open to awareness; please guide me

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kathy
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open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:33 pm

Thank you. I am open to being shown how to let the self fall away. I have spent the past twelve years immersing within spirit within a variety of wisdom traditions and techniques. Found myself deepening into love, calmer sense of living, following the flow, creating new ways of working, finding new communities, and maintaining comfort within circles that were not seeking. Early days had me wishing for a teacher, later years had me paying attention to life as it shows up, connection with etheric helpers, and internal wisdom. Following the flow of Life, communing within Love Itself (or whatever name I apply to this ineffable Presence), and feeling freedom, peace, compassion, acceptance has become part of how I live my life now. I experience moments of broadness when I am swept away within feelings of awe, love, connection, and appreciation for what is occurring. Yet, I find my mind, sense of self, and patterns of thinking/reacting are still a part of my daily activity. While I have an intellectual understanding and acceptance of awakening, that is in my mind and not in my full daily experience. My mind remains active and distracting with it's story of me in relation to the world. Rather than redirecting my mind, I'd rather just drop this sense of self. I am over my stories and distractions. I appreciated the guidance offered by Anthony DeMello and Jeff Foster among others. I am ready for more direct interaction which supports my actual looking in a persistent fashion rather than a more casual approach where it is easier for me to distract from the looking. I am experiencing deep gratitude, welling emotion, hesitation, and confusion as I type this. It is time. Thank you for whatever guide is available to work with me.

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moondog
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:41 pm

Hi Kathy and welcome,

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

You've already said a quite bit about yourself, but please say a little about 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 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.p

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

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% 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 viewtopic.php?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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kathy
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:39 pm

Hi Pete
Thank you for your time and willingness to guide me. I feel grateful right now. I have seen the video and read the disclaimer and article. I am on the East Coast - US (est). A dear friend used this site and shared her experience with me. I read some of the threads and Gateless Gatecrashers. My inner urging told me to do this now. So, I am here.
What are your expectations for this process?
That I will follow the prompts to experience life differently; that I will be helped to come out of my thinking mind - my habits of perception; that I will be guided when confused. Is there an expectation for dropping of the no-self? There is a hope and some doubt about possibility.
What is it that you are searching for?
Truth - whatever that is. Clarity about True Nature. Fuller awareness of the Presence that at times bursts my heart wide open. Deeper love for life, myself, others. Purer service. Deep acceptance of what is without the longing for some other “is.”
How will you know that you found it?
I honestly do not know. I am open to a new way of experiencing life. If I answer as to how I might know, I think I am responding from how I’ve been trained to think. I expect I will experience a “knowing” that this is real or that my thoughts slow/stop/change, but I am not sure.
How will this feel?
I hope to feel freer, more at peace with what is, open to greater acceptance of people, situations, and generally more content. I have a thought that it will be confusing and require adjustments in how I move through life. That feels now as if it might be okay or might not.
How will this change you?
I don’t know. I hope to be present to that which is most important; be kinder, more loving, and have greater compassion. I wonder what will happen with my thinking mind. I wonder how this might change my perspective on my work - like, what am I doing? That feels a bit uncomfortable as I write this. I wonder what beliefs will leave. I hope my experience of expansive love within some reverent, ineffable Presence expands. I don’t require labels for this, just the felt experience. I would miss that if it left, yet I imagine love remains even fuller without my little mind’s idea of it. Whatever comes, I desire Truth, wish to love more deeply, and serve more purely. Whatever comes.

Thank you, Pete.
Love flows,
Kathy

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moondog
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc.

Thanks also for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. 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 any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't 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, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

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 in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.

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 - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


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

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kathy
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:17 am

Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Ok - pondering. If this is so, it must be outside of time as I know it. Not a present moment following a trillion moments and preceding a trillion moments. The present moment is outside of time. And everything exists within it. Yet, my mind wants to time travel. Pondering this statement makes me think of my idea of the Divine - nothing exists outside of an all encompassing Divine Presence/Awareness/Energy. Divine - Present Moment - What Is. Is there any difference?
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
When asking this question, the time traveling begins ... memory traces of past - but the past is not in the present moment ... imaginings of the future, but ... not here in present moment. Where is history of me? Where is history of the world? I am looking for something and come up with memory traces - history, but not here. I am in time - traveling to and fro - looking. Where is that which is not happening in my present moment experience - somewhere else in world on same date as today - not in my awareness/experience? Does it exist? I get lost in the time thing, the mind thing. My mind needs time and wants to show me a linear time line of what was in existence and what will possibly be. Yet, I am sitting by myself in a room - only my mind traveling through time. Is the present moment outside of this idea of time, encompassing everything? I wonder.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
I am called by name - a label that is a complex mix of information I and others hold about ‘me.’ My personality - descriptions of how I experience myself/or am experienced - warm, funny, helpful, smart, curious, etc. Me has roles - daughter, wife, mother, what I do for a living, volunteer, friend, etc. Me has a history - just stories about my experience and how they formed me into what I am today. What is that exactly - now that I am looking at it? Things I have done are just the result of choice/action taken - not what I am. I would have described the ‘me’ a mix of my physical presentation, personality characteristics, roles played, values held, and my unique stream of energy within universal streaming energy.
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
Deep breath/sigh. Writing with pencil. Thoughts. Hand on chin. I can not find the ‘self’ in my breath, writing, or chin. Shifting in chair, stomach grumbling, looking around room, deep breath. Self in body? too small. Where then? mind, history, experiences, emotions? nope. Walking to car, driving, noticing changing leaves, chanting, feeling love, expansive energy, welling emotion. Self? Not in my sensory experience - movements, singing voice, open heart, wandering eyes. What am I? Feeling expansive energy, freedom, open heart as music flows, voices blend, trees dance, water spits from above. Self? Seems larger than what I conceived of as Kathy - yet the flow of energy is to and fro, a loosening of boundary, a visceral experience rather than thought. Collapsing back to a thought, a body, a woman driving home from work, the need to take the dog to the vet. Self? A psychological construct? can't put a finger on it's residence.

btw, I still miss Santa from time to time.

Thanks, Pete. Be well.
Love,
Kathy

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moondog
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:25 pm

Hi Kathy,

First, I should have said earlier, although we are solely concerned here with seeing for a fact that there is no separate self, I'm going to continue with the "everyday' usage of words like I, me, you etc., simply because communicating effecively without recourse to such words is a real pain. When appropriate, I'll express them as 'I', 'you' etc.

Many thanks for your detailed and interesting answers.

The first two questions in my last post point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience which is where I will be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is 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 kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the comprehensive article on direct experience in the introductory post.
I am called by name - a label that is a complex mix of information I and others hold about ‘me.’ My personality - descriptions of how I experience myself/or am experienced - warm, funny, helpful, smart, curious, etc. Me has roles - daughter, wife, mother, what I do for a living, volunteer, friend, etc. Me has a history - just stories about my experience and how they formed me into what I am today. What is that exactly - now that I am looking at it? Things I have done are just the result of choice/action taken - not what I am. I would have described the ‘me’ a mix of my physical presentation, personality characteristics, roles played, values held, and my unique stream of energy within universal streaming energy.
That's a really full, comprehensive summary of the collection of labels, thoughts(memories), appearances, habits/traits etc.
Deep breath/sigh. Writing with pencil. Thoughts. Hand on chin. I can not find the ‘self’ in my breath, writing, or chin. Shifting in chair, stomach grumbling, looking around room, deep breath. Self in body? too small. Where then? mind, history, experiences, emotions? nope. Walking to car, driving, noticing changing leaves, chanting, feeling love, expansive energy, welling emotion. Self? Not in my sensory experience - movements, singing voice, open heart, wandering eyes. What am I? Feeling expansive energy, freedom, open heart as music flows, voices blend, trees dance, water spits from above. Self? Seems larger than what I conceived of as Kathy - yet the flow of energy is to and fro, a loosening of boundary, a visceral experience rather than thought. Collapsing back to a thought, a body, a woman driving home from work, the need to take the dog to the vet. Self? A psychological construct? can't put a finger on it's residence.
Good looking! And, so far no 'you' anywhere to be found. That's really the kind of thing we'll be doing here. 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.

As I've just said, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So anyway, let's start investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer (or not). First, here's a quote from the Bahiya Sutta, which succinctly sums up our investigation into no-self, when the Buddha says:

Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

So, at last, looking self in sense arisings:

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 are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


They'll get shorter, honest.

Love, Pete

Ps. I guess I miss Santa too, but he's still there to be seen (well for a couple of months), as is Batman, unicorns etc, it's just knowing that, although we get a strong sense of them, they just don't exist...
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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kathy
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:00 am

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?
it seems as if there is something looking, something seeing. same for the other senses.
If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
the mirror is across the room, outside of my body, the seeing process seems to involve some interpretation - some sensory interpretation. I can't say for certain that it is an "I" doing this seeing or interpreting. Seeing the mirror seems to involve sensory interpretation of something outside of my body - across the room - and making sense of what the form is; the perception is. This complex ability to translate what I perceive as a separate form feels like a brain interpretation (as seeing process) rather than a seer.
Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
listening to crickets outside my window (since no pneumatic drill in vicinity); is there a boundary? sound is outside of my body/room/house, my body has form and the cricket has own form (this form is known, but not directly seen from where I am); there are various sounds competing; noticing my focused attention - mind, ears - to crickets as they are a bit hard to hear; shifting attention from other sounds to cricket song. feeling appreciation for the beauty of the song. all of it - hearing sound, knowing it is crickets and not ducks, mindful attention, appreciation - seems to be that sound which is heard (crickets) and the interpretation process (hearing, processing). Is there a listener separate from the listening and interpretation? Up until now, I would not have thought twice about it. Now, it feels like the sound and the interpretation of sound & response to sound are simply part of one complex system. Still have boundary - my body/cricket body, inside/outside of house, offering of sound/interpretation of sound.

another noticing has to do with boundary and near or far. when touching the fabric of chair versus rubbing fingertips together - seems the chair is not a part of me while both fingertips are a part of me. sensations are similar, but boundary is experienced - touching another form; touching my form.

within all of the senses, there seems to be the process (sound, sight, taste, touch) and the interpretation of information flowing via sensory channels. is my body system simply interpreting information via my sensory apparatus and cataloging it via association? that is plausible rather than having a 'self' interpret. A bit disorienting.

Thanks,Pete
Mind the gap,
Kathy

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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:01 pm

Hi Kathy,

To start, I'd just like to briefly reiterate that all you need to do here is to look to see whether a separate self can be found anywhere. So, you are looking in direct experience at what's happening right now. That is, pure sense arisings: thoughts, together with the raw data coming in via your senses, unmitigated by any cognitive, intellectual or mental processes. Thoughts appear in direct experience but the contents of those thoughts are only symbols of what is seen, purely conceptual, shadows of reality, removed. In amongst this seemingly endless succession of thoughts of plans, memories, opinions etc.are 'I thoughts', thoughts about 'me' and what' I' want, hate etc. and these appear to predominate and give a strong sense of self.
it seems as if there is something looking, something seeing. same for the other senses.
But can you actually find anything that is doing the seeing that you can distinguish from just seeing? When you say it seems, is there anything in direct experience to evidence this seeming? Or is it just thoughts telling you that there must be something?
the mirror is across the room, outside of my body, the seeing process seems to involve some interpretation - some sensory interpretation. I can't say for certain that it is an "I" doing this seeing or interpreting. Seeing the mirror seems to involve sensory interpretation of something outside of my body - across the room - and making sense of what the form is; the perception is. This complex ability to translate what I perceive as a separate form feels like a brain interpretation (as seeing process) rather than a seer.
As above, you say that something seems to be happening, in this case sensory interpretation. Again, isn't that a mental process arising immediately after the direct experience. If not, can you describe what it is within direct experience?
Is there a listener separate from the listening and interpretation? Up until now, I would not have thought twice about it. Now, it feels like the sound and the interpretation of sound & response to sound are simply part of one complex system. Still have boundary - my body/cricket body, inside/outside of house, offering of sound/interpretation of sound.
When you are hearing do you experience anything but hearing? Before thoughts quickly intercede to tell you otherwise, can you actually find a hearer that is separate to what is being heard, or indeed a sound that is separate from the hearing of that sound? Leading on from that, can you find any boundaries between hearer, hearing and sound?

Try applying the same investigation to seeing, tasting,smelling and feeling.

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

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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Sun Oct 13, 2013 2:14 am

When you are hearing do you experience anything but hearing? Before thoughts quickly intercede to tell you otherwise, can you actually find a hearer that is separate to what is being heard, or indeed a sound that is separate from the hearing of that sound? Leading on from that, can you find any boundaries between hearer, hearing and sound?
listening with eyes closed ... ticking clock, humming refrigerator, exhale. sound and hearing of sound occur together - can not separate them. hearer is not in this equation. when looking at whether the sound is separate from the hearing of the sound, I can not find the separation - it is one experience. can not locate a hearer. just 'hearing sound' without being able to differentiate between hearing and sound. The labeling of sound - ticking, humming, exhale - is immediately present. Shows me how quickly thought/label is present. Yet, now it is just an experience of "hearing sounds" regardless of label.
Try applying the same investigation to seeing, tasting,smelling and feeling.
Seeing colors, patterned wallpaper, flickering candlelight, faces on photographs. seeing and that which is seen is happening together. the boundary I wrote of before was really just a description of placement or distance. yet, now, regardless of the placement of object seen as compared to my position, it is the process of seeing + object seen; who is seeing this? it is just the seeing. the boundary is gone.

Feeling emotion now, wanting to cry. where am I? I don't exist. it is seeing. just seeing happening here. tears forming, falling, wet on cheeks, stuttering breath. what the hey? [edit] I never existed. damn. calming body. slower breaths. renewed tears, sadness, shorter breaths. tears stop, breath slows, sadness lessens. waves of emotion rising and falling, body responding. no self; just thoughts about it. I am a thought .... damn.

kinda lost my appetite. earlier, I noticed texture, temperature, wet/dry, various flavors while eating out. taste and tasting happened together. apparently my self wasn’t invited to dinner.

smelling cranberry scent; while see the candle as source, I can’t see/locate the scent. scent and act of smelling are intimately dancing, without a boundary. my body is involved in the interpretation of specific scent.

feeling my fingers on the keyboard; smooth keys, wrists feel relaxed as supported by laptop; feel slightest vibration of computer, slightest warmth on keys. again ... that which is felt and the feeling are entwined. there is no separate feeler.

feeling like I want to go read my novel - at least I always knew that was fiction. no confusion there. ... my kid just wandered in - treated me like mom had a self. love is happening here. life is happening here. that feels real. in time, it will be her turn. more emotion, more tears. gratitude and sadness intermingled. all is well.

thanks, Pete.
love,
Kathy

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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:33 pm

Hi Kathy,
listening with eyes closed ... ticking clock, humming refrigerator, exhale. sound and hearing of sound occur together - can not separate them. hearer is not in this equation. when looking at whether the sound is separate from the hearing of the sound, I can not find the separation - it is one experience. can not locate a hearer. just 'hearing sound' without being able to differentiate between hearing and sound. The labeling of sound - ticking, humming, exhale - is immediately present. Shows me how quickly thought/label is present. Yet, now it is just an experience of "hearing sounds" regardless of label.
my kid just wandered in - treated me like mom had a self. love is happening here. life is happening here. that feels real. in time, it will be her turn. more emotion, more tears. gratitude and sadness intermingled. all is well.
Wow, that's great! I'm just really pleased that you've been able to see for yourself the absence of any self involved in hearing, and also the other senses. You can see that there's just hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and feeling. There's no you doing any of that, and no you looking to see whether there's a you either. But, no worries, there never has been and all just works out the way it does in this moment.

All of this is freeing, and you should now be able to continue this investigation able to look clearly and openly at what is happening (and not happening) in direct experience.

Ok, now let's move on to looking - in direct experience - for the self as doer/controller:

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'?


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

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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:53 am

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no "I" involved, but how is it for you when walking?
By the time I read this, I had walked all over creation today. In my home, to my church, to a vast soccer tournament. I looked as I strolled alone in nature and later through the food store. Walking happened fast, slow, mindful, mindless, across grass, concrete, and carpet. Just a body moving automatically through various experiences. No self. In nature, especially, I felt my head turn to witness some beautiful light flowing in the forest, yet I hadn't any thought about it. Just seeing happening, expansiveness, felt connection with the trees, light, deer, plants, visible moon, breeze, body. I was a part of that collective Presence, not I as Kathy, just my sensory body walking and noticing it all and a sense of expansiveness, emotional openness.
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'?
automatic; well trained to complete these actions. brushing my teeth is just that ... physical action of brushing teeth.

Thanks, Pete. I truly value your time and guidance.
Be well
Kathy

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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:04 pm

Hi Kathy,
By the time I read this, I had walked all over creation today. In my home, to my church, to a vast soccer tournament. I looked as I strolled alone in nature and later through the food store. Walking happened fast, slow, mindful, mindless, across grass, concrete, and carpet. Just a body moving automatically through various experiences. No self. In nature, especially, I felt my head turn to witness some beautiful light flowing in the forest, yet I hadn't any thought about it. Just seeing happening, expansiveness, felt connection with the trees, light, deer, plants, visible moon, breeze, body. I was a part of that collective Presence, not I as Kathy, just my sensory body walking and noticing it all and a sense of expansiveness, emotional openness.
Sounds like a great day out in Nature. Everything' becomes more 'real' and therefore easier to appreciate for what it is without the self apparently distorting what we experience. But being in Nature always seems to me to be the most vivid example of Life just flowing on.
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'?
automatic; well trained to complete these actions. brushing my teeth is just that ... physical action of brushing teeth.
Great. You clearly see clearly that stuff happens, no you doing it.

You're really doing really well and have made great progress but, if you're ok with it, I think we should still stick to the original loose plan and move through all the remaining areas where a self-entity might just be lurking, so you can absolutely see the truth for yourself.

So, let's now move 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?

Also, can I ask you to have a look at the following short video clip from BBC Horizon - The Secret You on Neuroscience and Freewill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3AiOS4nCE . It demonstrates scientifically that our decisions and choices are made a full 6 seconds before we think we make them, i.e. before a thought arises saying, "I decided to do this." There is no substitute for looking in direct experience, but this is excellent scientific corroboration for what is to be found, or rather not found, in direct experience.

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

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kathy
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:39 pm

I am all for going step wise through this process. I still have the self identity floating around and when it surfaces, I look for it and find it is not there. Thanks for guiding me through each phase, I find value in that.
But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice?
no and no.
watched the video - thank you. It pointed toward two types of experiences in my day to day living.

I am aware that when I live most freely, I am moving within a flow or complex dance within what I call Presence. Just like I wrote yesterday that my head turned to look into the woods, I follow what my body is doing and notice what is in front of me. I didn't make the choice to turn my head or look for the light. Then my body/awareness will guide me to the next experience and so on. This happens when I have a still mind and relaxed body and when I am distracted by a time traveling, ruminating mind. Whenever I notice this shifting of movement or attention, I use it as a cue to notice what is right in front of me - the information streaming in complex patterns - like a complex conversation or dance in which I am immersed and to which I am contributing. This has changed how I move through my days in recent years.

Many speak of setting intention, yet I feel I only perceive information that is already in flow - more like I receive an intention if I have to use that language. When I am open to perception of what is flowing and following what feels natural, life unfolds with less of my resistance to it or attempts to control it. The video reminded me of these ways that I engage life. Yet, up until this conversation, even as I relaxed into the complex flowing/streaming of information, I still thought of it as Kathy relaxing into the flow - often dissolving within these streams and reforming into my self again. Now, the experience remains, yet I am realizing the self hasn't been there all along.

I saw a sleigh in the clouds today and noticed Santa wasn't in it. I looked around and saw blue sky ... no evidence of Kathy. Still feels a bit intellectual. Ready to move on.

Thanks and love,
Kathy

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moondog
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby moondog » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:16 pm

Hi Kathy,
But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice?
no and no
Great, glad to see that.
I am aware that when I live most freely, I am moving within a flow or complex dance within what I call Presence.
Just to be absolutely clear and for the avoidance of any possible doubt here, when you say I am moving within a flow or complex dance, what is it that you mean moves within this flow? Is there some kind of entity, evident in direct experience, that moves within this flow of life, presence, awareness?
I follow what my body is doing and notice what is in front of me. I didn't make the choice to turn my head or look for the light. Then my body/awareness will guide me to the next experience and so on. This happens when I have a still mind and relaxed body and when I am distracted by a time traveling, ruminating mind.
It's good that 'you' can see that there is no doer/chooser/decider whether your mind is quiet or busy/distracted.
Many speak of setting intention, yet I feel I only perceive information that is already in flow - more like I receive an intention if I have to use that language. When I am open to perception of what is flowing and following what feels natural, life unfolds with less of my resistance to it or attempts to control it.
Good to notice. And what could attempt to control things anyway? Isn't it just another thought?
Yet, up until this conversation, even as I relaxed into the complex flowing/streaming of information, I still thought of it as Kathy relaxing into the flow - often dissolving within these streams and reforming into my self again. Now, the experience remains, yet I am realizing the self hasn't been there all along.
Yes, not only is there no self, there never was one, 'you' never, ever had one. It was just a thought. And don't worry about all this seeming still a bit intellectual, again, it's thoughts telling 'you' that. If you see that there's no self to be found, it doesn't matter what your thoughts continue to tell you (mine still do sometimes), so long as you don't confuse what they say with what is really happening, right now.

Which seems like a very good time to move on to looking at thoughts and the self as thinker:

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

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?


This is clearly going well and I'm enjoying this process. How is it for you right now Kathy?

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

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kathy
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Re: open to awareness; please guide me

Postby kathy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:02 pm

Just to be absolutely clear and for the avoidance of any possible doubt here, when you say I am moving within a flow or complex dance, what is it that you mean moves within this flow? Is there some kind of entity, evident in direct experience, that moves within this flow of life, presence, awareness?
No, not an entity. more of a felt sense of freedom, expansiveness, energetic openness - that sense of being within/part of a larger Presence.
Where do thoughts come from?
I don't know. Watching them, I notice they are observations, preferences, associations, old story lines. They are constant and often bounce like a pinball all over the place.
Are you in control of them?
apparently not. and, by the way, looking at the quality of these random thoughts, I wouldn't even want to claim control of the mundane, silly chatter in my mind.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
nope
Can you stop it in the middle?
only with another thought, like "Stop!" Kind of like trying to shush myself mid sentence.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
no.
Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
no. although there was some hesitation and I had to look harder. The idea of self wanted to stay. "I" thoughts included descriptions of qualities of self, preferences of self, perceptions of self. Table thoughts included descriptions of qualities of table, preferences for table types, perceptions about table form/color, style. Both were just thoughts and the words "I" and "table" could be interchanged. So, no.
Can a thought think?
no.
This is clearly going well and I'm enjoying this process. How is it for you right now Kathy?
I feel grateful for this opportunity, the stepwise investigation, the necessary and helpful reminder to look in direct experience, and the realizations. I find myself throughout the day coming back to the questions and noticing what is occurring. It is clear to me that I go to thinking about things rather quickly, so I now remind myself to examine what I am experiencing in that moment rather than what I think about it. I am not looking ahead to the next step, rather just enjoying the exploration of the day trusting that you will guide me perfectly and all unfolds as it should. I feel deep gratitude for you, Pete, and the time and wisdom you so freely offer.

Love,
Kathy


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