Thursday, March 5, 2009

We are not our thoughts

Great question... I have been asked to expand on the concept we touched on in our first class.
Where I mentioned the quote:

"Yogas citta-vritti-nirodhaha"
Where yoga/meditation is described as ... 'the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.' [Patanjali - 8 limbs of yoga in Yoga Sutras]

In this class, I mentioned that if we were our thoughts - we would remember clearly what thought we had precisely this time last night/day. If our thoughts were the true essence of who we are - why can't we remember that thought, we had at that time? If we were our thoughts, we would 'be' that thought now, in this present moment, right?

This is a great question, thank you. I'll do my best to expand on this. This question has come at the right time, as we have been exploring this week - our thoughts, our beliefs and perceptions of ourselves. Which has been our natural progression from realising we are not our thoughts, to watching our thoughts and creating space to allow them to settle, then till now - where we have been noticing our thoughts. What they reflect in our perception of ourselves and then creating new thoughts to align ourselves to our true essence of being ie. who we are originally when were born - an abundance of boundless potential and love. Which is also who we are now, when we peel away the layers of labels, beliefs and conditions that we have painted ourselves with.

My question is then, if we can notice our thoughts, notice what each thought represents in terms of what we perceive ourselves to be. Then… who is this “I” the entity that can notice that there are thoughts in the first place? The 'I' that can choose which thoughts serve us the best, in a given moment? We tried to define this “I” last week in our activity. Was there a clear definite answer to “who am I?” An answer that we can use 100% of the time that all encapsulates the whole essence of who we are? When we sit in our stillness - is there any definition or boundaries that define this space?

Last week, we spoke of being ‘undefined’ when we are fully present in a given moment. The example given was when we are in love, and am fully present in the moment - there are no other thoughts in that given moment. We are not thinking what show is on tv, or analyzing how our partner dresses etc. We are so fully focused on just being in that moment, we act according to how we feel in that moment. There are no other thoughts that do not relate to that moment. We are so present in that moment, we are ‘undefined’. Of course, we can give ourselves the labels, ie our names etc. but the thought “I am Benjamin” is not constantly ringing in our heads as we interact with a loved one. The “I” in that moment can be felt, as we are there to experience that moment, but the “I” was not attached to any label or thought at the time.

This undefined presence or “I” can be described as various terms by various spiritual books and paths. Some call this the ‘soul’, ‘inner-self’ - the undefined ‘space’ that we ‘are’ when we create the stillness in our meditation. It is the ‘I’ that has been noticing the thoughts, the ‘I’ that has been noticing our senses, the “I” that has been choosing how we experience each moment through our thoughts and perceptions of ourselves. It is the "I" that remains undefined, that creates and experiences life as we know it.

Eventually there is no duality between "I" and our experiences - as we are complete... lets expand on this last point in future courses. =>

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