Finally Breaking Through

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BobUnleashed
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Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:04 am

I am 48 years old man and have been seeking on and off for the past 28 years, doing a variety of methods, including lots of meditation, direct inquiry, and Advaita, mantras, various releasing methods, etc. A few months ago I downloaded the lu enlightening quotes app, and this past week I read gateless gatecrashers, and now am reading Look! The last 2 years I have moved from casual interest to very aggressive, almost obsessive pursuit and have been meditating on average of 1 hour per day. My personal level of well being and happiness has increased radically and in generally I am happier than I have ever been in my life.
I see that "I" don't exist much of the time, however, there are certain situations where "I forget" - and get caught up in a situation and lose the awareness that I don't exist - seemingly out of habit. This seems to only happen in situations where big emotional family issues, or some issue that I think is important, are involved. To give you an example of what I mean, this morning one of my customers at work took me to be task for being late on a major project that I been working huge overtime on and cared deeply about. Even though I was trying to see that I didn't exist while the guy was speaking to me - I still felt overwhelming negative emotion - not at the customer, whose point of view I totally understood and actually agreed with, but at myself - blaming myself for not anticipating the problem and fixing it sooner, and feeling that "I" was incompetent. It was as if the emotion of blame/shame overwhelmed the knowledge that the "I" doesn't exist except in thought. It was like I couldn't see it and was overwhelmed with emotion.
I don't even know how "I" could blame myself if "I" don't exist but but I still felt this overall worry, anxiousness, and concern, almost as if I was a little child being scolded. Something like this will happen about once or twice per month. It was like some computer subroutine just executed and took over control. I still handled it 10 times better than I would have 5 years ago, but I am still sick of this feeling. I would very much like your assistance looking for it, helping me see it for what I intellectually know it is, really, really see it. I am ready to do the work.
Thank you so much.

Bob

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 12:04 pm

Hey Bob
Im Sarah and Id be happy to speak with you.
Can I presume you have looked around the site and you know what we do here?
Are you wanting emotions to not arise? Or just not identify with?
Looking forward to working with you.
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:42 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for the quick reply.

Yes, I have looked around the site and have been "lurking" for a while, using the lu enlightening quotes app, and the lu unleashed books.

I would like to not identify with the emotions. In many cases, I can see them arising and don't identify with them and they just drift away like clouds, but some - like the one yesterday, just seem to hook me in, almost automatically, as if something just kicked in on auto-pilot. I felt like I was "identifying" with the emotions, even though I was aware enough to be looking for the "I" thought that was behind it all but couldn't seem to find it.

Likewise, thanks for answering my post.

Bob

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:06 am

Mornin Bob
House keeping first:
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, and 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://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

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? Ok.

How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?

Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?

Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?

In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:39 pm

Sarah,

Thank you for helping me.
Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.
I searched but couldn’t seem to find it…I think the url is cut off - would you mind resending this link?
Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.
Will do
How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?
For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?
I experience my sense of self as an experience of spaciousness or emptiness or nothingness. It is permanent, although sometimes this experience seems more pronounced than at others – as if it is in the foreground sometimes and other times it is in the background. I would say that it is more in the foreground during meditation or doing some spiritual practice and more in the background during periods where I am in the grips of some negative emotion (such as the one in my initial post). If I had to pick a part of the body I would say it is coming from behind my eyes somewhere in my head, during periods of high emotion I lose track of where it is, but I still know it is there. Sometimes when it is really in the foreground my thoughts seemingly stop such as in deep meditation and I experience a deep feeling of peace.

I would say that it does feel uniquely different and separate, meaning that it is not in or of the mind, and that it is not sensible by one of the 5 senses. However, my awareness is aware of it. It seems more or less solid, but impenetrable – meaning I can look and look and look at it but I can’t really describe what it is using words that make much sense – I can only use words like emptiness and spaciousness and beingness and nothingness. If I had to pick a shape, a circle comes to mind – three dimensional, radiating out like a ball. If I had to pick a texture or size I would say it was undefined in size, unmeasurable, but seems to be reflective, and smooth, and solid although perhaps translucent.

This is something separate from the body and the thoughts and the feelings….My self does not own them….and is always there along with them although sometimes it gets pushed into the background by them.
Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
When I examine the experience of self, which is the experience of spaciousness or emptiness it is NOT made up of: thoughts or feelings or sensations or emotions or likes or dislikes or opinions or memories or experiences or perceptions or character or personality. It is separate from all of that, and exists concurrently with all of that. When I look I see this experience of spaciousness/emptiness as being something distinct and separate from all of those things. It doesn’t “have” or “own” any of those things.

I do have a sense of being in control much of the time – as if I have the ability to decide-act-do-choose…especially regarding decisions associated with my job, or for my family. I feel like I have responsibility for my actions and am responsible for making the correct choices. At the same time, I am still aware of the experience of spaciousness/emptiness. I get that I am not breathing myself, and that I am not blinking myself, and that I am not beating my own heart….but somehow I feel this sense of agency around “bigger” conscious things, as opposed to the unconscious workings of the body.
Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
If I had to pick somewhere I would say in the head region behind my eyes…but it is hard to say. It’s not really anywhere, but seems to be enclosed in my body somewhere. Since I can’t really see it, but am somehow aware of it, I can’t tell. So really, I can’t pinpoint the exact location. If I close my eyes then it seems to be bigger and less focused around the head/eyes region and more spread out everywhere, but still within the confines of my body. I still think that this sense of self is more or less glued to my body in some way.
Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?
No. Everything – thoughts feelings sensations awareness, and the sense of spaciousness/emptiness are all happening in the present moment. I can think about the past, or imagine the future, but that thinking or imagining is happening in the present.
In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Yes. The sense of spaciousness/emptiness. When I look there seems to be something outside of thoughts, that is not graspable by the mind, or affected by feelings, nor can be sensed by any of the 5 senses. Awareness finds it whenever I look. I am aware of it. This thing that is permanent (which isn’t an object) is a sense of spaciousness, or emptiness, or of beingness, or a great nothingness. It is hard to describe it. At times it is more pronounced than at other times – kind of like it is in the foreground, and other times it is in the background – such as when I am overwhelmed by emotions, but I always know no matter what that this space is always there.

This was hard to describe. Thanks for listening to all of it.

-Bob

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:22 am

Hey Bob
Very clear explanations thank you. Im going to dig around a bit to find out exactly where you are – so bear with me please! :)
I searched but couldn’t seem to find it…I think the url is cut off - would you mind resending this link?
OK – try this!
http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/
I would say that it does feel uniquely different and separate,
Do you feel separate or a separation?
I do have a sense of being in control much of the time – as if I have the ability to decide-act-do-choose…especially regarding decisions associated with my job, or for my family. I feel like I have responsibility for my actions and am responsible for making the correct choices. At the same time, I am still aware of the experience of spaciousness/emptiness. I get that I am not breathing myself, and that I am not blinking myself, and that I am not beating my own heart….but somehow I feel this sense of agency around “bigger” conscious things, as opposed to the unconscious workings of the body.
OK – can you give me an example of where you feel in control – give me a situation or a decision that comes up regularly that we can look at.
If I had to pick somewhere I would say in the head region behind my eyes…but it is hard to say. It’s not really anywhere, but seems to be enclosed in my body somewhere.

Do you feel you are the body – kind of looking out?
Yes. The sense of spaciousness/emptiness. When I look there seems to be something outside of thoughts, that is not graspable by the mind, or affected by feelings, nor can be sensed by any of the 5 senses. Awareness finds it whenever I look. I am aware of it. This thing that is permanent (which isn’t an object) is a sense of spaciousness, or emptiness, or of beingness, or a great nothingness. It is hard to describe it. At times it is more pronounced than at other times – kind of like it is in the foreground, and other times it is in the background – such as when I am overwhelmed by emotions, but I always know no matter what that this space is always there.
And you are able to access this whenever? Is it ever bothered by anything, upset by anything, or not allowing anything? Have a look when emotions may be present – does that which notices have a problem with emotion – is it angry, happy or fearful for instance?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:29 pm

I’m going to dig around a bit to find out exactly where you are – so bear with me please! :)
OK – dig away!
That worked – great article, thanks!
I would say that it does feel uniquely different and separate,
Do you feel separate or a separation?
Yes. I don’t feel integrated/united with the world. I feel separate. Even when I am aware of my beingness, my spaciousness, my emptiness, I still feel like that feeling is in here, inside of me, and there is a world out there that is separate from me. There have been a few times during my meditations where I felt one with everything and completely united – for example, one with the couch that I was sitting on. Literally feeling like there was no difference between my body and the couch – like my arms and the couch were part of one thing - but even as I recall that feeling in my memory, I cannot recreate it or replicate it. Also in a few different dreams I have experienced incredible unity. But during normal waking consciousness – no, I definitely feel separate from the world, separate from other people – still part of it all, like I belong, but separate and distinct. Even though I feel separate I can still look inside and see the emptiness, the beingness, the spaciousness, the vastness, but feel like that is inside of me or inside some container around my body – I guess that is the “me” or the “I” but I don’t think of it as a “me” or an “I” just body-centeredness.
I do have a sense of being in control much of the time – as if I have the ability to decide-act-do-choose…especially regarding decisions associated with my job, or for my family. I feel like I have responsibility for my actions and am responsible for making the correct choices. At the same time, I am still aware of the experience of spaciousness/emptiness. I get that I am not breathing myself, and that I am not blinking myself, and that I am not beating my own heart….but somehow I feel this sense of agency around “bigger” conscious things, as opposed to the unconscious workings of the body.
OK – can you give me an example of where you feel in control – give me a situation or a decision that comes up regularly that we can look at.
Here are several common examples....

Daily life examples (4) examples:
• Feel like I can choose certain kinds of thoughts and change the train of my thoughts to be more positive – for example, if I have a negative thought, start thinking about things that feel good and focus on those instead. I think that I am consciously choosing to do this.
• Feel like I am free to choose what spiritual practices I am doing – for example: meditation, or doing direct inquiry or of the gazillion other options out there.
• Working out – I feel like I am free to decide whether or not I will go and work out at the gym today.
• Eating – I feel like I am free to decide whether or not I will eat healthy today.

Family decisions (2) examples:
• Sick parents – I feel like I have choices in how I can help them in the most compassionate way. I believe that I can somehow influence the situation to make it better by my choices.
• Adult Children getting into trouble – how to help them in the most compassionate way while trying to teach them ways of living that are more positive and conducive to living well. Again, I believe that I can somehow influence the situation to make it better by my choices.

Work decisions (2) examples:
• Product Management decisions – I believe that I can somehow make choices that will work out better in the market.
• Project Management decisions – I believe that I can make choices on how to manage projects that will enable them to come in on schedule and on budget and at the appropriate level of quality.
If I had to pick somewhere I would say in the head region behind my eyes…but it is hard to say. It’s not really anywhere, but seems to be enclosed in my body somewhere.
Do you feel you are the body – kind of looking out?
Yes – that is a good way to say it. See my answer to your first question above – I think that pretty much captures the nuances around what I am experiencing. I know that I am not my body, and not my thoughts, and not my emotions, and not my awareness, per se, but there seems to be a body centeredness around all these things – like they are tethered to the body in some way.

Now then, if I close my eyes, I do feel more of a sense of unity, and less separateness than if my eyes are open. It is like there is unity. When I close my eyes, the sounds, and tactile sensations, and tastes and smells all seem more interconnected and unified, but when the eyes are open there is a change to being more separate. I especially feel like I am one with the sounds and the tactile sensations when my eyes are closed. Another way to say this is that I feel like the sounds are perhaps occurring inside of me (vs. when my eyes are open they are happening out there).

As I am writing this I am feeling more unity and less separateness .
Yes. The sense of spaciousness/emptiness. When I look there seems to be something outside of thoughts, that is not graspable by the mind, or affected by feelings, nor can be sensed by any of the 5 senses. Awareness finds it whenever I look. I am aware of it. This thing that is permanent (which isn’t an object) is a sense of spaciousness, or emptiness, or of beingness, or a great nothingness. It is hard to describe it. At times it is more pronounced than at other times – kind of like it is in the foreground, and other times it is in the background – such as when I am overwhelmed by emotions, but I always know no matter what that this space is always there.
And you are able to access this whenever? Is it ever bothered by anything, upset by anything, or not allowing anything? Have a look when emotions may be present – does that which notices have a problem with emotion – is it angry, happy or fearful for instance?
Yes. I can access this whenever. It is always there and available to me.

I wouldn’t say that it is bothered by anything…it is completely unperturbed and its own thing….but sometimes I can find it faster than others. Sometimes it is obscured by heavy emotions or circumstances and harder to find and lock in on – such as when I am overwhelmed by emotion or by heavy visual stimulation or hooked by some thoughts.

Even the other day when I was being scolded by the customer, I felt my entire body was shaking, and felt the emotions of anger and anxiety and shame which was an unusually strong response. My mind started racing. Even then, I was able to look inside and see my being undisturbed, and that started to calm me down immediately. I knew that my beingness-spaciousness-emptiness-vastness literally did not care one single bit about what was happening, that it was above it all, but still nevertheless, there was that heavy negative emotional reaction. It was automatic. I was eventually able to focus on my beingness and get the emotions to largely dissipate within about 2 hours and completely dissolve down to complete and utter peacefulness after about 6 hours. Something like that would have emotionally bothered me for days in the past, but now the impact seems to be much less – which is good, but still not where I want to be.

-Bob

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:23 pm

Hey Bob
With separation – I will come back to that – OK.
Feel like I can choose certain kinds of thoughts and change the train of my thoughts to be more positive – for example, if I have a negative thought, start thinking about things that feel good and focus on those instead. I think that I am consciously choosing to do this.
From Direct experience please!
Do you bring thoughts? If so from where and how?
Do you send them away?
Do you know what you're going to think before you think it? Sit quietly for a moment and try to predict your next thought. Does it work?
Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
Try to suppress your next thought before it arises. Does it work?
Is there is a thought that you can control?
What can a thought do – what power does it have?
You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?
Feel like I am free to choose what spiritual practices I am doing – for example: meditation, or doing direct inquiry or of the gazillion other options out there.
Have you ever noticed sometimes that you arrive at a destination and don't really recall actually making the journey? It was as if the body was just doing its thing, driving just happened. It is only afterwards that the mind grabs hold of the experience and states 'I was driving the car' or, if questioned whilst driving (a present continuous activity), it would say 'I am driving the car'.
Whether your mind is totally concentrating on each gear shift that 'I' make, each look in the rear view mirror that 'I' makes, each twist of the steering wheel . . . or the entire journey is done automatically, the same result is achieved. Similarly when doing household tasks. Whether mind is involved or not, the task still gets accomplished. We call this autopilot. How much of your day is autopilot? Just give me a rough percentage.
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:56 am

Hey Bob
With separation – I will come back to that – OK.
OK – whenever you are ready.
Feel like I can choose certain kinds of thoughts and change the train of my thoughts to be more positive – for example, if I have a negative thought, start thinking about things that feel good and focus on those instead. I think that I am consciously choosing to do this.
From Direct experience please!
Do you bring thoughts? If so from where and how?
No – I cannot bring thoughts - they bubble up seemingly out of nothing. They just seem to appear in the mind, seemingly out of nowhere.

But then again, I do feel like I can set the intent and general theme of a stream of thought and change the direction of those thoughts. For example, I can say to myself, give me a list of all the things that I appreciate in my life…and a list will be generated out of nothing, or if I have a bad thought I can say cancel-cancel and the bad thoughts will cease.

I then look at the things that I appreciate – some random thoughts will be interspersed in the list along with thoughts of things that I appreciate…but wait a minute, then I ask myself, “who asked to generate a list of all the things that I appreciate in my life?” or “who said cancel-cancel?”…and then I realize, that those two comments were not asked by “me” but were just a thought – hahahaha – that came out of nothing just like the first thought….hahahaha – that is really funny. So it is really just the mind coming in and labeling the first thought as “negative” and then a “me” thought comes in to try to take control and to “set the intent and general theme” of the subsequent thoughts. The thoughts of “cancel-cancel” and “generate list of things to appreciate” are just thoughts like all the others, and they bubble out of the great nothingness and fall back into the great nothingness. I am not actually choosing them. It is so funny that the “me” in my mind accepted that the first thought came out of nothingness, but that it claimed credit for all subsequent thoughts…and that I didn’t notice that until your questions.

So is all the talk about “free will” that I learned at Sunday school just a big fat lie?
Do you send them away?
No – they just disappear. Even though I thought I could change the direction of thoughts using “cancel-cancel” and seemingly send them away, I just realized during this interaction that it was just the mind stepping in to label the thought as “negative” and then the “me” taking credit for using the technique of “cancel-cancel” to send it away…..and that the thought of “negative” appeared out of nowhere, and the thought of “cancel-cancel” appeared out of nowhere….so no I didn’t actually send them away, even though I thought I did….the mind really just jumped in and took credit for noticing its own negative thought and took credit for trying to change the flow. Holy Crap!!
Do you know what you're going to think before you think it? Sit quietly for a moment and try to predict your next thought. Does it work?
I am sitting here on a nice chair on vacation. Watching the mind labeling everything in the room, rug, chairs, children playing, wife talking, sister talking. This is a fun and relaxing vacation. I have to pee. Sun burn itching. Cup clanging against counter. Other people talking. Children playing nicely. Coffee brewing. People laughing. Smiling. Wife offers coffee. I automatically answer “yes” without first thinking about the answer – then she asks me if I already have a mug…I say “yes” – she comes and gets it….I note that I didn’t plan the answers or think about them beforehand – they just came out. The coffee tastes good – how did I just taste it – I didn’t tell myself to pick up the mug first, I just did it, didn’t even realize it. My 5 year old nephew is smiling at me. How beautiful. I start analyzing what just happened. I feel appreciation “Thank you sweetheart.” I say to my wife. I feel appreciation. Then the thought comes up “I’m polite”….the mind taking credit again. I get up and go to the restroom.

So to answer your questions “No I don’t know what I am going to think” – just a random stream of stuff coming in as a result of seeing-hearing-touching-smelling-tasting. Then the mind jumping in randomly with some analysis or to take credit or comment about it after the fact. I can’t predict anything, but my mind will jump in and claim it after the fact – but the thought comes after the action. Wow. I wonder what I’ll do next?
Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
No….but I thought I did. I thought I was setting the theme of my thoughts but not really.
I think “I need to plan what I am going to think”……but then I start laughing because that itself is just a random thought that came out of nothingness….as are all subsequent thoughts… ..nd then I start laughing to myself about funny that is.
Try to suppress your next thought before it arises. Does it work?
Nope. :) I think I am seeing this now. Trying to suppress thought is just like trying not to think about “pink elephants”.
Is there is a thought that you can control?
No. They all arise out of nothing, and dissipate into nothing. When there is the illusion of control, it is often just the mind coming in after the fact with another I thought claiming credit for control after the fact.
What can a thought do – what power does it have?
Thoughts just appear. They don’t have any power per se. The thoughts just arises from nothing and then disappear into nothing. Seemingly thoughts have the power to turn into emotions…but really, those emotions are just a more intense thought.
You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?
No. When I experience thoughts I do not experience the content. The thought is a representation of the content. So I have the thought of a “chair” and an image of a “chair” may appear in my mind, the the actual “chair” does not appear. It is only a representation, a symbol that signifies “chair”.
Feel like I am free to choose what spiritual practices I am doing – for example: meditation, or doing direct inquiry or of the gazillion other options out there.
Have you ever noticed sometimes that you arrive at a destination and don't really recall actually making the journey? It was as if the body was just doing its thing, driving just happened. It is only afterwards that the mind grabs hold of the experience and states 'I was driving the car' or, if questioned whilst driving (a present continuous activity), it would say 'I am driving the car'.
Yes. This kind of thing happens frequently to me. A lot of times I will catch myself after a period of time on autopilot and think “I must be more mindful.”….although I am starting to question the value of that thought after this discussion.
Whether your mind is totally concentrating on each gear shift that 'I' make, each look in the rear view mirror that 'I' makes, each twist of the steering wheel . . . or the entire journey is done automatically, the same result is achieved. Similarly when doing household tasks. Whether mind is involved or not, the task still gets accomplished. We call this autopilot. How much of your day is autopilot? Just give me a rough percentage.
I would guess that 25% - 33% of my day is on autopilot.

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:05 am

Hey Bob
I then look at the things that I appreciate – some random thoughts will be interspersed in the list along with thoughts of things that I appreciate…but wait a minute, then I ask myself, “who asked to generate a list of all the things that I appreciate in my life?” or “who said cancel-cancel?”…and then I realize, that those two comments were not asked by “me” but were just a thought – hahahaha – that came out of nothing just like the first thought….hahahaha – that is really funny. So it is really just the mind coming in and labeling the first thought as “negative” and then a “me” thought comes in to try to take control and to “set the intent and general theme” of the subsequent thoughts. The thoughts of “cancel-cancel” and “generate list of things to appreciate” are just thoughts like all the others, and they bubble out of the great nothingness and fall back into the great nothingness. I am not actually choosing them. It is so funny that the “me” in my mind accepted that the first thought came out of nothingness, but that it claimed credit for all subsequent thoughts…and that I didn’t notice that until your questions.
Wonderful noticing!
So is all the talk about “free will” that I learned at Sunday school just a big fat lie?
Have a look – where do you experience free will?
I would guess that 25% - 33% of my day is on autopilot.
I want you to re look at doing in light of the 2 quotes you wrote below. I know you were talking about thinking – but use what you noticed to re look at doing. Notice when thought comes in, notice when movement happens etc. Kind of like a lift with a voice telling you what floor you are on – does the voice move the lift or accompany it?
So to answer your questions “No I don’t know what I am going to think” – just a random stream of stuff coming in as a result of seeing-hearing-touching-smelling-tasting. Then the mind jumping in randomly with some analysis or to take credit or comment about it after the fact. I can’t predict anything, but my mind will jump in and claim it after the fact – but the thought comes after the action. Wow. I wonder what I’ll do next?
When there is the illusion of control, it is often just the mind coming in after the fact with another I thought claiming credit for control after the fact.
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:13 am

Thank you Sarah. I am starting to see through the illusion just a bit now.
So is all the talk about “free will” that I learned at Sunday school just a big fat lie?
Have a look – where do you experience free will?
(Written at 7:00 am)

I experience free will when I think that I have a choice…that is, the “I” has a choice. Such as to drive the automobile in the right lane or the left lane, or whether to have my coffee black or with cream. Or sometimes I experience free will after the fact when I consider what I have done, and then apply the concept of choice to an action that has already occurred in the past (which is a thought of choice). For example, I chose to have my coffee with cream this time.

Whether the thought of free will or choice occurs before or after the action, free will and choice are thoughts that don't point to any actual thing. The thought “choice” or “free will” appears, and then disappears. It arises out of nothing and then returns to nothing. The action of driving in the left or right lane arises, or having coffee black or with cream arises, and happens independently of the thoughts that accompany the actions, that don't point to anything.

It is like thoughts and doings are happening on two different and separate channels – one channel in the mind which is the realm of thought, and one channel in the body which is the realm of the 5 senses, and that the mind channel just comments on everything in the body channel…kind of like a futbol announcer….but the mind channel is not in control of the body channel, it does not own it, and it does not have choices about what the body channel does. The mind channel is a narrator and free will is one of its narrations but I can’t see where the concept of free will actually points to anything that is really happening. It is a concept applied after the fact that does not point to anything.

And in neither channel is there a “me” that has “free will”. There is a body. There is a mind. Free will is a thought that arises in the mind, which the mind claims is associated to the actions of the body after the fact. Before the doing, free will points to an apparent choice, but not an actual choice that the body has. After the doing, free will points to the apparent choice, but not an actual choice that the body had. Free will is a thought, but I don’t have it.

I am saying this but not sure if I am really seeing it fully yet. It’s like I want to believe what I have always been told – that there is an “I” that has “free will”. I feel like I need to look more to really see if this is right. This underlying belief in free will may be the pin holding my “I”, my “me” together.

I actually have some anxiety arising now as I think of this. If there is no free will, does that mean it is OK for people to run around and start doing bad things? This belief is so foundational, how many times have I espoused the virtues of free will to myself and to others....alot…..If we don’t have free will, what does that mean for personal responsibility?....Here is an attempt at an answer: That there is not an “I” responsible for actions, because there never was an “I” and that responsibility is a thought that does not occur or point to anything in reality. Responsibility is a concept that cannot be observed directly by any of the 5 senses. Responsibility is a concept – a thought, in the mind, applied retroactively by the mind to a set of circumstances. Responsibility assumes ownership by an “I”……but responsibility does not actually exist in direct experience.

Then I notice, I just moved my leg. I noticed this after the fact. I did not think “I need to move my leg”. I just moved it. There was no choice involved. Was there an “I” responsible for moving my leg. No – it just moved by itself. WTF?

I will do the exercise below all day and look and see what I find (at least I am thinking that I will do that :) )
I would guess that 25% - 33% of my day is on autopilot.
I want you to re look at doing in light of the 2 quotes you wrote below. I know you were talking about thinking – but use what you noticed to re look at doing. Notice when thought comes in, notice when movement happens etc. Kind of like a lift with a voice telling you what floor you are on – does the voice move the lift or accompany it?
So to answer your questions “No I don’t know what I am going to think” – just a random stream of stuff coming in as a result of seeing-hearing-touching-smelling-tasting. Then the mind jumping in randomly with some analysis or to take credit or comment about it after the fact. I can’t predict anything, but my mind will jump in and claim it after the fact – but the thought comes after the action. Wow. I wonder what I’ll do next?
When there is the illusion of control, it is often just the mind coming in after the fact with another I thought claiming credit for control after the fact.
(written about 7:00 pm)

OK – I spent the day on and off looking at doing. In general, what I found was long periods of doing without consciously thinking about what I was doing or realizing what I was doing until after the fact. In most cases, the mind would jump in after the fact and start labeling or narrating. Here are some observations:

• I noticed a very large number of unconscious small body movements being conducted on autopilot: typing, legs and feet moving, arms moving, blinking, itching, adjusting positions in chairs to improve comfort, clearing the throat, coughs, turning towards sounds, focusing using the eyes, and sneezes – just to name a few. These all happened on autopilot.

• I noticed a large number of complex body movements being conducted on autopilot: stacking the dishwasher, using the microwave, many conversations with various people, preparing food, eating, doing chores, playing with my children, putting on clothing, going swimming, playing Frisbee, playing futbol, taking a walk with my wife. Many of these actions involved complex motions with many hand, arm, finger, leg, eye, foot movements. These all happened on autopilot.

In each case, the body moves and performs the task on autopilot, and at some point, awareness arises and the mind notices what is happening, then, the mind jumps in and starts labeling/narrating. In some cases, the mind was already active and daydreaming or thinking about something and the body was just running on autopilot while the mind was engaged elsewhere. In other cases, I couldn’t remember what the mind was doing and it just woke up and started narrating.

I think that my guess of 25% -33% on autopilot is way low and that actually the percentage must be much higher like 80% although there is no way to be sure :)

-Bob

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:38 am

Hey Bob
Again some fantastic noticing here!
I actually have some anxiety arising now as I think of this.
Are you OK? Please let me know if strong emotions arise whilst we are talking. Can you see what the anxiety is made up of? Is it thought – especially future thoughts, is it sensation with thoughts translating what those sensations mean? Is it emotion with thought again translating? Have a good look.
There is a body. There is a mind.
When you say mind – do you mean thought? If not – do you actually experience a mind?

You see that ‘freewill’ is a concept – therefore a thought – yes? And you see that thought is not ‘yours’? So what can a thought do Bob? Anything? What does a thought actually know – including body – can a thought know body?
If there is no free will, does that mean it is OK for people to run around and start doing bad things?

With responsibility – hypothetically - if there never has been a ‘you’ – have you already gone around doing ‘bad’ things? Or did responsibility just happen – is it yours? Or does it just arise – kind of like the leg just moving or the thought popping out of nowhere? Have a look.
Then I notice, I just moved my leg. I noticed this after the fact. I did not think “I need to move my leg”. I just moved it. There was no choice involved. Was there an “I” responsible for moving my leg. No – it just moved by itself.
Keep looking at doing and moving. Where is the doer?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:43 am

I actually have some anxiety arising now as I think of this.
Are you OK? Please let me know if strong emotions arise whilst we are talking.
Yes, I am good. Thank you. I would say some mild anxiety arose as a result of a belief that there was a “me” who could take responsibility starting to crumble.
Can you see what the anxiety is made up of? Is it thought – especially future thoughts, is it sensation with thoughts translating what those sensations mean? Is it emotion with thought again translating? Have a good look.
This particular anxiety started with rapid fire thoughts. It started with a thought / memory of my Mom and Dad saying “Bob - Take responsibility! Take action!” I remember getting so stressed out when they said that to me. Followed up by memories of me saying the same kind of things to my children. Followed by a feeling of being wrong in the bottom of my stomach area. Followed by a thought “There is no you to take responsibility”. Followed by the thought / question “What if nobody took personal responsibility?” – What would the world be like? Followed by feelings of anxiety and worry.

So to answer your questions, from what I can tell the anxiety was made up of rapid fire thoughts that, that all had a “me” associated with them, that were associated with a “me” who could take responsibility, combined with stressful memories, combined with future thoughts of problems that could occur if nobody took responsibility….and that is what triggered the anxiety.

But wait a minute, thoughts can’t do anything. So how could a thought “trigger” anxiety? It can’t. I must be missing something. I am not sure what I am seeing here. Perhaps, the anxiety arose after the thought, but I guess it doesn’t mean that the anxiety arose as a result of the thought.
There is a body. There is a mind.
When you say mind – do you mean thought? If not – do you actually experience a mind?
Yes, I meant thought….although I wrote “mind”. I should have written “There is thought.”
You see that ‘freewill’ is a concept – therefore a thought – yes? And you see that thought is not ‘yours’?
Yes – I see that “freewill” is a thought. I see that the thought IS, that it exists, and that thoughts are not OWNED by a “ME”. Thoughts arise without ownership, and disappear without ownership.

While I see that thought is not “mine”, as I am writing this, I just ran into a confusion that I need some help with. Although I don’t own thoughts – they are just arising and disappearing, when I look I think that thoughts are personal. By personal I mean that others are not aware of my thoughts and that these thoughts are only aware to me. Also, I am not aware of other people’s thoughts. This personal nature of thought seems to suggest that there is some sort of individualized existence...suggesting the existence of a "me". Or perhaps the personalized nature of awareness results in all thought and all bodily actions to appear personal. I have been looking and looking at this today and can't seem to figure it out.

Can you point me to where I should look to start looking here? (Perhaps this is related to the separateness issue that we have tabled for now? - if so we can wait till you think it is appropriate to pursue)
So what can a thought do Bob? Anything? What does a thought actually know – including body – can a thought know body?
A thought appears, and a thought disappears. That is all it can do. A thought itself can’t think, so it can’t know, which would mean it was doing something.

A thought is a symbolic representation of reality. So a thought could represent a body, but it is not the body, and a thought can’t know the body, because that would mean that a thought was doing something.
If there is no free will, does that mean it is OK for people to run around and start doing bad things?

With responsibility – hypothetically - if there never has been a ‘you’ – have you already gone around doing ‘bad’ things? Or did responsibility just happen – is it yours? Or does it just arise – kind of like the leg just moving or the thought popping out of nowhere? Have a look.
Ok, I see what you are asking here. “Responsibility” is kind of like a label that just gets applied after the observation of some reality, or arises after the fact. I can see that now.
Then I notice, I just moved my leg. I noticed this after the fact. I did not think “I need to move my leg”. I just moved it. There was no choice involved. Was there an “I” responsible for moving my leg. No – it just moved by itself.
Keep looking at doing and moving. Where is the doer?
OK – I spent the whole day doing and moving and looking. I am starting to see similarities between thought and action…they are both unpredictable. Just like I can’t find a thinker, I can’t find a doer. I am starting to think that I am doing everything on autopilot. I need to watch this more and try to put into words what I am experiencing. Give me one more day on this question.

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Sarah7
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:46 am

Hey Bob
So to answer your questions, from what I can tell the anxiety was made up of rapid fire thoughts that, that all had a “me” associated with them, that were associated with a “me” who could take responsibility, combined with stressful memories, combined with future thoughts of problems that could occur if nobody took responsibility….and that is what triggered the anxiety.
But did ‘you’ bring any of them? Can you keep them? Who or what are the thoughts pointing to? Anything? Or are they simply happening on their own?
But wait a minute, thoughts can’t do anything. So how could a thought “trigger” anxiety? It can’t. I must be missing something. I am not sure what I am seeing here. Perhaps, the anxiety arose after the thought, but I guess it doesn’t mean that the anxiety arose as a result of the thought.
How do you know it was anxiety? Outside of thought that is – did thoughts explain it? Look again at what the anxiety is made up of? Is it thought – past or future thoughts, is it sensation with thoughts translating what those sensations mean? Is it emotion with thought again translating? Did the thought bring the emotion?
By personal I mean that others are not aware of my thoughts and that these thoughts are only aware to me. Also, I am not aware of other people’s thoughts. This personal nature of thought seems to suggest that there is some sort of individualized existence...suggesting the existence of a "me". Or perhaps the personalized nature of awareness results in all thought and all bodily actions to appear personal. I have been looking and looking at this today and can't seem to figure it out.
First off we deal here with what is actually experienced – not what is guessed at etc. So in terms of others we will look at others later on – but can you ever experience something you don’t experience?
Second – do you exist – yes or no? (and yes we are questioning the nature of this 'you') Im assuming the answer is yes? I’m taking you one step at a time. Each time I point – there has to be time for you to look and see which you are busy doing! I like to be thorough so everything is clear. OK! Unless of course you decide you don’t want this anymore! :)
A thought appears, and a thought disappears. That is all it can do. A thought itself can’t think, so it can’t know, which would mean it was doing something. A thought is a symbolic representation of reality. So a thought could represent a body, but it is not the body, and a thought can’t know the body, because that would mean that a thought was doing something.
OK – really get to the bottom of this – see it. Test it. Verify it!
Ok, I see what you are asking here. “Responsibility” is kind of like a label that just gets applied after the observation of some reality, or arises after the fact. I can see that now.
And this too – test and verify! See it happening – where is the doer of it?
OK – I spent the whole day doing and moving and looking. I am starting to see similarities between thought and action…they are both unpredictable. Just like I can’t find a thinker, I can’t find a doer. I am starting to think that I am doing everything on autopilot. I need to watch this more and try to put into words what I am experiencing. Give me one more day on this question.
Of course! :) Please let me know if I give you too much! OK.
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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BobUnleashed
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Re: Finally Breaking Through

Postby BobUnleashed » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:08 pm

So to answer your questions, from what I can tell the anxiety was made up of rapid fire thoughts that, that all had a “me” associated with them, that were associated with a “me” who could take responsibility, combined with stressful memories, combined with future thoughts of problems that could occur if nobody took responsibility….and that is what triggered the anxiety.
But did ‘you’ bring any of them?
No – they just arose. I had no control of them. Although at some point the mind would start saying “I should change my thoughts to something more positive….or Bob, you can control this, control your mind, control your thinking” Which I recognize as just another thought, and not something that is possible, because they just keep coming and going like people in a train station – sometimes really fast, sometimes slower like clouds in the sky.
Can you keep them?
No. They just disappear on their own accord. Some thoughts seem stickier and stay longer, like the one from the other day with the customer which took a few hours to dissipate, versus this stream of thought around responsibility which dropped off pretty quickly - in a few minutes.
Who or what are the thoughts pointing to? Anything?
These thoughts were mostly pointing to other thoughts and concepts. Such as the thought of responsibility. Such as an imagined future where “nobody” was responsible. To imagined badness. All of which was imagination / thought.
Or are they simply happening on their own?
They are simply happening on their own. Sometimes I think for a split second “They are mine” then I laugh and realize, no, they are just thoughts, coming and going, like clouds in the sky or people in the train station.
But wait a minute, thoughts can’t do anything. So how could a thought “trigger” anxiety? It can’t. I must be missing something. I am not sure what I am seeing here. Perhaps, the anxiety arose after the thought, but I guess it doesn’t mean that the anxiety arose as a result of the thought.
How do you know it was anxiety?
The mind called it anxiety. Also, I remember that there was some kind of sensation along with it, or feeling. Like a sinking feeling in my stomach area.
Outside of thought that is – did thoughts explain it?
I seem to remember some kind of unpleasant sensation in my stomach area and possibly an increase in heart rate. There was a physical element to it.

Yes, thoughts, definitely explained it and labeled this feeling or sensation “anxiety” or “worry”.
Look again at what the anxiety is made up of?
Looking back. I think it was made up mostly of thought, but also some feeling in the body – a sensation, or a feeling.

I am having trouble remembering it exactly. I want to somehow go back and trigger it to see if I can make it happen again and figure it out to make sure that I am directly experiencing it and make sure that I am not using my mind to distort what actually happened. Let me try to do that now…..

<5 minutes later>

Ok I went back and recreated/re-read our whole discussion about free will and choice and personal responsibility – and I was able to recreate the sensation – although it is much less impactful than the first time around. The sensation comes after the thought, and feels like a contraction or knot in my stomach area, at the same time, it feels like the whole free will discussion is less sticky than the first time.

The two statements that I made that seemingly trigger the sensation (meaning the sensation followed the thought) are:

• If there is no free will, does that mean it is OK for people to run around and start doing bad things? I then imagine people doing bad things. <I feel the contraction/sensation in my stomach when I think this>. Thought tells me this sensation is anxiety or worry.

• If we don’t have free will, what does that mean for personal responsibility? I then imagine people doing bad things and not taking responsibility to fix them. <I feel the contraction/sensation when I think this>. Thought tells me this sensation is anxiety or worry.

Based on this…I think the sequence was:
1. Thought about NO free will or NO responsibility
2. Thought (imagination) about people doing bad things
3. Sensation
4. Thought interpreting the sensation as anxiety or worry
Is it thought – past or future thoughts, is it sensation with thoughts translating what those sensations mean?
Based on the experiment that I just did, it was the thought of future imagined thoughts around people doing bad things that triggered the sensation.

Is it emotion with thought again translating?
Based on the experiment above I think it was sensation with thought translating.
Did the thought bring the emotion?
In this case, the thought came before the emotion. I have the belief that the thought * triggered * it. Although I also have the belief that this thought won’t ALWAYS trigger it, because I am already observing that the strength of the anxiety has already dissipated significantly just in doing this exercise. The sensation is much less than when it occurred 2 days ago.

In the past, I have also had many experiences where other kinds of thoughts seemingly triggered very powerful emotions, and these have been “deprogrammed” and I no longer have any negative emotion whatsoever as a result of these thoughts.
By personal I mean that others are not aware of my thoughts and that these thoughts are only aware to me. Also, I am not aware of other people’s thoughts. This personal nature of thought seems to suggest that there is some sort of individualized existence...suggesting the existence of a "me". Or perhaps the personalized nature of awareness results in all thought and all bodily actions to appear personal. I have been looking and looking at this today and can't seem to figure it out.
First off we deal here with what is actually experienced – not what is guessed at etc. So in terms of others we will look at others later on – but can you ever experience something you don’t experience?
No, I can't experience something that I don't experience.
Second – do you exist – yes or no? (and yes we are questioning the nature of this 'you') Im assuming the answer is yes?
Yes, I exist.
I’m taking you one step at a time. Each time I point – there has to be time for you to look and see which you are busy doing! I like to be thorough so everything is clear. OK! Unless of course you decide you don’t want this anymore! :)
Yes. Please be thorough. Please be clear. For my part, I am sick and tired of skimming across the surface doing all kinds of spiritual practices for my whole life and not seeing the truth. I am freaking sick of it! Hit me hard if necessary :) Do not be easy on me. Question me until you are sure that I “get” it (even if there is nobody to get it and I haven’t figured that out yet).

I am incredibly appreciative of you volunteering so much time to read all my stuff and point me where to look. God Bless you Sarah! I am grateful for you and all the kind people on this site who share so much!
A thought appears, and a thought disappears. That is all it can do. A thought itself can’t think, so it can’t know, which would mean it was doing something. A thought is a symbolic representation of reality. So a thought could represent a body, but it is not the body, and a thought can’t know the body, because that would mean that a thought was doing something.
OK – really get to the bottom of this – see it. Test it. Verify it!
Ok. Here is another experiment to test it.

I just tried on a pair of jeans today and the waist was tight – ugh! (The mind exclaims and narrates that this is undesirable) I gained some weight! (a thought about the body) I ate too much the past two weeks (a thought) - you need to control your eating. (a thought and an instruction about what the imaginary “me” must do) Can the thought know something? No – the sense of sight saw the tight jeans and the mind jumped in and started talking, and commanding, and controlling. The sense of touch felt the jeans pressing tight against the waist and the mind jumped in and started narrating and saying what I should do – stop eating so much, eat more salads, start doing more cardio, continue weightlifting, blah, blah, blah thoughts arise, they are images, labels, or linguistic representations of what is being received through the senses. Also what comes are suggestions and recommendations (both are thoughts) for the body to do stuff – ie: exercise, eating etc. Meanwhile as I am thinking all of this the body is just doing its thing putting on the clothes and getting dressed all by itself (fortunately the clothes still fit – that is a thought), putting on socks, shoes, shirt, etc. without the accompanying director thoughts (I have to put on socks shoes shirt etc) the body just does the dressing while the mind is off commentating about the eating and exercise strategy that the body should undertake in the near future.
Ok, I see what you are asking here. “Responsibility” is kind of like a label that just gets applied after the observation of some reality, or arises after the fact. I can see that now.
And this too – test and verify! See it happening – where is the doer of it?
OK. So here is my test. I had to drive to a meeting with a work colleague at lunch today. I would be driving to a location about 30 minutes away. I set my intent to “drive responsibly” – to “take personal responsibility for driving” and gave myself the task of noticing everything that I was doing.

I got to the location early and took notes on just a small example of stuff that I noticed:

Listening (sound outside the car)
Seeing (automobile in front of me)
Sensation (leg)
Sensation (leg itching)
Thinking (mind says it’s probably sunburn or a bug bite)
Scratching (the leg)
Feeling (itch goes away)
Thinking (ahh that feels good)
Accelerating
Seeing
Appreciating (Thinking about the beautiful tree on the side of road)
Sensation (leg)
Sensation (arm)
Sensation (leg)
Itching (move arm to my leg and itch)
Thinking (itch)
Sensation (subsiding)
Moving (my head)
Focusing (my eyes)
Reading (a sign)
Turning (the steering wheel)
Hearing (sound of the air conditioner in the car)
Seeing (bird flying)
Seeing (butterfly flying)
Arm moving (the steering wheel)
Turning
Thinking (narrating the turn)
Seeing (stoplight)
Slowing (pressing the brake)
Seeing (the car in front of me)
Stopping (the car)
Waiting (for light to change)
Thinking (ask a question – am I being responsible?)
Smiling
Laughing out loud (at how ridiculous this is)
Smiling
Thinking (all this stuff is just happening)
Thinking (who is responsible for this – it seems like I am doing everything except driving!!!!)
Laughing (Really laughing really hard now)
Thinking (noticing is fun)
Thinking (I am irresponsible)
Hearing (sound of the automobile next to me accelerating)
Thinking (I just started driving again, the stoplight changed, and I just drove for a few seconds and didn’t realize I was driving – holy crap!)
Smiling
Laughing out loud
Thinking (What is free will and personal responsibility anyway?)
Thinking (stuff just happens)
Thinking (noticing is kind of fun!)
Seeing (the pretty lady in the car next to me)
Appreciating (beauty)

….anyway – you get the picture – this was just a small fraction of some of what I noticed – went on for 30 minutes plus…. I am going to do more of this. I don’t think thoughts of free will and personal responsibility are going to “trouble me” any more. Seems like a show is just randomly happening - both a thought show, and also a doing show. It’s fun to notice things.

I want to remember to do this exact noticing /looking process the next time I have a strong emotion and really dissect it and notice every little piece of the process.
OK – I spent the whole day doing and moving and looking. I am starting to see similarities between thought and action…they are both unpredictable. Just like I can’t find a thinker, I can’t find a doer. I am starting to think that I am doing everything on autopilot. I need to watch this more and try to put into words what I am experiencing. Give me one more day on this question.
Of course! :) Please let me know if I give you too much! OK.
No. You are NOT assigning too much. Yesterday was a long day of “responsibilities”. Load me up. I want to see. Hit me with a stick if you have to. I don’t care.

Here is another example of noticing:

I am sitting in my chair typing. I am writing about doing. My hand moves magically on the keyboard. My oldest son comes in and sits down and turns on the television. I greet him. I notice he looks grumpy, but I say nothing and just smile. All of this is happening more or less automatically. He puts a futbol game on TV. I keep typing. I notice breathing. I notice all kinds of thoughts. I notice all kinds of movements and sensations happening in my body automatically, on autopilot. I notice my attention moving between what I am writing, the futbol game, my son, my body and its sensations – I notice the body adjusting automatically, the head moving automatically to face the object of the attention, eyes adjusting to my son or the tv or the computer. Sounds coming and going such as the tapping of the keyboard, voices on tv, voices in the room, the sounds of the crowd. The ears adjusting and focusing. Attention zooming in or zooming out. Thoughts rising and falling. Labeling happening. Blinking. Breathing. Heart beating. Saliva salivating – the mind suggests hunger perhaps – no not yet the mind says. Go get a drink it says. Thoughts arising - many random, some related to what I am think I am supposed to be doing. I imagine that in addition to all the things happening that my attention finds in my body, there are a gazillion things happening that I am unaware of – cells reproducing, small hairs within the nose moving, little pieces of the ear moving to capture sound from the environment – but these are just thoughts that I have read from books – I have not actually seen them. There is a randomness and a chaos to it (thoughts) and at the same time an order to it (thoughts) all. The self seems to be a useful organizing principle – a useful thought - a category heading, under which a list of random actions and thoughts arise.

I am seeing that:
-Thoughts happen independent of action although concurrently with action
-Actions happen independent of thought although concurrently with thought

Wow. This is cool. I feel a happy feeling about all of this - a good noticing day!

Thank you Sarah!

-Bob


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