Looking for a guide

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Larren
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Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:51 am

Hello,

A story: My name is Larren and I've been seeking truth for years. Christian Mysticism, Buddhism (Theravada, Madhyamaka, Chan), Western occult practice, Advaita, the writings of Alan Watts, etc., etc. I've seen that thought comes from nowhere, is uncontrollable, and cannot be stopped. I've had experiences where there was only experience (sensations, thoughts, feelings) and no experiencer. But somehow, "I" haven't "got it". Or rather, "it" doesn't stay around. Particularly when something that I dislike is happening. Like pain.

A friend of mine introduced me to this site and I would be grateful to be able to finish/begin this. I'm excited for our dialogue.

Thank you.

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:47 pm

Hi Larren

I love Alan Watts - He has some great things to say.
But somehow, "I" haven't "got it". Or rather, "it" doesn't stay around.
What is it that you wish to get?
When you get it, what would happen? What would it mean to you?

What is it that you seek in a conversation on here with a guide?

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:53 pm

Hi Xain,

Nice to meet you.
What is it that you wish to get?
I want to stop identifying with thoughts and feelings.
When you get it, what would happen? What would it mean to you?
This would show that there is no owner or controller. I could enjoy the ride.
What is it that you seek in a conversation on here with a guide?
I would like my last few doubts to be demolished. Doubts are just thoughts, but the content is very hard to ignore.

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:44 pm

Hi Larren

It is important to establish what is possible with my guiding here, and what to expect.
This is why I ask these questions.
What is it that you wish to get?

I want to stop identifying with thoughts and feelings.
Well, identifying with thoughts may still happen after any realisation.
However, it will be realised that the thoughts have no 'reality'. That the 'I' in the thoughts is just a thought - Nothing more than that - Not a separate 'thing', an existing real self or 'person' that it is currently believed to be.
When you get it, what would happen? What would it mean to you?

This would show that there is no owner or controller. I could enjoy the ride.
A realisation that there is no owner or controller is possible. It will be realised that there has NEVER been a owner or controller - Just the thought of one.
At the same time, it will be realised that there is no-one 'enjoying the ride' although I fully understand what you mean by that phrase. That life has always been unfolding without any control or possibility of it being different.
I would like my last few doubts to be demolished. Doubts are just thoughts, but the content is very hard to ignore.
I agree.
I see you have made some head-way on 'thought' - That it is uncontrollable etc
What other realisations (if any) have you already made?

Other than the things you mentioned about 'thoughts' do you have any other expectations?
Or perhaps no strong expectations?
Many people have ideas of bliss, perfection, peace etc

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:20 pm

Xain,

This is already helpful, thank you.

I don't have strong expectations here. I know that it is very subtle and simple. No magic powers or visions are desired. Just truth. Whatever that may be.
What other realisations (if any) have you already made?
All that I experience is a thought, feeling or sensation of some kind. Always changing, in constant flux. When I look right at it, it's simple. But the desire to act on those sensations is as uncontrollable as the sensations themselves. For instance, I feel my hand burning, I act on it by pulling away from the source of heat. Similarly, I feel like a self, I act on it by defending an image. I know that an image is just an amalgamation of thoughts, ideals and pictures, but EVERYTHING is a combination of other elements. So then why is one real and the other not?

Too much thinking maybe? :)

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:10 pm

I don't have strong expectations here. I know that it is very subtle and simple. No magic powers or visions are desired. Just truth. Whatever that may be.
Good.
The goal in my guiding is one thing only - For you to realise that 'I', this separate self that you take yourself to be is just a thought - An idea. That is all it has ever been . . . all it will ever be.

For my guiding, I also ask you to put away (for the moment) any ideas that you may have from other teachers, religions and other spiritual study areas and approach this very simply, basically, and honestly.
I will not be feeding you any new ideas and concepts - Merely examining the ones that you currently have.

From our brief chat so far, you seem to be 'primed' for this sort of investigation - This is an excellent basis to start with, and I can see that you have already done some of the type of investigation we do here.

Before continuing (and addressing your other points), please read through the following advice which will help 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/

If you type a particularly long message, make a copy of it before clicking 'send' as the page can sometimes time-out.

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:25 pm

Agreed. All ideas from the past are put away. I'll answer from my direct experience only, with honesty, at least once a day. And I have read and agree to the terms of the disclaimer.

Thank you for helping!

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:39 pm

Ok, Lareen

First of all in it's most simplest sense, what do you currently believe yourself to be? What are 'you'?
The standard view is that 'I' refers to a person. An existing 'thing' - A body with a mind.
The body is 'me'. The thoughts are 'mine'.
The body is controlled by 'me' and choices can be made by 'me'.
This 'thing' that is me is here right now.

What is your own view? Write what comes up.

Again in it's most simplest form, do you believe that 'you' are sitting down right now, seeing the screen and reading the writing on it?
For instance, I feel my hand burning, I act on it by pulling away from the source of heat.
An interesting phrase.
From this, I notice you said 'my hand', so the belief that 'you' are the body seems fair to say.
There also appears to be choice to pull away from the source of heat . . . or to perhaps endure it and the pain.
So therefore, there is the belief that 'you' choose things.
Similarly, I feel like a self, I act on it by defending an image.
This also appears to be similar to what I suggested above. A 'self' being a body and a mind.
'Image' is a rather more tricky one. How do you suggest that the 'image' ties in with 'I'?

Feel free to accept or reject anything here - They are just some ideas and pointers.
What does the word 'I' or 'me' point to?

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:44 pm

what do you currently believe yourself to be? What are 'you'?
When I really ask myself “What am I?” every answer that comes up is weak and illogical. I can’t be my body because it just happens of itself. A bee flew by my hand as I was walking and contemplating this and my hand jerked away with no thought or choice to do so. So I’m not controlling this body.

Thoughts constantly fill awareness with babbling that I’d certainly rather not hear. Things like explaining events to myself that I already know about or ethical commands like, “Don’t throw that on the ground, put it in the trash.” So I’m not controlling this mind.

The closest I can come to answering the question “What am I?” is that there seems to be a “center” around which body and mind is flowing. A location where I am that no other body/mind exists. No one else can feel these bodily sensations or hear these thoughts, they only swirl around this awareness. But awareness requires something to be aware of, so that would mean I wouldn’t exist in deep sleep, and then I would come back into existence when dreaming or waking.

No answer makes sense. I don’t know what I am.
do you believe that 'you' are sitting down right now, seeing the screen and reading the writing on it?
If I only write my direct experience: I can feel pressure on my legs from the chair, pressure and smoothness from the keyboard, see brightness and designs on a screen, taste carrot, hear sound of teeth crunching carrot. The words being typed are coming out of absolute nothingness. The mind pauses and looks for ways to say what it wants to say. A phrase will appear and a good feeling happens in the chest because it’s the phrase the brain was looking for. I did not seem to choose any of it. In fact, I didn’t even choose the order I would notice all these sensations.

There is a very subtle feedback loop that I noticed. It’s hard to explain. There is awareness of a sensation, and then awareness of that awareness. But it happens so fast I can barely see it. Maybe this is what I perceive as the "center" I was talking about.
How do you suggest that the 'image' ties in with 'I'?
What I meant by image is everything about a person: body, mind, sensations, desires, fears, memories, preferences. I’ve heard the university metaphor, how there’s really no university, just buildings, books, students, professors, etc. And you could say the same about everything in existence. Trees are just seeds, leaves, twigs, branches, trunk, roots, etc. And I know that that's the point. Intellectually. But knowing that doesn’t seem to change anything.

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:58 pm

At this stage these questions are very simple.
There is a temptation to make this more analytical than it actually is. Try to avoid this.
So I’m not controlling this body.
Is this actually true? Or just an idea that you have?
Is it 100% clear that you are not in control of the fingers when typing?
If you drive a car or ride a bicycle, it is clear that 'you' aren't doing that?
What do you REALLY believe?
No one else can feel these bodily sensations or hear these thoughts, they only swirl around this awareness.
So the bodily sensations and thoughts report to 'you' - Yes?

You say 'no-one else' which suggests that there is 'you' and there are 'others'.
How are you making the distinction?
Are you 'this body' and the others are 'other bodies'?
If I only write my direct experience . . .
So there is a 'you' that is currently experiencing. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling etc
Is it 'the body' that is doing this?
A phrase will appear and a good feeling happens in the chest because it’s the phrase the brain was looking for.
So it is a brain, or 'the' brain that does the choosing - Yes?
Is the brain 'you'?

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:31 pm

Is this actually true? Or just an idea that you have?
Is it 100% clear that you are not in control of the fingers when typing?
If you drive a car or ride a bicycle, it is clear that 'you' aren't doing that?
What do you REALLY believe?
It is 100% clear that I do not control the body. I notice it while driving, doing laundry, washing dishes, everything. I can watch this body do all kinds of things without "me" deciding to do it or controlling it.

So the bodily sensations and thoughts report to 'you' - Yes?

You say 'no-one else' which suggests that there is 'you' and there are 'others'.
How are you making the distinction?
Are you 'this body' and the others are 'other bodies'?
There is a feeling of being "in" this body. I can only feel what happens to "this" body. I don't feel that I am this body though. It really does seem like "I" is riding around.
So there is a 'you' that is currently experiencing. Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling etc
Is it 'the body' that is doing this?
There is awareness of seeing, hearing, touching. Not the body doing it. There is awareness OF a body.
Is the brain 'you'?
No. There is awareness OF the brain's activity. But strangely, the awareness always comes after the thoughts. As if I get completely fused with every thought that comes up, and then afterwards comes a thought that separates "me" from those thoughts.

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:02 pm

It is 100% clear that I do not control the body. I notice it while driving, doing laundry, washing dishes, everything. I can watch this body do all kinds of things without "me" deciding to do it or controlling it.
Ok, good.
Perhaps if I could suggest something . . .
Notice that if you were to examine your experience here and now, and try to locate a controlling 'me' of any kind, one could not be found.
We have to go to thoughts in order to find any sort of controller. The thought says 'I control the body'. It suggests that there is a 'thing' that controls the body, and calls it 'I'. But this 'I' cannot be found in experience. Notice that the 'I' only ever exists in thoughts. Does that make sense?
There is a feeling of being "in" this body. I can only feel what happens to "this" body. I don't feel that I am this body though. It really does seem like "I" is riding around.
Ok, let's look further at this.
What exactly do you mean being 'in' this body?
Does it appear as the senses are being projected out from the body? Or that the body is sensing the outside world?
You have to be a little careful about saying 'in the body' and this would suggest that you are some-how aware of the inside of the body, and have identified something inside it.
There is awareness OF a body.
Interesting.
Could you explain a little more about this conclusion?
Maybe give an example of how this is known.

Remember, we are trying to locate 'I', a separate self that exists in some form.
Is there an 'I' that is aware of a body? What exactly is 'aware of a body'?
No. There is awareness OF the brain's activity.
Are you sure about this?
Consider it.
If you are sure, could you give me an example?
But strangely, the awareness always comes after the thoughts. As if I get completely fused with every thought that comes up, and then afterwards comes a thought that separates "me" from those thoughts.
Can you explain a little more about what you mean here, please?
Perhaps notice also that 'thoughts' are just another phenomena appearing in awareness.

Xain ♥

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Thu Jul 31, 2014 9:20 pm

Ok whoa. Ha! I just saw that what I'm calling "awareness" is only another thought. Like an echo that plays back experience and says, "You were aware of that just now." So when I said there is awareness OF the body and OF the brain, there wasn't. There is experience, and THEN a thought of awareness.

The only reason I thought that experience is centered "in" the body is because of that sneaky little afterthought. If there is no thinking about experience, there is no "center" of experience. But it's so subtle!

So then "I" really is just a thought. It's hilarious because it happens all the time. As if there were some obsessive fear that "I" would be forgotten about.

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Larren
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Larren » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:54 pm

Thank you Xain. I finally see what "I" really is. I kept examining that "awareness" thought and it was like the last stronghold of "I" crumbled. It was because you asked,
Are you sure about this?
Consider it.
If you are sure, could you give me an example?
Everything just fell apart that the thoughts were holding together. I had been identifying myself with thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts my entire life. There never was a controller. Only a thought that rationalized events and said "I did that". No owner, just a thought: "mine". No separate awareness, just experience happening.

Until now, I had only conceptually understood no-self. But they are truly empty words until it is seen clearly. Looking back, all of those words make more sense. Even many koans are completely obvious now. But really, nothing has changed. Thoughts still come, identification happens, feelings occur. The only difference is a feeling of ease, like a weight has been lifted. Thoughts aren't taken so seriously now, they're more like suggestions.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. You have a great way of instilling small doubts that trigger insights. I am very grateful.

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Xain
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Xain » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:23 pm

Ok whoa. Ha! I just saw that what I'm calling "awareness" is only another thought.
Yes. The mind goes on a search for what 'I' am. It wants a 'thing' to know itself by - A name - A label.
Then it is seen that anything the mind can come up with is ONLY a thought, and not what you actually are.
If there is no thinking about experience, there is no "center" of experience. But it's so subtle!
Yes. There is just 'experience' - No centre.
Even saying 'there is just experience' is also a thought appearing.
I had been identifying myself with thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts my entire life.
Sure. That is essentially 'it'.
Although I fully understand what you mean, perhaps I could probe a little further . . .
Is there a 'you' that has 'a life'?
But they are truly empty words until it is seen clearly.
Yes. It's just 'yeah, of course, that's how it is now and how it's always been . . . just a thought!'
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. You have a great way of instilling small doubts that trigger insights. I am very grateful.
You are very welcome.

If you are certain that you have 'seen through the illusion', there are a further six questions to ask which is standard practice if you wish to join the community. This may further 'solidify' the realisation for you.
Or you can leave it here should you wish.

Xain ♥


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