The mind is not its contents

Omkaradatta's picture



No votes yet

Many of us are attached to the mind -- specifically, to certain contents of the mind. Yet, the masters have been telling us that all words/concepts are false, and thus our attachments are false, useless.

Perhaps we do believe that the mind is its contents. It's actually easy to show that this isn't true.

Suppose the mind were a book, on which were written various words (its contents). Let's take a specific word out of the book: "Tree".

If we believed the book were its content, then we would have to say that the book is a tree! Yet, it's obviously not. There could be any number of different concepts in the book, but none of them represent the book at all.

Same situation with the mind -- its specific content doesn't matter, only the fact that it *has* content. Yet, we do identify with the mind's particulars, liking some of its content and rejecting other parts.

We believe the content of mind represents something outside the mind as well, yet a *thought of a tree* isn't a tree, either. The content of the mind is neither the mind, nor is it what the content (supposedly) represents.

Hopefully we can see by this that our attachments are all false, as they're all based on specific mental content that turns out just to be empty data. If we see this clearly, maybe we can begin to let these attachments go.



Phroggy's picture

Logic 101

"Perhaps we do believe that the mind is its contents. It's actually easy to show that this isn't true."

Mind is one of those concepts that varies according to individual definition. Some will relate it to the brain, others will see it as the content of thought (me) and still others will see one mind and esentially equate it to Consciousness.

"Suppose the mind were a book, on which were written various words (its contents). Let's take a specific word out of the book: "Tree".
If we believed the book were its content, then we would have to say that the book is a tree! Yet, it's obviously not. There could be any number of different concepts in the book, but none of them represent the book at all."

Perhaps Madan would say your logic has been covered up by evil. Hehe.
A book is not it's contents since a blank diary might also be considered a book and so it serves as a poor analogy, but if use a better one, say, a pile of cars is it's content (which is actually true), and we remove the cars, then there is no pile of cars. The second error you make in the book analogy is to remove some of it's content but not all of it, and then point to the fact that what you removed is not all that was there. To say that a pile of cars is it's content is not to say that a single car is the pile of cars; the content means all the content.

So, yes, mind is it's content. No thought, no memory, no mind.

"We believe the content of mind represents something outside the mind as well, yet a *thought of a tree* isn't a tree, either. The content of the mind is neither the mind, nor is it what the content (supposedly) represents."

To say that a thought of a tree "represents" a tree is not to say the thought is the tree. The content of the mind IS the mind, and it represents something that is imagined to be objectively real.

"Hopefully we can see by this that our attachments are all false, as they're all based on specific mental content that turns out just to be empty data. If we see this clearly, maybe we can begin to let these attachments go."

The attachments are assumed to be to thoughts about something that is objectively real. These thoughts are invariably about something we want or something we wish to avoid. Far from being 'empty data', it represents desires, fears, goals and security for the individual. Why would he let them go?

Phroggy | Sat, 01/17/2009 - 22:14
Omkaradatta's picture

Maybe you don't understand...

> So, yes, mind is it's content. No thought, no
> memory, no mind.

Maybe you don't understand what I'm getting at. I'm talking about the specific content of the mind, like the thought "tree". These specific contents are what we get attached to, not thought in general. I'm not attached to thoughts about trucks, I'm attached to thoughts about myself. Yet "myself" is not any more important than "truck". It's just a thought.

Neither myself nor a truck has anything to do with the mind. These are the specific contents, which are not the mind, nor are they what they refer to 'outside' the mind. These contents actually have no existence anywhere, being empty, referring only to other data.

Nisargadatta: "Imagine a thick jungle full of heavy timber. A plank is shaped out of the timber and a small pencil to write on it. The witness reads the writing and knows that while the pencil and the plank are distantly related to the jungle, the writing has nothing to do with it. It is totally super-imposed and its disappearance just does not matter. The dissolution of personality is followed always by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off."

> Far from being 'empty data', it represents
> desires, fears, goals and security for the
> individual. Why would he let them go?

That's what I'm trying to explain. Misunderstanding and continued questioning doesn't change the fact.

I post only from a 'space' of clarity. It would be nice if you would acknowledge that, and stop arguing. If you don't understand, either drop it/move on or ask for clarification. I really don't want to talk from a 'space' of argumentation and disagreement (ego), and I won't do it anymore.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 06:12
Phroggy's picture

~

We don't get atached to thoughts, we get attached to the thing or condition to which the thoughts refer. The thought IS the attachment. We don't say, 'Ohhh that's a cute thought. I'm gonna keep that thought in a nice safe place.' Rather, we have thoughts about what we want to change and what we want to keep the same and we get attached to those outcomes.

If things turn out the way we want, we're happy to give up the thought that we want things to turn out that way.

"I post only from a 'space' of clarity. It would be nice if you would acknowledge that, and stop arguing. If you don't understand, either drop it/move on or ask for clarification. I really don't want to talk from a 'space' of argumentation and disagreement (ego), and I won't do it anymore."

Well, I'll use your favorite ego defining term. Bullshit. If I didn't know you better, I'd say the above is the ramblings of a highly confused mind, attempting to formulate a path of reason without the ability to reason. You often demonstrate clarity, and you sometimes demonstrate that you're clueless. It would also seem to demonstrate a poor understanding of the process of attachment. Further, the declaration that you only post from a space of clarity and your demand that I not disagree is ego defensiveness to the core. My arguments in this discussion are valid and deserve to be addressed. If you don't want to be challenged, don't post nonsense.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 06:28
Omkaradatta's picture

You still don't understand...

"We don't get atached to thoughts, we get attached to the thing or condition to which the thoughts refer."

You *still* don't get it. We cannot get attached to what the thoughts refer to! Put a cup in front of you, and try getting attached to it. Good luck.

You can get attached to a *thought about a cup*, but you cannot get attached to a cup (unless maybe you get a rope and tie yourself to it). The thought "cup" is neither representative of thought in general, nor is it representative of the cup. It is empty.

You are not understanding me at all, and railing against the fact, railing against 'me' as well. Enjoy yourself. Thankfully, nobody else has to :-p.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 06:48
Phroggy's picture

~

Let's say I'm attached to winning an Emmy. This doesn't mean that what I want is to have an Emmy surgically attached to my chest. What it does mean is that I'm attached to a certain outcome. If the outcome happens, the thought about it happening is dropped like yesterday's news, so it's obviously not the thought to which I'm attached.

If your point is that since the outcome has not happened, all that really 'exists' is a thought about it happening, then yes, of course. Most folks have figured out that the thought of winning an Emmy is not the same as winning it, and so the grasping is for the Emmy, not the thought.

The thought 'cup' is indeed representative of the cup. That's what thoughts are, they represent things, conditions, events.

As far as "railing", try not to take disagreements quite so seriously.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 07:04
Omkaradatta's picture

Is it?

"The thought 'cup' is indeed representative of the cup."

You put a cup in front of you on the desk, then close your eyes and picture it. When you open your eyes again, it isn't there anymore. While your eyes were closed, I had come in and picked it up, wanting to put it back into the cupboard... but I accidentally dropped and broke it, and when you opened your eyes I was in the process of sweeping up the glass and putting it in the trash.

Was your thought of the cup representative of the cup? Or was it a static, empty 'snapshot' that really represented nothing in reality?

> As far as "railing", try not to take disagreements
> quite so seriously.

When folks pull out words like "bullsh*t" and talk about ramblings of a highly confused mind, etc., I have to wonder why they're asking the "other guy" not to get too serious. Is it really so terribly awful to ask that folks request clarification if they don't understand something?

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 07:19
Phroggy's picture

~

Well, it really is bullshit. That's just calling a cup a cup. Hehe.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 07:21
Omkaradatta's picture

I guess it is...

I guess it is 'bullsh*t', but wonder why you didn't look 'here' for it instead of 'there', as you claim to do these days. Nobody has to live with this 'bullsh*t' but the perceiver of it, unless of course the perceiver smears the 'joy' around to everyone, as folks are wont to do :-p.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 07:31
Phroggy's picture

~

Welp, folks are going to start campaigning to get rid of us again if we don't end this, so I'll respond privately.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 08:12
Omkaradatta's picture

It's a good thing...

It's a good thing my real Self can't be gotten rid of, or the universe would be at risk of winking out of existence ;-).

From what I've been told by the moderator(s), it's OK to chat like this on 'my own' bloggings... so I don't think there will be any issue.

http://www.omkaradatta.info

Omkaradatta | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 12:40
Phroggy's picture

~

Okay, good to know.

Phroggy | Sun, 01/18/2009 - 19:57