Request for a guide

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Jane Catherine
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Request for a guide

Postby Jane Catherine » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:45 pm

Hello,

Would someone be kind enough to guide me through?

Thanks, in anticipation!

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Jane Catherine
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby Jane Catherine » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:23 pm

I have read the disclaimer :)
And have started the book, and the EQ.
Intellectually believe that there is no I, but seem to have a very strong sense of "I dentity". I am ready to let it go. And am aware of discomfort at the idea somewhere in a place that believes itself to be me, which i might describe as the ego.
I can't understand how there is no me when thoughts keep coming into mind which are about things that have happened in my past. If thoughts just are, why are they so personal? How are they not from my mind?!
Am willing to let go of the thought of I, just don't know how, and would appreciate help.

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otterrivers
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:36 pm

hi jane. i'd be happy to work with you.

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otterrivers
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:57 pm

Thank you for being patient.

I usually have a set of beginning questions but you have given me plenty to work with in your introduction. I'll ask you 2 questions now. please take your time and answer from direct experience this moment as if you had complete amnesia and you're unable to refer to any past 'knowing'. I will not tell you what to see, i'll only point. Maybe there is a Self! Let's check from that open place of only wanting to see what is true. Please take a few minutes to respond fully every day if possible. of course there may be days where we cannot respond but whenever possible please.

1) What is "self"? you say you have a sense of self. is this true? what do you find when looking for the self? Body? Feelings? Thoughts? Sensation? Are these Self or merely body, feelings, thoughts and sensations? And how could these be let go of? What could let it go?

2) <"I can't understand how there is no me when thoughts keep coming into mind which are about things that have happened in my past. If thoughts just are, why are they so personal? How are they not from my mind?">

-You have shown me here that in experience, something called "Thought" happens. Including the thoughts: "personal" and "my past". What is seen now? is there a "my past" or is this another thought/label? How about "my mind"? look at the word/thought/label "mine". Can you find "MY mind" or just something called "mind" happening?

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Jane Catherine
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby Jane Catherine » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:41 am

Good morning otterrivers, thank you so much for being willing to guide me. I will really consider the points raised and respond during the day.

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otterrivers
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:01 am

ok. also i'd like to ask what timezone you are in. i'm u.s. west coast (seattle). You?
maybe we can figure out a time to chat in real-time. if you use facebook, I am "otter rivers". you can find me there and we can have a private chat though I will paste our conversation here later (with your name removed for anonymity if you wish). otherwise we'll make do with the daily responses. it is midnight here now. I will check for your response around 10am. goodnight.

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:05 am

the time of my last post is stamped "11:01" but it was really 12:01. :) seems the website's time is 1hr off haha.

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Jane Catherine
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby Jane Catherine » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:13 pm

Hi Otter Rivers,

Hope you slept well.

Here are my responses to your questions...

1) What is "self"? you say you have a sense of self. is this true? what do you find when looking for the self? Body? Feelings? Thoughts? Sensation? Are these Self or merely body, feelings, thoughts and sensations? And how could these be let go of? What could let it go?

What is self? Sense of self? Yes, you're right. 'Identity' is with body, feelings, thoughts. But most particularly thoughts. Intellectually understand that these 'are what they are', without ownership. Whilst driving or out in nature there is sometimes pure experience of being, without ownership or presence of anyone doing or being. Then the mind cuts in with its story, which I'm conditioned to believe is 'mine'.
Its in being caught in thoughts whilst playing through mental scenarios where there is a strong sense of self.
There is a sense of being half way to just being rather than that being the constant experience.

And how could these be let go of?
How could body, feelings etc be let go of? Or identity with them? Intellectually understand that there is no self to let go, but that's not my conditioned experience. Conditioning tells me that these are 'my thoughts, my feelings, etc'.
In the awareness of a thought or feeing arising, it seems like there is an I who is an observer, rather than just awareness.
There are periods of pure awareness, but only when there are no other influences- people, activities etc. It takes practice and remembering to come back to that awareness. It's not a consistent experience.

What could let it go?
What could let identification go? A different perspective to the conditioned one.

2) <"I can't understand how there is no me when thoughts keep coming into mind which are about things that have happened in my past. If thoughts just are, why are they so personal? How are they not from my mind?">

-You have shown me here that in experience, something called "Thought" happens. Including the thoughts: "personal" and "my past". What is seen now? is there a "my past" or is this another thought/label? How about "my mind"? look at the word/thought/label "mine". Can you find "MY mind" or just something called "mind" happening?

Is there a 'my past'? Yes! It is a label- it's liberating to see the mind as a labelling machine. There is a strong 'identification' with the past- it has formed the 'I' in this linear human experience. I'm being honest here. Whilst there is awareness that there can't be a past as it is not in this experience in this moment, there is also great attachment to a personal story.
"Mine"- caught in duality here. Knowing that there is no 'mine' at the same time as being attached to 'my story, my experience, my feelings etc". Wanting to be free of the constraints of perceiving things like this, knowing the theory, but not constantly living the experience of freedom from identification.

Can you find "MY mind" or just something called "mind" happening?
Conditioning says that it's my mind. 'My mind' feels like a store house of all 'my' experiences and functioning. Mind feels like a personal computer that drives this individual human experience. No, I can't find it or pin it down, but, then, nor can I the wind!
There are times when experience is of mind happening or wind blowing or mind labelling, but it's not sustained.
Experience feelings of disassociation when trying to work this out! Don't want to kick the mind off into machinations- just want to be in the experience of no I.
Did this exercise from the website:
Write down a list of everything you expect from this process. How do you imagine the awakening will make you feel, what will it be like, and what do you want it to be like?

Surprised. Familiar. That's what I've been looking for all along. Like coming home

Post script: (intellectually know there is no I to be looking!)

ok. also i'd like to ask what timezone you are in. GMT
i'm u.s. west coast (seattle). You?Norwich, Norfolk, UK
maybe we can figure out a time to chat in real-time. if you use facebook, I am "otter rivers".

I looked for you but couldn't find you. There are several people with that name. If you go to http://www.facebook.com/yogalightness and DM me, we can chat from there.

you can find me there and we can have a private chat though I will paste our conversation here later (with your name removed for anonymity if you wish). otherwise we'll make do with the daily responses. it is midnight here now. I will check for your response around 10am. goodnight.

Thank you for YOUR patience in working with me!
Jane

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otterrivers
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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:07 pm

i'll address all the points I can see here. please answer directly by looking now. don't trace your thoughts.
i'm hoping to begin consolidating this talk into 1 or 2 questions at a time so it's not always as long and complex as this, but for now:

1) what is it that identifies? find it. is there any identification outside of thought? you can identify with a character in a movie, does this mean there is any reality to identification? does it mean the character is real? if you see this identification is directed at a character that is fictional, does that mean the character and feelings of identification should disappear immediately?

2) sometimes there is an experience of simple being. other times mental activity happens. self-referencing thoughts etc. does this necessarily imply that there is a self? how's that? is there a 'me' to own any of it, or just events happening with a mental story about it appearing after?

3) so you see that it is conditioning that leads you to think the thoughts "my, I, me etc". can you let go of conditioning? how's that? is it acceptable to just see that it is conditioning and not truth or must the conditioning stop or change before you can truly see there is no self to HAVE the conditioning?
<"What could let identification go? A different perspective to the conditioned one.">
oh? a perspective can grasp or let go of a self that you say you understand does not exist?
can mind let go of thinking?

4) <"Is there a 'my past'? Yes! It is a label"> So a label is reality? it is directly experienced that something labelled "labeling" happens. this is real right? thought happens. that is real, right? but is the CONTENT of the thoughts real? if we're able to chat later today i'd like to investigate the reality of thoughts vs the reality of the CONTENT of thoughts with you. is there really attachments or just thinking that labels a feeling or memory/story as "attachment"?

5) you say of self: <" I can't find it or pin it down, but, then, nor can I the wind. "> observe the wind. you can see something called wind happens in reality. do this with "myself". you may habitually respond that you see the actions of self but look again right now. stand up and move around. do a silly dance or something. or don't. go a couple hours and watch the activity and inner dialogue and reactions... these things happen. thoughts happen on many subjects including "my story" etc. something happens then the body mind complex does something and we call that "reaction". that also happens. where was the self in any of this? can you see what i'm asking? does the reality of thinking mean there is a thinker just because humans have invented the linguistic structure of "thinker, thought, thinking, thought of..."? same with anything: sensing, action, "habit"... these things happen. i'm asking you to see if there is a doer of these things outside of imagination. or are things just happening including the thought "I am doing this."?

6) <" There are times when experience is of mind happening or wind blowing or mind labeling, but it's not sustained. ">
tell me honestly your expectations. if you saw beyond a doubt that there is really no self to own experience or generate decisions/actions, will these habitual thoughts and feelings stop? should they? again, is it necessary for self-referencing habits to stop or is it sufficient to see beyond a doubt that this is habitual mental activity?
States come and go. however you feel now WILL change. no state is permanent. i'll suggest to you that awakening is not a sustained state of spiritual awareness. i suggest you ask yourself if anything that can come and go the truth? can truth come and go? what remains during any state?

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:29 pm

[copied from facebook chat. "J" = jane. "O" = otter]

J- it is thought that creates the idea of identification.
There is nothing outside of thought that is separately identifying

-it does not imply that there is a self.

-No, there isn't a 'me' to own any of it, it's just events happening, and thoughts -mental story- maybe, but not necessarily, appearing during or after.

-Yes, I see that it is conditioning that leads to thoughts or beliefs of identification. It's language that has developed this separation.

-can you let go of conditioning?
Yes.
how's that?
Once you see that it's language and belief that has created this sense of I or me or mine etc you can let it go.

-Yes, it is acceptable to see that it is conditioning and not truth. Once you see that the idea of self is a mental construct and not a separate entity, there is no self to be conditioned.

-can mind let go of thinking?
Mind just thinks, doesn't it? Isn't that what it simply does?

-Ok, there is no 'my' past. Past happened, now is happening, and will always happen. Future is what humans refer to as things not yet happened.

-So a label is reality? No, a label is a mental construct. Just because we label a tree a tree doesn't mean that is the trees experience. The tree is just tree ing

-I don't think the contents of thoughts are necessarily real.
Sometimes thoughts create a distortion of reality. Three people can witness the same event and their story about it can be quite different.

O- <" i'm asking you to see if there is a doer of these things outside of imagination. or are things just happening including the thought "I am doing this."? ">

J- Yes, these things are just happening without a separate doer outside of mind or imagination.

O- <" tell me honestly your expectations. ">

J- Well, honestly, I'd hoped that the lucidity of just being in the experience would be permanently present.
I can see the possibility that when the idea of I as a separate identity is not present, that life can be experienced differently, maybe more directly and less reactively.

O- <" again, is it necessary for self-referencing habits to stop or is it sufficient to see beyond a doubt that this is habitual mental activity? ">

J- It's sufficient to see that this is mental activity.

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:48 pm

O- what are you identified with?

J- Ummm, not sure how to answer that one.

O- it's ok. take a moment. answer with whatever truth is seen now.

J- Ok. actually, as you were typing, I felt tearful as I thought of how I identify with being a mum, a friend, a citizen...

O- i am not telling you that thoughts of identification should stop or that you should identify as NOT any of that. just see the identification. is it true? what identifies?

J- I see that identifying myself as those roles is a separation. What identifies? Mind, thoughts, Habit, conditioning...

O- yes. it was a bit of a trick question on my part. is there one who identifies or simply thoughts like "i identify"?
is self real? is the content of a thought real?

J- Ok, the habitual thoughts see these separate identities. There is no separate self to see these roles. They are mental constructs.
Is self real? There is no separate self. I'm experiencing a reality of typing, sitting, and, thoughts about this process.
Is the content of thought real. I don't think so. My mind can turn things over and make umpteen scenarios, so, I don't necessarily trust it to be a reflection of the truth.

O- yes. let's explore reality of thought a little deeper. yes something we call thought happens. you can think of an apple. you can see it and taste it in the mind. you can go and find an apple in reality and see and taste it. which one was real? you can think of an apple all day and stay hungry right? only the actual apple will sustain the body. Now do this same thing with "myself". you can find a whole vast series of images and emotions that seem to make a coherent story. so much time invested in this thought it can seem even more real than the apple thought. but can you find it in reality as you did with the apple?

J- I totally get where you're coming from.
A thought of self doesn't mean there is a self.
I have a concern though....
I can understand this now, but what happens when total stress and mayhem is present in life? In the past, I've experienced times of understanding and peace, but it's not sustained when 'I' feel affronted, insulted, slighted, whatever....
I get that there is no self to affront, insult, slight, etc, but wonder how that knowing would stand up to a test to the idea of self...

O- when total stress and mayhem happen, that is what happens. peace happens. chaos happens. sometimes the sky is sunny and clear blue. other times there are storms. if mind was sky it might think "everything was going so well then these clouds messed it up. then just when i got the clouds out of the way, some rainbow or lightning came and messed up this peace"
what is it that desires peace above chaos?

J- Honestly, It's more like fear is present at the idea of not being to hold that there is no i as a reality when things get tough..

O- look at what is REALLY true. is there any control over what will happen?

J- Not in life, but, the fear is about the way that thoughts can get out of control and take you into a negative spiral. You know, when you take offence at something that isn't meant, and the mind makes up all kinds of stories about it, which can be so far removed from truth that it causes much distress for the thinker and the thought about. This is how wars happen!

O- i agree. would these wars happen if people saw that what they were thinking was not reality?
can you control what is thought?

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:55 pm

J- Hopefully not.....
Can you control what is a thought?
I'm not sure. Thoughts come, and I suppose that if you're practicing mindfulness you can choose to just notice them. If you're too much in mental conflict, thoughts can take over and drive your experience and make it quite horrible.

O- let's explore control. is there any control? if there is no self as a central being, what could control?
you say " I suppose that if you're practicing mindfulness you can choose to just notice them" is there really control of any thought or anything else, or is control another thought?

J- I suppose that control is just another thought...
This answer is coming from intellect, thought, not a felt sense.
Or direct experience..

O- perfectly answered. glad you see it is intellectual thought. so it will be easier to see what is direct experience when i give you the following exercise.
lets start with something simple. put both your hands up. count to 3 and drop one hand or the other. (or choose to do this exercise or not haha) watch this "choosing" happen. do this then report back.

J- Just did it. Didn't choose, just did it.

O- there's maybe a thought before that "i will drop the left hand" and maybe the left hand drops after. does this show you there was ever a possibility that the right hand could have dropped?
an action happened then the thought "i chose that" also happens right? (really look, is this true? don't just believe what i said)

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:23 am

J- Maybe I did it too fast to notice the thoughts of choosing which arm to drop. Just seemed to react to the suggestion and it happened. Didn't mentally analyse it, just reacted.
Didn't read all the way through, so noticed the option nit to do it after doing the action....
I don't think a thought happened that said I chose that..i read the suggestion to raise the arms and count to three and drop an arm and reaction to that happened... Maybe there was a subliminal decision happening about which arm to drop....

O- do it slowly. watch each time. is something happening because of thoughts of choice? is there really any causal relation between what is thought and what happens?

-Don't trace the thoughts back to figure out "why". remember we saw the reality of thoughts. don't go looking for truth there. watch what is true in experience now.

-i wonder if i can find this amazing study i read about online somewhere. i'll look for it. basically people's brains were hooked up to scanners which showed that the body made decisions up to a full 6 seconds before the conscious mind claimed that the decision was made. it really fits with what i'm pointing to here.

J- Would love to see it. I heard about it last night whilst listening to the radio interview with Ilona from the LU website.
I'm actually knackered. its 11pm here and I have to leave at 7.30 am for the airport, and need a bit of wind down time before I sleep. So a break really fits with where I'm at.
If you can find the study and forward the link, I'd really like it.
It's a good time to say bye for now. Enjoy your food!
I may be out of Internet range for a while from midday GMT tomorrow, but will respond as soon as I can get to Internet in Spain!

O- keep watching choice.

J- Ok. Will do, on all counts bye for now.

- Hi! There is no choice. Choice is a projection of mind, a thought, an 'i'dea. Things happen, mind notices. The idea of choice is a delusion. There is no one to choose. If we had to choose every single action that we ever performed, we'd never get out of bed!
Came to waking noticing that the body was moving whilst coming out of sleep. Awareness of movement. Absence of choice of movement...

-My epiphany about choices actually happened whilst I was asleep. Came aware that the body had been moving around in bed all by itself! 'I' hadn't chosen to move, it had just happened
So, 'I' am not 'doing' or choosing as there is no I to choose!

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:02 pm

O- so you have seen that choice is a thought. what else is a self? we have seen through "chooser/originator of activity". look and see, what else is the word "self" used to mean?

J- Hi, yes, I've seen that choice is a thought.
Self is a thought, and idea too...
Self is used to describe this human experience as a personal journey. The self is described as the one who experiences, which removes the experiencer from directly experiencing. It's like life has to go through a third party to be validated!

O- so let's look at self as experiencer.
what sees sight?

J- Sight is an experience. It seems that a third party is doing the seeing sometimes, and sometimes seeing is just seeing....

O- does it really seem there is someone seeing? find that experience in reality.

J- There is sometimes a thought that someone is seeing. Or is to just a realisation that seeing is happening a. I'm not sure. In this moment, there is looking at the keyboard, and seeing is happening.

O- yes. "it seems there is someone seeing" is just a habitual thought right? I wouldn't normally say this to you but you've already basically said so.

-without the thought "I" what is left?

J- Yes, it is a habitual thought....
Without I there is just seeing...

O- what is experience before any thought about it?

J- Simply experience. It's when thoughts cuts in that it turns it into its habitual pattern of relationship.

O- and even "simply experience" is another thought isn't it? don't worry about answering this question. the answer i'm looking for is just a sustained honest inquiry. what is experience before any label?

-no need for an answer. what happens when you look really honestly ask this?

-any answer you give is another label right? is a label reality or something to substitute for reality? can you stop labeling from happening?

j- Yes, was struggling there to answer.
Obviously, a label is a label, not reality.
I don't know how to stop labelling from happening without concentrating on being present!

O- concentrate on being present for a minute. see if you can stop labeling from happening.

J- No, because mind is active, and when I try to be present, thoughts say 'door' wall' 'window'! Etc

O- yeah haha. maybe mind stops labeling sometimes, and maybe certain conditions are more likely to result in less mind activity. but what else does mind do? it labels or it is inactive. [/b]-Mind even says "you should stop thinking" sometimes haha. it's like trying to stop the ripples in the pond by flattening them out with your hands. you'll only make more ripples right?

J- Yes. Thanks for saying that sometimes mind is inactive- that explains why sometimes there is no labeling, and just being...

O- where do you feel we should look next?

J- Dunno. Although I get it on one level, I don't think I've really 'got' it!

O- what is missing?

J- Not sure. When I look round the room, there doesn't seem to be anything missing actually. Mind labels, or, it doesn't. Breath happens by itself. Mind thinks that it's got the theory, but wonders if it can live it without reverting to old beliefs and patterns....

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Re: Request for a guide

Postby otterrivers » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:02 pm

O- is "something missing" reality? what is missing what?

-I think I know what you mean, I was just waiting for you to say it. but i'll suggest it you tell me if it is true. you feel you understand intellectually but not experientially.

J- You got it...

O- experience can only come with experience. just keep looking. see what is true. what do you think will change when you understand experientially?

J- Ok, will just keep looking, to see what is true. I'm not sure that I can see the truth. I think mind keeps the truth at bay. When the mind is active it's hard to keep seeing the truth. Mind distorts the truth.
What do I think will change when I understand experientially? I'd like an 'aha' moment if I'm honest!
O- <" I'm not sure that I can see the truth. I think mind keeps the truth at bay. When the mind is active it's hard to keep seeing the truth. Mind distorts the truth. ">

-is that not seeing truth?

-what truth is there beyond what is noticed?

-all you can know is what is experienced now, right? even that question implies there is a possibility of something beyond what is noticed now. how can this be true?

-go through life for a day noticing whenever possible if there is any self happening anywhere. stuff is moving all over the place. "plants and birds and rocks and things" but what is moving any of it?

-watch the noticing and forgetting. what stays the same at all times?

J- Mind removes me from experiencing right now when it's active. When it's inactive there is just being, seeing, whatever.
Is there something beyond what is noticed now? That's a long answer.
I've experienced something in the past that people describe as a 'peak experience' - one of consciousness expanding into no I, just pure light and beingness. And living in complete lucidity for some months after.
So, when you say that is there something beyond what is noticed now, I suspect that there IS. And that I can't access it because the mind obscures it somehow..

-I'm just going to read your answer...

O- <"Mind removes me from experiencing right now when it's active. When it's inactive there is just being, seeing, whatever.">

You are seeing that mind is active. this is experience right now, right? what was removed from what?

- when you experience " consciousness expanding into no I, just pure light and beingness. And living in complete lucidity" then that is the experience. where is it when you are not experiencing it? in memory, right?

-is memory other than imagination happening now?

O- memory is another experience happening now. what is beyond this experience now? can you find a border? is there "experience now" and "other than experience now"? find this distinction without referring to thought.

J- Nope, no experience other than now....

O- including thoughts of other than now?

J- I see that memory is just a thought...

O- what is jane catherine?

J- A label!

O- for what?
what is the label covering?

-of course you cant answer in anything other than more labels (words) so just look.
what happens?

J- There's just standing happening, typing, going on, labelling of activity.

O- what notices this?

J- I'm just trying to see without labels and feeling frustrated that in not getting something that seems like its really obvious!


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