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Does the mind have a user?

Discussion in 'Mind, Body & Spirit' started by Midnight, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. Midnight

    Midnight Member

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    Or has it always been using itself?

    This question arose in my mind a little while ago, and I wanted to see how other people see it.

    Before meditation, the idea that some thoughts were capable of arising by themselves sounded preposterous. It sounded like the mind had "a mind of its own" to me...

    Now, that idea doesn't sound so crazy, but then another thought came up recently that asked "Who is controlling the mind then?".

    I ask because the mind seems to have some level of automatic control...I don't have to be consciously paying attention to everything to get things done...but when I am aware...when it seems as if I'm using my mind, am I really using it?

    When I'm doing a math problem at school, am I using my mind, or is it using itself, and I'm just a witness to it? Or does my true self play some part in this? It seems like my mind can snap out of autopilot whenever it feels like I need to do something, but now I'm not sure...is the mind able to realize and think completely for itself? Does the real me play any part in life?

    I realize that this question probably doesn't have any solid answer, and regardless of if the answer was there, it wouldn't have any significant changes on my life...but still, the mind keeps asking.

    Have a good day :)
     
  2. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    Top question – I’m still mulling over it but I’ll be really interested to see other people thoughts/views on it.
     
  3. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Mind (thoughts if you like) serve the function of identifying things for conventional purposes. For example, how would we know to pull weeds if we weren’t able to determine that there is a person, a garden, and some weeds that need pulling? How would we know how to drive a car, clean the house, or know that there was a math problem? Mind really is a pattern developing machine that quickly learns patterns for survival or in our case daily living. How our society (tribe, school etc.) is developed determines those patterns. How some of us are good at math and science and some are athletic seems to be seated in a pattern but where from who knows.

    But from the non-dualistic perspective, you need to see through the belief in separation. As that belief falls away, thought (or mind) is seen to be not only harmless, but a valuable tool for living. It’s an inseparable appearance within awareness. Which means it is none other than awareness.

    Once we no longer identify with mind (or thoughts), and believe they are pointing to separately existing things, what is left is the functional, conventional aspect of mind (thought) e.g., pulling weeds, talking to a friend, doing math etc.

    Your thoughts of mind or no mind is simply a trick of a vanishing ego to pull you back in to a trap of separation. If this is confusing, it just means you are trying to understand it intellectually. You are treating the concept of “mind doing me” or “am I doing mind” as abstract ideas that you need to understand or put together somehow.

    There is a lot more to your question, with deeper cogitations... let see how this post develops :D



    Peace :)
     
  4. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Well, thinking is a function of the brain.
    The brain as a conscious part, and an unconscious part.

    BTW I am not talking about consciousness, but the conscious brain.
    The difference is subtle, but it's there. I will go into that another time.

    Ok, back to the brain and the conscious and subconscious part.
    Both parts of the brain are constantly busy processing information.
    All the information from eye's, ears, nose, touch, we are constantly living in an overload of information.

    The conscious brain is capable of processing about 40 separate parts of input at the same time. But there is always more going on than 40 separate parts of input.
    Let's say you are on a bus or subway to work. Your skin registers your socks, shoes, pants, underwear, the pressure of the bench where you are sitting under your behind and back, your body registers the G-forces as the bus or subway turns and slows down, pull up, you can hear the people talking behind you, the cell phone going off in the front, the smells ( omg the smells )...

    Why would we have such an overkill of information if we can only process 40 at the same time ? That's easy. Our subconscious brain can process just about one million !!! at the same time. About 80% of our decisions are made by the subconscious brain.
    We think we know why we do certain things.

    For instance, if you are walking on a mountain trail, and suddenly you run into a bear, and you run away, it would be logical to say that we run away because we are scared.
    But actually, that is not true. We run away because our fight or flight system is activated. Sensations of fear come later than that. And we link those in fact separate fear sensations to the fight or flight system, because they were caused by the same event, a bear, but in fact they are not connected in the brain. Fight or flight is the most primitive part of the brain, sometimes referred to as the "lizard brain". Fear, or the sensations combined that we call fear, which are just reactions of the body to the different hormones released in the body, is registered by the conscious brain. Both parts are in your head, but they are not connected.

    Not a real answer to your question, but interesting none the less :p
     
  5. chris-da-fur

    chris-da-fur Member

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    It must have a user (or "controller" in other words) otherwise who inputs positive thoughts like affirmations?

    Who or what can create thoughts, pull up memories, etc etc. Like right now, if you close your eyes you can create a thought like it's rolling across the inside of your eyelids. Who is making that happen? Not saying I have realized that answer personally yet but its all I focus on now.

    Speaking of affirmations, they only work when emotionally charged or are strong thoughts or are believed in I have read, so if you are dis connected from the mind, know your not it, do affirmations work? Won't they just seem like silly transient thoughts like the rest of them and not be too effective? Always wondered that
     
  6. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Sometimes the discussion becomes circular - particularly when the issue of "attachment" is discussed or in this case, when "controlling" is discussed.

    What is apparent in these types of dicussions is that volitional freedom is ever present. Hand-in-hand with volitional freedom comes volitional responsibility.

    As we all experience, some decisions help our journey on the path and some hinder the journey.

    The teachings suggest that the relationship with volition that evolves through the journey further down the path (whichever one is chosen) that precision becomes very important.

    Nothing but the best...

    Olmate
     
  7. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    Hi Chris,
    Think on this for a while or not :)
    Notice that when thoughts arise, there is a basic assumption that thoughts happen within your head or mind. Yet you cannot locate a thought as existing somewhere without referencing something else. Where is a thought located? You have to reference a head or the mind, which is another thought.
    When you are not thinking the thought, thought is located in my head, then thought has no location.
    They just come and go to awareness.

    So if there is a controller, try finding him without thinking thoughts.... you may find an answer.



    Peace :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
  8. Mr Monkey

    Mr Monkey Member

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    That'd be another fancinating topic, so hope that time won't be too far off ;)

    That is simply awesome. It actually made me feel a bit odd when I read it, a bit like it had destabilised something (probably my previously cast iron mental model of where I think!) for a fraction of a second :eek: :D

    Thanks :)
     
  9. Midnight

    Midnight Member

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    Yay! Good quality of posts in here :)

    This question has much less importance to me since I posted this thread. I've been pondering this question to myself and have dawned upon a few interesting things to note...

    1. Even if I (Awareness) have never really thought a single thought in my life, it is the awareness that gives life to every single thought (as in I allow them to exist in the first place)

    2. The mind must get some sort of cues from consciousness...For example, thoughts pass with ease when I am not devoting any special attention to any one set of thoughts. When I need to focus on something, then the attention shifts so the mind can produce more thoughts.

    3. This one is a little more difficult to explain. It has to do more with me realizing that this isn't a problem. I felt as if I was trapped inside this mind and body watching this "other person" live life...but that's not really the case, because there is no separation between the truth of me and this human existence I find myself in. So there is this mind-body...I am not them, but they are me. Strange to think about, but it feels right. I go by that feeling now to know if i've stumbled upon truth.

    4. Those times in life when you are completely immersed in what you're doing, there seems to literally be no boundaries between body and mind and consciousness, etc etc...there is no thought, just doing. The presence of life fully animates the being...that seems like control, yet control might not be the right word.

    Your posts are really brilliant Karmoh. This rang true within me so well.

    I don't seem to have a pressing need to answer the question, but for the sake of discussion, this thread asked the question on whether or not that "conventional" aspect of mind is controlled by me, or the mind is just a self sufficient tool... There definitely seems to be a voice that "I" can use to voice different things.

    @Edwin
    Yeah, the brain is a truly amazing instrument. I think it would be nice if you elaborated more on the difference between consciousness and the conscious mind, considering that was something that confused me for a while (and might confuse others reading the thread)

    Regardless of who the "user" is, whether it be the mind itself, or consciousness, there definitely seems to be a level of control...or maybe we are operating under the illusion of choice, who knows? Still, it doesn't change the way you live life regardless of the answer. This scared me for a bit, but I realized that it was because the self image was threatened. Oh well, the fear has passed, and I'm still here :p

    In regards to affirmations: I used to practice those. 15 minutes a day after meditation. It seemed to really help the first few times in the beginning, but I didn't find them to be too big of a help in the long run. The way I see it, affirmations can reveal suppressed emotional content as well, but if you keep trying to affirm those bad feelings away, the affirmation is rendered useless, and the feeling stays suppressed, which ends up being more work for yourself.

    Before life started happening, we were all happy, positive, carefree people, but things happened throughout life that made us feel bad and then through these feelings, we came up with assumptions about ourselves that don't really have a basis, and believed theses assumptions to be true. When you meditate (or say affirmations or anything) you reveal these suppressed feelings within you (they're still there because they have to be felt!) you create the opportunity to let it hurt fully and let it pass. Through doing this, you start your return to the way you were as a child. Simply by accepting the feeling for as long as it is there seemed to work better to returning me to where I came from, better than trying to instill "new" thought processes.

    That was a bit of a derail, but if you'd like to discuss it more, start a new thread...i'd be happy to chime in more:)

    @olmate
    I can feel the wisdom in your post, but i'm not sure I know entirely what you mean. Could you elaborate on that more?

    Although I feel I know what you're talking about, isn't there scientific evidence that thought is created with the mind? When I'm not thinking about thinking, thoughts do come and go, but you're right...they don't feel as if they are coming from my head.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  10. Karmoh

    Karmoh Member

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    :):D

    Isn’t scientific evidence just a concept that is thought? Scientific evidence is only a collection of thoughts that have compounded over eons to reach the modern day standard of thinking, that scientific evidence can be only be as good as the next round of adding to the present thinking. When you read a technical book or speak to an expert you gather knowledge, not only from that person but also from the person before... and so on right back to... who knows when. We believe technology moves fast, when in fact technology is only a collective, today there are thousands thinking on the same theory from the past and adding to it, when a 100 years ago maybe only hundreds were privy to the theory and so on.Maybe today instruments measuring the response are not quite ready for the instant a thought appears to awareness. Tomorrow maybe, if it exists :p

    A bit off track but...
    On the subject of thought, take a moment and relax, let the next thought come to rest, in this space there are no thoughts, hence no separation, nothing is being experienced. This awareness is fully alert; there is no idyllic dream state. Through this alertness thoughts arise, freely uninterrupted. These thought are various things required for you to survive by. Naturally or by freak of evolution these thoughts are of separate concepts that have come to your awareness at some stage prior to that thought. So, when you are thinking a thought, you cannot, at the very same time, think of another. This is why it feels like separation is real. It feels like concepts exist, on their own, totally apart from our thoughts about them. But this is never our real experience. We are so used to relying on thinking that we believe that duality is real. We accept scientific knowledge as if it exists all by itself, independent of thought and of the rest of the universe.

    If we experience all things this way duality become our reality. :eek:


    Peace :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  11. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Midnight,

    In response to the question ‘Does the mind have a user?’ and the reference to volition – it is made within the context of day to day living.
    As each thought arises, decisions are made, i.e. volition is applied. It is an absolute freedom we all have.

    The decisions we make in response to each thought is influenced by our experiences, beliefs and values. As we choose to take our first step on a path (whatever path we choose), we accumulate ideas and reference points against which we can choose to base our moment by moment life decisions (or not).

    For example, if I perceive something and the idea of fear presents itself, then I choose to either allow fear into my Soul (or inner being) or not. There is a threshold which the point of volition chooses to either allow fear (in this example) into our inner being or not. If I choose to allow fear in or not, it has consequences either way. So in this context, the idea that there is a threshold of outside and inside is important. What we admit to the inside then guides our response and ultimately our actions.

    That process of making decisions happens continuously as each thought arises.

    So the issue of volitional responsibility in the context of walking our chosen path brings into focus the way decisions are made and whether those decisions advance our journey or result in reversionism. In this context it seems that it is an absolute – what does not take us forward, takes us backwards on the path. The further down our chosen path we travel requires higher levels of precision. Some of the subtlety of being present means that higher levels of awareness of our moment by moment decisions are necessary.

    If you look to Edwin’s recent thread on defining enlightenment you will see lots of evidence from a range of perspectives of the need or requirement for heightened levels of awareness to walk an enlightened path.

    Similar discussions also occur around the idea of attachment. If a careful observation is made of the ideas that arise around whether one is attached to something or not, a decision point emerges. If you walk around that decision point and notice the array of elements that emerge, it is fascinating to see what we choose to let into our inner being or what we just choose to notice and let pass like a cloud silently drifting by.

    I hope that helps clarify the context of the first post.

    Nothing but the best…

    Olmate
     

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