Blackbirds thread

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blackbird
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Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:53 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
Friends have recommended Liberation Unleashed as a way to see through the illusion of a fixed unchanging self.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
I have been practicing in a Buddhist tradition for over 15 years. My interest in seeing through the illusion of a fixed self has become stronger in the past 4 years especially. I feel I do see this some times in moments/periods of insight but it doesn't last.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?:
To hopefully really see through the illusion of a fixed self and to get it in a way that I haven't managed to so far so that I can keep deepening my spiritual practice.

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:02 pm

Hi Blackbird,

You and I share a lot with the Buddhist upbringing.
If that would be ok with you, I would gladly be your guide.

Shall I call you Blackbird, or would you like to be addressed differently?
Also, what time zone are you in? It just helps me figure out best times to post and when to expect responses.

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.

Okay, let's get down to business.
A few preliminaries to get out of the way first.
  • You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say, "still here!"
  • I am not your teacher, all I can do is point, you look, until clear seeing happens.
  • In general, I will ask questions, you look deeply and honestly, and respond.
  • Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.
  • Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers, and stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
  • Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
  • Please learn to use the quote function; See these instructions


If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too.
For the sake of your success, I ask that you be 100 per cent honest. If you can manage that, this process will be much more efficient.

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.

What are your expectations for this process?
How will it change you?
How will this feel?


You can press 'subscribe to this topic in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive an email every time I post here.
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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blackbird
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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:44 pm

Hi Kevin
Thanks for getting back so quickly and it's okay to call me Blackbird for now. I'm in New Zealand and my evenings are when I would usually have time to reply.

I agree to all the preliminaries and would like to accept you as my guide - thank you for being available.

In answer to your questions:

What are your expectations for this process?
To hopefully see through the illusion of self in a lasting way

How will it change you?
I'm not sure until I understand completely but I hope to be more in the flow of life as it is happening with less sticky thoughts, ruminating and suffering

How will this feel?
I imagine it will be very freeing.

In the blue bar at the bottom I could only find unsubscribe but I would like to get an email please each time you reply.

Thanks.

Metta

Blackbird
(after a small bird in my garden)

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:53 pm

Great stuff Blackbird,

A fast reply, thank you.
To hopefully see through the illusion of self in a lasting way
With luck, seeing may happen. In a lasting way? That can only be known on reflection, and we’re going to stay in the moment through this, you and me.

I'm not sure until I understand completely but I hope to be more in the flow of life as it is happening with less sticky thoughts, ruminating and suffering
Possibly. No guarantees.
I imagine it will be very freeing.
See answer above.

Sorry if this feels like a let down in the expectations department.
I won’t make any promises I can’t keep.
More importantly, expectations are a formidable barrier to seeing.
Please let go of all of them as we go forward with this.

Can you do that?
In the blue bar at the bottom I could only find unsubscribe but I would like to get an email please each time you reply.
If it only says unsubscribe, then you are subscribed.

I’d also like you to use the quote function on my questions. Do that by highlighting my question and clicking the quote button.


Metta,


Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:04 am

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your reply.
Can you do that?
Ok I will do my best to let go of any expectations.

Metta

Natalie

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:03 pm

Hi Blackbird,

We'll both keep an eye out for expectations.
During this process, as I stated earlier, I will point to things, and you will report what you notice.

Importantly, you will do that from direct experience.
That means, you will speak from the here and now, and what is discovered in your own senses.

Let's begin.

What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?

When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?


Thanks,
Kevin

Use the quote function only on my questions when responding.
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:41 pm

Importantly, you will do that from direct experience.
That means, you will speak from the here and now, and what is discovered in your own senses.
What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?

What comes up initially is I don't believe you. I'm a thinking, feeling, breathing, moving human being with a mother who gave birth to me, a family and friends who see, recognise and know me. I look in the mirror and I see myself. I act in the world along with other recognisable people, some of whom I know well. Something exists on a material level that is seen, known, felt, experienced, lives, laughs, cries, eventually dies.
When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?[/quote]

I, Blackbird (only a name I have made up for myself), sitting here typing, sipping tea, eating toast, listening, seeing, feeling, thinking, sniffing, looking, breathing, legs crossed, swallowing, wondering what I really is.

Shape - is body, enclosed in skin, full of bones , organs, brain, viewable from the outside.

Size - identifiable to outside world as tall, living being, taking up space in places I visit and live.

Quality - sometimes hot, warm, cool, sometimes pleasant, unpleasant, neutral, bits that are hard and soft. Emotional feeling tones happy, sad, in between.

That's a start and look forward to exploring more with your reply.

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:20 pm

Hi Blackbird,

Thanks for taking time to look.
Your observing relied heavily on story. That's an indication of a wandering out of direct experience.
I think we should try some exercises in direct experience before we continue.

Go line up a favourite piece of music on an iPod or whatever player is convenient for you.
Don't play it yet.
Now, think of what that tune sounds like. Try to remember all of the sounds that come from that piece. Go for as long as you can to remember that piece.
When you're done, play the music from whatever player you have.

What is the difference between what you thought (Conceptual thinking) and what you heard (Direct experience)?

Go grab a piece of fruit from the fridge (an apple or orange or grapes, etc.)
Set it away from you, and think about what that fruit tastes like.
Savour in thought everything that flavour would bring.

When done, take a bite from that fruit.

What was the difference between the experiences of what you thought (conceptual) and what you tasted (direct experience)?

Put an object on the table, maybe a rock or something.
Think about how that object would feel. All the nooks and crannies, go over them in your mind.
Now, pick it up and feel all those features.

What was the difference between what you thought (conceptual) and what you felt (direct experience)?

Do the same thing with an odor, maybe a cologne or a flower.
Think about that smell.
Then smell it.

What was the difference between the two experiences?

Continue this as many times as you want to ensure the difference between direct experience and conceptual thinking is crystal clear.


Thank you,


Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:48 am

Go line up a favourite piece of music on an iPod or whatever player is convenient for you.
Don't play it yet.
Now, think of what that tune sounds like. Try to remember all of the sounds that come from that piece. Go for as long as you can to remember that piece.
When you're done, play the music from whatever player you have.
What is the difference between what you thought (Conceptual thinking) and what you heard (Direct experience)?
Conceptual thinking - Cruisy, sentimental, memories arising of people and time associations

Direct experience - Soothing sounds, enjoying, mood enhanced, joy bringing, absorbing
Go grab a piece of fruit from the fridge (an apple or orange or grapes, etc.)
Set it away from you, and think about what that fruit tastes like.
Savour in thought everything that flavour would bring.
When done, take a bite from that fruit.
What was the difference between the experiences of what you thought (conceptual) and what you tasted (direct experience)?
Conceptual thinking - Juicy, sweet, wet, filling, prickly skin, filling, enjoyment, taste pleasant

Direct experience - Cold on teeth, dissolving in mouth, tart after taste, melting, soft, slippery, smooth, breaks easily
Put an object on the table, maybe a rock or something.
Think about how that object would feel. All the nooks and crannies, go over them in your mind.
Now, pick it up and feel all those features.
What was the difference between what you thought (conceptual) and what you felt (direct experience)?
Conceptual thinking - Rough, uneven, heavy, pitted, shapely, uneven

Direct experience - Light in weight, cool, rough, holey, solid, sharp bits here and there
Do the same thing with an odor, maybe a cologne or a flower.
Think about that smell.
Then smell it.
What was the difference between the two experiences?
Conceptual thinking - strong, sneezy, sickly candle

Direct experience - Subtle, vanilla scent, pleasant, smelling scent on in breath, no scent on out breath

Will carry on with other objects experiences.

Thanks.

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:26 pm

Great,

Keep at it, keeping in mind which one is more true.

Best,
Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:35 am

Great,

Keep at it, keeping in mind which one is more true.

Best,
Kevin
Hi Kevin
Have found eating the easiest time to notice the difference between conceptual thinking and direct experience. Direct experience is very much based on sensations in the body, especially sensations in the mouth, experiencing texture, temperatures and automatic responses when eating food. Chewing, tongue rolling, swallowing, how my hands are ready to pick up and deliver food with out any sign of a me thinking about it.

Direct experience seems to be more about doing, being, experiencing action in motion.

Tried the same thing with looking at the garden, noticing how seeing just happens, with out thinking, colors and light arising, birds singing, wind blowing against skin and the sensations of that happening.

Direct experience, when I can stay with it without distraction, seems far more true than any conceptual thoughts, ideas or anticipation about an event or activity.

Metta

Blackbird

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:06 am

Great,

Now, using that same direct experience, let's try these again.

What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?



When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?

Thanks, Blackbird,

Kevin



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:34 pm

Great,

Now, using that same direct experience, let's try these again.

What comes up when it is read that there is absolutely no “you” in any way, shape or form, there never has been a “you”, nor is there or will be there ever be?
I find it hard to let go of the concept of a 'me' totally even though sometimes I do feel as if I get it. I feel there is no fixed 'me' when I experience the body, thoughts, emotions as processes, flowing along with no fixed 'me' in control. When I'm aware of sensations happening moment by moment without any thinker instigating a momentum of unfolding events/experiences. I get it when edges dissolve and all sense of separateness falls away during periods of heightened awareness. I see that many thoughts arise randomly, like a stream flowing from nowhere or floating through like clouds in the sky.

But then what about conscious choice, decision making and events unfolding in a particular direction as a consequence. Choices or events or actions affecting the course of this particular life, health issues affecting this particular body. I find it hard to get past concretising these into a fixed individual 'me'.

Do you mean a 'you' completely or a 'fixed unchanging you'? Either/or I seem to be stuck in not seeing completely the reality of both. But the latter is slightly easier for me to understand at present...
When you say "I", what does that refer to in direct experience? Please describe in detail – does it have a shape? A size? A quality?
'I' feels the same as 'me'. In direct experience it is a bundle of sensations, emotions, thinking patterns, habits, choice making, that seem to be encased in a separate living, breathing. A particular changing, organic, processing body of experiences. Shape and size I can't seem to feel directly from a fixed 'I'. They are like words that describe things seen outside through the sense of seeing, unless I look in a mirror. Quality is changing all the time, depending on conditions the 'I' is meeting day to day, moment to moment.

I do want to get unstuck and see clearly.

Thanks
Blackbird





Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/quote]

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby KevinD » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:23 pm

Hi Blackbird,

Nice looking.
I find it hard to let go of the concept of a 'me' totally even though sometimes I do feel as if I get it.

There is nothing to do.
Simply relax into the moment. Remember, we are observing from direct experience; that is, with our senses in this very moment.
When I'm aware of sensations happening moment by moment without any thinker instigating a momentum of unfolding events/experiences. I get it when edges dissolve and all sense of separateness falls away during periods of heightened awareness. I see that many thoughts arise randomly, like a stream flowing from nowhere or floating through like clouds in the sky.
That's it.
That's direct experience.
Where is there a me in any of that?
There is experiencing, that's all.
Stay with direct experience throughout our investigation.


But then what about conscious choice, decision making and events unfolding in a particular direction as a consequence. Choices or events or actions affecting the course of this particular life, health issues affecting this particular body. I find it hard to get past concretising these into a fixed individual 'me'.
This is what the story feels like.
This is where we do not want to be.

'I' feels the same as 'me'. In direct experience it is a bundle of sensations, emotions, thinking patterns, habits, choice making, that seem to be encased in a separate living, breathing.
So in this response, there is no 'me', there is just sensing.
This is good.

I do want to get unstuck and see clearly.
Stuck is just a story you are telling yourself. Let it go, it's not true.


Stay in direct experience and keep examining the illusion of 'me' or 'I'. Just keep looking.

Thanks
Kevin
"Don't ask the mind to confirm what is beyond the mind. Direct experience is the only valid confirmation."
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: Blackbirds thread

Postby blackbird » Sat Oct 17, 2015 8:54 am

Hi Kevin
Stuck is just a story you are telling yourself. Let it go, it's not true.
Stay in direct experience and keep examining the illusion of 'me' or 'I'. Just keep looking.
I've kept looking at times during the day and noticing sensations and the flow of experiencing. Noticing thoughts continuously arising and falling away, not really knowing where they come from, accepting more that they just come and go. When I apply looking and being with my direct experience more diligently I get it, it seems quite natural and easy. I've been exploring this for quite a while, getting it sometimes then slipping back into habitual patterns of selfing.

Do I just keep telling myself over and over to let go of the story of me?

I saw a movie today and became so engrossed - knowing all along it was a story. I realised I have a story of me going most of the time - and most of it is not true. Is that all I focus on for now? Is there anything more than that? What will be left if there is really absolutely no me?

Thanks

Blackbird


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