Is it possible to see this?

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:30 am

Empty Mirror, I can see there's some miscommunication between us around what I've been saying about me controlling (or not) my thoughts and actions, so I'll try to explain further.

I don't believe that I control my thoughts or my actions or anything else. My image of myself is something that has beliefs, thoughts, a body, experiences, and so on, but which doesn't control any of them. (Exactly what it means to have these things but not control them, I'm not sure. My self image doesn't necessarily make sense)

You said that I was kidding myself and that based on everything else I was saying, I couldn't really see that I don't control my thoughts. I am willing to grant that this may be true, but if it is true, then I am not aware of it. Maybe I do have a belief that I control my thoughts, but I've convinced myself intellectually that I don't?
Please answer this question: Are you prepared to accept that what thoughts say is true, without first discovering whether they are your thoughts?

Are you prepared to even go to the effort to try to discover whether they are or aren't?
I think that's the current state of affairs, that I am accepting what thoughts say is true. Whether I control thoughts or not, they are "mine" in that they are part of my experience. I'm prepared to go to whatever effort is necessary to see the reality of the situation.

You said that I wasn't putting enough effort into this and that I was just giving brief, poorly thought out answers to what people were asking me. I actually spend probably half an hour to an hour typing in a message here most of the time, plus whatever additional time I'm spending thinking about things or looking at things or doing exercises someone asked me to do. The thing is, though, after 4 months of this, I have run out of ideas myself. I really have no idea how to see that there is no self, if such a thing can be seen. Nothing I tried ever worked, and I'm out of things to try.

Read through my previous posts, especially the one that describes how to recognise direct experience, and answer all of the questions again (no point in my repeating them) to yourself.
Ok, I will do so.

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:36 am

I don't know how to answer these questions from the standpoint of direct experience.
Oh my Edward. This answer is SO great!

Do you really want to know how to experience directly?
Read the post where Empty Mirror explains in details how to do it. Then start.

If there is something in the explanation that you do not understand, ask. Have in mind though that experiencing directly is the best way to understand what it is and how to do it.

:)
Vivi
I understand what you all mean by direct experience, and that you want me to answer questions from direct experience. The thing is, though, many of the questions I've been asked in this thread, it seems there is no way to answer them based on direct experience. There are lots of questions about stories and beliefs and thinkers of thoughts and so on, and none of these things exist in direct experience, so how to answer questions about any of them?

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby dreamer » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:46 am

Hi Edward
I understand what you all mean by direct experience, and that you want me to answer questions from direct experience. The thing is, though, many of the questions I've been asked in this thread, it seems there is no way to answer them based on direct experience. There are lots of questions about stories and beliefs and thinkers of thoughts and so on, and none of these things exist in direct experience, so how to answer questions about any of them?
So you say. I can't be your guide any longer then.

Wish you luck

Vivi

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby vinceschubert » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:22 pm

SEEing is about Direct Experiencing.

That is about what happens before mind.

Before thoughts start their ranting about what just happened.

The thoughts take a nano-Second to arrive and if you are relaxed and ready you can take a snapshot of conditions which can then be inspected 'outside of time', so to speak.

Thoughts will still arise as a torrent, and like ads on the tv will endeavor to make you dissatisfied with what has just been observed and then offer you relief in the familiar.

Allow these thought (you can't stop them anyway), allow them, then as in judo, rather than trying to stop them, you just deflect them, using their own momentum to take them off into infinity.

It's the moment before the thought torrent, that you intend to glimpse.

That glimpse will encompass so much detail that you may spend days inspecting it. When thinking or talking ABOUT aspects of that snapshot, of course words will come into existence as thoughts or speaking. Either way they are not the experience, they are just a poor description of it. This is what you do when considering the questions posed. Use that description to talk about the experience.

Practice it. (without judgement or opinions about how successful you might be)

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Empty Mirror
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby Empty Mirror » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:09 am

Hi Edward
Empty Mirror, I can see there's some miscommunication between us around what I've been saying about me controlling (or not) my thoughts and actions, so I'll try to explain further.

I don't believe that I control my thoughts or my actions or anything else. My image of myself is something that has beliefs, thoughts, a body, experiences, and so on, but which doesn't control any of them. (Exactly what it means to have these things but not control them, I'm not sure. My self image doesn't necessarily make sense)
Ok, I sense a bit more honesty in this reply Edward, so I'm going to work with this.

Let's first be completely clear on your first point that you make. Are you absolutely certain that you don't have any control of thoughts or actions? If this is something that you're clear on then we're more than halfway home.

As for your second point, seeing yourself as "something" that has beliefs, thoughts, a body, and experiences is easy enough to clear up. Do you notice that you could have just as easily said "there are beliefs, thoughts, a body, experiences, and so on, which don't seem to be controlled by anything"? The "something" didn't have to be a part of the sentence, and without the "something" in that sentence can you see that the sentence becomes a more accurate description of direct experience? the idea that there needs to be a "thing" that is aware of this stuff is purely a thought construct, and that's because thought is only ever designed to deal with "things" because that is ithoughts job. Thought manipulates "things"/concepts. Are you able to see that the some"thing" part of that sentence is entirely injected by thought?
You said that I was kidding myself and that based on everything else I was saying, I couldn't really see that I don't control my thoughts. I am willing to grant that this may be true, but if it is true, then I am not aware of it. Maybe I do have a belief that I control my thoughts, but I've convinced myself intellectually that I don't?
Well it's very important that you find out one way or the other. Is it something that you are just accepting a theory about or do you find it to be your direct experience? If it is what you KNOW to be true then you will KNOW that worrying about the future is utterly pointless because you have no way to change whatever happens. What ever actions end up being done, and whatever the consequences of that action are, can not be yours. Do you see this?

Forget about "knowing something intellectually" there is no such thing. There is no such thing as intellectual knowledge. There is just a collection of thoughts that pose as "intellectual knowledge". The only thing that can qualify as "knowledge" is what can be verified through the direct experiential evidence which is available RIGHT NOW. Memories and thoughts do not qualify as evidence. The only thoughts that can be allowed into evidence are the ones that can be verified through direct experience right now, in this moment.
I think that's the current state of affairs, that I am accepting what thoughts say is true. Whether I control thoughts or not, they are "mine" in that they are part of my experience. I'm prepared to go to whatever effort is necessary to see the reality of the situation.
Ok, well the very first thing that you need to do is to discover once and for all, and beyond any doubt, whether you are the thinker of thoughts or not. This requires a LOT of effort and careful discernment, because it means that you have to be alert to any thought that tells you that you are thinking thoughts, and realise that is ALSO a thought. Also beware of the thought that says "I can choose to lift my finger", and look at whether you had any choice about THAT thought. Do you understand the pitfalls that I'm trying to point out for you?

Only when you've completely finished your investigation into whether you are the thinker of thoughts please reply to this post. And please reply with a definitive answer, and the reasons why you have come to that definitive conclusion.

This is not easy, but with careful investigation you CAN come up with a reply that you are certain of beyond doubt.

I can answer the question and I have absolutely no doubt about my reply, and many, many others can too. In fact everyone who does this exercise properly is able to discover the answer with certainty.
You said that I wasn't putting enough effort into this and that I was just giving brief, poorly thought out answers to what people were asking me. I actually spend probably half an hour to an hour typing in a message here most of the time, plus whatever additional time I'm spending thinking about things or looking at things or doing exercises someone asked me to do.
Ok, but as I've pointed out, you haven't yet come up with any definitive answers. You come up with contradictory answers, which means that you're answering before you have actually come to a conclusion yourself. This is not a race. Don't reply until you can answer honestly, confidently, and in a non-contradictory way.
The thing is, though, after 4 months of this, I have run out of ideas myself. I really have no idea how to see that there is no self, if such a thing can be seen. Nothing I tried ever worked, and I'm out of things to try.
And we're all trying very hard to point out to you that although you THINK that you're doing the exercises, you're not. You've displayed great difficulty in understanding what is subjectivity, and what is thought. We're trying to help you to investigate the true nature of subjectivity, and you're giving us thought based answers that are not verified against direct experience.

So it seems frustrating to you, and it seems like a silly process because you THINK that you're following the process. Those who actually follow the process are not looking for the end result, they're concentrating purely on doing exactly what they have been directed to do. In so doing they suddenly discover that the process has led them into a new clarity.

Follow the process and don't expect anything. We'll keep you inside the process until you suddenly discover that there was really no process at all, and that you have always been free and at complete peace. Trust the process. Do whatever is asked of you no matter how silly it seems, but do it PROPERLY.

Did you watch the second video that I posted for you? The one by Greg Goode.
Read through my previous posts, especially the one that describes how to recognise direct experience, and answer all of the questions again (no point in my repeating them) to yourself.
Ok, I will do so.
Cool, those are for yourself to do. I'm not interested in any replies to those unless you have anything new to report. For now just answer the questions that I've asked you in this post. All of them please.

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:32 pm

You said that I was kidding myself and that based on everything else I was saying, I couldn't really see that I don't control my thoughts. I am willing to grant that this may be true, but if it is true, then I am not aware of it. Maybe I do have a belief that I control my thoughts, but I've convinced myself intellectually that I don't?
Well it's very important that you find out one way or the other. Is it something that you are just accepting a theory about or do you find it to be your direct experience? If it is what you KNOW to be true then you will KNOW that worrying about the future is utterly pointless because you have no way to change whatever happens. What ever actions end up being done, and whatever the consequences of that action are, can not be yours. Do you see this?

Forget about "knowing something intellectually" there is no such thing. There is no such thing as intellectual knowledge. There is just a collection of thoughts that pose as "intellectual knowledge". The only thing that can qualify as "knowledge" is what can be verified through the direct experiential evidence which is available RIGHT NOW. Memories and thoughts do not qualify as evidence. The only thoughts that can be allowed into evidence are the ones that can be verified through direct experience right now, in this moment.


Ok, well the very first thing that you need to do is to discover once and for all, and beyond any doubt, whether you are the thinker of thoughts or not. This requires a LOT of effort and careful discernment, because it means that you have to be alert to any thought that tells you that you are thinking thoughts, and realise that is ALSO a thought. Also beware of the thought that says "I can choose to lift my finger", and look at whether you had any choice about THAT thought. Do you understand the pitfalls that I'm trying to point out for you?

Only when you've completely finished your investigation into whether you are the thinker of thoughts please reply to this post. And please reply with a definitive answer, and the reasons why you have come to that definitive conclusion.
You said not to post until I had a definitive answer, and I'm not sure how definitive this answer is, but I don't think I'm going to come up with anything beyond this.

I don't 100% know that I don't control my thoughts. I don't see myself controlling them, I see them happening on their own. As I never see myself controlling them, I am fairly certain that I am not the thinker of thoughts... but not 100% certain.

I don't see how it's possible to be 100% certain of anything, except to know that this experience is happening. It seems to me that it requires some use of thought and logic to conclude that I am not the thinker of thoughts, and that this use of thought precludes the possibility of actually knowing.

So, how is it possible to know this (or that there is no self, or anything else besides the existence of this experience)?

You said above that if I actually knew that I was not the thinker of thoughts and the controller of actions, then I would know that worrying about the future is pointless, and this makes sense.
Did you watch the second video that I posted for you? The one by Greg Goode.
Yes, it reminded me of someone else I have watched on youtube, Rupert Spira. He talks about the idea that all you really have are your perceptions, and that as a result, nothing is at a distance from you. So, maybe you're looking at a tree, but if there is an actual tree out there, you have no way of knowing. You think you're seeing a tree which is separate from you and 50 feet away, but really it's just light and color and shapes which is part of your experience. This is something that I agree with, but which doesn't change my experience.
As for your second point, seeing yourself as "something" that has beliefs, thoughts, a body, and experiences is easy enough to clear up. Do you notice that you could have just as easily said "there are beliefs, thoughts, a body, experiences, and so on, which don't seem to be controlled by anything"? The "something" didn't have to be a part of the sentence, and without the "something" in that sentence can you see that the sentence becomes a more accurate description of direct experience? the idea that there needs to be a "thing" that is aware of this stuff is purely a thought construct, and that's because thought is only ever designed to deal with "things" because that is ithoughts job. Thought manipulates "things"/concepts. Are you able to see that the some"thing" part of that sentence is entirely injected by thought?
Yes, the idea that I am some thing is not coming from experience, it is a thought.

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:40 pm

SEEing is about Direct Experiencing.

That is about what happens before mind.

Before thoughts start their ranting about what just happened.

The thoughts take a nano-Second to arrive and if you are relaxed and ready you can take a snapshot of conditions which can then be inspected 'outside of time', so to speak.

Thoughts will still arise as a torrent, and like ads on the tv will endeavor to make you dissatisfied with what has just been observed and then offer you relief in the familiar.

Allow these thought (you can't stop them anyway), allow them, then as in judo, rather than trying to stop them, you just deflect them, using their own momentum to take them off into infinity.

It's the moment before the thought torrent, that you intend to glimpse.

That glimpse will encompass so much detail that you may spend days inspecting it. When thinking or talking ABOUT aspects of that snapshot, of course words will come into existence as thoughts or speaking. Either way they are not the experience, they are just a poor description of it. This is what you do when considering the questions posed. Use that description to talk about the experience.

Practice it. (without judgement or opinions about how successful you might be)
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, regarding taking a snapshot of an experience. If it's what I think you mean, then this will be impossible for me. I don't really have an experiential memory, I cannot recall sights, sounds, taste, touch, or any other direct experiences. What I remember is pretty much just thoughts, facts, information. I can't visualize the face of a single person that I know (or my own), my mind doesn't work this way.

I don't really have a past, so any exploration of what I am (or am not) will have to be in the present. Or, did I misunderstand you?

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby vinceschubert » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:38 pm

Ok Edward. The inability to take a snapshot makes it impossible to review an experience. This means that it can only be done in 'real time'.
As you observe experiencing happening, the only way you can (kind of) have something to review it to describe it to yourself as it occurs, then you can review the description. As long as you are cognizant of the fact that what you are reviewing are words ABOUT the experience and not the experience itself, there is no problem.
There are only two reasons to do this;
1/ to communicate to your guide what experiential response you have to questions when reviewing them.
2/ to understand the process that occurs as thought impinges on Reality. Once SEEN and Recognized, this is no longer necessary.

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby Empty Mirror » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:01 am

hi Edward

Sorry about the slow reply. It was a hectic weekend for me because it was my daughter's 21st birthday celebration. I spent most of the weekend making burgers and sushi, and the rest recovering from the ordeal.

Only when you've completely finished your investigation into whether you are the thinker of thoughts please reply to this post. And please reply with a definitive answer, and the reasons why you have come to that definitive conclusion.
You said not to post until I had a definitive answer, and I'm not sure how definitive this answer is, but I don't think I'm going to come up with anything beyond this.

I don't 100% know that I don't control my thoughts. I don't see myself controlling them, I see them happening on their own. As I never see myself controlling them, I am fairly certain that I am not the thinker of thoughts... but not 100% certain.
What is it that makes you doubt? You need to discover what it is. Keep looking. Is it anything more than thought?
I don't see how it's possible to be 100% certain of anything, except to know that this experience is happening. It seems to me that it requires some use of thought and logic to conclude that I am not the thinker of thoughts, and that this use of thought precludes the possibility of actually knowing.
It requires a certain amount of deep introspection, and discernment between thoughts that can be verified by direct experience, and thoughts that are just stories about direct experience. For example, a memory can not be considered direct experience because it's only a presently appearing 'thought picture' about something that is not verifiable in direct experience. Time itself is not verifiable through direct experience, and can also be seen as nothing but a thought generated story about what is appearing in direct experience. Do you understand what I mean?
So, how is it possible to know this (or that there is no self, or anything else besides the existence of this experience)?
We're not trying to discover whether there is anything besides the experiencing, we're trying to discover whether there is anything personal about the experiencing. Again you're looking for an end result before you finish the investigation.
Did you watch the second video that I posted for you? The one by Greg Goode.
Yes, it reminded me of someone else I have watched on youtube, Rupert Spira. He talks about the idea that all you really have are your perceptions, and that as a result, nothing is at a distance from you. So, maybe you're looking at a tree, but if there is an actual tree out there, you have no way of knowing. You think you're seeing a tree which is separate from you and 50 feet away, but really it's just light and color and shapes which is part of your experience. This is something that I agree with, but which doesn't change my experience.
Hmmmm. Perhaps I need to understand what you are expecting. How are you expecting experience to change? Are you expecting the discovery of the lack of a personal I to change experience? Again it seems that you are results focussed rather than investigation focussed.

Nothing about experience changes. If there never has been a personal I then there never was, so how could experience change?

The experience remains the same, but it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes.
Yes, the idea that I am some thing is not coming from experience, it is a thought.
This is an important observation to bear in mind during this investigation.

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:19 pm


You said not to post until I had a definitive answer, and I'm not sure how definitive this answer is, but I don't think I'm going to come up with anything beyond this.

I don't 100% know that I don't control my thoughts. I don't see myself controlling them, I see them happening on their own. As I never see myself controlling them, I am fairly certain that I am not the thinker of thoughts... but not 100% certain.
What is it that makes you doubt? You need to discover what it is. Keep looking. Is it anything more than thought?
I doubt almost everything, I am not 100% certain of anything, besides the existence of this experience. I'm not 100% certain that 2+2=4, or that I have legs, although both of these things seem to be true. This is what I don't understand; people keep saying that it's possible to know that there is no self or that the self is not controlling anything, but I don't seem to be able to know anything (besides one thing).
It requires a certain amount of deep introspection, and discernment between thoughts that can be verified by direct experience, and thoughts that are just stories about direct experience. For example, a memory can not be considered direct experience because it's only a presently appearing 'thought picture' about something that is not verifiable in direct experience. Time itself is not verifiable through direct experience, and can also be seen as nothing but a thought generated story about what is appearing in direct experience. Do you understand what I mean?
I understand what you mean about memories not being direct experience (well, the experience of the memory is a direct experience, but it's not the same thing as the events that the memory is saying happened), and time not being verifiable through direct experience.

What do you mean about thoughts that can be verified by direct experience, though?
Hmmmm. Perhaps I need to understand what you are expecting. How are you expecting experience to change? Are you expecting the discovery of the lack of a personal I to change experience? Again it seems that you are results focussed rather than investigation focussed.

Nothing about experience changes. If there never has been a personal I then there never was, so how could experience change?

The experience remains the same, but it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes.
If the discovery of the lack of a personal I didn't change experience in any way, then there would be no point in having this website. You said, "it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes". These are all changes in experience.

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:56 am

I'm feeling very frustrated about this whole thing. I've been looking at this for over 4 months now, and don't seem to be getting any closer to seeing that there is no me.

Besides the threads that I've been involved in, I've read through large numbers of other threads, here, and on the truth strike forums and the ruthless truth forum archive. They're all saying the same few things, over and over. Look at your experience and see that there is no you, look and see that experience is happening on its own without any you anywhere. See that thinking is happening on its own without a you doing it, see that breathing and moving are happening on their own, see that emotions are happening on their own. See that the words I and me don't refer to anything in reality.

By now I've looked hundreds of times at my experience. Physical sensations, breathing, sounds, seeing, feelings. There's no me anywhere in this experience. (There are also no elephants anywhere in this experience, but that doesn't mean they don't exist) Thoughts and actions seem to be happening on their own, without any me doing them. Do I know for sure that they are? No, I don't know anything for sure, this ability seems to be beyond me.

No matter how many times I look, no matter how many different ways, I don't ever see that there is no me. It's likely that it's not possible for me, for whatever reason, but I don't have it in me to give up.

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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby Empty Mirror » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:31 am

Hi Edward

I hear your frustration, and I wonder whether somewhere along the line you've developed some sort of idea that prevents you from 'looking', so I'm going to throw in a few ideas here to show you how different things might be if thought wasn't always believed.
What is it that makes you doubt? You need to discover what it is. Keep looking. Is it anything more than thought?
I doubt almost everything, I am not 100% certain of anything, besides the existence of this experience. I'm not 100% certain that 2+2=4, or that I have legs, although both of these things seem to be true. This is what I don't understand; people keep saying that it's possible to know that there is no self or that the self is not controlling anything, but I don't seem to be able to know anything (besides one thing).
You didn't answer my question about whether the things that make you doubt are thoughts or not. Please reply to that question.

As for knowledge, there really isn't any such thing. All "knowledge" is just a collection of thoughts about concepts and other thoughts, and that's the reason why we are trying to get you to go 'back', before concepts, and just be aware of subjectivity itself.

We only have concepts and words to try to point out something that is beyond concepts. We have to use concepts to show that concepts have no 'reality' in and of themselves. Vivekananda called this using a thorn to remove a thorn. Once the torn is removed, both thorns can be discarded.

It's up to you to try to understand this, and to try to use concepts to see through concepts.
It requires a certain amount of deep introspection, and discernment between thoughts that can be verified by direct experience, and thoughts that are just stories about direct experience. For example, a memory can not be considered direct experience because it's only a presently appearing 'thought picture' about something that is not verifiable in direct experience. Time itself is not verifiable through direct experience, and can also be seen as nothing but a thought generated story about what is appearing in direct experience. Do you understand what I mean?
I understand what you mean about memories not being direct experience (well, the experience of the memory is a direct experience, but it's not the same thing as the events that the memory is saying happened), and time not being verifiable through direct experience.

What do you mean about thoughts that can be verified by direct experience, though?
Basically what I said above, and as I described in my very first post to you on this thread. It is looking at direct experience, and attempting to remove as many concepts as possible about that direct experience. So you could notice pain for example. There may be the thought story that the pain is in your foot, but if you look at that direct experience VERY closely you will discover that "pain" and its location "in the foot" are purely thought generated stuff. If you look very closely you'll notice that the sensation itself doesn't say that it is "pain", and you could look at the sensation very closely and try to describe it as if to someone who has never felt pain. You will discover that it is entirely impossible to describe the experience of pain, because subjectivity/awareness is completely concept free. In the same way you could never describe the experience of green to a blind person.

In the same way, the "location" of the pain is purely an idea. The location seems to be "down there", but if you take a look at pain very closely you will discover it is "right here", as close as a thought is. So when speaking about pain, to talk about it's location is just believing thought ABOUT experience. Even to think of it as "pain" is ANTHER thought story because the concept of "pain" has a lot of negative thoughts associated with it. In actual fact "pain" is just a sensation like "cold" is, but thought tells different stories about them. And even though we have labels for sensations, the sensations are not separate. Sensation seems to have a spectrum but only thought divides that into different sensations. Put your hand in a cool basin and slowly add more and more crushed ice and you'll discover that cool can become cold can become icy cold can become pain can become hot, and that there are no dividing lines between them.

Emotion is the same. It is only divided into different emotion'S' by thought. If you really look at the experience of emotion, without attaching labels to it, and examine how you would describe the feeling of fear or he feeling of hate to someone who did not know what emotions felt like you would find that love, hate, joy, sorrow, fear and anger are all just different points on an indivisible spectrum of emotional experience. Only thought divides them and labels them.

Thought tells a story that there are divisible lines and divisible "things" in that sensation spectrum, and then labels them pleasant or unpleasant. It says pain is unpleasant and must be avoided, but there are those for whom the sensation is actually pleasurable.

This is why it's ESSENTIAL to strip away as many concepts and thought stories as possible if you want to get to the bottom of this.

We've looked only at physical sensations here, but you'll find that you can do the same exercise with your eyes open, and you will discover that just like sensations, "distance" and perspective are all based on thought. What you call "over there" is "right here" and as close as any thought or memory.

You can never describe the direct experience of love with the word love, and so on, and so on.

Similarly if you look at the field of vision very closely you will discover that the only separation between anything is in though only. Without thought, and resultant concepts, nothing is separate. Imagine being a newborn baby with zero concepts. Could you in any way separate yourself from anything? How would you. What would tell you that the hand was "your" hand? What would tell you the world was separate from you? What would tell you that there was any awareness/subjectivity ANYWHERE else. What would tell you that "others" were not you?

It's the nature of subjectivity that is under investigation here. Thought says that subjectivity is in a body in a world, but what does direct experience tell you? Doesn't direct experience tell you that the world and the body are in subjectivity? Why should thought be believed?

Ever noticed that the "big bang" is aware of itself either way you look at things? Think about it carefully.

If the thought story about the world and the universe is true then the big bang cooled down into particles and became a universe of planets and people who know about the big bang. So essentially the universe is aware of itself. So if the big bang is aware of itself now then was it always aware of itself, or did it suddenly become aware of itself at some stage? (Rhetorical question)

And if the thought story is not true then "this" (meaning EVERYTHING - including thoughts, sensations, planets, people, and including the awareness of it) is aware of itself. So you can't perceive awareness as a "thing" in "this" because awareness is "this" IN ITS ENTIRETY as an entirely seamless and undivided One.

So either the thought story of a "universe out there" is aware of itself, or the directly experienced "universe in subjectivity" that appears right "here" right "now" is aware of itself.

To me it's not a surprising coincidence that the thought story of physical science says that matter can not exist without awareness of it. See the book Quantum Enigma if you're interested in the thought story.

So now I've shown you that what thought says about "this" does not necessarily have to be true. Particularly if you are not the thinker of them. Think of the flow of thoughts as a continually running commentary about this that just appears out of nowhere. Unless of course you can find any direct experiential evidence that you are the thinker of them.

Keep looking.
Hmmmm. Perhaps I need to understand what you are expecting. How are you expecting experience to change? Are you expecting the discovery of the lack of a personal I to change experience? Again it seems that you are results focussed rather than investigation focussed.

Nothing about experience changes. If there never has been a personal I then there never was, so how could experience change?

The experience remains the same, but it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes.
If the discovery of the lack of a personal I didn't change experience in any way, then there would be no point in having this website. You said, "it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes". These are all changes in experience.
No, it's not a change in experience, it's a only a change in the **thoughts about** the experience. The direct experience of pain remains the same, but thoughts about it are different. Once thoughts undo themselves from their self-created centre they are free.

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:09 am

Hi Edward

I hear your frustration, and I wonder whether somewhere along the line you've developed some sort of idea that prevents you from 'looking', so I'm going to throw in a few ideas here to show you how different things might be if thought wasn't always believed.
I'm not sure why you think that I haven't been looking. Maybe you're using the word "looking" to mean something highly specific and unexpected, though. I'm assuming that it just means focusing on direct experience, which I certainly have done a large number of times.

You posted a lengthy section beginning with, "It is looking at direct experience, and attempting to remove as many concepts as possible about that direct experience", and giving many examples of what this would be like. This is very easy for me to do, though, and I understand what you're describing. I can easily focus on direct experience, and there are just sensations and no thoughts at all about them. There is breathing, physical sensations, and so on, but they're not being labeled as such, as there aren't any thoughts to label them.

From within this way of experiencing things, I can then focus my mind on particular things, like looking to see if there is a self, or if there isn't one, or whatever. The mind does one thing, then stops. To ask a question like "is there a me here?' requires the mind to operate, or the question couldn't be asked. Looking for the answer, looking to see if there is a me (for example, although this wouldn't be the most productive question to be asking since the answer is always the same) also requires the mind to be operating in some fashion, although there aren't thoughts necessarily. So no self is found, and then mind stops again. Then I could ask myself some other question, look at or for something else, or just continue having the direct experience with no thoughts.

Is this what you mean by looking?
You didn't answer my question about whether the things that make you doubt are thoughts or not. Please reply to that question.
The question was about me not being 100% certain that I don't control my thoughts. I suppose it is thoughts doubting thoughts. There's a thought that says that nothing that thoughts say is 100% certain.
Ever noticed that the "big bang" is aware of itself either way you look at things? Think about it carefully.

If the thought story about the world and the universe is true then the big bang cooled down into particles and became a universe of planets and people who know about the big bang. So essentially the universe is aware of itself. So if the big bang is aware of itself now then was it always aware of itself, or did it suddenly become aware of itself at some stage? (Rhetorical question)

And if the thought story is not true then "this" (meaning EVERYTHING - including thoughts, sensations, planets, people, and including the awareness of it) is aware of itself. So you can't perceive awareness as a "thing" in "this" because awareness is "this" IN ITS ENTIRETY as an entirely seamless and undivided One.

So either the thought story of a "universe out there" is aware of itself, or the directly experienced "universe in subjectivity" that appears right "here" right "now" is aware of itself.
From the standpoint of the scientific materialist way of looking at things, there is a part of the universe, which is me, which is a bunch of carbon and oxygen and so on which is now aware of itself. The entire universe isn't aware of itself (as far as we know), just this small part of it, and only temporarily.

From the standpoint of experience, there's just this experience and everything is part of it.
So now I've shown you that what thought says about "this" does not necessarily have to be true. Particularly if you are not the thinker of them. Think of the flow of thoughts as a continually running commentary about this that just appears out of nowhere. Unless of course you can find any direct experiential evidence that you are the thinker of them.
Yes, what thought says about anything is not necessarily true. This is one thought saying this, though. The rest of the thoughts don't agree. Or rather, those thoughts which are seen as being true, are still seen as being true, even though one thought which is seen as being true says that the others aren't necessarily.
If the discovery of the lack of a personal I didn't change experience in any way, then there would be no point in having this website. You said, "it is perceived differently, and thoughts seem to respond to this change in perception, so the way of thinking about reality changes". These are all changes in experience.
No, it's not a change in experience, it's a only a change in the **thoughts about** the experience. The direct experience of pain remains the same, but thoughts about it are different. Once thoughts undo themselves from their self-created centre they are free.
I understand what you're saying. I was using the word "experience" in a broader sense, meaning everything which is being experienced, including thoughts about the experience.

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Empty Mirror
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby Empty Mirror » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:07 am

Hi Edward
I hear your frustration, and I wonder whether somewhere along the line you've developed some sort of idea that prevents you from 'looking', so I'm going to throw in a few ideas here to show you how different things might be if thought wasn't always believed.
I'm not sure why you think that I haven't been looking.
I mean that you seem unable to discern direct experience from thought fluff.
You posted a lengthy section beginning with, "It is looking at direct experience, and attempting to remove as many concepts as possible about that direct experience", and giving many examples of what this would be like. This is very easy for me to do, though, and I understand what you're describing. I can easily focus on direct experience, and there are just sensations and no thoughts at all about them. There is breathing, physical sensations, and so on, but they're not being labeled as such, as there aren't any thoughts to label them.
And when you do that do you find an "I" in there doing all of that? Remember to judge only from direct experience.

We're not asking you to tell us who/what is the thinker of thoughts, we're asking you whether you are the thinker of them. Do you have any proof whatsoever that you are the thinker of thoughts? If so what is it? I'm going to assume that you're going to rely only on direct evidence, and are intelligent enough to think about this very carefully before answering.
From within this way of experiencing things, I can then focus my mind on particular things, like looking to see if there is a self, or if there isn't one, or whatever. The mind does one thing, then stops. To ask a question like "is there a me here?' requires the mind to operate, or the question couldn't be asked.
Here you're jumping the gun again. We aren't asking you about the self, we're asking you about the personal I. We're trying to discover whether the "personal I" is anything but a thought. When the mind says "is there a me here?" what does direct evidence tell you? Do you find a "me" in direct experience, or do you just find perceptions?
Looking for the answer, looking to see if there is a me (for example, although this wouldn't be the most productive question to be asking since the answer is always the same) also requires the mind to be operating in some fashion, although there aren't thoughts necessarily. So no self is found, and then mind stops again. Then I could ask myself some other question, look at or for something else, or just continue having the direct experience with no thoughts.

Is this what you mean by looking?
I have NEVER had "direct experience with no thoughts". There is a never ending thought commentary about everything all of the time. Nobody is asking you not to think, we're asking you to try to discern what thoughts can be verified through direct experiential evidence, and what thoughts can't. That is what I mean by looking. My lengthy explanation in my previous post about how to do that is as much as I can do. There is no other way that I can think of to explain it to you.
You didn't answer my question about whether the things that make you doubt are thoughts or not. Please reply to that question.
The question was about me not being 100% certain that I don't control my thoughts. I suppose it is thoughts doubting thoughts. There's a thought that says that nothing that thoughts say is 100% certain.
Which is exactly right, and that is why it is so extremely important to verify thoughts against direct experiential evidence - not against other thoughts.
Ever noticed that the "big bang" is aware of itself either way you look at things? Think about it carefully.

If the thought story about the world and the universe is true then the big bang cooled down into particles and became a universe of planets and people who know about the big bang. So essentially the universe is aware of itself. So if the big bang is aware of itself now then was it always aware of itself, or did it suddenly become aware of itself at some stage? (Rhetorical question)

And if the thought story is not true then "this" (meaning EVERYTHING - including thoughts, sensations, planets, people, and including the awareness of it) is aware of itself. So you can't perceive awareness as a "thing" in "this" because awareness is "this" IN ITS ENTIRETY as an entirely seamless and undivided One.

So either the thought story of a "universe out there" is aware of itself, or the directly experienced "universe in subjectivity" that appears right "here" right "now" is aware of itself.
From the standpoint of the scientific materialist way of looking at things, there is a part of the universe, which is me, which is a bunch of carbon and oxygen and so on which is now aware of itself. The entire universe isn't aware of itself (as far as we know), just this small part of it, and only temporarily.
So what? Even if you say that just a small part of it is aware of the universe, the universe is never-the-less aware of itself. The thought story is that only a small part of a human is aware of itself, but we still say that humans are self-aware. Anyway, the whole big bang story is just another thought story made up from concepts abstracted from this indivisible oneness, so don't believe it. The big bang never happened.
From the standpoint of experience, there's just this experience and everything is part of it.
Ok, now that is a valid observation. In direct experience do you find any separation whatsoever between the experience and the awareness of it? Do you find any separation whatsoever between a thought and the awareness of it?

Do you find any separation whatsoever between ANYTHING 'here' and the awareness of it? If not then why does a "thing" in 'this' (the entire field of perception) have to be aware of 'this'. Why can the field of perception (the universe appearing 'here' in this moment) not be aware of itself? Not the stuff in the field of perception - the entire field of perception as One completely indivisible whole?

Is there ANYTHING in direct experience that says this is not the case?
Yes, what thought says about anything is not necessarily true. This is one thought saying this, though. The rest of the thoughts don't agree. Or rather, those thoughts which are seen as being true, are still seen as being true, even though one thought which is seen as being true says that the others aren't necessarily.
And that is why it's SO important to discover which thoughts are verifiable through direct experiential evidence, and which ones are not. I assumed that everybody was able to do this, but perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps this sort of discernment between thoughts that can be verified through direct experiential evidence from those that can not be is an ability that some are never born with.

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xyzzy
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Re: Is it possible to see this?

Postby xyzzy » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:42 am

And when you do that do you find an "I" in there doing all of that? Remember to judge only from direct experience.

We're not asking you to tell us who/what is the thinker of thoughts, we're asking you whether you are the thinker of them. Do you have any proof whatsoever that you are the thinker of thoughts? If so what is it? I'm going to assume that you're going to rely only on direct evidence, and are intelligent enough to think about this very carefully before answering.
I don't find any I in direct experience doing anything. And, I don't have any proof, or even any evidence, that I am the thinker of thoughts. Thoughts seem to be happening on their own without any me making them happen.
Here you're jumping the gun again. We aren't asking you about the self, we're asking you about the personal I. We're trying to discover whether the "personal I" is anything but a thought. When the mind says "is there a me here?" what does direct evidence tell you? Do you find a "me" in direct experience, or do you just find perceptions?
If there is a difference between "self" and "personal I", I don't know what it is. I use the terms interchangeably.

The mind says that there is a me here, direct evidence says that there is no me here in this experience. There is no me in direct experience. This doesn't necessarily mean there is no me, though. It means that if there is a me, it must be somewhere else besides experience.

This is why I'm not sure how I would ever see that there is no me, since I can't see outside of experience to see that there can't be a me anywhere.

From the standpoint of experience, there's just this experience and everything is part of it.
Ok, now that is a valid observation. In direct experience do you find any separation whatsoever between the experience and the awareness of it? Do you find any separation whatsoever between a thought and the awareness of it?

Do you find any separation whatsoever between ANYTHING 'here' and the awareness of it? If not then why does a "thing" in 'this' (the entire field of perception) have to be aware of 'this'. Why can the field of perception (the universe appearing 'here' in this moment) not be aware of itself? Not the stuff in the field of perception - the entire field of perception as One completely indivisible whole?

Is there ANYTHING in direct experience that says this is not the case?
No, there is no separation between experience and awareness.

The thoughts about I say that I am aware. However, direct experience says that experience and awareness are here, and there's no sign of any I in this experience. It would seem that no I is necessary to have awareness, and that therefore some of the thoughts about "I" are not true.

I'm not sure what you mean about the field of perception being aware of itself.
Yes, what thought says about anything is not necessarily true. This is one thought saying this, though. The rest of the thoughts don't agree. Or rather, those thoughts which are seen as being true, are still seen as being true, even though one thought which is seen as being true says that the others aren't necessarily.
And that is why it's SO important to discover which thoughts are verifiable through direct experiential evidence, and which ones are not. I assumed that everybody was able to do this, but perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps this sort of discernment between thoughts that can be verified through direct experiential evidence from those that can not be is an ability that some are never born with.
I don't know whether or not I can discover which thoughts are verifiable through direct experience. Can you give me a simple example of this?

A simple example might be, "The book is on the table", but the result for me is not so simple. The book seems to be on the table, but I would definitely not say that I am 100% certain that it is. I'm not certain that there is such a thing as a book or a table, and there's something within me which says that there definitely is no such thing as a book or a table or any other object, that there are no objects.


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