Semi-Professional Seeker

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Alex L
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Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:46 am

On an end-of-summer weekend get-away to Montreal, while my wife and two young daughters were sleeping, i began going through Gateless Gatecrashers. i have avidly pursued Teravada and Zen meditation over the last 5yrs. I have only briefly dipped a toe into advaita when i read I Am That this last Christmas. I have been fascinated with the idea of a direct path.

Anyway, i have had interesting experiences through Vipassana and through Zen i have realized some truth about the importance of the presence and the delusion of past, future and much thinking. But it feels like more of a reasoned sort of thing. That is to say, i do get frustrated at times and can be hard on myself. though i have some space on this character called Alex, i wouldnt describe myself as liberated just yet.

my expectations are relatively low. i see myself in the 40yr meditators described in GG who are tough nuts to crack. I would rather prefer to be liberated through direct pointing than another 35yrs of seeking.

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:02 am

Hi Alex

Welcome to LU.
Thank you for your honest and open introduction.

My name is Xain - I've been guiding on here for over two years now.
Anyway, i have had interesting experiences through Vipassana and through Zen i have realized some truth about the importance of the presence and the delusion of past, future and much thinking. But it feels like more of a reasoned sort of thing.
Sure - I was in a very similar position to you before coming to LU. I had not been meditating, but had been contemplating many things and had many conceptual/mental realisations about the nature of things - time - objects - thoughts etcs, but no deep realisation.
I have some knowledge of Buddhism and it's particular path.
A realisation at LU is the equivalent of breaking the first two fetters (possibly the third also), and is often considered as 'stream entry'.
My expectations are relatively low. i see myself in the 40yr meditators described in GG who are tough nuts to crack.
(Prepares a large crowbar) :-)
It's fine - The issue can be that we have a massive layer of ideas and beliefs built up about stuff and that can be difficult to wade through.

What do you expect from this guidance? What do you expect to happen and what would it mean to you (if anything)?
Do you have any worries or concerns?
I would rather prefer to be liberated through direct pointing than another 35yrs of seeking.
Sounds fair. If you are persistent and honest then a realisation with me here is perfectly possible.
Paradoxically, when it is realised there is no separate self, it is realised that there is no separate self that ever realised anything or could ever be liberated.

Best wishes to you
Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:51 pm

Xain, thanks for the response! I am very grateful for this opportunity. To be clear, when i suggested low expectations, I meant to imply that i had no expectations of LU. I am hopeful that your guidance can help me see what i do not--but this is difficult to admit. I dont pretend to be all-knowing but i don't feel that there's anything i can't figure out with patience and dedicated work.

This seems to be the ultimate puzzle...What would it mean to me? I really don't know but i hope it means more freedom to see opportunities, rejoice in gratitude, dwell in happiness, etc. Worries that i give up on the material life that allows me to support a family?--that sees unlikely as i have few material desires as it is--one of my greatest joys is riding the commuter train into work.

I am going to make a sincere effort for liberation and very hopeful that i can attain it. Steam Entry is held in high regard in the Buddhist community.

As i think i said, i believe it is obvious that there is no independent, permanent self, and that the ego is constructed. But so hard to put into practice! So hard to find space from anger and other difficult emotions.

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:45 am

Hi Alex

Let's just address a few of the things you said. This isn't 'guiding' right now, but if I address these points they make bring some clarity for you in the direction that we both will be going.
To be clear, when i suggested low expectations, I meant to imply that i had no expectations of LU. I am hopeful that your guidance can help me see what i do not--but this is difficult to admit. I dont pretend to be all-knowing but i don't feel that there's anything i can't figure out with patience and dedicated work.
Good to hear.
The chance of a realisation is directly proportional to the desire that a person has to achieve it. People who wish to cling onto ideas and beliefs, or those who only have a half-hearted interest seldom achieve anything here.

It is very important to put all expectations aside - Lofty goals of permanent bliss, 'enlightenment' or 'living life in a new way' will only hamper the chances of seeing through the illusion, or prevent it completely.
The only thing to be achieved with me here is a realisation. That's all.

That realisation is that there is no inherently existing separate self, normally referred to as 'I'.
Paradoxically, when this is achieved, it is realised that no 'I', no separate self actually realised anything.

Also, it is very important to put spiritual, buddhist or non-dual ideas completely to one side and approach this very simply and basically. This is not to suggest any of these paths are wrong or in error. Not at all. But I want to address CORE beliefs without any additional mental chatter getting in the way. I want you to answer honestly and truly what your beliefs are, and not from what you have been told or what you've heard from teachings or religion.
This seems to be the ultimate puzzle...What would it mean to me?
I've set you a puzzle already . . . 'What would it mean to me to realise there is no me . . . ' :-)
Worries that i give up on the material life that allows me to support a family?
This is understandable.
Let me be clear - This guidance does not result in the loss of anything - Nor giving up anything. Nor anything actually 'changing' from the way it is now. You will still support your family and enjoy your commuter trips :-)
Put very simply . . . even though it is not realised right now, there has never been a separate self . . . ever.
Life has always been simply 'happening' without choice or control. All that can happen is to realise this simple fact.
But so hard to put into practice!
You assume there is a self to put it into practice. You assume there is one who has the choice to do so.
Shall we look and see if it's true?

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:36 am

Xain,

thanks for continuing the conversation.

I am definitely interested in looking into this self issue.

i read your reply early early this morning and-just for fun-imagined that what you said was true. that there is no choice or control. That i can watch things happen--but only watch. This seems like a promising avenue for discovery!

Sorry if i'm too eager to start. To address earlier issues--yes, i will not layer on buddhist or any other principles. i've only adopted them as a way to understand consciousness. I've only barely tried reading the scriptures never mind remembering them.

And you suggest the guidance doesnt result in the loss of anything. How about things which get in the way and dont actually exist--namely, the ego? (i just reread this and it sounds a bit much)

Anyway, sorry if i'm headed in the wrong direction for today but it looks as if i've started off on this path of watching and getting out of my own way (I might describe myself as highly open to suggestion). Please feel free to redirect me ...

best, Alex

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Thu Sep 17, 2015 4:10 pm

I am definitely interested in looking into this self issue.
Cool - Let's do it.
I've only adopted them as a way to understand consciousness. I've only barely tried reading the scriptures never mind remembering them.
Fine. As an offshoot of this guidance, you may find a lot of the teachings make more sense or that you have a deeper understanding of what is being pointed to. For the moment, put them aside - Let's examine things very simply.
How about things which get in the way and don't actually exist--namely, the ego?
For the moment, forget about the ego and whether it exists or not (or perhaps HOW it exists).
The guidance or realisation here might just answer your question, but let's take it back to a much simpler framework and don't worry about these things for the moment.
. . . but it looks as if i've started off on this path of watching and getting out of my own way (I might describe myself as highly open to suggestion). Please feel free to redirect me
:-) Yes, that's precisely what we'll be doing here.
Most of the guidance will be me asking you questions, and you answering them.
This isn't about me convincing you of anything - This is about you looking and finding the answers for yourself.

Ok, let's begin very simply.

What does the word 'I' point to? What do you believe you are?
No fancy stuff here - I am asking you what you TRULY BELIEVE - Not to parrot some non-dual phrases or ideas (unless you really believe them to be absolutely true).

A common stance for people coming here is that they are a body. A separate body with a mind.
Is this where you are at the moment?
In basic terms, do you believe that you are a person/body sat down looking at a screen and reading words off it right now?
Let's go deeper.
Do you believe that you (the body) is performing the senses right now? You are seeing, hearing, feeling etc
Do you have control? Control over the eyes scanning across this text? Control of the limbs? Control of the hands when typing a message.
Do you believe that you have control of your own destiny (to some extent) - Which again would be the destiny of the body?
Do you have free-will and choice? Do you have a choice in what to type as a reply to this message for instance?

Feel free to reject anything I've said here - I'm not trying to lead you - Just maybe give you some ideas of how utterly basic and simple I want you to consider things right now. Also, this is a typical description of the stance people take about themselves, about who they are and what they can do.

What are you? What is 'I'?

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:57 am

what am I? i would like to say something smart or wise but truthfully:

i am a 45yr old Canadian man who's had a bunch of experiences which i can relive. i could say i have a body and can see out through my eyes. fun to pretend i had no will today--but really, who else is doing the walking? How come i speed up and slow down at will? similarly, my job as an financial analyst is driven by my will and control. i have a lot of control over my destiny. i watch before crossing the street, etc. i understand the concept of lack of free will (i think) but believe i have it.

Perhaps the only bit of liberation i've accomplished is realizing, all of a sudden that i'm not in the present moment--i'm imagining or remembering some scene...about being able to write anything: i could write a seemingly smart or, alternatively, a stupid silly reply and waste our time-but what would that accomplish?

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:12 am

Thanks for that reply, Alex.
Your simple and honest description is exactly the place we can start from - Great!

Oh . . . I forgot . . . please have a look at these guidelines which will assist us both.

1. Please 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 from direct personal experience only (we can go into this in more depth later if needed).
4. Read the disclaimer on the Liberation Unleashed main site -> http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

It is useful to use the 'Quote' button as I have to quote my replies - It will make the conversation easier.
A guide for it's use can be found here: http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

Right - Let's have a look at what you said.
Perhaps the only bit of liberation i've accomplished is realizing, all of a sudden that i'm not in the present moment--i'm imagining or remembering some scene
You mean like day-dreaming? Like a child in school is oblivious to what is being seen on the blackboard, or what is being said by the teacher . . . they are off in an imaginary mental world.
This is good to notice, and is an excellent parallel for what we are going to be doing in this guidance.

In this guidance, rather than going to thoughts and ideas and drifting off trying to find answers or think what the correct answer might be I want you to 'come back' to the immediate moment - Just like the child would if the teacher yelled at him 'Are you listening to me!' and to try and answer the questions I am asking from that perspective.
All the questions I will ask are about what can be found in the immediate moment - right here and right now - drifting off is not allowed (and will result in detention after school and a letter to your parents ;-) )

Ready to continue?

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:23 pm

Perhaps the only bit of liberation i've accomplished is realizing, all of a sudden that i'm not in the present moment--i'm imagining or remembering some scene
You mean like day-dreaming? Like a child in school is oblivious to what is being seen on the blackboard, or what is being said by the teacher . . . they are off in an imaginary mental world.
This is good to notice, and is an excellent parallel for what we are going to be doing in this guidance.
yes, daydreaming is part of the issue. But also i seem to notice images in my mind's eye that last a fraction of a second. When i'm paying attention, my mind's ear seems to hear things spoken. Anyway, these are easy to discern from reality and i wont dwell on this.

i have read the disclaimers and even tried to use the quote function.

Ready for the next instruction!

Alex

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:24 pm

I have read the disclaimers and even tried to use the quote function.
And it worked! - Ok, let's rock.
i could say i have a body and can see out through my eyes
Ok, let's begin with the senses and the first sense - SEEING.

Let's go to thoughts just for a moment (daydream land if you like) - We can say 'Yesterday I saw my friend and he was wearing a silly hat' or 'Tomorrow I will see my sister' . . .we could even go to medical thoughts 'I see through a pair of eyes, and the eyes convert the image into nerve impulses that get fed into my brain which then interprets the signals as an image being seen' etc

Right, let's not do thoughts now - Let's go to the experience directly and see what can be found - Here's your first exercise:

Exercise:
Right now a screen is being seen and words are being read off the screen.


In the experience of seeing the screen and the words, can what is actually doing the seeing be found?
Clearly there is 'what is being seen' in the experience of seeing. But can it be established FROM THE EXPERIENCE what is responsible for doing the seeing?

Are there two things in the experience of seeing . . .
1) What is being seen
2) An 'I' or a person doing the seeing?

What can you establish from the experience itself?

Similarly, with reading - As these words are being read, can what is doing the reading be found?
Words are being read . . . but can what is doing that be established FROM THE EXPERIENCE of reading itself?

Are there two things in the experience of reading . . .
1) What is being read
2) An 'I' or a person doing the reading?

What can be found?

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:29 am

In the experience of seeing the screen and the words, can what is actually doing the seeing be found?
Clearly there is 'what is being seen' in the experience of seeing. But can it be established FROM THE EXPERIENCE what is responsible for doing the seeing?

Are there two things in the experience of seeing . . .
1) What is being seen
2) An 'I' or a person doing the seeing?
yes, sorry to say as you might expect there are two things: the screen and me looking at it. Or what is being read and me reading of it -- wait--aren't these the same experience? Maybe reading assumes i know and remember how to read? Pretty sure i'm off track here ...
What can you establish from the experience itself?

Similarly, with reading - As these words are being read, can what is doing the reading be found?
Words are being read . . . but can what is doing that be established FROM THE EXPERIENCE of reading itself?
What can i establish from this experience? Well, it's like countless others, lending credibility to the idea of me being in my head, so to speak. There seems to be consensus that I'm interacting with permanent physical reality. We mostly agree on the names of colours, the alphabet, etc.

Can what is doing the reading be established from the experience?? How about the fact that it's willing to look. Actually it has no will. That it's interested because i'm telling it to read. Apologies if i'm stretching this one too far but i'm now thinking that this must require some lateral thinking ...

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:13 am

sorry to say as you might expect there are two things: the screen and me looking at it.
No need to apologise at all. You are telling me what appears correct for you right now.

From the experience of seeing, you say there are two things.
Ok - Describe the screen as it appears in the experience of 'seeing'.
Now describe that 'you' that is doing the seeing, as it appears in the experience of 'seeing'
Well, it's like countless others, lending credibility to the idea of me being in my head, so to speak.
Sorry to be pedantic, but we are focussed only on the experience of 'seeing' at the moment.
Are you suggesting there is a 'me' inside the head doing the seeing?
There seems to be consensus that I'm interacting with permanent physical reality. We mostly agree on the names of colours, the alphabet, etc.
Is this daydreaming, or is it answering the questions I ask from the immediate experience?
Apologies if i'm stretching this one too far but i'm now thinking that this must require some lateral thinking ...
It requires no thinking at all - As we have already established, if you start thinking about stuff you are into day-dream land, and that's not what this guidance is about at all.

Just have a look right now - Without analysis or drifting off.
In the experience of 'seeing', what is there? Could we say that there is a 'field of vision' - Is that fair to say?
Does that match your experience?
What else is there? What else is there in the experience of 'seeing'? Describe it, as it appears in the experience.

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:08 am

From the experience of seeing, you say there are two things.
Ok - Describe the screen as it appears in the experience of 'seeing'.
Now describe that 'you' that is doing the seeing, as it appears in the experience of 'seeing'
ok, well the screen looks to be flat, existing in a three dimensional world. i see it mostly in my right eye, i think. Though i dont usually think too much about which eye is contributing to the experience. At the same time, aware that the two eyes have different experiences, and that eye can see floating bits from time to time at the edges of peripheral vision (experience tells me this is my nose).
Sorry to be pedantic, but we are focussed only on the experience of 'seeing' at the moment.
Are you suggesting there is a 'me' inside the head doing the seeing?
definitely
There seems to be consensus that I'm interacting with permanent physical reality. We mostly agree on the names of colours, the alphabet, etc.
Is this daydreaming, or is it answering the questions I ask from the immediate experience?

A: daydreaming,
Just have a look right now - Without analysis or drifting off.
In the experience of 'seeing', what is there? Could we say that there is a 'field of vision' - Is that fair to say?
Does that match your experience?
What else is there? What else is there in the experience of 'seeing'? Describe it, as it appears in the experience.
yes, there is a field of vision and a 3D world. i only barely see myself except parts of my nose, as i mentioned, and my arms, legs and torso, etc. looking in the mirror i see myself more completely.

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Xain
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Xain » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:25 pm

yes, there is a field of vision and a 3D world. i only barely see myself except parts of my nose, as i mentioned, and my arms, legs and torso, etc. looking in the mirror i see myself more completely.
Ok, rather than labelling everything in the field of vision, let's just say there is 'the field of vision'.
Ignore what parts you believe are your body - Ignore 'looking in a mirror' - Just focus solely on the field of vision.
Let's go really simply and just call it 'what is being seen' - Would that be OK?

So in the experience of 'seeing' there is 'what is being seen'. Is that fair?
What else is there in the experience of 'seeing'?

Xain ♥

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Alex L
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Re: Semi-Professional Seeker

Postby Alex L » Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:54 pm

So in the experience of 'seeing' there is 'what is being seen'. Is that fair?
What else is there in the experience of 'seeing'?

Xain ♥
hmmm. that is definitely fair: in the experience of seeing there is what is being seen. But in the experience of seeing must not there also be what is doing the seeing? Is it too academic to talk about object (the seen) and subject (what is doing the seeing?). This seems evident.

Alex


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