Could you guide me?

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nowitis
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Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:21 am

This raw possibility kept me awake last night, that I don’t actually exist. No, that’s not really possible despite 40+ years of earnest and sincere seeking, years of living in an ashram, many, many teachers, particularly of the non-dual kind, sometimes being one myself.... All of that utterly presumes I exist. Funny, until I’m writing this I never thought of that.
So I’m stuck: looks like a lot of open nameless spaciousness here (which, confusingly, goes on deepening and becoming more obvious), and at the same time I’m pretty convinced on a day-to-day habitual-life basis that I exist. I seek and seek and seek - and even moments of stopping seeking are really just seeking in disguise. I’ve read the dialogues in Gateless Gatecrashers and find myself saying “Yeah, I can see that might work for others but it probably wouldn’t work for me,” but then I feel fear about the possibility that it might. And I feel it might be really helpful if I was in contact with somebody who could guide me, and confront me, and invite me, in real connection, to look as deeply as I’m capable of. I’m so aware of “I, me, my,” as I write this, the pervading sense of identity that I (!) long to be free of and that is the source of all my (!) fear. I hope someone might read this and feel moved to guide me.

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:41 am

Hello nowitis, what would you like me to call you?
My name is Mark and I can be your guide. So if this is OK with you, please agree to the following guidelines and we can start:
Have you read the disclaimer on the homepage: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/?

Also

1. You agree to post once a day, time permitting.
2. I will post questions, which prompt your investigation and answers.
3. When you answer/report, please do so with 100% honestly and answer from what you see,
4. and when you do answer, please answer from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. 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
If you are OK with the above, let’s start by you telling me a bit about your expectations from this process. How do you see your role and my role in this conversation and what do you expect to get out of it? (Just to make sure we are clear about what we are doing from the beginning).
Kind regards,
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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nowitis
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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:18 pm

Hello Mark, Glenn here. Thanks for responding. I agree to the guidelines; I’ve read the disclaimer and when I read the numbered agreements I feel the potential that’s here for the deepest possible looking on my part when I have some kind of inquiring partnership with somebody who’s unwaveringly seeing from the other side of this.

So my role will be to look in a more sustained way than perhaps I ever have, doing it by myself (despite many teachers down the years I have to say I’ve always felt quite by myself with this). And I see your role as ongoingly pointing me in the right direction and nudging me when I go off track.

What do I expect to get out of it? I don’t really know because although there’ve been glimpses in my life of more ease, of the simple facticity of things as they are I’ve not lived in that space for any sustained time for many years (and I understand that ‘I living there’ is an absurd statement, but a fat lot of good that’s done me). So I have shadowy fragments of “no self no problem” floating around amongst the Hollywood-ish images of the outcome of this process, but truly, expectation about it seems a little more like some rather queasy void space of I don’t know.

Thank you.

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:26 pm

Hi Glenn. Great. Just a few more businessy things. The system tends to time out so it’s best to work from a word document and then cut and paste in the system to make sure you don’t lose your post. Also there’s a button at the bottom of the page, if you click on it you’ll get an email every time I post a reply. And when you log in, the system always brings you to page one of the dialogue – so after a few posts when we go to page two, you need to click on the ‘next’ icon to get to the fresh page.
Hello Mark, Glenn here. Thanks for responding. I agree to the guidelines; I’ve read the disclaimer and when I read the numbered agreements I feel the potential that’s here for the deepest possible looking on my part when I have some kind of inquiring partnership with somebody who’s unwaveringly seeing from the other side of this.
That’s great Glenn – intensity of looking is definitely a factor that pays off in this process. I’m going to push you to look closely in the places self-view hides out and under sustained looking that view can gradually (or quickly in some cases) fall away. Just trust the process.
So my role will be to look in a more sustained way than perhaps I ever have, doing it by myself (despite many teachers down the years I have to say I’ve always felt quite by myself with this). And I see your role as ongoingly pointing me in the right direction and nudging me when I go off track.
Yep, that’s what we need to do. I point. You look. The looking is something only you can do.
What do I expect to get out of it? I don’t really know because although there’ve been glimpses in my life of more ease, of the simple facticity of things as they are I’ve not lived in that space for any sustained time for many years (and I understand that ‘I living there’ is an absurd statement, but a fat lot of good that’s done me). So I have shadowy fragments of “no self no problem” floating around amongst the Hollywood-ish images of the outcome of this process, but truly, expectation about it seems a little more like some rather queasy void space of I don’t know
.
“Simple facticity of things” – that’s a nice way of putting it. At base, this is where life without the self-belief starts off – the simple truth of bare experience without all the mind’s overlay -- so it’s good you aren’t expecting any Hollywood moments. Not knowing is good. Be open to what presents itself.
OK throughout this conversation I am going to be asking you to report fully and honestly about your direct experience in the moment. Just to make sure we are on the same page about what direct experience means, please reads this attachment: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

So let’s get started. Please consider this statement “There is no such thing as ‘me’ in experience”. Is this true? Take a look and tell me what comes up.
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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nowitis
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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:53 am

Read it Mark, and I hope got it - see below (the full link that works is http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html)
“There is no such thing as ‘me’ in experience”. Is this true? Take a look and tell me what comes up.
What comes up? A lot of thoughts: “that’s ridiculous, or impossible; of course there’s nothing here but thoughts, but that’s the whole problem - the thoughts go on, and that’s what I am.” I reread that and feel slightly disoriented because I’m not sure who is talking to who, although it looks a lot like thought on thought.

Some unpleasant sensations in my chest. Slightly queasy feeling in my stomach. A deeper, more sullen layer in thought/feeling that this is a stupid no way out game, something like “So, would it be any good to find out this is just thoughts - I mean how is this going to make things better?” The queasy feeling in my stomach is something like pissed.

So there is some not very hidden agenda that the discovery of no me would bring about improvement of some kind. The possibility that no improvement would happen increases the unpleasant slightly compressed feeling in the middle of my chest. “I don’t want to be nailed to the moment” says a thought.

Parenthetically, I want you to know that I was hiking today and musing on my earlier recognition that every atom of my seeking turns out to be an affirmation of this I. Saying that to you in this message makes the middle of my head feel blank and a bit topsy-turvy. “What’s the point of all this, if you are just left helplessly where you already are?” says a thought, and then body experience/feeling of something like hopelessness. Now I don’t want to go any further (but I will of course.) But I don’t feel very good and right now that feeling is centered in the compression in the middle of my chest.

More thoughts, mixed in with feelings, assembling a sense of me, troubled: “This isn’t a fun experience (I know it’s not supposed to be.) Of course there is no god damn thing like me in experience but look at this storm of distress that’s coming up - that’s me.”

And it seems like I can go on ad infinitum observing these things, recognizing them, and then thought says “… And just what is the point of that?” I don’t think there’s a way out of this. And I know that’s a thought but I feel pretty identified with it.

Finally, what seems like the ultimate attorneys rebuttal: if there’s no such thing as me in experience then who the hell is doing this, and for what? I both feel like I’m angry - and I’m somewhat surprised by the anger I’m observing. My goodness this process must be stepping on someone’s (?) toes. Could that be?

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:16 am

...and more angry thoughts: "NO! All right, no me in experience but now what the hell am I supposed to do?" This anger and frustration has got to be some kind of a good thing, but also feels like nowhere to go.

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:18 am

Hi Glenn, great you found the link. Keep checking back with that document over the next few days to make sure the idea of direct experience sinks in.
What comes up? A lot of thoughts: “that’s ridiculous, or impossible; of course there’s nothing here but thoughts, but that’s the whole problem - the thoughts go on, and that’s what I am.” I reread that and feel slightly disoriented because I’m not sure who is talking to who, although it looks a lot like thought on thought.
Yep. Thought on thought gets you in a tizzy. We can’t get where we are going through thought so best not get caught up in all that thinking.
Some unpleasant sensations in my chest. Slightly queasy feeling in my stomach. A deeper, more sullen layer in thought/feeling that this is a stupid no way out game, something like “So, would it be any good to find out this is just thoughts - I mean how is this going to make things better?” The queasy feeling in my stomach is something like pissed.
Hmm. Some resistance here. Please investigate this “something like pissed” feeling in direct experience. Just sit and look at it. What is the actual physical feeling like? Explore its dimensions. Don’t follow the feeling through into thought. Just explore its physicality for now and tell me what happens.
So there is some not very hidden agenda that the discovery of no me would bring about improvement of some kind. The possibility that no improvement would happen increases the unpleasant slightly compressed feeling in the middle of my chest. “I don’t want to be nailed to the moment” says a thought.

Ha ha ha that’s so hilarious that you have thoughts that don’t want to be tied down “in the moment” – in direct experience is there any time other than the moment – right now -- thusness – just THIS happening right now!? Look and see.
Parenthetically, I want you to know that I was hiking today and musing on my earlier recognition that every atom of my seeking turns out to be an affirmation of this I. Saying that to you in this message makes the middle of my head feel blank and a bit topsy-turvy. “What’s the point of all this, if you are just left helplessly where you already are?” says a thought, and then body experience/feeling of something like hopelessness. Now I don’t want to go any further (but I will of course.) But I don’t feel very good and right now that feeling is centered in the compression in the middle of my chest.
OK Glenn I’m going to give you a big tip here: This is how the mind works, it goes “Blah blah blah blah blah”. As soon as the mind comes up with a “could’, “should” or “what if” scenario based on some supposed future or supposedly remembered past event, let I drop. Why on earth, when you were out hiking, were you thinking about all this crap? Be in the moment Glenn. The sky, the air, the trees, the birds, the person known as “Glenn” out in nature, one, together, it all just unfolding in the moment. Drop the thoughts Glenn, they have nothing of use to contribute to this process! Get out back in nature and actually try being there, fully present.
More thoughts, mixed in with feelings, assembling a sense of me, troubled: “This isn’t a fun experience (I know it’s not supposed to be.) Of course there is no god damn thing like me in experience but look at this storm of distress that’s coming up - that’s me.”
OK some serious “mind weather” going on here – stuff blowing about. Think of this as a kind of storm. What is a storm? It’s a series of processes – gusts of wind, rain, maybe hail, clouds, occasionally the sun peeking through, then more wind, rain. We say “it’s stormy” – but what is this “it” that is stormy? There are just a set of autonomous processes playing out in the sky. Do you think the sky is affected by all this blustering about? Of course not – the sky just is – and all this weather just arises and passes away but the sky endures. Awareness is like this – stormy thoughts come and go – but do they belong to awareness? Is there an “I” that is causing the stormy thoughts/feelings? Is awareness affected by these storm events? Or does awareness simply endure as these events arise and pass away? Look and see.
And it seems like I can go on ad infinitum observing these things, recognizing them, and then thought says “… And just what is the point of that?” I don’t think there’s a way out of this. And I know that’s a thought but I feel pretty identified with it.

Finally, what seems like the ultimate attorneys rebuttal: if there’s no such thing as me in experience then who the hell is doing this, and for what? I both feel like I’m angry - and I’m somewhat surprised by the anger I’m observing. My goodness this process must be stepping on someone’s (?) toes. Could that be?
OK, lots of mind weather going on. Instead of working with this head on, just let it work itself out, like waiting for an actual storm to subside. In the meantime, let’s get you looking at what’s happening in direct experience. Try this exercise. Sit in a chair and bring awareness to all the contact points your body has with the chair and the floor. Feel the sense of pressure in your feet, move up to the pressure in the backside and the back. Close your eyes and focus just on the raw experience – ignore the ‘inner picture’ that has constructed the experience as ‘my body sitting in a chair’. Can you feel where the body ends and floor/chair begins or is the experience itself seamless? Without using thought – before thought intervenes – what is the nature of the experience? Where is the experience taking place? What are its qualities? When thought tries to intervene, just drop it and return awareness to the raw experience. Can you find a 'me' that owns this experience?

Report back what you find.
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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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:43 pm

Thanks Mark. Thought I was reporting thought rather than actively thinking but obviously no point in either of those. I really appreciate this opportunity to dialogue and see as deeply as possible.
Can you feel where the body ends and floor/chair begins or is the experience itself seamless? Without using thought – before thought intervenes – what is the nature of the experience? Where is the experience taking place? What are its qualities? When thought tries to intervene, just drop it and return awareness to the raw experience. Can you find a 'me' that owns this experience?
No there is no me in direct experience, in thusness, in nowness. And in direct experience all experience is seamless. There’s no way to adequately say the nature of it, it just is. As for where it’s taking place, before thought, in direct experience there’s equally no ‘where’ to say. In raw experience no me no place no time, or here now as is.

But when the I thought comes up in my mind I still believe in the existence of the I. Which is weird, because the seamlessness probably didn’t go anywhere (!) - but I seemed to be elsewhere, and separate. And one thing I notice in this process is “WTF?! The seamlessness didn’t go anywhere but something seems to (go elsewhere), and I believe that something exists.” That’s both a bit disorienting and very intriguing.
Hmm. Some resistance here. Please investigate this “something like pissed” feeling in direct experience. Just sit and look at it. What is the actual physical feeling like? Explore its dimensions. Don’t follow the feeling through into thought. Just explore its physicality for now and tell me what happens.
Unpleasant sensations in my chest, queasy, nausea? In direct experience, nothing but sensation, and with enough stillness not different than the bird song outside. Energy, if you like - in an open aware spaciousness that has no edges, although that’s thought labeling it. When the I thought comes up in this smorgasbord of changefulness-in-immovability then there’s an agitated quality of moving out into the future. Of course, a lot of the time in daily life I’m far from still like this.
Is awareness affected by these storm events? Or does awareness simply endure as these events arise and pass away? Look and see.
Does awareness endure as all this rises up and passes away? Absolutely. But in true direct experience, before thought I can’t find any difference between awareness and the experience occurring in it. Seamless. Do I live like that? Rarely. Mostly busy being I, separate-seeming.

I don’t know if this is worth anything but there’s a sense of chipping away at how much I believe this I thought, this I, as opposed to this seamlessness. A laugh comes up from the depth of me and gets pinched off in that place in my stomach where there’s been resistance - wouldn’t life be ultimately simple if it was just this seamlessness, and that’s all there is?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again.

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:09 pm

Thanks Mark. Thought I was reporting thought rather than actively thinking but obviously no point in either of those. I really appreciate this opportunity to dialogue and see as deeply as possible.
That’s OK Glenn, tell me everything that’s going on. I’m just underlining the point that you can’t think your way out of self-view.
Can you feel where the body ends and floor/chair begins or is the experience itself seamless? Without using thought – before thought intervenes – what is the nature of the experience? Where is the experience taking place? What are its qualities? When thought tries to intervene, just drop it and return awareness to the raw experience. Can you find a 'me' that owns this experience?


No there is no me in direct experience, in thusness, in nowness. And in direct experience all experience is seamless. There’s no way to adequately say the nature of it, it just is. As for where it’s taking place, before thought, in direct experience there’s equally no ‘where’ to say. In raw experience no me no place no time, or here now as is.
That’s great Glenn. It usually takes folk a while to get this point. This is a crucial understanding worth deepening. Now extend the exercise – keep on doing the body sensation stage, then move on to the other senses, . . . look at smell, where is that sensation happening, try to stick with the pure sensation and notice how the mind kicks in AFTER the event by producing ‘selfing’ thoughts, e.g. ‘smell of incense in my nose’ – all this is imputed in thought and is not there in bare experience. Do it with taste, hearing, sight individually. Then, and this is the important part, try to keep all the various sensations that the mind says are happening in ‘MY body’ in awareness simultaneously – keep on building up to this and do it for 10 minutes at a time – in a chair, on the bus, on the park bench. Keep with the raw experience and notice there is a gap between the experience and the ‘selfing’ thoughts that impose to claim the experience as ‘mine’. Don’t hold on to the selfing thoughts – just keep coming back to the raw experience – in the felt, just the felt, in the smelled, just the smelled, in the tasted, just the tasted, in the heard, just the heard, in the seen, just the seen.

But when the I thought comes up in my mind I still believe in the existence of the I. Which is weird, because the seamlessness probably didn’t go anywhere (!) - but I seemed to be elsewhere, and separate. And one thing I notice in this process is “WTF?! The seamlessness didn’t go anywhere but something seems to (go elsewhere), and I believe that something exists.” That’s both a bit disorienting and very intriguing.
“I believe that something exists”. OK. Let’s call these “I thoughts”. They are just thoughts appearing like any other thoughts. Let’s do an exercise to see if there is actually an “I” that can believe anything. OK? (1) Think of a number between 1 and 100; (2) Think of a colour; (3) Think of an animal with four legs.
What did you find in experience when I asked you to think of these things? Is there an “I” behind the thought process that thinks “Oh 67, no wait, 33, no I know 17!” – or did a number just appear? Did you know what number was going to appear before it became a thought in the mind? Could it be that thoughts just arise but there is no “I” that is thinking them? Could it be that an “I” thought just randomly pops up to claim experience but it is just a thought? Take a look and see.
Hmm. Some resistance here. Please investigate this “something like pissed” feeling in direct experience. Just sit and look at it. What is the actual physical feeling like? Explore its dimensions. Don’t follow the feeling through into thought. Just explore its physicality for now and tell me what happens.

Unpleasant sensations in my chest, queasy, nausea? In direct experience, nothing but sensation, and with enough stillness not different than the bird song outside. Energy, if you like - in an open aware spaciousness that has no edges, although that’s thought labeling it. When the I thought comes up in this smorgasbord of changefulness-in-immovability then there’s an agitated quality of moving out into the future. Of course, a lot of the time in daily life I’m far from still like this.
Is awareness affected by these storm events? Or does awareness simply endure as these events arise and pass away? Look and see.

Does awareness endure as all this rises up and passes away? Absolutely. But in true direct experience, before thought I can’t find any difference between awareness and the experience occurring in it. Seamless. Do I live like that? Rarely. Mostly busy being I, separate-seeming.
OK, great observations here Glenn. Thoughts/thinking are part of reality too. They arise and pass away in awareness just as physical and emotional sensations do. We aren’t trying to get rid of them here. It’s just that some thoughts are useful and point to things that do exist such as “car” or “food” and some are unhelpful and point to things that don’t exist like “me” or “Santa”. Let’s try an exercise that helps us see thoughts as part of experience but without identifying with them as “my thoughts”.
Can you extend the direct experience exercise we discussed above to include thought? i.e. go through all the stages looking at the senses, then as the final stage include awareness of thought. Don’t try to control or get rid of thought. Just watch thoughts come and go. As you do this consider: Where do thoughts come from? Are they the product of a ‘thinker’ or do they just arise? Where do they go? What size or shape are they? What do they feel like? And can you discern a connection between thoughts?

As the final phase of this exercise try to hold all the sense sensations and the thoughts in awareness simultaneously – don’t follow the thoughts or get distracted by any one sensation, just try to bring awareness to the totality of experience and rest there for a while.
Where is “me” in all this?
I don’t know if this is worth anything but there’s a sense of chipping away at how much I believe this I thought, this I, as opposed to this seamlessness. A laugh comes up from the depth of me and gets pinched off in that place in my stomach where there’s been resistance - wouldn’t life be ultimately simple if it was just this seamlessness, and that’s all there is?
Yep. That’s what we’re doing chipping away. Blow by blow, till it crumbles.
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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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:57 am

Thank you Mark, you are seriously messing with me, and I feel very grateful. I’ve noticed this no-separate-me-in-the-seamlessness-of-now for a while and what comes up when you suggest extending the time of it is that I’ll lose control. And then there’s laughter, because just who has control, and of what is completely beyond me!

Next up is that I have lost control, as in, the nature of the moment is inherently a kind of lack of control - and I hope I’m not adding Hollywood glitz to this when I say the sense of it in my body has a quietly ecstatic tinge. I want to say ecstasy is complete loss of control - and the complete and utter safety of this uncontrol. If I don’t use the word ecstatic than I could just talk about a quiet causeless happiness - as long as I stay right here. Quietude, stillness seem inherent to attending like this. And a quality of satisfaction and completion, now. And a thought: is Mark going to think I’m some kind of ecstasy junkie? Am I? Thought.

The seen is the hardest part of this first part of the exercise, but there are brief moments of loss of positionality and then every seen thing becomes sacred. I’ve practiced a lot in my life noticing the open aware-space from which I look and I realize it’s actually been detrimental and kept me stuck - in the seen, just the seen there are the most powerful immediate blips of no one here/everything here - along with a sense of being unafraid to love. Then I-thinking reclaims the (subsequent) slightly gritty sensation of my eyes, and their movements as the source of this seeing and I’m dual again.
Without identifying them as “my thoughts”
? Then where the heck would I be, and what? Top of my head feels loosey-goosey and then a cluster of thoughts about awareness being everywhere. Not produced by a thinker, or, no thinker exists to produce them? Momentary enormous quietude. Wo.

I hope it’s okay if I post again early tomorrow and there pursue some more of what you have offered me.
With appreciation: it’s quite marvelous to be able to do this with a guide.

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:08 am

You're doing great Glenn. Keep on exploring the dimensions of experience and look to see if you can find a "me" anywhere that owns any of it. I'll give you another tip Glenn. If the "I" thoughts are just thoughts. If they don't belong to a "me". Then when the "I" grandly proclaims "this is me! this is mine!" Why believe it? Let go of thoughts Glenn. Let your self . . . just . . . fall away.
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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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:45 am

Hello Mark, I'm grateful for your encouragement.

Today's been a very long and compressed day at work and in the short break I had I was aware of moving from pure functioning work-focus mode to this exploring/deconstructing/seeing we are doing here. And it seems like I find myself in a space of some mild astonishment: when I'm more presently conscious, when I'm deliberately exploring my experience I can find only experience as it is, and the thoughts seem to refer to me as the thinker, the experiencer but when I look I can't see anything like that except this agglomeration of experience.

I guess more practice is called for: when I'm very present it seems like the status of 'me' actually teeters. But this quality of presence goes into the background when the demands of work call on me so intensely. The rest of this week is not so compressed and I will have more space for this great matter.

And the seen is still the most challenging domain where me is habitually reconstructed. I'm guessing probably because in the moments when that dissolves there's an awesome sense of something else entirely being here.

Thank you again Mark.

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Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:51 am


Today's been a very long and compressed day at work and in the short break I had I was aware of moving from pure functioning work-focus mode to this exploring/deconstructing/seeing we are doing here. And it seems like I find myself in a space of some mild astonishment: when I'm more presently conscious, when I'm deliberately exploring my experience I can find only experience as it is, and the thoughts seem to refer to me as the thinker, the experiencer but when I look I can't see anything like that except this agglomeration of experience.
It’s important not to set up two contrasting kinds of experience, let’s call them for convenience ‘mundane’ and ‘spiritual’. What you call the “pure functioning work-focus mode” is very valuable because when we are 100% immersed in a task – like work – playing a sport or an instrument – or even driving – then this is when the spontaneous arising of activity is most apparent. There is no “self” directing the actions during these periods of immersion – no do-er – just doing -- everything just unfolds. Try to notice the pure spontaneity of action at these times.
I guess more practice is called for: when I'm very present it seems like the status of 'me' actually teeters. But this quality of presence goes into the background when the demands of work call on me so intensely. The rest of this week is not so compressed and I will have more space for this great matter.
Look at my point above – is it not the case when you are “intensely” involved in an activity like work – it is at that moment that self-view is actually least discernable? You say you have a history as a seeker? Is there a difference between being in an ashram or being in a bar? Is there less of a self on the ashram but more of a self in a bar? If there is no self then there is no self anywhere! On the meditation cushion or on the toilet – it’s all no-self! Be careful not to reify some experiences as ‘spiritually conducive’ and others as distracting – it’s all experience and all experience is equally empty of self.
And the seen is still the most challenging domain where me is habitually reconstructed. I'm guessing probably because in the moments when that dissolves there's an awesome sense of something else entirely being here.
Yes it does seem we are hardwired to see “me” here and “stuff” over there. I worked through this by considering the science of optics. How does sight work? Well light bounces off objects and enters the brain through the eyes where it hits an area at the back of the brain and is then reconstituted as a pictoral representation in consciousness – so the image you are seeing isn’t out there at all – it’s a representation in consciousness – there isn’t a “mini-me” in your head peering out of your eyes as if they were windows – subject and object are collapsed into the one image projected in consciousness – the experience is seamless. Also we have two eyes but see one single picture. How so? The brain synthesizes info from both eyes into one picture – try doing this exercise to underline this point: http://www.headless.org/experiments/the-single-eye.htm. This way of thinking works for the other senses too – there is no “me” experiencing “not me” – sensory experience is always already seamless. Check with your direct experience and see if this is true.
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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nowitis
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:21 am

Re: Could you guide me?

Postby nowitis » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:38 am

Thank you Mark: your words speak the subtext that I think perhaps I was too tentative to say, too cautious to voice as my experience in case it should be outlandish.

I work as a (not very conventional) psychotherapist, and I derive deep joy from my work because it seems like that’s where I am most absent/present - a.k.a., simply being myself (I have sometimes called this ‘a safe place to love,’ with love having a flavor of authenticity and true reciprocity with the person I’m in the room with; the most paradoxical mixture of my trusting what emerges here in open spaciousness that is in profoundly close relationship with their very personal appearance there.) The closer I can get to spontaneity in these moments the better the work I’m “doing.”

And I find myself wanting to say with excitement (perhaps echoing what you’re saying) “All of life could be like this, couldn’t it!?!?”

Your working through the visually hardwired tendency using the science of optics really resonates for me because I have so made times reflected that even biological science is a reconstitution of a pictorial representation in consciousness…. And when I referred a couple of posts back to practicing noticing the open aware space from which I look I was really talking about my many years of deeply attending to Douglas Harding’s work, ‘the headless way.’ I feel very encouraged by this resonance and by your companionship.
Sensory experience is always already seamless.
Funny how this statement from you brings relief to my heart and consternation to my head. I also feel the edge of my yearning to be in truly open dialogue, not one up-one down, not student and teacher, but communion that could only have one source, which has got to be Self talking to Self.

I can feel this communion possibility in my heart. And it seems to me it is the longing - for this that I most essentially am, not imprisoned in ‘me’ yet at the same time a unique perspective liberated from the loneliness of the imprisoning me - for being in undivided, and unseparated dialogue with what could not be other than myself. That would be “you” I guess.

Okay, after the rave…. (Which I hope is not too much…..)
If there is no self there is no self anywhere,
you say. I read that and feel shocked, a wave of sensation rippling through my heart space.
It’s all experience and all experience is equally empty of self:
I feel like a dark, dense and dusty curtain preventing the sunlight from getting into a room. Is it really possible that, as those old sayings have it, a single candle disperses the darkness of eons?

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Jack'n'theBox
Posts: 749
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:55 am

Re: Could you guide me?

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:23 am

OK Glenn some quick points:
The closer I can get to spontaneity in these moments the better the work I’m “doing.”
If there is no self in spontaneity does that mean that there is a self when you are not being spontaneous? What is this “I” that is spontaneous? Is that not a contradiction? Can it be that there is action but no actor all the time? Look and see.
And I find myself wanting to say with excitement (perhaps echoing what you’re saying) “All of life could be like this, couldn’t it!?!?”

Again, are you saying life is sometimes spontaneous and sometimes isn’t? How so? What is it that makes these designations? Can it just be thoughts? Do we need to believe thoughts?

Sensory experience is always already seamless.
Funny how this statement from you brings relief to my heart and consternation to my head.
Trust your heart not your head. What I mean by this is check how things feel in direct experience – what thought says about feeling, the labels, come after. Don’t follow thoughts. Don’t believe them.

I can feel this communion possibility in my heart. And it seems to me it is the longing - for this that I most essentially am, not imprisoned in ‘me’ yet at the same time a unique perspective liberated from the loneliness of the imprisoning me - for being in undivided, and unseparated dialogue with what could not be other than myself. That would be “you” I guess.
Lots of labels here – look at the feeling of communion, explore its dimensions. “Head”, “heart”, “I”, “me”, “you” are all labels in thought. Stick with the feeling – in the felt just the felt.
If there is no self there is no self anywhere,
you say. I read that and feel shocked, a wave of sensation rippling through my heart space.
It’s all experience and all experience is equally empty of self:
I feel like a dark, dense and dusty curtain preventing the sunlight from getting into a room. Is it really possible that, as those old sayings have it, a single candle disperses the darkness of eons?
What is it that feels “shocked”? What feels “dark and dense”? Is it not just thoughts? Do we need to believe thoughts? Feel the truth Glenn. Feel the sensations, open up to the sensations. Don’t label. Don’t judge. Don’t let the mind make up stories.
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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