Thread for Luke

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jowate
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Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:44 pm

Hi Luke,

Here we are! I'd prefer to work from scratch, so could you first please write for me a brief overview on your 'quest' including where you are with what you've done here on LU so far. (No need to tell me what I already know, just anything else that might be useful for me to know.)

What are you looking for? What do you think it would look like if you were 'there' so to speak?

All the best,

T.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:18 am

Hi T

Thanks for setting up the thread and agreeing to guide me.
Here we are! I'd prefer to work from scratch,
That sounds good.
so could you first please write for me a brief overview on your 'quest' including where you are with what you've done here on LU so far.
I have been practicing Buddhism for about 15 years. This was mainly shamata practice for the first 10. For about the last 5 there has been a more explicit pursuit for insight, though in many ways knowing the nature of things has always felt at the heart of things. Although the practices i did often produced a profound awareness that felt like there was no me in it, it was usually like there was a me on the edge of these experiences hanging on for dear life! So the pursuit of insight has never felt complete. It has also been common for me to experience calm while doing insight practice, but later be filled with anxiety as 'I' came back, this often comes with physical symptoms. I very much recognise ingrams description of the dark night in this respect.

Which brings me to LU, I did about a month with another guide, there were certainly periods where the story of me, was clearly a story of fiction. Which was new. But one or two experiences where the sense of being centred in thought opened out to give a sense of 'me' not being located anywhere. But the experiences were relatively brief and doubts about wether there really was a true and full seeing kicked in, as well as doubt about my capacity to do this. Having not been doing this for nearly a week experience feels much more ordinary and lots more buying into stories.
What are you looking for?
I guess I am hoping to see clearly there is no self. Or if it has been seen, then to gain confidence and clarity in this. But now I re-read the question, if I am honest I'm perhaps unsure. If I look to see if there is a self, I am sometimes unsure what constitutes the 'thing' I am looking for.
What do you think it would look like if you were 'there' so to speak?
There would be no sense of identification or clinging in experience, no sense of me anywhere. If thoughts and emotions do arise, that they are not regarded as me in anyway . That there would be only sound with no sense of anyone hearing it and like that with the other senses, no separation. And a sense of certainty that this was seen, no doubt that is.

Thanks

Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:53 pm

Hi Luke,
I guess I am hoping to see clearly there is no self. Or if it has been seen, then to gain confidence and clarity in this. But now I re-read the question, if I am honest I'm perhaps unsure. If I look to see if there is a self, I am sometimes unsure what constitutes the 'thing' I am looking for.


Yes, it’s important to be clear about what the fictional self actually it – what’s being seen through. Here’s the basic statement of what we’re pointing to:
There is no ‘self’, no ‘me’, no ‘I’, and there never has been. The sense of ‘self’ and what appears to be ‘selfing’ behaviour have always arisen in the complete absence of any truly existing ‘I’.


That second sentence is important, because it contains the key to what ‘liberation’ is about in LU terms (and what seeing through the first fetter is in Buddhist terms) – liberation from the belief that there is a really-existing, somehow permanent ‘me’ here, somewhere. And that includes seeing directly that even when it feels as if there is a ‘self’ doing this, or that ‘selfing’ is going on, this is just a view, a belief – there is never a ‘real’ separate self, there never has been, anywhere, ever, whether this is directly realised or not. Life, the ‘world’ and everything is happening all by itself without ‘selves’ whatever!

So I’ve expanded a bit on that basic statement, maybe you could give me your responses to this.

Then
There would be no sense of identification or clinging in experience, no sense of me anywhere. If thoughts and emotions do arise, that they are not regarded as me in anyway . That there would be only sound with no sense of anyone hearing it and like that with the other senses, no separation. And a sense of certainty that this was seen, no doubt that is.


There would be a sense of certainty – no doubts and no unsubstantiated beliefs about it. However, there would be times when identification still happens, times when separation and clinging appears, even in quite major ways. This is a hugely important insight, but it’s not the end of these tendencies or entrenched ‘habit-energies’. Once the self-view is seen through, there is a momentum towards these habit-energies ‘unwinding’ – undoing themselves, though this is not just a passive thing. This may take shorter or longer, but it’s more a beginning than an end. This is not meant to be discouraging, it’s just how it is. Take it from me that seeing through the self-view is already a huge improvement!

Anyway, feel free to respond and ask for clarification, but it’s your response to that first statement and my expansion of it above that I’d particularly like to hear!

T.

p.s. I've not included the usual 'terms and conditions' as you know that from your work with Metta, but they still apply.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:30 am

Hi T
There is no ‘self’, no ‘me’, no ‘I’, and there never has been. The sense of ‘self’ and what appears to be ‘selfing’ behaviour have always arisen in the complete absence of any truly existing ‘I’.
That does make clear what's being aimed at. I have definitely felt at the time life had been experienced this way. But its hard to say because its not my experience right now, so I am relying on memory, my messages at the time to metta described it like this. But because it hasn't been that accessible since and there have been doubts, I doubt it really was seen. Perhaps glimpses. I think 'I' was probably close....

Its as if the mind springs back from it, usually into doubt, or some kind of story about sustaining it. It's like my mind throws up smoke screen by complicating it, finding difficulty or doubt. I am seeing more clearly how the habit to intellectualise and complicate obscures things.
There would be a sense of certainty – no doubts and no unsubstantiated beliefs about it.
Here's where I come unstuck. There have been doubts. Not doubt that there is no self oddly. But doubt that it was ever clearly seen.
However, there would be times when identification still happens, times when separation and clinging appears, even in quite major ways. This is a hugely important insight, but it’s not the end of these tendencies or entrenched ‘habit-energies’. Once the self-view is seen through, there is a momentum towards these habit-energies ‘unwinding’ – undoing themselves, though this is not just a passive thing. This may take shorter or longer, but it’s more a beginning than an end. This is not meant to be discouraging, it’s just how it is. Take it from me that seeing through the self-view is already a huge improvement!
Yes that makes sense. Though I did initially expect the identification to stop completely, but that view or assumption is shifting, particularly through our communication.
p.s. I've not included the usual 'terms and conditions' as you know that from your work with Metta, but they still apply.
Yes, no problem

Thanks

Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:23 pm

Hi Luke,
I am relying on memory, my messages at the time to metta described it like this. But because it hasn't been that accessible since and there have been doubts, I doubt it really was seen. Perhaps glimpses. I think 'I' was probably close....

Its as if the mind springs back from it, usually into doubt, or some kind of story about sustaining it. It's like my mind throws up smoke screen by complicating it, finding difficulty or doubt. I am seeing more clearly how the habit to intellectualise and complicate obscures things.
Yes, so this seems to be the 'biggie'. You seem to be saying that you doubt you've seen what you have seen. But you're exactly right that the mind throws up a smoke screen - that's exactly what it does and that has to be seen through!

The mind is just a purveyor of stories, it doesn't 'know' anything about reality as it is. Thoughts cannot express the experience of a stunning sunset, or the taste of a grape - or, in fact, whatever is present to experience in this very moment. You are in thrall to these thoughts, which are just doing themselves out of habit - they are on automatic pilot, and are not 'you'!

The intellect cannot grasp this - it's far too simple and direct. It's literally here right now and the only thing that is preventing this from being 'known' is the beliefs and doubts - and as I say, the beliefs and doubts are just a story.
There have been doubts. Not doubt that there is no self oddly. But doubt that it was ever clearly seen.
Well, it’s good that there is no doubt on that (conceptual) level, and the best way to allay that further doubt is to look and see it directly now!

First, to be clear about the difference between concept and reality … or more colloquially, the map and the territory. What we’re concerned with is reality, or the territory, not the map. Or not so much the map – the map is, in fact, part of the territory too. The problems arise when we believe that the map is not just a representation of the territory, but is the territory.

The ‘map’ is the conceptual mind, which ‘puffs itself up’ and appropriates the whole shebang as ‘I’, ‘me’ – as in, this is me, this is mine, I am experiencing this, I am doing this.

In every case, ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘mine’ is literally nothing other than the mind (thought, mental activity) projecting an ‘entity’ that doesn’t actually exist in reality.

Seeing happens, hearing happens … same for the other senses, this is real. Even thinking is real (what’s not ‘real’ is the story it spins).

So notice the direct experience happening now. Direct experience is another term for what is real, genuine, undeniable. Just take in your experience and type down as accurately as possible what your direct experience is now.

T.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:18 pm

Hi T
Yes, so this seems to be the 'biggie'. You seem to be saying that you doubt you've seen what you have seen.
If I have..but perhaps that's more doubt
The mind is just a purveyor of stories, it doesn't 'know' anything about reality as it is.
Yes and I am trying to know it with thought very often, its how I function with other things, understand it wit the mind to solve it.
Thoughts cannot express the experience of a stunning sunset, or the taste of a grape - or, in fact, whatever is present to experience in this very moment.
Getting more of a sense of this,
You are in thrall to these thoughts, which are just doing themselves out of habit - they are on automatic pilot, and are not 'you'!
But they are seductive, they tell the tale of me, there is a sense that if I was not them then what would I be? They at least offer a me (I am aware that sounds odd, just voicing the response).
The intellect cannot grasp this - it's far too simple and direct. It's literally here right now and the only thing that is preventing this from being 'known' is the beliefs and doubts - and as I say, the beliefs and doubts are just a story.
A 'yes but'kicks in, it gets it, thens something just says, no how can it be that simple, don't I have to slog away at a difficult practice, or in a sense do something to win it. A sense of being undeserving, or not having done enough to earn it yet.
The ‘map’ is the conceptual mind, which ‘puffs itself up’ and appropriates the whole shebang as ‘I’, ‘me’ – as in, this is me, this is mine, I am experiencing this, I am doing this.
Yes that's a good image
Seeing happens, hearing happens … same for the other senses, this is real. Even thinking is real (what’s not ‘real’ is the story it spins).
Having a sense of dwelling in the story so much that it seems real. It seems to correspond sufficiently to what arises in life to have some credit. Because it is sensed as being ME, it's hard to conceive of doing with out it (in current state)
Just take in your experience and type down as accurately as possible what your direct experience is now.
Rustle of my clothing on chair...sounds of radio in next room, pulsating energy collecting in head, fingers moving, key pad being touched, screen, reflection of light in screen, wondering what I am thinking of, feeling tired, sounds of children in next room, listening, wondering if I should ignore the , perhaps tell them to turn it down, thoughts of being a calm Buddhist, don't react. Must remember my experience, feel cold feet, tension in neck and head, thoughts about when I should stop. Pause in typing close my eyes, sense of awareness, bodily sensations pulsing, typing again

Writing it, a sense of how writing is delayed after experience and isn't quite it.
Direct experience is another term for what is real, genuine, undeniable.
This seems important. Its perhaps the sense that stories are real and genuine somehow that keeps me buying into them. Sure they are stories but I tend to regard them as documentaries rather than complete fiction, the story seems to point towards events in immediate experience that actually happen (though not always).


Thanks


Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:35 am

Hi Luke,

Been away / busy most of day, writing reply, post tomorrow morning I expect.

T.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:41 am

No worries, Thanks for letting me know, look forward to hearing from you, luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:41 pm

Hi Luke,
But [thoughts] are seductive, they tell the tale of me, there is a sense that if I was not them then what would I be? They at least offer a me (I am aware that sounds odd, just voicing the response).


Of course they are seductive! ‘I’ am/is nothing but those thoughts. And that wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that this belief gives rise to all sorts of suffering.
T: The intellect cannot grasp this - it's far too simple and direct. It's literally here right now and the only thing that is preventing this from being 'known' is the beliefs and doubts - and as I say, the beliefs and doubts are just a story.

L: A 'yes but'kicks in, it gets it, thens something just says, no how can it be that simple, don't I have to slog away at a difficult practice, or in a sense do something to win it. A sense of being undeserving, or not having done enough to earn it yet.


Sure, and you need to ‘kick-ass’ those pernicious beliefs. You’ve learned certain ‘views’ about practice and ‘enlightenment’ that merely support and maintain the self-view. The natural awakened state is your and everyone’s birthright, but views, including ‘spiritual’ ones, and ‘I am not worthy’ ones love to make it seem difficult and an endless task. This suits the self-identified mind down to the ground, as all it wants to do is go round and round in circles to maintain the appearance of it’s actually very tenuous ‘existence’. Because ‘me’ is identified with these thoughts, the prospect of seeing that this ‘me’ never, ever existed is genuinely emotionally challenging.

So in order to respond to the direct pointing from direct experience, it’s important to put these views and beliefs to one side. Come at it from a ‘year zero’ perspective – ‘I know nothing, nada’. If you continue buying into the views, you’ll remain, precisely, in views – thoughts, opinions, speculations, beliefs. Which are another term for suffering.

Now, your observation of experience:
Rustle of my clothing on chair...sounds of radio in next room, pulsating energy collecting in head, fingers moving, key pad being touched, screen, reflection of light in screen, wondering what I am thinking of, feeling tired, sounds of children in next room, listening, wondering if I should ignore the , perhaps tell them to turn it down, thoughts of being a calm Buddhist, don't react.


Now, notice how much of this is interpretation. I’ll just re-write the first few observations trying to leave out interpretation:

hearing-thinking -<‘my clothing’-‘rustling’>-hearing-thinking-<‘radio’-‘in next room’>-tactile sensing tactile -thinking-<’pulsation’-‘energy’-‘head’>-seeing-thinking-<’hands on keyboard’>

And so on. The point here is to notice directly that the mind is always labelling and interpreting experience, and that this is so automatic that most of the time there is no clarity about the difference. His is how thinking appropriates experience, and this supports the self-view.
Writing it, a sense of how writing is delayed after experience and isn't quite it.
Exactly – only I’d put it that writing (=thinking) isn’t ‘it’ at all. That is, it isn’t the now past experience that it refers back to. It is the mental sensation that is happening now.

So before we go further with looking with direct experience at how the self-view manifests, what I’d ask you to do is to spend some time over the next 12 – 24 hrs becoming experientially clear about the difference between direct experience and mental interpretation / commentary / story. It’s best if you do this in all circumstances of your day – not just when sitting still doing nothing, but when active, when busy, notice ‘this is direct experience’, ‘this is interpretation’ etc.

T.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:46 am

Hi T

‘kick-ass’ those pernicious beliefs.
Yes!
The natural awakened state is your and everyone’s birthright, but views, including ‘spiritual’ ones, and ‘I am not worthy’ ones love to make it seem difficult and an endless task.
Beautifully put. Feel like I have been wearing a something heavy thats lifting.
Come at it from a ‘year zero’ perspective – ‘I know nothing, nada’.


Yes, that sounds helpful have been accumulating views, especially through study, for so long.
If you continue buying into the views, you’ll remain, precisely, in views – thoughts, opinions, speculations, beliefs. Which are another term for suffering.


Thanks for putting it so directly.
And so on. The point here is to notice directly that the mind is always labelling and interpreting experience, and that this is so automatic that most of the time there is no clarity about the difference. His is how thinking appropriates experience, and this supports the self-view.
This difference seems crucial.
L: ...isnt quite it (ie.writing/thinking)
T: ...isnt it at all.
Interesting difference, gives away the view I had on it.
That is, it isn’t the now past experience that it refers back to.
That feels like the nub of it, now I read this, how can the thought possibly be the experience it refers to. Its impossible, yet believed.
It is the mental sensation that is happening now.
So thought is also a direct experience, just not its imaginative content?
spend some time over the next 12 – 24 hrs becoming experientially clear about the difference between direct experience and mental interpretation / commentary / story.


Thanks for this. It's all feeling a bit clearer. But just to clarify: observing it over the last day, direct experience is the most immediate experience, the first experience, before any further thinking, interpretation or reactions take place. Experientially its just changing sensation, its sort of no 'thing' at all, it also feels inseparable from awareness and can't be tracked or kept up with as it keeps changing. Thinking, interpretation and so on takes us away from this and tells a story about it, interpreting it. But thinking seems to also be DE if the content of the thought is ignored and its just experienced.

I don't find it easy to stay with DE for that long before thinking pops up. I felt a little unsure about the how to of this. If I say decide to pay attention to my foot, to begin with there is lots of thinking and label in 'my foot' etc. but once the sensations are seen there is DE. So the initial act of attention starts off as 'thinking about' then becomes more direct. At other times its more like falling back into a sense of an aware whole, less thinking and directed ness, all just happening. Are both these the kind if looking what we are doing here?


Thanks

Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:28 am

Hi Luke,

Yes, to be clear about the nature of direct experience – it is whatever is happening now, including all mental activities. There is no attempt to make experiencing anything other than what it is. The crucial point is that the mental activities are known/seen as just mental activities, the ‘label’ is not being confused with the direct experience which just happened which it is labelling and the ‘story’ is known/seen directly to be just a story.

So, whatever happens is fine, but mental activities are experienced directly as ‘mental sensations’ rather than buying into their content. The ‘wrong thing’ cannot be happening! If buying into content happens, that’s not a problem as it will happen, but if the intention is already there to see/know those labels or stories for mere mental sensations, that direct experience of them as mental sensations will return soon enough.

This doesn’t have to be done as a kind of ‘meditation practice’ – it’s a question of getting into direct experience even for moments, in as many situations as possible.
So the initial act of attention starts off as 'thinking about' then becomes more direct. At other times its more like falling back into a sense of an aware whole, less thinking and directed ness, all just happening. Are both these the kind if looking what we are doing here?
Yes, that initial act of attention is just ‘noticing’ the direct experience that is here – a movement of awareness towards direct experience. There is possibly a sense of ‘me doing this’ but it will become clear that ‘me’ is not doing it … but don’t be concerned about that for now. ‘The sense of an ‘aware whole’ where it’s all just happening is simply being direct experience.

I’d suggest carrying on with experiential clarification in direct experience of what direct experience is for now. I’m off for the weekend to Cambridge - I’ll send a PM about this.

T.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:34 pm

Hi T
The ‘wrong thing’ cannot be happening! If buying into content happens, that’s not a problem as it will happen, but if the intention is already there to see/know those labels or stories for mere mental sensations, that direct experience of them as mental sensations will return soon enough.
Yes, there is often a little voice insisting I am always doing it wrong, that’s why ‘I’ haven’t got it yet, then it goes into listing how I am getting it wrong. Have not practiced enough yet, conditions not good enough and so on.

This struck me, I think its easy for me to set up a: thinking = bad, buying into thought = really bad, bare sensations = good. Then I can get into trying to get rid of thoughts rather than see through there stories.
This doesn’t have to be done as a kind of ‘meditation practice’ – it’s a question of getting into direct experience even for moments, in as many situations as possible.
I do tend to do it as a meditation practice, should I not be doing this?

The trouble is it can start to feel like I am trying to get into a particular state or space. There can be a certain pressure when doing it ‘sitting’ as if I have set up a situation in which I am trying hard to get to something. Doing it as a sitting practice also lends its self to bringing in views held from previous meditation practices.

These points aside, I do explore it quite regularly off the cushion too.
I’d suggest carrying on with experiential clarification in direct experience of what direct experience is for now.
Will do.

Thanks again,

Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:24 am

Hi T

Yesturday was excellent thanks.

Particularly found looking at how mental activities were not really controlable and just happening helpful.

This morning I have been experimenting a bit with how I look to direct experience. Remembered something you said a long time ago about awareness answering the question not 'me'. Which I found helpful to remember. When I ask a question like 'is there a me here anywhere' attention goes to the area thats explored and thoughts start happening and commenting, which seem to cloud it, like the mind is trying to work it out or know the answer. But if I just remain receptive to the answer coming from experience or awareness, its different, there is stillness and awareness and perhaps a little more clarity.

Hope your journey was Ok,

Thanks

Luke

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby jowate » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:13 pm

Hi Luke,

Glad you found the day useful.

Exactly who thinks 'buying into thought is bad'? Is it anything other than just another habitual, automatic thought?

How does a decision to 'think a thought' like 'is there a me here anywhere' arise? (or any thought, for that matter).

Really have a good look at how thoughts arise, whether these is 'me' doing them, or whether they just arise out of prior conditions.

Who remains receptive to the answer coming from experience or awareness. Look!

T.

p.s. it's fine to do 'looking' as a meditation practice, I was just meaning, do it in other circumstances too.

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Re: Thread for Luke

Postby Luke » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:36 am

Hi T
Exactly who thinks 'buying into thought is bad'?
That particular thought cant be found now, but there are similar ones. Subtle thoughts of the judging director. Who thinks them? Energy collecting in head, felt to be a me, but feels no longer me on observation, just space and awareness.
Is it anything other than just another habitual, automatic thought?
No not really,

Thought and sensation in head and chest, that is labeled emotion. Anything else? Some sort of process whereby its taken to be real, if the thought enlarges

But no me, but a feeling or view there must be one somewhere!
How does a decision to 'think a thought' like 'is there a me here anywhere' arise? (or any thought, for that matter).
There is a build up of small suggestive thoughts, and impulses or volitions, then it happens
Really have a good look at how thoughts arise, whether these is 'me' doing them, or whether they just arise out of prior conditions.
They come in waves, not much thought, then they come, it repeats until they are acted on. There can be a me thought, but that is a thought. There is a sort of feeling first, an uncomfortable feeling, would label this craving or dukha. It does seem to be happening on its own, no me making it happen. The LU questions conditioned by what is being read and other things..

Sometimes an I sense with the asking of the question, which fades, it's a sort of pulse of energy.
Who remains receptive to the answer coming from experience or awareness. Look!
There is thinking, energy in head, a sense of being or awareness. It's not a who exactly..or an I but it feels like its what 'I' am. Feels like nothing...it clear, has no features, buts its there somehow.

Thanks

Luke


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