Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncovering

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:38 pm

Hi Husain,

Good! You are really LOOKING. A sense of relaxation is very helpful. Relax and SEE what is there, as you have been doing, Scientist-of-Your-Present-Moment.
Does the sense of self have a location?
I don't think so.
Well, as always, LOOK. What is found? Does sense of self have a location that you can find? Or only thought says so?
Exactly how would a thing called brain / body do any choosing?
I guess a better way to put it is there's constant decision processes that happens in the brain + the environment, all of it. "Choosing" happens, and then a story about choosing appears. The brain "chooses" actions the same way a tree "chooses" to grow. It just happens.
Good - so if it "just happens," is there anything choosing? A brain choosing? A tree choosing?

It can be disorienting to see how things are when we LOOK, as opposed to what thought says. We have spent many years never LOOKING, only listening to thought.
Does the sense of self say or communicate anything?
In thoughts. There are stories of an I that has its desires and wants and needs. But there is no real entity called self saying these things.
So, if "there is no real entity called "self" saying these things - how can it communicate anything? Even in thought?


If you feel confused, relax and focus on the basics of Actual Experience: seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting and thoughts arising (but not their content).
What is the sense of self ‘made of’? An image? Sound?
Taste? Smell? Sensation?

Other than thoughts I'm not sure anymore. Feels like only thoughts now.
"Feels like only thoughts now." Good. Keep looking until you are sure. This is not made up. This can be SEEN.

I wanted to say I'm struggling to do the exercises, but for some reason 'struggling to do' doesn't make sense anymore? Hopefully you understand. I'm not even sure what the sense of self is either? There are thoughts of self for sure. I dunno, I'm confused. Thank you.
Struggle is such a habit, isn't it? Are you struggling? Or is it only thought saying that?

Yes, you are making complete sense. Remember the lost keys (sense of self) - thought keeps saying they're there, but you have looked repeatedly in your pockets - are they there? Or is only thought saying so?

I had a teacher once who said we only learn things when we allow the confusion. When we are certain, no new information gets in.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:43 pm

Hi,

I have been looking all day. All there is is: Seeing, hearing, feeling, etc.. Just a Knowing, an experiencing of a single moment. There is nothing else.
Well, as always, LOOK. What is found? Does sense of self have a location that you can find? Or only thought says so?
No, sense of self. Only thought image of body, a sensation labeled as me by thought that says: "This is the self".
Good - so if it "just happens," is there anything choosing? A brain choosing? A tree choosing?
There is no "agent" choosing. There is only happening. An unfolding process.
So, if "there is no real entity called "self" saying these things - how can it communicate anything? Even in thought?
Self is not communicating. There are only thoughts about this fictional self. These stories do NOT imply the existence of a real self or that they come from a real self, Sometimes there are thoughts of fictional characters, monsters, and aliens. That doesn't mean these are real entities! e.g "I like to eat pie", "Batman likes to fight crime". Both are thoughts that have been thought at some point. Both are equally fictitious.
"Feels like only thoughts now." Good. Keep looking until you are sure. This is not made up. This can be SEEN.
Thoughts are literally only thoughts. Thoughts about "my" preferences, likes, dislikes, desires, hopes, fears, expectations. All just descriptions of some imaginary character called "I". All just stories. Believing thoughts still happens very easily and habitually though.
Struggle is such a habit, isn't it? Are you struggling? Or is it only thought saying that?
Struggling is just an act? Feels like I is just a role that "I've" been playing (The role was just being played, no entity playing it). Pretending to struggle. That doesn't make any sense. There are sensations of discomfort, pressure, thoughts with content of struggle, but no actual struggling. It feels like a small shift but such a big shift, if that makes sense haha. It seems silly, things happen or they don't. Sensations are experienced. There is no such thing as "struggling" or "bending the mind to your will".
Yes, you are making complete sense. Remember the lost keys (sense of self) - thought keeps saying they're there, but you have looked repeatedly in your pockets - are they there? Or is only thought saying so?
Yes thinking of self keeps happening. Even in the experience of being the "observer/experiencer/witness" it was only thought saying so, but very subtle. Experience of visual thought and a few thoughts of "Oh that looks nice", or "I am hearing this". There is no hearer or experiencer or observer. Only this. and this. This moment of knowing. This moment of feeling. This moment of thinking. This moment of thoughts of doubt... Is this actually it?
It can be disorienting to see how things are when we LOOK, as opposed to what thought says. We have spent many years never LOOKING, only listening to thought.
Yes, it is so habitual to instantly believe thought, but if the same content was told to me by someone else, I would not believe it so readily (probably). I have noticed a shift. Thoughts are less... sticky. There are also a lot less thoughts. Life feels simpler. Hard to articulate, but I was being a character in a story. But there are no characters, only experience. Very quiet. "I feel I am almost there" are the thoughts I get. Also thoughts of doubt that this is it. There are thoughts of uncertainty and an unpleasant feeling deep down.

Hmmmm.... a thought says "I should say this because it'll be embarrassing when I'm wrong", but is this it? Just seeing, hearing, thinking, knowing. This is very peaceful and simple. Tell me if I'm missing anything? Thank you.

Much love,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:30 pm

Hi Husain,
is this it? Just seeing, hearing, thinking, knowing. This is very peaceful and simple. Tell me if I'm missing anything? Thank you.
Yes, this it sounds like this is it. Final questions will help us to know if anything is missing.

Remember, this is just the beginning.

Seeing no self is the first step in beginning to unravel the thinking we were believing. After you answer final questions, you will have the opportunity to join after care groups on Facebook where you can ask questions and be supported in continuing to open and experience this peaceful and simple no self.

There are a couple of exercises on time and memory. Would you like to do those first? Or would you like to go ahead and attempt final questions?

Much loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:30 am

Hi :)

This whole thing is so funny, so incredibly funny. "I"'ve been laughing like a madman for the last 3 days. Such a ridiculous thing to believe. Also, I understand why we use I and me in language now, its much harder to explain experience otherwise. Everything needs to be said in the passive voice and using this and that. No "I" anywhere in reality though, just a useful construct!

I'd love one more set of questions on time and memory, since I haven't yet thought of those. Last night was filled with thoughts about the ramifications of this loss in belief, as well as old memories of old kinds popping up and being processed, it seemed like the brain was performing one big cleanup haha. Almost a domino effect?

And yes, also the the final questions please :). If I've done it (Although there is no I to have done it! hehe), this is so simple. So peaceful and natural. It seems impossible that there was a time when it wasn't this way. Like being lost in a dream of thought stories.

Thank you so much.

Much love,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:00 pm

Good morning, Husain!

You're right. It's incredibly funny. You sound cooked. You're welcome. It is my pleasure.

So let me give you one time exercise right now,. When that's done, memory and when that's done, final questions.

Time Exercise

There is a general assumption that there is linear time that started (if started at all) somewhere very far in the past and advances to the distant future. The present moment (now) is considered to be a very small fragment of time, or an event that is moving forward
on a linear line, coming from the past and advancing to the future.

But is there an experience of the ’now’ moving along the line of time?

Any experience of one ‘moment’ giving way to the next?

Is there any actual or direct experience of one event following another?

How fast is the ‘present moment’ actually moving?

Just look at 'this moment', can you find a point where it began?

How long does the ‘now’ last?

Where does the ‘now’ start, and where does it end?

When does the ‘now’ exactly become the 'past'?

What is the ‘past’ in actual experience?

So is there actual experience of ‘time’ or thoughts about ‘time’?



The answers will probably be obvious, even more so than before.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:17 pm

Hiya,

Oh my goodness, I can't stop laughing.I went to the park today, and it was absolutely stunning. Everything is perfect...
But is there an experience of the ’now’ moving along the line of time?
No. Now doesn't move. Its only ever now.
Any experience of one ‘moment’ giving way to the next?
No.
Is there any actual or direct experience of one event following another?
No.
How fast is the ‘present moment’ actually moving?
Its not moving.
Just look at 'this moment', can you find a point where it began?
No.
How long does the ‘now’ last?
Hmm, I don't know how to answer this to be honest haha. Constantly fleeting, but always now?
When does the ‘now’ exactly become the 'past'?
Doesn't happen in actual experience.
What is the ‘past’ in actual experience?
Just thoughts, and mental images, all experienced now.
So is there actual experience of ‘time’ or thoughts about ‘time’?
Only thoughts of time.

Some of these were a bit difficult to answer. To be honest this is so new to me, that I've yet to explore all the ramifications. Looking at the experience of time is fascinating. Would appreciate any different ways of exploring/looking at time. Thank you :)

Much love,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 4:22 pm

Good morning!
Oh my goodness, I can't stop laughing.I went to the park today, and it was absolutely stunning. Everything is perfect...
Loving reading these! ( -ing words seem to fit best)
Some of these were a bit difficult to answer. To be honest this is so new to me, that I've yet to explore all the ramifications. Looking at the experience of time is fascinating. Would appreciate any different ways of exploring/looking at time. Thank you :)
Of course. For one thing, review the ones that were what thought called "difficult" until you see through that. It is always Now. One idea is to watch a clock (analog or digital - won't matter). Even though the image does something, is the Actual Experience changing? Or is it always Now?

Digesting this new paradigm will take a while. Go easy with it. No hurry here.

I'll send you this memory exercise. Do it . . . whenever. . . :)

Memory Exercise

Almost everybody believes that a memory thought is referring to something that has happened. That a memory thought is a different thought than a non-memory thought.

Please don’t go to thought explanations, but just let a memory be there, and look at it.

Look at what is actually going on and not what thoughts say - but what actually is.

What is memory exactly?

What is the memory ‘made of’?

WHEN does the memory appear?

What is the exact difference between a ‘general’ thought and a ‘memory’ thought?

How is it known EXACTLY that a ‘memory’ thought refers to something that has happened?

Then, look at a thought about the future.

What is the future thought ‘made of’?

WHEN does the future thought appear?

What is the exact difference between a ‘general’ thought and a ‘future’ thought?

How is it known EXACTLY that a ‘future’ thought refers to something that will happen?

Then let’s compare a thought about past and a thought about the future.

What is the EXACT difference between the thoughts about past and future?


Enjoy!

Loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:24 pm

Hello :)
Of course. For one thing, review the ones that were what thought called "difficult" until you see through that. It is always Now. One idea is to watch a clock (analog or digital - won't matter). Even though the image does something, is the Actual Experience changing? Or is it always Now?
Ahhhhh so there is only ever actual experience. Nothing else. Very subtle thoughts (non-verbal maybe) "connect" "past" actual experience with "present" actual experience. These "connections" are just more appearances in direct experience. Really, truly there is only now, this exact experiencing. Its a bit difficult to see but does that sound right? I might try exploring this while meditating.
What is memory exactly?
Memory is just some form of mentally generated phenomena (Thought), i.e memory of seeing, hearing, tasting. Memory of an old house, certain story, song, "favorite dish", moving houses, etc... Its just another thought. Only difference between memory and thoughts or any other fantasy is that memory is interspersed with thoughts of "past" and usually I e.g "Let me remember", "Looking back at my childhood.." "I can't believe this happened to ME" or "I remember when I did this", "I loved that old house", etc...
WHEN does the memory appear?
I stared at this question for a long time not understanding it hahaha. I kept thinking "when else could it appear? It has to appear now. Is this a trick question?" Memories appear now :) Just another experiencing.
What is the exact difference between a ‘general’ thought and a ‘memory’ thought?
No difference, only the content of it, labels of I, the past, remembering etc... In principle, there is no way to know if a memory is a memory or just a fantasy through direct experience.
What is the future thought ‘made of’?
Okay, all these answers are going to be equivalent to the last block of answers :). Only difference is that future thought is labeled "imagining", "What if", "Wish"
WHEN does the future thought appear?
Now.
What is the exact difference between a ‘general’ thought and a ‘future’ thought?
Content of thoughts/labels.
How is it known EXACTLY that a ‘future’ thought refers to something that will happen?
Thought content referring to future(Via the tenses/character labeled as "older me", etc..). Just labels of it being in the future. e.g "Ahhh It would be great if I were x, y, z"
What is the EXACT difference between the thoughts about past and future?
Only the labels and the content of thought differentiate memories, imagination, fantasy, wishing etc.... Nothing intrinsically different about experience of memory or future thought.

Thank you so much. Looking forward to any comments and the last questions :)

So Much love,

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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:41 pm

YES! You've got it.
Really, truly there is only now, this exact experiencing. Its a bit difficult to see but does that sound right? I might try exploring this while meditating.
Yes, that sounds right. It IS right. LOOK and you can SEE. yes, exploring it while meditating will be good.

There isn't much to comment on. Everything is NOW - only thought labels anything as "past" or "future," as you say in every answer.

Can give you time to do the additional exploration above. When you are ready, I will post the final questions. Once you have answered those thoroughly, yet succinctly (as you have been doing), it will be posted for senior guides to review and ask further questions, if any, or confirm. Once confirmed, you'll be invited to the Facebook Aftercare groups via a Private Message (top right hand corner). Your name will be turned Blue.

Let me know when you feel ready to attempt final questions.

Much loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:24 pm

Hello,

There is only now :). My manic laughing has decreasing considerably. This new way of being is quickly becoming very comfortable and life seems to be going back to normal. The changes are interesting. Attachment to a lot of spiritual stories/ideas are dropping. I'm really glad that I've only been interesting in spirituality/dharma/whatever for a couple of months. The stories of many, many people who have been pursuing this specific insight for years and decades are really shocking, and that would have been the case for me if it weren't for you, so thank you :)
Previously, I've seen spirituality in entirely the wrong way. Just another form of self-enhancement. Now its another beautiful tool/study for helping people, taking care of this body and mind, exploration, etc :). Its a much healthier perspective. Meditating also is very different. It feels silly that it used to be this "battle" and "taming/controlling of the mind, by the self". Now its just something that happens. A lot of things are clicking. I also see how this is really just the beginning. The path is very clear now, for now at least. There is no mountain to climb. Everything's perfect, but there's work to do. Ahhh all the cliches make sense now.

I'm ready to answer the final questions.

(I like a dramatic flair to my writing, have you noticed ;) ? )
Much love,

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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:51 pm

Good morning!

Yes, your writing is enjoyable. And yes, all the cliches make sense after seeing that there is no self. You are more than welcome. It has been a pleasure.

Here you go, final questions. Be sure to answer every single part of every question. Especially Question #5 about decisions. People seem to skip part of that and we have to go back over it.

Answers succinctly, and thoroughly.


1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.

3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

5) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.

6) Anything to add?

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:00 pm

PS - where is the "I"who has any kind of writing that has a dramatic flair?

:)
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:57 pm

Good morning :),
PS - where is the "I"who has any kind of writing that has a dramatic flair?
You caught "me" there ;)
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No. Its not a real entity. There's only a story about it. Just like stories we have about Santa Claus, Superheroes, and any other fictional characters. There are thoughts about it, but no entity behind the thought.
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
Hmmm. The illusion is that there is some sort of separate self, outside this body and world, unaffected by any outer conditions. This magical separate self owns and controls the brain and the body. It owns things. It has qualities and characteristics. And that is who we are. It is simply a belief passed on to us at a young age. We are told "You need to control yourself!", "You should do this and not that" and the illusion of I as a controller is created. We are also told "You are good, bad, ugly, beautiful etc..." and this imputes some sort of permanent identity with characteristics on this controller. This controller makes decisions and controls this body, and owns this body. It thinks and owns its thoughts as we are asked about "our thoughts" or "what are you thinking of?". "Hmmm never realised these thoughts were mine," and so they became "ours".
Language creates this illusion at every turn and continuously reinforces it. The mind in an attempt to create meaning out of all this phenomena, concludes there is a separate self. an I that is the thinker, agent, decider and owner.
3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
The difference experientally is very simple: All there is hearing, seeing, feeling, thinking, etc.. Nothing else. Everything is clear and simple. There is no sense of being the "controller", or the "observer". Just this moment of whatever experience is happening. Its very different from before. Thoughts don't have the "distorting effect"? Thoughts aren't "sticky" anymore. It feels very ordinary, but very ... quaint. Also, although thoughts of self do still come up (way less than before though) they are no longer believed to refer to something "real". Just another thought, another story.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Hmmm. It was somewhat gradual. The biggest thing was relaxing into the possibility of thoughts being wrong, and looking into them. A sort of "What if?" moment.
Then the paradox of free will became very clear as well. Even if there was a "thinker", how does that thinker choose its thoughts... well it would require another thinker! ditto with being a doer and decisionmaker. The whole idea of free will suddenly became absolutely ridiculous because its not even logically possible. That made me laugh a lot :). From there everything else crumbled.
5) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control. What makes things happen? How does it work? What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.
In reality "choosing", thinking, "deciding", doing are just labels and stories to explain what's happening under the framework of self/free will. Life happens as a process, as a result of causes/conditions. Computations are made and the organism acts. Then thoughts appear with content of choosing, deciding, doing, etc. In fact these "controller/decider/doer/thinker" thoughts are completely unnecessary, everything could work perfectly fine without these I thoughts, they are simply a product of the process.
To use a nature analogy. Tornadoes are very interesting phenomena, it could be interpreted that they are "born", they "act", they "flow" and make "choices" on where to move, they die, they interact with the environment and are affected by it. In fact they are a part of the environment. We don't generally attribute their behavior to some puppet master essence within them however. Same thing with humans. They "act", affect everything around them and are affected by everything around them. No essence or controller. Very natural. Things just happen.
Eeeek, responsibility. That's a tough one. Hmmm, the way I see it, responsibility is a complete human construct, just another story. It is somewhat useful however. Ultimately, however, its all just causes and conditions. Can a greedy man, be blamed for his greediness? No because there's no one to blame. There is only an organism that is conditioned a certain way. That is all. There are ramifications to this...and this is definitely something to be thought of more.
Almost forgot the examples: So choosing to get out of this chair and make myself a meal in reality is: Certain conditions (relating to hunger) reach a certain level such that the brain formulates a solution (making meal), this cause the body to move and cook. In direct experience: "thoughts of hunger", sensation (labeled hunger), "Thoughts of deciding meal", sensations of body as it moves and cooks, and so on.
I wanna add that thoughts of choosing and deciding are much rarer now: acting and moving comes much more naturally.
6) Anything to add?
This has completely ripped my model of human nature, ethics, happiness to shreds. How will I ever recover :( ?
Where to go now?

Much love,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:00 pm

Good morning, again, Husain,

Very good.

On # 5, I don't see any mention of "intention." What is intention? How does it work? And please give an example from experience.

Thank you! Once that is complete, I will submit your answers for confirmation as mentioned before.

As far as ethical questions & implications, yes, those are things to be worked through. It's one of the reasons we have an Aftercare group on Facebook. My name on Facebook is Stacy Ann Clark and you are welcome to friend me and stay in touch.

Much love,
Stacy
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:51 pm

On # 5, I don't see any mention of "intention." What is intention? How does it work? And please give an example from experience.
Intention is just like choice, a thought that is labelled intention. Example: There are times when I "intend" to stop a bad habit. All that is is a thought "I'm going to stop a bad habit". The brain has already been processing this for a while. The intention itself does not lead to the behavior, the thought intention is a product of the process. Then the body either acts in according to intention or not. Direct experience: intention -> behavior. Reality: Brain reacting to causes/conditions -> intention thoughts arise -> More brain processing -> Organism acts in some way(either according to intention or not).

Much love,


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