Looking for a guide

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Rurik
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Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:51 am

Hi, I'm looking for a guide, I've heard a lot about LU so have decided to try it myself. I got 15 or so years of meditation experience mostly form the Buddhist tradition.

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:58 am

Hi there and welcome,

My name's Pete ( Buddhist for many years) and my role is to guide you through your own unique process. Shall I call you Rurik?

There are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

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

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

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

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

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 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 the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

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

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

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

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

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

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

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

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

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

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,

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

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Rurik
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:20 pm

Hi Pete,

Yes you may call me Rurik and I have seen and agree to the ground rules and disclaimer.

I live in Cambridgeshire UK, LU have been recommended to me by a few friends for while now, so I thought I'd give it try myself. I'm originally from Scandinavia and have had an interest in the teaching of the Buddha since age 15-16 and later in meditation, I'm now 37.

-What are your expectations for this process?
I try not to bring expectation, but am curious to how LU and direct pointing can help me.

-What is it that you are searching for?
I'd like to see through the illusion of a permanent self and arrive at liberation.

-How will you know that you found it?
when I've seen it and am no longer bound by the limitations that this self sees itself as having

-How will this feel?
not sure, but sensing relief and feeling of liberation

-How will this change you?
by seeing how this false 'self' have been limiting me, I might be able to experience life more fully.

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:02 pm

Hi Rurik,

Many thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc. It's good that we are both on time.
Q. What are your expectations for this process?
A. I try not to bring expectation, but am curious to how LU and direct pointing can help me.
Q. What is it that you are searching for?
A. I'd like to see through the illusion of a permanent self and arrive at liberation.
Q. How will you know that you found it?
A. when I've seen it and am no longer bound by the limitations that this self sees itself as having
Q. How will this feel?
A. not sure, but sensing relief and feeling of liberation
Q. How will this change you?
A. by seeing how this false 'self' have been limiting me, I might be able to experience life more fully.
Thanks for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's good that you don't have any particularly strong or unrealistic expectations. 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.

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. Please 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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Rurik
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:03 am

thank you Pete for guiding me, I've had a full day and will give you my reply tomorrow when I've have had time to sit with your questions.

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:29 am

That 's fine Rurik.

Look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.

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

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Rurik
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:34 pm

Hi Pete, here are my answers to your questions.
Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
I can't find anything that exists outside the present moment all that I experience are the senses: I.e. sound, touch, smell, taste, feelings, thoughts and what I see.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
Through thoughts and and values which I hold, though the values seems to be based on thoughts and emotion. When I look the only time I find something that 'says' me/I/self is within thoughts.
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?
Anything that I 'think' of as myself is actually just an experience, i.e I can feel my heart beat and the thought arises and says 'that's me' but when I look closer I realize it's just the senses.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:50 pm

Hi Rurik,
I can't find anything that exists outside the present moment all that I experience are the senses: I.e. sound, touch, smell, taste, feelings, thoughts and what I see.
Great. It's good that it's clear to you that all there is are sense arisings, including thoughts. It's believing that the contents of thought are as real as what we see, hear etc. that causes problems.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
Through thoughts and and values which I hold, though the values seems to be based on thoughts and emotion. When I look the only time I find something that 'says' me/I/self is within thoughts.
Can you find any values in direct experience, or are they too just thoughts? If you can find values, how do you experience them? How do they appear?
Anything that I 'think' of as myself is actually just an experience, i.e I can feel my heart beat and the thought arises and says 'that's me' but when I look closer I realize it's just the senses.
You seem to be absolutely on the right track here Rurik, but can you just say a little more about what you mean when you say, Anything that I 'think' of as myself is actually just an experience, just so I can be sure.

As you'll have seen, all of the initial questions 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 useful article on direct experience in the introductory post.

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 for a 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.


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

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Rurik
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:56 pm

Hi again Pete,
Can you find any values in direct experience, or are they too just thoughts? If you can find values, how do you experience them? How do they appear?
well in direct experience it's just a thought which in turn triggers a emotional response. So the there are no values there.
You seem to be absolutely on the right track here Rurik, but can you just say a little more about what you mean when you say, Anything that I 'think' of as myself is actually just an experience
well if I try to identify something which is 'me/self/I' it turns out to be an direct experience of one of the senses or just a thought. for example I can get a feeling of being present but when I look closer in to this presence it's just sensations like feelings/emotions, warmth, the breath lifting and lowering my chest, sounds, smells and thoughts etc. there is nothing there that can be identified as a 'me/self/I'. The only time there is something that say 'me/self/I' is when there is thought. there is no such thing there in the senses or presence/awareness.
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.
Once again, the only time an 'I' appears is in thinking. I can look at a tree and it will just be what's in the seen(colour, shapes, textures etc), occasionally there might a thought like 'I'm looking at a tree' but there is no 'I' there except for the thought. the same is true for the rest hearing, feeling, taste, smell etc.

It does put things in a perspective, seeing that this 'I' is just thoughts, I'm finding myself catching the thought now and seeing that that is all it is. If I look at the present moment all that is there is what's being experienced through the senses and the thoughts. If there is any 'I' then that is added by a thought. But beyond the thoughts I can't see/feel/sense anything else that can be Identified as a 'me/self/I'.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:15 pm

Hi Rurik,
Can you find any values in direct experience, or are they too just thoughts? If you can find values, how do you experience them? How do they appear?
well in direct experience it's just a thought which in turn triggers a emotional response. So the there are no values there.
In direct experience can you even 'see' that the thought actually triggers an emotional response, or does the emotion/bodily feeling merely appear to accompany the thought, sometimes just after it, sometimes before and sometimes at the same time?
if I try to identify something which is 'me/self/I' it turns out to be an direct experience of one of the senses or just a thought. for example I can get a feeling of being present but when I look closer in to this presence it's just sensations like feelings/emotions, warmth, the breath lifting and lowering my chest, sounds, smells and thoughts etc. there is nothing there that can be identified as a 'me/self/I'. The only time there is something that say 'me/self/I' is when there is thought. there is no such thing there in the senses or presence/awareness.
I like your observations of your direct experience and your seeing that there is no self to be found when you look there. That's really good.

You say - if I try to identify something which is 'me/self/I' - if, as you say, there is no 'I', what is happening when 'you' do that'?
Once again, the only time an 'I' appears is in thinking. I can look at a tree and it will just be what's in the seen(colour, shapes, textures etc), occasionally there might a thought like 'I'm looking at a tree' but there is no 'I' there except for the thought. the same is true for the rest hearing, feeling, taste, smell etc.
Great, it's good that you can see that.

Is your experience the same with hearing, tasting, tactile feeling and smelling, i.e. is there any 'you' there to be found at all?

For each of the senses, can you find any separation between seer (hearer etc.), seeing and what is being seen.
does put things in a perspective, seeing that this 'I' is just thoughts, I'm finding myself catching the thought now and seeing that that is all it is. If I look at the present moment all that is there is what's being experienced through the senses and the thoughts. If there is any 'I' then that is added by a thought. But beyond the thoughts I can't see/feel/sense anything else that can be Identified as a 'me/self/I'.
Brilliant! That's exactly what's going on in direct experience.

So, let's move on to looking at thoughts and thinking.

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?


It's going well so far Rurik. How do you thing it's going?

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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:07 pm

Hi Pete,

I think I'll need to sit with these questions a bit, so will give a full answer tomorrow. As for how I think it's going, well I really like this direct pointing, it's very practical and easy to engage with for me. Also the meditation that I normally do is based on direct experience so this is great compliment and aid.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:18 pm

Hi Pete, here are my answers..
Where do thoughts come from?
Can't say from where the thoughts are coming, they just seem to appear.
Are you in control of them?
No, not as they are coming, I can chose to reflect on something but I don't control the thoughts that comes.
Can you stop it in the middle?
Well if I find myself thinking of something I can chose to stop, I can however not stop other thoughts from arising.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No I can't tell what the next thought will be.
Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
No they are the same, just thoughts with no noticeable difference.
Can a thought think?
A thought on it's own might not be thinking as it can arise and pass without any active effort. Thinking seem to be a series of thoughts that a related and caused by an active involvement in them.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:21 am

Hi Rurik,
I really like this direct pointing, it's very practical and easy to engage with for me. Also the meditation that I normally do is based on direct experience so this is great compliment and aid.
That's great. It's really helpful for this process if you enjoy the simplicity and openness of looking in direct experience

Thanks for your answers to the questions about thoughts and thinking which I'll respond to below. Before I do, I'll just repeat the other, unanswered questions from my previous post:

You say - if I try to identify something which is 'me/self/I' - if, as you say, there is no 'I', what is happening when 'you' do that'?

Is your experience the same with hearing, tasting, tactile feeling and smelling, i.e. is there any 'you' there to be found at all?

For each of the senses, can you find any separation between seer (hearer etc.), seeing and what is being seen?


Really, my sole role here is to point you to look at your direct experience. I need answers to the above three questions simply so I can be sure that's where you're looking and that's where you're answering from. Don't worry, that's what I think you're already doing; I just need to be sure is all.

Your answers on thoughts are on the right track - you haven't found any thinker, any 'you' creating thoughts.
No, not as they are coming, I can chose to reflect on something but I don't control the thoughts that comes.
if I find myself thinking of something I can chose to stop, I can however not stop other thoughts from arising.
So you say that no, you're not in control of your thoughts, but you can choose to reflect on something, and that you can choose to stop your thoughts. From direct experience only, can you explain how this choosing happens. What does the choosing. Is it you? Please describe this chooser.
Thinking seem to be a series of thoughts that a related and caused by an active involvement in them.
Can you just say a bit about how you came to the conclusion that thoughts are caused and related by an active involvement in them.

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

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Rurik
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Rurik » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:07 pm

Hi again Pete,
You say - if I try to identify something which is 'me/self/I' - if, as you say, there is no 'I', what is happening when 'you' do that'?
Well all that I notice is the senses and thoughts, I sit and while I do so I'm aware see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and notice thoughts. The only time there is something that says me is when a thought with that content arise. Otherwise thoughts are just thoughts, seeing is just seeing, hearing just hearing etc.

I'm not entirely sure whether I have understood your question right, but the only thing that happens is that I feel at ease when I just experience without a me story or when I notice a me story and just think well it's just a thought and not real.
Is your experience the same with hearing, tasting, tactile feeling and smelling, i.e. is there any 'you' there to be found at all?
Yes it's the same, I hear something and usually a thought arise with a label for what I have heard. But there is not I in the hearing. the same is true for tasting, feelings etc.
For each of the senses, can you find any separation between seer (hearer etc.), seeing and what is being seen?
No, I can't notice a separation, there is experience of sound, smell, sight etc I can't find a experiencer so to speak.
So you say that no, you're not in control of your thoughts, but you can choose to reflect on something, and that you can choose to stop your thoughts. From direct experience only, can you explain how this choosing happens. What does the choosing. Is it you? Please describe this chooser.
Well sitting with this again, the decision to stop a thought or to reflect on something is another thought. I can not control the thoughts that arise and not notice a chooser. So I can not say that it's I that chooses as the thoughts just seem to appear without a trace of origin.
Can you just say a bit about how you came to the conclusion that thoughts are caused and related by an active involvement in them.
Well, if I want to think of a subject then I'm able to stay with that subject and thoughts on the subject keep on coming up, as well as distractions which I can either be swept away by or ignore to further explore the subject. So by directing attention to something the thoughts seem to follow. But how the thought to choose the subject arose I can't say as I'm not aware of a chooser. So it could be that the thoughts would just have appeared any way.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:49 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks for your replies clarifying stuff. Can I just have a bit more on the following:
Well, if I want to think of a subject then I'm able to stay with that subject and thoughts on the subject keep on coming up, as well as distractions which I can either be swept away by or ignore to further explore the subject. So by directing attention to something the thoughts seem to follow. But how the thought to choose the subject arose I can't say as I'm not aware of a chooser. So it could be that the thoughts would just have appeared any way.
In direct experience, can you find an entity, self or whatever that wants to think of a subject, or chooses to either be swept away or ignore or further explore the subject or is capable of directing attention to something? If so, please describe in each case what that entity is and how it functions.

Seems like just the right time to 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?
Try all kinds of stuff.

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


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


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