Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

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diegoblues
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Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:35 pm

Hello, my name is Diego, I'm looking for guidance to help me.

I got to know non-dual philosophy 2 years ago by studying Vedanta and doing Yoga classes. I kept studying and lately I've read Jed McKenna's books and the Gateless Gatecrashers.

My challenge would be that I can intellectually accept that there's no me, however, there's the feeling that I still don't SEE it. I'm down to earth in my expectations, as I believe that when the realization comes it wil feel like an insight, a perceptual change, not some magic moment of bliss or super powers.

I'm trying to investigate further to see what's behind the I thought, but my mind goes blank, and then to some nihilistic thoughts that "I" am just a puppet in a game and nothing is worth doing, so for these last days "I" have procastinated in some work related projects. There's an internal conflict of thoughts that are worried about the consequences of my procastination versus the thoughts that state that all is fine, everything is working as should be, and things will be done when the time is right.

So my goal is to be able to really see, and avoid the traps of the ego co-opting this reality as a fake way to see things that serves its purposes.

Thanks in advance for the guidance, and for all the generosity.

Best regards,
Diego

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:22 pm

Hello Diego. My name is Dawn and I'll be happy to help guide. First, some preliminaries:
  1. You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say, "still here!"
    I am not your teacher, all I can do is point, you look, until clear seeing happens.
  2. In general, I will ask questions, you look deeply and honestly, and respond.
  3. Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.
  4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long answers developed from thinking are best avoided. It's observing reality in action that is the important part here.
  5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder 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 is fine to continue that.
  6. Please learn to use the quote function; See these instructions

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too. You've already read the book, which is a great head start.

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

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:39 pm

Hello Dawn, thanks for your reply!

I agree to all that was stated above, I have no daily meditation practices and I will put the books and videos aside until we're done with the process. I will also work to be succint and avoid long answers. I'll reply here at least daily :)

I'm already subscribed to the topic and eager to start! Thanks again for your time and attention! :)

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:39 am

No problem, Diego!

Long answers are okay, just try to keep them confined to description instead of theorizing. A scientist can sit around talking about hypotheses all day but it's all useless until he starts taking measurements, see? That's what we do here, observe how the world works before adding any guesses. So even non-dual philosophy can be set aside.

So to observe reality as opposed to thoughts about it, you'd start by looking at the scene right now. What's there? Hands on a keyboard, a window, birdsong outside? Smells of cooking? Go ahead and describe in a reply, and notice how there's a very small pause before words are chosen. ("That's... a dog barking. That's... the feeling of my legs against the chair.")

Before the pause is the part we're looking at. The world before words. Pure observation. Sensation of all types.

So in reality, where is this "I" person that so much fuss has been made over? Can it be pointed at? Literally, can a location for the self be found? In the description of the room, where is it?
I'm trying to investigate further to see what's behind the I thought, but my mind goes blank...
If there is a person thinking, you should be able to trace that thought back to the thinker. If, repeatedly, there is nothing there, where is the thinker?

Much love,
D.

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:23 am

I see, I will run from speculation and focus on description :)

When I stop to observe, there's a feeling like a neutral security camera zooming in and out, moving 360 degrees, capturing all the input from the environment. That is usually followed by some thoughts either describing or relating to the input.

I can notice the pause, in these moments the mind seems to be empty of thoughts, then thoughts come and are heard as a voice narrating observations and ideas. There are also some bodily sensations like a cold breeze hitting "my" shoulders, "my" legs touching the chair and table.

The "I" person can't be pointed at, it has no physical substance. It seems to be made up of thoughts, thoughts about other thoughts, thoughts about feelings, that show up usually after thoughts and feeling pop into awareness.

There's no "I" person in this room. There's a body, a mind, thoughts, but no physical, substantial "I", just a labelling process that is made up of thoughts that claim authorship of other thoughts, feelings and actions of the body.

When I try to trace the thought back to the thinker, there are thoughts that insist that the thinker is a product of the brain's functioning, to create consciousness, so the thinker would be a "subset" of thoughts with a special function of maintaining the ilusion of an identity.

There are thoughts saying that this is not true, and that this explanation is just the ego making up clever excuses to sustain its own survival. There's also the thought that the ego cannot create anything, since it does not exist, so these thoughts are just showing up by themselves and subsequent "I" thoughts are claiming the authorship.

Whenever I try to go beyond that, my mind goes blank, I simply cannot process anything else or revert to this loop. It is weird because in a sense I feel like I'm doing some double-thinking stunt, to quote from Orwell's 1984. It's like I know 2+2=4 but at the same time there's a persistent thought insisting that 2+2=5. I'm confused :(

I'll keep looking into it and trying to locate the thinker.
Now I realize how strong is the grip of scientific explanations for how consciousness work (Related to brain activity, etc.) and the idea of free will on my thought processes. It seems that somehow my search for the thinker ends looping back to: "The thinker is a sub-product of your neural activities, a series of thought patterns that you learned and sustained in order to create a notion of an individual, causal self who is allegedly capable of having free will at a certain extent."

This loop keeps coming like a defense mechanism and even when I think that there are only thoughts being thought and no real I, it's an internal conflict, one part of me believes it intectually but the other resorts to that reasoning loop.

Sorry if I over-wrote it, but I was on a roll and getting it clear for myself, how this loop thing works.

Thanks

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:43 am

That's some good looking, Diego!
When I stop to observe, there's a feeling like a neutral security camera zooming in and out, moving 360 degrees, capturing all the input from the environment.
In actual security cameras, is a self needed?
When I try to trace the thought back to the thinker,
Who is tracing? Look for it. Who is looking?... This is a very functional thing, not just personality/ego. The very core of MY existence, ME - is it there? Is there anything solid, permanent?
Whenever I try to go beyond that, my mind goes blank, I simply cannot process anything else or revert to this loop... I'm confused :(

It's like thoughts being written on blackboard. At the end of the line of chalk, you find more blackboard.

Where is the person writing, the person reading? Is there anything other than what is being seen?

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:13 am

Thanks for your reply!

In actual security cameras, no self is required, the whole apparatus runs by itself.
Who is tracing? Look for it. Who is looking?... This is a very functional thing, not just personality/ego. The very core of MY existence, ME - is it there? Is there anything solid, permanent?
There are thoughts of tracing, then subsequent thoughts of "I" trying to own the process of tracing. Tracing is done, then "I" show up later claiming the credit for it. It is not there, there are thoughts that it is not solid, nor permanent, but there are also thoughts that the ME is an adapting thought pattern/trend that can keep updating itself, so it can keep existing, occuring.
Where is the person writing, the person reading? Is there anything other than what is being seen?
That's when I want to hit my head in a wall full of thick bricks. There's the thought that there is no person reading, just reading, and then later writing happening / being done, and that there's nothing else to be seen. "The movie is in the can" , I don't remember who was the indian guy who said it. All of this is being played out.

However, there's also the notion that there's an I, a thought pattern/trend that is behind the reading, behind the seeing. There's a feeling of contradiction and mental confusion, but I can't seem to get rid of this "I" that shows up later, tries to claim everything for himself, and stops me from really seeing the other thoughts that say that there's no "I" writing, reading, etc.

The "I" thoughts jump later and seem to say: "but you know, deep down, that I am here and I am running this show right?" "I'm just letting you play with this dumb idea that there's nothing really there and this is all consciousness unfolding"

After that, I get stuck. Even though I know intelectually that this voice is a lie, that the "I" does not exist, it is just like I have a friend on one side and a dopelganger in the other, and both are saying: "Hey, I"m the real guy, he's the one who's fake." And I can't tell who's real and who's not. :(

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:27 am

The "I" thoughts jump later and seem to say: "but you know, deep down, that I am here and I am running this show right?" "I'm just letting you play with this dumb idea that there's nothing really there and this is all consciousness unfolding."
Let's call this out, shall we? :) Who is letting this happen, and what could they possibly do about it?

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:52 am

The "I" thoughts jump later and seem to say: "but you know, deep down, that I am here and I am running this show right?" "I'm just letting you play with this dumb idea that there's nothing really there and this is all consciousness unfolding."
Let's call this out, shall we? :) Who is letting this happen, and what could they possibly do about it?
There's no one letting this happen, there's only a thought / group of thoughts that appear into awareness claiming to be able to do that. But no real, physical, one entity doing that.

What "they" could do is to keep labelling and trying to take the ownership of things that happen after they happen. But even if the new things that happen seem to be in agreement to this "I" discourse, the "I" always comes later, so there's no possibility to atribute authorship / causality with certainty.

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:16 pm

What "they" could do is to keep labelling and trying to take the ownership of things that happen after they happen. But even if the new things that happen seem to be in agreement to this "I" discourse, the "I" always comes later, so there's no possibility to atribute authorship / causality with certainty.
Sure there is. Just look now - who is authoring thoughts? How could this author be authoring if his byline only showed up in a conversation later?

So far you're listing three people in there: a person in denial, a person secretly controlling everything, and a person watching all of this. How can these possibly be proof of a single entity? It doesn't make any sense.

In perception, what is really happening? Thoughts, one after another? Is there any proof of any of these people outside of pure speculation?

You get that this is false, already. But we need to keep poking around for the part that still seems believable. What objections come up when I say, "There is no you?"
When I try to trace the thought back to the thinker, there are thoughts that insist that the thinker is a product of the brain's functioning, to create consciousness, so the thinker would be a "subset" of thoughts with a special function of maintaining the ilusion of an identity.
So, there's a bundle of thoughts creating other thoughts? What does that look like, in experience?
Can you actually catch a thought creating another thought?

Consider the nose - do we think there's a self in there directing the sense of smell? Can odor direct other odors?

If there's defensiveness, check behind it, see what it's defending.

Love, D!
D.

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:55 pm

Thank you for your replies :)

Nobody is authoring my thoughts, they just come and go. Sometimes there's the stream of thoughts that claim authorship of the previous ones, but after that there's another stream that says that theses are just thoughts, there's no author.

When you say there's no you, there's a stream of thoughts that say: She's right, there's no you, all is happening by itself, on auto-pilot. While driving this morning I had many moments when that was clear, there was no way an "I" could swerve and do all the things the traffic demanded. I felt like I was witnessing a movie or a game, that even things I used to attribute to this "author" were being done by mind and body with no interference from no one.

I'm working to understand what's behind this defensiveness, now it just goes blank. There's a simple thought saying: "There's an I, I exist", and when I try to go further, my mind goes blank.

Yesterday, I was able to go a little further, and I noticed that this defensiveness seems to cling to the only topic that is associated with fear emotions, which is money, some issues I'm having which do not affect me in the short term, but pose a threat to medium-long term. There are many thoughts related to ending up living a restricted life, no freedom to do the things I like and be the master of my own time, then getting stuck into a dead-end job and no hope of getting out of it.

When I go deep into this question, it becomes clear that the defensiveness comes to protect me from the idea that: If there really is no "I", and all of my life is being carried out on its own, showing into awareness, and the script is already written, life might take me to some harsh places, or even, a dull, boring routine, and I'm just stuck and can't do nothing about it. This brings a bad feeling and then the thoughts that it would be better to end such a dull life than to "try" to accept it as being what it is and going along with, simply witnessing.

There's a fear that if this is true, and if there's no I, and life is just a passive witnessing of things unfolding to which there's no possibility of control, this is more like a sadistic game from the creator of this show, and the only freedom "I" would have at the end of the day, would be to terminate this show when it doesn't fit me anymore. It would be better to die than to be stuck in the theater watching a bad movie or to wake up from a bad dream, even if it is a bad dream.

However, there's also the thought that, if this is really so, then killing myself isn't an option either, so the game is so sadistic that there's simply no way out of it, only to endure the bad things that may come until the end comes. That's the worst case scenario, but doesn't seem so plausible, because the "I" comes to say: "You can always jump out of the window. I can help you with that."

I mentioned these ideas because I went really deep and tried to take the thoughts and fears to their worst case scenario. I have no solid intentions of suicide or ending my life abruptly, in the short term, but somehow after thinking that I can end this "sadistic game", there's a feeling of having an ace up my sleeve, followed by some tranquility. After that, the I thought calms down. It's as if it is the last hope for the "I" to prove itself, its existence and its capacity of doing something and "helping me out of this".

Issues like autonomy, having free will and not having people telling my what to do have always been hot topics for me. So I confess that I have a hard time "surrendering" to the idea that this is all being carried out with no possibility of intervening. The vision of passively watching a dull life passing by without being able to do anything frightens me much more than the thought of death, for sure.

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:49 pm

Fear is trying to protect the self from annihilation. That's very kind of it. Thank it and reassure it that you're only looking. It will still be there for protection when needed. But the only way past this is through.

I can understand how a scenario of no control looks terrifying. Who wants to be strapped into a roller coaster and not let off? But the question becomes moot when you realize there's no one to be trapped. It's an empty coaster. It's all the same substance.

Like a little kid driving a grocery cart, it doesn't matter how hard he clenches the wheel, the cart rolls along safely. If he dares look behind him, nothing changes. Deadlines will still be met, bills will still be paid, the same way they were before; but without the added stress of arguing from the position of general manager of the universe. If a situation seems too boring there will still be a movement to spice it up. It may notoriously look dull from outside because contentment is much easier to attain - but how bad is that? And there's never a way to guess what the rest of your life will look like. Any thought about this will just be fantasy and should be questioned.

I feel obligated to say on behalf of LU that if you are having any mental issues, the gate won't change them and we advise against inquiry - there's a whole disclaimer to that effect, mentioned in the first post. But if you want to keep going, here's the rest:

Look into this sense of control - is it really anything more than a feeling of clenching, tension?

Look at the mind blankness. Could it, itself, be the answer? Where does it end and me begin?

Much love, Diego. The fist doesn't die when the hand opens, I promise.
Hugs,
D.

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:36 am

Thank you for your kind reply. :)

I'm a therapist, and I'm in therapy for over 4 years, I work closely with my therapist and so far we didn't come to a depression diagnosis or some other issue, I discuss this journey openly with her. It's just an "existential" crisis, no pun intended. I have this tendency to take things to their logical conclusion, both for myself and my clients in my therapeutic approach. But I appreciate your concern. I do want to go further.

Looking at the sense of control, perhaps it's not so much control, but, the illusion of being able to fight back, to stand against something that is going bad. Looking back I can see for sure that things don't stay the same, or stale. In my recent past some uncanny events regarding money happened and I was able to get it, for the short term, but since there's been a "bad luck" period, the future started to look bleak.

It's like watching a movie where the boat starts to sink drop by drop, and no effort to contain it or to escape from it works. And the movie is just like that, characters go to dinner, do their chores, however, the drops are adding up and the ship is sinking further, and it seems nothing is going to happen to change. No Titanic or Poseidon flick where the whole thing goes down in 5 minutes, just a boat (financial situation) sinking slowly but surely, and "I" chained to my seat in the movie theater, the whole experience looking more and more like a Samuel Beckett play.

That got me aggravated and the "I" pops up to show the alternatives that it can supposedly "help" me do.

When I look into the blankness, I see it as a smoke screen cast by the "I", in an attempt to prevent me from seeing that he doesn't exist. Funny. A scene from the Wizard of Oz just came to my mind, when the Toto discovers that the Wizard is just an ordinary man in disguise, using a device to look like he's more than he really is. Perhaps this is a metaphor to what I need to do, see the 'Wizard' with innocent eyes. The blankness is the disguise. However, even though I have this grasped intellectually, I don't see it yet. But I will work on it, finding a back door around the fog.

Thanks again for your help, best regards!

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Devina
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby Devina » Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:53 pm

When I look into the blankness, I see it as a smoke screen cast by the "I", in an attempt to prevent me from seeing that he doesn't exist...
Do you see how this is entirely imaginary? It's a theory and I want a report. It's not that the yeast ate the sugar, it's that the sugar volume reduced by 50%. See. Straightforward fact-finding.

If you knock on a table, what sound does it make? Think about it, then do it. See the difference.
That got me aggravated and the "I" pops up to show the alternatives that it can supposedly "help" me do.
Forget "I" and ego. Who is "me" in this sentence?

Do not answer this from memory or theory. Answer it from experience right now. Why say "me," what does this thing being referred to FEEL like, and where?

Try these again:

Look into this sense of control - is it really anything more than a feeling of clenching, tension?

Look at the mind blankness. Could it, itself, be the answer? Where does it end and me begin?

Do experiments. Move a hand and see if it can be controlled. Keep sitting with the blankness and see if it has any qualities. If theories come, ignore them and continue to be curious. Take at least ten minutes with this.

And no more theories! Thanks.
D.

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diegoblues
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Re: Looking for guidance - Thanks :)

Postby diegoblues » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:34 am

Today I had a rather different day, and felt motivated to work on something I had procrastinated for more than two weeks. There was a flow, and during most of the weekend it was obvious that I'm being lead, and there's no one authoring all my actions, thoughts and feelings. However, when thoughts about the upcoming financial issues came into awareness, other thoughts about an "I" and what "I" can do to avert the situation came. After that things got back into the flow.

I spent some time looking at the blankness, to no avail. The "I" would pop up and claim that it is there, still strong.

When I looked at the hands, there's doubt, some thoughts saying that the movement is just happening, with no interfence or author, but some thoughts like: " now I will clap my hands " followed by the clapping of the hands tricked me into thinking that there's an "I", saying: "Would you have clapped your hands if "I" didn't say so?".

But there's also the thought that the events are just happening in a close time, contiguous, but not contingent. Thoughts appear than clapping happens, the thoughts couldn't have possibly evoked the clapping. But then again there's doubt. An impression that even though the role of the "I" is minimized, reduced to almost nothing, it still has some sort of "influence", even if it means casting doubts if it exists or not.

I'll keep looking. Thanks :)


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