I would like a guide please...

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mhsb
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I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:57 am

Dear Guide,

I have not been a long-term seeker, having really only discovered the existence of enlightenment in the last six months, but during this time I have investigated the subject reasonable actively, in particular by reading/watching a range of non-dual teachers e.g. J. Krishnamurti, Byron Katie, Adyashanti, Rupert Spira etc. and listening to interviews on Buddha at the Gas Pump. I am comfortable with the idea of no-self, and may even experience this from time to time. However, I would like to investigate further and need help to both deepen and de-intelectualize (if that's a word!) the process. I have read various topic on the forum and am perfectly happy with the ground rules. I look forward to learning and experiencing more, however I have no unrealistic expectations of life-changing discovery i.e. I think my attitudes and reactions to life may evolve, but that life itself will continue to unfold as before.

I look forward to your help!

Many thanks,

M.

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JonathanR
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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:07 am

Hello M,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Jonathan. Perhaps I may assist you in 'investigating further and de-intellectuaizing'?

You say you haven't been a long-term seeker? That's interesting. How did seeking start for you?

It's very good that you don't have unrealistic expectations. When you say your attitudes and reactions may evolve, is there a way or form that you imagine this evolution might take?

You mention ground rules. Thank you. Would you mind if I still include a copy of these for your perusal and agreement? Thank you.




Jonathan ♥

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:44 pm

Hello M,
Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Jonathan. Perhaps I may assist you in 'investigating further and de-intellectuaizing'?
Dear Jonathan,

Many thanks for your offer of assistance, which I gratefully accept. By the way my name is Michael.
You say you haven't been a long-term seeker? That's interesting. How did seeking start for you?
I'm not sure I would actually describe myself as a "seeker" - an explorer perhaps. My interest in enlightenment is the result of a combination of personal development work undertaken over the last couple of years, some personal difficulties (money and relationship related) which have made me more aware of suffering, and close personal friendship with a seeker, who is himself an LU
“graduate”.

It's very good that you don't have unrealistic expectations. When you say your attitudes and reactions may evolve, is there a way or form that you imagine this evolution might take?
My personal development work has included meditation and mindfulness training which has given me some experience of living in the “now” and helped me to identify the past (memory) and the future (speculative) as thoughts/ideas rather than actual reality. That said, I do find myself slipping, consciously or unconsciously, into the past or future. Once I identify that my mind has taken me into the past or future I am sometimes able to come back to the now, although this is sporadic, and seems to depend on the intensity of the emotional response to the thoughts themselves. Personal development has also given me much greater emotional awareness, in particular a much greater ability to identify, and express, my emotional responses to situations, thoughts etc. This combination of greater presence, and higher EQ, feel like steps along a path of awareness. My sense is that the “Gate” is part of that path, hence my interest in furthering my experience. My expectation, to the extent I have any at all, is to spend more time in the now, appreciating the world as it unfolds, and less prey to either irritation about the past, or fear of the future.
You mention ground rules. Thank you. Would you mind if I still include a copy of these for your perusal and agreement? Thank you.
No problem!

Thanks again,

Michael




Jonathan ♥

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:54 pm

Hello again Michael,

I see you found the 'Quote' function? It is quite useful and a good idea to keep using it. I guess you used the 'Full Editor' in order to do this? When you want to quote you'll notice that two 'quote' words in brackets appear and the art is to separate these to with a few clicks of the space bar and then 'paste' the copied piece of text between these.

Thanks of giving me a little more background.
My expectation, to the extent I have any at all, is to spend more time in the now, appreciating the world as it unfolds, and less prey to either irritation about the past, or fear of the future.
This seems quite realistic, though what may or may not happen cannot be known.

That said, I do find myself slipping, consciously or unconsciously, into the past or future. Once I identify that my mind has taken me into the past or future I am sometimes able to come back to the now, although this is sporadic, and seems to depend on the intensity of the emotional response to the thoughts themselves.
A good observation. Does it seem to you that you shouldn't be slipping into 'past or 'future'? Would the cessation of this tendency equate in your thinking with 'enlightenment' or what we are aiming for here?

As I'm sure you are aware, we will have a conversation on these pages, a friendly sort of chat. I will ask questions and it is important that you try to answer these in as honest and straightforward a way as possible. By which I mean, it is actually a good idea on the whole not to ponder long and hard about how to reply but simply reply. Our efforts will aim towards you making the realisation that there is no separate 'self' or 'I' anywhere in experience, past, present or future and that 'self' is only an idea or thought.


Now, below are the ground rules and I would be grateful if you could read them and agree to these, please?

Please take a look at the intro page of LU here,

http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

it contains our disclaimer and please find the short youtube video on 'looking' and watch it too.

http://youtu.be/wyNwhK2Ur1c

Its a good one to watch a few times as what it points to is key for this guiding.

Some guidelines that I would like your agreement on:

1) Agree to post daily or near daily, email if you are not able.

2) Please set aside any other spiritual practices during this inquiry. Instead commit at this time, like you would for a meditation practice, to begin looking for this separate self, this "I"; look for what is the experience throughout the day as this looking happens.

3) I will ask questions and you answer.... listen very closely to the answers that arise in you.
Answer to the very best of your ability at that time.

4) If you do agree to the above....please share what your expectations are to see through the illusion of the separate self, and if there are any concerns/fears about that?


Now, please tell me what you think 'You' are.


Best wishes

Jonathan.

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:09 pm

Hi Johnathan,

I have read the group rules and agree with them. I have also read the disclaimer and watched the video. I have no concerns.

You asked a couple of questions in your email:
Does it seem to you that you shouldn't be slipping into 'past or 'future'? Would the cessation of this tendency equate in your thinking with 'enlightenment' or what we are aiming for here?
I believe that dwelling on the past is a waste of time, and I spend very little time worrying about, or reliving historical events. After all, even in the dual world the past cannot be changed. Furthermore, I intuitively sense that only the "now" is real, which makes memory simply an idea and, therefore, unworthy of great attention or particular concern. So far so good. My belief(s) about the future are basically similar, but I find myself much more easily drawn into speculative fantasy, or fearful concern, about events that may or may not occur. I recognise the fallacy, and I am, sometimes, able to bring myself back to the now, but it is more of a challenge.

I wouldn't say that I should or shouldn't slip into the past or future. It happens. I find it happening less as time goes by. It may or may not stop completely in time. I have no idea or expectation. In fact I don't really mind. Would this be "enlightenment" if it did happen? I don't know. My sense is more that it would just be a step on a journey, rather than a goal in itself.
Now, please tell me what you think 'You' are.
My current sense/intuition is that I am some sort of presence, or awareness, that experiences reality through the senses of the (a?) body, and ideas and emotional reactions produced by the mind. In practical terms I don't think "I" would be any different if I had woke up in hospital one day suffering from "locked-in syndrome"... That said, prior to discovering non-duality some months ago it had never occurred to me to question any sort of identification with body-mind, so this is quite fresh. I feel curiously untroubled by the both the idea, and intuitive sense, that the "self" I had previously identified with is a construct of the mind. This may make me very open, which is what I believe, or completely wrapped up in the ego/intellect, which is also entirely possible. I hope you will be able to help me clarify...

Many thanks,

Michael

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:44 pm

. My belief(s) about the future are basically similar, but I find myself much more easily drawn into speculative fantasy, or fearful concern, about events that may or may not occur. I recognise the fallacy, and I am, sometimes, able to bring myself back to the now, but it is more of a challenge.


This is very honest and helpful. We can look at 'future' a little further on.
. wouldn't say that I should or shouldn't slip into the past or future. It happens. I find it happening less as time goes by.
That is interesting. Do you feel this change relates to your investigations into non duality so far? Was there an experience or moment when it was seen that only the NOW is actually real?
My current sense/intuition is that I am some sort of presence, or awareness, that experiences reality through the senses of the (a?) body, and ideas and emotional reactions produced by the mind
This gives us a good place to start. Let's explore this sense of awareness in relation to the senses and body.

Let's take hearing. There are sounds. Perhaps your breath, the noise of a fridge in an adjacent room?... These sounds are being heard and it may or may not be assumed that 'I am doing the hearing.

Right now what is it that 'does hearing'? Is there an entity or 'me' that 'performs hearing'?

Clearly sounds are being heard. What are they heard by? Is there an 'I' anywhere in this that 'makes hearing happen'? Or is there simply the hearing alone?


Jonathan.

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Dear Jonathan,

Many thanks for your feedback and questions. Please find my answers below:
I wouldn't say that I should or shouldn't slip into the past or future. It happens. I find it happening less as time goes by.

That is interesting. Do you feel this change relates to your investigations into non duality so far? Was there an experience or moment when it was seen that only the NOW is actually real?
I don’t think there hasn’t been a “eureka” moment per se, but rather a series of gradual steps. Some of these have been as simple as the realization that my perception of the past and future is entirely different depending on whether I am tired or well rested. This “relative” reality is only possible if the past and future are subjective ideas, rather than an absolute truth. This understanding has been strongly reinforced by various experiences, in personal development work and within a tricky relationship, which have highlighted the (massive!) differences in subjective perception of the past and future, again indicating that, however strongly people cling to their opinions/perceptions about the past/future, these are just beliefs, and often driven by judgement and fear, rather than reality itself. Mindfulness meditation, which I tend to practice on an ad hoc basis, in very short bursts e.g. for a couple of minutes at a time, usually when walking in nature, seems to also be gradually reinforcing my sense that the only true “reality” is now.

Expressed slightly differently my sense is that the past is an entirely arbitrary, usually self(ego)-serving, mental construct, and that the future is the product of a (virtually) infinite number of processes (lots of butterflies flapping their wings…) about which we have no information or awareness, and is, therefore, inherently unknowable. In other words everything we think about the future is a current thought rather than true perception of a future reality.

This gives us a good place to start. Let's explore this sense of awareness in relation to the senses and body.

Let's take hearing. There are sounds. Perhaps your breath, the noise of a fridge in an adjacent room?... These sounds are being heard and it may or may not be assumed that 'I am doing the hearing.

Right now what is it that 'does hearing'? Is there an entity or 'me' that 'performs hearing'?

Clearly sounds are being heard. What are they heard by? Is there an 'I' anywhere in this that 'makes hearing happen'? Or is there simply the hearing alone?
I am sitting on the sofa, with my eyes closed, and I can hear traffic noises. Part of me wants to be clever (show off?) and say that all the sounds are arising in an eternally present awareness, but my actual sense is that I am indoors and that the sounds are coming from outside. Furthermore there is a reasonably detailed narrative accompanying the sounds e.g. that’s a bus, that’s a car, the road is wet etc.

I don’t feel as though I am “making” the sounds happen, but rather that they are simply part of an ongoing, four dimensional reality, of which “I” (awareness) am an element.

Does this make sense?

All best,

Michael

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:09 pm

Hi Michael,
Expressed slightly differently my sense is that the past is an entirely arbitrary, usually self(ego)-serving, mental construct, and that the future is the product of a (virtually) infinite number of processes (lots of butterflies flapping their wings…) about which we have no information or awareness, and is, therefore, inherently unknowable. In other words everything we think about the future is a current thought rather than true perception of a future reality.
Yes. Good. This distinction between a current thought and 'true perception' is important.. If 'the past' and events imagined as 'belonging in the past' all happen in thought, 'where' is thought happening?

Are the contents of thoughts ever a true reflection of what is happening 'in perception' right now?
. Part of me wants to be clever (show off?) and say that all the sounds are arising in an eternally present awareness, but my actual sense is that I am indoors and that the sounds are coming from outside
Very honest of you. This is fine.
Furthermore there is a reasonably detailed narrative accompanying the sounds e.g. that’s a bus, that’s a car, the road is wet etc.
Great. So there is noticing of thoughts appearing and then, after a while, disappearing, possibly succeeded by further thoughts? Are these thoughts part of the actual experience of hearing or are they something extra added on to that? Are these thoughts causing anything to happen, creating anything or are they simply a kind of commentary?
. I don’t feel as though I am “making” the sounds happen, but rather that they are simply part of an ongoing, four dimensional reality, of which “I” (awareness) am an element.
OK. So in answering 'what are they heard by' you are saying 'I am awareness'?

Can you tell me what is this awareness that 'you' are? You mention a four I dimensional reality.Are you suggesting that the fourth dimension is 'awareness' ?

Do try to answer the above question but you may also like to take a look at the other four senses of seeing, tasting,touching and smelling? Each of these can be explored directly by looking at the pure sensation, for example, of seeing a chair and asking 'what is it that sees? Is there a one who 'sees' or is there only seeing its self?


Best regards

Jonathan

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:08 pm

Dear Jonathan,

My apologies, I have not been able to focus/respond today, but will do so tomorrow.

Best regards,

Michael

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:17 pm

Dear Michael,

Thanks for letting me know. I have been rather busy too so no problem.


Regards

Jonathan

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:46 am

Hi Jonathan,

Apologies again for the delay in responding. I am very much a "talker" and I find this "written" conversation mechanism to be quite a challenge. The "edit" functions of The Gate also add a surprising amount of friction. Do you think we might be able to try a very slightly different format i.e. with you asking me just one question at a time? Sorry if this seems unreasonable or demanding but I thought it worth asking. I really appreciate your attention and help!

Q&A below:
Great. So there is noticing of thoughts appearing and then, after a while, disappearing, possibly succeeded by further thoughts? Are these thoughts part of the actual experience of hearing or are they something extra added on to that? Are these thoughts causing anything to happen, creating anything or are they simply a kind of commentary?
Yes, a succession (stream) of thoughts appear, each one either replacing or building on the previous. The “narrative” changes direction, or extends and becomes more complex. This seems to be equally true of the past or future. I seem to be increasingly able to identify the stream of thoughts/mental construct as fundamentally different from the experience of reality. My impression is that I am able to spend more time in the present i.e. reality, and less time in fear/fantasy, just through heightened awareness of this differential.
OK. So in answering 'what are they heard by' you are saying 'I am awareness'?
My intuitive sense is that “I” am the awareness that observes/experiences the phenomena that are perceived through the senses. If this is indeed the case then when “the body” (as opposed to “my body”) looks at a tree, that which “I” the awareness experiences i.e. body and tree, are part of a single observation, not two separate phenomena. This seems to make sense, almost for the first time, as I am writing it down! However, so far this is quite a new, and weak “knowing” i.e. although it seems to sense in an experiential way, however briefly, I keep reverting to “normal” thinking/believing i.e. that I am the body and, therefore, separate from the tree.
Can you tell me what is this awareness that 'you' are? You mention a four I dimensional reality.Are you suggesting that the fourth dimension is 'awareness' ?
I apologize for being unintentionally cryptic. I was referring to three physical dimensions, with time being the fourth. I guess these are building blocks in the “object” world i.e. space and time, which underpin duality and separation, but have no significance from a non-dual perspective.

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:31 pm

Hello Michael,
Do you think we might be able to try a very slightly different format i.e. with you asking me just one question at a time? Sorry if this seems unreasonable or demanding but I thought it worth asking. I really appreciate your attention and help!
Not at all. It is good you mentioned this. We can go along one question at a time. It may even help.
Yes, a succession (stream) of thoughts appear, each one either replacing or building on the previous. The “narrative” changes direction, or extends and becomes more complex. This seems to be equally true of the past or future. I seem to be increasingly able to identify the stream of thoughts/mental construct as fundamentally different from the experience of reality. My impression is that I am able to spend more time in the present i.e. reality, and less time in fear/fantasy, just through heightened awareness of this differential.
Very good indeed. This is key, this understanding of the way thought can be seen, as well as the understanding that the content of thought is regularly at variance with what is.
My intuitive sense is that “I” am the awareness that observes/experiences the phenomena that are perceived through the senses. If this is indeed the case then when “the body” (as opposed to “my body”) looks at a tree, that which “I” the awareness experiences i.e. body and tree, are part of a single observation, not two separate phenomena. This seems to make sense, almost for the first time, as I am writing it down! However, so far this is quite a new, and weak “knowing” i.e. although it seems to sense in an experiential way, however briefly, I keep reverting to “normal” thinking/believing i.e. that I am the body and, therefore, separate from the tree.

Good.
Actually this does raise a couple of things but I am conscious of agreeing only to ask one question at a time. Perhaps we can both make a mental note that we must return to look at 'I am awareness', since it is an important consideration?

But for now....question of the day! You notice that thought, 'normal' thinking, comes without being invited, so to speak? Just like clouds appear in an otherwise clear sky?

Is there a 'self' anywhere in experience that can prevent thoughts from appearing? Important Can thoughts be prevented from arising or from disappearing, including the thought 'I'?

You may like to observe the coming and going of various thoughts to check this.


Best wishes,

Jonathan.

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:06 pm

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your understanding re one question a a time, much appreciated! Q&A per below:
But for now....question of the day! You notice that thought, 'normal' thinking, comes without being invited, so to speak? Just like clouds appear in an otherwise clear sky?

Is there a 'self' anywhere in experience that can prevent thoughts from appearing? Important Can thoughts be prevented from arising or from disappearing, including the thought 'I'?
Individual thoughts seem to appear out of nowhere, unless they are part of an ongoing train or sequence. Actually noticing thoughts, and being able to discriminate between concepts and current experience, is a relatively new phenomenon for me, but the difference seem pretty clear, and increasingly so over time. I don’t intuitively feel that I am “choosing” the thoughts that arise, unless I am lost in a train of thought and “constructing” fear and/or fantasy. My sense is that, once noticed, and identified as concepts, a lot of thoughts just pass by naturally. I don’t make a particular effort to hold on to them or to release them; I just lose interest. This can be much trickier if the emotional reaction to the thought is strong (usually fear), at which point the identification of the thought, and acceptance of the emotional reaction, while still possible, is distinctly more head than heart.

My sense is that the “I” tends to be irrelevant in the “now”, but reappears in the past or future. Per above thoughts tend to drag me into the past or future and, depending on the emotional reactions, “I” sometimes get stuck in mind chatter, or the thoughts pass and I return to the current moment. It depends.

Hope this all makes some sense!

All best,

Michael

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby JonathanR » Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:43 pm

Hi Michael,

I should mention that before long our conversation will run onto a second page, so watch out for that (a little number 2 will appear).It can be easy to miss at first.

Thanks for your reply and your observations. I'm afraid I will have to ask you a couple of questions but they are related.
. I don’t intuitively feel that I am “choosing” the thoughts that arise, unless I am lost in a train of thought and “constructing” fear and/or fantasy. My sense is that, once noticed, and identified as concepts, a lot of thoughts just pass by naturally. I don’t make a particular effort to hold on to them or to release them;
Very much in the vein of my last question, Is it possible to actually choose a thought? What would be doing the choosing? Is it possible to hold on to thoughts or release them? What would do this?
. “I” sometimes get stuck in mind chatter, or the thoughts pass and I return to the current moment.
'You' return to the current moment?
Is there a 'self' that can 'return to the current moment'?
Is there an entity that 'returns to the current moment' or is there just a return to the current moment?

Also, my previous question was very specific. Would you have another crack at it please? Answer 'from the hip' rather than thinking it over too much. Here it is again...

Is there a 'self' anywhere in experience that can prevent thoughts from appearing? Important Can thoughts be prevented from arising or from disappearing, including the thought 'I'?


Kind regards,

Jonathan

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Re: I would like a guide please...

Postby mhsb » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:19 pm

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for your questions. I have tried my best to answer quite quickly and spontaneously!
Very much in the vein of my last question, Is it possible to actually choose a thought? What would be doing the choosing? Is it possible to hold on to thoughts or release them? What would do this?
Thoughts seem to arise spontaneously. They usually seem to be part of a sequence (a “train”). Sometimes my attention is swept along, but often an awareness of the fact that these are simply thoughts/constructs arises, and the they either cease, as I become conscious of the present moment, or another thought(s) replaces them.
You' return to the current moment?
Is there a 'self' that can 'return to the current moment'?
Is there an entity that 'returns to the current moment' or is there just a return to the current moment?
My sense is that it is the focus of attention that stops attending to the train of thought, and settles back in an awareness of the now.
Is there a 'self' anywhere in experience that can prevent thoughts from appearing? Important Can thoughts be prevented from arising or from disappearing, including the thought 'I'?
I have no sense of control over thoughts appearing. My sense is that when the attention/awareness “sees through” thought(s) it naturally settles back into the present, and the thoughts dissolve. Often to be replace by others shortly after! I’m not sure I really understand what you mean “the thought “I””. I am not trying to avoid the question. Any chance you could reformulate?

Thanks very much indeed,

Michael


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