This is about magic. Magic that happens all the time. A magic show that is happening right now in this very moment. That, based on the available evidence, only happens now. This is the magic show of Personhood; of self.
Somewhere along the line we read or heard someone say to us, this self you think is you, is not you, it is an elaborate production — it’s a trick. Or maybe, if we were lucky, we got a peek behind the scenes via an experience of trauma, or maybe even some sort of spiritual or satori experience. Whatever the case, however it happened, we got attuned to the notion that person we took ourselves to be was not as solid, continuous, and consistent as we once thought. Indeed, we noticed that we were, to one degree or another, being tricked.
As seekers we have taken an interest in seeing who we really are. Ostensibly, we have taken up interest in figuring out how the magic show works, or seeing what the essence of the magic show really is.
The spiritual path is really nothing more than making the subjective, objective. In other words, the path is a process of recognizing what was once taken to be “self” simply as objects arising. What was once “I-ness” is now seen as “it-ness.” The path is an explication: a making the implicit, explicit.
… I gradually, and more frequently, began to catch thought and feeling in the act of spinning the usual stories, problems, and protractions of Alex. Over time I noticed that the “apparent distance” between the observer and objects in consciousness was much more pronounced than in normal everyday “Alex in the world” mode. I saw, as all the enlightened dudes in the canon say, just how mechanical thought, emotion were.
But the thing that kinda perplexed me the most, besides the mechanicalness, was how all the flotsam and jetsam in consciousness felt, even though I would catch it and observe it in the act, still felt like self. It was as if Alex/Personhood was within and as the objects in awareness. Somehow the objects in awareness, and I’m referring mostly to thought and emotional content here, were masquerading, elegantly spinning and whirring, coming together to produce Selfhood-Personhood.
Essentially I saw, quite clearly, the mechanical nature of mind. Thoughts and feelings would churn, they would cycle, in such a way that was periodic; I could time the “thought/feeling loop” as I began to call it. It was that mechanical. The emotionally loaded thought of being a jilted lover was just as mechanical as a song that kept playing in mind.
The thing about the thoughts and feelings is that they all, before they were “caught” or witnessed, possessed the sense of Alex; they completely usurped the attention and were taken to be me. They all, even as they spin and are seen still feel like “me.” The thing about the thought cycle is each iteration of thoughts feels like it has self-nature; like it is “me” They are all very convincing, very legitimate perspectives. spiritual magazine
Thoughts and feelings that normally possessed me completely were given more relief in the view… they became Objects in awareness. They would still usurp attention and spin, but I would notice them, and pull back. What were normally convictions laden with power and meaning; uber important, real deal, bona fide, “you better worry about this” scripts were seen to arise, churn, and fall in consciousness in the same manner that a song that was “stuck in the head” would. Completely mechanical. BUT, still completely, seemingly of self….
So, I had a glimpse. I saw, quite clearly, and somewhat disorientlingly, if not disturbingly, that I was being tricked into believing the magic show was real; that the movement in mind, reinforced and coupled with emotion, and body sensation, was conglomerating to produce the illusion of a continuious and solid entity: me.
The questions I was left with were: How was I being tricked? What was going on here? How was this trickery happening? What are the elements of the objects in consciousness that are combining to form the witches brew of Personhood. Is it possible to become more precise about discerning these elements? Can one learn to recognize the flavor of these elements as an aid in pulling attention out of them?
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~ by Alex Danilowicz, Presented at the Nov. 2010 TAT Gathering.