3. Conceptual thinking

Your person seizes you, as it were, in your own experience. You distinguish between yourself (subject) and what you experience (object; a thing, event, phenomenon, or thought). It affects your life experience because it works as a filter. You experience the world through your ‘I’, instead of directly through your five classical senses. If you perceive a sensory experience, you unconsciously or consciously ask yourself directly what you think of that experience, because you make a distinction between the experience and yourself. This creates a distinction between objects and yourself; the subject. This often takes place on an unconscious level, because this is what you’ve been taught.

You have learned to experience through your thoughts. Because you wonder what you think of the experience, you are distracted from the objective sensory awareness. Your thought sense takes over your other five senses. When you (un)consciously question yourself; ‘what do I think of this’, you try to give meaning to your perception by means of concepts. In other words; we experience the distinction between subject and object when that experience is filled in by concepts. In doing so, your attention is divided between the experience as it is and the evaluation/ appreciation of the experience. You try to give meaning by expressing your feelings about a sensory experience in concepts and by giving a certain value to these concepts. In doing so, you judge, evaluate, or assess the objective reality.

For a better understanding; imagine eating a lemon. If you experience this from your person, you may find the taste of the lemon awful because of the sour. From your ‘I’ (subject) you judge the sour (object) as awful (concept). However, finding eating the lemon awful creates a negative egocentric emotion that affects your perception. You find the lemon awful because it is very sour. However, very sour is not awful, very sour is very sour. You try to give meaning to the object, from your ego, by assigning a certain value to it. In this case ‘awful’. You make the concept of ‘awful’ your own. It gets a certain meaning for you, which you then apply to sensory perceptions that are not pleasant to you. Considering something very sour as awful, makes you distance yourself from the sensory experience (the sour), to interpret it as awful (concept). Experiencing the taste of the lemon as awful creates a subjective experience of reality and a negative egocentric emotion, because the concept of ‘awful’ is a milder variant of the emotion disgust.

If you have let go of the desire to give meaning to your sensory experiences and do not try to evaluate all these experiences, you will only experience that the lemon has a very sour taste. Since your full attention is focused on the experience itself, you are consciously aware. In other words; your experience is not influenced by emotions that you experience because you respond to what you experience. You are not trying to judge the world by your ego and because of this there is no distinction between subject and object. You, therefore, perceive more intensively. You are one with the perception. You experience the objective reality and as a result you do not experience (negative) self-centered emotions. Emotions are always subjective. In addition to ‘awful’; ‘lemon’ and ‘sour’ are also concepts. Awful is a concept that expresses something about a (subjective) experience, whereas lemon and sour are concepts that describe something about an object. Every word that describes a phenomenon, event, experience or thing is a concept.

If you live without expectations and let go of the desire to give meaning to the objective reality, you can experience sensory perceptions more intensively or more clearly. You then experience the awareness as it enters through your senses, without judging it. You experience the tones, rhythm, melody and voices in music, and the taste, aroma and consistency of food. You go into your sensory experience, as it were, and do not distinguish between the stimulus and your sensory perception.

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