Ready to try

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Jack'n'theBox
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Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:26 am

I was a Buddhist and practised mindfulness meditation diligently for many years but with little effect. I went to Hong Kong and became very successful in my career. One day I was in a fast food restaurant called Jack'n'theBox and was in line looking at the menu boards. Different boards with pictures and descriptions: ‘Burger deal’, ‘Filet-o-fish deal’, etc. The final board was a cartoon depiction of a Jack'n'theBox with the title, ‘Our founder Jack’. I had the sudden realisation that the ‘I’ I thought I was, was as illusory as this ‘Jack’ and produced by the same mechanism. ‘Jack’ was just colours and shapes, his ‘self’ was the effect of a story about him. I realised that ‘I’ am the same thing, an arbitrary ‘form’ whose identity is held together by the recognition of the people who share and reflect back the story of ‘me’. It felt blissful and calming to know this. However I was busy, between jobs, I got to the front of the line, ordered my food and got on with the day. I never managed to fully process the experience but I remember it as a moment that pointed beyond my ‘self’. I’m now ready to try again. Can anyone guide me?
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:16 pm

Hi Jack, should i call you Jack ?
I would be happy to guide you

So, lets get the formalities out of the way :

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too.
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/
If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we'll begin.

There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least once a day.
2. In general, the guide will ask the questions for you to respond to
3. Responses require your utmost honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Longwinded
analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation.
Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and
essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function; instructions are located in the link below this line:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660”

Could you start by saying what your expectations are from this process ?

Richard

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:34 pm

Thank you Richard, my given name is Mark.

I have read the disclaimer and agree to the conditions.

I returned to meditation after a long gap a few years ago and have been pushing on by myself. I studied Buddhism at university and have an intellectual grasp of anatta/shunyata/not-self but need help to put this aside and focus on direct experience. I think I may have glimpsed this direct experience once in the past but need your help to bring this experience into daily life. If you can help me I would be very grateful. At the very least I expect our conversations will make my meditation more purposeful and my daily routine more mindful.


Mark
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:07 pm

Hi Mark !

OK we'll just have to see what happens with your meditation and routine. Keep your mind open !

What do the labels "I" and "me" refer to in experience (in other words not as subject in thoughts) ?

Do you agree we can take experience to be made up of the seen, heard, tasted, smelled, felt ?
Is there anything else ?

Richard

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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:09 pm

PS if you click on subscribe to topic at the bottom of the page you will get an e-mail when i post

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:40 am

Hi Mark !

What do the labels "I" and "me" refer to in experience (in other words not as subject in thoughts) ?

Richard
Hi Richard

If by experience you mean daily life/interaction then "I" is used to refer not so much to my body as a seemingly coherent set of ideas, intentions, attitudes -- a personality -- expressed in communication with others. This "I" is then reflected back to me by others when they say "As Mark just said . . ." The "me" in experience (and this does seem mostly to manifest in language -- is a narrative about the self); it refers to a history, a personality tied to the body that is also "me" but not identical with it.
Do you agree we can take experience to be made up of the seen, heard, tasted, smelled, felt ? Is there anything else ?
There are also mind formations -- memories in particular. Also emotion. The physical senses trigger thought processes but the thought processes are also seemingly independent. Actually thought processes seem to make up most of my daily experience -- I am usually so caught up in thinking about things that I don't notice taste, touch, sight, feeling etc. unless it is something uncommon (an unpleasant taste or a sudden pain) or a loud noise.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:48 am

Hi Mark
If by experience you mean daily life/interaction then "I" is used to refer not so much to my body as a seemingly coherent set of ideas, intentions, attitudes -- a personality -- expressed in communication with others. This "I" is then reflected back to me by others when they say "As Mark just said . . ." The "me" in experience (and this does seem mostly to manifest in language -- is a narrative about the self); it refers to a history, a personality tied to the body that is also "me" but not identical with it.
A good description of how the illusion of self arises
richardcooper2k wrote:
Do you agree we can take experience to be made up of the seen, heard, tasted, smelled, felt ? Is there anything else ?


There are also mind formations -- memories in particular. Also emotion. The physical senses trigger thought processes but the thought processes are also seemingly independent. Actually thought processes seem to make up most of my daily experience -- I am usually so caught up in thinking about things that I don't notice taste, touch, sight, feeling etc. unless it is something uncommon (an unpleasant taste or a sudden pain) or a loud noise.
Yes, good. "the senses", thoughts and emotions (which are a thought/sensation conglomerate)
Hope you don't mind if i refer to mind formations as thoughts.
So can you see that past and future only exist in thought ? They are projections.
Good to notice the "getting caught up in thoughts" thing happens a lot (where most of us live, most of the time)
Can you find "I" or "me" outside of thought ?

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:29 am

Hi Mark

Can you find "I" or "me" outside of thought ?
No I can't. "I" is always already constituted in thought.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:52 pm

OK, good
You might have noticed the mind is like a labeling machine. When sense experience arises, the mind labels it with a thought and an object "appears" distinct from sense experience
We can say direct experience is when no thoughts are arising and there is just "bare experience". Or when we start to "see past" thoughts the sensory information comes more into the focus.
Are "you" in control of what thoughts arise or do they just appear in awareness ?

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:56 pm

Are "you" in control of what thoughts arise or do they just appear in awareness ?
No I'm not in control of my thoughts. I can't direct them like navigating a car. Recently I had to decide if I would buy a new house so I tried repeatedly to 'think through' the plus side and down side. I was writing notes on a piece of paper but each thought triggered another not necessarily closely related thought and coming to a decision was very circuitous. Then, after 'I' made the decision to go ahead and make an offer, the next day 'I' regretted the decision but stuck with it. Then the day after I felt it was the right decision again. My feelings were dependent on whether the good points or bad points were most pressing on my consciousness at the time. There was no stable 'I' to which the decision could be attached. What I 'thought' about the new house kept changing.

Also as part of my job I have to write long documents. I'm an experienced writer so I sit down to the job, thoughts arise, I write them down, a bit of editing and rearranging and I'm done. The thoughts just arise, I can't conjure them up.

Sometimes thoughts ambush me. A bad memory may be triggered and I get lost in the recollection of the bad experience -- this triggers pain, regret, anger, resentment. I tell myself 'you are the only person on the planet with this specific memory, so let it go'. I'm getting better at standing back from negative thoughts -- just letting them pass by without reliving the emotions once associated with them.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:37 pm

No I'm not in control of my thoughts. I can't direct them like navigating a car. Recently I had to decide if I would buy a new house so I tried repeatedly to 'think through' the plus side and down side. I was writing notes on a piece of paper but each thought triggered another not necessarily closely related thought and coming to a decision was very circuitous. Then, after 'I' made the decision to go ahead and make an offer, the next day 'I' regretted the decision but stuck with it. Then the day after I felt it was the right decision again. My feelings were dependent on whether the good points or bad points were most pressing on my consciousness at the time. There was no stable 'I' to which the decision could be attached. What I 'thought' about the new house kept changing.
Sounds like a succession of thoughts and feelings were arising......
Are you the maker of decisions ?
Are decisions made or do they just happen ?
What is regret other than arising thoughts and feelings ?
Can you find a causal link between thoughts and feelings or do they just appear to be related ?
Sometimes thoughts ambush me. A bad memory may be triggered and I get lost in the recollection of the bad experience -- this triggers pain, regret, anger, resentment. I tell myself 'you are the only person on the planet with this specific memory, so let it go'. I'm getting better at standing back from negative thoughts -- just letting them pass by without reliving the emotions once associated with them.
What gets ambushed ?
What gets lost ?
What lets go ?
What stands back ?

Is it all just thoughts and feelings arising ?
Is it all the fullness of life happening ?

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:10 am


Sounds like a succession of thoughts and feelings were arising......
Are you the maker of decisions ?
Are decisions made or do they just happen ?
Society holds us accountable for decisions we make, signatures on contracts are enforcable. But if you look behind the process that leads to the decision to sign the contract, then that is a flow of conflicting thoughts and feelings which carries on until a momentum is reached one way or the other (but even then conflict can still arise over whether it was the right decision). So there is no ibiding 'I' that made that decision.

What is regret other than arising thoughts and feelings ?
Can you find a causal link between thoughts and feelings or do they just appear to be related ?
Thoughts and feelings appear to be related because it is hard to imagine feeling happy at the thought of a painful experience. But this relationship cannot be causal because our feelings contantly change in relation to thoughts. For example we may fall in love with someone and our thougths about that person are warm and positive. But then we may fall out of love and our thoughts about that person are now indifferent or even negative or embarrassing. Thoughts, memories and the feelings aroused by them are not consistent across time.
Sometimes thoughts ambush me. A bad memory may be triggered and I get lost in the recollection of the bad experience -- this triggers pain, regret, anger, resentment. I tell myself 'you are the only person on the planet with this specific memory, so let it go'. I'm getting better at standing back from negative thoughts -- just letting them pass by without reliving the emotions once associated with them.
What gets ambushed ?
What gets lost ?
What lets go ?
What stands back ?

Is it all just thoughts and feelings arising ?
Is it all the fullness of life happening ?
Standing back isn't a good analogy. It's more like there is a large field upon which a game is being played. 'I' am a player on the field and the other players all have objects (thoughts) that they are trying to pass to me. I see an object -- an attractive person I start a fantasy about -- a sad news story that makes me upset -- an antique chair I must have -- and I run with that thought until another more attractive/demanding thought catches my attention and I pick that up and run with it. There is no meaning to the game -- running with the thoughts never leads anywhere. Instead of 'I' standing back and retreating to the sidelines to watch the game, it is more like I take on the perspective of the field itself. The field is the mind or consciousness upon which the players operate. The field isn't part of the game -- it isn't interested in the machinations of the players. It just is. For a few moments it is possible to just be the field. When this happens the players gradually leave the field and the field just is. Awareness doesn not need to have an object to be aware.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:51 pm

Hi Mark
Here is a explanation of direct experience for you to take a look at
Let me know if any questions come up
http://this-is-cosmik.blogspot.fr/2012/ ... ce-de.html
Try to look for answers to questions by referring to direct experience rather than what you know (thoughts)
Sometimes it helps to type your response as you are experiencing as after the event we can only access it through memory (thoughts)
But if you look behind the process that leads to the decision to sign the contract, then that is a flow of conflicting thoughts and feelings which carries on until a momentum is reached one way or the other (but even then conflict can still arise over whether it was the right decision).
What is this conflict other than thoughts and feelings arising ?
Is there really a thread running through it all or is that projected onto experience as "I" ?
Standing back isn't a good analogy. It's more like there is a large field upon which a game is being played. 'I' am a player on the field and the other players all have objects (thoughts) that they are trying to pass to me. I see an object -- an attractive person I start a fantasy about -- a sad news story that makes me upset -- an antique chair I must have -- and I run with that thought until another more attractive/demanding thought catches my attention and I pick that up and run with it. There is no meaning to the game -- running with the thoughts never leads anywhere. Instead of 'I' standing back and retreating to the sidelines to watch the game, it is more like I take on the perspective of the field itself. The field is the mind or consciousness upon which the players operate. The field isn't part of the game -- it isn't interested in the machinations of the players. It just is. For a few moments it is possible to just be the field. When this happens the players gradually leave the field and the field just is. Awareness doesn not need to have an object to be aware.
OK, but we are trying to see what is and isn't present ALL the time.
Thoughts will always arise. We are not in control of thoughts or their content. Even after "seeing"
There is no "state" to attain. There is no one to attain it.
But once "I" has been seen to be illusory, EXPERIENTIALLY, even when thoughts of "I" arise, they loose their power to mesmerize.
Life goes on, nothing is lost, "I"/"me" is just seen to not be real.

Get up and walk around. Is there a controller required for this or does walking just happen ?
Can you isolate a decision to stop walking ?
Let me know how you get on

Richard

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Ready to try

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:45 pm

Thank you Richard. I will spend the day being mindful of direct experience and try to speak from that experience in my next reply to you.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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richardcooper2k
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Re: Ready to try

Postby richardcooper2k » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:10 pm

OK Mark
While you are doing that notice how easy it is to fall back into thought
All thoughts will indicate is the assumptions and beliefs that are already there
You have to see (not think) that thoughts are just labels
Some point to real things that can be found like chair
Others point to non existent things like spider-man and "me"
So knowing there is no "i" is not enough
You have to look and see
With warmth, Richard


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