Posts Tagged ‘Ego’

Alan Watts: the Ego

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Ego, the self which he has believed himself to be,

 

is nothing but a pattern of habits.

 

Alan Watts
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The “Ego” is who seeks approval and avoids criticism.

 

A bad habit, I believe.
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There was no sense of a self owning them.”

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“As I noticed feelings and thoughts appear and disappear,

 

 

it became increasingly clear that

 

 

they were just coming and going on their own. . . .

 

 

There was no sense of a self owning them.”

 

– Tara Brach
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Incredibly there are 60,000 thoughts that enter our consciousness everyday, about one a second.

 

Common sense tell us that during this last minute (60 seconds), we did not grasp 60 thoughts.

 

Why do we choose negative ones more often?

 

The “Ego” chooses thought, while our true self chooses to be empty in this present moment.

 

 

Being lost in thought constantly, fuels depression, anxiety, PTSD and suffering.
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The Ego inflates or deflates

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“As long as we have practiced neither concentration nor mindfulness,

 

 

the ego takes itself for granted and remains its usual normal size,

 

 

as big as the people around one will allow.”

 

Ayya Khema
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The ego inflates or deflates with external stimulus, feedback.

 

 

The drive for approval and the avoidance of criticism charts the “ego’s” path.

 

 

 

Thoughts, cognitions, and emotional judgments increase the ”ego’s” presence.

 

 

Meditation/Mindfulness let’s the “ego” fade into the background.

 

 

Make sometime for the mind to be focused, empty and calm.
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Self is an Illusion part three, 3

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Turning off default mode

 

Normal consciousness relies, at least in part, on the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN), according to neuroscientist Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research in the brain sciences division of the Imperial College of London medical school.

 

 

The DMN is a network of interacting brain regions that acts as a cognitive transit hub, integrating and assimilating information. As the name implies, it’s the usual system of organization for your mind. Carhart-Harris says the DMN “gives coherence to cognition” by connecting different regions of the brain, and is considered the “orchestrator of the self.”

 

 

Carhart-Harris and his colleagues found what seems to be an important function of the DMN inadvertently.

 

 

While studying brain networks, they got curious about what changes might occur when people are under the effects of hallucinogens.

 

 

In studies analyzing the effects of psilocybin on brain wave oscillation and blood flow, they found that when the DMN was inactive, an alternate network of consciousness seemed to arise.

 

 

When some study subjects tested psilocybin, they reported a strong sense of interconnectedness, as well as spiritual, magical, and supernatural feelings.

 

 

 

In the alternate mode, brains produced a different world that offered other sensations and realizations than in everyday life. In this mode, the self wasn’t the protagonist of the narrative.

 

 

Meanwhile, scans of blood flow and brain wave oscillations showed new, unusual—but orderly and synchronous—connections forming between cortical regions, as if the brain was reorganizing its network.

 

 

This led Carhart-Harris to posit that the DMN generates the feeling we each have that we’re individuals, a feeling that manifests very strongly as reality.

 

 

 

And that means we can temporarily switch off, or mute, this part of the brain.

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Part two of five: BRAIN PRANK Scientists studying psychoactive drugs accidentally proved the self is an illusion: February 09, 2018

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Our awareness of existence—the ability to distinguish between the self and others—is created by the brain, neuroscientist Anil Seth explains in his TED talk, “Your brain hallucinates consciousness.” He says, “Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience—and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it.”

 

Yet when you are unconscious, you continue to exist without perceiving your own presence. You cease to participate in reality but continue to live. When roused back into consciousness, you lack a narrative to explain the time away. The narrative of the story that seems to be your life is just a function of your brain’s mechanisms, not who you really are.

 

Still, the hallucination of consciousness is one we’re all having in tandem. When we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality,” according to Seth. In this agreed-upon reality, we are each separate individuals, whose stories begin with our births and end with our deaths.
But there are other ways to experience reality, which you may have already glimpsed, even if only fleetingly. Sometimes our consciousness shifts. The boundaries of the self seem to become less rigid and we commune with another person or thing, as can happen during drug-induced epiphanies, sure—but can also happen when people fall in love, meditate, go out in nature, or experience a great meeting of minds.

 

In The Book (pdf), philosopher Alan Watts writes that we aren’t individuals existing in lonely bodies. We’re a flowing segment in the continuous line of life. He and others—mystics, monks, poets (pdf), and philosophers from numerous traditions—argue that people are sad and hostile because we live with a false sense of separation from one another and the rest of the world. “This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences,” Watts wrote in The Book. “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

 

Seeing the interconnectedness and timelessness of existence provides a grand scale. It helps put your problems in perspective. That’s why scientists are trying to find ways to trigger the epiphany Watts talks about. Drugs can help, especially since we think we now know how the brain generates the illusion of self.

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Part one of five: BRAIN PRANK Scientists studying psychoactive drugs accidentally proved the self is an illusion: February 09, 2018

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This mushroom contains properties that can help you sense your relationship to this mushroom. (CC/Alan Rockefeller)

 

Philosophers and mystics have long contemplated the disconcerting notion that the fixed self is an illusion. Neuroscientists now think they can prove it or, at least, help us glimpse this truth with some help from psilocybin, the psychoactive property in magic mushrooms.

 

Researchers around the world are exploring the drug’s transformative power to help people quit smoking; lower violent crime; treat depression, anxiety. and post-traumatic stress disorder; and trigger lasting spiritual epiphanies in psychologically healthy people, especially when coupled with meditation or contemplative training.

 

There are some limitations to psilocybin studies—they tend to be small, and rely on volunteers willing to take drugs and, thus, open to an alternate experience. But the research could have major implications in an age characterized by widespread anxiety. Psilocybin seems to offer some people a route to an alternate view of reality, in which they shed the limitations of their individual consciousness and embrace a sense of interconnectedness and universality. These trips aren’t temporary, but have transformative psychological effects. Even if we don’t all end up on mushrooms, the studies offer insights on how we might minimize suffering and interpersonal strife and gain a sense of peace.

 

Consider a study of 75 subjects, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology last October. The study concluded that psilocybin leads to mystical experiences that can have long-term psychological benefits in conjunction with meditation training. The greater the drug dosage, the more potent the positive psychological effect was six months later. “Participants showed significant positive changes on longitudinal measures of interpersonal closeness, gratitude, life meaning/purpose, forgiveness, death transcendence, daily spiritual experiences, religious faith and coping,” the study concluded.

 

 

Meanwhile, in July, psychologist Richard Williams of John Hopkins University revealed an experiment involving clergy and psilocybin. Williams is enlisting priests, rabbis, and Zen Buddhist monks to take drugs, meditate, and “collect inner experiences.” (No Muslim or Hindu clerics agreed to participate.) The study will last a year, so no results are out yet. But Williams told The Guardian in July 2017 that so far, the clerics report feeling simultaneously more in touch with their own faith and greater appreciation for alternate paths. “In these transcendental states of consciousness, people … get to levels of consciousness that seem universal. So a good rabbi can encounter the Buddha within him,” Williams said.

 

To understand how mushrooms can change our worldviews, we must first explore how brains shape our sense of self.

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A viewer asks: What does this practice entail and what is the ultimate benefit?

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This practice entails a simple, concrete, immediate, and passionate focus on our breath, a repetitive learned skill, a safe way of training the mind.

 

 

It is a very simple, very powerful, mundane looking, daily practice. We need to invest a minimum 20 minutes a day of calm but intense focus practice.

 

 

It is a repetitive practice that builds focus starting with the mastery of one breath. It starts slow and has no time-table or goals.

 

 

I recommend working on one breath, then pause and evaluate. If you start trying to Meditate for ten minute or longer, you will get lost in thought and become frustrated.

 

 

Meditation unfolds best at its own pace without our judgments or bias. No goals, let your journey be thought free, give it a chance to blossom, trust it fully.

 

 

The whole practice is based on one breath, a reason so many overlook simple as weak.

 

 

This practice entails the simplest, easiest and quickest way to heal disorders, to find calm, peace of mind and eventually happiness.

 

 

It is an internal investigation of discovery into our nervous system and inner world.

 

 

We become friends first with our nervous system, as the breath activates our parasympathetic nervous system, the brakes, slowing our mind to focus and be at its most powerful.

 

 

We are most powerful, most capable of extraordinary accomplishment, true happiness or access to our joyful emotions when the mind is empty and totally present.

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