Hello! Looking for a Guide.

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lonesky
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Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:34 pm

Hi,

I've been seeking for some time now. I've read a lot on the topic of no-self and listened to various people try and explain it. I feel like I understand the concept but lack a true seeing experience of it. I found this forum and saw how guides are helping people with this process of inquiry and having success so here I am looking for a guide to help me see as well.

Just to let you know, I feel like I've read too much into the topic of no-self that I might try to reply with the concepts I know. So, please bear with me as I try to be as honest in my looking as I can.

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itstopshere
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:08 pm

Hello lonesky. I would like to start busting that ghost with you! :) Is that ok with you?
Where is my mind?

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:17 pm

Yes! Thank you for being here. Let's start.

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itstopshere
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:20 pm

Great!

Before we get started I want to point out some important points for our approach in this chat, and how we should go about it to make it the most effective experience for you.
  1. Try to post daily, even if it is just to say "I'm still working on it!"
  2. Realize that I am not your teacher. All I can do is point you in the right direction. In general, you look and I try to steer your looking.
  3. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers, and stream of consciousness 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 into seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
  5. Please learn to use the quote function; See these instructions
If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too.

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

What are your expectations for this process?
How will it change you?
How will this feel?


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Where is my mind?

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:05 pm

What are your expectations for this process?
I am expecting to really see and be convinced that there is no "I" to which experience belongs to, that "me" is a fiction/process of thought. And when this happens, I am expecting a shift in perspective from living life as a "me" to simply just life happening with the apparent movement of the body and personality.

From all of that, I guess I am expecting that some personal problems will dissipate, perhaps not right away but eventually. I am also hoping that depression and anxiety will fall away or that it can finally be resolved as a result of this seeing. I am also expecting a sense of liberation or freedom, the disappearance of that contracted sense of "I". And I'm hoping that with all of that comes a sense of deep peace that people say comes with this process.

How will it change you?
Well, I suppose it won't change this experience but it will change the perspective of this experience. Perhaps, life will be lived in a more unrestrained way. Maybe I as a person will be happier or at least be at peace. Maybe there will be a change in lifestyle, I'm hoping that there will be a change towards living healthier or more in balance.
How will this feel?
I think it will feel strange, frightening even at first, or maybe exciting. I don't know. I can't say how it would really feel.

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itstopshere
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:28 pm

Before we continue, could you just quickly confirm that you agree with the 5 points mentioned in my earlier post?

I am expecting to really see and be convinced that there is no "I" to which experience belongs to, that "me" is a fiction/process of thought. And when this happens, I am expecting a shift in perspective from living life as a "me" to simply just life happening with the apparent movement of the body and personality.
This is not an entirely unreasonable expectation. However, note that "gating" is not necessarily the same thing as "waking up". It is just the first step in a (non-)process. It's an important step. A step that makes you see that everything you were told and you thought you knew about "yourself" was not true. However, there is more to discover after that. But let's stay with the "I" for now and take things step by step!
From all of that, I guess I am expecting that some personal problems will dissipate, perhaps not right away but eventually. I am also hoping that depression and anxiety will fall away or that it can finally be resolved as a result of this seeing. I am also expecting a sense of liberation or freedom, the disappearance of that contracted sense of "I". And I'm hoping that with all of that comes a sense of deep peace that people say comes with this process.
Things may or may not change. The essential part here, is that whatever happens is not happening to a person. So whatever happens, is seen to just happening, not taken personally anymore, and thus in that sense less powerful. How this is experienced cannot be said beforehand and again, is different for each person. It might be a pretty big non-event that can even be hard to accept for some. They might be "through the gate" for a while already but not willing to accept this, because they feel more needs to happen. It is therefore best to leave your expectations at the door, and let the process happen and show you what it will. Remember, it's not the last stop, it's the first one of a new track.


So then, tell me, at this point, how do you see the "I"? What does "I" mean for you? Who's "I"? (note: you "don't know anything" about enlightenment here, you just answer from experience)
Where is my mind?

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:06 am

"I" seems to be this sense of ownership. It's like a receiver on the other side of experience. Experience happens and there is this feeling that it is happening to "me". The feeling of the body, along with the senses, is taken to be something whole known as "me". From experience,"I" seems to lie right behind the eyes or right behind seeing somehow, somewhere in the head and it is in charge of moving, thinking, speaking, etc.

When there is thinking, the thought says "I" and there is a conviction that it is "my" thought. When there is speaking or moving, the same conviction that I am the one doing this happens.

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:18 am

I couldn't find the edit button for the post! haha

Yes, I do agree to the 5 rules above. I will definitely be posting daily and really try to see how it is from a fresh perspective.

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itstopshere
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:23 am

It's like a receiver on the other side of experience. Experience happens and there is this feeling that it is happening to "me".
Do you ever experience something that is not experience?
If not, how do you know that something is "on the other side of experience"? Is this "other side" experienced?
When there is thinking, the thought says "I" and there is a conviction that it is "my" thought. When there is speaking or moving, the same conviction that I am the one doing this happens.
Great, we can work with that.
Let's test the truth of it. So far in your life you've assumed a lot. You were told things, and these were accepted as a model of reality. Let's see if the model holds up to the scrutinizing eye of direct experience.

Today, I would like you to do some tests. Note that frustration might arise. That is natural if it happens.
  • Try, as often as you think of it today, to look at what the "I" actually refers to. When you have a thought, wonder where this thought is coming from, and who this "I" is. Don't accept answers that come up too easily! Look whether you can verify them. E.g. if "I am the chooser" comes up, find the chooser. Where is this chooser? If "I am the one thinking" comes up, look for this one thinking. Where is he or she? Note that "behind the eyes" is not an answer from direct experience here. We cannot see behind the eyes.
  • Look at control. Do thoughts come up, or do you think them? And if you think them, outside of looking "who" is thinking them, also look at when the thinking of the thought is happening. Do you agree that choice would imply that we weigh different possible thoughts before we think? Do you actually weigh your thoughts before you decide? And if you do, when did you make the decision to weigh them?
Take your time with this. The main point of what we do here is direct you to your direct experience, and have you look for yourself. It's about what you find, so don't answer too quickly!
Where is my mind?

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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:26 am

We cannot edit our posts here, but for the sake of clarity I'm reposting the "list":

  • Try, as often as you think of it today, to look at what the "I" actually refers to. When you have a thought, wonder where this thought is coming from, and who this "I" is. Don't accept answers that come up too easily! Look whether you can verify them. E.g. if "I am the chooser" comes up, find the chooser. Where is this chooser? If "I am the one thinking" comes up, look for this one thinking. Where is he or she? Note that "behind the eyes" is not an answer from direct experience here. We cannot see behind the eyes.
  • Look at control. Do thoughts come up, or do you think them? And if you think them, outside of looking "who" is thinking them, also look at when the thinking of the thought is happening. Do you agree that choice would imply that we weigh different possible thoughts before we think? Do you actually weigh your thoughts before you decide? And if you do, when did you make the decision to weigh them?
Where is my mind?

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:49 pm

Hi!

I'm going to be working on those questions and I'll let you know how it is later today. :)

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:33 am

Try, as often as you think of it today, to look at what the "I" actually refers to. When you have a thought, wonder where this thought is coming from, and who this "I" is. Don't accept answers that come up too easily! Look whether you can verify them. E.g. if "I am the chooser" comes up, find the chooser. Where is this chooser? If "I am the one thinking" comes up, look for this one thinking. Where is he or she? Note that "behind the eyes" is not an answer from direct experience here. We cannot see behind the eyes.
The thoughts seem to be descriptions for what is happening. For example, "I am picking up this cup" seems to just describe the experience of picking up the cup, but I cannot actually find the "I". There is picking up of cup by this apparent body which the thought says belongs to "me" but I cannot find a "me" apart from any idea.

I also noticed that there is awareness of what is happening. There is awareness of what the thought means. There is an automatic assumption that the awareness that sees this thought is "me". "I am aware of that thought". But upon looking, it seems like awareness is part of what is happening. Although it feels like that awareness is "me", that is actually just belief. Awareness is happening without an owner, and "me" is just like this sticky idea and a feeling of contraction in the body.

Although, still there is doubt. There is still a belief that there is "me" here, somewhere. Or that perhaps "me" is like a soul, like something that commands the body from elsewhere, can't be seen. There is also the thought that even if me is just a combination of the processes of the body/mind, that it is still relevant and important and in charge.

Look at control. Do thoughts come up, or do you think them? And if you think them, outside of looking "who" is thinking them, also look at when the thinking of the thought is happening.
Thoughts happen. There is no control of thought but thought seems to arise in response to what is happening or to a previous thought. There is no stopping of thought and they seem to come out of nowhere. They are spontaneous.

Thoughts say that "I" think them. But in closer looking, thoughts seem to be completely random with no decision behind their arising.

Do you agree that choice would imply that we weigh different possible thoughts before we think? Do you actually weigh your thoughts before you decide? And if you do, when did you make the decision to weigh them?
I agree. There doesn't seem to be choice in what thoughts arise and what don't. Thoughts arise anyway whether they are wanted or unwanted. And no, I did not have any decision behind them.

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itstopshere
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:32 am

The thoughts seem to be descriptions for what is happening. For example, "I am picking up this cup" seems to just describe the experience of picking up the cup, but I cannot actually find the "I". There is picking up of cup by this apparent body which the thought says belongs to "me" but I cannot find a "me" apart from any idea.
Wait, are you saying there is constant referral to something that doesn't exist?! That's crazy! :)
I also noticed that there is awareness of what is happening. There is awareness of what the thought means. There is an automatic assumption that the awareness that sees this thought is "me". "I am aware of that thought". But upon looking, it seems like awareness is part of what is happening. Although it feels like that awareness is "me", that is actually just belief. Awareness is happening without an owner, and "me" is just like this sticky idea and a feeling of contraction in the body.
Yes, this sounds pretty darn accurate!

Although, still there is doubt. There is still a belief that there is "me" here, somewhere. Or that perhaps "me" is like a soul, like something that commands the body from elsewhere, can't be seen. There is also the thought that even if me is just a combination of the processes of the body/mind, that it is still relevant and important and in charge.
Of course thought would say such things. They've been conditioned to model everything that is happening around a center called "me", and when one center is seen through they just look to move the model over to another center (so to speak). But did you think that perhaps there is a you, like a soul, or did those thoughts just pop up out of nowhere? (it's important to not just see this once, but to keep repeating it to hammer it in, so I might refer to this often)

The body/mind: can you describe to me in what ways the body/mind is known to you?
Thoughts happen. There is no control of thought but thought seems to arise in response to what is happening or to a previous thought. There is no stopping of thought and they seem to come out of nowhere. They are spontaneous.

Thoughts say that "I" think them. But in closer looking, thoughts seem to be completely random with no decision behind their arising.
Yup! You've got it :) Interesting isn't it?
Try to be aware of this during your daily life. Worries might come up. Were they chosen? Another good point to reflect on is the question: "what would this moment be like without thoughts? would it be good or bad, better or worse than another moment?"
I agree. There doesn't seem to be choice in what thoughts arise and what don't. Thoughts arise anyway whether they are wanted or unwanted. And no, I did not have any decision behind them.
YES! :) Great looking so far. Keep it up!
Where is my mind?

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lonesky
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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby lonesky » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:21 pm

Wait, are you saying there is constant referral to something that doesn't exist?! That's crazy! :)
Yeah! I totally can't find a me, but there is this gnawing thought that "me" exists or should exist. It's difficult to shake off.

Inquiry is very tiring it seems. I have to constantly remind myself of what I've seen so far.

So, what you're describing and what I'm seeing is basically that the owner of experience is unesseccary?

Thoughts, ideas, feelings, sensations, all are claimed by a sense of "me". They are "my" feelings, this is "my" body. What you're saying that it is completely impersonal?

It's so tricky because being a "me" is so convincing when there is an individual body, individual experience.

What you're saying that despite the appearance of an individual organism, there isn't actually anybody? The experience is just as it is with no owner?

But did you think that perhaps there is a you, like a soul, or did those thoughts just pop up out of nowhere? (it's important to not just see this once, but to keep repeating it to hammer it in, so I might refer to this often)
Ahh this is the tricky part. I am very much convinced that there should be a "me" somewhere whether it's a soul that can't be seen or what. But there is seeing that that is just thought. And although it seems like that is "my" thought, it is actually just sprouting out of nowhere. So basically, I don't even know where thoughts come from or why they are what they are.


The body/mind: can you describe to me in what ways the body/mind is known to you?
Umm, the body/mind is just what is appearing. It seems like there should be an individual in here, but the appearance of the individual is just part of what's happening also.

Try to be aware of this during your daily life. Worries might come up. Were they chosen? Another good point to reflect on is the question: "what would this moment be like without thoughts? would it be good or bad, better or worse than another moment?"
I can't say. Only thoughts have really anything to say about the moment. So without thoughts, maybe the moment would just be completely neutral. Not good or bad or worse. That only happens when thinking weighs out the past and the future and other stuff.

I really feel like I get what you're saying here. But it just hasn't quite clicked in yet. The implications that there is no me makes me wonder where all decisions are made, where preferences come from, where personality and all that come from. But of course, the answer is that they come from nowhere, maybe influenced by past conditioning or habits. And those again are just more thoughts.

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Re: Hello! Looking for a Guide.

Postby itstopshere » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:20 pm

Yeah! I totally can't find a me, but there is this gnawing thought that "me" exists or should exist. It's difficult to shake off.
A thought doesn't gnaw except if it is even momentarily identified with. As soon as you see it for what it is, it loses it's power. The velcro turns into butter. So all you have to do is keep watching what happens, and the identification will (most likely) fall faster and faster and occur less and less.
Inquiry is very tiring it seems. I have to constantly remind myself of what I've seen so far.
That's alright. It is important to not want to much too fast. Take your time. All this conditioning has accumulated over the years and won't just dissipate overnight. But it can be felt as tiring indeed. Remember though, that worrying in an identified state is even more tiring. It's just not experienced that way anymore because it is a more familiar state. The unidentified state can become a familiar state.
It can also be useful to look at who is actually feeling tired. Is it a person feeling that, or simply a known sensation?
So, what you're describing and what I'm seeing is basically that the owner of experience is unesseccary?
Are you seeing that? As said before, I am not and also don't want to be a teacher. A teacher conveys his information for others to be taken for granted. I want you to scrutinize me and your own experience.
Thoughts, ideas, feelings, sensations, all are claimed by a sense of "me". They are "my" feelings, this is "my" body. What you're saying that it is completely impersonal?
Can you find a person to make it personal for?
It's so tricky because being a "me" is so convincing when there is an individual body, individual experience.
Sure. Let's stick with the sense of "I" for now though. There is additional possibility to deconstruct experience and the body which can be done at a later time, but for now it is especially important that regardless of the body existing or not existing, we cannot find some kind of owner or controller. So life happens. Choices seem to be made, but by no one. The body moves around, interacts with others, "has a life", but there is no owner of that life, and no one making the choices. Is that your experience too?
What you're saying that despite the appearance of an individual organism, there isn't actually anybody? The experience is just as it is with no owner?
What I'm saying is that you should look at what you find. For now, there might or might not be an individual organism. Do you find it? If so, it doesn't really matter, because clearly the organism isn't owned, isn't controlled. It's there and part of the other experiences that are had.

I am very much convinced that there should be a "me" somewhere whether it's a soul that can't be seen or what. But there is seeing that that is just thought. And although it seems like that is "my" thought, it is actually just sprouting out of nowhere. So basically, I don't even know where thoughts come from or why they are what they are.
Exactly. This is an important point. Really focus on this. "You" are not convinced of anything. The thought speaks of an "I" that is convinced of one thing or another. But the thought isn't thought by someone, and the I referred to doesn't exist. It's just a thought with certain content, entirely impersonal.
The body/mind is just what is appearing. It seems like there should be an individual in here, but the appearance of the individual is just part of what's happening also.
Let's get further into this at a later point. I think it's good to keep some more focus on the "I" first :)
Another good point to reflect on is the question: "what would this moment be like without thoughts? would it be good or bad, better or worse than another moment?"
I can't say. Only thoughts have really anything to say about the moment. So without thoughts, maybe the moment would just be completely neutral. Not good or bad or worse. That only happens when thinking weighs out the past and the future and other stuff.
Try it out for yourself. When you get emotional - and of course this tends to work best with "negative" emotions - try to look at the present moment and ask yourself what this moment would be like without the content of thinking. Would you be mad at your colleague without thoughts about what he did or didn't do? Would you be worried about paying your bills right now if there were no thoughts about bills? Would you need to lose/gain weight if all there was was just life going on without all the narrative? The only thing that makes moments good or bad is in our thinking. This seems to be a really banal point, but it's very powerful when you start using it in everyday worries.
I really feel like I get what you're saying here. But it just hasn't quite clicked in yet. The implications that there is no me makes me wonder where all decisions are made, where preferences come from, where personality and all that come from. But of course, the answer is that they come from nowhere, maybe influenced by past conditioning or habits. And those again are just more thoughts.
I see what you mean. Two things we have to realize here; 1) we've been conditioned and maybe even biologically predisposed to want to understand things. maybe we simply cannot understand where it comes from. The only thing we can understand is what it definitely is not (and that can already be a great tool and insight). 2) It's just thinking. Thoughts say they want a click, thoughts say they want to understand where it comes from. Is it you thinking that, or are these thoughts just coming up? If you don't control the thoughts, would it make sense to keep working with this model of a person trying to understand something?
Where is my mind?


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