I don't want to hijack this thread, but this discussion on different types of "experience" seriously opened a floodgate of insights for me. But it didn't warrant starting a new thread, so I'm posting them here, and some of this post is also related to "accumulated experience" that Shaden talks about.
As a side note, I want to say that I pretty much gave up any and all posting on online forums a couple years ago, and haven't looked back, but for some reason I felt like joining this particular forum a month ago. And lately, this forum has been a wellspring of epiphanies and synchronicities for me.
Originally Posted by Michael Chui
In other words, the experience that Shaden is talking about is the experience of intellectualizing ("wisdom gained in subsequent reflection") prior experience?
(1) Yeah, that's actually pretty profound, now that I stop to think about it. There seems to be no escape from direct experience. If you have a direct experience of burning your hand on a hot stove, the act of stopping to think about and reflect on that prior experience is ALSO A DIRECT EXPERIENCE. Even more so, my writing this post and someone reading this post - abstractly thinking about my abstract thoughts about the direct experience of burning your hand on a hot stove - is ALSO A DIRECT EXPERIENCE. And so on, forever and ever...
(2) Is it possible to go beyond, or transcend, direct experience?
(3) I ask this because it seems to be possible to go beyond, or transcend, accumulated experience. Labels don't really matter, but some people can call this "Zen Mind". The "Flow" state. Unconscious Competence. Presence. Or whatever else. Picture a samurai warrior who can strike down an opponent without having to stop and think about his next move. If he stops to think, and weigh his options, he's already dead. His blade moves faster than his thoughts do. Or if you don't like the warrior analogy, think of it as "loving as if you've never been hurt before". Your mind isn't clogged up with thoughts of "Please don't hurt me!"
and "I hope I don't get my heart broken this time!"
. But ALSO, and more importantly, it isn't clogged up with thoughts of "I love you!"
, or "You complete me!"
either. The mind is empty of any leanings, whether positive or negative.
However, even though your mind is "empty", you still get all the "goodies" of the accumulated experience, but are left with very little, if any, of the "drag" or friction. To transcend, means to also include. (credit: Ken Wilber) You go from unconscious incompetence, then through the growth process, and on to unconscious competence. It's like riding a bicycle or touch typing. Once you get to the point of unconscious competence in riding a bike or touch typing or even speaking English, you are neither thinking about the process positively or negatively.
It's probably obvious by now that I love quotes.
But here's a quote that I think summarizes this:
The highest technique is to have no technique. My technique is a result of your technique; my movement is a result of your movement. |
-- Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee basically got to the point where he didn't even need to think about techniques any more. But he wasn't jumping around and flailing his arms like an idiot though... like some noob... like a beginner with absolutely no knowledge of any techniques at all. He just got to a point where he didn't need to even think about techniques any more. His mind was clear.
(4) Sooooooo... along the same lines of thinking above about moving beyond "accumulated" experience, I wonder if it's possible to move beyond the "direct" kind of experience too.
(5) In Jed McKenna's two books, Jed makes the distinction between "self-development" and enlightenment. He says that these two "share a cab" for a while, but they eventually have to part ways. On one side of the cab, you have anything and everything you can lump under the banner of "personal development". However, enlightenment or "waking up" has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with personal development. If anything, "waking up" is more like personal destruction.
I still need to think about this some more, but I'm wondering if the process of "transcending direct experience" is more like (a) another level of personal development, or (b) the first step of personal destruction.
(6) This reminds of reading somewhere about the goal "to die before you die". Is it possible to die subjectively without dying objectively? Is it possible to kill your subjective mind without having to put a bullet in your objective brain? Would anyone even want to do that???
In Jed's books, he says that most people wouldn't want it, much less want to even *think* about it.
(7) This is tough stuff to think about out. And I'm beginning to understand why. It's a little easier to see how life can be much better when living in "Zen mind" or "Flow" state, but it's difficult to picture what it would be like to live with "no mind" and "no self". It's like being an employer and then asking your employee (your mind) to draw you up a detailed cost/benefit report on all the reasons why that employee should be fired. It's like asking your employee to evaluate and justify it's own usefulness to you. Your employee, not wanting to lose its job, will find as many stall tactics and avoidance behaviors as possible. To you, the employer, it looks like progress is being made, but to the employee, it knows that all this so-called "progress" is really just a huge waste of time.
The ego has no trouble pretending to gain enlightenment. |
-- Deepak Chopra
(8) One more distinction about the employer/employee relationship. Picture the employer not being able to speak English, or for that matter, not even being able see either objective reality or subjective reality. The "English language", "Objective Reality", and "Subjective Reality" are ALL MENTAL CONSTRUCTS that the employee developed to communicate with the employer. So the employer is forced to take the employee's word for it.
(9) If you had a rootkit laying around somewhere in your head, how could you ever be aware of it? Because if you ever made an "API call" to check for the existence of a rootkit, the rootkit would just return a result saying that everything was A-OK.