Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

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wentforawalk
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Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:51 pm

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
I've been seeking answers for most of my life. About six years ago, shortly before I turned 30, the search took a radical turn towards enlightenment. At the time I only knew it as a search for some mysterious Oneness I kept hearing about, and started reading every book I could find on the topic. Shortly after, I reached an all time low in my life. I lost my job and this family I knew was kind enough to take me in until I got back on my feet. During this down time, I was able to devote every waking hour to reading books on awakening and liberation, which I did fervently. Several months of this went by and then one day, out of the blue when I was standing in the woods behind the property admiring the view, everything changed. I saw clearly that "I", not the me I always thought myself to be, but "I" as This, as Oneness, was everything. I saw myself smiling back at me in every blade of grass, every ant and every bird, as the sun and the shadows it cast. There was a distinct feeling of being home after a lifetime of searching for it. There was also unbelievable laughter at how simple and obvious it was and I wondered how I, and every human on the planet, could miss this their entire lives. This experience lasted a couple hours and the days that followed were filled with bliss, love, contentment, and joy. Everything was beautiful. Then it started to fade and life went back to "normal". I was confused, I was shocked, I tried to get it back. I began reading on a daily basis again. Then one night I had another experience, only this one was not pleasant. I was sitting up in bed pondering a passage I had just read when I got a glimpse of what all this really is... That there's no one actually here and this was immediately followed by a terror and fear so intense I recoiled and began freaking out at how this is all meaningless and empty. In all honesty, I wanted to kill myself it seemed so bad. Yet, after several months passed, I found myself reading again, seeking the initial experience, seeking a way to reconcile those two profound experiences. The past 6 years have been filled with much of the same... punctuated by insights but mostly filled with confusion and longing - feeling depressed most of the time knowing that I'm missing the most obvious thing in the world, what I believe to be the key to ending suffering, yet I can't see it to save my life. I came across Ilona's books recently and then found this forum. It seemed unlike anything I'd come across before and decided that I needed help with this. I've been going in circles with realizations and epiphanies for the better part of a decade, I don't want this cycle to continue indefinitely so I'm coming here to put it to an end.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?
I am looking to put an end to seeking once and for all. I am looking to understand, to see, to get it. I am looking to not be bothered by thoughts or feelings to the point where they cripple me and prevent me from living life. I am looking to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am looking to feel comfortable around other people, truly comfortable and able to meet them in the moment and truly be with them, engaged, listening, enjoying their company. I am looking to be done with anxiety and depression. I am looking to be able to truly enjoy life - the good times and the bad equally - to be fully involved and immersed. I am looking to recognize that “I” don’t exist and never have - to know that deep within to my core. I am looking for peace, I am looking for life, true Life, to finally “start”.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?
I covered most of this in the first question about what brought me to LU forums, but basically mostly reading books, literally over a hundred books on the subject, many of them read multiple times. I’ve watched countless hours of youtube videos from many different speakers / authors, and I write. I’ve written hundreds of pages of notes. I’ve thrown away and deleted most of them because they weren’t organized and years would go by and wouldn’t revisit them. Then I noticed that they were just going in circles… the writings were describing the same problems and same insights in different ways over and over, so I stopped writing. I spend a lot of time sitting in silence, I suppose you could say meditating but it’s not formal, but I just watch my mind and contemplate different things. It varies but essentially boils down to sitting in silence with myself. Other than that, for about a year I was regularly skyping with Fred Davis from awakeningclaritynow.com. Each session he would bring me to a clear seeing of my true nature, that Consciousness / Awareness / This / (Pick a name) is the only thing that exists and is appearing as everything and there is no separation. However, I think the one insight I’ve always missed is that there is no “I”. Which is what drew me to this forum and teaching.

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

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:52 pm

Hi Went!

My name is Kay and I am happy to be your guide. How would you like to be addressed?

Thank you for your indepth introduction, it seems to me that there is an expectation that is proving to be the obstacle of just ‘accepting’ what you have already seen! You have many expectations of what THIS should look like once the idea of there being no separate individual has been seen through. There has NEVER been a separate individual, so what exactly would/should be different?

Let’s look at the expectation that THIS (WHAT IS) should somehow feel or be different. Can you find a person anywhere? What is the actual experience of a ‘person’? What it 'feels like' right now, is what it 'feels like' to not be a person. What is it exactly that points to there being a ‘person’?

Kay
xx
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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:40 am

Hi Kay!

Thank you for the quick response! You can call me Bri moving forward. Also I just want to let you know that right now is a very hectic time for me at work and, while I’ll put all the time in outside of work hours, it may be difficult for me to get back to you on weekdays between 9am and 6pm. Although, I will try! Also, please let me know if my responses and formatting are ok or if there’s something I should change moving forward to be more productive or communicate more effectively.

I’ve often considered that perhaps I just need to accept what I have already seen. Yet my life is filled with resistance to almost everything. I still have many little triggers that set off anxiety, unwarranted anger, worry and insecurities for, often times, little things in life. Those are part of what I think should be different. I know I’m supposed to put aside all other teachings for our conversations, but a big sticking point for me is the hundred or so books I’ve read and one common theme among them all is that once you’re “done” or once you cross the gate, there is no resistance left to life. On top of the fact that I’ve seen that in my own experience, with that clear seeing there is no resistance whatsoever. And I want it back so badly it hurts. I honestly have a very difficult time even considering that this, my current experience of daily life, is how it should be...
Let’s look at the expectation that THIS (WHAT IS) should somehow feel or be different.
When I come to my direct experience in this moment, this expectation arises as an image, or “scene”, in thought of how I think this moment should be compared to how it is. I imagine that the heaviness I feel in my face or chest shouldn’t be there, that there should instead be a lightness about the body. That different facial expressions should be occurring. Or that I should have a better attitude about what I’m doing - that I should be enjoying it more or be more immersed in it.
Can you find a person anywhere?
I’ve spent a lot of time with this one in the past! When I come to direct experience of this moment I can never find a separate person. I always have the sense of one though, and for me it seems to be linked to my facial expressions for some reason. I can feel the face I’m making and I get an image of it in my mind and all the identification as Brian seems to have its core there. Yet outside of thoughts, no - I can recognize that there’s just sounds, visual images and “physical” sensations. Yet when I do come to the moment and recognize that, it always feels like there’s something missing from that; from This. It seems empty and hollow and incomplete. Still, I try to sit with it for as long as I can yet the urge to distract myself can be strong sometimes, whether I recognize it as that at the time or not. Often it's only later that I notice the memory to make dinner or take the dog out was a distraction from sitting with This as it is.
What is the actual experience of a ‘person’?
Going by this moment right now, it’s a heaviness in the body, a tightness in the belly area, a tension/clenching in the back and shoulders and face. It’s an emotion that, I notice now, only becomes apparent as an emotion when looked at. When I’m typing and focusing on that the emotion doesn’t seem to be present - yet all it takes is a split second distraction from the typing to recognize it. It’s memories of the day and things that happened, as well as “memories” of what I need to do tomorrow and how those things might go - how they might play out.

I paused for a moment to ponder the question again and noticed that it’s also an ignoring of almost everything else around me, or a dismissing it as unimportant. Everything that’s not considered “me”, that is. Or seeing it as lesser, somehow.

I don’t know if that answers the question?
What it 'feels like' right now, is what it 'feels like' to not be a person.
On the one hand that makes sense to me, logically. Yet at the same time my gut reaction is: no way.. no way can that be true, something is missing, something is off - there’s something I’m not getting or something I'm doing/thinking wrong.
I really like that statement though. I’m going to spend some time with that one throughout the day tomorrow and write you back about it.
What is it exactly that points to there being a ‘person’?
I suppose it’s just the life long conditioning that this body and mind is a separate person. Combined with the fact that no one else can hear my thoughts or know my experience, that all of that is private to me, as well as the constant first person point of view from this body’s head / eyes. However I can see that all that is “circumstantial”… In this moment’s direct experience there is nothing that points to there being a person outside of thought. So why is there still a belief in a person? Why won’t that let go? Why does that persist despite a lack of evidence in the moment?

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me Kay. I truly appreciate it and I'm really looking forward to continuing to talk with you.

Kind Regards,

Bri

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:49 am

Hi Bri!

Thank you for letting me know about your time limitations for the moment. Respond when you can, although if it is going to be more than a couple of days, just drop me a quick line on the forum and let me know. Yes, please put aside all the reading you have done and just be with this exploration with an open mind. Reading about what others have seemingly experienced only creates unnecessary expectations that hinder what we are doing. Seeing through the illusory self is a recognition; not a change in state of mind, emotions, feelings, moods, life, relationships or anything else.

The following are ground rules which I give to everyone I guide.

1. Post at least once a day or every second day. If you cannot post, or need more time, let me know.

2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.

3. ANSWER ONLY FROM ACTUAL EXPERIENCE (smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process.

4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.

This exploration is about LOOKING and not thinking. What does LOOKING entail?

‘Looking’ is just plain looking at what is here right now. It is moving from the conceptual down to the actual experience (AE), to reality, to what's happening. It is becoming aware of, and continually noticing sound, taste, smell, thought, sensation and colours/images (aka actual experience AE) to see what is really present and always has been. It’s also noticing thought/s - not thinking, but noticing or being ‘aware’ of thought/s as thoughts layer concepts over these raw experiences. A thought, label or concept is never the actual experience (AE). Some thoughts point to actual experience, and some point to other thoughts aka thought stories.
I’ve often considered that perhaps I just need to accept what I have already seen. Yet my life is filled with resistance to almost everything. I still have many little triggers that set off anxiety, unwarranted anger, worry and insecurities for, often times, little things in life. Those are part of what I think should be different.
There was no separate individual before now, there is not one now who is reading this and there won’t be one later on! Perception changes, however what is called anxiety, unwarranted anger, worry and insecurities may or may not still appear. What is different is that it is seen that those reactions/aspects are just happening and do not belong to anyone or anything, ie, they are not happening TO anyone or TO anything, but they can and do still appear. The belief that they are happening to someone is what falls away.

Resistance is impossible, how can what already is be resisted? It is only an appearing thought that says “I am resisting ………”. Thoughts are actual experience (AE) and either point to actual experience or thought stories. Can a sensation or thought be resisted? What is it exactly that is resisting?
Let’s look at the expectation that THIS (WHAT IS) should somehow feel or be different.
When I come to my direct experience in this moment, this expectation arises as an image, or “scene”, in thought of how I think this moment should be compared to how it is. I imagine that the heaviness I feel in my face or chest shouldn’t be there, that there should instead be a lightness about the body. That different facial expressions should be occurring. Or that I should have a better attitude about what I’m doing - that I should be enjoying it more or be more immersed in it.
There are a lot of ‘shoulds’ in what you write and ‘shoulds’ always point to beliefs. And this is all about the assumption that you are a person who resides in a body. Where exactly in the body can you be found?

How is it known that you have a body, a head or a face? If you look now what do you actually see of the body? Can you actually see a face? Can you actually see a head? Remember only give answers from actual experience (AE).

Can you find a person anywhere?
I always have the sense of one though, and for me it seems to be linked to my facial expressions for some reason. I can feel the face I’m making and I get an image of it in my mind and all the identification as Brian seems to have its core there.
It is generally believed that thoughts are coming from the head - somewhere around the forehead. When we try to trace back the origin of a thought, it is often believed that it's coming from the forehead, because the attention automatically goes to the sensation of the forehead. Investigate this carefully as often as you can throughout the day.

What is the forehead in the actual experience?
A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?

So, can a thought come from a sensation?
Can a thought come from a mental image?


Have a very deep look here... the forehead is one of the 'residence' of the SENSE of self. Or rather, the sensation that is labelled as ‘forehead’ is believed to be one of the locations of the sense of self.
What it 'feels like' right now, is what it 'feels like' to not be a person.
On the one hand that makes sense to me, logically. Yet at the same time my gut reaction is: no way.. no way can that be true, something is missing, something is off - there’s something I’m not getting or something I'm doing/thinking wrong.
All that is appearing is the actual experience (AE) of thought + the AE of sensation labelled ‘gut reaction’.
Can a ‘gut’ or a 'gut reaction' be found anywhere in actual experience?
What is it exactly that points to there being a ‘person’?
I suppose it’s just the life long conditioning that this body and mind is a separate person. Combined with the fact that no one else can hear my thoughts or know my experience, that all of that is private to me, as well as the constant first person point of view from this body’s head / eyes. However I can see that all that is “circumstantial”… In this moment’s direct experience there is nothing that points to there being a person outside of thought. So why is there still a belief in a person? Why won’t that let go? Why does that persist despite a lack of evidence in the moment?
What exactly is it that is ‘holding on’ or that can ‘let go’ of anything? There is no one/no thing that is experiencing their own private thoughts or having their own personal experiences – no matter what thought says! What is pointing to there being a 'person' is thought! Thoughts are AE and they will continue to appear saying all sorts of things, including thoughts that say “I am a person”, “I feel like I am a person”, “I shouldn’t feel like a person” and so on. There was no ‘Brian’ before now and there is no Brian now…so why would thoughts change. There is no one authoring thoughts.
Do thoughts know anything? Look carefully at this question.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me Kay. I truly appreciate it and I'm really looking forward to continuing to talk with you.
You’re welcome! I too look forward to our ongoing discussion and exploration.

Can you answer the questions that are highlighted in blue text please. Thank you for using the quote function and please continue to use the quote function to highlight what you are responding to.

Kay
xx
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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:10 am

Hi Kay. Just wanted to write you really quick to say that this (quote below) was a lot to take in. I saw, looking at actual experience, that resistance does not exist (only thought stories about it do) and there is nothing here doing any "resisting". The stories about resistance just seem to appear with nothing behind them, no one doing them and not referencing anything in actual experience. Then the resistance stories became lighter and I stopped caring about them.

I'm at a loss for words right now...

I will be in touch with more to say and responses to your questions tomorrow. It seems to take a concentrated effort of looking to recognize this and I want to spend a little more time looking first.
Resistance is impossible, how can what already is be resisted? It is only an appearing thought that says “I am resisting ………”. Thoughts are actual experience (AE) and either point to actual experience or thought stories. Can a sensation or thought be resisted? What is it exactly that is resisting?
Thank you :)

Kind Regards,
Bri

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:26 am

Hey Bri!
Just wanted to write you really quick to say that this (quote below) was a lot to take in. I saw, looking at actual experience, that resistance does not exist (only thought stories about it do) and there is nothing here doing any "resisting". The stories about resistance just seem to appear with nothing behind them, no one doing them and not referencing anything in actual experience. Then the resistance stories became lighter and I stopped caring about them.

I'm at a loss for words right now...
YES! There are only thoughts ABOUT resistance...but there is no such thing as resistance, and there is no one/no thing that can be in resistance! Terrific LOOKING, Bri!

The label "resistance" is the AE of thought and not the AE of resistance.
The sensation labelled '"resistance" is the AE of sensation and not the AE of resistance
The colour/image labelled as Bri/body is the AE of colour/image and not the AE of Brian resisting!

So there is no actual experience of "resistance", all that is really appearing is label + sensation + colour/image + thoughts ABOUT "resistance. So "resistance" is just a thought, and thoughts know nothing! :)
I will be in touch with more to say and responses to your questions tomorrow. It seems to take a concentrated effort of looking to recognize this and I want to spend a little more time looking first.
I gave you quite a bit to look at in my last post, so take your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kay
xx
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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:37 pm

Hi Kay!
Resistance is impossible, how can what already is be resisted? It is only an appearing thought that says “I am resisting ………”. Thoughts are actual experience (AE) and either point to actual experience or thought stories. Can a sensation or thought be resisted? What is it exactly that is resisting?
The first question you asked me, above, and the implication that resistance did not exist in actual experience really did a lot… Once I looked it became clear to me, for even the briefest moment or glimpse at first, that resistance is an illusion or a thought story, it cracked open a door that has been widening ever since. I have since recognized that Brian is also an illusion in the same way. I keep seeing the Brian thought stories pop up, and then almost immediately I recognize that they’re not referencing anything in actual experience, just the same way that resistance does not actually exist. Both of them are simply thought stories. And once the Brian story was clearly seen for the first time the same way the resistance story was seen... it is kind of like how Ilona describes in her book when kids find out Santa isn’t real. You just don’t fall for it anymore! You can’t go back to believing it again.

It seems there is still a habit of some sort to believe it, though. But it’s becoming easier and easier to catch it and recognize that it’s not actually here, it (Brian, or the separate self / person) is not part of actual experience.. and it’s SO obvious if you just look! It’s so relieving! We just take it completely for granted and NEVER question it! NEVER just LOOK! And there’s so much disbelief around hearing this that comes up in the mind, it is so quickly dismissed, even by someone who is actively seeking it, that it continues to go unnoticed or un-looked-at, even for those seeking it their whole lives... But once you just simply look and are open to seeing (I can’t actually describe what I’m trying to say here because the "openness" or "willingness" to look and see is something I can't explain; but that seems to come close to what the experience is like… an openness or willingness or readiness to look; I don’t know) then you see and it’s done. You look, you notice what’s real, what’s in actual experience and what’s not and it’s simple. It’s done. That story or belief had so much “power” or energy it was running the show my entire life.

I don’t even know what to say right now. The weight of all those completely unnecessary stories falling away… The “tricky” part for active seekers, I think, is that a lot of day-to-day moment-to-moment experience does NOT include the “person stories” and so not a whole lot changes! I’ve noticed that times when that story is not part of actual experience and things are just happening, I’ll “try to see” that there’s no Brian here… Yet unless that thought story is here and deceiving you, then there’s nothing to find so you just create a bigger mess of it all! Yet, when it does come up, I can recognize it now. Then, …. It’s hard to explain… but then you just know that it’s not actual experience, it’s not really here… Just like when you see the presents under the tree on Christmas, you know your parents put them there, not Santa!

Kindest Regards,
Bri

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:49 pm

Hi Bri,

How marvellous! What a beautiful post to read. Although it has been seen that there is no separate individual, we need to continue this exploration so that it is clearly seen that there is no doer, thinker, controller or decision maker/chooser. Doubts will appear so it is important that we not only see through the idea of there being no separate individual, but also that the body, time, cause and effect and subject/object split are all concepts as well.
The first question you asked me, above, and the implication that resistance did not exist in actual experience really did a lot… Once I looked it became clear to me, for even the briefest moment or glimpse at first, that resistance is an illusion or a thought story, it cracked open a door that has been widening ever since. I have since recognized that Brian is also an illusion in the same way. I keep seeing the Brian thought stories pop up, and then almost immediately I recognize that they’re not referencing anything in actual experience, just the same way that resistance does not actually exist. Both of them are simply thought stories. And once the Brian story was clearly seen for the first time the same way the resistance story was seen... it is kind of like how Ilona describes in her book when kids find out Santa isn’t real. You just don’t fall for it anymore! You can’t go back to believing it again.
Beautiful! And yes, once it has been seen, it cannot be unseen, although doubt and confusion can still appear.
It seems there is still a habit of some sort to believe it, though. But it’s becoming easier and easier to catch it and recognize that it’s not actually here, it (Brian, or the separate self / person) is not part of actual experience.. and it’s SO obvious if you just look! It’s so relieving! We just take it completely for granted and NEVER question it! NEVER just LOOK!
I would like to you LOOK and see if there is an author of thoughts. Don’t just conclude, but actually LOOK.
Thoughts come and go, but is there anyone/anything that is actually thinking thoughts?
Can you make specific thoughts appear?
Can you stop specific thoughts appearing?
Can you choose from a selection of thoughts?
Can you predict which thoughts are going to appear?
Can an author of thoughts be found anywhere?

I don’t even know what to say right now. The weight of all those completely unnecessary stories falling away…
Yes, the identification with stories of being a separate individual/person start to fall away, and as you have noticed LOOKING becomes ‘automatic’.

I would still like for you to do this exercise please.

It is generally believed that thoughts are coming from the head - somewhere around the forehead. When we try to trace back the origin of a thought, it is often believed that it's coming from the forehead, because the attention automatically goes to the sensation of the forehead. Investigate this carefully as often as you can throughout the day.

What is the forehead in the actual experience?
A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?

So, can a thought come from a sensation?
Can a thought come from a mental image?

Have a very deep look here... the forehead is one of the 'residence' of the SENSE of self. Or rather, the sensation that is labelled as ‘forehead’ is believed to be one of the locations of the sense of self.


Kay
xx
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:47 am

I was really excited when I read your latest post because something along the lines of doubt did indeed appear today and I seem to be lost again. Although I was expecting a need to continue exploring, I was still pretty bummed about how quick and seemingly thorough the re-confusion was, given the clarity with which I saw things earlier... but the fact that you knew this was coming and sent a post about it before I told you is very encouraging. I will spend some time with looking at what you've suggested and report back!

Thank you,
Bri

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Sun Nov 13, 2016 9:20 pm

It is generally believed that thoughts are coming from the head - somewhere around the forehead. When we try to trace back the origin of a thought, it is often believed that it's coming from the forehead, because the attention automatically goes to the sensation of the forehead. Investigate this carefully as often as you can throughout the day.
Indeed, it does seem as if thoughts are coming from and appear in the forehead area. I noticed that the forehead area is also the one place that is constantly outside of the field of vision and is essential “empty” in actual experience. You can look up, down, left, right and see something everywhere, but never the forehead / head area. It’s the perfect spot to say thoughts come from and appear in.
What is the forehead in the actual experience?
A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?
The forehead is essentially nothing in actual experience. There are physical sensations there - just amorphous “pieces" of experience then thought does the rest. Thought says those sensations are coming from the forehead (maybe they are, maybe they’re just appearing without location - but thought is what informs that they are the physical experience of the forehead). Thought also does provide a mental image of the forehead. This is all the same for the face and parts of the body outside the field of vision. So yes, the forehead is a thought story in actual experience combined with physical sensations.
So, can a thought come from a sensation?
Can a thought come from a mental image?
Thoughts and sensations and mental images all appear in the same “place”. Thoughts are not coming from sensations or mental images. I don’t know where thoughts come from. In actual experience, they come from nowhere and appear nowhere - yet they are somehow known and experienced in this “placeless place” that thought stories say is in the forehead / head area.
Wow… this is very interesting… thoughts aren’t in the head at all.
Have a very deep look here... the forehead is one of the 'residence' of the SENSE of self. Or rather, the sensation that is labelled as ‘forehead’ is believed to be one of the locations of the sense of self.
LOL! When seen this way the forehead / head area is freed of such a heavy burden! This is VERY interesting and freeing in a way. It’s like the sensations up there are much lighter now and free to be just another piece of experience rather than the source and container of thoughts. I noticed immediately after this lightness “up there” that the sense of self appeared in the upper chest area sensations.


I would like to you LOOK and see if there is an author of thoughts. Don’t just conclude, but actually LOOK.
Thoughts come and go, but is there anyone/anything that is actually thinking thoughts?
Can you make specific thoughts appear?
Very interesting… When attempting to make a specific thought appear there is a moment of trying to decide which thought to make appear, there has to be if you’re going to claim you can make a specific thought appear. Yet during that moment, random thoughts simply appear. They may appear very subtly and quietly, and then a “larger” or “louder” or more clear thought of that thing might appear and one might conclude they made that thought appear… but no, that is not what’s happening. I cannot make specific thoughts appear without first choosing which ones to appear and that process is clearly random and/or outside of my control.
Can you stop specific thoughts appearing?
I don’t know which thoughts are going to appear next so I am unable to stop them from appearing. I would have to know the thought I was stopping from appearing, so then I would have to be thinking about that thought to stop it, which means I didn’t stop it! It would have appeared. Looking at actual experience, many thoughts continually appear that I dislike or would rather not appear yet I am unable to stop them.
Can you choose from a selection of thoughts?
That is not my experience, no. Thoughts simply appear on their own. I have no experience of a pool of thoughts from which to choose one.
Can you predict which thoughts are going to appear?
In actual experience no I absolutely cannot. There is not even an experience of attempting to predict which thoughts are going to appear. There is just the experience of the flow of thoughts. There is a prediction of how certain experiences will go, and sometimes those experiences are only moments away and in those predictions certain thought stories are included as part of them. But in actual experience at the time I never know when those predictions will arise. So no, I cannot predict which thoughts are going to appear in this moment, which is all that matters.
Can an author of thoughts be found anywhere?
I laughed a little when I saw this… no! There is no author of thoughts in experience. I think I need to spend some time with this to let the implications sink in a little because the tendency, even after seeing it clearly in investigation here, is for an author called “me” to be responsible for thought. I’m not sure if that’s a belief, or a habit, or an inclination, or just the way thoughts present themselves - or even who or what would have such a habit or belief… Nonetheless, I would like to spend some more time on this one.

So all in all, in actual experience there is no author of thoughts, and I do not know where thoughts appear - it's as if they appear nowhere. Either way, it's certainly not the forehead / head area and they're not something I am doing...

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:21 am

Hi Bri!
It is generally believed that thoughts are coming from the head - somewhere around the forehead. When we try to trace back the origin of a thought, it is often believed that it's coming from the forehead, because the attention automatically goes to the sensation of the forehead. Investigate this carefully as often as you can throughout the day.
Indeed, it does seem as if thoughts are coming from and appear in the forehead area. I noticed that the forehead area is also the one place that is constantly outside of the field of vision and is essential “empty” in actual experience. You can look up, down, left, right and see something everywhere, but never the forehead / head area. It’s the perfect spot to say thoughts come from and appear in..
Yes, nice observation! :)
What is the forehead in the actual experience?
A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?
The forehead is essentially nothing in actual experience. There are physical sensations there - just amorphous “pieces" of experience then thought does the rest. Thought says those sensations are coming from the forehead (maybe they are, maybe they’re just appearing without location - but thought is what informs that they are the physical experience of the forehead). Thought also does provide a mental image of the forehead. This is all the same for the face and parts of the body outside the field of vision. So yes, the forehead is a thought story in actual experience combined with physical sensations.
Nice LOOKING! :) In AE there is no ‘forehead’. What is actually appearing is sensation + label/thoughts ABOUT a forehead.

Let’s look at the idea of physicality and location. As you noticed there is no forehead, and many parts of the ‘body’ cannot be seen, so let’s see if there is a head!

Press a finger down onto the top of the ‘head’.
Notice what is actually present.
Is it a head, or is it just a sensation labelled ‘pressure’ and a thought story ABOUT a finger pressing down on a head?

Do the same with a finger on each side of the head.
Is a head actually found, or are there just sensations again?
And is there anything between the pressure points, or is it just a thought that says there *must* be something between them?


Now close your eyes and once again put a finger to the top of the head.
Drop ALL thoughts and ideas about a head and where the head is located and just notice the sensation.
Does the sensation in any way suggest that it is located on top of a head?
Does the sensation in any way suggest that there is a finger pressing down on top of the head?

So, can a thought come from a sensation?
Can a thought come from a mental image?
Thoughts and sensations and mental images all appear in the same “place”. Thoughts are not coming from sensations or mental images. I don’t know where thoughts come from. In actual experience, they come from nowhere and appear nowhere - yet they are somehow known and experienced in this “placeless place” that thought stories say is in the forehead / head area.
Wow… this is very interesting… thoughts aren’t in the head at all.
Terrific Bri! Nope, thoughts aren’t contained in a non-existent head and they just come and go.
LOOK carefully….can a dividing line be found to where a thought stops and the knowing of a thought starts?
Have a very deep look here... the forehead is one of the 'residence' of the SENSE of self. Or rather, the sensation that is labelled as ‘forehead’ is believed to be one of the locations of the sense of self.
LOL! When seen this way the forehead / head area is freed of such a heavy burden! This is VERY interesting and freeing in a way. It’s like the sensations up there are much lighter now and free to be just another piece of experience rather than the source and container of thoughts. I noticed immediately after this lightness “up there” that the sense of self appeared in the upper chest area sensations.
Does the sensation in any way suggest that it is located “in the upper chest area”?
I would like to you LOOK and see if there is an author of thoughts. Don’t just conclude, but actually LOOK. Thoughts come and go, but is there anyone/anything that is actually thinking thoughts?
Can you make specific thoughts appear?
Very interesting… When attempting to make a specific thought appear there is a moment of trying to decide which thought to make appear, there has to be if you’re going to claim you can make a specific thought appear. Yet during that moment, random thoughts simply appear. They may appear very subtly and quietly, and then a “larger” or “louder” or more clear thought of that thing might appear and one might conclude they made that thought appear… but no, that is not what’s happening. I cannot make specific thoughts appear without first choosing which ones to appear and that process is clearly random and/or outside of my control.
Beautiful! So it is clearly seen that there is no author of thoughts, so can a controller of thought be found anywhere?
Can you stop specific thoughts appearing?
I don’t know which thoughts are going to appear next so I am unable to stop them from appearing. I would have to know the thought I was stopping from appearing, so then I would have to be thinking about that thought to stop it, which means I didn’t stop it! It would have appeared. Looking at actual experience, many thoughts continually appear that I dislike or would rather not appear yet I am unable to stop them.
Yes, so can you choose not to have negative and painful thoughts, or stop negative, painful and fearful thoughts from appearing?

Can you choose from a selection of thoughts?
That is not my experience, no. Thoughts simply appear on their own. I have no experience of a pool of thoughts from which to choose one.
Exactly! So can you choose to have positive and happy thoughts! If thoughts could be chosen or selected, wouldn’t we select to only ever have happy, positive and peaceful thoughts?

What is it exactly that says thoughts are either ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘neutral’?
Can you predict which thoughts are going to appear?
In actual experience no I absolutely cannot. There is not even an experience of attempting to predict which thoughts are going to appear. There is just the experience of the flow of thoughts. There is a prediction of how certain experiences will go, and sometimes those experiences are only moments away and in those predictions certain thought stories are included as part of them. But in actual experience at the time I never know when those predictions will arise. So no, I cannot predict which thoughts are going to appear in this moment, which is all that matters.
Nice :) However, how is it known that “there is a prediction to how certain experiences will go”, because a thought said so?

Predictions point to the concepts (thought stories) of time and of cause and effect. There is no time and no cause and effect.
Can an author of thoughts be found anywhere?
I laughed a little when I saw this… no! There is no author of thoughts in experience. I think I need to spend some time with this to let the implications sink in a little because the tendency, even after seeing it clearly in investigation here, is for an author called “me” to be responsible for thought. I’m not sure if that’s a belief, or a habit, or an inclination, or just the way thoughts present themselves - or even who or what would have such a habit or belief… Nonetheless, I would like to spend some more time on this one.
What is it exactly (please describe in precise details) that can have “beliefs”, “habits” or “inclinations”? Are they not just more thoughts that are just appearing?

So yes, as no author of thoughts can be found, what exactly is it that is responsible for thoughts or for seeming reactions and actions that follow thought?
So all in all, in actual experience there is no author of thoughts, and I do not know where thoughts appear - it's as if they appear nowhere. Either way, it's certainly not the forehead / head area and they're not something I am doing...
Brilliant! Fantastic LOOKING!

Kay
xx
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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:16 am

Hi Bri,

Checking in to see how you are going?

Kay
xx
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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:53 am

Hi Kay! Apologies for the delay. Life has been so hectic lately. I'm a small business owner with a 50/50 partner and we've been expanding the past few months and it's been quite the roller coaster with work things taking over my evening time and weekends, increased stress levels, etc. I've had quiet a bit on my mind! I could just go through and answer your questions but I always wait until I have some quite time to myself where I can put work and everything else aside and really focus and really look. There are still a couple questions I am looking into, but I have written responses for most of your last post.
Notice what is actually present.
Is it a head, or is it just a sensation labelled ‘pressure’ and a thought story ABOUT a finger pressing down on a head?
With the eyes closed and a finger pressing on top of the head there is a swarm of physical sensations, from the finger touch, to the weight of the arm being held up and the all the rest of the body sitting. In actual experience all that is present is the physical sensations. I can acknowledge that everything else, the labels and stories of what all those sensations are, is only a thought story. Thought is the only source of information saying what they are. For brief moments though, the labels drop away and I have no idea what any of those “sensations” are. They are just fuzzy pieces of experience that have no relation to anything and are simply appearing and being experienced. It is much harder to notice this with the eyes open though.
Do the same with a finger on each side of the head.
Is a head actually found, or are there just sensations again?
And is there anything between the pressure points, or is it just a thought that says there *must* be something between them?
Same as before with finger on top of head. Thought is the only thing that offers any evidence or description of a head there, or anything other than the experience of the physical sensations.
Now close your eyes and once again put a finger to the top of the head.
Drop ALL thoughts and ideas about a head and where the head is located and just notice the sensation.
Does the sensation in any way suggest that it is located on top of a head?
Does the sensation in any way suggest that there is a finger pressing down on top of the head?
The sensation itself does not suggest any of that, or anything at all. Thoughts are just seamlessly layered with the sensation informing us what it “is” that they seem identical - the sensation seems to take on the labels and stories thoughts present.
Thoughts aren’t contained in a non-existent head and they just come and go.
LOOK carefully….can a dividing line be found to where a thought stops and the knowing of a thought starts?
Nope! They move so quickly and so fluidly that at times they give the appearance of a separate knower of thoughts, but that is just another thought where the sense of self is, and a story about how “it” knew the previous thought. They are all just thoughts flowing though with… Wow, I didn’t even realize where that was going as I was typing it it just made sense….but it’s all just thoughts flowing without a knower of them…? There is just the knowing of thoughts that isn’t separate from thoughts?
So it is clearly seen that there is no author of thoughts, so can a controller of thought be found anywhere?
No there is no controller of thoughts in actual experience. The “controller of thoughts” is just another thought… a thought about thoughts. Really makes you question so much of experience when you look at this...
Can you choose not to have negative and painful thoughts, or stop negative, painful and fearful thoughts from appearing?
No I can’t. There’s a bunch of thought stories about all that but no, I cannot choose to not have them and I cannot stop them from appearing.
What is it exactly that says thoughts are either ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘neutral’?
When thoughts appear they just come with the feelings of feeling good about them, bad about them, or feeling nothing about them. So then it would be the thoughts themselves that say they are good bad or neutral sine I’m not involved in any of that process as we’ve been looking at together.

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:21 pm

Hey Bri,
Apologies for the delay. Life has been so hectic lately. I'm a small business owner with a 50/50 partner and we've been expanding the past few months and it's been quite the roller coaster with work things taking over my evening time and weekends, increased stress levels, etc. I've had quiet a bit on my mind! I could just go through and answer your questions but I always wait until I have some quite time to myself where I can put work and everything else aside and really focus and really look. There are still a couple questions I am looking into, but I have written responses for most of your last post.
No problem, Bri. I will just prompt you now and again to see how you are going. I will keep in mind your busyness. :)

I will wait for you to respond to the last couple remaining questions and then get back to you. This way the posts don't become split!

Love, Kay
xx
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Obsessive seeker for a decade. As lost as ever, and running out of steam

Postby wentforawalk » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:16 pm

Hi Kay! Again my apologies for the delay. I came down with a fever on Friday and am just starting feel a little better after a full day in bed resting yesterday. It really gets at me that I'm not sticking to our schedule and feel like I'm letting you and the discussion / investigation down. Your understanding so far has been very kind and helpful, so thank you! :)
What is it exactly (please describe in precise details) that can have “beliefs”, “habits” or “inclinations”? Are they not just more thoughts that are just appearing?
I don’t know. Habits and inclinations, yes, they are just thoughts about patterns of thoughts but beliefs feel like there’s more behind them; like they have a strength that thoughts don’t have. Beliefs are more like core assumptions about existence - perhaps that’s a better way of putting it, because they don’t seem to require thought or be made out of thought, instead they influence thought. Actually, you could look at beliefs as something that influences thought, or you could look at them as something that is simply inferred from the thoughts that appear… If the latter is the case, then beliefs don’t actually exist; at least not in the way I’ve assumed they do. They are simply stories thought tells about thoughts… same as habits and inclinations. And since there is nothing here in actual experience that could be holding these beliefs or creating them, authoring them, then the only other option is that they are stories thoughts tell... Just like everything else we’ve looked at.

So then why is it that, most of the time, there is not a recognition of this? It is my experience that thoughts appear in one of two ways: they can appear and be recognized as thought stories and their content not mistaken for actual experience; or they can appear and their stories are taken for actual experience. If it’s not belief that makes that difference, what is it?
So yes, as no author of thoughts can be found, what exactly is it that is responsible for thoughts or for seeming reactions and actions that follow thought?
Actions and reactions happen on their own, in the same way that thought appears with no author. I do not choose my actions or reactions in the same way; there is no pool of possibilities I draw from, just thoughts about possible actions, which again I did not create. There does seem to be a link between thoughts and actions, and there are historical tendencies that create somewhat predictable patterns of action / reaction - but any action in the moment, if paying attention to actual experience only, happens on its own without my choosing it or doing it. Thoughts are very good at "claiming it”, that “I” did it or chose it, nearly immediately after the fact, but I can see that that is another story in thought, not actual experience.
So all in all, in actual experience there is no author of thoughts, and I do not know where thoughts appear - it's as if they appear nowhere. Either way, it's certainly not the forehead / head area and they're not something I am doing...
Yes! lol. All in all, that is correct - Thoughts are not something I’m doing (they just contain stories to the contrary), there is no author of thoughts (their content just says there is) and they are appearing “nowhere” - just somehow known. They are seemingly the most insignificant aspect of experience… so what’s the deal here? And seemingly everywhere… thoughts have “blinded” us all from actual experience yet they’re so ephemeral, transparent, invisible you might even say, and un-locatable.


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