Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

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Arrietty Bee
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Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Fri May 22, 2015 10:13 am

hi, this is Arrietty Bee looking for Stephanie Padma to guide me

A B

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stephanie padma
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Fri May 22, 2015 11:52 am

Hi Arrietty Bee
Thank you for asking me to be your guide to the gate - it is an honour.

A few preliminaries before we begin:
-Please could you confirm that you have read the Disclaimer on the home page
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-You may find it helpful to click the 'subscribe topic' link at the very bottom of the page to ensure you get an email whenever a reply comes in.


Also, there are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least once a day. (I’m sorry I may not be able to write everyday due to my working hours, but will try to write at least 4-5 times per week)
2. In general, the guide will ask the questions for you to respond to
3. Responses require your utmost honesty

Lastly, here are a few points that it will help:

a) Please try to respond to questions from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Longwinded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
b) For the duration of the enquiry, it is fine to continue with your yoga and meditation, but please avoid pursuing other teachings and philosophies - this will help to keep things on track.


Once you've understood and confirmed all the technicalities above Let's start by looking at expectations. We are going to be investigating experience to see if there is any 'self' or 'person' behind, living or directing it. How do you expect experience to change once it is seen that there is no such self, nor has there ever been?

Okay... looking forward to your reply and we can get started...

Much Love, Padma x

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Arrietty Bee
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Fri May 22, 2015 1:06 pm

Hi Stephanie Padma,
Yes I've read the disclaimer and understand the various rules and posting snags thanks.
Arrietty Bee

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Arrietty Bee
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Fri May 22, 2015 1:21 pm

Hi thanks, I feel privileged too!
Here are some expectations.
Noticing story making more quickly; less obsessive thought patterns; awakening may feel strange or familiar; may feel like in meditation when thoughts cease; like calm and quiet mind when painting/drawing;
Would like to be less caught by 'button pushing'
AB

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stephanie padma
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Fri May 22, 2015 6:24 pm

Afternoon,
Well these all sound like pretty reasonable expectations! though we can't anticipate what droping the view will be like for you - so be prepared to drop those expectations too!

So now, what's your gut response when you read this:
There is no self whatsoever, in any shape or form. There never has been, and there never will be.

Just write from your experience - Love, Padma x

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Sat May 23, 2015 8:04 am

Hi, yes gut responses are a mixture of phew what a relief to somehow still having some doubt. I've been exploring this to some extent over the last three years in meditation and day to day observation. Until deciding to go this route to make more obvious the no self so to speak. Recently noticed how quickly the 'self' appropriates experiences. Very noticeable following a recent ending of a relationship. It was ended by the other person without explanation and I felt confused and then noticed how the stories wanted to make something more of it putting all my attention in the bodily experience allowed the stories to just evaporate. It was curious, both noticing the desiring stories and realising that's what was going on. The direct experience started with contraction on the body, noticing stories emotional confusion,then relaxation in the body mind. This was repeated over a few days and gradually all sensations around this disappeared. In this way the self seems to appear directly with thoughts about something. Responding directly to body senses looking to see which comes first thought or body, I think it's body. There is a sense of a watcher to some degree but only when I think there is, in the sense of well what is making sense of or watching this scenario play out . That's all for now. I'll watch and keep looking today x

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Sat May 23, 2015 2:52 pm

Thanks for sharing the recent reflections around the loss of your relationship. (Sorry to hear that by the way). It sounds like it was fruitful ground for you and your practice and observation – this is great work and we will be continuing in that direction.
Having said that, for the purpose of this work here, Come back to direct experience right here, right now – rather than work from memory.
Recently noticed how quickly the 'self' appropriates experiences.
Great! Yes! This is important.
In this way the self seems to appear directly with thoughts about something.
Aha! :) Nice one!
All good observations - We’ve got a lot to work with already.
Responding directly to body senses looking to see which comes first thought or body, I think it's body.
Great question! Let’s look into this more deeply:
Seeing is happening - is there an 'I' doing the seeing, or is there just seeing?
Hearing is happening - is there an 'I' doing the hearing, or is there just hearing?
Thoughts arise - is there an 'I' doing the thinking, or are there just thoughts?

Sitting here, right now, where, in DIRECT EXPERIENCE, is "I"?
Take your time, all the time you need, and let me know what you find out.

Much love, Padma xx

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Sun May 24, 2015 4:40 pm

Hello.

1. "Seeing is happening -is there an "I" doing the seeing etc

AB I've stopped in the car to eat a sandwich. I see steering wheel, hand, writing, a paper pad, thumb against page. i.e naming is happening with seeing. Periphery view noticed labelling of partial sight occurs. Also tactile touch of pen in hand, pad, body against seat. Taste,texture food in mouth.
No obvious sense of I in experience- but there is experience of seeing, tasting, touching.

2.Hearing is a swish,(hand on paper), & scratching of pen, outside sounds audible non specific until thought tries to identify, sounds in mouth No obvious I or me

3. Thoughts- of doing this exercise looking for "I". Thoughts of searching for the "I" occur. Thoughts/doubts whether intellectual knowing is taking over, "I'm so clever" thought of is there an "I " in the intellect? Am "I" the thinker?
Thinker is not real, a thought, there is just experience as above but experience of thoughts. Clever or doubting, silly or whatever just thoughts occurring. There doesn't seem to be an "I" but is this more just being clever a bluff from an "I". Or is this another thought?
This is quite hard, there so obviously isn't an"I" yet "I" can't trust that! That "I" think "I" know the concept of what we're doing here. This is spinning round and round, am I observing linguistic semantics rather than seeing / being direct experience?
How to recognise the difference?
Right now there is no I controlling these thoughts, no me looking or hearing, seeing or tasting - but something, sensations, seems, or is occurring, which something wants to label "I me" by default. Confusing
Help!.. X

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Sun May 24, 2015 11:42 pm

Hi Arrietty,

You are doing great!
am I observing linguistic semantics rather than seeing / being direct experience?
How to recognise the difference?
Well yes, it is part of this process to become clearer about what is direct experience.
What we mean by direct experience is what is noticed right here right now through the senses. Not the interpretation of what is happening, not the mental image or thoughts of the experience. So, by becoming clearer about direct experience, we also become more aware of the thoughts about the experience and the underlying assumptions. When you notice, discover those, please feel free to share!
naming is happening with seeing. Periphery view noticed labelling of partial sight occurs.
What is this naming? Is it the same as labelling? When does labelling happen? How does it happen? What effect does it have on the experience of sight?
there is experience of seeing, tasting, touching.
Great! So, please do this exercise: sit on a chair right now, with your feet on the floor. Rest your attention on your foot and the place it meets the floor. Can you find that point at which it meets the floor? Can you find the separation between foot and floor? How is the foot experienced before thoughts? How do these sensations become a foot? How does it become ‘my foot’? And how does it become ‘my foot hurts’?
Right now there is no I controlling these thoughts, no me looking or hearing, seeing or tasting - but something, sensations, seems, or is occurring, which something wants to label "I me" by default.
Great observation!
Sensations ‘seem’ to be occurring: Are sensations occurring or seem to be occurring?
What is this ‘something’ that wants to label: what colour, shape, sound is it? Is this ‘something’ what you call yourself?

Much love, Padma

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Arrietty Bee
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Mon May 25, 2015 5:48 pm

Hi Padma,
Thanks for the encouragement and prompts! An aside is I can't highlight your text for quotes so I'll number the points hope that's Ok

1. Noticing here and now, yes I'll share when I can find out how to. Putting into words is kind of how it veers away from being direct experience into labelling

2. Naming/labelling is the same mechanism
Labelling arrives after contact through one or more of the senses,sometimes immediately.

How does labelling happen? From a thought about the sensations.
How does Labelling affects the experience of sight? It distances from the experience of seeing. It makes a 'space' between a 'me' and an 'it'. This creates a separation. Sight is no longer directly seeing.

3. Sitting on a chair- sensations foot and floor; some sensations are stronger in some areas no sensations, sensations are not uniform. A sense of empty space where there are no sensations. Looking for a direct experience of floor or foot -doesn't produce a separate sensation just various sensations in that area. This is the experience before thought.
Thought of floor and foot produces an expectation of sensation and mental image which does not match the direct experience as described above.
The sensations don't become a floor or foot until labeled by thoughts about them. It becomes my foot when thought turns to description such as my foot feels cold. Or this is a cold floor.

4. Are sensations occurring or seem to be occurring? "Seem to be occurring " is a thought about sensations are occurring.
What is the 'something' that wants to label: colour,sound,etc? Is it what I call myself?

This is hard and where semantics come in for me. Conventionally I would call it myself. Looking reveals no self behind it and that, that myself is another label.
When looking for the myself that I might also call awareness, observer higher/deeper self as a description, reveals just sensations in parts of the body, these are interpreted by thoughts about the sensations concluding that these must be the myself, but looking again there are just sensations. It is the thinking thought or analysing thought that creates the myself. Turning towards the sensations thought describes as myself, awareness, observer, 'it' just slips away is not locatable. Awareness can't see awareness or is just another sensation which gets labelled. Perhaps no gap?
Have I slipped into analysing?

The something that wants to label is thought. There are just sensations in awareness, before thoughts about or labelling happens.
Thanks for doing this with me
Metta, Arrietty Bee

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Mon May 25, 2015 9:48 pm

Hi Arriety or shall I call you Bee?!,
Labelling arrives after contact through one or more of the senses,sometimes immediately.
That’s a great observation. So, just so that I’m sure you’ve got it, could you look again in your experience. Slow it down and describe the process to me like I have no idea what labelling is. Use images or simile if you like – just give me more details.
Labelling distances from the experience of seeing. It makes a 'space' between a 'me' and an 'it'. This creates a separation. Sight is no longer directly seeing.
Yes! Exactly! So important to notice this!
Thought of floor and foot produces an expectation of sensation and mental image which does not match the direct experience as described above.
Very good! So, are you saying the content of the label is not correct?

Thoughts put labels and separate from experience. Before that happens is there a separation between the seeing and the seen?
just sensations in parts of the body, these are interpreted by thoughts about the sensations concluding that these must be the myself, but looking again there are just sensations. It is the thinking thought or analysing thought that creates the myself.
Fabulous! This is great! So let’s look deeper here: How do thoughts create self?
Take your time here, no rush.

Thank you for looking with me,
Metta, Padma

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Tue May 26, 2015 11:52 pm

Hi Padma,
This is getting harder to put into words! You ask to slow down the process and describe to you as though you've never heard of labelling
1. A sensation in the chest. Looking reveals a tightening sensation and the breath is ragged. There are other sensations in the body. Thoughts about the sensations arise. Thoughts about become more dominant and take over from the sensations. Thought describes the sensation and is concerned with the chest sensation and labels it grief. 'I' thought appears wondering why 'I' have called it grief and not heartburn or getting a cold or anything else. Hey presto the 'self, I, Me' has arrived in full flow, appropriating the thought the experience of sensations etc, as me and mine, thought sensation body mind awareness everything that is going on! What a lark!

2. Content of the label. am I saying that content of label isn't correct?
A labelling of an object such as Cup is useful in everyday but direct experience 'cup' it describes nothing. Direct experience of cup is dependent on which sense is experiencing it and therefore is always different eg eyes see shape colour form. Touch feels weight texture heat liquid , taste/ smell different again thoughts remember other cups. All of this goes on all the time with everything perceived it is a constant running commentary of thoughts about sensations perceptions which get further interpreted as the self 'doing/thinking them. So 'cup' becomes a vague and unreliable description as a label of what is actually perceived directly

3. Is there separation between the seeing and the seen.
Before labelling there is no separation between seeing and the seen until thoughts describe the seen and or the seers experience of the seen. But the separation cuts in so quickly especially with sight

4.How do thoughts create the self?
Thoughts describing sensations rapidly proliferate into more and more thoughts with more and more content endless streams of thought can continue indefinitely and can go unnoticed rather than noticed and let go of. But even when noticed and let go of, the thought 'I' have let go or 'I' must return to the sensation show the conditioned holding on to a self. Before direct experience becomes sensations only the self is like this- I am thinking, I am creating this flow of thoughts. If the thought 'remember to come back to the body arises' 'I' feel pleased with myself first, before the sensations re emerge in awareness and the 'self once again begins to recede to some extent.
Without attending to the content of the thoughts I.e just letting a thought arise and letting it fade, dissipates the sense of an 'I' and of an'I' creating and doing it all. It's hard to describe this without sounding like I'm theorising because of course this is meditation practice techniques.
I hope this hasn't sounded too waffling Or is long-winded

Love Arrietty Bee

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Wed May 27, 2015 9:25 pm

Hi Arrietty,
So 'cup' becomes a vague and unreliable description as a label of what is actually perceived directly
the whole description of labelling is very nicely put! Thank you! :-)

You talk about semantics being tricky. Yes language is inherently dualistic and even frustrating.
OK try this exercise, sit or walk quietly for 5 minutes. As you do so quietly notice all the things that are going on in awareness – describe each one as it comes up using ‘I am..’ – e.g. “I am looking out the window . . . I am hearing the birds . . . I am stretching my leg . . . etc.”

Then take a short break and go back to the exercise again. Notice what is arising in awareness, but this time drop the “I am” ,. . . looking at flowers . . . hearing the birds . . .. eventually just use verbs: thinking . . . hearing . . . scratching . . . breathing . . .

Was there a different feeling tone between the two exercises? Did either one feel more accurate a description than the other? what’s going on?

Report back what you find.
It is the thinking thought or analysing thought that creates the myself.
Can thoughts actually ‘create’ anything?

That's enough for now. You are doing great. and no, it's not too long winded, we are not looking for 'the right answer', but willingness to look and explore. The more open you are the more I can see where you need to look next.
Much Love, Padma xx

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Arrietty Bee
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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby Arrietty Bee » Thu May 28, 2015 12:06 pm

Hi Padma,
I'm sorry I didn't reply last night, I was tired when I found your reply 11pm and had not been home long.

Exercises responses.
1a. It quite unnerved me being specific about saying 'I am doing, seeing, etc as each noticing arose. I realised that I seldom make a definite statement that 'I' am doing seeing etc. Thoughts that arose during this were descriptive or questioning as in 'should I respond as a text message alert sounded.
1b. Dropping the personal prefixes felt more in tune with how I go about in the world. Some thoughts arose about what I looked at- a flock of birds flying at a crow for example - if something caught my interest visually that was more likely.
1c. Just noticing with verbs was more familiar, what usually goes on for me these days, of course this is years of meditation.

There were differing feeling tones between the exercises.
In the first, using the self referential words to notice each 'thing' that appeared through the senses felt weird and I felt a slight unease or resistance to doing it, which surprised me! This presented in awareness as both a thought about the exercise whilst doing it and a tensing in the body.
The second exercise felt more 'normal' or familiar, as to how I go about in the world.
Mostly throughout all the exercises I noticed that my strongest sense is sight followed by thoughts. Seeing/thinking... so again noticed how thoughts follow senses.
Just noting 'things' occurring through senses with verbs was by far the most gentle way of being of all the three ways of exploring. Not noting or labelling at all was the most relaxed way of being/looking, a few stray thoughts came and went.

2. Can thoughts actually create anything?
a. When I wrote that the thinking/analysing thoughts created self/myself, I meant that in the sense that a self /I gets labelled even though it is another thought. There is a habitual tendency which assumes, with some thoughts, that 'it' is real. This is more likely to go unrecognised (that a belief is happening about a real self being present) if there has been something to upset me, e.g a memory of past distress, or someone by whom I've felt criticism or when I've been part of an unpleasant exchange of some sort. I feel hurt, or some other emotions arise. The thoughts proliferate and become personal - it is a belief system though, as when I remember to look, of course there is nothing no 'I' there, just thoughts about, and sensations, usually contractions or tension in the body.

So can thoughts 'create' anything?...... No thoughts can't create anything when closely examined. However arching the process going on in real time particularly in conflicts is tricky and requires effort. So I would say that the thoughts 'create' more and more thoughts.
Getting caught up in them, or believing them to be true or real is a habit used to distance from the initial felt experience.
(i.e the thought has named the sensation immediately> describing a negative emotion and so the reaction and selfing is thought and can be acted out) that's my experience anyway.
Although strong emotional responses,conditioned by thoughts, are easy to get caught up in, when remembering to look they also offer the greatest opportunity to notice how it all works! I can see the processes play out, and the unreality or the stories being constructed.

Thanks Padma, I enjoyed this session and found some clarification, the previous one was more of a struggle somehow!
Love AB x Ps you can call me AB if you like, quicker to type x

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Re: Looking for guide Stephanie Padma

Postby stephanie padma » Thu May 28, 2015 6:52 pm

Hi AB,

Many thanks for your response, Some great stuff here.
Lovely read about your exercise - it sounded very useful thing to do.
Sorry I need to be brief tonight.
There is a habitual tendency which assumes, with some thoughts, that 'it' is real - it is a belief system
Yes! So there is an assumption that a thought about self is real.
What is different about those thoughts about ‘self’? Are they special kind of thoughts? What’s a belief?
So I would say that the thoughts 'create' more and more thoughts.
Do they know they are creating more thoughts? Do thoughts know anything? Do they decide anything?

Love, Padma


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