Reply To: Counterfactuals

  • Don Salmon

    March 16, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    two more thoughts:

    one about pain. It’s SO interesting – it’s so hard to explain to people that ALL pain is psychological. They say “But my pain is REAL.” And I say, “Let’s say I have a knife in my hand, and the nerves to your hand are severed at the wrist. If I plunge this knife into your hand, will you feel anything?”

    Then they get it. “Oh, the pain depends on the brain.” (well, I don’t try and challenge their materialistic view of the brain but at least they get a slightly subtler understanding.”

    The general view of pain (back to Paul’s point) is that it’s a complex layer of interpretation, involving instinctive, emotional and cognitive responses.

    I love your other point, Paul, about dreaming. Stephen LaBerge, one of the world’s leading students of lucid dreaming, points out that we’re always dreaming – the brain constructing imagery based on stimuli whose nature we do not know (vibrations of some kind – physicists call it “physical’ Indian philosophers call it Shakti: the conscious energy or Force of the Supreme Reality of God or Brahman)

    Tibetan Buddhists have a wonderful practice to give you a visceral sense of this.

    Imagine you’re dreaming right now. What does that mean?

    Not that everything is vague and hazy, but that all the forms you perceive exist only in consciousness. If you’ve done preliminary Buddhist study and understand that “you” don’t exist as a defined, unchangeable entity, you can feel this as forms existing in a boundless consciousness.

    how to get a quick feel for this? Notice your experience right now – sensations, emotions, thoughts, images arising and passing away in an open, boundless space of awareness.

    If you put these 2 together – letting go of the sense of bounded self, and seeing all the changing forms as appearing in consciousness – it can lead to a profound, radical change of experience, beyond BOTH LH and RH.