Originally Posted by ludlow
1. Many Buddhist texts I've read, and also Eckhart Tolle's book The Power of Now, emphasize the point that you are not your thinking mind, and that by learning to quiet the thinking mind, you can access a far more spacious plane of consciousness or Being. This plane transcends the separateness of individual people and is, in some way, the primary "stuff" of reality.
2. Meanwhile, subjective reality as I have understood it so far (along with The Secret, and a lot of personal development stuff that doesn't use the term "subjective reality") seems to suggest that thoughts create reality. What you think about, you create more of. Thought is the primary "stuff" of reality.
I've come to hold belief 1. through some success with meditation. I *want* to believe 2. as well, though I'd say I'm not there yet.
But are they just inherently contradictory? Or can they be reconciled? If getting caught up with thinking is somehow a distraction from Being, does that mean you have to reject the idea that thought is the basis of reality? Can you believe in some kind of Zen-like "enlightenment" and also believe in The Secret?
This is a little long, but bear with me. I'll explain from a perspective of Advaita Vedanta (which is pretty much the realization that Buddhist philosophy or practice leads to). Since you are a meditator, this might make sense.
It is correct that you are not the mind. You are not your thoughts. When, in deep meditation, you "enter" the gap zone, between thoughts, or otherwise thoughts get very refined, start becoming mere formless energy impulses, and then you suddenly make a quantum jump and transcend even those impulses. Suddenly, you recognize your true Buddha Nature, or Atman
, and reach what is termed in Yoga as nirvikalpa samadhi
(bliss which arises fro a complete absence of modifications of the mind). You realize the true Self.
Now regarding your second question about The Secret or LoA or so-called "subjective reality", I find almost everybody has oversimplified this so-called "Law" and it has created much
First of all, if we really investigate the nature and behavior of the mind, we realize that we don't truly have free-will. In fact, we don't even "own" our thoughts. They simply happen in the mind.
Now, in Vedanta, there are two concepts, known as buddhi
. Buddhi (from which the title Buddha is derived, meaning the Awakened One) means pure intelligence of enlightenment without coloration by duality (good/bad, pleasure/pain etc). Shakti means the energy to create, which is also an attribute of the Self (meaning the Universal Self, as realized in meditation).
The objective of all meditative or devotional traditions, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Zen, Taoist etc is to awaken buddhi
. The objective is not to get trapped in trying to realize powers of shakti
. If buddhi
is first awakened, the discrimination to correctly use of shakti
, or power of intent, is automatically awakened. But the reverse is not
true. Which is why Christ said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God [meaning awakening to enlightenment]... and all these things shall be added unto you."
A third concept in Advaita is maya
, or "that which appears seemingly real". Essentially, the LoA functions in the realm of maya
. So, "thoughts creating our reality" is actually quite incorrect, since this so-called "reality" is actually a dream, as understood from the enlightened state (which I described above). Neither this body exists, nor the mind, nor the universe. It is like the Matrix in which stuff exists - all a holographic projection of the Self (meaning the underlying Real substratum beneath all material objects and phenomena).
This is where The Secret or LoA fails. It is focused on desiring and creating, without the necessary discrimination present as a counterbalance to dictate whether what is desired is in one's own highest interest. Instead of accepting the flow of universal life, we seek to change it because of our inherent dissatisfaction with what IS in the universe and our perceived human life. The world or our life is not good or bad, pleasant or painful. We imagine it to be so because of our false understanding of Reality.
If you look at any historical enlightened Master who exhibited "miraculous" powers, you will see that they simply acted out of communion with their divine Self. The powers were never used or displayed to attract things to themselves. They were simply an expression of the universal flow of existence expressed through their bodies, because they had dropped all sense of personal identity or doership.