Looking forward to this!

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Bobf
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Wed May 31, 2017 9:34 pm

Hi Maitrivajra,

I have been looking after a very sick friend, which was beautiful and sad, and I also managed to get out to walk on the hills which are lovely at this time of year. :-)
Again, I'm really sorry to hear that.
I want you to think back and re-evoke (if possible) some of these reactive thoughts, to the anger and upset that was arising and ask, ‘What here needs protecting?’ This is not an exercise of working with memory – it is an exercise in the present with the current feelings that arise when you remember what happened. Does it feel that there is a “me” here? What is this “me” made of? Is there a “me” that wishes things were different? More in line with what “I” wants?
When I do this as an exercise (I just did), the answer arising is that there's nothing here that needs protecting. In the actual situation (e.g. fight between my wife and me), I definitely wasn't behaving/reacting in that way!
Going back to the thing with my wife - as I mentioned earlier, when "important" situations arise that are extremely upsetting, I sometimes revert to "non-spiritual" patterns of functioning.
What is it that finds these situations ‘important’? Could it be that there is a contracting into and a relaxation out of a sense of “me”? Anger, if identified with as “mine”, can be very contracting. Don’t take my word for it. Try evoking some of the anger and upset of the last few days. Does it tend to contract you into a sense of “me” being angry?
Yes, I think this was a sense of contracting and relaxing. And evoking the situation does lead to contracting into "me".

So, looking at it from the point of view of contracting and relaxing, does it feel that this describes what was happening here with these ‘openings’?
Yes, it does feel like contracting from and relaxing into experience.
I’m sending lots of kind thoughts, Bob - this isn’t easy. But strong emotion is such an opportunity for inquiry...
Thanks! Let me add one thing that has dampened my inquiry. I see a psychologist (who is really good) most weeks, and was discussing the problems with my wife with her. I was trying to figure out why I've been so tense/anxious for the last couple of weeks - whether its related to my wife or various other happenings in my life. I told her that my fear was that I was somehow internally and subconsciously separating from my wife - giving up on the relationship. Described it as a switch that I was afraid is flipping inside me.

She told me that she thought that this was a cop-out. That switches don't passively flip inside you and that, if I really wanted to leave my wife, I should have a clear understanding of why. I'm bringing this up not for psychological advice, but because it knocked out some of my enthusiasm for LU inquiry. Her point could be interpreted as "don't allow things to just unfold - there is a "you" who can seize control".

Having said all this, a few points:
1. My wife and I have been together since 1985 and its pretty unlikely that we'll break up.
2. I realize that everything I said above (including my shrink's advice) can be reframed in LU terms. That seeing through the self doesn't mean at all that my actions will somehow become precipitous and irrational. "My" behavior was seemingly governed by logic and emotions before, there's no reason that Seeing means that will suddenly change and I'll be subconsciously compelled to leave my wife. I have to say though that I'm having some problems sorting this out and its dampened the inquiry somewhat.

Best wishes to you and your friend,
Bob

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Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:26 am

Hello Bob!
Best wishes to you and your friend
Many thanks, I appreciate your kindness. I want, however, to be explicit to about why that disclosure was made. A) because this is a friendly exchange and you asked about my weekend, so I was honest. B) because I wanted to be clear that ‘painful’ or ‘difficult’ things happen in life. Awakening doesn’t stop that – it doesn’t stop the situation arising where one becomes the carer for a dying friend. That can be accepted, though, and embraced (or not!) and the beauty can be seen in the arising and passing of experience. The stillness into which this all arises is not troubled by any of this – difficult or not.
When I do this as an exercise (I just did), the answer arising is that there's nothing here that needs protecting. In the actual situation (e.g. fight between my wife and me), I definitely wasn't behaving/reacting in that way!
Was that different in comparison to previous experiences of this kind? When we stop protecting / reacting / defending something else can start to arise. It will be interesting to carry on observing this – keep it up! This sounds really positive!
Yes, I think this was a sense of contracting and relaxing. And evoking the situation does lead to contracting into "me"
That’s really helpful to see! How does it sound if we reframe this as ‘contracting into and relaxing out of believing the story?’ Does that sound true? What happens if you hold that concept and re-evoke the situation? Can you experience that contraction and let the sense of “me” arise as a story that is not believed in? This can potentially be very humorous, as “I” struggles to be convincing!
Thanks! Let me add one thing that has dampened my inquiry. I see a psychologist (who is really good) most weeks, and was discussing the problems with my wife with her. I was trying to figure out why I've been so tense/anxious for the last couple of weeks - whether its related to my wife or various other happenings in my life. I told her that my fear was that I was somehow internally and subconsciously separating from my wife - giving up on the relationship. Described it as a switch that I was afraid is flipping inside me.

She told me that she thought that this was a cop-out. That switches don't passively flip inside you and that, if I really wanted to leave my wife, I should have a clear understanding of why. I'm bringing this up not for psychological advice, but because it knocked out some of my enthusiasm for LU inquiry. Her point could be interpreted as "don't allow things to just unfold - there is a "you" who can seize control".
I do have something to say about this. In the story of "me" apparently seizing control might be just the right thing! A good fiction has an apparent plot... There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist. How could there be, it’s what is happening? And this psychologist is good! It’s important to be clear that the work you are doing with her is work in and about the story of “me”. If “I” suffer from ‘stuff’ then it’s fine to work on that stuff in therapy. Therapy can be even more effective after Seeing because there is less investment in propping up egoic structures. However, what we’re doing here is not about fixing “me” – it’s almost like the other side of the coin. We’re investigating the fact that the story of “me” is a story constructed in thought and can be observed without being believed. These things are not incompatible at all, but it may be important to be able to differentiate between the story and that into which the story is arising.

Have you discussed non-duality with your therapist? I know a number of counsellors in my home town who have done LU and can work on that level if appropriate and this can stop these apparent contradictions from arising.
I realize that everything I said above (including my shrink's advice) can be reframed in LU terms. That seeing through the self doesn't mean at all that my actions will somehow become precipitous and irrational. "My" behavior was seemingly governed by logic and emotions before, there's no reason that Seeing means that will suddenly change and I'll be subconsciously compelled to leave my wife.
Ha ha! You are very good at answering your own questions! Do please re-read this and tell me if it still feels true.
I have to say though that I'm having some problems sorting this out and its dampened the inquiry somewhat
Ask yourself if there is some sort of sabotage going on – ‘If I carry on with this inquiry I’ll be subconsciously compelled to do things I don’t want, so it would be better to stop inquiring.'

Looking forward to your responses!
Maitrivajra
When I ask if you exist, I am not asking the thinking mind. I am asking the part of you that already knows.

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:27 pm

Hello Maitrivajra!

Best wishes to you and your friend
Many thanks, I appreciate your kindness. I want, however, to be explicit to about why that disclosure was made. A) because this is a friendly exchange and you asked about my weekend, so I was honest. B) because I wanted to be clear that ‘painful’ or ‘difficult’ things happen in life. Awakening doesn’t stop that – it doesn’t stop the situation arising where one becomes the carer for a dying friend. That can be accepted, though, and embraced (or not!) and the beauty can be seen in the arising and passing of experience. The stillness into which this all arises is not troubled by any of this – difficult or not.
Yes, understood.
When I do this as an exercise (I just did), the answer arising is that there's nothing here that needs protecting. In the actual situation (e.g. fight between my wife and me), I definitely wasn't behaving/reacting in that way!

Was that different in comparison to previous experiences of this kind? When we stop protecting / reacting / defending something else can start to arise. It will be interesting to carry on observing this – keep it up! This sounds really positive!
Maybe it was different, not sure. I will keep observing!
Yes, I think this was a sense of contracting and relaxing. And evoking the situation does lead to contracting into "me"

That’s really helpful to see! How does it sound if we reframe this as ‘contracting into and relaxing out of believing the story?’ Does that sound true? What happens if you hold that concept and re-evoke the situation? Can you experience that contraction and let the sense of “me” arise as a story that is not believed in? This can potentially be very humorous, as “I” struggles to be convincing!
Revisiting the experience, it does seem that when upsetness arises there is a mesmerization with the 'me' story (to the exclusion of all else) and I think this coincides with contraction.

I do have something to say about this. In the story of "me" apparently seizing control might be just the right thing! A good fiction has an apparent plot... There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist. How could there be, it’s what is happening? And this psychologist is good! It’s important to be clear that the work you are doing with her is work in and about the story of “me”. If “I” suffer from ‘stuff’ then it’s fine to work on that stuff in therapy. Therapy can be even more effective after Seeing because there is less investment in propping up egoic structures. However, what we’re doing here is not about fixing “me” – it’s almost like the other side of the coin. We’re investigating the fact that the story of “me” is a story constructed in thought and can be observed without being believed. These things are not incompatible at all, but it may be important to be able to differentiate between the story and that into which the story is arising.
I understand and need to let this sink in.
Have you discussed non-duality with your therapist? I know a number of counsellors in my home town who have done LU and can work on that level if appropriate and this can stop these apparent contradictions from arising.
I've discussed my Buddhist stuff extensively with her over the last 15 years (!). Haven't discussed the non-duality stuff yet. The fear is that she won't understand it, will think its kind of nuts (although she's usually pretty understanding), and that this will dampen my enthusiasm for our inquiry. Also, I agree with what you've said about the different purposes of therapy and non-dual inquiry, so I don't feel a great need to discuss the LU stuff with her. I'm pretty committed to that relationship (although will probably phase out at some point) and seeing yet another person is probably too much for me at the moment!

I realize that everything I said above (including my shrink's advice) can be reframed in LU terms. That seeing through the self doesn't mean at all that my actions will somehow become precipitous and irrational. "My" behavior was seemingly governed by logic and emotions before, there's no reason that Seeing means that will suddenly change and I'll be subconsciously compelled to leave my wife.

Ha ha! You are very good at answering your own questions! Do please re-read this and tell me if it still feels true.
It sort of feels true. I think there is still a fear that seeing through the self will lead to a surrender into processes that could be occurring (e.g. a desire to break up with my wife). That mesmerization with and holding on to "self" somehow prevents that from happening. On the other hand, this idea that I "really" want to break up with my wife is perhaps just a myth that has arisen to sabotage the inquiry and letting go!

I have to say though that I'm having some problems sorting this out and its dampened the inquiry somewhat

Ask yourself if there is some sort of sabotage going on – ‘If I carry on with this inquiry I’ll be subconsciously compelled to do things I don’t want, so it would be better to stop inquiring.'
Did I answer your question in my previous response? Not sure.

Best wishes,
Bob

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:46 pm

One thing I forgot to mention. My therapist continually tells me that what I do is take an arising feeling (e.g. being hurt or angry about something my wife says), build a story around it and believe that the story is true. Which has the effect of inflaming the feeling.

Different words, but not too different from LU if you just take out the "I"s!

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:26 am

Hello Bob!
Revisiting the experience, it does seem that when upsetness arises there is a mesmerization with the 'me' story (to the exclusion of all else) and I think this coincides with contraction.
I love this word – mesmerisation! That’s it! It’s like being hypnotised into a dream of self!
It sort of feels true. I think there is still a fear that seeing through the self will lead to a surrender into processes that could be occurring (e.g. a desire to break up with my wife). That mesmerization with and holding on to "self" somehow prevents that from happening
It’s good to have noticed this fear. The idea of surrendering into ‘process’ feels like you’re giving up control into something that you might not want and that you can somehow prevent this by clinging to a “me” that has control and is able to stop this from happening. But you never had control in the first place, so nothing would change (in that sense) and so your fear is unfounded – although understandable. It’s what “I” would inevitably feel.
On the other hand, this idea that I "really" want to break up with my wife is perhaps just a myth that has arisen to sabotage the inquiry and letting go!
It might be good to sit with this question and not try to answer it – ‘is there some sort of sabotage going on?’ Just being aware of the possibility can be helpful. Trying to answer the question cognitively is just going back into the mind.
One thing I forgot to mention. My therapist continually tells me that what I do is take an arising feeling (e.g. being hurt or angry about something my wife says), build a story around it and believe that the story is true. Which has the effect of inflaming the feeling.

Different words, but not too different from LU if you just take out the "I"s!
Yes, if you take out the “I”s this is great! The therapeutic assumption is that there is a “me” that believes or doesn’t believe the story, but if that assumption is seen through then stories are clearly just stories.

Don’t forget, the Buddha taught non-duality (do you know the story of Bahir?) and so if you discuss Buddhism, no-self (anatta) is a fundamental part of that.

It seems to me that you are beginning to understand that the underpinning of your resistance to ‘letting go’ or relaxing into direct experience is this fear that it will lead to unwanted consequences. It’s fantastic to see this! It might be necessary to face this full on and ask ‘Is this true?’ Again, not with regards to coming up with a cognitive answer, but to sit with the question and see what arises from the heart.

Try doing some meditation / breathing / direct experience of the body today if you can to keep this from becoming too heady! :-)

All the best
Maitrivajra
When I ask if you exist, I am not asking the thinking mind. I am asking the part of you that already knows.

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:17 am

Also, just a quick heads-up that I am going away on leave for 3 1/2 weeks from 20th June and on retreat for 9 days at the end of July and so we need to bear this in mind.
M
When I ask if you exist, I am not asking the thinking mind. I am asking the part of you that already knows.

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:00 pm

Hello!
It sort of feels true. I think there is still a fear that seeing through the self will lead to a surrender into processes that could be occurring (e.g. a desire to break up with my wife). That mesmerization with and holding on to "self" somehow prevents that from happening
It’s good to have noticed this fear. The idea of surrendering into ‘process’ feels like you’re giving up control into something that you might not want and that you can somehow prevent this by clinging to a “me” that has control and is able to stop this from happening. But you never had control in the first place, so nothing would change (in that sense) and so your fear is unfounded – although understandable. It’s what “I” would inevitably feel.
Understood. Its hard to let go of the idea that there is "choosing" and "control going" on. That "I" can either continue inquiring and risk what comes up or I can do something else which minimizes the chance of that happening. The thought arises that "what if LU is wrong and there really is a "me"? Shouldn't "I" do things to prevent unwanted outcomes from happening?". Without having Seen no-self unequivocally it seems risky to trust that it's real!

On the other hand, this idea that I "really" want to break up with my wife is perhaps just a myth that has arisen to sabotage the inquiry and letting go!
It might be good to sit with this question and not try to answer it – ‘is there some sort of sabotage going on?’ Just being aware of the possibility can be helpful. Trying to answer the question cognitively is just going back into the mind.
Want to make sure I understand. By sabotage, I'm assuming you mean sabotage of the inquiry?

Don’t forget, the Buddha taught non-duality (do you know the story of Bahir?) and so if you discuss Buddhism, no-self (anatta) is a fundamental part of that.
Not sure if I know that story, but its debatable as to whether the idea of anatta is intrinsic to Buddhism. For example, in Stephen Batchelor's latest book (I believe its called "After Buddhism"), he says that Buddhism really does have a belief in self. Its different from what most people mean by self (e.g. its a verb not a noun, the 5 skandhas, etc.), but its there. You often hear Buddhists saying that "you" can resolve to be mindful, commit to practice, or whatever. But this is all intellectual stuff that I don't want to get bogged down with!
It seems to me that you are beginning to understand that the underpinning of your resistance to ‘letting go’ or relaxing into direct experience is this fear that it will lead to unwanted consequences. It’s fantastic to see this! It might be necessary to face this full on and ask ‘Is this true?’ Again, not with regards to coming up with a cognitive answer, but to sit with the question and see what arises from the heart.
This is great advice and I will do it!
Try doing some meditation / breathing / direct experience of the body today if you can to keep this from becoming too heady! :-)
OK
Also, just a quick heads-up that I am going away on leave for 3 1/2 weeks from 20th June and on retreat for 9 days at the end of July and so we need to bear this in mind.
OK. Also, I will be in Singapore from June 15-22.

Have a great weekend,
Bob

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:41 am

Hello Bob!

I got caught up yesterday and wasn’t able to post, sorry about that.
Its hard to let go of the idea that there is "choosing" and "control going" on. That "I" can either continue inquiring and risk what comes up or I can do something else which minimizes the chance of that happening.
It’s impossible for “me” to let go of anything! :-) Choosing and control are just concepts. Any sense of doing anything to minimize risk is just a layering of thought and concept on top of Reality. Remember the exercise with imaging a brick? After you have imagined a brick, how do you put the non-existent brick down? You don’t, you simply realise that it never existed. Like Santa Claus, like the monster under the bed.
The thought arises that "what if LU is wrong and there really is a "me"? Shouldn't "I" do things to prevent unwanted outcomes from happening?". Without having Seen no-self unequivocally it seems risky to trust that it's real!
Blah, blah, blah! :-) Actually, there is a simple exercise around this. Sit for a while and just experience your body and breath directly. If you can settle into this for even a minute or two, allow the next thing to happen. It might be getting a drink, or going out to walk the dog, or if you’re at work, going to collect a document from the printer, etc. etc. Whatever it is, see if you can notice that it still happens when you drop authorship and ownership of actions. Is choosing necessary for you to get up in the morning, or does it simply happen? Do you need to ‘choose’ to eat when you’re hungry?
Want to make sure I understand. By sabotage, I'm assuming you mean sabotage of the inquiry?
Yes. Can you see that a statement such as ‘Without having Seen no-self unequivocally it seems risky to trust that it's real!’ can just keep you from relaxing and letting go? Thoughts like ‘It’s just too risky to believe that there is no self,’ say, are a manifestation of your doubt. They are well expressed, and seem to refer to something (‘unwanted things might happen’) but they are just thoughts…

Anatta: Yes, let’s leave that alone, or we’ll get bogged down in the intellect! :-)
It seems to me that you are beginning to understand that the underpinning of your resistance to ‘letting go’ or relaxing into direct experience is this fear that it will lead to unwanted consequences. It’s fantastic to see this! It might be necessary to face this full on and ask ‘Is this true?’ Again, not with regards to coming up with a cognitive answer, but to sit with the question and see what arises from the heart.

This is great advice and I will do it!
Let me know how you get on with this. Getting a sudden upsurge of doubt could be very significant. When it feels like you’re about to fall off a cliff, there can be a jolt away from it, a sort of panicky feeling of vertigo. But it’s OK to fall off the cliff. It’s just the mind that tells you (incorrectly) that it is dangerous. :-)

All the best
Maitrivajra
When I ask if you exist, I am not asking the thinking mind. I am asking the part of you that already knows.

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:06 am

Hi Maitrivajra,

Will post tomorrow from work.

Best wishes,
Bob

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:53 am

Re: doubt. Everything happened just as it did, before, when there was the illusion of choice. If you take the illusions of choice, ownership and "me" away, why would things change?
M
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:52 pm

Hello again!

Hope all is well with you.
Its hard to let go of the idea that there is "choosing" and "control going" on. That "I" can either continue inquiring and risk what comes up or I can do something else which minimizes the chance of that happening.

It’s impossible for “me” to let go of anything! :-) Choosing and control are just concepts. Any sense of doing anything to minimize risk is just a layering of thought and concept on top of Reality. Remember the exercise with imaging a brick? After you have imagined a brick, how do you put the non-existent brick down? You don’t, you simply realise that it never existed. Like Santa Claus, like the monster under the bed.
Yes, I see that.

The thought arises that "what if LU is wrong and there really is a "me"? Shouldn't "I" do things to prevent unwanted outcomes from happening?". Without having Seen no-self unequivocally it seems risky to trust that it's real!

Blah, blah, blah! :-) Actually, there is a simple exercise around this. Sit for a while and just experience your body and breath directly. If you can settle into this for even a minute or two, allow the next thing to happen. It might be getting a drink, or going out to walk the dog, or if you’re at work, going to collect a document from the printer, etc. etc. Whatever it is, see if you can notice that it still happens when you drop authorship and ownership of actions. Is choosing necessary for you to get up in the morning, or does it simply happen? Do you need to ‘choose’ to eat when you’re hungry?
I just did this. It was easy for me to sit and "pause thought". At some point, my body just got up, with no thought of what to do next.
Want to make sure I understand. By sabotage, I'm assuming you mean sabotage of the inquiry?
Yes. Can you see that a statement such as ‘Without having Seen no-self unequivocally it seems risky to trust that it's real!’ can just keep you from relaxing and letting go? Thoughts like ‘It’s just too risky to believe that there is no self,’ say, are a manifestation of your doubt. They are well expressed, and seem to refer to something (‘unwanted things might happen’) but they are just thoughts…
It seems to me that you are beginning to understand that the underpinning of your resistance to ‘letting go’ or relaxing into direct experience is this fear that it will lead to unwanted consequences. It’s fantastic to see this! It might be necessary to face this full on and ask ‘Is this true?’ Again, not with regards to coming up with a cognitive answer, but to sit with the question and see what arises from the heart.

This is great advice and I will do it!
What seems to come up (things are murky today) is the thought that processes go on in this body-mind and that actions emerge spontaneously. That thoughts that come up about "my" ability to control this are probably nonsense. But there is still a "feeling" sometimes that I am making decisions.
Let me know how you get on with this. Getting a sudden upsurge of doubt could be very significant. When it feels like you’re about to fall off a cliff, there can be a jolt away from it, a sort of panicky feeling of vertigo. But it’s OK to fall off the cliff. It’s just the mind that tells you (incorrectly) that it is dangerous. :-)

Re: doubt. Everything happened just as it did, before, when there was the illusion of choice. If you take the illusions of choice, ownership and "me" away, why would things change?
Thanks for that. I'll keep looking and reporting!

Best wishes,
Bob

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:58 am

Hello Bob!
It’s impossible for “me” to let go of anything! :-) Choosing and control are just concepts. Any sense of doing anything to minimize risk is just a layering of thought and concept on top of Reality. Remember the exercise with imaging a brick? After you have imagined a brick, how do you put the non-existent brick down? You don’t, you simply realise that it never existed. Like Santa Claus, like the monster under the bed.
Yes, I see that
.

Good stuff! It’s remembering to remember that’s the habit that’s so useful.
I just did this. It was easy for me to sit and "pause thought". At some point, my body just got up, with no thought of what to do next.
Great! :-) This is an incredibly useful thing to have noticed! What happened to your sense of authorship and ownership of those actions when you did this? Can you do this more of the time?
What seems to come up (things are murky today) is the thought that processes go on in this body-mind and that actions emerge spontaneously. That thoughts that come up about "my" ability to control this are probably nonsense. But there is still a "feeling" sometimes that I am making decisions.
Say more about this feeling. Where is it held in the body? Can you describe it in terms of body sensation? Is it a contracted or relaxed feeling?

All the best
Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:16 pm

Hello!

I just did this. It was easy for me to sit and "pause thought". At some point, my body just got up, with no thought of what to do next.
Great! :-) This is an incredibly useful thing to have noticed! What happened to your sense of authorship and ownership of those actions when you did this? Can you do this more of the time?
As I've mentioned, the sense of authorship has evolved through our dialogue. When "I" pause and look, it seems clear (although not unequivocally so) that thoughts and actions just arise. But there is usually still a sense of "I" (more about that below).
What seems to come up (things are murky today) is the thought that processes go on in this body-mind and that actions emerge spontaneously. That thoughts that come up about "my" ability to control this are probably nonsense. But there is still a "feeling" sometimes that I am making decisions.
Say more about this feeling. Where is it held in the body? Can you describe it in terms of body sensation? Is it a contracted or relaxed feeling?
I would describe it either as a contracted feeling or as a feeling of focus or concentration. Hard to localize, but somewhere in the head area (although not necessarily inside the head). For example, if the thought arises that I should think hard about something, there is a sense of concentration emanating from a point in space - of a "me" thinking. Right now, if I try to focus on the feeling of "I", there is a sense that it exists. This sense is either weaker of perhaps non-existent when I feel less contracted. This "feeling" is the crux of the problem!

This all goes in waves. When I'm out walking around and looking at the world, there is more spaciousness and less me.

Bob
Bob

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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:30 am

Hello Bob!
For example, if the thought arises that I should think hard about something, there is a sense of concentration emanating from a point in space - of a "me" thinking. Right now, if I try to focus on the feeling of "I", there is a sense that it exists.
I’m going to say a little about what happened this morning, which may or may not be helpful! :-) When I was waking up, I was aware of doubts of the kind that you describe. It seemed that there was a “me” with all sorts of things to get done – work is very busy at the moment with quite a lot of stress and urgency. I remembered our conversations about doubt, and lay there experiencing this “me”, finding it very plausible, and the doubts started to build into certainty that non-duality was all complete rubbish and that the sensible thing would be to drop any inquiry and get on with “my” life. It was all very seductive. Then, I brought to mind my actual experience of life living by itself; of the way in which ‘stuff’ happens all by itself without that seductive, persuasive voice trying to be the captain of the ship that is Maitrivajra. Quiet suddenly, and with a bit of a burst of laughter, it could be seen that what had been happening was the indulgence in a thought structure that simply becomes more and more plausible the more it is allowed to solidify through belief. Doubts do arise here, but usually they don’t last more than a few seconds and they are not very convincing.

With regards to your experience, saying ‘Right now, if I try to focus on the feeling of "I", there is a sense that it exists,’ seems to fit with how these thought structures work as they’ve been experienced here.
This sense is either weaker or perhaps non-existent when I feel less contracted. This "feeling" is the crux of the problem!
Yes, I think you’re right! For you, the sense of self can be really convincing, with a lifetime of habit behind it and a culture that hugely reinforces it.

How would you describe “self” to a friend or neighbour who stops you and says, ‘I’ve heard about non-duality and I’ve been told that you know something about it – can you explain it to me?’

All the best
Maitrivajra
When I ask if you exist, I am not asking the thinking mind. I am asking the part of you that already knows.

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Bobf
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:43 pm

Hello!
For example, if the thought arises that I should think hard about something, there is a sense of concentration emanating from a point in space - of a "me" thinking. Right now, if I try to focus on the feeling of "I", there is a sense that it exists.

I’m going to say a little about what happened this morning, which may or may not be helpful! :-) When I was waking up, I was aware of doubts of the kind that you describe. It seemed that there was a “me” with all sorts of things to get done – work is very busy at the moment with quite a lot of stress and urgency. I remembered our conversations about doubt, and lay there experiencing this “me”, finding it very plausible, and the doubts started to build into certainty that non-duality was all complete rubbish and that the sensible thing would be to drop any inquiry and get on with “my” life. It was all very seductive. Then, I brought to mind my actual experience of life living by itself; of the way in which ‘stuff’ happens all by itself without that seductive, persuasive voice trying to be the captain of the ship that is Maitrivajra. Quiet suddenly, and with a bit of a burst of laughter, it could be seen that what had been happening was the indulgence in a thought structure that simply becomes more and more plausible the more it is allowed to solidify through belief. Doubts do arise here, but usually they don’t last more than a few seconds and they are not very convincing.
Wow, your description is very interesting to me! Reassuring that doubts also arise for you (however briefly) that are similar to mine. In your ordinary life, is there mostly a sense of no-self?
I think I'm going to assign myself a different kind of exercise. I'm going to try doing the opposite of what I've been doing with you. Rather than looking to see how everything is happening selflessly, I'm going to try to emphasize selfhood. See what happens if I try to convince myself that there is an "I" in charge during ordinarily activities. I'm interested to see what happens. Make sense?

By the way, I just took a walk and felt very open and spacious. Tried to watch how things arise. In spite of the fact that I've been feeling tenser than usual for the last few weeks, there was more of a sense of spaciousness.
How would you describe “self” to a friend or neighbour who stops you and says, ‘I’ve heard about non-duality and I’ve been told that you know something about it – can you explain it to me?’
That's easy! I often talk about this with my zen buddies. What I'd say is that everything is just happening. That there is no self that is controlling things, experiencing things, thinking thoughts. That perceptions, thoughts, and emotions are just arising of their own accord. That there is no gradual path to self-improvement or enlightenment. That "enlightenment" is already present, only masked (most of the time) by mesmerization with the thought story.

It feels very true to me when I say that! As I've mentioned there is often a feeling that "I'm" already "enlightened" and am simply waiting for permission to live from that! (As Nathan Gill described it).

Best wishes,
Bob


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