Would like to be guided

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John H
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Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:26 pm

Hello

My name is Udagga and I have just finished reading the Gateless Gatecrashers, which was recommended by a friend. I am a Buddhist and a therapist, in my 50s and have been meditating most days for 15+ years. Reading the book has been very useful and I would be very grateful if someone could lead me through this process.

Many thanks
Udagga

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:57 am

Hi Udagga,

Hi I am Ian and I will be your guide. Firstly what time zone are you in. I am in Sydney, Australia.

There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least every day.
2. I will post questions, and you will answer them.
3. When you answer you answer 100% honestly,
4. When you do answer, you answer from your direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Finally, if you wish to proceed give me a rant on why you are here, what your expectations are for being here, your hopes and desires.

Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:33 am

Hello Ian

Thanks for this. I agree to the ground rules and was going to ask about meditation, so glad that's not a problem to continue.

I'm in the UK re time zone and working at the moment, so will post about why I'm here later on.

Best wishes
Udagga

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:46 pm

Hi Ian

Not quite a rant but here goes!

Why do I want to do this?

At core I want to live happier, freer and more spontaneously. I want to feel more connected to life and less separate. This is what I get to lesser and greater degrees from having a meditation/Buddhist practice over the past years. My sense of self and I, seems to get in the way of this especially if I’m feeling strong emotions like fear or anger. My practice seems to have got simpler and points to just being here and now. About living more fully. When my sense of I feels less, life seems to flow more easily.

Its seems crazy to base my life on something that doesn’t exist and never has. I think life could be more straightforward. I’d like to stop believing in Santa as it were!

I was struck by some things whilst reading the book. Firstly I realised more strongly than I have before that there is nothing outside of sensations, emotions and thought and that self/I is a thought. I realise that I prefix I onto things like I hear music or I’m typing but that these are just thoughts. I know this intellectually but have a sense of me being here aside from thoughts, feeling, senses.

Walking to the sandwich shop yesterday I realised that an implication of just thoughts, senses and emotions is that there is no watcher, observer or pure awareness which I think I have slipped in as an alternative and much higher-sounding me! This felt quite freeing and made me smile a bit. When this came to mind in meditation this morning it felt a little scary. It felt like I might disappear into nothing. That mixes with feeling expanded and freer.

My expectation is to stop kidding myself and live from a more real perspective.

That’s it in a nutshell.

To end I’m very grateful for you giving me your time.

Regards
Udagga

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:34 am

Hi Udagga

One of the first things I will say is that awakening is not something you gain, acquire, achieve, set a goal for, meditate for etc. It is not some altered state that ‘special’ people get to and the rest just have to hope they will get there in the end. The reason they say seeking is the problem is that it presupposed an ’I’ that has got to get somewhere.

Now let this sink in ….there is no ‘I’ to get anywhere. Awakening is seeing that the ‘I’ is an illusion. The belief in a separate ‘I’ is the problem. Nirvana or Nibbana (Pali) means extinction, extinction of the illusory ‘I’.
When this came to mind in meditation this morning it felt a little scary. It felt like I might disappear into nothing. That mixes with feeling expanded and freer.
• You have it around the wrong way (Ian takes out Zen stick to give big whack! ) You are already ‘no thing’ in which everything appears including this belief in an ‘ I ‘. You true nature, being, oneness, awareness etc is that in which everything else appears

Have there ever been periods in your life when the "I" did not show up (Listening to your favourite music, morning chants etc)? With no "I" there did you disappear? Did you cease to exist?
Its seems crazy to base my life on something that doesn’t exist and never has.
Very true!

What comes up when I say- there is no separate entity self in real life at all.

What is your greatest fear in seeing that there could be no "I".

Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:41 pm

Hi Ian
It is not some altered state that ‘special’ people get to and the rest just have to hope they will get there in the end
That's very good to hear and combats the voice which says I am not ready for this or haven't practised enough.
Now let this sink in ….there is no ‘I’ to get anywhere
Thanks for the whack! I like the let it sink in bit. Rather than over think it. I'm reminded of when the answer to something is on the tip of my tongue I just need to allow the question to sink in and wait for the answer to just pop up.
Have there ever been periods in your life when the "I" did not show up
Yes there are many instances of the I not showing up. Music is certainly one and physical activities like running or more especially dance where it feels like just the experience. I also became aware whilst chanting that it seemed to continue without me doing anything. So long extracts of Japanese Lotus Sutra would emerge from my mouth after pressing a mental start button. It would fall apart if 'I' tried to get involved. Juggling. Humour in particular just comes forth without me being involved and I have often wondered where that one liner came from? I didn't cease to exist. All just the same, but really with the experience that's happening.
What comes up when I say- there is no separate entity self in real life at all.
What comes up immediately is a sense of relief and my body relaxes. Feels like I can let go and feels like a lot of energy is expended keeping the facade going. At one point I felt some sadness - with no sense of self i'd be a lot kinder. Intellectually it makes perfect sense - there's only body, sensing, emotions and thoughts.
What is your greatest fear in seeing that there could be no "I"
That I disappear although I know this can't be the case as there is only thoughts etc and 'I' is just another thought, which isn't always there anyway. Mmm?! Need to ponder that one.

And loss of control is in there. No 'I' to regulate my thoughts/mind/life to stop feelings of being overwhelmed.What happens if I let go? Think I kid myself I control my life but know I probably stop my life. Seeing both these written down, they look patently untrue. I have an image of King Canute demanding the waves of the ocean of life to roll the other way.

Think I'll stop there.

Thanks, Ian

Udagga

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:54 am

Hi Udagga,
“No 'I' to regulate my thoughts/mind/life to stop feelings of being overwhelmed. What happens if I let go?”
If your life was a business and the “I” was CEO running it, what would the shareholders think of the CEO’s performance. Would they be on the lookout for a board reshuffle and new management?

Where do thoughts come from?

Are they 'your' thoughts? or are you the thinker of these thoughts?

Can you control some thoughts and not others?

I want you to look at this from direct experience.

Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:52 pm

The CEO was sacked some time ago but hasn't quite realised it. Incapable of running or controlling the business.

Where do thoughts come from? I don't know. They arise without me doing anything. Seem to be a response to the senses and emotions. A sight or smell for example will start a train of thought which then might get me doing something like eating. Anything that elicits a strong emotion really gets the thoughts going and can then start a whole series of thoughts and stories. It feels like thoughts can just randomly pop up.

My thoughts? Am I the thinker? They kind of feel like mine although I'm aware that's a thought. They feel connected with this body and these emotions and all the previous experience I've had. It feels like they just do themselves at times so thoughts are popping up. So rather than thinking, it's like I'm watching or lost in them. When it comes to directed thought like problem solving I would have said I'm thinking but when I try it out and it's more like there's a questioning thought and then a response pops up without doing anything. It is like they are happening and that's what thinking is. To say I'm thinking the thoughts feels odd as that's a thought and a thought can't have a thought.

Can I control some and not other thoughts? If my head is in a spin with thoughts or maybe I'm anxious, a thought comes up to maybe breathe deeply or meditate and I act on that thought because another thought comes up saying that will slow down my thoughts and change my emotional state. This is not controlling the thoughts but encourages different thoughts and more importantly a pleasanter emotional state. I can't stop my thoughts. They seem to have their own duration. I just have another thought. One after another. That's how it goes. Control is another thought. With high emotion I absolutely know there is no control. The whole system just seems geared to get me out of here. Even in relaxed pleasant states there is no thought control, there is just an enjoyment of being there.

These questions make me realise again how thoughts and emotions and physical body are so intertwined.

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:28 pm

Hi Udagga,
This will be a lengthy post as I want you to get very clear on exactly what direct experience is. There will be a number of exercises. Read this a few times slowly so that it sinks in. Direct experience is the key to "seeing" this. It is not an intellectual exercise.
Just so that you clearly understand what I mean, here is an example:

Sit in a chair and close your eyes. Now describe to yourself what you KNOW in the moment, and only what you know. That means look ONLY at true and direct experience, and not any thought stories about the experience.
Do you experience sitting in a chair?
Do you experience sitting?
Do you experience having a body?

An incorrect answer would be. I feel my butt on the chair and hear the sound of birds in the back yard, because you've added the story of a person's butt on a chair, and the story of birds in the back yard, and you haven't even mentioned the running commentary of thought that is also going on all the time.

You have to ignore the thought stories and describe ONLY direct experience.

If you do, you will find that direct experience does not tell you that you are sitting in a chair. Direct experience would be that you would feel pressure on your butt, but without thought (including memory thoughts) telling any story, all you can say is that there is sensation which is interpreted by thought to be coming from your butt. So in actual fact, from direct experiential evidence, and without using thought stories, you can not say that you are sitting on a chair, and you can not even say that you have a butt.

So the correct answer would be that there is just sensation that feels like pressure but can't be located, there's blackness, there are chirping sounds appearing in this blackness, and there are thoughts appearing out of nowhere that are telling a story about the direct experience, and then fading away into nowhere again.

Do you see the major difference between the two versions? One is looking at the thought story about what is being experienced, and the other is reporting only thoughts that can be confirmed by direct experience.

It's this direct experience that you need to stay focused on during this investigation.

Now let's get onto a few more questions.

Probably the biggest thing that causes the sense of a "me" is the idea that there is a thinker of thoughts, and therefore a doer of doing.

If you look at thoughts, do you find that you are the thinker of them? Are you able to stop all thoughts whenever you like? Are you able to decide what the next thought will be? Are you able to decide not to ever have any unhappy thoughts? Close your eyes, take a look, and tell me where thoughts seem to come from - without using anything that you've been told about where thoughts come from. Imagine that you were never told any stories about how thoughts are produced.

Remember that we are looking for DIRECT experience, not a "thought story".

And remember that if you are NOT the thinker of thoughts then thoughts can not be relied upon for the truth, and they also can not be stopped. For that reason there needs to be some intelligent discernment between which thoughts can be confirmed as truth by direct experiential evidence, and which ones are telling stories that can not be verified by such direct experiential evidence.

I've asked you a lot of questions here. Please take your time and try to answer all of them as honestly and accurately as possible.
Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:11 pm

Hi Ian
If you look at thoughts, do you find that you are the thinker of them? Are you able to stop all thoughts whenever you like? Are you able to decide what the next thought will be? Are you able to decide not to ever have any unhappy thoughts? Close your eyes, take a look, and tell me where thoughts seem to come from - without using anything that you've been told about where thoughts come from.
OK so paring everything down to direct experience. My experience is that thoughts come from nothing. They just appear. They don't come from anywhere. I cannot stop thoughts when I want to. I cannot control what thoughts come up in terms of content. I cannot decide never to have unhappy or any other kind of thought. I cannot decide what the next thought will be. I only know the current thought.

I am not thinking the thoughts or causing them or making them this or that. They just appear and then go away. I cannot manipulate them. I cannot do anything to them.

Thanks Ian
Udagga

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:29 am

Hi Udagga,

Excellent. Thoughts just arise.
I cannot stop thoughts when I want to.

I cannot control what thoughts come up in terms of content.
I cannot decide never to have unhappy or any other kind of thought.
I cannot decide what the next thought will be.
I only know the current thought.
I am not thinking the thoughts or causing them or making them this or that. They just appear and then go away.
I cannot manipulate them
.
I cannot do anything to them.
Crikey!! “I” am just about “I”ed out. I might have a drink before I answer this.

Whose thoughts are they?

What or who is this ‘I’ that you are talking about?

Where does it come from?

When did it start or come into existence or has it always been in existence.

Can this ‘I’ actually do anything, is it the doer in ‘your’ life?

What is aware of this ‘I’.

Really look at these questions and answer from your own direct experience.

Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:11 pm

Hello Ian
Crikey!! “I” am just about “I”ed out. I might have a drink before I answer this.
I have driven others to drink before.

Whose thoughts are they? No ones.

What or who is this ‘I’ that you are talking about? It's a thought.

Where does it come from? From nowhere.

When did it start or come into existence or has it always been in existence. Never did, does or will exist.

Can this ‘I’ actually do anything, is it the doer in ‘your’ life? No and no.

What is aware of this ‘I’. No-one, nothing, nada.

Thanks Ian

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Finoh
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby Finoh » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:58 am

Hi Udagga,
What is aware of this ‘I’. No-one, nothing, nada.
I am a little bit confused with this answer. Are you saying there is just awareness of this 'I' and you are calling it, "No-one, nothing, nada." OR is there another explanation you have.

So, does the “I” exist? Is it a separate entity?

If you say there is no “I” How do you know that?

Is awareness ever actually experienced?

Has the search ended?

Cheers

Ian

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:20 pm

Hi Ian

A bit more long-winded today!
What is aware of this ‘I’. No-one, nothing, nada.

I am a little bit confused with this answer. Are you saying there is just awareness of this 'I' and you are calling it, "No-one, nothing, nada." OR is there another explanation you have.
It is like there are thoughts and sensations and in direct experience there is nothing else to be found. It feels like there is nothing, in which there is an awareness of thoughts or specifically their content and physical sensation.

So, does the “I” exist? Is it a separate entity? No it doesn't and no it isn't. The only "I" seems to be part of the content of a thought. But it seems a very persistent and 'loud' part of the thought and very present. Very apparent. For example I get there are only thoughts and sensations but then there are rather a lot of "I" thoughts happening. However, If "I" is looked for, it isn't there.

When "I" is thought of, there follows an awareness of pressure sensations, sounds etc and then more thoughts adding images of a body and stories and experiences. None of which can be pointed to as being the "I". Bit like pointing to a group of people and saying this is a family but you can't point to any individual and say it's the family.

Yesterday in response to the question 'has I always existed', there was a strong sense of "I" never having been there and of nothing to get rid of - just a whole bunch of thoughts with "I" in them over time. This felt freeing.

If you say there is no “I” How do you know that? Because it makes no sense intellectually and in direct experience it can't be found. Just thoughts and sensations.

I am very aware of not wanting to use I, me or my typing this.

Is awareness ever actually experienced? It doesn't feel like awareness is experienced. Awareness seems to be there with thoughts and sensations, physical or otherwise.

Has the search ended? No still looking for something that's not there! If this were juggling, the balls are going all over the place. The shift to just being able to do it hasn't occurred. I'm hoping that makes some sense.

So having all this thought going, I cook and eat a pizza and re-read this. The thought then pops up that having thoughts with "I" in them is fine and trying not to have "I" thoughts is one sure way of having an awful lot of them and is the problem or part of it. This is trying to get rid of thoughts and control them and duh! this is not possible.

All for now.

Thanks,
Udagga.

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John H
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Re: Would like to be guided

Postby John H » Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Hi Ian

Going back to the previous questions. Direct experience.
What is aware of this ‘I’
Just awareness of the senses and thoughts to which is attached a name "I". Actually more subtle - sense of presence.
So, does the “I” exist? Is it a separate entity?
Can't find any evidence for "I". And most of today has felt like life just happens interspersed with thoughts of "is the "I" there or not?
If you say there is no “I” How do you know that?
If I close my eyes and imagine Lady Gaga sat opposite me it could be true but if I open my eyes I see she is not there and can look around to make sure she is not behind me, then it seems true to say the is no Lady Gaga (with me). There is a thought or idea of an "I" but I can't see it, feel it, touch it, taste it or smell it.
Is awareness ever actually experienced?
No.Seems strange.
Has the search ended?
Not yet.

Thanks
Udagga


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