The Illusion of Autonomy 7

Oh, now upon returning to the “Waking State” [1] each day (it’s generally called “waking up”), it’s as if there’s automatically a sense-of-self present as soon as you open your eyes eh ? But what’s not seen is that sense of “me” is subconsciously generated, it’s not that it has any power of autonomy at all, it just “seems” it has eh ?

“Pah” you will likely respond, but here’s the “key” : It’s by reversing the direction of attention [2] that it’s possible that the sense of “me” fully dissolves and only non-dual-perception itself remains eh ?

However, paradoxically, as I see “it”, even the intention for such “reversal” is subconsciously directed … the point is with enough repetition a new subconscious “routine” is formed that if Triggered gives the impression it’s “you” who decides-to-do-it [3] eh ?


“Mere suffering is, no sufferer is found;
The deeds exist, but no performer of the deeds:
Nibbana is, but not the man that enters it,
The path is, but no path traveler is to be seen.”

No doer of the deeds is found,
No one who ever reaps their fruits is found,
Empty phenomena roll on,
This view alone is right and true.

No god, no Brahma, may be called the maker of this wheel of life,
Empty phenomena roll on,
Dependent only on conditions all.”

Visuddhimagga XIX. (Buddhaghosa)


“Seeing that everything is self-perfected from the very beginning, the disease of striving for any achievement comes to an end of its own accord, and just remaining in the natural state as it is, the presence of non-dual contemplation continuously, spontaneously arises” from The Crystal and the Way of Light


[1] Ah, there are broadly speaking four states of human consciousness eh ? Waking, Dream, Dreamless Deep-Sleep and Turiya (Rigpa)
[2] Please see notes [1] and [4] from Integral Presence
[3] As per the fMRI experiment in The Illusion of Free Will

7 thoughts on “The Illusion of Autonomy

  1. Reply Simon Aug 8,2021 6:12 pm

    Adyashanti : Swirl fast enough and it gives you the illusion of a self

  2. Reply Simon Aug 8,2021 6:29 pm

    It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego’s constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgment, comfort, or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking. One must step out of spiritual materialism. If we do not step out of spiritual materialism, if we in fact practice it, then we may eventually find ourselves possessed of a huge collection of spiritual paths. We may feel these spiritual collections to be very precious. We have studied so much. We may have studied Western philosophy or Oriental philosophy, practiced yoga, or perhaps have studied under dozens of great masters. We have achieved and we have learned. We believe that we have accumulated a hoard of knowledge. And yet, having gone through all this, there is still something to give up. It is extremely mysterious! How could this happen? Impossible! But unfortunately it is so. Our vast collections of knowledge and experience are just part of ego’s display, part of the grandiose quality of ego. We display them to the world and, in so doing, reassure ourselves that we exist, safe and secure, as “spiritual” people.

    From : Chogyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

  3. Reply Simon Aug 14,2021 4:37 pm

    All the promises we have heard are pure seduction. We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups. But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic techniques. It is disappointing to realize that we have to give up our expectations rather than build on the basis of our preconceptions. We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness, my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment, watch our disciples celebrating, worshiping, throwing flowers at us, with miracles and earthquakes occurring and gods and angels singing and so forth. This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking, peeling off of layer after layer of masks. It involves insult after insult.

    […]

    What are we trying to achieve by leading our lives? Some people say that the meaning of life is to put our effort and energy toward higher goals: commuting between the earth and moon or becoming enlightened, becoming a great professor, great scientist, great mystic, to improve the world, clean up the earth’s pollution. Maybe that is the meaning of life – that we are supposed to work hard and achieve something. We should discover wisdom and share it with others. Or we should create a better political order, reinforcing democracy so that all men are equal and everyone has a right to do whatever he wants within the limits of mutual responsibility. Perhaps we should raise the level of our civilization to the highest point so that our world becomes a fantastic place, a seat of wisdom, of enlightenment, of learning and the highest technological developments. There should be plenty to eat, pleasant houses, amiable company. We should become sophisticated, rich, and happy, without quarrels, war, or poverty, with tremendously powerful intellects that know all the answers, the scientific explanations of how the jellyfish began and how the cosmos operates.

    I am not mocking this mentality, not at all, but have we considered the significance of death? The counterpart of life is death. Have we considered that? The very message of death is painful. If you were to ask your fifteen-year-old child to write his will, people would regard that as being completely absurd . No one would do that. We refuse to acknowledge death, but our highest ideals, our speculations on the meaning of life, the highest forms of civilization – all are impractical if we do not consider the process of birth, suffering, and death

    From : Chogyam Trungpa’s Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

  4. Reply Simon Aug 14,2021 5:00 pm

    The Master deplored the evils of competition.
    “Doesn’t competition bring out the best in us?” he was asked.
    “It brings out the worst in you, because it teaches you to hate.”
    “Hate what?”
    “Yourself, for you allow your activity to be determined by your competitor, not by your own needs and limitations. Others, for you seek to get ahead at their expense.”
    “But that would sound the death knell of change and progress,” someone protested.
    Said the Master, “The only progress there is, is love-progress. The only change worth having is a change of heart

    From : Anthony De Mello’s Awakening: Conversations with the Masters

  5. Reply Simon Aug 15,2021 12:16 pm

    Ah, but remember, it’s important, I suggest, to “Be the Mirror, not the Reflections” (the story) eh ?

    The mind-itself is certainly empty and unestablished. Your mind is intangible like empty space. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    Empty and void, but without a nihilistic view, self-arisen, primordial wisdom is original, clear consciousness. Self-arisen and self-illuminating, it is like the essence of the sun. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    The primordial wisdom of awareness is certainly unceasing. Uninterrupted awareness is like the current of a river. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    The dispersing discursive thoughts are certainly not being grasped. This intangible dispersion is like a hazy sky. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    Recognize all appearances as self-appearing. Self-appearing phenomena are like reflections in a mirror. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    All signs are certainly released in their own state. Self-arising and self-releasing, they are like clouds in the sky. Is it like that or not? Observe your own mind!

    The nature of the mind-itself is empty, but not like an empty cave, for it is the very nature of samsara and nirvana. The statement, “It is not found by seeking it” implies that the seeking mind and that which is sought are the same. Since there is nothing on which to meditate and nothing to see, why search externally for the nature of the mind? This unstructured, selfluminous consciousness is already present; there is nothing to do.

    People complain, “Oh, I can’t get my mind to become still; I can’t remain in meditative stabilization.” In reality, it is enough to leave the mind in its own unstructured state. Why have so many complaints and questions? Why complicate the issue? The arising of thoughts is like the arising of the waves in the ocean. They are of the same nature as the ocean, just as thoughts are of the same nature as the mind. The nature of the mind is empty and intangible – without substance and with nothing to grasp onto.

    From : Karma Chagme’s A Spacious Path To Freedom

  6. Reply Simon Aug 17,2021 9:59 am

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