Travel as an eagle

In dreams, shamanic experiences, or through psychedelics, we sometimes find ourselves as someone or something else.

In my daily life, I tell myself I am this human self. And in these other experiences, I may find I have a different body. I am a different being. I travel as an eagle.

And this says something important about my nature. It tells me something about what I am in my own first-person experience.

In my daily life, I may take myself to be this human self. I have inside information about this human self and outside information about anyone else. This human self seems to be here most of the time, apart from in dreams or when I lose myself in an experience. And others and my passport tell me I am this human self.

When I examine this more closely, I may find that my experience of this human self is made up of mental images, words, visual impressions, sensations, taste and smell, a sense of movement, and so on. My mind takes impressions from different sense fields and makes them into an apparently coherent self – largely with the help of mental images and words that gives it a sense of coherence and stability over time.

I may also find that all of this happens within the content of my experience. It’s always changing. And it could – and can – be something else. In a dream, I may be a butterfly. Or a different gender from my waking identity. Or something or someone else entirely.

And that can also happen through psychedelics or in a shamanic experience.

So what am I more fundamentally? What am I to myself, in my own first-person experience?

Here, I may find that my more fundamental nature is capacity for the world as it appears to me. Capacity for all the content of our experience, whether it’s this human self, the wide world, or anything else. I may also find that the world to me happens within and as my sense fields. And I may find that the world to me, and all content of experience, happens within and as what I am.

Painting: Lin Liang, China, the 1400s.


INITIAL DRAFT

One of the things that can happen in shamanic experiences, through psychedelics, or in dreams is that we find ourselves as someone or something else.

We may travel as an eagle. We may have a different body. We may be an entirely different being.

And this says something important about our nature. It tells us something about what we are in our own first-person experience.

In our daily life, we may take ourselves to be this human self. We have inside information about this human self and outside information about anyone else. And this human self seems to be here most of the time, apart from in dreams or when we lose ourselves in an experience.

When we examine this more closely, we may find that our experience of this human self is made up of mental images, words, visual impressions, sensations, taste and smell, a sense of movement, and so on. Our mind takes impressions from different sense fields and makes them into an apparently coherent self – largely with the help of mental images and words that gives it a sense of coherence and stability over time.

We may also find that all of this happens within the content of our experience. It’s always changing. And it could – and can – be something else. In a dream, we may be a butterfly. Or a different gender from our waking identity. Or something or someone else entirely.

And that can also happen through psychedelics or in a shamanic experience.

So what are we more fundamentally? What are we to ourselves, in our own first-person experience?

Here, we may find that our more fundamental nature is capacity for the world as it appears to us. Capacity for all the content of our experience, whether it’s this human self, the wide world, or anything else. We may also find that the world to us happens within and as our sense fields. And we may find that the world to us, and all content of experience, happens within and as what we are.

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GENERALIZED DRAFT

In shamanic experiences, through psychedelics, or in dreams we sometimes find ourselves as someone or something else.

In our daily life, we take ourselves to be this human self. And in these experiences, we may find we have a different body. We are a different being. We travel as an eagle.

And this says something important about our nature. It tells us something about what we are in our own first-person experience.

In our daily life, we may take ourselves to be this human self. We have inside information about this human self and outside information about anyone else. This human self seems to be here most of the time, apart from in dreams or when we lose ourselves in an experience. And others and our passport tell us we are this human self.

When we examine this more closely, we may find that our experience of this human self is made up of mental images, words, visual impressions, sensations, taste and smell, a sense of movement, and so on. Our mind takes impressions from different sense fields and makes them into an apparently coherent self – largely with the help of mental images and words that gives it a sense of coherence and stability over time.

We may also find that all of this happens within the content of our experience. It’s always changing. And it could – and can – be something else. In a dream, we may be a butterfly. Or a different gender from our waking identity. Or something or someone else entirely.

And that can also happen through psychedelics or in a shamanic experience.

So what are we more fundamentally? What are we to ourselves, in our own first-person experience?

Here, we may find that our more fundamental nature is capacity for the world as it appears to us. Capacity for all the content of our experience, whether it’s this human self, the wide world, or anything else. We may also find that the world to us happens within and as our sense fields. And we may find that the world to us, and all content of experience, happens within and as what we are.

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