Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Fallacy Of Eastern Mysticism

Eastern mysticism hides much wisdom inside its excessive and cryptic symbolism.

But one thing I could never wrap my head around is the idea that life is not happening to anyone; that there is no doer, only the doing.

The claim there is no doer is equally fictitious as the West’s idea of an independent doer, called the personality.

The truth lies in the middle.

We are both doing and doer; controlled and controller; thought and thinker.

Life is vibration. And depending on the organ that receives it, its vibration is different. To the eye, shape and colour; to the ear sound; to the nose, smell; to the fingers, touch—and they are all communicating other aspects of the same thing.

The idea that there is no doer outside of the doing is based on the understanding that the thoughts of the mind are an after-image.

Which is true.

A vibration is received by the body, the body responds to the vibration, and then the echo of the vibration passes to you for further investigation.

For example, if somebody calls your name, the sound waves are collected by the ear, (and if there is attention to spare) the instinct orients you toward the sound and, finally, gives you the opportunity to respond.

Mystics acknowledge the translation of vibration into thought, but because it is always preceded by a sensation, they regard thought as an obstruction of the senses; a blemish on an otherwise perfect reality.

And the entity that reacts to an experience—you—is seen as an ugly redundancy, because it ‘resists’ the flow of life.

So the East constructed an extraordinarily elaborate set of methods to get rid of the ‘illusory’ doer, the ego, and to merge with the doing.

Besides that being paradoxical—if there is no doer, there is nothing to get rid of—it is also an exercise in futility.

Because if there is no ego, there is nothing to register an experience.

And because we all experience experiences, we are clearly something: a space in which sensations and thoughts happen.

The self is thus not illusory.

It is just as inseparable from the body as your head, limbs and heart; removing any of them would put an end to your life.

The point is this: you, the voluntary decision maker, are already one with the operations of life, but you and your involuntary instinct take turns in operating the same thing.

The confusion comes from wanting to exclude the involuntary from our identity. Whether that be your natural impulses, your physical appearance or your existence as a whole.

The issue with both most Western and Eastern views of what we are, is that they are too independent.

Neither the Western isolated ‘personality’ nor the Eastern universal ‘watcher’ can survive without a body and its natural processes.

Both views are, in other words, not reliant on the material world.

But how can anything exist if it is not, at least partly, material?

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach