Would really appreciate a guide!

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aoife
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Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:46 pm

Hi, I would really appreciate if someone could guide me. I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been trying to see through the illusion of self by thinking and trying to figure it out rather than relying on direct experience. It would be very useful if someone could help me to avoid this. I’ve also noticed I’m going into seeker mode lately whereas before I was happily meditating and reading various books without any expectations or struggling to get somewhere.

The illusion of self has lessened a great deal in the last year or so and especially in recent weeks but I’m obviously still holding onto something, I can’t see what exactly though.

Seeing through the illusion of self is my absolute top priority so any help would be seriously appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
Aoife

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:49 pm

Hi Aoife

Welcome to Liberation unleashed.
My name is Xain, and I may be willing to guide you.
I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been trying to see through the illusion of self by thinking and trying to figure it out rather than relying on direct experience.
A good observation. This is one of the main stumbling blocks to 'seeing through the illusion'.

What books have you been reading?
Seeing through the illusion of self is my absolute top priority so any help would be seriously appreciated!
Good. It is my firm belief that the more determination a person has, the more there is a chance of 'success'.

Elaborate a little. What exactly are you looking for in our discussion together?
What would it mean (to you)?

Xain ♥

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:45 pm

Thanks for your response Xain, I’m excited to get started!

In the last few weeks I’ve read Gateless Gatecrashers, Jed McKenna’s first book and the book of undoing by Fred Davis. The only other similar book I’ve read is one of Adyashanti’s a few months ago. Before that almost all other books/talks etc. have been from Theravada buddhist teachers. So that’s my background.

I feel in theory I understand that there couldn’t possible be a self and on days when I spend a lot of time contemplating this I grasp on an intuitive level that there isn’t a self operating. It was a real surprise to me when I realised the body gets on with things just fine without me narrating and ‘directing’ everything with thoughts! I also no longer have any problems seeing through all the ‘stories’ that the mind comes up with that would have caused all sorts of suffering before.

However I haven’t been able to accept on an intuitive level that there was no self operating in the past and especially that no one else has a self..

Another thing I’ve been a bit confused about is the idea of there being no boundaries in direct experience. This isn’t at all obvious to me in theory or in direct experience.

So it would be great if you could help me out with either of those things.

As for what it would mean to me.. I don’t really know what to say to that. I’ve gotten to the point where the question of there being a self has just become completely unavoidable and never leaves my mind for very long throughout the day. I have no crazy expectations or anything like that, I understand that in one sense everything will just be exactly the same. I just have to know the truth!

Thanks for your help,
Aoife.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:58 pm

Hi again Aoife
I feel in theory I understand that there couldn’t possible be a self and on days when I spend a lot of time contemplating this I grasp on an intuitive level that there isn’t a self operating
Yes. In 'my story' this was pretty much the position I was in before seeing. A clear intellectual understanding.
It was a real surprise to me when I realised the body gets on with things just fine without me narrating and ‘directing’ everything with thoughts!
Absolutely. The blood flows through the veins. The heart pumps. The stomach digests food. Kidneys extract water etc. All with no 'effort' of any kind. Yet, a thought appears saying 'My body does this'.
Breathing is an interesting one, as it can be considered automatic the majority of the time but would appear to be controlled when thought about/concentrated on.
I also no longer have any problems seeing through all the ‘stories’ that the mind comes up with that would have caused all sorts of suffering before.
That sounds interesting. Could you give an example?
However I haven’t been able to accept on an intuitive level that there was no self operating in the past and especially that no one else has a self..
Two beliefs there. No problem. 'No-one else has a self' is for 'further looking'.
At LU, we specifically concentrate on 'I' in our dialogue together. Addressing this separate 'thing' we take ourselves to be, an individual 'I', 'me', 'self', 'Aoife' to gain the realisation that there is not a separate 'I' here, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be. All 'I' ever is, is just a thought.
After this realisation is made, it may be that other realisation would follow from that (as in 'others').
Another thing I’ve been a bit confused about is the idea of there being no boundaries in direct experience. This isn’t at all obvious to me in theory or in direct experience.
I think I know what you are referring to. There is direct experience (meaning, seeing, hearing, etc, the five senses) and there is also 'thought' which is another experience. What is important to realise is what is 'real' (by which I mean to be simply something that can be found using the senses) or just a thought (something that only exists in 'the mind' and therefore cannot be found using any of the senses).
From this, identifying what boundaries (if any) actually exist.
I have no crazy expectations or anything like that, I understand that in one sense everything will just be exactly the same. I just have to know the truth!
Good. It is important not to have expectations. What 'seeing through the illusion' can be, or mean cannot be predicted. All we are focussed on is simply the realisation of what 'I' is. That is all.

From our brief introductory chat, it would seem you are in an 'excellent place' to see through this illusion, due to your background study and the intellectual understanding you have so far. Great!

Before we head in, 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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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:53 pm

That sounds interesting. Could you give an example?
Yeah sure, so for example, one day earlier this week I hadn’t gotten enough sleep so I wasn’t in a great mood. All morning my mind was telling me stories of how everything was a problem and how I was a victim and what should and shouldn’t have happened, who’s fault it was etc. So a concrete example being that I was in a useless university course and so I wouldn’t be able to get a job, if I did I’d earn no money and have to work crazy hours, this was everyone else’s fault because no one made me realise growing up that you actually would need to make yourself employable, etc. etc. etc. It’s kind of funny in a way now when this happens because there’s nothing my mind can tell me to actually convince me that I’m a victim or something.
At LU, we specifically concentrate on 'I' in our dialogue together. Addressing this separate 'thing' we take ourselves to be, an individual 'I', 'me', 'self', 'Aoife' to gain the realisation that there is not a separate 'I' here, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be. All 'I' ever is, is just a thought.
After this realisation is made, it may be that other realisation would follow from that (as in 'others').
For most of last week I was getting a bit caught up in wether or not there was free will. I had come to the conclusion that there definitely couldn’t be but after a few days I felt like this was being used as an excuse to be lazy… It all started to get pretty confusing. I decided a few days ago that ‘there’s no free will’ is just a belief and that clinging to any belief is going to be limiting. So I dropped the whole thing since I felt I was just getting sidetracked.
So do you think this is also just a distraction right now or is it something I should look at further?

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)
Agreed!

Thanks Xain!

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:12 pm

It’s kind of funny in a way now when this happens because there’s nothing my mind can tell me to actually convince me that I’m a victim or something.
Cool. Thoughts are something we can look at.
Free-will . . . So do you think this is also just a distraction right now or is it something I should look at further?
We will certainly be looking at free-will and choice also.

A lot of this discussion will be talking about 'experience', and by that I mean using the senses you have right now, seeing, hearing, touch etc. When I ask you to 'answer from experience', I simply mean try to find the answer from what you can find right here and right now.
Also, 'thoughts' appear in experience.

We need to determine what is 'real' (and by that I mean, something you can actually find) and something which is not 'real' (meaning, something that only exists in the mind and thoughts and cannot be found using the senses).
A 'Unicorn' is an example. It is not 'real' as nobody has ever seen one. It only exists as a thought - In the imagination.

It will be very important to distinguish between what is 'a thought' and 'what can actually be found'.

Does that make sense?

The first step is to try to determine what 'I' is. What does this word point to.
Consider this question for a moment.

What is 'aoife'? What does the word 'I' or 'me' point to?
Write down anything that comes to mind.

Xain ♥

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:31 am

Hi Xain,

Just to let you know that I'm am working on answering those questions but I need a bit more time. The 'Aoife thing' is turning out to be quite slippery!:P I will have answers tomorrow.

Thanks again for doing this with me,
Aoife.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:56 pm

What is 'aoife'?
Aoife is the label for this body, the awareness from the perspective of this body and the personality (genetics + conditioning) of this body-mind. Aoife, conventionally at least, is the separate self which directs the thoughts and behaviour of this body.

Aoife exists, from other peoples point of view Aoife for sure exists. When I pick the name of someone I know I can point to their body, their personality, the relationship and history with them and say without any doubt that that is so and so. It’s a bit like the label university. You can’t find a single object that is a university but to say a university doesn’t exist is missing the point. University is a useful concept from the point of view of communication and it’s also made up of very real components that can be pointed to. So there’s not a question of if there’s an Aoife. It’s a question of wether ‘I’ am Aoife.

It really feels like there is a solid, separate permanent Aoife but obviously I can’t find such a thing. There are physical sensations, mostly in my head and the centre of my chest, that I perceive as the sense of being and then I feel that this is Aoife. However these are just physical sensations. I suppose the strong conditioning that the self is the head/heart has led to this, but even knowing this I still can’t shake the feeling that these things are ‘my separate self’. There are exactly the same physical sensation is the arm for example but I know if I lost my arm there would be no loss of self. Clearly the mind, influenced by strong conditioning, has just chosen particular physical sensations to attach a sense of self to.

The physical sensations are being perceived so there's definitely perceiving but I can't find a perceiver.

Awareness ‘feels’ the same from day to day so whatever is aware has been there permanently since I was born so out of everything that falls under the label ‘Aoife’, it would appear that this ‘seeing’ is the only thing eligible for what Aoife is. However actions and thoughts for the most part (at least) aren’t controlled by this awareness. I notice that I type, I get up to get some food, I respond to people without any ‘directing’, it all just happens. This has only become obvious since my mind has gotten a lot quieter over the last few weeks.

It feels like this awareness is always ‘here’ and in the centre and that everything else moves around it.

What does the word 'I' or 'me' point to?
Write down anything that comes to mind.
‘I think’ means the thinking arose in this body. ‘I walked’ means this body walked. ‘I am nice’ is just a thought pointing to more thoughts analysing the behaviours and thoughts of this body relative the behaviour and thoughts of other people. So I points to any thoughts or actions arising from this body or mind. 'I can't find the self' is just a thought and the I doesn't point to anything obvious.

‘me’ points to the separate self (well, the idea of it).


There’s frustration arising because there is a very clear sense of being but I can’t track down the experiencer.

I feel like I've relied too much on thinking here and not enough on direct experience but I wasn't sure how to do this any other way .

Thanks,
Aoife.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:52 pm

The 'Aoife thing' is turning out to be quite slippery!
:-) It is fine.
Just write what come to mind. This sort of examination is hardly ever done.
It appears so automatic to write and say 'I', 'me' . . . we never question these things. Until now :-)
Aoife is the label for this body, the awareness from the perspective of this body and the personality (genetics + conditioning) of this body-mind.
Great! This is good start.
Let me try to interpolate from this:
The body that appears here right now is 'Aoife'. Is that what is believed to be true?
When you say 'awareness from the perspective of this body', are you saying that the senses appear to be operated from/by the body? (In other words, the body sees, hears, feels etc)

Just have a little look at 'genetics'. Is this something you can actually find in your experience, or just a thought about what is going on?
Aoife, conventionally at least, is the separate self which directs the thoughts and behaviour of this body.
I know what you mean when you write 'conventionally'.
It may be tempting to give me an answer from different perspectives.
If you can, please put any previous study to one side and only reply back from whatever you feel is true. What you truly believe that the right answer is.
Do you believe that 'you' control the behaviour and thoughts of the body?
Aoife exists, from other peoples point of view Aoife for sure exists.
Cool. For the moment, put 'others' to one side and simply concentrate on what is happening in your own experience.
'Aoife exists'.
Certainly something is here. Something is reading this sentence. That is clear.
What does 'Aoife' exist as? What constitutes 'Aoife'?
So there’s not a question of if there’s an Aoife. It’s a question of wether ‘I’ am Aoife.
Well . . .
I think we can both agree that something is here. To say 'I do not exist' would be kind of silly, as it would clearly need something to exist in order to say those words. Also, as mentioned in the last paragraph, this sentence is definitely being read.
Is your question pointing to 'wether this body is Aoife or not'?
From this, it would appear clear that there is a current strong belief that this body is 'Aoife'. Yes?
The physical sensations are being perceived so there's definitely perceiving but I can't find a perceiver. .
Good. You have obviously given this examination some consideration.
Awareness ‘feels’ the same from day to day so whatever is aware has been there permanently since I was born . . .
When you say 'I was born' are you specifically referring to the birth of the body, and that body is Aoife?
However actions and thoughts for the most part (at least) aren’t controlled by this awareness
Let's try to be specific here. Again, please answer from what you believe to be correct.
Are actions controlled by 'you'?
Are thoughts controlled by 'you'?
You say 'for the most part aren't' - Could you give examples of where it is clear that they are, and where it is clear that they are not?

Just to be clear, when I use the words 'I', 'me', 'Aoife', they all point to the same thing - This is what we are examining. Rather than using references like 'Body/mind' etc, please write from what you truly believe these words point to, rather than intellectualising an answer, or replying from something you have studied (not that you have been doing that, your replies are excellent, I just want to make sure that we are on the same page).
Answer from what you truly believe is going on - From what you truly believe the answer to be.

Xain ♥

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:31 pm

The body that appears here right now is 'Aoife'. Is that what is believed to be true? When you say 'awareness from the perspective of this body', are you saying that the senses appear to be operated from/by the body? (In other words, the body sees, hears, feels etc)
No the body isn’t ‘Aoife’, the body is just the body. Yeah, I think the senses are operated from the body. I see, hear etc. from wherever this body is.
Just have a little look at 'genetics'. Is this something you can actually find in your experience, or just a thought about what is going on?
Just a thought.
Do you believe that 'you' control the behaviour and thoughts of the body?
Everything just seems to happen. There can be a thought ‘I’m going to walk over there’ and then the body walks over there but I see no evidence that the thought caused the walking. And even if it did, I don’t choose thoughts, they just appear.
What does 'Aoife' exist as? What constitutes 'Aoife'?
Aoife only exists as thoughts. Aoife can’t be found outside of thought.
Is your question pointing to 'wether this body is Aoife or not'? From this, it would appear clear that there is a current strong belief that this body is 'Aoife'. Yes?
No, I don’t believe the body is Aoife.
When you say 'I was born' are you specifically referring to the birth of the body, and that body is Aoife?
Good point. If I’m not the body then that doesn’t make any sense. I suppose I could rephrase that to mean that every memory I have has the same feeling of awareness. But memories are just thoughts..
A lot to think about here!
Are actions controlled by 'you'? Are thoughts controlled by 'you'? You say 'for the most part aren't' - Could you give examples of where it is clear that they are, and where it is clear that they are not?
Actions and thoughts just happen.
I said for the most part because I can’t find any examples that I do control thoughts or actions, but it still feels like there must be some things ‘I’ control. Otherwise ‘I’ am just watching/hearing/smelling/tasting/feeling/perceiving thoughts. But there’s no experiencer to be found. Saying ‘I hear’ makes no sense. ‘There’s hearing’ or ‘hearing is happening’ is all that can be claimed. But still it’s being perceived. But the concept of hearing is meaningless without a perceiver. So there can be no hearing without perceiving. From direct experience hearing and perceiving happen at the same time. The same goes for all the other senses. Hearing is awareness of sounds. So there is awareness of sounds, awareness of how objects look and feel, awareness of taste and awareness of smell. But does there not need to be a central experiencer to ‘tie’ all these perceptions together into one experience? I realise this is just a thought.


Thanks so much for your help, you've given me a lot to think about!

Aoife.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:14 am

I can tell from your reply that you have already done a lot of work on this enquiry - Good stuff.
Some of this might be going over old ground, but give it a shot anyway.
Yeah, I think the senses are operated from the body. I see, hear etc. from wherever this body is.
Well the senses may appear to be 'localised' to the area of the body, but if it is said 'I hear', 'I see', 'I feel', then this is duality - A subject/object relationship.

Examine 'seeing' for a moment. This sentence is seen (on the screen).
Since you are doing so well, I will also say that this sentence is being read/interpreted. It's meaning is being understood.

Examine your experience and tell me if you can locate a 'seer', or is there just 'seeing'.
Is there an 'I' that performs the function of 'seeing', or is there just 'seeing'?

Examine your experience and tell me if you can locate a 'reader' / 'interpreter' of these words on the screen.
Or is there just 'reading'.
I suppose I could rephrase that to mean that every memory I have has the same feeling of awareness.
The memories . . . are they 'yours'?
Regardless of how you answer this question, can you tell me how this is known either way?

I said for the most part because I can’t find any examples that I do control thoughts or actions, but it still feels like there must be some things ‘I’ control
This is a rather vague statement. How can we gain clarity here?
Name something that you are certain that 'you' control.

Did you have any control or choice in starting this dialogue with me?
Will you have any control or choice in what you reply?
How is it known either way?
But still it’s being perceived. But the concept of hearing is meaningless without a perceiver. So there can be no hearing without perceiving
Yes, of course. Our investigation together is to determine whether this 'perceiver' is a separate 'thing', 'object', 'person', 'I', 'me' which can be found.
Can you find such a thing?
But does there not need to be a central experiencer to ‘tie’ all these perceptions together into one experience? I realise this is just a thought.
Of course. But examine experience and try to locate such an 'experiencer'. Is there one to be found?
What does 'Aoife' exist as? What constitutes 'Aoife'?
Aoife only exists as thoughts. Aoife can’t be found outside of thought.
You are certain of this? I don't think you are.
If you feel that you ARE certain of this, the natural next question is what exactly is required from our dialogue together?
. . . but I’m obviously still holding onto something
So there is a separate 'I' here right now holding onto something. Really? What 'I' is doing that?
Can one be found? Or is this a thought?
Thanks so much for your help, you've given me a lot to think about!
You are welcome. :-)

Xain ♥

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:18 am

I've answered those questions but there's way too much reasoning and not enough direct experience. I'm going to try again tomorrow with them and I'll let you know how I get on.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:07 pm

Examine your experience and tell me if you can locate a 'seer', or is there just 'seeing'. Is there an 'I' that performs the function of 'seeing', or is there just 'seeing'?
Just seeing.
Examine your experience and tell me if you can locate a 'reader' / 'interpreter' of these words on the screen. Or is there just 'reading'.
Just reading.
The memories . . . are they 'yours'?
Regardless of how you answer this question, can you tell me how this is known either way?
Well since I can’t find anyone that could own the memories it makes the question meaningless.
Name something that you are certain that 'you' control.
It seems like there’s control over what awareness focuses on.

But then obviously the next question is who or what controls what awareness focuses on?

I haven’t been able to answer that.
Did you have any control or choice in starting this dialogue with me? Will you have any control or choice in what you reply? How is it known either way?
Certainly doesn’t seem like it. It’s only known through thoughts as far as I can tell.
Yes, of course. Our investigation together is to determine whether this 'perceiver' is a separate 'thing', 'object', 'person', 'I', 'me' which can be found. Can you find such a thing?
No.
Of course. But examine experience and try to locate such an 'experiencer'. Is there one to be found?
I keep asking this question and I keep looking but I can’t find an experiencer. I don’t understand why there is such a strong feeling of an experiencer when there isn’t one. How can these things be perceived if there’s nothing to perceive them?
You are certain of this? I don't think you are. If you feel that you ARE certain of this, the natural next question is what exactly is required from our dialogue together?
Well I’ve never actually managed to find ‘Aoife’ outside of thought but yeah I don’t feel like I fully believe it. It’s hard to feel 100% certain that something doesn’t exist. Lack of evidence doesn’t seem like enough because there could be evidence you just haven’t come across yet. Not being able to find something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Not really sure how to use direct experience to get past this.
So there is a separate 'I' here right now holding onto something. Really? What 'I' is doing that? Can one be found? Or is this a thought?
Still can’t find an ‘I’.

Thanks,
Aoife.

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby aoife » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:28 pm

Hi Xain, just checking in as agreed. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Re: Would really appreciate a guide!

Postby Xain » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:33 pm

Srory for the small gap in replying.
The memories . . . are they 'yours'?
Regardless of how you answer this question, can you tell me how this is known either way?

Well since I can’t find anyone that could own the memories it makes the question meaningless.
Ok.
Let's say that a memory/thought appears of something that happened to you in the past.
What is the truth of that thought?
In other words, did that event 'happen to you'?
Name something that you are certain that 'you' control.
It seems like there’s control over what awareness focuses on.
But then obviously the next question is who or what controls what awareness focuses on?
I haven’t been able to answer that.
Focus awareness on something now. What does that? Examine your experience. Can you find/locate the 'I' that controls this focus?
Can you at least state that there is definitely nothing (i.e. no separate 'thing') that can be found that controls where awareness focuses?
I don’t understand why there is such a strong feeling of an experiencer when there isn’t one. How can these things be perceived if there’s nothing to perceive them?
First of all, it would be wrong (I think we could both agree) to say that that there is 'nothing here'. This sentence is being seeing and something is doing it.
As you are alluding to, if things are perceived, then there must be something that is perceiving.
We are here to track this 'perceiver' down. All we are able to do is to find out whether this 'perceiver' is a separate 'thing' that can be found or not. If one cannot be found, we are not saying 'nothing is doing it' (nihilism), we are simply saying that there is no 'separate thing' to be found doing it, although perceiving certainly happens.

Thought and mind can only encompass objects, concepts, and 'stuff' - Separate things. If no 'separate thing' can be found, then what is perceiving cannot be encompassed by the mind.
Well I’ve never actually managed to find ‘Aoife’ outside of thought but yeah I don’t feel like I fully believe it.
In order to establish certainty, simply look for a separate real 'Aoife'. If all you can find are thoughts, then 'you' do not exist as separate 'thing' that can be found. Is this fair to say?
Not really sure how to use direct experience to get past this.
Is there a 'you' using Direct Experience? Or is there just 'Direct Experience'?

Xain ♥


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