The other shore may be this shore

Isn’t the essence of psychological suffering the failure to think things through? For the conditioned brain, thought is all there is (because it’s compulsively continuous), and thought’s failure to operate intelligently instead of compulsively means that confusion and misunderstanding are inevitable and constant.

To put it allegorically, Joe has a history of failing at everything he attempts, and he becomes known for being incompetent, unreliable, unemployable, useless, a loser, etc. So eventually, seeing as how there’s nothing to look forward to but more failure, Joe decides to commit suicide. But since Joe fails to acknowledge that he will most likely fail at suicide and shouldn’t attempt it, his attempted suicide becomes his latest failure and only compounds his suffering.

Is there anything Joe can do successfully, or is he doomed to failure until he expires?

You accept one you accept the other. Enjoy both shores. Don’t worry, be happy.

Apologies for the slow reply Douglas - I had some work commitments that could not be put off.


I don’t follow this? If there is a movement of self-interest (such as anger, greed, jealousy) - or fear (which is another form of self-interest) - then this is ‘what is’.

The question then is whether or not there can be a present-tense awareness of this movement of self-interest or fear. Choiceless awareness is just awareness Douglas. As K says,

I am aware of that lamp, I do not have to choose when I am aware of it (Tradition and Revolution)

Hi Charley, I have some leisure again. So I can respond to your post now.

For me the words ‘insight’ and ‘intelligence’ have slightly different associations, but they do not refer to actually separate ‘things’ as they seem to do for you.

There is ordinary limited seeing, a seeing which is limited by thought. And then there is total seeing, or total attention, which is insight, which is also intelligence and compassion.

For sure, all of these words have slightly different connotations and associations (which are relevant), but they do not refer to separate movements of the mind (according to my understanding).

I question this. If there is fear, doesn’t insight into fear dissolve fear? If there is suffering, doesn’t insight into suffering end suffering?

Or, to put it differently: can consciousness be emptied of its contents without insight? From what I understand of K’s teachings, it is only through insight that there can be the emptying of the contents (of consciousness).

You say it is awareness and attention that empty the contents; but if the awareness and attention are limited (by thought) then surely they cannot empty the contents? And yet total attention (i.e. attention not limited by thought) is insight, as far as I understand K’s teachings.

So, for the same reasons given previously, I question this. On the one hand insight - according to K - can only take place when the mind is free from thought and time, i.e. when the mind is empty.

Being free the mind is empty, that emptiness gives you insight (Talk 5, Saanen, 1977)

But insight is also the light in which the contents are exposed, dissolved and emptied.

Can I look at … attachment, have an insight into that attachment, because insight is the liberating factor … If you through insight liberate the content you add something incalculably valuable [to consciousness] … which is love and compassion, with its intelligence (Talk 3, Brockwood Park, 1981)

Liberation and emptiness mean the same thing here. As does meditation:

Meditation is the emptying of the content of consciousness. That is the meaning and the depth of meditation, the emptying of all the content. (Talk 6, Ojai, 1977)

As you know, for K meditation cannot take place without insight, and so all meditation is insight meditation.

K: I was told, once by an Indian philosopher, an Indian scholar, that before they began to sculpture a head of a god, or whatever it is, they had to have deep meditation, go into deep meditation. At the right moment they took up the hammer and the chisel.

B: To have it come out of the emptiness.

K: Emptiness. (Dialogue 14, The Ending of Time)

So insight and emptiness (liberation from content and meditation) are conjoined events or movements - there cannot be the one without the other (as far as I understand it from what K has said).

This is what I am referring to. The misunderstanding, I think, is to do with the problem of whether there can be “choiceless” observation - without there first being a realisation of / insight into what I am, what suffering and knowledge is.

Say we decide to observe our current experience (because we have been introduced to the concept of meditation) - isn’t this just confusion? I am not 2 : if I try to observe myself, all that can be seen is that.

If I am experiencing anger, what does it mean to observe anger? Isn’t the best we can do in that instance, to be in a relation with our emotions and our conditioned opinion of said emotion? Surely this leads nowhere.

He points at “choice less” or “passive” awareness because that’s what ‘we’ ARE. ‘We’ are nothing (not things). Things are the ‘known’.

@DanMcD You’re flying miles ahead of the rest of us - already pointing at the possible conclusions :smile:

But yes - we are living as if the known - as if the things (including ourselves) are as we project them to be.

Yes and he is saying that you are not those projections, those movements, those things, you are the silent awareness in everything.
You can’t grasp it because it is what you are.


If…speculation again… and again
There is no insight into fear. There is the seeing the conditioning.
A whole lot of theorizing going on.

If, more speculation. It’s only your assertion that awareness and attention is limited … by thought. More theorizing only leads to patently false conclusions.

The “I” cannot understand K’s teachings. Intellectual understanding (based on theorizing) is meaningless.
One has said previously, that it is only awareness and attention that sees the conditioning. And it is the seeing of the conditioning which results in the understanding.

K also spoke of seeing something beautiful in nature, so much so that at that moment, the mind is empty…

K also said that meditation is an unconscious process.

James, when you actually do have an insight, and there is the feeling of the mutation of the brain cells, then you can legitimately speak of insight. Until then, it is only thought extemporizing and resulting in a limited understanding (intellectual).

Thought can never reach truth. Truth is there for everyone as long as one drops thought. And it is psychological knowledge (the accumulated understanding) which generates thought, a self-perpetuating desire to become complete. So, the moment one person suggests that it is true that “the other shore may be this shore” without the actual seeing of it, and even gets others to agree with this statement, this becomes knowledge, and it is this… is a process of becoming. Even agreement is a process of becoming - trying to become complete. That is what thought is - a process of trying to be complete. So, this is why thought is so destructive. It expends energy in validating the becoming process. And later, dissipates the energy that is required to actually see the truth for oneself.

Sorry, will continue another time, one is preparing to go to the pharmacy for 4th Covid shot this morning (2nd booster)… (am registered with the CRD, and they sent me an email…) I think (not sure) the news said the 6th wave here is due to culminate next month… Trust everyone is taking care of their bodies…

Seeing as we cannot grasp it, we are confined to at least grasping the process of delusion from which we know and act - the self with a small s.

Douglas, I’m afraid I still don’t get this. Awareness of suffering does not require or depend on an insight into suffering. Maybe it is just a matter of our using words differently, but awareness of suffering (the pain of it, the sensations of discomfort in the stomach, etc) does not require some kind of special insight, does it?

To answer this question, one has - first of all - to be aware that there is anger taking place. Then the inquiry (which is nonverbal) can proceed. To demand that insight precede awareness is like putting the cart before the horse (if you know the expression).

What can the conditioned being be aware of ? Only what we project - oui ou non?

Freedom from the known is not the conclusion of a journey from conditioning to freedom.

Yes the ‘known’ can never free itself from the known. Freedom is not at the ‘end of the trail’!

The trying to ‘become’ in one form or another can go on for a lifetime. It’s the struggle of the ‘disordered mind’.


Douglas, I think we may be talking at cross purposes.

Perhaps if I put it in Buddhist language (though others may object to this) it will be more clear: the first noble truth is the truth (or fact) of suffering. Right? This ‘truth’ does not require any special insight into suffering.

Or, to put this differently, only a sentient thing can suffer, right? Your laptop keyboard - which is not sentient - will not feel any pain even if you smash it with a hammer. But if you stub your toe, you will feel it. The feeling (of stubbing your toe) cannot be denied: it is there. So there is an awareness of the pain that has occurred (through stubbing your toe).

It is not more complicated than that.

Yes - we suffer - we do this rather well.
If we just accept this suffering, and carry on acting (or observing) from suffering - there is no ending to it.

I’m saying that the only way out is a complete denial of the process of suffering, that can only come from seeing what the process ( of knowledge and motive) is.
What are you saying? That an acceptation and observation of our projections and reactions leads to… what?

Charley, I must point out that you are not being a fair interlocutor here. Your reply is a reply to my reply to something you had claimed previously: namely that “insight… is not something that empties the content of… consciousness”. This is a claim you have made, and I am challenging it. That is, according to my understanding of K’s teachings your claim is not true, even though you have claimed it to be true.

K has said many times that insight into any content (fear, suffering, envy, etc) dissolves that content.

The “if” in the sentence I wrote (to which you are objecting) refers to the hypothetical presence of fear, suffering, envy etc, because the contents of consciousness are not fixed. I might be feeling fear, you might be feeling grief. So the “if” is merely allowing for different contents to be present. I could have used the word “where” - as in “where there is suffering”, etc. The other implicit “if” in the sentence refers to my understanding of what K has said about insight, which I am discussing with you because you have brought this word into the dialogue, and are claiming to be an authority about this word that K has often used.

So all I was saying is that - as far as I understand it - K has said that insight into fear, ends fear (or any other content).

You can call me speculative, theoretical all you like, but this is what K has repeatedly talked about. So if you want to accuse K of theorising, go ahead.

Again, the “if” in my sentence is part of a response to your use of the words ‘awareness’ and ‘attention’, and was attempting to draw attention to the ordinary (limited) awareness and attention that people generally operate with. That is, it is ordinarily the case that people’s awareness is limited by the background of their thinking and memory, correct? This limitation may not be necessary - because, as we know, K has talked about the possibility of total attention - which is why I said “if” (I didn’t want to deny the possibility of total attention). K has also said that total attention is insight - so this is not the same thing as ordinary awareness and attention (which is obviously usually limited by thought and memory). And the general and ordinary experience of awareness is that it is does not empty consciousness of its contents.

Maybe. But you are claiming to be an authority on K’s teachings, and you are communicating this intellectually through words. I am merely objecting (through words) to what you are communicating (through words) about K’s teachings, because from my understanding of what K has also communicated through words, the words you are using ring a false note.

I must object to this insinuation - that you seem to be continually making - that those with whom you are in dialogue are bereft of insight. I make no claim to have had the total insight that K sometimes talked about. But this does not mean that I have never had an insight into my own conditioning. All insights have an effect on the brain, and modify the brain. I would call the insights I have had partial insights.

However, you are apparently claiming to have had total insight, the irreversible mutation that K talked about, and claiming to speak on behalf of this total insight (from truth, etc).

What is one’s response to this claim (that you are making) supposed to be?

I cannot truly know whether you have had this total insight that K talked about, because a) I cannot see into your mind to see for myself what is going on there; and b) because (not having had total insight myself) I have nothing to measure it by.

However, according to my gut intuition, my ‘heart of hearts’ (as it were), I honestly don’t believe you have had total insight. I am not trying to offend you by saying this; it is just my honest feeling about the person you present yourself as being on this forum (which is all I have access to). So I cannot accept your own self-opinion with regard to these claims, even though you seem to insist on it.

After making this statement you then proceed to say that the dialogue taking place on this thread (in relation to K’s suggestion that “the other shore may be this shore”) is a waste of time, because it is only thought.

Ok. Maybe all threads on Kinfonet are a waste of time, because everyone here - including yourself - is using thought and language as part of inquiry. I’m not sure where this leads us? What you have written can be interpreted as meaning that you want your own words and thoughts - about thought - to be accepted without discussion, without question, because you are speaking from total insight. Is this what you are saying? If you are not saying this, then what is wrong with having a dialogue about something that K has said? (remembering that this particular thread is not specifically about the nature of thought, but about the nature of this shore, and how we understand that).

Douglas, I honestly don’t know what we are discussing here. I apologise for not being around yesterday due to work commitments, and this may be the reason why I cannot grasp what you are talking about.

The thread - for me - is about the nature of “this shore”. I understand “this shore” to mean ‘what is’, literally whatever is. And that whatever is actually happening now, in this instant, has no opposite, no ‘what should be’, no goal or standard or measure, except what is projected by thought.

Are you objecting to this? or saying the same thing in different words? or discussing something completely different?

E.g. when you say

is it “this shore” talking, or the “other shore”?

We have agreed that this shore (our current experience) is all there is (the other shore is always merely imagined) - however, my experience is that “insight into fear, ends fear” so, I am agreeing with that. That freedom from the known starts from that insight.

I suppose I am wondering whether observation of what is, is possible without that insight. I suppose I am wondering how one arrives at that insight (that suffering is a relation with the demons of our own making).


While people are quite aware of physical suffering, the truth is that most people will deny that they are suffering psychologically, especially when caught in the grips of ambition (becoming), greed, violence, anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, dependence, belief, theorizing, etc…, mainly because they are unaware of the conditioning…

Not quite. I understand K to be saying that this shore is all there is, period (not merely “currently”). The other shore - according to K - is this shore. So this shore is all we need to give attention to.

Ok. So you have ended fear, or ended suffering. If that is so, then that is part of this shore. However, one can still ask if this ‘ending’ (of fear, of suffering) is complete or merely partial, right?

One suffers and sees what it does. In observing it, investigating it, opening it up, in the very unrolling of it you have a certain insight. That is all we are saying. That insight may be partial. Therefore, one has to be aware that it is partial. Its action is partial and it may appear complete, so watch it (Ojai, 24th March, 1977).

If the insight is not partial, but total, then there is no longer any fear, any suffering (psychologically).