Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

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woodthrush
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Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:43 am

Hi! I hope you’re all well. Apologies in advance for the length of this post!

I’ve had a couple of experiences that have caused me to question some rather deeply held beliefs, and I’m left a bit confused. I’m hoping that someone here will be willing and able help me see past the confusion. I can probably muddle through in this confused state for quite some time, but would rather see clearly, if such a thing is possible.

My first perspective-shifting experience happened while writing to a pen pal. I was writing to him about my childhood and I realized that I sounded like a victim. I didn’t want to sound like a victim, so I started to re-tell the story, de-emphasizing some bits, playing up others, and leaving some bits out altogether. Then it dawned on me that if I can control the telling, the story is a fiction. My life is a fiction. My past is a fiction. It only exists in my mind, and I can shape it anyway my mind pleases. That realization was a welcome relief. It let me drop a whole bunch of pain. Although I find that I’m still hanging on to some of it, to be perfectly honest.

The second perspective-shifting experience happened while meditating. I’m a bit new to meditation, having done it for about a year and a half. I could feel the arms resting against my ribcage, and I could feel the hands resting against the thighs. But the arms and hands didn’t belong to me, even though they were attached to what I would consider to be my body. It was weird. This happens somewhat often. I also can no longer tell where “I” stop and the “rest of the world” begins. I’m aware of my skin, and I used to believe that “I” was contained within the skin, and the rest of the world is outside of my skin. But now, even though I’m aware of the skin, there’s a distinct sense that whatever this “I” is, it is not and cannot be contained within this body.

So what am I? I ask myself this question, and I honestly have no clue as to the answer. It’s easier to say what I am not. I am not my body. I am not the thoughts. I am not the emotions. I am not what I do.

I am aware. I can say that much. And it feels as though I see, hear, touch, taste, smell, love, laugh, cook dinner, do my job, etc. – whatever there is to do in any given day.

I’ve read enough spiritual stuff that I could probably insert some non-dual stuff in the big black hole of “what am I?” I could say that there is no “I”, or some other such stuff. But I would be lying to myself. Until there is the experience of “no I”, it’s just another belief to carry around. I’d rather see what’s real and be done with it, but I’ve no idea how to do it, or whether it can be done in my case. I don’t know if I’m ready for this, but there’s only one way to find out, and that's to just do it.

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:44 pm

Hi woodthrush,
Hi! I hope you’re all well. Apologies in advance for the length of this post!

I’ve had a couple of experiences that have caused me to question some rather deeply held beliefs, and I’m left a bit confused. I’m hoping that someone here will be willing and able help me see past the confusion. I can probably muddle through in this confused state for quite some time, but would rather see clearly, if such a thing is possible.

My first perspective-shifting experience happened while writing to a pen pal. I was writing to him about my childhood and I realized that I sounded like a victim. I didn’t want to sound like a victim, so I started to re-tell the story, de-emphasizing some bits, playing up others, and leaving some bits out altogether. Then it dawned on me that if I can control the telling, the story is a fiction. My life is a fiction. My past is a fiction. It only exists in my mind, and I can shape it anyway my mind pleases. That realization was a welcome relief. It let me drop a whole bunch of pain. Although I find that I’m still hanging on to some of it, to be perfectly honest.

The second perspective-shifting experience happened while meditating. I’m a bit new to meditation, having done it for about a year and a half. I could feel the arms resting against my ribcage, and I could feel the hands resting against the thighs. But the arms and hands didn’t belong to me, even though they were attached to what I would consider to be my body. It was weird. This happens somewhat often. I also can no longer tell where “I” stop and the “rest of the world” begins. I’m aware of my skin, and I used to believe that “I” was contained within the skin, and the rest of the world is outside of my skin. But now, even though I’m aware of the skin, there’s a distinct sense that whatever this “I” is, it is not and cannot be contained within this body.

So what am I? I ask myself this question, and I honestly have no clue as to the answer. It’s easier to say what I am not. I am not my body. I am not the thoughts. I am not the emotions. I am not what I do.

I am aware. I can say that much. And it feels as though I see, hear, touch, taste, smell, love, laugh, cook dinner, do my job, etc. – whatever there is to do in any given day.

I’ve read enough spiritual stuff that I could probably insert some non-dual stuff in the big black hole of “what am I?” I could say that there is no “I”, or some other such stuff. But I would be lying to myself. Until there is the experience of “no I”, it’s just another belief to carry around. I’d rather see what’s real and be done with it, but I’ve no idea how to do it, or whether it can be done in my case. I don’t know if I’m ready for this, but there’s only one way to find out, and that's to just do it.
This is John from the UK. Very nice to meet you.

Thank you for sharing your story too. Often helps.

A few guidelines: look to post each day or post to say if a break is needed; and set aside any other spiritual practices during our inquiry together.

Also, there is some nice intro info here, our disclaimer and a cool short video too.

http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we'll shall begin.

With best wishes,
John

p.s. do you have a first name we could use? Thank you.
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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woodthrush
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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:04 pm

Nice to meet you, John! Thanks for taking time to do this!

You can call me Liz.

I read the guidelines and watched the video.

I’ll dedicate the time I normally spend meditating to this pursuit. It’s right after I get the kids off to school and before I start working.

I have to admit to some apprehension about letting the meditation go. I give meditation credit for healing my body and giving me solid footing for dealing with my day. :-) But I’m willing to do this by your rules. If I find that I need to take a break from this and go back to meditating for a bit, can we do that? The fiction that is Liz needs to continue to function, even as Liz disappears. I hope that’s possible.

The fiction that is Liz: wife, mother, mess cleaner-upper, cook, analyst, dictionary….

Many, many thanks! I’m ready.

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:23 am

Hi Liz,

As the meditation supports you, please do continue. :)

Let's begin our inquiry...
Hi! I hope you’re all well. Apologies in advance for the length of this post!

I’ve had a couple of experiences that have caused me to question some rather deeply held beliefs, and I’m left a bit confused. I’m hoping that someone here will be willing and able help me see past the confusion. I can probably muddle through in this confused state for quite some time, but would rather see clearly, if such a thing is possible.
It is.
My first perspective-shifting experience happened while writing to a pen pal. I was writing to him about my childhood and I realized that I sounded like a victim. I didn’t want to sound like a victim, so I started to re-tell the story, de-emphasizing some bits, playing up others, and leaving some bits out altogether. Then it dawned on me that if I can control the telling, the story is a fiction. My life is a fiction. My past is a fiction. It only exists in my mind, and I can shape it anyway my mind pleases. That realization was a welcome relief. It let me drop a whole bunch of pain. Although I find that I’m still hanging on to some of it, to be perfectly honest.
In the same way there was awareness that the story was a fiction, and the thought "I can shape it anyway my mind pleases" showed up, with that same awareness, find the shaper of the fiction. Does it exist? Yes or no? What comes up?

The second perspective-shifting experience happened while meditating. I’m a bit new to meditation, having done it for about a year and a half. I could feel the arms resting against my ribcage, and I could feel the hands resting against the thighs. But the arms and hands didn’t belong to me, even though they were attached to what I would consider to be my body. It was weird. This happens somewhat often. I also can no longer tell where “I” stop and the “rest of the world” begins. I’m aware of my skin, and I used to believe that “I” was contained within the skin, and the rest of the world is outside of my skin. But now, even though I’m aware of the skin, there’s a distinct sense that whatever this “I” is, it is not and cannot be contained within this body.
Good. And with "I" gone, gone, gone - what is left? What is?
So what am I? I ask myself this question, and I honestly have no clue as to the answer. It’s easier to say what I am not. I am not my body. I am not the thoughts. I am not the emotions. I am not what I do.

I am aware. I can say that much. And it feels as though I see, hear, touch, taste, smell, love, laugh, cook dinner, do my job, etc. – whatever there is to do in any given day.
Check out awareness - is it personal? Is there any aspects of Liz-ness there at all? And if there are, what is there without a label calling it this or that?
I’ve read enough spiritual stuff that I could probably insert some non-dual stuff in the big black hole of “what am I?” I could say that there is no “I”, or some other such stuff. But I would be lying to myself. Until there is the experience of “no I”, it’s just another belief to carry around. I’d rather see what’s real and be done with it, but I’ve no idea how to do it, or whether it can be done in my case. I don’t know if I’m ready for this, but there’s only one way to find out, and that's to just do it.
It's already done, just unrecognised.

Sit in meditation and your hands are not your hands, your thoughts are not your thoughts.

My body? Nope.

In the absence, what shows up?


With warmest wishes!
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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woodthrush
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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:31 pm

As the meditation supports you, please do continue. :)
Awesome! :-)
In the same way there was awareness that the story was a fiction, and the thought "I can shape it anyway my mind pleases" showed up, with that same awareness, find the shaper of the fiction. Does it exist? Yes or no? What comes up?
Hmm.... There are thoughts that hit me out of nowhere, such as the awareness of my childhood story being fictional. Then there are thoughts that seem to originate in the mind, such as what happens when I'm trying to solve a problem. Then there are things the mind does when it doesn't have anything else to do, such as playing music in my head or spinning out stories. I don't have any control over that. The only way to get my mind to stop playing music is to give it something else to do, or actually play the music on the piano. Normally I would say that the first and third scenarios have no originator and, in the second scenario, the originator is the mind -- the brain. But then there are times when I'm trying to solve a problem, and the thought I'm looking for won't appear, and I have to wait for the thought to show up. Is the belief that thoughts originate in the brain an illusion? If so, where do the thoughts come from, and what on earth is the brain doing if it's not thinking? Isn't that its purpose?
Good. And with "I" gone, gone, gone - what is left? What is?
Well, the "I" isn't really gone -- for me, anyway. I just don't know what this "I" is anymore. :-) I used to think it was this body and this mind. But now I know it's not. The awareness does still seem to originate somewhere inside me, but it's no longer contained within the boundary of the skin. I don't feel awareness originating from anyplace else -- like another person or a cat or a tree.
Check out awareness - is it personal? Is there any aspects of Liz-ness there at all? And if there are, what is there without a label calling it this or that?
Awareness doesn't seem to be anything at all. It's just a big, empty space. How it's aware is completely baffling to me. How can a big, empty nothing be aware? But it is. :-) There's nothing in awareness that is uniquely "Liz." There's no part of the story of "Liz" in awareness. "Liz" doesn't exist in awareness.

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:46 pm

Sit in meditation and your hands are not your hands, your thoughts are not your thoughts.

My body? Nope.

In the absence, what shows up?
Awareness. :-) Space. Nothing.

It's easy for the hands and arms to become "not Liz's" But the hips hurt, and awareness is drawn to them. The hips still feel like they belong to Liz's body.

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:09 pm

Oh! The "I" is awareness that has identified with this body and mind!

"Identified Awareness:" I've seen that term before, but it didn't have any meaning.

Ok cool! So how do I gently remove the "Identified Awareness" and operate from "Awareness" alone?

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:11 am

Hi Liz,
Oh! The "I" is awareness that has identified with this body and mind!
Yes, that's all it is.
"Identified Awareness:" I've seen that term before, but it didn't have any meaning.

Ok cool! So how do I gently remove the "Identified Awareness" and operate from "Awareness" alone?
Well, you can look directly at the "I" - that sensation of self - and at the same time, there's the awareness with no "I" required to be aware of it - and you can go, "Oh, awareness is just happening. Well I never."

Something like that. :)

With warm wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:28 pm

Oh! Geez. I was expecting something more... I dunno... shiny! :-)

That's so funny.

Thanks for spending time with me and helping me see that.

Lots of love to ya!
--Liz

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi Liz,
Oh! Geez. I was expecting something more... I dunno... shiny! :-)

That's so funny.

Thanks for spending time with me and helping me see that.

Lots of love to ya!
--Liz
It gets funnier. :D
Well, the "I" isn't really gone -- for me, anyway. I just don't know what this "I" is anymore. :-) I used to think it was this body and this mind. But now I know it's not. The awareness does still seem to originate somewhere inside me, but it's no longer contained within the boundary of the skin. I don't feel awareness originating from anyplace else -- like another person or a cat or a tree.
So, right here, right now, where is "Liz"?

Best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:51 pm

So, right here, right now, where is "Liz"?

Best wishes,
John
Oh Liz is right here skiving off work to post in this forum and referring to herself in the third person like Julius Caesar. :-)

I understand now, on an intellectual level, that "Liz" is nothing but identified awareness -- a collection of perceptions? Space is irrelevant to a collection of perceptions. Time is irrelevant too. So I could give you a neat answer about how "Liz" is nowhere and no-when.

But I feel very real.

I just went out to breakfast with my hubby, and I have a full belly, and I'm gearing up for another round of data analysis.

I'll come back to this one...

Many thanks and best wishes,
--Liz

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:10 pm

Hi Liz,
So, right here, right now, where is "Liz"?

Best wishes,
John
Oh Liz is right here skiving off work to post in this forum and referring to herself in the third person like Julius Caesar. :-)

I understand now, on an intellectual level, that "Liz" is nothing but identified awareness -- a collection of perceptions? Space is irrelevant to a collection of perceptions. Time is irrelevant too. So I could give you a neat answer about how "Liz" is nowhere and no-when.

But I feel very real.

I just went out to breakfast with my hubby, and I have a full belly, and I'm gearing up for another round of data analysis.

I'll come back to this one...

Many thanks and best wishes,
--Liz
hehe :)

Best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:21 pm

So, right here, right now, where is "Liz"?
Between the computer and the chair.

In the databanks of various computers.

Zipping through the fiberoptic lines that now encompass much of the globe.

In memories stored in this brain.

In shopping lists.

In the breakfast I cooked and am eating.

And a small part... in awareness, which is everywhere.

And I suppose that awareness being everywhere is still a belief. Actual experience only tells me that awareness is much bigger than me, which is quite a revelation all by itself.

When I play the piano, it's a different experience from meditation. In meditation, I feel as if I don't stop at the skin. When I play the piano, I'm nowhere to be found. It's just eyes on the page and fingers on the keyboard, and I have no clue what happens in between, but somehow music comes out.

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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:27 pm

Hi Liz,
So, right here, right now, where is "Liz"?
Between the computer and the chair.

In the databanks of various computers.

Zipping through the fiberoptic lines that now encompass much of the globe.

In memories stored in this brain.

In shopping lists.

In the breakfast I cooked and am eating.

And a small part... in awareness, which is everywhere.

And I suppose that awareness being everywhere is still a belief. Actual experience only tells me that awareness is much bigger than me, which is quite a revelation all by itself.

When I play the piano, it's a different experience from meditation. In meditation, I feel as if I don't stop at the skin. When I play the piano, I'm nowhere to be found. It's just eyes on the page and fingers on the keyboard, and I have no clue what happens in between, but somehow music comes out.
Nice. :)

So what has shifted Liz since we began our inquiry in what is seen, in the experience of life?

With warm wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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woodthrush
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Re: Curiouser and curiouser -- guide me through Wonderland?

Postby woodthrush » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:39 pm

Hi John!
So what has shifted Liz since we began our inquiry in what is seen, in the experience of life?
Ummm... What has shifted "Liz"? With Liz being the object of shifting?

The object "Liz" hasn't moved. None of the objects around Liz have moved either. Everything is the same as it always was. It's just being noticed.

I think I need to come back to this one too. Sleeping on these questions helps. :-)

Many, many thanks!!

--Liz


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