Tuesday, January 19, 2016

There's no internal vs external... It's all one consciousness

Recently I have been going through Sam Harris's videos. He's an extremely smart guy, who is trained in neuroscience and philosophy, communicates with brilliant logical reasoning, and has quite strong opinions about religion. He also happens to have spent quite a bit of time learning meditation and western religions/philosophy with spiritual teachers in Asia. I quite like how he explains meditation.

I used to divide the world into external (outside of the body) and internal (inside of the body). One thing that Harris discussed in his guided meditation is that whether our eyelids are open or closed, it's one consciousness. There is no inside or outside. We experience the world with one consciousness. I have never thought about it this way before.

So my tendency is to latch on to ruminating thoughts... there are a few points that I repeat over and over again in my head because they are not resolved. I want my life to be a certain way (X), but I have problems with A, B, C, D, E, F, G.... etc. Since no one is interested in hearing about my rants, I internalize my complaints but go through these same few streams of thoughts over and over again in my head, strengthening those pathways while ignoring what's going on around me and diminishing my more pleasant memories.

My current strategy is to stare at my surroundings with greater intent whenever I find myself ruminating. Since I have trouble focusing on one thing, I switch my focus between visual cues, hearing, and breathing, in order to try to break my repetitive thoughts. It's been challenging but at least it's a start.

The goal is to try to shift my attention to the present, to the more neural and positive things happening in my life, rather than the broken record of negative thoughts. This will be my practice for the year of 2016.

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