Would anyone be my guide?

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Flicki
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Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:30 pm

Hello out there!

Could anyone imagine helping 'me' through the process? Would really like to give it a try. I'm on central European time (if that is important). Is it only possible to do this in this forum or is email also possible?

Thanks so much. There's amazing work done here...

Flicki

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smi
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:10 pm

Hello and welcome to LU.

I'm called Milan and together we can explore "the process". What exactly brought you here and what do you expect? In other words, could you say a few words about what are you looking for?

We can have conversation here in the forum unless you really want to use email.

Kind regards
Milan

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Flicki
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Thank you! :-)

Postby Flicki » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:37 pm

Dear Milan,

Thank you very much for doing this. And also sorry for the question about the emailing, by now I've had another look at the website and it seems the norm to do this in the forum, so that's ok then.

What exactly brought me here? I'm a practising Buddhist. Recently there were some very noticeable boosts in my meditation practise that led to also noticeably more meditating which again led to more boosts... well, you get the picture, I've been sitting a lot. It became very clear though that while on one level there is no belief in a self, and never has been in a fixed self, it is nonetheless the idea of a self that is holding back the mind from going further. There's an obstacle, something that is trying to gain control over the mind, that is trying to keep it from really melting into an object. It's a deep unease about letting go of thinking and mental activity. This comes with surprise and bewilderment as on one level there is complete knowledge that there is no self that has ever had control about the mind and about thinking in the first place, while at the same time there is so obviously still belief in a self in all this because what else is this clinging about? So, basically, that's the hope behind my coming here - working on that, getting some more insight into that matter.

I'd be very grateful to hear back from you! :-)

All the best,
Flicki

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smi
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:21 pm

Hi Flicki,

Thank you for describing your situation. Before we start the process there are just few formalities we need to address. First I want to make sure you have read a disclaimer at LU website: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/ so please confirm, that you have. And it might be great to watch a short video that is there as well.

Second there are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least once a day.
2. In general, the guide will ask the questions for you to respond to
3. Responses require your utmost honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. It is fine to continue you meditation practice.

In short, we’ll investigate together this idea of separate self. The goal is a clear seeing that there is none. But it is entirely your process. You have to look and you have to do all the “work”. I’m here only to help hold focus and to guide by asking questions. As I’m also engaged elsewhere I may not be able to respond with new questions every single day, but in spite of that please you do. Keep looking and investigating and report/write something every day.

So if you agree and confirm all above we can begin.

What is your reaction to following statement?

There is no separate self in real life at all in any shape or form and there never was.

What thoughts and feelings come up? How does body react? What happens? Please describe as fully as you can.

I’m also interested what do you mean when you are using words like “I”, “me”, “myself”, “mine”, etc…

What are those words pointing to in reality? What do those words represent?

Kind regards
Milan

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:39 pm

Hello Milan,

Thank you for the quick reply. I read the disclaimer and hereby confirm my agreement to it. The same goes for the ground rules.

I'm also happy to write every day even if you don't, but it is not clear so far what to write if there aren't any questions. Will this be like a 'process diary' on those days?

What is your reaction to following statement?

There is no separate self in real life at all in any shape or form and there never was.

What thoughts and feelings come up? How does body react? What happens? Please describe as fully as you can.
The first reaction to this was, interestingly: 'Yes. So what?' Then I noticed a light tightening in the stomach, but I'm not sure if that was a reaction to the statement or to the slightly scary disclaimer I had just read before. Apart from that there were no emotions to speak of. No thoughts, but the mind tried to imagine it more vividly, what it would be like to fully realize this.

I’m also interested what do you mean when you are using words like “I”, “me”, “myself”, “mine”, etc…

What are those words pointing to in reality? What do those words represent?
They seem more like a language shortcut because language becomes very complicated and long-winded when these forms are not used. I'd say the words 'I' and 'me', etc. represent a unity. There are experiences of a body through a body, because this body can hear, see, smell, feel and taste and it can do all these things with the body itself and things outside of it as long as it's close. I have no 'out of body experiences' where there's listening from another place than the ears or through eyes that seem fixed on the ceiling or something like that, so I assume that these perceptions are linked to the body. They also have never switched bodies, so they seem linked to THIS body. In this body there's a mind, too, and it comes with thinking which in turn produces, together with the body, emotions. And while there is experience of many things and reflection of it by thinking, there is no experience that the mind and body and its senses were ever seperated from each other (though sometimes there is distraction, but this can always be reversed). So 'I' (in this case the long-form would be 'the mind that seems to be linked to this body because it is always there where the mind is') assume that the body with its senses and its mind form a unity which can be called 'I' as it makes communication much easier.

All the best,
Flicki

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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:06 pm

Hi Flicki,
The first reaction to this was, interestingly: 'Yes. So what?' Then I noticed a light tightening in the stomach, but I'm not sure if that was a reaction to the statement or to the slightly scary disclaimer I had just read before. Apart from that there were no emotions to speak of. No thoughts, but the mind tried to imagine it more vividly, what it would be like to fully realize this.
That prompted me to re-read that disclaimer and yes, you are right. It may seem slightly scary, but there is really nothing special about it, just a standard disclaimer for legal purposes.

So, you say there was no significant reaction. Okay, so we’ll skip that…

While reading your answer to question about where do words like “I” and “me” point to, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the answer came as a conditioned response from memory/thinking. I could be wrong, of course.

Maybe I would just like to point out that there are at least two ways to answer questions. First way is simply automated conditioned response that comes from memory, maybe a little thinking, or a lot of thinking, but is still conditioned and based on lots of assumptions.

The second way is by actually looking and seeing for ourselves what is real and true in this moment.

For our process the second way is preferred. The first way will not take us very far. And by the way, there are no right or wrong answers. Any answer is completely valid and okay, as long as it comes as a result of direct experience (reporting what is experienced through senses).

So, I’ll just ask again slightly differently.

Whenever you say something that starts with “I am (any noun or verb)…”, what do you mean by that? What is that “I”?

Or if you take any personal pronoun, what is it that those pronouns are pointing to or representing? Can you describe it? Where is it, what shape it is? What color? What size? Etc… Which sense tells you about it?

And please, answer in a way that even a very young child could understand. In other words, please let the answers be as simple and as clear as possible. So after you write your answer down, re-read it and see if what you wrote is true, if it makes sense, if it is clear and simple, ...

That would really simplify the process for both of us and make it much easier and faster for you.

Thanks and kind regards
Milan

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:31 pm

Dear Milan,

Thanks for the quick reply. I do understand what you are trying to say about two different levels of answering a question. With that in mind, as there wasn't much going on when I read the statements yesterday, I took a walk to see if there's something else coming up when there's more attention of the body and the outcome was the answer I wrote down yesterday.

I notice that there's sadness and a kind of disappointment arising when reading your reply now because I can't see a better way of getting across my experience than with what came out yesterday. Obviously, this 'I' has not got one color, shape or size. I don't even feel sure about the size or shape of the body. It looks quite similar from the outside, but the moment I sit down and close my eyes, it feels as if this dissolves, it could have any shape then. And the only sense that tells me about an 'I' is the mind. I did not reply here lightheartedly yesterday and took quite some time to see into the questions. Also, I can't recall ever having had a chat with a really young child and English is not my mother tongue, my sentences can't be so complicated.

It is slightly interesting, however, that I seem to get even a little angry about this now. Because it feels as if you largely misunderstand me and if what I wrote yesterday is true, what need is there to be sad or angry about that? And maybe even more interestingly, if I really get into it, it becomes clear that in this last sentence with 'me' I meant only the mind.

Sorry this is so complicated. But the truth is I've been through years of philosophical pondering and vipassana practice and notice that on one level I'm already there, I've seen many times there is no self, direct and from experience. And on another, more everyday level, I'm so not. Moments when the ego is hurt or feels endangered, moments of shame, embarrassment, jealousy, fear (for no good reason) and so on.

I know this is not a 'clear and simple' email as requested and I'll try to write one tomorrow, but I will nevertheless leave this one like it is, because the cracks in the shell are very visible now and if I go over it a couple of times, I'll end up smoothing them down, which does not seem very helpful to the process.

All the best,
Flicki

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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:59 pm

Dear Flicki,

There is really no need to change the way you express yourself. My suggestion was only about moving away from thought more towards what is being experienced directly. That’s all. I did read your first answer very thoroughly and actually I’ll comment on few statements right now to demonstrate what I had in mind.
They seem more like a language shortcut because language becomes very complicated and long-winded when these forms are not used.
“Seem” in your statement indicates uncertainty which is a result of thinking and so is word “because” that you used in the same sentence. But otherwise yes, you are right. "I" and "me", ... are indeed just a language thing.

Just to be very clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking. Thinking is I would say important part of our human experience. Thinking has its place and is very useful in many things, but when it comes to discovering nature of self, thinking is often a big hindrance.

Another statements…
There are experiences of a body through a body, because this body can hear, see, smell, feel and taste and it can do all these things with the body itself and things outside of it as long as it's close. I have no 'out of body experiences' where there's listening from another place than the ears or through eyes that seem fixed on the ceiling or something like that, so I assume that these perceptions are linked to the body.
Notice the use of “because”, “seem”, “assume” – all those indicate thinking and not looking.

The rest of your first answer is also a reflection of thinking and not looking. So, all I’m suggesting is, to try to move from thinking about “stuff” to describing what is actually seen directly.

Please, read following article about direct experience:
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

and also this one might be useful:
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... eeker.html
Obviously, this 'I' has not got one color, shape or size. I don't even feel sure about the size or shape of the body. It looks quite similar from the outside, but the moment I sit down and close my eyes, it feels as if this dissolves, it could have any shape then.
Yes, wonderful. Now this is much more result of looking. So, “I” does not have any “physical” properties, we can sense with our 5 senses.
And the only sense that tells me about an 'I' is the mind.
This is great. Now, let’s look slightly deeper into this.

What is mind?

Please, try to really look and avoid thinking too much about it.

Thank you and kind regards
Milan

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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:20 pm

Dear Milan,

Thank you very much for the quick reply and special thanks for so clearly pointing out what you were trying to express yesterday. I do see what you mean now. I also read the two articles which were also quite helpful.

But over to the main question:
What is mind?
Truth is: I have no idea. When I look directly, I can see there's thinking, but I don't know if that is 'mind'. And sometimes there is no thinking, but at the same time there can be awareness. But... there is much more than thinking and not thinking - there are also ideas of pretty much everything. There are memories and phantasies. There are memories of all sensations, too, and they are always weaker than the 'real' thing. To come back to yesterday's questions, I cannot see that the mind has a colour, shape, smell, etc.

But seriously, I am not sure if that is 'the mind', I just assume because all this is not directly experienced through any bodily sensation, but it is experienced. So what I obviously do is just put everything else in a box and call it 'mind'.

All the best,
Flicki

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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:25 pm

Hi Flicki,
Truth is: I have no idea. When I look directly, I can see there's thinking, but I don't know if that is 'mind'. And sometimes there is no thinking, but at the same time there can be awareness. But... there is much more than thinking and not thinking - there are also ideas of pretty much everything. There are memories and phantasies. There are memories of all sensations, too, and they are always weaker than the 'real' thing. To come back to yesterday's questions, I cannot see that the mind has a colour, shape, smell, etc.
Yes, wonderful. Great observation. So, there is nothing “tangible” about mind, just a stream of thoughts, memories, phantasies, ideas, emotions, etc…
But seriously, I am not sure if that is 'the mind', I just assume because all this is not directly experienced through any bodily sensation, but it is experienced. So what I obviously do is just put everything else in a box and call it 'mind'.
Exactly. But let’s continue…

Now, let’s look at thinking and other so called “mind” activities…

Do you think? How do you do that?
Where do thoughts come from?
Do you know what your next thought/phantasy/idea/… will be?
Do you choose or control them?
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Can you stop it in the middle?
Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a »flower pot«?
Can a thought think?


There's no rush, so take your time and examine all of this closely. First, just sit quietly and let your mind become quieter and more still, then wait for thoughts to come and see what you notice.

Kind regards
Milan

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:02 pm

Dear Milan,

Thank you very much! I am traveling and it is not really possible to find quiet. I have tried my best because I promised to write every day, but want to keep some questions for later, because I cannot answer them like this.
Do you think? How do you do that? Where do thoughts come from?
There is thinking. I am not sure where it comes from. Some thoughts trigger other thoughts, they lead to one another, so they are not completely arbitrary. It also means that some thoughts come from other thoughts, but that is no sufficient answer to the question where thoughts come from in the first place. I will give that another go, too.
Do you know what your next thought/phantasy/idea/… will be?
Sometimes I do. Then I notice the thoughts are following a pattern. Most of the time I don't know.
Do you choose or control them?
I have an answer ready for this, but notice it is not based on direct experience. So: postponed.
Can you stop a thought from coming? Can you stop it in the middle?
No, but I can sometimes intervene and stop it from producing more thoughts. Or rather: thinking can change direction if new thoughts are added, but once again I am not sure where they come from. Also, I can stop a train of thoughts, so to say, but not a single thought once it is there.
Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a »flower pot«?
Not really. An idea is an idea. But sometimes I can touch flower pots with one of the senses, so I have met flower pots in the world on another level than thinking. I have met a body and its senses in the world, too, but 'I' only in thoughts.
Can a thought think?
I will tell you tomorrow! :)

Until then,
Flicki

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smi
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby smi » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Hi Flicki,
Thank you very much! I am traveling and it is not really possible to find quiet. I have tried my best because I promised to write every day, but want to keep some questions for later, because I cannot answer them like this.
No worries. Take your time and really look closely into it… Pay special attention to that which think it thinks :)

Just keep looking and answer when ready...

Kind regards
Milan

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:17 pm

Dear Milan,

I am immensely sorry, but I will only be able to reply on Monday - I am completely overwhelmed by the city. I came in from a rather quiet country life where there is lots of nature and quiet and where I meditate a couple of hours a day. Anyway, please do forgive that I have to take this little break, but there is no sense in doing this now, I have no chance to watch what is going on, there are just so many people and impressions and I have simply unlearned the capacities to ignore all of that and these questions seem important.

Hope that is ok. I really underestimated this weekend...
My very best wishes,
Flicki

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:38 pm

Dear Milan,

Okay, I calmed down a notch or two andwatched the train of thoughts on the train.:)

Do you think? How do you do that? Where do thoughts come from?

I cannot see that clearly because it is immensely difficult to take a step back and look at thinking without getting entangled in thoughts or at least influencing the train of thoughts. But here we go: There is thinking. Not sure where it comes from and not sure where it goes. Sometimes it is triggered by outside impulses, like sense impressions, sometimes by other thoughts. Thinking produces more thoughts. I also realize now that there is a very clear idea of a self being right beneath it. Like somebody who could watch the thinking process. Weird.

Do you choose or control them?

Only sometimes. I can choose to go back to a thought that was there before, like I do in trying to answer the questions here. Apart from that, The answer is mostly no.

Can a thought think?

No. I do not see it can. At the same time there is an inherent logic to thinking, when one thought leads to another, an intelligence. Thoughts are not completely arbitrary, unless they come one by one (like they do on their way into deeper concentration states, then they can be really nonsensical).

That is it for today!
All the best,
Flicki

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Flicki
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Re: Would anyone be my guide?

Postby Flicki » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:51 pm

Am still there (in every sense. ;-)), but no significant new insights about thoughts. Basically writing to get the thread up to the top again! :-)
Best,
Flicki


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