I am looking, help me see clearly please

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rich_merlin
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I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:30 pm

Hello there,

My name is Richard, I am looking for a guide to help me take that next step towards truth.

As a brief : as a child I was always very curious, this was later shaped by a friend who was a follower of a guru in the US and would read to me poems of Rumi, I was also very keen on science and rationality so I ended up studying physics at university.

At university I was somewhat sidetracked in my rational path by experimentation with psychedelics like cannabis mdma and LSD, somewhat influenced by reading Aldus Huxley and Terence Mckena.
This lead to me experiencing a psychological breakdown followed by a time in hospital and a brake from study. I had many interesting/painful/ecstatic/fearful experiences in this time which made me question the consensus reality.

After finishing university I have been working in IT mainly up until 2011 when I went to South America to work in an animal sanctuary with wild cats and monkey, I discovered I really enjoyed the contact with animals, they are very direct.

Since my university days I have been interested in spirituality, on and off, first with Buddhism of various kinds then with advita vedanta type people, and now more generally people's experiences of change. I have recently listen to a number of talks with Ruper Spira who very clearly explains how to see the imaginative existence of the self – I can see this rationally but I have trouble to really accept that understanding as lived experience.

What I would like; I would like to see/know the truth and clearly as I can, I hope this will enable me to be a more genuine creative and helpful in my life.

I look forward to beginning my exploration here,
Many thanks, Richard

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moondog
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:56 pm

Hi Richard,

Thanks for letting me know a bit about yourself and how you've arrived at this point. My name's Pete and I live in Somerset in the UK.

Here are a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that. What time zone are you in?

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/ for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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rich_merlin
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:46 pm

Hi Pete,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post, I live in Hapshire in the UK so I am in the same timezone as you.
You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that. What time zone are you in?
I am happy to agree to post once a day.
Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/ for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)
I have read through the article on direct experience as recomended.
Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.
I have seen the video and understood and accepted the disclaimer.
What are your expectations for this process?


I am not sure what my unconscious expectations are, but my bio might give some some of the ideas of liberation i have picked up. I guess a sort of simpleness of being is what i expect to find.

What is it that you are searching for?


I am looking for happiness, for thankfulness, for beauty/truth and also some understand of this world, the latter part may not be so relevant to this forum. I think seeing clearly is a prerequisite for these things.

How will you know that you found it?


I don't know if/how I will know when i have found it, hence asking for a guide :-)

How will this feel?


Hopefully a little more peaceful, maybe after some time though.

How will this change you?
I hope life can express it's self more freely through me. I would like to develop more courage, i hope finding a grounding in my real being-ness could help that.
Please ask more if i have not been clear.

One thing, whilst reading the experiencing article, i was reminded of an analogy, if one dreams, one create a whole world and a perceiver of that world - from the waking sate, in some sense one was the subject and object of the dream, in the same way i can see that I if i am anything i am the space of perception, of thoughts, sights, sounds, tastes feelings, which include the sense of being.

I am looking at an oak tree now, the leaves are blowing in the wind, the tree is just one part of my field of vision but the movement takes ma attention, it seems like the subject is behind the eyes.

I hope that's not too long winded!

Thanks again, Richard

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moondog
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:37 pm

Hi Richard,

Thanks for accepting me as your guide, and for accepting all the various conditions etc.
I am not sure what my unconscious expectations are, but my bio might give some some of the ideas of liberation i have picked up. I guess a sort of simpleness of being is what i expect to find.
I am looking for happiness, for thankfulness, for beauty/truth and also some understand of this world, the latter part may not be so relevant to this forum. I think seeing clearly is a prerequisite for these things.
I don't know if/how I will know when i have found it, hence asking for a guide :-)
Thanks also for sharing your expectations, parts of which I've quoted above, and your understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a 'you', a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

As I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same. Just so you know, I usually post early to mid afternoon, thought that can sometimes vary and it's all as flexible as we need it to be :)

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.
One thing, whilst reading the experiencing article, i was reminded of an analogy, if one dreams, one create a whole world and a perceiver of that world - from the waking sate, in some sense one was the subject and object of the dream, in the same way i can see that I if i am anything i am the space of perception, of thoughts, sights, sounds, tastes feelings, which include the sense of being.
Yeah, that really resonates with me. It's right in the area that I love to look in.

So excellent stuff. Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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rich_merlin
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:24 pm

Hi Pete,

I appreciate the tips, i am probably of an overly thoughtful bent, but i will try to stick to what is now. I am quite excited to be beginning this investigation. I can also understand that an insight cannot be a state, as a state is time bound.
Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
I have already considered this statement, i can see that very clearly - for example if i think of my last meal, i see that memory comes right now, same with all past and future thinking. I like Alan watts's explanation, that if the big bang happened, what we see now is it, though it is now intricately complex, we are presently part of this explosion.

I can find nothing that does not happen now. That being said i still find myself (though not right now!) preoccupied with past and future events. doh.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all
On the conceptual side - As the quote implies, i see the universe as a process, the bodymind is part of that process and part of that bodymind is the sense of self. I have been taught to think of it as the executive, the doer or chooser. I am sure i have a good deal more concepts attached to the concept of self. Another way i feel it is as the thing stuff happens to, the experiencer. I also identify my self with my physical body.

I am looking at the computer screen now, i hear the noises of the house, the mind is quiet, I can feel the cold and warmth in the body but that's an experience not a self, the same with sounds and sight, though with them there is a sense that there may be an experiencer behind the eyes and between the ears. There is a feeling like i am doing the experience-ing, but that is also not true as i have no agency to do it! I feel a slight tension inside my head, at the back and the top of my head.

I cannot find an entity me, only experiencing. I find a feel of me attached to the sense of being if i am very quiet, if i have more mental activity then the sense of me will be in the thoughts e.g. "i am like this such and such" "i want such and such".

The word me is going through my mind now and does not have much to attach to except to be used as i type. Using the word make the feeling of me appear a bit more 'solid'. When i use the word feeling, i am not sure if it is physical or emotional. The idea that the feeling of being is not mine i do not like. Actually it seems like my most precious possession.

I will leave it there for now,
Enjoy the moon, it's beautiful this evening.
Rich

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moondog
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:17 pm

Hi Rich,
I can find nothing that does not happen now. That being said i still find myself (though not right now!) preoccupied with past and future events. doh.
That's good to know. The tendency to become lost in thoughts of past and future is right at the heart of the illusion of a separate self that we'll be investigating here. I like your reference to Alan Watts. He's always right on the ball.
On the conceptual side - As the quote implies, i see the universe as a process, the bodymind is part of that process and part of that bodymind is the sense of self. I have been taught to think of it as the executive, the doer or chooser. I am sure i have a good deal more concepts attached to the concept of self. Another way i feel it is as the thing stuff happens to, the experiencer. I also identify my self with my physical body.
Ok, that's useful, just to get an idea of where we're starting from, as it were.
I am looking at the computer screen now, i hear the noises of the house, the mind is quiet, I can feel the cold and warmth in the body but that's an experience not a self, the same with sounds and sight, though with them there is a sense that there may be an experiencer behind the eyes and between the ears. There is a feeling like i am doing the experience-ing, but that is also not true as i have no agency to do it! I feel a slight tension inside my head, at the back and the top of my head.
I cannot find an entity me, only experiencing. I find a feel of me attached to the sense of being if i am very quiet, if i have more mental activity then the sense of me will be in the thoughts e.g. "i am like this such and such" "i want such and such".
Nice observations and a good foundation for us to make a start Rich.
The idea that the feeling of being is not mine i do not like. Actually it seems like my most precious possession.
It might help to think of the feeling of being as awareness, that sense of aliveness. That's always right here, right now, in fact it is right now. Strictly metaphorically, the separate self just piggybacks on this Presence, in the form of thoughts, to give it its incredible credibility.

So anyway, my job as your guide during this enquiry will be simply to point out to you where and how to look in direct experience so that you can see for sure for yourself whether there's a separate self-entity anywhere doing or being anything. I really like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area within experience where a separate self might be found.

As you'll have seen, the initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience, which is, as I say, where I'll be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post, and you might want to have another look at that.

As I keep saying, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So, let's start, at last, investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:41 pm

Hi Pete,
It might help to think of the feeling of being as awareness, that sense of aliveness. That's always right here, right now, in fact it is right now. Strictly metaphorically, the separate self just piggybacks on this Presence, in the form of thoughts, to give it its incredible credibility.
This reminds me of something i read; "The lower self is like a thief who sneaks into your house at night to steal whatever is valuable and worthwhile. Turn on the light. The thief who is a coward will then run out."

Further; "Man is compared to a house in which there is a multitude of servants but no master and no steward. The house can be got ready for the arrival of the real steward who will, in his turn, prepare it for the arrival of the master." I read this as the sense of self, the I idea, may not be singular but plural.
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
To business: I am looking (internally silently) at the clouds in the sky, i see a little of my nose, there is certainly no I in my field of vision, i think there is a subtle thought that says 'i must be looking', but i cannot see the seer. If there is a boundary it would be between the 'internal' seer and the 'external' seen, ie between sight and thought. However, within the awareness of vision there is no seer.

The same with sound, i hear a jackdaw, there is awareness of sound and what seems like an active principal that has the capacity to react to the sound, another though. But i hear no hearer, except perhaps a bit of tinnitus which is more or less constant and therefore can seem like it's to do with the process of hearing. Within the awareness of sound the is no hearer, but there are jackdaws!

I am not eating right now so my sense of taste is dormant, defiantly just there, i was not even aware of it until i put my attention on it, it therefore can not be the same as I if it can be there without I. It seems more like an empty space to be filled. I don't appear to have a strong mental association with taste in it's dormant state. I cannot find a taster in the awareness of taste.

With the sense of touch, I can feel my limbs, the seat i am sat on, the inside of my mouth, air in my nostrils, in themselves i can see they are sensations. But they 'feel like me' or 'feel like my body'. The difference between kinaesthetic sensation the feeling of Aliveness and thought-feeling is somewhat indistinct for me. The constant feeling of Aliveness and heat in my body feels like it is me. The sensations are felt, they in themselves are i guess what i am aware of as the process of feeling kinaestheticly, they are pure kinaesthetic awareness. There is a very strong through-feeling of me associated with the bodily awareness, it seem to be pre-verbal. The awareness it's self is not personal though it is very intimate. I cannot find a distinction between what is felt what is feeling (kinaestheticly) and what is the feeler. I could put it like this: I am claiming feeling to be my own. - There is an interesting discrepancy growing between the felt sense of I and how I is used grammatically. I think i need some help here.

As for my sense of smell, which is not that good, it is also fairly dormant right now, so again i was not consciously aware of it until just now, I cannot really smell anything right now, I can feel air in my nose, I claims that sensation, there does not seem to be any sense of I attached to the non-smell however, there is perhaps the slightest smell of the body (not in a stinky way!) but that is background, non-I. So I don't find a smeller in the awareness of smell.

I look forward to hearing back from you Pete,

Many thank, Rich

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:37 am

Hi Rich,
This reminds me of something i read; "The lower self is like a thief who sneaks into your house at night to steal whatever is valuable and worthwhile. Turn on the light. The thief who is a coward will then run out."
Absolutely so.

You certainly seem to have nailed it with sense arisings. Your answers are good and thorough, but it's vital for this process to be sure that there are no doubts or ambiguity.

So, for each of the sense arisings: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling please say, from direct experience, whether you can find a self-entity that is separate from experiencing. Can you find an object that is separate from experiencing? Or is there just experiencing, i.e. hearing, tasting, touching and smelling?

Let's now move on to thoughts and thinking to see if a separate self might be found anywhere there:

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?


All seems to going very well so far Rich. What do you reckon?

Pete x

Ps. I need to be in London for a couple of days from tomorrow morning and so will be offline for a couple of days. I'll be back and ready to respond to you as early as I can on Monday.
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:21 pm

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the message, i have been trying to observe as you instructed, will respond to you you tomorrow as I am also a little busy today.

Hope all goes well in London,

Rich x

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:40 pm

Hi Rich,

I'm just back now, so looking forward to your replies.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:34 am

Hi Pete,

I hope you had a good time in London. I have been enjoying the process so far, I am a little suspicious of my idea(s) of my self though, I have hard many stories of it being a tricky customer. I don't entirely trust my own mind!
So, for each of the sense arising: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling please say, from direct experience, whether you can find a self-entity that is separate from experiencing. Can you find an object that is separate from experiencing? Or is there just experiencing, i.e. hearing, tasting, touching and smelling?
Ah okay, I can smell myself, but my sense of smell does not seem like me, the smell of myself is part of the experience of smelling, in the same way; i can feel my tactile sense are alive but that feeling is just part of the tactile sense experience that gets labeled as me. And actually my tactile sense extends beyond my body, because i can feel for example the heat of object nearby, so the idea that the tactile sense stops at the body is actually just an idea not necessarily a felt experience. So i am happy that there is no separate self to be found in any of the 'sense doors'.

I don't doubt the experience described above, however i can see i am attached to the ideas associated with especial the feeling sense. Also I am not sure how one can distinguish between the sense of aliveness or being you mentioned and feeling of aliveness in the physically sensed experience.
Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?
I have been observing my thoughts this weekend. I would say my thoughts apparently come out of nowhere, in a similar way to the classic light-bulb moment, however most of them are quite dull! Further once an individual thought has arrived it can initiate a chain of thoughts that seem to be connect by a theme. So it sometime seems that one thought follows another and another. Then there are moment when i am looking more consciously at the content of my mind and it will tend to go quite fora while, a thought chain will end.

The question of control is difficult, most of my thoughts are unbidden, however if say you asked me to do some logical reasoning, i would be able to constrain my mind to that task for a while, so i might ask internally in words, "what are two, times two", there is a moment of silence and "four" comes as the answer. So there would seem to be some ability to direct rather but not totally control.

In the same way if i look intently at the content of mind, the mind is silent for as long as i can maintain that attention, which is not all that long! So there seems to be some ability to exert will to stop thought, but once the intention weakens the spontaneous up-welling of thoughts continues.

I don't think it is possible to stop a through in the middle as it seems to be deliver to my conscious awareness as a complete and singular entity. I have seen a chain of thoughts apparently be broken by some sort of distraction or remembrance, but i have not seen an individual though stop half way though.

I do not know what my next though will be, i may be able to make statistically significant guesses depending on my situation, but i do not know no.

The words I, me, mine, myself in my mind and not different to other internal metal-linguistic vocalizations (thoughts), i am not sure that that is the only form of thought though. For example sometimes i think in musical notes or even in pictures, there may be yet subtler forms.

I just moved my hand, without a word in my mind, i pointed my finger at my self at the word 'I' popped into my head, and again this time the word 'me'. The more I look at it the less certain where the boundary of though and perception is, they seem more continuous now.

We could say that though is the naming of stuff.

However going back to the question, the though 'I', say, only seems different from 'table' in that it is more richly connected to other potential thoughts and ideas.

I cannot see that a though can think, it is an object of thinking, a name, a filler for the space of mind. Just as pain is a filler for the space of physical sensation. It can be associated with, but cannot think.

It is funny, the most obvious thing i have noticed is that if i look directly at though it stops, to observe it i have to as it were catch it out of the corner of my eye, relinquish a little the desire to look at though. When i look at though it become quiet but seem to be command-able by the will, so for example i can use it to write these words of description, where as if i stop looking so intently a more associative form of though takes over that is semi-unconscious, more dream-like.

I look forward to your response,

Many thank, Rich

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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:39 pm

Hi Rich,
I hope you had a good time in London. I have been enjoying the process so far, I am a little suspicious of my idea(s) of my self though, I have hard many stories of it being a tricky customer. I don't entirely trust my own mind!
I had a splendid time thanks Rich. I'm pleased that you're enjoying this.

The separate self is really just a thought that says that there's a separate self. It's only a tricky customer if you believe what it says. If it's seen to be just what it is, thought, then literally no problems.
So i am happy that there is no separate self to be found in any of the 'sense doors'.
Excellent.
I am not sure how one can distinguish between the sense of aliveness or being you mentioned and feeling of aliveness in the physically sensed experience.
It's all just part of the same 'thing'. Awareness being aware of being aware. In the former, non-specifically,;in the latter, in relation to particular sense arisings.
Further once an individual thought has arrived it can initiate a chain of thoughts that seem to be connect by a theme. So it sometime seems that one thought follows another and another. Then there are moment when i am looking more consciously at the content of my mind and it will tend to go quite fora while, a thought chain will end.
I know that's the way it might seem, but in direct experience can you see one thought initiating another, or is there just one thought present at any moment? And, who or what is doing this looking anyway?
The question of control is difficult, most of my thoughts are unbidden, however if say you asked me to do some logical reasoning, i would be able to constrain my mind to that task for a while, so i might ask internally in words, "what are two, times two", there is a moment of silence and "four" comes as the answer. So there would seem to be some ability to direct rather but not totally control.
You're referring to the ability to pay attention or concentrate, but when 'you' do either of those, can you find any self-entity actually doing any of that? Or does it just, mysteriously happen?
the same way if i look intently at the content of mind, the mind is silent for as long as i can maintain that attention, which is not all that long! So there seems to be some ability to exert will to stop thought, but once the intention weakens the spontaneous up-welling of thoughts continues.
I agree that, weirdly, when thoughts 'are brought into' awareness, they just kind of disappear/stop. But again, can you find any agency that does any of that, or does it just arise, abide a while and then subside?
i don't think it is possible to stop a through in the middle as it seems to be deliver to my conscious awareness as a complete and singular entity. I have seen a chain of thoughts apparently be broken by some sort of distraction or remembrance, but i have not seen an individual though stop half way though.
I do not know what my next though will be, i may be able to make statistically significant guesses depending on my situation, but i do not know
It's astonishing when thought is seen just for what it is isn't it?k
We could say that thought is the naming of stuff.
I like that. Very succinct.
The thought 'I', say, only seems different from 'table' in that it is more richly connected to other potential thoughts and ideas.
And an I-thought relates to absolutely nothing that exists, whereas, at least conventionally, the thought of a table does.
When i look at though it become quiet but seem to be command-able by the will, so for example i can use it to write these words of description, where as if i stop looking so intently a more associative form of though takes over that is semi-unconscious, more dream-like.
But what is 'the will'? Can you find it in direct experience? Where does the command thought come from? Doesn't it just pop up like other thoughts? When writing, are you aware of any separate agency deciding and then telling you what you should write, or is it instead, a seamless, spontaneous activity

Good answers Rich. And rest assured, my additional queries are just to make sure that this fundamental aspect of experience is truly nailed down.

Pete x

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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rich_merlin
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Tue Oct 14, 2014 4:51 pm

Hi Pete,

It's been a rather damp day, however had a very pleasant short walk in the woods to explore your questions.
Further once an individual thought has arrived it can initiate a chain of thoughts that seem to be connect by a theme. So it sometime seems that one thought follows another and another. Then there are moment when i am looking more consciously at the content of my mind and it will tend to go quite fora while, a thought chain will end.
I know that's the way it might seem, but in direct experience can you see one thought initiating another, or is there just one thought present at any moment? And, who or what is doing this looking anyway?
I am not sure what a single though is, i cannot see a distinction between one though and the other, i can identify moments of no-though in between though. The phase just came to mind, 'its like turning on and off a hose', that it's self seemed like one though to me. The water pouring forth from the hose is no separated from it's self; that being said it is heard like a normal monologue, bound by time, so only one part at a time.

For sure there is only one though being experienced at a time, i don't appear to be able to think in stereo! I cannot see the causation of though so all i can say is that though follows it's self unless that does not happen and thinking stops. Who is doing the thinking, the 'though space', just as the 'visual space' does seeing and 'audio space' does hearing. - I identify myself with the space of though or the ability to think, though i guess it is actually quite impersonal! It is not a separate self it's an ability to 'see' though. I certainly cannot directly control what thoughts appear in the space of my thinking.

I should own up to an idea here, I have the conception or image that thoughts boil up from the unconscious, what ever that black box may be, rather like the bubbles in water on the stove. Which remind me, i don't associate my self with my unconscious, that is the undiscovered country if you will.
The question of control is difficult, most of my thoughts are unbidden, however if say you asked me to do some logical reasoning, i would be able to constrain my mind to that task for a while, so i might ask internally in words, "what are two, times two", there is a moment of silence and "four" comes as the answer. So there would seem to be some ability to direct rather but not totally control.
You're referring to the ability to pay attention or concentrate, but when 'you' do either of those, can you find any self-entity actually doing any of that? Or does it just, mysteriously happen?
I suppose there is no I entity, the idea of 'doing some thing' arises followed by the attention required to do that thing, followed by the thing, then returning back to the emptiness - Whilst I wrote this i just changed position in my chair, I noticed my body doing this completely without my sense of I being involved as it was busy in though! I only noticed half way though the movement. The more I look at my actions the more they look improvised. Another example that springs to mind the playing a piece i know by heart on the piano, I find I cannot abandon my self completely to listening to the music or I will make a mistake, but also if i concentrate too much on getting it right or anticipating where I need to place my fingers the fluidity goes. So there is a sort of degree of self-ness (ie mental feedback) that is required not completely absent but not overly present also - this is probably more concentration.

I have a strong feeling of association with my cognitive faculties, it is like there is something that i call my self that is not though or sensation, it is entirely from another level as it were. Maybe it is the sense of being?

That being said, concentration on looking at it is a process or a tool and not a self, it feel like it is wielded by a self but it is not one.
I agree that, weirdly, when thoughts 'are brought into' awareness, they just kind of disappear/stop. But again, can you find any agency that does any of that, or does it just arise, abide a while and then subside?
As mentioned above, the movements of consciousness into focus to do something then relaxing back into rest are no different to going to the shop. Actually I cannot see where these movements come from, wherever that is it feels like me, however i cannot see it, it is a mystery! I suppose it follows that if i cannot see it, it is not an entity in the subject-object sense.
But what is 'the will'? Can you find it in direct experience? Where does the command thought come from? Doesn't it just pop up like other thoughts? When writing, are you aware of any separate agency deciding and then telling you what you should write, or is it instead, a seamless, spontaneous activity
You are right, the ideas pop up as a forming sentence, just as I write this now, I am joyfully unaware of how I will close this sentence! :-) I suppose the will feels like a contraction of energy or a tension that allows some objective to be reached. Further where there is sustained tension there is often a pain, so it is in a way like labor, creation. I suppose i know no more where my thoughts come from than from where the big bang sprung, maybe it's the same place :-) Yes it does not seem to be time bound, maybe that's why it cant be seen.

Any way, that is quite enough speculation!

Thank again, Rich

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moondog
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby moondog » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:06 am

Hi Rich,
Who is doing the thinking, the 'though space', just as the 'visual space' does seeing and 'audio space' does hearing. - I identify myself with the space of though or the ability to think, though i guess it is actually quite impersonal! It is not a separate self it's an ability to 'see' though. I certainly cannot directly control what thoughts appear in the space of my thinking.
Good, and yes, it is impersonal. The way we normally use the word sounds quite cold, but here it's not that at all. There's nothing to be found directing thinking (or anything for that matter) is there?
I should own up to an idea here, I have the conception or image that thoughts boil up from the unconscious, what ever that black box may be, rather like the bubbles in water on the stove. Which remind me, i don't associate my self with my unconscious, that is the undiscovered country if you will.
Yeah, I've always liked that image.
I suppose there is no I entity, the idea of 'doing some thing' arises followed by the attention required to do that thing, followed by the thing, then returning back to the emptiness - Whilst I wrote this i just changed position in my chair, I noticed my body doing this completely without my sense of I being involved as it was busy in though! I only noticed half way though the movement. The more I look at my actions the more they look improvised.
Good observing. Improvising, but with no improviser.
I have a strong feeling of association with my cognitive faculties, it is like there is something that i call my self that is not though or sensation, it is entirely from another level as it were. Maybe it is the sense of being?
The sense of there being a separate self just seems to piggyback on the ever-present sense of being, using thought and bodily sensation to give it its strong energy, potency and seductiveness.
That being said, concentration on looking at it is a process or a tool and not a self, it feel like it is wielded by a self but it is not one.
Again, this feeling is based on thought/sensation but, as you've seen, with no self- entity to be found.
You are right, the ideas pop up as a forming sentence, just as I write this now, I am joyfully unaware of how I will close this sentence! :-) I suppose the will feels like a contraction of energy or a tension that allows some objective to be reached. Further where there is sustained tension there is often a pain, so it is in a way like labor, creation. I suppose i know no more where my thoughts come from than from where the big bang sprung, maybe it's the same place :-) Yes it does not seem to be time bound, maybe that's why it cant be seen.
Thoughts are just a total mystery, and trying to figure them out just involves more thoughts! Anyway, what you've seen thoroughly and clearly Rich is that there's no self, no thinker, of thoughts. Just thinking.

Let's move on to looking to see whether separate self can be found anywhere in doing things: acting and controlling.

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.

Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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rich_merlin
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Re: I am looking, help me see clearly please

Postby rich_merlin » Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:49 pm

Hi Pete,
Good, and yes, it is impersonal. The way we normally use the word sounds quite cold, but here it's not that at all. There's nothing to be found directing thinking (or anything for that matter) is there?
I think it is not personal because it come from outside the personal sphere, the space of though awareness - even in a conversation with a friend the is obviously true, perhaps we don't always notice when the conversation is internal the same things happens.
It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?
I can be walking and "doing nothing" as the apparent me entity, just watching the movements, but there is a certain requirement for presence of mind in order to not trip on obstacles, i suppose it is not a personal thing, but it is focus/concentration again. A similar example is when one is absorbed in conversation with a friend whilst walking, one is hardly present to the journey, all of a sudden your destination shows up.
How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.
So again there does not need to be a me entity to do these things, but the attention when i observe consciously seems to bring the me with it - as we have investigated it is a sort of feeling of me rather than a separate entity that can be found. I was just eating and i did not have to put any though into the movement of my jaw, it is a learned bodily action, the only movement was of the mind to that spaces of sensation, sound and taste. If i try and push too much at the conscious doer, I feel a subtle anxiousness regarding not being in control (or learning there of) as well as a sort of vertiginous longing to completely abandon control.
Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?
There may be a sense of premeditation to some of things I do, however they them selves do seem to have either an automatic or improvised quality which does not need a do present to initiate them. For example here, i am trying to match my felt sense of being as accurately as possible to language and not really concentrating on spelling words or typing on the keyboard, though none the less this mix of complex tasks are taking place. And the matching it's self looks like a spontaneous process, pulling words out of the air as it were. So no I cannot find a doer, but the feeling of me doing is there, this must be the I though riding on being.

I hope you having a great day.

Speak soon, Rich


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