looking for clarity

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:13 pm

Thank you for the report, good work!

Welcome the great uncertainty. Feel into it. Welcome The fear of unknown. And appreciate it’s protection. The uncertainty is inviting to look closer into what is happening.
Then check, everything is happening, there is order and pattern. There is noticing, knowing of the movement. And there is stillness underneath all movement. That openess that allows all movement.

There is certainty in existence. Being aware is always on.

Write what comes up. love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:02 am

I think I see all that you are saying in that last post.

I am remembering to look about a hundred times a day, at all sorts of occasions from heavy to light emotions. This focus on looking is lasting only for a minute or two at a time before some thought carries off the attention. Then eventually the focus on looking returns. There is less resistance now when this happens, less of a sense of irritation that I "lost attention". A lot is happening in life, a reasonable amount of activity, so there is little time to sit still for a long time and watch what is coming up. But in the course of the activity I do have a lot of moments of looking. I hope to have more extended periods by myself later.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:02 pm

You don’t need to sit still to notice that everything moves by itself. Life creates situations perfect for you. Meet every moment as it is and be free to feel what arises. Is there I that is looking?
What is looking?

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:36 pm

Yes, I see that. There is always opportunity for looking and feeling whenever the remembrance to do so arises, which happens many times a day. Life is taking many strange turns, with much uncertainty in the story of the future, but with a rich set of happenings in the present.

Is there an "I" that is looking? I use this question whenever I remember as a way of looking fully, so that I do not mistake any bundle of thoughts/feelings for a separate "me". This question takes awareness into the body sensations and emotions to check that these too are just happening, into the thoughts to see that these too are just happening. When all these are seen, it is clear that there is nothing beyond these happenings constituting a separate "I". Until this question is posed, "Is there a separate self looking?", it can seem like there is a "me" who is feeling upset or irritated or in pain or anxious etc. But the question drives attention to see what the raw sensations and feelings are without the illusion of separateness contained in unacknowledged thoughts.

What is looking? I don't know. That there is awareness is the strangest thing. Indeed the awareness and the sensations which are its subject are not distinct. There is just awareness-of-sensations-and-thoughts. The flow of life is aware of itself. Thought formulates what is seen into a point of view of a world "out there", and the point of view points back to a "me" who is looking. These thoughts are certainly compelling. But the raw awareness does not come with these labels or distinctions.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:35 pm

Hi Ilona, had another busy day out of town, and the remembrance to look came less frequently but still often. But I was still passing between looking closely, and looking to see that there was no separate self, and then entering thinking and action. The remembering to look was sparked by discomforts or irritations, or sometimes just the remembering for no reason.

Again, I did not have any revelations or crises, but there were some moderate challenges that I used as "fuel" for looking.
On one such occasion, I noticed the clear transformation of the way the external situation was felt by the shift from thinking to looking, from suffering to just a set of sensations.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:46 pm

Nice, yes, it’s not about shift in what is happening but in how it is seen.
Not take a look at what is. Don’t look for what isn’t, but look at what is.
Notice how everything is happening and that includes story about what is happening and story about the character.
This awakening thingy is about inclusion. Everything is seen in allowing space.
Everything can be met with respect and honouring.

What else are you noticing?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 1:39 am

I have been in a pattern of getting "carried away" by thoughts, and then returning to looking, and then repeat. I see that there has been some resistance in the form of wanting to not get carried away by thoughts, feeling that this is distracting me from the important looking, rather than getting lost in thoughts which are labelled "harmful" or "painful". Your last post has alerted me to this resistance.

For whatever reason, thought trains come and go, and in those trains of thought there is suffering and hence not wanting to get "carried away". So I will be more alert to whether this form of resistance is there or not. As much as possible, I will look at the compelling stories produced by thought about "me", as much as I look at other happenings.

It seems that looking/being has to be a total relaxation. But the urge to contract is easily triggered. As I look, say looking at nature, the mind comes in and says "you've seen this before". Or if I feel my body while exercising, the mind comes in and says "this is tiring". But I will just let this in too.

I will keep looking and report, but I still am not noticing something "else" beyond the above and my last post.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sun Jun 23, 2019 2:29 pm

When a thought train comes, jump on it. Say yes to the story, hear it. It’s here to be seen. So see it. What does the story say? Pick one story and let’s look at it together.
Something that brings a lot of emotion.
Let’s see what gifts it brings.

Love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:09 pm

I love the joyous fearlessness of "when a thought train comes, jump on it". Let me try.

My experience was that the thought trains grabbed me and my attention was lost during the ride, until there was a pause and I got off into a state of looking again. If this is true then it is hard to SEE while being on the thought train, it is as if one is having a dream. During the dream one is not awake, and then after the dream you are awake and remember "I was having a dream".

But I took a fresh look at this "losing consciousness and boarding the thought train" phenomenon. I see that if I go only by direct experience without interpretation, I just have these "jumps" in awareness. There is awareness of some sensations and mild thoughts, and then there is a feeling of discontinuity, where I am again aware but now have a memory that I had been "lost in thoughts", with the attendant new memories and suffering. In this sense, awareness is never lost, there are just memories that I had been kidnapped on a thought train. I don't seem able to ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE being on a heavily-loaded thought train.

So when you say "jump on the thought train", I can bring up the memories that I associate with thought train discontinuities, and I can do this in the light of awareness bit by bit (although this does not sting as much). Here is a story, or really the soap opera of my adult life. There is a mental illness among my family, and it was fed before that by much family conflict. It has now led to my leaving the house with children electing to come with me. This situations spawns many many stories. There are thought trains on "what to do about where to stay and how to pay for it", there are stories about "the mental illness is disturbing all of us, even if mostly present in one, but even this needs to be addressed", "how painful it is to watch all of us suffer", stories about "how can we persuade the one most ill to get help", stories of guilt "what have I done to contribute to this mess in the past or even now", stories of "how will we manage", feelings of dread constantly in the background, questions of "what to do, what to do, there is no rest, how can I let all this burden down".

So all this brings up a lot of emotion and anxiety/fear/indecision, and the thoughts seem to be taken away by one issue after another in the course of each day. It really is a soap opera, but let me know if you want me to pick just one strand to examine in more detail, rather than the whole saga

In the meantime, this looking at how one gets kidnapped onto the thought train, or whether this even happens at all or is just a false memory, is interesting. I will play with looking at this today.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:48 am

Hi Ilona, I spent another day heavily involved with the family crisis, with some actions being taken. But while engaged in a lot of this, the close attention was absent. It was again as if the events, heavy emotions and thoughts and actions, swept my attention away. Occasionally I returned to looking carefully. I could feel the headache, the tiredness, emotions etc. But these moments of pure looking were short-lived, and then thoughts/feelings and actions would sweep me away again.

I have tried to watch the process of getting "swept away", to catch the moment at which I "lose" attention. But it is hard to catch, I suddenly find that several minutes have sped by and I have had a lot of thoughts.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:06 pm

Thank you for writing. I hear you, tough times and there is a lot of emotional pain involved. The situation feels intense. I’m so sorry, that you have to deal with so much stuff. And I hear you, it is not easy.

And at the same time you manage to keep looking, that’s great.
Maybe this video of Alan watts about time will help to see what is going on with the thought train.

https://youtu.be/G4j6cUwCRmI

What do you notice looking from this angle?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:47 pm

Well, I would say that I manage to keep looking at all *because* of the family problems, not *despite* them. If these problems had not blown up a few years ago and woken me up, I might have just settled in life for being rich, famous and good-looking ;)

While I have been interested in awareness and the question of existence over my lifetime, the intensity of interest became strong because of these problems. It would be good if they could be the fuel for looking, and not a hindrance. I mentioned them because you suggested that the thought trains associated to the family crisis could be looked at, and I was having trouble with that because when the thoughts were active I always lost the attentiveness to what's happening.

I only seem to notice that I am "lost in thought", after it is over. It is like only knowing you had dreamed after you wake up. Being aware that one is dreaming while still dreaming (lucid dreaming?) is hard, and similarly it is hard to be aware that one is thinking frantically while thinking frantically. Is it possible, or even useful?

The story of my life is tough and a bit hectic right now, but there is the strange fact that at any particular NOW instant that I focus on there are only sensations and thoughts, and that when I look out Life is carrying on richly, untroubled. So it seems that peace is always at hand, but I don't stay with that recognition for long.

Watched the Watts time video again. I do see, and even feel, the illusory and non-primary nature of the past, like the wake of the NOW-boat. From this angle I would say I am always at the prow of the NOW-boat, there may be a memory that there have been thought-trains in my past, and there may be some pain and exhaustion and disorientation from having been on the thought trains, but I am here now and I can just look at the pain or tiredness or disorientation just as I am looking at the birds.

THOUGHT seems to "trick" me again and again while staying with just looking, and this ends the continuity and depth of the simple act of looking. Again and again I can see that thoughts are arising "trying" to end the clear looking, but I am not able to see these thoughts as merely thoughts for long before I start believing them in some way, and then a thought train has begun.

The only thing to do seems to be to watch this process as closely as I can.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:35 pm

Yes, only job is to be aware of what is arising.

When stories arise, they too want to be seen.

Can you say with a big fat yes, it is clear what the separate self is?
If not, what is missing?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:03 am

Hi Ilona, I understand that there is only this job of seeing whatever arises. I see that thought tries to take this job of looking and make it something about the character "looking", so some vigilance must be there. One cannot try to look as a means to an end, because then it is a matter of trying to save the character.

The separate self is an illusion of thoughts about the character, reinforced by some bodily sensations and emotions. But I confess this illusion is still very much with me for a big part of each day. For example, I still experience anxiety, and the only thing to worry about is some entity that is separate and vulnerable, not all of Life. So I still feel some disconnect in my understanding. My actions and thoughts reflect this concern for a separate entity.

Certainly, some clearing up has taken place in the last few months, and it may be also what has allowed my life to change on the outside. But a lot also feels the same, including the overriding concern with "myself", and lots of resistance. Even this statement reflects this.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:04 pm

My friend, there is no entity at all. None as in zero.
This hasn’t been truly seen yet.
So let’s take a breath and look.
Is there?
What shows up?
Is there a separate entity there that needs help to survive?
Is there an i in charge of what is happening?
Look.
Write more.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book


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