The following is an ‘essay’ composed from a collection of notes and excerpts taken from the writings and teachings of Adi Da Samraj on the nature of ‘thought’ and its relationship to ‘mind’. ‘
The collection is not made to read as if it’s one seemly conversation or essay. It it a ‘choppy’ patchwork of writings and teaching put together to give the reader of what one would ‘look like’ or what the ‘signs’ would be if one actually were to demonstrate a ‘hearing’ disposition.
In some of the writing below I have taken a paragraph and broken it up into sentences. I’ve done this because I believe one way to read (study) Adi Da’s Wisdom Teaching should be read as if you were ‘biting’ into a meal and needed to chew it. And so I’ve broken up paragraphs, included sentences and paragraphs from other essays and talks which do not read as a seemless essay. I believe this a good way to read, study and digest the Wisdom Word of the Great Sage Adi Da Samraj.
Thought, Mind, Brain and Attention
In this instant.
The whole pattern is obvious
If you are free in your consideration.
All patterns become obvious
By the movement of attention only,
Not any gesture of thinking.
The pattern is there first,
And thought is its way
Of organizing itself.
So the truth is in universe itself.
Attention is its gatherer.
It is a paradox.
Truth is pattern, not subjectivity at all.
It is exactly as it appears to be.
Adi Da Samraj
No ego, no mind, no self and the Illusion of Language
“The mind is not a “someone”. In and of itself, the
mind has not independent existence.”
Dawn Horse Testament
A Beezone investigation into the nature of thought, mind and reality.
RAMANA MAHARSHI.: How do you meditate?
DEVOTEE.: I begin to ask myself “Who am I?”, eliminate body as not ‘I’, the breath as not ‘I’, the mind as not ‘I’ and I am not able to proceed further.
MAHARSHI.: Well, that is so far as the intellect goes. Your process is only intellectual. Indeed, all the scriptures mention the process only to guide the seeker to know the Truth. The Truth cannot be directly pointed out. Hence this intellectual process. You see, the one who eliminates all the not I cannot eliminate the ‘I’. To say ‘I am not this’ or ‘I am that’ there must be the ‘I’. This ‘I’ is only the ego or the ‘I’-thought. After the rising up of this ‘I’-thought all other thoughts arise. The ‘I’-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root ‘I’, question yourself “Who am I?”; find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain ever.
Thoughts are happening in the brain.
Thought is a process associated with the brain, or the brain-mind.”
You Are Not Creating Your Own Thoughts
It is possible to tacitly notice that thoughts arise without any kind of intention on the part of conscious awareness. If a presumed individual “self’ (or individual conscious awareness) were doing the thinking – or if a thought were to appear concretely as a verbal conceptual noticing of some kind, or if the individual consciousness were thinking what became manifested as a thought – there would have to be something preceding the thought, which the individual consciousness would “know” and do. However, the (apparently) individual consciousness (or individual conscious awareness) does not “know” or do anything in order to “cause” a thought to appear. If conscious awareness were “causing” thoughts to arise, the individual consciousness would have to think something and then “cause” that preliminary thought to take the form of a thought!
You can think something and then speak, but you can also speak without thinking before you speak. What is going on when there is speaking and no pre-thinking? Where is the speech coming from? Who is thinking it? The conscious awareness that presumes it is doing the thinking is, in Reality, not doing the thinking – because the conscious awareness is not doing anything except standing there being itself, merely reflecting the thinking. To do that takes no more activity than a mirror must perform to reflect your face. The mirror does not have to do anything. You need only look at the mirror.
There is no activity of conscious awareness that precedes a thought. The association between conscious awareness and the brain exhibits thinking as one of its characteristics. Yet, thought is a product of the brain, not of conscious awareness.
The “natural” (or psycho-physically-patterned) ego is identified with the body-mind-complex, and imagines that it is doing the actions of the body and thinking the thoughts of the mind.
Thus, the usual human being imagines that actions and thoughts are “caused” by a “self” that is actively doing them.
The illusion of the ego is that it is “causing” its own “experiences” and (otherwise) that its “experiences” are being “caused” from “without”.
The presumption that there is an active ego “doing” things, and that the active ego must (therefore) “do” other things in order to free itself from the “effects” of what it has done, is the “root”-source of the great search.
The effort to “cure” the separate “self” (or the “soul”) of its bondage, its attachments, its associations, and its “effects” is fundamental to the search of the first six stages of life.
However, in Truth, the Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State of Reality Itself Is Inherently actionless and Intrinsically Free.
By means of engaging the preliminary “Perfect Knowledge” Listening-process, there is a tacit “Radically Intuitive” awareness (or intrinsic observation) that it is the body-brain-complex – rather than any kind of “separate inner self” (or, otherwise, Consciousness Itself) – that generates (or “causes”) thoughts and actions.
Thus, it is observed that the ego-“self” (and not Consciousness Itself) is, altogether, the source of identification with the body-mind-complex, and (therefore) with the brain-process in the context of the body.
Identification, Differentiation and Desire
We are involved in the limitations of processes, which are identification, differentiation and desire. The consequences of this become our insoluble form and dilemma.
We consider, in terms of thoughts and other aspects of these processes, that we arise as there, are present as these, that we stand forth in froth in some form. Therefore, we consider that in some aspect of the process we identify as thought we stand as the generator, the communicator, the motive source. But this is entirely untrue, a false presumption.
Thoughts are aspects of a process in reality. Neither they nor the process itself is a direct consequence of the action of reality. Reality or real consciousness does not act within reality, but it is the witness or basis within reality, but is is the witness or basis within or upon which these things occur. Therefore, the Self or real consciousness does not think. The thinker, the thoughts and all objects of reference are utterly apart from the causal action of the real, the Heart.
Therefore the process of radical consciousness is not an effort to control reduce or eliminate thought or any process. Such a search is a consequence of dilemma, the failure to understand. It is instead a radical comprehension of the nature of experience and seeking, which includes also the process of thought. When the radical understanding of all processes occurs there is no necessary elimination of modification of any process. Instead, there is the enjoyment of the radical state of real consciousness, which is to be aware in the “place” where no process arises, where no communication seems to be received or originated. It is silence, bliss, the unqualified force of conscious existence. But it does not achieve this as a result of modifying or eliminating any process. It is that which is radically prior to all processes, and which does not require the absence of any process of its enjoyment.
From the point of view of real consciousness, our very nature, thoughts are not an extension which it creates. All processes, all causes and effects, are witnessed by it but do not qualify it. It is not the direct cause of any event, process or thought, but all such things appear within it as signals detached entirely from its action. The mind of thoughts is not the transmitting arm of the Self, but it is like a room full of radio and television receivers. Most of them are tuned to different signals, or a different moment of the same signal. Some are tuned to the same instant of the same signal, repeating and reinforcing on another. There is not end to these machines and their signals. He who does not understand identifies with some conceptual transmitter that he presumes to be the source of the signals.
He identifies this source as mind or soul. He may wander uncontrolled among the signals, involved in various ways with the programs and their endless combinations. Or he may seek some kind of control. He may try turning them all to a single signal or he may try to turn some of them off, or all but one, or all, or a few. He may become hysterical and try to smash the appliances, thus becoming mad. Perhaps he may be clever and try to find the single source of current that keeps all the receivers operating. But the very force by which he seeks to find the source of that current is the current itself. Therefore, all methods of seeking fail. Therefore, all methods of seeking fail, until there is a radical understanding of the whole process.
When understanding arises the whole process of seeking has ceased to one’s occupation. There is instead a direct perception of that process and all the events with which one has become identified, from which one bas become differentiated, or toward which one as moved by desire. Then, for the first time, one simply observes the process of life. It may seem to the spiritual seeker that, since he seems to be observing processes such as thoughts, he is fulfilling the rules of wisdom. But in fact he is only occupied in another form of seeking of dilemma, and his action remains the avoidance of relationship with all that he perceives. All these spiritual techniques all useless because they do not rest in consciousness, radical understanding, and thus they merely perpetuate the same dilemma. And if there were such radical understanding there would be no need to make us of these desires.
There is no mind that thinks. Thought is perceived, not generated directly. What we may call mind is not the direct source of thought. It is rather, another process in manifest existence, a force of energy prior to that force in which thoughts are perceived. And its action is the perception of conceptual space, of limitation or separation on an utterly non-verbal level of awareness. But even this is not the direct action of the Heart, the Self or Real Consciousness. Such is only process in the deep levels of manifest existence that requires radical understanding.
Until there is radical understanding, radical consciousness, every process in manifest existence engages us as a dilemma. It is perceived in itself, and we acquire its form in consciousness. There is no means to prevent this or turn it to good effect. Only radical understanding, the absolute intention of real consciousness, is prior to all of this.
Prior to radical understanding there is only the exploitation of the despair of life in any form that appears. This is suffering and the great search, the universal occupation of all reflected existence. Only when conscious existence turn upon the reflected spheres is there no dilemma and no search. Then there is only enjoyment and creative power prior to identification, differentiation and desire.
Until such a time every being is only enforcing and reinforcing the dilemma of his existence in various forms or processes. Every experience predetermines the structure of error, wherein he considers himself the transmitter, medium or receiver of some force, some communication. Thus his mortal adventure winds through undetermined time. But one who understands enjoys the conditional processes without determining himself with them. And his conscious existence is the pure, uncreated, unfound enjoyment of bliss, wherein all worlds are to him no more than a body, circulating their substances without his attention or concern. And so all events pass without interrupting his essential condition.
The Heart is only itself. It may or may not appear to support conditional processes of existence but even where such things appear the Heart remains as itself, unmodified, uncontained always the Presence, but not present by any means.
Subtle Mind – No Brain
There are subtler conditions of conditionally manifested “experience” in which there is no physical brain – although there is certainly a functioning subtle network of some kind that is the equivalent of a brain, something that can conduct the energies and proceedings that are associated with thoughts, and so on. Similarly, there are subtle forms of existence which are not physically incarnate, but which may appear to be, thinking. Yet, the fact that such forms exist does not necessarily suggest that they are thinking – or that the Very Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self State in Which they are appearing is doing any thinking.
In the case of every conditionally manifested being (whether existing in a gross or a subtle dimension of the cosmic domain), there is a conditional mechanism enabling the function of memory and the apparent awareness of “self’ and “other” – and the habitual “self’-contraction of that entire mechanism pre-determines the individual’s presumptions about existence. The “self’-contraction is the “root”-attitude of the ego-bound body-mind-complex, the attitude that is manifested whenever the ego-bound body-mind-complex thinks or speaks. The “self’-contraction is the presumption of separateness, the presumption of “self’ existing “in” a “world”.
The Eye Can Not See Itself
You (as the presumed body-mind-“self”) can observe – but you (as the presumed body-mind-“self”) cannot be the Witness Consciousness, because That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness is not (in the active, or functional, sense) “witnessing”. “Witnessing” is a kind of activity – it is (functionally) observing. That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness, the “Root”-Condition, is not doing any “witnessing”.
I use the term “Witness-Consciousness” to Describe the actual (or always present-time) Status of Consciousness Itself, to indicate that Consciousness Itself is not active in any sense. It is not “doing” or “thinking”. Consciousness Itself is not “doing” the activities of the body. Consciousness Itself Is Prior to all action. The Condition That Is Always Already The Case is not thinking. It is not that thinking must somehow be controlled or stopped, and then what is “left over” is the Witness-Consciousness. To stop thinking is something you can do (somehow or other, by various means, but only temporarily) to the body-mind-“self”. But to Be Prior to thought is to Be – That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness. The Witness-Consciousness does not have to stop thinking in order to Be What It Is. It is always already not thinking.
Therefore, That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness is not limited (or defined) by the characteristics of language. The characteristics of separateness, relatedness, otherness, and “difference” are inherent in language. Language is built on these structures. Language is built on the illusion of egoity – or of separate “self” in a “world” of separateness, relatedness, otherness, and “difference”. The Fundamental Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State – That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness – does not manifest any of those structures. That Which Is the Witness-Consciousness has none of the structures of language, none of the structures of egoity. That Which is the Witness-Consciousness has nothing to do with any of that. It Stands Free. It Is Prior to all conditionality.
You are not separate ego. No matter what arises—waking, dreaming, or sleeping, no matter what arises — you are the Witness of it, Prior to it, not bound, not separate, the Only Condition that is Self-Evident, that is non-separate and Indivisible. There is no separate self. And there is no not-self. There is no not-self to dissociate from by introversion. There is no separate self to expand by extroversion.
Experiences are constantly sought in the vertical planes of experience, above, below, and altogether beyond, which will release the being from the inherent sense of separation, vulnerability, fear, obsession, and self possession. But there is no release until the primal error, illusion, or lie at the root of the heart is undone.
There is no separate self. There is no not-self. It is simply Unshaken, Absolute Self-Condition of Reality Itself, Self-Existing and Self-Radiant.
Out of the activity of contraction or identification is the activity of differentiation. Differentiation is the distinction, difference and the creation of an other. This is a spontaneous event, it is a preverbal, pre-mind event. It is an event in Consciousness. So out of this primal activity becomes the felt sense of other and wherever there is an other, there is fear.
This whole process of differentiation or thought. It is the consciousness of the sense of differences, either between two or more things. This over against this. Thought is always in the form of a distinction. So the separate self-sense or what we commonly call ego and now formed itself as differentiation or thought. The reflection is beginning to manifest itself.
The third aspect to this ‘process’ is desire, which is generated by these two (identification and differentiation). The activity of the separate one, in the midst of his endless activity of differentiation or thought is movement or motivated desire to motion. And this motion or movement is always directed (either consciously or unconsciously) in the form of desire. So, ordinary life from moment to moment is the separate self-sense involved in the qualities of thinking or differentiation. Moving, particularly motivated, living as desire, seeking something, looking, avoiding, needing.
This is the activity from moment to moment, of the ordinary man and the seeker is not doing anything else. This is the waking state of the ordinary man in this plane of existence. It isn’t anything else. So all that is accomplished by the life of seeking, which is the only thing that is going on, is suffering and separation, limitation and distinction.
DEVOTEE: You have said this action takes the form of identification, differentiation and desire. In a concrete situation, what happens?
ADI DA SAMRAJ (Franklin Jones): The ordinary sense that a man has, sitting, walking, is of separate existence. He doesn’t ordinarily say to himself, “I am this body, I am this mind, I am this, I am that.
No mental process goes on that is itself the communication of this sense to him. He already has this sense. He wakes up alive, he moves in bodily terms, it just seems very obvious. And there is the sense of some sort of subtle limit, size, shape, or difference. That is identification. It is called the “ego.” Differentiation is all the forms, all the qualities of cognition or mind, in which everything becomes an extension of this same thing that he has assumed.
Everything becomes a “this.” Look at this, look at this. Suddenly, there are endless planes of significance. The very structure of his thought is “this, this, this.” Spontaneously, everything is already multiplied, distinct. Having already, spontaneously acquired this sense of separate existence, and while already perceiving, thinking a range of multiplicity, of separate natures, forms and forces, he moves. And that motion is desire. This separate one moves. He conceives a realm of multiplicity in which to move, because he is separate. There is something, even a world, that he is up against, so he moves. And that movement is desire.
An endless adventure is possible when these three assumptions are made. And that adventure is what people are doing. All men, all ordinary beings who are karmically manifested in the material worlds, are living this adventure.
Each one lives it with different qualities, different circumstances, different ranges of subjectivity, but all essentially are living it on the armature of this same structure, this same form, this same complex of assumptions.There present state, “me,” separate, with everything around me moving.What you ordinarily perceive to be your condition at any moment is the best example of it.
Now all adventures, all human adventures are possible from that point of view, and all are built on that point of view.And that point of view is the dilemma.All accomplishments take place within the framework of that dilemma.Therefore, all pursuits, all searches, all activities, all accomplishments, spiritual and mundane, are possible adventures within that same framework.It is not that the spiritual ones are better than the mundane ones.They are all the same adventure.
“Until you realize the true significance of your own activity. In this stage of practice you must do it and your doing is a response to the Presence, to that Divine nature that you have begun to feel.
The Presence may not be known independent of feeling. You cannot think about the Presence. Thought is itself a form of tension, a contraction. When the mind is occupied in thinking, it is no longer-occupied in attention. So the mind must become attention to the Divine through the Name of God. And the heart must come attention to the Divine through feeling. And the body must also become attention to the Presence.
Thus the breath is the instrument whereby the heart and the body and the mind are linked to the Presence. All the normal functions of your natural life, your gross life, your ordinary human life, are turned to the Presence through felt attention and the breath.
It takes a while to adapt to the process.”
QUESTION: My experience is that in spite of what I will or wish, I have lots of strange thoughts.
ADI DA SAMRAJ (Franklin): If you close the eyes meditatively, you turn yourself mainly to concentration on mind forms. But if your eyes are open, there are people, functional demands and the whole cosmic event. And while you are sitting there with your eyes open, you will become aware that all of this thought is also going on. You will begin to feel, almost see, how thought slides between you and all contact with the moving world. Thought is an actual, solid obstruction.
Thought is a form of matter, a modification of energy. What we call our mind is wave lengths of force, functioning, taking on forms, through the subtle processes of electrical interchange. So when you have a thought, you have modified the energy flowing through the brain regions. In other words, you have contracted it, and you are always concentrating on that contraction. If you pinch your arm, attention centers at the point of pain. If you have a thought, attention centers at the point of thought. Whenever there is distraction by a particular entity, form, function, or whatever, there is loss of direct awareness, of relationship. When there is concentration, everything else is excluded. The “ego” is just another form of concentration, of distraction. In the case of the ego, the distraction is not a particular thought, but the separate self sense that all contraction generates. The ego is an activity, not an entity. The ego is the activity of avoidance, the avoidance of relationship.
Therefore, any thought, any function, anything that creates form, that appears as form, that seems form, is produced by concentration or contraction. Thus, apart from understanding, all processes, even life itself, tend to become an obstruction.
The root of it all is called the “ego,” but it is actually contraction, in countless forms, endured without consciousness. The absence of consciousness is the key, not the acts of concentration themselves (which are only more or less functional). Apart from consciousness, functional contraction tends to become the assumed condition of life. Unconscious contraction creates separation, which manifests as identification, or the sense of separate self.
Transcendence of the Mind Is Enlightenment of the Whole Body
The mind is not out of control. The problem is that thought, which is a superficial reflection of the body-mind as a whole, appears to be independent of the body. We think that thought is the mind. But the mind is actually beyond conception. The mind is simply motives, or unspoken desires, produced by past associations. The mind is directly manifested only as the body itself. Therefore, the body is the past. The past cannot be controlled. The mind cannot ultimately or finally be controlled. The mind survives while trying to control itself, functioning through thought, as if independent of the body, and as if independent of the Radiant Transcendental Consciousness. Therefore, the independent mind must be constantly transcended, or else there is no Realization beyond desire and the results of desire, or bodily existence as mind. But if the mind is transcended, then the Living Consciousness is Revealed, and all conditions of existence, high and low, are transparent in that Consciousness, while they are also clearly and presently perceived, prior to thought (which is present and chronic differentiation from the Absolute).
The mind, or desire, seems to cause physical or bodily action. But in fact the body is not other than the mind. Action is not caused by mind. Action is itself mind. It is only thought that seems to be separate from the body and to cause action. But thought is only a superficially differentiated part of mind, or the body-mind as a whole.
Because of the relentless continuation of thought and desire, the constant repetition of similar experiences and the chronic conflict between desires seem to be eternally caused, or necessary forever. Therefore, blaming the independent mind, we seek to control it. But this effort fails to dissolve the mind, since the body remains. Therefore, we seek to control the actions of the body. But the motives of the mind remain hidden behind all our self-control.
Truly, body and mind are simultaneous with one another, and equally coincident with the Radiant Transcendental Consciousness. The body is only mind, and the mind is not other than the body. To play one against the other is frustrating, and fruitless, and an illusion founded in thinking, or disembodied mind. Therefore, at last, it becomes clear that the Way is not self-control any more than it is self-indulgence. Such efforts are forever founded in the conflict or separation between body and mind. The Way is total self-transcendence, or the Present and Ecstatic Surrender of the whole and entire body-mind into the Condition in which all of it is arising.
The self is not transcended in the control of body or mind. The self is transcended only in intuitive surrender of the body-mind as a whole into the Radiance of the Transcendental Divine. The self, or body-mind, is transcended only in Ecstasy, wherein the entire body-mind is entered into God-Communion. The body-mind must be constantly yielded into present God-Communion, wherein body and mind are simultaneously surrendered into Transcendental Consciousness and Radiant Life, or Love. The body-mind as a whole must be surrendered into Radiant Consciousness, or the All-Pervading life, which is the Condition of Love.
If this is done moment to moment, via every function of the body-mind, in all relations, under all circumstances, and through every action, then the self is constantly transcended, the mind is constantly transcended, the body and all its conditions are constantly transcended. Then the strategy of self-indulgence and the strategy of self-control are both equally dissolved in a natural economy of existence, and mere existence is always transcended in Ecstasy, prior to thought, prior to desire, and prior to the body.
If thought and desire are stilled, the mind appears to have been transcended. But such is the illusion of mystics and yogis. The mind is transcended only if the body is made transparent in Consciousness. Therefore, if the true mind Dissolves in Radiance, even the body is Enlightened. And true Enlightenment is bodily Enlightenment.
When mind is transcended in Transcendental Consciousness, the past is Dissolved in Bliss. In that instant, the body is mindless, free of the past. Indeed, when the body is free of mind, the body is not created. Therefore, the body also Realizes the Radiance that is prior to self-definition and self-division, or the differentiation of the mind, wherein thought, inwardness, or subjectivity stands over against the body. The body becomes Transfigured in that Ecstasy. And then the body, in the same instant in which the last trace of self-differentiating mind is transcended in Consciousness, also Dissolves in the Radiant Bliss or Love wherein desire and thought and mind and self first appeared. The body is first and last.
Enlightenment of the Whole Body – Adi Da Samraj – 1977