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ixturtle
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Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:22 pm

Hi there--

Finished Gateless Gatecrashers last week. Resonated a lot, but "seeing" remains elusive. While the book is basically the same conversation over and over (the relentlessness of which I appreciated) it still didn't crack through my thick sense of self as well as a few stubborn mental/emotional resistances. Not sure if a more direct form of this process will help but at the moment it feels like the clearest-- if slightly intimidating-- path to step into.

It seems that most seekers are in search of truth or bliss, but I'm not really a truth seeker or a bliss seeker-- all I've ever wanted is for "my heart" to rest at ease with what is. I've "sought" enough (in both formal -- vipassana, vedanta-- and informal ways) to know that that's never going to come from the outside, or even from the inside of "my head." But still I get caught and struggle. Seeing "the truth", if there is one, seems like the only option.

I teach meditation in prison for a living and was drawn to the work by the idea of "freedom" irrespective of circumstances. But as much as I know that this personality has a gift for teaching, this personality is tired of teaching without really "seeing." I know there is a lingering desire to "see" that comes from the ego's desire to be the teacher who really sees, but deeper than that, there is a strong sense that relieving suffering on this planet is the only worthwhile thing for this personality to do. I'm also an avid laughter yogi, for whatever that's worth, though lately I've felt some resistance there as well.

One last thing: Many of the GG conversations start with "I know it, but I don't see it". I'm not sure that I can even say that "I know it." I'm simply drawn to it as there seems no other way out of this mess.

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Eloratea
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Eloratea » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:20 am

Hi ixturtle and welcome!

When you say "I" what do you refer to? Is there something real behind.
Look deeply and answer honestly.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:18 pm

Hi Eloratea--
Thank you SO much for responding. Already I feel great gratitude to you simply just for showing up here!

So when I say "I" what do I refer to? What is this "I" that feels gratitude? I see-- when I look-- that the "I" is a thought-- a label-- on experience, but when woven together with a feeling-- in this case gratitude-- it feels owned somehow. Gratitude too of course is a label. The sensations at the heart then... I see that without the label "my" heart, then the sensations just are. This takes vigilance though-- to feel without the label. And who is doing the feeling (or the vigilance) anyway? Or at least who is "noticing" the feeling or the vigilance?

At root there seems to be awareness of the feeling-- and this is where the mind gets jumbled, because doesn't there have to be at least an identification with awareness... AGGGG! I know the "right answer" is that awareness is just happening, sensations are just happening, mind is just ticking away and fingers are typing. But there is a strong sense that "I" am directing the focus of awareness, "I" am noticing (or not) sensations, "I" am at the mercy of this mind (though sometimes it seems "I'm" able to direct it at least a bit), and "I" am the vehicle for the words to show up on this screen. And here we are once again, with what does "I" refer to? All just thoughts-- which brings me full circle.

When I look, I see that all these "I"s are thoughts, without which the experience is just happening. So I suppose I really am full circle because my heart says, "but wait, what about me?" (Another thought...). BUT WHO IS NOTICING THESE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS?!?!?!! The conditioned response is "I must be".

I know that the label Santa can be a thought that elicits feelings and yet does not exist. I can see that the label "school" refers to a concept represented by a conglomeration of real and changing things, but not a real thing in and of itself. So why is it so hard to see through this particular thought of "I"?

I will try to keep my responses shorter as it seems like all this blathering takes me nowhere... Off to take a walk and will look as deeply as I can.

Again, thank you SOOOO much for being here.
Love,
ix

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Eloratea
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Eloratea » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:58 pm

So why is it so hard to see through this particular thought of "I"?
There is a strong belief, guarded with bunch of thoughts and feelings; which seem to alert its protective mechanism in some cases, as soon as possibility to see through this illusion opens.
But if there is readiness for the truth and honest looking this distraction can dissolve quickly.

In this moment right now what is? What can be directly perceived and what is imagined, labeled? See the difference in your own experience.
Watch the breathing, how it happens. Is there you breathing or it is just - breathing.
Look, forget the answers you've read.

Much love.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:47 pm

What can be directly perceived and what is imagined, labeled?
Sensations directly perceived, descriptions/narrative of those sensations are imagined. Thoughts as they arise are directly perceived, content of thoughts are imagined. However, this distinction doesn't feel clean in that "my" experience of sensations seems to be through a filter-- through a "me" lens-- even when thought isn't overtly present. Seem unable to parse out the me lens from the direct experience-- like it is surgically applied to my eyes when I "look".
Is there you breathing or it is just - breathing
Can touch "just breathing" but it feels more like "body breathing", which has a hint of "my body breathing"-- the me lens again I suppose.

Had a bit of an emotional train wreck last night-- seemingly unrelated to this work, though I wonder if it wasn't a backlash from the self after a day of so much looking...

Best,
ix

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Derek
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Derek » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:19 pm

Hi, ixturtle,

Since you've bravely dived into the Three-on-One section, I'll jump in here as your second guide. BTW, don't worry about being in the Three-on-One. We are all on your side here.

My name is Derek. Can you give us a name we can relate to? It doesn't have to be your real name, just something we can use to talk to you.

Can you zoom in on the process by which "body breathing" becomes "my body breathing"? In particular, what happens in between "body breathing" and the label "my" being applied to it? You are a meditator, so you should be able to notice what happens in the body and mind in between those two events.

Derek.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:35 pm

Hi Derek--

Thanks for jumping in. Nueve is a nickname I go by in parts of my life and its always been written "ix". But feel free to write Nueve if that seems more personable! :-)

Yes, Three on One seems a bit intimidating-- but so far I'm OK. Funny-- the "you're a meditator, so you should be able to..." in your post was met with a host of negative self-deflating thoughts and feelings. Panic arises. "I can't do this." "What was I thinking?" "Oh shit-- I will be found out." Since my last post this morning I fell off an emotional cliff, which is pretty rare for me, so now suspecting a more direct relationship between joining this group and how I'm experiencing "my life" at the moment. At root it must be fear-- my mind judges what's up as pretty petty and childish stuff, but upon reflection, this is what tends to come up every time I start mucking with "self." Hazard yet forward...

So: body breathing vs. my body breathing. The only difference is the thought "my". Can't see anything else. Just that "my" seems obvious, real and true. How can't it be so?

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:29 pm

ps. just noticed that our question asks whats BETWEEN body breathing and the label "my". will look more deeply into this... first glance feels like dissatisfaction or desire but that might not be what you're getting at... will write more soon.

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Derek
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Derek » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:13 pm

Hi, Nueve,

Yes, that's right -- what happens after "body breathing" (which is a label applied to certain physical sensations) but before "my body breathing"? What happens immediately prior to the word "my" arising? Notice where the attention goes. Notice how the sphere of attention changes. Notice any small sensations or muscular tensings that precede the labeling of the breathing as "my".

Another angle on it for you to look at: Are you in control of the arising of the "my" word?

Derek.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:44 am

What I notice is attention flickers off breathing to my forehead/eyes/cheeks, felt quite physically, when "my" appears. Sensation is subtle, but it's like all cells in that area do a little shimmy right then. Not sure if this lightening quick shift in attention is what you're pointing to, but it seems pretty consistent...

As for "am I in control"-- I must say, having just toggled back and forth about 50 times, that it seems like I must be... Wrong answer, I know, but honest... Obviously most of the time its on auto pilot, highly conditioned, constantly flickering like a low florescent light relative to everything.

In reading GG, I must say that the questions that I didn't "get" all had to do with control...

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Derek
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Derek » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:35 am

Hi, Nueve,

Yes, it's good to be honest, because that way we know where to look next. So let's look at the illusion of control.

If you sit down for a minute or two, and close your eyes, then inevitably thoughts will arise.

Is there any "thing" there that could decide in advance what thoughts will arise during that minute or two, and in what order? Is there any "thing" that even controls what thought arises next?

Derek.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:31 pm

No way to predict the next thought, though there are patterns. But no "thing" can predict it. The thoughts just come. The next one often related to the last but ultimately not predictable.

A few (I'm guessing quite elementary) "buts":
1) When there's some intention and conscious attention present, say when meditating, the "thing" I associate with "I" is the awareness of these thoughts coming and going. Not in control of the thoughts, but witness to them. And I suppose its just more mental programming, but it seems as if "I" can consciously decide to let go of a given thought. The moment of recognition is not in my control, but the decision to drop it seems to be.
2) More generally, it does seem some "thing" (which normally I attribute as me) can direct some thoughts or focus attention. You ask me to look and it seems that this is processed by the mind and "I" say go look and the mind looks. Is this just more mental conditioning-- stimulus and response? What am I missing?

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Eloratea
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Eloratea » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:13 pm

it seems as if "I" can consciously decide to let go of a given thought. The moment of recognition is not in my control, but the decision to drop it seems to be.
Pay attention how this happens. Have to see it for yourself.
Is there you making decision, or decision happens? Is it just another thought telling to drop the other thought?

More generally, it does seem some "thing" (which normally I attribute as me) can direct some thoughts or focus attention. You ask me to look and it seems that this is processed by the mind and "I" say go look and the mind looks. Is this just more mental conditioning-- stimulus and response? What am I missing?
Here also - where is you in this process? Would be more true to describe the direct perception as - focusing attention also happens due to the various causes?

Be well.

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ixturtle
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby ixturtle » Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:09 am

Is it just another thought telling to drop the other thought?
Yes, clearly every directed action (whether for the body (to move or not move) or for the mind (to focus attention or drop a thought) comes via a thought. "I" am not directing thought-- thoughts bubble up-- stimulus/response or sometimes seemingly totally random. "I" cannot predict, much less direct, the next thought because that would take a thought-- which just arises.

So then no, "I'm" not making decisions, decisions happen. As I type this, the thought arises that I don't believe it. Ha ha ha. But I see all the parts clearly. Just not the whole.

So in reality, "I" don't type. Typing happens, with a body directed by thoughts that arise spontaneously due to conditions and conditioning. Along with the directive thoughts are correlated thoughts that "I'm the one typing," "I'm trying to answer the question," "I'm trying to figure this out." All are just thoughts arising without an owner... Once again, all the words I'm writing seem correct when I look, but the implication ("without an owner") doesn't seem to sink in...

I also notice (aggg... who notices?! OY! No one notices? OK-- so "the brain notices" is better? or just "noticing happens"?) that all of these latter thoughts pivot on the word "I" which has a particularly clingy sense to it. Like body/mind cells sit up a little straighter when they hear the word "I" as if the message is "this is important-- pay attention." More simple conditioning? Body/mind conditioned to respond in a particular way around anything having to do with "I"? In particular, if the "I" thought has any kind of hope or threat attached, sensations at the heart area go bonkers. This is the area of the body that feels most attached to (responsive to?) "I". If asked to locate "I", having ruled out the brain, that's what I'd point to...

Two questions as far as "sinking in" goes--
1) is it helpful to keep looking at the same thing again and again to really get it (this feels like the way I used to prepare for math exams, but what I mean is to keep looking again and again at something, for example that thought arises without a director), or just trust in each inquiry you offer and keep following your lead?
2) would it be helpful for me to keep reading more of the dialogues on this site? if so, are there any that you would recommend?

Thanks to you both for doing this for a stranger. Truly.
Best,
ix

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Eloratea
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Re: Ready to dive in...

Postby Eloratea » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:40 am

Once again, all the words I'm writing seem correct when I look, but the implication ("without an owner") doesn't seem to sink in...
Open the possibility for that to be true, and relax and notice.
I also notice (aggg... who notices?! OY! No one notices? OK-- so "the brain notices" is better? or just "noticing happens"?) that all of these latter thoughts pivot on the word "I" which has a particularly clingy sense to it. Like body/mind cells sit up a little straighter when they hear the word "I" as if the message is "this is important-- pay attention." More simple conditioning?
Yes, conditioned response built up from the childhood. It hasn't been there before human being was programed that way.
Notice how body reacts with contraction when there is a belief that there is some little „I“, thinker, doer, experiencer.
And notice the difference when belief starts to dissolve and when there are only thinking, doing, experiencing. Look, don't answer from thinking. What is more true?

I wouldn't recommend now reading other threads but just staying with own experience.
Beside answering our questions feel what works for you. But be honest with yourself, absolutely. If there is real desire for the truth and honesty you will discover what is just distraction and what is real lead to be followed.

Warm greetings.

p.s. stranger is a strange word :) I wouldn't say you are regarded here that way :)


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