Aiming for Stream-Entry

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:36 pm

Hello Everybody, hello Liberation Unleashed!

My Name ist Tom and I live in Berlin. I am interested in spiritual practice, especially Buddhism since a few years.

I especially like the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Jed McKenna, Adyashanti, Christian Meyer, Anssi Antila, Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu and of course the "famous" teachers as the Buddha or Laotse.

At this time, I want to sit in meditation as often as possible, working my way up from one or two 30-min sessions a day to as many as possible while simultenously making them longer. My aim is to attain stream entry as soon as possible. The spiritual makes up the most important part in my life. I will go to different retreats soon and am very glad to be here and to talk about experience and receive (and maybe give) tips for practice.

A friend brought me to Liberation Unleashed.

Have a good day everybody!
~ May all beings be free from suffering ~
~ May all beings be happy ~

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:46 pm

Hi Tom,

My name is Andrei and I will be your guide if that is OK with you. I live on the East Coast in the US, 6 time zones behind you. No big deal.

The main purpose of this forum is not to talk about experience but actually experience it :)

Before we continue, a few standard formalities.

To make this quick and uninterrupted, please try posting at least once a day, even if only to say, "still here!"
I am not your teacher, only a guide. All I do is point and ask questions, you look. What you see will be your genuine discovery, not a dogma to believe in.
Responses require simple 100% honest looking. We will clarify what looking means if you are not sure. There are no wrong or right answers, but we will get there faster if we keep honest to ourselves.
Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers may hinder progress.
Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, spiritual books and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. It is great that you follow meditation practice. You can combine our method of inquiry with it to the great effect.
Please learn to use the quote function so that our conversation stays more clear. The instructions are available on the site.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at the main page, our disclaimer and a short video too.

For ease of seeing, my questions will appear in bold text.

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:12 pm

Hello apolsk,

I agree to everything and accept you as my guide, while still having a last small, but important question:
Does it matter WHERE I post daily? Has it to be in THIS thread?? Is this then becoming something like a one-on-one conversation, did I get that right?

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:48 pm

As I bought the Gateless Gatecrashers and read by now 30 pages, I assume the answer is yes, right? If so, I am ready for going on.

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:15 am

Tom,

Yes, this is a one-on-one conversation. We don't do group tours through the Gate as people tend to get lost :)

Great, let's put the book aside (even that one) and start with some checks where we are at right now.

What are your expectations for this exercise? What do you expect to get from it?

What will change and how will it feel different in the end?

You mentioned that you aim for stream-entry. Who or what will enter the stream and what is the stream itself in your current understanding?

Please feel to write about everything that comes up, especially first "gut" reactions that you may then disagree with. Be honest about what you actually feel - there are no "wrong" answers.

Regards,
Andrei

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:34 am

Hello Andrei,

Just in advance: Thank you very much for helping me as well as other people. You and the whole "Liberation Unleashed" thing seem to be an incredible gift to the world.

My expectations is to have no more expectations after the stream-entry. In my view, it is the dissolution of self and there is the hope to attaining this as an irreversible experience and with the greatest depth possible. I talked to one stream-enterer last week and he said that his ego "has completely sat done for one time". Now, his ego comes back from time to time, but he always knows it to be an illusion. He KNOWS for the first time in his life, he says. He sees emptiness in everything, which he called indescribable, but try to sketch it like seeing that the table is not the table, but merely a vibration out of something empty. I guess I would be EXTREMELY happy with this attainment. It is my very "smallest" aim to attain "at least" that in this life - as quick as possible. It would be great if I could still enjoy meeting women, but this seems to be the case even for everyone who isn't yet an arahant.

Who will enter the stream? Nobody. There is no self who could do that, the self is the illusion and I want to experience that not only intellectually but directly. The stream is kind of the pull to nirvana.

Best,
Tom

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:36 am

Sorry, let me just add: It's much more about truth than about happiness. I am not excepting extatic feelings to get from this, don't get me wrong.

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:46 am

Sorry once again, but I find this point important: I don't want to become a hero or saviour after stream-entry but it seems - and that would be also one "wish", so to speak - that I don't go on people's nerves anymore with my wants, am able to accept everyone as he or she is and if people like it, I am able to help them - especially in spiritual regards.
Once again sorry, will try to keep my answers shorter in the next posts, if necessary.

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:31 pm

Tom,

Fantastic, thanks for honest and elaborate answers!

Now, please re-read your answers and notice if your expectations have changed slightly as you wrote each of them and also now, reading your own words again. If so, the shift is already happening, the process has started.

After doing that, please say good-bye to all these expectations and hopes. We simply don't know what will happen, except for one thing: it will not be what you expect. Currently it is driven by imagination, not the actual experience, and the path to the Gate is not through imagination. The other guy's experience, however genuine, to you is just a story that you heard from him, and stories are not the actual experience. Does this statement feel true or not? If you cling to it, your own shift won't happen. So just put all this stuff aside together with the book knowledge for now.
Who will enter the stream? Nobody. There is no self who could do that, the self is the illusion and I want to experience that not only intellectually but directly. The stream is kind of the pull to nirvana.
If there is nobody to enter the stream, what will be pulled by it to nirvana?

This is just to shake your presumptions a bit, don't make up a theoretic answer if you don't immediately have it.

Now, before we jump into the gist of this journey, I'd like to spend a little time with you working on some skills that will be very helpful in the process and afterward. The first one is the ability to clearly see the difference between the direct experience and the content of thoughts about it (or anything else). In our method we focus on the direct experience and not on thoughts.

Here is an exercise for you:

Think about some food that you have right now, e.g. an apple. Imagine to your best ability how it looks, smells, feels in your hand and so on. Imagine taking a bite and the texture, taste, smell of it. Try to make it feel as realistic as you can. Notice the quality of this feeling, how much effort it takes to imagine it and so on.

Now go grab it and repeat the same observations with the real thing. Again, notice all sensations, feelings, efforts, quality. Compare with the imaginary experience and report on the difference.

Try the same exercise with other things: imagine listening to a song and then listen to it for real. Imagine raising your hand and then do it for real, repeating several times. Try to notice what exactly makes the imaginary act feel different from the real one.

Report to me when you are done.

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:40 pm

Does this statement feel true or not?
Yes, I gain nothing lasting from someone else's description of stream-entry. Well, some motivation and exitement, inspiration and orientation, but I am open to experience it in a completely different way. Attaning freedom is of so much more worth than clinging to a specific sort of experience.

You asked, if my expactations have changed slightly? Maybe, I don't now. Expectations are a hindrance, aren't they?
Right in this moment, I have none.

Also, I did the task of imaging things and comparing the actual experience with my imagination. My imagination was idealized, it was better or at least different from the actual experience. Any effort involved in imaginaning things annoyed me. The actual experience was simple and relaxed, but potentially disappointing, disillusioning or surprising. The imagery act comes from memory, the real act doesn't require anything on my site. But it also leads to reactions based on whether my imagination was better than the reality => "bad" reaction/ dissapointment. Or it could be a reaction of surprise and happiness, if the real experience is better than my imagination.
If there is nobody to enter the stream, what will be pulled by it to nirvana?
"My" mind, "I" guess :) But that's a technical one, no?

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:04 am

Excellent. So from what I read, by doing this exercise you were able to notice that the thought-stuff feels idealized or sketchy, is different from the actual experience, requires an effort, and comes from memory as something expected. The direct experience is detailed, comes effortlessly and is somewhat unexpected and surprising. You cannot morph it - it is what it is. Does this feel true? If not, try again few times until you are positive one way or another.

Please remember this difference and use it to see whether something comes from the direct experience (this is what we call "looking") or it is made up by thinking.
"My" mind, "I" guess :) But that's a technical one, no?
Can you find the mind in the direct experience? Is there anything that can be seen immediately without effort, or does it feel like an attempt to imagine something?
Please look and describe what you see. Use the skill from the previous exercise to tell apart thoughts from the actual experience.

Let's do couple more drills. If you pay attention, you should notice that the actual experience and thoughts are mixed together and the attention switches from the direct experience (I will call it DE) and content of thoughts very rapidly, forming patterns. You need to learn how to "unpack" such patterns and notice what has actually happened and in what order, so that you don't take a mix of the experience and thoughts as a pure experience.

Take a quick glance at your hand and then look somewhere else. Do it again several times (and looking at different things) and see if you can notice the quick sequences of experiences and thoughts, something like this:

1. Experience before thoughts. Unnamed, pure.
2. Thought "hand" (not necessarily verbalized, just recognition).
3. A feeling (how hand feels inside).
4. Thought "my hand".
5. Me-feeling. And so on.

The actual sequence may be different, the point is to notice how experiences lead to thoughts, thoughts lead to feelings and so on, forming a complex sensation+feeling+thought pattern "I am looking at my hand".
Can you see this? Can you notice how the attention jumps back and forth between experiences and thoughts?

The last exercise is to learn the difference between thought as an actual experience and the content of thought as a dream-like stuff. Think up a thought: "I am a Spiderman."
Did that thought actually occur?
Is the content of that thought, i.e. what it is about, true? Are you a Spiderman? :)

Now try the same with the thought "hand", when looking at your hand.
Can both the visual experience of the hand and the thought "hand" co-exist in attention at the same exact moment?

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:19 am

So from what I read, by doing this exercise you were able to notice that the thought-stuff feels idealized or sketchy, is different from the actual experience, requires an effort, and comes from memory as something expected. The direct experience is detailed, comes effortlessly and is somewhat unexpected and surprising. You cannot morph it - it is what it is. Does this feel true? If not, try again few times until you are positive one way or another.
I totally agree.
Can you find the mind in the direct experience? Is there anything that can be seen immediately without effort, or does it feel like an attempt to imagine something?
No direct experience of mind. Only thoughts, it seems.
Can you see this? Can you notice how the attention jumps back and forth between experiences and thoughts?
Yeah the attention jumps back and forth all the time between those two. The more I concentrate, the less it relies on thoughts.
Did that thought actually occur?
Is the content of that thought, i.e. what it is about, true? Are you a Spiderman? :)
NO content of thought is real. Even something as simple as thinking "window" versus looking at the window does not add to the realness of content of thought, it seems all "fake" or actually just thought, attempting to be a good simulation, but always failing.
Can both the visual experience of the hand and the thought "hand" co-exist in attention at the same exact moment?
No, impossible. Two things cannot co-exist in attention.

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:47 pm

Excellent! You've made me smile :)

Now you can check how much of your "reality" is actually real and how much of it is a stuff made of thoughts, a.k.a dreaming with eyes wide open. You can examine anything and test if it comes as a direct experience, or is your attention focused on a thought. Are you eating an apple, or are you thinking about eating an apple, so to speak.

As you saw, at best thought comes right after the experience and points at it. The thought "window" comes after looking at the window. We call this labeling. If you watch closely, you will see that labeling happens automatically, non-stop, like shadows that trail the ever-changing what is. It is not our goal to stop it, just not to get confused by it. Can you clearly notice this process happening?

Labels like "window", point at something that comes from experience: sensations, feelings. Label "thought" also points at the direct experience - arrival of a thought. When a thought occurs, you can't deny that it occurred. And then there are other labels that ultimately point at nothing at all, like "Spiderman". Unless there is a false belief in his existence, you can't take Spiderman seriously, even when Spiderman-related thoughts occur, right? So the key is not to make thoughts about Spiderman disappear, only to see them for what they are.

With that in mind let's examine the "I", "self", "me", "Tom".
Is "I" something real that can be found in the direct experience or is it more like a fictitious character in a story about Tom?
What comes up when I say that there is no you in any shape or form, that you never existed in the past and will never exist in the future?

Please look and tell what you see and, importantly, what feelings arise when you read this. You wrote already that there is no self, but that was just a thought about a thought. Now let's look at the reality and see how your body reacts to that.

User avatar
apolsk
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:13 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby apolsk » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:56 pm

No, impossible. Two things cannot co-exist in attention.
When attention is 100% focused on the hand, is there any separate attention to speak of? Or is there just the hand? Is there such thing as attention in direct experience, or is it only a thought labeling whatever is happening right now?

User avatar
Tom89
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Re: Aiming for Stream-Entry

Postby Tom89 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:04 pm

Now you can check how much of your "reality" is actually real and how much of it is a stuff made of thoughts, a.k.a dreaming with eyes wide open. You can examine anything and test if it comes as a direct experience, or is your attention focused on a thought. Are you eating an apple, or are you thinking about eating an apple, so to speak.
Whenever I don't involve in the stories of the thoughts, it is real. Ultimately, I think everything is real. Isn't the distinction between real and unreal also a concept? Today, some thoughts tried to make you believe that I am a person and to separate me from others, but everytime I looked, this illusion dropped away.
The thought "window" comes after looking at the window. We call this labeling. If you watch closely, you will see that labeling happens automatically, non-stop, like shadows that trail the ever-changing what is. It is not our goal to stop it, just not to get confused by it. Can you clearly notice this process happening?
I can see that! As I write that, I thought also came that the entire "me" is only a retrospective judgment plus identification with things.
you can't take Spiderman seriously, even when Spiderman-related thoughts occur, right?
Far too bad for poor Spiderman, but you nailed it. : )
Is "I" something real that can be found in the direct experience or is it more like a fictitious character in a story about Tom?
What comes up when I say that there is no you in any shape or form, that you never existed in the past and will never exist in the future?
"I" cannot be found. I feel a relieve and lack of joy, maybe a slight disappointment about that. Moreover, I want to finally close the chapter of "searching", I want to be sure and done with it as quick as possible. Yet, I still wonder, if the gate is passed or not. Seems like maybe there is very little background expectations or curiousity, but on the other hand, it seems clear that nothing more is required. Since there is no future or past, I do not exist in that. That is also a real experience and not just thought. And now? Seems like whatever happens, happens. There is also a wondering: How is this all possible without an "I"? In addition to that: I wonder if it is required to ever have a state of mind which is completely free of "I"-related thoughts or at least to instantly know them to be an illusion to go through the gate. On the other hand, it is clear that I have no control over my mind and that this should answer the question with a clear "no". Maybe I should simply allow the "beingness of things" while simultenously keep asking what's true and what's not. What is your stance on this one?
When attention is 100% focused on the hand, is there any separate attention to speak of? Or is there just the hand? Is there such thing as attention in direct experience, or is it only a thought labeling whatever is happening right now?
No, when I searched it only came as thought, but no attention in real experience to find...


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests