Thread for Biggles

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Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:34 am

Hi S,

Here's your thread - let me know when you're ready.

It would be useful for me if you could write a succinct summary of 'where you are with regard to no-self' right now.

T.

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:28 pm

Hi T, thanks for this.
Ready to proceed.
It would be useful for me if you could write a succinct summary of 'where you are with regard to no-self' right now.
Over last few years and particularly in last two months on this site I have had a deepening sense of - an impersonal awareness - that was mistaken for "me" and identified with this body, these thoughts. I associate this awareness with experiences of non separateness, emptiness, a positive nothingness.... In these experiences the self seems attenuated at least... Sense of a - (metaphor) - smiling presence.....

Obstacle to seeing more clearly has been a doubt about such experiences.... There seems to be some fear in really letting go into them..... Trusting them...

When I do an exercise and attempt to contact direct experience, again the self seems very much attenuated. Colour in visual field, physical sensations - sense of awareness - but sometimes accompanied by an emotion that is identified with. But which can dissolve if sat with. Sitting recently listening to clock ticking - not much sense of listener, listening, sound... A seamless experience...

There does still seem to be an identification with thoughts. The narratives are still bought into to an extent. This is particularly the case when life is difficult or stressful. (My own physical pain, the extreme suffering of a couple of friends and work deadlines seem to provoke thoughts which are identified with and believed). Thoughts around anxiety or control are particularly identified with. In last week or so been trying to see ephemeral nature of thought.... My screensaver says "I" am a thought and sometimes it gives me a positive shock when I notice it...

There is a very strong sense of all this deepening and I do trust the process. But if asked - as I was - is there or has there ever been a self? don't think I could say "No" with total confidence. I give myself a kind of benchmark - if after a busy day at work say, I can sit quietly for 5 minutes and then say confidently "no self and never has been".... and consistently do this after a short period... I feel I would have gone through gate...

S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:33 pm

Hi S,

Sorry for continuing delay in replying – been out and about a fair bit, but should be able to manage more regular replies for a while.
. I associate this awareness with experiences of non separateness, emptiness, a positive nothingness.... In these experiences the self seems attenuated at least... Sense of a - (metaphor) - smiling presence.....
Obstacle to seeing more clearly has been a doubt about such experiences.... There seems to be some fear in really letting go into them..... Trusting them...


Probably the fear and doubt fuel each other. Why trust the conceptual mind more than direct experience? Also bear in mind we’re in the business of seeing through the self-view, not having ‘experiences’ of attenuated self (or experiences of no self, come to that).
Colour in visual field, physical sensations - sense of awareness - but sometimes accompanied by an emotion that is identified with. But which can dissolve if sat with


When you notice that an emotion is identified with, can you see at the same time that this doesn’t mean that the emotion is ‘self’ or that the identifying is ‘self’? Note that these are ‘bare phenomena’ arising in dependence on conditions, not on a ‘me’ entity.
There does still seem to be an identification with thoughts. The narratives are still bought into to an extent. This is particularly the case when life is difficult or stressful. (My own physical pain, the extreme suffering of a couple of friends and work deadlines seem to provoke thoughts which are identified with and believed). Thoughts around anxiety or control are particularly identified with. In last week or so been trying to see ephemeral nature of thought.... My screensaver says "I" am a thought and sometimes it gives me a positive shock when I notice it...


Again, this question of ‘identifying with identification’ seems to be a theme. Identification happens both before and after the gate. And difficult, painful times happen before and after too. The difference is that when it’s known directly and beyond refutation that the identifying process is not a ‘self’ in action, in any way sense or form, then it loses its ‘bite’.

I suggest you give this some attention for the next while – notice ‘identification’ happening, notice the sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions involved and notice their spontaneous, momentary and self-less nature. (By ‘spontaneous’ I mean that they just turn up without ‘you’ doing them.)

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:36 pm

Hello T...
Why trust the conceptual mind more than direct experience?
Why indeed? Many many thoughts are seen as ephemeral, random etc... But some thoughts seem to have an authority/validity/seem to demand to be taken seriously.... But all concepts are empty arisings... Wrote a long stream of consciousness monologue yesterday - random thoughts, "weighty and true" concepts, nonsense all interweaved... thoughts seemed lighter, gentler, less literal today as a result...

Also bear in mind we’re in the business of seeing through the self-view, not having ‘experiences’ of attenuated self (or experiences of no self, come to that).
Noted!
When you notice that an emotion is identified with, can you see at the same time that this doesn’t mean that the emotion is ‘self’ or that the identifying is ‘self’? Note that these are ‘bare phenomena’ arising in dependence on conditions, not on a ‘me’ entity.
To an extent I see that arising emotions are not self - more difficult to catch it with the deeper negative emotions. Yes, there is something about assuming that the identifying itself is "me" - see below....
Again, this question of ‘identifying with identification’ seems to be a theme. Identification happens both before and after the gate. And difficult, painful times happen before and after too. The difference is that when it’s known directly and beyond refutation that the identifying process is not a ‘self’ in action, in any way sense or form, then it loses its ‘bite’.
So maybe I was confused. I presumed when self is seen through, identification with particular thoughts, emotions etc stops. As in seeing through self = seeing through identification. Sure, I understand that pain and samskaras etc would continue, but I thought that, if self is irrevocably seen through, the identification with pain, samskaras etc would cease. Maybe it's more then that the identification is seen through more quickly, it loses its bite as you say? And identification with such things is still no evidence for a self? Perhaps I was seeing it as evidence that the self still exists....
I suggest you give this some attention for the next while – notice ‘identification’ happening, notice the sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions involved and notice their spontaneous, momentary and self-less nature. (By ‘spontaneous’ I mean that they just turn up without ‘you’ doing them.)
Being doing and will do this as an exercise.... (The identification doesn't seem to be lasting as long, sliding off of feelings, emotions etc more)

S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:30 pm

Hi S,
So maybe I was confused. I presumed when self is seen through, identification with particular thoughts, emotions etc stops. As in seeing through self = seeing through identification. Sure, I understand that pain and samskaras etc would continue, but I thought that, if self is irrevocably seen through, the identification with pain, samskaras etc would cease. Maybe it's more then that the identification is seen through more quickly, it loses its bite as you say? And identification with such things is still no evidence for a self? Perhaps I was seeing it as evidence that the self still exists....


Yes, identification tends to happen less and gets let go of more quickly, mainly because it’s obvious that it’s painful in some way or other. But the main thing is that it’s known that identification is a trick, a sleight of hand … or of mind, rather.

Going through the gate is simply knowing directly that whatever happens, no ‘self’ entity is involved.
I suggest you give this some attention for the next while – notice ‘identification’ happening, notice the sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions involved and notice their spontaneous, momentary and self-less nature. (By ‘spontaneous’ I mean that they just turn up without ‘you’ doing them.)

Being doing and will do this as an exercise.... (The identification doesn't seem to be lasting as long, sliding off of feelings, emotions etc more)


Suggest you carry on with this for a while tomorrow, bearing in mind the above. Just notice that whatever arises, occurs or happens, it happens of itself (not ‘from your-self’)

Let me know your observations.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:39 pm

Hello T
notice ‘identification’ happening, notice the sensations, thoughts, feelings and emotions involved and notice their spontaneous, momentary and self-less nature. (By ‘spontaneous’ I mean that they just turn up without ‘you’ doing them.)

Suggest you carry on with this for a while tomorrow, bearing in mind the above. Just notice that whatever arises, occurs or happens, it happens of itself (not ‘from your-self’)

Let me know your observations.
This morning, asking myself is thinking just happening - or am "I" doing the thinking? Are emotions happening or am "I" emoting etc? Couldn't quite get a handle on it - but something seemed as if it had shifted and there was this kind of surprising sense that there didn't seem to be any centre of reference to hang the thoughts and emotions on - no peg or hook....

Then I had a difficult time with a very distressed and ill friend - that perspective was lost. Guess I got lost in the thinking etc - "I" was a part of the drama, asking am I doing enough for him? Why is he so difficult etc....

Tonight slightly obsessive thought continuing as regards this.... Cant quite get enough perspective to understand what's really happening... Getting lost a bit in stories around HIM and ME - and experience painful emotions - but am "I" creating the stories, is it ME who is emoting?...... not sure not sure..... Right now - visual sense of computer and words appearing on screen, nervous feeling in stomach, images of sick friend.... Just all this happening or a me seeing/creating all this? ................. Dont know............

S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:53 pm

Hi S,

Well, the perspective is not always at the forefront of mind/consciousness. Coming back to the Santa analogy, the kid isn’t spending his whole life thinking about or conscious of ‘no Santa’, but come Christmas time, Santa starts re-appearing. Then all that’s needed is to remember ‘it’s someone dressed up, it’s not Santa, Santa is just a story’.

So, in demanding or intense situations, it can seem that there is selfing going on, or duality re-asserting itself. And that’s how it seems at the time. But now? As you wrote towards the end of your post: just these sensations, just opening to them, just letting them be just what they are, and maybe spaciousness ‘happening’ where all the doubts drop away because thoughts have dropped away.

When that ‘space’ happens, is it not clear that the story of ‘myself’ involved in those now-gone situations is exactly a story and nothing else?

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:46 pm

Hi T.....
Well, the perspective is not always at the forefront of mind/consciousness. Coming back to the Santa analogy, the kid isn’t spending his whole life thinking about or conscious of ‘no Santa’, but come Christmas time, Santa starts re-appearing. Then all that’s needed is to remember ‘it’s someone dressed up, it’s not Santa, Santa is just a story’. So, in demanding or intense situations, it can seem that there is selfing going on, or duality re-asserting itself. And that’s how it seems at the time.
Yep, thanks, that was really useful and clarified something.
But now? As you wrote towards the end of your post: just these sensations, just opening to them, just letting them be just what they are, and maybe spaciousness ‘happening’ where all the doubts drop away because thoughts have dropped away.... When that ‘space’ happens, is it not clear that the story of ‘myself’ involved in those now-gone situations is exactly a story and nothing else?
Today a sense of real raw boredom... But a confidence that there is an awareness behind it, or boredom is an arising that will pass... Emotions felt more intensely but when I stop, yes, a sense of spaciousness enveloping these emotions.... As for the story of myself.... My past? My mother? My confusion? My story? ... It's weird, there is a confusion.. It's as if I cant with confidence say my story is gone, seen through, a story and nothing else.... But it's as if I can't quite subscribe to it either...... As if I'm listening or straining to hear this strange music that seems to be smilingly telling me of something very different to what I'm used to... Right now a feeling of newness, freshness, spaciousness... The anxiety that is so characteristic of S rising and falling and felt in stomach... My anxiety?... Seems to be a wind blowing through it... But always too a little nagging voice... You sure? You certain? You imagining all this empty stuff? What's going on?

Could it be simply thought getting in the way of seeing? Rather than getting involved in the particular thought or the particular story or the habitual doubt and conceptual rationalistion that I'm an arsehole who will never get the point etc etc etc - just let it be seen as thought coming - and going?

Sx

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:28 pm

Hi S,
It's as if I cant with confidence say my story is gone, seen through, a story and nothing else.... But it's as if I can't quite subscribe to it either...... As if I'm listening or straining to hear this strange music that seems to be smilingly telling me of something very different to what I'm used to


The story doesn’t go – but where is the story? Is it the same story when you’re feeling ‘down’ as it is if you’re feeling full of the joys of spring? Is it anything but different thought-takes now with what seems to be remembered … what hasn’t been forgotten? What about what’s been forgotten … is that any different to what’s remembered?

Can you just notice the ‘entity-less-ness’ of the story – that there is just ‘storying’ happening? Who / what is the entity the story about?
The anxiety that is so characteristic of S rising and falling and felt in stomach... My anxiety?... Seems to be a wind blowing through it... But always too a little nagging voice... You sure? You certain? You imagining all this empty stuff? What's going on?


The anxiety that is ‘so characteristic’ – it’s habitual is it not? If it’s habitual, ‘who’ is doing it? Are ‘you’ doing the feeling ‘in the stomach’? The nagging voice … another habitual thing going on, doing itself?
Could it be simply thought getting in the way of seeing? Rather than getting involved in the particular thought or the particular story or the habitual doubt and conceptual rationalistion that I'm an arsehole who will never get the point etc etc etc - just let it be seen as thought coming - and going?


Well – what do ‘you’ think?! What’s the direct experience? Can the metaphorical arsehole in question be found? :)

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:47 pm

Hello T....
but where is the story? Is it the same story when you’re feeling ‘down’ as it is if you’re feeling full of the joys of spring? Is it anything but different thought-takes now with what seems to be remembered … what hasn’t been forgotten? What about what’s been forgotten … is that any different to what’s remembered?
"Different thought takes now with what seems to be remembered" - yes. Nothing coherent or substantial or true there....
Can you just notice the ‘entity-less-ness’ of the story – that there is just ‘storying’ happening? Who / what is the entity the story about?
Well, the story seems to be about this particular supposed entity called S. But it isn't always. Plenty of sidetracks, tunes, random characters appearing, half digested sounds and images.... Did a load of writing on solitary recently and the characters seemed very real, provoking similar anxieties in their (fictional) author... It was also a far more coherent and interesting story than the habitual storying arising in my mind...

Last week I wrote a long long monologue - thoughts as they randomly appeared in my mind, a rambling sometimes semi rational, sometimes nonsensical and disjointed flow.... I read it over and over and had a sense of, yes, just thoughts arising and falling including the thought called "me", to which many of the thoughts referred.... Same evening there was a huge feeling of lightness and happiness as thoughts seemed so ephemeral and less like the grim, ponderous entities which had to be subscribed to and believed...
The anxiety that is ‘so characteristic’ – it’s habitual is it not? If it’s habitual, ‘who’ is doing it? Are ‘you’ doing the feeling ‘in the stomach’? The nagging voice … another habitual thing going on, doing itself?
It's habitual, familiar, repetitive, yes. Doing itself. "Me" superimposed on top. Which seems a bit weird and un-necessary as I write this......
S: Could it be simply thought getting in the way of seeing? Rather than getting involved in the particular thought or the particular story or the habitual doubt and conceptual rationalistion that I'm an arsehole who will never get the point etc etc etc - just let it be seen as thought coming - and going?

T: – what do ‘you’ think?! What’s the direct experience? Can the metaphorical arsehole in question be found? :)
Thought seems to be the thing that gets in the way... ("A jihad on concepts" you once said!... ) Back to basics... My hand is seen in direct experience, a consistent perception... But why add a "my" or "I".... Even "hand" is a label that is not the truth of experience... Just perception of colour... Similarly thoughts arise, a "my" is added, with reference to previous habitual thoughts.. Me, a thought superimposed on direct experience.... A label... Also body and thoughts are objects of perception, not the subject.. How can they be who "I" really am?.. Seem to get this at times, makes real sense, experientially at times too... so what's the obstacle? Just more thought - manifesting as fear (lessening) and doubt? Just the thought - "I dont get it?"


S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:54 pm

Hi S,
T: – what do ‘you’ think?! What’s the direct experience? Can the metaphorical arsehole in question be found? :)


Thought seems to be the thing that gets in the way... ("A jihad on concepts" you once said!... ) Back to basics... My hand is seen in direct experience, a consistent perception... But why add a "my" or "I".... Even "hand" is a label that is not the truth of experience... Just perception of colour... Similarly thoughts arise, a "my" is added, with reference to previous habitual thoughts.. Me, a thought superimposed on direct experience.... A label... Also body and thoughts are objects of perception, not the subject.. How can they be who "I" really am?.. Seem to get this at times, makes real sense, experientially at times too... so what's the obstacle? Just more thought - manifesting as fear (lessening) and doubt? Just the thought - "I dont get it?"


You’re definitely on to it right here. Just seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, mentating. Just this moment. Just ‘this’ here / now. Thoughts buying into other thoughts, commenting and puffing themselves up into ‘I’ – ‘lordly thoughts’. And when awareness focuses on them directly, what? Nothing – mist, ephemera.

Notice that happening.

You’re right about the ‘obstacle’ too – just habitual thoughts doing what they do … giving rise to certain familiar sensations labelled ‘emotions’ and so on. The thought ‘I don’t get it’ – another puffed up thought. Though also unintentionally right: I don’t get it, I never will get it – the conceptual mind can’t get it, the ‘I’ doesn’t exist, so can't 'do' anything about anything.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:30 pm

Hello T
You’re definitely on to it right here. Just seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, mentating. Just this moment. Just ‘this’ here / now. Thoughts buying into other thoughts, commenting and puffing themselves up into ‘I’ – ‘lordly thoughts’. And when awareness focuses on them directly, what? Nothing – mist, ephemera.

Notice that happening.

You’re right about the ‘obstacle’ too – just habitual thoughts doing what they do … giving rise to certain familiar sensations labelled ‘emotions’ and so on. The thought ‘I don’t get it’ – another puffed up thought.
I'll spend time with this tomorrow and post again.....
S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:27 pm

Hello T, second post...
You’re definitely on to it right here. Just seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, mentating. Just this moment. Just ‘this’ here / now. Thoughts buying into other thoughts, commenting and puffing themselves up into ‘I’ – ‘lordly thoughts’. And when awareness focuses on them directly, what? Nothing – mist, ephemera.

Notice that happening.

You’re right about the ‘obstacle’ too – just habitual thoughts doing what they do … giving rise to certain familiar sensations labelled ‘emotions’ and so on. The thought ‘I don’t get it’ – another puffed up thought.
In some ways, it seems I have everything I need above! Noticing yesterday and today clouds of thoughts coming and going..... Beneath it direct experience. Waking up, head on pillow... "Where is the I?" Unlocated. And this very thought - "Where is the I?" there? Unlocated.... Thoughts arising randomly, ephemeral.... Yet some seem more convincing, demanding to be believed.... "True" thoughts, like Dharmic thoughts, "all dharmas are impermanent", kindly thoughts, "X needs more support in his illness"... Yet the last thought provokes anxiety, seems counter productive... Even seemingly true and convincing thoughts employ labels which give the impression of being opaque, solid - not negotiable - not transparent...

All thought is transparent, right? I can just trust a spontaneous, appropriate response without thought.... Otherwise some thoughts are to be believed and others rejected.... It would be easier just to be positively "suspicious" of all thoughts, have a sense of their lightness.... What a relief that would be... Is that allowed? Seems heretical not to take at least some thought seriously! E.g. This very pointing out is done conceptually.... But it is, on reflection, kind of light, fingers and moons...

Practicing dropping beneath this cloud of thought, into direct experience, into the very present sensations and perceptions, asking again and again "Where is the "I" here?... Sometimes the response is a blank, sometimes "I" cannot be found, other times a puzzled pointing back to "my body".... How to deal with the last case? Must still be a subtle thought there... ? How to get below that when the thought doesn't seem to be discernible....

S x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby jowate » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:53 pm

Hi S,
All thought is transparent, right?


Is that how you see them? What is it that makes one thought ‘obviously’ transparent, and another ‘apparently’ opaque? What is the difference in the bare arising / bare sensation of the thinking – and associated experiencing?
I can just trust a spontaneous, appropriate response without thought.... Otherwise some thoughts are to be believed and others rejected.... It would be easier just to be positively "suspicious" of all thoughts, have a sense of their lightness.... What a relief that would be... Is that allowed? Seems heretical not to take at least some thought seriously! E.g. This very pointing out is done conceptually.... But it is, on reflection, kind of light, fingers and moons...
What is it that would be being ‘positively suspicious’ or ‘taking at least some thought seriously’? How does awareness itself ‘view’ thoughts and what arises – does it evaluate, judge?
Practicing dropping beneath this cloud of thought, into direct experience, into the very present sensations and perceptions, asking again and again "Where is the "I" here?... Sometimes the response is a blank, sometimes "I" cannot be found, other times a puzzled pointing back to "my body".... How to deal with the last case? Must still be a subtle thought there... ? How to get below that when the thought doesn't seem to be discernible....


Is there a ‘sense’ of self being “my body”? Whatever it is, it isn’t necessary for it or any other kind of apparent selfing to ‘go away’ – it’s enough for it to be recognised that whatever’s manifesting as an apparent ‘self’ is not, in fact, a self-entity – it’s just thinking thinking there is a self-entity!

T.x

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Re: Thread for Biggles

Postby Biggles » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:50 pm

Hi T....
S: All thought is transparent, right?
T: Is that how you see them? What is it that makes one thought ‘obviously’ transparent, and another ‘apparently’ opaque? What is the difference in the bare arising / bare sensation of the thinking – and associated experiencing?
When attention is directed to thought, there is an awareness of thoughts as transparent, ephemeral, yes. I think the seemingly opaque nature of some thoughts is just secondary thought added to primary thought! Thinking gives certain thoughts more weight... So there is bare arising/sensation of thought just as there is bare arising of sound... The experiencing is to do with more thought being added to that primary thought or sound - secondary evaluations etc or judgement or fear - a proliferation of thought and consequent emotion etc..
What is it that would be being ‘positively suspicious’ or ‘taking at least some thought seriously’? How does awareness itself ‘view’ thoughts and what arises – does it evaluate, judge?
Could awareness be positively suspicious or take at least some thoughts seriously? Not really, it's thought added to thought that does that... How does awareness view thoughts - does it evaluate or judge? It doesn't evaluate - but there is an inherent wisdom/knowing.... So there is a knowing that all thoughts are ephemera etc but that some thoughts seem to align more with reality?
Is there a ‘sense’ of self being “my body”?
Spent a while on this, feeling a bit blank... A sense of self being my body? The right answer is no, that's just another thought.... Experientially... Do I have a sense of self and body as synonymous? The same thing? Right now, at this moment? Fingers on key board, wrists on desk, breath entering nostrils.... Self and physical sensations synonymous?... No.
Whatever it is, it isn’t necessary for it or any other kind of apparent selfing to ‘go away’ – it’s enough for it to be recognised that whatever’s manifesting as an apparent ‘self’ is not, in fact, a self-entity – it’s just thinking thinking there is a self-entity!
Okay, yes, will consider that one.... Not me thinking there is a self entity.... Cos there aint no self entity... Thinking thinking it! "I" am a thought.... Being thunk by thinking....Which doesnt seem to have anything better to do than make life incredibly bloody complex....

S x

P.S. Maybe no coincidence that the greatest work of world literature is about a bloke who is floored by papanca and thinking too precisely on the event etc etc etc, that is Hamlet poor sap.


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