Looking for a guide

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Angela12
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Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:12 pm

I am new to the forum and am looking for a guide to help me see/realize the truth.

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:13 pm

It occurs to me that i should have given some background information. I'm 51 and have been "seeking enlightenment" for about 10 years through meditation and Advaita. I intellectually "know" there is no one here but i very much still "feel" like someone is here.

I fiend the whole thing very frustrating because i feel compelled to keep seeking the truth but find i am just going around in circles. Looking for self, not finding it, still feeling it and round and round again.

I would be most appreciative of anyone who could guide me.

Angela

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joeylott
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:51 pm

Angela,

It is wonderful that you are here. Welcome.

My name is Joey, and I would be very happy to guide you here.

There are a few formalities that I would like to go through first to make sure that we are in agreement prior to getting started.

If you have not yet, please read the disclaimer at the LU website: http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

Once you have read that, please confirm.

Next, here are a few guidelines that I would like you to read before we begin.

1. You agree to post at least once a day. And if you cannot for some reason, then please let me know. I commit to the same.
2. In general, I will ask the questions for you to respond to. If you have questions, then that is fine. However, generally, I will not answer questions. Rather, I will guide an exploration of the assumptions that underlie the questions.
3. Responses require your utmost honesty. It is important that you really explore your own experience directly and answer completely honestly. There is no right answer. There is only a truthful exploration. That is what we want.
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. Approach this with openness and curiosity, simply to see what is as it is.

Please confirm that you have read and agree to these guidelines.

Once you have confirmed the above then I am very happy to begin exploring together.

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:49 pm

Hi Joey:

Thank you for agreeing to be my guide. I confirm that I have read and agree to the guidelines above.

Angela

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joeylott
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:20 pm

Angela,

Wonderful. Then let's get started.
I'm 51 and have been "seeking enlightenment" for about 10 years through meditation and Advaita.
What is it, precisely, that you are seeking? You say you are seeking "enlightenment." However, pretend that I have no idea what enlightenment is. Explain to me precisely what enlightenment is for you. What will it be like? What will it give you? The more honest and vulnerable you can be in your response (i.e. don't try to give the "spiritually-correct" answer) the better.
I intellectually "know" there is no one here but i very much still "feel" like someone is here.
What does it mean to know that there is no one here?

You say that you feel like someone is here. What does that feel like?
What is your proof that this feeling is actually evidence of someone being here?
Are you able to find a boundary using direct sensory perception between you and the feeling?
I fiend the whole thing very frustrating because i feel compelled to keep seeking the truth but find i am just going around in circles. Looking for self, not finding it, still feeling it and round and round again.
How do you experience the compulsion to keep seeking the truth? Notice the actuality of the experience versus the story of it. So use direct sensory perception to explore the actuality of the compulsion.
What is your evidence that this compulsion is yours? There is some phenomenon that happens, to be sure. But how do you know that it pertains to you?
Can you find the recipient of the compulsion? Or the recipient of any experience for that matter?

Instead of looking for self, it is often more fruitful to examine the assumptions. If what you are looking for is unfindable then it can be very frustrating to try to find it. So instead, look at everything that you think you can find. Then examine those things.

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:51 pm

Hi Joey:

Thank you so much for your time.

Good question. By enlightenment I mean an end to suffering or theme that believes it suffers. I mean peace and a feeling of oneness. An end to seeking and an end to questions. And i would like some of that love and light i hear described too.!!

I guess I kind of think there must be some “aha” moment or at least a “clicking into place” that I am not this body, my thoughts or perceptions. Some kind of feeling of being awareness (although I can’t imagine that you can feel something that is nothing).

Bottom line is I don’t really know what I’m expecting but I expect to know when I get it – friggin hilarious- how would you know you got something if you don’t know what is it that you want in the first place?

When I say I intellectually know there is no one there I mean I can look at each aspect of “me” and systematically negate each aspect as being me- for example I am not bodily sensations therefore I can’t be the body; I am not thoughts so I can’t be the mind; I am not perceptions so I can’t be anything that the senses sense; I am not my feeling; not the roles I assign to myself; etc. (kind of a neti neti thing). I negate all these and I sense that I am none of these but it never quite “clicks” that I am no one or nothing.

I can also see that everything is made out of myself (meaning my Self in order to differentiate) in that sensing, thinking and perceiving are just modes of knowing and I am that knowing. Again this doesn’t quite click and I get frustrated.

To be honest I always thought that when I understood “it” then it would all click- but not so and I am left running in these ridiculous circles.

I’m also anxious that realizing oneness= realizing aloneness.

When I say that I feel like someone is here I mean that I feel located in this body and everything else is outside of “me”. I feel like this body is the centre of experiencing. The sense perceptions of the body somehow seem more real or more “me” than other experiences.

I have no proof that this feeling is evidence of someone being here. The only thing I know is that is it an experience I have and a label that thought seems to apply to this experience. For all I know everything is just a thought that arises in nothingness and deludes itself by imagining a body, roles, a past, a future etc.

There is, of course, no boundary between me and the feeling.

The compulsion to keep seeking the truth feels like an internal drive. I have explored it and have found that it is just sensation arriving that I then label but it sure feels real. In the end the compulsion turns out to be just a sensation with a label.
It feels like the compulsion is mine because it feels like it arises “inside” my body. I don’t have any evidence that it pertains to me.
In direct experience I can’t find the recipient of this compulsion or any other experience. I only ever find presently arising sensation or thoughts.


Thanks,
Angela

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:58 pm

Angela,

Thank you for your quick and thorough reply.

I would appreciate if you would take a moment to familiarize yourself with the quote feature on the forum. It typically is easier to read and make sense of the back and forth dialog if we each quote the relevant sections from one another's responses when replying. You will notice that I will be doing that in this reply.
Good question. By enlightenment I mean an end to suffering or theme that believes it suffers. I mean peace and a feeling of oneness. An end to seeking and an end to questions. And i would like some of that love and light i hear described too.!!
Thank you for your honesty. I an now going to ask you to look at your expectations for what enlightenment means so that we can begin to explore this together. I'm going to ask you to explore this with total openness and a willingness to discover what is actually here versus what you want to be here.

You say that you want an end to suffering or the theme that believes it suffers. What is suffering? As usual, please answer from direct sensory perception, not concept. So really explore the actuality of suffering. What do you find? How do you know when there is suffering?

And how do you know that the suffering belongs to you?

What is a theme that believes it suffers? How can a theme believe? Is it possible for you to believe? Do you actually possess any beliefs? Look only to direct experience to answer.

What is a feeling a oneness? How do you know that a feeling is a feeling of oneness? And even if you have a feeling of oneness, what is your proof that the feeling is the actuality of oneness?

What is seeking? How do you know that seeking is happening?

Is the seeking yours?

Are questions actually a problem? What about questions seems problematic? Is it the questions or something else?
I guess I kind of think there must be some “aha” moment or at least a “clicking into place” that I am not this body, my thoughts or perceptions. Some kind of feeling of being awareness (although I can’t imagine that you can feel something that is nothing).
To whom will this aha moment occur? Will you be able to take ownership of the aha?

Is the feeling of being awareness necessary to be awareness?
Bottom line is I don’t really know what I’m expecting but I expect to know when I get it – friggin hilarious- how would you know you got something if you don’t know what is it that you want in the first place?
I am glad you see the insanity of this! :)
When I say I intellectually know there is no one there I mean I can look at each aspect of “me” and systematically negate each aspect as being me- for example I am not bodily sensations therefore I can’t be the body; I am not thoughts so I can’t be the mind; I am not perceptions so I can’t be anything that the senses sense; I am not my feeling; not the roles I assign to myself; etc. (kind of a neti neti thing). I negate all these and I sense that I am none of these but it never quite “clicks” that I am no one or nothing.
Reportedly this sort of approach that you describe does seemingly work for some people. However, I never found that it worked for me, and if it hasn't worked for you, then I will suggest a different approach.

What I notice is that you are apparently attempting to arrive at an experience of no one or nothing. So you have defined the end goal. This is typically ineffective because you are defining the end goal based on your conceptual idea of what that should be. So it seems doomed to fail in my opinion.

Instead, I recommend exploring assumptions with curiosity and openness - without expectations of a particular outcome.

In your explorations up to this point it seems to me that you have also started with a subtle, primary assumption that undermines the whole approach. That assumption is that you can discover that you don't exist. And at the same time, you are looking to own or possess that experience of no one or nothing.

So instead, I suggest that you explore to find out if there is an experiencer of these phenomena. You perceive the phenomenon that you call your body. So then explore in direct experience to see if there is an experiencer of the phenomenon. Do this with each phenomenon that you mentioned - body, mind, perceptions, feelings, roles. Let me know what you find.
I can also see that everything is made out of myself (meaning my Self in order to differentiate) in that sensing, thinking and perceiving are just modes of knowing and I am that knowing. Again this doesn’t quite click and I get frustrated.
What is the difference between self and Self? Can you find either self or Self in direct experience?

You write that "sensing, thinking, and perceiving are just modes of knowing that I am that knowing." Are you sensing, thinking, perceiving, or knowing? Can you find the senser, thinker, perceiver, or knower?
To be honest I always thought that when I understood “it” then it would all click- but not so and I am left running in these ridiculous circles.
What will alert you to the fact that it has all clicked? How will you know?
I’m also anxious that realizing oneness= realizing aloneness.
This is very honest. Thank you for saying this. I can relate to this concern as it was an obstacle for me for a long while.

Both oneness and aloneness are concepts. So what I'd like you to do is explore your direct experience right now and see if you can actually find a boundary. To begin with, explore if you can find a boundary between you and sensory perception. For example, you are reading this on the screen. So there is seeing happening. Can you find a boundary between you and seeing?

Next, see if you can find a boundary for yourself at all. Remember, answer only from direct experience. Conceptually we can fabricate boundaries of all sorts. But directly, what do you find?

Beyond the concepts of oneness and aloneness, what is actually here? Is there someone separate from life? Is there an observer or experiencer of life?
When I say that I feel like someone is here I mean that I feel located in this body and everything else is outside of “me”. I feel like this body is the centre of experiencing. The sense perceptions of the body somehow seem more real or more “me” than other experiences.
You say that you feel located in the body. What is your evidence that this is so? As always, answer from direct experience.

Similarly, you feel that everything else is outside of you. What is your evidence?

You write about the sense perceptions of the body. What is your evidence that the sense perceptions are of the body?

Close your eyes for a moment. Are you still aware of sense perceptions (other than, perhaps, much in the way of sight?) And if so, then what evidence do you have that these sense perceptions are of the body?
I have no proof that this feeling is evidence of someone being here. The only thing I know is that is it an experience I have and a label that thought seems to apply to this experience.
How do you know that "it is an experience I have?" What is the evidence that it is your experience? Are you the experiencer? What is your proof? Can you found a boundary between you and the experience?
For all I know everything is just a thought that arises in nothingness and deludes itself by imagining a body, roles, a past, a future etc.
Can a thought delude itself? Is a thought capable of volition, intent, or imagination?
There is, of course, no boundary between me and the feeling.
Good! Did you answer this by exploring direct sensory perception? Or is this a conceptual answer?
The compulsion to keep seeking the truth feels like an internal drive.
Can you find an inside or an outside in direct experience?
I have explored it and have found that it is just sensation arriving that I then label but it sure feels real. In the end the compulsion turns out to be just a sensation with a label.
Yes. This is very good.

Now, you say that it sure feels real. What distinguishes between something that feels real versus something that feels unreal? Is a feeling proof of whether something is more or less real? Is there anything outside of feeling that could validate the sense that something is either real or unreal?
It feels like the compulsion is mine because it feels like it arises “inside” my body.
Do feelings ever feel as though the arise outside your body?
In direct experience can you find the boundary between inside and outside your body?
I don’t have any evidence that it pertains to me. In direct experience I can’t find the recipient of this compulsion or any other experience. I only ever find presently arising sensation or thoughts.
This is very good.

I look forward to your responses.

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:19 am

Thanks Joey:

Hopefully i have used the quote function correctly. Once again, thank you for taking the time to do this with me.
Thank you for your honesty. I an now going to ask you to look at your expectations for what enlightenment means so that we can begin to explore this together. I'm going to ask you to explore this with total openness and a willingness to discover what is actually here versus what you want to be here.

You say that you want an end to suffering or the theme that believes it suffers. What is suffering? As usual, please answer from direct sensory perception, not concept. So really explore the actuality of suffering. What do you find? How do you know when there is suffering?
Now that I look at it closely I see there really is no suffering in and of itself. I can’t find it in direct experience- just sensations that I call suffering. It’s like a weird movie where things arise (like sensations) and then a label is almost immediately attached to the thing and then another “me” or “I” label and a belief that all that is one thing.

When I explore suffering I don’t find anything that is inherently good or bad, right or wrong. The idea of suffering comes from the idea or belief that something is happening to me. The whole “happening to me” thing is a real hot button. I hate being out of control. That’s one of things that scares me when I explore using direct experience because I get a taste that I have no control. Sometimes that feels like freedom and sometimes it’s terrifying. I’ve spent my whole life trying to control everything. This got much worse in the last few years since I have been physically ill.
And how do you know that the suffering belongs to you?
I have looked at this before and honestly it feels like it belongs to me because I can’t make it go away. I know that sounds oxymoronic (I may have made that word up) but that’s what I feel.

What is a theme that believes it suffers? How can a theme believe? Is it possible for you to believe? Do you actually possess any beliefs? Look only to direct experience to answer.
When I wrote theme it was supposed to be two words: the me. LOL. But I guess they are kind of interchangeable as it turns out. is it possible for me to believe. Not really, it’s only possible for me to notice a thought that thinks it believes (am I making any sense?) I don’t possess any beliefs. I only notice thoughts disguised as beliefs that wander through my experience. Freaking weird.
What is a feeling a oneness? How do you know that a feeling is a feeling of oneness? And even if you have a feeling of oneness, what is your proof that the feeling is the actuality of oneness?
Oddly, I have no idea what a feeling of oneness is. I assume it is knowing everything as myself. If I am no one, not here (wow, that’s terrifying) then must I not be everything? Would there be no boundaries? Would I not find myself everywhere and in everything?

I guess if I had a feeling of oneness (which I never have) I couldn’t prove the feeling was one of oneness. It would just be a feeling if I didn’t label it. For that matter, I could’t prove any feeling was anything could I?
What is seeking? How do you know that seeking is happening?
You are relentless and I am getting repetitive which I suppose is the point – haha. Thanks for keeping me on track! Obviously this too is just a sensation ( I wonder why we learn to label sensations with so many different labels) although it feels like a sensation that spurs action. It’s uncomfortable (yeah, yeah I know that uncomfortable is just a sensation with a label too- LOL)

I just realized that seeking likely moves me in a direction away from where I want to go so to speak. It is a distraction that reinforces the me illusion. Shit!!
Is the seeking yours?
It feels like mine because I can act on it.
Are questions actually a problem? What about questions seems problematic? Is it the questions or something else?
Questions themselves aren’t problematic. I just like to know everything. I like to solve things. It’s how my brain works.

To whom will this aha moment occur? Will you be able to take ownership of the aha?
Its weird to think about that. If “I” no longer exist I guess “I” can’t very well have an aha moment, can i? I’ve probably read too many spiritual books where people describe their awakening but now that I think about it, when the dreamer wakes up, the character disappears. No one left! But then how are all those people able to describe it. Now I have completely confused myself.
Is the feeling of being awareness necessary to be awareness?
No. Seems like it isn’t

Reportedly this sort of approach that you describe does seemingly work for some people. However, I never found that it worked for me, and if it hasn't worked for you, then I will suggest a different approach.

What I notice is that you are apparently attempting to arrive at an experience of no one or nothing. So you have defined the end goal. This is typically ineffective because you are defining the end goal based on your conceptual idea of what that should be. So it seems doomed to fail in my opinion.

Instead, I recommend exploring assumptions with curiosity and openness - without expectations of a particular outcome.

In your explorations up to this point it seems to me that you have also started with a subtle, primary assumption that undermines the whole approach. That assumption is that you can discover that you don't exist. And at the same time, you are looking to own or possess that experience of no one or nothing.

So instead, I suggest that you explore to find out if there is an experiencer of these phenomena. You perceive the phenomenon that you call your body. So then explore in direct experience to see if there is an experiencer of the phenomenon. Do this with each phenomenon that you mentioned - body, mind, perceptions, feelings, roles. Let me know what you find.
I will work on this one although my preliminary findings lead me to make a conjecture that there is no experience. Nor anything that is experienced. Only experiencing. Everything is only experiencing.

What is the difference between self and Self? Can you find either self or Self in direct experience?
Ha Ha Ha. NO!! I can’t find anything and yet I keep thinking I should be able to.
You write that "sensing, thinking, and perceiving are just modes of knowing that I am that knowing." Are you sensing, thinking, perceiving, or knowing? Can you find the senser, thinker, perceiver, or knower?
No, but I find something that is aware of something. That’s the best I can do on that one right now. It’s a pretty subtle feeling and hard to describe.
What will alert you to the fact that it has all clicked? How will you know?
I don’t know. I will stop feeling like a separate me????


brewera wrote:I’m also anxious that realizing oneness= realizing aloneness.
T
his is very honest. Thank you for saying this. I can relate to this concern as it was an obstacle for me for a long while.

Both oneness and aloneness are concepts. So what I'd like you to do is explore your direct experience right now and see if you can actually find a boundary. To begin with, explore if you can find a boundary between you and sensory perception. For example, you are reading this on the screen. So there is seeing happening. Can you find a boundary between you and seeing?
No, I can’t find a boundary
Next, see if you can find a boundary for yourself at all. Remember, answer only from direct experience. Conceptually we can fabricate boundaries of all sorts. But directly, what do you find?
I’ve having a harder time with this one. The fact that I can see body parts (hands typing, etc) make me feel like there is a boundary. I know that’s probably conceptual but I can’t seem to get past it.
Beyond the concepts of oneness and aloneness, what is actually here? Is there someone separate from life? Is there an observer or experiencer of life?
Just experiencing. Nothing experienced. No experiencer. And then SNAP my mind comes back and says of course you are experiencing things “out there” Dammit!

You say that you feel located in the body. What is your evidence that this is so? As always, answer from direct experience.
I see that everything arises equally but for some reason sensations seem to have a much stronger “me” perfume to them than smells, sights, sounds, etc. one of my stumbling blocks is that when I do explorations I am always coming back to the body (sensations) to see if I’m still here- like if there were no sensations I would suddenly be enlightened. Crazy. It’s like a reflex.
Similarly, you feel that everything else is outside of you. What is your evidence?
I have no evidence.
You write about the sense perceptions of the body. What is your evidence that the sense perceptions are of the body?
I have no evidence- you are very skilful at leading to these conclusions.
Close your eyes for a moment. Are you still aware of sense perceptions (other than, perhaps, much in the way of sight?) And if so, then what evidence do you have that these sense perceptions are of the body?
I'm aware of something that i have labelled sensations. Once again, no evidence to be found

How do you know that "it is an experience I have?" What is the evidence that it is your experience? Are you the experiencer? What is your proof? Can you found a boundary between you and the experience?
oh, this is interesting. I know there is an experience. I don’t know that it’s mine. I think I’m the experiencer- it feels like although in drect experience all I find is experiencing. One thing I do notice is that it seems like when the expereincer shows up its in my head. When I use direct experience to explore it seems like I’m always “looking down” from my head or “out from” my head to the experience.

Can a thought delude itself? Is a thought capable of volition, intent, or imagination?
Point well taken!!

Good! Did you answer this by exploring direct sensory perception? Or is this a conceptual answer?
Direct sensory experience. The feeling and myself cannot be separated.
There is no boundary between experiencing and anything. If there was a boundary nothing could be experienced.


brewera wrote:The compulsion to keep seeking the truth feels like an internal drive.

Can you find an inside or an outside in direct experience?
Hmmm…no. In direct experience it’s more like everything is inside. Everything MUST be inside experience otherwise there would be no way to know it existed. But of course without an outside per se there can’t be an inside. So I guess the short answer is no.

Now, you say that it sure feels real. What distinguishes between something that feels real versus something that feels unreal? Is a feeling proof of whether something is more or less real? Is there anything outside of feeling that could validate the sense that something is either real or unreal?
On exploring that I find that there is nothing that distinguishes something that feels unreal from something that feels real. There both are experiences that I just label differently. Interesting…

Do feelings ever feel as though the arise outside your body?
In direct experience can you find the boundary between inside and outside your body?
When I looked at that I can see that feeling sometimes do feel as though they arise outside the body- like in the space around the body. In direct experience I find no such boundary. The only “boundary” is mind-made- a thought that labels it so.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:27 am

Angela,

Thank you for your wonderful responses.
Hopefully i have used the quote function correctly.
More or less correctly, yes. :)
Now that I look at it closely I see there really is no suffering in and of itself. I can’t find it in direct experience- just sensations that I call suffering. It’s like a weird movie where things arise (like sensations) and then a label is almost immediately attached to the thing and then another “me” or “I” label and a belief that all that is one thing.
This is clear. Let's explore it in a little more detail.

Are you separate from the sensations that you call suffering?
Do you choose to call the sensations suffering?
Are you the recipient of the sensations?
Are you the observer of the sensations?
Is it your suffering or your sensations?
When I explore suffering I don’t find anything that is inherently good or bad, right or wrong.
Wonderful. This is very clear.
The idea of suffering comes from the idea or belief that something is happening to me. The whole “happening to me” thing is a real hot button.
This is very good. So now let's explore it in more detail.

If you had an idea or a thought that was unbelievable to you, then would that idea or thought be a problem?
What is it about the belief that something is happening to you is a problem? Look closely in direct experience and tell me what you find. Is it the thought? What alerts you to the problem?
What are the implications of something happening to you? If you scratch beneath the surface, what is the fundamental concern?
I hate being out of control. That’s one of things that scares me when I explore using direct experience because I get a taste that I have no control. Sometimes that feels like freedom and sometimes it’s terrifying. I’ve spent my whole life trying to control everything. This got much worse in the last few years since I have been physically ill.
This is very good. It is excellent that you get a glimpse of the impossibility of control. So let's explore this.

Do you ever feel that you are in control? And if so, what is your proof under those circumstances that you are, in fact, under control?
Do you actually have any proof that you have controlled anything? If yes, give examples.
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I've got to ask: what does freedom feel like? And how do you know that is actually freedom?
What does terror feel like? And how do you know that is actually terror?
I have looked at this before and honestly it feels like it belongs to me because I can’t make it go away. I know that sounds oxymoronic (I may have made that word up) but that’s what I feel.
Again, thank you for answering honestly. Honesty makes this process much, much easier.

So on the heels of the exploration of control where you said that you had glimpses of seeing that you have no control, what power do you have to make anything go away? Have you ever made anything go away? And if so, what is your proof that you made it go away?
Is a feeling proof of anything other than the existence of the feeling? Can a feeling prove that something is yours?
When I wrote theme it was supposed to be two words: the me. LOL. But I guess they are kind of interchangeable as it turns out.
:)
is it possible for me to believe. Not really, it’s only possible for me to notice a thought that thinks it believes (am I making any sense?) I don’t possess any beliefs. I only notice thoughts disguised as beliefs that wander through my experience. Freaking weird.
Are you capable of noticing a thought? There appears to be a phenomenon that you call a thought. Saying that you notice a thought implies (to me, at least) that you are observing, somehow separate from the phenomenon. So I'd like you to see if this is true. Is there an observer of thought? Is there a boundary between you and thought?

You say (poetically, admittedly) that thoughts wander through your experience. What is your evidence that it is your experience? I'm definitely not trying to be the grammar police here. Personally, I find it distasteful when people start modifying their language to try to sound more enlightened. So that's not the purpose of my questioning in this case. Rather, I just want to point out possible assumptions and ask that you explore them. So let me know what you find. Are you the owner of experience? And does thought trespass upon your experience? Is thought separate from experience? Are you separate from experience?
Oddly, I have no idea what a feeling of oneness is. I assume it is knowing everything as myself. If I am no one, not here (wow, that’s terrifying) then must I not be everything? Would there be no boundaries? Would I not find myself everywhere and in everything?
Beyond assumptions can you find any evidence of the existence of a feeling of oneness?

As to the conjecture that you pose, I will merely suggest that all of that sounds like philosophical positing to me. So unless I am mistaken, then let's keep the exploration to an exploration of direct experience only.
I guess if I had a feeling of oneness (which I never have) I couldn’t prove the feeling was one of oneness. It would just be a feeling if I didn’t label it. For that matter, I could’t prove any feeling was anything could I?
This sounds clear. I'm assuming that the question here was intended rhetorically. If not and you genuinely are posing a question, let me know and we can explore that.
You are relentless and I am getting repetitive which I suppose is the point – haha. Thanks for keeping me on track!
I am relentless. That is true.
Obviously this too is just a sensation ( I wonder why we learn to label sensations with so many different labels) although it feels like a sensation that spurs action. It’s uncomfortable (yeah, yeah I know that uncomfortable is just a sensation with a label too- LOL)
How does a sensation spur action?
Is the action something that you do?
Is there a choice involved?

And while you're right that discomfort is a label applied to a sensation (very good!) this may be worth exploring a bit more.

Does discomfort have any inherent meaning? Does it necessitate any behavior or occurrence?
Is there an owner or recipient of the discomfort?
Are you separate from the discomfort?
Can you escape the discomfort?
I just realized that seeking likely moves me in a direction away from where I want to go so to speak. It is a distraction that reinforces the me illusion. Shit!!
This is good that you see this. Very clear. Now let's explore in more detail. I do understand that you are speaking (writing) metaphorically here. But I am going to ask you to explore the implications of your statements all the same.

Can you actually move further away or closer to anything? Answer from direct experience.
Is there a reachable destination?
Can you be distracted?
From what would you be distracted?
It feels like mine because I can act on it.
Again, thank you for answering honestly.

You say that you can act on seeking. Please provide your evidence for this statement. We can explore that in more detail once you provide the evidence.
Questions themselves aren’t problematic. I just like to know everything. I like to solve things. It’s how my brain works.
Is not knowing everything (or anything?) a problem? Do you need to know everything (anything?) in order to discover what it is that you seek to discover?
Its weird to think about that. If “I” no longer exist I guess “I” can’t very well have an aha moment, can i? I’ve probably read too many spiritual books where people describe their awakening but now that I think about it, when the dreamer wakes up, the character disappears. No one left! But then how are all those people able to describe it. Now I have completely confused myself.
This is very good. You are obviously exploring this honestly and authentically.

Now take a look in direct experience and tell me if you can find the describer of what you typically perceive to be your experiences and your revelations. Is there a separate describer? Is a describer necessary for description to happen?
No. Seems like it isn’t
Qualifiers (like "seems") aside, this is very clear. :P
I will work on this one although my preliminary findings lead me to make a conjecture that there is no experience. Nor anything that is experienced. Only experiencing. Everything is only experiencing.
Good. Let me know how your continued exploration of this goes.
Ha Ha Ha. NO!! I can’t find anything and yet I keep thinking I should be able to.
Good! Now tell me, does the thinking belong to you? Are you the thinker? Do you take receipt of thoughts? Can you do anything about thoughts? Are thoughts capable of doing anything? Do thoughts produce actions? Can thought compel you to do anything? Is there any problem with thoughts?

And who is the thought referring to when it seems to reference someone who should be able to find something? You have assumed that the thought is referencing you. Is that true? What is your proof?
No, but I find something that is aware of something. That’s the best I can do on that one right now. It’s a pretty subtle feeling and hard to describe.
This is fine. I don't think we need to delve too deeply into this right now. However, I will ask you just one question: In direct experience is there one who is aware as well as an object of awareness as is implied by your statement?
I don’t know. I will stop feeling like a separate me????
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but what will it feel like to stop feeling like a separate me? And how will that prove that something essential has changed so that you are now the special enlightened version of yourself? Is any proof possible? If so, then what is the proof that could definitively prove this? And if not, then is it possible that feelings are of no value as evidence of anything in what you are seeking?
I’ve having a harder time with this one. The fact that I can see body parts (hands typing, etc) make me feel like there is a boundary. I know that’s probably conceptual but I can’t seem to get past it.
It sounds to me as though you are setting up a conceptual end goal for yourself. You are imagining that perception needs to change. So explore that. Does perception need to change in order for you to discover what you seek?
Just experiencing. Nothing experienced. No experiencer. And then SNAP my mind comes back and says of course you are experiencing things “out there” Dammit!
So there is an experience of clarity seemingly followed by an experience of "non-clarity" (for lack of a better way of describing it simply.) Are these experiences evidence of anything? Do they prove anything? Do you require a sustained experience of what seems to be clarity in order to discover what you seek? Is the experience of clarity the actuality of clarity?

And, at the risk of creating some sort of recursive loop that may well break the time-space continuum, I will ask the $64,000 question: Is there an experiencer of the experience of the mind saying that you are experiencing things out there?
I see that everything arises equally but for some reason sensations seem to have a much stronger “me” perfume to them than smells, sights, sounds, etc. one of my stumbling blocks is that when I do explorations I am always coming back to the body (sensations) to see if I’m still here- like if there were no sensations I would suddenly be enlightened. Crazy. It’s like a reflex.
This is very clear seeing for the most part. You can see, at least mostly, that everything is "equal" but that some things appear to have more weight. So that is an important "first step."

Does the appearance of a stronger "me" perfume actually weight anything more strongly? Is the appearance of a stronger "me" perfume actually any different than any other appearance? Is this phenomenon actually evidence of anything?

Does the phenomenon of the sense of being in the body need to change or go away in order to discover what you seek?

Does the reflex need to change? Is the reflex actually a problem?

Are you the owner. recipient, experiencer, or doer of any of these phenomena?
oh, this is interesting. I know there is an experience. I don’t know that it’s mine. I think I’m the experiencer- it feels like although in drect experience all I find is experiencing. One thing I do notice is that it seems like when the expereincer shows up its in my head. When I use direct experience to explore it seems like I’m always “looking down” from my head or “out from” my head to the experience.
This is very good.

Is the phenomenon of the seeming appearance of an experiencer in any way a problem? And once again, to possible tear a hole in the fabric of time and space, I will ask the recursive question: is there an experiencer of the experience of the appearance of the experiencer?

Is there a problem with the experience of looking down or out from the head? Is this experience in any way more or less important or real than any other experience? Is there a recipient of this experience? Is the perception proof that you exist inside of the head? Can you, in direct experience, find the boundaries of yourself? You may want to try exploring the boundaries of yourself first with eyes closed. Report what you find. Then explore with eyes open and report what you find.

Everything else tat you have reported back is very clear. Thank you.

I look forward to hearing your next responses.

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:54 pm

Hi Joey:

First of all, thank you for being relentless. It feel like its just the thing I need. Someone to help me chisel or hammer my way through these illusions.

BTW, are you an author? I think I have read one or two or three of your books!
Are you separate from the sensations that you call suffering?
No, I can see that in direct experience I’m not separate from anything. Anything I was separate from wouldn’t exist per se. Or at least I would have no way of knowing it existed. I have to say though that I jump back and forth from “of course nothing’s separate” to “but what about that thing- it’s over there and I’m over here” to “that thing over there isn’t separate because all I know of it is what I give it – for example all I know of a bowl are the labels for the sense perceptions that come from me- I can’t find an actual bowl outside of my “knowing” of it. This is a bit of an exercise for me though and requires a lot of thought and concentration to get there.
Do you choose to call the sensations suffering?
At first I was going to answer that I must choose to call it suffering but on further exploration I don’t actually choose any thoughts- they just pop up- so I will say no.
Are you the recipient of the sensations?
No, it doesn’t feel like there is a recipient
Are you the observer of the sensations?
Sometimes it seems like I am the observer of the sensations. Like I am looking down on them from my eyes or head.
Is it your suffering or your sensations?
No, neither one is mine. They just seem to be there. Of course, I’m not suffering at the moment. If you asked me when I was I might very well say that the suffering or sensations are mine or at least are of the body.

brewera wrote:The idea of suffering comes from the idea or belief that something is happening to me. The whole “happening to me” thing is a real hot button.
If you had an idea or a thought that was unbelievable to you, then would that idea or thought be a problem?
No.
What is it about the belief that something is happening to you is a problem? Look closely in direct experience and tell me what you find. Is it the thought? What alerts you to the problem?
The belief that something is happening to me is a problem because it causes fear. Like a very visceral fear at the core of my being. Like I am really threatened or my life is in danger. Just the thought of losing control produces this. It’s happening right now as I explore it- which is, of course, very helpful.
It seems like a contraction in the body alerts me to it. Like an alarm going off. Then I notice that and go to thought to try to figure out what the alarm is all about.
What are the implications of something happening to you? If you scratch beneath the surface, what is the fundamental concern?
The fundamental concern has no words attached to it. No label. The closest I can get is death maybe.
Do you ever feel that you are in control? And if so, what is your proof under those circumstances that you are, in fact, under control?
Yes, sometimes I do feel like I’m in control. In fact I keep my environment very controlled so I don’t feel out of control. I am a CEO so I am pretty much in control at work (although that is a completely delusional statement because anything could happen at any time-LOL ). OMG- just the idea of being out of control is freaking me out right now- I had no idea what a control freak I am.
Of course, an examination there is no proof that I am in control and of course I couldn’t possibly in control of everything.
I really hate this feeling though.
Do you actually have any proof that you have controlled anything? If yes, give examples.
No, It’s all delusional isn’t it. I don’t control my thoughts, I don’t control my bodily sensations (although thought would have me believe that I do), I don’t control sights, sounds, etc. I really want to though!!!
This is analyzing a bit so bear with me. I got chronically sick with some weird thing where I became allergic to everything about 10 years ago. It’s a lot better now but I think a lot of this control thing stems from that- trying to control my food my environment etc. which led to lots of fear and so on.- I digress
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I've got to ask: what does freedom feel like? And how do you know that is actually freedom?
Wow! Good one, didn’t see that one coming…let’s see. Feels like I can’t be harmed- like knowing nothing can touch what I actually am. And I don’t know it’s actually freedom. All I really know is that its something but I could never say what.

What does terror feel like? And how do you know that is actually terror?
Terror feels like contraction- fear for my life or something. And as I said above I don’t know that its actually terror or even that such a thing as terror actually exists.
Again, thank you for answering honestly. Honesty makes this process much, much easier.
I figure there is no other way to do this. if I give all the spiritually correct answers it just means I’ve done a good job of reading spiritual stuff.
So on the heels of the exploration of control where you said that you had glimpses of seeing that you have no control, what power do you have to make anything go away? Have you ever made anything go away? And if so, what is your proof that you made it go away?
Is a feeling proof of anything other than the existence of the feeling? Can a feeling prove that something is yours?
I have no power to make anything go away or do anything for that matter. It just seems that way sometimes. Like a cause and effect type thing. Like if I don’t eat wheat I won’t get sick, etc.
Are you capable of noticing a thought? There appears to be a phenomenon that you call a thought. Saying that you notice a thought implies (to me, at least) that you are observing, somehow separate from the phenomenon. So I'd like you to see if this is true. Is there an observer of thought? Is there a boundary between you and thought?
I’m a bit stuck on this one because I know the answer is no yet I feel like the answer is yes. Because thoughts look like words to me it seems there is a boundary. Then again I can’t separate the thought from me or the thought no longer exists- bit of a quandary.
You say (poetically, admittedly) that thoughts wander through your experience. What is your evidence that it is your experience? I'm definitely not trying to be the grammar police here. Personally, I find it distasteful when people start modifying their language to try to sound more enlightened. So that's not the purpose of my questioning in this case. Rather, I just want to point out possible assumptions and ask that you explore them. So let me know what you find. Are you the owner of experience? And does thought trespass upon your experience? Is thought separate from experience? Are you separate from experience?
My only evidence that it is my experience is that I experience it. Do I own experience? Struggling a bit here but it seems like you can’t own something that comes and goes . What would be the point? Does thought trespass on my experience? Thought is part of experiencing it seems. I’m a bit cloudy on this whole subject- having a hard time getting to direct experience.

I am clear that thought is not separate from experience nor am I – unless I fancy myself the “witness”

Beyond assumptions can you find any evidence of the existence of a feeling of oneness?
No, but that doesn’t seem to deter me from wanting it anyway. If I look hard enough I realize I don’t find any evidence of the existence of anything- except maybe something really nebulous- but its not a thing.
As to the conjecture that you pose, I will merely suggest that all of that sounds like philosophical positing to me. So unless I am mistaken, then let's keep the exploration to an exploration of direct experience only.
Agreed
How does a sensation spur action?
It can’t I guess. I can’t quite figure out the mechanism then for why it seems to. Hmm….
Is the action something that you do?
Not really- it just happens. If I look at it then it seems like it happens and then is claimed by the “I” or “me” thought afterwards. A thought comes along and an action and each claims the other and then they both get wrapped up in a nice chocolatey coating of “I’
Is there a choice involved?
Feels like it- but no I can see there isn’t any choice.
And while you're right that discomfort is a label applied to a sensation (very good!) this may be worth exploring a bit more.

Does discomfort have any inherent meaning? Does it necessitate any behavior or occurrence?
No discomfort has no inherent meaning. It doesn’t necessitate anything really. It just seems to (I’m really curious about this part)
Is there an owner or recipient of the discomfort?
No, it’s just there. When I look to see the one who is having discomfort there is only discomfort but no one it is happening to.
Are you separate from the discomfort?
No
Can you escape the discomfort?
Well, that stirred up something in me. No, I don’t think so, but I want to.
Can you actually move further away or closer to anything? Answer from direct experience.
No. Experience can’t move further way or closer to anything. Seems like the body can but then again when I ponder that it’s like asking where does seeing happen or where does hearing happen. It doesn’t happen anywhere really.
Is there a reachable destination?
Only the thought of one
Can you be distracted?
You’re going have to hammer me again me this one. I can’t tell. I have ADD so the word distraction might be distracting me so to speak (it has a lot of baggage) I feel like maybe distraction just happens if such a thing as distraction could exist without its label.
From what would you be distracted?
Now I’m really stumped.
You say that you can act on seeking. Please provide your evidence for this statement. We can explore that in more detail once you provide the evidence.
I admit this is pretty flimsy evidence but I can get off a chair, get a book read it or go to a satsang or watch you tube clips or meditate.
Is not knowing everything (or anything?) a problem? Do you need to know everything (anything?) in order to discover what it is that you seek to discover?
I more likely need to know nothing.
brewera wrote:I will work on this one although my preliminary findings lead me to make a conjecture that there is no experience. Nor anything that is experienced. Only experiencing. Everything is only experiencing.
Good. Let me know how your continued exploration of this goes.
Continued exploration bears the same fruit- or lack thereof.

Good! Now tell me, does the thinking belong to you? Are you the thinker? Do you take receipt of thoughts? Can you do anything about thoughts? Are thoughts capable of doing anything? Do thoughts produce actions? Can thought compel you to do anything? Is there any problem with thoughts?
I am not the thinker. I have no idea where thoughts come from. They just show up and then leave. I can’t do anything about them. They are clearly not capable of doing anything themselves nor can they produce action nor compel me to do anything. I guess they are pretty innocuous in reality.
And who is the thought referring to when it seems to reference someone who should be able to find something? You have assumed that the thought is referencing you. Is that true? What is your proof?
I had assumed the thought is referring me but when I look I think it just references itself. A thought can’t actually do anything. It’s just “there”. It can’t know anything. Even a though about a feeling never knows that feeling. So weird…
This is fine. I don't think we need to delve too deeply into this right now. However, I will ask you just one question: In direct experience is there one who is aware as well as an object of awareness as is implied by your statement?
All I actually find are objects of awareness, never the one who is aware.

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but what will it feel like to stop feeling like a separate me? And how will that prove that something essential has changed so that you are now the special enlightened version of yourself? Is any proof possible? If so, then what is the proof that could definitively prove this? And if not, then is it possible that feelings are of no value as evidence of anything in what you are seeking?
I am killing myself laughing at the insanity of the idea that feeling provide any value as evidence. Of course they don’t. I don’t even know what feelings are right now. Any evidence I can give of anything is just mind stuff-words.
Okay, back to business… I have no idea what it would feel like to stop being a separate me. If I did know it obviously wouldn’t prove anything as it would just be another feeling arising. Proof is not possible. Any proof would be an object which would come and go and could not be the truth. The truth can’t change or it wouldn’t be true.

brewera wrote:I’ve having a harder time with this one. The fact that I can see body parts (hands typing, etc) make me feel like there is a boundary. I know that’s probably conceptual but I can’t seem to get past it.
It sounds to me as though you are setting up a conceptual end goal for yourself. You are imagining that perception needs to change. So explore that. Does perception need to change in order for you to discover what you seek?
Still not sure about this one.
So there is an experience of clarity seemingly followed by an experience of "non-clarity" (for lack of a better way of describing it simply.) Are these experiences evidence of anything? Do they prove anything? Do you require a sustained experience of what seems to be clarity in order to discover what you seek? Is the experience of clarity the actuality of clarity?
Wow! I can’t even think anymore. There appears to be no evidence of anything and yet I continue to have this nagging thought that something must change
And, at the risk of creating some sort of recursive loop that may well break the time-space continuum, I will ask the $64,000 question: Is there an experiencer of the experience of the mind saying that you are experiencing things out there?
That took 2 or 3 readings!!! No, I just find the thought but no experiencer.
This is very clear seeing for the most part. You can see, at least mostly, that everything is "equal" but that some things appear to have more weight. So that is an important "first step."

Does the appearance of a stronger "me" perfume actually weight anything more strongly? Is the appearance of a stronger "me" perfume actually any different than any other appearance? Is this phenomenon actually evidence of anything?
Wow! Of course not!!!!
Does the phenomenon of the sense of being in the body need to change or go away in order to discover what you seek?
At this point I don’t even know what I am seeking. Is there anything to seek? I can’t seem to get away from the feeling that this phenomenon does have to change. Wait, if its just another appearance then of course it doesn’t need to change.
Does the reflex need to change? Is the reflex actually a problem?
Nope, just another appearance.
Are you the owner. recipient, experiencer, or doer of any of these phenomena?
In direct experience its all just happening – even the me thought is just happening.
Is the phenomenon of the seeming appearance of an experiencer in any way a problem? And once again, to possible tear a hole in the fabric of time and space, I will ask the recursive question: is there an experiencer of the experience of the appearance of the experiencer?
Wow, you are really doing a number on the old time-space continuum (and my head)!! No!!
Is there a problem with the experience of looking down or out from the head? Is this experience in any way more or less important or real than any other experience? Is there a recipient of this experience? Is the perception proof that you exist inside of the head? Can you, in direct experience, find the boundaries of yourself? You may want to try exploring the boundaries of yourself first with eyes closed. Report what you find. Then explore with eyes open and report what you find.
It turns out the “problem” is just a thought arising (surprise!), and there is no recipient of the experience, no proof of existence inside the head.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by finding the boundaries of myself. I assume you are not talking of the body.

Thanks Joey!!

Angela

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joeylott
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:38 am

Angela,

It seems to me that you are seeing much of this very clearly.
BTW, are you an author? I think I have read one or two or three of your books!
Yes. Or, in non-duality-speak, there is no author, there is only authoring appearing.
No, I can see that in direct experience I’m not separate from anything.
Good. Very clear.
Anything I was separate from wouldn’t exist per se. Or at least I would have no way of knowing it existed.
This is true, philosophically. But these statements, innocuous as they are, imply that there is an objective reality. However, in direct experience, is there any such thing as objective reality? And if you cannot find proof of objective reality in direct experience, then what is your proof that it exists?
I have to say though that I jump back and forth from “of course nothing’s separate” to “but what about that thing- it’s over there and I’m over here” to “that thing over there isn’t separate because all I know of it is what I give it – for example all I know of a bowl are the labels for the sense perceptions that come from me- I can’t find an actual bowl outside of my “knowing” of it. This is a bit of an exercise for me though and requires a lot of thought and concentration to get there.
You seem to have a pretty good conceptual understanding of this. Which, believe it or not, can be useful...to a point. But you're running up against the limitations. See what happens if you drop all effort. Let it be way simpler.

Here's an "exercise" that you can do. I'm making this up totally impromptu, so don't try to read anything into this. There's no "deep meaning" or anything like that.

Simply sit facing the bowl with your eyes open. Do this for at least several minutes. Longer isn't necessarily better. But give yourself at least a few minutes. And during this time all you are to do is just let everything happen exactly as it does. That is it. Don't try to figure anything out. Just let it all happen. All of it. No matter what. Whatever happens is just fine.

Let me know what you discover.

Having done that exercise, now let's explore these next few questions.

When it seems that you are jumping back and forth from "of course nothing's separate" to "but what about that thing?" etc. then what is actually happening? Are you the experiencer? Are you figuring anything out? Are you getting closer to some understanding? Is there any significance or meaning to these phenomena?
Sometimes it seems like I am the observer of the sensations. Like I am looking down on them from my eyes or head.
Thank you for answering honestly. Let's explore this.

What is it that is your evidence (I'm not asking for definitive proof, but rather just the evidence that gives rise to the idea) that you are looking down on a sensation from eyes or head?
As you experience a sensation that it feels as though you are observing, explore in direct experience to see if you can find a boundary between you and the sensation. What do you find? Is there a findable separation between you and the sensation?
No, neither one is mine. They just seem to be there. Of course, I’m not suffering at the moment. If you asked me when I was I might very well say that the suffering or sensations are mine or at least are of the body.
How do you know when you are suffering?
Is there any boundary between you and suffering when it happens?
The belief that something is happening to me is a problem because it causes fear. Like a very visceral fear at the core of my being.
Good. This is very good to see this. Now let's explore in more detail.

You say that the belief is a problem because it causes fear. What is your proof that the belief causes fear? Is the fear truly caused? Where does it come from? Is it your fear? Is the fear about you?
Just the thought of losing control produces this. It’s happening right now as I explore it- which is, of course, very helpful.
Again, exploring using direct sensory perception, is there any evidence that the thought produces the fear? Also, is the fear inherently meaningful? Does it mean anything about you, to you, or for you? Answer only from direct experience.
It seems like a contraction in the body alerts me to it. Like an alarm going off. Then I notice that and go to thought to try to figure out what the alarm is all about.
This is good.

Is the contraction caused by something?
Does the contraction have any meaning?
Does the contraction mean anything about you, to you, or for you?
Does the contraction require any action from you?
Can you control the contraction?
The fundamental concern has no words attached to it. No label. The closest I can get is death maybe.
Good.

So if this something happens to you, is there anything you can do to prevent that?
Are any of your usual strategies for protecting yourself actually effective?
What is it that you need to protect and save?
Yes, sometimes I do feel like I’m in control. In fact I keep my environment very controlled so I don’t feel out of control. I am a CEO so I am pretty much in control at work (although that is a completely delusional statement because anything could happen at any time-LOL ). OMG- just the idea of being out of control is freaking me out right now- I had no idea what a control freak I am.
Do you have any proof that you are in control apart from the feeling?
What would happen if you could not have any control ever under any circumstances?
Is that (the experience of not having any control) different than what is happening now?
Of course, an examination there is no proof that I am in control and of course I couldn’t possibly in control of everything.
I really hate this feeling though.
Are you the owner of the feeling?
Are you the owner of the hate of the feeling?
Is the feeling about you?
What would happen if you did nothing about the feeling?
Can you actually do anything about the feeling?
No, It’s all delusional isn’t it. I don’t control my thoughts, I don’t control my bodily sensations (although thought would have me believe that I do), I don’t control sights, sounds, etc. I really want to though!!!
How do you know that you really want to control things? What is your evidence that this is so?
Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I've got to ask: what does freedom feel like? And how do you know that is actually freedom?
Wow! Good one, didn’t see that one coming…let’s see. Feels like I can’t be harmed- like knowing nothing can touch what I actually am. And I don’t know it’s actually freedom. All I really know is that its something but I could never say what.
What if freedom feels precisely like whatever is happening? What if there is no definition possible? (It is freedom, after all! You can't very well box it in.)
Are you capable of noticing a thought? There appears to be a phenomenon that you call a thought. Saying that you notice a thought implies (to me, at least) that you are observing, somehow separate from the phenomenon. So I'd like you to see if this is true. Is there an observer of thought? Is there a boundary between you and thought?
I’m a bit stuck on this one because I know the answer is no yet I feel like the answer is yes. Because thoughts look like words to me it seems there is a boundary. Then again I can’t separate the thought from me or the thought no longer exists- bit of a quandary.
I am making the assumption from what you have written that you experience thoughts visually. If I am mistaken about that then you can disregard the following questions and correct my misunderstanding.

Apart from the phenomena that you call thought, is there actually a thing called a thought? In other words, if you see words or experience other phenomena then is there any evidence that these phenomena actually are evidence of a thing called thought? Or are there merely phenomena happening?
When you see words is there a separate seer of the words? Answer from direct experience.
My only evidence that it is my experience is that I experience it. Do I own experience? Struggling a bit here but it seems like you can’t own something that comes and goes . What would be the point? Does thought trespass on my experience? Thought is part of experiencing it seems. I’m a bit cloudy on this whole subject- having a hard time getting to direct experience.
You say that you experience experience. Can you find the experiencer that you call yourself in this case?
When I ask if you own experience I am inviting you to explore directly if you can find the owner of the experience. Is there a separate self who owns the experience or experiences the experience?
Can you actually get away from direct experience? Is there anything that is an example of something outside of direct experience?
I am clear that thought is not separate from experience nor am I – unless I fancy myself the “witness”
Do you fancy yourself the witness? :)
Beyond assumptions can you find any evidence of the existence of a feeling of oneness?
No, but that doesn’t seem to deter me from wanting it anyway. If I look hard enough I realize I don’t find any evidence of the existence of anything- except maybe something really nebulous- but its not a thing.
Is the wanting of a feeling itself something other than a feeling?
Are you the wanter? Are you separate from the phenomenon that you call wanting?
Can you escape the discomfort?
Well, that stirred up something in me. No, I don’t think so, but I want to.
Does the phenomenon of wanting compel any action?
Is the phenomenon of wanting about you?
Is wanting yours?
Can you escape the wanting?
Is there anyone separate from the wanting?
You’re going have to hammer me again me this one. I can’t tell. I have ADD so the word distraction might be distracting me so to speak (it has a lot of baggage) I feel like maybe distraction just happens if such a thing as distraction could exist without its label.
By definition distraction presupposes that there is someone whose attention can be move from one thing to another. So see if this is true. Is there someone who can be distracted? Are you separate from the experience that is appearing right now? Do you have attention? Are you separate from attention? Is attention separate from what is happening?
You say that you can act on seeking. Please provide your evidence for this statement. We can explore that in more detail once you provide the evidence.
I admit this is pretty flimsy evidence but I can get off a chair, get a book read it or go to a satsang or watch you tube clips or meditate.
Wonderful. Now let's explore this evidence.

You can get off a chair. Is this true? What is your evidence that this is true?
I more likely need to know nothing.
Are you capable of knowing anything? Are you capable of adding to or subtracting from knowing? Are you the owner of knowledge? Do you need to or could you do anything to bring about knowing nothing?

In other words, how is knowing nothing different from what is already happening?
I am not the thinker. I have no idea where thoughts come from. They just show up and then leave. I can’t do anything about them. They are clearly not capable of doing anything themselves nor can they produce action nor compel me to do anything. I guess they are pretty innocuous in reality.
Very clear.
I had assumed the thought is referring me but when I look I think it just references itself. A thought can’t actually do anything. It’s just “there”. It can’t know anything. Even a though about a feeling never knows that feeling. So weird…
Also very clear.
All I actually find are objects of awareness, never the one who is aware.
This is good. Now look in direct experience and can you find a boundary between you and objects of awareness? Of course conceptually there are boundaries. That is the function of concept. But is there actually any evidence of a boundary when you explore non-conceptually?
I am killing myself laughing at the insanity of the idea that feeling provide any value as evidence. Of course they don’t. I don’t even know what feelings are right now. Any evidence I can give of anything is just mind stuff-words.
Very clear.
Okay, back to business… I have no idea what it would feel like to stop being a separate me. If I did know it obviously wouldn’t prove anything as it would just be another feeling arising. Proof is not possible. Any proof would be an object which would come and go and could not be the truth. The truth can’t change or it wouldn’t be true.
The first part of this is very clear. And then it starts to sound like logical inference ("the truth can't change or it wouldn't be true.") It seems to me that you look in direct experience and discover the unbounded nature of what is, and then this logic game is perhaps a way to try to contain that. So remain with direct experience.
brewera wrote:I’ve having a harder time with this one. The fact that I can see body parts (hands typing, etc) make me feel like there is a boundary. I know that’s probably conceptual but I can’t seem to get past it.
It sounds to me as though you are setting up a conceptual end goal for yourself. You are imagining that perception needs to change. So explore that. Does perception need to change in order for you to discover what you seek?
Still not sure about this one.
Another way of putting this is: does the appearance have anything to do with you? Is the appearance of hands typing any more yours than the appearance of a banana? Is the sensation that you call touch of fingers on keyboard any more yours than the barking of a dog? Is the feeling that this must be yours actually your feeling? Are you the one taking receipt of the feelings, sensations, thoughts, and experiences? Is there any evidence that any of what is happening is yours?
Wow! I can’t even think anymore. There appears to be no evidence of anything and yet I continue to have this nagging thought that something must change
Wonderful! So is the nagging thought yours? Does that nagging thought have any more substance, meaning, or value than any other appearance?
At this point I don’t even know what I am seeking. Is there anything to seek? I can’t seem to get away from the feeling that this phenomenon does have to change. Wait, if its just another appearance then of course it doesn’t need to change.
bingo!
It turns out the “problem” is just a thought arising (surprise!), and there is no recipient of the experience, no proof of existence inside the head.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by finding the boundaries of myself. I assume you are not talking of the body.
When I asked about finding the boundaries of yourself, I mean this: we normally assume that there are boundaries to ourselves. And we then use various phenomena as evidence that boundaries exist. I am not talking about your body. The body is entirely conceptual. There are phenomena which in no way are evidence of a body. Yet we can interpret the phenomena to suggest a body. So actually, the body, as it were, is part of the conceptual boundaries of self that I am asking you to explore. Find out if there are any actual, findable boundaries of yourself in direct experience. By "yourself" what I mean is whatever it is that you know to be yourself - entirely non-conceptual. Yourself is what you absolutely cannot doubt. You can doubt the body, roles, thoughts, sensations, beliefs, and all else. But yourself is not something you can doubt. So see if yourself has boundaries.

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:34 am

Hi Joey:
It seems to me that you are seeing much of this very clearly.
I really don’t feel that way today. Lots of resistance to doing this- so I’m using it to see if I can find the one who is resisting. My partner asked me what I have been doing since Tuesday because I seem kind of weird. Something is doing something…

brewera wrote:BTW, are you an author? I think I have read one or two or three of your books

Yes. Or, in non-duality-speak, there is no author, there is only authoring appearing.
LOL! Authoring!!


brewera wrote:Anything I was separate from wouldn’t exist per se. Or at least I would have no way of knowing it existed

This is true, philosophically. But these statements, innocuous as they are, imply that there is an objective reality. However, in direct experience, is there any such thing as objective reality? And if you cannot find proof of objective reality in direct experience, then what is your proof that it exists?
Well I’m not entirely sure what you mean by objective experience. Do you mean anything that arises that can be known. I’m going assume that’s what you mean for now. If I remove all labels (or at least try to) it seems there can be no objective reality but then again there are “things” like thoughts, sensations, feelings, sights, sounds etc. okay, if I go a bit further I see I never really “find” an object per se. I’m a bit confused by this.

You seem to have a pretty good conceptual understanding of this. Which, believe it or not, can be useful...to a point. But you're running up against the limitations. See what happens if you drop all effort. Let it be way simpler.

Here's an "exercise" that you can do. I'm making this up totally impromptu, so don't try to read anything into this. There's no "deep meaning" or anything like that.

Simply sit facing the bowl with your eyes open. Do this for at least several minutes. Longer isn't necessarily better. But give yourself at least a few minutes. And during this time all you are to do is just let everything happen exactly as it does. That is it. Don't try to figure anything out. Just let it all happen. All of it. No matter what. Whatever happens is just fine.

Let me know what you discover.
I’m not sure I discovered anything apart from the fact that I have a hard time not making an exercise out of it. One weird thing that did happen was I totally lost track of time. About 10 minutes passed on the clock but the experience itself was somewhat timeless. I also noticed a lot that was happening- wind blowing, kids shouting outside, light on, clock ticking, stomach hurting, lots of thoughts popping up
Having done that exercise, now let's explore these next few questions.

When it seems that you are jumping back and forth from "of course nothing's separate" to "but what about that thing?" etc. then what is actually happening? Are you the experiencer? Are you figuring anything out? Are you getting closer to some understanding? Is there any significance or meaning to these phenomena?
it seems now, in retrospect that it was just a thought coming along saying that. I am not the experiencer. If feels like I’m figuring something out but I see that’s just another thought and a thought can’t figure anything out.




brewera wrote:Sometimes it seems like I am the observer of the sensations. Like I am looking down on them from my eyes or head.

Thank you for answering honestly. Let's explore this.

What is it that is your evidence (I'm not asking for definitive proof, but rather just the evidence that gives rise to the idea) that you are looking down on a sensation from eyes or head?
As you experience a sensation that it feels as though you are observing, explore in direct experience to see if you can find a boundary between you and the sensation. What do you find? Is there a findable separation between you and the sensation?
My evidence is it feels like my eyes are looking downward and inward. I see that that is however just another sensation. There is no boundary between me and a sensation. In fact when I was exploring a sensation the downward eye thing happened and I realized that’s just another sensation and then attention moved there and the movement of attention was just another sensation. When I explore like this and get close to the feeling that there is no “I” there is a definite response in the body – a sensation in the chest and then a very strong “I’ thought.

brewera wrote:No, neither one is mine. They just seem to be there. Of course, I’m not suffering at the moment. If you asked me when I was I might very well say that the suffering or sensations are mine or at least are of the body.


How do you know when you are suffering?
Is there any boundary between you and suffering when it happens?
I know I am suffering because I want to get away from it. I see on writing this that both the sensations labeled suffering and the sensation called “wanting to get away from it” are just sensations + labels. When I look to find the one that wants to get away I can’t find it..
You say that the belief is a problem because it causes fear. What is your proof that the belief causes fear? Is the fear truly caused? Where does it come from? Is it your fear? Is the fear about you?
It seems like cause and effect. I have no actual proof. It just seems like the thought is always followed by that sensation. They both seem to just arise so I can’t get to a root cause per se. Where does the fear come from? Hmm…it seems to just show up. When I explored the question is it my fear I see that there is a sensation and a whole lot of images of me (as I see myself in a mirror) being afraid. There is a strong feeling of me but no actual me to be found. I’m not sure about the answer to the last question- the fear just seems to be there.

brewera wrote:Just the thought of losing control produces this. It’s happening right now as I explore it- which is, of course, very helpful
Again, exploring using direct sensory perception, is there any evidence that the thought produces the fear? Also, is the fear inherently meaningful? Does it mean anything about you, to you, or for you? Answer only from direct experience.
Okay, looking again I see a thought and a sensation. They don’t even know each other so I can’t see how one could cause the other. It seems like there is some intermediary between the two. LOL.. how could a thought produce fear? It doesn’t DO anything. Its’ just there.

There is still the faint notion that it means something to me or could do something to me. The fear feels dense like its hiding something behind it.

brewera wrote:It seems like a contraction in the body alerts me to it. Like an alarm going off. Then I notice that and go to thought to try to figure out what the alarm is all about.

This is good.

Is the contraction caused by something?
I’m flip flopping on this. I know a thought can’t cause a contraction but they happen in quick succession so it sure seems like it does.
Does the contraction have any meaning
Not in and of itself, no.
Does the contraction mean anything about you, to you, or for you?
It feels like it does
Does the contraction require any action from you?
No
Can you control the contraction?
no

brewera wrote:The fundamental concern has no words attached to it. No label. The closest I can get is death maybe.
Good.
So if this something happens to you, is there anything you can do to prevent that?
No.
Are any of your usual strategies for protecting yourself actually effective?
To be honest they still feel like they are.
What is it that you need to protect and save?
Oh, good one. I’m protecting something I can’t even find.

Do you have any proof that you are in control apart from the feeling?
None whatsoever.
What would happen if you could not have any control ever under any circumstances?
I’m afraid I would go insane from anxiety.
Is that (the experience of not having any control) different than what is happening now?
Different sensations with different meanings attached to them.
brewera wrote:Of course, an examination there is no proof that I am in control and of course I couldn’t possibly in control of everything.
I really hate this feeling though.
Are you the owner of the feeling? Are you the owner of the hate of the feeling?
It feels like I am and at the same time I can’t find the owner of the feeling.

Is the feeling about you?
I’m not sure about this one.
What would happen if you did nothing about the feeling?
It would just be there and if I didn’t label it anything then nothing would happen.
Can you actually do anything about the feeling
?
I feel like I can.

How do you know that you really want to control things? What is your evidence that this is so?
Just the feeling which turns out to be only a sensation after all

What if freedom feels precisely like whatever is happening? What if there is no definition possible? (It is freedom, after all! You can't very well box it in.)
You make good sense

brewera wrote:
Are you capable of noticing a thought? There appears to be a phenomenon that you call a thought. Saying that you notice a thought implies (to me, at least) that you are observing, somehow separate from the phenomenon. So I'd like you to see if this is true. Is there an observer of thought? Is there a boundary between you and thought?

I’m a bit stuck on this one because I know the answer is no yet I feel like the answer is yes. Because thoughts look like words to me it seems there is a boundary. Then again I can’t separate the thought from me or the thought no longer exists- bit of a quandary.


I am making the assumption from what you have written that you experience thoughts visually. If I am mistaken about that then you can disregard the following questions and correct my misunderstanding.
I experience thought like a voice in my head usually, but when I explore it it looks more like sentences because I slow it down. There are of course lots of images as well and those have voice or word labels too.
Apart from the phenomena that you call thought, is there actually a thing called a thought? In other words, if you see words or experience other phenomena then is there any evidence that these phenomena actually are evidence of a thing called thought? Or are there merely phenomena happening?
When you see words is there a separate seer of the words? Answer from direct experience.
No, the concept “thought” is just a thought itself. It’s very wispy now. The phenomena don’t prove the existence of thought. There is no separate seer. The words or thoughts and the knowing of them are eh same thing.
You say that you experience experience. Can you find the experiencer that you call yourself in this case?
I’ll bet you already knew that I can’t.
When I ask if you own experience I am inviting you to explore directly if you can find the owner of the experience. Is there a separate self who owns the experience or experiences the experience?
Can you actually get away from direct experience? Is there anything that is an example of something outside of direct experience?
I cannot find an owner or an experiencer. There is sometimes the sensation or thought of an experiencer but that again is just something arising.
brewera wrote:I am clear that thought is not separate from experience nor am I – unless I fancy myself the “witness”
Do you fancy yourself the witness? :)
I have adopted that view from time to time but no

brewera wrote:
Beyond assumptions can you find any evidence of the existence of a feeling of oneness?

No, but that doesn’t seem to deter me from wanting it anyway. If I look hard enough I realize I don’t find any evidence of the existence of anything- except maybe something really nebulous- but its not a thing.


Is the wanting of a feeling itself something other than a feeling?
Good point
Are you the wanter? Are you separate from the phenomenon that you call wanting?
In direct experience there is no wanter to be found. And no separation.

brewera wrote:
Can you escape the discomfort?

Well, that stirred up something in me. No, I don’t think so, but I want to.


Does the phenomenon of wanting compel any action?
No.
Is the phenomenon of wanting about you?
No, its just a sensation
Is wanting yours?
Feels like it is. Like its inside of me. I know that its all sensation but that is how it feels
Can you escape the wanting?
No
Is there anyone separate from the wanting?
No
By definition distraction presupposes that there is someone whose attention can be move from one thing to another. So see if this is true. Is there someone who can be distracted? Are you separate from the experience that is appearing right now? Do you have attention? Are you separate from attention? Is attention separate from what is happening?
There is no one who can be distracted. Just things happening. I am not separate from the experience happening right now – until I think about it= then I feel separate- I don’t feel quite as clear about all of this right now. It’s all really fuzzy today.

Attention feels not so much like it mine but like another thing arising. A phenomenon. Attention is not separate from what is happening.

brewera wrote:
You say that you can act on seeking. Please provide your evidence for this statement. We can explore that in more detail once you provide the evidence.

I admit this is pretty flimsy evidence but I can get off a chair, get a book read it or go to a satsang or watch you tube clips or meditate.

Wonderful. Now let's explore this evidence.

You can get off a chair. Is this true? What is your evidence that this is true?
you’re hurting my brain!! In direct experience without labels of course I don’t know this. all the “evidence” I have comes from bodily sensation, sense perception and thoughts. And it turns out none of those things can know anything. It is a masterful illusion though!!!
brewera wrote:I more likely need to know nothing.


Are you capable of knowing anything? Are you capable of adding to or subtracting from knowing? Are you the owner of knowledge? Do you need to or could you do anything to bring about knowing nothing?
I can’t know anything I guess. Knowing just happens.
In other words, how is knowing nothing different from what is already happening?
Knowing is part of what is already happening.

brewera wrote:All I actually find are objects of awareness, never the one who is aware.

This is good. Now look in direct experience and can you find a boundary between you and objects of awareness? Of course conceptually there are boundaries. That is the function of concept. But is there actually any evidence of a boundary when you explore non-conceptually?
no, no boundaries at all.
brewera wrote:brewera wrote:I’ve having a harder time with this one. The fact that I can see body parts (hands typing, etc) make me feel like there is a boundary. I know that’s probably conceptual but I can’t seem to get past it.


It sounds to me as though you are setting up a conceptual end goal for yourself. You are imagining that perception needs to change. So explore that. Does perception need to change in order for you to discover what you seek?

Still not sure about this one.


Another way of putting this is: does the appearance have anything to do with you? Is the appearance of hands typing any more yours than the appearance of a banana? Is the sensation that you call touch of fingers on keyboard any more yours than the barking of a dog? Is the feeling that this must be yours actually your feeling? Are you the one taking receipt of the feelings, sensations, thoughts, and experiences? Is there any evidence that any of what is happening is yours?
Wow! I’m going to take some time with that one and come back to you on it.
brewera wrote:Wow! I can’t even think anymore. There appears to be no evidence of anything and yet I continue to have this nagging thought that something must change


Wonderful! So is the nagging thought yours? Does that nagging thought have any more substance, meaning, or value than any other appearance?
LOL. Of course not!!

brewera wrote:It turns out the “problem” is just a thought arising (surprise!), and there is no recipient of the experience, no proof of existence inside the head.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by finding the boundaries of myself. I assume you are not talking of the body.


When I asked about finding the boundaries of yourself, I mean this: we normally assume that there are boundaries to ourselves. And we then use various phenomena as evidence that boundaries exist. I am not talking about your body. The body is entirely conceptual. There are phenomena which in no way are evidence of a body. Yet we can interpret the phenomena to suggest a body. So actually, the body, as it were, is part of the conceptual boundaries of self that I am asking you to explore. Find out if there are any actual, findable boundaries of yourself in direct experience. By "yourself" what I mean is whatever it is that you know to be yourself - entirely non-conceptual. Yourself is what you absolutely cannot doubt. You can doubt the body, roles, thoughts, sensations, beliefs, and all else. But yourself is not something you can doubt. So see if yourself has boundaries.
I can’t find any boundaries but on the other hand I don’t feel boundaryless.
This has been a bit of a struggle tonight. I felt clearer yesterday and it feels like old habits are rearing up.
As always, thanks for your help.

Angela

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joeylott
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:37 am

Angela,

I am hearing a great deal of clarity. I am also hearing that you interpret feelings as evidence of the relative presence or absence of clarity. So that will be the primary focus of our investigation today. I'll address some of the other salient points of your response as well. However, for the most part your responses are very clear - regardless of what feelings are showing up. ;)

There are a few points in your response that we may want to come back to later, but I'm not going to address them right now so that we can focus on what seems to be the most important stuff right now.
I really don’t feel that way today. Lots of resistance to doing this- so I’m using it to see if I can find the one who is resisting. My partner asked me what I have been doing since Tuesday because I seem kind of weird. Something is doing something…
And what do you find when you investigate to see if you can find the one who is resisting? This is a very good exploration.
My evidence is it feels like my eyes are looking downward and inward. I see that that is however just another sensation. There is no boundary between me and a sensation. In fact when I was exploring a sensation the downward eye thing happened and I realized that’s just another sensation and then attention moved there and the movement of attention was just another sensation. When I explore like this and get close to the feeling that there is no “I” there is a definite response in the body – a sensation in the chest and then a very strong “I’ thought.
This is very clear seeing.

So this very strong "I" thought and the sensation in the chest - are they a problem? Do they obscure clarity? Do they interfere with you being and knowing yourself as you are?
Okay, looking again I see a thought and a sensation. They don’t even know each other so I can’t see how one could cause the other. It seems like there is some intermediary between the two. LOL.. how could a thought produce fear? It doesn’t DO anything. Its’ just there.

There is still the faint notion that it means something to me or could do something to me. The fear feels dense like its hiding something behind it.
This is very good. Now let's explore the few doubts that you expressed here.

You say that it seems that there is some intermediary between thought and sensation. Please look in direct experience and find the intermediary. Let me know what you find.

You say that there is a faint notion that the fear means something to you or could do something to you. Please find this faint notion in direct experience. Let me know what you find.
What would happen if you could not have any control ever under any circumstances?
I’m afraid I would go insane from anxiety.
Wonderful! Let's explore this.

Define the insanity that you are afraid might result from the anxiety.
What is the actual experience of anxiety in direct experience?
Is the anxiety yours?
Is the anxiety about you?
brewera wrote:Of course, an examination there is no proof that I am in control and of course I couldn’t possibly in control of everything.
I really hate this feeling though.
Are you the owner of the feeling? Are you the owner of the hate of the feeling?
It feels like I am and at the same time I can’t find the owner of the feeling.
So is the feeling that you are the owner of the feeling inherently meaningful?
Does the feeling that you are the owner prove that you are the owner?
Does the feeling that you are the owner belong to you?
Is the feeling that you are the owner about you?
Is the feeling about you?
I’m not sure about this one.
Feelings can seem to be about you. Explore in direct experience and see if there is any evidence that any feeling is actually about you.
Can you actually do anything about the feeling
?
I feel like I can.
Look in direct experience and see if you can find any evidence that you can do anything about a feeling. If you can, then tell me your evidence.
Is the feeling that you can do something about a feeling evidence?
Are you the owner of the feeling that you can do something about a feeling?
Is the feeling that you can do something about a feeling about you?
Is wanting yours?
Feels like it is. Like its inside of me. I know that its all sensation but that is how it feels
Is the feeling a problem? Does the feeling that wanting is yours actually prove the existence of anything separate? Can you find the wanter?
There is no one who can be distracted. Just things happening. I am not separate from the experience happening right now – until I think about it= then I feel separate- I don’t feel quite as clear about all of this right now. It’s all really fuzzy today.
This is very good. I am glad you mention what you do here. Let's explore.

If thinking apparently happens, does that in any way create separation? Are you separate from the thinking? Is thinking separate from something else that is happening simultaneous?
Does the feeling of separation create separation? Are you separate from the feeling of separation?
Are you separate from the feeling of "not quite as clear" or "fuzzy" in any way?

[quote="brewera]
Wow! I’m going to take some time with that one and come back to you on it.
[/quote]

Please do.
I can’t find any boundaries but on the other hand I don’t feel boundaryless.
Great! Is the feeling of "not boundaryless" evidence of boundaries? Are you separate from that feeling? Does the feeling of "not boundaryless" need to go away for the actuality of no boundaries to be real?
This has been a bit of a struggle tonight. I felt clearer yesterday and it feels like old habits are rearing up.
That is okay. This is a good opportunity to examine expectations. The subtle clinging to expectations about what needs to happen and what needs to change are actually the obstacles (seemingly) to clear seeing. So you may want to explore if the feeling of clarity or the feeling of the lack of clarity means anything about the actuality of clarity. Do habits or struggle actually have any inherent meaning? Are they actually about you? Are you the owner of the experience? Does anything need to change for the actuality of clarity to be here?

Sincerely,
Joey

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Angela12
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Angela12 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:37 pm

Thanks so much Joey:

brewera wrote:I really don’t feel that way today. Lots of resistance to doing this- so I’m using it to see if I can find the one who is resisting. My partner asked me what I have been doing since Tuesday because I seem kind of weird. Something is doing something…
And what do you find when you investigate to see if you can find the one who is resisting? This is a very good exploration.
When I explore to find the one who is resisting I find no one. Just resistance which is just a sensation. I’ve tried to explore what a sensation is without the label sensation but I don’t seem to get anywhere with that (can’t drop the label). I also noted in my explorations last night that with feelings like resistance, sadness, etc. I can quite easily see that there is no one who owns or experiences them. They are just there. But when I try the same thing with bodily sensations my clarity isn’t quite as good. They still feel like I own them or something.


I think I’m having some trouble because the sensation feels like its just arising and at the same time isn’t separate from me and so feels like me. Maybe you could show me where I’m going awry here.

So this very strong "I" thought and the sensation in the chest - are they a problem? Do they obscure clarity? Do they interfere with you being and knowing yourself as you are?
No they don’t and I realized as I read your question that the sensation in the chest and the I thought are just that- a sensation and a label. I kind of liken it to a conveyor belt- a sensation moves along, a thought is added to it (or vice versa) and then at the end of the line both are wrapped in a “me” coating.
brewera wrote:Okay, looking again I see a thought and a sensation. They don’t even know each other so I can’t see how one could cause the other. It seems like there is some intermediary between the two. LOL.. how could a thought produce fear? It doesn’t DO anything. Its’ just there.

There is still the faint notion that it means something to me or could do something to me. The fear feels dense like its hiding something behind it.


This is very good. Now let's explore the few doubts that you expressed here.

You say that it seems that there is some intermediary between thought and sensation. Please look in direct experience and find the intermediary. Let me know what you find.
I don’t think its anything in direct experience. I think I am trying to understand how it works logically. For example if I feel sad, that is just a sensation which is noticed by something, then a thought about it happened which is noticed by something. A though and a sensation can’t know each other so why does this thought pop up at all? Also, it seems that if I think a particular thought I can produce a bodily sensation. For example if I purposely invoke the thought “I have no control” then I can produce the contraction in my gut.
You say that there is a faint notion that the fear means something to you or could do something to you. Please find this faint notion in direct experience. Let me know what you find.

When I look at it in direct experience now I see that the fear is there and a sensation with a thought that compels me to action. But I realize that those too are just arising in me and don’t actually mean anything or compel any action.

What would happen if you could not have any control ever under any circumstances?

I’m afraid I would go insane from anxiety.
Wonderful! Let's explore this.

Define the insanity that you are afraid might result from the anxiety.
Interesting question. I’m a bit stumped on that one. It would be losing myself completely which ironically is exactly what I’m trying to do.
What is the actual experience of anxiety in direct experience?
I have explored this one a lot. It’s just a sensation arising.
Is the anxiety yours?
I’m running into the same seeming roadblock that I described above. The anxiety is just there but not separate from me and this “not separate from me” feels like I own it or something. Having said all that I see there is no one there to be anxious
Is the anxiety about you?
hmmm. This one was difficult. I can see that anxiety is a sensation. I can see it belongs to no one. I also see that any time I do an exploration I am assuming I am a body. It’s a bit of a reflexive thing I think. And I guess that that too is just a thought arising. But it feels real.

brewera wrote:Of course, an examination there is no proof that I am in control and of course I couldn’t possibly in control of everything.
I really hate this feeling though.
Are you the owner of the feeling? Are you the owner of the hate of the feeling?

It feels like I am and at the same time I can’t find the owner of the feeling.

So is the feeling that you are the owner of the feeling inherently meaningful?
No, no feelings are inherently meaningful once the label in removed from them
Does the feeling that you are the owner prove that you are the owner?
No, it just proves a sensation and a thought are arising and I’m not even sure it proves that. I tried removing the label “thought” and “sensation” but get a bit stuck there.
Does the feeling that you are the owner belong to you?
Because I am not separate from any of it there is an ownership things happening.
Is the feeling that you are the owner about you?
not really
Feelings can seem to be about you. Explore in direct experience and see if there is any evidence that any feeling is actually about you.
When I look directly I see that feelings are just sensations with no inherent meaning and cannot be about anything. I have been looking to attach meaning to everything. To attach a meaning of how it affects “me”. I can see that happening. I can see that the first assumption I make is that “I” exist even right after I see that I don’t

Look in direct experience and see if you can find any evidence that you can do anything about a feeling. If you can, then tell me your evidence.
I can’t find any evidence but my thoughts are saying something different. My mind likes to analyze things and I spend years analyzing my feelings so I’m guessing this is a habit. I see what’s happening but I don’t really have clarity or a felt sense that there is nothing I can do about a feeling.
Is the feeling that you can do something about a feeling evidence?
No, it’s just another feeling
Are you the owner of the feeling that you can do something about a feeling?
Again this is a bit blurry. I have always been an action-taker. If I want something I find a way to get it and if I don’t want something I find a way to get rid of it. I would like to just surrender because I realize at some level the futility of all that but I think I really believe that I can affect change.
Is the feeling that you can do something about a feeling about you?
Looks like a need more guidance here. This one feels really “sticky”

Is wanting yours?

Feels like it is. Like its inside of me. I know that its all sensation but that is how it feels

Is the feeling a problem? Does the feeling that wanting is yours actually prove the existence of anything separate? Can you find the wanter?
Here again I feel a strong “willfulness” sense coming up. There is no wanter.

If thinking apparently happens, does that in any way create separation? Are you separate from the thinking? Is thinking separate from something else that is happening simultaneous?
Thinking only appears to create separation. It can’t ACTUALLY CREATE ANYTHING!!!
Does the feeling of separation create separation? Are you separate from the feeling of separation?
No and no
Are you separate from the feeling of "not quite as clear" or "fuzzy" in any way?
No. when exploring this I notice that I waver between witnessing the sensation to see if its me and then seeing if its separate which is like being it. It’s a bit confusing.


Another way of putting this is: does the appearance have anything to do with you? Is the appearance of hands typing any more yours than the appearance of a banana? Is the sensation that you call touch of fingers on keyboard any more yours than the barking of a dog? Is the feeling that this must be yours actually your feeling? Are you the one taking receipt of the feelings, sensations, thoughts, and experiences? Is there any evidence that any of what is happening is yours?
Wow! I’m going to take some time with that one and come back to you on it.
Please do.[/quote]

Still stuck on this one.
Great! Is the feeling of "not boundaryless" evidence of boundaries? Are you separate from that feeling? Does the feeling of "not boundaryless" need to go away for the actuality of no boundaries to be real?
no and no
brewera wrote:This has been a bit of a struggle tonight. I felt clearer yesterday and it feels like old habits are rearing up.

That is okay. This is a good opportunity to examine expectations. The subtle clinging to expectations about what needs to happen and what needs to change are actually the obstacles (seemingly) to clear seeing. So you may want to explore if the feeling of clarity or the feeling of the lack of clarity means anything about the actuality of clarity. Do habits or struggle actually have any inherent meaning? Are they actually about you? Are you the owner of the experience? Does anything need to change for the actuality of clarity to be here?
I see that feelings of clarity or non-clarity are not obstacles and in fact meaningless. Nor do ideas of habit or struggle.
Are ideas of habit and struggle about me? That one is a bit fuzzier- still feels like it’s about me.
Am I the owner of the experience? Not so sure here. I think the theme of struggle is a bit blurry. I’ve definitely got some image of myself as one of those bop clowns- you know the kind you punch and they keep getting up. I feel like no matter what life throws at me I just keep getting up and taking action. I’m kind of surprised all this is coming up. Again, it’s quite a “sticky” feeling.

Angela

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joeylott
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Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:32 am

Re: Looking for a guide

Postby joeylott » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Angela,

I hear a lot of clarity. There are just a few sticking points.
I’ve tried to explore what a sensation is without the label sensation but I don’t seem to get anywhere with that (can’t drop the label).
Is the label a problem? Do you need to get rid of the label? What would be the advantage to no label?
I also noted in my explorations last night that with feelings like resistance, sadness, etc. I can quite easily see that there is no one who owns or experiences them. They are just there. But when I try the same thing with bodily sensations my clarity isn’t quite as good. They still feel like I own them or something.
Is the feeling that you own bodily sensations proof of anything? Is that feeling actually different from other feelings?
I think I’m having some trouble because the sensation feels like its just arising and at the same time isn’t separate from me and so feels like me. Maybe you could show me where I’m going awry here.
Are you separate from any feeling whether you label it as a bodily sensation or not?
Is the feeling that something feels like you any different from any other feeling? Is it proof of anything?
Do you need to get rid of the feeling that bodily sensations are you?
I don’t think its anything in direct experience. I think I am trying to understand how it works logically. For example if I feel sad, that is just a sensation which is noticed by something, then a thought about it happened which is noticed by something.
Explore this phenomenon in direct experience. Can you find something that notices a thought? Are you the noticer? Are you separate from a thought?
A though and a sensation can’t know each other so why does this thought pop up at all?
Does a thought ever reference something else? Can a thought know about anything else? Is a thought actually about anything? Are thoughts caused by something?
Also, it seems that if I think a particular thought I can produce a bodily sensation. For example if I purposely invoke the thought “I have no control” then I can produce the contraction in my gut.
What is your evidence that this is true? How do you know that you can purposely invoke a thought? Is there actually a boundary between the phenomenon that you call a thought and the phenomenon that you call a contraction?
It would be losing myself completely which ironically is exactly what I’m trying to do.
This reveals an expectation. Are you certain that you want to lose yourself? What would that mean? Is it possible that your conceptual goal is seemingly obscuring clear seeing of what is already happening?
I’m running into the same seeming roadblock that I described above. The anxiety is just there but not separate from me and this “not separate from me” feels like I own it or something. Having said all that I see there is no one there to be anxious
Is the feeling that you own the feeling of "not separate from me" proof of anything? Do you own that feeling? And are you separate from that feeling? Is there any need to get rid of that feeling? Or any feeling, for that matter?
hmmm. This one was difficult. I can see that anxiety is a sensation. I can see it belongs to no one. I also see that any time I do an exploration I am assuming I am a body. It’s a bit of a reflexive thing I think. And I guess that that too is just a thought arising. But it feels real.
Good. Is the feeling that a thought is real a problem? Is the feeling proof of anything? Can the feeling actually obscure anything?
No, it just proves a sensation and a thought are arising and I’m not even sure it proves that. I tried removing the label “thought” and “sensation” but get a bit stuck there.
As before, is the label problematic? Can you get rid of a label? What would be the possible value? Does a label actually obscure what is here?
When I look directly I see that feelings are just sensations with no inherent meaning and cannot be about anything. I have been looking to attach meaning to everything. To attach a meaning of how it affects “me”. I can see that happening. I can see that the first assumption I make is that “I” exist even right after I see that I don’t
Very good! So then does the assumption that I exist mean anything? Is it a problem? Are you doing the assumption? Do you need to get rid of the assumption?
I can’t find any evidence but my thoughts are saying something different. My mind likes to analyze things and I spend years analyzing my feelings so I’m guessing this is a habit. I see what’s happening but I don’t really have clarity or a felt sense that there is nothing I can do about a feeling.
Are thoughts proof of anything? Are feelings proof of anything? Do you need a particular thought or feeling to be present in order for clarity to be? Does clarity depend upon a particular feeling that you call a feeling of clarity? Can you do anything about the feeling or absence of a feeling of clarity?
Again this is a bit blurry. I have always been an action-taker. If I want something I find a way to get it and if I don’t want something I find a way to get rid of it. I would like to just surrender because I realize at some level the futility of all that but I think I really believe that I can affect change.
If you can do something, then why can't you surrender?
Is the feeling that you can do something about a feeling about you?

Looks like a need more guidance here. This one feels really “sticky”
Apart from the feeling itself, is there ever any evidence that a feeling is yours or about you or that it has anything to do with you? A feeling seemingly appears. Beyond that can you make any claims about a feeling such as ownership or meaning?
No. when exploring this I notice that I waver between witnessing the sensation to see if its me and then seeing if its separate which is like being it. It’s a bit confusing.
There are seemingly two categories of experiences happening: a witnessing experience and a being experience. Are you separate from either experience? Is there a boundary between you and the experiences? Do either of the experiences mean anything?
Are ideas of habit and struggle about me? That one is a bit fuzzier- still feels like it’s about me.
Is there actually someone separate to take receipt of these ideas? Can you find any separate self?
I’ve definitely got some image of myself as one of those bop clowns- you know the kind you punch and they keep getting up. I feel like no matter what life throws at me I just keep getting up and taking action. I’m kind of surprised all this is coming up. Again, it’s quite a “sticky” feeling.
Does the image of yourself actually define you? Is the image actually you? Is the image even actually about you?
Is the feeling proof of anything? Are you the owner of the feeling?

Sincerely,
Joey


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