Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

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Eric
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Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:37 am

Hi,

I've posted before on the forum but stopped due to ill health. I tried to resume with my old guide but got no response, so I went and looked at a few of the threads for other guides, and Moondog looked like a good fit. If you are available, I would appreciate guidance! Happy to start back at square one. Thanks.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:44 pm

Hi Eric,

Yes, I'd be happy to guide you, if you're happy to start from scratch. I've had a cursory look at your previous thread with Detox, but no more than that so that we can make a fresh start. This will necessitate a bit of duplicated bumf but, if that's ok with you, we'll get going.

Let me know.

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

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:49 am

Hi Pete,

Great, I'm ready to go. I'm in the US, on the West Coast.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:15 pm

Hi Eric and welcome back,

My name's Pete and my role is to guide you through your own unique process. I know you've done this before, so please forgive any duplication in these early stages.

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. I'm in Somerset in the UK so there's a fair bit of time difference between us, but I've done that plenty of times before and it's been fine, so there should be no problem.

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. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

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.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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

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Eric
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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:59 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for agreeing to guide me, I have seen the materials you refer to, I agree with the disclaimer, agree with all the ground rules, and I’d like you to be my guide, so here we go!

ell me a bit more about yourself, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for.

I’m 59, and I started seriously “seeking” about 13 years ago, at first with Adyashanti and since then with a number of teachers. Although I’ve had some glimpses of awakening, I certainly don’t have a sense that my ego is not me, not in any permanent way and not really even in any intermittent way. I came to LU because I read Jed McKenna’s “Theory of Everything,” and, as usual for me with Jed McKenna, I found it long on fascinating description and short on useful practice. Then I read something to the effect that “Theory of Everything is very interesting but if you want to get down to the nitty gritty read Gateless Gatecrashers,” which I did, and which led me to LU.

What are your expectations for this process?
A change in perspective, gradual or sudden, based on close inspection of “I,” so that the sense of “me” is seen to be an illusion
What is it that you are searching for?
Release from the stranglehold of ego. An end to the unnecessary suffering of life that is based on the belief in the illusory me.
How will you know that you found it?
That is a great question. I guess if I found it I wouldn’t take myself so damn seriously any more
How will this feel?
I guess I have to base this on what I’ve seen in others who clearly have seen through the ego (Adya et al.)—a lightness is the closest I can come to it. An expansiveness, as well.
How will this change you?
There will be no me to change—which would be quite a change!

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:42 pm

Hi Eric,

Thanks for for letting me know a bit about yourself, and for accepting all the various conditions etc. We've obviously got a fair slice of time difference between us but I reckon we can easily work with that and it should be no problem.

Also thanks for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. As far as expectations go, they don't seem unrealistic which is good. 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 yeah, 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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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:28 am

Hi Pete,

I wanted to reply today, and I can give answers to the first set of questions/statements, but I am still working on the second set. So for the first set:
Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Yes, I’ve seen this clearly and can see it now. Even though there seems to be time, when I look for it I can’t find it anywhere—that is, no future for sure, but also no past, just present memories of "past" events. Not even really any “now,” even that is too much time. Just “is,” no time at all.
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
No. Really quite bizarre to my mind, but absolutely inescapable.

The second set of questions is more difficult to answer clearly, at least so far. I will write more on these later. Thanks for these, they are making me really look, and as I look there seems at times to be a sort of loosening, or lightening--but I will write more when I've had more chance to look carefully and articulate what I see.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:23 pm

Hi Eric,
Yes, I’ve seen this clearly and can see it now. Even though there seems to be time, when I look for it I can’t find it anywhere—that is, no future for sure, but also no past, just present memories of "past" events. Not even really any “now,” even that is too much time. Just “is,” no time at all.
Spot on. I know exactly what you mean. The more you home in on this moment, now, the more you can reduce it, infinitely it seems. There's no time really, as you say. And yet, in direct experience, nothing outside of this timeless moment ...

Looking forward to your other answers.

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

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:12 am

Hi Pete,

The other answers not as clear but here's what I have so far:
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
The self or I seems to localized in the body—at least, it never seems to be anywhere but where the body is. But it’s not the body (though I identify very strongly with the body) because when I examine my perceptions of my body they don’t seem to be me but something “I” perceive--or rather, something that is perceived, not necessarily by "me," see below. So the “I” seems to be in the thoughts, or more like an overarching sense of possession of the thoughts and sensations—these are “my” thoughts and “my” sensations.

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?
As I said, it seems to be more of an overall sense of ownership of each thought and sensation.

Taking my senses first, when I look at, for example, my visual field, that does not seem to be me. But it is perceived by something. This something actually does not seem to be “me” but more neutral. Similarly with all other senses, which are perceived, for sure—pretty much by definition they must be, and they are—but not perceived by “me.” “Me” comes in later, as in “I” like that taste, or don’t like it, “I” like that physical sensation, or don’t like it, etc.

Looking at that liking or not liking, it’s more like a tendency to move toward (or stay with) or move away. Can't find "me" there, either.

Thoughts, or more generally, mind sensations (which seem to be thoughts, that is, words, phrases and sentences, and other things that aren't thoughts but that aren't the product of my senses--images, impulses, and other, vaguer happenings), are the only other aspect besides the senses that I have direct experience of, except for that neutral awareness which is neither mind sensation nor sense. They seem to arise from "me" and also seem to be directed at "me," but are not themselves "me." There is a definite sense of ownership of all these thoughts, sensations, preferences, but I'm damned if I can find "myself" in any particular thought, sensation, preference--yet the sense of "me" persists. This part is very murky and is where I'm getting bogged down. Haven't seen clearly here.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:59 pm

Hi Eric,
The self or I seems to localized in the body—at least, it never seems to be anywhere but where the body is. But it’s not the body (though I identify very strongly with the body) because when I examine my perceptions of my body they don’t seem to be me but something “I” perceive--or rather, something that is perceived, not necessarily by "me," see below. So the “I” seems to be in the thoughts, or more like an overarching sense of possession of the thoughts and sensations—these are “my” thoughts and “my” sensations.

As I said, it seems to be more of an overall sense of ownership of each thought and sensation
Many thanks Eric for the above, and for your subsequent description and comments around how you see your self (or absence thereof) within the various aspects of experience. It's very useful for me to know that. As you probably know from reading some other threads where I've guided, I like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within that each and every area within experience where a self might be found. So, we will be getting round to looking at everything you've mentioned soon, fear not.

Anyway, as you'll have seen, those 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:

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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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:37 am

Hi Pete,

Here's what I've found when considering your latest questions. For an object for the senses, I used a lemon, as we have dozens of them right now--great for sight, feel, smell, and taste. Doesn't make much noise, though, went with other experiences for hearing.
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?

Looking at a lemon on the table . . . there does seem to be an “I,” or a something, that is seeing
If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
There does not seem to be a boundary or separation between the lemon and the process of seeing the lemon, they seem to be the same. And now that I’m examining it closely, I’m having a hard time seeing a boundary between [the lemon/seeing the lemon] and the seer. There are lots and lots of thoughts and mental noise that arise around the seeing but now I’m not seeing a seer. There is the lemon/seeing the lemon. That seems to be about it. I’m not quite solid in this yet, but each time I look over at that lemon, there’s just lemon/seeing (and lots and lots of mental noise, but that’s not part of the seeing).
Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
Tactile feelings: Felt the lemon—no boundary between felt sensation/feeling/feeler. Can’t sense a feeler. Felt sensation is just there.

Smell: I cut the lemon open and smelled it. No boundary between smell and smelling. No boundary between smell/smelling/smeller, can’t find a smeller, just the smell.

Taste: Lemon juice. Same thing, no boundary. There is just the taste. No tasting, no taster.

Sound: Listened to various sounds: clock ticking, jet overhead, car on the street. Nothing but just the sounds, can’t find a “process of hearing” or a “hearer." This is especially obvious, for some reason sound and hearing seem very clearly to happen with no "hearer" and I've sensed it before this exercise, but I've never systematically gone through all the senses.

So to sum up, I could not separate the experience of sensing from the object sensed, and on examination could not find a senser, just the experience. As I said, lots and lots of thoughts triggered by the sensing, and bodily sensations triggered by the thoughts, but they were all after the fact.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:23 pm

Hi Eric,
Looking at a lemon on the table . . . there does seem to be an “I,” or a something, that is seeing
There does not seem to be a boundary or separation between the lemon and the process of seeing the lemon, they seem to be the same. And now that I’m examining it closely, I’m having a hard time seeing a boundary between [the lemon/seeing the lemon] and the seer. There are lots and lots of thoughts and mental noise that arise around the seeing but now I’m not seeing a seer. There is the lemon/seeing the lemon. That seems to be about it. I’m not quite solid in this yet, but each time I look over at that lemon, there’s just lemon/seeing (and lots and lots of mental noise, but that’s not part of the seeing).
I really like the way that, at first, because you believed it, because thought told you so, there seemed to be a 'you' seeing the object, the lemon, until you looked directly into 'your' experience. Then, no separation, just seeing (lemon).
Sound: Listened to various sounds: clock ticking, jet overhead, car on the street. Nothing but just the sounds, can’t find a “process of hearing” or a “hearer." This is especially obvious, for some reason sound and hearing seem very clearly to happen with no "hearer" and I've sensed it before this exercise, but I've never systematically gone through all the senses.
Yeah, for many folks hearing seems to be easier than seeing in terms of these exercises. I think it's just less complicated.
So to sum up, I could not separate the experience of sensing from the object sensed, and on examination could not find a senser, just the experience. As I said, lots and lots of thoughts triggered by the sensing, and bodily sensations triggered by the thoughts, but they were all after the fact.
I'm pleased that, despite all the thinking, you were able to see that there's just no seer, hearer, taster, smeller or feeler. Really, you can say that there's just seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling. And no boundaries in direct experience.

Seems like a good idea to move on to looking at thoughts and thinking, so let's do that.

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 all seems to be going well so far Eric. Are you happy with it?

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

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:13 am

Hi Pete,

I'd like to spend a bit more time with these, some are obvious, some not so obvious. You did ask,
It all seems to be going well so far Eric. Are you happy with it?
It all seems pretty straightforward so far, though it requires attention and some effort. I'm familiar with some of the questions and processes from past work and others not so much, in general I guess it feels a bit like a warm-up so far, stretching and waking up some attention muscles that don't often get used and getting familiar, or re-familiar, with some different ways of approaching things taken for granted. I'm enjoying it, letting it lead where it may. Thanks for your time and effort in guiding me, I very much appreciate the questions and the feedback.

Eric

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby moondog » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:30 pm

Hi Eric,

Good to hear all is ok for you so far. As you say, so far just warming up. Really just getting used to being in direct experience makes it worthwhile.

Looking forward to hearing from you later.

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

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Re: Moondog, would you be available to guide me?

Postby Eric » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:48 am

Hi Pete,

Here we go:
Where do thoughts come from?

They just seem to arise. I can trace a train of thought back to the first thought in the train, with each thought having been triggered by the previous, but when I get to the first thought, it seems to have arisen from nothing.
Are you in control of them?

It does seem that I am at least partially in control, that is, “I” seem to be able to decide to pursue a train of thought in some circumstances(e.g., for work, or, in fact, right now, answering this question). But unexpected thoughts come up in the train, sometimes helpful, sometimes completely off subject. In other words, “I” seem to be loosely in control of at least an intent for a direction of thought, though not of any individual thought.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
No. I can’t seem to really even slow thoughts, let alone stop them, or stop a particular one.
Can you stop it in the middle?
I just tried it and yes, I could stop a thought in the middle, or seemingly force myself to switch to another thought, anyway.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No. I’d never thought of that!
Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
It seems to be. It doesn’t seem to be as concrete as “table,” more of a pervading sense.
Can a thought think?
No, no more than the sound of a bell can ring the bell.

Let me know what you think.

Eric


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