looking for a guide

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pop
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looking for a guide

Postby pop » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:14 pm

I've been practicing for 6 years and would like to break the fetter of fixed self.

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Xain
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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:21 pm

Hi Pop

I may be willing to guide you.
What sort of practising have you been doing?
Tell me a little more about your desire for this experience.

Xain ♥

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Ok Xain thanks for the reply,

So i started meditating 6 years ago.
The mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana.
I went on short retreats immediately and kept a very regular daily practice.
I lengthened the retreats over time to a week then two and have now done 2 retreats of a month in silence.
Alongside this i practice puja regularly. I live in a community of buddhists and follow the 5 precepts.
I would go on 6 weeks of retreats a year and various weekend retreats.
I study the Dharma weekly. I'm part of an active sangha.

The desire for this experience comes from a realisation over the years that the Buddha's path does seem to do as it says. The more i engaged the more real the teachings became.
I have had experiences in meditation which may hint at what a non dual reality is like.
Also continous positive mental states have been very enjoyable when they arise.

On another level i felt that my life was lacking something.
The career and family life just don't feel enough.
I've given up my career and moved away from my birth place to focus on seeing the truth of non-self.
I work a menial job, happily.
I've no regrets and i'm committed to this life now.
I've no responsibilities so i seek out of adventure too.
But also i have begun to recognise the pain or discomfort in the papancha of the mind. the endless chattering.
I teach a bit of meditation and i see the benefits and potential of this and how to teach from Insight would be such a boon for humanity. the more people teaching from Insight the more we could help save the planet.
So there's the pull - fascination and excitement of seeing things as they are. and the push - away from low levels of awareness and dukkha. And finally the capability to teach others from a position of direct knowledge.
I also believe now that stream entry, breaking the first fetter is easier than many people think.

At present i look for the self in meditation. sometimes using the 5 Skandhas as a tool.
But usually i try to ground myself in my body. Engage/recognise positive emotion, notice the sounds etc howing the arising and passing of experience and then become aware of awareness itself. if and when i feel steady enough i then look at what seems to point to my self.
But i definitly need guidance at this. i have studied a lot of the theory in groups but i think i'm missing a key or something. and it feels like it's a simple thing i'm missing. I'm missing the point, in every sense.

Hope you can help.

pop.

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:58 pm

Thank you for your reply, Pop.
I share a little of your background.
I was a spiritual seeker for only 8 months before 'seeing'. I 'loosely' belong to a Sangha here in my area.
Just recently I read 'The Heart of Understanding' by Thich Nhat Hanh which as you may know is the commentary on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra, and the 5 Skandhas feature heavily in this. This rang a bell here with me.
All Skandhas are empty / devoid of substance. No 'I', no 'Me'. Bingo! :-)

Just one other thing from your opening message . . .
I have had experiences in meditation which may hint at what a non dual reality is like.
Please be aware that we are not looking for 'an experience' here. You probably know this already, but I thought it best to mention it at this point. Experiences of all kinds come and go. It is best to not have any expectations to what 'seeing' will be like, or what will happen afterwards.

Anyway, I could waffle on for ages but this place is the place for seeing through this illusion of self.
Your chances of 'seeing' are directly proportional to your desire to see this through, and I would prefer it if you were genuinely interested and committed to this process.

Please post regularly - At least once a day - If you cannot do this, just let me know. Momentum in our discussion is very important.

Please ensure you read this guide:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... f=16&t=221

And please check the Disclaimer on this page here: (Scroll down the page)
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

Xain ♥

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:26 am

Hi Xian,

Thanks for the reminder about experiences.
Yes I'll keep beginner's mind attitude as much as possible.
I've read the articles you mentioned and i'm committed.
There will be the odd weekend retreat and longer week retreats when i won't be able to keep in touch.
But i'll let you know well in advance. Is that ok?
One question: you wrote:

This rang a bell here with me.
All Skandhas are empty / devoid of substance. No 'I', no 'Me'. Bingo! :-)

Was it that simple?
I know practioners who have studied and practiced for decades who haven't 'got it'.
How do we know when it's not merely intellectual or another deluded state?
I'm asking this at the start because i know how i reacted to that sentence (really? i'm not sure about that) will stay with me unless i ask about it.

Thanks Xian.

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:55 pm

Was it that simple?
Simple in reference to what?
In terms of reality and the truth it is the simplest thing possible.
In terms of the mind, it is the most difficult thing possible. No amount of mental analysis/study will reach it.
I know practioners who have studied and practiced for decades who haven't 'got it'.
The thing is, there is nothing to 'get'. What we are seeking is already here.
No amount of 'Study' for decades or any other time will attain it.

The mind operates on one level. Direct Experience operates on another.
A mental understanding of a thing is on one level. Knowing the truth in your own experience is another.
How do we know when it's not merely intellectual or another deluded state?
I would assume you already have an intellectual understanding, and are capable of realising if a 'deluded state' has been reached or not.

Just trust to this process, give it 110% and it may be found that all the questions you have will automagically answer themselves :-)

Incidentally, I don't mind you bringing things up as they appear to you.
Bear in mind though, that the main focus of out conversation will be for you to find the answer for yourself.
As such, it will be mostly me asking you questions for you to answer.

Let's start with this. Consider the following phrase as if I was saying it directly to you:

There is no 'you'. The thing you refer to as 'I', 'me' does not exist. It never did exist. It never will.

What comes up? Any feelings?

Xain ♥

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:48 pm

What comes up immediately is:
I know this but i still feel the 'I'.
I know there is no 'I' but i can't see past the feeling of an 'I'; possibly because i can't grasp what understanding this would feel like.

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:02 pm

What comes up immediately is:
I know this but i still feel the 'I'.
I know there is no 'I' but i can't see past the feeling of an 'I'; possibly because i can't grasp what understanding this would feel like.
Cool - Simple and straightforward.
It can happen that people have fears and apprehension when such things are mentioned. This is mainly what I wanted to check for.

You have a mental understanding of no 'I' - Good.
We need to move beyond this so you have direct experience of this.
I can't grasp what understanding this would feel like.
I know we have mentioned this, but it is important not to have any pre-conceptions of what (if anything) will happen - What things will 'feel' like. Each individual is unique. Just relax the analytical mind, go with the flow and see what happens.

Moving on . . .

There are two main crucial aspects that must be in place in order to see through this illusion.

Firstly, a definite desire to achieve this. A half-hearted, not-really-bothered attempt will not achieve anything.
You have already given your assurance on this, and I am happy with your response. Good.

The second, and possibly the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to answer the questions I ask from DIRECT EXPERIENCE.
Not from thinking, analysis, thoughts, mind, data, training, education etc. For the moment put all your Buddhist teaching to one side. This can be the most difficult thing to grasp for some seekers.

An article on this is available here: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

Put very simply, you must answer from what you feel is correct, here, right now in the immediate moment.

You are looking for the EXPERIENCE of seeing no self - Constantly going to the mind for the answer will leave you on the mental level of understanding of the subject. You already are at this point.

One further thing to assist our conversation is the use of the QUOTE function like I am doing above. You can learn how to do this on this page here: http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Don't get stressed out by all this - There are no right or wrong answers, and we can deal with whatever comes up at the time when it does.

Ok, if you are happy with that, let's launch the skyrocket.

Right now, in your Direct Experience, what does 'I' point to? What is this 'me' you refer to? Does it have a location, size, shape or quality?

Xain ♥

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pop
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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:24 pm

ok skyrocket let's go.
I'm trying to answer from direct experience.
It's ...'me' (!) it's [my name]
It's this block of stuff taing up space.
the personality.
Mainly personality and physical / energetic ( as in i push something, it falls over. i walk into a room, people see me).

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Xain
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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:59 pm

I'm trying to answer from direct experience.
It's ...'me' (!) it's [my name]
It's this block of stuff taing up space.
the personality.
Mainly personality and physical / energetic ( as in i push something, it falls over. i walk into a room, people see me).
Great, Pop.
So 'me' is the body.
Also 'me' is the controller of the body.

Personality? That's probably not something in your Direct Experience right now, maybe more of an answer from future/past and the mind. Not to matter.

I must go to bed now and will be away most of Saturday - I should be able to continue with further replies, late on Saturday night.

Xain ♥

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:19 am

Hi Xian,
hope you slept well.

Formal sitting meditation this morning:
Looking for the 'I' directly.
Noticing thoughts referencing back to 'me' which was another thought.
So continuous mental events.
Still had felt sense of 'me' though.
I began to see how 'I' refers to all the historical traces of me. everything up to this present point i was calling 'I'.
But in the present none of that was there. less weight.
Does this sound like a lot of thinking?
At the time it didn't. i did get quite still and focused due to the enthusiasm to try to look directly.
I had a thought/feeling/sense of how experience is verb-ing and not noun-ing; in relation to the idea of 'me' as solid but historical and the present just happening.
The 'me' seemed like a lot to remember and the moment seemed much freer.
I got the sense that everything happening was a guide to the answer/ was the answer.
Putting it down in words makes it more conceptual. maybe it was just conceptual.
But noticing how thoughts are labeling every little thing and then referring it to 'me' which is actually another thought seemed true.
And yet i couldn't shift the sense of a 'me' behind the whole thing.
It occurred to me that i'd have to let go of all i knew, all the 'me'.
I knew this from books but it struck me here for the first time what that might mean.
And it excited rather than scared me.
A point: I am excited about dropping the whole sense of 'I'.
I like myself. i don't think i've any self loathing. It did feel like i'd be saying goodbye to a steady friend, yet time to move on. Sad but exciting.
Ok now maybe i'm over thinking?
To sum up: morning sit - 'I' was thoughts referencing thoughts yet i couldn't realsie the implications of this.

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Xain
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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:58 am

Noticing thoughts referencing back to 'me' which was another thought.
Yes, this is a great observation.
The mind is a labelling machine. Automatically referencing anything in experience as 'I'.
If a thought appears, mind says 'I had a thought' - Which is another thought :-)
If something is heard, 'I hear it'.
If something is seeing, 'I see it'.
But notice the automatic nature ASSUMES that all is happening to 'I'. To an object referenced as 'me'.
What we need to do it to find out exactly, specifically and clearly what this 'I', this 'me' is.
Still had felt sense of 'me' though.
There is always a sense of 'being'. This is before the mind.
An inalienable sense of existence.
It is instinctively known that we 'are'. We are here. The questions is, WHAT is here?
It occurred to me that I'd have to let go of all I knew, all the 'me'.
Yes! :-)
But also notice the paradox here. How can 'I' let go of 'I'?
Past 'story' and memories are something we can deal with more later.
I am excited about dropping the whole sense of 'I'.
Really good! :-)
Does this sound like a lot of thinking?
Yes, of course. But you are on the right track here, and your enthusiasm is really good to see!
The thoughts you are presenting are showing that 'I' is something related to the mind.
In order to 'see' we will need to leave the mind and thought behind, and really LOOK Directly at the experience here and now.

We've spoken a lot about thought and you have meditated on this, so let's really look at it deeply.
We say 'I had a thought', 'My thoughts', 'My mind' etc

Think any thought - Anything at all e.g. 'I'm going to go into the kitchen and make a cup of coffee'.
Look closely, right now, in your Direct Experience.
Where did that thought come from exactly? Where does the thought 'appear'?
Can you pinpoint an exact specific location where the thought 'is'?


Xain ♥

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:20 am

Ok so at first and immediately it seems the thought is spontaneous, from nowhere.
looking deeper three ways become apparent:
From external stimuli ie perception thro senses
From remembering - be it planning or the past
from a previous thought.
So that's the cause of the thought.
Where does it appear and where is it located - it is the voice in my mind. So not my mind, rather a sentence / voice.
That seems to be in my head.

The point that there is always a sense of 'being', before the mind, an inalienable sense of existence is very helpful.
Do i just accept that for now?

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Re: looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:27 pm

The point that there is always a sense of 'being', before the mind, an inalienable sense of existence is very helpful. Do i just accept that for now?
Is there anything that can be done to reject it?
(The thought) seems to be in my head.
Do you actually experience a thought located inside a head?
Check once more. Where is the thought? Where does it appear?
From external stimuli ie perception thro senses.
From remembering - be it planning or the past
from a previous thought.
Try not to drift off into thinking and analysis. Look at where a specific thought (e.g. make a cup of coffee) comes from and where is appears in your immediate Direct Experience.
Ok so at first and immediately it seems the thought is spontaneous, from nowhere.
Good. At first, and immediately is the only answer worth having here.
Ok, the thought is spontaneous and appears from nowhere.
Check once more, is this true?

An additional question. Do you know what your next thought is going to be?

Xain ♥

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pop
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Re: looking for a guide

Postby pop » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:19 pm

The more i look at thoughts the less thoughts appear.
The next one is impossible tobpredict.
After it appears (from nowhere ) it is possible to see a link.
But this is actually just the next thought on.
Looking at them slows them.


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