What is "Mind?"

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WBraun

climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 01:21pm PT
Dingus thinks he can figure everything with just Google.

He also does a lot of mental projections from his own runaway mind onto the world outside of himself.

The gross materialist spends all their time studying everything but their own selves.

The analogy is they study the machine and never even get to the driver itself due to their illusion and poor fund of knowledge.

They actually believe they are the material body they are in.

That is the root of their fatal mistake unbeknownst even to them.

The defect is not science, not religion not mind not the brain not gross materialism but actually their false identification as mental speculators
that the self (the living being) is the gross physical material and subtle material body (mind) ........
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
Oct 16, 2017 - 03:48pm PT
Largo,

Why don't you [Dingus McGee] just go to a local Vapassana outfit and take a few classes, then you can leave off trying to unpack a map about it and try it on for size, directly and personally.


Dear John, I have heard the likes of your line above from Christians. They say if only you had faith you would know or even more analogous to your line, if you would just pray you would know & see the ways of the Lord. But as for character Paul has never suggested I do the likes of what you say but with Christianity.

FYI in Dec 1972 I went to a place in Bezerkley, CA on 1670 Dwight Way. At that time I knew very well how to do what they were doing having tried it on for size, directly and personally sometime before this visit. Around that time Hendrix released, Are You Experienced

"From afar" refers to your apparent fascination with meditation by way of 3rd person reports.


Fascination? Absolutely, you might think of me as having a beginners )science( mind? Some have said if you meet the Buddha on the road Kill Him.

The Duck,

Dingus thinks he can figure everything with just Google.


Presumptuous, Werner. I knew of the Benson & Wallace meditation studies in 1974. I do not get my ideas from the Bhagavad Gita.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2017 - 04:47pm PT
Dear John, I have heard the likes of your line above from Christians.
---


This is one of the most persistent misconceptions of them all per meditation, though I have never, anywhere on this thread, proposed meditation as a spiritual practice, nor yet a religious one. Sam Harris has clarified a lot in this regards. Most of the people I know who are serious meditators are atheists having no interest in religion, which involves worship, beliefs, faith, and all the rest. None needed here.

If you look objectively at any viable meditation practice, what you see, at bottom, is an attempt to simply observe what your actual lived experience IS. At some level, if you are in a deductive practice like I have, the point is to keep peeling back all beliefs, concepts, notions, preconceptions, ideas, feelings, memories, and so forth, so this works in the exact opposite direction of the "line you have heard from Christians," and personally, the accusation is not only simplistic, but absurd, and flies in the face of the seriousness I gave you per your inquires.

The reason I recommended Vapassana (which is NOT my practice) is that it is largely secular and it's a pretty user friendly route, unlike Zen or other practices which are talked about but rarely practiced owing to the slippery and ascetic nature of the work.

It's a curious thing how from the outside, people want to look at self observation as a "religious" practice, when the methods used are dealing with the building blocks of consciousness itself: Awareness, focus, attention, etc. Projecting "religion" onto this is a statement about you, not the practice.

That much said, misconceptions die hard, as do beliefs. This brief into to meditation (and common misconceptions) might help clear the air. Any number of people and provide insight about how to learn about self observation sans ANY religious associations. Here's a taste.



The two things most any experienced meditator can say about meditation is that whatever preconceptions they had going in are usually (and thoroughly) dashed after a period of practice, and the trajectory of where the practice would take them is profoundly unknown even after decades of serious study.

Perhaps the strongest preconception we all drag into the practice is the notion of narrative - that is, the belief that our fundamental nature or basic reality can best be explored by way of an evolutionary progression starting with a beginning (birth), followed by the breadth of our physical lives (middle), and closed out by death (the ending).

We began - the thinking goes - as a dynamic combination of blank slate and genetic predispositions which over time are fashioned by the environment "producing" a self that has certain characteristics. "Knowing they self," as the old saw goes, would therefore involve a discursive investigation of these elements, gathering the relevant facts and figures together into a kind of global self-portrait that we could come to "know." What's more, the "what" we came to know would disclose a somewhat accurate and relatively complete schema of who we are, and what it means to be a human being in this time and space.

Anything lying outside the temporal narrative would, according to this belief system, be merely imagined, which often is heard in the phrase, "He only thinks he is this or that..." but in fact the narrative, and specifically, a naturalistic quantification of the factors involved (including biology, psychology, etc.) is what the person REALLY is. They just don't know it.

Another common projection is that meditation is axiomatically aligned with religious practices. This is true if you join a religious group who practice meditation, but emphatically NOT true if meditation is taken up as a secular vehicle of self-observation - as most American currently do. Conflating ALL meditation with religion is one of the broadest misconceptions we still find dogging the work, and one of the first notions to be done to death during secular practice.

A last and common error is to likewise consider meditation as a psychological exercise seeking relaxation states. While a relaxed nervous system is prerequisite to most any focused work on any imaginable topic, believing this is the end game is only an uneducated opinion from those lacking any first hand experience. But again, conflating religion and relaxation drills with meditation remain go-too evaluations of people in the dark about actual, secular practice.

While meditation practices vary school to school, they generally work in one of two directions: a systematic striving AFTER some experience or insight that is believed to be missing at the outset, or a striping away of cognitive and psychological accretions we all take on over time, a reductive process of peeling the onion, so to speak, and coming to encounter what remains. This later tact is aiming at increasingly fundamental aspects of existence.

Prior to practice, most of us are prone to think of fundamentals as atomic level stirrings in the brain. This is the bedrock - or so goes the belief. So for many, a starting point is not to challenge this discursive belief, but rather to start taking a look at what thinking is all about - at the level of thinking itself. Not surprisingly, from afar, from a purported 3rd person cognitive vantage, the proposition sounds doubtful, as it should. Perhaps only those push on who have a cellular level curiosity and skepticism about the authority of their own thinking.

The first shocker is immediately know to all beginners. That is, while we normally have little problem holding our attention on EXTERNAL tasks or points of interest, when it comes to attentively observing our in INTERNAL subjective process, virtually no beginner can hold focus for more than brief periods without the mind unconsciously drifting off into this thought or that memory or getting derailed by that sensation or feeling or planning for tomorrow or next year.

Once you can stabilize attention not to drift (which for some may require years) you can either start seeking this or that state or experience, or work in the opposite direction and start breaking your enmeshment to states and various layers of thought, etc. This is a kind of trance breaking process, and the discursive trance runs deep. This is not to say discursive thinking wrong, only that most of us have no experience of observing ourselves without evaluating. This merely keeps the adventure at the level of our current thinking and understanding, though the reasons this is so are only known once the trace of evaluating is broken.

The interesting thing about the later tact is that SOME of the process precludes the chance of being wrong or "misinterpreting the data." For example, you cannot be mistaken about holding an open focus - that is, remaining aware of the forest, so to speak, as opposed to individual trees. Put differently, you will know, without a doubt, when you are in open focus, and the contention that you "only believe" you are in open focus, but are in fact narrow focused on a thought or feeling, is plainly absurd. The role of a teacher, and in peer review, is to keep moving the student toward those encounters to which there can be no doubt, and the core of the process does NOT involves affirming the existence of things (for which we can be mistaken), in the normal usage of the word, but in the opposite direction, ever moving below the articles of perception, including perception itself.

Discursive thought can quite naturally take you only a few feet down that path, but it will always be there trying to frame the encounter in terms it can get hold of in order to be "right."

Of course once you have some detachment from thinking, the contention that whatever you encounter is itself only a thought becomes a kind of howler - but we can rarely if ever see why from the outside, while thinking about it.

It is at this point of the adventure that views from the outside are of little value. And ironically, it's just at this point that the adventure really gets lift off.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Oct 16, 2017 - 04:50pm PT
This is one of the most persistent misconceptions of them all per meditation, though i have never, anywhere on this thread, proposed meditation as a spiritual practice, nor yet a religious one. Sam Harris has clarified a lot in this regards. Most of the people I know who are serious meditators have no interest in religion, which involves worship, beliefs, faith, and all the rest. None needed here.

The issue is more per your delivery and the way you proselytize your views, not the content of your, beliefs. But I agree you have never proposed meditation as a spiritual practice (that I have seen). And yet there is this common perception that you're preaching about it.

Go figger.

DMT
MH2

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
Oct 16, 2017 - 05:05pm PT
Discursive thought can quite naturally take you only a few feet down that path, but it will always be there trying to frame the encounter in terms it can get hold of in order to be "right."


I think you give "discursive thought" too much life of its own. Sure, it will, "always be there," but I don't think that that many of us see it as the only point of view.

Analytic thought is one way to sort out things we can trust from things we can't. Direct experience can do much the same, but very little in this world is beyond any question of doubt.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2017 - 05:13pm PT

The issue is more per your delivery and the way you proselytize your views.


Bullsh#t, Dingus. I have to say it simply, not to be mean spirited, but because you once more have dragged in religions terms that in no wise fit what I have ever actually said.

"Proselytize" means "to induce someone to convert to one's faith. 2 :to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause.

When I say secular meditation involves no faith quotient, you nevertheless insist on offing me as a person pimping faith. What's more, I have repeatedly said that meditation is NOT for everyone or even the vast majority of people, who can only value their own discursive processes. In fact I have discouraged people from even considering practicing Zen, or other stuff because the chance of them staying with it or reaping benefits are so remote.

My entire cause for ever mentioning meditation is that the secular practice of same is so full of misconceptions - virtually always drawn from the outside - that clarification is required just to clean away all the bullshit beliefs.

Another reason is that many are now understanding that the science of mind will require multidisciplinary approaches, and that the bus has already passed those still clinging to a kind of fundamentalist belief in naturalism. People like Sam Harris, who have one foot in both camps, are showing the way. In the meantime, demystifying meditation is required.

But at no time have I ever made a pitch that people should get out there and do the right thing and join me in the Zendo. I discourage that, as a matter of fact, and have said so on many occasions. There are, however, people like Dingus McGee who repeatedly bring up meditation, along with a truckload of misconceptions - sort of like someone living in Mali talking about living in California based on watching episodes of Baywatch - the descriptions are wonky and deserve comment.

But it matters little to me if you or anyone else takes up meditation. Why would it? Anyone who sticks with the work does so because they want to. So far as I'm concerned, encouraging people to meditate is like encouraging people to climb uprotected flares and off widths. If you're so disposed - go for it. Otherwise, don't bother.

Is that clear enough on where I stand?
WBraun

climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 05:16pm PT
The issue is more per your (Largo) delivery and the way you proselytize your views, not the content of your, beliefs.


You people are a bunch a pussies!

OMG !!! he's proselyting OMG !!!

The gross materialists proselytize 24/7 long with their so-called science is god and their belief their science is all in all for everything.

Same gig same delivery, hypocrites .....
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 05:37pm PT
many are now understanding that the science of mind will require multidisciplinary approaches...

and yet you NEVER speak to the evolutionary psychology approach or else post to the simple benefits of SIMPLE introspection as a practice.

(FYI, I've been earnestly introspecting since I was ten years old, lol. Which, btw, was before my first ever serious crush on a girl and before that striking, abrupt mood change that I felt that accompanied my first ever orgasm, lol. WTF?!)

Instead, and it seems a thousand times over now, at this point, that when you are asked directly about these alternative approaches or POVs to a more comprehensive, overarching if not better understanding of the mental life, you deflect, go on sabbatical for a week and or "shuck and jive".

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1593650&msg=3017797#msg3017797

With all due respect, rather weird, imo.

What would Sam Harris do? What DOES Sam Harris do?
WBraun

climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 05:50pm PT
What would Sam Harris do? What DOES Sam Harris do?

He's NOT Sam Harris, he's Largo.

Now go cry into your cereal box because you didn't get any pize .....
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 05:53pm PT
that's all you ever got, lol

ever

he really doesn't need you to be his lapdog.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 06:01pm PT
Sam Harris speaks equally to the sciences, to evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, our evolutionary history, introspection, etc.. as means to better "groking" the mental life and its concerns.
WBraun

climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
You're his lapdaog not me as you're crying here like a little girl at him all the time.

Largo doesn't agree with any of my stuff to begin with.

Not my problem either.

Jeeze .... go post five posts in row of Sam Harris YouTubes again like you always do.

You're soo insecure.

You can't give your side for the life of you.

It's always a copy paste or YouTube.

At least Largo spends the time to write out a long post of his own words, Ed H does too.

What do you do Fruit? You cry into your cereal all the time here at him.

Get a grip dude ....
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
Oct 16, 2017 - 06:19pm PT
Largo

Most of the people I know who are serious meditators have no interest in religion, which involves worship, beliefs, faith, and all the rest. None needed here.



Is this the depth of understanding achieved by 1st person experience? Why is it that less than 1 in 10 people getting meditation training do continue the practice? With Science at my side we do wonder why with the reputed benefits of meditation, which Largo could care less about, why isn't meditation used much or successful only on a few soles?

Largo: Because they are not serious meditators. What a line of wash. It is circular and explains nothing. But okay serious meditator Largo, is the greatly desired state, enlightenment, with serious meditators, much of the same pursuit as everlasting life or the never to be born again wish -- fruit in the sky? Is an enlightened sole in Hell worth a nickel more for the pursuit of false prophets?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 06:40pm PT
HFCS and I have had our dust ups and I find his constant redoubt in Sam Harris, irritating. But I'm happy to have read his post regarding self awareness being something innate to everyone early in their life.

The problem with the self professed masters of "the mind" on this thread is that the master's level of intellectual presumption starts with dismissing what is obvious to other people, from birth.



High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 07:34pm PT
For the one or two here willing and able to think in evolutionary psychological terms, here's Harris and Harari on the prospects of engineering new states of consciousness...

There is an entire ocean of consciousness out there... -Harari

https://youtu.be/5jgALWLc-JU?t=1h7m23s

...

Re Harris and his podcast, they are an effective conduit into the latest ideas and insights concerning mind-brain physiology and relations.

The subject of this thread? What is Mind?

Anyone who genuinely cares for the subject matter, has invested time accordingly, and has actually listened to the Harris podcast and its guests knows this.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Oct 16, 2017 - 08:32pm PT
You people are a bunch a pussies!

OMG !!! he's proselyting OMG !!!

Lol. Werner you're more stuck on your wheel than most.

DMT
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Oct 16, 2017 - 08:34pm PT
Paging Catherine, we're out of WD - 40 !
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2017 - 08:35pm PT
With Science at my side we do wonder why with the reputed benefits of meditation, which Largo could care less about, why isn't meditation used much or successful only on a few soles?

Largo: Because they are not serious meditators. What a line of wash. It is circular and explains nothing. But okay serious meditator Largo, is the greatly desired state, enlightenment, with serious meditators, much of the same pursuit as everlasting life or the never to be born again wish -- fruit in the sky? Is an enlightened sole in Hell worth a nickel more for the pursuit of false prophets?


Do you realize how utterly silly this is. Sole?

What is it, specifically, that you want "explained" from a meditator's perspective? I might be able to take a crack at that, but you're strictly on your own with all this palaver about prophets, fruit in the sky, and living forever.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Oct 16, 2017 - 09:04pm PT
Largo said "My entire cause for ever mentioning meditation is that the secular practice of same is so full of misconceptions - virtually always drawn from the outside - that clarification is required just to clean away all the bullshit beliefs. "

This generally is why I post too. Plus a basic question in Zen is What is mind?. Zen approaches this question from a non-discursive POV or when you deduct or unattach from the discursive what is your experience. NOT when you theorize about what it is like to be in a non-discursive POV (map vs territory).

There is MIND from a physics POV and then there is MIND from a personal experience POV; not being an academic I am drawn to the personal POV. When you get a glimpse of the non-discursive mind for the first time it is quite q shock because a new POV interrupts / severed the existing POV and it is a new perspective( a wow moment). I can get stuck in ruts and it is helpful to get a shove out of the rut.

Where is Mike L?
jgill

Boulder climber
The high prairie of southern Colorado
Oct 16, 2017 - 09:39pm PT
JL: So far as I'm concerned, encouraging people to meditate is like encouraging people to climb uprotected flares and off widths


Once again you imbue meditation with the heroic qualities of extreme sport adventures. Is this a conscious effort to elevate meditative practices to a level beyond their empty silences and serene settings? Apart from glimpsing your clean metal slate and soothing inner tantrums, what on earth is the practice good for?

Are you in some way benefiting mankind or are you simply naval-gazing? How does experiencing empty awareness have any effect on the real world? How can it tell us anything of value about the human mind, an organ evolved by nature to solve problems and explore the mysteries of the universe. There is a reason why it is so difficult to quiet the discursive mind: it's what we are designed by evolution to use.

Every meditator needs a Samurai standing guard.

Most of what Jan and PSP say point to actual benefits of meditating, benefits understandable by the uninitiated. Do you really think that reaching the meditative states you have experienced is in any way equivalent to training diligently as an artist for years or obtaining a graduate degree in the sciences, just because you have 'put in the time'?

Is metaphysical philosophy your only avenue of investigation?

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