Thread for Moondog

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Seagull
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Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:43 am

Dear Moondog,

Sorry it has taken me so long to get in touch, I have been waiting for posting rights.

Sanghapala says that you are happy to be my guide - thanks for being prepared to do this for me.

I hear that you cant start untill the 28th and it occurs to me that I am going to be out of internet contact over the new year for a couple of days, so I was thinking that maybe it would be best to start on the 2nd of Jan where there are no foreseeable interuptions - at least on my side.

How does this sound to you?

I could go on to say a bit about myself, but perhaps it is best to wait untill we kick off proper. In the meantime, is there anything i could be doing to help prepare the ground in preperation for our work together?

With gratitude
Seagull

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:02 pm

Hi Seagull,

It's good to hear from you, and I'm looking forward to guiding you so that you can see clearly that there's no separate self.

I'll send you the first post outlining the initial basic stuff on Friday January 2nd and we'll take it from there.

In the meantime, it would be good if you could read through Gateless Gatecrashers, if you haven't already. But, if you can't, don't worry, it's not a problem.

If you need to contact me with any urgent questions or whatever, you can always PM or email me. Just log on to LU, click on 'moondog' and you'll see options for PM or emailing me on the left of the page that comes up.

Anyway Seagull (is that what you want me to call you?) have a great Christmas break.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:46 am

Hi Seagull,

How are you? Hope you had a good Christmas break.

So, first of all, please tell me a bit about yourself and your story, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for.

Here are a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that. What time zone are you in?

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/ for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration 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's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:26 pm

Hi Pete

Good to hear from you,

Yes I had a lovely Christmas thanks for asking.

So I’ll deal with the practical stuff first. I have read the disclaimer and agree to all the terms and conditions.

I am living in the UK so that means I am operating on GMT time.

I understand the importance of committing to this process and I will do my best to be in contact every day. I have a young family so sometimes finding space can be quite difficult. You have my assurance that I will try my hardest to be as honest as possible and write from direct experience.

So I’ll kick things off by saying a bit about myself and my life experiences to help you get a bit of a feel for who I am.

I am male, 35 years old with a wife and 2 children (a boy 3yrs and a girl 7yrs)

I myself am one of 3 brothers all very close together in age. I was brought up by my mother after a bad separation that my parents went through when I was about 4/5. I did not see my dad again untill my early twenties. Since my children came onto the seen I have been trying much harder to build a relationship with him so they can know their granddad.

My mother in many respects is a wonderful person – but she could be described as having borderline personality disorder. I tend to think of her as having a very complicated mind and in some respects this made for a very difficult childhood.

I was also born with a rare congenital condition that required lots of surgery throughout my childhood and early teens so I spent allot of my time in Great Ormond Street hospital or recovering from operations. (The quality of nursing I received there has been a major source of inspiration in my life).

A side affect of my medical condition was that I was completely incontinent until 14/15 and as a result was bullied at school very badly

It was through becoming critically ill in my late teens and needing a major operation that I came in contact with the Dharma through books and meditation.

From 21 I spent 4/5 years working in a Buddhist Centre alongside some very good men which was an enormously helpful experience. Before this and for many years after this I worked in different care setting but generally tending to gravitate towards working with children and adults with learning disabilities. For the last 5 or 6 years I have been working as a psychotherapist (a tradition of psychotherapy based in Buddhist psychology and mindfulness)

So this is just a very brief profile - let me know if you would like me to go into anything in more depth.

I came to LU through a good Triratna Order friend who was involved in the process.

When he first told me about LU and what he was doing I had a really strong reaction against LU in all sorts of different ways. I think if I could put a voice to my reaction the headline would read “a bunch of people not prepared to get their hands dirty in the hard slog of day to day spiritual practice, looking for a spiritual by-pass and deluding themselves with attainments that they don’t really have.

My reaction was so strong that I thought I better have a look at LU for myself.

Over the next few weeks I noticed some excitement building “what if this process really helps to see the illusion of a separate self.” So more meetings with my friend followed and it occurred to me that I have got nothing to loose and everything to gain in giving it a go.

In terms of your questions

What are your expectations for this process?

It is going to be a big commitment that I am going to have to stick at if I am going to benefit.
I hope it will have positive impact on my practice.
That I will probably fail in seeing through the illusion of a separate self. (There is a big old fetter of doubt here)

What is it that you are searching for?

Truth, love, acceptance, happiness … I don’t mean to be unrealistic but there you are.


How will you know that you found it?

I really don’t know – my best guess is that it might be a bit like one of those magic eye posters from the 90’s where you stared confusedly at a jumble of patterns and then suddenly a 3D picture emerged. So a perceptual shift – a movement from confusion to clarity

How will this feel?

A feeling of relief because suddenly I understand what I am looking at and not caught up trying to figure it out

How will this change you?

Again I really don’t know, and this is kind of scary. I hope that it will give me a perspective where I am able to be more loving and caring and in a better position to help both myself and others.

Warmly

Seagull

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:08 pm

Hi Seagull,

Thank you so much for your very open summary of your background, and for accepting all the various conditions etc.

Do you want me to continue calling you Seagull, or is there another name you prefer?

My background on encountering LU a couple of years ago - via Tejananda,who guided me - was as a Buddhist; 15 years in Triratna, half that as an Order member. So, I can empathise with your early reactions. I'm no longer Involved with Triratna but I'm still supportive, and have a positive outlook towards Tritatna, particularly those, like you, who are willing to look to LU to see through the illusion of a separate self. Also, as you probably know, I've guided quite a few mitras and OM's over the last year and a half.
How will you know you've found it?
I really don’t know – my best guess is that it might be a bit like one of those magic eye posters from the 90’s where you stared confusedly at a jumble of patterns and then suddenly a 3D picture emerged. So a perceptual shift – a movement from confusion to clarity.
Yeah, that's good. And it might be like that for you, or perhaps more gradual. We'll see...

Also, thanks for sharing your expectations (part-quoted above), which are not unrealistic, and for your uderstanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a 'you', a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

So, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.

Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:08 pm

Dear Pete

Thanks for your response, I really appreciate the time and effort you have obviously put into it.

I think I would like to remain as seagull – if I was going to use my real name (which I would like to if this platform was more private) I would feel obliged to start disclosing information with greater thought as to who might read it.

Hearing that Tejananda was your guide inspires confidence in me about your LU lineage.

From the retreats I have done at Vajraloka, Tejananda has always struck me as an authentic practitioner and I trust in his experience. For me, it is as if some of this trust becomes imparted to you and this helps to erode some of the doubt that I still feel about this process.

I hear what you say about assumptions and expectation not being helpful. I will do my best to become aware of them as and when they arise without getting too caught up in the content.

If for any reason I can’t make a post I will try to give you as much notice as possible. No one likes to be left “sitting like a lemon.”


Onto the questions you asked me
Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
This is the question I have spent most time with. I woke up at 5 am thinking about it. My immediate reaction to this question is “of course nothing exists outside this present moment” there is a dismissive quality of feeling that comes with this statement – a sort of irritated boredom.

Then it occurred to me that I have never really looked to see for my self if this is true. Because it is obvious and makes sense I have never bothered. If this attitude is in part about putting up a resistance to really inquiring for myself it has done a pretty good job.

I started thinking about different things and testing to see if I could find an exception. The bed I was laying on, the bricks of the house I am living in, my mind, experiences like love…

I sat down to meditate and after a while reflected about the cushion I was sitting on. I asked the question does my cushion exist outside this present moment. The answer was a definite no.

The past doesn’t exist any more and the future hasn’t happened yet so that means the only time that anything can exist is now

I felt really uncomfortable accepting this statement, as though I was struggling with a part of myself that felt as though I was denying that the past had happened at all or the future would ever happen again.

I went a little bit deeper into this and had some sucsess in separating out my feelings and this is what I been with so far today.

As I Look at my cushion now it certainly seems different from the cushion I got 10 years ago. It is much more squashed now; some of the seams are stretched and starting to look a bit worn. It’s dirtier than it once was, and I am pretty sure the colour has faded from a deep maroon to something much paler. My cushion is a different cushion now to the one it was – even just a moment ago, but the cushion it is now is completely dependent on the cushion it was.
Most importantly for me, accepting that my cushion only exists now doesn’t deny that I got my cushion 10 years ago as a wedding present on a day that was filled with happiness and joy, that my wife and I were surrounded by friends and loved ones all wishing us well.

Perhaps what I am recognizing from a Dharmic view point is that impermanence and dependent arising need to be viewed together.

I think I will have to stop here for the day. I tend to be quite a slow worker but I will get round to your other 2 questions tomorrow.

Warmly
Seagull

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:02 pm

Hi Seagull,
I think I would like to remain as seagull – if I was going to use my real name (which I would like to if this platform was more private) I would feel obliged to start disclosing information with greater thought as to who might read it.
No problem Seagull, I quite understand.
From the retreats I have done at Vajraloka, Tejananda has always struck me as an authentic practitioner and I trust in his experience. For me, it is as if some of this trust becomes imparted to you and this helps to erode some of the doubt that I still feel about this process.
Yeah, he's great. As to your remaining doubts in relation to this process, just look and see them for what they are as they arise - just thoughts, perhaps with some bodily feelings attached, that's all. No more than that. They arise, hang around for a while and then subside. Like coils of smoke.
If for any reason I can’t make a post I will try to give you as much notice as possible. No one likes to be left “sitting like a lemon.”
Same goes for me. I tend to post once a day, round about the time I'll send this, mid to late afternoon. But sometimes earlier, sometimes more than once. Nothing hard and fast, just a tendency :)
I asked the question does my cushion exist outside this present moment. The answer was a definite no.
The past doesn’t exist any more and the future hasn’t happened yet so that means the only time that anything can exist is now
This is undeniably so, as is evidenced by sense arisings: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching/feeling. We'll be looking at these sense arisings, plus thoughts and thinking, throughout this investigation.
I felt really uncomfortable accepting this statement, as though I was struggling with a part of myself that felt as though I was denying that the past had happened at all or the future would ever happen again.
That's ok, it shows that old beliefs are being challenged at their root. When these feelings come up, just be present for them, let them be, free to hang around until they're ready simply to fade away. It's best not to try and resist them.

I appreciate your committed approach to all of this so far and I'm looking forward to your remaining answers tomorrow.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Sun Jan 04, 2015 9:32 am

Dear Pete

...so I am ready to continue, thankyou for your feedback, I am trying to impliment it.
when you said.
That's ok, it shows that old beliefs are being challenged at their root. When these feelings come up, just be present for them, let them be, free to hang around until they're ready simply to fade away. It's best not to try and resist them.
It brought up a reaction in me of not wanting things to be that simple - As if i was afraid I would loose something and a readiness to defend my much more complex way of being. I am applying your advice to this reaction and trying not to get too caught up in the thinking.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
I guess I have got all sorts of different ways of seeing myself depending on the situation I am in. I have spent time analysing my experience in all sorts of different ways from Meyers Briggs personality types ( I am an ENPJ by that way of thinking) to neo riechian character strategies (I have some labels from that as well) Then there is the traditional triratna way of analysing people according to which poison is strongest within them (I am a greed type)... There are more, and each of these ways has sometimes felt useful and also felt fundamentally unsatisfactory at the same time. I guess I experience myself as a mass of contradictions e.g I yearn for both companionship and solitude. I concieve of myself to me an emotionally complex person with bits of himself all over the place which does not fit neatly in a box.

At a slightly deeper level these are just tendencies, habits and patterns. It is my mind thinking, trying to find a way to make sense of experience. I draw on the past and project into the future. But of course as we all ready have discussed, things can only exist in this pressent moment and that includes my "self". Here again I feel my reaction to fight for a more complex way of being starting to enter the picture.
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
I cant find it in my direct experience. What I notice are sensations arising which I either enjoy or dislike and then my mind kicks in with thinking. Rembering past similar experiences, making associations, wondering about the future...

When I look beneath the thinking, maybe the complex person I concieve myself to be is nothing more than a sensitivity towards my arising experience

An image came to me in meditation of armour being dismantled into its various parts and no one being inside.

Take care
Seagull

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:24 pm

Hi Seagull,
It brought up a reaction in me of not wanting things to be that simple - As if i was afraid I would loose something and a readiness to defend my much more complex way of being. I am applying your advice to this reaction and trying not to get too caught up in the thinking.
In relation to your fear at the prospect of seeing for certain that there is no separate self, no 'you', just bear in mind that an illusion cannot be lost or go anywhere. That's the point; it's not there in the first place, and never has been. Only thought says different.
I guess I experience myself as a mass of contradictions e.g I yearn for both companionship and solitude.
Even on an intellectual level, apparent contradictions such as this are a clear illustration that there's no self-entity, just various thoughts giving opposing viewpoints.
I cant find it in my direct experience. What I notice are sensations arising which I either enjoy or dislike and then my mind kicks in with thinking. Remembering past similar experiences, making associations, wondering about the future...
When I look beneath the thinking, maybe the complex person I conceive myself to be is nothing more than a sensitivity towards my arising experience
Great, Seagull. These initial questions were really just to see where you stand in relation to seeing whether there's a separate self, and what you've said shows a good feel for what we're just about to start to looking at. Now I'll start to point towards looking in 'your' actual experience to see what can be found.

My job as your guide during this enquiry will be simply to point out to you where and how to look in direct experience so that you can see for sure for yourself whether there's a separate self-entity anywhere doing or being anything. I really like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area within experience where a separate self might be found.

As you'll have seen, the initial questions point you towards looking into your experience, which is, as I say, where I'll be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Experiencing is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within the experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no separate self is done by investigating experience. To this end, we can divide experiencing into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post, and you might want to have another look at that.

As I keep saying, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So, let's start at last investigating where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Sun Jan 04, 2015 6:28 pm

thanks Pete

I feel well taken care of in your thoroughness of approach and I look forward to getting stuck into the exercises you have set me.
i'll get in touch as I complete them, but it might take me a few days to do them all.

Warmly
Ed

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:38 pm

No problem Seagull.

Enjoy the exercises and keep me posted.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:28 pm

Dear Pete


... so I have managed to do a few of the exercises.

Last night I took a bath as a way to spend some time paying attention to physical sensations. I followed the tactile sensations. As I began to search for a self that was having this experience, my thinking threw up a familiar objection. that went something like this: "I must exist so I can make sense of all these patterns in my experience, if I didn't I wouldn't be able to look after myself or have a way of making decisions about my future. along with this thought came a feeling, a wanting to be/have a self, something that I could rely upon.

I couldn't find a self that was separate to the experience I was having just lots of thinking feelings of desire connected to the thinking. I started thinking about the thinking then feeling frustrated that the thinking was getting in the way of me directly experiencing.

before bed I meditated for 30 or 40 minutes. I waited until it felt that my mind had calmed down and my concentration felt stable then I opened my eyes and looked at the chest of draws in front of me. I did this for quite a while and there were a couple of brief moments where it felt like seeing was happening by itself with no or very subtle thinking. when this happened I had a sense of both seeing what I was looking at and of my eyes as a sense organ performing their function. I searched for a separate self - I could not find one.

My sense of self seems to exist most concretely when I catch it from the corner of my eye so to speak. when I try to look at it directly, it seems to evade me and I feel as though I am left clutching its discarded clothes with a part of me convinced that it must hiding somewhere else.

Today I tried to pay attention to taste as I sipped a cup of hot chocolate but my mind was too scattered to be able to stay with the experience in a way where I could properly investigate it. I will try again latter today.

during a break from work I lay down and listened to a piece of piano music that I particularly like. and for just a moment I glimpsed that having a self was completely extra to requirement for this task - and that hearing just happened by itself.

I'll be in touch again soon

Warmly
Seagull

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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:17 pm

Hi Seagull,
I couldn't find a self that was separate to the experience I was having just lots of thinking feelings of desire connected to the thinking. I started thinking about the thinking then feeling frustrated that the thinking was getting in the way of me directly experiencing.
I'm pleased to see that you couldn't find a separate self.

Thinking - aka the ego- particularly at this early stage of looking, can often be found to continually 'interrupt', trying to distract you or put you off. Indeed, at any time, thoughts frequently pop up,and interrupt what we simply see, hear, touch, taste and smell. There's nothing wrong with thoughts. They just arise, abide a while and pass away. Thoughts are great for planning, analysis etc. But they're no use when it comes to this, here, now. They have no referents and don't tell us anything true. But don't try and avoid thinking - it's just part of life, just like the other sense arisings - you'll just come back to knowingly being present as soon as you become aware of having drifted off into a thought story. This drifting 'in and out' is something that just happens to each of us all the time, although most of us probably don't return to this 'knowing awareness' anywhere near often enough. There's no effort involved, and it's just a really good habit to get into coming back to being present, by noticing when you're not, as often as possible.
before bed I meditated for 30 or 40 minutes. I waited until it felt that my mind had calmed down and my concentration felt stable then I opened my eyes and looked at the chest of draws in front of me. I did this for quite a while and there were a couple of brief moments where it felt like seeing was happening by itself with no or very subtle thinking. when this happened I had a sense of both seeing what I was looking at and of my eyes as a sense organ performing their function. I searched for a separate self - I could not find one.
Aside from being reasonably calm, there is absolutely no need to get into any kind of special state to do any the exercises throughout this process. It needs no effort or special preparation, no trying. Imagine when you simply gaze out of a window at the scene, or hear the sound of a car go by. It's relaxed, it's perfect and nothing added is needed. If thoughts come, let them be, they'll go, even the demanding clamorous ones. And just see whether any seer, hearer, experiencer can be found.
Today I tried to pay attention to taste as I sipped a cup of hot chocolate but my mind was too scattered to be able to stay with the experience in a way where I could properly investigate it.
Don't try to pay attention. Don't try to properly investigate. That's all too mind-led and deliberate. As I say, let any thoughts be and just look at your experience to see if there's an experiencer anywhere to be found.

So, to recap, all I want you to do is to tell me, not at all from what thinking is saying, but solely from looking in 'your' actual experience, when looking at a tree, an orange, out of the window or whatever, can you find a 'you', a self-entity, present actually doing the seeing? If so, tell me what it looks like and how it does it.

Please do the same with each of the other four senses and let me know whether you can find an experiencer, or is there just hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, as well just seeing.

Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.


It's precisely what the Buddha was talking about in the Bahiya Sutra when he said to Bahiya:

Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

And no worries Seagull, this is all going fine, just as it should.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Seagull
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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby Seagull » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:32 pm

Dear Pete
Thinking - aka the ego- particularly at this early stage of looking, can often be found to continually 'interrupt', trying to distract you or put you off. Indeed, at any time, thoughts frequently pop up,and interrupt what we simply see, hear, touch, taste and smell.
Thanks for offering this perspective, it gives me a useful framework to view whats happening.
There's nothing wrong with thoughts. They just arise, abide a while and pass away. Thoughts are great for planning, analysis etc. But they're no use when it comes to this, here, now. They have no referents and don't tell us anything true. But don't try and avoid thinking - it's just part of life, just like the other sense arisings - you'll just come back to knowingly being present as soon as you become aware of having drifted off into a thought story. This drifting 'in and out' is something that just happens to each of us all the time, although most of us probably don't return to this 'knowing awareness' anywhere near often enough. There's no effort involved, and it's just a really good habit to get into coming back to being present, by noticing when you're not, as often as possible.
this gives me a good feel around how I need to orient myself in this process.
Aside from being reasonably calm, there is absolutely no need to get into any kind of special state to do any the exercises throughout this process. It needs no effort or special preparation, no trying.
Thanks for your guiding here - making a wilfull effort is an old pattern that I find myself caught up in time after time, and all it gets me is a headache!
Don't try to pay attention. Don't try to properly investigate. That's all too mind-led and deliberate. As I say, let any thoughts be and just look at your experience to see if there's an experiencer anywhere to be found.
again really helpful - I have been practicing this new way of looking and I intuite a feeling of rightness about it.
So, to recap, all I want you to do is to tell me, not at all from what thinking is saying, but solely from looking in 'your' actual experience, when looking at a tree, an orange, out of the window or whatever, can you find a 'you', a self-entity, present actually doing the seeing? If so, tell me what it looks like and how it does it.
Thanks for making this so clear, It really helped me get what I needed to do.

I have done the exercises with all of the senses (though I have a very bad sense of smell) and it is apparent to me that there is no seperate self entity performing these functions. Nor is there any need for a self entity to run this bit of the show. each of the sense organs seem to naturally recieve information that creates seeing, hearing touching etc. when they come into contact with the appropriate stimuli.

I feel pretty confident of all this but i find myself constantly checking over and over with each of my different senses just to make sure. So I guess I havent fully seen this bit clearly yet.
Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.
This exercise sounds profound... ive got a feeling that it might take me a while to get it. at the moment reading the question is tying my brain in a knot... so I guess I need to take a step back and stop trying so hard. Any how I will let you know how I get on with this.

Thanks for quoting the Bahiya sutra - I needed to hear that- and also for your words of encouragement when you said
And no worries Seagull, this is all going fine, just as it should.
very reasuring.

Warmly
Seagull

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moondog
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Re: Thread for Moondog

Postby moondog » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:42 pm

Hi Seagull,
Thanks for your guiding here - making a wilfull effort is an old pattern that I find myself caught up in time after time, and all it gets me is a headache!
again really helpful - I have been practicing this new way of looking and I intuite a feeling of rightness about it.
Yeah, I just want you to be set up properly for this. It's obviously an 'important' process and you want it to go well. Being fully committed is great but, as I've said, wilful effort just won't work. A relaxed attitude works best.
I have done the exercises with all of the senses (though I have a very bad sense of smell) and it is apparent to me that there is no seperate self entity performing these functions. Nor is there any need for a self entity to run this bit of the show. each of the sense organs seem to naturally recieve information that creates seeing, hearing touching etc. when they come into contact with the appropriate stimuli.
That's excellent - you can find no seer, hearer etc., no self-entity present doing anything, or even necessary.

In experiencing, can you even find any sense organs, or do they appear as labels? If you can find any, please describe how they appear to 'you'
I feel pretty confident of all this but i find myself constantly checking over and over with each of my different senses just to make sure. So I guess I havent fully seen this bit clearly yet.
Essentially, once you've looked a few times, you just know, because this is your actual experience, that there's no separate self to be found. It's just your mind, i.e. thoughts, that, despite this real certainty, tell you to keep checking. That's really no problem, you won't suddenly see a self in a particular area of experience, if you've looked thoroughly and haven't seen one there already. Ironically, going back to check and seeing that there's no self there can actually help you to be more confident in what you have (and haven't) seen. So long as you're aware of what those pesky thoughts are trying to do.
This exercise sounds profound... I've got a feeling that it might take me a while to get it. at the moment reading the question is tying my brain in a knot... so I guess I need to take a step back and stop trying so hard. Any how I will let you know how I get on with this.
It's not as complex as it might seem, quite simple really. The principal point of this exercise as a whole is for you to look and see whether there's a seer, hearer etc; a 'you' doing the experiencing. You've done that and haven't been able to find a separate self. This final part of the exercise just opens things out even more and helps deepen your experiential understanding. I'll try and clarify this a bit more...

When you looked at your experiencing, let's say when seeing, you were aware of seeing but could find no separate self doing the seeing, no seer. It's just a thought story that's taken on board unquestioningly. In the same way, but at 'the other end' as it were, can you find as separate both seeing and the object that's being seen or, again, is there just seeing? I stress again that this has nothing to do with the labels and concepts that the mind then immediately attaches to experiencing. If you can distinguish an object that's separate from the seeing of it, describe how they are separate and distinguishable.

Please do the same with the other senses. If you again have difficulties with the sense of smell, no,worries, I just want you to see whether there are any boundaries in experiencing and the other senses will be able to do that.


Nice work Seagull.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'


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