Please help me to see

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origins44
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Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:30 pm

Hello!
I have been reading the book, the blogs, and the app and I was wondering if someone could please help me to "see"? I am understanding the information on an intellectual level but I am desiring more. So grateful for any and all assistance :)

thank you!

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Steve
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:49 am

Hello and welcome to Liberation Unleashed. I will guide you if you like. What shall I call you? (Regardless of screen names, we usually address each other by first name here, though it certainly isn't a requirement.)

There are a few formalities to take care of. If you haven't already, please read the Disclaimer and watch the short video on the LU home page.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start. Please confirm that you agree.

1. You agree to post at least once a day, time permitting. (If you can't respond fully on a given day, a few words to let me know you're still engaged would be appreciated.)

2. I will post questions, which prompt your investigation and answers. (I'm here to guide, not to teach.)

3. When you answer/report, please do so with 110% honesty.

4. And when you do answer, please answer from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress. 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 for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really commit to begin looking for this separate self, this "I"; look for what is the experience throughout the day as this looking happens. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's fine to continue that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

And here are a couple of notes about posting in this forum.

1. Learn to use the quote function. There are instructions in this post.

2. The forum can log you out without warning. If you're typing a post directly in the edit box here, and you get logged out before you click Submit, your words can get lost. There are two ways to avoid this. One, use the Preview[/b button frequently. That will keep you logged in. Or two, type your responses in a separate program like Notepad first, then copy and paste them into the forum. (But that way you don't get to use the quote function and have to use BBCode to highlight quotes.)

We can get started as soon as you confirm that you've seen all the above and agree to it. And please say a little about what brought you to Liberation Unleashed.

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:38 pm

Thank you so much for your response, Steve. My name is Jessica. I have familiarized myself with the website and have also started to read the book. I agree to it all :)
That being said, I am here because I want to see...the truth. I want to not only see it, I want to KNOW it. I have been looking in churches, books, through other people and I no longer want to do that. I want to know this for myself, I don't want to just accept new ideas and beliefs, I want direct experience. This is why I am here. I am ready, really ready.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time and energy to guide me. I look forward to speaking with you further.

blessings, Jessica

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:14 pm

to elaborate a bit further...I feel like I "grip" life, like I hold onto it and try to control it. This is difficult because I understand intellectually that this does no good and that it makes no sense and yet I still have the experience of "gripping" or "holding". I want to let go, surrender.

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Steve
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:04 pm

Hi, Jessica. Very nice to meet you!
I want to know this for myself, I don't want to just accept new ideas and beliefs, I want direct experience. This is why I am here.
That's an excellent intention and a good basis for this investigation.

Just a word about how we use the term "direct experience" in the context of the inquiry. (This is the much shorter version of the article I linked to in my first post.) Direct experience consists primarily of:
  • Sensations like seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, muscle sense, body position sense.
  • Thoughts. These can appear as words ("the voice in your head") or images.
Noticing a thought is direct experience, but the words or pictures that are the content of that thought are just a story about experience. They're one step removed. They claim to represent experience, just as a map claims to represent a place, but we're going to see that the claim is suspect. For now, just stay clear on the distinction between simply noticing a thought and believing that its content is true.

Let's take a closer look at your expectations. Even subtle expectations can color your approach to the investigation, so it's best to bring them to light at the outset.
I am here because I want to see...the truth.
What does "the truth" mean to you?

What will happen when you see it?

How will you know that you see it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?
I feel like I "grip" life, like I hold onto it and try to control it....I want to let go, surrender.
We will certainly get into this as we proceed. :)

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:15 pm

Good morning, Steve
thank you for your reply to answer your questions....
What does "the truth" mean to you?
Truth means looking beyond the surface meaning of things (people, situations, places etc) and knowing the true state. It means peace and surrender.
What will happen when you see it?
Holding will be released, life will flow and I will flow with it. Peace will come. I will be able to observe without the automatic impulse to attach.
How will you know that you see it?
I will know it because I will feel a release and a sense of calm. I will be able to see things as they really are and surrender to it.
How will this feel?
It will feel like the tension in my body and mind letting go, like peace, calm, understanding and joy all at once.
How will this change you?
I will be a more calm person, not rushing everywhere (as often) and I will be able to move through experience without the constant stress of trying to control and attaching to thoughts (obsessing and trying to fix).

I have moments where I feel this calm and quiet but as soon as a challenging situation or thought arises I fall back into old habits and begin to stress and strain.

So grateful for your assistance,
Jessica

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Steve
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:01 pm

Hi, Jessica. Excellent use of the quote function! That's really appreciated. It makes posts much easier to read.

You've beautifully expressed what every heart aspires to: peace, joy, rest, calm, dissolution of feelings of separation and conflict, "the peace that passeth understanding." It's lovely, poignant, and universal.

Sorry, but I have to deploy the ice-water bucket.

What we offer at LU is guidance toward a specific insight: that the separate person you've believed yourself to be is an illusion built of thoughts. It never has existed and it never will.

There are no rules for what happens when this is seen. For many of us it's greeted with "Oh, so that's how it is" rather than "Wow, no more suffering ever!"

Another way to look at it is that in traditional teachings that talk about stages of enlightenment (or freedom, or liberation), what we offer here would be called a beginning stage.

I'm not saying that there won't be peace, joy, calm, flow, relaxation. I am saying that if you hang onto those as the markers of success here, you'll always be looking in the wrong place.

In other words, do your best to drop all your expectations, to ignore what you think you're going to get out of this investigation. Devote yourself to the inquiry with childlike curiosity and no preconceived notions.

Okay? Let's get started!

Imagine that I'm talking to you face to face, eye to eye, and I say:

"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 words deep inside. Really let them sink in.

What physical sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

What feelings do you notice?

Be as specific as possible. Remember to report your direct experience rather than any thoughts about it.

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:41 pm

wonderful
do your best to drop all your expectations, to ignore what you think you're going to get out of this investigation. Devote yourself to the inquiry with childlike curiosity and no preconceived notions.
noted and dropping
What physical sensations do you notice?
Initially, a tightening of the muscles in my throat and shoulders and then upon noticing it relaxed.
What thoughts do you notice?
I am going to quote the thoughts outside of the quote function ;) "how can that be?" "who is the one observing this all?" "what about the observer and the experience of observing?""where are these thoughts coming from, then?""who/what is thinking?" also, "if there is no "I" then what I am experiencing is the thought(s) of what "I" am/should be" "if I removed "I" it would just be experience" (this last one I read on the app and it was then that I realized that it is experience) but if everything is an experience and the "I" that was mentally formed is not real what does that say for experience itself? is it real? and what makes it real, my mind interpreting the experience or the experience of it through the body?
What feelings do you notice?
Confusion, mild anxiety and a feeling of trying to push through. Later on my commute home I let this really sit with me (the best way I can find to describe it) and I had a few moments of just realizing that "I" is a mental label and is pointing to the experience of "me". This was of course right before my mind chimed in with "oh really?" "is this it then? the gate-less gate?" "what should I be feeling?" and on and on. I would let go and begin investigating again, followed by small "ah ha's" and the minds' "wait a second? what about...." I feel like I am on the edge of something here but not in an uncomfortable way, just in a way.

Your help and guidance is always appreciated. Thank you,
Jessica

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Steve
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:04 pm

Hi, Jessica. Great start! The questions raised in your thoughts are the very ones we're investigating here.
"who/what is thinking?"
We'll get to thinking after a bit. Let's start with something more direct: hearing.

In this exercise, you'll look at direct experience for the answer to the question, "Is there a separate 'hearer'?" Or, "Does the experience of hearing require a 'hearer'?" Or, "Who/what is hearing?"

Sit comfortably and close your eyes. You can either focus on a specific sound that's already present (hum of air conditioner, twittering of birds) or you can create a sound (or have someone do it for you) by ringing a small bell, tapping with a pencil on a wine glass, tapping with a wooden spoon on a metal mixing bowl, or whatever is at hand.

Focus on the experience of hearing. (Repeat the sound as often as you need to.) Really notice what is directly experienced as hearing, before and apart from any thoughts about what it is or how it must be happening.

Look to answer these questions:

Do you experience a sound separate from the hearing of the sound? In other words, is there an unheard sound lurking somewhere, waiting to be heard, and then you hear it? In direct experience, can there ever be an unheard sound? Or are the words "sound" and "hearing" actually synonyms?

Do you experience a 'hearer' separate from the hearing? Do you hear a hearer? Do you see a hearer? Do you touch a hearer? Do you taste, smell or feel a hearer? Really look closely! Is there a hearer anywhere to be found? Do you experience a hearer in any way, shape or form?

Now, having looked deeply into the direct experience of hearing, what do you see about the original questions:

Does hearing require a hearer? Who or what is hearing?

Looking forward to your report!

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:52 pm

thank you for the exercise, Steve. Here is what was experienced:
"Is there a separate 'hearer'?" Or, "Does the experience of hearing require a 'hearer'?" Or, "Who/what is hearing?"
no, there was no experience of a "hearer", only the mind labeling.
Do you experience a sound separate from the hearing of the sound? In other words, is there an unheard sound lurking somewhere, waiting to be heard, and then you hear it? In direct experience, can there ever be an unheard sound? Or are the words "sound" and "hearing" actually synonyms?
There was no sound separate from hearing...it was just hearing happening. No unheard sound lurking, just happening and there is no un-hearing, just heard/hearing. "sound" and "hearing" are not synonyms because "sound" points to someone hearing a sound (almost like a label) and "hearing" points to the experience itself.
Do you experience a 'hearer' separate from the hearing? Do you hear a hearer? Do you see a hearer? Do you touch a hearer? Do you taste, smell or feel a hearer? Really look closely! Is there a hearer anywhere to be found? Do you experience a hearer in any way, shape or form?

there is no "hearer" in here just the experience "hearing" the only thing that leads me to feel as though there would be a hearer is the mind labeling as experiencing is happening. Nothing that could be touched or seen that could be labeled as a "hearer".
Does hearing require a hearer? Who or what is hearing?
Hearing is just occurring without a hearer. What is hearing? The ears? They interpret the sound so that the experience is possible but even then, hearing is only experiencing if there is something to experience. If there were no presence there would be no hearing to be the experience.

With gratitude,
Jessica

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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:14 am

Hi, Jessica. Thanks for the report. Great noticing!
no, there was no experience of a "hearer", only the mind labeling.

the only thing that leads me to feel as though there would be a hearer is the mind labeling as experiencing is happening.
What do you mean by "the mind labeling"? Is there an entity called "the mind" that you experience directly?

If so, what are its characteristics? What does it look like, sound like, feel like, taste like, smell like? (Tongue in cheek here, but you get the idea. This is the kind of ruthless inquiry that breaks through belief in the content of thoughts.)

If you find no "mind" in direct experience, then what is actually meant when we say things like "the mind labeling"?
Hearing is just occurring without a hearer.
Great! That's a good place to stop and rest.
What is hearing? The ears? They interpret the sound so that the experience is possible but even then, hearing is only experiencing if there is something to experience. If there were no presence there would be no hearing to be the experience.
I'm glad you added this, because it's an excellent example of the kind of analysis that doesn't help keep the investigation focused. :) You've slipped from direct experience ("Hearing is just occurring...") to thoughts about it. For example, you have no direct experience that ears are interpreting sound. It's something you probably read in a science book or saw in a film.

No harm! Now you have a clearer idea of how to stay with the inquiry.

Now extend the same questioning to the other senses. You can either simply sit and notice, or you can invent an exercise similar to the hearing exercise for each sense.

Is there a "toucher" separate from the experience of touching?

Is there a "smeller" separate from the experience of smelling?

Is there a "taster" separate from the experience of tasting?

Is there a "seer" separate from the experience of seeing?

Stay with each one until you're sure. Some folks have more difficulty with some senses than with others. Let me know if any sticking points appear. We can work through them.

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:56 am

Steve, wonderful feedback.Thank you. Sometimes it is difficult answering these questions from direct experience and so, I really appreciate the gentle guidance. Sitting with the experiences longer...

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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:52 am

Looking forward to hearing more.

With Love,
Steve

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origins44
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Re: Please help me to see

Postby origins44 » Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:45 pm

okay. so I have been sitting with these questions for a few days now and I am finding it difficult to directly experience them. I mean, I just experience, but then there is this sense like I am not really "here", like I am not even connected enough to really experience...perhaps a numbness? Just being honest and feeling some frustration as this was so much more of a flow when I first began to investigate this and now....well, now nothing.

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Re: Please help me to see

Postby Steve » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:03 am

Hi, Jessica. Nothing to worry about.

I'd like to get a clearer picture of what you're experiencing. Before I pose any questions, here's another perspective on the distinction between direct and indirect experience. We're always having direct experience of something. Even when we seem to be lost in a thought story, our direct experience is of the story. Or if you're watching a film about Paris, that's an indirect experience of Paris, but it's a direct experience of the film.

Also, for many of us the stream of commentary thoughts seems to be unbroken. But if that were really true, if there were really no gaps, we wouldn't be able to navigate the world at all. We'd be totally stuck in our thoughts about it. Even when we feel that that's the case, we still manage to live our lives. So we have to suspect that feeling.
I just experience, but then there is this sense like I am not really "here", like I am not even connected enough to really experience
Let's do some deconstruction.
I just experience.
Great! This is always the case.
but then there is this sense like I am not really "here"
Describe this sense as minutely as you can. What sensations, feelings, and thoughts do you notice?

What does the word "I" refer to here? Is there an "I" that could not really be here?
like I am not even connected enough to really experience
What does the word "I" refer to here? Connected to what?

Whenever you notice the word "I" appearing in thought content, ask what it refers to. Then look to see if any such thing is actually present in your experience.

For example, you notice a thought "I hear the bell." Well, now you know from the hearing exercise that this is just a conventional, everyday language construct that doesn't actually refer to a "hearer" or an "I" separate from the experience of hearing. There is no such "I."

Thoughts containing "I" provide clues about where you believe a separate "I" might be lurking. When you notice this, just look to see if it's really there. Nothing complicated, nothing spooky, nothing effortful. Just look, the way you'd look to see whether there's milk in the fridge or keys in your pocket. Very straightforward. Just look.

Let me know what you see.

With Love,
Steve


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