self-delusion

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puthujjana
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self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:14 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
The idea that "there is no real, inherent 'self'" means that the concept of me is baseless, that thoughts of self are just thoughts, and not connected to an distinguishable thing.

What are you looking for at LU?
A guide knows the terrain and knows paths I would not know to look for. I am looking for that kind of guidance. I have a meditation practice, but I have never spent much time in spiritual contemplation. Perhaps regularly posting to a thread in LU can kick start a contemplation practice for me.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be challenged about things that "I don't know that I don't know" I expect some experiences I would not have were it not for engaging in the conversation. I hope that at the conclusion of the conversation to have a visceral experience of "no-self".

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've spent most of my life seeking some spiritual truth or insight. About six years ago I was introduced to the idea of being responsible for my understanding of God. This meant I should not look to doctrines, holy scripture, logical arguments or others' experience of God. It is up to me to turn over my will and my life to God as I understand God. That responsibility was daunting at first, but finally liberating and the beginning of true faith for me.

In my youth, I was an atheist, a Christian and then an atheist again. As a Christian, I had practices of regular worship, prayer and study. I had experiences of extended prayer and of fasted.

As an atheist I pursued personal growth and had a number of spiritual experiences. I had a practice of study and service in that context.

About 3 years ago I began to identify as a Buddhist. This shift, along with turning over my will and my life to God as I understand God, has caused to arise an experience of faith in the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dhamma. I regularly meditate, listen to Dhamma talks and fellowship with other seekers (though not all, or even very many of them, are Buddhist).

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?: 8

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:06 pm

From Gateless Gatecrashers, p 17:
So now look at the real possibility that there is no “you” in real life. That all is happening by itself, without a manager. Look inside and tell me what feeling comes up; do you recognise fear, resistance, frustration, what is it?
There are many, many thoughts that I am aware of when I contemplate this possibilty. The thoughts mostly have one of two themes. The dominate themes is confusion. Who is considering that possibilty? Me, of course, but...

The other theme is I witness myself trying to outwit this attack on the illusion of myself. Maybe if I say the right things I'll get through the gate and still exist. There is a desire to survive this process and and another desire (stronger, I think) to see through the illusion.

I think that behind both of these is fear, but that sense of fear is not obvious to me right now. That is to say, as I consider this possibility, I don't feel afraid.

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Ilona
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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:27 pm

Hi puthujjana and welcome to the forum.
Glad you made it here.

Thank you for intro and your readiness to examine the most important question.
Yes, there is a confusion, because there is a belief that there is a who. There is no who. The question who is empty. It points to nothing. There is no entity there at all and asking who questions is asking a moot question, no answer can be found. So that's the root of confusion. Whrong question.
Is there I, as a separate entity in charge of a piece of life? - ask this and write to me exact LU what comes up as it comes up.

The fear is normal here and it's ok that it shows up, it is only trying to protect. It can be very subtle. But take a look, what is that wants to be protected? And from what exactly?

Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:32 pm

Is there I, as a separate entity in charge of a piece of life? - ask this and write to me exact LU what comes up as it comes up.
There is not "I". What comes up are thoughts and feelings. Thoughts of "my". My story, my family, my things. And there are feelings as the thoughts arise. Feelings of fear, "I like myself, I don't want to lose myself." A feeling of embarrassment, "There is no self, I know that", a thought that doesn't make sense, is self contradictory. Who is feeling? Who is thinking? There is the thought/memory "empty phenomena, rolling on". A thought of "aha" , a feeling of peace.

The thought arises "I'm still here". Like the experience of the shimmer water on the hightway. I know there's no water up there, but I don't stop seeing it. I know there's no "I", but I don't stop thinking "I".
The fear is normal here and it's ok that it shows up, it is only trying to protect. It can be very subtle. But take a look, what is that wants to be protected? And from what exactly?
There is the thought of I and there is the desire to be right about that thought of "I", that story of me. It is a thought, only a thought. So, there is nothing to protect, nothing to lose. And yet.. a thought I keep thinking and as I think it, it does irritate me. Now more than ever. I don't think I can command my thoughts, there is no "I" to command them. There is volition. There is will. What can give rise to a volition to attend to reality and abandon the illusion?

- Otto

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Ilona
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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:46 am

The thought arises "I'm still here". Like the experience of the shimmer water on the hightway. I know there's no water up there, but I don't stop seeing it. I know there's no "I", but I don't stop thinking "I".
Let's dig right here
The thought arises. Is there i thinking it? Is I thought a thinker? Is there a thinker? Take a look in experience and answer each question.
Is voice in the head the thinker? Who is this voice talking to?
Do you know what the next thought will be before it arrives?
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Try. Stop thinking for 5 min.
What happens?

Play with this and report what you find
Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:23 pm

The thought arises. Is there i thinking it? Is I thought a thinker? Is there a thinker? Take a look in experience and answer each question.
No, there is no I thinking the thought. The "I" thought is just another thought. Thoughts arise without a thinker. In experience "I" thoughts arise along with thoughts like "A bird is singing", "The alarm is sounding", "I feel the keys on the keyboard as I type". The experience is a thought and a knowing of the thought happening at the same moment.
Is voice in the head the thinker? Who is this voice talking to?
Do you know what the next thought will be before it arrives?
The voice in the head is not the thinker, it's a thought. The voice is talking to the thought of "I", to the illusion. I don't know what the next thought will be. That's an interesting experience, waiting for the next thought. The wait is never long. Thoughts are there all the time.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
Try. Stop thinking for 5 min.
What happens?
I can put my attention on something and focus on it. But the focus doesn't last long, much less than five minutes. I had the experience of willing my thoughts to stop and at first, verbal thoughts did stop, but visual thoughts proliferated, and then verbal thoughts returned.

It's evident that thoughts are continous and that as long as I am conscious they continue. The thoughts are internal though, internal to my mind. When I hear a bird sing or an alarm sound, those things are external. Other people can hear them. This internal nature of thoughts leads me to think they are mine.

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Ilona
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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:06 pm

Thank you for answers.
Now let's take a look, is there a line that separates inside and outside? Close your eyes and find the line. Is bird singing inside or outside? Are thoughts heard inside or outside? And what is that owns the thoughts? Does that own the bird singing too? Is there an owner at all?

Take a look and report back.

Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:38 am

Now let's take a look, is there a line that separates inside and outside?Close your eyes and find the line. Is bird singing inside or outside? Are thoughts heard inside or outside?
In my experience, when I close my eyes and listen, there is only the perception, there is no line between inside or outside for the perception.
And what is that owns the thoughts? Does that own the bird singing too? Is there an owner at all?
There is no owner at all.

When I first read your question I felt stunned and a sense of fear arose in me. "How can I deny the external world?" It took me some time to calm down and read your question with the intention of following your direction and answering. When I read and follow your directions, the "I" disappears. I definitely have the sense of learning something, something that comes and goes.

Thank you for your guidance.

- Otto

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Ilona
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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:19 pm

Hi Otto,
Thank you for answer.
Good to notice that internal/external are labels, not actuality. In actuality there is no internal or external perception, it's all one boundless awareness.

Look around, is there inside and outside the view? Is sound happening inside or outside? Taste, smell, touch, is it inside or outside? Just play with this to drive the point home.

The fear is natural here, it protects a worldview from being messed up with. The beliefs create a structure and any attempt to challenge them is met by protection. Can you see how fear steps in when world view is being questioned? Welcome that fear, it is showing the way to what to explore next.

Look behind the fear, what is that needs to be protected? What is there?

Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:30 am

Look around, is there inside and outside the view? Is sound happening inside or outside? Taste, smell, touch, is it inside or outside? Just play with this to drive the point home.
Yes, touching, tasting, hearing, seeing, thinking, smelling awareness is unbounded. The object of the awareness is a thought, the organ of awareness is another thought. The experience is unbounded awareness.
Can you see how fear steps in when world view is being questioned? Welcome that fear, it is showing the way to what to explore next.
Yes, it happens automatically. It's a big clue as to what I want to defend. So many concepts make up my world. Each concept is a thought that stands in front of the experience, occluding it.
Look behind the fear, what is that needs to be protected? What is there?
The image that occurs for me is a child standing there, saying "No!", turning and covering something. The image rotates, the something the child covers is nothing. There is nothing there. Nothing to protect.

By paying close attention and focusing on what is being done, I disappears. I remember this experience, it is one of the things I like about my work. It's very absorbing. There is a difference between the memory of that experience and this moment. Maybe it's a forgetfulness that's was present in being absorbed in a task that is absent now. Maybe it's just that that's a memory and this is happening now.

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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:25 pm


The image that occurs for me is a child standing there, saying "No!", turning and covering something. The image rotates, the something the child covers is nothing. There is nothing there. Nothing to protect.

Oh yes! That's what I wanted you to see. Nothing to protect. So seeing that, does the fear still need to protect nothing?

If there really is no i as a separate entity, does it need to be protected?


Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:39 am

Oh yes! That's what I wanted you to see. Nothing to protect. So seeing that, does the fear still need to protect nothing?

If there really is no i as a separate entity, does it need to be protected?
No, it's clear that there is no need to protect my self. The experience of fear is absent. My view of the self as an illusion is clear.

There is a reversal for me with respect to mindfulnes. It had been a state I would enter by exercising my will, now it occurs without effort when "I" look at my direct experience.

The shimmering pools of water on the highway as a metaphor for the self really works. When "I" thoughts occurred for me today, they had an unreal quality. There were times when I got lost in my thoughts, but the basic state seems to be the illusion of self is no longer hidden.

But Ilona, maybe your next question will stun me again. If so, I will follow your advice and welcome the fear and look to see what's behind it.

Thank you for your guidance.

Kind reagrds,
- Otto

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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:45 pm

Nice, glad to hear that your view of illusion of self is clear. How does it feel to see this?
What has changed and what hasn't?

Sending love

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puthujjana
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Re: self-delusion

Postby puthujjana » Fri Apr 14, 2017 4:28 am

How does it feel to see this?
It is more peaceful. There is also a feeling of liveliness and excitement about the novelty of it.
What has changed and what hasn't?
One big difference is my relation to mindfulness. As I mentioned earlier, I used to put quite some effort into becoming mindful and staying present. Always with limited success. That has shifted to something that seems more like a natural state. Being lost in thoughts used to be the way it (almost) always was and is now it is occurring like an passing anomaly.

What's the same is that there are still thoughts of I and me and mine. They don't affect me as much as they used to. There used to be long monologues that would spring up continously relating to my identity and what I should do or what I did or should have done and so forth and so on. Those monologues start but then don't have legs. The recognition of illusion makes them fade quickly.

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Re: self-delusion

Postby Ilona » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:11 pm

Beautiful! Glad to hear that being present is now not a struggle but natural. That's a lovely change.
Tell me what you see when you observe other people, is there a separate entity running them? How does it look fro your point of view?

Sending love


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