Looking For Guidance

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:14 pm

Good clarity there! You have built up some great sensory clarity around what is going on with thought.
It’s like being surrounded by bees that are trying to get in my eyes. I keep waiving at them, trying to open my eyes to see where I’m going, but there are too many and they are too distracting.
Haha. I wouldn’t say thought is as bad as a swarm of bees. Though it can sometimes seem that way.

The only, single thing that is important is the KNOWING that it is just thought and is not real. Not believing your thoughts!

Then, they can do nothing. They have absolutely no power unless you give it to them through belief. Let them swarm if they want. Simply watch. Don’t react. They evaporate again.
I can’t find it
Then does it exist?

Or, is it only a thought says it exists?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:11 am

Good clarity there! You have built up some great sensory clarity around what is going on with thought.
Thanks! It’s nice to know that my inquiry is going somewhere. :D
Haha. I wouldn’t say thought is as bad as a swarm of bees. Though it can sometimes seem that way.
Maybe butterflies would be a better metaphor. Not as scary but still annoying.
The only, single thing that is important is the KNOWING that it is just thought and is not real. Not believing your thoughts!

Then, they can do nothing. They have absolutely no power unless you give it to them through belief. Let them swarm if they want. Simply watch. Don’t react. They evaporate again.
I have had this experience. When I stay super mindful throughout the day, the mind isn’t as busy and/or there is more awareness. I have watched thoughts arise and told myself just to watch the sensations and not pay attention to the thoughts accompanying them.

So if I come across something upsetting and have a reaction, I disregard the story about why the upset came. I just watch and breathe through the sensations until the wave passes. It’s super liberating!
Then does it exist?

Or, is it only a thought says it exists?
There’s nothing that I can catch and pinpoint. But there is stuff that I’m used to calling “me”, like thoughts, images, visual sensations of the body et cetera. They’re not permanent though. They’re always changing and morphing.

So I’m identified with something that never stays the same, is always changing. But there is something else behind it all, something permanent: knowing or being. Something really solid, vast and eternal. Like an infinite presence.

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:27 pm

I disregard the story about why the upset came. I just watch and breathe through the sensations until the wave passes. It’s super liberating!
Yes! :). Letting go of all belief in all story essentially IS LIBERATION. It’s that simple. We are not looking for anything more complex than that.

You‘re almost there! Just one small step further. The belief in the story of a separate self must be completely given up. Surrendered.
There’s nothing that I can catch and pinpoint. But there is stuff that I’m used to calling “me”, like thoughts, images, visual sensations of the body et cetera. They’re not permanent though. They’re always changing and morphing.
Aren’t these all just thoughts?
We already saw that thoughts are not real.
So I’m identified with something that never stays the same, is always changing. But there is something else behind it all, something permanent: knowing or being. Something really solid, vast and eternal. Like an infinite presence.
So everything else is thought and can be disregarded as not real.
But there IS one thing that remains after removing all that.
It is simply pure awareness.

We can know this, because awareness can know and watch thoughts.
But thoughts cannot know other thoughts. Because thoughts cannot DO anything - they are only information content.
So this awareness cannot be thought, it must be prior to it.

Try to bring your attention onto awareness itself right now.
Can you see that this awareness is simply the KNOWING of experience?
And that the content of experience includes sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations, and thoughts?

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

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:43 am

Yes! :). Letting go of all belief in all story essentially IS LIBERATION. It’s that simple. We are not looking for anything more complex than that.
Yes, it’s simple. But I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s really hard to let go of a story. So I come up with another story, a different point of view, that feels less painful than the first one. It’s easier to let go of the less painful story.
You‘re almost there! Just one small step further. The belief in the story of a separate self must be completely given up. Surrendered.
The mind doesn’t believe that. It feels like it’s still so far. But I know that they’re just thoughts so I try not to believe them
Aren’t these all just thoughts?
We already saw that thoughts are not real.
Yes, thoughts. But the mind tries to latch on to them so badly. It grasps one after the other.
So everything else is thought and can be disregarded as not real.
But there IS one thing that remains after removing all that.
It is simply pure awareness.
I know this and I think I’ve seen it, but it’s hard to disregard all the different thoughts and images. There are so many! The bees/butterflies again.

I’ve sat and tried to drop all the mind chatter to put awareness in the awareness behind it, but it’s really difficult. I can feel consciousness expanding, but then I’m bombarded with so many thoughts it’s gone again.
Try to bring your attention onto awareness itself right now.
Can you see that this awareness is simply the KNOWING of experience?
And that the content of experience includes sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations, and thoughts?
There’s so much pain in the body right now that it’s not working. I’m going to try and release it and then try again.

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:35 am

Yes, it’s simple. But I’ve noticed that sometimes it’s really hard to let go of a story. So I come up with another story, a different point of view, that feels less painful than the first one.
"I come up with another story..."
Is there an "I" in control here?
(Remember the exercise on no walker just walking, no breather just breathing, no talker just talking...)
How does "I" come up with another story, exactly?
If "I" is only a thought, how does it "come up with a story"?
Can a thought come up with a story? Can a thought DO anything???
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:46 am

"I come up with another story..."
Is there an "I" in control here?
(Remember the exercise on no walker just walking, no breather just breathing, no talker just talking...)
How does "I" come up with another story, exactly?
If "I" is only a thought, how does it "come up with a story"?
Can a thought come up with a story? Can a thought DO anything???
Good point. :) Sometimes another story appears. Good thing you pointed out that I was analyzing there.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:57 am

I wanted to add something.
Try to bring your attention onto awareness itself right now.
Can you see that this awareness is simply the KNOWING of experience?
And that the content of experience includes sights, sounds, tastes, smells, sensations, and thoughts?
There was pain in the body before. Then it got released. It was an interesting experience. The release was followed by intense presence. There was sinking into the present moment and the moment became sort of bigger or wider, more spacious.

I think I can see what you’re pointing to. Awareness is like a “container” that is permanent and unchanging. There is experience inside this “container”. There are thoughts, sights, sounds and other sensations that change all the time, but the awareness itself is unchanging.
Can you see that this awareness is simply the KNOWING of experience?
I’m not sure what this means. I’m looking into it. It seems kind of obvious that awareness is knowing of experience. What else could it be? But are you meaning this obvious thing that I’m meaning?

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:35 am

Can you see that this awareness is simply the KNOWING of experience?
I’m not sure what this means. I’m looking into it. It seems kind of obvious that awareness is knowing of experience. What else could it be? But are you meaning this obvious thing that I’m meaning?
That's exactly what I meant, nothing more. Simple.

Everything we're looking for here is so simple. So simple it often gets overlooked. Only the mind clouds things by over-complicating it.

Can any separation, any gap, be seen between an EXPERIENCE and the KNOWING of that experience?
Any gap between e.g. a sound and the KNOWING of that sound?
There was pain in the body before. Then it got released. It was an interesting experience. The release was followed by intense presence. There was sinking into the present moment and the moment became sort of bigger or wider, more spacious.
Good! That is useful. Any time you get that feeling of intense presence, try to sink into it, as deeply and for as long as you can. Try to keep it going but don't strain or stress, just focus on it and relax deeply into it.
I think I can see what you’re pointing to. Awareness is like a “container” that is permanent and unchanging. There is experience inside this “container”. There are thoughts, sights, sounds and other sensations that change all the time, but the awareness itself is unchanging.
Yes! Exactly :)

Can the thought "I think XXXX" be seen arising inside that container?
Can the thought "I said XXXX" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am inside this body" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I" be seen arising inside it?
Watch and look as it happens!
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:13 am

Any time you get that feeling of intense presence, try to sink into it, as deeply and for as long as you can. Try to keep it going but don't strain or stress, just focus on it and relax deeply into it.
OK! I’ve discovered the way to stay more present throughout my day - all I need is to pay attention and be accepting of what happens in the body, especially the emotions that I tend to push away, which gets in the way of accepting the present moment. So I will do more of that as a practice.
Can any separation, any gap, be seen between an EXPERIENCE and the KNOWING of that experience?
Any gap between e.g. a sound and the KNOWING of that sound?
No, experience IS knowing of the experience. They are one and the same, appearing simultaneously.
Can the thought "I think XXXX" be seen arising inside that container?
Can the thought "I said XXXX" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am inside this body" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I" be seen arising inside it?
I’m going to have to look into all of these one by one after I become put the awareness on the awareness again. It doesn’t stay there. It slips to focus on the experience, although as I’m writing this, there is more space around the experience and “the edges” can be “seen”. Like a bubble.

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:26 am

This is all VERY good :). Looking forward to your answers!
OK! I’ve discovered the way to stay more present throughout my day - all I need is to pay attention and be accepting of what happens in the body, especially the emotions that I tend to push away, which gets in the way of accepting the present moment. So I will do more of that as a practice.
That's exactly the technique! This is actually the classic "mindfulness" technique. It can be done in sitting meditation, or equally anywhere, anytime during the day, or simply all throughout the day. It's a very useful tool.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:39 am

I was being restricted by this belief that I can come here and write a reply only after I succeed in seeing the thoughts arising in awareness. That’s why I’ve been absent. This belief comes from childhood, “I don’t deserve love unless I succeed in doing what my parents want”.

I just became aware of that and realized that I don’t have to live like that anymore.

Ever since I wrote to you about being present with the emotions, I’ve been doing that. All the time. And living has been quite difficult.

I realized that the mind-body connection means that relaxation or tension in the body is mirrored in thoughts and vice versa. As I’ve worked on relaxing the body, I’ve realized just how tense it is!

Yesterday I was focusing on staying relaxed in the body throughout the day and the pain that I usually feel in my upper back/shoulders wasn’t there! I also slept better than I’ve slept in ages! I didn’t wake up once during the night and in the morning I actually felt energized! This is very unusual for me. I’m usually very stressed and tense and at night I toss and turn.

And as the body relaxes and lets go, the tension and stress in the whole being relaxes and sinks more into the presence.

Another insight I’ve had is also about facing what is but on a different level. I’ve realized just how much time I spend in my head/mind (vs the body/emotion). It’s crazy. No wonder I’ve been so unhappy throughout my life.

And it’s also becoming clear why I have been feeling stuck in my awakening journey. I’ve been focusing on ideas and neglecting the body.
Can the thought "I think XXXX" be seen arising inside that container?
Can the thought "I said XXXX" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am inside this body" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I am" be seen arising inside it?
Can the thought "I" be seen arising inside it?
There’s so much pain surfacing in the body at the moment that I can’t focus on these questions. I will look at them as soon as the worst body tension is out of the way.

Thanks for guiding me through this. :)

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gondwana
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Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:07 am

Thanks for guiding me through this. :)
That’s quite ok. I am here for you until you are free :)

I’ll give you a few more clarifications on what you said below.
I was being restricted by this belief that I can come here and write a reply only after I succeed in seeing the thoughts arising in awareness.
Good seeing! That is not true at all. And you do not have to live like that any more. At LU, you can write as often as needed, part way through any question, just to say what’s coming up so far. Or even to say it’s a difficult question, and maybe it can be rephrased differently.

Better to try and write every day, with partial progress or whatever is showing up for you.
Ever since I wrote to you about being present with the emotions, I’ve been doing that. All the time. And living has been quite difficult.
Ok perhaps one thing should be made clearer, it is about being present with the emotions, AND meeting them with equanimity!

As an emotion arises, look:
- identify the body sensation component
- identify the thought component
- then greet it with equanimity, because the sensation is just a sensation it is not personal; the thought is just empty, unreal, if you let it go it will dissolve.
As soon as you greet it with equanimity, you allow the emotion to pass unobstructed. This is key.

The tension (or whatever) will pass through without being stored in the body then. If NOT meeting it with equanimity and allowing it to pass (regardless if observing the arising or not) it will be stored in the body as tension etc leading to later struggles, when it resurfaces and triggers a chain of negative thoughts.
I realized that the mind-body connection means that relaxation or tension in the body is mirrored in thoughts and vice versa. As I’ve worked on relaxing the body, I’ve realized just how tense it is!
And as the body relaxes and lets go, the tension and stress in the whole being relaxes and sinks more into the presence.
Exactly! Simply, the body can be used as a tool to purify the mind. That’s all we are doing.
Another insight I’ve had is also about facing what is but on a different level. I’ve realized just how much time I spend in my head/mind (vs the body/emotion). It’s crazy. No wonder I’ve been so unhappy throughout my life.
Right exactly. So the separate self is made of thought. It does not exist, but we THINK it does. Thought itself IS the problem! So we cannot solve this with thought, AT ALL!

Could you use a thief to catch a thief?

The body — is one tool that CAN be used to start to disentangle the embedded thoughts about self, because it is not made of thought.
And it’s also becoming clear why I have been feeling stuck in my awakening journey. I’ve been focusing on ideas and neglecting the body.
LOOKING, at direct experience in the present moment — is the second tool that can be used to dissolve the illusion of self.

Because when you look at what is immediately true, in the present moment, PRIOR to thought jumping in and analysing it, you are also not using thought.

This is why your answers should be quick. Look. See. Report back what was seen. Don’t think it over, or you allow thought to corrupt the process!

So those are the only two tools we have for liberation.
- the body (known as the gradual path)
- looking at direct experience (known as the direct path)

LU is all about the direct path. But I’ve mixed in some gradual path tools because you seemed to be struggling to disengage with thought.

Now you have seen the problem for yourself :)
I will look at them as soon as the worst tension is out of the body
Observe the tension arising, and respond with equanimity and release it.
It’s just tension, it cannot hurt you.

Then it should pass easily.

Take care also, that the mind (thought) likes to manufacture excuses for why looking (liberation) cannot happen today, but can only happen at some point in the future (that never arrives). This is purely because it wants to delay its own demise, indefinitely, I’m afraid. But thoughts are not real and need not be obeyed!
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:31 pm

Take care also, that the mind (thought) likes to manufacture excuses for why looking (liberation) cannot happen today, but can only happen at some point in the future (that never arrives). This is purely because it wants to delay its own demise, indefinitely, I’m afraid. But thoughts are not real and need not be obeyed!
Thank you for offering this insight. This is exactly what my mind has been saying.
At LU, you can write as often as needed, part way through any question, just to say what’s coming up so far. Or even to say it’s a difficult question, and maybe it can be rephrased differently.
Thank you for saying this. I have been experiencing shame for not seeing, being “too slow” and such. But those were just thoughts that the mind produces to prevent the seeing through the self.

I can see that thoughts are my main issue. Which is also a thought! But it’s true. I’m an intellectual person, always have been: excellent student, university education - I live in the thoughts (pun intended). By contrast, the body has been mostly bypassed. I hardly exercise, suffered from an eating disorder... The body is screaming for attention. It has been saying, “Look at me! Look at what’s here. Thoughts are not true.”

And it’s not like I haven’t tried putting the focus into the body before - I have! The discord was just too big for me to handle. But it seems that now I am finally handling it.
The tension (or whatever) will pass through without being stored in the body then. If NOT meeting it with equanimity and allowing it to pass (regardless if observing the arising or not) it will be stored in the body as tension etc leading to later struggles, when it resurfaces and triggers a chain of negative thoughts.
You don’t say!!! Lol. :D Omg, this!!! I was just about to write that the emotions pass through the being unobstructed only if I stay constantly aware of every tiny little trigger that passes through, which is hard work, because there’s a tendency to bypass the body and get lost in mind stories.

But I’ve been doing it or it’s been happening more and more these past few days and I can definitely see the benefit! I can clearly see how it works. Less and less emotions are being trapped in the body. It’s truly liberating!
LU is all about the direct path. But I’ve mixed in some gradual path tools because you seemed to be struggling to disengage with thought.
Yes. Thank you for seeing this and being understanding and accommodating. Like I already stated above I’m an excellent thinker, which makes this my biggest yarn ball to unwind. I guess everyone has their personal path and every path is unique with unique challenges.

It’s been humbling. It has required courage, humility, honesty, patience and persistence. And we’re not even done yet. But I guess it’s all about the path and not the destination. So I’m taking a moment to be thankful for this opportunity.

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PepperAlmond
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby PepperAlmond » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:31 pm

As an emotion arises, look:
- identify the body sensation component
- identify the thought component
- then greet it with equanimity, because the sensation is just a sensation it is not personal; the thought is just empty, unreal, if you let it go it will dissolve.
As soon as you greet it with equanimity, you allow the emotion to pass unobstructed. This is key.
For the past few days I’ve been focusing on this and relaxing the body and so far there have been much less suffering than before.

Usually there are explosions of emotion few times per day, but these past few days they have diminished a lot.

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gondwana
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Re: Looking For Guidance

Postby gondwana » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:01 am

For the past few days I’ve been focusing on this and relaxing the body and so far there have been much less suffering than before.

Usually there are explosions of emotion few times per day, but these past few days they have diminished a lot.
Good, keep doing that in the background and things will continue improving. That should free up some space for the real looking to resume.

So in the foreground, let us return to the real question we are here for:

WHAT entity is suffering, exactly?
Can it be pointed to anywhere?
Does it have tangible form or location?
What and where is it?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.


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