Thought is Like Quicksand

Cartoon duck

“What’s the big idea?” ~ Donald Duck

Thought is like quicksand–one step, and “you” are in it up to your neck.

But we can learn all about quicksand, mostly how to recognize it, so you don’t get stuck in the mire.

Then you can step around it, like a seasoned eco-traveller.

Or go ahead and sink, losing all–or nothing.

Whaddya know?

Want to join the Thinking Dialogues? Click on the hat!



Going to the Land Beyond Belief~Confabulating Oz

Becoming Aware of the Mind, by Andrew Gable

Becoming Aware of the Mind, by Andrew Gable

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 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.

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road ~ eone Film

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road ~ eone Film


Mechanics of Mind Revealed~Look-See

Fleeting Flotsam of the Floating World by Matthew Carver

“Hold on to the sense ‘I am’ to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’…be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.” ~ Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta

“If you can recognize, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as simply thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen — the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds. The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

These are pointers—only until they become lived experience. If they are merely understood, then they are just more thoughts amongst many random thoughts that can “easily drag you along” in conceptual, mind-created activity. No pointer, no matter how eloquent, or how deep the resonance, conveys any kind of knowing, unless and until it is a lived experience.

So if the above quotes are familiar—seem to make sense—but the experience, the knowing of that to which they point, is not forthcoming, is there a way to take the pointer all the way home to the felt, lived experience? Can one stay with the looking, observing, “be silent and watch it” and finally see?

In the Look-Sees, what we’re doing seems to bridge the difference between understanding the pointer conceptually and seeing, or apprehending, the experience. The suggestion here is guided looking. When you simply point to the observing, the capacity to watch, there is a glimpse, and then mind steps in, oftentimes instantly, without noticing that one has gone back into the conceptual. When a facilitator is there, looking right along with you, the thought-train can be stopped, so to speak, and bring you right back to looking.

I used to watch my daughter taking piano lessons when she was younger. The piano teacher would sit on the bench with her, and as my daughter played, her teacher would occasionally touch her back, and she would sit straighter. She would touch her hands, and she’d remember to go lightly on the keys. She would even touch her cheek and the tension in her face would relax (she’d stop trying so hard). So my daughter would get the experience of playing better–and eventually, the better posture, lighter fingers, and relaxed face would become an integral part of the playing. The body, the playing would correct on its own, based on the persistence of these gentle reminders.

This is what guided looking is like—a few consistent, gentle reminders, or light taps, and one becomes the looking, the seeing. Mind can actually be seen for the habitual tendency, the tyranny, it seems to assume. When mind is put at this subtle distance (purely metaphorical, there is no distance), it seems as if there is room for genuine insight, or clear seeing (IN-sight), regardless of where the insight is spoken, whether seemingly from the facilitator or facilitated.

In this way, self-ing, other-ing, world-ing can actually be seen in action—the process, the mechanism of the mind constructing and maintaining a self, and the world and relations that keep it in place. And it can be seen, like a mirage appeals to the thirsty, the fascination, the lure of this self-ing activity. (Maya, the seductress) Once this attraction is seen, the gig is up; the curtain has been pulled back on the wizard, revealing the mechanics behind the smoke and mirrors. There were no armies, no tactics, no strategy required to expose the wizard–he was simply seen, the mechanics behind his power revealed.

The facilitator is not the expert in this equation. Facilitator obsolescence is built in, as the habit of observing thoughts eventually supercedes the habitual identification with thoughts. Thoughts, stories, tend to disperse as they are noticed. The seeing itself takes over, and the illusion of duality is exposed as the ultimate misapprehension. It “…all comes spontaneously.”

We invite you to look, and simply see—to go beyond the pointer to the knowing itself, to where the pointer is lived, and becomes clear. This seeing becomes the teaching (no dogma, or need to take, preach, or defend any position), and the attraction becomes greater to stay to stay in the seeing, rather than to be pulled in by the movie. It is both Self-nourishing and concurrently self-effacing. It all takes care of Itself; the pointing is in the seeing. It’s so appallingly simple. Have a look and see.

“The only way out is to simply observe. This allows us to take note of our physical reactions, our mental attitudes and patterns and our motivations at the exact moment they appear.” ~ Jean Klein