I'd like to have a guide please

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beverley
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I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:22 pm

Hi there,

is available to offer guidance?

Many thanks

Beverley

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:23 pm

I mean, is anyone available

Thank you

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:50 pm

Hello Beverley

Welcome to the Forum.
I may be willing to guide you.

Could you tell me a little about your background. Have you studied or read any books (Gateless gatecrashers perhaps?) or followed any non-duality teachers?
What is it that you seek in our dialogue here?

Best wishes to you
Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi Xain

I haven't read about this, my background is meditation. I have done several retreats, in mindfulness of breath and metta bhavana meditation, and in particular vipassana meditation with S.N.Goenka. I am interested in seeing beyond the constructs we place on the world to the nature of 'reality'. I am interested in non-duality, and very much behind it as a concept, and I have discussed this with other meditators, but I believe through this dialogue something could become clearer for me - so that it becomes more than just an intellectual idea, and something more tangible in my experience. This website was recommended to me by a friend who felt I would get benefit from guidance here.

My understanding of 'non-duality' is - that we are not seperate from the universe, and are continuously affecting it, and being affected by it, and that the 'borders' between 'us' and the other are merely illusion. This is my understanding so far

Thanks,

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:41 pm

Hi Beverley

Sorry - I have been absent for a few days - I am back on track now, and free to reply.
I believe through this dialogue something could become clearer for me - so that it becomes more than just an intellectual idea, and something more tangible in my experience.
Yes, that is a fair expectation.
Our conversation will be specifically addressing 'I', this separate individual we take ourselves to be and to see if it is actually true, if this 'I' is something real.
This is not a philosophy or doctrine and I will not be feeding you new ideas of beliefs - Merely examining the ones you have. To this end, most of the dialogue will be me asking questions, and for you to look into your experience and answering from what you see is happening and what is true for you.
My understanding of 'non-duality' is - that we are not seperate from the universe, and are continuously affecting it, and being affected by it, and that the 'borders' between 'us' and the other are merely illusion. This is my understanding so far
For now please put all ideas and concepts of the world and non-duality to one side, and approach this very simply and freshly.
Also, please put aside any preconceptions you have about 'what it will be like' or 'what will happen' after seeing. This cannot be predicted, and extreme expectations like bliss, peace, happiness etc may actually hamper the process.

A few guidelines which will assist us both.

1. Please post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer from direct personal experience only (we can go into this in more depth later if needed).
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main page - http://www.liberationunleashed.com/
(Scroll down the page)

If you need to you can use the QUOTE function like I have done above to quote some of your replies - It may make it easier to read through the dialogue.
A guide for this function can be found here: http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:02 pm

Hi Xain,

thanks, I'm struggling a bit with the quote function, it seems to highlight the whole text instead of the line I wanted. I'll keep trying, and may be ok without it.

I'm happy with your guidelines except the first one which I will struggle with - I will find it difficult to reply every day, but four or five times a week would certainly be ok. Would that be ok with you? It's because I spend most of my working day at the computer, and recently I've needed to ensure that some evenings I keep away from the screen altogether.

I will do my best to approach this simply and freshly, and not to expect anything. Many thanks for your time!

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:15 pm

thanks, I'm struggling a bit with the quote function, it seems to highlight the whole text instead of the line I wanted. I'll keep trying, and may be ok without it.
If you click 'Quote' to the top right of my reply, then it will quote the entire block.
If you copy and paste a line (or two) from my reply and then click 'Quote' next to 'Code' on the top line, it will put that line only as a quote.
I will find it difficult to reply every day, but four or five times a week would certainly be ok
Replying every day is important for two reasons.
First, it develops a momentum which is useful for this type of enquiry.
Second, all the questions I ask can be answered immediately and require no 'time', 'contemplation' or logical analysis or thinking. Long periods without a reply, and people generally wander off into thought about the questions, rather than answering the question directly.
It is not a show-stopper. Please reply as often as you can.

Ok, Beverley, I'll begin by explaining what is meant by 'Direct Experience' and then we can have a look at 'I'.

This investigation is here to determine if the separate 'I', 'me' is actually real or not.
For this, I will ask you to look into your own Direct Experience here and now and look to see if what I am asking is true for you. This is utterly simple, but many people seem to struggle with it.

Right now, all the senses are operating. There is seeing, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
In the immediate moment, all these things are functioning.

Added to this there is also 'thinking'. As well as the senses being experienced, thoughts can be experienced. Thoughts could be something direct like 'I must go out and buy some milk' or more abstract like remembering the image of a person's face, a feeling as you stroked an animal or recalling the sound of song.
Just check in and let me know if this description I have given is true for you.

Emotions like sadness, anxiety and fear can also be experienced, and generally they are a thought, accompanied by a feeling or sensation. For example, the thought 'Oh God, I hope I pass this important exam' can be accompanied by sensations, feelings like 'butterflies in the stomach', a headache, sickness etc.

I mention all this so that we are on the 'same page' in terms of how we perceive the world.
Is there any other 'experience' appearing to you right now in the immediate moment other than 'thoughts' and what is being perceived through the senses?

Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:15 pm

I can confirm that those five senses are in my experience, although not all together, and that I have experiences of thoughts. I am thinking about going out shortly, and whether/how I will be able to extract myself from the gathering and leave early. I am also thinking that I'll probably enjoy it, although I am preoccupied with getting up early tomorrow. I can feel the floor under my feet and the table under my arms. I can taste the sandwich I've just eaten, and feel saliva in my mouth.

I don't notice anything else. Earlier today, I felt low, and disappointed in myself. I think this primarily took the shape of self-critical thoughts, and physical tiredness - not concentrating very well and wanting to rest a lot. My tiredness today has definitely affected my thoughts.

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:29 pm

Hi again Beverley

Good. We can now continue with examination of 'I', and your last reply gave plenty of scope for this.
What does it mean when you say 'I'? - What does it refer to exactly?
I have experiences of thoughts . . .
Good, so from this, 'I' is the one that experiences thoughts.
I am thinking about going out shortly
So 'I' is the thinker - The one that thinks.
I can feel the floor under my feet and the table under my arms. I can taste the sandwich I've just eaten, and feel saliva in my mouth.
Great, so I is the one that all the senses report to, 'I feel', 'I taste' etc
Also, 'I' is the doer of actions - I eat, I go out . . .
I don't notice anything else. Earlier today, I felt low, and disappointed in myself.
This is an interesting one.
'I' is the one that can notice things.
Again, 'I' is the one that feels (low in this case).
Disappointment is a strange one. 'I am disappointed in myself'.
It seems you are saying that there is an 'I' here that is disappointed in 'I'. Or perhaps 'I' is the one that can hold an opinion about itself.

Have a look at what I have mentioned here, and respond when you have a moment.
I have given you a few pointers, but feel free to elaborate what 'I' is, in your case, if anything else comes up.

Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Sat Oct 12, 2013 12:31 pm

When I have experiences of thoughts, there is something 'relating to' the thoughts - identifying with them, often quite strongly.

When I have a sensation, the sensation is just 'there' - it doesn't necessarily seem as if 'I' am part of it.

When 'I' do something, that seems to be the 'collective me' - the idea of what myself is, including the image I have of me, my skills, history, memories - an idea of what 'me' is, which is complex and constantly changing - and that's the thing walking down the street. It's that 'package' of 'me' that I am disappointed in sometimes, or proud of. But as you say, how do 'I' reflect on 'me' - are they different things?

But when I feel the pain of a scratch, that's happening to an organism that's sitting here - it doesn't seem to require the 'me' package, to be experienced. It generates a sensation that I feel. There is a sensation - so the 'me' must be the anchor against which that sensation can make its purchase. Otherwise it's floating around in the air - or it doesn't exist.

These are some ideas as I think of them, for now. Should I be clearer/more specific?

I look forward to hearing your further questions,

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:49 am

These are some ideas as I think of them, for now. Should I be clearer/more specific?
Not at all, that's absolutely fine - Keep things very simple and direct.
When I have experiences of thoughts, there is something 'relating to' the thoughts - identifying with them, often quite strongly.
Ok, Good.
This is one of the areas we can look at now. 'I' is the thinker and owner of thoughts.

Consider . . .
Do you know what your next thought it going to be?
Do you have control over the thoughts that appear?

We often say 'I had a thought - That thought appeared in my mind'
Do a simple test in the immediate moment. Think a thought - Anything.
Now can you identify in the immediate moment, where and what this 'I' is that 'thought the thought'?
Can you also identify the location in which the thought appeared? This 'Mind'?
Or do thoughts just appear? Without any specific location to be found?
When 'I' do something, that seems to be the 'collective me' - the idea of what myself is, including the image I have of me, my skills, history, memories - an idea of what 'me' is, which is complex and constantly changing - and that's the thing walking down the street. It's that 'package' of 'me' that I am disappointed in sometimes, or proud of
Considered anything that you believe about you - A skill, A history, an image you have about yourself.
Now consider in the immediate moment, does it have any substance to it? Any reality?
Or is it simply a thought appearing that is believed in?
Just look very simply at what is going on in your immediate experience.
But when I feel the pain of a scratch, that's happening to an organism that's sitting here - it doesn't seem to require the 'me' package, to be experienced. It generates a sensation that I feel. There is a sensation - so the 'me' must be the anchor against which that sensation can make its purchase. Otherwise it's floating around in the air - or it doesn't exist.
This is very interesting.
If I can put it in different words, you seem to be saying that the organism sitting there is 'you'.
If a sensation of pain is experience, there must be a 'me' for it to happen to, or else it either wouldn't exist, or would be some sort of ethereal experience.
Well let us look, again very simply, at what is actually happening.
Rather than 'pain', let's look at something at little less unpleasant - A feeling in the hand.

Place your hand on the desk, so that you can feel it.
Now, we normally say 'I feel the desk'.
Clearly, there is an experience there, a sensation - That is undeniable.
Ok, now look in your immediate experience for the 'I' that is feeling the desk.
What is that one?
Or could it be that experience is happening, and there is no actual 'I' that it is happening 'to', other than a thought about it added later?

Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:26 pm

I don't know what my next thought is going to be, but I am able to 'guide' my thoughts - for example, if I am trying to solve a crossword puzzle, I generate a lot of thoughts in the area of the theme of that particular clue. Then the thoughts pursue one another towards an answer, or not. Those particular thoughts wouldn't have arisen if I had put the crossword down and done something else. However I don't have 'control' over the thoughts that appear. I can generate a current going in a particular direction, although the direction will change.

When I think about eating my tea, I can't tell where the thought is happening. It feels like something is going on in my head - there are sensations happening there. But there are also sensations happening in my stomach, if I'm thinking about food, or if the thought makes me feel nervous.

I believe that I am a nice person. In my immediate reality, there are sensations in my body, I feel hungry and a bit cold, and some thoughts. There are memories of how people have responded positively to my niceness, and also memories of when I didn't manage to be nice to other people. Believing that I am a nice person feels like something that is slippery, and takes effort to 'believe', since it is abstract and I have to make some considerable effort to pin it down in my experience. I can't find exactly where it is. I can tell you some evidence of times when I have been a nice person - although this would just be me looking for evidence to support something that is already there in my belief (I mean, I'd be 'adding to' the experience, after the event of it).

When my hand is on the desk, there are sensations in the hand. You suggested - 'I feel the desk'. Actually, I think 'I feel' is more appropriate - since it seems arbitrary, or false, to separate the feel of the desk from the feeling of coldness on my arms and the feeling of movement/slight discomfort in my empty stomach. All of these things are taking place. As you suggest - my attempts to describe the sensations are entirely separate from the actual experience of them, and again, the attempt feels 'slippery' and vague.

So thoughts 'about' experience are definitely added later. However I'm still not clear where the experience is actually happening, or who it's happening to

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:08 pm

I don't know what my next thought is going to be, but I am able to 'guide' my thoughts.
Let's have a look at that.
Once more, think a thought - Anything at all. In other words, guide your own thought pattern to a particular subject.
OK? Now again, look into your experience here and now and find what 'I' is guiding the thoughts.
Is there one?
for example, if I am trying to solve a crossword puzzle, I generate a lot of thoughts in the area of the theme of that particular clue.
There is definitely an 'I' guiding the thoughts? Or does it just appear that way?
If there is definitely an 'I' generating a current of thought in a particular direction, we should be able to describe it.
Those particular thoughts wouldn't have arisen if I had put the crossword down and done something else.
This is an assumption, is it not?
If you do not know what your next thought is going to be, how do you know what thought would or would not have happened?
It feels like something is going on in my head.
It is common parlance to say 'Thoughts in my head', but examine your own experience carefully - Really look into this. Do you actually experience a thought inside a head? If not, can you actually locate where the thought appears in?
I believe that I am a nice person
Ok, so right here and now in the immediate moment use all the senses available and describe this nice person.
Don't be tempted to wander off into thoughts about past and future - Concentrate on what is here and now.
How does this 'nice person' appear in your immediate experience?
All of these things are taking place. As you suggest - my attempts to describe the sensations are entirely separate from the actual experience of them, and again, the attempt feels 'slippery' and vague.
Ok, take another sense - Seeing.
Right now, these words on the screen are being seen.
In the immediate moment, describe the 'I' that is seeing these words on the screen. Tell me how this 'I' that sees the words on the screen is known.

Xain ♥

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beverley
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby beverley » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:23 pm

I just realised something - that my 'guiding' my thoughts towards the crossword puzzle clue is actually the result of the crossword coming into my experience at that moment. If my mum had come into my experience, and not a crossword, my thoughts would have taken a path of being about information relevant to my mum, or what I might talk about to her. Therefore - my experience of 'guiding' my thoughts may actually be that something in my experience gave rise to one bunch of thoughts, rather than another (therefore removing my own autonomy over the thoughts). I mean - thoughts as the result of conditions, rather than directed by an autonomous centre.

I can't describe an 'I' generating the thoughts. I have the strong sense that thoughts are in my head. That is the area I am drawn to when I try to work out where thoughts are. There is nothing clear, but a sense that there is action taking place in my head when I think. This is true when my eyes are open and when they are shut (because I wondered if I might be confusing thinking with the experience of seeing, because eyes are located in my head).

If I am curious about whether thoughts are happening in my leg, or in my stomach, I don't find any evidence at all. There are sensations there. Thoughts take different forms - I visualize my dinner, and the image seems to be behind my eyes. I imagine speaking to someone, and I sense movement in my head, like a muscle doing something (not resting).

Seeing is a sense, and to 'see' is separate from identifying with what is 'being seen'. I can see a plant in front of me, but I don't think 'plant'. I just see shapes and colours. I would describe it as a plant, if asked to say what what it was, but that is not seeing. The seeing happens itself and doesn't require conscious effort, or a 'me'. I think this is true of all the senses. And even thoughts perhaps - but the thought 'takes place' somewhere... is a thought a physical action? Is that what I can feel in my head? It definitely feels stressful sometimes to have to think, for example now - I've finished work, I've been concentrating all day, and conjuring up thoughts deliberately makes my head feel tight. There is physical action taking place in my head when I think.

At other times, a thought is fleeting, just a shape or an image - when it doesn't require effort, it doesn't seem to 'feel' like anything.

I won't be able to reply to your message tomorrow but I can on Wednesday, I hope that's ok

Beverley

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Xain
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Re: I'd like to have a guide please

Postby Xain » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:41 am

I mean - thoughts as the result of conditions, rather than directed by an autonomous centre.
Potentially a very important discovery.
Which thoughts are appearing right now, that you can say are definitely not the result of conditions/conditioning?
Could it be . . . that every single thought appearing is the result of conditions? That not one single thought that has ever appear has been generated by 'you' but simply 'happened'?
I can't describe an 'I' generating the thoughts. I have the strong sense that thoughts are in my head. That is the area I am drawn to when I try to work out where thoughts are. There is nothing clear, but a sense that there is action taking place in my head when I think.
We need to be careful here.
As we have discussed, in Direct Experience all the senses are operating - There are also thoughts being experienced.
Which one of the senses have you used to determine that there are thoughts appearing in the location of the head?
Or is 'thoughts appear in my head' just a thought about what is happening, and not the actual true experience?
I visualize my dinner, and the image seems to be behind my eyes.
Is this really your experience? Which sense are you using to determine that the visualisation of dinner appears in a location behind the eyes?
Or is 'visualization behind the eyes' just a thought about what is happening, and not the actual true experience?
. . . but the thought 'takes place' somewhere...
With this analogy, you should be able to locate the exact position.
Where do they take place?
Is a 'thought' an actual real 'thing' with a location?
I won't be able to reply to your message tomorrow but I can on Wednesday, I hope that's ok
No problem.

Xain ♥


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