Need a guide please

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nickYuan
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Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:07 pm

I've gone through all the pointers in the EQ app, listened to them in audio form, and I'm nearly half way through reading GG. I think I'm ready for a guide. Thank you. ~Nick

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:12 pm

Hi there and welcome,

My name's Pete and my role is to guide you through your own unique process.

There are a few things that we need to make clear before the journey begins.

Tell me a bit about yourself, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for. Also, what time zone are you're in - I'm in Somerset in the UK.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 110% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read this article: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:35 pm

Hello Pete! Thank you! I am in Portland Oregon in the US (Pacific Time Zone). I agree to the disclaimer and I would very much appreciate your guidance. I want to watch the video you described, load up a separate text editor and then send you a more complete set of thoughts. I look forward to speaking with you again.

More to come. Thank you.
~Nick

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:32 pm

Hi Nick,

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you soon, and to helping you see the way to the Gateless Gate and beyond.

P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:04 am

Hi Pete,
Thanks again for reaching out. Here's my back-"story":

I've been a seeker since the age of 16, looking for a way out of my suffering. I was living in an abusive situation at home and sought out the martial arts for my frustration and sadness. The studio became a second home, the fighters were my brothers, my teacher like a father figure. I didn't know exactly what I was seeking, just something better than what I was getting at home. I purposely battered my body to be like iron, to not be afraid, to have no more tears. I thought I could temper my feelings. But even this became a limitation and I eventually left that too. After many years of training, I discovered the softer side of the arts, i.e. meditation, Buddhism, Taoism. This became attractive to me, so I stuck with this modality for awhile until it too eventually crumbled--I honestly don't think I understood fully what I was reading or doing anyway. I could lose myself in meditation, but woke back up in this body, with all its desires and fears. This too I turned away from. I was not practicing anything for about 10 years or so. Then, it seems as if on cue when I'm on top of everything, I was hospitalized and nearly died. Then I was laid off from my job.

I've been trying to find "myself" for the last year and a half. I returned to my Taoist studies hoping to maybe find something I didn't see when I was younger. Then, my wife and I got in an argument, all stemming from my selfishness. I apologized to her and felt utterly lost again. I went back to seeking why I keep acting so selfishly. Out of desperation I googled, "Kill my ego!", and it led me to GG. I've been reading and listening to the Enlightened Quotes ever since.

What I expect out of this process is some help finally seeing through the illusion. I feel like I'm closer now. I'm searching for the truth and I'm unsure I will know when I've found it. I somehow keep thinking it's so simple. It can't be this easy. I'm afraid because I'm unsure I won't recognize it and that all my searching will be in vain. I can't imagine what liberation would feel like. I definitely feel a nicer, lighter feeling about life since reading the EQ's, but, there is a fear deep inside that I'm only pretending. I'm fearful I will say all the right catchphrases and what not, but will not truly feel liberated.

Thanks for reading.

Nick

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:48 pm

Hi Nick,

Thanks for letting me have details about yourself. It's much appreciated.

It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside all expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and are so not within direct experience.
I'm searching for the truth and I'm unsure I will know when I've found it. I somehow keep thinking it's so simple. It can't be this easy. I'm afraid because I'm unsure I won't recognize it and that all my searching will be in vain. I can't imagine what liberation would feel like.
Rest assured, that when you see that there is and never has been a "you", a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist. There's no Santa Claus.

So, excellent. As I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would “be like” or what life ought to “look like” once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that “getting it” is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - "seeing through" Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, "there's no Santa"! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, "positive", "negative". However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including around the area of "second arrow" dukhka.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this. Moving on towards the core of this work:

Observe closely and let me know what comes up when you read the following.

There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.

Take those statements deep inside. Really let them sink in.

What physical sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

What feelings do you notice?


P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:57 pm

However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including around the area of "second arrow" dukhka.


Please explain this a little bit. I know dukkha is suffering, and I had my share of it. I've read that one's suffering can lead to one's liberation. I suppose I wouldn't be here talking with you if I hadn't suffered. Perhaps blissfully ignorant, living whatever kind of life in materialism.

I think I know what you mean that this isn't thought-based or intellectualized, direct firsthand experience seems to be the key. My interpretation of things happening is what is getting in the way. Just let them be. Yesterday, I felt so light and so happy. When I picked up my wife from work, I couldn't get the car out of park. We tried everything but it was stuck. So we called a tow truck and waited. Initially I would have been anxiety ridden because of all the potential repair work and the bill. But this time, I just said, "let's not worry about this. You just never know." We had a great conversation and while waiting, I said, "Let's just try it one more time." Boom, the car went in reverse and we were able drive. This was confirmation to me that this stuff will just happen to the "story" of Nick. No need to get emotional, let's just see what happens.

This morning, I woke up not so happy. I felt pain and somehow, before I could realize it, I just said, "This is not my pain. Pain is just happening, to this body." The pain was still there, but my feelings about it were different.
There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.
When I read this statement, what comes up is an emptiness. I'm not sure how I feel about this emptiness. Yes, the thoughts just arise. Are they my thoughts or just thoughts? When they arise, I guess I can't claim them. But the sticking point I have is when I actively think, about doing something, then they don't seem to be arising, I'm creating the thought. For example, I say to myself, "I'm going to pick up this CD case." Then I pick it up or don't. Is it Nick choosing to pick up or not of the CD case?
I just reread what I wrote. Is it all really just Nick, the story, choosing or not, to pick up the case? Errant thoughts or directed thoughts. Is there no difference?

What physical sensations do you notice?

I notice all the sensations that are of the body. These sensations don't seem to affect me as much so long as I don't identify with them. I noticed this morning that this life seems to be on autopilot, whether or not I think about it. The pain is there or it isn't and there is nothing to be done about it.

What thoughts do you notice?

My mind feels like a broken record that keeps saying, "yes, but" as if there is something holding me back from seeing. Yesterday I thought about this separation. Me and the world. But, now that I think about it, I'm in the world so there can't be a separation with the world. Nick is in the world. My mind is nowhere. My mind, this "I", is what feels separate. Why does the I feel separate but the body is obviously not?? The "I" creates the suffering. Pain is pain. Joy is joy. Nick experiences this and the I says, oh yes I'm in pain, or oh yes I'm feeling joy.

What feelings do you notice?

If there is no "you", then I feel like I just fell into this body. Its a living thing but the "I" feels like only an observer. Is that all the "I" is, an observer? Or is it less than even that? It feels like the suffering all comes from this "I" that is nowhere. There is a feeling of distrust and uncertainty. Where is this distrust coming from? OH. Nowhere. <laughs>
I think I'm grasping this.

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:54 pm

Hi Nick,
I think I'm grasping this.
Yes, I think you've definitely got the feel of this, already.

Your description of what just happened with your car is spot on. Life just happens, living itself.
Please explain this a little bit. I know dukkha is suffering, and I had my share of it. I've read that one's suffering can lead to one's liberation. I suppose I wouldn't be here talking with you if I hadn't suffered. Perhaps blissfully ignorant, living whatever kind of life in materialism.
Although I am a long-time Buddhist, it's not my intention to guide you exclusively from a Dharma perspective. This is all about me pointing you exclusively in the direction of LOOKING in direct experience, to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere. However, I did refer to dukkha and the "second arrow" of suffering so I'd better explain a bit. At the core of the Dharma are the three Lakshanas, or marks of existence: aniccha- impermanence, anatta - not- self, exactly what we're concerned with here, and dukkha - unsatisfactoriness. All three are so interlinked with one another as to be just facets of the same "thing". The "first arrow" of dukkha is really just natural pain; the pain of being hungry, sick etc, all just unavoidable parts of life. The "second arrow" suffering, which is a massive proportion of total suffering, happens because we don't accept the way things are, dwell on the pain, ask "why me?", "will it get worse?" etc. etc. All of this stems from the false belief in "I", a separate self and the need to protect and keep secure this non-existent "me". So, you can see why seeing that there is no self can fundamentally alter one's perspective on, and experience of, suffering. (Today, as I type this, I've got a bloody awful pain in my left knee, so lucky me, a good opportunity to confirm to myself what actually happens with this in direct experience!)
I think I know what you mean that this isn't thought-based or intellectualized, direct firsthand experience seems to be the key. My interpretation of things happening is what is getting in the way.
Which brings me nicely to the crucial importance of direct experience as the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the excellent article on direct experience in the introductory post. Lecture over for today, you'll be glad to learn.

During this guiding, I'd like to take you gradually, in a loosely structured, flexible way, through all areas of experience, to see if you can find a self here. So that you can actually SEE for yourself.

Thanks for your replies about what comes up for you in response to the statement that there is no "you" and never has been. As I say, we'll go through they various aspects like thoughts, actions, choice etc in more detail as we go along. First, let's just have a look at some of your comments.
When I read this statement, what comes up is an emptiness.
Can you say a little more about this emptiness. How do you know it's there? How do you perceive it? Where is it?
But the sticking point I have is when I actively think, about doing something, then they don't seem to be arising, I'm creating the thought. For example, I say to myself, "I'm going to pick up this CD case." Then I pick it up or don't. Is it Nick choosing to pick up or not of the CD case?
What do you mean by "I'm creating the thought?" Are you aware of a "you" actually doing that, in direct experience, or is there just a thought telling you that you did? (By the way, I'm just going to continue using "I", "me", "you" etc. as it's just much easier to communicate that way.)
My mind feels like a broken record that keeps saying, "yes, but" as if there is something holding me back from seeing.
There is clearly some doubt, i.e. thoughts about doubt, arising. Are you aware of any feelings of fear, anxiety or other negative emotions accompanying these doubt thoughts?
If there is no "you", then I feel like I just fell into this body. Its a living thing but the "I" feels like only an observer. Is that all the "I" is, an observer? Or is it less than even that? It feels like the suffering all comes from this "I" that is nowhere. There is a feeling of distrust and uncertainty. Where is this distrust coming from? OH. Nowhere. <laughs>
If there is an observer, there must still be an entity, a sort of "I". Can you actually see an observer anywhere in your immediate experience? If so, please describe your experience. If elsewhere, where is this witness?

More than enough for today I reckon. Let me know whether it's going ok for you so far. We'll get into more specific looking into areas of direct experience soon. In the meantime, just try to remember to LOOK, LOOK, LOOK at your direct experience as often as you can.

P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:09 pm

Hi Pete,

It's funny you know. I was expecting to see a burst of light, and wash of magic, or some other made up, non-proven experience of enlightenment. It's as if there is the moment of arrival we are all desperately hoping to reach, and realizing there is no moment, no arrival. I've listened to countless minds talk about the here and now and saying to myself, "Here and now, that's great. But I suck!" I realized that these thoughts, conditioned by factors, tags on these labels that prevented me from living in the now.

This morning while walking my dog, I smiled and said "good morning" to a neighbor that we have had troubles with. I saw in that moment my smile made her smile, and it's as if we forgot what the trouble was in the first place. I experienced her in the now because there was this feeling of a moving oneness of life. I must be connected with this person, at this time, in 2013 at no other time possible. There was a feeling of lightness and joy. It seemed precious.

You speak of Buddhism and I thank you for sharing your thoughts. Two weeks I ago I was in the kitchen of the temple washing dishes and while I was back there alone, the abbot, who I hadn't met yet, came in and noticed me. He asked, "Oh good job! What is your name?" and I said "Nick", and continued to wash as he left. I then made the rounds looking for other dishes to wash and went back into the kitchen. He then came by again and said, "Oh good job! What is your name again? I will have to remember it. Its N-I-K right?" And then as he continued to walk out, I said, its "N-I-C-K", spelling it out correctly for him. I look back and laugh at that moment because I was buying into the Nick so much that when the abbot misspelled my name, I immediately corrected him, feeling a sort of defensiveness that he got it wrong. Maybe he was playing a trick to get me to see the label, or not, but it was just a funny revelation I had the other day.

Can you say a little more about this emptiness. How do you know it's there? How do you perceive it? Where is it?
Well, I don't know it's there. Aha. If I don't know it is there and can't find it, how can "I" or emptiness exist?
What do you mean by "I'm creating the thought?" Are you aware of a "you" actually doing that, in direct experience, or is there just a thought telling you that you did?
I had to think about this for awhile because this is where I seem to be stuck the most. Okay. So, I'm thinking about banging my head against the desk, hard. Boom. Nick just banged his head. Or he didn't. He was going to bang his head, or not. The thought arose to bang the head. But "I" didn't actually bang "my" head. Nick did. The thought arose, bang the head, action follows the thought. (I didn't really bang my head btw.)

It is strange because all this took place in my mind and not in life. It doesn't exist. If I had banged my head, meaning the thought arose to do it, and I just did it, there would be pain and suffering because it would have meant that Nick followed just a formless negative thought. Thoughts are the thoughts that are present in my mind but not existing in reality. Are thoughts just based on the specific conditions in Nick's life? If so, then "I" can't choose my thoughts right? And if "I" can't choose the thoughts in the mind, then this seemingly "I" is truly powerless. The one with the true power in life is Nick.
There is clearly some doubt, i.e. thoughts about doubt, arising. Are you aware of any feelings of fear, anxiety or other negative emotions accompanying these doubt thoughts?
As of right now, I suppose the only doubts that exists is me trying to figure out where these thoughts are coming from. Probably not worth my time to try to do that. Rather, it seems that I should now just focus on living and looking at experience in real life. I've been accused in the past of thinking too much. Please tell me if you think I'm over analyzing or getting off track.
If there is an observer, there must still be an entity, a sort of "I". Can you actually see an observer anywhere in your immediate experience? If so, please describe your experience. If elsewhere, where is this witness?
I see what you mean. Nick is the observer. This false I wants so badly to be the one observing, but it can't. It wants to be identified as the sole observer. I can see how this can create separation and eventual suffering in the world.
I promise that I will look as often as I can. Thank you for your continued support.

Nick

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:37 pm

Hi Nick,
It's funny you know. I was expecting to see a burst of light, and wash of magic, or some other made up, non-proven experience of enlightenment. It's as if there is the moment of arrival we are all desperately hoping to reach, and realizing there is no moment, no arrival.
Yep, that's expectations again. Thoughts " trying" to distract your attention away from what's really going on in direct experience.
Two weeks I ago I was in the kitchen of the temple washing dishes and while I was back there alone, the abbot, who I hadn't met yet, came in and noticed me. He asked, "Oh good job! What is your name?" and I said "Nick", and continued to wash as he left. I then made the rounds looking for other dishes to wash and went back into the kitchen. He then came by again and said, "Oh good job! What is your name again? I will have to remember it. Its N-I-K right?" And then as he continued to walk out, I said, its "N-I-C-K", spelling it out correctly for him. I look back and laugh at that moment because I was buying into the Nick so much that when the abbot misspelled my name, I immediately corrected him, feeling a sort of defensiveness that he got it wrong. Maybe he was playing a trick to get me to see the label, or not, but it was just a funny revelation I had the other day.
If it was a trick, it was a good one. Are you actually Nick? If you had a different name, would anything/your life be fundamentally different. If you saw that there is really no "you" self-entity would your life be fundamentally any different?
The thought arose to bang the head. But "I" didn't actually bang "my" head. Nick did. The thought arose, bang the head, action follows the thought. (I didn't really bang my head btw.)
I'm glad you didn't. Could you explain what you mean when you say, But "I" didn't actually bang "my" head. Nick did. What's the difference between "you" and Nick?

Also, are you sure that action does follow the thought. Or does a thought merely tell you that? Look in direct experience to see if that actually happens, or does action just happen, followed almost immediately by the the thought, "I did that" or similar?


Similarly, you say,
I see what you mean. Nick is the observer. This false I wants so badly to be the one observing, but it can't. It wants to be identified as the sole observer. I can see how this can create separation and eventual suffering in the world.
Again, I don't understand why you distinguish Nick from "I". Aren't they both labels your mind attaches to your sense of self?

Also, have you seen an observer at all in direct experience? If so, please describe it and what it actually does.


I think it would be good now to start our "organised tour" of aspects of direct experience by first looking at thoughts and thinking.

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?


There's no rush, so take your time and examine all of this closely. Just wait for thoughts to come and see what you notice.

P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:25 am

Are you actually Nick? If you had a different name, would anything/your life be fundamentally different. If you saw that there is really no "you" self-entity would your life be fundamentally any different?
Now I know of course not. Nick feels like a different colored shirt I put on today. And not any past shirt that was in the closet, in the past closet, just a new shirt that is today's shirt. Its funny because in every job, relationship, and house I've lived, what was I really? This morning I was looking at my dogs and was seeing them for not the label or breed or any classical description of what you would call a pet. I looked and said, what-are-you? Weird. Haha.
Could you explain what you mean when you say, But "I" didn't actually bang "my" head. Nick did. What's the difference between "you" and Nick?
Ahahaha!!! "I" COULD NEVER HAVE BANGED MY HEAD!!! So there's only the life of Nick.
Also, are you sure that action does follow the thought. Or does a thought merely tell you that? Look in direct experience to see if that actually happens, or does action just happen, followed almost immediately by the the thought, "I did that" or similar?
Wow, I think I get this. Are you saying any perceived idea of thought preceding an action is also an illusion. There is only action and the thought about the action. I have to admit I was playing at some mental gymnastics with you, only to try to understand for myself what level of control, if any exists for the "I". I see that there is none. "I" wants to attach itself to actions. Follow resistance right? I'm thinking that the I is protecting something. I guess I don't know what that is.
Again, I don't understand why you distinguish Nick from "I". Aren't they both labels your mind attaches to your sense of self?
I don't know. I'm getting caught up with language, the word "distinguish". I think what you are trying to allude to is that instead of getting caught up with either "you" and/or Nick, the question is: Why are you even "distinguishing" at all. There is nothing to distinguishing. The ability to differentiate requires more than one "thing" to exist.
Also, have you seen an observer at all in direct experience? If so, please describe it and what it actually does.
No. I can't describe it.
I think it would be good now to start our "organised tour" of aspects of direct experience by first looking at thoughts and thinking.

Where do thoughts come from?
Nowhere.
Are you in control of them?
No.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
No. (trust me I've tried, for years.)
Can you stop it in the middle?
If I can remember the last time I tried to stop a thought, I don't think I could really. Maybe by distraction, with another thought. But it was like trying to a bullet after it has left the gun, and I ain't superman.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No. Even with a seemingly organized train of thoughts, I have no idea what would come after those series of thoughts.
Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
haha, no.
Can a thought think?
No. A thought is just a thought.
There's no rush, so take your time and examine all of this closely. Just wait for thoughts to come and see what you notice.
Yes. There is a direct experience that is quiet, gentle, and present. A quietude of being. Thoughts are the chatter. I'm listening to a song (or rather Nick is) and the thought wants to interject and label, "I hear birds. Hey what about that dream last night? The car salesman today was a good guy", and so on and so forth.

~Nick

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:34 am

Edit: I reread the shirt analogy and it sounded like more babble so I'll re-answer that first question.
"I" am not Nick. "I" am nothing. There is only this life that is living. "I" am not typing. "I" can't type. I think when you said if I had a different name, I was thinking of all the different shirts in my closet, all the different names that describe one thing: life.

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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:33 pm

Hi Nick,
I" am not Nick. "I" am nothing. There is only this life that is living. "I" am not typing. "I" can't type. I think when you said if I had a different name, I was thinking of all the different shirts in my closet, all the different names that describe one thing: life.
Good observations, right on the money; and thanks for explaining about the shirts.
Ahahaha!!! "I" COULD NEVER HAVE BANGED MY HEAD!!! So there's only the life of Nick.
No, there would just have been head banging. But would it even have been the life of Nick? Is there really Nick? Wouldn't it just have been life?
Are you saying any perceived idea of thought preceding an action is also an illusion. There is only action and the thought about the action.
All I'm saying is, "can you find in direct experience any causal link between thought and action, or does thought just butt in and take all the credit? I used to believe there was such a connection, until I actually looked.
I'm thinking that the I is protecting something. I guess I don't know what that is.
Or is that just another thought, about a thought, otherwise known as a belief? Without these beliefs, do you think thoughts can protect or do anything? Look into your direct experience to see if this is so.
the question is: Why are you even "distinguishing" at all. There is nothing to distinguishing. The ability to differentiate requires more than one "thing" to exist.
You're dead right, not even one "thing" here, nothing.
Q: Also, have you seen an observer at all in direct experience? If so, please describe it and what it actually does.
A: No. I can't describe it.
Sorry to be pedantic here but I just need to be sure what you're saying here. Are you simply saying that you can't describe the observer/witness because there was none to be seen anywhere in direct experience, or there is ( the sense) of one but you can't describe it?.

Your answers to the thought questions are great, just what I would hope for, particularly as this is such a potentially tricky and fundamental aspect of looking into direct experience for any sign of the little-man-in-your-head-that-really-runs-the-whole-show. One query, re:
Q:Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table? A: haha, no.
I know what you mean, in as much as the contents of all thoughts are merely conceptual and thus not real, but do you see that, whereas the subject of a thought, if it's say, a table, is real i.e. it exists, when "I" is the thought's subject, there is a fundamental difference?

Onwards and upwards, let's move on to sense arisings, and the self as experiencer (or not):

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where is the boundary between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?


You can do the same with hearing, birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill whatever, and similarly tasting, feeling and smelling.

I just want you to know that you're doing really well with all of this. Good looking, no bullshit.

P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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nickYuan
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Re: Need a guide please

Postby nickYuan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:59 pm

Good observations, right on the money; and thanks for explaining about the shirts.
Great. I was thinking of my name today. How common of a name it is. How many hundreds or possibly thousands of people that have my exact name like "John Smith" or "Jane Smith". I remember when I was younger, I was at a park with friends and I found some kid's backpack. I looked through it and found a school ID card, and looking back at me was a young blonde-haired, blued-eyed kid with the exact same name as me. Perhaps the first memory I had about names as people. I called his family to return the bag. I've often wondered: while this Nick is different from that one (age, occupation, etc.), is there really any difference?? These name labels seem silly to me. Perhaps many years in the future humans will have no names.
No, there would just have been head banging. But would it even have been the life of Nick? Is there really Nick? Wouldn't it just have been life?
Yes, I see what you are saying. That is just one single act of life among the billions of acts of life going on.
All I'm saying is, "can you find in direct experience any causal link between thought and action, or does thought just butt in and take all the credit? I used to believe there was such a connection, until I actually looked.
There is action. There can be a thought either before or after, or in some cases no thought at all. I will continue to look into these experiences of action and see how thought involves itself.
Or is that just another thought, about a thought, otherwise known as a belief? Without these beliefs, do you think thoughts can protect or do anything? Look into your direct experience to see if this is so.
Wow, like the layering of thoughts over thoughts, that can take you away from the actual experience.
Sorry to be pedantic here but I just need to be sure what you're saying here. Are you simply saying that you can't describe the observer/witness because there was none to be seen anywhere in direct experience, or there is ( the sense) of one but you can't describe it?.
Yes you are correct. No I have not seen any observer anywhere which is why I can't even begin to describe it. It is so funny!
I know what you mean, in as much as the contents of all thoughts are merely conceptual and thus not real, but do you see that, whereas the subject of a thought, if it's say, a table, is real i.e. it exists, when "I" is the thought's subject, there is a fundamental difference?
Okay this one got to me. Here's my take on the table and the thought of the table. See if this makes sense how I understand it. The table is real(ity). The thoughts of the table come from the same place as the thought of this "I". I can perhaps, trust the thought of the table more than I can trust the thought of the "I". The thoughts of the table arise from the same place as the thoughts of the I. The only difference is that I can through direct experience, experience the table whereas I cannot with the "I". And even then, as basic is my thoughts of the table are, they are still just thoughts of the table rather than the actual table. Whew!
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
No way man. Life just seems to be on autopilot. After Sangha today, we went to a bookstore. There was only reading! I seem to have forgot an I. Or maybe, I stopped double-thinking about this false I discerning whether I liked this book or that, whether I agreed with what I was reading or not. It was very freeing.
If there is an 'I', where is the boundary between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
I can find no boundaries that demarcate between one thing and another that you describe.


I just want you to know that you're doing really well with all of this. Good looking, no bullshit.
Thank you!
~Nick

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moondog
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Re: Need a guide please

Postby moondog » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:16 pm

Hi Nick,
These name labels seem silly to me. Perhaps many years in the future humans will have no names.
I guess names, in the same way as "I"', "me" etc. evolved for us to distinguish between "ourselves" so that we could develop verbal communications. Unfortunately, these little words started to take on a life of their own, sowing the seeds of illusion, and with thoughts around them giving rise to so much suffering since, as well as masking the wonder of simply living life. Just speculation on my part (except the last bit), but I reckon it must have been something along those lines.
There is action. There can be a thought either before or after, or in some cases no thought at all. I will continue to look into these experiences of action and see how thought involves itself.
Good. We'll move on to looking in more depth about "doing" at the end of this post.
Wow, like the layering of thoughts over thoughts, that can take you away from the actual experience.
It most certainly can, and frequently does.

When you look at "your" thoughts in direct experience, do you see them as layers or as just a succession, on and on, one after the other?
No I have not seen any observer anywhere which is why I can't even begin to describe it. It is so funny!
Great, I can't find one either.
Here's my take on the table and the thought of the table. See if this makes sense how I understand it. The table is real(ity). The thoughts of the table come from the same place as the thought of this "I". I can perhaps, trust the thought of the table more than I can trust the thought of the "I". The thoughts of the table arise from the same place as the thoughts of the I. The only difference is that I can through direct experience, experience the table whereas I cannot with the "I". And even then, as basic is my thoughts of the table are, they are still just thoughts of the table rather than the actual table. Whew!
That's how I see it too.
No way man. Life just seems to be on autopilot. After Sangha today, we went to a bookstore. There was only reading! I seem to have forgot an I. Or maybe, I stopped double-thinking about this false I discerning whether I liked this book or that, whether I agreed with what I was reading or not. It was very freeing.
Yes, once you see that stuff is just going on, often with a mental commentary, words like autopilot or automatic spring to mind.

We've already covered a bit of the next looking exercises on "doing" but there's certainly no harm in any overlap, it's all one anyway.

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no "I" involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?

Is there any "I" there for any of these actions, or are they just like "automatic"?

Look to see whether, when "you" do these things there is sometimes a thought, just after that says, "I did that."

Are all actions "automatic"?


Finally, moving on a little from doing to deciding/choosing (although the border between these is, to say the least, a little hazy) try this exercise:

Raise your right arm (or don’t). In that process of raising the right arm (or not), a decision is made, or at least something happens (or doesn’t). But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice? In direct experience, can that moment of choice, that apparent chooser, actually be found? Or does the idea “i just chose to (not) raise my right arm” come after the event itself?

Good work and good progress again.

P x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'


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