Almost there...

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pearthebear
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Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:26 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
It started with reading the book Waking Up by Sam Harris. In that book he mentions the Buddhist Dzogchen teachings and the book "On Having No Head" by Douglas Harding as good places to start if someone is interested in really understand the best way to live a life. After reading a few books I came across Jackson Peterson's book "The Natural Bliss of Being" and joined his Facebook group on Dzogchen. He has mentioned Liberation Unleashed a few times. I have read/listened/watched many of the articles, videos, and audio files that are provided on this site.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?
"I" am aiming to move beyond the conceptual understanding of no self. I feel like I have a very good understanding of it all, but I am still very aware of the story and thoughts I tell myself throughout the day. My "self" still has a bit of momentum. I am hoping to make sure that I have the right understanding of these concepts and to make sure I can continue down this path the the experience of no self.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?
I am 31 years old, and for much of my 20's I considered myself atheist by default. It wasn't until last year that I started to listen to Alan Watts lectures. I became very interested in contemplation based on his teachings, and those teachings especially his talks on Buddhism and no-self really struck a chord in me.

Three months ago as part of this new path of contemplation, I read the book "Waking Up" by Sam Harris. In that book he talks a lot about having no self, but specifically he said very emphatically that it was an "experience" to be had, and not a belief to hold onto. He pointed to Douglas Harding's excerpt of the no-self experience from the book "On having no head", and I found the quote even more inspiring.

"It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing, this hole where a head should have been was no ordinary vacancy, no mere nothing. On the contrary, it was very much occupied. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled, a nothing that found room for everything—room for grass, trees, shadowy distant hills, and far above them snowpeaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky. I had lost a head and gained a world. It was all, quite literally, breathtaking. I seemed to stop breathing altogether, absorbed in the Given. Here it was, this superb scene, brightly shining in the clear air, alone and unsupported, mysteriously suspended in the void, and (and this was the real miracle, the wonder and delight) utterly free of "me", unstained by any observer. Its total presence was my total absence, body and soul. Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around."

Since then I've read "Quintessential Dzogchen" by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, "The Natural Bliss of Being"by Jackson Peterson, as well as a lot of excerpts from Buddhist texts the Jackson posts on his Facebook group. I believe intellectually I understand and believe a lot about the teachings of emptiness and awareness.

My experience of this no-self come in brief glimpses. I'd say on average 10-20's per day I am recognizing that I'm lost in thoughts, and momentarily recognize the nature of being, but I quickly become a self again.

So that is where I am and why I am here. To make sure I am on the right path with the right understandings and I hope to fully experience no self and go through the gate!

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?
11

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:20 am

Hi Bear!
Shall I call you that or would you prefer something
I'm Sarah and I'd be happy to speak with you.
So you have looked around our site and you know what we do here? I might need to just check you have seen a couple of links next post.
So apart from looking at the intellectual understanding are you after a permanent state of.....?
Looking forward to speaking with you.
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:16 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for the reply! You can call me Perry. :)

I know what we are here to do, and I've visited most of the site. I am happy to review any links you think I should look at.

I'm ready for the permanent state of .......

-Perry

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:20 pm

Hey Perry!
House keeping first:
In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send? Ok.

Lets get going then! Im not ignoring what you have wrote - but I do need to figure out where you are first. OK

How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?

Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?

Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?

In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:11 am

Thank you Sarah!
How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?
For the majority of my day I feel like there is a center to my experience. When my thoughts come in, it feels like they are in that center. I have felt for brief moments moments, usually in or just after deep conversations, that the center of experience flattens out, and feel closer to the depth of what I am seeing. I definitely still feel like I am solid and fixed inside my head for portions of the day, but I can also feel more transparent, and fluid, focusing more on the whole experience. Feeling the sun and wind on my skin is an example of that.
Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
Yes, I see how all of these experiences make up the feeling of me. I believe it most of the time too, but I have started to experience moments where I feel much more peaceful and calm. I can also kind of feel like I am just being pushed along by life, and I can definitely see sometimes how I’m noticing how I make decisions and that they kind of just happen.
Now have a really good look and tell me where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
If I’m not lost in thought, I can feel like there is no center to the self and that it doesn’t actually reside anywhere. It feels like it is in the body, like it IS the body, but that it also includes everything outside, not in a “feeling” it but seeing it. But I can not find an exact reference point.
Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?
No
In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Well I guess there is the current experience, the experience of the present moment that seems to be permanent.

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:08 am

Mornin Perry
I can also kind of feel like I am just being pushed along by life, and I can definitely see sometimes how I’m noticing how I make decisions and that they kind of just happen.
So have you noticed sometimes that you arrive at a destination and don't really recall actually making the journey? It was as if the body was just doing its thing, driving just happened. It is only afterwards that the mind grabs hold of the experience and states 'I was driving the car' or, if questioned whilst driving (a present continuous activity), it would say 'I am driving the car'.
Whether your mind is totally concentrating on each gear shift that 'I' make, each look in the rear view mirror that 'I' makes, each twist of the steering wheel . . . or the entire journey is done automatically, the same result is achieved. Similarly when doing household tasks. Whether mind is involved or not, the task still gets accomplished.

We call this autopilot. How much of your day is autopilot? Just give me a rough percentage.

And can you give me an example of when you do feel you control doing or decisions. Maybe choose something that happens on a regular basis.
If I’m not lost in thought,
Do you deliberately get your self lost in thought? Do you deliberately unloose yourself? Or is it just noticed?
Well I guess there is the current experience, the experience of the present moment that seems to be permanent.
Is what is experienced thought permanent? Im assuming here you see experience as being permanent?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:08 pm

Hi Sarah! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Autopilot:

Yes, I have noticed autopilot! I would say 50-75% of most days is autopilot. Depending on the activity I am doing I’ll notice the autopilot more than other. For instance I take a walk in the morning I’m catching myself in thought every 2 mins. But, like in the example you used, certain activities like driving and household work, I catch myself in autopilot far less, in other words more autopilot.
And can you give me an example of when you do feel you control doing or decisions. Maybe choose something that happens on a regular basis.
Some examples that feel like I am really controlling my experience are when I am working, answering emails, writing these words right now has a feeling of deciding or doing to them, unless I really focus, I can see these works just appearing on my screen as I type them without having to really think what word I am going to type next.
Do you deliberately get your self lost in thought? Do you deliberately unloose yourself? Or is it just noticed?
On a very rare occasion I will notice getting lost in thought, but most often I notice being lost already, and for a few brief moments I will be clear. In both instances however it is definitely just noticing, not anything deliberate.
Is what is experienced thought permanent? Im assuming here you see experience as being permanent?
I feel a certain permanence to the experience in each moment. I know it’s not permanent in the sense that I’ll die at some point.

-Perry

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:55 pm

Hi Perry
For instance I take a walk in the morning I’m catching myself in thought every 2 mins.
Do you deliberately go into autopilot? Do you deliberately notice you have? Or does it just happen?
Some examples that feel like I am really controlling my experience are when I am working, answering emails, writing these words right now has a feeling of deciding or doing to them, unless I really focus, I can see these works just appearing on my screen as I type them without having to really think what word I am going to type next.
So lets take answering these questions to look into!
Do you bring the words? Are you controlling fingers as the thoughts grab attention?
Do you bring thoughts? If so form where?
Can you get rid of a thought? If so how?
Do you know what you are going to think before you think the thoughts?
Can you predict your next thought?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:49 am

Do you bring the words? Are you controlling fingers as the thoughts grab attention?
I feel like when I type these words, that they are “paced”, like I need to think out the next few words of whatever I am writing. So there does feel like someone thinking it out before I write it.
Do you bring thoughts? If so form where?
It feels like I can “at will” bring a thought into consciousness. And in terms of where I experience it, it almost feels like it is behind my throat.
Can you get rid of a thought? If so how?
I can get rid of a thought by noticing it. It will fall apart for a brief moment, but a few seconds later I’m in another thought. I can be very peaceful and have some mental turbulence for a period of a minute or two, but then back to lost in thought. During my morning walks my thoughts almost exclusively revolve around trying to describe the experience to myself. Haha.
Do you know what you are going to think before you think the thoughts?
If I pay attention I hear myself think “What am I going to say next?”
Can you predict your next thought?
No there is kind of a bouncing back and forth between emptiness and thinking “What am I going to predict next...” or “I’m going to predict next…”

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:01 am

Hey Perry
I feel like when I type these words, that they are “paced”, like I need to think out the next few words of whatever I am writing. So there does feel like someone thinking it out before I write it.
From your last statement/answer can you predict what you are going to say or write?

Is attention being on something as you do it the reason why you feel there is control there?
It feels like I can “at will” bring a thought into consciousness. And in terms of where I experience it, it almost feels like it is behind my throat.
So again from your last answer - Do you bring thoughts? If so form where?
I can get rid of a thought by noticing it. It will fall apart for a brief moment, but a few seconds later I’m in another thought. I can be very peaceful and have some mental turbulence for a period of a minute or two, but then back to lost in thought. During my morning walks my thoughts almost exclusively revolve around trying to describe the experience to myself. Haha.
Does this mean 'you' get rid of thoughts or that they just dissipate?
No there is kind of a bouncing back and forth between emptiness and thinking “What am I going to predict next...” or “I’m going to predict next…”
Excellent! So this statement needs to be used to re look at the other answers ok! :)
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Sat Aug 20, 2016 4:31 am

Thank you Sarah. I will reply tomorrow. Hope you are having a really nice weekend!

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:43 am

Ok!
S xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:54 pm

From your last statement/answer can you predict what you are going to say or write? Is attention being on something as you do it the reason why you feel there is control there?
This is no prediction of the next thought, and actually got a little dizzy in the emptiness waiting to find the prediction. It’s like a circular reference, since the prediction of the next thought IS the next thought! Haha. Also I noticed while doing this that some thoughts are so nonsensical to what I am trying to do. The attention must be the reason for the feeling of control!
So again from your last answer - Do you bring thoughts? If so form where?
My initial reaction to reading this is immediately “Can I bring the next thought?”, which is a thought itself. But after that thought, no, I don’t bring the thoughts. They just come into experience, from nowhere that I can figure, other than it feels like I’m silently talking them, from the area behind my throat.
Does this mean 'you' get rid of thoughts or that they just dissipate?
The attention placed on the thought makes it dissipate. So is there “control” over the movement of attention? Or does that just happen as well, like thoughts?

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Sarah7
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Re: Almost there...

Postby Sarah7 » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:50 pm

Hey Perry
The attention must be the reason for the feeling of control!
Make sure you test this please! Never take my word for anything - verify!
The attention placed on the thought makes it dissipate. So is there “control” over the movement of attention? Or does that just happen as well, like thoughts?
You tell me!

Can thought think?
Is there is a thought that you can control?
What can a thought do – what power does it have?
You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?
Hugs Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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pearthebear
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Re: Almost there...

Postby pearthebear » Tue Aug 23, 2016 4:25 am

Control of attention: From direct experience I can’t find control of attention. I seems to bounce between different things going on around me, without control! The only time I “feel” like I can control the attention is when I think, and the thinking will move the attention. For instance when sitting here, my attention jumps from feeling of the fan on my skin, the jumps to the music playing, then to my feet on the floor, etc… with no control, it just happens. Then if I think “left elbow” I can focus there, but only after the thought.

Can thought think?: No.

Is there is a thought that you can control?: I’m writing this and my fan is pointed at me (it’s not here in San Diego, no A/C). I can continue to think “fan” if I want. I have to focus tho, otherwise other thoughts will take over. Fan, fan, fan, fan, fan, fan, fan, then “I don’t like this song”. So with focus, for an indefinite period of time I feel like can control my thoughts.

What can a thought do – what power does it have?: Thoughts can help me reason between choices, identifying pros and cons between two options. I’m a business owner and I often notice myself thinking through choices, option A allows for this but option B allows for that. Thoughts can define things, separate objects so that we can reference this vs that, which can be helpful. Thoughts help with writing this. I feel like I am dictating (writing) the thoughts I hear, so in that sense they help communication.

You experience thoughts, but do you experience the content? Is the content real?: The thought is the experience, which leads to a knowing of the content. The content of a thought leads to the knowing, or the insight. For instance a thought can be experienced as, “Fuck, I forgot to pay my credit card bill”. I recognize that content, so I think it is experienced. It’s real in the sense that I can know what the content was, and experience the emotions that follow, anxiety and stress, etc. And the content can lead to action, ie. paying my credit card bill.


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