Pea seeking Smudge

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Pea
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Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:38 am

Hi Smudge,

I'm back and available to started exploring.
Let me know when you're ready to begin.

Best wishes,
Pea x

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smudge
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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:26 am

Hi Pea,

Welcome back, I hope you have had an enriching time.
So before we start please read below and get back to me so we can ascertain you are ready and willing.

LU says: Enter into this process if you are ready and willing to question all your beliefs and assumptions about awakening, if you are ready to face your fears, and if you prefer truth to comfortable lies. Do not enter if your goal is to fix the parts of your life that you think are broken, to embark on a self-improvement project, or to gain some kind of spiritual certification. On this basis are you ready?

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. OK with that?

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. That cool with you?

Also to quote, just highlight what you want to quote and the click "Quote" above, when it posts it will have quoted, its a helpful way to communicate easily.

Then...I don't know you yet, so please say a little about your journey to date and your hopes and expectations of what will come out of this process?

Looking forward to journeying with you,

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

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:28 am

PS: Click the " notify me when a reply is posted" box below. Also Tapatalk is good for mobile phones.
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Pea
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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:32 pm

My path so far - I've been practicing as a Buddhist for 14 years, since my mid-20s. I had years of struggle with meditation and a view that I just wasn't a meditator- but that has loosened considerably over the past year, as the result of some determined, sustained explorations that have helped me let go of that view.
The 4 foundations of mindfulness, anapanasati and the idea of "in the seen only the seen..." are all very interesting and inspiring to me.

My hopes and expectations? Hmmm, I guess that my expectations are probably framed by meetings/conversations with a number of friends who have been thru this process in various ways - they seem more free and in touch with the flow of their experience - perhaps also more compassionate? It appears to have been a positive experience for them and they seem genuinely pleased to have seen through this concept of 'self'.

I wouldn't be honest if I also didn't acknowledge a degree of thinking along the lines of "well, if they've done it then I should be able to, too!" - a degree of acquisitiveness perhaps even?

I think there's also some fear there - firstly, that seeing thru the idea of a fixed self will have long term 'consequences' - in that I might just look at some current aspects of my life and think "why bother continuing with that way of acting?" - of course, this might actually be quite healthy but the 'me' that thinks about that now likes this current status quo and feels a bit reticent.
Or that it will at least initially shake my life up...
And there is just a more general anxiety - hard to exactly put my finger in but perhaps something about the irrevocable nature of it - once you've seen through it there is no going back?
Perhaps worse, what if I just can't do it?!?

I'm also expecting that many patterns and habits will still be there and that life will just carry on. I hope that greater freedom from this view of a self will gradually lead to less suffering (who is there to suffer?) but I don't expect that I'll suddenly be filled with endless joy!

Oh yeah, and sorry I should've started with this but yes, I am happy to try and post every day, be utterly honest about my experiences and to plunge in. Exciting stuff!
Thanks for taking it on! Speak soon.

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:34 pm

Cool, expectations seem reasonable..
Or that it will at least initially shake my life up...
Perhaps worse, what if I just can't do it?!?
once you've seen through it there is no going back?
There is no 'your life' only life and there is no you to do it and yes once seen it cannot be unseen. Lets find out though...

When you read this...there is no you, no I, that is real and there never was or ever will be, NONE as in ZERO...what comes up?
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:26 am

At an intellectual level it makes perfect sense - I can see my body changing over time and practices like 6 element practice (which I've been doing this last couple of weeks) help me to see the insubstantiality of the body on a more experiential level. When I sit still and experience it, my foot for example is either a label that I think about or it consists of varying degrees of intensity of fizzing sensation if I actually note what is happening. Some of these sensations get given labels of itching/pain/warmth etc.

I also observe that my thoughts are just an ongoing flow and that thinking just happens a lot of the time, without me doing anything - unless I apply effort to think about something in particular.

But then there is this 'narrator' - who tells a story of what is going on, planning, rehearsing etc. This voice is louder and feels more like the 'me' that I still believe exists than the other thinking that goes on.
For example, as I sit quietly and try to connect with your statement, this narrator seems to frame responses that I can then write down to you. This feels like 'me'.

So there is some element of disbelief at the statement, alongside all the above - because there are these thoughts - and memories of a life lived which feels like 'my' life... And decisions that I feel like 'I' have made. And emotions that arise and pass away that feel like the sort I emotions that I usually have in particular situations. So it feels difficult to look at this as just a life (as you suggest), as opposed to my life.

But I am hopeful that you have some ideas about how I can actually experience this directly! ;-)

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:28 am

Although maybe it's more just like life happening rather than 'a' life...

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:04 am

my foot for example is either a label that I think about or it consists of varying degrees of intensity of fizzing sensation if I actually note what is happening. Some of these sensations get given labels of itching/pain/warmth etc.
Brilliant, so you know what Direct experience is, this is a very helpful start as all answers need to come from this DE (for short)
there is this 'narrator' - who tells a story of what is going on
So describe this 'narrator' in Direct experience please, what is actually found (just like when you describe foot in DE)

experiment with quote, its helpful x
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:48 pm

So describe this 'narrator' in Direct experience please, what is actually found
The initial thought was "this is impossible - as soon as I bring attention to the 'narrator', the narration is just about what I am going to say in the email..." and then that thought became what the narrator "said" lol

So I have tried a couple of different ways of trying to approach it from DE... meditation, trying to "catch" it in my day-to-day activities, now...


The narration was "my voice" - it's what I notice myself doing now, as I write this... it says what I am going to write. But it is much easier when writing an email or doing a piece of academic writing - because it is more focused, more of my attention is placed on it, and it is written on the page so it stays coherent.
It was much more fragmented as I sat in meditation - I noticed little phrases arise seemingly from nowhere, things that had no clear meaning in terms of that moment, that got repeated over a few times ..."we will have boarded so many..." Which made it feel that ***this is just thinking*** - so why does it feel different? Why identify with it? e.g.
this narrator seems to frame responses that I can then write down to you. This feels like 'me'.
I did a little experiment, trying to see if it was possible to narrate continuously whilst sitting there quietly - it didn't seem able to happen. The narration seemed slow, and there was other thinking going on underneath it, feeding it and helping to find the words, like some sort of sub-planning - and other images and ideas popped up.

I was also aware that, in the half hr I sat watching this, my energy felt quite 'high' - by which I mean that I was aware of a lot of fluttery sensation in my chest, breathing into it - it was also there in the back of the throat too. Tuning in with the body now - that has subsided.

Going out shopping - noticed that I didn't seem aware of the narrator if I was talking aloud. And a near-miss incident when I was a passenger in the car - directly after it happened, I didn't feel aware of any narration. It kicked in a bit after.

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Great. Sounds full on searching for something that isnt there!
So it sounds like narration can be found but I'm not hearing a narrator being found. So description and story goes on but is there a describer or storyteller? OR is there just story/narration? Where's that coming from in DE?? Report back.
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:06 pm

Just had a bit of a rubbishy communication with my partner – and straight after, the narration was very strong. Didn’t quite catch it in the moment. My side of the story, what I would like to say at that moment so that he’d get where I was coming from – so “self” felt really strong in those moments.
Tried tuning in with the actual bodily sensations that were going on – the unpleasant feeling tone that was there, rather than the narration of the story – touching it caused tears to come to my eyes – but now, just minutes later? ..it has changed, moved on and I am not able to be in touch with the story.
Felt like the narration came about to try and make sense of what is being felt…
I will continue to explore further tomorrow… : )

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:37 pm

Just had a bit of a rubbishy communication with my partner
Ouch!
Felt like the narration came about to try and make sense of what is being felt
Brilliant, yes stories come after the feeling or perception and to describe whats already happened, and claim it as happened to me!

This may help see clearer how the story is just a sticky tag claiming i, me, mine.
Do this: Write what you are experiencing right now using the words I and me. Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just plain description of here now. Like this: I am lying in bed. I am hearing rain. I am typing these words. Do this for 10 minutes. Watch the body; what physical sensations are happening? Then for the next 10 minutes write what you are experiencing without the words I and me. Just describe the experience as it is happening in the moment, using verbs: Waiting for next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing rain. Again watch what is happening in the body. Now compare these two ways to label experience. What do you notice?
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:42 am

watch what is happening in the body. Now compare these two ways to label experience. What do you notice?
It seemed that the same sort of bodily sensations were going on in both activities - but generally things seems quieter and calmer in the second investigation - was that just because I had already been sat still for 10 mins though?

In the second investigation there appeared to be less labelling - mainly just the verb although sometimes there was "hearing birds" followed by "labelling - crows" - although of course there has already been labelling even by identifying the sound as "birds". There also appeared to be little narration going on in that investigation - just identifying the verb. The first element felt more "me" because the narrator was more engaged with the process of forming "I am doing this, that, the next thing".

The second investigation also seemed to become more in tune with what was going on in the body - a few times, I was almost able to know what was going to happen before even writing it - it didn't feel like I was "scripting" it - just that e.g. itching had arisen and therefore there was a desire to scratch.



Also just spent some time exploring further around
is there a describer or storyteller? OR is there just story/narration? Where's that coming from in DE??
Was sitting noticing a strong sensation around the heart and a thought arose "but surely this is me, this person sitting here now". Reflected back to 6 elements - another thought "I already know this - so why won't it crumble?"

Then a question "who is making the decisions?"

At one point in meditation, I drifted off into some thinking/planning (around some academic writing that I am working on), coming back I was aware that there is so much that happens in consciousness that 'I' am not in control of - I keep coming back to your comment
There is no 'your life' only life and there is no you to do it
- back again to that question "who is making the decisions?"
Also noticed that my emotions get more stirred up when I have been hooked into a story, even when there is nothing actually "happening".

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby smudge » Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:43 pm

The first element felt more "me" because the narrator was more engaged with the process of forming "I am doing this, that, the next thing"
Notice how it SEEMS to be a given that there is a you doing it all, narrating, feeling ect. This belief is pure fiction. The self is pure fiction, just like batman, nice story but cant be found outside of story...nor can pea..The narrator being engaged in forming a story is just a story about a narrator narrating a story!!

So again, check in DE, is there a narrater or just narration?
it didn't feel like I was "scripting" it - just that e.g. itching had arisen and therefore there was a desire to scratch.
YES
I already know this - so why won't it crumble
This is a thought about a fictional character that knows or doesn't know.
Then a question "who is making the decisions
No the question is how do decisions happen. So in DE describe the process of a decision happening in just pure facts.
noticed that my emotions get more stirred up when I have been hooked into a story
Yes feelings and thoughts dance together. Notice how Dukkha is just thought and sensation..thats it, no more ingredients!
"The bad news is you're falling, the good news is theres no ground" Trungpa

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Re: Pea seeking Smudge

Postby Pea » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:19 am

Hi there

Haven't meditated yet today - so more reflections may arise out of that but, for now, some initial responses to what you questioned about last night.
Firstly,
So again, check in DE, is there a narrater or just narration?
It seems to be becoming clearer that I simply can't find a narrator - there is just narration that arises in response to an action or event (even a mental event such as a thought) which tries to make sense of the event by framing it as "I". But the events just happen and there are responses in the body - or sensations in the body, which trigger thoughts. Just trying now to spend time feeling that more and more - so it becomes more deeply felt - the problem with having read a lot and having talked a lot with people is that it is easy to think and regurgitate that and think it is my experiencerather than really know it from DE...

Then there is the question of
So in DE describe the process of a decision happening in just pure facts.
Finding this a lot harder at then moment. What seems like a simple, binary decision doesn't actually seem that way when I try to experience it.
Examples...
Last night I found myself in the unpleasant position of being presented with a not-moving, but not-dead mouse (by my cat!)... So a decision needs to happen - what do I do with it? But the decision felt so caught up with emotions, and memories of other occasions where a decision like this had to be made, and those memories produced their own memories - it was really hard to see where the decision-making actually happened in all of it...

What seemed like an easier, less emotive one this morning - shall I go for a run? Even here, there were so many other thoughts and sub-decisions... it was hard to track what was happening. Get out of bed? Run or not? How far? Which route? What to eat/drink before going? Weather? What to wear? And things happening at the level of bodily sensation - less in tune with this but at least a sense of the body's "ok-ness" for running, and at the level of emotions - desire (or lack of it) for engaging in the activity.

But when out running I was aware that there are still decisions that need to be made - down to the simple "Do I put one foot in front of the other for the next step? All of which just seem to happen fairly automatically - no need for "I".

I will try and explore this a bit more later... but any thoughts, advice etc gladly received in the meantime!


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