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Immortality

 
unsmoked
 
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05 September 2016 10:47
 

Immortality

“When successive thoughts do not await one another, and each thought dies peacefully away, this is called absorption in the oceanic reflection.”  -  Zen master Mazu

(Mazu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’  -  translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)

 
 
sojourner
 
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05 September 2016 19:09
 

I think if this is the perception from the POV of an ‘egoic self’ (feel like I’m overusing that word and now it’s becoming irritating, but can’t think of another,) then the self is like. Yo world. So. Whatevs. I have random momentary thoughts to pursue now, kthnxbye. Self over here, random thoughts coming and going like bubbles over there.


On the other hand, if the self itself is another random thought, then how is this different from saying “things are what they are”? In the midst of a self-thought, you are in the midst of a self-thought.


I realize I just brought this up in another post, but it seems to me that meditation must point to a third perspective, no matter how ethereal. Maybe another middle path but hard to see what the middle ground would be there. A less reified self, perhaps.

 

 
 
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06 September 2016 10:21
 

Immortality

“Few people believe their inherent mind is Buddha [universal consciousness].  Most will not take this seriously . . . ”  -  Zen master Fenyang

“The various teachings and techniques of buddhas and Zen masters are only set forth so that you will individually step back into yourself, understand your own original mind [universal consciousness] and see your own original nature, so that you reach a state of great rest, peace, and happiness.”  -  Zen master Yuansou

(Fenyang and Yuansou quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’  -  translated and edited by Thomas Cleary

Inherent mind means the mind that has taken several billion years to evolve, the mind you were born with, not the memory, personality and ideas that have accumulated since birth . . . the ME that usually claims to be who or what you are.

 
 
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06 September 2016 14:03
 
unsmoked - 06 September 2016 10:21 AM

Inherent mind means the mind that has taken several billion years to evolve, the mind you were born with, not the memory, personality and ideas that have accumulated since birth . . . the ME that usually claims to be who or what you are.


But then doesn’t it follow that newborn babies should be happiest and wisest among us, living without concepts or an ‘ego-self’, and a step away from being totally newly formed consciousness? Instead it seems like they spend a lot of time screaming their heads off. I think there is another step in there somewhere, another side to this. (Which is a good thing, actually, it would be sad to think our lives were a Benjamin Button progression of happiness without meditative intervention which can only partially turn that around - that’s a rather depressing conception of the human condition, I think.) The Christian concept of ‘Sophia’ perhaps?

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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06 September 2016 14:34
 

My bias and/or limitations, but I’m more drawn to posts that actually provide some useful ideas than, to me with my many limitations, rhetoric with no object nor information that tells me how to fix or address a burned out light, computer failure, or marital conflict.  Absent such a “fix” the honesty is respected.  I’m a very fast processor of words written, screw up sometimes, but usually can quickly spot the “bullshit” or self-inflating expansive rhetoric quite quickly. Quacks quite quickly qclaim ...........(q)answers that’re no more than ejactulations pretending to be reproducing cells. 

Regrets expressed, obviously my many deficiencies preclude my grasping some essential point.  I ask for forgiveness. So claimed “therapists” IMO degrades such a title.

[ Edited: 06 September 2016 14:38 by Dennis Campbell]
 
 
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06 September 2016 17:04
 
Dennis Campbell - 06 September 2016 02:34 PM

My bias and/or limitations, but I’m more drawn to posts that actually provide some useful ideas than, to me with my many limitations, rhetoric with no object nor information that tells me how to fix or address a burned out light, computer failure, or marital conflict.


See, my problem when you follow me around making random “Blah, you suck!!” comments is that I can’t figure out if you’re: 1. A wannabe verbal abuser of women who gets off on these random comments (lame) 2. Someone who keeps poking at people that you know will swipe back, which I guess falls under masochist (which is a lifestyle choice, I guess) 3. Really old and possibly looking for attention. My ‘good idea to reinforce or not reinforce this behavior’ radar gets all screwed up. So I will, in turn, address each possibility like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, please cross out the ones that do not apply you:


1. Oh, oh you mean man! I am heartbroken and look to you for guidance on what a good opinion is! 

2. Seriously? Suck it. What I find most insulting here is that you think I care what some random dude bro (dude bros can be old, dude) online thinks of me. Now go pour this hot candle wax on yourself or whatever doms say, I’m not really into that kind of thing. No, wait, don’t, I feel like that would be a fire hazard in your setting, like, um, hold your hand over a warm windowpane or something for a minute. In a safe manner. Ok, maybe don’t, I’m a little too OCD for anything involving fire hazards… maybe just like, pretend you’re doing that, but not if you’re prone to heart palpitations or anything and….

3. So. Hi. You have my attention now. Uuuuuuum. Awkward silence. What should we talk about. How about cats, do you like cats? I like cats. In fact, I have 92 pictures of my cat on my phone! Should we go through all of them one by one and tag our favorites. Hey, look dude, you said you wanted attention, don’t judge. Ok, see, this is her puddy wuddy sweepy pie goodnight snuggle cuddle bunny face, as I like to call it, which is subtly different from her puddy wuddy sweepy pie starting to wake up face, which is… hey!! I thought you wanted attention!! Rude.

[ Edited: 06 September 2016 17:10 by sojourner]
 
 
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06 September 2016 17:40
 
NL. - 06 September 2016 02:03 PM
unsmoked - 06 September 2016 10:21 AM

Inherent mind means the mind that has taken several billion years to evolve, the mind you were born with, not the memory, personality and ideas that have accumulated since birth . . . the ME that usually claims to be who or what you are.


But then doesn’t it follow that newborn babies should be happiest and wisest among us, living without concepts or an ‘ego-self’, and a step away from being totally newly formed consciousness? Instead it seems like they spend a lot of time screaming their heads off. I think there is another step in there somewhere, another side to this. (Which is a good thing, actually, it would be sad to think our lives were a Benjamin Button progression of happiness without meditative intervention which can only partially turn that around - that’s a rather depressing conception of the human condition, I think.) The Christian concept of ‘Sophia’ perhaps?

It doesn’t follow that newborn babies, while they’re still newborn babies, should be the wisest among us, though I think it’s possible that they’re—some of them, anyway—the happiest among us. Societies’ maturation programs can tend to destroy much inherent potential wisdom that might “naturally” arrive later though, wouldn’t you say?

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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06 September 2016 18:09
 

See, my problem when you follow me around making random “Blah, you suck!!” comments is that I can’t figure out if you’re: 1. A wannabe verbal abuser of women who gets off on these random comments (lame) 2. Someone who keeps poking at people that you know will swipe back, which I guess falls under masochist (which is a lifestyle choice, I guess) 3. Really old and possibly looking for attention. My ‘good idea to reinforce or not reinforce this behavior’ radar gets all screwed up. So I will, in turn, address each possibility like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book, please cross out the ones that do not apply you:


1. Oh, oh you mean man! I am heartbroken and look to you for guidance on what a good opinion is!

2. Seriously? Suck it. What I find most insulting here is that you think I care what some random dude bro (dude bros can be old, dude) online thinks of me. Now go pour this hot candle wax on yourself or whatever doms say, I’m not really into that kind of thing. No, wait, don’t, I feel like that would be a fire hazard in your setting, like, um, hold your hand over a warm windowpane or something for a minute. In a safe manner. Ok, maybe don’t, I’m a little too OCD for anything involving fire hazards… maybe just like, pretend you’re doing that, but not if you’re prone to heart palpitations or anything and….

3. So. Hi. You have my attention now. Uuuuuuum. Awkward silence. What should we talk about. How about cats, do you like cats? I like cats. In fact, I have 92 pictures of my cat on my phone! Should we go through all of them one by one and tag our favorites. Hey, look dude, you said you wanted attention, don’t judge. Ok, see, this is her puddy wuddy sweepy pie goodnight snuggle cuddle bunny face, as I like to call it, which is subtly different from her puddy wuddy sweepy pie starting to wake up face, which is… hey!! I thought you wanted attention!! Rude.

I was, am, responding to your posts, not gender.  The world does not revolve around your genitals, or mine.  Other than that, your point seems to be you’re offended by my deficiency in grasping it.  Deepest regrets. To me, your write much and say less, but, again, that’s my deficiency not of course your’s. I do find it curious that you introduce the “you’re picking on me because I’m female…”  All I see are words on a screen, not gender.  But, I agree, I’m a cranky old man who has little patience with obliviations posted as profundity.  Mine included.

 
 
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06 September 2016 19:02
 
nonverbal - 06 September 2016 05:40 PM

It doesn’t follow that newborn babies, while they’re still newborn babies, should be the wisest among us, though I think it’s possible that they’re—some of them, anyway—the happiest among us. Societies’ maturation programs can tend to destroy much inherent potential wisdom that might “naturally” arrive later though, wouldn’t you say?


‘Wise’ in a zen sense, not a colloquial sense. And no, I don’t agree with either of those last two statements. Sorry, I feel like that sounds contrary online without the benefit of nonverbal expression, and I don’t mean it that way, just stating my position. Newborn babies don’t seem any happier to me than anybody else and, again, spend a lot of time screaming their heads off. Children left to their own devices at critical periods pretty much always end up worse off by most people’s standards - without language, socialization, literacy, higher order executive function skills, and so on. That’s the one case where, no matter how screwed up a society you live in - even if it’s North Korea - you’re probably still better off overall being enculturated than if you’re left to grow up feral in the woods.

 
 
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06 September 2016 19:18
 
NL. - 06 September 2016 07:02 PM
nonverbal - 06 September 2016 05:40 PM

It doesn’t follow that newborn babies, while they’re still newborn babies, should be the wisest among us, though I think it’s possible that they’re—some of them, anyway—the happiest among us. Societies’ maturation programs can tend to destroy much inherent potential wisdom that might “naturally” arrive later though, wouldn’t you say?


‘Wise’ in a zen sense, not a colloquial sense. And no, I don’t agree with either of those last two statements. Sorry, I feel like that sounds contrary online without the benefit of nonverbal expression, and I don’t mean it that way, just stating my position. Newborn babies don’t seem any happier to me than anybody else and, again, spend a lot of time screaming their heads off. Children left to their own devices at critical periods pretty much always end up worse off by most people’s standards - without language, socialization, literacy, higher order executive function skills, and so on. That’s the one case where, no matter how screwed up a society you live in - even if it’s North Korea - you’re probably still better off overall being enculturated than if you’re left to grow up feral in the woods.

Sure, but isn’t there a significant difference between growing up feral and growing up in such a way that your creativity and native, instinct-driven wisdom is allowed to prosper?

 
 
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06 September 2016 22:17
 
nonverbal - 06 September 2016 07:18 PM

Sure, but isn’t there a significant difference between growing up feral and growing up in such a way that your creativity and native, instinct-driven wisdom is allowed to prosper?


I feel like I’d need something far more specific in order to comment. If we’re talking about language, for example - almost all mystic descriptions describe the highest states of whatever-ness as beyond words and linguistic concepts, and yet I think it would be a horrifying and harmful practice to deliberately deny a child access to language learning during the critical period (again, even in North Korea, there is enough intersubjectivity to teach people to talk.) Nor do I think prelinguistic children show, in particular, any particular kind of mystic insight or evidence of special, extra-ordrinary happiness (I do actually think verbal and nonverbal children with autism can demonstrate what looks, at least to me as an external observer, like an unusual state of pure bliss and joy when doing things like stimming, and I have wondered about that, if it’s a sort of ultra ‘one pointed concentration’ state. But because I don’t necessarily see that in pre-verbal children, I’d say it’s potential evidence that you can experience those states without verbal language, not that lack of verbal language necessarily leads to them. Animals don’t strike me as particularly blissed-out either.)


On the other hand, when I was in the stores this past week and families were back to school shopping, I can’t tell you how many meltdowns and screams of “I want that! I want that! But I want it!!” I heard, and it occurred to me that while this is a staple of growing up in our zeitgeist (ask any parent, for the most part,) it might actually be an extremely unique phenomenon in human history. What were children going to cry about wanting during the hunter gatherer era? Even at ye ‘ol marketplace or general store where they sold the basics? I do think there are ways we can distract and overstimulate and subvert children’s instinct to learn - but I don’t know of any method of seeking wisdom that says kids are best left to wander around by themselves and figure out what they figure out. In fact just the opposite seems to be true - generally speaking, the simpler an animal’s cognitive life is, the more they can in fact be left alone to their natural instincts. There are no goldfish and lizard schools to teach them the staples of life. Just the opposite seems to be true of humans, which in some ways seems to contrast with mystic ideas - not sure what to conclude from this, but I find it interesting.

 
 
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07 September 2016 06:09
 

From my experience with babies, I agree with NL.  A babies is only blissful when he has a full tummy, a dry diaper, and a cozy place to watch the world.  Since a baby can’t do for himself, his only recourse to discomfort is to fuss or cry, which basically is translated to “Come stop this irritation!”  When a baby is very new, he cries and does not know what will come.  But very soon, the desire becomes specific, as in wanting milk, or a cuddle, or that colorful object over there.  So desire exists from the very beginning.

Part of adulthood is learning to deal with discomfort and to put off gratification.  I’m not a meditator (though I did some study of it in college).  However, I’d venture that part of the process is recognizing desires as they arise and thinking, “Hmm, it’s interesting that hunger—or a twinge in my crossed leg—makes me cranky.  I can notice that without being cranky.” 

I also agree that our society is very overstimulating.  Advertisers certainly know how to get our attention.  But I imagine in “primitive” societies, a baby would reach out for a colorful flower or insect or glowing coal or mother’s necklace or a lock or her hair.  And parents surely said “no” quite a lot.  A difference in modern life is that there is continually a myriad of new enticements.

The bliss of babyhood is partly that everything is new and interesting.  (I wonder if the adult joy of intellectual thought is an outgrowth of the joy a baby feels when as he comes to understand the world of swirling shapes and sounds.)  We are programmed to desire so that we may learn.  When a baby is six months old, he may play with an object for a little while, then lose interest and want something else.  Watch parents trying to keep their baby amused at a restaurant sometime.  The parents hand the little one a toy, then another, then another, then their car keys, then a spoon, then they tickle him, and finally they pick him up and give him a different view over Daddy’s shoulder.  On and on.  The baby wants, wants, wants to explore his world.  “That old toy is no longer interesting.  Give me something new!”

 
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07 September 2016 10:55
 

Immortality

“Just detach from thoughts and cut off sentiments and transcend the ordinary conventions.  Use your own inherent power, [the power you were born with that has taken several billion years to evolve] and take up its great capacity and great wisdom right where you are.  It is like letting go when you are hanging from a mile-high cliff, releasing your body and not relying on anything anymore.” 

“. . . The hundreds and thousands of aspects and facets of enlightenment since time immemorial are just this.  This is mind: there is no need to go on seeking mind.  This is buddha: why keep struggling to seek buddha?”  -  Zen master Yuanwu

If we can’t stop now, when will we ever stop?  When do we understand the value of stopping?  This is why in classical Zen stories, the master gives the student a piece of broken tile and asks him to, “Polish this until it shines.”  The lesson?  Some material doesn’t take a shine, and the self is always the self doing what the self does.  Then, if a person is ripe for it, the self sees its own noise and is quiet - the conservation of all mental energy.  “This is mind: there is no need to go on seeking mind.  This is buddha: why keep struggling to seek budda?”

(Yuanwu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)

 
 
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07 September 2016 11:33
 
NL. - 06 September 2016 10:17 PM
nonverbal - 06 September 2016 07:18 PM

Sure, but isn’t there a significant difference between growing up feral and growing up in such a way that your creativity and native, instinct-driven wisdom is allowed to prosper?


I feel like I’d need something far more specific in order to comment. If we’re talking about language, for example - almost all mystic descriptions describe the highest states of whatever-ness as beyond words and linguistic concepts, and yet I think it would be a horrifying and harmful practice to deliberately deny a child access to language learning during the critical period (again, even in North Korea, there is enough intersubjectivity to teach people to talk.) Nor do I think prelinguistic children show, in particular, any particular kind of mystic insight or evidence of special, extra-ordrinary happiness (I do actually think verbal and nonverbal children with autism can demonstrate what looks, at least to me as an external observer, like an unusual state of pure bliss and joy when doing things like stimming, and I have wondered about that, if it’s a sort of ultra ‘one pointed concentration’ state. But because I don’t necessarily see that in pre-verbal children, I’d say it’s potential evidence that you can experience those states without verbal language, not that lack of verbal language necessarily leads to them. Animals don’t strike me as particularly blissed-out either.)


On the other hand, when I was in the stores this past week and families were back to school shopping, I can’t tell you how many meltdowns and screams of “I want that! I want that! But I want it!!” I heard, and it occurred to me that while this is a staple of growing up in our zeitgeist (ask any parent, for the most part,) it might actually be an extremely unique phenomenon in human history. What were children going to cry about wanting during the hunter gatherer era? Even at ye ‘ol marketplace or general store where they sold the basics? I do think there are ways we can distract and overstimulate and subvert children’s instinct to learn - but I don’t know of any method of seeking wisdom that says kids are best left to wander around by themselves and figure out what they figure out. In fact just the opposite seems to be true - generally speaking, the simpler an animal’s cognitive life is, the more they can in fact be left alone to their natural instincts. There are no goldfish and lizard schools to teach them the staples of life. Just the opposite seems to be true of humans, which in some ways seems to contrast with mystic ideas - not sure what to conclude from this, but I find it interesting.

I’d say it depends on the infant, wouldn’t you? I can only draw from my own infantile memories.

 
 
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08 September 2016 11:59
 
nonverbal - 07 September 2016 11:33 AM
NL. - 06 September 2016 10:17 PM
nonverbal - 06 September 2016 07:18 PM

Sure, but isn’t there a significant difference between growing up feral and growing up in such a way that your creativity and native, instinct-driven wisdom is allowed to prosper?


I feel like I’d need something far more specific in order to comment. If we’re talking about language, for example - almost all mystic descriptions describe the highest states of whatever-ness as beyond words and linguistic concepts, and yet I think it would be a horrifying and harmful practice to deliberately deny a child access to language learning during the critical period (again, even in North Korea, there is enough intersubjectivity to teach people to talk.) Nor do I think prelinguistic children show, in particular, any particular kind of mystic insight or evidence of special, extra-ordrinary happiness (I do actually think verbal and nonverbal children with autism can demonstrate what looks, at least to me as an external observer, like an unusual state of pure bliss and joy when doing things like stimming, and I have wondered about that, if it’s a sort of ultra ‘one pointed concentration’ state. But because I don’t necessarily see that in pre-verbal children, I’d say it’s potential evidence that you can experience those states without verbal language, not that lack of verbal language necessarily leads to them. Animals don’t strike me as particularly blissed-out either.)


On the other hand, when I was in the stores this past week and families were back to school shopping, I can’t tell you how many meltdowns and screams of “I want that! I want that! But I want it!!” I heard, and it occurred to me that while this is a staple of growing up in our zeitgeist (ask any parent, for the most part,) it might actually be an extremely unique phenomenon in human history. What were children going to cry about wanting during the hunter gatherer era? Even at ye ‘ol marketplace or general store where they sold the basics? I do think there are ways we can distract and overstimulate and subvert children’s instinct to learn - but I don’t know of any method of seeking wisdom that says kids are best left to wander around by themselves and figure out what they figure out. In fact just the opposite seems to be true - generally speaking, the simpler an animal’s cognitive life is, the more they can in fact be left alone to their natural instincts. There are no goldfish and lizard schools to teach them the staples of life. Just the opposite seems to be true of humans, which in some ways seems to contrast with mystic ideas - not sure what to conclude from this, but I find it interesting.

I’d say it depends on the infant, wouldn’t you? I can only draw from my own infantile memories.

“There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.” -  J. Robert Oppenheimer

 

 
 
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13 September 2016 17:46
 
nonverbal - 07 September 2016 11:33 AM

I’d say it depends on the infant, wouldn’t you? I can only draw from my own infantile memories.


Ha ha, I can never tell if you’re joking or not, since I get my Super Serious Cat face on when trying to work out Teh Philosophies of Evera-ting. (As a funny aside on that point, I was working with an older teen with Aspergers recently and was all analytical about “Why did he say X? What do you think that represents about his language and cognitive processing and…” and another therapist had to explain to me “Um, he’s a teenager. He was flirting with you.” Then I was like “Flirting? What is this flirting you speak of?” and wondered which one of us needed help with the finer points of social language, ha! smile  )

 

unsmoked - 08 September 2016 11:59 AM

“There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.” -  J. Robert Oppenheimer


I don’t know why, but this Romantic era Noble Savage view of children is a pet peeve of mine (sorry, enjoyed your post so don’t mean you posting it is a peeve, just pontificating). Perhaps because it seems like a denial of who actual children really are if you spend a good bit of time with them. Young children are egocentric (not egomaniacs, which is a different thing - egocentric in a ‘preoperational’ sense); have little ability to differentiate between fact and fiction (to a degree that is charming but almost amazing given their development in other areas, like language - it always fascinates me that a conversational preschooler who can create advanced abstract narratives will also fail ‘conservation’ tests with liquids or leave a puppet show asking worried questions about how Donald Duck, who was clearly a puppet, is going to get out of whatever sticky situation he was left in at the end of the show); start screaming and shrieking at random moments, and also insist on licking whatever object is statistically most likely to be completely germ-ridden in any given area. Handrail that 5,000 people have touched in the past few hours? They’ll walk right over and decide to mouth it if they have to wait for longer than five seconds, causing you to wonder if they make some sort of Lysol wipe that can be used on tongues (they don’t, unfortunately.) I think people tend to project their own brilliance and insight on to children (Which perhaps doesn’t say a lot about me, since I’m like “Kids are great, they’re a bunch of animistic egocentric little heathens, which is why they’re so much fun!” Not projecting any brilliant insight over here, ha ha.).


Even in Buddhism, there is certainly not a progression that aligns with “Less thought = more enlightened”. Somewhat paradoxical given the goals of meditation, but in Buddhism the animal realm is, I think, considered something of a hell realm. And as for Oppenheimer - if these little kids are so great at solving complex problems in physics, why is there no empirical evidence that little kids actually, you know, do that? Where’s the list of discoveries in physics made by toddlers? I think it is entirely possible that children have a seed of something (perhaps the ‘lantern vs. flashlight’ awareness thing) that is eventually pushed into the background in adults if we’re not careful, but I still think that it can’t be all about ‘no thinking / discernment’ and so on, else the ‘path’ of development proposed in Buddhism would be more or less reversed, with human life as a hell realm and animals as closer to ‘enlightenment’, with little value placed on debate and education. Perhaps there is some truth to this reversal - maybe protozoa, with no sense of self or thought, are happy as clams - but it seems to me that once beings reach a certain level of self-awareness and perception, the way out is the way through when it comes to education and critical thinking. I think this is why traditions like Buddhism also include a number of analytical meditations such as meditations on emptiness - a human mind can process that in a way that a reptile mind cannot.

[ Edited: 13 September 2016 18:06 by sojourner]
 
 
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