Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

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mssmith1
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Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:39 pm

Hi,

Am halfway through the Kindle version of the book. Love it. Some of the accounts are helping, but others raise more questions, so am hoping a guide can finish the job.

Background? 39 years old. Been meditating about 10 years. More reading than you can shake a stick at. Want to close the final gap between intellectual understanding and knowing.

Have seen the majority of thoughts arise automatically. Have seen that most decisions are made automatically. Have seen that the body is largely animated automatically.

But, get stuck on the bit that one of the accounts in the book called "volition" - the part of the "I" that doesn't seem to arise automatically. The part of the I that can choose to think "I'm going to type the words PINK ELEPHANTS" in caps, and then do it.

If I ask "who is that I?" I end up in a self-talk argument. If I ask "what is the I", I don't get an answer.

It's time to stop reading and trying to think my way out of the problem, and from some of the accounts in the book, I could be meditating for another 30 years and still not cross the gate.

So I'm knocking, and hoping someone can help me cross.

Thanks

Mark

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Jack'n'theBox
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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:55 am

Hi Mark, My name is also 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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mssmith1
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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:22 am

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the offer to help.
Have you read the disclaimer on the homepage: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/?
Yep - that's fine.
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
- All good
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?
Having read the book (or 63% of it, so my Kindle tells me), my expectations are that I'm hoping you're going to ask me questions that lead me to the realisation that there is no "I". Intellectually I understand it, and from experience I see that the vast majority of my experience is automatic (thoughts, movements, "decisions"), but I still have some sense of "I" left, and I realise that trying to think my way through is unlikely to lead to the realisation.

Looking forward to starting.

Kind regards

Mark

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:26 am

Hi Mark, that’s great. Just a few more tips. If you click on the link at the bottom of the page, you’ll get an email reminder when I post a reply. The system tends to time out so if you are posting a long reply – best do it in a word document then cut and paste. The system always logs you on to the first page of a dialog and you need to click on the 2 icon to get to the next page when our posts run over to a second page.

OK what I’m going to get you to do is check in with ‘direct experience’ to really see if there is any kind of self that is the base, owner or director of this experience. Just to make sure we are on the same page about what ‘direct experience’ is please read this article: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

OK, now the first thing I’m going to ask you to do is get right into your experience of the moment. 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? Is there a ‘centre’ to this experience? Is there a ‘thing’ separate from the sensations that the experience is ‘happening to’? When thought tries to intervene, don’t follow it, allow awareness to remain in the raw experience. Do this several times for at least ten minutes. 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: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:01 am

Thanks Mark - I've set up the subscription and read the article.
Can you feel where the body ends and floor/chair begins or is the experience itself seamless?

I first notice breathing. Then awareness shifts around the physical body - this is felt as a buzzing feeling.
Sounds arise. This was the first point that the experience was different - they seemed to pass right through the body. Strange - never had that experience when meditating before.
The thought stream arises and grabs attention. Then releases. Not many thoughts - ocassionally labelling sounds.
Then a sense of the whole body, expanding & contracting with the breath. The mind then labels this "expanding", "contracting"
The temperature changes - breeze is felt on the skin, and moving the clothes.
Awareness of sensations within the body – stomach digesting breakfast
A sense of the border around the body "solidifying"
Without using thought – before thought intervenes – what is the nature of the experience?
Spacious, peaceful
Where is the experience taking place?
When attention is brought to that question, it starts behind the eyes, but then spreads out beyond boundaries of head, like big bubble. Weird. Feels like sounds pass into this huge space, and then out again. The bubble feels like it could be very big - not sure how to find the ends. The bubble didn’t encompass the body though.
What are its qualities?
Very stable - it doesn’t grab. It feels broad and calm. It has a strange “timeless” quality, although sounds have a start and end, which I suppose can be thought of as the passing of time.
Is there a ‘centre’ to this experience?
There is a denser core - and a sense that the awareness can't "look" at the core
Is there a ‘thing’ separate from the sensations that the experience is ‘happening to’?
For sounds and thoughts, no. They just seem to arise and disappear within the bubble of awareness. For physical sensations (other than sounds), then, yes – the borders of the physical body are clear.

That was an interesting exercise, than you.

One quick question for you Mark - when I'm writing, should "I" avoid the use of the word "I" (as in "I notice that the edges of the body appear solid"), or does that not matter?

Thanks

Mark

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:29 am

One quick question for you Mark - when I'm writing, should "I" avoid the use of the word "I" (as in "I notice that the edges of the body appear solid"), or does that not matter?
Hi Mark, you did good with the body exercise. Keep on checking back and doing it when you have a spare 5 minutes. About avoiding "I" -- in a conventional sense there are two people in this conversation -- both called Mark! We exist in a conventional way and "I" is a useful shorthand for refering to the bundle of experience that is going on here so no need to drop its use. But let's see how it feels if we do drop the label for a while. Look at Ilona's blog entry here and do the exercise: http://markedeternal.blogspot.co.uk/201 ... s.html?m=1

Report back on how this feels.
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: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:52 am

Is there a ‘thing’ separate from the sensations that the experience is ‘happening to’?
For sounds and thoughts, no. They just seem to arise and disappear within the bubble of awareness. For physical sensations (other than sounds), then, yes – the borders of the physical body are clear.
I don't want to give you too much to do at once but in addition to the labeling exercise suggested above, let's look at this "solidity" of the body a bit.The feeling that this body is a separate "thing" is very strong. Let’s see if we can break down “the body” in experience. Please look at Elena’s video “Investigating Language” on the LU homepage where she talks about the body and the experience of “laying” and do that exercise for yourself. Lie on the bed, close your eyes and focus on the sensation of pressure along your back – stay with that experience – can you find where your body ends and the back begins or is there just a sensation of pressure? In experience all we can say is “feeling of pressure” – “my body” “is lying” “on the bed” are all imputations by thought – do the exercise 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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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:39 am

Thanks Mark.

I've done the labelling exercise. I was really surprised how different the two experiences were. The first one ("I", "my") was much more busy. Racing to keep up. The typing always seemed to be slowing things down. By contrast the second experience had a very relaxed, calm feel to it, and there were periods where there was nothing to type. Things just arose and were let go. The body did feel slightly different - the tension (prediminantly in neck and shoulders) was there in both exercises, but in the second there did seem to be a softening. The softening was of the whole physical experience though, rather than just a relaxation of the tension.

I'm not sure whether you are interested in the content of the exercise itself, but I'll past it below for completeness. I'll try and do the video exercise a little later.

Both of these exercises have been very insightful, thank you.

Experience one.

Just typing. Looking at my fingers. Wondering how they are moving so quickly. Quicker than I have time to think. Trying also to capture what’s going on in my experience. My body feels “normal” – some slight stiffness at bottom of neck, but that’s caused by posture. Time for me to shift. I’m looking out of the window. The trees are blowing in the breeze. I’m now wondering what time it is, and how long I’ve got to type. Now I’m wondering if I have to type every thought. I wonder if this slows down the thought stream. I’m looking for sensations when using the words me or I. There is a slight tightness in my belly, but I wonder if that’s because I’m just digesting a handful of nuts. I hear a car outside. Now I’m remembering the exercise I did this morning where sounds just entered my awareness. Definitely some tightness in my shoulders and neck, and also lower left side of abdomen. Nlow I’m thinking about my diet and what I’ve had to eat today, but I’m also noticing the sounds and now my attention is back on my fingers. Amazed to really watch them flying over the key board. Very fast. Faster than thought I wonder. Now I’m feeling like I want to get on to part two of the exercise. Now a thought enters my head about it being important to write the number two, rather than use the character 2. The thoughts are coming and going like lightening. I pause. I listen. I watch. I can still feel the muscular tension in my shoulders and neck, and am also aware of the feeling of tightness in my abdomen. My attention is pulled to the sound of a truck passing. I can hear traffic in the distance, and think about how many sounds I don’t hear because my attention is elsewhere. I look at the clock. Another three minutes to do. I scratch my face. I write that, but the action happened before there was any sense of “I”. now I’m wondering “who did it? Who decided to scratch the face”. The voice in my head wants me to stop typing so it can argue and perhaps claim it. Now I’m wondering if the “I” is trying to defend itself, why has it also brought me to the liberation forum. I’m thinking perhaps it’s not a very clever “I”, knowing that the “I” won’t like that, and smiling to myself. Time up.

Experience two.

Fingers dancing across the keyboard. Thought arises. Birds sing. Door closes. Tension in the muscles. The car engine starts. A car approaches. The sound leaves with it. Birds singing. Space arising. Pausing. Fingers resting. Door closing. Birds singing. Thought arising “Why should this be more peaceful”. Answer arising “it just is”. Birds singing. Space. Stairs creaking. Engine noise passing. Muscles relaxing. Thought arising. Stillness. Breathing. Stomach rising. Stomach falling. Pulse beating gently in ear. Car approaches and passes. Paws scratching on the floor. Birds singing. Body softening. Stomach tightening. Back twitching. Blind gently moving. Bee busing. Thought arising “how different”. Gentleness. Looking at the clock. Settling back down. Waiting. Thought arising. Paws scratching on floor. Thought arising. Bird singing.

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:35 pm

Hi Mark,

Watched the labelling video and did the exercise. Here's what was experienced.

Pressure. Downwards. Must acute where the body touches the cold, hard, floor, but felt generally through the body. Breathing against the pressure.

A buzzing, almost moving feeling, throughout the body. Pulse drifting in and out of awareness.
Sounds seem to move through the whole body.

A very rich experience, much different from the label "laying down".

The thing that was most surprising was the way sounds drift through awareness. A similar awareness of them from when doing the sitting exercise earlier.

Thanks

Mark

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:00 pm

OK good work with the exercises.
The body did feel slightly different - the tension (prediminantly in neck and shoulders) was there in both exercises, but in the second there did seem to be a softening. The softening was of the whole physical experience though, rather than just a relaxation of the tension.
Nice observation – note generally that your experience is in a state of constant expansion and contraction – note that when you are angry, sad, frustrated, etc. – states that depend upon self view, i.e. something bad is happening ‘to me’ – there is tension, experience is pulled in, held on to. When we are being spontaneous, kind, loving, looking outside of the self, there is opening, relaxing, spaciousness. Learn to note this opening and closing and the way it registers in the body. Trust the ‘softening’ that is going on here in this exercise, a softening that occurs when the “I” is no longer front and centre. Learn to let go.
A buzzing, almost moving feeling, throughout the body. Pulse drifting in and out of awareness. Sounds seem to move through the whole body.
Good. ‘almost moving feeling’? Can you go back in to this? Rather than a hard, fixed experience of ‘my body’ vs ‘the floor’ – is it not in fact movement that is experienced? In other words in the experience of laying itself can two fixed entities (body/floor) be identified? Please look again.

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 you say are happening in ‘your 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.
Mark[/quote]
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: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:51 pm

Thanks Mark - I'll work on those tomorrow and report back.

Appreciate the help.

Best

Mark

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:28 am

Hi Mark,
Good. ‘almost moving feeling’? Can you go back in to this? Rather than a hard, fixed experience of ‘my body’ vs ‘the floor’ – is it not in fact movement that is experienced? In other words in the experience of laying itself can two fixed entities (body/floor) be identified? Please look again.
I'll need to do this again later today - probably quite late at night as I have a full day and evening today. However, going to sleep last night, was noticing breathing. As I lay next to my wife, and could hear her breathing, there was a an objective sense of two bodies just breathing. Nothing special, just breathing. A sense that downstairs, there were dog bodies lying down breathing. Nothing special.

Focusing on the buzzing, a sense (to which mind applies the label "chi" based on past experience with martial arts etc) I became less certain where it started and finished in relation to the edge of the body and the bed, but it was more difficult to hold that awareness as sleep was coming.

On waking I was slightly overwhelmed by how quickly sounds and thoughts flooded awareness.
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 you say are happening in ‘your 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
I did some work on the way in to the office - here's what was found:

Sounds pass into and through awareness. With smells, noticed cool sweetness (inbreath) and then warmth (outbreath). Like sounds, the smells are not in any way in a particular place in the body - they just flood awareness. The sweetness isn't anywhere.
While cycling, I noticed my hand change gear, and was amazed by how effortlessly the body was propelling itself towards its destination, and struck by a genuine sense that there was no "I" doing this. The thought "the body knows what to do" arose.
Patterns of mild tension in the body were noticed and passed. Perhaps they pass when they are noticed.

Sounds have been a bit of a revelation. They don't appear to have any geographic proximity in the body. They appear in a certain place, but seem to be head or pass through the body. Smell also cannot be located in the same way.

Can the cool breeze be sensed before it touches the skin of the body. Don't have an answer to this yet.

There is a sense of solidity at the bottom of the body where it meets the floor. This is gradual in the lower legs, not just the soles of the feet. Gravity can be felt through the body. Does the floor form part of this sensation where it meets the feet? Don't have an answer yet.

Interesting experience on the train. Smelt banana - conceptually probably "my" least favourite smell in the world. Noticed that before the "I" reaction, it was just a sweet smell, that passed in and out of awareness.

Thoughts arise and pass. They can suck the awareness in and away from the sense experience.

The part that seems most difficult is sight - labels seem to arise almost instantaneously. When an object is seen, it is labelled. Actions (movement etc) seem to have a little more space - movement and stillness can be noticed. Awareness seems to fix with the gaze, as opposed to having the open, spacious quality it has with sound and smell. There also seems to be a fixed location where sight is "received within the body, although as this is typed, I am less sure about this.

See more clearly now, how much of the body's movement is automatic. It's propelled by itself, it scratches its face. It stands up. It doesn't need a "me" to do it.

Also saw how "remembering to do something" just arises. The thought just appears like any other thought. There was nothing that "I" did to remember, remembering just happened. The wisdom of the body?

The footsteps from the body's feet pass into awareness just as other sounds do.

Putting all this together, I find I can hold sound, smell and body sensations in awareness together, along with thoughts and feelings that arise. Sight makes things much more difficult.

Thanks

Mark

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:31 am

Hi Mark you are doing good work with these exercises – it will become clear soon why they are important so do continue to take them seriously.
I did some work on the way in to the office - here's what was found:

Sounds pass into and through awareness. With smells, noticed cool sweetness (inbreath) and then warmth (outbreath). Like sounds, the smells are not in any way in a particular place in the body - they just flood awareness. The sweetness isn't anywhere.
Very good. Most people unthinkingly assume that sense experience happens “in” the various sense organs – but when we attend carefully we see that experience is taking place in “awareness” – try to reflect on awareness itself. Is it a place/space? Is it inside the body or is the body in awareness? Can you explore the dimensions of awareness – do different sense impressions register in different “parts” of awareness or is awareness one thing? Look and report back what you find.

While cycling, I noticed my hand change gear, and was amazed by how effortlessly the body was propelling itself towards its destination, and struck by a genuine sense that there was no "I" doing this. The thought "the body knows what to do" arose.
Good. We’ll do some more work on this later but yes, it’s good to notice that even very complex acts like driving a car take place automatically – there is no “I” that is behind each individual movement that instructs the car on where to go.

Sounds have been a bit of a revelation. They don't appear to have any geographic proximity in the body. They appear in a certain place, but seem to be head or pass through the body. Smell also cannot be located in the same way.
Yes, you’re on to something here – as mentioned above – explore the space/place of awareness and its dimensions more – what (if any) relation does awareness have to the body?
Interesting experience on the train. Smelt banana - conceptually probably "my" least favourite smell in the world. Noticed that before the "I" reaction, it was just a sweet smell, that passed in and out of awareness.
Good. As you get more sensitive to direct experience you should notice that there is a lag between a direct sensory input and the mind’s labeling of that as a ‘thing’ – the labeling sets off a chain reaction in the mind depending on the habitual associations the mind has established with this thing – basically an attitude of grasping (if the “I” likes it) or repelling (if it doesn’t).

The part that seems most difficult is sight - labels seem to arise almost instantaneously. When an object is seen, it is labelled. Actions (movement etc) seem to have a little more space - movement and stillness can be noticed. Awareness seems to fix with the gaze, as opposed to having the open, spacious quality it has with sound and smell. There also seems to be a fixed location where sight is "received within the body, although as this is typed, I am less sure about this.
Yes sight is hard for everyone to crack. We’ll do some exercises later designed to deconstruct this firm sense of me (here) looking at stuff (there). But for now try this – move your head 180 degrees across a landscape several times and notice how the mind doesn’t have time to label what is seen. Also blink rapidly for a few seconds and then look ahead – you can notice the lag between what is seen and the mind kicking in with labels more easily now.

Can you work with the above today and report back?
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: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:39 am

Wow, thanks - lots to do. I'll report back later. The eye skimming exercise brings to mind an exercise Don Juan gave Carlos Castenada to do in one of his 70s books on shamanism - looking for the crack in the world!

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Re: Still believes in Santa - experienced guide needed!

Postby mssmith1 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:10 am

Hi Mark,

Couldn't post last night - got back late, but I did plenty of experiencing throughout the day. There was quite a lot of different exercises to keep track of, so I consolidated them into a list. That's what I'll quote from here:
1. When we attend carefully we see that experience is taking place in “awareness” – try to reflect on awareness itself.
- Is it a place/space?
- Is it inside the body or is the body in awareness?
- Can you explore the dimensions of awareness – do different sense impressions register in different “parts” of awareness or is awareness one thing?
- What (if any) relation does awareness have to the body?
Look and report back what you find.
Awareness of sounds starts beyond the body and are not held in the body. They seem to sort of pass through the body.
Awareness of smells is similar, but start in the nose and then wash through. It can't quite tell whether the awareness starts before the nose - that's a bit fuzzy
Awareness of taste starts very definitely in the mouth, spreads into the body (mainly into the head), but then is quickly pulled back to the mouth with the next chew.

I spent most time experiencing the awareness of sound. this is pretty powerful. It seems like the body exists within the awareness, but that the body is somehow at the centre. Not that awareness comes from the body, but that the body is in the centre of awareness. Subtle distinction I guess.

There is a denseness to the sense of awareness behind the eyes. It's not sold, but certainly denser. It spreads from behind the eyes to the back of the head, just below the crown.

It is harder to sense this spacious awareness when the eyes are open, but I did have some success later with this (see below)

The final interesting point on awareness was when a plane went overhead. The sound was definitely held in awareness, meaning the awareness stretched a very long way. I got a sense/feeling that the awareness may stretch beyond the plane, but no real way of verifying this.
2. Notice that even very complex acts like driving a car take place automatically – there is no “I” that is behind each individual movement
Yes, I can see this. This is quite easy to see. What was interesting was that I noticed that speaking can happen without the thought of "what I am going to say" before the words come out.
3. Notice that there is a lag between a direct sensory input and the mind’s labelling of that as a ‘thing’ – the labelling sets off a chain reaction in the mind depending on the habitual associations the mind has established with this thing – basically an attitude of grasping (if the “I” likes it) or repelling (if it doesn’t).

I find it easier to see the gap between experience and labelling with sounds than with sights. With sounds many of them can come without labelling happen, even when it would be very easy to label (birdsong, cars etc). However with sights the labelling appears instant.
4. Move your head 180 degrees across a landscape several times and notice how the mind doesn’t have time to label what is seen. Also blink rapidly for a few seconds and then look ahead – notice the lag between what is seen and the mind kicking in with labels.
I found this difficult and not particularly helpful. However, I noticed that when I was bringing my attention to the experience of sounds and smells, if I had my eyes open, they would defocus. When defocused I could experience sight and hold what was in my field of vision in the experience too. Here objects were not labelled, but movement and stillness was noticed. Occasionally movement would cause the vision to focus, and then labelling would occur (for example when an ant ran into view).

When I was able to defocus the eyes, and hold awareness of sounds, sight and smell (although in reality, often there was no discernable smell, so it was really just the experience of breathing in the nostrils), I was also able to be aware of feelings in the body and thoughts arising. When the awareness was so expansive, thoughts were fewer and had much less pull. It surprised me slightly quite how "big" the awareness was.
5. Lying down - sense the ‘almost moving feeling’. Rather than a hard, fixed experience of ‘my body’ vs ‘the floor’ – is it not in fact movement that is experienced?
In other words in the experience of laying itself can two fixed entities (body/floor) be identified?
I looked into this more when sitting (simply because I didn't have much opportunity to lie down yesterday). I find that whenever attention is focused on the body, the sense is not of something perfectly solid, but of the buzzing "chi" feeling. This can be more or less dense. At the edges of the body, the buzzing is constant, irrespective of whether it is touching something or not. While the edges are not clearly defined (in the sense the buzzy necessarily makes them a little fuzzy), there is no blurring with objects outside the body. There remains a sense of the body (albeit buzzing) and the object it is touching (not buzzing)
6. Note that experience is in a state of constant expansion and contraction – note that there are states that depend upon self view, i.e. something bad is happening ‘to me’ (e.g. angry, sad, frustrated, etc) – there is tension, experience is pulled in, held on to.
When being spontaneous, kind, loving, looking outside of the self, there is opening, relaxing, spaciousness.
Learn to note this opening and closing and the way it registers in the body. Trust the ‘softening’ that is going on here in this exercise, a softening that occurs when the “I” is no longer front and centre. Learn to let go.
I only had one opportunity to notice this yesterday, but that was some kids making noise in the street when I was trying to get to sleep. That caused thoughts like "I have to get up in five hours" and I noticed a contraction was felt in the abdomen, almost as if the body wanted to move into a foetal position.


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