Request guiding

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Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:40 am

Hello,

I(!) seek a guide. Sitting on a porch now as a shadow flits across a tree as part of the play of life, there's a suspicion that there's little more to be seen. But then there's a doubt that this thought is just a crafty self-protection, to obviate the need to look. Then there's a thought that this is just a thought. So I don't know where I sit in this process -- but I guess my use of I right there is the answer. So I seek guidance.

I imagine irrevocably realizing that my self is at most a collection of habits and experiences from which thoughts and actions (partly) arise, and that thoughts and actions and everything else just happen without "my" control. I see this when I look -- it's sometimes clear in walking how stepping and turning and arm-swinging just happen, and in driving how turning the wheel just happens, and that then these are noticed -- and the pointers in the LU app and the Gateless Gatecrashers book now ring true for me (I'm grateful for those!). But I still largely think in terms of "I" (sometimes noticing it as hollow, sometimes not) and go into long cycles of consuming thought, more than I gather may be typical once the self is seen through, so I doubt that I see through it, at least fully.

I do this now because I glimpse that self isn't real in a controlling, independent sense (the LU pointer that if it were real it'd be like animistic spirits of trees etc (which I don't believe in) clicked -- life just happening in people as in other animals or plants without any special volition feels true, perhaps matching my empirical/scientific/non-mystical inclinations), and am hungry to follow this to its conclusion. After a sporadic 6-year path from "Power of Now" through Vipassana, Zen, Tibetan Buddhist, and non-dual explorations, I'm ready to stop seeking and see through self, which it seems should cut through control, fear, ownership, dissatisfaction/lack, judgement, low self-esteem, grasping, aversion, etc. Not that control is something I want to get rid of -- indeed I've long shied away from non-self pointers, perhaps because of implications of lack of control, responsibility, and self-determination; but it's clear that control doesn't exist. I don't know where I'm caught -- perhaps still resisting relinquishing imagined control. Any pointers would be welcomed.

Earnestly, and gladly,
Peter

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Xain
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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:49 pm

Hello Peter - Welcome to LU.
I may be willing to guide you.
But then there's a doubt that this thought is just a crafty self-protection, to obviate the need to look. Then there's a thought that this is just a thought. So I don't know where I sit in this process -- but I guess my use of I right there is the answer. So I seek guidance.
I smiled at your description. I know what you mean.
After a sporadic 6-year path from "Power of Now" . . .
I know it well. It was the book that 'kick started' my own path and realisation.
I must have read it at least seven times.

Thank you for your elaborate description of your path to 'here'.
It looks like you have done a lot of the work already.

What exactly is it that you seek within my guiding? What is it that is wanted?

If you gained what you wanted here, what would it mean? How do you expect life to be 'after'?
Do you have any expectations? Do you have any worries?

Best wishes to you
Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:45 am

Hello Xain

Thank you! The other day I thought of returning to "Power of Now" because I haven't read it for about 4 years and suspect parts of it would sink in further now. But I've seen it's encouraged to focus exclusively on a dialog here once it's begun (exclusively in terms of other "spiritual" sources), so I'd like to try that.
What exactly is it that you seek within my guiding? What is it that is wanted?
I seek clear knowing of what I am -- or rather, of what is, whatever that is. I seek a resolution of this flipping between perspectives, which arose (for example) between the 2 halves of the last sentence: between an in-control, moderately effective-feeling, but uneasy, doubting, seeking self; and simple, easy, authentic, stable awareness. I ask for questions that will prompt me towards a resolution.
If you gained what you wanted here, what would it mean? How do you expect life to be 'after'?
I imagine that I would spend more time aware (aware of thoughts etc but not consumed by them, with peripheral awareness of other things -- having things in perspective; keenly noticing all sorts of tiny details, seeing the world as it is, and labels as labels, rather than seeing just labels*), and that all-consuming thought, if it arises, will more quickly pass, especially as thought habits are eroded. This describes a quantitative shift in experience, from more of one thing to more of the other, which in some ways doesn't match with another idea I have of realizing that something about experience is qualitatively different than assumed -- a penny dropping, perhaps breaking through some barrier that I'm up against without knowing it -- so I'm open to being surprised. I imagine both happening if there's a qualitative, discrete realization/conviction -- that self isn't real, or some part of that -- but after knocking out this foundation it takes a while (and perhaps some work?) to filter through the inertia of habit.

(*Elaborating: I know names of many plant and bird species. When I see one I recognize, its name arises, as well whether it's surprising to see it in this habitat, this place, this season, etc; whereas when I see one I don't recognize, there is wonder, joy, noticing of fine details. Knowing labels can be useful but seeing them for what they are in parallel with the actual experience seems like it'd be a lot more fun than only knowing the label.)
Do you have any expectations?
I expect that, if you agree to guide me, you will ask me questions and I will reflect on them and respond.
I expect some small "aha" moments of realizing something, and that after a while there will be a stable knowing "so that's how it is. life continues"
I expect that there will still be the usual difficulties, but some that are entirely based in self (e.g. insecurity) will seem flimsy and brief and others such as suffering of others will still be weighty but will be in a more constructive, less stressed, "this is how it is, now this action happens in response" context.
Do you have any worries?
I worry about losing control. I'm writing a dissertation, am behind schedule, and have a deadline for it in a couple of months. I don't want to lose motivation to continue -- I and others are heavily invested in it. Right now these worries are seen through, at least in some sense: it's clear that the progress made so far has been through thoughts and actions (research, reading, writing) just happening -- since "deciding" to study what I'm studying it's all just happened (and the deciding just happened too), and there's no reason to believe that "really" seeing that a controlling self already more-or-less known to be illusory will change this path of thoughts & actions that's headed towards completing the dissertation (or not, I suppose) driven by all that's gone before. But I guess this answer, though couched in some apparent "seeing-through", just confirms that I'm worried about losing control. I'm off into a circle of thought and will stop.

I feel like I'm giving mixed signals about where I am, bouncing between intellectualizing and feeling some insight. But I'm sincere (sincerely bouncing around) and I would appreciate any further advice. I tend to be long-winded; if editing for shortness would help, please let me know.

Warmly
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:15 pm

Hi Peter

Good to hear from you again.

I think Tolle's 'The Power of Now' is an excellent 'gentle' introduction to this area of study.
I seek clear knowing of what I am -- or rather, of what is, whatever that is.
I had a similar desire when I originally came here.

My guidance will only be directed at one thing.
Currently the belief is that 'you' live as a separate person, a self, a body/mind organism, human being etc
It will be realised that this is just purely an idea - A thought.
As such, it will be realised that right now there is no separate 'I', nor has there ever been, or will there ever be.
The realisation is that all this has been generated purely from 'thoughts' - 'Thoughts' that are automatically believed in and never questioned.
Does this sound like something you would like to realise?
I seek a resolution of this flipping between perspectives
I understand.
I will ask you to put aside all perspectives of being 'awareness' or anything you may have learnt from non-duality books and teachers, and simply concentrate on what you believe is true from the simplest perspective possible.
This is not to feed you new ideas and beliefs. Not at all, but it is necessary in order to directly examine the beliefs you currently hold as being 'true', and not ideas you think MIGHT be true because you have read them in a non-duality book.

Expectations:
. . . seeing the world as it is, and labels as labels, rather than seeing just labels*), and that all-consuming thought, if it arises, will more quickly pass, especially as thought habits are eroded.
I would ask you put aside all expectations of what will happen 'after' if possible - It cannot be estimated.
'BIG' expectations of bliss or seeing the world in a new way 'as it really is' or whatever are not what we seek here. Such expectations can generate feelings of disappointment if they are not realised.
I would ask you to simply focus on 'I', what you currently believe you are - In order to realise that the beliefs you hold about yourself are not actually 'true'.
I expect that, if you agree to guide me, you will ask me questions and I will reflect on them and respond.
Yes, that is essentially 'it'. I see it as simply an extension of your own self-inquiry, but 'guided' to look into specific important areas. I may also make suggestions along the way of different ways of approaching things.
I worry about losing control. I'm writing a dissertation, am behind schedule, and have a deadline for it in a couple of months. I don't want to lose motivation to continue
Well, I would put it like this . . .
Although it is not believed at the moment, the approach here is that there has never been an 'I', a separate self.
It is all just a play of thoughts. As such, there is no 'I', no 'separate self' that could lose control. This will be realised.

If you have any particular stresses or worries along the way, please mention them so we can look at them together.
Ultimately though, I take this whole 'guiding' process as simply a chat between two friends. :-)
I feel like I'm giving mixed signals about where I am, bouncing between intellectualizing and feeling some insight. But I'm sincere (sincerely bouncing around) and I would appreciate any further advice. I tend to be long-winded; if editing for shortness would help, please let me know.
That is fine - And thank you for showing honesty and openness here - It is appreciated.

This process can be seen as a direct examination between 'intellectual' and 'experiential' and comparing the two.
It is important for you to grasp what answer you are getting from thought and the mind, and what you are gaining from direct experience. We can cover this further as we go.

Long-winded is fine, providing it is kept directly on target of the subject we are speaking about or the area we are looking into - Try not to veer off into thoughts and ideas too much if possible.

What do you think so far?

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:03 am

Hello Xain

Thank you for this further interaction and wisdom.

Yes, I would like to realise that there is not, has not been, and will not be a separate "I". I am eager to explore this directly and pointedly, dropping pre-conceptions (to the extent that they're recognized) and expectations; writing what I hold true, simply, sounds refreshing. Thanks for these guidelines.
there is no 'I', no 'separate self' that could lose control.
Thanks. It was when I glimpsed this (that fear of losing self is unfounded if self doesn't exist) that I sought this guiding.
I would ask you to simply focus on 'I', what you currently believe you are - In order to realise that the beliefs you hold about yourself are not actually 'true'.
I will look at thoughts and direct experiences about "I". First impression: experience of in, out (breathing), hearing humming, seeing and feeling fingers tapping keys, chest rising, drooping eyes. These are direct(ish) experiences (though labeled -- but that's a pre-conceived distinction). "I" isn't in this list -- no experience of "I".
Drooping eyes were followed by a thought "explain that I worked 14.5 hours today, as I do every Wednesday, and it's late, but other days I'll have more time in the evening for this" -- i.e., believing that I'm a hard worker (and that this is impressive, though that raises a chuckle). More thoughts, dropped.
Back to experience: stomach rising, falling, etc -- no "I" is sensed. More thoughts arise about "I" but seem frivolous and fleeting, already past, compared with direct experience (feeling a pulse in my leg, etc) in which "I" doesn't arise and seems uncalled for (unneeded). This thoughts vs experiences contrast seems fruitful; I will pick this up again tomorrow.

Thank you for your generosity!
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:38 am

Hi Peter

Hold your horses, cowboy!
We haven't started yet. :-)

First, please have a look at these guidelines which will assist us both.

1. Please post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer from direct personal experience only (we can go into this in more depth later if needed).
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main site -> http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

I see you know how to use the 'Quote' function - Good - It makes things easier to follow.

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:33 pm

Hello Xain
I *would* ask you to simply focus on 'I'
(my bold)
OK, I jumped the gun. One step at a time from now on.
1. Please post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer from direct personal experience only (we can go into this in more depth later if needed).
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main site -> http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/
I acknowledge the disclaimer, and will follow these guidelines.

Thanks!
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Thu Jul 10, 2014 1:50 pm

Sorry - yes.
During my guiding simply focus on 'I'.

In fact, this is where we shall start.

Now my question for you at this point is this - What is 'I'? What does the word 'I' point to?
The words 'you', 'I', 'me' are interchangeable depending on what is written, but essentially they point to what you believe you are. What is that?
Also, what do 'you' do? What are you responsible for?
Keep this as simple as possible.

Let's look at a few things you've already said:
Sitting on a porch now as a shadow flits across a tree as part of the play of life . . .
Are you 'a person' that is right now sat down, seeing a screen and reading words off it?
No deep thinking required. Utterly simple. Do you believe this is true?
I expect that, if you agree to guide me, you will ask me questions and I will reflect on them and respond.
Right now, are you considering what I have written - Perhaps examining your beliefs in order to answer the questions?

In a few moments, will 'you' be writing a reply? Choosing what words to write?
I worry about losing control. I'm writing a dissertation, am behind schedule, and have a deadline for it in a couple of months. I don't want to lose motivation to continue.
So there is a 'you' that has levels of motivation. 'You' worry. 'You' have control in life and worry about losing this control.

Feel free to elaborate if you want to, but please focus specifically on what you truly believe yourself to be, and not what you may have read in a book about non-duality, or someone may have said.

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:36 am

Hi Xain

Thanks for this beginning!
What is 'I'? What does the word 'I' point to?
The words 'you', 'I', 'me' are interchangeable depending on what is written, but essentially they point to what you believe you are. What is that?
"I" am my experience now. I'm the thoughts, the sounds, the touch feelings, the breathing. I'm the complicating thoughts like "or does 'what do I *believe* I am' mean I should look at what I believe when I'm lost in thought and I *do* see a self? -- In that case, I believe I am a person trying to figure out an honest answer"
Also, what do 'you' do? What are you responsible for?
I am here.
Right now I am not responsible for anything. (My first answer was that I am responsible for doing my job, keeping myself healthy, etc, but that didn't feel right; those are things that will happen later -- now I am just here.)
Are you 'a person' that is right now sat down, seeing a screen and reading words off it?
No deep thinking required. Utterly simple. Do you believe this is true?
No. My body is sat down but I am not exactly my body. I am the seeing and the reading -- that's what feels true, without thinking about it. (In that vein, movement in my body feels like me, even though my body per se as a lump of matter doesn't. Twisting my toe is me, but my toe is not me.)
Right now, are you considering what I have written - Perhaps examining your beliefs in order to answer the questions?
My beliefs are not obvious. They arise as potential answers to questions, like the answer above that I'm responsible for my job. I'm just "feeling" if they feel right.
In a few moments, will 'you' be writing a reply? Choosing what words to write?
Yes, I'm writing. I'm writing some thought but not others. The choosing doesn't feel deliberate though -- I'm writing what feels right, but something just feels right or doesn't, and I don't choose that. Actually, "feeling right" is a layer that I can't pin down. It's not the simplest truth. I'm just writing, deleting a piece, writing, moving on.
So there is a 'you' that has levels of motivation. 'You' worry. 'You' have control in life and worry about losing this control.
Yes, that sounds familiar, but it's not robust. Right now I just am, sitting, typing, hearing birds. There is no level of motivation. Straightening my leg, hearing birds, and typing this happen without my control. I watch my fingers, knowing what word they are typing but not which word is coming next. Or at least not controlling which word is coming next, even when I sense what it will be. Control in a larger sense -- of what I work on tomorrow, of which continent I'll live on next year, etc -- seems no different: it occurs to me that I will work on a piece of writing tomorrow, and I expect I will, but there's no sense that I am deciding to work on that piece tomorrow. It just occurs to me. Right now I do not feel I have control to lose.

Tying this back to what I believe myself to be: I am what I am doing and experiencing, and that is just proceeding one thing after the next without my control. This is how it feels now.

If you respond again, I will be grateful again!
Best wishes
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:24 am

"I" am my experience now . . .
You said 'My experience' - What is having this experience?
If you say 'I am having it' then what exactly is the 'I' that is having it?
Don't think or analyse - Go to the experience of this moment.
Does it appear like 'the body' is having the experience?
The Body 'sees', 'hears', 'feels' etc?
My body is sat down
Right now I just am, sitting, typing, hearing birds.
The body is in the sitting position. Therefore, your current belief is that the body is 'you'.
Is this fair to say?

You said also say 'My body'.
So you believe the body is owned.
Is this fair to say?
In a few moments, will 'you' be writing a reply? Choosing what words to write?
Yes, I'm writing.
Ok, good. This is the simple level I was referring to.
Let's look at this deeper.

Do 'you' control the body when writing?
Do 'you' choose what words to write?

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:17 am

Thanks, Xain.
You said 'My experience' - What is having this experience?
If you say 'I am having it' then what exactly is the 'I' that is having it?
Don't think or analyse - Go to the experience of this moment.
Does it appear like 'the body' is having the experience?
The Body 'sees', 'hears', 'feels' etc?
No, the body is not having the experience. Experience just happens. No-one is having it. Experience is not me, it's just experience.

(I could try to explain what I was thinking before or why I've changed my mind, but that seems like just getting into complicating thoughts, so I'm just writing what seems true now, even if it's different than what I wrote before. That sentence uses I freely according to "my" usual writing habit, but the "I" feels hollow, i.e. not like a useful or needed part of the sentence -- the sentence is just a thought about checking that this is a suitable approach. Actually, more than that, the sentence doesn't make sense because there's no experienced connection between the writing that happened yesterday and the writing that's happening now -- they're separate events and it doesn't feel like a single continuous "I" wrote them which is what that sentence implies. This writing is real; yesterday's is just thoughts. But this is getting off topic.)
You said also say 'My body'.
So you believe the body is owned.
Is this fair to say?
No, that's a figure of speech. The body just does what it does, not controlled by an owner.
The body is in the sitting position. Therefore, your current belief is that the body is 'you'.
Is this fair to say?
No, the body is not me. The body is in a sitting position, and awareness of sitting happens.
Do 'you' control the body when writing?
Do 'you' choose what words to write?
No, "my" (these) hands just write. They write whatever they write. There is no choosing.

Bottom line: experience is not me, the body is not me, and experience and the body are not controlled by a me. So there's nothing to suggest that a me exists.

Warmly
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:10 am

So there's nothing to suggest that a me exists.
Excellent!
Do you have any further questions?

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Sat Jul 12, 2014 5:45 pm

Xain,
Do you have any further questions?
No, not right now.
Xain wrote:
You said also say 'My body'.
So you believe the body is owned.
Is this fair to say?

No, that's a figure of speech. The body just does what it does, not controlled by an owner.
Equating lack of control with lack of ownership was intellectual rather than felt. The lack of control of body and experience are clearer, thanks! But there was still a sense of this being "my" body, i.e. of somehow owning it even though it's not controlled and the owner is not found, which was ignored. But it now feels like "these fingers" rather than "my fingers", i.e. no ownership.

Related to this, the boundary between "my" body and the rest of the world seems less discrete, more like a continuum: experience of this body is through seeing it, but the rest of the world is also seen; through hearing it, but the rest of the world is also heard; ditto for touch, smell, taste -- there's a closer sensing of this body than of others but not discretely so. Similarly there's a closer awareness of thoughts from this mind but thoughts from other minds are also experienced through communication. This body has a discrete edge (skin) but that doesn't seem important.

So, not a question, but thanks for the chance to write this out. May I let you know how it's going in a day or two?
Thanks!
Peter

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Re: Request guiding

Postby Xain » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:13 pm

But it now feels like "these fingers" rather than "my fingers", i.e. no ownership.
Simple exercise.
Look at the fingers right now.
Now look at the 'thing' that owns the fingers.
What was found?
Similarly there's a closer awareness of thoughts from this mind but thoughts from other minds are also experienced through communication.
How do you know?
And 'others' to what? What is the 'you' that there are 'others' to?
Do 'you' communicate with 'others'?

Xain ♥

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Re: Request guiding

Postby inquiring_now » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:34 pm

Xain,

Thanks for pointing out confusion!
Look at the fingers right now.
Now look at the 'thing' that owns the fingers.
What was found?
Nothing is found. The fingers are not owned. They just exist, flexing, straightening, typing.
"Similarly there's a closer awareness of thoughts from this mind but thoughts from other minds are also experienced through communication.

How do you know?
I see no reason to believe that. Some examples I tried don't work, and it's needlessly complex. Thoughts just happen (are experienced). Mind may exist as habits that contribute to the thoughts experienced, but it's not experienced as real -- only thoughts are experienced.
And 'others' to what? What is the 'you' that there are 'others' to?
Do 'you' communicate with 'others'?
I am not experiences, not body, not mind, nor controlling or watching any of those -- and I don't see others with anything that's not these. So there are not "I"s to communicate, in the sense of disconnected entities.
(This body has skin around it, separating it from other bodies and things. The brain in this body has habits that contribute to the actions & thoughts arising. Other bodies have other habits, contributing to what they speak. There is hearing of another body speaking, which is experience of sound. But that hearing only contributes to thought (along with habits of perception), it isn't thought -- separate entities communicating thoughts doesn't hold up. There's just life -- and non-living aspects of the world -- happening (bodies doing things, experiencing, a thunderstorm right now, all part of the same unfolding [rather than interacting, which implies separate pieces]).

With thanks,
Peter


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