john e. mumbles
(Mar 6 2012 at 04:34 PM)
Hi Mark, While I have no trouble at all sleeping, I applaud your efforts on behalf of insomniacs everywhere. In your essay, I think I understand what you are getting at, but am not entirely sure what you may really mean. I find the following particularly vague:
"When my awareness shifts readily, I realize that my ability to feel my location in space is made possible in part by the freedom of my awareness to move."
How so? Isn't awareness underlying all phenomena that a conscious being can grasp? How can awareness not be with the location in space no matter where that location may be, as in, 'everywhere I look (ie; am aware that I am aware), I find myself.' By "awareness" do you mean "attention?"
"I sometimes overlook my location in space because I attach to what I’m feeling, or I’m averse to it, or I ignore it. The result is that I lose the freedom of my awareness to shift and move, and I have difficulty relaxing or staying alert.
How does one overlook their location in space? Do you mean that the awareness of where you are is sometimes clouded by emotions, random thoughts, pulled away by attention to the contemplation of experiences, or fear, ie; not being present in the moment for whatever reasons? But again, isn't awareness present even in those moments?
"When I allow what I feel to enter into where I am, then my awareness remains free, and I can relax and keep my wits about me."
Where was "what I feel" before it "entered into where I am"? Didn't it have to be with you (wherever you are) in order to notice its presence? When is awareness not free?
And how exactly does this help you go back to sleep wake up, etc.?
Anyway, I am a very literal person, despite the vague pronouncements I often make. If it amuses you, humor me with a response. It may help others understand what you are trying to convey in your essay. Thanks!
(Mar 6 2012 at 09:54 PM)
"While I have no trouble at all sleeping"- how can I regret that your health is good and you never have a problem getting back to sleep, although it makes explaining what I'm talking with regard to falling asleep hypothetical for you. And that's the easiest way to explain what I'm talking about, through the experience of falling asleep.
Most of your points revolve around the fact that it's not possible to be anywhere other than where I am, and I pretty much always have feeling going on. I am trying to describe a practice which actually takes place all the time without practice. I think I did well, judging by your remarks!
My friend in New York was able to get a sense of location relative to his awareness taking place. I did take a liberty in describing awareness as moving, the better description I think is the Gautamid's when he said that consciousness only exists in connection with sense object and sense organ, and he included the mind as a sense organ. I would say there's a kind of locus of sense organ sense object consciousness going on most of the time, although in the middle of the night with the lights out the sense of touch in the body can become the predominant consciousness taking place.
This is easiest to experience, for me, as a sense of place associated with consciousness right as I'm dropping off to sleep.
thanks much for the comment; yours, Mark
(Mar 13 2012 at 06:29 PM)
HI Mark, Sure you can post it, I think if any of this discussion helps even one person (and it is helping me, so there you go!) then the sharing is more than justified.
As we explore the details I am getting a clearer picture of what your essay is all about, thanks so much.
My experience of where awareness resides at the time of going to sleep is as I mentioned "location-less" so it was hard for me to see it being anywhere else without the description of chronic pain I shared. Without a location of attention for awareness to "move" into, I find it is "nowhere" and that is "where" I am ( am not), -there seems to be no need to "locate" so I just rest in this womb of no-place-ness.
I've not heard that about animals thinking in pictures, but I believe humans do that as well. I ran across this through reading and then meeting William S. Burroughs years and years ago. He said that he first sees scenes in novels as pictures, like watching a movie. The famous "cut-up" method is simply a mirror of how thoughts organize themselves first in random patterns based on various relationships, and then into a more linear, coherent language that can be communicated. His "The Book of Breeething" explores this in relationship to Egyptian hieroglyphs, but I think it cuts across any language based in letters that are also pictographic representation (Hebrew, and Chinese, for ex.). English is particularly abstracted from this, although there are vague representational aspects to it (for ex. G being a C that's grown a beard) when you dig deep. The closest equivalent that I have found to Kabbalah (and by this I mean Notarikon primarily, the science of letter-to-nature correspondence, and combination, not only in Hebrew, but Arabic and other languages as well) in English may be Number Words and Number Symbols by Karl Menninger. But my point is primarily that we interpret a visual perception into a language abstraction and tend to forget that the visual came first, so in this sense I can well believe that animals, nay, all sentient beings "think" in pictures ... Burroughs also said that the "word" is a virus, something that takes us away from a direct experience of reality. It sure as hell is a hard medium to express yourself clearly in as we are exploring right now!
So, this ties in nicely with the phenomena I describe that happens when you empty the mind of all thought just before sleep: the images rush in, and you have to be very Very aware in order to see the thin membrane between this wakeful awareness of what is occurring as it quickly slips right into dreams. -Peace, John