In the following excerpt, Arian is pointing out something that most people never realize: everything is a concept, a symbol, because that’s how the mind works. For example, think of a pine tree. Now there is no actual pine tree inside your brain, rather there is only and ever an image or symbol that communicates to you, “pine tree.” And this is true for every thought image you know! When we forget this, we end up arguing (with ourselves or others) about whose concept is most right. We are forgetting that the idea of whose concept is “most right” (mine or yours), is also a concept!
That which is AWARE of all concepts is itself not a concept. It just IS… and You are THAT. In fact, You can’t be anything else, which means that no concept actually touches you. -Michael Jeffreys
“It has already been stated that our concepts are inseparably linked with our perception. Everything we see is ultimately a concept. This is because the mind can only process all of the sensual data it receives in a conceptual manner. It functions in this manner in order to try and gain understanding of all of the phenomena in the world.
Our senses are very limited; no one has ever seen what is truly there. All that can be seen is an interpretation of the world that is subject to the limitation of the senses. This data that is seen is then interpreted by the mind . Different organisms can see different things due to the varying capability of senses. One organism’s perception is no more valid than the other. Despite what your senses tell you, no one has any proof that what is seen and experienced is truly how it is beyond one’s limited perception.”
-Arian Herbert (from The God Behind The God)
In a way, thoughts are like hollow colored easter eggs with little tiny prizes in them. And because the ego seeks prizes, it is attracted to thoughts like moths to a flame. And while attention is on ANY thought or movement, STILLNESS remains hidden in plain sight. It’s never not been HERE… it’s that your attention has been elsewhere.
From facebook: A few days ago, I posted: “The eye cannot see. The ear cannot hear. The tongue cannot taste. The nose cannot smell. The finger cannot feel.” Meaning You, Consciousness, are what is seeing, not the eye, etc.
Today I would like to add: “Thought’s cannot think.” Meaning You, Consciousness, are what is aware of thoughts, not the thought itself. Thoughts are like billboards in that they contain information, but ARE NOT SELF-AWARE. In other words, you are aware of the billboard, it’s not aware of you. Same with thoughts. Awareness, the boundless space in which everything comes and goes, is aware of whatever is presently happening, but is itself no thing.
Alan Watts points out that just like sound arises from silence, stays for a duration, and then goes back into silence, so do objects. They are appearing from nothing and will go back to nothing, just like sound. They are just slower to go away then sound, so we impart a permanence to objects which they don’t actually possess.
Following a nice lunch with my friend Tom, as we were standing on the sidewalk saying good-bye, we took a moment to notice/become aware of that which is always present and never goes anywhere, regardless of where the body may be located in time-space. Says Tom:
“Michael and I had a nice lunch on my brief visit back to LA and when we left he stopped me on the street and turned to me and said:
“I’m going to ask you a question but I don’t want you to answer. Just take it in…
So now you’re in the familiar surroundings of West LA and tomorrow you will be back in your new home in Las Vegas. What will be the same?”
My mind searched for a label or response but I remembered his admonition and the depth of the mystery hit me. Very nice moment.” – Tom Bunzel
Last night my girlfriend and I were meditating together and out of nowhere she says, “Oh, I see. Thought and the space of awareness co-exist together!” And when I looked at her, suddenly she looked about 10 years younger and completely relaxed and at peace. Like an enormous invisible weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Apparently she had been going back and forth between the space of awareness and its contents, and wasn’t sure how to reconcile the two (meaning how both could exist simultaneously, as she would either be caught up in thoughts or totally resting as awareness, but couldn’t seem to have thoughts AND stay in that space of total openness, if you know what I mean). In that “ah-ha” moment she suddenly realized that they are not actually two, nor are they separate. That they co-exist!
Later as I was walking her to her car, I pointed up at the sky which was filled with white clouds, and said, “Honey, look at the sky… see how it co-exists with the clouds. In fact it doesn’t matter whether it’s raining, or snowing or 100 degrees out… the sky remains un-disturbed by its contents… just like the space of awareness.“
COMMENT: This was a great insight but it leaves me a bit confused Michael.. I am either in thought or in awareness and Presence.. I can’t understand them overlapping.. What am I missing?
MICHAEL: “You” are neither IN thought or awareness simply because there is no “you.” Thoughts appear in awareness, for no one. It turns out there doesn’t have to be someone there and in fact there ISN’T anyone there!! As a baby, there was no “you” there to differentiate between self and thought, self and other, etc. No “I” to have a problem with any thought! They just came and went on there own…
I think this is what my girlfriend saw. She thought she had to be one or the other (sort of like you said: “I am either in thought or in awareness and Presence”), but really thoughts (clouds) simply come and go within the ever present space (sky) of awareness…
At last weds. night’s deconstruction class at my place in west LA, someone said, “I want what you have.” However, she had it backwards. It’s not that I have something she doesn’t, she seemly has something I don’t: a SELF. I look directly here, now, in my present experience, and I find no SELF. Everything else is the same. Thoughts come, thoughts go; feelings come, feelings go. But for whom? I cannot find an owner.
And yet, somehow, seeing this clearly has made all the difference! It’s as if the believing that you are separate self is so heavy, so riddled with never ending discontent, that when it falls away you literally feel lighter, happier and freer.