Looking for a guide

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TheGardener
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Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:25 am

I have been directed here by a friend and am interested in finding a guide. I have not had much in the way of teachers or spiritual practices other than the practice of questioning my thoughts using the work of Byron Katie. I was first introduced to the work and questioning my thoughts about 8 years ago and find that I resonate with the process. I like sitting and questioning even the most basic principles of my existence and identities. I am curious where this process will lead and looking forward to it. Thank You.

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:16 am

Hi Gardener,

Have you questioned the existence of a "self", an "I", a "me"?

What, in your experience, do these labels point to?

Love,
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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TheGardener
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:34 pm

Hi Nona,

Thank you for your response. I have questioned the existence of a “self”, an “I” and a “me” and what I have found is that everything about these three concepts is a projection of my mind. The only evidence I can find of I, me, self is in a thought or group of thoughts. When I close my eyes and sit with this I see images in my head, all pointing back to thoughts of a past or an imagined future that is again a collection of thoughts. Even as I sit looking at my hands typing this, telling myself I am here, these are my hands, I can see them, etc - all thoughts. It feels like a limitation to be identified in this way, as a separate individual.

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:20 am

Dear Gardener,
everything about these three concepts is a projection of my mind. The only evidence I can find of I, me, self is in a thought or group of thoughts.
Good! You have done your Work!
Language reinforces the idea of a separate entity "self, I, me", but you have not found such a thing in Reality. Is it possible, then — or even probable — that these labels do not point to an entity in Reality but only to other, self-referential, thoughts? Would Life be any different if these labels only refer to thoughts rather than to an entity which chooses, controls, decides, and acts?

If there is no entity which chooses, controls, decides, and acts — no do-er — how do events occur? What, if anything, "runs" things? In Reality?

love,
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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TheGardener
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:08 pm

Hi Nona,
Is it possible, then — or even probable — that these labels do not point to an entity in Reality but only to other, self-referential, thoughts?
My experience is that the labels point to self-referential thoughts that consist of one of two things: "I /me/self" or "you/not me (it)” and that is the separation I experience, I become something and everything else becomes something other than me, this sets the stage for experiences like agreement/disagreement, survival, happiness/suffering, mine/yours, etc. Beyond that there are other labels (good/bad, pretty/ugly, etc) that get attached to me / you (it) and the world is created from there.
If there is no entity which chooses, controls, decides, and acts — no do-er — how do events occur? What, if anything, "runs" things? In Reality?
I’ve sat with the concept that I am the do-er and found it to be lacking hard evidence. It seems more true that something happens and I tell myself I did it (and attach more labels to the event). I can find a lot of events that happen that I didn’t "do" at all, that I never had a thought about - they just happened without any input or planning.

What, if anything, “runs” things? I believe what runs things is a greater intelligence, and yet that is still a concept, a thought. When I sit with that I start to question that I exist at all. What makes things in nature work so perfectly, so harmoniously without intervention? “I” am part of nature. A dormant seed needs only water and sunlight to sprout, there is a knowing that seems void of a do-er, it just happens. Does the seed take credit or say “look what I did?” or even have an “I”?

Events seem to happen. I believe at times I influence them and even control them but the only proof I have is my thoughts about the events. When the thought is gone I have no proof of the thought, except another thought. In “reality” my thoughts run things because my “reality” is simply a collection of my thoughts and projections. When I stop taking credit as the do-er I feel free. I sense a separation from identity but in that separation is a connection to something greater than identity. The challenge, for me, is to stay connected.

So the authentic answer is I don’t know how events occur or what runs things in this reality.

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:42 pm

Dear Gardener,
In “reality” my thoughts run things because my “reality” is simply a collection of my thoughts and projections. When I stop taking credit as the do-er I feel free.
Nice.
The challenge, for me, is to stay connected.
Are you ever not-connected? In Reality?

Do you have any questions about self, control, decisions, intentions, choice?

When you say, or write, "I", "me", "self", what do you mean by them?

love,
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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TheGardener
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:18 pm

Hi Nona,
Are you ever not-connected? In Reality?
In Reality I am always connected, perhaps what I mean is that the challenge is to stay awake to the fact that I am always connected which could be just a simple understanding at a deeper level. I am always connected, but often I lose that awareness.
Do you have any questions about self, control, decisions, intentions, choice?
Most of the time I tell myself that I am in control, with some awareness that it is a story (a very convincing one at times). I can find many examples where it is not true, but when I think about choice and intention it gets murky because I scare myself back into the story. If I am not in control, not doing any of this then what is the point of intention and having goals and projecting a future? What is the purpose of making a plan or setting a goal? It seems to be a necessary part of this existence, otherwise I would sit around and do nothing, or perhaps not.
When you say, or write, "I", "me", "self", what do you mean by them?
When I refer to these things I am referring to this body and mind. Sometimes I say “it” instead of “I” jokingly with some understanding that it is not “me” but the majority of the time I am identified with mind or body. The labels themselves imply separation so the thought of separation must occur before the words are spoken/written. I see this as a game sometimes, that we all agree to be separate from what is outside of us, even how we disregard other people or nature or animals. We compete, strive, achieve, fail, etc. It seems to all spawn from this separation. I can find myself in every loved one and stranger if I try, it isn’t that difficult if I take the time. Maybe I can start thinking of I, me, self as something bigger that incorporates all of it of which I am just a small piece.

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:04 am

Dear Gardener,
I am always connected, but often I lose that awareness.
Is it awareness you lose? or just focus?
Many times there is an expectation that after seeing through the illusion of a separate self that one will constantly be noticing no self. But in reality it's more like when you first learned there was no actual Santa, no actual Tooth Fairy, no actual Batman. You did not need to stay focused on no-Batman in order to know or remember there is none in reality. So, too, with seeing no self! No self is not a State, not a way of being or feeling or thinking; it's merely a Fact, like no Santa. And it doesn't mean there are never thoughts of self any more than no Santa or no Batman means there are never thoughts of Santa or Batman. We simply know that when we say or write Santa or Batman, we are referring to a fiction.
If I am not in control, not doing any of this then what is the point of intention and having goals and projecting a future? What is the purpose of making a plan or setting a goal? It seems to be a necessary part of this existence, otherwise I would sit around and do nothing, or perhaps not.
Good — I'm glad you brought this up.
Can you tell me one event over which you genuinely have (or had) control? In reality?
Only you know what the point is for you of "intention and having goals and projecting a future". For me the point was to give me the illusion of having control in a world that happens all by itself. I projected futures to frighten me into doing what I believed I needed to but wouldn't do without a strong motivation. So I scared myself into compliance with my beliefs.
The purpose of making a plan seems to be "to make a plan". The purpose of setting a goal seems to be "to set a goal". Is it "a necessary part of this existence"? Apparently not; my plan-making and future-projecting have pretty much tanked. Not completely, but to an astonishing extent. Is it part of Life living itself? Obviously. It happens, so it is part of the movement of Life!
Sometimes I sit around and do nothing — it's very relaxing! Other times I work, keep house, read, cook, shop, see sights. I never need to plan for Life to happen; it happens all by itself without any direction from me.
One day, while onstage drinking tea, Katie said her purpose in that moment was to sit and drink tea. Now I get it — my "purpose" is to engage in whatever I appear to be doing in the moment. In this moment my purpose is to sit and type.

My purpose has changed. There is a train I want to catch that is scheduled to leave in half an hour. Will I catch it? I don't know. But I will be back later to address the rest of your post.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Sat Aug 09, 2014 9:04 pm

I'm back.
When you say, or write, "I", "me", "self", what do you mean by them?
When I refer to these things I am referring to this body and mind. Sometimes I say “it” instead of “I” jokingly with some understanding that it is not “me” but the majority of the time I am identified with mind or body.
Good. Try substituting "mind" or "body" for I, me, and self when you describe what is going on.
"Mind is sitting in a chair typing." "Body is seeing dark squiggles appear on a light ground."
For ten minutes, write all that is appearing in this way.
At the end of ten minutes, switch to writing without I, me, self, mind, body. Do this for ten minutes.
"Typing is happening." "Barking noises are being heard."
At the end of the second ten minutes, compare the experiences. Is one set of writing truer than the other? Does one feel more real?
The labels themselves imply separation so the thought of separation must occur before the words are spoken/written. I see this as a game sometimes, that we all agree to be separate from what is outside of us, even how we disregard other people or nature or animals. We compete, strive, achieve, fail, etc. It seems to all spawn from this separation. I can find myself in every loved one and stranger if I try, it isn’t that difficult if I take the time.
Exactly!
Maybe I can start thinking of I, me, self as something bigger that incorporates all of it of which I am just a small piece.
Maybe you can notice that "I, me, self" is not separate from the movement of Life at all — that Life incorporates everything without exception, and Life happens with or without an "I, me, or self".

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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TheGardener
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:43 am

Hi Nona,

Great stuff! Can't wait to absorb this more and respond, but I (mind, body, or nothing at all) am in the middle of a two-day workshop (The Work) that ends tomorrow night so likely you will not hear back from me until Monday.

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:06 pm

Enjoy! And thanks for letting me know.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:58 am

Hi Nona,

I get the fiction part, that seeing through the illusion does not mean a constant noticing of “no self” and seeing that when “self” arises it is just not reality. That was helpful to hear of the santa/batman analogy. When I look for a moment when I was ever in control there is none. There is only a story of control, no evidence otherwise.

Yes, the (my) purpose is to engage in whatever it is doing in the moment, nothing more. I feel that, and when I am present in that, whatever is being done is perfection. When I am not present with that, it is still perfection, only with a tantrum from me now and again.

Funny, when I look I notice I have stopped setting goals too really, something I used to really be interested in with great detail. It doesn’t seem necessary to me anymore, other than making to-do lists which seems kind of silly. A to-do list. Who is that for? It seems a bit arrogant. "I'm" going to make a list now for Life to follow, let's hope it goes according to plan. Haha. Joke is on me.

I have not yet done the written exercise, today was filled with preparation for a day long travel tomorrow. Going to spend time on a farm for a week so I should have time to do the exercise. I have done it while driving or preparing, comparing the two methods and so far I have found the one without the “mind/body” to be more true for me. I am curious to do this for 10 minutes each though and see where I land.

Maybe you can notice that "I, me, self" is not separate from the movement of Life at all — that Life incorporates everything without exception, and Life happens with or without an "I, me, or self".
I resonate with this and find the only thing that creates the separation is a belief or concept. Life continues with or without the belief/concept. Without separation it (Life) flows, with separation it flows but with some resistance from me as I separate. Then I kick in with the control story, and all hell breaks loose even though the same thing would be happening in both circumstances.

I am traveling all day tomorrow and may not be able to post daily this week, we will see what happens.

Thanks,

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:07 am

Hi Gardener,

No worries about daily posting — I am on holiday, far from home, and post when I'm able.
Without separation it (Life) flows, with separation it flows but with some resistance from me as I separate. Then I kick in with the control story, and all hell breaks loose even though the same thing would be happening in both circumstances.
This is very good to notice!

What we are is analogous to the screen upon which a movie is projected. The screen has no say about what is projected upon it, and anything and everything is permitted there. The screen never resists; but there may be resistance in the movie! The screen itself is completely surrendered at every moment to the movie playing upon it, even when the movie is "about" resistance.
Thus, whatever appears in the moment is THIS, whether it meets expectations of how THIS should look or not!

Here's another exercise for you to enjoy: pretend that there is nothing in charge of anything, that Life simply moves however it does, and that our closest interaction with an external world (if any) is through sensation. Observe what happens.

When you have done this, check whether "what happens" when you perceive that Life moves with no assistance from "you" differs in any respect from how Life has always happened.

with love,
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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TheGardener
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby TheGardener » Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:42 am

Hi Nona,

I’m back :) I love the analogy to the movie screen. Especially the point that the resistance is in the movie, not coming from the screen. There is complete surrender. Anything and everything is permitted on the screen. While driving this week I practiced the exercise of substituting“mind/body” for “I/me” and then did this without the “mind/body” and found the latter to be more true. Things were happening and I felt I was merely calling them out, and then I attached the “mind/body” label as the do-er and it just felt false.

Life happens, and always has with no assistance from me. I find this comforting, I can feel this when I observe that my closest interaction to the external is through the senses. I do notice that sometimes it appears to want things, outcomes, situations, etc. I am clear the wanting comes from beliefs, a lack of surrender and a desire for control. I can narrow this all down to labeling things good or bad, then planning for and wanting the good - but I find I don’t really know what is good or bad, I just think I know. More separation, but not really because Life goes on with or without the “I”.

I really got caught up this morning in the idea that I had a lot to do. Very stressful, very distracting and not pleasant. This happens after being away for several days, gotta get back to it and get stuff done! Crazy. I look at the beliefs when this happens, and can realize I am not the do-er, but being done. I prefer that experience. Surrender.

Gardener

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nonaparry
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby nonaparry » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:23 pm

Hi Gardener! I'm happy to see you're back.
I can narrow this all down to labeling things good or bad, then planning for and wanting the good - but I find I don’t really know what is good or bad, I just think I know.
How do the labels "good" and "bad" get attached to things?
I really got caught up this morning in the idea that I had a lot to do.
What happens when, instead of consciously following a list and engaging in "do-ing", you simply notice what happens? For example, sit quietly, and as the idea that there is something to DO arises, just notice it. Then notice what happens after the idea arises.
When "things need to be done", don't they get done? Is is actually necessary for a "you" to come riding in to take over the DO-ing of chores? Or do those chores which actually need to get done just happen?
Is there any chore which does not simply happen if it actually needs to be accomplished?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


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