Question about mindfulness meditation

I’ve done some mindful meditation recently, and it’s helped tremendously. I do have a question about a concept in this practice, though, and I was wondering if someone could help shed light on it . . .
Much of mindfulness involves noticing thoughts and feelings, and acknowledging that these thoughts and feelings are only that, and not much more. One of the common mantras is a take on, “My feelings and thoughts aren’t me.” My question is . . . if my feelings and thoughts aren’t me, what IS me? I assumed that my thoughts and feelings basically make up who I am. That’s something I’m struggling with. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Ah! Yes, the self/ego and non-duality. The following explanation is a mesh of what I understand of Buddhism, secular mindfulness training and my take.
If you dig more into this, you’ll hear that “there is no self” or that “the self is an illusion”. I suppose that some of the kookier practitioners of meditation might think that we’re part of a universal consciousness or some such. If you hear something like that, chalk it up to Buddhism and meditation sometimes attracting mushy-headed types.

Apparently, people will often presume that there is one point in the brain or mind which is an unchanging self, a thinker of thoughts. Buddha/mindfulness practitioners would say that your consciousness is not a solid permanent thing but a process that is a collection of changing elements, a flow of change. I personally think that some thoughts & feelings flow in a rather viscous way and that there might be genetically-inherited contents in human consciousness but the Buddhist point is generally true.
Remember Heraclitus and his: “You could not step twice into the same river: for other waters are ever flowing on to you.” If you define “river” as specific molecules of water, ok. It’s a rather silly way to look at it and even people who argue that still seem to have no difficulty referring to the Thames or the Hudson river as such from one day to the next.

But if you define the river as the space in which the flow of water takes place + some of it settles for a while + the flow of water itself, then you can step twice into the same river which is a rather more sensible way to look at it. You and your consciousness are to your thoughts & feelings as a river is to water.
To take a more modern analogy. Right now, my graphics card and the graphics software are displaying some black characters, lots of grey and a blue bar IOW the SDMB page. Does that mean that my graphics card and the graphics software = black, grey and blue? Are they the SDMB page? I think you’ll agree that’s not the case.

Those colors and the SDMB page can run within the graphics card and the graphics software but the latter are much more fluid and potentially expansive than that and their identity is not found in what they contain/run at any one time.

Maybe that is correct too. Maybe consciousness expands with practice of mindfulness meditation (sakshi dhyaan in Hindi) and finally you become one with the universe.

It can feel that way but that doesn’t mean it’s what happens. It’s not like Buddhists or other meditators had access to neurology & neurochemistry for most of the time meditation has been practiced so one may decide not to hold their woo-ish interpretation of their experiences against them. Now that we do have more knowledge about neurology and neurochemistry, let’s dispense with the woo.

Intense meditation can drastically reduce activity in the default mode network of the brain which can result in the meditator experiencing something which feels like becoming one with the universe. It is sometimes referred to as ego death, unity & interconnectedness, non-dual awareness. The same subjective experience can be produced by using psychedelics to reduce activity in the default mode network.

See 24:50 to 25:30 here:

A would-be meditator might learn much from what Dr. Carhart-Harris has to say about the neurology of psychedelics because it likely largely applies to meditation in terms brain activity:

Just remember to only use meditation, not psychedelics. Especially don’t use them together because drugs are bad.

But drugs effect is temporary plus drugs are harmful as you said. Meditation is supposed to create this effect permanently and w/o the harms that are caused by drugs.

I read somewhere that at the highest stage of meditation, when you become one with universe (the stage is called samadhi), either the physical body dies or if the body is to remain alive, the sole purpose will be to try to awaken or help other humans as well through the enlightened soul.

Serotonin is known as happiness hormone. So we have learned to induce happiness through drugs as well. Probably just like happiness is a good thing, the feelings described above that people feel during advanced stages of meditation are also a good thing.

Many, most people’s persona is a construct of the mass media. People are largely fitting themselves into a form that they think is consistent with a projected ideal. Thinking and acting on political correctness, regardless of any rational membership in the social fabric.

Here’s a test: When a socio-political idea comes to mind, look inside yourself at your gut reaction to it, and examine whether you agree/disagree with it in all cases, or only with respect to a highly publicized incident. Are you trying to construct your views to fit an ideal, or is that what you really think?

What IS you is the “authentic actor” within you. If you can be mindful and in the moment, you can regard your emotions and thoughts as they present themselves, step back, apply the values you have and objectives you seek, and choose how you process those thoughts and feelings, and how you act.

The more you practice this mindfulness, the more fluid the process will be to include a “mindful checkpoint” as your thoughts and emotions range however they do. And, therefore, the more connected you will feel - the You acting in the world will reflect a more authentic You, who is acting and speaking more in line with the You you are trying to be mindful to be.

Does that make sense?

It does! Well said.

I find it useful to think in terms of what are known as the ‘five aggregates’ in Buddhist teachings – check out the following article for an explanation:

I’m not sure if this will be helpful, but I had some similar questions, which became rather problematic for me as I was learning about mindfulness meditation. All the no-self talk and such never quite clicked for me, as it seemed to me as if many of those who talked about it were advocating basically deleting one’s personality, one’s self.

Of course there were those who were more eloquent or at least who had a greater ability to explain the ineffable to hard-headed novices, and the guidance they gave was far less problematic for me. But, still I was stuck and unable to get past my discomfort.

Then I came across someone who wrote that this was a common problem that many find in their mediation practice. That many people fear that what is being put forth was a recommendation to lose one’s self, to diminish or even extinguish one’s own personality. This writer then noted that they had had the privilege of working and sitting with several highly respected teachers, and each of them had very powerful, vibrant, and authentic personalities.

This writer never explained things in a way that resolved or reconciled my confusion and frustration with the “no-self” stuff, but, like kicking a rock or extending a hand, his example showed me what I needed to understand.

Hi Orr: “Non-self” is not about deleting oneself. To understand non-self, you have to separate the conventional level of analyses from a deeper level of analyses. Aristotle called this phronesis and sophia – you may have heard of that. The article link I gave explains this clearly – if you have questions, feel free to ask.