Skeptical but Open

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fuzz1961
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Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:31 pm

I not sure where to begin...

Where I've come from - like a hole in me; can't do enough to fill the hole, good student, good employee, good athlete, homeowner, husband, father, etc. Seem to always feel like I need to get somewhere but never arrive. Looking for home. Never religious but tended toward spirit. Felt a draw to actively research spiritual stuff about 16 months ago.

Reviewed, researched, and/or experienced; Kundalini Yoga, Louise Hay, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr. Joe Dispenza, John Kabat-Zinn, Thich Naht Hahn, SR Goenka, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Alan Watts, Tolle, Adyashanti, Bob Fergeson, Art Ticknor, Richard Rose, Douglas Harding, The Headless Way, and LU. I have participated in a 3 day silent Vipassana based retreat and regularly attend a sangha that is focused on Mindfulness and the teachings of Thich Naht Hahn
I have been out of work since May 2013 and have had plenty of time to experiment with them all.

Where I'm at now - really frustrated and sometimes angry. From a scholarly/knowledge perspective the concepts I've learned are clear and logical. From the experiential perspective; I can generally keep thoughts and feelings from overwhelming me by remembering they are not me. I have also found moments of great peace with the understanding that Life Happens all on its own. It does not happen to me.

My frustration and anger...this is hard to pinpoint. I recently put together that not belonging to thoughts and feelings also applies to my personality(ies)/ego. That essentially what I have always referred to as me is nothing more than thoughts and feelings as well. As a side note, part of my journey stemmed from my dissatisfaction with who I was and how I behaved (my choices) in the first place. You'd think this revelation would be welcomed. Instead, I am stuck on the fact that essentially I'm nothing and I'm no closer to understanding the truth now than when I started. I am stymied.

What I want - I want to arrive home. I want to be comfortable in my own skin/to be authentic. I want to help others. I want to get to wherever it is I supposed to go. I want a teacher. I want to know.

Thanks for listening.

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:55 pm

Hello,

welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing your journey and your expectations.

There are a few rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least once a day.
2. In general, the guide will ask the question for you to respond to
3. Responses require 100% honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.

If you agree to the above I am ready to guide you.

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:44 pm

I gladly accept and agree to the requirements. I am grateful for your offer to assist.

Thanks,
Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:56 am

Hi Pete,

[quote="fuzz1961"]Where I've come from - like a hole in me; can't do enough to fill the hole[/quote]

There is nothing wrong with you. The `you` that you think you are, you are not. What you are is nameless. You could call it `life itself` or `existence` or `presence` or `awareness` or nothing. You are already free. It is only a matter of seeing through the thought-illusion that makes you think you are in bondage. The bondage is not real. It is just a story. And you are not a story.

I call this thought illusion the `I-virus`.

[quote="fuzz1961"] I want a teacher. [/quote]

I am not your teacher, but I can show you where to look.

What are your expectations for liberation? How will this feel? How will this change you?

Warmly,
Susan

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:16 am

Hi Pete,

I post this again, hoping to solve the technical difficulties (French keyboard prevented Quote function).

[quote="fuzz1961"]Where I've come from - like a hole in me; can't do enough to fill the hole[/quote]

There is nothing wrong with you. The `you` that you think you are, you are not. What you are is nameless. You could call it `life itself` or `existence` or `presence` or `awareness` or nothing. You are already free. It is only a matter of seeing through the thought-illusion that makes you think you are in bondage. The bondage is not real. It is just a story. And you are not a story.

I call this thought illusion the `I-virus`.

[quote="fuzz1961"] I want a teacher.[/quote]

I am not your teacher, but I can show you where to look.

What are your expectations for liberation? How will this feel? How will this change you?

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:38 am

Hi Susan -
I want a teacher.
I am not your teacher, but I can show you where to look.

What are your expectations for liberation? How will this feel? How will this change you?
My expectations - not sure, would like some clarity and peace....quiet. I also don't know how or if it will change me. Seeing is a word that pops into my head but I'm not sure what it truly means. I'm not looking to 'see' the future or anything like that. I think what I'm looking for is confirmation via experience to what I think I know from logic.
Where I've come from - like a hole in me; can't do enough to fill the hole
There is nothing wrong with you. The `you` that you think you are, you are not. What you are is nameless. You could call it `life itself` or `existence` or `presence` or `awareness` or nothing. You are already free. It is only a matter of seeing through the thought-illusion that makes you think you are in bondage. The bondage is not real. It is just a story. And you are not a story.

I call this thought illusion the `I-virus`.
I understand there is nothing wrong with 'me' as there is no true 'me' or '(s)self'. I have a ingrained set of experience patterns that often overwhelm my logical understandings that I believe are the source of my hole and my effort to find wholeness outside of my(S)elf.

Thanks so much for taking the time to help me along. I appreciate it.

Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:23 am

Hi Pete,
I think what I'm looking for is confirmation via experience to what I think I know from logic.
What do you know from logic? Are you the knower? Are you the thinker?
I have a ingrained set of experience patterns that often overwhelm my logical understandings that I believe are the source of my hole and my effort to find wholeness outside of my(S)elf.
In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences the hole? In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences experience?

Please respond when you had a good look.

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:14 am

What do you know from logic?
There is no self. There is a collection of memories. The term memories includes the associated feelings and judgements. Current experiences are compared with the collected memories and are judged/labeled then added to memory. This is what most see as self. Self is a subset of a larger perspective. Real is right in front, now, without the judgments or labels. Everything else is memory or projection of memory. Memory can can trigger reactions in the body that may reinforce thought/memory. This is what is logical to me.
Are you the knower?
I do not know who 'you' is. I do not know the 'knower'. I look there but it is dark and scary. It causes tightening in my chest and is uncomfortable. I sit with it and try and allow it to flow through me but am often bombarded with thoughts that distract me.
Are you the thinker?
The 'thinker' seems to change. Sometimes it is the part that evaluates and judges and sometimes it is not. Distinguishing the two has been difficult. Now that I've written that, I thought about what/who it is that is attempting to define the source. It seems like a circular argument.
In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences the hole?
No. It is a feeling in the center of my body. A general restlessness and sense that something is missing.
In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences experience?
No. It just 'is'.

In case it helps. These questions stirred up sensations in my body. I found myself thinking that I am not ready for this and should quit sometimes. I also sensed/felt anger, as if I was being challenged or backed into a corner. I have also experienced feelings that my answers would not be acceptable. As you mentioned prior, these seem to come from the 'I-virus'. The desire to keep pressing forward comes from somewhere in my body rather than mind.

Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:42 am

Hi Pete,

you are doing great. Just keep going. Life goes on after awakening.
In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences the hole?
No. It is a feeling in the center of my body. A general restlessness and sense that something is missing.
Can you own a hole? Notice the sensation without any label. Is the hole felt by anyone, is it happening to anyone?
I look there but it is dark and scary.
Do this: close your eyes and find the feeling that is always here - the being, amness, aliveness. Does it go away if there is no "I" label to it?
I thought about what/who it is that is attempting to define the source.
Are you the thinker of thoughts or is thinking happening? How do you produce a thought or where does it come from?


Also, for 10 minutes write down everything that happens here and now, using the usual form of language: e.g. I am sitting, I am typing, I am thinking ...
For another 10 minutes write down everything that happens here and now, dropping the "I" while describing: e.g. typing, looking, thinking ...
What are the differences you note?

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:10 am

Re: Skeptical but Open

This afternoon while sitting/meditating with today's questions I observed that I was observing my thoughts as if they were separate from me. Not really separate but similar to watching a movie. I knew the thoughts manifested within my mind but they seemed to be further away, as if a piece of something larger. Like my arm belonging to my body. Not me but instead a part of me. The longer I sat with this viewpoint the more it seemed to become. It also seemed to become silent. It wasn't silent as in absolutely no noise but my mind seemed much more quiet. I felt very relaxed and comfortable.
Earlier today I had another insight that resonated. It became clear that the similar to the idea that Life doesn't happen to me (it just happens), that thoughts and feelings don't happen to me (they just happen). Now to just incorporate these concepts organically!

besupax wrote:In direct experience can you find an "I" that experiences the hole?
No. It is a feeling in the center of my body. A general restlessness and sense that something is missing.

Can you own a hole? Notice the sensation without any label. Is the hole felt by anyone, is it happening to anyone?
LOL..No, I cannot own a hole. I cannot currently feel/locate the sensation. It is easy to see how a hole can exist within the memories/thoughts of the mind but if I continue to recognize that these memories/thoughts are not me then the hole cannot exist within me either. I am my experiences/sensations that are occurring right now. No more and no less. A feeling labeled is no longer an experience but instead a thought.

fuzz1961 wrote: I look there but it is dark and scary.
Do this: close your eyes and find the feeling that is always here - the being, amness, aliveness. Does it go away if there is no "I" label to it?
As I look inside things seem lighter and no longer scary. It does not feel as separate but instead a something that is not accustomed to being seen/observed. I hadn't realized before that it had felt separate but right now it feels like something that lives within me. It does not go away. It feels like an 'is'. I have no idea what that means but it is the only way I can currently describe it.

fuzz1961 wrote:I thought about what/who it is that is attempting to define the source.
Are you the thinker of thoughts or is thinking happening? How do you produce a thought or where does it come from?
Both. I do not know how to produce a thought. Thought just seems to blossom

Also, for 10 minutes write down everything that happens here and now, using the usual form of language: e.g. I am sitting, I am typing, I am thinking ...
For another 10 minutes write down everything that happens here and now, dropping the "I" while describing: e.g. typing, looking, thinking ...
What are the differences you note?
I'm making dinner, I'm hungry, I'm sitting, I'm standing, I'm eating, I'm thirsty, I'm listening, I'm answering, I'm watching TV, I'm thinking, I'm feeling, I'm happy, I'm bored, I'm sitting, I'm organizing, I'm typing, I'm observing, time is up.

typing, sitting, sitting, listening, observing, feeling, observing, sitting, drinking, sitting, observing, being, observing, sitting, being, being, being, observing, typing, feeling, labeling, observing, waiting, talking, listening, listening, sitting, observing, guiding, typing, feeling, observing, time.

It is much easier without the I. Seems more natural.

I look forward to your next directions!
Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:31 am

Hi Pete,
It became clear that the similar to the idea that Life doesn't happen to me (it just happens), that thoughts and feelings don't happen to me (they just happen).
Good! Life is living itself. When you stay with your immediate, direct experience, you perceive only sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations, thoughts and emotions. None of those experiences belongs to you. Look if that`s true.

Look at the mind as an automatic labeling machine, a narrator without an on-off switch. Notice how thoughts spring up and label objects, tell a story about things, how they got there without you having any control over them. Thoughts are just that - labels that point to things, senses or ideas.
I was observing my thoughts as if they were separate from me. Not really separate but similar to watching a movie.
Is it true? Are you the observer, are you the watcher? Or is observing/watching just happening?
Notice whether anything actually changes when thoughts arise or perception changes. Does reality change? Or is it just the way you view it that alters?

Please do this: have a look around the room and notice what is present. Wall, check! Floor, check! Furniture, check! Computer, check! Body, check! You ... where is you? At all?

Notice how the mind labels everything that it focuses on. But is the label the real thing? E.g. you can point to a table, but how about a university or Santa or you?
As I look inside things seem lighter and no longer scary. It does not feel as separate but instead a something that is not accustomed to being seen/observed. I hadn't realized before that it had felt separate but right now it feels like something that lives within me. It does not go away. It feels like an 'is'. I have no idea what that means but it is the only way I can currently describe it.
Amness/aliveness doesn't go away. It just is - without a you necessary. Check it!
I'm making dinner, I'm hungry, I'm sitting, I'm standing, I'm eating, I'm thirsty, I'm listening, I'm answering, I'm watching TV, I'm thinking, I'm feeling, I'm happy, I'm bored, I'm sitting, I'm organizing, I'm typing, I'm observing, time is up.

typing, sitting, sitting, listening, observing, feeling, observing, sitting, drinking, sitting, observing, being, observing, sitting, being, being, being, observing, typing, feeling, labeling, observing, waiting, talking, listening, listening, sitting, observing, guiding, typing, feeling, observing, time.

It is much easier without the I. Seems more natural.
When we acquire language, the mind learns to label actions: "I talk", "I breath", "I walk". Is there an actual "I" that does the actions? Check it. Is there an "I" that breathes? Is there an "I" that wakes up in the morning? Is there an "I' that walks? Is there an "I" in any doing?

Looking forward to your observations.

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:50 pm

Hi Susan

I'm currently at a gymnastics competition for one of my boys so I will not be able to fully respond tonight. That said I had an interesting thought I wanted to run past you; it dawned on me (seems funny to say "me") there can be NO thoughts that are me. The reason being is they only exist in my mind and once my body and mind cease to be then so will my thoughts. Whatever I am it is not my thoughts.

More tomorrow.

Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:15 am

Hi Pete,
there can be NO thoughts that are me
Thoughts layer concepts over the direct experiences. A thought (concept or label) is never the actual. Some thoughts point to the actual, and some point to other thoughts, but the content of every single thought is just a story.

Looking forward to your answers tomorrow.

Warmly,
Susan

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fuzz1961
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby fuzz1961 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:18 pm

Good Morning!
Is it true? Are you the observer, are you the watcher? Or is observing/watching just happening?
Notice whether anything actually changes when thoughts arise or perception changes. Does reality change? Or is it just the way you view it that alters?

Please do this: have a look around the room and notice what is present. Wall, check! Floor, check! Furniture, check! Computer, check! Body, check! You ... where is you? At all?

Notice how the mind labels everything that it focuses on. But is the label the real thing? E.g. you can point to a table, but how about a university or Santa or you?
I'm not sure if I understand the difference between observe and watch. I use the terms interchangeably. Most of the time it feels like thoughts watching thoughts. My experience the other day was different. As a note, the experience has not occurred again.
Changes - I am noticing more of a change in perception rather than a change in reality.
Where is you? I cannot find a you
Label - I have noticed the effects of labeling. When practiced as an exercise, there is much less 'stuff' associated when labels are eliminated. It's very similar to removing the 'I' in the 10 minute exercise.
When we acquire language, the mind learns to label actions: "I talk", "I breath", "I walk". Is there an actual "I" that does the actions? Check it. Is there an "I" that breathes? Is there an "I" that wakes up in the morning? Is there an "I' that walks? Is there an "I" in any doing?
While driving home from the meet last night I played with this exercise (a 4 hour drive in the middle of the night). Some of what came up:
- I/me refers to a body and its associated thoughts, feelings, etc
- 'I am (insert whatever you like here)' indicates ownership/possession
- The body, its physical attributes, thoughts, feelings, etc. are impermanent and therefore cannot be owned.
- Whatever 'I' am, it does not exist in thoughts. As you pointed out, thoughts may be pointers but are not the answer.
- If 'I' am truly more than just a body and 'I' was here before the body arrived and will continue once the body leaves, then, the concept of 'I' seems extremely inadequate, insufficient, and inaccurate.

I look forward to your insights.

Pete

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besupax
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Re: Skeptical but Open

Postby besupax » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:33 pm

Hi Pete,

Focus.

Do this: sit down, right here, right now. Don't pay attention to thoughts and emotions. Stick to your 5 senses. Write down what is happening for 5 minutes - using only your 5 senses.
Then see if you can find an "I" that is making it happen.

This might sound ridicoulus, but what we are focusing on here is closer than your next breath, therefore easily overlooked.

Warmly,
Susan


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