Piercing the bubble

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jakobb
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Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:31 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
I want to see through the illusion of self. I have been meditating and studying buddhist thought for a few years now and I understand the self illusion on an intellectual level. But that little fella persists in my thinking. A friend went through Liberation Unleashed and recommended it warmly, so here I am!

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?
I am looking for pointers that direct me where to look and how to think to make the self illusion not just understood, but felt. I want to do the searching myself, but I need a flashlight to shine a light on the spots I am unable to see by myself.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?
I have been meditating regulary for two years. I have read a few books on buddhism and oriental philosophy, and I have been to a silent retreat where we used the method of advaita vedanta.

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?
9

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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:47 am

Hey Jakobb
I'm Sarah and I'd be happy to speak with you.
Have you looked around our site? Do you know what we do here?
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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jakobb
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:08 pm

Hi Sarah, thank you for taking the time to answer!

Sorry for not being completely clear. Yes, I'm currently halfway through Gateless Gatecrashers.

But the realization seems to come so fast for those people! I'm looking forward to piercing the bubble of self.

I've been going through psychotherapy this autumn who made me question a lot of who I thought I was. I now see my relationships to other people in a new light. During the same time, I've read Alan Watts' books and am (also) currently reading the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. I'm ready to leave the armour of self behind. I just have to learn to shed it.

Will you show me how?

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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:28 am

Hi Jakobb
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 for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience: http://liberationunleashed.com/resource ... xperience/

Please learn to use the quote function, see for instructions: http://liberationunleashed.com/resource ... xperience/

Finally 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.

So from where you are now can you answer the below.

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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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:30 am

Sorry I copied the wrong one for the quote function! Lol.

http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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jakobb
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:07 pm

Many thanks for the instructions!
How do you think, feel or experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?
When I read your question, I sat down and focused on the feeling of self for 15 minutes. Here's what I felt. It is separate from direct experience in a way. My immediate experience is there, and I can feel it. But then, in the back of the mind, there sits the self. Its almost like a wall that doesn't let any experience through without being commented. or rather doesn't care about experience, it only cares about itself. An experience is trying to take place within me, but the self wants to go on about itself, so it's like it keeps itself going by always referring back to itself and thereby reconfirming its own existence.

Like a reference to a reference to a reference without a start or end point. And hence, very elusive.
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?
One could say that its made up of opinions, memories, likes and dislikes. But I think when it comes down to it, this self of mine actually consists of anxietes, fears and defenses. It tries to get in the way of experience, to control the situation. It always asks, what would everyone else think of me doing this, feeling that, saying such and such. In that way it controls and inhibits.

I have had moments when I've felt free from the self. They've ocurred mostly during meditation. And the self often becomes weaker, sort of blurry, when meditating, even if it still is there in a way.
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?
It resides in the back of the head, towards the very inside of the back of the skull. I've had sessions of meditation where I tried to turn my attention inward towards it, but then it was like a rat scurrying away from a flashlight. I didn't find it, yet it still felt like it was there somewhere in the darkness.
Can anything exist outside the present moment? Can you find anything that does?

In your direct experience, is there anything permanent right now?
Well these are questions which intellectually I would answer with "of course not". I've had wonderful moments where I felt that my consciousness is like a riverbed over which experiences, emotions, life, flows. In that sense, the only permanent thing is change, and just as you can't step into the same river twice, all peole are ever changing. It is in resisting change that we create confusion and suffering.

Still, this self hangs on somewhere in the back of the mind.

Thanks for this by the way! This investigating is kinda fun :)

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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:57 pm

Hey Jakobb
I have had moments when I've felt free from the self. They've ocurred mostly during meditation.
Do you make art or music - or something like where the self seems to vanish or is not felt?

OK. Id like you to just sit for 5-10 minutes with a paper and pen and I want you to record everything you notice from your ‘I’ list. I want you to look at what experiences come up, what actions you notice, what labels you see and WHERE they are applied, what feelings and emotions come up, and what sensations arise.
Don’t add to what shows itself, don’t analyse, just plain description. Watch the body for any sensations like relaxing or tightening. Just write me a list like - I am lying in bed, I am hearing the rain, I am writing this list, I can feel a sensation of relaxing etc….
Id like you then to repeat the exercise doing exactly the same as you did above, but this time I don’t want you to use the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ when you write the list of what you notice. Again don’t add to what shows itself, don’t analyse, just plain description. Watch the body for any sensations like relaxing or tightening. Just write me a list like - waiting for the next thought, writing, breathing, listening, relaxing sensation etc…
What do you notice from doing the two looking exercises? Is life is happening, is looking is happening, is getting lost in the story happening with or without label I? Which feels truer?

If you say ‘my money’ and compare it to ‘money’, ‘my relationship’ compared to ‘relationship’ or ‘my time’ compared to ‘time’ – does if feel different? Does one feel heavier than the other?

Now I want you to look during your day at how labelling happens. See if you can catch ‘I’, ‘I’m’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘mine’, ‘I’ve’, etc See if you can see what you apply it too. Is it applied to doing, thinking etc? Is it all the time, most of the time? Is it like a commentary or like an ownership? Can you see where and when it labels - before, during or after?
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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jakobb
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:14 pm

Hi again, sorry for the delay, i blame it on christmas stuff!
Do you make art or music - or something like where the self seems to vanish or is not felt?
I used to draw a lot, and could get really sucked into it. I stopped in my late teens though. Maybe I should pick it up again
OK. Id like you to just sit for 5-10 minutes with a paper and pen and I want you to record everything you notice from your ‘I’ list.
Here's what I got.

I'm sitting by the kitchen table, I'm looking at the painting on the wall, I'm wondering if I'm doing this exercise the right way, I'm hearing someone opening a gate outside, I feel a slight pain in my left leg, I feel hungry, I'm trying to feel my body, I'm hearing someone talking outside, I'm feeling energy flow inside my body, I start thinking about my mom which gives me anxiety, I start thinking about work which gives me anxiety, I feel stupid for being anxious over work when its the holidays, I'm hungry again, my mouth watering a little, I'm listening to the fridge hum.
Id like you then to repeat the exercise doing exactly the same as you did above, but this time I don’t want you to use the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ when you write the list of what you notice
Sitting at the kitchen table, looking out the window, noticing the window is dirty, listening to the fridge hum, wondering who you are that is asking to do this, looking at the painting, feeling the body breathe and move, looking out the window in to the neighbours flat, feeling the breath at the back of the mouth, feeling the dryness of the lips, noticing more presence this time around, listening to someone run by outside, feeling the torso lift and sink with the breath, looking at the table in front of me, noticing what's there, feeling the fingers against the table, wondering how I look doing this exercise
What do you notice from doing the two looking exercises? Is life is happening, is looking is happening, is getting lost in the story happening with or without label I? Which feels truer?

I noticed doing the second one that the attention stays in the moment more. I was less caught up in the constant jabbering about myself than usual. Doing the "I" part some anxietes came up that didn't show in the second part. This is very interesting. Can simply ignoring the feeling of "me" lead to it receding and ultimately disappearing?
The second one is definitely a more interesting and less boring experience, since it stays with whatever is happening at the moment, instead of repeating the same old overfamiliar emotions and messsages.
If you say ‘my money’ and compare it to ‘money’, ‘my relationship’ compared to ‘relationship’ or ‘my time’ compared to ‘time’ – does if feel different? Does one feel heavier than the other?
of course, they feel different. Time, money, relationship are larger, more abstract concepts, and "My money" etc are things that are linked to my immediate experience, and own doing. They are a lot heavier, more imbued with a direct link to my life, my accomplishments and what I've done, or if you will a lot more mixed in with what feeling of Me.
Now I want you to look during your day at how labelling happens. See if you can catch ‘I’, ‘I’m’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘mine’, ‘I’ve’, etc See if you can see what you apply it too. Is it applied to doing, thinking etc? Is it all the time, most of the time? Is it like a commentary or like an ownership? Can you see where and when it labels - before, during or after?
I've tried this today and will keep trying! It's not all the time, but a lot of the time. I catch myself monologuing away inside my head, and its often kind of vicious. without thinking about it. It's commenting on my actions and the actions of others, and saying mean stuff to strangers, coworkers, as well as my self. Other times the "I" is coupled with feelings of inferiority, of being unsure what to say or do, second guessing and wanting to please.

(reading what I just wrote is interesting because I get some distance to it, and it gives me an added motivation to see through the illusion)

Thank you for helping and happy holidays!
Jakob

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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:48 pm

Hi jakobb
Can simply ignoring the feeling of "me" lead to it receding and ultimately disappearing?
No need to ignore - simply watch along with all else that happens? Besides which can you ignore? Do you control that?
reading what I just wrote is interesting because I get some distance to it,
Yes I found that too.

Does the word label water actually explain, describe or anything else what water actually is? Is the experience of water is totally different than the label?
I'm sitting by the kitchen table, I'm looking at the painting on the wall, I'm wondering if I'm doing this exercise the right way, I'm hearing someone opening a gate outside, I feel a slight pain in my left leg, I feel hungry, I'm trying to feel my body, I'm hearing someone talking outside, I'm feeling energy flow inside my body, I start thinking about
Have you ever 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.
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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jakobb
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:06 pm

Hi Sarah,
No need to ignore - simply watch along with all else that happens? Besides which can you ignore? Do you control that?
Well you are right, ignoring is not the way and is also impossible, for if I am ignoring it is still the self trying to control a situation. But the experience is such a novel one, it is hard to think about it in this new way. But the exercise showed me that mere words, "I", "me" and so forth, can change how a situation is perceived. Tried to write this without using "me" or "I", seems like that failed right in the first sentence :)

I did stay mindful of appearances of "me" "mine" "I" during these last few days and I've noticed that as I get more used to not thinking in that way, a lot of emotions that are usually byproducts of those thoughts fade somewhat. Not claiming ownership of processes, attitudes and objects make for a more tranquil state of mind, I find. It is hard though, something I have to keep reminding myself of.
How much of your day is autopilot? Just give me a rough percentage.
Whstever that number is, it's shrinking since I'm staying more and more mindful of what goes on at the moment. It still happens though, I just keep reminding myself to come back to presence, but I would say a good 50-40 percent.
Does the word label water actually explain, describe or anything else what water actually is? Is the experience of water is totally different than the label?
Words are merely symbols so of course they can not give you the direct experience, they can only point in the direction of the experience. If I were to guess what you're saying, it's that "I" is also a symbol, but it doesnt point towards anything?

Much love

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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:24 pm

Hi Jakobb
Whatever that number is, it's shrinking since I'm staying more and more mindful of what goes on at the moment. It still happens though, I just keep reminding myself to come back to presence, but I would say a good 50-40 percent.
Is autopilot to be got rid of? If so why?
By mindful do you mean noticing?

Do you intentionally bring any of these thoughts? Or do they come and go on their own? If you do bring them from where and how?
Can you send them away, stop them or get rid? Can you suppress your next thought before it arises? Does it work?
Do you know what you're going to think before you think it? Sit quietly for a moment and try to predict your next thought. Does it work?
Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
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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jakobb
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:04 am

Hi,
Is autopilot to be got rid of? If so why?
By mindful do you mean noticing?
Autopilot to me means not being with the moment but lost in thought, as opposed to being in a flow, getting lost in what you're doing at the moment, losing the feeling of I and just being the creation of something, the doing. That is something I am afraid I seldom experience.

And mindful means noticing, as I've gotten more into the habit of meditation it has had the benefit of making me more aware of the moment even when doing other things.
Do you plan what you are going to think before you think it?
When paying attention and trying to predict thoughts, the whole endeavor seems completely absurd. Thoughts arise out of processes that are completely out of my control, the only thing I can do is to not attach myself to them but to let them come and go, like clouds in the sky.

But:
If you do bring them from where and how?
Since some thoughts recurr all the time, I think they are somehow still linked to my idea of self. Some are of course linked to my everyday life and so its natural that they're there, but some of them are linked to anxieties and hang ups, and have no bearing on my life except in my own head.

"You are not your thoughts" is one of the first and most pivotal messages I took to when starting my meditation practice. I find that liberating. But still, some of that identification with mere words inside the head still persists. The self clings on to them to survive, I feel.

Happy new years!

Love,
Jakob

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Sarah7
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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:38 pm

Hi Jakobb
Autopilot to me means not being with the moment but lost in thought,
Not in the moment? Where did you go then? Is it really a case of thought not liking where you are and saying that you should be paying attention? Well do you control attention? If so watch what happens to attention.
the only thing I can do is to not attach myself to them but to let them come and go,
And how do you let go? How do you choose to accept? Or is that another thought? Dont tell me what happens - tell me how - do you see the difference?
Since some thoughts recur all the time, I think they are somehow still linked to my idea of self.
Is that also a thought?
Can you send thoughts away, stop them or get rid? Can you suppress your next thought before it arises? Does it work?
And a Happy New Year to you too Jakobb and your family!
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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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby jakobb » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:22 pm

Not in the moment? Where did you go then? Is it really a case of thought not liking where you are and saying that you should be paying attention? Well do you control attention? If so watch what happens to attention.
I know what the problem is, its identifying with thoughts, getting pulled into their imaginings of past or future. I am learning though to control the attention and coming back to presence. Thats what meditation practice gives me.
And how do you let go? How do you choose to accept? Or is that another thought? Dont tell me what happens - tell me how - do you see the difference?
I've had glimpses of letting go and acceptance. It was not like a thought, more of a state of mind, a glimpse of cosmic consciousness if you will. It was after a long period of meditation, just not straining myself in any way, sort of relaxing back into consciousness. It took some hours before during that day to let thoughts come and go, come and go, before I was ready to just be still. With the stillness came the letting go.
Is that also a thought?
Can you send thoughts away, stop them or get rid? Can you suppress your next thought before it arises? Does it work?
a. Yes its me trying to make sense of the thoughts after the fact.
b. I have tried those things, but they don't work very well. What works is not getting caught up in them in the first place, watching thoughts glide by, like sitting by a river.
c. No, since thoughts come from places beyond my control, just occuring.
d.No

So, this is what i know. Thoughts come seemingly from out of nowhere, probably as a means to helping this organism survive and procreate and all that dreary stuff. The thought I is what seems to be behind and in all these other thoughts, "I need this", "I hate that". It's the author of the desires and the dislikes.

Wow. Just writing that last thing made me realize. Thoughts come out of nowhere, and the author or protagonist of the thoughts is the "I", which means that the I is nothing but a phantom, a thought within or behind the other thoughts. Going to let this sink in now....

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Re: Piercing the bubble

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:28 pm

Hey Jakobb
I am learning though to control the attention and coming back to presence.
Is this what you think you should be doing? How it should be? Is it wrong to be lost in thought? According to what?
sort of relaxing back into consciousness. It took some hours before during that day to let thoughts come and go, come and go, before I was ready to just be still. With the stillness came the letting go.
But how do you let go of a thought? If you had control over this wouldn't it happen straight away and at any time? And not after having to meditate? You would just be able to do it wouldn't you? Especially as you wrote below too!
No, since thoughts come from places beyond my control, just occuring.
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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