This is a damn good topic to explore. There is an opinion that there is no such thing as personality, and the only reason we see people behaving in a certain pattern is because wee see them in the same situation. Once it changes - we later say "I never knew he was capable of that!" 0r "I never expected him to turn into such a ..." Fourth Way gurus compare our mind with the house populated by servants - a chauffeur, cook, buttler, couple of cleaners, maintenance etc., everyone trying to be the master. Every one of them reacts to events in his way - when you have a hammer everything is a nail sort to thing. Their idea of spiritual growth is to find the Master and put him in charge.nafod wrote:The question I am after, in reading and experience, is, is there a self? What is it?Sangoma wrote:. So, is there a soul? Who the fuck knows.
My theory on near death experience is that that the brain shuts down from the new things to the old, the self is a relatively new brain construction, and you experience enlightenment when all that crap gets turned off first. Wish I could ask David Carradine about it.
Similarly with the Self, it seems to be continuously constructed and re-constructed entity, same as reality we perceive. New stimuli - new reaction, new self. You promise yourself in the morning that you are going to eat clean, yet three hours later gobble several slices of shitty cake someone brought to the office. Hell, for most part of the waking hours we are not even self-aware. Trying to remember yourself as often is you can is one of the tenets of the Fourth Way, and it is extremely difficult. By remembering it is meant literally remembering: here I am, standing by the door, here is my body, left shoulder is a bit tense etc. Same as trying to be "in the moment" or "mindful": most of us last ten seconds, then the thoughts drift to strange places in the past, future or God knows else. I think if more of us were aware ten percent of the time we would have way less problems in our lives.
There is a good book, Zen and the Art of Consciousness by Susan Blackmore. It's the diary of her introspection into several famous koans, such as: Am I conscious now? Was I conscious one moment ago? What is time? etc. Few of us have the patience to look into ourselves long enough to see something.