Question: Does the Mind-that-is-All make substance? If not, because there can be no substance, does the Mind make a kind of a movie type reality in which all operates perfectly as if there were substance and its laws?
Response: You are making a number of assumptions here, but you seem to be pointing in the right direction. I will assume that what you mean by “Mind-that-is-All” (which is not how I would characterize Mind), is what I refer to as “Mind” in The Grand Delusion. So, I assume you are asking, “Does Mind make substance?” It does not, but not because “there can be no substance.” Strictly speaking, Mind doesn’t make a movie-like reality, either. It doesn’t make anything. As Huang Po put it, “There is only the One Mind and not a particle of anything else on which to lay hold….”
Question: You mention that there are forces that hold “things” together. There is impermeability. There are no hard edges or boundaries. At one point, for example, you state there are no surfaces to atoms, it’s all pushes and pulls. Not trying to sound too mystical, but would you expect that as we awaken we would be more aware of the bigger picture and these forces and energies that interconnect us? That everything is just part of the stream? Just wanted to see if I’m understanding this correctly.
Response: Just for the record, the term “impermeability” is not in The Grand Delusion.
With full Awakening, there’d be Awareness of Totality—but at this point I would not refer to Awareness as though it came in degrees. Nor would I characterize what is going on as “forces and energies that interconnect us.” (The problem here has to do with the idea “interconnect us.”) As for, “part of the stream,” in view of Totality, it would be obvious that there is only what appears as stream, not “things.” Blue sky, for example, is scattering light. A process, not a thing.
Question: In meditation we are often told to watch our mind. If reality is non-dualistic, then isn’t the act of watching still a division? Who is the watcher? And who watches the watcher and so on? If we are JUST doing something wholeheartedly won’t there be no room for a watcher? No one there to experience and KNOW awareness?
Response to Q1: Not if we’re referring to perception.
Response to Q4: More or less, yes. Please reread Chapter 26, particularly the last four exchanges between ANYONE and myself at the end of the chapter.
Question: Many times I’ve heard you state two ideas: concepts won’t give you the Truth. But concepts are useful. Well, concepts are only useful when they conform to the way nature behaves. One can only use Newton’s gravitation to send a spaceship to the moon because nature conforms, at some level, to its mathematical structure. The theory captures some truth about nature. On the other hand, Lamarckism is useless. Why? Because it’s false. One cannot breed animals with longer necks by forcing them to reach out for fruits...
It seems obvious that science does approach truth—in fact, you yourself frequently refer to quantum physics (a conceptual framework) to make points about Truth. Bell’s theorem for instance. In so doing you assume the theorem (a conceptual structure that lead to empirical tests) is true. That render me confused about your stance in regards to conceptual thinking, truth and science in particular.
Response: I agree with your observations regarding Newton’s laws of gravity (though I would avoid the word “only”) as well as Lamarck’s ideas about acquired characteristics. I don’t think, however, that I countered any such general observations (particularly any referring to Newton or Lamarck) in The Grand Delusion—though we could say that Lamarck’s ideas are useful in that they show us what doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. As I state in the book, science does provide us with an impeccable method for uncovering relative truths, but I wouldn’t say that it helps us to approach Truth. It’s impossible to approach Truth. Nor is it necessary. Truth is eternally immediate. As for my making references to quantum physics, Bell’s theorem, or the like, I don’t do this to bolster anything I’m pointing out about Truth. Truth doesn’t need it. I only do this to point out what we’ve discovered about what appear as relative truths—which, unlike Truth, can sometimes seem useful. Please check out the terms concept, conception, truth, and Truth, as well as the term “two truths” in the glossary. And then reread chapter 36.
Question: How do I go beyond my resistance to letting go of my deepest and most enduring delusion, which is my resolute belief in substantiality, especially when I can somewhat sense that it only serves to promote suffering?
Response: You can’t force yourself to let go of the impressions you have about yourself and the World. They only drop away by seeing through them. As is shown throughout the book, we make countless unquestioned assumptions about Reality that don’t hold up to scrutiny. Examples appear everywhere, whenever we assume substantiality. You only need to spot the common thread that runs through everything you hold to be True.
Question: Why should one try to look beyond what appears to make sense and is also practical (such as technological advancements that stem from science)?
Response: No reason whatsoever. Certainly not if you’re not bothered by anything. Sooner or later, though, you may get a whiff of how absurd the life you believe you’re living actually is. At that time, it would put your mind at ease to realize that there’s an Absolute remedy for this situation. It is to see that everything you believe stems from a conceptual mistake.
Question: Does living out of Reality—and also living in a world that encompasses the laws of physics (e.g., if I drop a raw egg from 3 feet up, it’ll break)—make a person kind of schizophrenic?
Response: Not if you just see. At that time, you might notice that these are not two different realities, ultimately. See page vii.
Question: You say "Reality is Illusion.” Is Reality the constant coming and going of seemingly separate things? What makes Reality different from the illusory nature of this seemingly concrete, conceptual world?
Response to Q1: Reality is the appearance of constant coming and going of seemingly separate things.
Response to Q2: Can’t rightly say It is different. Can’t really say It isn’t, either.
Question: I was struck by the term “subliminal ideas” on page 24. I think that means any thought, belief or concept that we aren’t aware of having (like “I exist” or “inertia is a scientific fact”) and that keeps us from seeing Reality. If many underlying ideas are “subliminal,” how do we become aware of them enough to let them go?
Response: You do not need to be aware of them conceptually to let them go. You only need to be Aware of a leaning mind.
Question: On the one hand enlightenment is nothing more than the direct and effectively unwilled realization that no concept ever fully encapsulates Truth and in this sense enlightenment is very simple and almost nothing special; on the other hand: without this basic understanding life makes no sense. Is this conceptual description of enlightenment and its significance to sentient beings accurate?
Response: Notice what you are doing. You are seeking a conceptual description of objectless Awareness. Just see.