Thread for Dai

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jowate
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Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:06 pm

Hello D,

Here's your thread.

First, 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 assume you're up for that, but let me know.

Then - please outline what your expectations and feelings are regarding awakening/liberation/stream entry/seeing through the self-view. What do you hope to get from what we're going to be doing here?

T.x

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Dai
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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:24 am

Hello T, thanks for getting back to me so quickly

Firstly to confirm that i have read and am ok with the ground rules you mention.

So what do I think about the self. Do I identify with a self? If I ask myself that question, then what I see as myself seems to be a cumulation of all my current sense experience, bound together by memory to make it appear one common current experience, including the current thought, and linked by memory to give a sense of continuity of experience. I cannot identify any one fixed centre, or watcher, and all these elements of sensory experience and thought seem to be in constant flux.

What do I want to get out of this engagement through Liberation Unleashed? To answer I will relate two elements that were particularly strong on the retreat I did with you last October. Although the retreat was on the Brahmaviharas, the issue that I seemed to be led into was that of self. The sense of dealing with that koan of self/ no self made me feel that my head was in a gigantic vice. It was intensely uncomfortable, but also felt as if there could be a "breaking through" that discomfort into a wider way of seeing. Unfortunately one morning that pressure appeared to have been released, without any deeper seeing, and I could not re-engage with the koan for the remainder of the time I was there.
The other element arose out of the Brahmavihara practise - that of becoming aware of the Heart Centre, and asking the question "what is my heart's deepest desire, what is my heart's release". The answers that came back were of a sense of confinement, of constriction, of limitation in my heart, and a great wish for expansion, release, liberation from this sense of a limited self.
So I guess that pretty much is the territory I would like to explore, so I'll leave it at that for now. Look forward to hearing from you

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:24 am

Hi D,

Your expectations are reasonable – ‘you’ won’t get anything, in fact, as ‘you’ don’t exist as such, but the constriction and so forth that comes from believing in a separate, fixed, substantial self entity – which the heart longs for release from – starts dissolving as soon as the truth of our being is directly known.
So what do I think about the self. Do I identify with a self? If I ask myself that question, then what I see as myself seems to be a cumulation of all my current sense experience, bound together by memory to make it appear one common current experience, including the current thought, and linked by memory to give a sense of continuity of experience. I cannot identify any one fixed centre, or watcher, and all these elements of sensory experience and thought seem to be in constant flux.
Good, thanks for that. Now, this gives rise to a number of things you need to look at.

When you write ‘Do I identify with a self’, what does ‘I’ refer to there? In direct experience, where is that self-identification taking place? Please look at this in direct experience and write me your observations.
what I see as myself seems to be a cumulation of all my current sense experience, bound together by memory to make it appear one common current experience, including the current thought, and linked by memory to give a sense of continuity of experience.


That’s a good enumeration of the various factors involved in the perpetuation of the self-view. The self-view or belief is ‘projected’ onto all this. Sense experience, current mental activities (including memory) and the sense of continuity of experience are all naturally arising and in themselves non-problematic. Thoughts / memories are only problematic if the story they are telling is bought into as real. What I mean by their being ‘problematic’ is that, delusively regarded in this way, they give rise to suffering.

So this is one thing that needs looking at. Another is a variant story – i.e. the belief that there is a ‘me’ experiencing all this sense-arising, or that there is a ‘me’ as agent – the thinker of the thoughts, the one making the decisions, and so forth. So we’ll take these in turn and look at what is actually going on in direct experience.

First, though, you need to be clear about the distinction between direct experience and concept. This may or may not be obvious!

Here’s something to do: shut your eyes, notice the sounds arising for a few minutes. Then write me a description of what you’re directly experiencing.

T.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:54 pm

Sat with the intention of attending to sound sensation. Became aware of three main sounds - a regular scraping sound from behind me, a fair way away (clearing path); a steady middle tone hiss to the left, fairly close, with intermittent taps and clanks (radiator); and a quiet very high pitched whine in the lleft side of my head (tinnitus)
My attention switched between these, and other intermittent sounds and sensation, as well as arising thoughts. Location of the sounds and identification of them seemed automatic and immediate

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:46 pm

Don't forget this one too:
When you write ‘Do I identify with a self’, what does ‘I’ refer to there? In direct experience, where is that self-identification taking place? Please look at this in direct experience and write me your observations.
T.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:20 pm

OK, thanks for that

So - it seems that the 'I' is in thoughts, particularly questionning thoughts.

So I sat to meditate this morning (or at least, someone/ thing did!) and there were the sensations associated with it. The feel of the stool, the sounds, visual images etc, just happening. And then thought popped in 'who is meditating here?' And immeditately the answer came back 'well I am, of course". Which then leads to an inner dialogue 'but that's just a thought', 'yes, but its me thinking it, isn't it!', and so it goes circling round. It's possible to break the cycle and just come back to the sensations, the experience, but the 'I' goblin feels as if it is just sitting hidden away waiting to pop out again at the least provocation.

I guess there is some 'understanding' there that the 'I' is illusory, but it's still operating there as an underlying assumption of my mind. 'I' can question it, when it arises, but the very questionning seems to be a functionning of the 'I'

D

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:12 pm

Hi D,
Sat with the intention of attending to sound sensation. Became aware of three main sounds - a regular scraping sound from behind me, a fair way away (clearing path); a steady middle tone hiss to the left, fairly close, with intermittent taps and clanks (radiator); and a quiet very high pitched whine in the lleft side of my head (tinnitus)
My attention switched between these, and other intermittent sounds and sensation, as well as arising thoughts. Location of the sounds and identification of them seemed automatic and immediate


The point here is to note what is direct experience of sound and what is labelling, i.e. conceptual activity. You’ve noted the labelling in brackets – is it clear in direct experience that the sounds themselves are distinct from ‘radiator’, ‘tinnitus’ etc. as labels?

Good observation that sense of location and identification seemed ‘automatic’ (although are all sounds always labelled – and ditto for other sense-arisings)?
When you write ‘Do I identify with a self’, what does ‘I’ refer to there? In direct experience, where is that self-identification taking place? Please look at this in direct experience and write me your observations.

So - it seems that the 'I' is in thoughts, particularly questioning thoughts.

So I sat to meditate this morning (or at least, someone/ thing did!) and there were the sensations associated with it. The feel of the stool, the sounds, visual images etc, just happening. And then thought popped in 'who is meditating here?' And immediately the answer came back 'well I am, of course". Which then leads to an inner dialogue 'but that's just a thought', 'yes, but its me thinking it, isn't it!', and so it goes circling round. It's possible to break the cycle and just come back to the sensations, the experience, but the 'I' goblin feels as if it is just sitting hidden away waiting to pop out again at the least provocation.

I guess there is some 'understanding' there that the 'I' is illusory, but it's still operating there as an underlying assumption of my mind. 'I' can question it, when it arises, but the very questioning seems to be a functioning of the 'I'


Ok so let’s look a bit more closely at thoughts. The assumption that there is a ‘self’ involved is, as you observe, itself a thought.

In the moment that there are just ‘bare’ sensations, is there a sense of ‘self’ present? Can a ‘self’ be found at that moment?

When a thought like ‘this is me thinking’ arises, is there an experience of ‘me’ deciding to think that thought, then thinking it? Or does the thought just arise without precognition?

You can investigate similarly when talking with someone – are ‘you’ thinking through what you are about to say, or is there a sense of the words just coming out?

If a thought says ‘it’s me thinking’, does this have to be believed / bought into? Is it of necessity ‘true’?

T.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:10 am

Right, hello again T

I haven't really sorted out this quote function, so it may not work too well

"although are all sounds always labelled – and ditto for other sense-arisings)? "
That's interesting - if a sensory perception is rather dominant, or particularly characteristic, a label will usually attach. Other, more transient or less clear perceptions may just come and go and just be noted

"Ok so let’s look a bit more closely at thoughts. The assumption that there is a ‘self’ involved is, as you observe, itself a thought."
Yes, absolutely

"In the moment that there are just ‘bare’ sensations, is there a sense of ‘self’ present? Can a ‘self’ be found at that moment?"
No, absolutely not. At those times there are just the sensations, even just thoughts, arising and going, without attachment.

"When a thought like ‘this is me thinking’ arises, is there an experience of ‘me’ deciding to think that thought, then thinking it? Or does the thought just arise without precognition?"
Well yes, when I attend (and of course, who is the "I" that is attending? Is this a problem of language?) anyway - when I attend to that thought, there is just the thought. It is just a thought of "I", there is no experience attached to it. There is nothing to be called "I" to be experienced, just the passing thought.

"You can investigate similarly when talking with someone – are ‘you’ thinking through what you are about to say, or is there a sense of the words just coming out?"
Just the same process seems to be going on there. The words emerge. In conversation, the responses just happen. Even when there is a 'gap' to allow a more considered response, the decision about what to say seems to happen somewhere else and just emerge.

"If a thought says ‘it’s me thinking’, does this have to be believed / bought into? Is it of necessity ‘true’?"
Ok, no it doesn't. When considered, there does not appear to be an identifiable "me" thinking "it's me thinking"!! It's just another thought.

So all this appears entirely valid, and can be "seen through", especially in meditation. But this does not appear to have brought any release, any shift of perception, any loss of this sense of constriction within this world/ self view. As soon as I relax my effort the sense of "I'm reacting, I'm craving, I'm experiencing" jumps straight back in again. It's still "I'm struggling with this problem"

Where now !?

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:37 pm

BTW, if it looks as if I didnt reply to all your comments in one of your earlier replies - I have just noticed that there was more of it than I thought! I have just noticed that I only read the bottom half and didnt realise there was more off the screen. Apols!

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:14 pm

Hi D,
"When a thought like ‘this is me thinking’ arises, is there an experience of ‘me’ deciding to think that thought, then thinking it? Or does the thought just arise without precognition?"
Well yes, when I attend (and of course, who is the "I" that is attending? Is this a problem of language?) anyway - when I attend to that thought, there is just the thought. It is just a thought of "I", there is no experience attached to it. There is nothing to be called "I" to be experienced, just the passing thought.


If ‘I’ is seen to be just a thought, how can a thought attend to anything? Do thoughts ‘experience’ or are they ‘experiences’ – look in direct experience.

What is it that ‘attends’ to a thought, and how does that ‘attending’ come about?
"If a thought says ‘it’s me thinking’, does this have to be believed / bought into? Is it of necessity ‘true’?"

Ok, no it doesn't. When considered, there does not appear to be an identifiable "me" thinking "it's me thinking"!! It's just another thought.

So all this appears entirely valid, and can be "seen through", especially in meditation. But this does not appear to have brought any release, any shift of perception, any loss of this sense of constriction within this world/ self view. As soon as I relax my effort the sense of "I'm reacting, I'm craving, I'm experiencing" jumps straight back in again. It's still "I'm struggling with this problem"

Where now !?


Look at expectations again. Notice that the ‘I’ thoughts are arising of themselves ‘as soon as I relax my effort’. Is there a belief that they should stop? Does the arising of ‘I’ thoughts mean that there is of necessity a really-existing entity to which they refer?

Also, look at the kind of effort you mention there. What is the efforting for? Is it to ‘stop the ‘I’ thoughts arising’? Who is making the effort and why?

There is no ‘self’ under any circumstances. When a self is believed in, there is no self. When acting out of delusion, anger, etc., there is no self. And when thoughts like ‘I’m reacting, I’m craving’ etc. arise, there is no self doing it.

There is nothing that needs not to happen (sorry about the double negatives!) – but look at that: whatever happens, happens. There is never a self doing any of it.

‘I’m struggling with this problem’ – where does the problem exist? Where does the ‘one who has the problem’ exist?

Can things be allowed to be just as they are without buying into stories of responsibility and agency?

T.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:21 pm

BTW, if it looks as if I didnt reply to all your comments in one of your earlier replies - I have just noticed that there was more of it than I thought! I have just noticed that I only read the bottom half and didnt realise there was more off the screen. Apols!

D
Ok, just go back and look / respond to the ones you didn't before. Thanks.

T.

P.s. Using the quote function: Use 'Post Reply' button rather than 'Quick Reply'. Select the text you want to have in
the quote. Click 'Quote' in line of buttons above the box your post appears in. You can also do bold, italics and underline, and even change the font colour and size.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:37 am

Right, some loss of momentum there - loss of one family member off on retreat, invasion of others in the firm of family visiting! But I have been reflecting on this through this time. There is a gradual sense of expansion, of relaxation around it and in my general experience
If ‘I’ is seen to be just a thought, how can a thought attend to anything? Do thoughts ‘experience’ or are they ‘experiences’ – look in direct experience.

What is it that ‘attends’ to a thought, and how does that ‘attending’ come about?
So, yes, the thought is just experienced. Attention just occurs. Intention is an interesting area for reflection, but in experience, the intention just manifests.
Look at expectations again. Notice that the ‘I’ thoughts are arising of themselves ‘as soon as I relax my effort’. Is there a belief that they should stop? Does the arising of ‘I’ thoughts mean that there is of necessity a really-existing entity to which they refer?

Also, look at the kind of effort you mention there. What is the efforting for? Is it to ‘stop the ‘I’ thoughts arising’? Who is making the effort and why?
There did appear to be some expectation there. Possibly related to other reports I had read or heard. But in fact the expectation was just a sense, a thought in experience. It was just there. As are these "I" thoughts. The purpose of the efforting appears to be to keep attention on thoughts, on the lack of content, but again the effort is made or not made. There is no choice experienced in direct experience.
There is no ‘self’ under any circumstances. When a self is believed in, there is no self. When acting out of delusion, anger, etc., there is no self. And when thoughts like ‘I’m reacting, I’m craving’ etc. arise, there is no self doing it.

There is nothing that needs not to happen (sorry about the double negatives!) – but look at that: whatever happens, happens. There is never a self doing any of it.

‘I’m struggling with this problem’ – where does the problem exist? Where does the ‘one who has the problem’ exist?
That's apparent now - that where a jolt of irritation or anger arises, or there is a sense of craving, that those experiences just "are", they are there in experience. There is no sense of an entity that has willed them, they are just there. The "struggle" is part of experience at that moment, part of a thought or sense of that moment.

Thoughts are taking on the form of a background commentary to experience, part of the experience, but not by anyone, not for anyone
And there question of whether things are "allowed to be", in fact they just are, or they aren't. No choice about it, in terms of what is present in experience
Can things be allowed to be just as they are without buying into stories of responsibility and agency?
So in experience there is no responsibility or agency. Or at least, there may be in the content of thought, but there is no chooser or responsible adult present enacting it. There is no choice there, what is present in experience is what is.

So this sense of expansion and relaxation continues to grow. I'll end there for now, guests are stirring and needing breakfast

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:20 pm

Hi D,

Good observations there.
Intention is an interesting area for reflection, but in experience, the intention just manifests.


So does more reflection need to be done here? The point would be that intention as you say manifests, so from whom or what does it manifest? Maybe this is obvious in direct experience but it would be good to see your response.
Also, look at the kind of effort you mention there. What is the efforting for? Is it to ‘stop the ‘I’ thoughts arising’? Who is making the effort and why?

There did appear to be some expectation there. Possibly related to other reports I had read or heard. But in fact the expectation was just a sense, a thought in experience. It was just there. As are these "I" thoughts. The purpose of the efforting appears to be to keep attention on thoughts, on the lack of content, but again the effort is made or not made. There is no choice experienced in direct experience.


… possibly this answers my question. Anything else to say about this?
There is no sense of an entity that has willed them, they are just there …
Thoughts are taking on the form of a background commentary to experience, part of the experience, but not by anyone, not for anyone …
So in experience there is no responsibility or agency …


So these statements seem pretty unequivocal – is there any doubt about what is seen here?

Just a question about:
. Or at least, there may be in the content of thought, but there is no chooser or responsible adult present enacting it.


Not sure what you are getting at by the clause in italics.

Hope the guests are well-fed (our 14 guests here certainly are!) :)

T.

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby Dai » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:56 pm

Right, Hello T

Guests having departed ....

And do take good care of your guests - at least one extra special one there!

So -
Intention is an interesting area for reflection, but in experience, the intention just manifests.


So does more reflection need to be done here? The point would be that intention as you say manifests, so from whom or what does it manifest? Maybe this is obvious in direct experience but it would be good to see your response.
Well, it is an interesting area for reflection, but of course it is all just speculation. I could specuate for hours about how intentions are formed and how they come about, but in experience there is no "intender" or "intention". Thoughts or actions just manifest, without any visible "thinker" or "initiator of action". The question of how thoughts are formed or actions initiated is entirely metaphorical, (or metaphysical - or both!) as far as the practical experience of thought and actions are concerned. In experience these things just happen. There is no visible initiator. This applies to choices as well. Choices appear to be made, but there is no "chooser" apparent or detectable. The outcome of choice occurs. Or at least, action or speech or thought occurs. So there does not seem to be much doubt about that in exerience.
. Or at least, there may be in the content of thought, but there is no chooser or responsible adult present enacting it.


Not sure what you are getting at by the clause in italics.
What I was implying here, I think is that the content of a thought might be "I am responsible for this" or "I am causing that", but that is just the content of the thought, not a reality, there is no detectable agent to be seen. Again it is just thought, and it comes and it goes.
There is no ‘self’ under any circumstances. When a self is believed in, there is no self. When acting out of delusion, anger, etc., there is no self. And when thoughts like ‘I’m reacting, I’m craving’ etc. arise, there is no self doing it.

There is nothing that needs not to happen (sorry about the double negatives!) – but look at that: whatever happens, happens. There is never a self doing any of it.
Your quote above seems very relevant - in a particular situation over the weekend some tension and irritation was arising, but as it did it was possible to see that it was just arising thought and emotion, arising and passing in quite a spacious background. A comment by a local friend comes to mind, who was on retreat at your place, and said on her return the thought came to her "who on earth is in charge here". (I dont think she meant - of the retreat centre!) No one to find, I guess

So what is the effect on my mental state. It seems overall calmer, more spacious, accepting. Not really joyful, more open and "right", as mental impressions arise and pass. The commentary is seen as a commentary, and there is a little frustration with it, it is superfluous.

Must close now

D

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Re: Thread for Dai

Postby jowate » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:34 pm

Hi D,

Good, that clarifies things. So any residual doubts or perplexities re this:
There is no 'self' here, as experiencer, doer, agent or ... whatever! There never has been, under any circumstances, including apparent 'selfing' - e.g. anger, hate, craving, ignorance. Whatever happens is just happening with no 'self' involved - not just 'here' but everywhere / everything ...
T.

p.s. guests are being well looked after!


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