Hoping to start a dialogue.

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:54 pm

Hi,

My name is Brian and I'm interested in starting a conversation with a guide.

Around 15 years ago I had an awakening experience, but since then have not experienced anything like it. I have reached a point in my life where I can't go on as before, and need for it to end. However I seem to be unable to complete this process on my own, or perhaps it's simply not possible for one like me.

In any case, I need for the seeking to end, and it won't end until this is done. How to finish, however, is beyond me. I'm beginning to feel desperate, honestly. So I am sincerely asking for help from anyone who feels able.

Thank you,

Brian

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:16 pm

Dear Brian,

My name is Vivien, wonderful to have you here. I am happy to assist in exploring 'no-self', though I can only point the way. You have to 'see' it for yourself. That is why we are described as guides, not teachers.

You and I will simply have a conversation, the aim of which will be for you to make the realisation that there is no 'self'. That will be our focus. I will tend to ask various questions and ask you to answer but nobody will be judging you. You can't get this wrong.

But before we start, let’s get through the formalities first:
If you haven't already seen it, there is introductory info here, the disclaimer and a short video too.
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

A few ground rules:
1. 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 only from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Longwinded
analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
4. 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.
5. Please learn to use the quote function; instructions are located in the link below this line:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660
6. Please click the 'subscribe topic' link at the very bottom of the page to ensure you get an email whenever a reply comes in.

Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

If you are happy to agree to the above and have me your guide, we can start the process.

What are your expectations for liberation?
How will Life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?

Please answer these questions in great detail. No expectation is too small to ignore.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:41 am

Vivien,

Thank you very much for your reply.

I have read through your post and am agreeable to the ground rules. I would be grateful for your guidance.
What are your expectations for liberation?
I have in the past heard incredible things about liberation, as I imagine many of us have. I read, I think either in the liberation unleashed book or the app, that enlightenment has been oversold, and I'm starting to suspect that it is true. I used to imagine that it would change absolutely everything about my life, external and internal, but now I suspect it will simply be a shift in the way things are perceived. Although if that shift results in the end of suffering, maybe that is hard to oversell. I would be delighted to reach the end of suffering, and that is what I have pursued all these years, but at this point it's not even the main goal. What I feel most now is that there exists within some sort of deception or non-truth, and I want to see past it. Mostly I just want to know what's true. Whatever comes of that is of secondary concern.
How will life change?
I can only hope that anxieties and tensions will relent. I hope that life will proceed more smoothly as a result, and that maybe it will be easier to get along with people. Perhaps it would become easier to pursue interests or even act in a way that benefits others without nagging insecurity and selfishness constantly harming progress. In the past I would have had a much different answer, involving things I've heard and read in Mahayana Buddhist teachings. These days I mostly am mainly looking inside and reading and watching accounts from others who have reached the end of the path, so my expectations are more down to earth. Though I would be lying if I said those other notions weren't still on my mind.
How will you change?
I feel like inside there is a source of tension and worry and stress and anxiety that serves no purpose and creates unhappiness and suffering. If this could be done away with, I feel that I could be at peace. Then, whatever arose, even if it were challenging or difficult, could be met with openness and compassion.
What will be different?
Maybe all that changes is the perception of things. I think this would be enough, as it's not likely that the world is going to change itself around to suit anyone's needs. And even if it did, if the cause of suffering remained, what good would it have done.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:03 am

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your honesty and the detailed list about the expectations.
This list is important, because every expectation is in a way of seeing what is here, right now. Every expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. Expectations are about the future. But liberation cannot be found in the future.

I go through all the expectations one-by-one. While you read them, please pay attention to what arises in the body. Is there any resistance to any of it?
I used to imagine that it would change absolutely everything about my life, external and internal, but now I suspect it will simply be a shift in the way things are perceived.
It is much simpler than some so called spiritual teachers suggest it. Life or outer circumstances won’t change with liberation. Life is always is as it is. Only the perception changes. So everything will be the same, although everything might look different.
Although if that shift results in the end of suffering, maybe that is hard to oversell.
Suffering may or may not occur after liberation. However, expecting that it would suddenly stop is highly improbable. Habitual, or conditioned thoughts and behaviour do not simply disappear; after all, they've been habit for xx years. However, once the illusion of self has been SEEN, you can reliably check again and again, whenever conditioning shows up, whether there is a never-ending-me in some centre at all.
What I feel most now is that there exists within some sort of deception or non-truth, and I want to see past it. Mostly I just want to know what's true. Whatever comes of that is of secondary concern.
Yes, this is a quite likely expectation, being able to differentiate what is true and what is not. This will be our main focus throughout our conversation.
I can only hope that anxieties and tensions will relent.
Some people do report less anxiety, but there is no guarantee this will happen for you. But even if anxiety or tension arises, it can be seen that it happens to nobody. The anxiety would be there, but without a ‘me’ that would own it.
I hope that life will proceed more smoothly as a result, and that maybe it will be easier to get along with people.
Life is already proceeds smoothly, only mental labels suggest otherwise. Believing that the labels have a one-to-one correspondence with some external reality is where we've become confused. In this conversation I will ask you to observe with the senses rather than rely on the mental labels.
Perhaps it would become easier to pursue interests or even act in a way that benefits others
Yes, some people report finding more compassion but less ambition.
These days I mostly am mainly looking inside and reading and watching accounts from others who have reached the end of the path, so my expectations are more down to earth. Though I would be lying if I said those other notions weren't still on my mind.
Thank you for your honesty. I hope my comments helps to see that any expectation is actually in a way of seeing what is here, right now.

For the time of our conversation, I’d like to ask you not to read or to watch any teachers, not to read any spiritual books or articles except what is here on our website. This is because it is easy to become confused when different sources are telling you different things.
I feel like inside there is a source of tension and worry and stress and anxiety that serves no purpose and creates unhappiness and suffering. If this could be done away with, I feel that I could be at peace. Then, whatever arose, even if it were challenging or difficult, could be met with openness and compassion.
The source of suffering is not that there is anxiety or worry, but the resistance to the anxiety or worry.

Is there an expectation of being happy and at peace all the time (or most of the time)?

Happiness and peace are states, and no states are permanent, they are all subject to change. Liberation is not about not having any ‘bad’ or uncomfortable feelings any more. Rather it’s about accepting all states and emotions, accepting whatever is arising in this moment.
Maybe all that changes is the perception of things.
Not just maybe, but only the perception will change.
I think this would be enough, as it's not likely that the world is going to change itself around to suit anyone's needs.
The world or ‘outer’ circumstances won’t change, only the perception about them.
Around 15 years ago I had an awakening experience, but since then have not experienced anything like it.
Whatever that experience that was, it is over, it’s gone now. You haven’t listed it in the expectations, but I have to point this out because it could be a hindrance. This experience was a state, and as any other states, it cannot last. So liberation is not about having this or any other state back.

Seeing through the illusion that there is a separate entity "self" is not a State. When you SEE it, the knowledge becomes factual.

For example, did you ever once believe that Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy was real? If you did at one point, and don't now, does the experience of discovery last? Or is it that the knowledge that there is no such thing as Santa or Tooth Fairy is just another ‘fact’?

Many seekers have the impression that seeing there is no self is a State to "abide in". It's not.

What I propose to do is to set you some exercises, physical ones, in which I will ask you to describe the experience of the senses. We call this Direct Experience, or the Uninterpreted Moment. This refers to the data from the sensations themselves, before mind tries to make sense of it and begins to describe what is happening. Observing with the five senses — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching.

If this is amenable to you, we will begin.

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:32 am

I will say that yes I can feel resistance in my body to some of what your replied as I read it, such as:
Suffering may or may not occur after liberation.
and
Some people do report less anxiety, but there is no guarantee this will happen for you.
and
Life is already proceeds smoothly
Based on how I feel while I read statements such as those, it becomes clear that I have, as you said, set up expectation for the future. I take your point about how expectations are about the future, not about now, and are therefore a hindrance. Also, I will say that I feel that at this point, it's more important to live what is true than what is imagined or wished for.
In this conversation I will ask you to observe with the senses rather than rely on the mental labels.
I will do my best to bear this in mind.
For the time of our conversation, I’d like to ask you not to read or to watch any teachers, not to read any spiritual books or articles except what is here on our website.
Understood.
Is there an expectation of being happy and at peace all the time (or most of the time)?
Yes. I understand that this is unrealistic.
Whatever that experience that was, it is over, it’s gone now. You haven’t listed it in the expectations, but I have to point this out because it could be a hindrance.
You are right. It didn't occur to me at first but yes, as you say, it's clearly coloring my expectations.
What I propose to do is to set you some exercises, physical ones, in which I will ask you to describe the experience of the senses. We call this Direct Experience, or the Uninterpreted Moment. This refers to the data from the sensations themselves, before mind tries to make sense of it and begins to describe what is happening. Observing with the five senses — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching.

If this is amenable to you, we will begin.
Yes, please let's.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:27 am

Hi Brian,

I left out an important point about expectations in the last post. Here it is:
These days I mostly am mainly looking inside and reading and watching accounts from others who have reached the end of the path
There is no ‘end’ of the path of honest inquiry. At LU we only go so far as no self; but seeing that the self is just an illusion is just the first step, however the most important one. XX years of conditioning won’t go away in an instance, but without a centre, a ‘me’, there is nothing they could attach to or stick to, so gradually they fall away. This falling can last until the end of the organism. So expecting that seeing through the illusion of the self is the end is quite unrealistic.
I will say that yes I can feel resistance in my body to some of what your replied as I read it
Thank you for your honesty. Later, if the topic of suffering or anxiety is still an ‘issue’ we could work on them. It will be seen that neither suffering nor anxiety is what we conventionally think it is. But now, our current priority is the illusion of the self.

I’d like to ask you to let me know if resistance come up at any point, so we can have a closer look on it then.
I will say that I feel that at this point, it's more important to live what is true than what is imagined or wished for.
Excellent. This attitude can be a ‘fuel’ to really look and see what is real and what is not.

OK then, let's start!

The first thing to gauge in our discussion is to find what you currently believe yourself to be.
This should be kept very simple and should not be anything requiring in-depth analysis or thought.

The standard view of 'I', 'me' is that of a person - A body with a mind.
The standard view is that 'I' refers to this body that appears here in awareness.
I am this body. And 'I' have control over this body.
Since 'I' am this body, 'I' see, 'I' hear, 'I' feel etc - I perform all the senses.
This body was born - It will live a number of years - And then it (I) will die.

Currently, would it be fair to say that you believe that currently you are a person sitting in a chair, looking at a computer screen and reading words off it right now?

Feel free to reject what I have suggested if they don't match what you currently believe yourself to be.
Tell me in your own words - What does the word 'I' point to?

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:20 am

Vivien,

Thank you for your reply.
The standard view of 'I', 'me' is that of a person - A body with a mind.
The standard view is that 'I' refers to this body that appears here in awareness.
I am this body. And 'I' have control over this body.
Since 'I' am this body, 'I' see, 'I' hear, 'I' feel etc - I perform all the senses.
This body was born - It will live a number of years - And then it (I) will die.

Currently, would it be fair to say that you believe that currently you are a person sitting in a chair, looking at a computer screen and reading words off it right now?
Yes, this closely resembles my sense of self. The 'I' is some combination of this body and mind/brain interacting together that creates my experience. I agree, I would have to be the one sitting in a chair reading the words on the screen. If not, I don't know who else I would be.

I had an experience several days ago that I feel I should mention. It was, I believe, the morning after I made my first post, but before we had begun to correspond. If it is irrelevant or a hindrance please tell me and I will disregard it for the time being. In brief, I was having a difficult time with what I was feeling, so I observed it as best I was able for a time, and while this was happening I had some recollection of a portion of no-self teaching viewed or read here (specifically this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4tflb6RNt0#t=13m18s). While observing what was going on I thought "If I am in charge of this, if I'm controlling this, then I should be able to make it stop." I realized right away that I had no ability to make what I was feeling stop, that I had no say in it having started in the first place, and couldn't change the quality of it. Then I began to suspect that this is true for all things that arise. I've been toying with this idea for a few days now and since that time, things have begun to feel much less "sharp" inside me, if that makes sense.

So now I'm a bit confused. On the one hand 'I' can't be an independent actor if it controls absolutely nothing. If it does nothing and can't be found, then it can't exist. On the other hand there are bodies with mindstreams where experience and choice are made. A conventional self can be said to exist, can it not? So that's where I am at the moment. 'I' might not ultimately exist, but probably still conventionally exists. I'm not sure what the implications of that are.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:30 am

Hi Brian,
The 'I' is some combination of this body and mind/brain interacting together that creates my experience. I agree, I would have to be the one sitting in a chair reading the words on the screen. If not, I don't know who else I would be.
So, the word ‘I’ refers to the body?
Or the word ‘I’ is the seeming ‘owner’ of ‘my’ body?
Are ‘you’ sitting in the chair or the body is sitting in the chair?
Can ‘you’ control the body making it reading the words on the screen?
Or reading just happens?
If it is irrelevant or a hindrance please tell me and I will disregard it for the time being.
Thanks for letting me. No, this is not a hindrance, quite the contrary.
While observing what was going on I thought "If I am in charge of this, if I'm controlling this, then I should be able to make it stop." I realized right away that I had no ability to make what I was feeling stop, that I had no say in it having started in the first place, and couldn't change the quality of it. Then I began to suspect that this is true for all things that arise.
Excellent. This is a very good start. :) So, there was a SEEing that thoughts and emotions cannot be stopped.After this seeing, the thoughts came in interpreting the experience with a conclusion that this can be true for all things. And yes, this is the case, but ‘you’ have to SEE it with the other things too, because intellectual understanding is always second-hand. This is what we’re going to work on.
So now I'm a bit confused. On the one hand 'I' can't be an independent actor if it controls absolutely nothing. If it does nothing and can't be found, then it can't exist.
You see, this is also in intellectual deduction. And there is nothing wrong with it, but the illusion of the self has to be experienced / SEEN.
On the other hand there are bodies with mindstreams where experience and choice are made. A conventional self can be said to exist, can it not? So that's where I am at the moment. 'I' might not ultimately exist, but probably still conventionally exists.
‘You’ either exist or not. There is no middle way. ‘You’ cannot partially exist and partially not.

OK, now we try to find this ‘I’, the supposed ‘owner’ of the body.
We are LOOKing for a real ‘I’. ‘Real’ is something that can be found. ‘Real’ is something that can be experienced with the five senses.

But at first, as an example, let’s try to find Darth Vader from Star Wars.
We’re looking for a real Darth Vader that can be found.
In order to prove that it exists, we have to experience it directly by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling or tasting.

The image projected to the cinema screen is not it.
The poster on the wall about Darth Vader is not it.
The memory in ‘my head’ about Darth Vader is not a proof of its existence.
A thought suggesting that “he may be exist somewhere in the galaxy” is just an idea, but not a proof of it.
A lego figure of Darth Vader is not a real Darth Vader.
A life size wax figure exhibited in a museum is not it.
A twelve-year old boy dressed in a Darth Vader costume is not it.

Now, try to find the ‘I’ that supposedly owns the body. Look everywhere. Search every corner of the body, memories, feelings, thoughts, or any other places. Don’t leave any stones unturned.

Can the ‘I’ be found in the body?
If yes, then where is it exactly?
How the ‘I’ is experienced with the five senses (= in direct experience)?
Where is this ‘conventional self’ exactly?
How is this so called ‘conventional self’ experienced with the five senses?

I would like to ask you that for now on whenever I ask questions examine all one-by-one using the five senses.

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:36 am

Hi Vivien,

Thanks again for responding.
So, the word ‘I’ refers to the body?
Or the word ‘I’ is the seeming ‘owner’ of ‘my’ body?
I do not believe the 'I' is the body. I think the second statement feels more like it, the 'I' is the owner of the body, and resides inside the body somewhere.
Are ‘you’ sitting in the chair or the body is sitting in the chair?
I want to say that I am sitting in the chair. But that seems incorrect because the body is sitting in the chair, and the body is the body, not the self. So the most that can be said is that the body is sitting in the chair. It seems like the self then is just a thought and a feeling in the body.
Can ‘you’ control the body making it reading the words on the screen?
I'm having a hard time with this. On the one hand it truly feels as though 'I' am doing the reading. On the other hand, no matter where we investigate, I can't find the existence of what I assumed was there.

Also, I'm not sure if it matters, but in the spirit of disclosure of resistance that we talked about before, I want to say that sometimes as I consider these questions, there is a sense of opening up and of spaciousness and lightening, but sometimes there are some very unpleasant sensations that arise.
In order to prove that it exists, we have to experience it directly by seeing, hearing, touching, smelling or tasting.
There are things that exist though that aren't apparent to the five senses though, are there not? Love exists, but wouldn't pass the test in your Darth Vader example.
Can the ‘I’ be found in the body?
The best answer I can give is that it exists as an experience of sensation plus thought. When I think "who is sitting in the chair," I then think "I am sitting in the chair." Then as I investigate the nature of the 'I', all I can come up with is thought combined with sensation arising at the same time.
How the ‘I’ is experienced with the five senses (= in direct experience)?
I'm having trouble answering some of these questions because as I begin to write out an answer it seems to be the wrong one. For example, this question of how the 'I' is experienced with the five senses, I was going to write how if the 'I' is inside the body, then I can touch the body, see the body, etc. But it seems that this is not correct because that's the body, not the 'I'. So it seems that the 'I' is never experienced by the five senses. At best it is felt as sensation inside the body, but I don't think that can be accurately called "touch."
Where is this ‘conventional self’ exactly?
How is this so called ‘conventional self’ experienced with the five senses?
By this I just meant all the parts that make up a being. So like the body, mind, thoughts, perceptions, etc of a being all do exist, and in combination, in such an arrangement that it can be called a being. This could be true apart from whether or not a separate unchanging self exists.


I'd just like to say that whatever else takes place, I'm grateful for the time you're willing to spend with me, and for sharing your knowledge. Thank you.

Also, I know I'm posting at basically the minimum amount, but I want you to know that this isn't because I'm not being serious, but rather that I tend to take a long time to process. I just want you to know that even if I am not posting a great deal, I am taking it seriously and I am considering everything you're saying carefully.

Also, I'm wondering if it would be alright to read your website as we talk.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 07, 2014 7:09 am

Hi Brian,
I do not believe the 'I' is the body. I think the second statement feels more like it, the 'I' is the owner of the body, and resides inside the body somewhere.
Where is this ‘I’ exactly?
Find it. Look everywhere.
want to say that I am sitting in the chair. But that seems incorrect because the body is sitting in the chair, and the body is the body, not the self. So the most that can be said is that the body is sitting in the chair. It seems like the self then is just a thought and a feeling in the body.
Can the felt sensation in the body be the ‘I’?
If so, than how does this felt sensation make decision or move the body?

Is this a mental deduction or it is clearly seen that the self is just a thought?
Can ‘you’ see the difference between a mental deduction/conclusion and SEEING?

Thoughts almost constantly label and interpret what is happening here and now. Look around. Seeing happens, hearing happens, bodily sensations arise, and thoughts come interpreting and labelling all the happenings. There is an almost constant mental narrative interpreting what is already IS. The body is just sitting without any effort or any need for a mental narrative, and yet, thoughts arise labelling the experience “I am sitting in the chair.” However, the sitting happens regardless of the narrative.

I would like to ask you that in the next few days pay particular attention how this mental labelling / narrative happens.
Does the narrative have any effect or power on what already IS?
What is behind this mental narrative or thought-labels?
On the one hand it truly feels as though 'I' am doing the reading. On the other hand, no matter where we investigate, I can't find the existence of what I assumed was there.
If the ‘I’ resides in the body that is doing the reading then it should be easy to find it.
Do you struggle to find the laptop, the hand or even a thought?

Where is it felt exactly that ‘you’ are doing the reading?
How is it felt exactly?
Please describe it as accurately as you can.

Right now, these words on the screen are being seen.
Examine your experience right now.
What can you find that is seeing the words?
Can you locate, find, track-down etc the 'thing' that is seeing these words on the screen right now?
Where is it exactly?
sometimes as I consider these questions, there is a sense of opening up and of spaciousness and lightening, but sometimes there are some very unpleasant sensations that arise.
Next time, when these unpleasant sensations arise, pay attention to them. Observe how they are felt, experienced in the body. It can be also noticed how thoughts come as on overlay labelling and interpreting with suggestions what is happening.
There are things that exist though that aren't apparent to the five senses though, are there not? Love exists, but wouldn't pass the test in your Darth Vader example.
What is love? How it is experienced?

When there is ‘love’, there are certain felt sensations in the body. These sensations are labelled by thoughts as ‘love’. So what is ‘real’ in direct experience are (1) the felt sensation in the body, (2) and the arising thought-label ‘love’. But the thought-label is just a thought. It is not the felt sensation itself. Can you see the difference?

So ‘love’ does not exist in direct experience because ‘love’ is just a word, a thought-label on the bodily sensation. However, the sensation itself can be felt. The sensation is ‘real’ but the overlay interpretation ‘love’ is just a content of a thought.
The best answer I can give is that it exists as an experience of sensation plus thought. When I think "who is sitting in the chair," I then think "I am sitting in the chair." Then as I investigate the nature of the 'I', all I can come up with is thought combined with sensation arising at the same time.
Can the experience of sensation be the ‘I’?
Where is the ‘I’ in the experience of sensation?
Is there an ‘I’ in the experience of sensation or just mental-labels (thoughts) suggest that there is?
Is it possible that there are sensations in the body that are labelled by thoughts as ‘I’?
So it seems that the 'I' is never experienced by the five senses. At best it is felt as sensation inside the body, but I don't think that can be accurately called "touch."
Felt sensations in the body can be called feeling. In direct experience we don’t make distinction between touching and feeling. Actually, these are just words pointing to something that cannot be expressed in words.

Here is an interesting exercise.
Write what you are experiencing right here right now using the words I and me for 10 minutes. You can set an alarm clock to measure the time.
Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just plain description of here and now.
Like this: I am lying in bed. I am hearing the rain, I am typing these words...

Check the body; are there any sensations of tightening or relaxing?

Then for next 10 minutes write without the words ‘I’ and ‘me’. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs: Waiting for next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing the rain.

Again check what is happening in the body.

Now compare the two ways to label experience:
Is one truer than the other? If so, which one?
What is here now without labels?
Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
By this I just meant all the parts that make up a being. So like the body, mind, thoughts, perceptions, etc of a being all do exist, and in combination, in such an arrangement that it can be called a being.
This is a mental interpretation.

How ‘mind’ is experienced with the five senses, prior to thoughts?
I'd just like to say that whatever else takes place, I'm grateful for the time you're willing to spend with me, and for sharing your knowledge. Thank you.
You’re very welcome :)
I’d like to point it out that there is no knowledge to share, because no amount of knowledge would help. If that would be the case then reading some books would directly lead to ‘liberation’. I’m not a teacher. I’m just pointing where to LOOK, but ‘you’ have to see it for ‘yourself’.
Also, I know I'm posting at basically the minimum amount, but I want you to know that this isn't because I'm not being serious, but rather that I tend to take a long time to process. I just want you to know that even if I am not posting a great deal, I am taking it seriously and I am considering everything you're saying carefully.
The important thing is not the amount or the length of the post, but the sincere looking. So, that’s OK.
Also, I'm wondering if it would be alright to read your website as we talk.
You can read it if you have free time, but this conversation and exercises should be the main focus. However, I’d like to emphasise that don’t believe ANY word that I write either here or on the blog, but rather LOOK.

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:45 am

Where is this ‘I’ exactly?
Find it. Look everywhere.
I have trouble because when it seems to arise, I begin to investigate that. I look for it where it seems to be and I don't find it. And I keep looking and find that what I assumed was there isn't there. So I sort of "look around" a bit and it seems like just spaciousness and sort of, emptiness. But good, not bad. But then that's sort of it, and I'm not sure what to do next. And then all proceeds as usual.
Can the felt sensation in the body be the ‘I’?
No.
Is this a mental deduction or it is clearly seen that the self is just a thought?
It is clearly seen. The 'I' is a thought. The thought (ignorantly) appears to be attached to a sensation in the body. But the sensation is not the self. The self just appears as a thought.
Can ‘you’ see the difference between a mental deduction/conclusion and SEEING?
Yes.

I would like to ask you that in the next few days pay particular attention how this mental labelling / narrative happens.
Does the narrative have any effect or power on what already IS?
What is behind this mental narrative or thought-labels?
Ok. I will do my best.
Where is it felt exactly that ‘you’ are doing the reading?
How is it felt exactly?
It is felt as sensation in the chest shoulders neck and head. It feels like contraction, or like a collapsing down onto... something. It feels like heaviness and anxiety.
What can you find that is seeing the words?
Nothing.
Can you locate, find, track-down etc the 'thing' that is seeing these words on the screen right now?
No. There is a sensation. It feels like it rises up when the question is asked. I'm not sure if it's always the same sensation, or always a different sensation, but there is an unquestioned assumption that it is self.
Can the experience of sensation be the ‘I’?
No.
Where is the ‘I’ in the experience of sensation?
They are separate. The sensation is just another sensation. The 'I' is a thought. For some reason they seem to be combined and seem to be more than they are. A self.
Is there an ‘I’ in the experience of sensation or just mental-labels (thoughts) suggest that there is?
There are only thoughts overlaid onto sensations that give the appearance of a self. One problem I seem to have with this though is I can seem to see it if I examine it, but if I "turn away" so to speak, it's just as ever. I don't think I can maintain this examination constantly and indefinitely. And I remember your words about how once it is actually seen, like the false belief in Santa Claus, it will naturally disappear without continuous effort. But I don't seem to be able to take this examination as far as it will go.
Now compare the two ways to label experience:
Is one truer than the other? If so, which one?
I did the exercise just as you said (even used a timer). The experience without the labels 'I' and 'me' is clearly the truer one. I can begin to see how the thoughts are just labels that overlay what happens regardless of the thoughts. It's difficult to comprehend this clearly.
How ‘mind’ is experienced with the five senses, prior to thoughts?
I don't know. I'm not even sure how to check.

Sometimes this process feels like trying to wriggle free of barbed wire.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:17 am

Hi Brian,

You’re doing very well :)
I have trouble because when it seems to arise, I begin to investigate that. I look for it where it seems to be and I don't find it. And I keep looking and find that what I assumed was there isn't there. So I sort of "look around" a bit and it seems like just spaciousness and sort of, emptiness. But good, not bad. But then that's sort of it, and I'm not sure what to do next. And then all proceeds as usual.
OK. This whole process is about seeing that the self is only a belief. In other words, this process is about non-believing any more in the illusion of the self.

So, when there is no ‘I’ to be found, then what?
Is there a need to do something ‘more’?
Or is it just clearly seen that the ‘I’ cannot be found?
Is there a desire to ‘maintain’ the ‘spaciousness’ or ‘emptiness’?
Would that be possible?
But the sensation is not the self. The self just appears as a thought.
Good looking :)
Where is it felt exactly that ‘you’ are doing the reading?
How is it felt exactly?
It is felt as sensation in the chest shoulders neck and head. It feels like contraction, or like a collapsing down onto... something. It feels like heaviness and anxiety.
So, can the contraction be the ‘you’ that are doing the reading?
Can the anxiety or heaviness be the ‘you’ that are doing the reading?
Or these are just felt sensations in the body with a mental label of ‘anxiety’ or ‘heaviness’?
there is an unquestioned assumption that it is self.
Yes, it is an unquestioned ASSUMPTION that the sensation in the body is the self. But is this really the case?
Where is the ‘I’ in the experience of sensation?
They are separate. The sensation is just another sensation. The 'I' is a thought. For some reason they seem to be combined and seem to be more than they are. A self.
When the sensation is labelled with the thought ‘I am’, can they truly become more than what they really are, a real self, or they are just simply simultaneously arising sensation + a thought with a content ‘I am’?
There are only thoughts overlaid onto sensations that give the appearance of a self. One problem I seem to have with this though is I can seem to see it if I examine it, but if I "turn away" so to speak, it's just as ever. I don't think I can maintain this examination constantly and indefinitely. And I remember your words about how once it is actually seen, like the false belief in Santa Claus, it will naturally disappear without continuous effort. But I don't seem to be able to take this examination as far as it will go.
What is this ‘I’ that can turn away from examining the ‘I’?
Where is it?
What is this ‘I’ that wants to maintain the examination constantly and indefinitely?
Would this be possible?

No, seeing the illusion of the self does not mean that the ‘I’-thought will disappear. And not just it won’t disappear, but it is quite unlikely that the identification with the ‘I’-thought won’t arise again. Identification with the ‘I’-thought is a XX years of conditioned habit. BUT, the belief in the existence of a separate self that could own or control life is seen through. The belief disappears, not the occasional identification. And every time it is investigated, it is clearly seen that there has never been a self.
I did the exercise just as you said (even used a timer). The experience without the labels 'I' and 'me' is clearly the truer one. I can begin to see how the thoughts are just labels that overlay what happens regardless of the thoughts.
Very good looking. Thanks for doing the exercises thoroughly.
How ‘mind’ is experienced with the five senses, prior to thoughts?
I don't know. I'm not even sure how to check.
Can the ‘mind’ be found in direct experience, prior to thought? (seeing, hearing, touching/feeling, smelling, tasting)
Or the ‘mind’ is just a thought?

You’ve mentioned that you did some investigation on thoughts previously. Let’s have a look at thoughts then.
I’d like you to sit with this exercise at least 20 minutes. You don’t have to do anything special, only observing thoughts.

Where thoughts are coming from?
Where they are going?
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
Can you choose willingly the next thought that will arise?
Can you choose the content of the next thought?
Can you have only positive thoughts?
Can you find an 'I' that generates the thoughts?
'I think' - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
An arising thought is real, but never its content. Is this true?

(I tend to ask a lot of questions. If you find that it is too much or too fast at a time, then please let me know, we can slow down if it is necessary.)

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:09 am

I've been watching the mental labeling process. I can begin to see that sensation arises naturally on its own. Sometimes the thought or thoughts of 'I' arise and at that time they are overlaid on the top of or collapse onto whatever sensation is arising at that time. The two together seems to create the impression that a controller exists. I can see sometimes how the story or labeling collapses or contracts onto sensation, but sometimes story/contraction happen and I can't identify the story, which makes it sort of confusing. But I'm supposing that's like you say, x years of conditioning, in this case of being ignorant or not examining.
So, when there is no ‘I’ to be found, then what?
Is there a need to do something ‘more’?
Or is it just clearly seen that the ‘I’ cannot be found?
Is there a desire to ‘maintain’ the ‘spaciousness’ or ‘emptiness’?
Would that be possible?
I think that it's more that I'm expecting that there will be this threshold that I'm supposed to cross, and after I have I'll know it, and then I'll be done. And I'm worried that I'll see it, but then it'll just keep going and I won't be able to stop it. Like ever.

Also, I'm acutely aware of nearly every 'I' or 'me' that I type out, and I find I'm constantly suspicious of even the most casual use of them now.
So, can the contraction be the ‘you’ that are doing the reading?
Can the anxiety or heaviness be the ‘you’ that are doing the reading?
No.
Or these are just felt sensations in the body with a mental label of ‘anxiety’ or ‘heaviness’?
Yes.
Yes, it is an unquestioned ASSUMPTION that the sensation in the body is the self. But is this really the case?
No.
When the sensation is labelled with the thought ‘I am’, can they truly become more than what they really are, a real self,
No.
or they are just simply simultaneously arising sensation + a thought with a content ‘I am’?
Just as you've said.
What is this ‘I’ that can turn away from examining the ‘I’?
Where is it?
It must be another thought.
What is this ‘I’ that wants to maintain the examination constantly and indefinitely?
Would this be possible?
No, it's just fear that it's not going to work for me.
Can the ‘mind’ be found in direct experience, prior to thought? (seeing, hearing, touching/feeling, smelling, tasting)
Or the ‘mind’ is just a thought?
It cannot be experienced directly, via the senses. Can the thoughtstream be said to be mind, though? In that sense a mind might exist.
Where thoughts are coming from?
Nowhere that I can find.
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
I can't actually tell. I tried this a few times and it was pretty unpleasant. I can't tell though if I actually ended a thought in the middle or if I just sort of avoided or denied it, while it was still there (which is what I suspect).
Can you choose willingly the next thought that will arise?
No, because there isn't a chooser. There is only the thought/belief "I chose that thought" occurring AFTER the thought has already arisen. What an incredible trick.
Can you choose the content of the next thought?
No. You can only mistakenly believe that you have after the fact.
Can you have only positive thoughts? 'I think' - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
No, and it must be true that you can't only have positive thoughts because I would (and so would everyone else) immediately choose to have only positive thoughts. The thoughts are what they are and come and go as they do regardless of the imagined interference of the supposed self.
Can you find an 'I' that generates the thoughts?
'I think' - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
No. There is only a thought (belief?) that the thought was owned or controlled. The "chooser" or "doer" is thinking about thinking.
An arising thought is real, but never its content. Is this true?
Yes.

I'm beginning to see that there is not a self in the body, controlling the actions of the body, choosing where to go and what to say. Similarly there's not a self in the mind, choosing the thoughts that arrive or their content. I intend to spend more time on these, especially not being the owner of the thoughts, which just sounds unbelievable. But something that's giving me trouble is, if there isn't a self in the body, and there isn't a self in the mind, and if no self can be found anywhere whatsoever, then what is it that's doing this? What's seeking liberation? How is it doing it? Why?

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4757
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:02 am

Hi Brian,
I can begin to see that sensation arises naturally on its own.
What is this ‘I’ that begin to see this?
Sometimes the thought or thoughts of 'I' arise and at that time they are overlaid on the top of or collapse onto whatever sensation is arising at that time.
Yes, thoughts are overlaid ‘on top’ of the sensation, but I don’t understand what you mean by “collapse onto whatever sensation is arising”. Could you please elaborate on this?
What is the difference between an overlay of thoughts and thought collapsing onto the sensation?
I can see sometimes how the story or labeling collapses or contracts onto sensation, but sometimes story/contraction happen and I can't identify the story, which makes it sort of confusing.
What does it mean that story or labelling collapses or contracts onto the sensation?
What is this ‘I’ that can’t identify with the story?
I think that it's more that I'm expecting that there will be this threshold that I'm supposed to cross, and after I have I'll know it, and then I'll be done. And I'm worried that I'll see it, but then it'll just keep going and I won't be able to stop it. Like ever.
Please read carefully these sentences (several times) in this quote again. It starts with: “I THINK…”

So, can this expectation about a threshold be just another thought?
What is this ‘I’ that thinks it?
What is this ‘I’ that supposed to cross that threshold?
Where is it?
What is this ‘I’ that will know it and then it will be done?
Is it possible that these are just other thoughts appearing?
What is an expectation?
What is this ‘I’ that is worried?
What is a worry?

So, here is a BIG expectation with 3 parts: (1) There is a threshold (2) that should be crossed and (3) then you will be done.

(1) There is a threshold: there is no threshold.
(2) That should be crossed: there is nothing to be crossed.
(3) (a) YOU will be done: there is NO ‘you’ at all that could be done or anything. ‘You’ don’t exist.
(b) you will be DONE: this is not a one-time event. This process probably will go on until the end of the organism.
Also, I'm acutely aware of nearly every 'I' or 'me' that I type out, and I find I'm constantly suspicious of even the most casual use of them now.
What is this ‘I’ that is acutely aware of nearly every ‘I’ or ‘me’?
What is this ‘I’ that can turn away from examining the ‘I’ Where is it?
It must be another thought.
Is this a logical conclusion or it is seen clearly?
What is this ‘I’ that wants to maintain the examination constantly and indefinitely? Would this be possible?
No, it's just fear that it's not going to work for me.
What is a fear?

I’d like to ask you to go deep in into this fear. Observe what is happening.

(1) Thoughts come up “I fear that it’s not going to work for me” and
(2) When it is not seen only as an arising thought, but being lost in the content of a thought happens, then the associated emotional response is triggered.
(3) As a result, there are certain bodily sensations that are labelled as ‘fear’.

So, what is the fear in this process?
At first, fear is just the content of an arising thought, not an emotion. Is this true?
Later, when it is believed the conditioned sensation arises and it is labelled as ‘fear’. Is this true?
Is the sensation itself suggests in any way that it is ‘fear’?
Or only thoughts suggest it?
Can the ‘mind’ be found in direct experience, prior to thought? (seeing, hearing, touching/feeling, smelling, tasting). Or the ‘mind’ is just a thought?
It cannot be experienced directly, via the senses. Can the thoughtstream be said to be mind, though? In that sense a mind might exist.
Is there anything outside of the current experiencing?
Does anything exist that cannot be experienced directly?
If yes, how is it known?
Is there a desire for the ‘mind’ to exist?
Is there a thought-stream in direct experience or there is only a currently appearing thought?
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
I can't actually tell. I tried this a few times and it was pretty unpleasant. I can't tell though if I actually ended a thought in the middle or if I just sort of avoided or denied it, while it was still there (which is what I suspect).
How all of this is known?
How is it known that it is avoided or denied while it was still there?
Is it possible that these are just a content of a thought?
Could you please elaborate on that how this was unpleasant?
How unpleasantness is experienced?
Can you choose the content of the next thought?
No. You can only mistakenly believe that you have after the fact.
What is this ‘I’ that can mistakenly believe that it can choose the content of the next thought?
it must be true that you can't only have positive thoughts because I would (and so would everyone else) immediately choose to have only positive thoughts.
How this is known?
No. There is only a thought (belief?) that the thought was owned or controlled.
What is a belief?
But something that's giving me trouble is, if there isn't a self in the body, and there isn't a self in the mind, and if no self can be found anywhere whatsoever, then what is it that's doing this? What's seeking liberation? How is it doing it? Why?
OK, we’ll dig a bit deeper here.

How is it known that there is a mind?
How is it known that there is a body?

Here is an interesting exercise with the body.
With the eyes closed, sitting still, notice the other sensations: hearing, smelling, tasting, touching. With only the input from those four senses, and without relying on thoughts or mental images:

Can you know how tall the body is?
Can you know the weight or the volume of the body?
Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?
In direct experience does the body have a shape or a form?
Is there an inside or outside?
What is the body in direct experience?

Love, Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
bowlington
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:36 pm

Re: Hoping to start a dialogue.

Postby bowlington » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:13 am

Hi Vivien,

I would like to ask, is liberation better than non-liberation?
What is this ‘I’ that begin to see this?
I don't know. I need to spend more time with this.
What is the difference between an overlay of thoughts and thought collapsing onto the sensation?
No difference. Collapsing might not be a good word. It's just what it feels like when an 'I' thought arises and is somehow seemingly attached to a feeling.
What is this ‘I’ that can’t identify with the story?
I don't know. I'm starting to get a bit confused, honestly.

I need a bit more time to consider your other questions. I'll write more tomorrow.


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests