stanger in a Strange Land"), a slightly higher percentage believe they're thinking rightly, and everyone else chooses to believe the dogmas they were taught and became attached to.

The specific example I was speaking to, was what I considered a text book example that nearly of all us here have some experience with of the social dynamic that is created when we aren't honest about the reality that the quote demonstrates.

The thing is, among the "5% that think", they nearly (if not) all actually "think they think" as well. And the tendency among people that think they are right is to think that other perspectives are wrong. I'm pretty sure that when you unpack this thought, that is what you are left with.

It slips into the sloppiness in which we use language, and the emotional attachment we have to our understanding...of our understanding.

The word believe is "officially" defined as:

"to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so" (Dictionary.com)

"To accept something as true, genuine, or real" (Merriam-Webster)

"Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof" (Oxford)

I see this term being demonized, especially in the "alternative" community. The first M-W definition is actually "to have a firm religious faith", and between that and Oxford's dictionary's second half...they describe accurately the popular usage, at least in America.

The problem I found was interpretation of the word and definitions are not only extremely unpopular, but trigger defensive from "believers" that KNOW that you cannot apply the term to FACTS...which I found is defined thusly:

"A thing that is indisputably the case" (google)

"Something that truly exists or happens; something that has actual existence" (M-W)

"A thing that is known or proved to be true" (Oxford)

I contend that what this community is an "alternative" to, is the beliefs and facts of of our current civilizations' most common dogmas...which is defined:

"A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true" (google)

"Something held as an established opinion; especially a definite authoritative tenet" (M-W)

"A fixed belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without any doubts" (Cambridge Academic Content Dict.)

Soooo...I contend that the 'alternative' emerges as a challenge to the dogmas one was raised with about reality. And the problem that causes so much conflict within the 'alternative' is the fact that too much of the more vocal or leaders or "established authorities" within the community "think they think", while believing thee feedback from the more masses within the alt community that they are true "thinkers" of the "5% category"

Which some of them very well may be. The responsibility of this problem does not fall solely on them, perhaps more of it actually belongs to believers that support those ideas and/or people (authorities) that reinforce the ideas that resonate with them

I believe this whole community grew out of people disbelieving of the popular mainstream authority given dogma. And it has stagnated as very few of the people involved are able to get past their slightly more "open-minded" ideas...they get past COMMON dogma only to get stuck on a more expansive one.

People think that because they see through the obvious common lies, that the "truths" that get to can't possibly incorrect. I know, I know...YOU would never do this...but it sure seems like a lot of the issues we run into come from people doing this...and not seeing it.

Especially for self proclaimed atheists or "scientific" thinkers... as long as "belief" and "dogma" are associated only with RELIGIOUS ideas in your mind, you have difficulty in seeing any inflexibility in your own (beliefs and dogmas that you live by).

That's what really chaps my ass about all of this, it seemed blatantly obvious to me with relatively little work to see that the most empowering universal wisdom that comes out in these places are to "know thyself", which I believe is the only thing you can REALLY know, and maybe not even that completely

....But it is so frustrating when anyone who spouts that sh!t goes on to demonstrate how much they KNOW of anything else. I really think we need to be more honest with ourselves...and work on recognizing when we start feeling that it's more important to tell people (and get defensive of) WHAT we know than actually think about WHY we know it

This place is SOOO interesting and fun when you first dive, consuming all of the diverse ideas you never knew. More often than not, one finds the "anomalous" idea they have expressed, and get validation they are looking for. These are valuable things, helpful to many. But like GI JOE said to me every Saturday morning growing up: "knowing is half the battle"...the other half is KNOWING WHY YOU KNOW IT.
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Christine »

Phil, I logged in just to thank you. The problem of thinking is a huge one for how do we discern between a belief in truth and real Truth? This has been my years and years long quest. The Truth resides inside for nothing has been truer said than: "Know thy Self and to thy Self be True."

To come to this place inside of me where I know I don't think but thoughts arise. I have jettisoned the thinking it through process almost totally. That does not mean I don't have the ability to analyze, it is just that thought without all the other parts of us is a fruitless activity usually running people in circles, what I call mind loops ... yes, they think they think. However if one maintains and exercises the Observer self it becomes obvious that no new thought is being born from within.

Ah, there we come to the twixt and between.

The silence between the words holds more keys than one can imagine, when we tune out the chatter and simply listen ... not with just our ears and rattles in the mind but listen with all senses engaged something miraculous happens ... a sense, a vision, a knowing, a feeling and only after that a thought might arise for our mind does like to order things, connect dots and engage. I guess one would say this is creativity. Like when your washing the dishes or doing a piece of art a space is opened, a free mind is a beautiful thing.

I prefer the company of children and genius ... that is why all the alt media gurus have no flavor left, rehashed ideas fed to a consumer's taste in "inside information" which really is nothing more than gossip.

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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Naga_Fireball »

I can't add anything to this that is more meaningful than what has been stated already!

Thank you Phil. Very thoughtful, truthful, and brave.
Thank you Christine for your sharing as well.

Beautiful.
Is it a 10 story sh*tstorm over there? Eek @@ on the other places I mean, lol! :mrgreen:
Brotherhood falls asunder at the touch of fire!
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own, and having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Naga_Fireball »

Bump so your topic is up above my dumb poem. Lol
Brotherhood falls asunder at the touch of fire!
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
Not coloured like his own, and having power
To enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey.
~William Cowper

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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Sandy Clark »

Well to add a little dogma..............a big AMEN!! :-)

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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Phil »

Heh...it's the subtler dogma that I'm talking about...the fact that "amen" was captured by religion and should only be used in it.

The biggest thing (that I at, least) that makes one a think-they're-thinking "expert is the motives of others. Using generalizations that defines a certain population or whatever in some sort of projection of a group think idea not only causes the endless loops, it has a built-in "I can't be wrong" argument...from any side.

Breaking this loop is speaking more carefully/meaningfully so as not to do it ourselves, and to be careful about what opinions we formulate when others inevitably do it.
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Eelco »

Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking wrote:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks: "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks replied.

The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality had arisen, I simply abandoned it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with ill will arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with ill will has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmfulness arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmfulness has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with harmfulness had arisen, I simply abandoned it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with sensuality, abandoning thinking imbued with renunciation, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with sensuality. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with non-ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmfulness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmlessness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmfulness.

"Just as in the last month of the Rains, in the autumn season when the crops are ripening, a cowherd would look after his cows: He would tap & poke & check & curb them with a stick on this side & that. Why is that? Because he foresees flogging or imprisonment or a fine or public censure arising from that [if he let his cows wander into the crops]. In the same way I foresaw in unskillful qualities drawbacks, degradation, & defilement, and I foresaw in skillful qualities rewards related to renunciation & promoting cleansing.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with non-ill will arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with non-ill will has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmlessness arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmlessness has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with renunciation, abandoning thinking imbued with sensuality, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with renunciation. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with non-ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with non-ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmlessness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmfulness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmlessness.

"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of 'those cows.' In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.'

"Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture I remained in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two... five, ten... fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.

"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled the Noble Ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile the Noble Ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

"This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it had come to be, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute.

"Suppose, monks, that in a forested wilderness there were a large low-lying marsh, in dependence on which there lived a large herd of deer; and a certain man were to appear, not desiring their benefit, not desiring their welfare, not desiring their rest from bondage. He would close off the safe, restful path that led to their rapture, and would open up a false path, set out a male decoy, place a female decoy, and thus the large herd of deer would eventually fall into ruin, disaster, & decimation. Then suppose that a certain man were to appear to that same large herd of deer, desiring their benefit, desiring their welfare, desiring their rest from bondage. He would open up the safe, restful path that led to their rapture, would close off the false path, take away the male decoy, destroy the female decoy, and thus the large herd of deer would eventually come into growth, increase, & abundance.

"I have given this simile in order to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: 'The large, low-lying marsh' stands for sensuality. 'The large herd of deer' stands for beings. 'The man not desiring their benefit, not desiring their welfare, not desiring their rest from bondage' stands for Mara, the Evil One. 'The false path' stands for the eightfold wrong path, i.e., wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, & wrong concentration. 'The male decoy' stands for passion & delight. 'The female decoy' stands for ignorance. 'The man desiring their benefit, desiring their welfare, desiring their rest from bondage' stands for the Tathagata, the Worthy One, the Rightly Self-awakened One. 'The safe, restful path that led to their rapture' stands for the noble eightfold path, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration.

"So, monks, I have opened up the safe, restful path, closed off the false path, removed the male decoy, destroyed the female. Whatever a teacher should do — seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them — that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monks. Don't be heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our message to you."

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted in the Blessed One's words.
Notice he doesn't say I am thinking, But rather... This kind of thinking arose within me.
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Christine »

Eelco wrote:
Dvedhavitakka Sutta: Two Sorts of Thinking wrote:
-- in the Blessed One's words.
Notice he doesn't say I am thinking, But rather... This kind of thinking arose within me.
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A straight line ... Abide in Peace and what arises in the mind is an inner light of lucidity.

Hi, Eelco :)
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Eelco »

Christine wrote:
A straight line ... Abide in Peace and what arises in the mind is an inner light of lucidity.

Hi, Eelco :)
Yes but training yourself to build up enough concentration and insight to see That Luminous awareness takes.
right view, right speech, right attitude, right effort, right conduct, right livelihood, right mindfulness, right concentration.

A training of lifetimes for some, an instant of insight for others...
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Re: Thinking that I think

Post by Christine »

Yes an no... My perspective is more akin to removing barriers of false thought, doubts, fears, beliefs, and ignorance, as one releases these shadowy tethers of the soul the inner luminosity is perceived. What's right for me, may not be right for you ... it is all about perspectives really. And yes, it does take dedicated focus and a well developed observer of self to do this Work.

Each path is unique, that is a marvelous thing.
Eelco wrote:
Christine wrote:
A straight line ... Abide in Peace and what arises in the mind is an inner light of lucidity.

Hi, Eelco :)
Yes but training yourself to build up enough concentration and insight to see That Luminous awareness takes.
right view, right speech, right attitude, right effort, right conduct, right livelihood, right mindfulness, right concentration.

A training of lifetimes for some, an instant of insight for others...
Image
The journey, the challenge is to step into the
projection room and stop being lost in the script.

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