When you say “one’s own decisions” who is this one? I have a cacophony of voices trying simultaneously to decide what I should do. One voice says I should go out and jog. Another says I should eat a chocolate bar and watch Star Trek. A third one says I should be writing on my book, and so on.
WHAT!?!? We get a choice AND we have voices in out heads? I will have to ask the real me if she will let me listen to these voices and make choices.
I no longer think “following one’s own decision” is the real freedom. After a few years of following my decisions I have begun to believe that the real freedom is in learning to accept the results or consequences of those choices and embracing them with the anticipation of making the world a better place.
Nice try vick. Luckilly I’m immune to flatter :mrgreen: . The voices are real and I could pick a number of posts confirming that fact. For instance in a thread entitled “Why Write Anyways?” we read
It is interesting to note that we try to hide the fact that there are voices. We are afraid that it would somehow imply insanity. Who is actually trying to hide this fact? I think it’s our ego, trying to convince us that we are just one individual represented by the ego itself.
But Buddha was smarter than that. He saw that the ego was the problem. He said there is no “I”. Jesus observed the same fact when he said “deny thy self”. Eckhart Tolle expressed it as “What a relief to realize that we are not our thoughts”. What are we then? We are the presence that allows several voices to express themselves, but we are not any of those voices. In other words we are the PRESENCE. As we read in Kena Upanishad
That which is not thought by the mind,
but that by which the mind thinks.
P.S. You can test how big ego you have by the extent to which you try to brush away, or joke away or in some other way imply that what is said above is hard to comprehend or is some kind of esoteric philosophy, interesting to few arcane souls but not anything that we “real men having to deal with harsh reality” should care about.
I follow your argument and while I willingly embrace the concept of the plurality of the individual (my terms as I am to lazy to figure out what the smart folks call it), I think it important to ensure that quotes are in context. I am not familiar with Tolle, and “I” know the concept from Buddhism, but I question the context of the quote of Jesus. The “deny thyself” statements refer to the carnal desires of man. While the ego may be involved the directive is to “control your body and mind” thereby allowing you do know and do the things of God.
You might make use of the parables on the rich young ruler, the wealthy farmer, and just about any statement made to the Judaic priesthood of the the day (Saducees and Pharisees) to more effect.
On my side of the fence we call the “presence” the soul. Origin is the breath of god breathed into man at creation.
Now about these voices… I find that all the voices are me, and that each voice has a distinct bent. I feel that I can choose to listen to or ignore them at will. It is the “I” that makes the decision or an action based on the input of the voices. In my opinion the voices are a part of me that represent my personality.
You’re right Jaysen. What I call presence is what you and Jesus call the soul.
I can’t see from the quote above that “deny thyself” statements refer to the carnal desires of man. That the directive is to “control your body and mind”. I interpret the deny thyself as deny thy ego, and the will of the ego. It’s not a big issue and maybe your interpretation is the correct one.
Normally we are not consciously aware of our voices. Hence we or unable to choose. Only a highly awaken persons like Buddha or Jesus have this awareness and can make a choice.
In the Mundaka Upanisad, the ego and the soul are compared as two birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the ego) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Krishna or the soul as Jesus would call it) is simply watching his friend. Of these two birds, one is captivated by the fruit of the material tree while the other is keeping watch only. He is “aware” of what the first bird does. It is a rare individual (one in a million) who has the awareness of the second bird.
Now here is a subject — living with the multiple voices within myself — I have some experience with. I am so very ill that interacting with the world is nearly impossible. Which means I have limited opportunities to “lose myself” in any kind of distraction. I spend hours each day lying on my sofa with my eyes closed, but not asleep. I am on intimate terms with the voices within and am slowly learning to call them by name. And as I learn how to do that, I have greater freedom in choosing which voices I will nourish. For me, the word I associate with Buddhism is compassion. Learning to have compassion for all that makes me who I am is one of my many challenges.
I am also very fortunate that my voices frequently amuse me. Life on a sofa is rarely boring.
As you note it is not a big point. I find your posts very interesting (even if there are points I disagree with) and will be looking up some of the works to refer to.
Your take on those scriptures is interesting. I can see both sides of this point but think it worth noting that the majority of teaching around those scriptures is decidedly different than your perspective. If you consider 16:23 in light of the traditional Judaic view of the messiah as a political saviour as much as, if not more so, than a spiritual saviour you begin to see the traditional connection to carnal nature of man. Just for clarity the “carnal” here is not a sexual desire but the more proper “non-spiritual” or “anti-spiritual” desire.
In the end you and I are probably closer in opinion than this small nit makes it appear. I suspect that we are running into limitations in my “US hick-centric” manner of expression. As an example I would include the ego in the grouping of “body and mind”. I see other scriptures that deal more directly with “ego” (as understood to be that portion of “I” that expresses our valuation of “I”) that would better suit your position.
I like the bird analogy. It lines up with what I believe a key component of Christianity to be. Primarily that the supernatural (soul) in us subjugates the carnal (physical, mental) to understand and do the will of God. This is not a subjugation by abuse, but a willing setting aside of right or value (ego?). The differentiation in our views will be how that subjugation takes place.
For a non-religious take on this, Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit, also has a book out called Awaken Your Highest Self, which addresses this very issue. It first goes into how we can become more aware of this highest self (one might call it the observer, like the second bird in the story earlier in this thread), then it covers how to call upon it when we need to rise above the cacaphony of voices.
Reviewish note: While I am intrigued by the idea, I did have trouble reading the book, though I’m still not sure if it was the subject matter or the actual prose style that was off-putting. I’m inclined to go with the latter explanation, but that’s just my personal take on it.
There’s also the whole field of Self-Determination, which I’m also finding fascinating. I suppose that could be (badly) summed up as how much of our innate nature can we overcome? Which, of course, begs the questions, How much of our nature is innate? How much of our nature is programmed into us? And, no matter the source, how much of our behavior can we change?
I should also add that while I can appreciate such information intellectually, it often doesn’t help me when I’m on autopilot. For me, I may just have to resort to something as silly as the Freedom app because, just like the physiological component of drug addiction that has receptors in the brain, the constant feeding of information (useful or not) feeds a real ‘need’. I used to read books - a lot. Now I surf - a lot. The info hit is really hard to walk away from. I find myself back at the computer when I’ve consciously left it to go do something else. The mind games are both fascinating and disheartening.