Thread for Gita

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Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:54 pm

Hi Gita,

Here's your thread. Could you start by just outlining what brings you 'here'.

Thanks,

T.

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:37 pm

Hi T

Very good of you to be my guide. I won’t go into lots of background by way of introduction, as you will know some of that from retreats and its not very relevant or unusual – 20+ years of pretty serious spiritual practice - and its pretty long on what brings me here anyway. I have been aware of this site and reading bits for a couple of months but didn’t register and start reading threads in the guiding area until last week and it has had a strong effect. Funnily enough, as I locked my bike up before a meditation evening last Wedn, a thought surfaced along the lines of ‘if I am going to make spiritual progress/ achieve stream entry, now is the time’. My children are nearly grown up and I am not yet suffering as a result of ageing and also for several months and increasingly, I am aware of a lot more space because I don’t seem to worry about stuff like I used to, or get stressed really, which I have done a lot over the years. Later that evening I registered on here, prompted by a mutual friend’s experience, and read late into the night. My main experience then was anger because it suddenly seemed unavoidable and inevitable and ‘I’ didn’t want it. Since then I have read all your threads and some others from people I know or know of.

It has been a revelation to me to read/ realize/ hear/ take on board (I must have been told before, including by you) that this is about seeing through the sense of self, not attenuation of fixed self view, of making it so subtle it disappears. I had a fruitful exploration a couple of days ago when I was feeling particularly solid and puffed up and real and competent and able and existing, trying, and of course failing, to locate any ‘self’ even within that.

When reading last night, including 'the book' - which I have started before but seemed to be reading for the first time - I started crying and then sobbing and shaking, and became freezing cold and my head hurt. I went to bed but the shivering and crying carried on. The experience was first like bereavement. Thoughts included the likes of 'I lost my Mum and then my Dad (both in the last 2.5 years BTW) and now I am losing my self - that's not right, its too soon, I don't want it' and 'but I like myself - I have put all this energy for years into developing my self into a decent human being that I like and approve of and other people seem to enjoy and now that's going and I am facing the fact that it never actually was anyway – f**k!' That feeling of loss/ sadness was replaced by fear. Fears about not being able to carry on being a competent, working human being and mother of teens, of letting down all the people I need to respond to and also fear of what would be left, of who or what I would become, of a void. I felt distraught for ages but tried (sounds weird - who/ what tried!) to tune into knowing that it would be, indeed was, all OK. I calmed down and explored that sense. Then I got up. Hours had passed.

This was/is not a pleasant place to be (it’s less acute now but I still feel shaken). I had moments even then where I laughed even as I cried because I had a sense of the ridiculousness of the thoughts, but it basically felt crap. Except that of course it is in a context where I mainly believe it’s an inevitable and healthy part of a process. So there is also calm there too. The illusion of self is still very much there and I have no idea how to see through it, even as I am aware that it is an illusion analogous to a castle built on sand, or paper thin, at least those were the images that arose, and it seems even more inevitably for the chop. But its definitely still there. It feels a bit like trying to prove God doesn’t exist – I know it but I can’t quite see through all the same. I feel pretty thick.

Finally to bring you up to date on where I am starting this thread from, this morning I was reading your suggestion to experiment with putting a hand on the desk and seeing if it was possible to move it using thought – if the thought caused it to move. It didn’t (obviously). Then I meditated (just sitting) and after the sit, with my eyes open, I noticed that thought could not make me stand up and get on with my day. It was very strange and I watched lots of thoughts along the lines of ‘I’ll be late if I don’t get up soon’ come and go and have no effect whatsoever in shifting my limbs. It was a bit scary because I didn’t actually know how to make myself move but not too scary as I somehow assumed that if its all habit and conditioning, mine is strong enough that I wouldn’t just sit there and fail to turn up to lead lunchtime meditation! I didn’t (fail to), but it was about 40 mins before my limbs moved and then I felt quite shaken by the experience. It was strange to see so clearly for a prolonged time that thoughts do not cause me to act.

So, help! I am really, really grateful you are willing to guide me. This feels exciting as well as disorientating and scary but I really need pointing in the right direction.

KGx

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:13 pm

Hi Kg,

Great, that a very helpful resume.

Before I comment, just to ensure you’re aware of, and ok with, the ‘ground rules’ for working with this direct pointing on LU.

- Post once a day (at least) if at all possible. It’s fine if there are times you can’t do that, and there will probably be times I can’t respond on the same or next day.
- Be as clear and accurate (i.e. honest) as you can about your observations and responses.
- Respond from direct experience, rather than from conceptualising about what’s being asked.
- Leave aside other ‘spiritual’ or ‘dharma’ reading / viewing for the duration of this direct pointing. It’s ok to read other LU stuff, but even that could be a bit of a distraction. The main thing is keeping a strong focus on the investigations.
- If you want to use quotes from my posts in your replies, please use the quotes function on the forum (click on ‘post reply’ rather than ‘quick reply’, select text and click ‘quote’ on the line above the post – you can also use that for bold, italics, even colours!)

I’ve got to go serve dinner (cooking for the retreat today!) so I’ll post this now and send some comments later.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Yes, thanks, I did read it pretty thoroughly and agree with the ground rules - I have even found the quotes function.

Great to picture you multi-tasking cooking and pointing people to liberation. I'll log back on this evening and look forward to your reply. Thanks again

KGx

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:29 pm

Hi Kg,
It has been a revelation to me to read/ realize/ hear/ take on board (I must have been told before, including by you) that this is about seeing through the sense of self, …


Just to clarify what I may or may not have said before :)

Yes, it’s about seeing directly that the sense of self or ‘selfing’ is not what it appears to be – i.e. a real entity.

The basic way I’d put it is:

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’s all there is to it – know this to be the case and you’re ‘through’. It’s really very, very simple, but that’s also why the conditioned / conventional mind can have trouble with it.
…not attenuation of fixed self view, of making it so subtle it disappears.


So I’d put this slightly differently – “it’s not about attenuating a ‘self’ that really exists until it becomes so subtle it disappears”. The self-view is just the view or belief that such a self exists –the self-view exists as a delusive view but the ‘self’ it refers to never existed.

Many ‘spiritual’ people have a strong belief that the ‘self’ or ‘ego’ has to be attenuated, or destroyed, or sublimated out of existence, or whatever. This is impossible – you can’t attenuate something that doesn’t exist!

The whole thing is about seeing-knowing that it never existed.
… now I am losing my self - that's not right, its too soon, I don't want it' and 'but I like myself - I have put all this energy for years into developing my self into a decent human being that I like and approve of and other people seem to enjoy and now that's going and I am facing the fact that it never actually was anyway – f**k!' That feeling of loss/ sadness was replaced by fear. Fears about not being able to carry on being a competent, working human being and mother of teens, of letting down all the people I need to respond to and also fear of what would be left, of who or what I would become, of a void. I felt distraught for ages but tried (sounds weird - who/ what tried!) to tune into knowing that it would be, indeed was, all OK. I calmed down and explored that sense.


This is the other side of the view I just mentioned. Letting go of or seeing through the self-view opens the possibility of us emerging as a more ‘functional’ human being (as distinct from a dysfunctional one). The fears of becoming incompetent, letting people down etc. are very natural, but groundless.

After the gate we’re probably less likely to let people down and so on because we’re less wrapped up in ‘our-selves’ – we’re likely to be more open and more creative in our interactions. That’s not to say that we’re ‘perfect’ or that we won’t mess up – but the only thing we’re ‘losing’ is a view that causes a lot of pain and suffering. What is left? Well, everything – it’s just seen more and more as it really is. You are already living, loving and helping others without a self; you won’t stop being like this.
…basically felt crap. Except that of course it is in a context where I mainly believe it’s an inevitable and healthy part of a process. So there is also calm there too
It is part of a process – the mind that’s attached to the belief in a self will kick back in gross and subtle ways. This belief in a ‘self’ has been there for most of your life, so it’s not just going to roll over for you. At the same time, one of its stratagems is to make seeing through it seem much, much harder than it really is. Basically, a good rule of thumb is ‘don’t believe your thoughts’ – another way to put that is ‘don’t buy into the story’.

Your response to the exercise was interesting – you’re on track with this already. Just have confidence that you can ‘get the point’. I’ll leave it there for now – let me know any responses to what I’ve written here and we’ll take it from there.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:56 am

Thank you
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’.
When I can read this and it make total sense rather than a 'yeah, yeah, so everyone keeps saying' response, I guess I'll know I am through! That's not now.Though I do notice more interest and engagement with the phrase than even yesterday – sliding off it less readily.
This is impossible – you can’t attenuate something that doesn’t exist!
Yes, that is really clear.
The fears of becoming incompetent, letting people down etc. are very natural, but groundless.
This is also really clear. If all that is ‘lost’ didn’t exist in the first place, there is no loss to morn, just a load of stories and crap that can get in the way. There is still some anxiety around this process, and thoughts do include that I will become less tolerant of responding to things that feel less worthwhile, but none of this seems important enough to dwell on at the moment. It’s beside the point.

The experience yesterday has repeated itself quite a bit and it is abundantly clear that its not conscious thought and intention that makes my limbs move. It is only when thoughts move on to something else that they then move and do what they are supposed to do. It still feels a bit spooky and can make me a bit queasy but it seems that I do still move and do what needs to be done, phew! Linked to that, lots of the more basic things I do are clearly automatic/ learned habitual/ conditioned behaviours – doing stuff in the gym last night, for example, making cups of tea etc. Being aware of that feels quite familiar, the same as when I am in more mindful states – just doing and aware of that. But I cannot get my head around less basic, biologically driven behaviours not being done by ‘me’ – including making choices and mastery in my work.

The stuff I write/ create/ develop in my work is really good and I believe a lot of it has to be done by me or by my main co-author. If I actually look – as I did yesterday - then all I can see is the interplay between people and learning over years (and now) that enables 'me' to write what I write, but even then I can also (roughly) locate a stubborn sense of 'me, mine, I create it', somewhere around the heart area. Or perhaps throat, or stomach... That is what happens – it becomes slippery. There was another example yesterday about a 'choice' of how to respond to my son that feels like weighing up options and choosing to respond in a way that is likely to be helpful rather than from anxiety or irritation. But then I didn’t actually feel anxiety. But it still feels like I made a choice. Sort of….

Actually, when I look, nothing stacks up but that simultaneously doesn't appear to dent the belief that there is a self, a me, doing the bits that are more intelligent and advanced, discerning human behaviours, even though I intellectually know that is not the case, witness the positive effects on others of realising that AND can’t locate it in my direct experience. I know this is not unique to me as I have read others going over similar ground but that’s where I really don’t ‘get it’.

Grateful for guidance

Kg x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:57 am

Actually, scratch that last part. It suddenly seems ridiculous that I create anything - very clearly just cogs in a process that has been going on for a while and will continue to, one thing giving rise to another. After posting that last I meditated and within that or just sitting there afterwards, had a strong and sustained experience of reorientation, transitioning, opening and letting go. I feel a deep calm, slight amusement and complete disinterest in my musings of a couple of hours ago. So feel free to ignore them. For now anyway.

It cannot be that simple. Or that quick, surely? But certainly now seems possible

Kg x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:37 pm

By the way, that statement you started with - now completely blindlingly obvious, there is quite simply no-one home. It seems extraordinary and weird to have ever believed there was. And the concept of any loss or lack as a result feels irrelevant. This is both marvellous and completely ordinary, very much the start of the path, yet a fundamental reorientation and things keep into a different perspective with a series of 'ah-ha/ well of course' moments. Wow!

Kg x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:54 pm

Hi Kg,

Wow, it looks like you’re going to do it all by yourself! … well, not-self … :)
it is abundantly clear that its not conscious thought and intention that makes my limbs move. It is only when thoughts move on to something else that they then move and do what they are supposed to do.

… But I cannot get my head around less basic, biologically driven behaviours not being done by ‘me’ – including making choices and mastery in my work.
I think this area of ‘intention’ or ‘agency’ is what we need to look at further. A bit unclear about what you mean in the second sentence. Surely it’s pretty obvious that ‘biological’ behaviours are largely happening independent of (‘below’) consciousness? On the other hand ‘making choices’ and mastery in your work is an area where self-view can lurk, as you’re observing.
If I actually look – as I did yesterday - then all I can see is the interplay between people and learning over years (and now) that enables 'me' to write what I write, but even then I can also (roughly) locate a stubborn sense of 'me, mine, I create it', somewhere around the heart area. Or perhaps throat, or stomach... That is what happens – it becomes slippery.
So, going into the slippery area … in a way you’re saying that you can see (conceptually) that various conditions, known and unknown, result in ‘writing this’.

Look at the process involved in writing something – it could just be responding to this. What happens, what precedes the appearance of words on paper / screen? Try to be as clear as possible – does the end result of writing something get done by a ‘me in here’ or does it just ‘arise’ from conditions?

And that ‘stubborn sense of me’ – look at that, feel into it. What exactly does it consist of experientially? What are its components?
Actually, scratch that last part. It suddenly seems ridiculous that I create anything - very clearly just cogs in a process that has been going on for a while and will continue to, one thing giving rise to another. After posting that last I meditated and within that or just sitting there afterwards, had a strong and sustained experience of reorientation, transitioning, opening and letting go. I feel a deep calm, slight amusement and complete disinterest in my musings of a couple of hours ago. So feel free to ignore them. For now anyway.


Good!
By the way, that statement you started with - now completely blindingly obvious, there is quite simply no-one home. It seems extraordinary and weird to have ever believed there was. And the concept of any loss or lack as a result feels irrelevant. This is both marvellous and completely ordinary, very much the start of the path, yet a fundamental reorientation and things keep into a different perspective with a series of 'ah-ha/ well of course' moments. Wow!
Marvellous and ordinary – exactly.

So if you could give me some impressions from the practical suggestions, that would be great.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:00 pm

Sorry - what practical suggestions should I respond to? Am out from now for the rest of the day but will respond in the morning. I cannot easily expand on what I wrote early this morning as its all looked so different since about 10am...

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:14 am

Hi Kg,

I was referring to this:
Look at the process involved in writing something – it could just be responding to this. What happens, what precedes the appearance of words on paper / screen? Try to be as clear as possible – does the end result of writing something get done by a ‘me in here’ or does it just ‘arise’ from conditions?

And that ‘stubborn sense of me’ – look at that, feel into it. What exactly does it consist of experientially? What are its components?
The point with the first is to focus on how, exactly, 'decisions' arise in direct experience, and with the second to have a good look at what the 'sense of me' is being projected onto.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:43 am

Good morning T

OK, I have had a chance to read your reply better now.
Look at the process involved in writing something – it could just be responding to this. What happens, what precedes the appearance of words on paper / screen? Try to be as clear as possible – does the end result of writing something get done by a ‘me in here’ or does it just ‘arise’ from conditions?
I find this hard to describe in detail but it is really clearly exactly the same as the experience I had/ have that thoughts do not move my limbs or make me do anything. The lack of agency. This is the same - the thought that I am going to decide what to write and move my fingers on the keyboard simply has no effect. In the absence of that thought, it happens. Is indeed happening now.
And that ‘stubborn sense of me’ – look at that, feel into it. What exactly does it consist of experientially? What are its components?
It is no longer there. I can remember that I experienced it and am of course aware of writing that only just over 24 hours ago, but that is like a different reality/ lifetime and faintly bizarre. I could probably give a fuller answer from memory but not though the direct experience ground rules here.

I think I am 'through', though it would be good to have some help to explore that further and see if it is the case. It was very clear to me all day yesterday - like a switch had been flicked rather than a continuation of a change that was already happening. One image I have is of a train on tracks where they do that switch (can't remember what its called) so it runs on a different track - not very far away and possibly in parallel but the train can't shift sideways between the tracks without that switch. But then I felt really strange last night and started to question what had or had not shifted. I went to an award dinner with 350 people because our work was up for an award - not the best of conditions! Mostly it was OK, but there were times of anxiety bordering on panic at/ linked to (not sure how it works) the sense of 'no-one home' - empty, hollow or absent not in a good way as it had been all day. I now have the luxury of a third day now at home with no work meetings or teenagers and have sat and the calm certainty and clarity is there again. I could say more but it is probably better in response to questions.

Thank you and love, Kg

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:41 pm

Hi Kg,
One image I have is of a train on tracks where they do that switch (can't remember what its called) so it runs on a different track


Haha, it’s called ‘a set of points’ – which is exactly what’s happening here :)
But then I felt really strange last night and started to question what had or had not shifted. I went to an award dinner with 350 people because our work was up for an award - not the best of conditions! Mostly it was OK, but there were times of anxiety bordering on panic at/ linked to (not sure how it works) the sense of 'no-one home' - empty, hollow or absent not in a good way as it had been all day. I now have the luxury of a third day now at home with no work meetings or teenagers and have sat and the calm certainty and clarity is there again. I could say more but it is probably better in response to questions.


Try looking at this in terms of direct experience (retrospectively): in dependence on the circumstances – the self-view tending to drop away and 350 people and an award ceremony to cope with – certain sensations and certain thoughts or mental activities arose, which were in turn mentally labelled.

It’s hardly surprising that you felt a bit odd – just about anybody would! Remember that seeing through the self-view doesn’t mean that unpleasant or ‘negative’ reactions will stop. These are habit-energies that are still very much active. Definitively seeing/knowing that the ‘self’ as believed in doesn’t exist very much changes things & responses, but certain habit-energies have a lot of momentum. You will continue to have moments of clarity and spaciousness, openness, in which it’s clear that the ‘problems’ don’t exist, and moments of confusion, reactivity and so forth. All that matters in respect of ‘the gate’ is seeing/knowing directly that none of this involves a self-entity.

You’re doing well here. Are there any other areas that you’re aware of where there are doubt.

In particular: is there a ‘doer’ or ‘controller’ or ‘decider’? Is there an ‘experiencer’?

We can go into all these further if need be.

T.x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby Gita » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:10 am

Thank you T, just got your response

I don't actually feel any doubt. Slight bemusement and very happy to explore this further with you given how ridiculously quick its all been and not much of a thread even. I was looking forward to engaging with you rather more in this process so that was a bit of an own goal! But in terms of my experience, it is a black/white thing, that switch or set of points. I am in the early stages of noticing the things that are different as a result but there is very clearly no-one home, no-one in control and that is still both extraordinary and wonderful and also ordinary and not like some high spiritual attainment at all. I am not in touch with it all the time but whenever I look, there it is (or rather, there it isn't - I am using I and me as its impossible to write otherwise). Sometimes it feels gloriously liberating, partly because one of the changes is that thoughts are substantially slower, with fewer topics and bigger gaps between them, and easier to ignore, just in ordinary day to day activity, and that is wonderfully calm and spacious. After all these years! I have had times today where there are sensations of anxiety, like last night but much less, when responding a lot in a work arena. In some ways it appears as if my worries about being able to perform at work did have some ground - not as worries or a reason to hold back as worry was pointless and why would I ever want to stay caught up in protecting a non-existent self and the related dramas just so it motivated me to respond to more documents and emails (responding to people I am fine with) but I am less productive at the moment. Though that might be an adjustment period. Or just that not everything feels OK, as you say. I'll see, I guess.

There is more I could say, including about the role of you and this site and process, which is wonderful, but I'll leave it there for now. Let me know of anything else I should be exploring or doing.

Kg x

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Re: Thread for Gita

Postby jowate » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:18 am

Hi Kg
I am not in touch with it all the time but whenever I look, there it is
That's how it is. You're not looking for a 'state' that you're in contact with all the time. It is a knowing that is always available when 'looked for'.

Notice that the mind has ideas of what 'liberation' ought to look like. This does not necessarily conform with those ideas. Direct experience is authentic, the mind's beliefs are not. They might make sense in a conceptual way, but they are not direct experience.

Is that distinction absolutely clear?

T.x


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