Views or insights … or both or neither?

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dridhamati
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Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:27 am

Hi there all.

A new arrival here, and eager to break through.

I have been what is called a 'seeker' for the last 10-12 years, joined a Buddhist movement, got ordained (recognised as a seeker), got a name, tried several formal meditation practises (mindfulness of breathing, metta bhavana), followed the creed of the movement, etc.
Not satisfied with -or should I say convinced by- the teachings imparted by our leader (and several of his disciples) a few years back I started reading books from various sources, from Secular Buddhism to Theravadin, and mixing in Advaita volumes and Zen works... I have also been fortunate to come into contact, and also share a house, with challenging people; the kind that hold no punches, keep questioning and holding the dreaded mirror to one's face.
Today the thirst is unquenched yet. I have been gleaning from my readings and lifestyle though. Experiences have occurred, not thunderbolt and lightning ones, but still potent in their meanings and effects on me. More confidence has arisen in me, more trust in my 'innate wisdom.'
And that's all good, however where do I go with all that I have 'learnt'? It all seems to be still very much driven by the thinking mind. I can see convictions have formed in this mind, probably as a result of various insights. But presumably those convictions are none other than mere views, limiting and binding, yet another trick from my deluded ego.
This state can be quite discouraging and makes me wonder whether I'm following the correct signposts or being led up some garden path.

Thank you to anyone willing to walk along with me for a while.

Kind regards,
Pierrick/Dridhamati

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Delma
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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:16 pm

Hi dridhamati. Let's give it a go.

Thanks for letting me know where you've been in your travels. There's some really good stuff in there, but yes, as you've already intuited, it can be very easy for the mind to hijack any progress, and in some cases, it can dig a deeper hole. It's not impossible to get out of, though. Not if there's a strong desire to sincerely investigate.... and I do mean sincerely. A really very healthy dose of 'don't know mind' is highly recommended too.

So, let's get to it, shall we?

What do you suppose seeing that there is no separate self would look like? What are your expectations. Now, don't be shy or try to be humble about it. Really lay it out so that we can take a very hard look.

Looking forward to working with you.

Valarie
There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

Delma
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dridhamati
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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:18 am

Valarie,

Thank you for your reply, and questions. And I too look forward to working with you.
Let's get going then.
...and in some cases, it can dig a deeper hole.
That's pretty much where I feel I am: a hole where I keep going in circles. New insights seem to immediately get hijacked.
It's not impossible to get out of, though. Not if there's a strong desire to sincerely investigate.... and I do mean sincerely.
How sincere can I be when I still feel largely controlled by this deluded ego? What new trick will it try to conjure up in order to keep itself 'alive', to keep the delusion going? Hopefully with your help these tricks can be seen through.
I can also state that I think I have experienced enough to keep the momentum going for a while yet. And make no mistakes about it: I am a persistent man! :)
A really very healthy dose of 'don't know mind' is highly recommended too.
Rightly or wrongly, I have come to distrust just about everything my mind is coming up with in terms of 'the path', 'awakening', 'liberation', etc. Distrust as in 'oh no, not another concept. As if I need another view to reinforce my ego!'
Is this in line with what you mean?

What do you suppose seeing that there is no separate self would look like? What are your expectations. Now, don't be shy or try to be humble about it. Really lay it out so that we can take a very hard look.
I have no idea what seeing that there is no separate self would look like. I could blurb out some choice words out of a few books, but fact is: I don't know.
My only expectation now is: the end of suffering (Buddhist dhukkha.) The end of this perpetual dissatisfaction with 'what is' on the basis that it doesn't meet MY approval, with its attendant lingering on an uncertain past, and placing hopes in an unknown future.
Yes I do catch myself … eventually. I will realise the foolishness of the frustration (anger, etc) that has come over me because some particular aspect of my life isn't going the way it should (I planned). The gap has definitely narrowed between the arousal of the frustration and the realisation. That gap is still there though, and it hurts. What's more, the immediate reflex, the conditioning, seems to always take me on the path of frustration. The logical mind will then kick in and expose the pointlessness of this state of dissatisfaction; at which point 'sanity' returns and it becomes very easy to look back over the event and start passing all sorts of judgements.
The problem I see in the process I have just described is that there doesn't seem to be at anytime an 'experiential connection' with the root of the problem: the deluded sense of a separate self. It seems all too logical, thought out, deduced, etc. In other words I can smell a trick being played on me.
And this, Valarie, is hell! This is what my deluded sense of a separate self has condemned me to. There is a great deal of aversion towards this unhealthy state of being. This aversion is the fuel that keeps me going.
I seek this 'experiential connection.' I seem to have an 'intellectual connection,' nothing wrong with that but I know this isn't the deal. Basically I do not want to know how to see through this deluded sense of a separate self, I expect direct understanding/experiential connection to occur.
Does this all make sense?

Kind regards
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:12 pm

Great and thoughtful responses. Thank you.

What you appear to be seeking is what we'd all probably say led us to this place... if we were honest. It's the elimination of suffering!

But what if I told you that you may find tremendous angst and dissatisfaction after you'd seen through the illusion. Imagine looking at your entire life as a kind of lie. Your friends, family... aspirations, goals... all of it. And that maybe you'd come out the other side with nothing. But you would know the truth.

Does that sound like something you're willing to risk?

Please think about it and let me know whether you are ready to look deeply into this no matter what it brings. Because I think that's an important thing to know from the outset.

kind regards,
Valarie
There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

Delma
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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:49 am

Hi Valarie,

I have just finished Acceptance of What Is by Wayne Liquorman. His Guru Ramesh suggests [as a teaching method] that if one had the choice between winning a million dollars and breaking through, one had better take the million. Reason: at least there'll be someone to enjoy the million!
Now before I make my choice, may I ask you a few questions about...
But what if I told you that you may find tremendous angst and dissatisfaction after you'd seen through the illusion. Imagine looking at your entire life as a kind of lie. Your friends, family... aspirations, goals... all of it. And that maybe you'd come out the other side with nothing. But you would know the truth.
  • Would angst and dissatisfaction necessarily arise as a result of breaking through? Why couldn't one feel joy (at having left the aberration 'behind'), compassion (for having been stuck there for so long), etc?
  • Indeed wouldn't these feelings/emotions arise according to the kind of person in which the breaking through occurs?
  • To put it another way: wouldn't these feelings/emotions be linked to the 'baggage' one brings along as a human being on the path and on to the other side?
  • What do you mean by 'nothing'?
  • What do you mean by 'truth'?
  • As for looking at my entire life as a kind of lie, if I hadn't connected somehow with the fact that I am living a lie/dream of my own making, do you think we'd be having this conversation?
I look forward to reading your answers.
I can tell you this right now: if my understanding of your question is correct I'll happily leave the million behind and take the risk. Because I can't help but suspect that the 'nothing' you mention is in reality … home.

And I thank you for the warning.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:34 pm

Excellent questions, and I enjoyed the bit about the million dollars. That's exactly what I'm talking about. And it looks like you've chosen to continue.

I hesitate to answer your questions because what it may do is spin us into a philosophical discussion. But I don't want to be rude, so let me respond to some points I think may be useful to you at this juncture.
Would angst and dissatisfaction necessarily arise as a result of breaking through? Why couldn't one feel joy (at having left the aberration 'behind'), compassion (for having been stuck there for so long), etc?
It could go either way. Some people fall into a 'dark night' for a bit. Some may regret seeing through the illusion. Overall, if you'd like my opinion, I'd rather leave the million dollars too.
To put it another way: wouldn't these feelings/emotions be linked to the 'baggage' one brings along as a human being on the path and on to the other side?
Potentially. But there's no real 'formula' and so I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to how things would turn out for each individual.

What do you mean by 'nothing'?
There is nothing to gain through enlightenment, and so you would walk away with nothing having been attained.

As for looking at my entire life as a kind of lie, if I hadn't connected somehow with the fact that I am living a lie/dream of my own making, do you think we'd be having this conversation?
It's not an assumption I like to make. I have guided those who upon getting a glimpse, have recoiled in strong fear and have not returned. On the other hand, some sail through like a cool breeze. It sounds as though you are ready for sailing.
I can tell you this right now: if my understanding of your question is correct I'll happily leave the million behind and take the risk. Because I can't help but suspect that the 'nothing' you mention is in reality … home.
Excellent.

The next step is that I ask that you try to put aside all teachings while we work together. The reason for this is that at this point the teachings are probably still understood intellectually, and you're here to break through that hold. During our exchanges, you'll likely find yourself drawing on some teachings which may seem much more 'advanced' or 'in depth' than what I will point to here. Try not to 'make sense' of those teachings as we do this. Instead, we will head back to the very basics in order to bypass any possible intellectual understanding. What I'll be doing is attempting to bring you back to the simplest questions and answers. We'll talk about nothing but your direct experience of what's true for you. (That is actually the definition of 'truth' that you asked about)

In looking at the questions, you will likely find that you have immediate answers but I'd ask that you very closely examine each one, even if the answer comes quickly. The 'trick' to this, if there is one, is to get back to 'don't know mind' for even the most obvious.

A second trick is to "look". You'll read that word a lot and may wonder what it means. A lot of folks think there's a special way of looking which will reveal some deep-rooted mystery. But no, the looking is simple, as simple as if I'd asked you to look for an elephant in the room. It's there, or not.


So....

In the sentence,
I look forward to reading your answers.
please take a look at what that first "I" points to. Let me know what you find.


Thanks, dridhamati.
Valarie
There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

Delma
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dridhamati
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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:30 am

Valarie,

Thank you for answering my questions, and yes, I have chosen to continue. Thank you also for not making assumptions about why we have started this discussion.
Indeed I am ready to sail, whether it will be smooth sailing remains to be seen...

Now I will take another day to look closer. Several answers have arisen already. I'm curious to see what will pop up tomorrow.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:13 am

Ah, thank you. Your commitment to honestly doing the 'exercises' means all the difference.

Valarie.
There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

Delma
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seeingnoself.com

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:30 am

Hi Valarie,

Well as you said, many answers came to mind. The one I am giving you below has been stripped of as much 'processing' as I can. In other words I am hoping to present you with as bare observations as I am capable of.
So here goes...
In the sentence,
I look forward to reading your answers.
please take a look at what that first "I" points to. Let me know what you find.
Looking at “I”, I find a buzzing of thoughts, ideas, concepts, as well as emotions, feelings, etc. All coming to focus, then disappearing. This buzzing seems to be constant, I mean it is present each time I look (I do not know what happens when I am asleep.)
Another find is that emotions and feelings seem to arise very much in dependence of other people's level of agreement -or disagreement- with whatever thoughts, ideas, concepts held by the “I” at the time. “They” agree so “I” am happy; “they” disagree so “I” am unhappy. Happy/unhappy is used as a generic term here, it could mean: joyful or sad, secure or scared, laughing or angry, etc.

There is a strong urge to keep writing, but no more.

“I” look forward to reading your comments.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:06 pm

Hello,

Yes, emotions, feelings, etc.... are you an emotion or feeling or would you say that you experience an emotion or feeling?

What about thoughts, ideas, concepts.... are you any of these things, or would you say that you experience them?

Please take a careful look at let me know what you find.

Thank you, Dridhamati

Valarie

Valarie
There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

Delma
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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:46 am

Hi Valarie,
What about thoughts, ideas, concepts.... are you any of these things, or would you say that you experience them?
Thoughts, ideas, concepts seem to be what “I” am made of. When I look, I cannot locate anything else but thoughts, ideas, concepts (with the odd emotion fleeting by.)
These thoughts, ideas, concepts change as time goes by. Some are dropped away, new ones acquired. “I” seem to absorb the change, even if it is a radical one.
I would not say I experience thoughts, ideas, concepts.
Note: with this question I have found it harder to differentiate between what I observed by looking and what I already knew.
Yes, emotions, feelings, etc.... are you an emotion or feeling or would you say that you experience an emotion or feeling?
What happens with emotions, feelings seems to depend on the strength of what is felt. The more intense the emotion or feeling, the more “I” become identified with it. The less intense, the more “I” experience it.

Thanks Valarie, and all the best for the New Year.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:29 pm

Hi. Something interesting happened during your inquiry. When you say that thought and emotion is or seems to be what th "I" is made of, please point to that "I" which is made of those things.

Happy New Year!


It's as simple as looking or checking for that elephant in the room. Is it there?

Allow yourself to be mildly or wildly surprised or even puzzled.

Valarie



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There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:08 am

Hi Valarie,

Have I misunderstood you? Or have I taken you very literally (English is my second language) and looked at “I” a tad bit too exclusively. I apologise for this.

I cannot actually point to the “I”. All I see are phenomena occurring.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby Delma » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:15 pm

Hi.

You've actually understood me very well and yes, took me literally, which was just what was needed.

Do you see how no self was found, but the mind or thoughts came in to say that you misunderstood. Was there a bit of confusion?

It's actually as simple as it seems but as soon as it's seen it's dismissed. If you keep looking for the "I" in this way, is it anywhere at all to be found? Do you find that rather curious?



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There is no "I" doing this inquiry. There is no "I" looking for the "I".

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Re: Views or insights … or both or neither?

Postby dridhamati » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:17 am

Hi Valarie,
You've actually understood me very well and yes, took me literally, which was just what was needed.
I was referring to my previous 'findings'. I was looking in the wrong place/time: after the mind had already appropriated (identified with) the experience.
Or was the “I” deliberately leading me in the wrong place?
Do you see how no self was found, but the mind or thoughts came in to say that you misunderstood. Was there a bit of confusion?
There was -and still is- confusion, and more. When it dawned on me that I was looking at the “I” rather than at experience, joy and fear arose immediately.
It's actually as simple as it seems but as soon as it's seen it's dismissed. If you keep looking for the "I" in this way, is it anywhere at all to be found? Do you find that rather curious?
My logical mind is fascinated by the mystery: what is this “I”? Indeed it is rather curious (I take it you mean odd, strange.) I am also finding it frightening. Is it why it's dismissed as soon as it is seen, because it is frightening?
How can it not be dismissed? Can it ever not be dismissed?

While waiting for your reply I'll practise looking.

Kind regards,
Dridhamati


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