Looking for Guidance

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emptiness813
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Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:50 pm

Hi,
Have been meditating for 20 years or so, using Advaita/Vipassana/Centering Prayer techniques generally. Meditated for 3 hours daily from 2000 to 2007, then my wife and I had twins and then what Zorba/Jon Kabat-Zinn called the “full catastrophe” occurred. Please don't misunderstand, I have a lovely wife and two wonderful children, but because of the responsibilities which necessarily come with taking care of a family, the meditation became more sporadic. Over the past couple of months have been able to reclaim 3 hours daily of uninterrupted “spiritual” time for reading, but re-development of the habit of consistent meditation will likely take significantly longer.

Experience of what the Buddhists call “stream entry” happened in 2006. The realization faded but has resurfaced periodically since that time, with intervening periods of the delusion of self returning to varying degrees.

A few days ago had another “Enlightenment experience”, saw through the delusion of the individual self with total certainty. The following day, the memory and the unimpeachable logic of that experience remained (made sure to write down what I could) but the insight itself had vanished with hardly a trace. Reading my journal felt like seeing a written account made by another person. Then yesterday, had another deeper insight that again seemed so obvious as to almost be insulting to have to belabor the point, but of course wrote it down anyway because of familiarity with the ephemeral nature of these experiences. Now am somewhere in between Insight and Ego. Today, my most important concern does not seem to be breaking free of all fear forever by learning the Truth of Reality vs illusion, but being on time to pick up my kids at their tennis lesson. Of course this same pattern has happened over and over again during the past 10 years or so in a way that would be really laughable were it not so frustrating for Bill.

Looking to experience clear insight into no-self in a way that the cognitive and emotional awareness Realization “sticks”. Any help would be very much appreciated.
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:49 pm

Hello Emptiness,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Dirk and I would be happy to guide you here. How would you like me to call you?

Before we get started could you be so kind and read this disclaimer (and confirm that you have done so)

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

Looking forward to working with you

Dirk

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:11 pm

Hi Dirk,
My name is Bill. I have read the disclaimer, understand and agree to it. Thanks for taking the time to work with me.
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:29 am

Hi Bill (of course, your name is there),

Nice to have you here, and thank you for sharing some of your story in your initial post. Sounds like you have a lot of meditation experience (which should have prepared you well for the enquiry we are about to engage in), as well as some ideas and expectations about 'this' (which we shall examine carefully).


Before we start proper, I would like us to agree on a few points:

I am inviting you to a direct investigation into the nature of reality and self - so I am principally interested in your direct moment-to-moment experience and observations, rather than philosophical considerations or intellectualizing.
In general, I ask the questions and you respond. All that is needed is for you to stay focused and open-minded, to look at what is pointed to, and to be honest in your replies.
Please leave aside all other teachings / books etc. while engaging in this investigation with me. If you do want to read, focus on the material we offer here (texts, audios) - everything else can easily be counterproductive. Feel free to continue your meditation practice.
Post regularly, even if it is only to inform that you need more time to reflect or formulate your reply.

Please read through the FAQ (http://liberationunleashed.com/faq/) and let me know if anything seems odd or just doesn't 'sit right'.

Please use the quote function (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660”) for ease of communication.


Please answer all my questions marked in red.

Are you o.k. with the above 'ground rules'?

Looking to experience clear insight into no-self in a way that the cognitive and emotional awareness Realization “sticks”.
Please elaborate on this statement. What precisely do you mean by 'cognitive and emotional awareness realization'? What else do you expect from this enquiry?

Best wishes,

Dirk

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:19 pm

Hi Dirk,
I am still formulating reply, but wanted to let you know I am fine with the ground rules and FAQs. Will Post soon.
Thanks,
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:30 am

Hi Dirk,
Here are my answers to your questions.
Please elaborate on this statement. What precisely do you mean by 'cognitive and emotional awareness realization'?
In the statement, I actually meant to say “cognitive and emotional awareness of realization”. By that I mean that it seems there is overwhelming evidence that the personal self is a fiction. For example, in my direct experience, Reality consists solely of thoughts, feelings and sensations superimposed on a background of pure Loving Emptiness or Awareness or whatever name one would give to the Nameless. All relative reality is a thought, feeling (internal) or sensation (external). But thoughts, feelings and sensations or not personal or unique or individual. They are ever-flowing and ever-changing objects that arise and fall in moment-to-moment experience. And of note there is no “me” or “I” or personal “self” here. Only the kaleidoscope of constantly changing “external” (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) or “internal” (visual thinking, verbal thinking, emotions) sensory stimuli. All of these are impersonal. Pure Emptiness is also impersonal; this Awareness “belongs” to no one. So just as the images on a TV screen appear to have people and things moving across it, when examined carefully there is only thousands of red, green and blue pixels that flash in ways that make it seem like people and things are involved in some type of story. So when the thought arises “I want food”, it really means a particular arrangement of thoughts, feelings and sensations wants food, which makes no sense. Thoughts, feelings and sensations in themselves cannot want anything. And the Nameless certainly could never want anything. So the thought “I want food” is clearly bullshit, when it comes down to it.

There is no possible argument around this that I can see, yet in this very sentence I relate to this fictional entity twice without blinking an eye, propagating the delusion. And this recurs thousands of times daily until it seems “I” am brainwashed into thinking in a way that is irrational and somehow justifying it with some sort of excuse like “It sounds really weird to talk about everything in the third person” or “The English language requires use of the personal pronoun “I”, but just because I use it doesn’t mean I believe it.” I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem not referencing Santa Claus thousands of times daily cognitively in my words, thoughts and actions. Yet when it comes to the individual self, there is a problem. A massive problem of referencing this imaginary entity cognitively in thinking, writing and speaking. That’s what I mean by lacking cognitive awareness of Realization.

There is a similar emotional “disconnect” between my life and the truth. There is no reason to ever fear a thought, feeling or sensation. Even the sensation of pain without the imaginary baggage may be uncomfortable but is nothing to be feared. Yet nevertheless anxiety persists about the possibility my business may not provide enough income to pay for my children’s education and provide financial security for my wife. Anxiety regarding how a period of difficulty in my marriage may affect our children. Anxiety about how a friend will deal with a terminal cancer diagnosis. But there is no “one” to really be anxious, yet there is fear. However, when Santa Claus is seen to be imaginary, there is no persistent anxiety over what gifts he might or might not bring. During periods of greater insight into the illusory nature of the self, there is a resulting emotional lightness and freedom and underlying joy that subsides and disappears despite nothing having changed in “Reality”.

I know it is possible to see through all fear and desire by knowing they are illusions because that has been experienced many times in the past for brief periods. These periods don’t last despite the facts having stayed the same. It is like a belief in Santa Claus gradually starting to creep into my belief system despite my being a 49 year old adult and knowing the falsity of it. It seems unimaginable that I would start talking about Santa to my wife and friends as if he were real at this point in my life, yet it seems to actually be happening with the equally mythological individual self. For example, how many times have “I” used I in this post despite it having no corresponding reality. I want to say “I just don’t get it”, but saying something else like “It is just not gotten” or “Bill just doesn’t get it” sound weird and the strange syntax detracts from the point “I” was trying to get across.
What else do you expect from this enquiry?
In answer to your question of what I expect from this Inquiry, the truth is that I am not sure what to expect. My hope would be to achieve a depth of realization of the truth that fear and desire would permanently vanish due to the understanding there is no individual self to desire or fear anything. Like the Advaitic parable about fear of a snake in a dimly lit room that vanishes when a flash of light reveals the “snake” to be seen as just a coil of rope. I do not think about and constantly worry about ghosts known to be illusory, but the same is not true of my “individual” self. “I” would like/am hoping the individual “self” can be treated on the same level as ghosts or Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny at the end of this inquiry.

Thanks for listening,
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:49 am

Hello Bill,

Thank you for your elaborations and reflections. It appears to me that you have a pretty solid understanding about the illusionary nature of a separate self.

I will only point out areas here, where I think there might be some underlying assumptions worth investigating.

All relative reality is a thought, feeling (internal) or sensation (external).

Only the kaleidoscope of constantly changing “external” (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) or “internal” (visual thinking, verbal thinking, emotions) sensory stimuli.
Is there actually such as thing as 'internal' or 'external' in direct experience? How do you experience this separation?

So when the thought arises “I want food”, it really means a particular arrangement of thoughts, feelings and sensations wants food, which makes no sense. Thoughts, feelings and sensations in themselves cannot want anything. And the Nameless certainly could never want anything. So the thought “I want food” is clearly bullshit, when it comes down to it.

There is no possible argument around this that I can see, yet in this very sentence I relate to this fictional entity twice without blinking an eye, propagating the delusion. And this recurs thousands of times daily until it seems “I” am brainwashed into thinking in a way that is irrational and somehow justifying it with some sort of excuse like “It sounds really weird to talk about everything in the third person” or “The English language requires use of the personal pronoun “I”, but just because I use it doesn’t mean I believe it.” I don’t believe in Santa Claus, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem not referencing Santa Claus thousands of times daily cognitively in my words, thoughts and actions. Yet when it comes to the individual self, there is a problem. A massive problem of referencing this imaginary entity cognitively in thinking, writing and speaking. That’s what I mean by lacking cognitive awareness of Realization.
The question is: are you expecting appearances to no longer appear the way they appear?
There are countless metaphors about this: The sea will always appear blue, but you don't expect to pull a bucket of blue water out of it, do you? We know the sun doesn't circle around the earth or move across the sky, yet we keep talking about 'sunrise' and 'sunset', and so forth. When you walk up to it, there is no water in a mirage, yet the next time you look, it still looks like there is...

One of the key misconceptions I used to have, was the belief that Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta surely didn't have the 'I -thought' - until it was pointed out to me, that appearances don't have to change in order to recognize that, which is beyond appearances - and neither do they, as a consequence of that recognition.

If you recognize that thoughts, feelings and emotions - any kind of experience - isn't personal, then who or what would be there to choose one 'set' over the other, or control these in any way?


There is a similar emotional “disconnect” between my life and the truth. There is no reason to ever fear a thought, feeling or sensation. Even the sensation of pain without the imaginary baggage may be uncomfortable but is nothing to be feared. Yet nevertheless anxiety persists about the possibility my business may not provide enough income to pay for my children’s education and provide financial security for my wife. Anxiety regarding how a period of difficulty in my marriage may affect our children. Anxiety about how a friend will deal with a terminal cancer diagnosis. But there is no “one” to really be anxious, yet there is fear. However, when Santa Claus is seen to be imaginary, there is no persistent anxiety over what gifts he might or might not bring. During periods of greater insight into the illusory nature of the self, there is a resulting emotional lightness and freedom and underlying joy that subsides and disappears despite nothing having changed in “Reality”.

I know it is possible to see through all fear and desire by knowing they are illusions because that has been experienced many times in the past for brief periods. These periods don’t last despite the facts having stayed the same. It is like a belief in Santa Claus gradually starting to creep into my belief system despite my being a 49 year old adult and knowing the falsity of it. It seems unimaginable that I would start talking about Santa to my wife and friends as if he were real at this point in my life, yet it seems to actually be happening with the equally mythological individual self.
For example, how many times have “I” used I in this post despite it having no corresponding reality. I want to say “I just don’t get it”, but saying something else like “It is just not gotten” or “Bill just doesn’t get it” sound weird and the strange syntax detracts from the point “I” was trying to get across.
Fist of all: No need for a contrived or tentative dance around the 'I'-word here. It is quite obvious that both of us understand that it is just a label, and that any 'entity' it may seem to be referring to, would also be merely a concept. Having said that, there are times when - in a given context - it might seem more appropriate to talk in an impersonal fashion (like: 'what seems to be happing here...' rather than 'I am experiencing...') for the purpose of emphasis and clarity of communication.

I think the 'Santa' analogy (or similar) is useful only up to a point. Even though there clearly is no 'you' as a separate, independent and deficient entity, which stands somehow apart from 'reality' - YOU clearly do exist as THIS (whatever this is) - reality itself, the 'experiencing', or however we want to call IT.
And as long as there is experience of a body-mind-complex, duality and the realm of relative appearances are something to be reconciled.

Apparently, Nisaragdatta once confessed to one of his closest students at the time (I think it may have been Ramesh Balsekar) that he was 'concerned' about his daughter having to deal with the family affairs after his passing away. Does this mean anything? Was he not 'getting it'?

Can you appreciate, that both 'not getting it' and 'getting it' are just stories arising in THIS'?

Peak experiences, 'hightened' states and periods of greater insights are ephemeral appearances - just as much as moments of fear, anxieties, worries or desires are. None of these really define or affect YOU in any way; they are just 'content', and any secondary comments or post-mortem reflections are just more of the same.

Yet, although not being 'personal' in nature, these are still perceived very intimately (how else would they?), and none of this is separate form YOU either, in so far that these 'experiences' (just like anything else) appear in and as THIS - at that specific moment.

I would say the key is to not make your basal sense of (psychological, emotional or spiritual) stability or 'well-being' dependent on ANY appearances (which by their very nature are unstable).

My hope would be to achieve a depth of realization of the truth that fear and desire would permanently vanish due to the understanding there is no individual self to desire or fear anything.
Can you recognize that nothing really needs to change or vanish? Because that would mean that your relation to (or attitude towards) 'content' IS changing. And then, who knows what may arise (or not)...

Reflect on this:

"Just realize you are dreaming a dream you call the world and stop looking for ways out. The dream is not your problem. Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another. Love all or none of it, and stop complaining. When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs to be done"- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Looking forward to your observations.

Best Wishes
Dirk

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:36 am

Hi Dirk,
Still mulling this over. Will post soon. Thank you for the depth of your responses.
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:13 am

Hi Dirk,

Wow, I sincerely appreciate the depth of your response. The writings of and about Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Ramesh Balsekhar, along with the Tao te Ching, are probably my most treasured books. Here are my answers to your questions.
Is there actually such as thing as 'internal' or 'external' in direct experience? How do you experience this separation?

In direct experience there are of course no boundaries; external and internal are simply artificial categories. And external vs. internal is probably a poor word choice, because it begs the question: internal or external to what? And I don’t have a good answer to that question.

Yet there are some interesting categorical differences. It seems to me that the majority of experience falls into one of two main groups. The first is the sensations sight, sound and touch as conveyed through the sense organs of the eyes, ears and skin (just for simplicity ignoring taste, smell, balance, etc). These sensations have a quality of clarity and are experienced vividly and crisply to me. The second experiential group is the brain’s kind of internal re-creation of these modalities often projected into the past as memory or the future as expectation. These re-creations consist of mental imagery/visual thinking for sight, verbal and musical thoughts for sound, and emotions as an internal analog for touch. The second group seems less vivid to me than the former. In a sense, thoughts and feelings are imaginary. For instance, verbal thinking is imaginary sound, the imagined sound of our or others’ spoken words. It drives home the truth that the self, or “I-thought” is literally a figment of the imagination, with no correspondence to sensory reality.

Are you expecting appearances to no longer appear the way they appear? I am not sure what you mean by appearances. In the Advaitic analogy where what appeared as a snake in a dimly lit room was seen in a flash of light (insight) to be a coil of rope, when the lighting becomes dim again, some things change and others don’t. The room appears exactly the same, so in that sense appearances don’t change. However, thoughts, feelings and actions of the person in the room do change. She would likely stop being terrified, her obsessional thinking about the supposed snake would probably stop and she probably wouldn’t think that much about the rope any more. Her movements would be different; maybe she would sit down near the rope to rest whereas before when she thought it was a snake she may have been too afraid to sit down. Likewise, I am not expecting sensations to change at all, but I do expect thoughts, feelings and actions to be affected. If an insight doesn’t change your life in some way, what good is it? When Ramana Maharshi was asked if there was any sign of spiritual progress one could look for in the process of self-enquiry, he said that in general there would be fewer thoughts as more progress is made. This makes sense to me. If I believe I am in a dark room with a cobra, my mind is going to be racing trying to figure out a way to get out and try to stay alive. Once I realize there is no cobra, the worrying would stop and it seems to me that the density of thinking would naturally decrease.
If you recognize that thoughts, feelings and emotions - any kind of experience - isn't personal, then who or what would be there to choose one 'set' over the other, or control these in any way?

I do see that there is no controller or manager here. Thoughts, feelings and sensations are arising and falling away in a beautiful dance without a dancer. These appearances in Consciousness are perfect exactly as they are. Yet anyone who has experienced the Nameless knows that Perfect Loving Awareness, deeper than anything our limited minds could imagine, is all there is. And Love guides in an unmistakable direction that is obviously different from ignorance. Liberation, Freedom, Truth are the inevitable result of such a Universe, and probably the reason Bill is typing in these words even now. Limitless Grace, because there is no reason anything good should come of the beauty of what Is, yet why else would you be taking the time to help me here?
Can you appreciate, that both 'not getting it' and 'getting it' are just stories arising in THIS'?

Yes. THIS is completely unaffected by whether Bill “gets it” or doesn’t “get it”. It doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things what happens to Bill, and Nothing ever happens to the Nameless. The True Self simply Is. As Ramana Maharshi said, the Real must always be Real. Yet Bill has suffered, apparent suffering but suffering nevertheless. So since Bill “getting it” and “not getting it” are equivalent, out of compassion, Bill humbly hopes for the Understanding of Truth to manifest in his brain, simply out of Grace and mercy.
Can you recognize that nothing really needs to change or vanish?
Yes, perfect acceptance of What Is paradoxically changes what is perfectly accepted.

One other addendum: I keep thinking about the “I” story, how it doesn’t really make sense. I have been thinking about the philosophical thought experiment of teleportation, where when one walks into a transmitting “teleporation booth”, the entire structure of the brain and the rest of the body is scanned. Then you are killed, and an exact replica is reconstructed at the receiving “teleportation booth”. Yet if your body in the transmitting booth is not destroyed, and you journey to the receiving teleportation booth by some other means and see your double, it is clear that you are not that double. So rationally, one would never go into a teleportation booth because it is basically suicide. Yet, when one walks across the room, what is the difference between being killed mid-stride and then being reconstructed after the next step in exactly the same form down to the molecule. There is no difference whatsoever. Yet “I” die along the way. Therefore dying makes absolutely no difference in the scheme of things. The only possible explanation that seems reasonable, at least to me, is that the “I” is illusory and so if an illusory entity lives or dies, there is no real difference. This of course means practically every thought occurring in this body over the last 5 decades has been a lie. And then my mind just “stops” and I feel like I need to take a break. Anyway, there it is. Sorry it took so long, I will endeavor to be quicker in my responses from now on.
Thanks & hope you are well,
Bill

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:14 am

Hello Bill,

Thank you for your reflections.
Yet there are some interesting categorical differences. It seems to me that the majority of experience falls into one of two main groups...
Interesting differentiation! Here is one I like to use for illustration and investigation purposes (and we might come back to this on occasions):
We could stipulate that 'Direct Experiencing' encompasses the following aspects:
being (the undeniable sense of presence / aliveness / lucidity)
sensing (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling)
thinking (in the sense that thoughts are seen to come and go, but without their content being focused upon).
For simplicity, let's say that 'feelings' and emotions are a cross between thinking and sensing (the feeling aspect).
So, the 'physical universe' - as perceived - is 'content' of sensing, and 'real' in the sense, that it still appears to be there / exist, when you close your eyes (or when you don't think about it). Of course, we could still argue about how real this actually is, considering that what we see isn't really what is there (and so on) - but let's leave that aside for now...
So, that then leaves 'everything else' (≠ direct experience) as CONTENT of thought - concepts, mental abstractions, imagination, stories! The noteworthy feature here is, that all this (content) isn't real at all, in so far that - apart form the fact that you can't see, hear, touch, smell, taste or feel it - it clearly is NOT there, when you don't think about it!

Now, in which category would the following fall: Bill, Ramana Maharshi, advaita, self, I, me, you, liberation, mind, brain, the nameless, suffering, grace, love, awareness, compassion, mercy, meaning?

In the Advaitic analogy where what appeared as a snake in a dimly lit room was seen in a flash of light (insight) to be a coil of rope, when the lighting becomes dim again, some things change and others don’t. The room appears exactly the same, so in that sense appearances don’t change. However, thoughts, feelings and actions of the person in the room do change. She would likely stop being terrified, her obsessional thinking about the supposed snake would probably stop and she probably wouldn’t think that much about the rope any more. Her movements would be different; maybe she would sit down near the rope to rest whereas before when she thought it was a snake she may have been too afraid to sit down. Likewise, I am not expecting sensations to change at all, but I do expect thoughts, feelings and actions to be affected. If an insight doesn’t change your life in some way, what good is it?
Again, I would say that this analogy is only useful up to a point, even though this one actually serves to illustrate my point rather nicely: So, what if that same person (and let's assume s/he lives in an area where snakes are a distinct possibility - otherwise why would one ever be concerned about them, in the first place?) enters another dimly lit room (or the same room one on another occasion, if you like) - seeing something that appears to be a snake (maybe in a different corner)?
Most likely - first of all - there would be an instinctive rush of fear ('SNAKE!!'), followed by a thought 'Hang on - I remember - this 'snake' might just be a rope, after all!'- which then, sensibly, should be followed up by a cautious investigation - preferentially involving some kind of lighting for illumination - to have a good look.

The 'idea' of the separate self is something that has been reified, believed and reinforced time, after time, after time - for the best part of your life. The whole world conspires in this, thus giving you so called 'consensus reality'. You could say that 'seeing through it', already is a miracle - the grace and mercy, you are referring to. So, for this 'issue' - after a flash of insight - to simply never show up again, maybe is expecting too much?
However, once you have seen through the illusion, surely you cannot ever really 'unsee' it, or fully believe in it again. I very much doubt that this kind of insight doesn't (or didn't) 'change your life in some way' or another! But maybe this has to be recognized a few times (or many, many times), until habitual thinking patterns change significantly?

You are aware that all this is looking from the perspective of a 'person', an imaginary character - which is the illusion itself, right? Apparent passing moments of clear seeing, interlaced with periods of apparent mesmerization and self-ing...
In reality (on direct experience), all there is, is some kind of pristine lucid presence with perfectly empty thoughts (alongside all kinds of perceptions) appearing and disappearing - some of which appear to be telling a story about repeatedly and temporarily believing (does that even exist?) in a story...
Maybe this ALL is just story-ville?

When Ramana Maharshi was asked if there was any sign of spiritual progress one could look for in the process of self-enquiry, he said that in general there would be fewer thoughts as more progress is made. This makes sense to me.
I would say, when there is no more concern about making progress...

Yet anyone who has experienced the Nameless knows that Perfect Loving Awareness, deeper than anything our limited minds could imagine, is all there is. And Love guides in an unmistakable direction that is obviously different from ignorance. Liberation, Freedom, Truth are the inevitable result of such a Universe, and probably the reason Bill is typing in these words even now. Limitless Grace, because there is no reason anything good should come of the beauty of what Is, yet why else would you be taking the time to help me here?
Well, does anybody actually experience the Nameless?
Do we really know all these things?


Yes, perfect acceptance of What Is paradoxically changes what is perfectly accepted.
Yes. Or so it seems. Nice way of putting it...

This of course means practically every thought occurring in this body over the last 5 decades has been a lie.

Are thoughts actually occurring in a body?
What is 'body' in direct experience?


And then my mind just “stops” and I feel like I need to take a break.
Yes! Me, too... :-)


Best Wishes,
Dirk

The wise know nothing at all - well... maybe one song!' (Ikkyū)

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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:12 am

Hi Dirk,

I really appreciate your comments. They are very helpful. So . . .
Now, in which category would the following fall: Bill, Ramana Maharshi, advaita, self, I, me, you, liberation, mind, brain, the nameless, suffering, grace, love, awareness, compassion, mercy, meaning?
I think it depends on one’s perspective. There are five levels, though with that many levels it is probably too complex to do much good. But here it is anyway: (1) direct sensing, (2) thoughts ie imaginary sensing, 3) symbolized objects in a story of human life, (4) flawed interpretation of the story referenced to an imaginary character, “me”, which when examined closely doesn’t really exist, and (5) Boundless Being simply Being. On the level of direct sensing they are red marks on a white background. On the level of imaginary sensing, ie thought, they are the imagined sounds of English words in my mind and the concomitant mental associations. On the symbolic/illusory level they are components of the human story of suffering and transcendence of that suffering. On the delusional level they are words on my computer that I bought for money I worked for doing a job I chose. On the level of the Real, they cannot be described in words. For example: Bill is four red marks on a white background, it is also the imaginary phonetic sound of the word “Bill” in my mind, and at the illusory level Bill is a 49 year old white American guy who happens to be a husband, father, doctor and spiritual dilettante. At the delusional level I am Bill. On the level of the Nameless, “Bill” simply “Is”, and is beyond any verbal description whatsoever. In essence, Bill is a thought, which, like you said, ceases to exist when I stop thinking about him, and Bill can also be an example of flawed or mistaken thought when the I is mistakenly identified with Bill. The ego does not exist and never existed, regardless of whether thought about or not. I suppose one way of trying to capture what cannot be captured is to say: there is the REAL , which is always and always has been REAL, there is the Transient (ie sensations which arise and pass away either directly [perceptions of sound, sight, touch] or in the imagination [verbal thoughts, visual thoughts, and feelings]), and there is the false [me] which is always false, because it never existed or even made logical sense in the first place. This is a somewhat convoluted answer; perhaps I should just say “thoughts”.

You are aware that all this is looking from the perspective of a 'person', an imaginary character - which is the illusion itself, right?


I think you are saying that the “I-thought”, the supposed thinker of thoughts, is the lynchpin of all thought. The “I-thought” is seen as false, and everything the “I-thought” thinks must be illusory as well.

Maybe this ALL is just story-ville?


It is ALL story-ville, which is a great way to put it. However, there are again levels of the story, the REAL, the Transient, and the false.

Well, does anybody actually experience the Nameless?


No, nor does anybody actually experience the named. The Nameless only experiences Itself.

Do we really know all these things?


There are three components to the question, “We”, “really know”, and “things”. There is no “we”, there is only the “One”. Because there is no “we”, there is no one to know anything, and these “things” are just thoughts anyway, not things, so how we can we know “things” that are not “things”? So, I would say no.

Are thoughts actually occurring in a body?


At the level of the story of neuroscience and functional brain imaging, thoughts occur in a body. Thoughts, like everything else, actually only occur in Awareness.

What is 'body' in direct experience?


Sensations. Seeing arms and legs covered by clothing, touching clothing, the couch and the floor, hearing the muffled scrape of an arm against the pillow.

Thanks for your help,
Bill

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DirkPetz
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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:18 pm

Hello Bill,

Thank you for your elaborations.
We appear to have a very similar 'spiritual' background, time of practice and exposure to the teachings, age, and even formal education - and I am sure there are a lot of things we could learn from one another, or share with each other... However, this is not the purpose of this investigation.

My understanding of what we do here at LU is to offer direct pointing towards the recognition of the illusionary nature of a separate self. No more and no less. As you will have heard before (e.g. in the FAQs), this recognition is not considered to be the 'end of the road' here (there is no 'done' in reality), but more like the beginning of a more authentic life, freed form the compulsive and obsessive self-sabotage inherent in the unquestioned identification as a separate and independent self, standing somehow apart from the rest of reality.

As far as I am concerned, you are totally 'there', though I believe you would benefit from reassessing some of your expectations. As I mentioned before, you seem to me to have a very profound understanding of the nature of mind and self (and you most likely would pass all non-duality exams :-). However, maybe it is also here where some of your 'challenges' are to be found: In my view, this road is best travelled with very little baggage (i.e. 'knowledge'), and there comes a point where 'complexity' tends to be rather counter-productive to 'simply seeing'. At times it may seem prudent to 'ignore' all shades of grey, and just see it as either 'black' or 'white'.

Any kind of 'model' we use here in order to conduct this investigation (or anywhere at all), can only ever serve a given purpose in a given context. There simply aren't any 'true' models or concepts (therefore to state: 'there are five levels...' is not actually true). The model I suggested, was employed here to highlight a very basic aspect of thought, where labels can either point to apparent objects (which we might temporarily want to consider to be 'real things'), or towards concepts (which we might temporarily want to consider to be pure imagination and not real). Surprisingly enough, this simple (and simplified) distinction can be a very powerful pointer in the recognition of the illusion of the separate self - which clearly is a conceptional / mental phenomenon.

So, according to 'my' distinction, the 'odd one out' on that list I asked you about, would have been 'brain' - which in turn serves well to deconstruct the very model we were using: Because - o.k. when you crack open a higher organism's skull you might indeed be able to perceive a 'real' structure (object) which you could label 'brain' - but then would that apparent structure really be the origin of anything at all (?), or indeed be in any way separate from the organism (?); and would the organism be in fact separate from the elements it appears to be composed of (and everything 'else' appears to be composed of, as well) (?); and would any of it be actually separate from the 'experiencing' or 'awaring' of it, and so forth (?)...
All the other 'things' on that list are abstract learned concepts - and well worth investigating, in so far as to what kind of (subtle or not) energy of belief seems to be going into reifying them to be independent 'things' with a separate self nature.

For example:
Thoughts, like everything else, actually only occur in Awareness.
Is there really such a thing as Awareness? Or is it just a label, pointing to a 'reality concept'?
The Nameless only experiences Itself.
Is there really such a thing as the Nameless? Or is it just a label, pointing to the ineffable (which is another label, pointing towards...)?

I think you are saying that the “I-thought”, the supposed thinker of thoughts, is the lynchpin of all thought. The “I-thought” is seen as false, and everything the “I-thought” thinks must be illusory as well.
No, that is not what I am saying.
Can the 'I-thought' think? Can a thought think another thought?
What I was saying is that there is no thinker of thoughts, and thoughts about a supposed thinker of thoughts (in other words: imagining to be looking / talking from the perspective of a 'person') are rather useless 'stories' which don't need to receive all that unmerited attention or belief, that we seem to habitually allocate to them. See what I am saying?
However, there are again levels of the story, the REAL, the Transient, and the false.
Is that really true? Or could there be only stories - and even that is just a story?

Keep it simple, Bill!

Best Wishes,
Dirk

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emptiness813
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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby emptiness813 » Sat May 02, 2015 9:51 pm

Hi Dirk,

I really appreciate your keeping me on track here. I often have to remind myself of the importance of simplicity. But thank you for the encouraging words.
Is there really such a thing as Awareness? Or is it just a label, pointing to a 'reality concept'? Is there really such a thing as the Nameless? Or is it just a label, pointing to the ineffable (which is another label, pointing towards...)?
All words are labels, pointing toward but failing to capture the “suchness” of reality. Silence is the only Truth (of course which is itself another label, and so forth).
Can the 'I-thought' think? Can a thought think another thought?
No, a thought cannot think.
What I was saying is that there is no thinker of thoughts, and thoughts about a supposed thinker of thoughts (in other words: imagining to be looking / talking from the perspective of a 'person') are rather useless 'stories' which don't need to receive all that unmerited attention or belief, that we seem to habitually allocate to them.
See what I am saying?


I think I see what you are saying. The thoughts/stories relating to the imagined self are simply imagined stories that are not to be taken seriously.
Is that really true? Or could there be only stories - and even that is just a story?
All words/language cannot help but be stories, and stories within stories. The different conceptual levels are just stories as well, pointers at best.

If you think I am 'there', I trust you. Then are we finished?

Thank you as always,
Bill

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DirkPetz
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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Sun May 03, 2015 12:26 am

Hello Bob,

Straight and clear answers there :-)
If you think I am 'there', I trust you. Then are we finished?
The real question is if you think you are 'there'...
Do you? Is there any doubt whatsoever about seeing through the illusion of the separate self?

Best Wishes,

Dirk

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DirkPetz
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Re: Looking for Guidance

Postby DirkPetz » Tue May 05, 2015 11:11 pm

Hello Bill,


Still waiting for your answer to my last mail.

Then are we finished?
There is procedure how we end our guidance here. We have a standard set of questions we ask at the end of the process - these give both guide and client the opportunity to assess again, if the 'goal' of the investigation has been reached. At this stage also some other guides will have a look at our communication. If there are no more questions, you will then be invited to join our (facebook) groups (there are a few different ones, each with different emphasis) - which is an excellent way to stay in touch with other people who have seen through the illusion of the separate self, look at persisting 'difficult issues', share insights, and so forth. I very much recommend to make use of this opportunity.

Best Wishes,
Dirk


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