At the CSS retreat, Todd briefly mentioned the middle man, the imaginary figure we create to mediate between awareness and content of awareness. Something happens in the sense fields, awareness is aware of it, and the mental field creates an image of a middle man/woman/person that is aware of it. And that is of course the whole point, in a nutshell, in discovering what we are. To see the middle man as a mental creation.
When I explore this for myself, I sometimes ask myself where is the middle man located? And, what is the middle man made up of?
What I find is that it is made up of sensations and a mental field overlay. Sometimes other sense fields are included, such as sight, sound, taste and even smell. And it changes somewhat over time. Now, I find it distributed across sensations, with an emphasis on sensations in the head and shoulder area. For a while, I found a center point in the throat area, with a sense of a spherical periphery. And at other time, just the center point in sensations in the throat area.
Exactly how it shows up is good to notice because it gives a certain precision in exploring it, but it doesn’t really matter how it is configured. What is important is to notice that this sense of a middle man, mediating between awareness and its content, is made up of sensations (and some other sense fields sometimes) and a mental image.
In the mental field, I find the basic image of a center and periphery, an I and an Other, and some may find an inside and an outside. These basic images are located in space by being hitched on other images, such as of a center point, a sphere around the head area, an outline of the body, and so on. And both of these types are anchored on, or located in space through, sensations, and sometimes content of other sense fields. (Sights and sounds of the body, taste and smell.)
These sensations are just as any other sensations, and content of any sense field. And these mental images are just mental images as any other mental image.
In seeing this, we see through the middle man. We see it as imaginary.
And in exploring this over and over, in different ways, with sincerity and honesty, we come to trust it more.
As useful as the relative truth of it is, of being a human self in the world, it is a mental fabrication. And we see this by exploring, and coming to trust, what is alive in immediate awareness. We are of course familiar with and use the third person view of how others see us, and our image of our human self. Yet we come to trust our 1st person experience as well.