Guide Available

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Josephkoudelka
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Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:33 pm

Anyone ready for crashing the gate, respond here.

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:11 pm

With some trepidation, I'll say I think I'm ready.

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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:33 pm

Hi hylas. It is excellent to meet you here. Please, tell me a bit about your journey so far. Have you been seeking long or is this new to you?

Joseph ♥︎

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:36 am

Hello Joseph:

Thanks so much for taking me on! I look forward to knowing you and being guided by you. I’ll try to keep “my story so far” short. Essentially, six months ago I would have called myself an atheist, a materialist, and philosophically a nihilist (though behaviorally a joyful, thinking, nice guy), if forced to put labels on things. I have not read much philosophy in the past ten years or so because I basically believed I had reached the limits of what I could figure out with thought: in essence that there’s no inherent right and wrong, that “nothing matters” or is of any inherent importance, and that if there might be something like soul, an afterlife or whatever, it was something that fell in Gödel’s category of unknowable, and, so, I’d never know.
I have also long enjoyed toying with perceptual and cognitive ideas, specifically that words are just concepts that artificially divide up the world (I was fascinated to read of blind people who regained their sight as adults but could not understand the first thing about dimension or recognize faces). So I knew that there was, on some level, no separation, but I’d never thought of applying that kind of thinking to the self.
Then six months ago I got together with a likeminded friend who I respect deeply. He told me of his own “nirvanic” experience. Though he had never studied Buddhism, Advaita, or any other Eastern thought, in a moment of suffering his ego dissolved, he felt oneness with the world, no fear of death, no lust, and an absolute certainty that we don’t die. He also understood that life is an illusion.
We had a huge argument where I essentially could not believe that he had experienced something I hadn’t since his thinking was now more in line with mine in many ways. For the next month I marshaled all my mental resources in finding ways to prove that the universe could not be conscious, that his experience was as subjective—and questionable—as any other religious or spiritual expereince. It then occurred to me that I could not keep at it without checking his claim that what he’d experienced was in perfect keeping with what thousands of Buddhists had experienced. So, I searched for “enlightenment experiences” and found all kinds of things . . .
Chief among them was a paper by Jeffrey Martin about “persistent non-symbolic consciousness.” It clinched my new “belief” that my friend’s experience was not spiritual mumbo jumbo. It also intrigued me. The “non-symbolic” fit with my ideas about concepts, language, and logic and excited me as I’d always thought a non-symbolic view was lost to anyone but a baby. And so began a six-month dive into all things non-dual.
I’ve largely eschewed Buddhism (too dry, too much work) in favor of Advaita Vendanta. I’ve done some meditating, but mostly thinking and reading, including many works recommended by this site (Greg Goode, Joey Lotte, Göran Backlund). One particular work that made an impression on me was Marc Leavitt’s, Enlightenment, Behind the Scenes, in part because the author struggles with his role as father before his realization, a struggle I also face.
Sorry to be so longwinded. I know I’m expected to put all expectations aside, so I wanted to mention them here and then stop thinking of them. Due to my friend’s account, which I trust completely, and the similar stories I read, I do hope to know and understand not just the idea of no-self, but also the illusion of space, the sense of “one taste,” the knowledge that everything is consciousness and that consciousness does not die. I realize that the focus here is on seeing through the illusion of self, but would love to know if these other things typically come with it, after it as the realization deepens, or, in your view, not at all. Because of my friend’s story, it’s very hard for me to come to terms with the idea that I might “already be enlightened” and that it is such a simple matter.
Thanks for reading, and, again, for helping.

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Josephkoudelka
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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:25 pm

Ok. We will revisit couple of the topics you have mentioned in your last post, but first, let's get the preliminaries out of the way. I have a few things I would like you to review and confirm you have seen, as well as acknowledge that you are in agreement. Take your time and respond when you have completed.

http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

http://youtu.be/wyNwhK2Ur1c

Guidelines for guiding process:

1. You agree to post at least once a day.

2. In general, the guide will ask the questions for you to respond to

3. Responses require your utmost honesty

4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-
winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.

5. 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.

6. Please learn to use the quote function; instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Additionally, there is a 'Subscribe to topic' button in bottom left corner of page on the purple bar, right next to 'Board Index' button. If you click it, you will be subscribed to this thread and will receive an email every time I post a response.

I look forward to our journey together.

Joseph ♥︎

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:57 pm

Hello, Joseph:

So, yes, I have reviewed all materials, agree to post at least once a day, and can even
use the quote function
as I think that illustrates.

I have some things to say about the disclaimer, which would probably be stuff we'd have to start in on right away anyway. Though I do, of course, agree that neither you nor the site can be responsible for what happens to me, the disclaimer did inject me with fear. Not of losing myself, or I don't know what, but specificaly with my familial relations. I don't worry whether they will be ok without "me," but that the joy that arises in me when they are filled with joy (and when they respond to joy) will dissolve. It's certainly my biggest attachment. In short, children are awfully cute.

The fact that I've read the following, (from end of the Jeffrey Martin paper I mentioned) adds to my apprehension:
Two of the individuals rejected the experience because of the nature of the experience itself. One reported that he had read a book about PNSE the night before and woke up the next day experiencing NSE. He stated that he felt that he had lost his humanity, which can be a common way of expressing the no emotion, no agency experience among individuals with no spiritual or psychological frame of reference for it. He described looking across the table at his young daughter and how it just didn’t feel right to have lost the intense parental love that he’d previously experienced for her. It took him three months to fully leave NSE, and he described the time period since as the most meaningful and appreciative of his life. He returned fully to an individualized sense of self.
I don't really expect you to say "Don't worry, it'll all be ok," but, indeed, would love to hear just that. When I intially read the disclaimer, I nearly backed away. But then I read some of the Gatecrashers book and it seemed like such a "soft landing" that I came back (though, of course, ultimatley I hope to get beyond the soft landing). Maybe I should drop everything and come back for you when the kids are teenagers. Or, if, somehow, I could know that the joyous feelings will still arise, just not arise to "me" I could go on with courage.

Aside from this sticky point, I've got the desire . . .

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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:54 pm

I'll respond in more detail in a bit. In the meantime, I want you to know I have kids, ages 8 & 9, and if anything, the joy I experience with them has increased immensely.

what time zone are you in? I am in Iowa, USA, Central tz.


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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:11 pm

Good to hear! I'm in NYC.

My older child loves to talk about consciousness. And, whenever my ire rises because she is not putting on her shoes fast enough, she reminds me that it's all nothing . . .

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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:20 am

I found it necessary, to better understand where your head is at, and the possible expectations that may come as a result, to investigate a little of the information you have quoted. For example, I was not aware of the term PNSE. I have not followed Jeffery Martin's work. As for me, my own investigation has gone for about fifty years, beginning around 4 years of age. I can state that I recognize precisely what is represented by the term Non-symbolic experience. Whether persistent, or not, it is a state, and all states, all experiences, come and go. However, there is the unchanging factor of knowing all states and experiences. It is here where we will look, and become familiar with knowing/awareness's unending permanence.
Eastern psychologies have often pointed to the nonsymbolically mediated, or immediate
ways of knowing as the only kind of knowing that can lead to enlightenment or true
insight into human nature. In fact, they consider our addiction to language-mediated,
discursive thought as a major hurdle in realizing the true or divine Self, or union with the
Ground. (Cook-Greuter, p. 230)
The quote above, from http://nonsymbolic.org/PNSE-Article.pdf presented by Jeffery Martin, is the direction we take here at LU when we look at Direct Experience(DE), our experience as it is, unmediated by thought.

How do you believe your life will change as a result of seeing through the illusion of self? What do you expect to remain the same?

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:53 am

Thank you for taking the time to look that up! For what it’s worth, it seems that Martin uses PNSC and Enlightenment and Awakening more or less synonymously. Anyway, a glimpse of PNSC is certainly something I hope for, but yes becoming “familiar with knowing/awareness's unending permanence” is the real goal.

What do I believe will change? What do I actually believe will change? I think it’s safe to say that I don’t know. I take the sages and non-dual writers at their word that I cannot understand till I get there. And then there’s the paradox that “I” won’t be there to understand anything . . . and yet so many get there and then speak about what did or did not change from a very ordinary sounding self. The understanding of this paradox, and all the paradoxes, is something I do think will change, if not right away.

I suspect that I will not have any significant changes in my life or relations. I’m guessing that my current way of thinking is similar enough from what I think I’ll think after seeing through the illusion that there will be no perceivable change from the outside. Part of this is a lingering doubt that anything big and amazing (or mystical-like) could every happen to me, so it must be something that feels ordinary.

So the only belief I’m really expecting is an understanding.

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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:27 pm

This thing we call a self is a phantom. Its entire existence is maintained by thought and thought alone. In any given moment, if we look from the standpoint of Direct Experience, with the intent of finding a self, it can never be found. Every single time that we *think* we have found a self, it is only a thought *claiming* that such and such, or this and that, is a self. Thoughts come and go. Their claims, or content, vary wildly. What is, Is.

Here at LU, we are concerned with seeing through this illusion. We also point to the undeniable fact that there is no entity that is in control making decisions or creating intent. It seems as if there are at least two of us participating in this conversation concerning whether a self exists. Yet, even this two is not found in our Direct Experience. Paradoxically, I intend to point this out with demonstrable exercises and a series of questions that will bring the lack of a separate self into bold relief as your own direct experience.

During this time, if you do have a strong unremitting desire to read non-dual material, I ask that it only be "Look" or "Gateless Gatecrashers" from LU. Or "Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness" by Rupert Spira. "Look" and "Presence: The Art of Peace and Happiness" are both available on Amazon. "Gateless Gatecrashers" can be downloaded as a pdf through this link --> http://liberationunleashed.com/PDF/Gate ... ashers.pdf
The book by Rupert Spira best encapsulates the language and view that I have. In all cases though, please respond from your own direct experience when questioned or asked to describe.

Direct Experience is when we look directly at perception and experience it "as it is." "As it is" means that we drop the story, the thought, no matter how compelling, and focus on the other aspects of perception, such as sensation, sound, sight, smell and taste. Also knowing. Especially knowing. At any time, all times, DE is already present, but overlooked because we have become identified with the stories that thought tells about the experience. I use the term Awareness also as a synonym for Direct Experience, in that Awareness of what Is, is always present a priori. Where ever we look, it is already there.

More about thought. Thought is not an enemy, thought is also present along with all perception. But thought is NOT the perception itself. Thought is a story about our perception. All separation only exists as a thought. You can, and will, see this undeniable fact for yourself as we continue our exploration together.

First question - Do you know a thought or does thought know you?

Second question - Does thought know anything?

Joseph ♥︎

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:32 am

Joseph, I can’t thank you enough for engaging me in this. You seem like a perfect fit to the sticking points my mind stumbles on. Already I can tell that you are generosity and clarity itself. Your careful efforts are appreciated! I hope to post more often than once a day, just had a very full schedule as of late. So, here goes . . .
This thing we call a self is a phantom. Its entire existence is maintained by thought and thought alone.
I understand this (but don’t see it yet, of course). I wonder if the same two statements hold true for the things we call parts of the self.
We also point to the undeniable fact that there is no entity that is in control making decisions or creating intent.
Is this in keeping with my (realist and materialist) notion of a lack of free will? Which is, in essence, that we make no real decisions because everything that we think and feel comes from what came before, which came before that moment which came before that moment, etc. Even if consciousness were somehow a part of a decision, it would still fall into that deterministic flow. If you add some quantum idea of spontaneity, then you merely add randomness, not volition. Is this in keeping with the non-dual “no entity in control”?
I intend to point this out with demonstrable exercises and a series of questions that will" bring the lack of a separate self into bold relief
I look forward to this with no dispassion.
I have read Rupert Spira’s The Transparency of Things and love his approach. In particular he helped me to bring perceptions from “out there” to “right here” (at least with sound . . . vision is a bit more difficult). I’m glad your view is in keeping with his as it fits very much with my expectations, and I trust him completely. Are you suggesting I actually read those books or only if I must read something? Though I have been voraciously consuming non-dual books, my desire to continue that fell away as soon as we started here. Read about half of the Gatecrashers book. Curious if I might read some western philosophy . . .
More about thought. Thought is not an enemy, thought is also present along with all perception.
Certainly six months ago I thought that thought was consciousness itself (or at least the self itself). Now I understand that thoughts just arise in consciousness, as does any other object. This alone cleared up much confusion.
“First question - Do you know a thought or does thought know you?”
I’m trying hard to answer honestly here, or maybe I mean trying hard to find an answer. It doesn’t seem obvious that either are true. Certainly I don’t think thought knows me. I have thoughts “about” me, but none that know me. No thought appears that has a grasp of a seeming single solid me. I don’t know if I know a thought either. Thoughts occur and sometimes it seems like I am causing thoughts and it seems that I hear them, which may be synonymous with “know” them.
Second question - Does thought know anything?
I do think that thoughts give rise to knowledge. Thoughts alone perform syllogisms, which lead to practical knowledge, at the very least. I used to think that if a mind came to a piece of knowledge through something other than thought-in-language that there was still some kind of subconscious thought making a syllogism somewhere. Now I’m not so sure. But I don’t think at all that thoughts themselves know anything.
Just who is thinking a thought and who is hearing it have always been a mystery, but it has seemed that the hearing half must take place for knowledge to occur. (Though I realize that the goal here is to know that there is no knower and no known, only knowing).

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Re: Guide Available

Postby Josephkoudelka » Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:22 pm

I wonder if the same two statements hold true for the things we call parts of the self.
Can a part(of a self) be found in Direct Experience? What is actually experienced?
Is this in keeping with my (realist and materialist) notion of a lack of free will? Which is, in essence, that we make no real decisions because everything that we think and feel comes from what came before, which came before that moment which came before that moment, etc. Even if consciousness were somehow a part of a decision, it would still fall into that deterministic flow. If you add some quantum idea of spontaneity, then you merely add randomness, not volition. Is this in keeping with the non-dual “no entity in control”?
Do you know a thought before, during, or after it arises?
Are you suggesting I actually read those books or only if I must read something? Though I have been voraciously consuming non-dual books, my desire to continue that fell away as soon as we started here. Read about half of the Gatecrashers book. Curious if I might read some western philosophy
Would prefer that you don't read anything during this process, but if you must, that it is limited to these three. It is a matter of focus, staying focused.
Certainly six months ago I thought that thought was consciousness itself (or at least the self itself). Now I understand that thoughts just arise in consciousness, as does any other object. This alone cleared up much confusion.
All that is, IS. One can say that it is all Consciousness, and Consciousness alone, as long as Consciousness is not a thing, an object of experience. Ultimately, there are no objects of experience except in a thought claiming it is so. This, however, is beyond the scope of seeing through the basic illusion of a self.

Can you find a self if denied the use of concepts?
I’m trying hard to answer honestly here, or maybe I mean trying hard to find an answer. It doesn’t seem obvious that either are true. Certainly I don’t think thought knows me.
Bingo! Thoughts don't know the knower. Thoughts don't know knowing. They are inert. Reality does not depend on a thought.

I use subject-object discrimination at this level of hashing out the illusion.

Is a thought aware?
I do think that thoughts give rise to knowledge. Thoughts alone perform syllogisms, which lead to practical knowledge, at the very least. I used to think that if a mind came to a piece of knowledge through something other than thought-in-language that there was still some kind of subconscious thought making a syllogism somewhere. Now I’m not so sure. But I don’t think at all that thoughts themselves know anything.
Just who is thinking a thought and who is hearing it have always been a mystery, but it has seemed that the hearing half must take place for knowledge to occur. (Though I realize that the goal here is to know that there is no knower and no known, only knowing).
I am only concerned with binary logic here, Seer-seen discrimination. If it is an object, it is other than the subject. Ultimately, no subject, no object. We have to start somewhere within the conceptual framework to become free of it.

Remember that in our direct experience a concept cannot be concretely found to exist. Go ahead and try. Look right now. Where is this self outside of a concept? Bring it to me. Describe it without using a concept.

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hylas
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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:23 pm

Can a part(of a self) be found in Direct Experience? What is actually experienced?
When I look for a single self I find ony that I am concious of things, but, indeed, cannot find the thing that is concious of things. But the parts all seem to occur to a center, or at least around a center. The limbs and torso that hang off my awareness seem to hang off awarenss only over here (and all the time). Presumably other centers have other limbs hanging off them. For the objects that are apparent, I see only the surface that is aimed in my direction, that reflects light to my eyes. The body as an sensory appartus for just this center makes me think "parts of a self." But more that these things (which could, after all, be projected to a brain in jar, or at least could be as non-3D as a movie) is the fact that thoughts and feelings seem to arise only to this center. Though there may be no self in the center, the private thoughts, inaccessible to other senosry apparatus, makes me think that body, thoughts and feelings belong to each other around a center.
Do you know a thought before, during, or after it arises?
I have no idea! Presumably a thougt occurs first, before language, then is translated, invisibly, to language, then is understood moments after it is "sounded" in mind then is filed away in memory and assumed as knowledge. I have the same problem with thought that I have with speech and music. They seem to makes sense, though of course no phrase, word, or note exists in past or future. But I cannot hear a sentence, thought, or bar of music, outside of its time bound nature. That is, obviously it's dependent on very short term memory and a longer term memory that anticipates a future learned from other pasts events. So I try to focus on the moment, but cannot hear a note unrelatd to its melody, cannot hear it outside of duration, cannot get to the DE of sound, thought or speech!
Can you find a self if denied the use of concepts?
No. But I cannot find anything deined the use of concepts other than raw sensory input. But I don't know how to deny myself the use of concepts. Even though I agree that thoughts are inert, have no knowing in and of themselves, I cannot see the world without them (yet). And my thoughts are always demanding my attention. As you can see, I can't take your comments and just let DE happen somehow. Instead it's always cognizing, cognizing, cognizing.
Is a thought aware?
Thought is aware of nothing. But it seems to tell awareness things. Even things awareness wouldn't have known without it.
Describe it without using a concept
.
I can't describe anything without a concept! An approximation might be: a silent, private, awareness happening to a here and not to a there.

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Re: Guide Available

Postby hylas » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:36 pm

I think it's worth adding that, despite the fact that I can understand that thoughts have no knowledge or awareness, there is still a vague, inarticulate feeling that it is I thinking these thoughts. I don't know how to attack that feeling, even though my understand agrees with so much that is said.


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