In association with

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from
We Actually Never Experience ‘It’
by Culadasa

[Listen to Audio!]

2371.jpgThe "I" of the narrating mind is nothing more than a fictional but convenient construct used to organize all the separate conscious experiences occurring in the mind-system. Our very concept of Self is none other than this narrative "I", the center of gravity that holds the story together. Likewise the "it" is another imaginary construct of the narrating mind, a convenient fiction imputed to exist in order to link the different parts of the story together. The truth is we never actually experience any entity corresponding to "it". All that was experienced were the image, concept, hedonic feeling, and any emotion that arose in consciousness.

The narrating mind uses this "I-It" or "Self-Other" structure to organize the information coming from the many different sub-minds in a meaningful way. But the discriminating mind assumes the "I" and the "it" are actual entities, concretizing the Self-Other construct so it seems real and substantial. Thus, the narrating mind’s fictional "I" becomes the discriminating mind’s ego-Self, and the "it" is seen as the cause for the hedonic feelings and emotions that arise.

That fundamental mis-perception leads to the generation of intentions rooted in desire and aversion. In the example just given, those intentions might lead to grabbing binoculars to see the bird more clearly — or to pursuing the bird, capturing the bird, buying another bird to keep in a cage, or even killing and stuffing the bird for future enjoyment! The earlier sequence of causally connected episodes gets extended: "I saw& it, I recognized it, I enjoyed it, I wanted it, I pursued it, I obtained it, and I enjoyed it again? Then of course, inevitably, "I lost it, and I grieved."

Drawing on stored information about past experiences and earlier narratives, the discriminating mind also further processes the output of the narrating mind, creating a personal history for the ego-Self, and a description of the world. In the future, perceptions and interpretations based on these complex constructs will trigger desire, aversion, and emotional reactions intended to protect and further enhance the ego-Self’s well-being. The narrating mind then integrates those self-oriented thoughts and emotions into a whole new story. And this cyclical process of reinforcing the ego-Self goes on and on.

In summary, the narrating mind just combines separate conscious events from many different sub-minds into a story, which it projects back into consciousness. But our self-awareness — that ongoing, intuitive sense of being a separate "self" in relationship with a world of objects — comes from how the discriminating mind interprets those stories.

About the Author: Culadasa has been a meditation teacher for decades. The excerpt above is from his book ‘The Mind Illuminated‘.

Share the Wisdom:
Email Twitter FaceBook
Latest Community Insights New!
We Actually Never Experience ‘It’
How do you relate to ‘I’ and ‘it’ as fictional useful constructs? Can you share a personal story of a time you became aware of the creation of desire and aversion from the misperception of the discriminating mind? What helps you break the cyclical process of reinforcing the ego-Self?
Jagdish P Dave wrote: In all wisdom traditions that I know of, "Who am I" is the fundamentalquestion raised by spiritual seekers. There are two Selves: Ego-self and the Witnessing -self. The ego-self is a conveni…
David Doane wrote: I agree with Culadasa. For me, the ‘I’ and ‘it’ are fictional useful constructs, that is, they are appearances (mirages) that help us get along in the world of apparent separations (a …
Share/Read Your Reflections
Awakin Circles:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.

RSVP For Wednesday

Some Good News

• Be Earth Now
• What Slime Knows
• A Surgeon’s Compassionate Pricing Model

Video of the Week

• This Village in India Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl Is Born

Kindness Stories

Global call with Prof. Anil Gupta !
595.jpgJoin us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>

Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple “meditation reminder” to a few friends. Soon after, “Wednesdays” started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you’d like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we’d be happy to help you get started.

Forward to a Friend

Awakin Weekly delivers weekly inspiration to its 93,301 subscribers. We never spam or host any advertising. And you can unsubscribe anytime, within seconds.

On our website, you can view 17+ year archive of these readings. For broader context, visit our umbrella organization:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: