Looking For Guidance

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:57 pm

Thank you for the exercise. I did it once, but I got distracted. I'm going to do it again to confirm the answers, but I already got some, I believe.
Does the thought "I" react?
No. It doesn't do anything. There were some reactions in the body to the thought ”I”, but then I realized they were reactions to thoughts about the ”I”, not the "I" thought itself.
Does "I" do anything? Can "I" do anything else than to appear as "I"?
No, it just appears, hangs in the ”air” and disappears. It cannot do anything else.
Does "I" think?
No. It's a thought. It cannot and does not think other thoughts. It's exactly level with all the other thoughts.

Looking forward to your reply,
Vera

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:58 pm

Thank you for the exercise. I did it once, but I got distracted. I'm going to do it again to confirm the answers, but I already got some, I believe.
Great! If you do do it again, let me know if you find anything new.
No. It doesn't do anything. There were some reactions in the body to the thought ”I”, but then I realized they were reactions to thoughts about the ”I”, not the "I" thought itself.
Excellent. This was seen clearly!
No, it just appears, hangs in the ”air” and disappears. It cannot do anything else.
No. It's a thought. It cannot and does not think other thoughts. It's exactly level with all the other thoughts.
Also seen very clearly.

Now, take a look at your thoughts. Watch them as they happen, and answer the following:

Where does a thought come from?
Where does a thought go?
Can you pause a thought in the middle?
Can you stop thinking altogether?
What happens if you don't react to a thought and do nothing?
If the "I" is just a thought, and so cannot think, then what entity is thinking right now?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:43 am

I was contemplating the topic of language that we discussed earlier, and I realized that it would really be possible to live without the word ”I”. I realized that in many cases the word ”I” could be replaced with the word ”body” or some part of the body, like ”hand”. In other cases it could be replaced with the passive tense (not sure if this is the correct term).

”I want...” → ”The body wants...” or ”There is a desire...”
”I think...” → ”There is a thought...”
”I will go get it.” → ”This body/'Vera' will go get it.”

We could still give names to different bodies for convenience. So our names would stand for the bodies, not ”us”.

Of course, this type of usage of language would sound silly, but you didn't ask if it would sound silly to live without the word ”I”. You asked if it was possible.

Without the word ”I” there could be no word ”you” either, so we would use names to point to the other bodies for convenience.
The word ”we” could be replaced by ”the students”, ”the workers”, ”the family Smith” or whatever is convenient. Same with ”you” and ”they”.

I'm not suggesting that we start talking this way. I just realized that it would really be possible and without the word ”I” the concept of ”I” would possibly melt away as well.

So if ”I” can be eradicated from the language and replaced so easily with other words that would be just as correct, what is ”I” really? How real is it? What is it? Where is it?

Confusing and mysterious.
Great! If you do do it again, let me know if you find anything new.
I did it again and I got the same answers as before. :)
Where does a thought come from?
I don't know, it'a a mystery. :) It just appears out of nowhere.
Where does a thought go?
Same place it came from? It just disappears and then it's gone.
Can you pause a thought in the middle?
No, because a thought doesn't have a middle (or a begginning or an end). It appears as a complete whole total entity or whatever it is. It's not like sentence in a book that you can stop reading. Wow, this is a new insight! :)
Can you stop thinking altogether?
No. When I first started meditating, I thought the point was to stop thoughts. This is a common misunderstanding with beginner meditators. Meditation does appear to either slow down thinking or ”quiet” it down, or bring more awareness to thinking, which makes it seem like it's slower or ”quieter”. Speculation: Maybe when I'm aware of the thoughts and not invested in them, this doesn't give the thoughts so much energy, which makes them weaker.
What happens if you don't react to a thought and do nothing?
Nothing happens. The thought goes away. Tailgating on what I said above, this is the situation where I don't give the thought energy and so it doesn't swell and snowball into a story that creates a bunch of suffering in the body.
If the "I" is just a thought, and so cannot think, then what entity is thinking right now?
This was the hardest question of all. I asked myself this question many times but there was no answer. So I don't know. If I had to give an answer, I would say that the body is thinking. But this sounds weird too, and I didn't find any AE (actual evidence) of it. How can the body think? The body's reactions seem to follow thought if anything, not precede it. I don't know. On the other hand the mind and the body do seem to be connected in some way. Some people would say it's the brain that thinks. But I know "brain" is just another thought. :)

Confusing and mysterious again.

Additional question: What do you think about me reading other threads on this forum? Would it be a bad idea? I don't want to hinder the process. On the other hand, maybe I could get some useful insights. Reading the book Gateless Gatecrashers definitely brought me closer to the truth, not farther away from it. I think. :) I don't want to distract myself. I'm mainly asking, because I'm burning to read something, anything, on this subject.

I wanted to add that even if I haven't seen through the illusion yet, I have noticed other benefits of this process in my daily life. I don't become invested in emotional thought stories quite as before, because I'm aware that thoughts are just thoughts. I think that maybe because of this I haven't had a panic attack since we started talking. Also, I have been able to do some things that scared me before, being more aware and mindful of the fear. I notice more calm and peace in my day-to-day life, as well. More presence, less worrying about the future. So there has definitely been a lot of progress already. :)

Looking forward to your reply,
Vera

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:52 pm

Beautiful responses and clear seeing :)
”I want...” → ”The body wants...” or ”There is a desire...”
”I think...” → ”There is a thought...”
”I will go get it.” → ”This body/'Vera' will go get it.”

Of course, this type of usage of language would sound silly, but you didn't ask if it would sound silly to live without the word ”I”. You asked if it was possible.
Yes! Language works perfectly fine without "I"/"me"/"my". In fact it could not even really be called silly, just an alternative and perfectly valid choice of style. "I"/"me"/"my" is really just a convenient social shortcut to shared meaning.
without the word ”I” the concept of ”I” would possibly melt away as well.
So if ”I” can be eradicated from the language and replaced so easily with other words that would be just as correct, what is ”I” really? How real is it? What is it? Where is it?
EXACTLY. This is where you need to LOOK. Can you actually find an "I" at all?
Where does a thought come from?
I don't know, it'a a mystery. :) It just appears out of nowhere.
Same place it came from? It just disappears and then it's gone.
No, because a thought doesn't have a middle (or a begginning or an end). It appears as a complete whole total entity or whatever it is. It's not like sentence in a book that you can stop reading. Wow, this is a new insight! :)
Indeed :) Interesting, huh?
Is there a thinker 'doing' the thoughts?
Or are thoughts simply experienced, like clouds blowing through a clear and unchanged sky?
Nothing happens. The thought goes away. Tailgating on what I said above, this is the situation where I don't give the thought energy and so it doesn't swell and snowball into a story that creates a bunch of suffering in the body.
Yes. This is the very basis of 'selfing' and suffering.
The more we grasp onto self-referential thoughts, more thoughts spawn, more grasping >>> downward spiral.

Thoughts are fundamentally impermanent, like all experiences. Grasping them only spawns new thoughts because we can only really BE in the present moment, so a new thought is required each time.

The best thing we can do is just observe with curiosity and let them pass. This is the very basis of "staying in the moment". Staying with present experience, whatever may come up, instead of grasping at thoughts which have already been and gone.
This was the hardest question of all. I asked myself this question many times but there was no answer. So I don't know
When we ask a question like this, and get no answer - "no thing"... that IS the answer. "Nothing"!
So what entity is thinking right now? There simply isn't one! It is imaginary.
Additional question: What do you think about me reading other threads on this forum? Would it be a bad idea? I don't want to hinder the process.
My suggestion at this stage is, you don't need to. It may also just confuse things. This is kind of a looping process between two people, where your responses guide me where to point you to next, as we spiral in onto a realisation. If you read someone else's pointers in another thread, that isn't necessarily pointing you in the right direction at the right time, and may just confuse matters.

But I understand that you are burning, I've been there :). My suggestion is instead, use the time to LOOK. Look in every place and dark corner that you possibly can. This process is an experimental one! Nothing really changes by reading - only by LOOKING with your own experiment, i.e. your own direct experience.

So whenever you are burning, do some regular daily activity, anything at all, mundane or otherwise - and LOOK for an "I", a "self", in that activity. Look and look and look until you are utterly convinced whether there is a "doer" in that activity or not. Then try a different activity. Driving, brushing your teeth, etc etc.

For your next exercise, I'll suggest a few places to start you off:

Observe thought one more time.
How do you decide the next thought which comes up?
Do you decide the next thought with another thought?
Then who decides the thought before and the one before that?
At which point do you make the decision what to think next?
Can you observe it happening in reality?
Describe the process.

As you talk out loud, observe the process from the background.
How EXACTLY do you talk?
How do you form the mouth shapes, control breath, and pitch to form words?
How do you do ALL those complex things right before the sounds come out?
And while deciding WHAT to say next?
Describe the process you use.

Take a walk, observe the walking.
How do you control all the micro-muscle movements and retain perfect balance and stability?
Can you still walk while thinking about other things?
Describe the process.

Observe breathing.
How do you control the flow rate, the aperture of the entrance to the lungs, the speed, rhythm of the breath?
How DO you know exactly how much oxygen is needed for the current moment, and when to speed up or slow down?
Describe the process.

Now please answer the following questions in your next reply:

Is there really a “you” inside there, controlling all of these things, all of the time?
Is there a thinker; or is there just thinking?
Is there a talker, or is there just talking?
Is there a walker; or is there just walking?
Is there a breather; or is there just breathing?

Is it in fact only thought which tells that you control all these things?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:45 am

Hi, Tim!
Sorry I haven't answered before. I just started working on a vineyard yesterday and the days are very long and tiring. I still look throughout the day, but I have been way more distracted than before. I had time to answer only some of your questions.
Yes! Language works perfectly fine without "I"/"me"/"my". In fact it could not even really be called silly, just an alternative and perfectly valid choice of style. "I"/"me"/"my" is really just a convenient social shortcut to shared meaning.
I speak mostly Finnish in my life, and in Finnish, we say ”the head hurts” instead of ”my head hurts” and ”there is a tension in the back” instead of ”my back”. Then instead of ”I'm tired” we say ”väsyttää”, which means loosely translated ”there is a sensation or tiredness”. And instead of ”I feel that (opinion)” we say ”there is a feeling that (opinion)”. Interesting, right? So this sort of style is not so far fetched in my case.
So if ”I” can be eradicated from the language and replaced so easily with other words that would be just as correct, what is ”I” really? How real is it? What is it? Where is it?
EXACTLY. This is where you need to LOOK. Can you actually find an "I" at all?
Not really, but I'm confused with phrases like ”I'll help”. What's happening there? ”There is a willingness to help”? ”There are thoughts that express willingness to help”? Some of these bits are harder to disect.
Is there a thinker 'doing' the thoughts?
Or are thoughts simply experienced, like clouds blowing through a clear and unchanged sky?
It still feels like there's someone observing the thoughts. Perhaps not an influencer all of the time but an observer for sure. How can there be observation without an observer? How do I see through this part?
When we ask a question like this, and get no answer - "no thing"... that IS the answer. "Nothing"!
So what entity is thinking right now? There simply isn't one! It is imaginary.
Thanks for clarifying this. The answer was nothing, but I just didn't take it as a valid answer. I dismissed it. ”How can silence be the right answer?” says the mind. ”I'm looking for something real.” How do I realize that no answer is the answer?!
How do you decide the next thought which comes up?
Do you decide the next thought with another thought?
Then who decides the thought before and the one before that?
At which point do you make the decision what to think next?
Can you observe it happening in reality?
Describe the process.
Sometimes it feels like thoughts just come, appear out of nowhere. And I don't decide what to think. But other times, it feels like I'm deciding what to think about. There is a thought that says very convincingly ”I will think about X right now. I will plan X.” So it feels like I really am choosing to think about X. That thought appears out of nowhere so I don't choose that one. But it makes me believe that I choose it by telling me so. I will look into this some more.

I didn't do the other parts of the exercise yet. I will give it more time.
Is there really a “you” inside there, controlling all of these things, all of the time?
All of the time, definitely not. I don't control my breathing when I'm asleep, or walking when I concentrate on talking at the same time, or sometimes even talking! Just today I said something spontaneously and thought a moment later, ”Why did I say that? Where did that come from?”

So it's clear that there are times when these things happen by themselves. But then there are also times that feel so much like I'm making choices. ”To say this or not to say this.” et cetera.

Can you tell where I'm stuck? It's frustrating! :)

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:56 pm

I speak mostly Finnish in my life, and in Finnish, we say ”the head hurts” instead of ”my head hurts” and ”there is a tension in the back” instead of ”my back”. Then instead of ”I'm tired” we say ”väsyttää”, which means loosely translated ”there is a sensation or tiredness”. And instead of ”I feel that (opinion)” we say ”there is a feeling that (opinion)”. Interesting, right? So this sort of style is not so far fetched in my case.
That is super interesting, and I did not know that! Thank you for this! :)
It still feels like there's someone observing the thoughts. Perhaps not an influencer all of the time but an observer for sure. How can there be observation without an observer? How do I see through this part?
Simple. Just look for that observer you believe is there. Try your best to find it.
Thanks for clarifying this. The answer was nothing, but I just didn't take it as a valid answer. I dismissed it. ”How can silence be the right answer?” says the mind. ”I'm looking for something real.” How do I realize that no answer is the answer?
The thinking mind desperately WANTS to understand it. But it simply cannot. It is just not possible.
That is because what we are looking for is beyond conceptual thought - this is why you must be pointed to, and experience it for yourself. This is why you cannot THINK or READ your way to this understanding. You must LOOK.

If I ask you to describe the colour red to a blind man, is it possible?
Can you ever explain the experience of colour to him?
This is like that.
If you have never seen it, it is impossible for someone to describe it to you or to understand.
You have to see it for yourself.

"Nothing" IS the answer. But you must accept that the thinking mind will never be able to understand it.

You, however, CAN see it - without understanding it. Understanding it is not necessary. Seeing it will be enough!
This is why people often talk of "surrender" in spiritual process. You really just surrender the egotistical desire to understand.
All of the time, definitely not. I don't control my breathing when I'm asleep, or walking when I concentrate on talking at the same time, or sometimes even talking! Just today I said something spontaneously and thought a moment later, ”Why did I say that? Where did that come from?”
This was seen clearly. It is on the right track :)
So it's clear that there are times when these things happen by themselves. But then there are also times that feel so much like I'm making choices. ”To say this or not to say this.” et cetera.

Can you tell where I'm stuck? It's frustrating! :)
Yes!

LOOK at the times when you believe you are in control, or you are making choices, or you are 'doing' an action (these are all the same thing - "ME ME ME"!).
LOOK for the thing that is in control or deciding.
Tell me what you find!
I didn't do the other parts of the exercise yet. I will give it more time.
Please do. It is important.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:49 am

Hi, Tim.

I'm so frustrated! I feel stuck! I'm just banging my head against a wall metaphorically and trying to see that there is no wall. I feel like I've taken a few steps back. I feel like the most un-evolved person on the planet. I just feel stupid. Why don't I see it? How come the illusion is so persistent? What's wrong with me?
Observe thought one more time.
How do you decide the next thought which comes up?
Do you decide the next thought with another thought?
Then who decides the thought before and the one before that?
At which point do you make the decision what to think next?
Can you observe it happening in reality?
Describe the process.
Sometimes there are chains of association happening. Thoughts are linked to previous thoughts. That's when it seems like I'm deciding what to think with the previous thought. But it's more like an automatic chain reaction. It doesn't always feel like I'm choosing the next thought. When I go back the chain to its beginning the first thought appeared out of nowhere. I don't really decide what to think next. More like the thought appears and it says that "I" decided to think it.
As you talk out loud, observe the process from the background.
How EXACTLY do you talk?
How do you form the mouth shapes, control breath, and pitch to form words?
How do you do ALL those complex things right before the sounds come out?
And while deciding WHAT to say next?
Describe the process you use.
The mouth seems to know what to do. The throat as well. Sometimes it feels like it's babbling by itself. I'm just watching it with curiosity. Often, there's a thought about what to say next and then that sentence comes out of the mouth. It feels like I'm planning to say it, even though the thought comes out of nowhere like all the other thoughts.
Take a walk, observe the walking.
How do you control all the micro-muscle movements and retain perfect balance and stability?
Can you still walk while thinking about other things?
Describe the process.
Yes, I can walk while thinking of other things. The body knows how to move to keep the balance and what to do to go faster or slower. I don't do anything. The body does it all for me.
Observe breathing.
How do you control the flow rate, the aperture of the entrance to the lungs, the speed, rhythm of the breath?
How DO you know exactly how much oxygen is needed for the current moment, and when to speed up or slow down?
Describe the process.
It's quite easy to see that breathing happens by itself. It's like heartbeat and the flow of blood. The body knows what to do and how to do it. There's some kind of intelligence that just knows.
Is there really a “you” inside there, controlling all of these things, all of the time?
No, I don't control everything all of the time. The body seems to know how to breathe, how to walk, and how to talk. I don't need to do anything there. It just happens. Like falling asleep and waking up.
Is there a thinker; or is there just thinking?
Is there a talker, or is there just talking?
Is there a walker; or is there just walking?
Is there a breather; or is there just breathing?
Yes, it still feels like there's a doer. Not a controller all the time. Maybe a sailing metaphor would be good here, even though I've never sailed in my life. I feel like I'm on a sailing boat with sails up and the wind is taking me somewhere – I'm observing it go. Then sometimes when I don't like where it's going or that it's going too fast, I take down the sails. Moving of the sails is controlled. The rest of the journey is not.

Sometimes I ”forget myself” and that's when it feels like I'm just ”sailing”. The body is moving by itself. Then I remember myself again when I have to make a decision or something, and it feels like I'm back in control.
Is it in fact only thought which tells that you control all these things?
Probably, as I can't find anything else that would control.

I have to tell you that as I'm seeking and looking, I can't help but remember that one experience that I told you about in my first post. I constantly expect this to feel the same as that experience felt. Then when it doesn't happen, I feel disappointed. I read in other threads that it's unwise to have expectations and that they all need to be dropped. What do you think?

When I had that experience, and I saw that I'm not the body or the mind, the seeing was crystal clear. It wasn't hazy. It wasn't ”hmm, I wonder if...”. It wasn't like ”if I just believe this hard enough, it's gonna happen”. It was undeniable. It was there. It was like waking up from a dream. It was a WTF kind of thing. It was so crazy, I laughed. I cried. I felt the most relieved I've ever felt in my life. I wanted to tell everyone about it (but didn't). It was like, ”OMG! I am not the body or the mind! How can this be?! But it's undeniable! I see it! And yet I don't understand it. But I see it!!!”

You know what I mean? And now I expect the same kind of amazing thing to happen again. I miss it so much! Can you offer any words of guidance and comfort to this? I keep rewinding it over and over in my mind. What did I do to ”achieve” it? How did it happen? Why did it come? Why did it go away? Did I do something wrong? Will I ever get it back? Is this thing the same or different? I'm lost!
If I ask you to describe the colour red to a blind man, is it possible?
Can you ever explain the experience of colour to him?
This is like that.
If you have never seen it, it is impossible for someone to describe it to you or to understand.
You have to see it for yourself.


YES! This is exactly how it was back then! I want it back!
LOOK at the times when you believe you are in control, or you are making choices, or you are 'doing' an action (these are all the same thing - "ME ME ME"!).
LOOK for the thing that is in control or deciding.
Tell me what you find!
Simple. Just look for that observer you believe is there. Try your best to find it.
It seems like there's an observer - someone who sees, hears, feels and thinks. You asked me to look for the observer, but I can't find it. But the mind says that there has to be one somewhere.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:29 am

I have something to add.

After I wrote that last message, I had an interesting insight. I had this funny... well, not funny. And not a feeling.

I just saw that I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

So. I am everywhere and I am everything. This became clear when I saw that everything that is seen, heard, felt and thought is ”inside” awareness, in awareness. I am permanent. I am not a sight, a sound, a feeling or a thought. They always change. I am permanent. I do not change.

No matter what changes, I do not change. I never change. This is what makes me special and different from everything that changes.

I am like this weird bubble that holds "inside" it all the sights, sounds, feelings and thoughts that change continuously. An eternal bubble. I am awareness. I am consciousness.

At the same time as I'm everything, I'm obviously nothing, because I can't find myself.

So this realization was very interesting. Peaceful. I experienced that same kind of detachment from the body that I experienced two years ago. I looked at the hands typing and they were moving on their own.

Unfortunately this lasted for only a couple of minutes and now it's gone again. Soooo frustrating....

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:31 pm

Great observations on thinking, walking, talking and breathing. All seen clearly!
I just saw that I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

So. I am everywhere and I am everything. This became clear when I saw that everything that is seen, heard, felt and thought is ”inside” awareness, in awareness. I am permanent. I am not a sight, a sound, a feeling or a thought. They always change. I am permanent. I do not change.

No matter what changes, I do not change. I never change. This is what makes me special and different from everything that changes.
Excellent! It wasn't actually so hard, was it? ;-)
At least there is a knowing now, of what is behind the curtain, so it can easily be found again.
More than most people know!

It could be, that grasping to this experience is the source of losing it again.
Grasping, holding onto, and wishing that it were permanent -- these are all part of the ILLUSION of control.
Do grasping and wishing require a "self" to control things?
Does this "self" to grasp and wish actually exist?
If it does not exist, then what is grasping and wishing? Is it only a thought that tells this is happening?

Another angle:
Does grasping and wishing require duality and separation? (i.e. a thing "over here", to reach for that "over there")
How could non-duality ever be experienced through performing dualistic actions?
In grasping and wishing for something, do we not create the belief in separation by implying it is not already here?
If in fact, what you apparently seek IS already right here, then could it be that simply a belief in a "self" TO improve is blocking seeing what is already right here?
I'm just banging my head against a wall metaphorically and trying to see that there is no wall.
Flip it around.

Actually, the wall may be very real.
There is just no you, to bang against it :D
What does it look like, when a non-existent head bangs against a wall?
Yes, it still feels like there's a doer. Not a controller all the time. Maybe a sailing metaphor would be good here, even though I've never sailed in my life. I feel like I'm on a sailing boat with sails up and the wind is taking me somewhere – I'm observing it go. Then sometimes when I don't like where it's going or that it's going too fast, I take down the sails. Moving of the sails is controlled. The rest of the journey is not.
Try flipping it around again.

If the belief in a self to have control, IS the illusion...
Then when sails are up and wind is taking you along, is this the ABSENCE of something?
And when you take down the sails, did something COME BACK?
What is this thing that goes in and out of apparent existence as the sails are raised and lowered?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:06 am

Excellent! It wasn't actually so hard, was it? ;-)
At least there is a knowing now, of what is behind the curtain, so it can easily be found again.
More than most people know!
There is no curtain! :P It's a curtain-less curtain. The curtain is an illusion. :D

Hmm... My mind holds the opinion that I've spent the last two years working towards this short glimpse, haha. :D I'm joking, I know it's not so straightforward (I hope). But I still have a question. When this seeing happens, does this state (that I got a glimpse of) become permanent? What does it mean when people say ”once it's seen it cannot be unseen”? Because I saw that I'm not my body and I'm not my mind once very clearly and yet I ”dropped back” into ego mode. It exists only as a memory now.

Also a word about expectations. Is it possible that the illusion dissolves so gradually that I don't even notice when it's gone? Or is there going to be a very noticeable shift? It probably varies from person to person and so it's impossible to say.

But yeah, I see what you mean. It was kind of simple. It was just there. You know? Right in front of my nose, metaphorically speaking. And intellectually I know that it's there all the time. It's just not seen all the time.

As I was contemplating this insight later on, an idea occurred to me. I remembered a question that I had heard many months ago: ”If 'I' am located inside the body, how is it possible for me to access things that are outside the body?” Through this question it becomes clear that I cannot be inside the body. Of course, the mind comes up with all kinds of explanations for how this would be possible, but I'm trying to see them as just thoughts.

As I was contemplating this, I didn't get an OMG moment of seeing, but my mind opened a little to the possibility that maybe I'm everywhere (again). Not just ”inside” the body but ”outside” it too, everywhere. This reminded me of the time I heard that the inside/outside duality collapses. Now for the first time I think I'm really seeing what it really means. A little.

Why would I be only inside the body? Why couldn't I be everywhere? But the illusion that I'm inside the body still persists most of the time, but it seems that it's growing thinner little by little.

Is there an ”inside” and an ”outside” at all? How can I say that sensations are inside the body? Where's the inside? I can't find that either. It seems that there's no inside and no outside – they are just concepts. Ooh, another cool insight! I didn't see it very clearly or anything. Just a glimpse, but it was enough to make me really wonder and question.
It could be, that grasping to this experience is the source of losing it again.
Grasping, holding onto, and wishing that it were permanent -- these are all part of the ILLUSION of control.
Do grasping and wishing require a "self" to control things?
Does this "self" to grasp and wish actually exist?
If it does not exist, then what is grasping and wishing? Is it only a thought that tells this is happening?
Does grasping and wishing require duality and separation? (i.e. a thing "over here", to reach for that "over there")
How could non-duality ever be experienced through performing dualistic actions?
In grasping and wishing for something, do we not create the belief in separation by implying it is not already here?
If in fact, what you apparently seek IS already right here, then could it be that simply a belief in a "self" TO improve is blocking seeing what is already right here?
Thank you for introducing this angle. It's interesting. So in order to see I have to release the need to see and the belief that right now, I don't see and it's not here already. Hmm, how do I do that when I want to see so badly something that I believe I don't see?

When I say to myself, ”there's no need to look for something that isn't here, because it's here all the time”, I think I get tiny glimpses. There are tiny moments of stillness and disassociation.
What does it look like, when a non-existent head bangs against a wall?
If there was no head, there would be no banging. Just silence. Like you said, once you see through the illusion of no-self the struggle isn't there anymore. The wall is there, but there's no need for banging. So it's like the head just disappears mid-bang, and you're like, ”oh”.
If the belief in a self to have control, IS the illusion...
Then when sails are up and wind is taking you along, is this the ABSENCE of something?
And when you take down the sails, did something COME BACK?
What is this thing that goes in and out of apparent existence as the sails are raised and lowered?
Hmm... Interesting. You're right. What is it that seems to come back and take charge and go away or fade into background as I relax? Maybe they're just thoughts? Coming and going?

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:54 pm

What does it mean when people say ”once it's seen it cannot be unseen”?
Once you found out Santa Claus was not real, could you ever go back to believing in him?
Hmm... Interesting. You're right. What is it that seems to come back and take charge and go away or fade into background as I relax? Maybe they're just thoughts? Coming and going?
Yes. Just thought!
And we have already seen, you do not control thought. It comes up as and when it does.
How can I say that sensations are inside the body? Where's the inside? I can't find that either. It seems that there's no inside and no outside – they are just concepts.
Yes! Please try the following:

Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on thoughts or mental images:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or volume?
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

Is there an inside or an outside? If there is an inside - inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside, the outside of what exactly?

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?


Look very carefully, especially with the last question. Take your time, don’t rush. You can also look again several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc.) before replying.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:16 am

How did this go?
Anything to report?

Don’t worry if it is partial, or seems strange! Simply report what you saw, whatever that may be.

Keep it brief, no need for analysis.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi, Tim.

Sorry for my mysterious absence. There was a death in my family and I was really busy with the funeral and all kinds of paperwork. My personal grief also took a lot of my energy. At first I tried to keep up with my daily meditation practice, but after a few days, I just did't have energy for it anymore. I didn't care about it. It didn't seem important compared to what was happening. Do you know what I mean? Also, I thought about writing you sooner, but I just didn't know what to say.

The situation has settled down a bit, and I'm ready to get back to the practice.

During my absence I did do the body sensations exercise that you gave me, a few times even. But I was unsuccessful. The trouble was, I couldn't see past the labels that mind gave all the sensations. I couldn't pay attention to "the pure sensation", like you asked. So here are my answers based on my experience. I know they're wrong. I don't know if there's any point in writing the answers, but I'm doing it anyway.
Can it be known how tall the body is?
Yes. My body is 169 centimetres tall.
Does the body have a weight or volume?
Yes, it has both. I can feel it and see it.
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?
I don't know about the actual experience, because I don't have an actual experience of the body. But in my experience of this exercise, yes, it does have a shape and a form.
Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?
Yes, I can feel both those boundaries.
Is there an inside or an outside? If there is an inside - inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside, the outside of what exactly?
An inside/outside of an object called "the body".
What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?
The label "body" refers to a combination of feelings, sights and thoughts. Together, they form a very solid-feeling "body".
The actual experience of the body is a bunch of feelings, sights and thoughts (beliefs).

User avatar
PepperAlmond
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:36 am

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:36 pm

Hi, Tim!

Just wondering if you got my last message? And also letting you know that I'll be going on a four-day-long hike tomorrow. There will be no internet there. :)

Any tips on how to look during a hike? I'm going to keep looking anyways.

-Vera

User avatar
gondwana
Posts: 779
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:34 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:00 pm

Hi Vera,

Sorry, I thought I had replied already! Apparently I did not.

Firstly I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It must be a very difficult time. There is no easy way to cope with that situation at the best of times, so you have my deepest sympathy. I’m glad that you are able to continue looking in spite of it!

For your hike: watch yourself while walking. Do it again and again, every day until you see for certain.

Is there a walker, or just walking happening?
Are you in control of all the myriad movements and balancing that must occur to walk?
Or does it happen all by itself?
Look as you walk, and see if there is a ‘me’ there at all controlling the waking!
Or is it only a thought which says there is?

You can also try this with eating.
Breathing.
Climbing.
Driving.

You can also observe nature itself.
Look out at the scenery.
Is there anything in charge of all those movements?
Are the things which are moving independent and separate?
Or are they all linked somehow?
Is there any entity ‘doing’ wind, for example?
Can the wind exist without the air?
Without the sky?
Without the sun to heat the air?
Can the tree exist without the wind?

Enjoy your time in nature, and let me know what you find!

Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest