Thread for Mark

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perrym
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Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:54 pm

Hi Mark,

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Soooooo .... let's get started!

Could you write a little about what brings you here, where you hope the process could lead, and what it would be like if successful?

Very best wishes,

Perry

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Mark Hewitson
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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi Perry

Thanks very much for agreeing to guide me. I feel fortunate and a little scared and also excited.

Yes I’ve read and understood the disclaimer.

Your questions:
Could you write a little about what brings you here?
That’s a good question. Not that easy to answer actually.
Short answer – I want to find out the truth of how things are (gulp). Long answer – a long winding process that started when I was about 16 when I realized that something in life was missing. This lead through various spiritual searchings, groups, books, teachers etc. A long time in one Buddhist movement and set of teachings whish has expanded out recently into exploring elsewhere.
Alternative answer – I really don’t know what has brought me here but here I am!
Where you hope the process could lead?
This seems to be something that shifts a lot, sometimes daily. At the moment I hope that I might see my experience from an altered viewpoint – one that would make it easier in the long run to unhook from patterns and beliefs that lead me to suffering. Not being dominated so much by the voice in my head. I noticed that belief structures are constantly reforming around new information that the mind receives – it would be nice if this didn’t happen so much or at least not in the same way i.e. stop believing the stories.
What it would be like if successful?
I don’t expect bliss.
I don’t expect not to suffer.
I don’t expect I’ll suddenly be wise.
I imagine a subtle shift in perception/view/experience – call it what you will –that would enable me to find it easier to ‘unhook’ from things(?)
It would also be nice if the sometimes mad sense of seeking were to abate.

Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:45 pm

Hi Mark,

I'm glad to say that your expectations are unusually reasonable :-)

Feel free to fill me in if there is anything else that you think I ought to know, but otherwise, let's get cracking!

So, what comes up for you now when you read:

There is no 'self', 'me' or 'I' in reality, and there never has been. 'I' is just an idea with no basis in reality, a fictional character in a made-up story

Best wishes,

Perry

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:41 pm

Hi Perry,

Thanks for the questions.
So, what comes up for you now when you read:

There is no 'self', 'me' or 'I' in reality, and there never has been. 'I' is just an idea with no basis in reality, a fictional character in a made-up story
What comes up is sadness. Somewhere instinctively this feels right but there is a voice in my head saying no. In fact its not even really saying no its almost laughing and disdainful of the idea – like, “you can’t get away with it that easily”.

Another feeling is fear. Not so much of this being true but more of "oh my god what happens now – what do I do? Is it all out of control!? Who the f*** am I then?"

Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:53 pm

Hi Mark,
Somewhere instinctively this feels right
that instinctive feeling/knowing is worth noting - you're not working completely in the dark, on some level this is known. Perhaps this is why the discovery of no-self can feel like 'coming home'
“you can’t get away with it that easily”
true enough - when a lie has been believed for a long time, it takes more than a casual glance to unseat it!
"Who the f*** am I then?"
Let's find out!

The method used in this enquiry is primarily to pay close attention to direct experience, and to distinguish direct experience (seeing, hearing, touching / feeling, smelling, tasting, and observed thoughts) from the content of thought ... so for the purposes of this enquiry, if I think of the Mona Lisa right now, the thought is real, it is really happening, but the Mona Lisa is not real, it is just the content of thought. A simple and (hopefully) fairly obvious distinction, but one that can take us a long way in this process....

As you sit here now, all sort of direct experience is happening - you're seeing the screen, hearing background sounds, feeling the pressure of the floor and/or a seat, thoughts arise and pass, there is a taste in your mouth.... let's look at the nature of this experience, and how it relates to 'I'...

So as you sit here, is seeing just happening, or is 'I' making the seeing happen?
Is hearing just happening, or is 'I' making hearing happen?
Feeling, tasting, smelling ... are these just happening, or is 'I' making them happen?
Do thoughts just arise and pass, or is there an 'I' controlling them?

In the light of this, what, then, is 'I'? Can you describe from direct experience?

best wishes,

Perry

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:31 pm

Hi Perry,

Thanks again for the questions.

I liked the example of the Mona Lisa. Hope i've understood that, we'll see!

NB. I was sitting on the bed and what I've written here is the kind of 'stream of consciousness' that came out.
So as you sit here, is seeing just happening, or is 'I' making the seeing happen?
Seeing is happening but 'I' is the one that decides to open the eyes or the one that tries to see seeing as 'just happening'.
Smelling is happening, it can't be stopped (unless I close my nose, but then I will have to smell again at some point by virtue of having a nose). So yes, smelling is just happening. 'I' don't decide to do it.
Do thoughts just arise and pass, or is there an 'I' controlling them?
. More tricky. Thoughts arise e.g. the above, "what does it mean". Then on the basis of this another thought arises, "what does 'I' mean here" and then another thought arises, "I don't know what 'I' means here" and then "where is the 'I'" etc. Am I controlling them? they seem to arise as a result of what comes before, going back to the question and back beyond that.
Can I control or influence them? I'll try. I say to myself "think this", "think what", "think about sheep" images of sheep arise. Did I do that? Can I stop myself thinking? Not really. Sooner or later another thought comes. Ah!! I can't stop myself thinking, I would really like to quite often. Even if I manage to stop thinking in words and sentences in my head, some kind of mental activity, images responses etc are taking place. I can't stop thinking. No.
Can I direct my thoughts? Think about sheep again. "I like sheep" comes up but I didn't tell myself to think that. Continuing with sheep the thought "I can't be bothered to think about sheep" comes up. Again I didn't tell myself to think that. BUT the voice inside my head - so familiar, so ME!
In the light of this, what, then, is 'I'?
The familiarity of the voice in my head - almost its sound, "yes this is me talking to me". LOL! If me is talking to me than which me is the real me - the one doing the talking or the one listening? LOL! again. Absurd. And yet he's still there!
But if he's not in control i.e. he can't stop the process of thinking and he can't even really direct it. Then what does he do?
The thought arises "its happening here" am I the hereness. Stop.

Feeling of pride at reading the above because I think its funny - did I decide to feel this? who then?
Ugh! familiarity? Slippery.
The voice in my head is what I keep coming back to. Is there a voice in my head apart from the thoughts that are formed? No. If I don't speak (in my head) there is no voice. There is just awareness of other things e.g. breathing. So awareness of breathing is that the same 'I' as 'voice in my head'? No doesn't seem to be - is 'voice in my head' a sub function, if a dominant one, of overall functioning (sensing the Mona Lisa in the room). I'm loosing it.
Hi Perry - is any of this making sense to you?
Feeling a little self conscious now.

Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Wed May 01, 2013 10:03 pm

Hi Mark,

Stream of consciousness is an interesting approach, it gives a really strong flavour of where you're coming from, very direct, I like it!

We use the word 'I' all the time, and we take it for granted that there must be some 'entity' that corresponds with it ... If I say 'computer', it is clear what that label points to, but as you've discovered, it is much less obvious what 'I' points to...
'I' is the one that decides to open the eyes or the one that tries to see seeing as 'just happening'
What goes on when making a decision like this? Can you find the 'I' that makes the decision? Choose a book off the bookshelf - how does the decision arise to select a specific one?


Good observations on the nature of thought:
they seem to arise as a result of what comes before [...] I can't stop thinking. No.
Indeed!

So where is "I" in relation to thought? If thoughts arise in dependence upon conditions, according to their own logic, then is the "I" in "I think" meaningless, just a misleading verbal convention?
The familiarity of the voice in my head - almost its sound
Yes! It is well worth investigating this sense of familiarity ... the familiar sound of the inner voice, the familiar feeling of particular "Markish" mental states, the familiar site of this body, the familiar feeling of this gait ...

Familiarity is what we take for granted - turn your attention to this sense of familiar 'you', that special 'Markness' in experience, and investigate it ... what is it made up of? Does it change or is it constant? Does it come into being or is it always there?

Looking forward to the next installment :-)

Best wishes,

Perry

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Sun May 05, 2013 11:57 am

Hi Perry,

Sorry about the long delay. I became very busy. I have still been looking each day but haven’t had time to type up what I’ve written - so this is a couple of days worth.

I’ve been thinking about the illusory sense of self, or the notion of things ‘just happening’ during the day. Quite often I just start crying (my version of this – not exactly floods of tears). I don’t know why this is.

I thought I’d try- ‘Do thoughts just arise or is there an ‘I’ controlling them’ Again. Do thoughts just arise? In dependence upon turning my mind towards the question, some thoughts arise. It occurs to me that a decision is taken, or it seems it is. ‘I’ decide to think about the question. I notice my foot aching slightly, I decide not to scratch it. I notice I’m feeling tired, I wonder what to do about it. Are deciding and wondering the ‘I’? The thought arises – “is there no agency in my experience”, does it just drift as it were. If there is no control of thoughts etc. can there be any agency in experience. From the idea that there is no agency, nothing directing ‘me’ I wonder how I got to being here communicating with Perry? Is it just random? It doesn’t feel that way.
During the day I’ve been pondering on the idea, almost a sense/feeling that, yes, I could loosen my identification with thoughts. I could actually see that they are just happening. ‘I’ is what is directing me towards seeing through the sense of ‘I’, its illusory nature. Who is doing this, how is this happening if there is no ‘I’. How even can anything be happening.

Following day:
So I got a little hung up on the ‘voice in my head’ the narrator part of it especially. I can’t control thinking, I don’t know what I’m going to think next, it just happens. But then I start ‘narrating’ about it (is the sense of ‘I’ the narrator). I think, seemingly spontaneously about a small piece of wall I was working on today. Then I start narrating “why did I think of that suddenly”, “what has that got to do with investigating the self” “ah yes the self” “ so go back to ‘I can’t control my thoughts’. What am I going to think next?” “ I don’t know what I’m going to think next” comes up. This is thought narrating thought? “what does that mean” is the next part of the narration. Its like I’m constantly commentating on what comes up in my head. This constant commentator of thoughts that arise is, perhaps, also not in control? He doesn’t know what he’s going to say next, he just comments on what comes up. So now my legs are cold so he says “my legs are cold” or something to that effect - “should I change into something warmer” but he could have easily said “ should I turn the heating on”.
I come back to what is the narrator made up of (your question). It’s a sound, a timbre, maybe an accent even, an internal imitation of what I think my voice sounds like – I don’t know. “This is my voice, my voice” it is saying (in the same voice). What am I doing here? Am I going mad?! The voice suddenly reduced to something like the sense of me just being this “ugh”.
That’s strange I suddenly started talking in someone else’s voice (though not that strange it is something that my mind does from time to time). The sound changed to this other persons voice but also the inner voice took on the personality, verbal mannerisms, way of thinking etc. of that other person, like I was imitating them in my mind. So I guess the inner voice changes.
What else do I notice as sense of me-ness? I sigh – I recognise the sigh as my sigh.
Yes the familiarity sense is significant.
Any advise on how to explore the familiarity?
PS. I did the exercise of picking a book and the process seemed quite random and associative –attracted by a title, running through what I knew about - it associated feelings and memories. Responses just arising ‘I’ didn’t really do that, the mind just threw up images, associations, memories and somehow between these and perhaps the task set for the mind by deciding to do the exercise and therefore having to decide, it alit on one.

Thanks for your continued support in this,

Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Sun May 05, 2013 11:40 pm

Hi Perry,

I’ve been reading one of the awakenings from Gateless Gatecrashers, Elizabeth. Although I understood it and related to the whole thing, fear arose. “Could it be as simple as there is no me” - this seemed innately scary. Fear that it would lead to a loss of identity – feeling a huge emptiness – what would fill it? This seems like another dimension. After the event in Worthing in April with Ilona, I woke up the following morning and had a flash like a “seeing” that, yes, everything was really just “happening” as it were (best way I can find to describe it in words). Since then I’ve felt somewhat different. In fact to start with I couldn’t ‘process’ things. I had great sensory overload and almost a panic attack on the motorway going home (thankfully I’d asked my wife to drive). I felt like I’d been hit with a brick! For a while after recovering from this I felt much clearer but then doubt has crept back. Anyway, I thought I ought to share that with you.
At the moment I feel like I understand that there is no self and am sort of acting like there is none but when I look inside the feel/notion of self still exists. The thing with reading Elizabeth’s story was a more immediate feeling that no self was more real and obvious than that. It really means NO self and fear and emptiness arose in me – the mind wanted to retreat from this.

Best Wishes, Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Mon May 06, 2013 11:38 pm

Hi Mark,
Is it just random? It doesn’t feel that way.
The question is not so much whether it is random or not but whether "I" am really "doing" it.

We commonly assume that expressions like "I am thinking" are literally true, that "I" is something that "does thinking" ... which would imply that "I" am in control of "my thinking" ... yet this is plainly not true, as you have discovered.

Well, OK, if "I" is not "the thinker of thoughts" then what IS self, what is "I"?

As you say in your later post, you're clear intellectually that there is no self, but if it seems that there self in experience, the question is - where?
‘I’ is what is directing me towards seeing through the sense of ‘I’, its illusory nature.
OK, can you find this 'directing I' in direct experience? What exactly is going on in the process of directing?
Who is doing this, how is this happening if there is no ‘I’. How even can anything be happening.
Is 'I' required for things to happen?

We say "the wind is blowing", does this mean that there really is "wind" doing the "blowing", or is there just "blowing"?

How about experience? Is it necessary that there is an 'experiencer' to do the 'experiencing'? A 'decider' to do the 'deciding'?
is the sense of ‘I’ the narrator
good question, did you come to a conclusion?

If it is, then does that mean that while there is no narration, is there no 'I'? How could that be - if there is 'I', surely it is always there, it can't wink in and out of existence, can it?
Yes the familiarity sense is significant.
Yes, it is important to the maintenance of the illusion - what is familiar is immediately passed over and assumed, it is like a back-stage pass for the lie of selfhood.... It can be helpful just to investigate that which is familiar, to identify its qualities, as you have done with the familiar narrator's voice, asking what sensations make it up.

For example: say 'Mark' to yourself - what arises? Most of what arises is probably normally taken for granted - see what can be explicitly noticed. What stories, what feelings, what memories? Are these truly special, or are they just stories, feelings and memories?

All this helps to bring into awareness whatever has been assumed to be 'self', so it can be examined, and you can ask - "is this really self"?
I’ve been reading one of the awakenings from Gateless Gatecrashers, Elizabeth. Although I understood it and related to the whole thing, fear arose. “Could it be as simple as there is no me” - this seemed innately scary. Fear that it would lead to a loss of identity – feeling a huge emptiness – what would fill it? This seems like another dimension. After the event in Worthing in April with Ilona, I woke up the following morning and had a flash like a “seeing” that, yes, everything was really just “happening” as it were (best way I can find to describe it in words). Since then I’ve felt somewhat different. In fact to start with I couldn’t ‘process’ things. I had great sensory overload and almost a panic attack on the motorway going home (thankfully I’d asked my wife to drive). I felt like I’d been hit with a brick! For a while after recovering from this I felt much clearer but then doubt has crept back. Anyway, I thought I ought to share that with you.
Thanks for sharing this - it helps a lot to know the background.

Fear is very common at some point in the process, it may well crop up again before we're done. Actually, it is a usually an indication that the truth is starting to be seen, so treat it as a good sign!

If it does arise in the future, it is very worthwhile to stay with it and investigate. Fear is a protection mechanism, so somewhere in the mix is a sense of what is being protected, and what the threat is ... If fear arises, ask: what is it protecting? What is the threat? See if you can look 'beneath' it.
At the moment I feel like I understand that there is no self and am sort of acting like there is none but when I look inside the feel/notion of self still exists. The thing with reading Elizabeth’s story was a more immediate feeling that no self was more real and obvious than that. It really means NO self and fear and emptiness arose in me – the mind wanted to retreat from this.
Yes, no self is real and obvious, and incredibly simple, but it normally takes a bit of pointing out before it is readily apparent - sort of learning how/where to look. That's what we're here for :-)
the feel/notion of self still exists
It is really important to understand that we are not seeking to 'get rid of' what you might call the 'sense of self' - only the belief that we project onto it that it represents some real entity.

Some of the fear may be connected with the assumption that something real must be destroyed, but of course nothing is destroyed, there is just a shift in perspective. What assumption is implicit in the "fear of emptiness"?

Best wishes,

Perry

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Wed May 08, 2013 11:19 pm

Hi Perry,

Am struggling to at the moment. Have just become very busy with work and am tired all the time.
I can see that there is nothing behind the thoughts that make up the narration, nothing I can find, its just a voice going on making comments about what is happening. I can’t control it. I can’t stop it except by a very short lived act of will as it were. I don’t know what its going to say next – if I ask myself what am I going say next I have no real idea. How can there be an ‘I’ if it does nothing, not even directing thought. Yet something persists. I’m not sure what this is now. I’ve not been able to sit down quietly to try and look at what constitutes the elements of the familiar me – I will.
It seems more self evident bit by bit that there is no thinker apart from the thinking, no director, no seer apart from seeing etc. Yet some kind of ghost still seems to be there. I’m wondering whether it isn’t just the habit of self. I’m so use to seeing ‘me’ as me, as it were.

Thanks for the advise about experiencing fear. I will try to follow that next time it comes up.
It is really important to understand that we are not seeking to 'get rid of' what you might call the 'sense of self' - only the belief that we project onto it that it represents some real entity.
I am a little confused here about the difference between there being awareness of no self/I existing and still having a ‘sense of self’.
it is really important to understand that we are not seeking to 'get rid of' what you
might call the 'sense of self'
I don’t think when I experienced the fear of NO SELF mentioned above, that I felt that ‘experience’ was going to then disappear - just that somehow I was naked or sort of suddenly flying without the plane as it were.

I feel I have more question to ask but I’m too tired to formulate them at the moment.
Hope you are doing well. Again, thanks for your ongoing support and interest in me. I’m really starting to feel that LU is something very special – I’d almost given up hope of getting anywhere with ‘insight’ practice. The simplicity of this seems sometimes astonishing. I hope I can get it. There is a voice in my head that doubts that I can do it (I will resist the joke here).

Best Wishes, Mark

PS. I haven’t stopped using my other name - just felt like it would be easier to not use it here.

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Thu May 09, 2013 11:17 pm

Hi Mark,
It seems more self evident bit by bit that there is no thinker apart from the thinking, no director, no seer apart from seeing etc. Yet some kind of ghost still seems to be there.
yes, this is what the process tends to be like ... self is not found here, it is not found there, yet on some level one is still intuitively convinced that it must be there.

So the search continues! When you have a little more time, look at this ghost - what direct experience makes it up? Is it a set of sensations? Is it a thought? Is it stable or does it change? Is it something that is sometimes present and sometimes not? Can you catch it coming into being, or is it like the light in the fridge, always on when you look?
I am a little confused here about the difference between there being awareness of no self/I existing and still having a ‘sense of self’.
An analogy might help... When someone first sees a rainbow, they would naturally assume that it really exists at some location in space, so they'll assume, for example, that it must be possible to travel to its base. You could say that they suffer from the 'illusion of rainbow'. Once they understand that it is a trick of light, they'll realise that it is impossible to get to 'the end of the rainbow' ... you could say that they have 'seen through the illusion of rainbow'. The thing is, they can still see the rainbow.

When it comes to the illusion of self, people often assume that, having seen through the illusion, all the 'sense of self' will vanish, perhaps one will be permanently in the kind of 'self forgetting' state that characterises artistic creation, or something .... However, in practice, all the experiences that made up one's "sense of self" can still come and go as they did before, it is just that now, there is the knowledge that there is no entity 'behind' the experience. Before, the 'sense of self' was believed to be a real self; after, the 'sense of self' is known to be just part of the flux of experience.

It is an important distinction - if you get the idea that we are trying to get rid of the sense of self, we'll be going round in circles for a long time :-)
I hope I can get it. There is a voice in my head that doubts that I can do it
you're getting it!

Just keep looking, when you get the chance, at whatever appears to be 'I' or 'self', and tell me what you find,

best wishes,

Perry

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Thu May 09, 2013 11:26 pm

Hi Perry,

So, had a bit of time to look. Decided to go with the stream of consciousness writing again. Sorry if it’s a bit long, maybe its not.
So: -
For example: say 'Mark' to yourself - what arises? Most of what arises is probably normally taken for granted - see what can be explicitly noticed. What stories, what feelings, what memories? Are these truly special, or are they just stories, feelings and memories?
Say “Mark” - there is the name – its just been heard so many times. The sense of me, a history a network of relationships, some body’s son, husband, friend. Continuity of experience – I remember something – being out walking near a lake last weekend – the memories of going to that lake before. I remember celebrating my birthday there last year. I start to think about my birthday coming up soon. I have a complex response to my birthday – a story about me and the difficulty of negotiating birthdays. “Should I try and do something special, aren’t birthdays a bit pointless – do I have an issue with celebrating myself? What exactly is it I’m supposed to celebrate on my birthday?” a whole story, remembered feelings, remembered responses, questioning etc. There are thoughts, stories, memories, re-invoked feelings, memories of feelings etc. etc. There is no ‘I” apart from these things, that I can see, but there is still the identification with the voice in my head. Its frustrating – I seem to keep coming back to this ‘voice in my head’ as ‘I’. But um… yes perhaps its just a compound of these things – memories, feelings, stories I tell/have told, patterns and constant narration. Me writing to you now – stopping, thinking what to write, not even thinking - I pause something comes – I write not even thinking about what I’m writing – its just flowing out now, though I am still narrating this as its flowing out. The cat meows, comes into the room, I feel irritated that he’ll disturb my concentration – a response (he’s done it before!).

I think of familiarity - my sense of humour. But what is that? I make a small noise of sort of exasperation – the sound of it is familiar. A movement of my arms in a certain way – familiar. I notice the jumper I’m wearing - one I’m fond of – familiar. My jumper - a visual effect - it feeds something back to me to me about familiar, this is mine. Something opens and closes, like a sudden awareness of constant movement, that the jumper is ‘uncertain’ – gone again. I scratch my head, the sound /sensation - familiar. Strangely I notice that the sound sensation of scratching my head is something I’ve been noticing recently. I put my finger in my ear and wiggle it about to release irritation (or something) – familiar. I then cross my arms in a certain way – again familiarity. Little noises, movements of the body I make, the things in my field of vision - I feel tearful – why is this? And the constant narration! Ah! I feel I’m going mad with the narration. Since seeing the narration more as narration I often want to switch it off – though at other times I’m okay with it just burbling away and kind of not being so dominant- almost like a radio going in the background – I’ve never really liked the radio.

Hmm… that’s all for now. Does, on reading it back, seem like a lot of babbling – am I going anything like in the right direction with all this.

Best Wishes,
Mark

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Re: Thread for Mark

Postby perrym » Sun May 12, 2013 12:03 am

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the 'stream of consciousness' - it's a good way to get across where you're at

... and it made for a really thorough exploration of 'the familiar'
There are thoughts, stories, memories, re-invoked feelings, memories of feelings etc. etc. There is no ‘I” apart from these things, that I can see
Could you clarify what you mean by 'there is no I apart from these things'? I think I understand from the context, but it would be good to be sure. Is 'I' to be found in these familiar experiences?
but there is still the identification with the voice in my head.
Can you explore what exactly you mean by 'identification'?

The narrator is a particular kind of verbal thought passing by, yes?

So what is the difference, in direct experience, between any other thought passing by (think of the Eiffel Tower!) and a thought with which there is 'identification'?

(I write 'in direct experience' to emphasise that we're looking for sense experience and observed thoughts, as opposed to a theoretical definition of 'identification' .... how do know it is 'identification'? What experience does the label 'identification' point to?)
I feel irritated that he’ll disturb my concentration
I'll generally not indulge in "pronoun fascism" (ie picking up on every use of the word "I") because we have to use language, but every now and again it may be helpful to ask .... in direct experience, is there an "I" who "feels irritated", or does the experience of irritation simply occur? In direct experience, is there a 'doer of the deed'?
am I going anything like in the right direction with all this
really, no need to worry about that ... my job is to prod us along in a helpful direction, as long as we pay attention to what each other writes, we'll do fine :-)

best wishes,

Perry

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Mark Hewitson
Posts: 38
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: Thread for Mark

Postby Mark Hewitson » Tue May 14, 2013 11:06 am

Hi Perry,

So,
is there an "I" who "feels irritated", or does the experience of irritation simply occur? In direct experience, is there a 'doer of the deed'?
Went into this, trying it out with different experiences arising. What I noticed is that the feeling/thought just arrives – its there even before I notice it – the labelling/narrating comes after – this is definitely true. Tiredness – it was there already – made up of different sensations – sort of a heavy feeling in the muscles – not unpleasant – a slowness in breathing – like its slightly laboured – a fogginess in the head. The mind, then, again, before I notice it, labels/says that this is tiredness and starts to move/respond accordingly. Irritation – a similar thing. A quickening of the heart – an arising of energy – a will to action etc. and the start of processes to ‘deal’ with this.
BUT, there seems to be no gap here. The experiences arise before ‘I’ know or notice it. There seems no engineering of these events. So, saying “I feel irritated” seems to be claiming something which happened unconsciously and beyond control. It arose, I called it mine. This calling it mine is not even a voice in my head, more just an automatic response to the stimulus – “something happened here” – “it’s mine”. There was a sudden ‘ah!’ experience in the shower when I was tracking this – “irritation arises – it JUST arises – there is no gap in which to put an ‘I’, as it were, its there before I know it – quite literally.
Could you clarify what you mean by 'there is no I apart from these things'? I think I understand from the context, but it would be good to be sure. Is 'I' to be found in these familiar experiences?
I can’t seem to see any extra ‘component’ in my experience. There is a thought e.g. “what is it I’m trying to say here” but what is here apart from the thought? Sure, there is a background of other things – body, environment etc. But if I go into these things e.g. sensations in my legs right now, the sensations are definitely in experience but nothing else that’s obvious i.e. not sure I can separate out an experience from the experience. From sensations in the leg there is narration/labelling about this. Sensate experience goes to words in the head that convey sensate experience in communication. I form words and sentences that tell me an idea of what is going on in my legs.
So what is the difference, in direct experience, between any other thought passing by (think of the Eiffel Tower!) and a thought with which there is 'identification'?
Hmm...yes, the identification with ‘voice in my head’ seems a little unfathomable. There is definitely a voice in my head, it definitely talks in English (most of the time). It does stop. When I go to sleep I noticed, as I enter into pre-sleep/semi-conscious state, the narrator switches off at this point. What seems to remain at this point is random dissociated thought (quite amusing when you see it). But no narrator. You said about the narrator being ‘..a particular kind of verbal thought passing by..’. Yes. He speaks in clear sentences, as above. Its a different kind of thought, you are right, from ‘Eiffel Tower’, or experience of legs, or dreaming , or trying to work out a problem at work.

Okay, the identification part. ‘Eiffell Tower’ – task- set – think of- response – images/memories etc. of Eiffell Tower – picture built in mind. Not sure I identify here – this just happens, bit like looking things up on the internet. The narrator, hmm.., yes he’s like the feedback loop – higher brain function – tells the system what is happening. BUT on looking... he doesn’t even, maybe, create any thought – that, perhaps, happens pre-narrator. So the thoughts the narrator thinks that he’s having aren’t his - he literally JUST speaks them – after they’ve happened! I need to check this again - will come back with more.

Thanks for the great question!

Mark


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