Still caught up in self

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Thu May 23, 2019 10:37 pm

Hi Iberon

Great to hear from you.
. What is more tricky for me is the thoughts that are (or seem) intentional -- it's harder to accept that those also come from nowhere. But at the same time I'm not seeing a creator or originator for them. So I'm getting a glimmer of understanding that it's just a habit of identifying with an imaginary creator of thoughts that perpetuates a sense of self.
That's good. Much of this inquiry is about what cannot be found when really looked for. If that can be done so as to satisfy any doubt that a 'self' might be lurking somewhere behind the scenes, pulling strings and making things happen then the belief in a separate self can collapse.

A glimmer of understanding can be all it takes at first. So well done! Keep taking an interest in this line.
. A mental recreation of their image appears. It's hard to say where it is, I guess in the head is a reasonable description. Different than a direct experience of seeing
Nevertheless its worth looking at the reality that thoughts, including thought-images do appear. Is that clear?

Can we agree that there is direct experience of thoughts appearing? ... It's just that whatever thoughts are ABOUT is not actually appearing. So that imagining a unicorn can be an experience of the appearance of an image of a horse with a horn... but not of a real live unicorn. There are many thoughts about all sorts of things and many of them refer back to 'I'... and the irony is that even that 'I' is like the unicorn... imagined but not really there. Not a thing.

Speak soon

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sat May 25, 2019 5:23 am

Thank you, Jon.

Much of this inquiry is about what cannot be found when really looked for.

Yes, I've been noticing that!

If that can be done so as to satisfy any doubt that a 'self' might be lurking somewhere behind the scenes, pulling strings and making things happen then the belief in a separate self can collapse.

Not all doubts have been satisfied yet but it feels like some progress in that direction.

Realizing that I was making a distinction between "intentional" thoughts and other passing thoughts made me look more at where those intentional thoughts are coming from, and how exactly they are different. There is a sense of effort in them, so it's still confusing how there can be effort and thought but no creator of those.

Keep taking an interest in this line.

Agreed. More to be seen there for sure.

Nevertheless its worth looking at the reality that thoughts, including thought-images do appear. Is that clear? Can we agree that there is direct experience of thoughts appearing?

Yes, I think that's clear. The thoughts do appear in reality, in the present moment. But they are only able to be about something that is past or imaginary.

There are many thoughts about all sorts of things and many of them refer back to 'I'... and the irony is that even that 'I' is like the unicorn... imagined but not really there. Not a thing.

I can accept that but apparently have to absolutely prove it to myself!

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Tue May 28, 2019 10:42 am

Hi Oberon

I do apologise for the delay in replying. It has been a very busy few days for me.
. Realizing that I was making a distinction between "intentional" thoughts and other passing thoughts made me look more at where those intentional thoughts are coming from, and how exactly they are different. There is a sense of effort in them, so it's still confusing how there can be effort and thought but no creator of those
I do understand that. It can be relatively clear that there's no self but then, as you say, how confusing.

'seeing' that there is no doer either often takes a bit more looking, as you are doing and time. But keep exploring this.

Apparently there have been quite conclusive experiments conducted with people using MRI brain scanning, which have shown that by the time that a thought about deciding to do something happens it is, already several seconds after the 'decision' was taken somewhere in the brain. This is not a pointer by the way but its, still quite interesting.

Perhaps 'intention' might be more like thoughts ABOUT someone, 'me', 'having an intention', (or making a choice or decision)?

All best

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Thu May 30, 2019 3:46 am

Thank you, Jon. I have been watching the lack of self in actions and intentions. It is leaving quite an empty feeling, and it is interesting seeing the body wanting more food to try to fill the hole. Thank you for the pointers, and yes it is fascinating that brain scans are able to show that actions happen before the decisions. Watching that also. It doesn't feel like there's much to report otherwise.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Thu May 30, 2019 11:08 am

Hello Oberon
. It is leaving quite an empty feeling, and it is interesting seeing the body wanting more food to try to fill the hole
That emptiness can be a thought too. A thought about how empty things are. And then there's some idea of being negated, rubbed out, insignificant, or whatever. An idea of a 'me' that somehow struggles on in the face negation?

But thats when there is identification with the idea of self. Self as something attempting to 'survive'. And that is always an idea of being separate from everything else.

It could really help you to go to a park or somewhere out of doors with trees or grass, the sea or countryside. It might take hzlf an hour. Once there just notice everything that is going on around. Animals, birds, wind, sky, sun, insects, people,... The whole show. Including any sensations or thoughts happening as you're there.

Now, look for a line or edge where 'you' finish and 'everything else' begins. Can you find such a line in experience?

All best

Jon

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:14 am

Hello Oberon

Did you manage to go for a walk?

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:03 am

Hi Jon, sorry for the late reply. I have had a few sessions of looking for a line between "me" and "everything else", and have found no line or distinction between them. But, I have not been able to keep up the exercise for very long, so it has not felt like much of a success.

That emptiness can be a thought too. A thought about how empty things are. And then there's some idea of being negated, rubbed out, insignificant, or whatever. An idea of a 'me' that somehow struggles on in the face negation?

Yes, I can see how emptiness can also be a thought. There is less of a sense of a 'me' struggling on, as there is a sense of a sneaky 'me' always looking for ways to recapture the focus of attention. And while it seems to be easier now to see through this, it is still more often the default state.

Now, look for a line or edge where 'you' finish and 'everything else' begins. Can you find such a line in experience?

I found that I was able to change focus from inner to outer and back, without any line between them. I also tried to expand focus to encompass both inner and outer, and found that more difficult. And overall it seemed to be very hard to stay on task. There has been a lot going on in life these days so I'll keep at it whenever some more quiet moments come along.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:24 am

Hi Oberon

I will reply later, but for now, take a look at this video link about neuroscience and free will.

https://vimeo.com/90101368


Jon

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:25 pm

Hello Obetin
. I have had a few sessions of looking for a line between "me" and "everything else", and have found no line or distinction between them. But, I have not been able to keep up the exercise for very long, so it has not felt like much of a success.
Did you try it outside in nature?

You don't need to make an effort to keep it up. That isn't necessary or helpful here. It's either clear or not at the time that there isn't a line or edge. By all means try it again but don't look on it as something that a 'self' has to 'do'.
. I also tried to expand focus to encompass both inner and outer, and found that more difficult. And overall it seemed to be very hard to stay on task.
We are really only concerned with a bit of focus on looking for a line or edge. Just allow inner and outer sensations to be whatever they are, to do whatever they are doing. Don't approach it as some sort of meditation practice.

How did you get on with the video.?

All best

Jon

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:14 am

HellobIberon

It has been quite a while since you last replied. Hope everything s going well? I have been waiting.

Perhaps you have come up against some frustration? If so let me know. That's, what I'm here to help with. If I do not hear back from you I will at some stage concentrate my efforts on those who are still waiting to be guided.

Best wishes

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:20 am

Hello Jon, thank you for writing. You're right, I got frustrated, and actually have been in a funk for a while as a result. I have been travelling also, and hoping that it would clear my head to make a new start. I have been gathering courage to write to you again as I wasn't sure if you would still be willing to work with me after my long absence.

I'm used to being able to understand most things quite easily, so it has been maddening to not be able to see something that seems like it should be very simple.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:16 pm

Hi Oberon
. . I have been gathering courage to write to you again as I wasn't sure if you would still be willing to work with me after my long absence
Don't worry It isn't always straightforward investigating 'self'. . I'm glad you're back though.
. I'm used to being able to understand most things quite easily, so it has been maddening to not be able to see something that seems like it should be very simple.
Yes I can see how that would be frustrating and it is simple. But it is really about what is going on right now in actual experience, about noticing pure sensations and noticing any thoughts that appear alongside too.

Notice how seeing or hearing, for example just seems to happen automatically but thoughts also often appear and these are not the same thing as the seeing or hearing. Do you notice that thoughts are something that is extra, added onto seeing or hearing?

All the best

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:40 am

Hi Jon,
I'm feeling ready to start looking again. Thank you for your patience with me.

Notice how seeing or hearing, for example just seems to happen automatically but thoughts also often appear and these are not the same thing as the seeing or hearing. Do you notice that thoughts are something that is extra, added onto seeing or hearing?

Yes, I think that's clear to me. Certainly in a state of meditation, sights and sounds are a direct experience. Thoughts more often get in the way of direct experiencing, or at least steal focus.

One of my sources of confusion is that thoughts can be present, or not present, and experiencing happens either way, yet even without thoughts there is still a sense of self. So self doesn't seem to just be created by thoughts. Or are they just very subtle thoughts?

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:52 pm

Hello Oberon
even without thoughts there is still a sense of self.
Are you sure? Was there an experience when there were no thoughts?

Without the labels or words or images that refer to 'self' how is there a sense of one?

Is self sensed by seeing one? By hearing one? By touching one? Or tasting or smelling? How is one sensed?

Could it be that this too is an idea? That 'without thoughts there is still a sense of self'?
So self doesn't seem to just be created by thoughts. Or are they just very subtle thoughts?
Perhaps 'self' isn't created by thoughts. Not as an existing separate entity as such. But thoughts appear as words or labels that 'talk' ABOUT 'self' a lot?

All best

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:15 am

Hi Jon, again I find myself having to apologize for taking so long to reply. I have sat down to respond a number of times and haven't been able to find any words.

For the most part, I've been more or less living in the moment and observing everything that's happening inside and out. There are still a lot of thoughts, and a lot of them are about "me" but there seems to be less attachment to being that "me" -- despite not having the sense of fully seeing through that yet.

In the times when there are no thoughts, there is still the experience of being in this body, seeing with these eyes, hearing the sounds around here. There was some kind of assumption that these things would change somehow, that they are part of the illusion of self. It seems now like everything will stay exactly the same except for seeing through that illusion. Is that right?

It's feeling now more like everything that happens is just happening -- if thoughts are happening, they happen, if a meditative space happens, it doesn't fundamentally change anything. Yet in thoughts there is this constant language of assigning an "I" to take credit for it all. It's a deeply ingrained habit, like an addiction. But being able to see it happening, at least some of the time, does feel like a step in the right direction.

I hope it's ok that I'm such a slow student. This process is the most important thing going on in my life, and if I don't reply for a while it's not because it has lost any importance, just that I'm struggling to get clear enough to be able to express where I'm at.

Thanks again, very much, for being here.
Oberon


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