Thread for Rebecca

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Jack'n'theBox
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Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:05 pm

Hello Rebecca, here is your thread.

Earlier in an email I asked

Let's check our experience to see what its constituent parts are -- can you find anything that cannot be described as a sensation, a thought (including mental images) or a feeling (emotions)?
Now, what does the concept "I" point to in the direct experience of the moment? Is it a thought, a feeling or an emotion? Is it a combination of these? Or is "I" something separate, outside this flow?

Have a look and see. What is "I"?

You said:
“Looking closely at direct experience the 'I' definitely doesn't exist outside this flow of thought , feeling or emotion.”
OK great, so “I” is not a thing or entity separate from the flow of life or experience.

“Looking today at the thought ' I am sick' and placing awareness on the body sensations there is definitely no 'I ' existing ...just aching bones, fever and weakness.”
Sorry you’re not well – but it is actually a great time to look. So you say “aching bones, fever and weakness”—these are still conceptual descriptors of direct experience – try looking again – imagine that you are describing the symptoms to a person who has never been sick in their life – what is “aching” – what is “fever”?
“Focusing on 'feeling' it's a bit more difficult to not have the concept 'I' am feeling lousy' arise.”
– OK as you turn toward these sensations can you just be with them without judgement? Just allow them to be without any kind of resistance or commentary.

Now WHERE are they happening? Thoughts say “in my body” – but look closely at the different sensations arising – can you find a dividing line between one sensation and another? Does one sensation feel “closer” than another? If so closer to what? Is there a centre or “point of view” in the experience?

“But with turning to find the entity 'I' it's clear it doesn't exist as a separate entity- it's not to be found.
The place where I notice the 'I' assert itself mostly is in thought.”
Yes, great.

“Coming back to the present moment there is only the body felt sense of the illness and any sense an entity 'I' which is worrying is no longer present.”
OK good. But what is it that labels current experience as “illness”? In direct experience are the arisings associated with the label “illness” a problem? What finds them problematic?
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:00 am

Hello Rebecca, here is your thread.

I
Sorry you’re not well – but it is actually a great time to look. So you say “aching bones, fever and weakness”—these are still conceptual descriptors of direct experience – try looking again – imagine that you are describing the symptoms to a person who has never been sick in their life – what is “aching” – what is “fever”?

When I look closely and describe direct experience it is tickling in the feet, hot skin,pain in limbs and chest and head.



OK as you turn toward these sensations can you just be with them without judgement? Just allow them to be without any kind of resistance or commentary.
Now WHERE are they happening? Thoughts say “in my body” – but look closely at the different sensations arising – can you find a dividing line between one sensation and another? Does one sensation feel “closer” than another? If so closer to what? Is there a centre or “point of view” in the experience?
I cannot find the dividing line between one sensation and another. I cannot find a centre or "point of view' if I stay focused on direct experience.
Turning to find the entity 'I' it's clear it doesn't exist as a separate entity- it's not to be found.
The place where I notice the 'I' assert itself mostly is in thought.
Yes, great.
Coming back to the present moment there is only the body felt sense of the illness and any sense an entity 'I' which is worrying is no longer present.
OK good. But what is it that labels current experience as “illness”? In direct experience are the arisings associated with the label “illness” a problem? What finds them problematic?
It is 'thought' that labels current experience as illness. I see that nothing called 'illness' exists ...it's just a concept with no substance. The problem with allowing this concept in is that it immediately moves away from direct experience into a concept that is formed by past experience and jumping to future ( worry) and not allowing time spent with direct experience.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:28 pm


When I look closely and describe direct experience it is tickling in the feet, hot skin,pain in limbs and chest and head.
OK what we are looking to see here is that for most of us most of the time ’experience’ is refracted through a subtle conceptual overlay. We are trying to drop the concepts – to notice arisings ‘nakedly’ – that is just as they are, without interpretation.

So please look again. What is direct experience of ‘feet’? Are ‘feet’ distinct things?

Try this: sit in a chair with feet touching the floor. Now allow attention to rest in the feet area. What are the sensations? Ignore the mental image of feet and floor – just stay with the sensation. Can you find two things in the experience – feet and floor? Can you find a dividing line between feet and floor?
Now slowly allow awareness to move ‘up’ the body – notice that there are areas of more intense sensation – and areas with no or little sensation – notice how the mind immediately tries to assemble these different sensations into concepts – ‘head’ or ‘hand’ – ‘hot’ or ‘cool’ – ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ – but what is direct experience? Can any of these ‘things’ be found in the sensations themselves or are they added on?



I cannot find the dividing line between one sensation and another. I cannot find a centre or "point of view' if I stay focused on direct experience.
Turning to find the entity 'I' it's clear it doesn't exist as a separate entity- it's not to be found.
The place where I notice the 'I' assert itself mostly is in thought.
OK great looking here. You say ‘I’ is asserted ‘mostly in thought’ – is there somewhere outside thought that ‘I’ is discernable in experience? Have a look and see.
It is 'thought' that labels current experience as illness. I see that nothing called 'illness' exists ...it's just a concept with no substance. The problem with allowing this concept in is that it immediately moves away from direct experience into a concept that is formed by past experience and jumping to future ( worry) and not allowing time spent with direct experience.
Right!

OK. Try this. Find the present moment. Just sit in the present. Can you find anything in direct experience that isn’t the present moment?
What is your experience now of anything past?
What is your experience now of anything future?
Can past and future be said to exist in direct experience or are they just concepts?
What happens when you drop past/future thoughts and just remain present?
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Sun Nov 16, 2014 12:07 pm


When I look closely and describe direct experience it is tickling in the feet, hot skin,pain in limbs and chest and head.
OK what we are looking to see here is that for most of us most of the time ’experience’ is refracted through a subtle conceptual overlay. We are trying to drop the concepts – to notice arisings ‘nakedly’ – that is just as they are, without interpretation.

So please look again. What is direct experience of ‘feet’? Are ‘feet’ distinct things?

Try this: sit in a chair with feet touching the floor. Now allow attention to rest in the feet area. What are the sensations? Ignore the mental image of feet and floor – just stay with the sensation. Can you find two things in the experience – feet and floor?
No I cannot find two separate things....feet and floor?

Can you find a dividing line between feet and floor?
no I can't
Now slowly allow awareness to move ‘up’ the body – notice that there are areas of more intense sensation – and areas with no or little sensation – notice how the mind immediately tries to assemble these different sensations into concepts – ‘head’ or ‘hand’ – ‘hot’ or ‘cool’ – ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ – but what is direct experience? Can any of these ‘things’ be found in the sensations themselves or are they added on?
no I can't find ' things ' in the sensation. Any concept arising seem to do so in relation to a thought or feeling added on to direct experience
I cannot find the dividing line between one sensation and another. I cannot find a centre or "point of view' if I stay focused on direct experience.
Turning to find the entity 'I' it's clear it doesn't exist as a separate entity- it's not to be found.
The place where I notice the 'I' assert itself mostly is in thought.
OK great looking here. You say ‘I’ is asserted ‘mostly in thought’ – is there somewhere outside thought that ‘I’ is discernable in experience? Have a look and see.
It is 'thought' that labels current experience as illness. I see that nothing called 'illness' exists ...it's just a concept with no substance. The problem with allowing this concept in is that it immediately moves away from direct experience into a concept that is formed by past experience and jumping to future ( worry) and not allowing time spent with direct experience.
Right!

OK. Try this. Find the present moment. Just sit in the present. Can you find anything in direct experience that isn’t the present moment?
No direct experience is present moment
What is your experience now of anything past?
in the present moment there is nothing of anything past
What is your experience now of anything future?
in the present moment there is nothing of the future
Can past and future be said to exist in direct experience or are they just concepts?
they are just concepts..they are not part of direct experience when past or future concepts arise when I sit with direct eXperience they quickly disperse on being noted as concepts.
What happens when you drop past/future thoughts and just remain present?
there is just sensation of direct experience. No past or future can be found to be present.
Earlier in an email I asked

Let's check our experience to see what its constituent parts are -- can you find anything that cannot be described as a sensation, a thought (including mental images) or a feeling (emotions)?
Now, what does the concept "I" point to in the direct experience of the moment? Is it a thought, a feeling or an emotion? Is it a combination of these? Or is "I" something separate, outside this flow?

Have a look and see. What is "I"?

You said:
“Looking closely at direct experience the 'I' definitely doesn't exist outside this flow of thought , feeling or emotion.”
OK great, so “I” is not a thing or entity separate from the flow of life or experience.

“Looking today at the thought ' I am sick' and placing awareness on the body sensations there is definitely no 'I ' existing ...just aching bones, fever and weakness.”
Sorry you’re not well – but it is actually a great time to look. So you say “aching bones, fever and weakness”—these are still conceptual descriptors of direct experience – try looking again – imagine that you are describing the symptoms to a person who has never been sick in their life – what is “aching” – what is “fever”?
“Focusing on 'feeling' it's a bit more difficult to not have the concept 'I' am feeling lousy' arise.”
– OK as you turn toward these sensations can you just be with them without judgement? Just allow them to be without any kind of resistance or commentary.

Now WHERE are they happening? Thoughts say “in my body” – but look closely at the different sensations arising – can you find a dividing line between one sensation and another? Does one sensation feel “closer” than another? If so closer to what? Is there a centre or “point of view” in the experience?

“But with turning to find the entity 'I' it's clear it doesn't exist as a separate entity- it's not to be found.
The place where I notice the 'I' assert itself mostly is in thought.”
Yes, great.

“Coming back to the present moment there is only the body felt sense of the illness and any sense an entity 'I' which is worrying is no longer present.”
OK good. But what is it that labels current experience as “illness”? In direct experience are the arisings associated with the label “illness” a problem? What finds them problematic?[/quote]

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:13 pm

Hi Rebecca, if you are having difficulty with the quote function you could try cutting and pasting into a word document and then when you have finished your reply repasting back onto the site – you can also try using the tools at the top of the page to use italics or colours to make your replies distinct.

OK – so we have seen that “I” is in thought and that it is thought that adds on a conceptual overlay to the direct experience of the moment.

Look and see how the “I” thought is itself a dependent arising – it needs the concepts of “past” and “future” in order to be sustained. In the direct experience of the present moment can “I” be discerned?

To make this clearer, try this exercise:

OK sit quietly and notice thoughts arising and passing as clouds in the sky --

1) Notice thoughts that reference a “past” – but don’t follow them.
2) Notice thoughts that reference what might happen in “the future” – but don’t follow them.
3) Now, gradually, relax further and let the mind flow of its own accord without the overlay of thought. Simply observe it for a while in its natural state.

When, for instance, a noise arises, between the time the noise first arises and the time a thought arises to identify its source can you sense a state of mind devoid of thought but still aware, in which the sound “just is” with no need for interpretation?

Once you have got the point with sound, extend the exercise with sensation and then sight. Simply experience the “isness” of sense arisings and don’t “proliferate” the experience by following thought into conceptual designation.
Report back what you find.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:22 am

Hi I will need to reply to the last post tomorrow. I have been quite sick and am still reflecting on your questions.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Tue Nov 18, 2014 1:20 pm

"Look and see how the “I” thought is itself a dependent arising – it needs the concepts of “past” and “future” in order to be sustained. In the direct experience of the present moment can “I” be discerned?"

No no direct experience of present moment contains "I"


"1) Notice thoughts that reference a “past” – but don’t follow them.
2) Notice thoughts that reference what might happen in “the future” – but don’t follow them.
3) Now, gradually, relax further and let the mind flow of its own accord without the overlay of thought. Simply observe it for a while in its natural state."


Yes not following past or future thoughts allows for an expansive flow of just being.

'When, for instance, a noise arises, between the time the noise first arises and the time a thought arises to identify its source can you sense a state of mind devoid of thought but still aware, in which the sound “just is” with no need for interpretation?'

Yes there is a way of just being aware of sound with no thought - just being present with what is. But the space after that time of ' being fully present' before interpreting thought comes in is very, very short most of the time.
I could,with practice,at times not follow any thought that arose and return to just being in presence with sound.
I was in a room with cars going past outside every few moments. Each time it was an opportunity being with sound anew and focusing to stay just with sound without having to label the experience.

"Once you have got the point with sound, extend the exercise with sensation and then sight. Simply experience the “isness” of sense arisings and don’t “proliferate” the experience by following thought into conceptual designation.
Report back what you find."


Putting on handcream, being aware of sensation, I noticed readily the times 'thought' came in.
Each time it was noticed I could let the thought slide off and not be drawn along with it.
The most common labelling with sensation was either like or dislike, pleasure or aversion.

With sight when just looking I found the space between ' just looking' and thought/labelling arising was very short indeed!
I would look at a piece of clothing and ' green' identifying the colour would drop out out of the mind and try and attach itself to the experience. Looking at a lamp ...within milliseconds ' that's my lamp' floated into awareness but there was a sense of just letting it float on by. As time went on there seems to be less interest in following the identifying/ embellishing process but still they floated by.
It seemed like a regular habit..this running commentary to direct experience.

When I could look at objects in the room with even just a little bit longer period of time with no thought coming in.....there was an open, relaxed, spacious texture to the moments as they went by.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:48 pm

Yes there is a way of just being aware of sound with no thought - just being present with what is. But the space after that time of ' being fully present' before interpreting thought comes in is very, very short most of the time.
OK great. It’s sufficient just to notice this space. The duration isn’t important.

[I could,with practice,at times not follow any thought that arose and return to just being in presence with sound.
OK. Let’s look at this. Is finding/remaining in direct experience of the moment something that requires ‘practice’? What is it, exactly, that is ‘practicing’ this? Let’s just check expectations here – do you think seeing through the self-view will precipitate a certain kind of “state” – a state without conceptualisation?
[Putting on handcream, being aware of sensation, I noticed readily the times 'thought' came in. Each time it was noticed I could let the thought slide off and not be drawn along with it.
OK good. Again – look closely – what is the “I” that “lets” thoughts slide off – what is the “I” that is not drawn along by thought? Do “you” need to “do” anything in order not to be drawn along by thought?
[The most common labelling with sensation was either like or dislike, pleasure or aversion.
Yes good to notice this.

It seemed like a regular habit..this running commentary to direct experience.

Right, it’s just a habit. Let’s check expectations again: do you expect that all “habits” (samskaras) will immediately drop away once the self is seen to be an illusion? Remember the self isn’t a thing that “has” habits – the process of “selfing” itself IS simply a series of habits.
When I could look at objects in the room with even just a little bit longer period of time with no thought coming in.....there was an open, relaxed, spacious texture to the moments as they went by.
Right! Now tuning in to this “open, relaxed, spacious texture” will help you answer the questions above.

Find that space – now notice – does it have any qualities of a personal self? Does it have an age, a gender, a marital status, an occupation? Is it sometimes healthy and sometimes sick? Does it have likes and dislikes?

Does it have boundaries or edges? Is it “inside” the body?

Can you try to let go into that space – what happens in relation to sense arisings and thoughts when you simply rest in/as that space?
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:41 pm

. Is finding/remaining in direct experience of the moment something that requires ‘practice’? What is it, exactly, that is ‘practicing’ this? Let’s just check expectations here – do you think seeing through the self-view will precipitate a certain kind of “state” – a state without conceptualisation?

Thanks ...this is helpful to focus on. When looking there is no entity practising or requiring practise.
Yes there has been an expectation of a process of expanding awareness that will end in a state without conceptualisation!

OK good. Again – look closely – what is the “I” that “lets” thoughts slide off – what is the “I” that is not drawn along by thought? Do “you” need to “do” anything in order not to be drawn along by thought.

When looking a distinct 'I' that lets thought slide off cannot be found.
The 'I' is not a fixed entity that is watching the flow of thought, sensation and feeling. There had been a sense of something directing the mind ' not to follow ' thought . But turning to find that ' something' it's not there.
Thoughts,feelings and sensations arise and fall away and and there is no 'thing' having a relationship with the thought, feeling or sensation.
No 'doing' is needed....just being with direct experience .

Let’s check expectations again: do you expect that all “habits” (samskaras) will immediately drop away once the self is seen to be an illusion? Remember the self isn’t a thing that “has” habits – the process of “selfing” itself IS simply a series of habits.

Yes I definitely agree, there obviously has been an expectation that samskaras will disappear as the self is seen as an illusion. I think the term 'selfing' describes very well the sense of the process of this illusion appearing 'real'.

Now tuning in to this “open, relaxed, spacious texture” will help you answer the questions above.

Find that space – now notice – does it have any qualities of a personal self? No!

Does it have an age, a gender, a marital status, an occupation?
Definitely not ...seems laughable now

Is it sometimes healthy and sometimes sick?
No
Does it have likes and dislikes ?
No
Does it have boundaries or edges? No.

Is it “inside” the body?
It is boundless....no concept of body contains this space.

Can you try to let go into that space – what happens in relation to sense arisings and thoughts when you simply rest in/as that space?
Whoa! I need more time for words to come in response to what is seen/sensed/ felt here

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:45 pm

OK that's really great looking Rebecca -- here's a few pointers that may help with the final question.

Is there a ‘here’ and a ‘there’ in direct experience? Can you separate the sound as a separate ‘thing’ from the experiencing of the sound? I mean, is the sound somehow ‘over there’ and the experiencing of the sound ‘over here’? Can you separate the sound from the experiencing?

Check this out with all the senses – is any sensation separate from the experiencing of it? (i.e. are there two things involved – a sight/sound/smell/taste/touch/thought – and a separate ‘thing’ that experiences them?)
Here’s how the Buddha put it in the Bahiya sutta:

In the seen, there is only the seen,
in the heard, there is only the heard,
in the sensed, there is only the sensed,
in the cognized, there is only the cognized.
Thus you should see that
indeed there is no ‘thing’ there . . .
As you see that there is no 'thing' there,
you will see that
‘you’ are therefore located neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’ nor in any place
betwixt the two.
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:04 pm

Today : This morning in the first seconds on waking there was knowing message to 'just be' like a reminder from the depths of unbounded space. Then a sense of words hurrying quickly to wind up the worry of a family problem story....running quickly across consciousness as if trying to fit into a closing gap. It was a humorous moment and just fell away quickly leaving unbounded spaciousness.

Questions from yesterday.
Is there a ‘here’ and a ‘there’ in direct experience?
No just now
Can you separate the sound as a separate ‘thing’ from the experiencing of the sound? I mean, is the sound somehow ‘over there’ and the experiencing of the sound ‘over here’? Can you separate the sound from the experiencing?
Listening to birds sing I cannot find a separate hearer from the sound
Having a massage there is no separation in the experiencing and sensation of touch.
So it's the same outcome with the others ......no separate sense is found different from the experiencing

So back to yesterday's last question.
Can you try to let go into that space – what happens in relation to sense arisings and thoughts when you simply rest in/as that space?
Simply resting in that space there is a sense of expansion, relaxation, unboundedness, no constriction of time. There are occasional sense experiences arising and thoughts slide by.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:30 pm

This morning a sudden waking up from deep sleep at 3:30am with a realisation that a close family member's suspected illness is true, experiencing the diagnosis. There was a wave like response of expansion and then flowing movement in that expanded space. No need to 'do' anything, just moments flowing on, tears rose and fell away, just a felt sensation with no racing thoughts, no anxiety or fear. Experiencing the flow of the moment to moment suchness. No usual heart racing in contact with suffering, wont even name it suffering. Some thoughts come in about discussions to be had with siblings but that drops away again to gentle expansive state. A knowing that this suchness will continue to unfold and a relaxing into the space of that flow of unfolding. Able to get up and wrote this thread.....something slightly surprised that the urge to write came right now.

Sorry but I am going away to place with no wi fi access for the next 3 days ....will be back online Sunday night.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Jack'n'theBox » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:43 pm

OK no worries, please let me know how things are going when you get back.

In the meantime, if you see this prior to leaving, you may find that there is a kind of energetic movement that carries on -- from unbounded, relaxed, expanded -- to limited, tense, constricted -- a movement between expansion and contraction -- simply notice that there is no 'one' doing this -- it is just an energetic response to situations. There is nothing 'wrong' with this movement. 'You' don't need to 'do' anythingabout it, other than notice it is occuring.

Now notice -- even in the most contracted, tight state -- where worrying thoughts seem paramount -- there is still a connection to the unbounded, expanded state (switch attention from the thoughts to the 'space' around them to see this) -- notice -- is this space ever affected by any arising or occurence? Could it ever be affected?
People see it far away. What a pity! They are like a man who, standing in water, complains of thirst -- Hakuin

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:19 pm

Thank you for the questions...I will keep looking at this movement whilst away.

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Re: Thread for Rebecca

Postby Rebecca » Sat Nov 22, 2014 9:11 am

This is really helpful questioning. Many years ago I experienced a sense of dissolution of a fixed sense of 'self' in the face of the truth of insubstantiality. Every cell of this ' body' was in flow and flux and in an expanded and unbounded state. I had not been able to find a way to establish that insight off the mat.
I see now that there has still been an aspect of 'self' that has been deluded in trying to make effort towards dwelling again in that state.....as if that state was somewhere other than here ..now
There is a knowing now that unbounded consciousness that is always present never affected by an arising or occurrence.
Being encouraged in any given moment to look for the space around the thought, feeling or sensation has shown how ever present this unbounded consciousness really is.
Also so helpful to experience samskaras more clearly as ' energetic responses' that slide across this expanded space ...with nothing needing to be done by 'me'.


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