Looking for guidance and pointers

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Jayh2250
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Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:21 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
For many years I have felt there is more to life than what what's being observed or interpreted. I have thought and discussed enlightenment topic philosophical and abstract level and just few months ago I learned from my brother about Gateless Gatecrashers and all the sudden it was clear and all made sense, intellectually speaking.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this:
Intellectually I understand that there is no “I” and “self” and have gone through exercise and saw how thoughts are being labelled, many action begins before or same time as thought appears, etc. Just understanding intellectual level has been a great by itself, however, I my guards are not fully down yet. For example, if I am consciously aware, I can monitor and see what thoughts and feeling are arising to some degree and see it as just that. But when I am not making effort (e.g. middle of the meeting high pressure work environment), I feel I go back to autopilot mode with “I” and “me”.

I have tried myself to point myself and go further in seeing, but so far as I mention above the progress has been relatively slow or flat over last month. I recognize that I need someone to help me with direct pointing that is outside of my current reference point.
Ultimately, I would like to remove “I” and “self” and just keep them as concepts for communication purpose only; just like “tooth fairy” or “Santa”.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?: I have not religious aside knowing that their is something bigger than us, which I may or may not ever know or understand. I am open to any/all ideas.
I am computer engineer by profession, which may be blessing to see things logically, but this could be a blocker.

I have started some meditation based on Chakras, more for calming exercise than searching for some sort of enlightenment....

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:51 am

Hi Jayh2250,

If that would be ok with you, I would gladly be your guide.

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.

Would you like to be referred to as Jayh2250, or something else?
In addition, just so I have a feel for posting times and such, what time zone are you in?

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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:08 pm

Kevin,
Sorry for the delayed response, somehow the email went into the junk box.
Thank you for taking time to direct me.
Please call me Jay. I am located in the US, Central Time (GMT -5).
What are your expectations for this process?
- I am expecting 24/7 awareness of no-self and recognition of that in all circumstances.
- Eliminate self-talk - I suppose full awareness for help drop it
- Looking at things as they are and minimizing if not eliminating of thoughts regarding past and future thoughts. This not related to analytical work like looking at historical to make a decision.
How will it change you?
- Eliminate all behavior/habits of controlling
- Able to manage emotion much effectively
- Much more effective in all interactions/communication
How will this feel?
- Much happier
- Be in the present moment 100%

Best,
Jay

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:08 pm

Hi Jay,


The three-hour difference won't be an issue, I've worked with people on the other side of the world with no problem.
It's just nice to know when to post and when to expect responses.
It works best for you if we remain in daily contact.

Can you keep up with that pace?

If you can't, please let me know by way of a quick note.
- I am expecting 24/7 awareness of no-self and recognition of that in all circumstances.
- Eliminate self-talk - I suppose full awareness for help drop it
- Looking at things as they are and minimizing if not eliminating of thoughts regarding past and future thoughts. This not related to analytical work like looking at historical to make a decision.
Those are all excellent things to achieve.
Sadly, I can't say for certain any of that's going to happen for you.
As a matter of fact, my experience has been that most of those things continue after awakening.
Often they aren't quite as "weighty," but I can't even promise you that.

I strongly encourage you to drop all expectations.
I do know from experience that expectations of any kind prove to be a huge impediment to the process.
Drop them all please.

Can you do that?

- Eliminate all behavior/habits of controlling
- Able to manage emotion much effectively
- Much more effective in all interactions/communication
How will this feel?
- Much happier
- Be in the present moment 100%
Please see above reference regarding expectations.

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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Kevin,
I can keep up with pace at least once day for sure.
Those are all excellent things to achieve.
Sadly, I can't say for certain any of that's going to happen for you.
As a matter of fact, my experience has been that most of those things continue after awakening.
Often they aren't quite as "weighty," but I can't even promise you that.


Fair enough. These are perhaps more like a goal over time rather than some immediate outcome. If what I mention is like running a marathon, then what I am currently trying to do is learn to walk. If this makes sense? I can go with without any specific expectation and simply focus on knowing the truth.

Here is what I have done so far:
- I have spent sometime looking for "Self" and "I" and was not able to find/connect with it.
- Watch how thought labels "I", "me", "myself" to basic things like being hungry and also to other thoughts. Most interesting ones are when thoughts somewhat responding to previous thoughts with past feelings.

I have seen there is not "me" or "I", even though habits are not automatically changed. Thus my concern: Did I really get it or there is more to it?

Again, no expectation, just want to know I am going the right direction.

Thanks,
Jay

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:08 pm

Hi Jay.

Sounds good.
Let go of those goals as well. They won't serve you well for this exercise.
You're welcome to pick them up again after, if you like.

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?


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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:04 am

Hi Kevin,
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 have also evaluated "self" or "you" has been part of me as long I can remember. However when I look and see who is that, I find it only points to objects like my name,body, son, father, title, etc. It feels I have been living a lie for a long time and not even had a clue. So even after seeing it that there can't be a "you/self", there are moments where I can see myself behaving/acting as such. The good news is that I can now see when this happens, sometime before it actually about to happen.

"I" is everywhere, and specially in thoughts. I have observed my thoughts, such as action "I need to do xyz" and self-talk "I should have done this or that". I have experience multiple times where an "I" gets attached to thought even after body has already initiated an action. For example, when I left something cooking on the stove, an "I" attached thought came, even after I have already started to move to take action. First hand experience on how decision to move was made ways before recognition and attachment of "I" thought. I believe I is just a thought or simply a filler due auto recognition (language) of "you" or "others"; both being objects.

Since "I" is used a lot in day to day situation, the habits are still at play even after the recognition.

Best,
Javed

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:41 pm

Hi Jay,

That all sounds good.
We won't try to obliterate the I word from our language. It's useful.

As we go through this, I want you to draw from direct experience--that is, what occurs in the felt sense in this very moment.

Here are some exercises to better understand why.


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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:34 am

Hi Kevin,

Music:
- Conceptual: I have to think/imagine about words, instruments, etc. It felt far away, not co-coordinated, couldn't put all together only major parts like words beat, etc. but could not process all. I had think hard and it was somewhat challenging.

Listening: Easy and effortless. I was able to feel/hear even small variation in the music with thinking about it.

Food/Blue Berries:

- Conceptual: it was bit harder than music for me. Normally food goes with the smell. However, I had to try hard to mimic the taste it in my imagination. It made my mouth watery,but I did not feel real, less so compare to music.

Eating: Was effortless again. not need to think about it, when some of the berries were sweet or sour, I felt just that.

Touch:
- Conceptual: Easy to see the object and make out from edges, roughness/smoothness, based on what it is, etc. it feel ok, not so hard to imagine. I used a pebble.

Reality: First realized that the pebble was really cold. It felt much different than imagined, weight, texture looked smooth, but it felt much rougher like a sand paper. Inside the curves had different feel to it than the fully exposed surface.

Smell:

Conceptual: This was the hardest for me. I couldn't do even a crappy job imagining. I can only imagine how it felt when I smelled it. Failed.

Reality: Obviously no effort and I immediately recognize the smell. Felt like it was always there and even if I try not to smell it was there. It sets the felling of some sort from past experiences or impression.

I do mindful meditation throughout the day as keeping my self focus on present senses (visual, hearing, etc.). This also helps me with stay focus on present and keep me away thinking random things or stories.

Best,
Javed

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:07 pm

Hi Jay,
That's great stuff, good observations.
Notice how much more accurate the non-conceptual experiences are.
This is why it's crucial to draw from direct experience (DE) during this exercise.
I do mindful meditation throughout the day as keeping my self focus on present senses (visual, hearing, etc.). This also helps me with stay focus on present and keep me away thinking random things or stories.
Mindfulness is a great way to strengthen the use of DE. I encourage the continuation of your practice, both formally (meditation) and informally (day-to-day experiencing).
Let's take a look at experience and how that relates to an apparent self.
  • In direct experience, can you find an “I” that experiences experience?
  • Is there a seer separate from the seen?
  • Is there a hearer that hears?
Great work so far.
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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:12 am

Hi Kevin,
In direct experience, can you find an “I” that experiences experience?
There is no "I" in a direct experience. It simply come as a raw information unfiltered. However, it does get label as "I" in thoughts. Like I feel cold or I hear dog. Mind seems create objective reality from subjective raw information. So, I understand the mind creates abstracted layer on top of the raw information like computers do.
Is there a seer separate from the seen?


Seer and seen are same. It is easier to see this if I ignore thoughts associated with what's seen, then I can see a one flow. not two separate pieces. So if I consciously make an attempt to see it it's clear to me, however I am not always concious like most of us.
Is there a hearer that hears?


Same as seen/seer, the what's hearer and what's heard are the same. I experience more during my mindful meditation at night. I can hear notices air from vent, car passing by, etc. However as long as I stay uninterpreted and not judging what's heard then it feels to be within me, not from somewhere else.

I see many inter-connected or even nested (hierarchical) objective concepts are created by the mind. Mind seems to jumps to one or the other layers of the objective reality (if you call that a reality) as soon as a sensation is felt from a raw input. It feels that mind is compel to make a story about all raw inputs, regardless of it knows what it is or not; perhaps it does that from memory and/or fills any gaps in the story with some guessed (made up) information from objective world.

Best,
Jay

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:05 am

Hi Jay,

Good stuff.
Let's take a look at a self being a controller.

Here is an interesting exercise on control.

Take a look at this video first (just the delivery, the Q and A is interesting, but not critical.


http://youtu.be/ih6f-0T2Ow0




Select one of your arms - It doesn't matter which.
When you have done that, rest for a moment and then when you want to, raise that arm into the air (or don't).
Examine the actual experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire…

  • What is this 'I' that is controlling the arm?
  • Can a controlling 'I' be located?
  • What is this 'I' that is choosing which arm to raise?
  • Can you find an 'I' that is doing the choosing?
  • How is decision made?
Great work,



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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 4:56 am

Hi Kevin,

I watched the whole video and enjoyed as expected. I have read and seen Sam Harris's work and it very much resonates with me.

I have also read many studies that Sam talks about where scientific evidence shows the decisions are made much before concious even realizing it, for example: seeing a snake and jumping away before even recognizing why your did that and then later consciously/mind realizing what actually happen; then mind takes the ownership and make a story why you jumped. I think some similar like this happened to all of us.

I did the exercise you suggested and here is what I concluded.

First "I" doesn't control the arm, because when you look for "I" to make a decision, but there is no one home to answer it. It does appear that it was a concious decision or choice, especially when you make a pre-choose the arm you want to move and sub-subsequently move the same arm. However, the key question is how did I made a pre-choosing decision? Who made that decision? Definitely not "I", we are pass that. I believe the decision to pre-choose was made before concious. What are your thoughts?

BTW, it seems like a simple experiment, yet it requires a lot of observations. Thank you.

Best,
Jay

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KevinD
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby KevinD » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:17 pm

Hi Jay,

Thank you for that.
Can you give me specific examples of what you "experienced" during this exercise?
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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Jayh2250
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Re: Looking for guidance and pointers

Postby Jayh2250 » Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:36 am

Hi Kevin,
Can you give me specific examples of what you "experienced" during this exercise?
Two experiments:

1) Move one of the arm when ready: It feels like the arm just moves at the same time the decision is made. So the decision to move and arm reflex happen at the same time. I don't feel the decision until reflex has already taken place.

2) Pre-plan and move the same arm or a different arm: This option gave enough time "I" though to take the ownership of a thought "choose this arm". So "I" seems to have time to get attached (at least I can see a thought), but all it was a thought. The kicker here is that you may move the other arm, but it also is another thought (#1 above).

It feels like when I was aware of my thoughts, I can observe and not act on it. So the next thought will come I can also ignore and so on, until I decided to act. but then who/what is that deciding to act? It was also a thought that decided not to act.

When I refrain from acting and not acting on thoughts at the same, nothing moved, it made it clear me that thoughts don't have a power to act, it just a thought, next thought, next.....

It seems choosing an arm or the other or not moving is all based on thoughts. Thought "I" simply gets attached as I have experience before. So refusing to make a choice (taking ownership) at the same time is also a thought?

Strange to feel that I have no control of even a simple experiment! Conceptualy I understood that control is an illusion (mostly from broader POV), however seeing it play out in a simple experiment is something else!


Noticeable In both options, As I am aware of my thoughts and as an awareness, I am not thinking, therefore thoughts are just coming moment to moment, I am simply watching the show.

This what I mean by little experiment and lots to observe. I hope I am making sense.

Best,
Jay


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