Thread for moondog

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Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:40 am

Hi moondog,

Here's your thread. Please start with a short outline of what's being sought, what is 'liberation' - what are you seeking and what do you imagine it would be like to be liberated from the belief in a 'self' / 'I' / 'me'?

I'll get a notification when you reply, and we can take it from there - take your time & start when you're ready.

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:53 pm

Hi T,
Please start with a short outline of what's being sought, what is 'liberation' - what are you seeking
I think of liberation, what I'm seeking, as being a release from the constant habit of self-referral - the apparent need to continually relate thoughts, feelings, actions/reactions etc to this central commander/organiser that I know, at least on a conceptual level, doesn't and cannot really exist.
what do you imagine it would be like to be liberated from the belief in a 'self' / 'I' / 'me'?
If I was liberated, I can only imagine that this habit would be fatally weakened because it would have been fully seen that my "I" is really just a fake concoction of thoughts, memories, worries etc. I guess that this would take a weight off living life, giving a much clearer sense/experience of space, freedom, openness; less or no second arrow suffering.

P
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:33 am

Hi P,

Thanks, that’s good and quite realistic in terms of expectations. Of course ‘I’ will not be liberated – liberation is from believing in a ‘self’ entity, believing in any separation of ‘I’ and ‘other’, etc.

Just to confirm the basic ‘terms and conditions’ of doing this on LU:

- Respond at least once daily if possible (I’ll attempt the same, but take it as read that neither of us will always be able to do this).
- Respond to the investigations with as much clarity and honesty as to exactly what is seen / known as possible.
- Avoid other ‘spiritual’ literature / video or audio while engaging in the direct pointing process. This is to keep it focussed on this particular approach.

If that’s all ok, let’s take it from here:

Please consider / feel into / let responses arise to this basic statement of what we’re investigating here:

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’.

So let it ‘sink in’ a bit, even if the concepts are very familiar to you – what arises in body, heart, mind when you contemplate this?

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:24 pm

Hi T,

All terms and conditions agreed.
Please consider / feel into / let responses arise to this basic statement of what we’re investigating here:

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’.

So let it ‘sink in’ a bit, even if the concepts are very familiar to you – what arises in body, heart, mind when you contemplate this?
As I read the statement I was aware of a sharp pang of excitement - like butterflies in my stomach, but feeling pleasant and positive. However, although this illusion of a self is something "I" really want to see through with all my heart, when I went out for a walk not long after reading it, I was aware of a strong feeling of reluctance to further actively engage with what the statement really means. Although there wasn't an inner voice actually saying these words, it was as if a voice was saying, "you don't really need to bother with all of that. You can manage fine without it." This at (almost) the same time as I'm thinking that the statement is just so brutally plain and unambiguous and as important as any I'll ever read; and that seeing through the illusion is worth pursuing more than anything else.

P
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Just this'

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:30 pm

Apologies, I don't know why quote says, "moondog wrote" when it clearly should say "jowate wrote". I must have cocked it up somewhere along the line.

P
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Just this'

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi P,

Well, I’m going to go by your last statement there: “seeing through the illusion is worth pursuing more than anything else”. It surely is.

So let’s just unpack what we’re looking at here. There is a view or belief in some kind of substantial, effectively permanent or unchanging ‘entity’, to which ‘me’ and ‘I’ etc. refer. The view exists, body/mind/perceptions exist (in a very ever-changing kind of way), but the ‘entity’ is imaginary, a mental construct. This is what is to be seen through – seeing/knowing directly that there is and never has been any such entity. It can also be regarded as seeing through the view of separation – an ‘I’ separate from ‘others’ or ‘things out there’.

So knowing this from direct experience is what’s referred to as passing the ‘gateless gate’ or ‘liberation’ (i.e. liberation from the self-view).

Seeing through this is actually quite simple (believe it or not)! What can hold a lot of people back, and something that perhaps we can head off at the pass, are assumptions around what one would ‘be like’ or life ought to ‘look like’ having seen that there’s no such self-entity. There’s a view that ‘getting it’ is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of ‘state’ in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It’s helpful to be clear that it’s not any kind of ‘state’ – it’s simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it well – ‘seeing through’ Santa doesn’t mean a young kid spends the rest of his/her life thinking ‘there’s no Santa’! Nor does it mean that Santa isn’t spotted in shopping malls. It’s just that the story has been seen though. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go – pleasant, unpleasant, ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ (though changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic).

Doing this, it’s definitely helpful to adopt an attitude of ‘beginners’ mind’ – or a ‘I do not know’ approach. The ‘I’ that is identified with and in the conceptualising process does know nothing of genuine direct experience – it’s just mental abstraction ‘puffed up’ and presenting itself to itself as ‘reality’.

That is why the direct pointing here is pointing to direct experience all the time – as distinct from conceptualising about what ‘direct experience’ may be. So with the ‘looking’ exercises, this is shorthand for awareness. “Awaring” of seeing, body-feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting AND mentating, but without getting caught up in the conceptual content – in other words, not believing the story, whatever it is.

Direct experience is experience of what is ‘real’ in the sense of genuine (albeit fleeting and insubstantial) experience of sense arisings. Example: right now presumably there is a visual perception which includes what might be labelled ‘computer screen’ and other objects as well.

So, this is mainly explanatory background - let me know if this makes sense to you, and any questions.

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:26 am

Hi T,

Thanks for setting it all out so clearly. On a brain-thinking level it all makes perfect sense and accords absolutely with my understanding to date, but with some new stuff too. I'll take to heart your comments stressing that liberation from self-view is not a state. I liked the Santa metaphor to emphasise this.

It's very clear that direct experience (DE) is the sine qua non in all of this without a doubt. However, one comment I would make at this early stage is in relation to DE and particularly "mentating". I've never been exactly clear about what watching one's thoughts actually means. It brings to mind the image of a thought bubble passing through the mind. But I've never been able to see a thought as it were from the outside as it emerges into "my" awareness. I've always found that I become aware of a thought as merely a thought from the "inside", when I've started to engage with its contents. Ideally, (but all too rarely) this is early on before distraction takes hold and just the fact of "bringing" the thought into awareness immediately drains it of its fascination and it's gone, as if by magic. Am I missing something about watching thoughts pass by or have I merely been misled by some attractive imagery? I don't want this to be a distraction at this stage but I thought it worth clarifying before we move on.

P
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Just this'

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:09 pm

Hi P,
Thanks for setting it all out so clearly. On a brain-thinking level it all makes perfect sense and accords absolutely with my understanding to date, but with some new stuff too. I'll take to heart your comments stressing that liberation from self-view is not a state. I liked the Santa metaphor to emphasise this.


Good stuff! :)
I've never been exactly clear about what watching one's thoughts actually means. It brings to mind the image of a thought bubble passing through the mind. But I've never been able to see a thought as it were from the outside as it emerges into "my" awareness. I've always found that I become aware of a thought as merely a thought from the "inside", when I've started to engage with its contents.


if you, say, repeat the same thing again and again mentally (as in a mantra, or just a random short phrase), awareness is simply present to that thinking – they aren’t really separable ‘entities’; experiencing the thought is tantamount to being aware of it. There is just experiencing, not a separate ‘experience’ and ‘experiencer’.

Another approach would be to bring awareness directly to the thinking that’s happening now – or use the ‘I’m going to think a thought now and that thought is…’ approach. Notice that the thought-train is usually interrupted, there’s a thought-free gap. In that gap there’s just (on the mind level) awareness … then a thought arises, maybe a random word, maybe a phrase, maybe as if it’s ‘overheard’. Usually, not a fully formed ‘train’ right away. Try these to see if you can get a sense of it.
Ideally, (but all too rarely) this is early on before distraction takes hold and just the fact of "bringing" the thought into awareness immediately drains it of its fascination and it's gone, as if by magic.


Yes, that’s the kind of thing I’m getting at – if you work your way into the approaches I’ve just suggested, you should find it happening more and more seemingly ‘on demand’ than before.
Am I missing something about watching thoughts pass by or have I merely been misled by some attractive imagery? I don't want this to be a distraction at this stage but I thought it worth clarifying before we move on.


Well, let me know if the suggestions above help at all. Looking at thoughts is an important part of the direct pointing process, so getting them more ‘in view’, if this works for you, could be very useful.

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:08 pm

Hi T,
if you, say, repeat the same thing again and again mentally (as in a mantra, or just a random short phrase), awareness is simply present to that thinking – they aren’t really separable ‘entities’; experiencing the thought is tantamount to being aware of it. There is just experiencing, not a separate ‘experience’ and ‘experiencer’.
Funnily enough, I reintroduced a mantra into my daily meditation practice a couple of years or so ago. After around 10 years of dormancy it came back to me, I tried it out and it worked really efficiently to facilitate calm and a degree of stillness. It works pretty much every time after around a quarter of an hour when the mantra just disappears and I continue in formless meditation, with plenty of gaps between thoughts, for a further 25 minutes or so. I've never tried a sub-vocal mantra repetition outside of meditation though. Maybe I should. Your comments about the word and its meaning, or rather lack of it, with a mantra or random phrase bring a new perspective to the practice.
Another approach would be to bring awareness directly to the thinking that’s happening now – or use the ‘I’m going to think a thought now and that thought is…’ approach. Notice that the thought-train is usually interrupted, there’s a thought-free gap. In that gap there’s just (on the mind level) awareness … then a thought arises, maybe a random word, maybe a phrase, maybe as if it’s ‘overheard’. Usually, not a fully formed ‘train’ right away. Try these to see if you can get a sense of it.
If and when,"I remember" I do manage to find gaps between thoughts by simply bringing attention to them, stopping the train dead on its tracks. I've tried the "I'm going to think a thought now" approach and that does the trick in the same way.
Yes, that’s the kind of thing I’m getting at – if you work your way into the approaches I’ve just suggested, you should find it happening more and more seemingly ‘on demand’ than before.
I guess you're saying that, the more I apparently encourage these thought gaps, the more they'll keep happening, as it were spontaneously (although really that is what happens every time). Anyway I'll just do that outside meditation, every time I remember, and continue with my meditation practice as it is, unless you have any comments or advice about that.

Finally, I should mention something that I've noticed happening a few times in the last couple of weeks. It started almost immediately after I read a LU thread from a guy who became liberated after he finally totally got it that its all "automatic" everything we all do. I don't really like the word as it makes humans sound like robots but there doesn't seem to be a better one around. Anyway, I stood up after reading the whole thread and something shifted, "I" was aware that all that I was doing was effortless, thinking and moving about, as if it was doing itself (it was). I got a rush of priti at the same time. It only lasted a few minutes and was gone. I've since been able to "bring it back" (without the intensity or thrill) almost by flicking a switch or taking an imaginary step back. It's easiest when I'm just moving about the house doing nothing particularly demanding or important, which is most of the time. Save for the first experience, it's not particularly dramatic or anything and it doesn't last long but it's definitely a slightly different experience to normal.

I look forward to hearing what might be useful to do next.

P
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Just this'

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:12 pm

Sorry for delay ... 'things' ... will get back to you later today. T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:12 pm

Bothersome things, things. Look forward to hearing from you later on.

P
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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:54 pm

Hi P,

Sure, continue with your meditation if you want. As it’s mostly just sitting, which means resting in direct experience, you can orientate towards any direct experience ‘looking’ that I may suggest. But as you infer, doing this at other times when you’re not ‘meditating’ is helpful too.
I guess you're saying that, the more I apparently encourage these thought gaps, the more they'll keep happening, as it were spontaneously (although really that is what happens every time).


Yes, they’re always spontaneous. But once awareness ‘gets the point’ of itself, it seems to ‘want’ to do it more and more (don’t take any of that literally)!

That thing about everything being ‘automatic’ … another way of talking about it is conditionality – nothing arises ‘of itself’; in fact, no ‘thing’ ever arises. The shift that happened sounds significant. All the more so because there is this sense that ‘you’ can bring it back (as you commented, you can’t – it just comes back once noticed). It’s non-dramatic nature is telling too. The priti has nothing to do with it (except as a side effect).
"I" was aware that all that I was doing was effortless, thinking and moving about, as if it was doing itself (it was).


This is definitely the direction in which you’d do well to look.

If everything arises effortlessly, ‘what’ is the doer?

What part does ‘I’ / ‘me’ have in this?

What does ‘I’ / ‘me’ actually do?

Have a good look and let me know your observations.

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:57 pm

Hi T,

I'm coming back to the "automatic" experience whenever It comes to mind, much as I've attempted to do with varying degrees of success over the years with mindfulness within a daily routine, along the lines of being mindful doing the washing up, walking down the street etc. etc. It seems to be the same thing but with the added dimension that there's more of a "standing back" or watchfulness as well; I'm trying to avoid calling this an observer or watcher because I know there isn't one, but that's how it feels in a way. So far, it doesn't seem to last long before I drift off, and it's quite subtle or weak, I'm not sure which but I'll persist with it , so to speak, in as many situations as possible. I'd just add that it does feel much more like there's a "me" if I say to myself something like, "lift up your arm" and I then do so do straightaway. Stronger illusion there and I can't quite square that.
If everything arises effortlessly, ‘what’ is the doer?
I don't know, I can't see how, if it's all effortless, there can be any thing or one actually doing anything. Certainly, when I've briefly slipped into that groove, there has been no sign or feeling of a doer.
What part does ‘I’ / ‘me’ have in this?
Following on from above, given that nobody/nothing seems to be doing the doing, "I"/"me" seems not to be involved - no purpose, function (or existence) it seems.
What does ‘I’ / ‘me’ actually do?


No me, does nothing.

P
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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby jowate » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:22 pm

Hi P,
; I'm trying to avoid calling this an observer or watcher because I know there isn't one, but that's how it feels in a way.


Ok, you are presumably saying you know this conceptually, but the experience seems to be of a ‘watcher’. Actually the sense of a watcher can be a subtle conceptualisation of awareness itself – the ‘watcher’ is an apparently localised awareness (behind the eyes, even behind the head).

However, there is no one ‘being aware’ – notice that it’s happening spontaneously by itself – the watcher is effortless. But the main point to look at here: although it feels like a watcher or observer, does this feeling justify a belief in a substantial entity such as ‘self’?
I'd just add that it does feel much more like there's a "me" if I say to myself something like, "lift up your arm" and I then do so do straightaway. Stronger illusion there and I can't quite square that.


Give that a good try. E.g. put your hand on the arm of the chair or the table. Look at it and think ‘I’m going to move that now’. Does it necessarily move because of that thought? Try that repeatedly, notice when it moves and when it doesn’t move. Does an ‘I’ thought actually cause it to move? Try it with different body parts & movements.

Then let go of that and notice when the body ‘just moves’. Is there an ‘I’ of ‘self’ commanding it to move? Is there any sense of that at all?

T.

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Re: Thread for moondog

Postby moondog » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:28 pm

Hi T,
Ok, you are presumably saying you know this conceptually, but the experience seems to be of a ‘watcher’. Actually the sense of a watcher can be a subtle conceptualisation of awareness itself – the ‘watcher’ is an apparently localised awareness (behind the eyes, even behind the head).
When "I remember" and "'I step back", my sense isn't of a person or figure or anything like that as watcher/experiencer. It's difficult to put into words for obvious reasons but it's more like just a presence or feeling of presence, or an overall sense of there being experiencing happening. I hope that makes some kind of sense. Anyway, it certainly cannot in any way justify a belief in any kind of entity substantial or otherwise.
put your hand on the arm of the chair or the table. Look at it and think ‘I’m going to move that now’. Does it necessarily move because of that thought? Try that repeatedly, notice when it moves and when it doesn’t move. Does an ‘I’ thought actually cause it to move? Try it with different body parts & movements.
I've had a good go at that and it's a really good one. I can move my arm, leg or whatever, whether there's a thought saying move it, don't move it, move something else, or there's no thought at all. Equally, there can be a thought to move my arm and it doesn't move. There appears to be no real connection between the thought and the action in terms of outcome or timing. So that worked well then.

P
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'


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