Caitlin looking for Smudge

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Caitlin
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Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:01 pm

Caitlin looking for Smudge to guide me

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smudge
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:48 pm

Hi Caitlin,

Before we begin, a few formalities for us to contract:
can we both agree to post at least once a day, unless we let each other know otherwise.
I will ask you questions and you will respond with upmost honesty. 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.
Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
Lastly, Please learn to use the quote function; instructions are located in the link below this line: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660”

Then, write me any reasons you are motivated to do this enquiry and also any expectations you have about what seeing through the illusion of self fully will be like, or if you have seen what it is like,

Lets go!!! :-)

Warmest wishes
Smudge x
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:49 pm

Hi,

Thank you.

Yes to the formalities. I have a daily meditation practice, and Just Sitting feels Ok alongside this?

My expectations are 'communication' , ' understanding', I hope to be received. I guess there's something about 'validation' in there too.

I have had what I think maybe glimpses of not self through my life. I remember painting and feeling 'flow', a sense of connectedness in the moment that did not differentiate between me, my arm, the landscape, and experience of painting and paintbrush, and the moment; when my children were born I had a very strong sense that they were not mine in terms of belonging, but mine to nurture; when I work at times I feel a channel opens up between me and my client and all around us solid objects lose their solidity and their edges and become one interconnected matter.

What brought me to contact you now is something that happened in meditation while I was on retreat.
I was sitting in meditation and noticed a white light, beginning as a dot and expanding to encompass 'me', this is very familiar to me in meditation and I just watch and notice. This time my sense of me as embodied consciousness followed the light which got narrower and brighter until I/ the light, spilled out as if from the end of a narrow pipe into an abyss or deep ravine. I noticed feeling a moment of deep panic, at the same time thinking I will fall, I am falling, I can't fly, then noticing I was falling slowly and gently and then suddenly believing I could do this. At this point 'I' broke apart (like an explosion inside a feather cushion) and became and was part of (I don't have words for this bit) or just 'was' in many many hundreds of thousands of feathery seed pods catching the light as they drifted in the breeze down to the surface of the water below.
Then it/ I was over.
I thought nothing much more of it. It just seemed a very natural, ordinary thing to happen at the time but nothing and everything has been the same since!
The present moment seems fuller (actually time has less meaning), there is a feeling of fullness, connectedness. Awareness is bigger and more sensitive, awareness of my toes being toes for example even when I'm doing something else - words not working here either! Awareness of heartbeat, breathing, blood flowing, grass growing, where there was less before. Noticing no ill will towards my father in law for example who has been staying with us! where there would have been ill will before; but not just this, no ill will because no buttons to press in me, because no me to have buttons... Just eveness, him doing what he does, saying what he says, just noticing the patterns.
Feelings are stronger, fuller, shorter.
I have been telling myself I should go for a walk each day for months now, and not doing it - now no telling, just desire to walk, and walking.
No craving for the foods I craved, just pleasure in them, and when enough is enough that's OK too.

At first language seemed inadequate, I didn't want to say 'I' at all. But I now see this is useful - I see 'self' as a label, like my name, a shorthand referring to the embodied me with its unique characteristics, eye and hair colour height and build, my train of thoughts bubbling under, my feelings arising, my actions happening. But all this, this me, is a process, a becoming, a collection of processes, nothing permanent or enduring.

In the last couple of weeks I have been noticing and noting down - on my walk seeing my hand as though for the first time, intrigued by it, caring for it but not identifying with it; feeling fully absorbed in the moment (worrying that I will not be able to plan ahead as I used to - I identified with planning ahead); judgements I would have made arise as thoughts that feel empty, like husks; noticing that when I see people are smoking i feel pain in my lungs; crying suddenly and freely at the news of D day commemorations on the radio; feeling great pleasure in watering the plants in the garden; noticing dogs on leads and seeing them differently, that it feels odd to see them on leads! An odd collection of noticings!

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:10 pm

Beautiful and moving to read. Let dive into this
Then it/ I was over.
What in Direct experience (DE) is this 'I' that was over? Please describe fully what is found?

To ensure we are talking the same language, when I say DE I mean actually DE and this short exercise is good at being clear between the difference between DE and thoughts about it so please actually do it. Let me know hat happens and THEN answer the above question from that place:

Take a sultana (or small piece of food) and look at it, now close your eyes and think about it, how 'did' it look? what do you 'think' it will taste like? How do you feel about the prospect of eating it or even about doing this exercise? Now put it in your mouth and directly experience it. Whats that like? What is the difference between thinking about, feeling and actually experiencing from this exercise?

Looking forward to hearing back,
Smudge
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:01 am

Ok, looking at a sultana. Closing my eyes.
It looked the same size as the end of my finger, it looked yellow, shiny, wrinkled and pitted. I think it will have a sweet taste and have a chewy texture and that it will be familiar to me. I have no particular feeling I can identify about eating it. I feel interested in this exercise, and curious.

I am putting it in my mouth. It is not how I expected it to be. It feels cool, rough and dry. I am surprised that there is no sweetness at all until I bite into it. It is sweeter than I expected. Then I am chewing it and noticing that there is a point now where I can't tell what is its taste and what is me tasting.

Answering your question now - the 'I' that is over seems like an idea, or a label, a belief about an I, a constructed idea that I believed and that others believed and encouraged me to believe, that I has some sort of enduring unchanging essence and was somehow 'in charge'. I do not experience an 'I' now that I am looking, I experience looking for I. It's funny to be looking for something that isn't there! When I am asking 'what is the I that is over?' there is no answer, just a memory or feeling of what I felt in that meditation as being a part of everything of everything being expressed in me.

Thank you for helping me with this,

X

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:56 pm

It's funny to be looking for something that isn't there!
Nice! Yes its odd isn't it..what is looking in DE, is there a looker separate from anything else??
what is the I that is over?' there is no answer, just a memory or feeling
Thats it! NOW that main character 'Caitlin' is just a thought in a rather interesting story isn't it.

So when you read that there is no you, there never has been and there never will be, nothing in there in control, as in ZERO...what comes up?

x
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:56 pm

When I read that there is no me, no one in control, my first response is a sickening clenching feeling in my stomach, a desire to cling, to grasp for a certainty that I know at the same time isn't there - this is the same feeling of panic I felt as 'I' realised I was falling in meditation from the end of the pipe into the deep ravine and the river far below, I knew 'I' would die, and I kind of struggled wildly in mid air to grasp something to hold on to, but then just as suddenly I knew I believed/trusted/sraddha (don't know how to explain this) deeply knew this was true that this was possible even for 'me', which is the point at which 'I' blew apart, dissolved (a kind of redistribution of my sense of consciousness, or a new recognition that this is how consciousness just is, has been, and will always be- don't know if that makes sense!)

Feeling in control has been so important to my safety over the years. My 'I'-ness feels hard won after a lot of years of commitment to re-making myself, first as a survival strategy within the family, then as a seeker. I feel gratitude to this I-ness in a way for allowing me to have reached this point, and some grieving for it now. I felt this grief as I wrote that sentence and now I am laughing!!! This just doesn't sound true anymore, it is such an old story. And gratitude can remain. No I to be grateful, just feelings of gratitude. The clenching in my stomach is passing.

X

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:01 pm

I meant to answer your question about 'what is looking? Is there a looker separate from anything else?
When I ask this I see a picture of a little girl searching, she is like Alice in Wonderland, part of a party game where everyone thinks there is something to be found but nothing has been hidden in the first place! It's kind of comical, but the character of Alice is Ok, the joke is not on her in a mean way because she knows it's all a game,

X

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:04 pm

the character of Alice is Ok, the joke is not on her in a mean way because she knows it's all a game,
Sure is! Again...Nice story, emotionally loaded!
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:08 pm

So stay with what you are already doing, which is turning towards to clenching, fear, grief with a lot of kindness and then peak behind, describe best you can in DE whats there? Im going out now so take time to keep the looking deep.

Loving this communication x
My 'I'-ness feels hard won
An emotionally loaded story eh!
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:53 pm

I have been looking and then trying to write something, say something, anything, about 'looking behind', and in direct experience I realise I have nothing to say, there is nothing here. All the things I have written down and deleted in the last couple of hours or so are not true, they were just attempts to create a new story about an old story, or out of an old story. Physical clenching, fear and grief, were there in direct experience and have passed and are now empty. I am saying empty but I could equally say full and it would express the same.

I am left feeling curious about the 'emotional loading'. It was weighty, almost tangible - like a heroic attempt to be a thing in its own right maybe! Maybe this was what felt like I-ness.

I am wondering, in wonder, my habit is anxiety, but that's not my experience now, my habit is to look to the future, to plan, now what? But my experience is just this moment.

I am very grateful for your time and care,

X

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:11 pm

You are so very welcome.
So lets stay with feelings and fullness. I'm hearing clearly what isn't there..a self!. Lets look at the vast display that is there, and lets start with feelings. Keep checking in DE what's going on when feelings happen and describe what IS there.


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"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Caitlin
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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:05 pm

Ok, feelings in direct experience...
I don't want to order or structure this much, I'm feeling limited by the words, so if you can bear with a stream of consciousness, at least to start with.
There are different sorts, responsive feelings are clearer, arise to fullness and dissolve again, this is fast sometimes, and an equally clear, full feeling of another tone can rise up like a wave soon after and break, feelings like this are more intense, they are fully authentic, visceral and felt throughout the body, they are strong and bright. Then there are existing feelings that I notice have a different quality about them, they seem richer and deeper, feelings like the love I have for my children now have added joy, feelings like the pleasure I experience in looking after my allotment patch have greater detail, more noticing, mindfulness. With feelings that are more like vedana, a kind of underlying feeling-tone, there is more of a sense of presence, of awareness of feeling, more evenness, more resilience somehow.
Irritation, frustration or anger can be seen clearly as dependent upon the conditions on which they arise too, there is a gap in which this can be seen as being so, so that habitual action does not necessarily happen based on these feelings. These feelings seem shorter lived and no longer always lead to secondary,what I think of as racket feelings, based on familiarity, expectations, self narrative and conditioning.
The same hooks can hook a feeling response as before, but there is no-one to react personally to this. I mentioned my father-in-law in an earlier post. Our self-constructs could not have been more different and I experienced 'him' as an attack on 'me'. (I'm sure he regarded me the same way). Now I see patterns, him doing and saying what he does and says, me hearing, seeing, feeling, thinking, but there is no feeling of being rejected in 'me', more a kind of curiosity about what is taking place, about the changing patterns and interaction. On the page this looks cold, but it doesn't feel like that, it is not a detachment from feeling but an absence of attachment reaction.

So what is there in direct experience of feelings is expansive and spacious, resourceful and resilient, ever changing , ever full and also ever empty.
You mentioned 'kindness' is one of your earlier posts, kindness towards my fear and my grief at the loss of I-ness. I cannot find this, and I cannot find compassion in the way it is described in many many texts, to show compassion would somehow be to experience others as separate, I think it's the word I'm stuck on not what it means to express. When seeing that all life is living, that energy flows, then compassion is what is. (Need different words or a good night's sleep before I come back to this bit.)

I'll stop here.

Lots of gratitude x

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Jun 23, 2014 10:29 pm

Beautiful. So a dance of feelings, thoughts, volitions, form..,say more about 'stream of consciousness' in DE.
....and sleep well. X


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"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Caitlin looking for Smudge

Postby Caitlin » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:34 am

Stream of consciousness means to me reporting or communicating feelings and thoughts and sensations as they arise and doing so in direct experience. My habit has been to structure and edit, impose a narrative and to attempt to distil something, so stream of consciousness frees this. Also I see that stream of consciousness reporting in itself is an exercise in seeing how thoughts arise, label and appear to own experience.

So right now a plane is flying overhead, the window is open and the sound comes through with the breeze, which feels cool on my face, bird song, now quiet, my daughter humming, muesli in my stomach, my daughter coming into the room, narrating her journey to the sink to wash her hands, tap running, water flowing, dog scratching, an itch to scratch on my arm, thoughts about when I noticed the itch and how I was unaware of the scratch until it began, my fingers feel stiff this morning, noticing noticing, thoughts about thoughts, my daughter putting on her school jumper, she's talking, wondering is it possible to hear her fully and write this at the same time, noticing I cannot fully hear her, so stopping to hear her, it's time to take her to school, my daughter has told me I haven't packed her pe kit, so much for mindfulness! :)


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