Looking forward to this!

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Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:33 am

Hello Bob!
Wow, your description is very interesting to me! Reassuring that doubts also arise for you (however briefly) that are similar to mine.
These kind of thoughts are habits that can have a lot of momentum. When Seeing begins to happen, for some people these habits can be completely broken in one go – but mostly they just dwindle over time as they are not being fuelled by a belief in a thinker. Why wouldn’t thoughts like these come up for you? You can probably assume that they will carry on for you for some time, given the regularity with they arise (although that can be a dangerous assumption! :-) ). The question is whether there can be an allowing of the sense that they are true to subside. And remember “you” have no power to make that happen. With inquiry, it becomes more likely. To misquote a Zen master: ‘Awakening is an accident. Inquiry makes accidents more likely to happen.’
In your ordinary life, is there mostly a sense of no-self?
I would counter that by saying that in YOUR ordinary life there are probably whole tracts of time when there is no sense of self. You’re just getting on with things. The problem is that “I” reclaims all those actions, via memory, when they are thought about: ‘I did that!’ Remember the word ‘ordinary’ – we’re not looking for a perpetual peak experience… Remember the LU guide who referred to the ‘utter, beautiful, visceral, down and dirty, right here and now simplicity and ordinariness of insight’. That’s the other side of the coin – the delightful knowing that for so many years I’d believed in this “me” and that I’d invested in that so much that I could never see beyond it. What a delightful joke to understand that I’d been so misled!

I wonder if you still imagine, on some level, that awakening will be a perpetual peak experience?
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?
Go for it! :-) See what happens! (If I don’t hear from you again I’ll know it didn’t work! :-) )
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.
Good to hear this!
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.
That’s beautiful, Bob!
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).
What is it that is going to give you permission? ‘When’ might that happen?

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 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:04 pm

Hello!
I wonder if you still imagine, on some level, that awakening will be a perpetual peak experience?
That's a good question. I think that there's a desire that there will be an enduring sense of relief and relaxing, with less of a "trying" to hold things together.
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?
Go for it! :-) See what happens! (If I don’t hear from you again I’ll know it didn’t work! :-) )
That's really funny! I've only started doing this experiment, but I'm sure you'll continue to here from me.
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.
That’s beautiful, Bob!
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).
What is it that is going to give you permission? ‘When’ might that happen?
Perhaps I'm asking permission from you? But what may actually be going on here is a strong inclination to speak and act from what I described above with confidence - to take my stand in selflessnes. I've always assumed that what would happen is unequivocal Seeing, which would then be followed by living from that. For me, it may be the other way around - allowing myself to live as if Seeing has already occurred (which perhaps it has) and see where that leads. Alternatively, what I've said in this paragraph may be nonsense!

In any case, I found your last post to be very helpful and plan to reread it when i have more time. I'm driving with my family to New York City tomorrow, to drop my daughter off at the airport (she's doing study abroad for 10 weeks in Ireland!), so I won't be able to post tomorrow and possibly Saturday. Looking forward to our continued conversation!

All the best
Bob

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Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:49 am

Hello Bob!
I've only started doing this experiment, but I'm sure you'll continue to hear from me.
Good! Let me know how it goes.
For me, it may be the other way around - allowing myself to live as if Seeing has already occurred (which perhaps it has) and see where that leads.
This is referred to in Buddhism as ‘Acting as if…’ It can be really helpful.

I hope you have a good break and look forward to hearing how your inquiry has been going when you get back.
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 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:17 am

Hello again!
I've only started doing this experiment, but I'm sure you'll continue to hear from me.
Good! Let me know how it goes.
For me, it may be the other way around - allowing myself to live as if Seeing has already occurred (which perhaps it has) and see where that leads.
This is referred to in Buddhism as ‘Acting as if…’ It can be really helpful.
Not much to report this evening. Inquiry has been sporadic for the last couple of days, but will get back to it this week. I hope your weekend was good and that all is well with you.

Bob

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Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:49 pm

Hello Bob!

I am aware that soon you'll be away for a while and then I'll be away for several weeks.

I am wondering if now might be the time for you to have a period of settling into your inquiry and living as if Seeing has already occurred, etc.? It may be that this would be helpful and that you could return to LU-style inquiry once you've had that lived experience for a while? It May also be beneficial to work with another guide who can bring a fresh perspective.

What do you think? No two 'journeys' are the same. In my case, I needed a few months of practice every now and then to let stuff settle before I moved on to a new level with my inquiry. But it May be very different for you.

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 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:43 pm

Hi Maitrivajra,
I am aware that soon you'll be away for a while and then I'll be away for several weeks.

I am wondering if now might be the time for you to have a period of settling into your inquiry and living as if Seeing has already occurred, etc.? It may be that this would be helpful and that you could return to LU-style inquiry once you've had that lived experience for a while? It May also be beneficial to work with another guide who can bring a fresh perspective.

What do you think? No two 'journeys' are the same. In my case, I needed a few months of practice every now and then to let stuff settle before I moved on to a new level with my inquiry. But it May be very different for you.
By "settling into your inquiry", are you referring to the idea I proposed about doing the opposite of the LU approach (i.e. acting as if I have a self?)?

I have been planning to try that - I've been extremely busy/stressed and with back problems, which has put a temporary damper on things. My plan was to give the anti-LU approach a try (probably briefly) and then to return to LU inquiry (I'm assuming that the anti-LU inquiry won't go anywhere but want to get it out of my system. At that point, I also want to try the "living as if" approach.

Just to be clear, my commitment to this inquiry hasn't faded. I have mixed feelings about trying a different guide because I think you've been great! I hope that you're not suggesting that because you're thinking that its taking too long in my case?

On the other hand, I realize that a fresh perspective can be useful. Also, it may be that a period where I assimilate things and live "as if" (i.e. without daily posts) might be a good idea.

I don't have a strong preference here and am willing to go with whatever you suggest!

Bob

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Bobf
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Bobf » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:17 am

An addendum:

I finally had a period of free time (walking the dog), so I tried the "anti-LU" exercise. If anything, it increased commitment to selflessness. Its pretty clear to me that in my ordinary life, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions just arise. Perhaps, there is occasionally the sense that there is an "I" who can concentrate, steer "my" thoughts in a particular directions, etc., but its clear that this isn't the normal state of affairs.

As for our dialogue, I had been thinking lately that posting every day may be too much. That it helps to have periods of time where I can do inquiry and let it sink in. So if we continue, every few days or once a week might be fine.

In terms of whether I should try a different guide, I could go either way. On the one hand, I think that you're well-suited to me because you have a good grasp of the previous approaches I've tried (Buddhism, etc.), are down to earth, and are smart enough to follow my sometimes convoluted logic. On the other hand, a fresh perspective could be useful and I do worry that you're getting frustrated with my inability to unequivocally See. So as I said, I'm open to whatever you recommend!

In the upcoming few weeks, I'm going to continue with LU inquiry and try living "as if".

All the best,
Bob

Bob

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Maitrivajra
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:32 am

Hello Bob!

Thank you for your kind words about my guiding, that's really appreciated!

I would like to be very definite and clear that I have not at any time become frustrated or felt that you are taking 'too long'! :-) In fact, I have really enjoyed seeing a shift that has been happening over time (as I perceive it). See if you agree with this: I would say that you have shifted from having doubts that are quite convincing and wanting to work with them in order to decide whether they have any substance, to understanding that they have no substance and being more orientated towards how to - eventually - stop paying them your attention, or stopping them altogether. I may not have got this quite right, but it's something along these lines, This may seem quite subtle, but I have really noticed and enjoyed it.

I also have no doubt that your commitment to inquiry remains as strong as ever. :-) However, this kind of inquiry works best as a major daily commitment - a sort of relentless 'starving of the seeker' as Tony Parsons calls it, day in, day out. It's a huge commitment to make!

I would suggest that we stop for the time being and you continue with inquiry as you are doing - I had no particular idea of what that might look like. i.e. The sesshin that you went on sounded interesting and helpful, and also the anti-LU exercise that you did when walking the dog - how interesting that self seems to become less plausible the more you try to prop it up!

So my advice is to carry on with the practice of inquiry, however it arises for you - stay interested - and when you feel ready for another period of intense daily inquiry with a guide, try someone new to see how that feels.

Remember there is a 'private message' tab towards the top right of the screen and you can send me a PM if at any point you want to ask a question or if you have tried another guide and would prefer to pick up with me again. If I am free, I would be delighted to work with you again. I haven't experienced your 'sometimes convoluted logic' - on the contrary, you have been very good at describing what is going on for you.

kindest regards
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 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:17 pm

Thank you for your wonderful post Maitrivajra. Here are some reactions:
would like to be very definite and clear that I have not at any time become frustrated or felt that you are taking 'too long'! :-) In fact, I have really enjoyed seeing a shift that has been happening over time (as I perceive it). See if you agree with this: I would say that you have shifted from having doubts that are quite convincing and wanting to work with them in order to decide whether they have any substance, to understanding that they have no substance and being more orientated towards how to - eventually - stop paying them your attention, or stopping them altogether. I may not have got this quite right, but it's something along these lines, This may seem quite subtle, but I have really noticed and enjoyed it.
I'm quite relieved by your first sentence above. I think your summary is pretty accurate - there is significantly less obsessing about the "doubts" I had when I started and more periods of simply watching "myself" in action. As you've seen, there have been times that felt like breakthroughs and other times of feeling stuck, but the truth is somewhere in the middle.
I also have no doubt that your commitment to inquiry remains as strong as ever. :-) However, this kind of inquiry works best as a major daily commitment - a sort of relentless 'starving of the seeker' as Tony Parsons calls it, day in, day out. It's a huge commitment to make!
OK, point taken. I actually haven't tired of the daily commitment. I have occasionally wondered whether having occasional gaps to put the exercises into practice would be helpful, but I'm fine with continuing on a daily basis.
I would suggest that we stop for the time being and you continue with inquiry as you are doing - I had no particular idea of what that might look like. i.e. The sesshin that you went on sounded interesting and helpful, and also the anti-LU exercise that you did when walking the dog - how interesting that self seems to become less plausible the more you try to prop it up!
So my advice is to carry on with the practice of inquiry, however it arises for you - stay interested - and when you feel ready for another period of intense daily inquiry with a guide, try someone new to see how that feels.
This sounds like a reasonable plan. I'm guessing that after a pretty short period of time (e.g. 3 weeks), I'll be ready to start up again with a new guide. As I see it, the negatives are that I'll have to "get to know" another person, which includes revealing my various "flaws". The positive will be, as you've said, a fresh perspective. I will very much miss our interactions, but will certainly stay in touch. Thinking that you'll respond to this, I'll say "goodbye" tomorrow!

Best wishes,
Bob

Remember there is a 'private message' tab towards the top right of the screen and you can send me a PM if at any point you want to ask a question or if you have tried another guide and would prefer to pick up with me again. If I am free, I would be delighted to work with you again. I haven't experienced your 'sometimes convoluted logic' - on the contrary, you have been very good at describing what is going on for you.

kindest regards
Maitrivajra

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Maitrivajra
Posts: 153
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Re: Looking forward to this!

Postby Maitrivajra » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:17 am

Hello Bob!
As I see it, the negatives are that I'll have to "get to know" another person, which includes revealing my various "flaws". The positive will be, as you've said, a fresh perspective.
Answering all those basic questions is a great way to get into the swing again – and you may answer some of them very differently! :-)

I wish you well, Bob, and have very much enjoyed our time together!

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 14, 2017 6:50 pm

Hi Maitrivajra,

I also wish you all the best and thank you for all the help you've given me!

Bob


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