Robotics

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brant
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Robotics

Postby brant » November 23rd, 2008, 4:11 pm

Having retired for a year now, and concurently, seriously dedicating to searching for truth, I have found the results, good. I want to share this in case it may help another.

Ten years ago I entered into so-called empty-mind, sort of Zen-like meditation training. What is now being called "Self, watching Self". This is the technique that I have been using. I have noticed a series of insights or realizations over this time. The more recent event led me to see a way of describing my situation as similar to a computer.

I see Self, the so called "I am" as the operating system software, the basic platform for all other programs. The outer world and body-mind represents the hardware system. The inner thought process and emotions are the various software applications. The power source or battery is at this point unseen. For me this concept makes it easier to focus on what I am discovering about my nature as human, robotics and other.

Whatever is keying in commands (desire), the functions are carried out automatically and I can just sort of watch it happening.

Feedback please.
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Re: Robotics

Postby zoofence » November 24th, 2008, 3:00 am

Welcome to TZF.

Interesting post.

You wrote, "I see Self, the so called "I am" as the operating system software, the basic platform for all other programs".

The question that arises in my mind is, who is speaking? Who is the "I" that sees the Self?

Where I read Self with an upper case S, I think of the Infinite One, the Divine, about whom I perceive, There is No God but God and God is All There Is (for more about that, please see the The Simple Way).

The problem (!) with being all there is, or infinite, is that it is impossible to relate. With whom would an infinite being relate, there being no thing else?

So, the Garden of Eden, and the creation of "and". Adam and Eve, good and evil, life and death, tall and short, birds and snakes, today and tomorrow, and so on.

Where the Infinite could not relate with an other (there being no such thing as an other), Adam could and can relate to Eve, and every other thing.

Thus, the first or primal (eden-ic?) thought is "I am me and not you".

For your metaphor, I would call that thought the operating system. Everything we call "my life" depends upon that thought. When that thought is altered or transcended, "my life" is altered or transcended.

And everything else that occurs "in my life" is the software. The software can be changed, updated, replaced, attacked by viruses, and so on, but so long as the fundamental operating system remains intact, "I" continue perceiving that "I am me and not you".

And then along comes someone like Ibn 'Arabi (please see the item at TZF's Ampers&nd) to tell us, "thou art not thou, thou art He, without thou". And the next thing we know, what we are here calling the operating system, the thought "I am me and not you", begins to feel different, to seem a little less opaque, less certain.

What's next? We'll see ... or will "we"?

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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » November 24th, 2008, 3:55 pm

Thank you for the hospitality. This seems like the right place at this point although the sandbox is probably where this should go next. Your response makes for an interesting forum but, to every one of your questions or statements I would have to say "I don't know, and I don't think there is any answer". However, it would be a mistake not to clarify here as it may mislead. Understand that this post describes only the experience, and of not trying to understand it (this seems like a key point!). Most of the content of the post is simply preparatory to the last line, the only important part of this message. Also, only a part of that as well...

"...the functions are carried out automatically and I (?) can just sort of watch it happening."

Anything else added to this seems like "only mind going around in circles". At this point there is no understanding as to the truth of what this means except that I "brant" am not what I thought. As far as any implied hierarchy, that was not the intent of meaning here but simply to give a rough analogy leading up to the last statement (to place into context) as the above line by itself would be unintelligible to anyone but those who had experienced it. In fact probably no one who is not where I am at will get anything from this.

I'll tell you what it feels like though, that of looking out of a window and watching my desires fulfilled. Who is the I? Who does the desiring? Who does the work? Who knows! But, it seems like a waste of time to ponder it.
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Re: Robotics

Postby Speculum » November 24th, 2008, 8:12 pm

You wrote, "At this point there is no understanding as to the truth of what this means except that I "brant" am not what I thought".

My experience is, that's a very good place to be.

For me, as I have written repeatedly on TZF including here but perhaps most specifically in various posts at The Gazebo, it is becoming increasingly evident that "Stefan" (what I call "me") as well as "Stefan's life" (what I call "the world" or "reality") is effectively no more than a basket of thoughts, memories, and expectations.

It is also clear to me (who am, admittedly, just a basket of ...) that the entirety is Entirely and Indivisibly One. For me, putting it as "There is no God but God, and God is all there is" works, but I have seen it said, or not said, as well or better in other ways.

The question for me now is merging those two clarities into one Whole. A very clear way to that end for me is the Ibn 'Arabi line quoted above, "thou art not thou, thou art He without thou". That stops the mind from generating new thoughts on the subject to explain or amplify existing thoughts on the subject. Similar expressions appear in almost every spiritual tradition. A few examples: St Catherine of Genoa, a Roman Catholic, puts it, "My me is God, nor do I know my selfhood except in God"; Zen Buddhism, "He is no other than my self, but I am not Him"; and Hinduism, the Sanskrit teaching Tat Tvam Asi ("That thou art").

Is it a waste of time to ponder these kinds questions? That has not been my experience. What I call "my life" has improved by almost every measure that matters to "me" since I undertook this long search. I am healthier and happier. So, I perceive it as time well spent.

On the other hand, does it "matter"? That is, is it time well spent in some kind of cosmically important sense? There, I would agree with you, the question does not signify, and in any case, it is certainly not one Stefan can answer. And yet, ponder? Maybe, why not?
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » November 25th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Nice insight. Our differing approaches appear to mirror the amazing diversity inherent in everything and justifies this forum. If it weren't for that, I would question the very need for discussion and communication based on my own experiences. You might say that I am on the spiritual rebound. I spent the last 5 years dumping 30 years worth of spiritual mumbo-jumbo and feel like a man crawling from the desert of opinion in search of a refreshing drink of truth. Thanks for the water S. See you in the sandbox.
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Re: Robotics

Postby Neo » November 25th, 2008, 7:12 pm

a friend in zen compared his life to a computer operating system and roshi replied 'blue screen'! how cool is that.

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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » November 25th, 2008, 11:15 pm

Well said!
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Re: Robotics

Postby anna » November 29th, 2008, 8:24 pm

I would like to suggest that, from the point of view of this experience, there is, unfortunately, "no refreshing drink of truth" to be had. The problem with "truth", of any kind, is that it is based on thoughts, however lofty or lowly, as the case may be. That in and of itself is the problem, it would seem to me. Perhaps the computer metaphor can be stretched here, and a computer without any program is essentially not a computer, no? What would be the point of a computer, just a "blue screen" :frog:, if a computer needs, or wishes, to remain a computer? Or can a computer still be a computer without its program? Maybe it is just the casing? If so, then its not a whole lot of fun to be a computer, is it? :uhh: Maybe that's the whole point of the experience. To realize that one is either "not just a computer", or that one "is just a computer." I grant you this doesn't bring any significance with it, but then again, maybe that's the whole point?
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers........Wordsworth

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Re: Robotics

Postby Speculum » December 4th, 2008, 9:27 pm

Interesting stuff here … and on the tangent in The Sand Box.

Expanding a little on the computer metaphor, here’s the thing, as I see it. Clearly, a computer can process only information which has been input. That is, it cannot process information which isn’t “in it”. I think we are that way, too. We are able to think only about stuff that is already in our heads. If we come upon something our brain doesn’t “recognize”, we immediately (spontaneously) compare it with stuff we do know, force it into a compartment whether it fits precisely or not, label it, and then consider it. I sometimes wonder how we would react if we were to come upon something that is so unlike everything else we know that we could not “compare, compartmentalize, label” it. Would we even be able to see it? Probably not.

The Teachers tell us to “welcome the unexpected” (as Nisargadatta puts it so nicely). But we really don’t, do we? The unexpected, the unknown, makes us uncomfortable, even frightened. Computers don’t like the unexpected, either. They crash (Neo’s dreaded blue screen of death!). Why? Because the operating system isn’t designed to welcome the unexpected.

There is a nice Hindu metaphor which compares us to a sieve in the ocean. The ocean water fills the sieve, and perceives itself as being different, unique, separate from the ocean. “I am the water in the sieve, and you aren’t.” But it’s an illusion, which becomes clear the instant the sieve is removed.

To stretch the earlier metaphor, I would suggest that the separative egoic operating system (“I am me, and you aren’t me”) is like the sieve: It gives us the appearance, the perception, that “I am somebody, I am a person different, separate, and unique from all other persons”. Then, when we remove the sieve, we See the illusion, and Realize that there is no such thing as a person, and there never was.

It has always seemed to me that the separative ego is like a shark; it has to keep moving in order to stay alive. Thought is the ego’s movement. To say alive, the ego keeps the mind in constant motion, constantly thinking. Awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious, we are always processing thoughts.

Until we stop.

Just so, at the heart of every spiritual tradition I have encountered is this simple (that’s simple, not easy) practice: Be Still and Know.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » December 5th, 2008, 2:28 am

Indeed, just so. It appears that we cannot hope to overcome mind (individual or group) as it has evolved. What we can and know how to do is trick or silence it, which eventually changes the dynamic. We know that mind cannot tolerate stillness and remain as it has been. Again, an evolutionary process begins, this time from other than the gross egoic.

For fun lets follow a progression here. The ego has participated in it's own evolution, but is not destroyed remaining as appropriate tool in the singularity nonstructure. Could this be some kind of plan, a sort of evolutionary progression? We have seen examples of dreamers achieving a state of beingness and eventually becoming nonfunctional. This might be illustrated by the yogi who denies the existence of the apparent created. Hypothetically, if the goal is to return to oneness, this is the perfect path. If the goal is to achieve a source of awake robots in the dream state, it may be a dead end and candidate for extinction. We are aware of this function of change/evolution.

It's possible that certain manifestations have taken a different avenue of development, achieved oneness and retained functionality. Jesus? Rumi? Nisargadatta? Could these mark an evolutionary experiment? This might say that the combination of inner and outer beingness combined are equally important. In fact this is a very popular statement among the new teachers.

We know that ultimately there is no-thing. This has never negated the awareness of the dream state regardless of so called spiritual development. That may be more significant than might be imagined. On the other hand, we have stated that there is no meaning to life and this may be just another of the ego's tricks. What are we currently aware of that can be programmed by a governing source for duties in the dream state? Robots.
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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » December 27th, 2008, 5:14 pm

It was during meditation but I must have dozed off and begun dreaming.

As I watched, a large vessel appeared. It looked like a bowl or a pot floating by itself with no background and no source of support. Or, at least I was so taken by it's appearance that I didn't notice anything else. At once It came to me that it represented a language and that it was a desperate attempt to communicate or explain, to give meaning to.. what? By who?

I was struck by the vivid shape and dimension, as if I had never seen a bowl before. I seemed to stare at it for an unusually long time, it was capturing my attention and I was unable to turn away. Soon it began to shrink in size until it was about the size of a cup. At the same time it seemed to somehow become more vivid and pull my attention to an even greater focus. It began to move and I saw that it was empty but, it seemed to contain something alive. I just missed seeing it.

As I continued to watch, it began to fill with things being poured in, seeming to materialize from nowhere. At first there were only a few, but soon many more started to appear until a torrent of things were raining into the cup. It seemed as if it took forever to fill the cup, but finally the cup was full and nearly overflowing. I suddenly realized that the cup was full of very small stones. Oddly, the stones writhed and glowed as if they were not stones at all. I saw in an instant that these were living creatures. Trees, birds, fish and humans too. The Earth, planets, stars. I was shocked by this discovery as they still appeared to be stones.

I stared at this scene for a very long time but finally the cup slowly upended and the stones began to gradually pour out and rain down, disappearing as they did, much as they had when first arriving. A sense of sadness and longing accompanied my witnessing of this, but soon this abruptly ended as finally the last stone vanished. I saw that the cup was now empty but again, I sensed that there was something else in there that I couldn't see.

I wanted badly to see what was in there! I ached for that thing and tried hard to penetrate the cup further to find what it was that eluded me. As I did this..
...instantly I was in the cup.


I was the thing that I couldn't see and I realized that I had always been there. As I looked again, the cup vanished and I woke up.
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Re: Robotics

Postby Speculum » January 1st, 2009, 7:56 pm

It's possible that certain manifestations have taken a different avenue of development, achieved oneness and retained functionality. Jesus? Rumi? Nisargadatta? Could these mark an evolutionary experiment? This might say that the combination of inner and outer beingness combined are equally important. In fact this is a very popular statement among the new teachers.


You're right, one reads a lot here and there among "new teachers" about the confluence of evolution and spiritual awakening. Notable among those are Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber; but there are many others.

I'm not sure I really get it. It sounds a little too separative for me, a little too much about "me". That is, evolution of Stefan so that Stefan will achieve Self-Realization or Awakening or Super-Man status. That's precisely the problem, isn't it? "Stefan" -- my insistence that I am Stefan and you aren't -- is the obstacle (veil) to Self-Realization; indeed, the only obstacle.

In Ibn 'Arabi's words, "Thou art He without thou". Where does evolution fit into that?

None of which is to say that the human species, like all species, is not evolving. If Darwin was right in the 19th century, he's still right. But that's all on this side of the spiritual process, surely. Frankly, I suspect that the "new teachers" have glommed onto evolution as a way of keeping "me" in the spiritual equation. After all, what's the point of going to heaven if you can't be yourself there?!

I love your dream!
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Re: Robotics

Postby brant » January 7th, 2009, 11:28 pm

Ah, the precise issue. We could question that there is no world and may be correct. We might question that yes, there is a world isn't there(?) and also be correct. Until we recognize that only the question is wrong...

Everything and no-thing in proper place, Not-a-world is no-thing. With duality... the world. It doesn't seem that hard to accept, just have to stop trying to understand it.

My oldest son and I have this fun & entertaining disagreement. I say that the dualistic world is experiencing a spiritual divergence or split with part of humanity-ego becoming more logical/materialistic and part becoming less so. He says that that cannot be so because there is only non-duality or oneness. I say that if that were so how are the bodies we experience created and destroyed except in duality. It seems that there is duality and also non duality and all together in oneness, and there will continue to be until there no longer is. He is not wrong, only not realizing his situation. He believes that he is living life. Still, it's just talk, not to be confused with reality.

When I was young I was eager to understand everything. As I approach the end and abandon all beliefs and cares my instincts (intuition if you wish) have become stronger. My sense is that the energy of which this creature (brant) is composed is becoming less dense. As that happens there grows an openness. Something says, we are not here to understand anything, or to make anything at all of this, only to be with it in open acceptance and peace. I know that I am not brant, the crucial point is that I don't know who or what I am. I am growing in peace with that.
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Re: Robotics

Postby Speculum » January 15th, 2009, 6:46 pm

Here are a few interesting lines I came across the other day while doing some year-end house-cleaning of the TZF website. It originally appeared at TZF’s Here’s A Thought feature in 2000 which in turn was quoting from a book about St. Seraphim of Sarov written by Da Free John (also known by a variety of other names).

I'm not sure it has anything to do with this thread, but I like it enough to post it anyway.

This onward movement of the ego from the seat of the Kundalini to the lotus of myriad petals has been found to be of five kinds, like that of an ant, a fish, a snake, a frog, or a monkey, according to the intensity of its desire to realize the goal. … This is the usual method of realizing highest Truth. But the soul, being really infinite, cannot have any motion; for how can infinity go from one place to another, it having no outside and so nowhere to go? Hence, whenever motion is ascribed to the Infinite Being, we do it out of our ignorance of Its true nature. But a Jnani, who has been able to understand clearly his infinite nature intellectually, from whom all desires have fallen off and who has thus been left pure and single, does not need to go from one place to another, from a lower to a higher center. He knows that his true home is the heart where he unceasingly resides in the three conditions of waking, dream, and sleep, whether he knows it or not. In the heart alone the Unmanifested Being of infinite power manifests Itself as soul and ego, both of which never go out of it really, although they imagine them to be outside it.


Having read that, I wandered around the web reading stuff about St Seraphim, and came across this quotation: “Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you shall be saved". Now, that's cool.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust


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