Asking for a guide

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MVL
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Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:03 am

Hi, I would like the help of a guide.
I've read quite a few threads on here and other things on this site. I've also watched videos of Rupert Spira and Francis Lucille and read Rupert Spira's books. For a few months, on and off, I’ve been investigating the existence or non-existence of “I” and, like so many other people who come here asking for help, I’m at the stage where intellectually I can accept that there is no separation and I can see that there is no I whenever I look, but when not looking, the feeling of I is still very much there. When I look to see what or where this I could be, I find nothing, just experiencing, thoughts and sensations. But as soon as I return to “normal life”, “I” is back with a vengeance. I’ve been playing this game for long enough now, it’s time to ask for guidance or give up.
As for my expectations – ultimately, I would like the permanent feeling of oneness, happiness and universal love that Spira and Lucille talk about. But I know that that is quite a few steps ahead and I’m quite willing to accept that it will require more “looking” and “time” to get there (or that perhaps it will even never happen at all). For now, I’d be happy just to see clearly that there is never ever a “me” and to not be a slave to my feelings and thoughts.
So, can a non existent someone try to lead this non existent I through the non existent gate?
I will do my best to post at least once a day, but sometimes this may be difficult. I’m in Central European time zone, if that helps.
Looking forward to connecting with “my” guide.
Maja

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Alexw
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:44 am

Dear Maja,

My name is Alex, and I am happy to guide you.

If you agree we will have a conversation, the aim of which will be for you to make the realisation that there is no separate 'self'. I will ask various questions and set you some exercises - but don't worry 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. 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.

Some technical support:

- You can reply to this thread by pushing the purple-orange coloured button 'Post Reply" at the left bottom of this page.
- You can learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660
- Please click the 'subscribe topic' link at the very bottom of the page to ensure you get an email whenever a reply comes in.

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

To get started, please let me know how you see yourself. What are "you"?
The standard view is that "I" refers to a person. An existing thing - a body/mind.
The body is "me". The thoughts are "mine".
The body is controlled by me and choices can be made by me.
What is your view? Write what comes up.

Regards,
Alex

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MVL
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:44 am

To get started, please let me know how you see yourself. What are "you"?
The standard view is that "I" refers to a person. An existing thing - a body/mind.
The body is "me". The thoughts are "mine".
The body is controlled by me and choices can be made by me.
What is your view? Write what comes up.
Dear Alex,

Thank you so much for your reply.
I have read the introduction and the rules and agree to them.
Now to your questions.
If I answer quickly, without really looking, I see exactly what you say. A body/mind. That is still the pervasive feeling as I go about my life. However, if I close my eyes and look at me, I can’t find anything that I could say is a me, or a separate entity. There is empty space. There are sensations (but no body), there are feelings, there are thoughts. It doesn’t feel like there is any control over any of this, all these things just come and go. If I look for a “generator” of them, I can’t find one, just nothingness in which things appear and disappear. As soon as I open my eyes, there I am again. If I look closer with my eyes open, I can’t find a me as such, other than the body that is seen and again the thoughts and sensations that seem to belong to this body or the assumed mind in it, but are not necessarily produced by it. They just appear in it.
This is what I see whilst answering this. It’s a busy day today, when things are quieter, there seems to be less awareness of a “me” and more of that boundless empty stillness.
Does that give you an idea of where I’m at?
Regards,
Maja

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Alexw
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:28 am

Great observations! What you are describing is what we call direct experience - looking at this experience in a direct/unbiased way without believing what thought might have to say about it. This is a great tool to see through many believes.
However, if I close my eyes and look at me, I can’t find anything that I could say is a me, or a separate entity. There is empty space. There are sensations (but no body), there are feelings, there are thoughts.
Yes, well seen. No separate entity to be found... but still you seem to be looking at sensations, feelings and thoughts from a "me" point of view... When you close your eyes and listen, is there an entity "listener" to be found that is separate from the sound? Or is there only sound - no entity producing the sound and no entity receiving the sound?
Is there an entity "doing the looking" or is there only looking?
Isn't it only a thought saying that a "you" is doing the looking/hearing/feeling/thinking? Is thought right about that?
As soon as I open my eyes, there I am again. If I look closer with my eyes open, I can’t find a me as such, other than the body that is seen and again the thoughts and sensations that seem to belong to this body or the assumed mind in it, but are not necessarily produced by it. They just appear in it.
Sit down and put your hand on the desk in front of you. Look at it. What is direct experience of "looking at hand"? What makes it a "hand" or even "my hand"? Does the pure sensation of seeing contain the information "hand"? What is direct experience of "seeing"?
I’m at the stage where intellectually I can accept that there is no separation and I can see that there is no I whenever I look, but when not looking, the feeling of I is still very much there. When I look to see what or where this I could be, I find nothing, just experiencing, thoughts and sensations. But as soon as I return to “normal life”, “I” is back with a vengeance.
OK, so when you look at this experience you find no entity "I/me". And then when "normal life" returns, the "I" returns... What is "normal life"? In which way is it different to the "state of looking"? Could it be that what you call "normal life" is the time when you are caught up in thought? Being in a state where experience is nearly completely covered up by thought ABOUT the experience?
What adds the concept of an "I/me" to experience... What turns "seeing" into "I am seeing" and "hearing" into "I am hearing"..? Look - what do you find?

By the way:
The "sense of self" is not a bad thing at all - it is actually pretty important for navigating daily life. What would happen if there would be absolutely no sense of self - no sense of separation? Would you see the approaching bus as a threat when you step onto the road? Do you see that the embodiment of certain "parts" of this experience can be quite useful? Again, this does not mean that you have to believe in the existence of a separate entity "I/me"...

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MVL
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:15 am

Great observations! What you are describing is what we call direct experience - looking at this experience in a direct/unbiased way without believing what thought might have to say about it. This is a great tool to see through many believes.
Thank you , Alex, I’m glad you approve of my way of looking.
Yes, well seen. No separate entity to be found... but still you seem to be looking at sensations, feelings and thoughts from a "me" point of view... When you close your eyes and listen, is there an entity "listener" to be found that is separate from the sound? Or is there only sound - no entity producing the sound and no entity receiving the sound?
Is there an entity "doing the looking" or is there only looking?
Isn't it only a thought saying that a "you" is doing the looking/hearing/feeling/thinking? Is thought right about that?
You’re right, there is a “me point of view”. I’ve tried seeing whether there is a listener and a looker that are separate from the heard and the seen, and my resistance became obvious. Ever since I’ve asked for a guide, the resistance has been growing. There’s this voice saying, 'oh, don’t do this, it’s pointless, what do you need this for, you’ll just be isolated because people around you won’t see the world as you do and you’ll be considered a weirdo'. And when I try doing the direct pointing, the sense of me is stronger than it has been.
Sit down and put your hand on the desk in front of you. Look at it. What is direct experience of "looking at hand"? What makes it a "hand" or even "my hand"? Does the pure sensation of seeing contain the information "hand"? What is direct experience of "seeing"?
I did the exercise. No, the pure sensation of seeing does not contain the information hand, it is a thought, the story of me and human beings and memories that tell me it is a hand. Direct experience is just seeing objects, which are given names by what I assume are thoughts, but the thoughts label the objects without “my” direct awareness that it’s thoughts doing it, which confuses me. Let me add that there’s also a feeling of pressure and fear inside when I do this, like resistance to what I might see if I really look.
OK, so when you look at this experience you find no entity "I/me". And then when "normal life" returns, the "I" returns... What is "normal life"? In which way is it different to the "state of looking"? Could it be that what you call "normal life" is the time when you are caught up in thought? Being in a state where experience is nearly completely covered up by thought ABOUT the experience?
What adds the concept of an "I/me" to experience... What turns "seeing" into "I am seeing" and "hearing" into "I am hearing"..? Look - what do you find?
Yes, you’re right, in normal life I am caught up in thought, identifying with what the thoughts are telling me. This happens at a very subtle level though, it’s difficult to see that it’s thoughts doing it, the body just does things, it’s all automatic. ... OK, I’ll leave all that I’ve written, it may help someone else reading this, but there’s been a breakthrough when I typed this. I started crying for no apparent reason as it became so clear that it’s all automatic, there’s no me. Thank you, Alex!
But who is crying and who is seeing that there’s no me? Is it just subtle thoughts producing emotions and sensations in the body? I wasn’t aware of any thoughts. Can thoughts appear outside of awareness? My experience tells me no. But then if I start crying for no apparent reason, with no preceding thought that would warrant crying, where does the crying come from? Oh, I don’t know. The seen and the heard now seem much closer (to who or what?), but there is still a bit of a distance and separation.
The "sense of self" is not a bad thing at all - it is actually pretty important for navigating daily life. What would happen if there would be absolutely no sense of self - no sense of separation? Would you see the approaching bus as a threat when you step onto the road? Do you see that the embodiment of certain "parts" of this experience can be quite useful? Again, this does not mean that you have to believe in the existence of a separate entity "I/me"...
Yes, in practical terms, I can see how the sense of me is absolutely essential for survival (of who?). I just don’t know how deep this sense of me is in those that have seen there’s no them? Do you ever forget that there’s no you as you go about your daily life?
Is 'there’s no me' just a thought as well? Another thought that keeps coming up is am I just changing one belief for another? Is my experience resulting from direct pointing real or is it just directed by yet another set of thoughts, leading to another belief? If at some point the idea of a separate self could have been bought into by “me” for whatever reason, why can’t the opposite be true, that I’m now buying into the idea of a no self? But the room does look different now, much, much closer.
I’m sorry, this is all a bit confusing. I don’t know what time zone you’re in, I’m GMT+1. I have a feeling your night is my day and you won’t see this until my night. Anyway, I’ll probably not be able to write any more today and I’m out all day tomorrow, Sunday. But I will definitely respond on Monday if not before. I’m really looking forward to your reply, I know you can see where I need to be prodded and I’m so grateful that you’ve answered my request. And then the question comes up, but if there is no me and no Alex, who's doing the prodding and who is prodded? Someone obviously is. Grrrr. All these questions and just one possible answer: a very convincing illusion. Feeling sad and deflated. And a thought rises 'but seeing this is supposed to make you feel happy and it isn't, just go back to normal' . Grrrr again.
Bye for now.

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:32 am

No, the pure sensation of seeing does not contain the information hand, it is a thought, the story of me and human beings and memories that tell me it is a hand.
Yes, well seen! What is the "me" that thought is telling this to? Where does it point to? Is there an entity that is pointed at or is there only another thought?
Direct experience is just seeing objects, which are given names by what I assume are thoughts, but the thoughts label the objects without “my” direct awareness that it’s thoughts doing it, which confuses me.
What is an "object"? Can there be objects if there is no subject doing the seeing? Have another look. Put another "object" onto the table - an orange or a cup - and look... what is direct experience of "seeing a cup"? What makes it a cup and what is there before it is a cup?
Also, can thoughts do anything? Do they make anything happen or do they simply arise and vanish? Do they arise to a "you" or are they simply there?
I started crying for no apparent reason as it became so clear that it’s all automatic, there’s no me.
Yes, it can be a bit of a shock to see that life just happens - to no one in particular. Just life flowing. It seems to be completely contrary to what we have been told and how we have been living our life so far... Does that scare you?
But who is crying and who is seeing that there’s no me? Is it just subtle thoughts producing emotions and sensations in the body?
Can thoughts produce emotions or sensations? Or is it the other way round? A sensations happens and thought labels and conceptualises the sensation? Have another look...
Can thoughts appear outside of awareness?
You tell me? Can anything appear outside of awareness? If so, to whom? Is it "your" awareness? If you think so then please describe the "you" that it belongs to...
The seen and the heard now seem much closer (to who or what?), but there is still a bit of a distance and separation.
Yes, good question, "closer to what"? How close or far away is a sound or a color that you are seeing? Is the information of distance encoded in the perception itself or is it an afterthought that comes up with this information/story?
Is 'there’s no me' just a thought as well? Another thought that keeps coming up is am I just changing one belief for another? Is my experience resulting from direct pointing real or is it just directed by yet another set of thoughts, leading to another belief? If at some point the idea of a separate self could have been bought into by “me” for whatever reason, why can’t the opposite be true, that I’m now buying into the idea of a no self?
Very good question! Yes, this happens a lot - after the belief in a separate self has been seen through the "mind" wants a new identity to find a foothold. "No I" seems perfect, right? It can just as much be a belief as the "separate self".
The problem is that the mind only works in opposites - in duality. It requires concepts and labels to do its job. It is not the right tool to know what you are - you can only understand/conceptualise what you are NOT.
So, yes, don't identify with "No I" - it is as much a concept as the separate self... Do you see that?
Do you ever forget that there’s no you as you go about your daily life?
Depends how you define "you"... If "you" is simply BEING - life itself - then no - how could you forget and what would it be that forgets? "Forgetting" does not exist - "forgetting" is again more something like "being caught up in thought" - you can't forget what you are it can only be veiled...

By the way, yes you are right, I am on the other side of the planet... Australia...

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:08 am

Adding on to the part about "forgetting that there is no you": On the other side you might find that embodiment increases. When you are not "caught in thought" - do you feel more alive? Do sensations seem to be closer, more "real"?

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:36 am

What is the "me" that thought is telling this to? Where does it point to? Is there an entity that is pointed at or is there only another thought?
Just another thought, when looked, there’s no entity there.
What is an "object"? Can there be objects if there is no subject doing the seeing? Have another look. Put another "object" onto the table - an orange or a cup - and look... what is direct experience of "seeing a cup"? What makes it a cup and what is there before it is a cup?
This is where I hit a block. An object is the thing seen, even before it’s labeled by thought, it’s something with a shape and colour, etc. I have a real problem with this, lots of resistance. Surely, the very concepts of seeing/hearing/sensing imply that there is a seer/hearer/senser and an image/noise/sensation. Otherwise we can’t talk about seeing, hearing, sensing, maybe about experiencing, but even that implies some-thing that is experienced. I can maybe see that the hearing and the noise are one and the same, but not seeing. Seeing and sensing is what creates a separate me. I’ve had an emotional weekend, no sleep last night, all sorts of feelings there. Whilst there was no perception of a me-creator of these feelings, there was a distinct feeling that there was an “I” feeling them and suffering because of them, although when looked, the “I” could not be found in any shape or form. But the feeling of a suffering me persists.
Also, can thoughts do anything? Do they make anything happen or do they simply arise and vanish? Do they arise to a "you" or are they simply there?
Thoughts do simply arise and vanish, that’s clear. They do seem to make things happen, though – the thought ‘I’ll have a drink of water’ is followed by the action of getting a glass of water and drinking it. Or, when the thought ‘my beloved aunt is dead’ appears, even if it is preceded by peace, is followed by a contraction in the body, feelings of sadness, anxiety, regrets, etc.
Yes, it can be a bit of a shock to see that life just happens - to no one in particular. Just life flowing. It seems to be completely contrary to what we have been told and how we have been living our life so far... Does that scare you?
At some level, there must be some fear in connection with the concept of no “I”, although looked at rationally, the possibility of no “I” feels like a relief, but the sheer fact of me being here and talking to you indicates that there's a hindrance to seeing clearly.
Can thoughts produce emotions or sensations? Or is it the other way round? A sensations happens and thought labels and conceptualises the sensation? Have another look
Like I said above, sometimes thoughts produce feelings and at other times feelings produce thoughts.
You tell me? Can anything appear outside of awareness? If so, to whom? Is it "your" awareness? If you think so then please describe the "you" that it belongs to...
No, nothing can appear outside awareness. But there is a feeling that there's this big, all encompassing awareness, a bit of which is mine. That is the feeling I have, I know it doesn't make sense.
Yes, good question, "closer to what"? How close or far away is a sound or a color that you are seeing? Is the information of distance encoded in the perception itself or is it an afterthought that comes up with this information/story?
Intellectually, what you are saying is seen, but not experientially. Again, when looking, the distance seems very real.
Very good question! Yes, this happens a lot - after the belief in a separate self has been seen through the "mind" wants a new identity to find a foothold. "No I" seems perfect, right? It can just as much be a belief as the "separate self".
The problem is that the mind only works in opposites - in duality. It requires concepts and labels to do its job. It is not the right tool to know what you are - you can only understand/conceptualise what you are NOT.
So, yes, don't identify with "No I" - it is as much a concept as the separate self... Do you see that?
Yes, absolutely, I see that the concept of “no I”, without experiencing this through and through, is just a concept. This is precisely the reason I’ve asked to be guided, there was a feeling that the mind was playing the game of “ok, if I seemingly give in and go along with this "no I", she’ll stop doing this and things will go back to normal, with me still running the show”.
Depends how you define "you"... If "you" is simply BEING - life itself - then no - how could you forget and what would it be that forgets? "Forgetting" does not exist - "forgetting" is again more something like "being caught up in thought" - you can't forget what you are it can only be veiled...
In this case, the “you” referred to you, Alex, I was just asking about your personal experience. But on reflection, it’s probably better to know as little as possible how things are on the other side of the “gate” as there’s the danger that “my” experience will be different from “yours”, but there will be these expectations that won’t be fulfilled, or that the mind will play its tricks and somehow “create” the “right” kind of experience that will be false.
On the other side you might find that embodiment increases. When you are not "caught in thought" - do you feel more alive? Do sensations seem to be closer, more "real"?
Hm, I’ve had fleeting moments of this, but very short lived.

Thank you again, Alex, it feels like I’ll be a hard nut to crack, sorry!

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:03 am

I can maybe see that the hearing and the noise are one and the same, but not seeing. Seeing and sensing is what creates a separate me.
Are you sure... How is "seeing and sensing" doing that?
Have another look at the cup on a desk exercise. Take some time, sit down and relax and simply look at the cup (or any other fairly simple object). Describe the experience of "looking at cup". Is there a difference between the pure perception of "seeing" and what thought says about it? Where does the "separate me" come from? Is it in the function of "seeing" itself? Where is it?
You can do the same for physical sensations. Close your eyes and focus on sensations that seemingly come from a specific part of your body - your hands or feet or head... Again look only at the sensation. Does the sensation itself have any properties? Or are they all added by thought about the sensation?
Thoughts do simply arise and vanish, that’s clear. They do seem to make things happen, though – the thought ‘I’ll have a drink of water’ is followed by the action of getting a glass of water and drinking it.
Yes, ok, they arise and vanish. The thought ‘I’ll have a drink of water’ might SEEM like it is doing that, but then again... it simply arises, right... it is not generated by a controlling entity... is it?
Try this exercise:
Do this a few times first: Simply think of a number between 1 and 10. How does this work? Is there an entity there to decide which number comes up or is it simply appearing? Do this about 10 times and note what happens.
Now do the same, but after the number appears move the same number of fingers. Again, do this about 10 times. Can you find an entity that controls the movement of the fingers? What is the connection between the number thought and the movement of the fingers? Is there any besides another thought stating "I decided to choose the number 5 so I moved 5 fingers"? Where is the "thinker"? Where is the "mover"? Do any of these entities exist outside of thought?
At some level, there must be some fear in connection with the concept of no “I”, although looked at rationally, the possibility of no “I” feels like a relief, but the sheer fact of me being here and talking to you indicates that there's a hindrance to seeing clearly.
The "me" and "you" you are referring to are your concepts of your and my "body/mind", right? I know this is hard to grasp as you are used to experiencing as this entity "body/mind", but what if "you" are not the "body/mind" and there is only THIS experience. And "body/mind" is only a "part" of THIS (the division only coming from conceptual thought)? Have a look at "your body"... Please close your eyes and describe direct experience of "body". Is there a solid entity body or are there only changing sensations that thought labels "tingling in my hand" or "pressure behind my eyes"? Open your eyes and look again. Is there anything else than color in certain shapes that thought labels "my hand"?
Hm, I’ve had fleeting moments of this, but very short lived.
Try to actively notice when these moments happen. Try to be mindful of them. Try to remain actively aware of experience (of sense perception as well as of thoughts) - and try not to drift away on the constant current of thought... Do this as often as you can throughout your day...

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:39 am

This I that isn’t there is feeling pretty bad today. Another almost sleepless night, spent looking at the busy traffic of thoughts, sensations and images that were popping up. There wasn’t a story, just these things appearing and disappearing at random. No body could be found, just localized sensations and feelings. No mind could be found, just thoughts. But who was and is feeling so lousy? Because it feels like there is someone or something that is changed by thoughts, sensations and feelings – someone that feels happy and good when the thoughts, sensations and feelings are positive, but when they’re bad, he or she or it feels horrible. I know what you’ll say – it’s just another thought labeling things as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. And it would be so good if this could be accepted instead of resisted by this someone or something that isn’t anywhere to be found.
Have another look at the cup on a desk exercise. Take some time, sit down and relax and simply look at the cup (or any other fairly simple object). Describe the experience of "looking at cup". Is there a difference between the pure perception of "seeing" and what thought says about it? Where does the "separate me" come from? Is it in the function of "seeing" itself? Where is it?
I did a lot of looking at objects yesterday and today. I can see that the seeing, the object and the thought appear in the same space and are basically made of the same substance, for want of a better word, but the feeling that the seeing is done by the eyes and that the object is at a distance from the eyes, solid and firm, is also still strongly present.
You can do the same for physical sensations. Close your eyes and focus on sensations that seemingly come from a specific part of your body - your hands or feet or head... Again look only at the sensation. Does the sensation itself have any properties? Or are they all added by thought about the sensation?
No, sensations don’t have properties, the description and evaluation of a sensation come from a thought. As “I” do this exercise, there’s a contraction in the chest that the thought interprets as slight panic.
Yes, ok, they arise and vanish. The thought ‘I’ll have a drink of water’ might SEEM like it is doing that, but then again... it simply arises, right... it is not generated by a controlling entity... is it?
No, a thought is not generated by an entity, that much is perfectly clear.
Is there any besides another thought stating "I decided to choose the number 5 so I moved 5 fingers"? Where is the "thinker"? Where is the "mover"? Do any of these entities exist outside of thought?
Did the exercise. Numbers just popped up, as did fingers. No controller, just a thought stating the number and saying “l must now move 3 fingers. Which ones shall I move? OK, these 3.” No entities outside of thought.
The "me" and "you" you are referring to are your concepts of your and my "body/mind", right?
Right.
I know this is hard to grasp as you are used to experiencing as this entity "body/mind", but what if "you" are not the "body/mind" and there is only THIS experience. And "body/mind" is only a "part" of THIS (the division only coming from conceptual thought)?
This is precisely what “I” cannot get to and have been stuck on for months. If I do individual exercises, all is clear. I close my eyes, feel where my body is and can’t find it, only sensations. I now looked at my body, like you told me, and yes, before thought’s interpretation there are just shapes and colours. I’m really not trying to be obtuse here, but even whilst seeing this, there’s a sense of this being a separate me rather than a part of a larger experience. There's still 'me' against her or him or it out there. It may be only a thought, but this thought feels much more real than it all being part of the experience.
Try to actively notice when these moments happen. Try to be mindful of them. Try to remain actively aware of experience (of sense perception as well as of thoughts) - and try not to drift away on the constant current of thought... Do this as often as you can throughout your day...
Will do.

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Wed Oct 15, 2014 1:08 am

looking at the busy traffic of thoughts, sensations and images that were popping up. There wasn’t a story, just these things appearing and disappearing at random. No body could be found, just localized sensations and feelings. No mind could be found, just thoughts.
OK, well seen.
But who was and is feeling so lousy? Because it feels like there is someone or something that is changed by thoughts, sensations and feelings – someone that feels happy and good when the thoughts, sensations and feelings are positive, but when they’re bad, he or she or it feels horrible. I know what you’ll say – it’s just another thought labeling things as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. And it would be so good if this could be accepted instead of resisted by this someone or something that isn’t anywhere to be found.
What exactly is a "feeling"? Have a good look... is there a certain physical sensation, a contraction in the abdomen or pressure behind the eyes..? Is this sensation itself good or bad?
I know what you’ll say – it’s just another thought labeling things as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. And it would be so good if this could be accepted instead of resisted by this someone or something that isn’t anywhere to be found.
Haha... yes, you are right, it is only thought labelling, but look at how you deal with these thoughts. Acceptance or resistance are both something that someone would be actively doing, right? Who would be doing this? Try to react in the way your "real self" would react to these thoughts - not at all. Simple see them and let them pass - invest no energy then identification with thought will crumble...
I did a lot of looking at objects yesterday and today. I can see that the seeing, the object and the thought appear in the same space and are basically made of the same substance, for want of a better word, but the feeling that the seeing is done by the eyes and that the object is at a distance from the eyes, solid and firm, is also still strongly present.
It is fine that there is the feeling/sense of subject and object that are in a certain relation to each other (distance etc) - you don't want to get rid of this sense.
What you have to look at is if you can find any borders between a seer and the seen. Are there any entities that can be identified or is there only seeing? You mentioned that seer and seen are "made of the same substance" and appear in the same space... What do you think this space/substance is? Do you have another name for it?
Did the exercise. Numbers just popped up, as did fingers. No controller, just a thought stating the number and saying “l must now move 3 fingers. Which ones shall I move? OK, these 3.” No entities outside of thought.
Well done! I guess I know what you want to say, but please explain what you mean with "No entities outside of thought"?
I now looked at my body, like you told me, and yes, before thought’s interpretation there are just shapes and colours. I’m really not trying to be obtuse here, but even whilst seeing this, there’s a sense of this being a separate me rather than a part of a larger experience. There's still 'me' against her or him or it out there.
Do you expect that SEEING that there is no separate self completely removes the "sense of self"? How would you function in this world? With "sense of self" I am referring to parts of this experience that are embodied and conventionally labelled as your body/mind. I am not saying that there really is a self that is separate from this experience, but only that it is a very convenient concept that works well in daily life as a human being.
The best you can do is to not expect anything specific to happen - don't chase after temporary spiritual experiences - the more you look for a special experience the harder you will make it for yourself to SEE.

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MVL
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:31 pm

What exactly is a "feeling"? Have a good look... is there a certain physical sensation, a contraction in the abdomen or pressure behind the eyes..? Is this sensation itself good or bad?
Yes, a “feeling” is a physical sensation, in my case usually a contraction in my chest. I suppose the sensation itself is neither good nor bad, it’s the thought that labels it as such.
Acceptance or resistance are both something that someone would be actively doing, right? Who would be doing this? Try to react in the way your "real self" would react to these thoughts - not at all. Simple see them and let them pass - invest no energy then identification with thought will crumble...
I'll try and practice reacting in the way you describe. But the problem is that even when it feels like there’s no thought labeling them, these feelings still persist rather than pass. Haha, but the mere fact that I’m noticing their persistence implies that there must be a sneaky thought somewhere, labeling them as unwanted, if this wasn’t the case, their persistence wouldn’t be a “problem”.
It is fine that there is the feeling/sense of subject and object that are in a certain relation to each other (distance etc) - you don't want to get rid of this sense.
I’m glad to hear that that’s fine.
What you have to look at is if you can find any borders between a seer and the seen. Are there any entities that can be identified or is there only seeing? You mentioned that seer and seen are "made of the same substance" and appear in the same space...
That’s another thing that needs a bit more “work” on. The borders are still there. A slight sense of an entity “laptop” and entity “me”, whereby “me” has no solidity, there’s just something lurking at the back of my head or at the front of my head and as soon as I look closer, it moves or disappears, but “laptop” does have a solidity to it Have been looking at touching a “solid object” with my eyes closed and noticed there’s just a sensation where my finger touches the table, when I look beyond the sensation, there’s again just this same emptiness as everywhere else. But when I open my eyes, “seeing” the solidity of objects becomes very strong again.
What do you think this space/substance is? Do you have another name for it?
Another name for this space/substance that I’ve picked up in my readings, which resonates with me most, is presence or awareness.
but please explain what you mean with "No entities outside of thought"?
This was just a reply to your question whether there were any entities of the “thinker” or the “mover” during the numbers exercise. I couldn't find either of those.
Do you expect that SEEING that there is no separate self completely removes the "sense of self"? How would you function in this world? With "sense of self" I am referring to parts of this experience that are embodied and conventionally labelled as your body/mind. I am not saying that there really is a self that is separate from this experience, but only that it is a very convenient concept that works well in daily life as a human being.
The best you can do is to not expect anything specific to happen - don't chase after temporary spiritual experiences - the more you look for a special experience the harder you will make it for yourself to SEE.
No, again, I see that a certain degree of a sense of self must remain in order to function. But I suppose there are certain expectations, fuelled also by having read other people’s experiences on this site. Someone, for example, talked about an implosion, others say that things are the same, but different, that thoughts/sensations/feelings become less sticky, easier to ignore. And people seem happy and in awe when they “see the truth”. None of this applies to me. Thoughts and feelings still very much stick to me and I’m not happy in that permanent, no-reason-happy way.

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:11 am

Have been looking at touching a “solid object” with my eyes closed and noticed there’s just a sensation where my finger touches the table, when I look beyond the sensation, there’s again just this same emptiness as everywhere else. But when I open my eyes, “seeing” the solidity of objects becomes very strong again.
Can "seeing" by itself provide any information about the solidity of an object? What do you think about this equation: "seeing" = ''color"?
Everything on top of color is thought about seeing.
Of course it is great that this information is added to seeing as otherwise you could not distinguish a tree from the sky, but what makes the tree a tree? What makes the laptop a laptop? What tells you that one object is in front of another one? Is it seeing or conceptual thought?
Another name for this space/substance that I’ve picked up in my readings, which resonates with me most, is presence or awareness.
OK, great - lets use the label "awareness" for a while...
Lets start with this statement: "I am aware of X" (whereas X can be basically any object, phenomenon and even sound, smell or thought)
This sentence reflects our normal way of looking at life. There is a separate entity "I" - the subject - that is aware of separate objects or phenomena. The subject has its own awareness and many other subjects/objects have their separate awarenesses, right?
This is the concept of us and our awareness(es), but is it in any way based on direct experience? Or is it based on a (fictional) entity "I" that has its own life, a body and mind and freedom to do and decide and choose?

1) Can you find this separate entity "I" that owns its separate awareness? If so, how is it experienced? Can it be found anywhere outside of thought stating that "parts of this experience" is a "me/self"? What are these "parts"? Certain shapes and colours? Certain physical sensations? What holds them "together" to form a "me"? Can the sensations themselves do that?
2) Can you find a border between a sensation or a thought and the awareness of it? Can a sensation or a thought exist outside of awareness?
4) Can you find a border between an object and the awareness of it? Does "laptop" start at the keyboard and glass screen and awareness ends at this place? When you see and touch the laptop at the same time, it surely seems so, right? But does seeing or touching provide this information or is it only a thought saying "This is a solid object - my laptop"?
5) What is an "object"? Does it exist without thought saying that these colours and sensations form the object "laptop"? Is "laptop" any more than a concept used to label certain parts of this experience?
6) Is awareness in any way different or separate from the experience of a sensation or a thought?

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MVL
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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby MVL » Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:57 pm

Can "seeing" by itself provide any information about the solidity of an object? What do you think about this equation: "seeing" = ''color"?
Everything on top of color is thought about seeing.
No, you’re right. You catch me out every time. Of course seeing can’t provide any information about the solidity of an object. The equation seeing = colour seems plausible, but I would add shape in there somewhere.
Of course it is great that this information is added to seeing as otherwise you could not distinguish a tree from the sky, but what makes the tree a tree? What makes the laptop a laptop? What tells you that one object is in front of another one? Is it seeing or conceptual thought?
No, it’s all conceptual thought. If I look with focusing as little as possible on either the seen or the thoughts accompanying seeing, distances and shapes (so much for my statement above!) disappear.
This sentence reflects our normal way of looking at life. There is a separate entity "I" - the subject - that is aware of separate objects or phenomena. The subject has its own awareness and many other subjects/objects have their separate awarenesses, right?This is the concept of us and our awareness(es), but is it in any way based on direct experience? Or is it based on a (fictional) entity "I" that has its own life, a body and mind and freedom to do and decide and choose?
This is where a large part of me rebels. What is direct experience? 99% of people would say that what you described above IS their direct experience . What makes “direct experience” as defined by LU more real/relevant/correct?
1) Can you find this separate entity "I" that owns its separate awareness? If so, how is it experienced? Can it be found anywhere outside of thought stating that "parts of this experience" is a "me/self"? What are these "parts"? Certain shapes and colours? Certain physical sensations? What holds them "together" to form a "me"? Can the sensations themselves do that?
1.) Oh, god. I can’t find this separate entity “I” outside of the body/mind. And I can see “I” am not body/mind. There’s nothing to hold such an identity together other than belief in the thoughts that come from nowhere and disappear into nowhere.
2) Can you find a border between a sensation or a thought and the awareness of it? Can a sensation or a thought exist outside of awareness?
2.) No, I can’t find a border. These things cannot exist outside awareness.
4) Can you find a border between an object and the awareness of it? Does "laptop" start at the keyboard and glass screen and awareness ends at this place? When you see and touch the laptop at the same time, it surely seems so, right? But does seeing or touching provide this information or is it only a thought saying "This is a solid object - my laptop"?
4.) This one is trickier. Most of the time it does seem to me that awareness ends when it hits an object and then continues on the other side. I know, I know, to you this sounds silly, but to me it’s still very real. No, seeing or touching do not provide this information, it’s only thought. But thoughts can be sooo persuasive.
5) What is an "object"? Does it exist without thought saying that these colours and sensations form the object "laptop"? Is "laptop" any more than a concept used to label certain parts of this experience?
5.) This is very difficult for me as well. Most of “me” screams: “of course it exists without my thoughts. Someone made it and it was a laptop to them, someone sold it as a laptop, everyone who sees it says it’s a laptop”. I suppose what you’re leading me to see is that the laptop is not a laptop in absolute terms but that the universal awareness labels such and such an experience as a laptop and therefore all the individual embodiments of this awareness see it as that. Intellectually answered, yes, that’s a possibility. But experientially “I” is not fully convinced of this. There’s too much of the old, sticky conditioning left.
6) Is awareness in any way different or separate from the experience of a sensation or a thought?
6.) Sadly, it does still feel different and separate most of the time. Awareness is aware of an experience, not one with it. I seem to have now gone from seeing myself as a separate self to seeing “myself” as this big, all encompassing awareness, but the “all-encompassing” isn’t quite true, because there are still areas outside of this awareness. It seems that awareness, by definition, has to be aware of something and what it is aware of, i.e. “physical objects”, isn’t aware. Would presence be a better term? I can’t see anything that can be outside of presence.

I know it seems like we’re going in circles, but I do feel that there are little breakthroughs all the time. The defenses of the concept of separation are still strong in places and keep getting reinforcements, but at the same time they weaken a little with each session. Thank you so much for persevering with me, Alex!

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Re: Asking for a guide

Postby Alexw » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:09 am

What is direct experience? 99% of people would say that what you described above IS their direct experience . What makes “direct experience” as defined by LU more real/relevant/correct?
Yes, most people would say that this is their DE, but what they don't see is that they mix up DE with thought ABOUT DE - or in fact they take thought-concepts for absolute truth...
This does not mean that DE is more relevant for daily life - maybe the opposite - but it is relevant for exploring if our believes about us being a human being that is made up of a body/mind that has its own, separate consciousness/awareness is correct... how do you see that now?
I can see “I” am not body/mind. There’s nothing to hold such an identity together other than belief in the thoughts that come from nowhere and disappear into nowhere.
Great!
Most of the time it does seem to me that awareness ends when it hits an object and then continues on the other side. I know, I know, to you this sounds silly, but to me it’s still very real. No, seeing or touching do not provide this information, it’s only thought. But thoughts can be sooo persuasive.
Yes, they SEEM to be very persuasive, but what makes it so convincing? Isn't being "convinced" again just another thought saying "I am sure that this is so! I am convinced!" ? Where is the entity that is convinced? Can you find it?
I suppose what you’re leading me to see is that the laptop is not a laptop in absolute terms but that the universal awareness labels such and such an experience as a laptop and therefore all the individual embodiments of this awareness see it as that.
How would you define the absolute? I am just curious as everyone seems to define it with their own concepts, but do you really think it can be described with concepts?
What is "universal awareness" - is it any different from "normal awareness"? What is an "individual embodiment"? Can you please let me know your definition?
Awareness is aware of an experience, not one with it. I seem to have now gone from seeing myself as a separate self to seeing “myself” as this big, all encompassing awareness, but the “all-encompassing” isn’t quite true, because there are still areas outside of this awareness. It seems that awareness, by definition, has to be aware of something and what it is aware of, i.e. “physical objects”, isn’t aware.
If awareness is aware of something separate from it - e.g. experience - then where are these separate entities? Can you find them? Look, hear, smell, taste, touch, think... If you touch the desk in front of you - in the pure sensation of touch (not thought about it) - is there an entity "awareness" that is experiencing something that is separate from it?

You see "yourself" as this "all encompassing awareness" but there are “physical objects” that are not aware... Does "awareness" exist without the "object" that it seems to be aware of? Don't they always come together? Seeing, hearing, thought... is there awareness of a sound without the hearing of it? is there awareness of thought without the thought? and the other way round: is there a sound or a thought without the awareness of it? Can you separate them? Look at THIS experience - isn't it only thought saying that they have to be separate (as you have to be a subject observing objects - this is how the mind works, but is this reflected in DE?)?


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