Loose ends

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Tue Oct 7 14:07:57 CDT 1997

At 10:21 AM 10/7/97 +0200, Charles Wikner wrote:
>In response to Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU>,
>Jonathan Bricklin <brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET> wrote:
>> As James's "data for an entire psychology of volition" shows:
>It describes a beast in the field, not a human being.
>> 1. Thoughts arise.
>Indeed they do! But the question is: What observes the thoughts arising?
>And where do the thoughts arise from?  And why those thoughts?

Ultimately Atma or Brahman observes thoughts.  Some teachers use a
teaching concept called the "witness."  This would be unidentifed,
impersonal consciousness, the consciousness attributed to the sage.
Where do the thoughts arise from?  Silence, same place they return to.
Why THOSE thoughts?  Vasanas.  Ultimately, it's inexplicable, like
what Shankara says of maya itself:  "unspeakable."

>My thoughts tend to be in English; but others use a different language.
>I tend to have certain thought patterns based upon my interests, aptitudes,
>training, etc.; others are again different.  I infer from this that these
>thgought patterns arise from (and are coloured by) the individual personal

In the relative level, yes.  But at a higher level, all these items
partake of the same reality/unreality as everything else in the
phenomenal world.  The "individual," its "nature," the vasanas and
thoughts are evanescent appearances in consciousness.

>Thoughts have no power of their own at all -- only the power that you give
>them.  No matter how powerful the thought may appear, if the attention is
>directed elsewhere, the thought disappears.

This isn't always easy, but if the attention IS elsewhere, then the thought
does disappear.  Not that the person can (always) do anything about it!

>> 3. The feeling of will and effort is derivable from the interplay between
>> opposing thoughts.
>And which thought "wins" depends on the values attached to each thought:
>this implies a decision -- what makes that decision?

Not necessarily a decision.  True, the body/mind does one thing rather than
another.  Which thing it does is based on everything in the universe. The
"decision" comes in when there arises a thought "I" that comes to take
credit for the thing done.

>What is it that observes this "interplay between opposing

That which observes everything.  Our true nature, Brahman, which even observes
the dissolution and creation of universes.  The personal or impersonal
is itself a concept, an arising in consciousness.

>Why not?  If fate is one's inner nature together with outer circumstances,
>why should the interplay between these two be entirely mechanical?  Why not
>bring a little intelligence to bear on the situation?  It is possible to
>_respond_ to circumstance, and not merely _react_.

It really SEEMS that way, doesn't it?
But that response itself, along with the ideas that seem like intelligence
are THEMSELVES thoughts/appearances that arise (totally unbidden) in the
silence of infinite consciousness.  There's nothing you can name or point
to which is NOT such an appearance.  As Shankara might say, these appearances
are both real and unreal.  Real, in that experience cannot be denied.  Unreal,
in that they come and go, are not eternal, and depend on being seen in order
to exist.

>> Free will has, for me, the status of an illusory existent. The
>> of free will is not a bias of one's judgment but a
>> conclusion based upon introspection.
>What came to a conclusion?

The unreal ego appeared to perform a logical operation and come to an unreal
conclusion.  None of these elements has any more or less reality or
existence than any other element.


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