csm, this is your thread

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csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:13 pm

Dear Sage,

This is your thread. Please describe how you found LU and decided you want to make an effort to see through the illusion of self.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:59 am

Thank you Nona!

All of my life I've had a very difficult sense of self. My father has a strong conviction that intelligence and happiness are mutually exclusive, and my entire family has struggled with depression - although to be accurate, when a conclusion is foregone there isn't much struggle involved.

In the last ten years I've managed to shed the assumption that I would always be depressed, and I've been on a journey learning to recognize that my thoughts are not me, and that I need not trust them or place any great value in them. While other realizations have helped along the way, that is the one that has so far brought me the most relief.

It has been many years now since I have considered myself depressed, but I have become much more sensitive to the stress and anxiety that I do feel and to recognizing the thought patterns that trigger them.

I owe a lot of this progress to the exposure I've had to different spiritual teachings via my boyfriend of 10 years, who is a very dedicated seeker and who passed through the Gate last year, and has been very gently encouraging me to try it ever since.

While these various teachings (including The Work) have given me realizations that have left me far more clear and happy than I used to be, some have also left me in a deep conflict. On an intellectual level I subscribe to no-self, but without the realization, the philosophy is only one more obstacle - another story that keeps me wrapped up in rationalizations rather than direct experience.

Until recently I was coasting on the degree of peace that I was getting from the more minor realizations I have experienced. But I've gotten to the point now where I feel very sensitive to the burden of my identifications and to the fact that whenever I suffer the 'I' is at the centre of it.

Certain assumptions have already started to break down. I've seen on many occasions now that there is no decider - I watch my mind deliberate and then an action is taken but I see no agent of decision. I've also noticed that even though I feel that there is a watcher in my head I recognize that it isn't there except when I assume it is. But the now in which I feel its presence is more compelling than the retrospective recognition that it wasn't there a minute before.

These kinds of observations feel important and I want to get to the bottom of them. Just the fact that this write up includes close to 50 instances of self-reference seems to me to point to a ridiculous and tremendous misuse of mental energy.

Thank you for your guidance,

Sage

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:13 pm

Dear Sage,
On an intellectual level I subscribe to no-self, but without the realization, the philosophy is only one more obstacle - another story that keeps me wrapped up in rationalizations rather than direct experience.
Good to notice!! The Work is an excellent complement to Liberation Unleashed as it helps to unravel the Story from what is actually happening.
I watch my mind deliberate and then an action is taken but I see no agent of decision.
Good.
I've also noticed that even though I feel that there is a watcher in my head I recognize that it isn't there except when I assume it is.
Um. It isn't there even when you assume it is. I will be giving you a tool to use to notice this.
But the now in which I feel its presence is more compelling than the retrospective recognition that it wasn't there a minute before.
More compelling in Thought, yes. I suggest this is "another story that keeps [you] wrapped up in rationalizations".
Just the fact that this write up includes close to 50 instances of self-reference seems to me to point to a ridiculous and tremendous misuse of mental energy.
The labels "I", "my", "myself", "me", are merely linguistic conventions. Every language on this planet (with the exception of two) uses a subject-object construction and pronouns. You can't get away from it AND communicate. The trick is to see through the illusion that these labels refer to any object in reality; to SEE that they only refer to other thoughts.

Before we get into the meat of this work, I'm going to ask you to dig deep and bring up all the expectations you have regarding this work and Liberation. What do you expect will happen, want to happen, hope will happen as a result of seeing through the illusion that you are or have a separate entity "self"?
What conditions do you place on Liberation? How will you know it has happened?

Expectations are the greatest obstacles to SEEing this, so it's important to get them all out on the table—they have a nasty habit of coming back just when it's most inconvenient.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:19 pm

Hi Nona,

First off, is there a quick way to do the quotes-within-quotes? In the one directly below I wrote in the code for the csm portion manually to make it work.
I've also noticed that even though I feel that there is a watcher in my head I recognize that it isn't there except when I assume it is.

Um. It isn't there even when you assume it is. I will be giving you a tool to use to notice this.
I thought you might call me on that :) I "knew" that as I was writing it but as it's not yet my observed experience I didn't want to drift into theory. I look forward to exploring it.
Before we get into the meat of this work, I'm going to ask you to dig deep and bring up all the expectations you have regarding this work and Liberation. What do you expect will happen, want to happen, hope will happen as a result of seeing through the illusion that you are or have a separate entity "self"?
What conditions do you place on Liberation? How will you know it has happened?

Expectations are the greatest obstacles to SEEing this, so it's important to get them all out on the table—they have a nasty habit of coming back just when it's most inconvenient.
Okay, I've been looking at this a bit more deeply and I'll share what I find after a bit more digging. It's helpful to have it broken down into expect/want/hope. But can you clarify what you mean about conditions on liberation? I'm not sure what that refers to.

Thank you :)

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:32 pm

Hi Sage,
is there a quick way to do the quotes-within-quotes?
What I do is copy the entire bit I want to quote, yours and mine, click Quote, and then paste. Then I select the first person's sentence(s) and click Quote again.
I thought you might call me on that :) I "knew" that as I was writing it but as it's not yet my observed experience I didn't want to drift into theory. I look forward to exploring it.
Excellent!
can you clarify what you mean about conditions on liberation? I'm not sure what that refers to.
Conditions are the requirements that have to be met in order for us to accept something. You've probably heard of unconditional love? That means without conditions, or without requirements. So by asking what conditions you have for liberation, I'm asking what you're going to wait for, what has to happen, in order for you to know you are liberated.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:39 am

Thank you Nona,
What do you expect will happen, want to happen, hope will happen as a result of seeing through the illusion that you are or have a separate entity "self"?
What conditions do you place on Liberation? How will you know it has happened?
Expect

Of expect, want and hope expect is the trickiest to answer.  I really don’t know what to expect, and I’m actively trying to keep my expectations low.  I’ve talked already about the relief I’ve gotten from recognizing that my thoughts needn’t carry much weight with me, and I feel as though it’s safe to assume something similar will occur in seeing through the illusion of self.  Just like learning that my thoughts aren’t inherently trustworthy hasn’t stopped me from thinking or finding my thoughts compelling I expect that seeing through the “self” won’t prevent me from “self”ing for finding the sense of self compelling.  But just like I now have the option to examine and challenge each thought from a perspective beyond it (not beyond thought, but beyond the individual thought in question), I expect that I will be able to effectively examine and challenge the habitual self-orientation that arises and do it from a place of experience rather that theory.


Want

What I want is a more involved and unlikely. I want to see through the self so clearly that my personality just feels like a role, like play, and can be fluid and responsive to the situations that arise, rather than tied to old habits.

I want to feel intrinsically connected to the people around me and react to them from a place of connection and love and compassion rather than feeling isolated and having my ego dictate my treatment of them.

I want my default perspective to be aware and open to all the possibilities and broad dynamics at play in a situation rather than fixated only on what might affect me.

I want to overcome my fear of being vulnerable and honest when it's called for by recognizing that there is no one here to protect.

I want to be clear enough that I can try to help people around me who are suffering and know it's coming from a pure intention that's not tainted by expectation of the outcome or egotistical motives. I suppose the outcome portion is more appropriately dealt with via a process like The Work, but it also feels tied to the irrational notion that what feels true for "me" ought to be true for others too, so it may be relevant here as well.


Hope

I guess for me hope is just a little more tempered than wanting, so I hope that all of the "wants" above will occur, but I would say I hope that seeing through the illusion puts me in a position to develop the above qualities in my life.

Conditions

I may be being a bit inconsistent here as my conditions are slightly more demanding than my expectations. I want to see absolutely that there is no self, to the extent that any thought of self that arises can be immediately discounted as false. I want to see a clear shift in my ability to react to the moment as is it because I can so easily discount actions spurred by the illusion.

For the moment that feels pretty thorough.

Thanks!

Sage

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:15 am

Dear Sage,
But just like I now have the option to examine and challenge each thought from a perspective beyond it (not beyond thought, but beyond the individual thought in question), I expect that I will be able to effectively examine and challenge the habitual self-orientation that arises and do it from a place of experience rather that theory.
That seems highly likely to occur. You have already begun to do this, it seems.
I want to see through the self so clearly that my personality just feels like a role, like play, and can be fluid and responsive to the situations that arise, rather than tied to old habits.
Habit shows up even after the illusion has been seen through, but we don't need to take it personally. Habit is merely the easiest movement in the moment; we have no control over it. In time, because there is no support for a belief in "control", many habits slow down or cease altogether.
I want to see through the self so clearly that my personality just feels like a role
I want to feel intrinsically connected to the people around me
Personality is already a role, a story; you are already intrinsically connected to all of Life. It is only the thoughts you believe of an inherent self, and of separation, that prevent you from feel-ing what is already the case.
I want my default perspective to be aware and open to all the possibilities and broad dynamics at play in a situation rather than fixated only on what might affect me.
This is also pretty likely. When you SEE that "self" is a socially constructed concept and doesn't refer to an entity in reality, focus naturally moves to something else. You don't fixate on Santa or unicorns or other non-existent concepts now; you probably won't fixate on "self" later.
I want to be clear enough that I can try to help people around me who are suffering and know it's coming from a pure intention that's not tainted by expectation of the outcome or egotistical motives.
Because I am grounded in The Work, I am clear that no-one needs "my" help. If I think "other people are suffering", I know how to inquire into that. And I see clearly that everything I appear to do is for me, because there is no separation between "me" and "people". Imagining that we are separate is the source of much suffering.
SEEing that we are intimately connected with all of Life seems to tap into a deep well of compassion that extends to all of Life.
it also feels tied to the irrational notion that what feels true for "me" ought to be true for others too,
Let's suppose Sally and Jane are in a room together. Sally has a cookie. There are a box and a basket in the room. Sally puts the cookie into the box and leaves the room. Jane takes the cookie from the box and puts it in the basket. Sally returns to the room. Where does Sally look for the cookie?
This classic exercise determines one's awareness that different minds do not have the same knowledge of what is true.

Truth is a peculiar thing. I looked for a Universal Truth for six full months after having seen through the illusion, and I failed to find a single one. Consider that every religion, and many many teachings, insist that they are in possession of a Universal Truth, but that none agree. One of the beauties of The Work, for me, is that ALL I can find in any given moment is my truth-in-that-moment,-in-that-situation, and even that is subject to Change, as all of Life is.
I hope that seeing through the illusion puts me in a position to develop the above qualities in my life.
We are not in control of a "my life". We don't do developing. We don't even do living.
I want to see absolutely that there is no self, to the extent that any thought of self that arises can be immediately discounted as false.
What I will point to is no separate entity "self". What do you imagine self is? How do you know you have or are one? Please describe in full.
I want to see a clear shift in my ability to react to the moment as is it because I can so easily discount actions spurred by the illusion.
We don't do the acting or reacting. Apparent action and reaction happens as an instance of Life happening. We are truly not in control of any of it. It happens or it doesn't. SEEing this is usually a relief.


The second greatest obstacle to SEEing through the illusion seems to be checking with Thoughts for confirmation that there is no such entity "self". In our investigation, I want you to put your focus on your direct experience, not on your thoughts about your experiences.

Direct experience is the tool we use for SEEing through the illusion. Direct experience means focus on sensation-prior-to-thought — that is, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching before thinking about sensation kicks in.
If you are like most people, thought comes so quickly on the heels of sensation that they appear as simultaneous. So your first exercise is to Notice during the course of your day how often an event occurs and mind takes credit for it.
I'm in the kitchen and coffee is prepared. Mind announces, "I did it." Coffee is poured, and cups handed 'round. Mind announces, "I did it."
Just notice the extent to which mind tells a story of an "I" that does whatever happens, like the coffee-making and serving.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:52 am

Hi Nona,
Thanks for your thorough reactions to my post. Your qualifications make sense to me intellectually and I look forward to actually "getting" them :)
I am clear that no-one needs "my" help. If I think "other people are suffering", I know how to inquire into that. And I see clearly that everything I appear to do is for me, because there is no separation between "me" and "people". Imagining that we are separate is the source of much suffering.
This reminded me of an Adyashanti quote I heard a few months ago - I laughed with delight when I heard it so I had to copy it down:

"As soon as we start doing things for the sake of others we've made the world into two, and then we wonder why there's conflict."

On one level this sentiment you both describe seems so stunningly obvious, but I'm still hung up on the sense of separation.
What do you imagine self is? How do you know you have or are one? Please describe in full.
I want you to put your focus on your direct experience, not on your thoughts about your experiences.
I assume that the latter instruction doesn't apply to what I imagine self to be?

I imagine my self to be a distinct, discrete consciousness. I am aware, but my awareness is limited to and tied to my own experience. I identify with a lot of passing concepts, but I do not see a self in them. It still feels right to imagine my self as being made up of my experiences, even though I'm seeing lately that the experience and the awareness are distinct from one another. I can tell myself that "I" would still be "me" if I woke up with amnesia, but don't know if in that case "I" would still "feel" like "me". So maybe that makes me an awareness that is habituated to certain patterns.

How do I know I have or am a self? I don't know, I just feel. When I look for the self it most glaringly shows up as mental verbalization. I "hear" in my head a monologue about "I" and "me", and those words stick, they feel like they are anchored in me almost physically. If I really concentrate on looking for the self without those words, I can create small gaps of a few seconds before the words re-emerge. In those gaps I try to cycle between relaxing and looking for the self. When I look for the self I feel a contraction, a looking "in", a tightening (especially in the chest and gut), and a sort of fuzzy tension behind my forehead. The mental image of a hermit crab retreating into its shell seems to resonate with that experience. It makes me want to explore how expansive I might feel if I were able to look without manifesting the sense of self. Clearly "I" am not a contracted, fuzzy physical sensation, nor am I the words "I" and "me".

So I can't actually see a self, but I feel that there has to be someone here to be aware of being aware.
Just notice the extent to which mind tells a story of an "I" that does whatever happens,
Okay, I did a lot of this today. In looking for the story I felt like the "I" was more present than usual since looking seemed to summon it. It's interesting noticing where it doesn't come up as well as where it does. Beginning to let go of a "decider" has been relatively easy because I can't see the decision - just a shift from the mind deliberating on the courses of action to the action itself. It often seems that the action is already underway while I'm still observing the relief of the deliberation being resolved. But letting go of the doer is more challenging since I can observe the action while it's underway. It's that pairing of action and awareness that is sticky. I don't feel like a doer in the case of many "involuntary" actions like keeping my heart beating, absentmindedly scratching an itch or falling asleep. But tasks that require attention tend to attract the story, sometimes at the time and sometimes well afterwards (when it's easier to dismiss).

This is both fun and confounding :)

Thanks,

S

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:05 pm

Hi Sage,
On one level this sentiment you both describe seems so stunningly obvious, but I'm still hung up on the sense of separation.
Hmmm. The sense of separation. I don't know that one. There are five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Which of those is the sense of separation? Or is "sense" of separation another "mental verbalization", actually a thought?

Close the eyes. With eyes closed, search for the boundary of "you". Where do you end and where does the world begin? Check especially the sense of touch. Notice the pressure that is perceived, directly, without a story.
In your direct experience, from sensation alone, can you determine how tall "you" are? How old? How many toes on the feet?
Couldn't "you" be any shape? Can you feel a distinct boundary between skin and clothes, or is there only a kind of blurry sensation?

Another exercise:
Write what you are experiencing right here right now using the words I and me. Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just plain description of here and now.

Like this—
I am lying in bed. I am hearing the rain, I am typing these words...

Do it for 10 minutes. Check the body; are there any sensations of tightening or relaxing?

Then for next 10 minutes write without the words I and me. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs:
Waiting for next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing the rain.

Again check what is happening in the body.

Now compare these two ways to label experience — is one truer than the other? If so, which one?
What is here now without labels? Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?

In looking for the story I felt like the "I" was more present than usual
Don't check in thought; check in direct experience, in sensation. Why? Because the illusion is created in thought; it cannot be seen with the same thinking that creates it in the first place!
So in Noticing the extent to which mind attaches an "I did it" to what happens, do you SEE any separate entity "I" at all? In direct experience? Or is the "I" that is "more present than usual" just a thought? Check it!

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Fri Aug 09, 2013 5:42 am

Hmmm. The sense of separation. I don't know that one. There are five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Which of those is the sense of separation? Or is "sense" of separation another "mental verbalization", actually a thought?
Okay, but neither can I see, hear, smell, taste or touch any connectedness.
In your direct experience, from sensation alone, can you determine how tall "you" are? How old? How many toes on the feet?
Couldn't "you" be any shape? Can you feel a distinct boundary between skin and clothes, or is there only a kind of blurry sensation?
It is very hard to ignore the overlaid concepts, but yes, when I get glimpses of the direct experience I can't find boundaries. So far in order to see past the concepts I have to focus on localized sensations so I haven't yet experienced an awareness of my "whole" body as boundary-less.
Write what you are experiencing right here right now... Again check what is happening in the body... Now compare these two ways to label experience — is one truer than the other? If so, which one?
I didn't notice a difference in my body between the two exercises. The second one felt more true. It had more flow. I was more keenly aware of the sensations. I was more able to see the ways my mind added concepts (such as hearing footsteps on the stairs vs. hearing creaking).
What is here now without labels?


Awareness.
Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
I don't know. I had different experiences in the two parts of the exercise but can't isolate the labeling from other factors. Hearing creaking is hearing creaking with or without the "I" label, but the quality of attention over time was different and I don't know if the labels were directly responsible for that.

This is interesting to explore. Thank you!

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:10 pm

Hi Sage,
Hmmm. The sense of separation. I don't know that one. There are five senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Which of those is the sense of separation? Or is "sense" of separation another "mental verbalization", actually a thought?
Okay, but neither can I see, hear, smell, taste or touch any connectedness.
You write there is a sense of separation, and I ask which sense it is. Is there a such thing as "sense of connectedness" or "sense of separation" outside of a thought?
It is very hard to ignore the overlaid concepts
Yeah, in thought. It's pretty easy in direct experience.
So far in order to see past the concepts I have to focus on localized sensations
Yes; please do that!! Please focus on physical sensation: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling. The illusion cannot be SEEn by Thinking about it. If it could, everyone who comes here would have already seen it!!
I was more able to see the ways my mind added concepts (such as hearing footsteps on the stairs vs. hearing creaking).
Excellent!! I want you to pay attention to the ways mind adds "information" about what is actually happening.
What is here now without labels?
Awareness.
Good!! And what is aware of awareness?
Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
...Hearing creaking is hearing creaking with or without the "I" label...
YES! What is happening is happening, regardless of whether an "I" is attached to the event. What does this suggest to you?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:17 am

You write there is a sense of separation, and I ask which sense it is. Is there a such thing as "sense of connectedness" or "sense of separation" outside of a thought?
you are already intrinsically connected to all of Life. It is only the thoughts you believe of an inherent self, and of separation, that prevent you from feel-ing what is already the case.
SEEing that we are intimately connected with all of Life seems to tap into a deep well of compassion that extends to all of Life.

I can't currently isolate feelings of connection or separation in direct experience. But you are referring to something in the emphasized quotes above - what is it?
So far in order to see past the concepts I have to focus on localized sensations

Yes; please do that!! Please focus on physical sensation: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling. The illusion cannot be SEEn by Thinking about it. If it could, everyone who comes here would have already seen it!!

I'm not sure if I was clear, so just in case, what I meant by "localized sensations" was that in order to override the conceptual overlay I had to focus specifically on the sensations from say, what I would label as an elbow, or a heel, rather than focusing on physical sensations in a general sense all over my body. When I tried to open that experience up to encompass the whole body the mental pictures re-asserted themselves. Even a very local focus didn't always override the concept. I need more practice there.
And what is aware of awareness?

Awareness is aware of awareness.
YES! What is happening is happening, regardless of whether an "I" is attached to the event. What does this suggest to you?
It suggests that the "I" is superfluous to awareness.

I'll do my best to check in tomorrow but I'll be away most of the day and evening. At worst I'll definitely be back on Sunday (PST).

:)

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:32 pm

Hi Sage!

I will also be otherwise occupied during this weekend, and will do my best to check in.
I can't currently isolate feelings of connection or separation in direct experience.
Exactly. Connection and separation are ideas, thoughts about relationship; they are not part of our physical experience, yet we speak and write as if they were. You wrote there is a sense of separation; I suggest it is not a sense, not a feeling, but a thought.
I'm not sure if I was clear, so just in case, what I meant by "localized sensations" was that in order to override the conceptual overlay I had to focus specifically on the sensations from say, what I would label as an elbow, or a heel, rather than focusing on physical sensations in a general sense all over my body.
Yes, very clear. This is what I am asking you to do. Move focus from thinking to sensation; from thoughts to seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling. There is no sense I know of that is general to the entire body.
Even a very local focus didn't always override the concept.
When you are focused on some sensation, thought does not arise during the period of focus.
Do this exercise again:
In your direct experience, from sensation alone, can you determine how tall "you" are? How old? How many toes on the feet?
Couldn't "you" be any shape? Can you feel a distinct boundary between skin and clothes, or is there only a kind of blurry sensation?
If you are at all like I was, you have a great deal of practice thinking about concepts, but not much practice checking what is happening in your direct experience. When my guide told me to Look, I was busy Thinking. The illusion cannot be seen with the same thinking that creates it, so we circumvent thinking by focusing on sensation.
YES! What is happening is happening, regardless of whether an "I" is attached to the event. What does this suggest to you?
It suggests that the "I" is superfluous to awareness.
And, in fact, it is. As you do the looking for boundaries exercise in direct experience, check if there is an "I" necessary for sensations of touch to arise. Notice the pressure of some part(s) of the body on the chair or floor; is an "I" necessary for noticing? Notice if hearing is happening. Is an "I" necessary in order for hearing to occur?
Notice, as you go about your day, if there is any event which happens that requires an "I" in order to occur.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby csm » Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:02 pm

Hi Nona!

I've been spending a lot of time trying to focus on the direct physical sensations (and to a lesser degree other sense perceptions as well). I continue to find it very difficult to shift past the thoughts. I've had many quick glimpses of sense alone but haven't been able to rest with those sensations for any amount of time. However, looking directly at the thoughts that are present - the mental images of my body - has helped me to see them as the source of the impressions that I used to attribute to the sensations. So that feels like progress. I'll keep practicing.

One thing I've noticed is that when I "intend" to look at a specific, localized sensation, my thoughts are already framing that sensation according to a series of concepts, like being my "knee", and being located in a certain "place"' on "my body" and being "lower" than the "me" that seems to be in my head. So the "intentional" looking has these hurdles in place as part of the process. On the other hand, if I just happen to notice a sensation in passing there are fewer thoughts in the way.

So I began looking at "intention" to see if I could find out what it was. So far all I can find is an arising thought that I will do something. That's pretty interesting.
Notice, as you go about your day, if there is any event which happens that requires an "I" in order to occur.
No, I haven't yet found anything that requires an "I". There are still some actions that feel like they're being directed by "me", but not as many as I would have expected and not in as compelling a way. Mostly actions just seem to be happening, and the sense that "I" am watching those actions is thinner than it used to be.

I've also been trying to figure out if I stand behind my answer that awareness is aware of awareness. I feel like that suggests two layers of awareness, and I'm not sure I see that. I see awareness aware of the thought "I am aware", and I see awareness aware of memories (also thoughts), and I see awareness aware of a sense of continuity and familiarity over time (also thoughts?).

My goodness have I been laughing a lot the last few days.

:)

~S

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nonaparry
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Re: csm, this is your thread

Postby nonaparry » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:38 am

Hi Sage,
However, looking directly at the thoughts that are present - the mental images of my body - has helped me to see them as the source of the impressions that I used to attribute to the sensations. So that feels like progress.
That IS progress!
Do some really simple exercises to try to get in touch with sensation-prior-to-thought. For example, with eyes closed, touch the desk or table, and focus on the sensation of fingertips. Is there a boundary in direct experience between fingertips and table? Or is only a sensation present to awareness which mind then deconstructs into fingertips + table? Check what is actually felt in awareness! In direct experience, is there a table at all? Or just texture, temperature, hardness, and other "qualities"?
So I began looking at "intention" to see if I could find out what it was. So far all I can find is an arising thought that I will do something. That's pretty interesting.
Good. Try this exercise. Set an intention to get up and touch the wall; then simply continue to sit. What happens to volition when the intention to "do" something is *not* carried out?
Now repeat setting the intention to touch the wall, and then get up and touch the wall.
Is there an "I" required for an intention to be set? Is there an "I" required for the intended activity to be carried out? How does the intended activity happen? Is there an entity "I" that either sets intentions or carries them out?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


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