Exactly. Thus, how would we confirm, akin to your analogy, a deeper "self" exists?
First, let me make a small but important point, even though I realize it isn't what you are specifically talking about. There is no confirmation by "we" of what I have been describing. Each individual explores his own being and discovers for himself. You can't know anything through others' reports.
Because the only way to come to a conclusion about "self" is to reason through internal experience (a conceptualization of thought).
Nope. You don't have to reason to know how deep it goes, how permanent it is, how constantly it resides inside, how much it expands awareness when you join your mind with it. Do it every day for 35 years, and every day you find it waiting at the core of your being. Applying the term self seems just fine to me, but I'm not attached to calling it that.
One can understand without reason, it's just that one can't explain it to others without reason. I am conjuring up concepts now to try to communicate a sense of how one practices and what the experience is like. But if I weren't doing that, then I'd avoid all concepts about it because concepts get in the way of the experience.
The whole point is to escape dependence on maintaining and being dependent upon a conceptual representation of reality. What a oneness practitioner is after is a direct experience of reality, sans mentality.
Yet it isn't that one never uses mentality either; rather, it's that one places on top of mentality this direct, still-mind, experience of reality, and then draws on intellect when needed, otherwise keeping it quiet.
After your meditative bout, I would presume you reason what just happened, you reason your meditative experience. The reasoning then becomes the basis of your belief in whatever "self".
Lol, NO! Totally incorrect. After a meditative bout I enjoy, and I remain still as much as I can. You seem determined to have the way I come to belief be modeled after how you come to belief. The thing is, I know how you come to belief, but you have no idea about knowing without mentality. So I don't see how you can have a strong opinion before you become at least somewhat accomplished at stillness.
If there is a "deeper self", or, that is, a self which does not reside in thought, how is one to know? Because all we know is in thought.
You mean, all you
know don't you? How can you be certain about the sort of knowing stillness produces if you are inexperienced with it? I am reporting to you right now: stillness produces a kind of knowing thinking does not.
You can accept my report or refuse it, but nothing you can say will dissuade me from my certainty that not only is there another sort of knowing, but it is actually a far superior knowing to rational knowing (which I can claim since I experience and rely on both types of knowing).
Perhaps one can reach a state of "beingness" through meditative practice, but I don't think we can refer to that "beingness" as self. For when one is completely free from thought, self, at least on the level we are speaking here, does not exist. My understanding is that the being just *is* or is just *one* with all -- there is no differentiation to be had, there is no "self".
I can discuss the merged, still experience as true self (as several great masters have), or I can discuss it as not self (as the Buddha did); I can refer to in as nirvana or the kingdom of heaven; I can explain it as the Tao or God. I have talked to many other people who practice samadhi meditation using all those terms, and we all know what we are discussing. Nobody gets hung up on concepts or words because we actually know the experience. It's only the inexperienced who are determined to draw irrelevant distinctions between terms and concepts.
What do samadhi practitioners know? We all know there is a place at the very core of consciousness that doesn't change, and which when joined with expands one out of one's normal mental frame of reference. Because that place is always there, because it never changes, it seems the most abiding part of us and therefore a good candidate for the concept of "true self." But if you want to call it core or soul or being . . . that's fine with me. Or, if like the Buddha, you want label the body, mind, personality, beliefs, likes and dislikes, etc. as "self" (since that's what most people identify with) and then talk about the constant place as "not self," that's fine with me too.
It is an experience that needs no concepts to understand.
You know, there are other things like that, appreciation for example. If I listen to music, I can fully appreciate it without knowing it is called music, or if it is jazz or bluegrass. I don't need concepts to know I enjoy, or to listen; in fact, listening to music is one of my favorite pastimes, and when I do it, I turn off the lights, close my eyes, still my mind, and become a big sponge. I am feeling deeply, and I simultaneously understand perfectly what I am doing without a single thought or concept.
However, I'm not quite sure how the mind and the brain correlate. It's quite possible some qualities we assign to "mind" have nothing to do with the brain. If these qualities involve on some level "self", we could be on to something.
It seems you think mentality most defines consciousness, I believe something deeper and far, far more simple does: self-aware experience
. But no matter whatever consciousness is, unless one can bring mentality to a complete stop, one will never know what is to be experienced without mentality. Don't you see? You will never understand this with your intellect.
It isn't just me who says these things. If you study the history of Zen, say, or the Christian mystics, you will find exactly the same reports. This path is well-established, and one of the basic principles is that one cannot grasp the "Way" with intellect. But if you are determined to, have at it . . . just be prepared for some major headaches.[/SIZE] :brickwall: