Looking for a guide

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Jello
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Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:53 am

Hi, I'm looking for an experienced guide, who is more of a quick fire guide than a long post guide, if that makes any sense.

Thank you :)

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:39 am

Hi there and welcome,

My name's Pete.

There are a few things that we need to go over so that I know the best way for us to continue.

Please tell me your story in some detail, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for.

Also, what time zone are you're in? I'm in Somerset in the UK.

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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:49 am

Hi Pete, I'm Jon

My story? I guess I always knew myself to be that knowing awareness underneath it all, but I mistook myself to be finite for a long time. The rest is just a story of slowly waking up. The momentum of this finite self continues strongly.

I came to LU to clear up any mis-perceptions about my true nature.

I live in the UK too so that is excellent, if you are willing to guide?

Best

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:34 am

Hi Jon,

Thanks for all of that. I'd be very happy to guide you through so that you can clearly see for yourself that there is no separate self entity/no self.

There are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

There are a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

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

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

And don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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

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Jello
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:14 pm

Hi Pete,

That all makes perfect sense. So looking at what is, with awareness, rather than following up how thoughts interpret 'what is'. I can post everyday no problem. I certainly have the desire, and willingness to look without self deception.
What are your expectations for this process?


To know my true nature, if I don't already. A loosening of the collar perhaps, letting go of self stories, seeing clearly that that is not who I am

What is it that you are searching for?


Happiness, love and freedom, like everyone else ;)

How will you know that you found it?


Good question, because it has to be lasting right? I'm sure once it has been fully seen that this self I think I am is not actually who I am, I will know, because I'll no longer rely on that story for my identity,

How will this feel?


Liberating. Opening of the nervous system, the heart, that kind of thing. This is what I expect anyway, but I'm open.

How will this change you?
Change me or the self I think I am? I imagine I will worry less, fear less, live from a purer place. I don't know though, maybe I'll go mad.

Thank you for your willingness to guide. I'll do my best to be totally honest/

Jon

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:46 am

Hi Jon,

Thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc.
So looking at what is, with awareness, rather than following up how thoughts interpret 'what is'. I can post everyday no problem. I certainly have the desire, and willingness to look without self deception.
Yes, it's simply a matter of seeing whatever arises in 'your' direct experience, and seeing whether a separate self entity can be found anywhere there. Thoughts arising
What are your expectations for this process?
To know my true nature, if I don't already. A loosening of the collar perhaps, letting go of self stories, seeing clearly that that is not who I am
Thanks also for sharing your expectations above, and the rest, and your understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a 'you', a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

So, excellent, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.

Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Fri Apr 25, 2014 10:01 am

Sorry Jon, I pressed submit a tad too early - third sentence should have read:

Thoughts arising are part of direct experience, but the contents, consisting of concepts, are not direct experience, not the truth, not reliable. One moment they may say one thing, the next the opposite, or something else again..

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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:05 pm

Hi Pete, that makes sense, thank you. I like the santa analogy.
Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


Thoughts arising are part of direct experience, but the contents, consisting of concepts, are not direct experience, not the truth, not reliable. One moment they may say one thing, the next the opposite, or something else again..
Yes this all makes sense. Thoughts arise now, they can only arise now. The content of thoughts, the shape and detail of thought contains an image that maybe recognized as a memory, or understood as a projection into an imagined future. So looking with direct experience is just being 'here now'. Watching thoughts arise, rather than identifying with the content of thought, i.e without getting lost in trains of thought.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?]

The knowing of experience, awareness. Although I have a conception of this knowing awareness being trapped in a body, or at least caught up in a story of a body.

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
I would like to say, tensions in the body, which seems to lead to stories in the mind, past or future thoughts. I would say the self is made up of these things, tensions and stories. These tensions and stories are known as they arise, something must know them. So if there is a story of self, even though it is a story, it is stilll known to be arising right? That is my perception of the self. Where it resides can't be named at all. It is not within the body, although it may appear as existing behind the eyes, I'm a little lost at this point. .

Jon

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:45 pm

Hi Jon,
Yes this all makes sense. Thoughts arise now, they can only arise now. The content of thoughts, the shape and detail of thought contains an image that maybe recognized as a memory, or understood as a projection into an imagined future. So looking with direct experience is just being 'here now'. Watching thoughts arise, rather than identifying with the content of thought, i.e without getting lost in trains of thought.
Absolutely spot on.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?]
The knowing of experience, awareness. Although I have a conception of this knowing awareness being trapped in a body, or at least caught up in a story of a body.
Ok, it would be useful just to clarify what you're saying here. As I'm sure you've realised, the question's intention is simply to establish how you conceive of your separate self, your 'I/me', to be.

Are you saying that you conceive this separate self entity to be the knowing of experience, awareness? Is this evident to you in direct experience, or is it that 'your conception of a self arises in awareness/knowing?

Again, have you any direct experience of this knowing awareness being trapped or caught up as a story within your body?


There's no problem, I'm impressed with what you've said so far, I'm mainly concerned at this early stage to make sure we're both using terms like 'direct experience', 'awareness' and 'separate self' in the same way.
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
I would like to say, tensions in the body, which seems to lead to stories in the mind, past or future thoughts. I would say the self is made up of these things, tensions and stories. These tensions and stories are known as they arise, something must know them. So if there is a story of self, even though it is a story, it is stilll known to be arising right? That is my perception of the self. Where it resides can't be named at all. It is not within the body, although it may appear as existing behind the eyes, I'm a little lost at this point. .
Good observations; we'll explore these tensions and stories as we move on.

Can you see any entity behind your eyes in direct experience? If there is such an entity there, or elsewhere? If so, how do 'you' know it's there? If there's an awareness of this entity, isn't it therefore merely another object appearing within this awareness?

So anyway, as you'll have seen, those initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience which is where I will be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post.

As I've just said, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

I like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within that each and every area within experience where a self might be found. So, we will be getting round to looking at everything you've mentioned soon, fear not.

Let's start investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:33 pm

Are you saying that you conceive this separate self entity to be the knowing of experience, awareness? Is this evident to you in direct experience, or is it that 'your conception of a self arises in awareness/knowing?

Again, have you any direct experience of this knowing awareness being trapped or caught up as a story within your body?
Hmm. I conceive the self to be the knowing of experience. The separate self on the other hand, arises within the content of thoughts as this body etc. The separate self is the story. It does appear that the knowing of experience gets lost in thoughts. Identifying with thoughts, is getting lost in them.

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
That's really strange. 'It' can't be found, but there is a lot of shifting illusions. It's like a strange state of consciousness is occuring, in which all sorts of imagined images and perceptions arise really quickly

Can you see any entity behind your eyes in direct experience? If there is such an entity there, or elsewhere? If so, how do 'you' know it's there? If there's an awareness of this entity, isn't it therefore merely another object appearing within this awareness?
Well an entity can't be found. The strange thing is, it is perceived that all that is seen, is in front of 'me', or in front of awareness. Perceptions of that which is seen, to be only 180 degrees out of a possible 360 degrees.
So anyway, as you'll have seen, those initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience which is where I will be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content.
Makes sense.
To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post.
Yes that seems to cover all within experience. Light and colour, sound, sweetness of taste and smell etc. Thoughts seem to hold many different forms. Not sure exactly what is going on there, but they certainly happen.
As I've just said, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.
So thoughts themselves, do happen? They certainly seem to happen. But what we're saying here is that the image they create, that same image we get lost in, so to speak, has no validity whatsoever? It holds no meaning? Why would it happen?

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?


Well I know the tree is seen. there is colour differences in what is seen. Nothing even saying that it is a tree I guess. There is just seeing, but again thoughts scatter all around casting perceptions, self, tree, and what that means.

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
[/quote]

The skin of the eyes. Haha, no not really. I don't know, there aren't any boundaries. But again, with music for example, it is heard, along with lots of thoughts and perceptions dancing all around the experience.

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
Very strange, there is just experience, and combination of experience. Smelling for example is not just the perceived smell, but also the sound of the air passing the nostils, and the sensations in the diaghpram, and even the subtle change in taste, and the thoughts about there being a self that is smelling the flower etc.

Wow I reached the bottom :D

Thanks Pete.
J

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:38 pm

Hi Jon,
Hmm. I conceive the self to be the knowing of experience. The separate self on the other hand, arises within the content of thoughts as this body etc. The separate self is the story. It does appear that the knowing of experience gets lost in thoughts. Identifying with thoughts, is getting lost in them.
Ok, I get that now. Staying just with the aspect of whether there is a separate self to be found, you can see that it's just a story (albeit a very convincing and absorbing one). I like your phrase Identifying with thoughts, is getting lost in them.
That's really strange. 'It' can't be found, but there is a lot of shifting illusions. It's like a strange state of consciousness is occuring, in which all sorts of imagined images and perceptions arise really quickly
Yeah, happens all the time doesn't it. Knowing this really helps.
Well an entity can't be found. The strange thing is, it is perceived that all that is seen, is in front of 'me', or in front of awareness. Perceptions of that which is seen, to be only 180 degrees out of a possible 360 degrees.
Can you find any 180 degrees, or 360 degrees, in direct experience, or are they just concepts?
So thoughts themselves, do happen? They certainly seem to happen. But what we're saying here is that the image they create, that same image we get lost in, so to speak, has no validity whatsoever? It holds no meaning? Why would it happen?
Yes, thoughts are happening all the time, but what they 'say' is conceptual. This can sometimes be very useful for planning, analysis etc., but at best the content is really just a kind of shadow of direct experience. Ideas, beliefs, opinions, judgements, self-justification, guilt-thoughts, more thoughts about thoughts, are what give rise to this chronic sense of self. Not useful and the cause of suffering, worry etc.
Well I know the tree is seen. there is colour differences in what is seen. Nothing even saying that it is a tree I guess. There is just seeing, but again thoughts scatter all around casting perceptions, self, tree, and what that means.
So, in direct experience, before thought introduces names and concepts, there's just seeing.

Can you find any seer, or separate object, or even separate colour(s), when looking at a tree, orange or whatever, or is there really just experience, just seeing?
I don't know, there aren't any boundaries. But again, with music for example, it is heard, along with lots of thoughts and perceptions dancing all around the experience.
Excellent, you could find no boundaries either, no separation between seer, seeing and that which is seen. Essentially, nothing to distinguish 'inside' from 'outside'. Thoughts just seem to be present most of the time; only problematic if we believe what they say and habitually prefer their messages to direct experience.
Very strange, there is just experience, and combination of experience. Smelling for example is not just the perceived smell, but also the sound of the air passing the nostils, and the sensations in the diaghpram, and even the subtle change in taste, and the thoughts about there being a self that is smelling the flower etc.
Again, good observation. It shows me that you have really got the hang of direct experience, rather than merely intellectually understanding it.

You mention the thoughts about there being a self that is smelling the flower etc. which is spot on, and also leads us nicely to looking at thoughts and thinking.

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?


It's still early days, but I reckon this is going well, and you're doing well. How is it for you Jon? Are you enjoying this process of looking so far?

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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:32 pm

Hi Pete thanks for your reply. Will have to reply tomorrow now unfortunately, had a long day. . . . I am definitely enjoying the process of looking! Very revealing!!

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:18 pm

Hi Jon,

No problem - thanks for letting me know.

I'm glad you're enjoying this.

Look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.

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

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Jello » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:50 am

Ok, I get that now. Staying just with the aspect of whether there is a separate self to be found, you can see that it's just a story (albeit a very convincing and absorbing one). I like your phrase Identifying with thoughts, is getting lost in them.
Yes exactly! Very absorbing indeed . . .
Can you find any 180 degrees, or 360 degrees, in direct experience, or are they just concepts?
Well they are just concepts. It's an odd phenomena though. It's like things can't be seen without an understanding of it only being 180 degrees seen. I realize this is only a perception mind you.
Yes, thoughts are happening all the time, but what they 'say' is conceptual. This can sometimes be very useful for planning, analysis etc., but at best the content is really just a kind of shadow of direct experience. Ideas, beliefs, opinions, judgements, self-justification, guilt-thoughts, more thoughts about thoughts, are what give rise to this chronic sense of self. Not useful and the cause of suffering, worry etc.
Yes that makes sense. Direct experience reveals naked experience, and things are quite different when looked into than previously thought.The content of thought is what seems to cause all the discomfort and confusion.
So, in direct experience, before thought introduces names and concepts, there's just seeing.
Yes, a thought would say there is seer and seen. Before that, just colour and light appearing.

Can you find any seer, or separate object, or even separate colour(s), when looking at a tree, orange or whatever, or is there really just experience, just seeing?

Hmm, well at first I would have said there is definitely different colours, how else would the seeing take place? Looking into it, colours are more felt, than they are seen.
I don't know, there aren't any boundaries. But again, with music for example, it is heard, along with lots of thoughts and perceptions dancing all around the experience.
Excellent, you could find no boundaries either, no separation between seer, seeing and that which is seen. Essentially, nothing to distinguish 'inside' from 'outside'. Thoughts just seem to be present most of the time; only problematic if we believe what they say and habitually prefer their messages to direct experience
Very good, so we get into a habit of preferring what direct experience has to say, and take that as how things are, rather than believing what thought says?

Where do thoughts come from?
They don't come from anywhere. They just happen. They are all part of experience that is happening, I have no idea where any of it comes from.
Are you in control of them?
No
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Haha well at first I was going to say yes, but then I realized that that is another thought that is controlling the other thought. The first thought happens as it will.
Can you stop it in the middle?
It stops when it is seen. that's the only way I can answer that one.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
haha no not at all. Very random.
Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
Very good question. Because the table thought is the I thought. That's strange, it's like every thought is a self thought in some respect. Every thought reaffirms the self as the centre of all experience.
Can a thought think?[/b]
No, it just creates an image or appearance.
It's still early days, but I reckon this is going well, and you're doing well. How is it for you Jon? Are you enjoying this process of looking so far?
Very much so. Thank you for your guidance Pete, this is exciting stuff.

Jon.

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:39 pm

Hi Jon,
Well they are just concepts. It's an odd phenomena though. It's like things can't be seen without an understanding of it only being 180 degrees seen. I realize this is only a perception mind you.
I agree that, prior to the veil of thoughts and concepts, there aren't any separate 'things' to be seen, just this, here, now.

Is there any self, any you, to be found in this sensing, prior to concepts?
Direct experience reveals naked experience, and things are quite different when looked into than previously thought.The content of thought is what seems to cause all the discomfort and confusion.
Correct. You got it. And naked experience is direct experience.
Hmm, well at first I would have said there is definitely different colours, how else would the seeing take place? Looking into it, colours are more felt, than they are seen.
Yes, there are what we call colours, and the shapes that are formed between different colours.

But, in direct experience, can you even experience (a) colour as in any way separate from seeing?
Very good, so we get into a habit of preferring what direct experience has to say, and take that as how things are, rather than believing what thought says?
Yes, it's always good to notice when we're lost in thought stories, and to 'come back' to direct experience whenever we remember to do that. It needn't be a wilful, effortful thing, just relaxed and natural whenever you become aware that you seem to be not aware of what's going on in the present. A good habit to form.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Haha well at first I was going to say yes, but then I realized that that is another thought that is controlling the other thought. The first thought happens as it will.
I'm pleased you noticed that!
Can you stop it in the middle?
It stops when it is seen. that's the only way I can answer that one.
That's my experience too. But, as with the previous point, the thought (if one arises) that says look at the immediately previous thought, itself just arises unbidden and so you don't know it's coming anyway, as you've seen.
Very good question. Because the table thought is the I thought. That's strange, it's like every thought is a self thought in some respect. Every thought reaffirms the self as the centre of all experience.
You're absolutely on the right lines here, but can you say a bit more about what you're saying in these statements and how they relate to your direct experience.

I've asked a few follow-up questions for clarification but I can already see that you haven't been able to find any self-entity in thoughts and thinking. So let's move on to looking for any self in actions: doing and controlling:

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.

Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?

Look to see whether, when 'you' do these things there is sometimes a thought, just after that says, 'I did that.'

Are all actions automatic?


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


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