There is much talk of the importance of the body and it’s contractions, feelings, in this spiritual marketplace. Though the dialogues we are engaged in are called “Thinking Dialogues,” they in no way exclude the body. The title of the book that is, in part, the inspiration for these dialogues, is Thought As A System, by David Bohm. And upon investigation, whether we are looking into thoughts, sensations, images, or sense perceptions, it is just that—a system, not of divided parts, but the undivided experience prior to the idea of parts. Continue reading
Thought persists, but does our belief in it, and identification with it, have to continue as a persistent way of living, albeit incoherently? Is there a gap in which to look and see–does thought really tells us the way life is and who we are? Or is it the very thing that creates what life appears to be, and all the changing ideas we have of ourselves?
Inspired by the book, Thought as a System, by David Bohm, I’m proposing opportunities to look as a group at the mechanics of thought, how it both plays tricks and doles out treats—moment by moment.
Thought/mind is a system. It has its fixations, reflexes, coherence and incoherence. It is in cahoots with the body, also part of the reflexive system, that appears to make thoughts evidence of truth, of identity–this opinion is true; it is mine; it is who I am. I know because I feel it.
Thinking in and of itself is not the problem. It’s useful, necessary, and highly creative. But incoherent thinking can be observed, and perhaps in that seeing, become coherent, servant rather than master.
I’m starting a series of group dialogues on the incoherent tendencies of thought and how that incoherence manifests as feeling as if what thought says were true, and seemingly coherent. It can mean the difference between being at war or in peace with ourselves and the world, which are one and the same–in thought.
Attention to thought is not exclusive to nonduality. Where is Buddhism, Christianity, Advaita, Zen, but in the objectifying, the structural nature of thought? Incoherent thinking impacts everything from politics, the environment, world hunger, family, relationship, and my/your life as it is lived day to day.
Perhaps we won’t have so many “problems” to solve, if we are able to watch how the problem is created. This ongoing dialogue could be thought of as a kind of “thinking school,” where the separative, divisive, personalized tendency of thought is seen for what it is, in the crucible of the group, from the premise of inseparability. One mind, not my mind and his/her mind.
There will be three 1 1/2 hr dialogues per week, to accommodate time differences. They will be held on Tuesdays at 9:30 am, and Thursdays at 1:00 pm, and Saturdays at 9:30—all MDT, beginning January 6th, 2015. The idea is to look at this on a weekly basis until Toto pulls the curtain aside and there is less smoke and mirrors and more-kindly-old-man-from-Kansas running the show. The kingdom of Oz is not———what we think it is.
Having decided that looking at incoherent thought is absolutely separate from and more important than the money charged or the money to be made, I am changing the price structure, literally reducing the cost by over 50%. Because I do have to show up, keep track of who is coming, send out invites, answer questions, update the website with developments, and other administrative costs, the price has been reduced to $40 per month, for 1 call a week, which will add up to 4 calls per month, 6 hours of dialogue time. depending upon the month. These dialogues will be ongoing, for as long as interest (and/or the tendency towards incoherent thinking) continues.
If interested in exploring and exposing the mechanics of mind through group dialogue, please contact me at Colette.firstname.lastname@example.org The book, Thought As A System, by David Bohm, is available as a downloadable pdf here–in addition to the link above. More details can be found on the Thinking Dialogues page.
In The Deepest Peace video, Part 1: Beginnings, the suggestion is of a better way to live, to be. We are not who we think we are–because we are not our thoughts. Part 2: Thoughts, Clouds is a way of beginning to discover that perhaps there is some truth to this idea. It just might be true that we/you/I are/am not the limited version of “me” that these thoughts seem to suggest. It is also a way to look to see how this limited, always insufficient, “me” is continually (apparently) being recreated. The suggestion in Part 2 is to observe, rather than identify with, thought. More importantly, if thought is not the arbiter of identity–who am I? And if, in fact, that cannot be answered satisfactorily–what is it that is here, in between, prior to, or after thought ceases to be the major player in this me/world construct? What is the nature of the space in which these thoughts simply come and go? What happens when we stop paying attention to the thoughts, and start paying attention to the silent, still empty room through which they continually seem to appear and pass through? Have a look and see for yourself:
In Part 3: Other People, we can begin to see how this imagined, ever-changing self-image actually impacts (creates) the world in which we live, how the peace and/or conflict we experience in our relationships are also thought-created. The people we love and hate are the projections we put onto them based on the false, and inadequate sense of “me” as a separate, isolated, and vulnerable self. They are not who we think they are either. This leads to the insight pointed to in the words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi. We can only come to truly know others when we know who we really are. How do these others look to you, when viewed from a perspective of openness and not-knowing–simply observing without thoughts that discriminate?
Be the peace. Thank you for watching, and considering.
(Due to copyright issues, you may not be able to view this video on your phone or tablet. I was able to view it from my phone and onto my TV through a streaming video player.)
But first, you need to look and see, to find, that need. If you’re in conflict with others, it’s there–no matter how humble or self-effacing the facade. Sometimes, those who have a secret not-special identity, and who Ironically tend to be experts at letting others know they’re not special, seem to have the greatest need to be special. It’s just harder to see, harder to find, but running the game (the separation game) nonetheless. Pain is running the game, often disguised as self-assurance, or even arrogance. Spot it; you got it.
People strive to be special simply because they don’t feel special. Those who can’t abide specialness don’t either. Forgive it all.
Specialness is the ultimate gatekeeper, the burly bouncer at heaven’s door. Oneness precludes special. You can’t have both, and there really isn’t both, only the painful illusion of special and not-special. They are the same misapprehension. It hides well, wears many masks. Look for the need to be special, and/or the adverse reaction to seeing it rear its head in others. Specialness is the perennial itch that gnaws, whether you scratch it or pretend it doesn’t exist. It is the pea that keeps the princess/prince in constant discomfort, obscured as it is by so many mattresses.
The need to be special will knock you on your ass, over and over. Or, if you pay it no mind, it will slowly, silently, take down your house like a drywood termite. The false self, this character we play, will always strive to be special, boldly or in stealth, but it will never succeed because it is false; because it is only a character in a short-run play. Because it is not real, even in its most stellar moments.
Postscript: all posts here are written from personal experience. This ain’t book-learnin, nor is it a YouTube-generated epiphany. What I would learn is this: I am neither special or not special, but I have discovered it is a very heavy suitcase to lug around, and when I stop long enough to open it, it is surprisingly empty.
“Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love.” ~ A Course in Miracles
The topic being discussed on Wednesday’s Look-See is At Peace With Not Knowing. What does that mean? Not knowing and its relationship to peace is similar to a line from Faith Mind (published here yesterday):
“Do not seek for the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.”
Science, philosophy, psychology, physics—all the ideas of yesterday become outmoded like the fabled myth of a flat earth. The string theory of today cannot hold, if we but empirically witness the historical falling away of one so-called truth after another. Conversely, in psychology, the adherence to behaviorism to the denial or a disinterest in genetics is to hold an opinion. To hold to a gold standard, whether as a metallurgist, an economist, or a moralist, is of course nothing more than opinion.
To espouse nonduality, Advaita, Christianity, Buddhism, or atheism is to have a perspective, an opinion—a way of perceiving and expressing that perception. Even to say, “We are all One,” is an opinion. Everything written in these pages is a way of expressing a perspective. It is not true, nor are these words or any of the above perspectives untrue, as long as they remain in the lightly-held realm of opinion, viewpoint, and perspective. There is nothing wrong with any of them as far as points of view go…until they are taken as hard-cold facts, as reality. Even unquestioned “consensus reality” is an opportunity for amusement rather than argument.
So what does this have to do with peace? The argument, the conflict, the separation of families, friends, tribes, and nations is what arises from cherishing opinions. Seeking and presumably finding truth is taking a stand, and then having to defend the very ground you stand on, even if only to yourself.
Matter is…mind is…enlightenment is…the truth is…the way to truth is… none of these things are known. Yet the attempt and the assertion of certainty in these matters keep us from equanimity, a relaxed uncertainty that allows us to see without “the smallest distinction” that heaven and hell are set apart only because we have made such a distinction. If knowing for certain pits us for or against this or that, we thus have something, sometimes everything, to defend and protect.
What if not knowing is the source of The Buddha’s smile? We don’t know. I don’t know. Letting go of the need to know feels like the deepest peace, releases the deepest and longest-held sense of contraction. The fist opens to reveal welcoming palm.
If you wish to join Beth Bellamy and I in this discussion on Wednesday, contact me here. We will not figure anything out; we will not become certain of anything, but we might very well smile, and be at peace by and by.