Requesting Jonathan R

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MichaelD
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Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:41 pm

I have become aware of LU by word of mouth, initially about a year ago and now more recently from an old close friend that I have re-connected with.
I had a long period of seeking within the context of the FWBO but that ended in disillusion approximately 16 years ago. Since then my life, until recently, has focused almost entirely around work and family.

My expectation is to be guided into a more direct experience of the nature of mind and in particular towards a letting go of the illusory nature of a fixed separate self. I have requested Jonathan on the recommendation of a mutual friend so that there is a basis of trust underpinning our exploration / journey.

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:21 pm

Hi Michael,

Happy to guide. I'm back now (from a couple of days camping).We have exchanged a few texts but could I ask you to read and agree to some formalities; ground rules and disclaimer? And I don't know if it is easily possible for you to do this but it would be great if you could somehow copy our limited texting conversation so far into your reply post to this one? If you have trouble doing that maybe I will be able to do it.

You and I will simply have a conversation, the aim of which will be for you to make the realisation that there is no 'self'. That will be our focus. I will tend to ask various questions and set you some exercises, but nobody will be judging you. You can't get this wrong.

This process is a guided inquiry where specific areas can be examined. I am not a teacher. This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we continue, a few formalities.

If you haven't already seen it, there is introductory info here, the disclaimer and a short video too.
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

Please read and agree to the following:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.
3. Answer only from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Longwinded
analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation.
Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and
essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

Best wishes,

Jon

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:04 pm

Hi Jon,

I accept the conditions and agree to abide by them.

Following is a transcription of our exchanged texts:

Jon,
What are your expectations?

MichaelD,
If successful would still expect to have loose sense of self in order to function but would not be locked in the narrative as it unfolds. Therefore not as identified with particular passing thoughts and emotions. Would have access to non-dual oceanic states. I anticipate feeling happier, freer and more creative.

Jon.
Generally it is impossible to predict what may or may not happen. Most of your expectations are fair enough but just one comment here. People ofter start this process and are on the lookout for some kind of dramatic shift or experience that can serve as 'proof' of a result. But it isn't like this. Looking out for a special experience can even mean that the subtlety of 'no self' is missed. So an open mind is good.
Thanks for listing these expectations. Now let's start.

Please tell me what it is you think you are?

MichaelD,
Thanks for getting back so quickly. Will try to drop any ideas and aim for open mind only.

I identify a personality, a set of likes and dislikes etc. I feel I am in this body with it's sensations, feelings and thoughts. There is a sense of history as I can scan the past and anticipate the future. If sitting everything is more subtle and vivid. Sensations and thoughts more subtle and can be observed. I seem to be an awareness that can be directed to different aspects of my experience. There is a sense of being still largely associated with the body and there is still a sense of continuity.

Jon,
Hi Kevin. This is a good start in that it is fairly clear where 'self'or 'me' is experienced. 'In the body' is a common feeling. Can you say where in the body, mostly or largely?

MichaelD,
Hi Jon. Self or sense of me is generally associated with the body but not always localized. More the head than anywhere else though because of the feeling that, like now, I am thinking. So sense of me is predominantly head based as I direct / navigate through life and experience through the senses. Sense of me most identified with thoughts and intention which occur in my head.

Jon,
You can try this though....Right here and now this screen is seen. What is it seen by?
Normally it is said that 'I see' and it is assumed that there is a'me' that is doing the seeing. Take a look.... What is the experience here and now?
Is it the body that is doing seeing?

MichaelD
Not body beyond eye apparatus. It just feels like intelligent awareness that is seeing.

Jon,
Is 'eye apparatus' experienced, 'doing seeing'?

MichaelD,
Not sure I get question. Eye for seeing but not self. Self is the awareness that is seeing and recognizes word meanings and hands holding phone.

Jon,
So is this an idea that it is awareness that it is awareness that is doing the seeing through the eyes?

MichaelD,
Yes. That's how it feels looking at phone. Hard to put into words but awareness also 'with' phone and part of room I can see, sofa etc.
Sorry if that seems vague. Awareness not just centered in head but is also with object. Have now contradicted what I said earlier.

Jon'
No worries, have now replied on Gate Forum so will be easier to pick it up there

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:48 pm

Hi Michael (or would you prefer Kevin?),

Just to touch again on your earlier remark about possibly expecting access to non-dual oceanic states and anticipating feeling happier, freer and more creative.

I did already say something similar but I should say that it cannot be predicted how it will be experienced and 'oceanic non-dual states' sounds like an expectation of a kind of state of mind? I will try to assist by pointing towards non duality but this is not a state of mind. States of mind are temporary, aren't they? Anger, joy, sadness and many others. They all appear at various times but later on are succeeded by something else, aren't they? No self, non duality are not like this. they are not states of mind. Anyway you have already said that you will remain open to what may or may not be discovered.

I'm now going to use the 'quote' function for the first time. You'll find this useful as we go along and you can get it by clicking below on 'full editor' and then finding the 'Quote' button at the top of the editing window.
Self or sense of me is generally associated with the body but not always localized. More the head than anywhere else though because of the feeling that, like now, I am thinking. So sense of me is predominantly head based as I direct / navigate through life and experience through the senses. Sense of me most identified with thoughts and intention which occur in my head.
So we will look at thoughts too soon. My apologies. Using text messages I did not see this and it is important.
Yes. That's how it feels looking at phone. Hard to put into words but awareness also 'with' phone and part of room I can see, sofa etc.
Sorry if that seems vague. Awareness not just centered in head but is also with object. Have now contradicted what I said earlier.
No worries, this is all useful.

Let's stick with seeing for now. It is interesting that you also find awareness in relation to the 'object'. Let's try an investigation to do with this. Its important that you actually try the following (and any other exercise suggested), rather than thinking about it or imagining it:

Find something that has a particular colour. It happens that here, next to me is a green watering can. This would do great. A white cup or a red ball or a lemon would be fine. Place said object a few feet way on a table or surface and simply sit and look at it. No special effort is needed, Just notice the colour.

Conventionally it is said that there is a 'perceiver' (that sees), 'perception' (the see-ing) and 'Perceived' (the seen). Right now, is any separation found between these three?

Is it possible to find a line or gap anywhwere in this experience?

Where does 'perceiver' end and 'perceiving' begin?

Where does 'perceiving end and 'perceived' begin?

Or does it all seem non-separate?

Regards,

Jon

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:34 pm

Hi Jon,

Tamato on desk.

There is no gap in the experience. Perceiver and perceiving is seamless. Perceiving and the perceived also felt seamless so there was one overall experience of perception.

The problem was that although I felt it was seamless I still had a sense of 'me' carrying out the act (reduced when I couldn't see any of my body (by putting my arms under the table), and I remained aware that I was not a tomato!!!

Will repeat later.

Regards,

M

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:41 pm

Hi Michael,
. There is no gap in the experience. Perceiver and perceiving is seamless. Perceiving and the perceived also felt seamless so there was one overall experience of perception.
That's good. Do this a few different timed over the next few days. Don't worry about the apparent 'you' that seems to 'get in the way'.
The problem was that although I felt it was seamless I still had a sense of 'me' carrying out the act (reduced when I couldn't see any of my body (by putting my arms under the table), and I remained aware that I was not a tomato!!!
Look
Ha ha! Well, when it is seen, noticing the feeling of seamlessness is good.

There appears to be a 'me' 'carrying out the act'. But where, exactly is that one?

Place a hand, palm down on a table. Eyes closed. Just gently focus on the very immediate sensation that is felt where hand and table meet. This may be a slight pressure or warmth, perhaps?

Now, ONLY referring to that direct sensation, tell me, is a 'self' experienced 'doing feeling' ? Is 'hand' experienced, 'feeling table'? Or, is there the direct sensation alone?

Jon

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Sat Aug 08, 2015 9:02 pm

Hi Jon,

Not at my most lucid as towards the end of a full-on day but here goes:

I can have moments of pure awareness that occur between thoughts. looking at the tomato (soon I'll be carrying it around with me!) it rolled over. When it had stopped moving my mind said 'it rolled over' and I was conscious that it was with that thought that my sense of 'me' arose and for the duration of the movement there was just awareness free of 'me'.
Similarly with the hand on table I can have brief periods of awareness of sensation but then this is lost and I feel there is an 'I' when a thought comes in - it may be recollecting that this is an exercise, that I need to be perceptive or clear or perhaps a gull or another sound will pull me away etc. The thought then links to the continuity of my existence which is a significant aspect of my sense of being a person and having a 'continuous' self.

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:55 am

Hi Michael,
When it had stopped moving my mind said 'it rolled over' and I was conscious that it was with that thought that my sense of 'me' arose and for the duration of the movement there was just awareness free of 'me'.
Good. Very interesting. So is it that thought adds on and idea like a commentary? A comment or announcement that is ABOUT the experience but not the actual experience?
Similarly with the hand on table I can have brief periods of awareness of sensation but then this is lost and I feel there is an 'I' when a thought comes in -
There it is again! A thought. But do 'you' have brief periods of awareness or is it that there simply are brief periods of awareness?
The thought then links to the continuity of my existence which is a significant aspect of my sense of being a person and having a 'continuous' self.
Some very good looking in this post, in which thought is noticed adding on ideas to the actual experience.

Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

Try stopping a thought from appearing.

Can a thought be prevented from appearing, including the thought 'I'?


:-) Jon.

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:55 am

Hi Jon,

In my experience I cannot stop thoughts. If I am very absorbed in something they become less and less. There are two types; ones that pop up unrelated - a gull cries and my mind says 'seagull' or 'that's a gull' - these don't seem related to a fixed me / self beyond my ability to recognise the sound of a gull. The other types of thought are a more directed type related to my experience and directing / modifying it and these really do seem related to a 'me' as they are so rooted in whatever my current intentions or aims are.

My only way of trying to not think is to be absorbed in experience. So if looking at the sea for example thoughts could temporarily stop until one popped up. These gaps are very short. If I am troubled by something, angry or anxious or whatever then they can be very loud and continuous and difficult to stop.

The shortest answer with no examples is that I don't have the capability to consciously stop thought, my mind trundles on. I cannot prevent the thought 'I' particularly once my 'self' has 'claimed' an action or formed an intention.

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:57 pm

Hi Michael

Do you think thoughts or do thoughts think you?

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:55 pm

Hi Jon,

As above, random associative thoughts pop up and trundle on. If I am consciously planning, solving a problem or discussing something I am creating them.

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:04 pm

Having said that even directed thoughts around a topic initially just sort of occur (and then may be consciously worked on e.g to then be improved or vocab upgraded etc).

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:00 pm

Hi Michael,
Having said that even directed thoughts around a topic initially just sort of occur (and then may be consciously worked on e.g to then be improved or vocab upgraded etc).
The shortest answer with no examples is that I don't have the capability to consciously stop thought, my mind trundles on. I cannot prevent the thought 'I' particularly once my 'self' has 'claimed' an action or formed an intention.
Yes, It does seem that thoughts just appear, doesn't it? And it doesn't seem possible to prevent thoughts from appearing or disappearing either.

How about 'creating' a thought? Can a 'self' be fouond 'creating' thoughts?

It seems that there is a 'me' that 'thinks thoughts', that 'directs'. But is that what actually happens?

Try creating a thought now and at the same time look for the 'self', the 'me' that creates it. Can one be found?


Jon

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JonathanR
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby JonathanR » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:13 pm

Hi Michael,

How is it going?


Jon

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MichaelD
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Re: Requesting Jonathan R

Postby MichaelD » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:12 pm

Hi Jon,

Struggling! Just finished jobs - mostly computer based. Have attempted to get to the coalface but a poor quality mind today.

1. I cannot find a self 'creating' thoughts. If I create a topic such as 'what do I need to do to get the car ready'? thoughts just occur e.g check tyre pressures, fill up screenwasher, get petrol etc. I see that I don't create them, they pop up in relation to car, but I find the area problematic because they indicate a 'self' who knows about cars. They suggest a me in the broader sense of a history.

2. So in relation to your second question it isn't as if I do, or can, direct thoughts. Most are associative and related to whatever is going on. The issue is more with directed thoughts. Although as indicated above they also just occur. It is as If I set a direction or intention and then they pop up. I then want them upgraded or in a certain order e.g. when compiling a list, but again they sort of magically appear on their own. The problem with what I have just said though is that I have now moved 'self' from my thoughts to intention. If all thoughts just pop up and if intention is also illusory in what is identity based? If there is no Identity how do 'I' seem to roll on in a fairly consistent way - preferring jazz to rap, preferring coffee and toast to meuslie etc.

3. If i just create a thought - say I lean back from the computer and think. 'the desk is brown' there doesn't seem to be anything accompanying it or making it. However something is recognising 'desk' and 'brown'.

Probably modeled confusion just about perfectly there! Sorry for writing so late today and for asking questions. I realise my identity is based in an identification with thoughts so it is hard to unpick or accept that it/they are not me, or to be precise that 'me' or 'self' is not my thoughts.


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