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TOPIC: What is a shirt?

What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:06 #101218

You open a drawer and see two shirts, one blue and one white. You take one and put it on.

But what is a shirt exactly? What is color? What is a drawer?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:15 #101220

EXACTLY.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:20 #101221

I do not understand you.

I've read your practice log here just now, you've said:
There is nothing to be done. But there is stuff happening.

What kind of stuff is happening when you see a shirt?
Last Edit: 15 Nov 2015 11:20 by Egor Azanov.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:21 #101222

How do you know it's a shirt and not a drawer? How do you know one is blue and one is white?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:23 #101223

If it's a shirt you can put it on, if it's a drawer you can open it.

How comes you don't try to open a shirt or put the drawer on?
Last Edit: 15 Nov 2015 11:24 by Egor Azanov.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:27 #101224

There is no "me" knowing anything. The body/mind takes care of it. There is no "me" necessary in the selection of a shirt.

When you walk, do you need to constantly ask yourself, "How do I know where to place my foot?"

The issue here is the notion of "I." Are YOU doing the selecting of a shirt????????

Who is selecting? Ask yourself that question. What answer, if any, do you get?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:30 #101225

Let me rephrase.

How comes the shirt is not being opened by the human body?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:35 #101226

Follow-up question. What are non self-referential thoughts?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:43 #101227

How comes the shirt is not being opened by the human body?

Sorry, do not understand the question.
What are non self-referential thoughts?

A self-referential thought is a thought that contains an explicit or implicit "I," "me," or "my," including a thought of an "other," that is not directly related to the present moment and often is colored by emotion. ETA: They account for almost all thoughts.
Last Edit: 15 Nov 2015 11:44 by Jake Yeager.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:43 #101228

Who is selecting? Ask yourself that question. What answer, if any, do you get?

My answer so far medium.com/@krondix/is-there-anybody-out-there-20fa1046343
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:44 #101229

I was asking what are NON self-referential thoughts?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:46 #101231

Keep going down the rabbit hole. WHO SEES ALL THESE THINGS?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:48 #101233

A non-self-referential thought is a thought that does not contain a "sticky" emotional component and is not about the past or future.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:49 #101234

Can you give a specific example of such a thought?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:56 #101236

"What time is the meeting?" "Are the ribs done yet?" "How old is he/she?"

The brain makes a distinction between "semantic" information and "autobiographical" information. Here is a blogpost from Gary's site that I find helpful.

happinessbeyondthought.blogspot.com/2014...blah.html?q=semantic
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 11:59 #101237

Do "this is a shirt" or "the color of this shirt is blue" qualify for being non self-referential thoughts?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 13:30 #101246

Brownpaisley.jpg
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 13:52 #101247

So a shirt is an image?
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 15:37 #101248

Egor Azanov wrote:
Do "this is a shirt" or "the color of this shirt is blue" qualify for being non self-referential thoughts?

If either thought has an emotional component to it, they would be self-referential thoughts. If they do not have an emotional component, then it is possible that they originate from the Dorsal Attention Network (DAN) (a.k.a. Task Processing Network) that is used for task-related purposes, such as problem-solving. If they originate from the DAN, then they would not be self-referential thoughts.

However, if these thoughts are habitual when picking out clothes, then this may represent a dysfunction of the Frontoparietal Control Network (FPCN), which suppresses the Default Network (DN) a.k.a. the "blah, blah" network that generates self-referential thoughts. For example, the thought "this is a shirt" does not arise when picking out clothes as it is not useful in my experience.

Some non-emotional thoughts with "I" content are generated by the DN during autobiographical problem-solving and planning activities, although these are infrequent in my experience.
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What is a shirt? 15 Nov 2015 16:39 #101251

Some practice questions I find useful in my own practice:

Does my current favorite model explain everything?

Am I sure about any of this?

Can I value my current favorite model as valid while allowing that it may not be the only or even necessarily the best?

If I were sure about something, would I feel emotionally invested in defending it?

In discussions, am I speaking from my own experience, or merely repeating something I've heard or read?

Are any of my thoughts true?

Is it possible to be sure of anything?

What happens when I just allow my confusion to be confused?

Am I this voice that keeps saying "I"?
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Egor Azanov

What is a shirt? 16 Nov 2015 04:18 #101258

From my direct experience.

When I open a drawer and see several shirts, there is stuff happening: seeing, naming thought, intention, focused attention, discerning thought, intention, focused attention, confusion, confusion, intention, diffused attention, not-knowing, not-knowing, intention, focused attention, proto-thought, intention, focused attention, proto-thought, intention, focused attention, planning thought, intention, moving, diffused attention.

All these can and often do happen outside of conscious awareness. Nevertheless, there are millions of thoughts bubbling at once inside our minds, only a minuscule fraction of which are we aware of.

If I pay enough attention, I see in my direct experience that it is impossible to differentiate between two shirts of different color or a shirt and a drawer without having a huge amount of thoughts.

Jake, it looks like we speak in different terms.

I define thinking as another sensory modality, just like seeing or hearing. Most of the seeing and hearing happen outside of conscious awareness. Likewise does most of the thinking.

You seem to define thought as an image or a series of words in conscious awareness. By my definition this is only a tip of the iceberg.

Thoughts as I define them help us differentiate between a shirt and a drawer. They are useful and it is impossible to do stuff in the world without having them. They can be of present moment, of past moments, of future moments. Some of the thoughts draw a line between what is self and what is other. The line is arbitrary, without inherent existence and can be moved or dropped at all.

The problem, as I see it, is not having thoughts. The problem is identifying permanently with thoughts — I am this self and not other forever.

Going back to my direct experience. I do have a greatly reduced number of self-referential thoughts. I rarely think "I am this self and not other" or "I am the man that does this". Sometimes I do, but not often. To put out a close enough number, let's say it's 98% reduction compared to 3 years ago.

Yet, when I do stuff in the world (when I write this, or play with kids, or read a book, or talk with my wife, or wash the dishes, or listen to music) I can clearly see very different processes that get labeled as "self". Sometimes I may identify with them. Usually such identification results in later or immediate suffering. But most of the time I just see these processes go as they are, interpreting experience, differentiating between things, making choices, planning or controlling attention.

That does not mean for me, that I have managed to disidentify with every process going on in my mind. I am not sure whether I will ever be able to do that. What I am sure of is that the rabbit hole is deep enough for me to keep digging, disidentifying with progressively more subtle processes. Who is this I that is sure and is going on with digging? I don't know. I keep digging and I don't believe anyone that says they have the ultimate knowledge. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe time will tell, maybe it won't.

But this is my direct experience. This is true for me at this moment. I know this because I know this not because someone said so.

For example, about a month ago, I was heavily identified with a process controlling attention. I was my attention. Now I'm not, I see how this process is created and managed by some other process.

To repeat my main point. The problem as I see it is with permanent identification with any process. But fluid identification is not a problem. I can be this and I can be that, I can be a pain in my knee and feel it from the inside, I can be an observer of that pain and see it from the outside. I can be a single person or a whole reality.

I'd like to be able to never forget that identity is fluid and arbitrary. Sometimes I do forget and stupid things happen, like shouting at people. Maybe right now I'm identifying myself with this preference.
Last Edit: 16 Nov 2015 04:19 by Egor Azanov.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Jake Yeager

What is a shirt? 16 Nov 2015 05:44 #101259

Which shirt did you choose? :dry:
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What is a shirt? 16 Nov 2015 05:46 #101260

The one on top of the pile, as I usually but not always do.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Shaun Elstob

What is a shirt? 16 Nov 2015 08:58 #101264

A few weeks ago after a bit of whiskey I found myself inspired to buy a paisley shirt. I bought it on amazon. I forgot about that. it arrived in the mail in time to wear it to a friend's birthday. It was so cool that I felt it needed proper framing so I ended up putting on a nice vest and jacket. Thus I had a three piece suit with paisley shirt. Let me tell you, I was looking sharp.

I had a pretty typical mix of self-referential and non-self-referential thoughts throughout this process. Mostly I find lack or presence of a sense of humor more significant for my suffering than the kind or amount of thoughts, fwiw.

The birthday party was great fun :)

ETA: my shirt looks a lot like Jim's. Sweeeeet shirt.
ETA PS: A shirt is a concept, usually but not always mixed with some fabric, and may or may not have emotional valence for anyone in particular.
Last Edit: 16 Nov 2015 08:59 by Jake St. Onge.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: nadav, Laurel Carrington, Jim

What is a shirt? 16 Nov 2015 10:29 #101266

Egor said:
You seem to define thought as an image or a series of words in conscious awareness. By my definition this is only a tip of the iceberg.

Yep, that's how I define thought. I find that thoughts that appear in conscious awareness more often than not lead to some kind of suffering. When these thoughts appear, I ask to the best of my ability, "Where am I?" Then, the thought that arose disappears. I might only have to inquire once after a certain thought or maybe many times, but eventually the thought that arose is destroyed and never returns. As this process continues, the number of thoughts that arise diminishes, and a pleasant stillness of awareness grows more apparent. Suffering greatly decreases. This is "my" experience.
Thoughts as I define them help us differentiate between a shirt and a drawer. They are useful and it is impossible to do stuff in the world without having them. They can be of present moment, of past moments, of future moments. Some of the thoughts draw a line between what is self and what is other. The line is arbitrary, without inherent existence and can be moved or dropped at all.

I do not personally find that it is impossible to do stuff in the world without having thoughts. For example, when I'm in the shower, thoughts do not arise about how to grasp the soap, how to make the water hotter, etc. The body simply "knows" these things. Similarly, when picking out a shirt this morning, no thoughts arose about which shirt to select.

IME, thoughts that draw a line between "self" and "other" and that are about "past" and "future" cause suffering. For example, when a thought of another person arises, it is often mixed with emotion that creates a "disturbance" in the stillness of awareness. As I practice inquiry, these thoughts of "others" arise less frequently and, so, stillness is less "disturbed" by them. Also, I have had a tendency to "relive" past conversations or invent future ones (that may or may not occur). Each time awareness notices these types of thoughts, I inquire "Where am I?" They have now become much less frequent; they simply do not arise as often.

The neuroscience suggests that thoughts of "self/other" and "self through time" are unnecessary a vast majority of the time, since one can function when the Default Network is almost entirely inactive.
To put out a close enough number, let's say it's 98% reduction compared to 3 years ago.

Great to hear!
The problem, as I see it, is not having thoughts. The problem is identifying permanently with thoughts — I am this self and not other forever.

Who has thoughts? To whom do these thoughts arise? Identifying AT ALL with thoughts is a "problem" IME, whether or not it is permanent. Any form of identification is limiting and "false." I have found inquiring when a thought arises eradicates a thought completely so that it never arises again. Thus, there is no longer identification with that thought. As things "progress," as thoughts arise less often, "my identity" is growing more and more vague, nebulous. "I" am dying. There is simply no one here to have thoughts.
I can be this and I can be that, I can be a pain in my knee and feel it from the inside, I can be an observer of that pain and see it from the outside. I can be a single person or a whole reality.

IME, there is a tendency to "latch onto" an experience as a definition of what I am. For example, sometimes "I" latch onto the phrase "I am awareness." or "I am this which sees." This is just another thought though that is noticed and then inquired into. Who has this thought? I am slowly coming to understand/sense that the definition that most accurately describes what I am is simply "I am": pure "subject" without a predicate nominative, that is, without description. Even to say "I am" is limiting, but within the linguistic realm it does "okay." One could also say "no-self." "I am" and "no-self" point to the same thing IME. The former emphasizes Being; the latter having no thoughts. __/\__
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