To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 4408
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by SDC » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:26 pm

IanAnd wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:
IanAnd wrote:But the way you word the question adds another dimension to the mix. You ask, prudently yet almost stealthily, "to what extent. . ." To which one can only reply, "To the extent that one knows oneself and the world he lives in."
I have chosen every word and the phrasing of the questions for a particular reason. Would you please be so kind to elaborate on your understanding of "knows" in your answer? Which I find very well phrased btw.
I tend to take a very practical, pragmatic view of things in relation to this physical body and its relationship to a physical world. The word "knows" is meant in the conventional sense. In the same way that one can look at one's hand and KNOW that one has five fingers! There is no mental or physical doubt in such an observation. It is viewed as a matter of indisputable fact. The same would apply to objects (or subjects) within the mental sphere. For instance, if I have taken as the subject of observation the study of the law, I have made the subject of law the object of my observation and mental evaluation. See? (This has nothing to do with the question you asked; it's only a clarification of the terms "subject" and "object" and how I meant their use.)
acinteyyo wrote:
IanAnd wrote:From my own perspective and considerable experience, trusting in voices can be a double edged sword, sometimes with pleasant outcomes and other times not so pleasant. How much discernment does one have to be able to confirm one way or the other the validity of the intuitional inspiration? I suppose it all depends upon who the viewer is and what objective is being anticipated, to the extent that an objective is being anticipated. Is the viewer grasping at anticipations, or is he letting come what may and being content with that.
I looked for a better term as I've used in my initial post. Maybe "voices" alone is to vague. I also mean "verbalized thought", a special kind of discursive thinking.
Ah. Now you've clarified your intent even further, and exposed a possible misunderstanding of your intended thought. A "verbalized thought" is not the same (in my way of perceiving what you meant to say) as "the voice in your head." The latter term, without further clarification, seems (to me, at least) to suggest an unsought communication occurring in the mind (such as an intuition or, more darkly, a perceived "other" speaking to one in the form of a thought placed in the mind, kind of in the same realm as someone having heard "voices in their head" and perceiving it as having some special significance, perhaps alluding to a deluded state of mind). Without further clarification, I took you to mean asking about an unsolicited "voice in your head." Shame on you for not being clearer in your intention. You can see how this might influence the way in which one may reply to your question.

This puts

"To what extent can you trust that voice? Which purpose does it serve? What do you guys think about it in general with respect to anattā?"

in a whole different light.

You seem to be attempting to learn if people here equate "the voice in your head" with a substantial "self." This is where my participation in your little experiment ends. Good luck with that.
So dramatic, IanAnd. You need a :console:

User avatar
SDC
Posts: 4408
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by SDC » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:46 pm

fivebells wrote:Some thoughts are verbal, some are visual, some are physical or emotional. The ones with a clear origin in skillful causes and conditions are the ones to trust. If there is any doubt, the causes and conditions can be analysed in terms of dependent origination, when the mind is stable enough.
This made me think of something.

According to some interpretations of nāma-rūpa there is always a name and image associated with each experience. Sometimes depending on the image the "name" may end up being several words or perhaps even a sentence especially if the image is representative of an action. A sentence is even more likely when a sequence of images are being put together to either recall or predict some experience.

Just a thought.

User avatar
marc108
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by marc108 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:47 pm

to the same extend that your mind has been purified.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by binocular » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:30 am

acinteyyo wrote:There is now another thing I want to add. I noticed that what I actually do (physically as well as mentally) and what I want or don't want to do according to the different verbalized thoughts I observe has very little in common.
That sounds odd. Can you give some examples?

This -
It seems that thought doesn't really lead to action but rather it is just an explanation or some kind of illustration of what happens. Like mere reflection of phenomena with little influence on what happens but huge influence on what is perceived as "what happens".
and this -
acinteyyo wrote:For example, sometimes I realize the thought "I could eat something" then I notice that I'm reaching for some fruits and eat them.
What kind of role plays the thought here?
That is indirect communication, and possible because there is a number of premises that have been taken for granted by the parties involved (or just by the one person, if one person is doing the thinking and acting).

For example, one person says "It's cold in here" and the other person goes and closes the window. Or one person is picking their nose, and another one looks at them and says "You're such a pig!" and then the person stops picking their nose.

This doesn't indicate that thought has nothing to do with action; just that there may be some steps between the two that are taken for granted.

This is to some extent culturally specific. If a Westerner would stick out their tongue and one would comment "You pig!" this would mean something like "You should not stick out your tongue, it's inappropropriate." But in some other cultures, sticking the tongue out is a greeting.

Don't you need to have some kind of confidence or trust in the verbalization of a thought process to be able to use it?
Frankly, I haven't thought of it that way, it seems like an unnecessary layer, a complication.
But perhaps you are refering to the issue of seeing anumana as a valid pramana?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Dinsdale
Posts: 6071
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:36 am

acinteyyo wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
fivebells wrote:Which voice in the head? There is no one coherent voice.
Arguably the purpose of practice is to make the voice more coherent.
I would disagree with that partly.
So would I. ;)
I suppose I was thinking of the clearer "voice" of sati-sampajanna.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1691
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by acinteyyo » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:34 am

binocular wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:There is now another thing I want to add. I noticed that what I actually do (physically as well as mentally) and what I want or don't want to do according to the different verbalized thoughts I observe has very little in common.
That sounds odd. Can you give some examples?
It's difficult to explain to someone else so that he or she is able to get the whole picture. Because the deviation of what verbalized thought "tells me what I want to do or not" and what I actually do becomes only apparent when you would be able to notice all upcoming thoughts in a given moment, too. But I try to give examples. Btw when I say those verbalized thoughts "tell me what I want or not" that doesn't necessarily mean I consider their content as valid nor as invalid.
When I wake up to go to work I stand up, put on clothes etc and go to work. This is what I actually do. The accompanying thoughts however mostly say: "I don't want to get up and go to work."
Not a very good example but I can't think of a better one at the moment. The thing is, that there are many verbalized thoughts and it seems quite arbitrary that one of it may fit to the action done while some others don't.
That's why I asked what purpose verbalized thought could have.
binocular wrote:This -
It seems that thought doesn't really lead to action but rather it is just an explanation or some kind of illustration of what happens. Like mere reflection of phenomena with little influence on what happens but huge influence on what is perceived as "what happens".
and this -
acinteyyo wrote:For example, sometimes I realize the thought "I could eat something" then I notice that I'm reaching for some fruits and eat them.
What kind of role plays the thought here?
That is indirect communication, and possible because there is a number of premises that have been taken for granted by the parties involved (or just by the one person, if one person is doing the thinking and acting).
For example, one person says "It's cold in here" and the other person goes and closes the window. Or one person is picking their nose, and another one looks at them and says "You're such a pig!" and then the person stops picking their nose.
This doesn't indicate that thought has nothing to do with action; just that there may be some steps between the two that are taken for granted.
This is to some extent culturally specific. If a Westerner would stick out their tongue and one would comment "You pig!" this would mean something like "You should not stick out your tongue, it's inappropropriate." But in some other cultures, sticking the tongue out is a greeting.
I try to give you my interpretation of the above example I've given to clarify how it seems to me. In everyday observation when I realize the thought "I could eat something" and then notice myself reaching for an apple it seems like if the thought "I could eat something" triggered the action in some way. But when I look more closely to it I notice that it presents itself the other way round. The thought "I could eat something" arises because I'm about to reach for an apple. So the action actually triggers the arising of the thought. Almost like the thought "tries to explain" or "hides" what triggered the action.
acinteyyo wrote:It seems that thought doesn't really lead to action but rather it is just an explanation or some kind of illustration of what happens. Like mere reflection of phenomena with little influence on what happens but huge influence on what is perceived as "what happens".
binocular wrote:
Don't you need to have some kind of confidence or trust in the verbalization of a thought process to be able to use it?
Frankly, I haven't thought of it that way, it seems like an unnecessary layer, a complication.
But perhaps you are refering to the issue of seeing anumana as a valid pramana?
I'm not familiar with these concepts anumana and pramana.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

alan
Posts: 3094
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by alan » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:31 pm

If you could trust the voice within, there would be no need for mindfulness; no need for the path.

User avatar
lyndon taylor
Posts: 1835
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, US occupied Northern Mexico
Contact:

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:54 pm

A lot of people hear a voice telling them not to do bad things, then go ahead and do them anyway. Mindfullness doesn't eliminate thoughts or "voices" in your head, it just gives you the wisdom to know which "voices" are worth following, and which "voices" should be ignored.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by binocular » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:57 pm

acinteyyo wrote:It's difficult to explain to someone else so that he or she is able to get the whole picture. Because the deviation of what verbalized thought "tells me what I want to do or not" and what I actually do becomes only apparent when you would be able to notice all upcoming thoughts in a given moment, too. But I try to give examples. Btw when I say those verbalized thoughts "tell me what I want or not" that doesn't necessarily mean I consider their content as valid nor as invalid.
When I wake up to go to work I stand up, put on clothes etc and go to work. This is what I actually do. The accompanying thoughts however mostly say: "I don't want to get up and go to work."
Not a very good example but I can't think of a better one at the moment. The thing is, that there are many verbalized thoughts and it seems quite arbitrary that one of it may fit to the action done while some others don't.
That's why I asked what purpose verbalized thought could have.
Simply by observing one's actions, one cannot discern one's intentions.
But observing one's verbalized thoughts can give clues to that.

I try to give you my interpretation of the above example I've given to clarify how it seems to me. In everyday observation when I realize the thought "I could eat something" and then notice myself reaching for an apple it seems like if the thought "I could eat something" triggered the action in some way. But when I look more closely to it I notice that it presents itself the other way round. The thought "I could eat something" arises because I'm about to reach for an apple. So the action actually triggers the arising of the thought. Almost like the thought "tries to explain" or "hides" what triggered the action.
I think this would require a doctrinal explanation that is beyond my paygrade.

acinteyyo wrote:But perhaps you are refering to the issue of seeing anumana as a valid pramana?
I'm not familiar with these concepts anumana and pramana.
In roundabout, in Indian philosophy in general, a pramana is a base of knowledge, a source of knowledge, or a way of knowing.
Anumana, or logical inference, is one of the pramanas. (I used the Sanskrit terms, because in English, there aren't exact equivalents.)
It seemed to me that what you were describing had to do with wondering inasmuch logical inference is a valid way of knowing something.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1691
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:24 pm

binocular wrote:Simply by observing one's actions, one cannot discern one's intentions.
But observing one's verbalized thoughts can give clues to that.
And to what extent? I mean this is the difficult part. I agree that from action (kamma) we cannot discern intentions. It is said: ""Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect." (AN6.63)
Only from observing intention one can discern ones's action. This is what I tried to explain here:
acinteyyo wrote:I try to give you my interpretation of the above example I've given to clarify how it seems to me. In everyday observation when I realize the thought "I could eat something" and then notice myself reaching for an apple it seems like if the thought "I could eat something" triggered the action in some way. But when I look more closely to it I notice that it presents itself the other way round. The thought "I could eat something" arises because I'm about to reach for an apple. So the action actually triggers the arising of the thought. Almost like the thought "tries to explain" or "hides" what triggered the action.
Because kamma is caused by contact and since intention is kamma we have to conclude that intention is caused by contact, too. It seems to me that action is easily observable but intention isn't. The corresponding thoughts which go with the action seem to indicate or give a clue to the corresponding intention. Just as you say. Personally I find it difficult to assign the right thought to the right action. This may sound awkward but I notice a great quantity of thoughts while only few action occurs. And many of the thoughts indicate a possible and reasonable connection to the action, giving a clue what kind of intention may go along with that action. I suppose it can only be known by seeing it directly to get it "right". Logical inference doesn't seem to work here anymore. Unfortunately I can't explain myself any better. It already is difficult to find the right words in german...

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: To what extent can you trust the voice within?

Post by binocular » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:29 am

acinteyyo wrote:And to what extent? I mean this is the difficult part.
In that case, the issue seems to be about how to deal with uncertainty.

Logical inference doesn't seem to work here anymore.
As a pramana, it is said to have limited use anyway.

Unfortunately I can't explain myself any better. It already is difficult to find the right words in german...
If it helps, I speak German.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 65 guests