Still caught up in self

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:10 am

Hi Oberon
. It seems now like everything will stay exactly the same except for seeing through that illusion. Is that right?
I really ought to ask you what you mean by 'stay exactly the same'?
. 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.
Yes. That's is good. Noticing it happening is good.
. 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.
That's OK. If it takes time so be it.

All best

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:29 pm

I really ought to ask you what you mean by 'stay exactly the same'?
I mean, if I understand correctly, that without a self the experiencing of the senses, and of thoughts, will continue to happen in the same way as before. Just without someone taking credit for it. Or am I wrong?

Also I have watched the video you linked me to a few times, and it fits with my experience of thoughts happening after the direct experience. Although there is not a continuous awareness of that.

And I have made several attempts to find a line between inside and outside - in nature - and as far as I can tell there isn't one.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:45 pm

Hi Obeton
. I mean, if I understand correctly, that without a self the experiencing of the senses, and of thoughts, will continue to happen in the same way as before. Just without someone taking credit for it. Or am I wrong?
Well let's look at it. Yes to what you've said about 'without a self', but only as long as you are not expecting something that 'exists' now to stop existing at some 'future' moment.

Was there ever a self that 'existed'? Anywhere? Ever? Other than as an idea or thought ABOUT 'me'?
. experiencing of the senses, and of thoughts, will continue to happen in the same way as before. Just without someone taking credit for it.
Yes, sensations and thoughts that appear will do so as they do but what makes you imagine that it'll always be a case of 'without' someone taking the credit? Or do you imagine that we are aiming to get rid of something?

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:05 pm

Yes, sensations and thoughts that appear will do so as they do but what makes you imagine that it'll always be a case of 'without' someone taking the credit? Or do you imagine that we are aiming to get rid of something?

Ah, so you're saying that the mind will go on as before, and keep on thinking thoughts that are "I" centred? I suppose that makes sense.

Yes to what you've said about 'without a self', but only as long as you are not expecting something that 'exists' now to stop existing at some 'future' moment.

I'm getting that. So really, nothing changes at all except for no longer believing that all the "me"-centred thoughts are referring to anything real?

Was there ever a self that 'existed'? Anywhere? Ever? Other than as an idea or thought ABOUT 'me'?

This is really the crux, isn't it? What's strange to me is that it makes perfect sense, I can see the truth of it. And yet there is this feeling that it hasn't really "clicked" yet.

So far, no state of meditation or effort to see has helped to allow this understanding to really sink in. I can feel that there is some kind of resistance there, but no idea how to un-resist.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:24 am

Hi Oberon
. Ah, so you're saying that the mind will go on as before, and keep on thinking thoughts that are "I" centred? I suppose that makes sense.
I was asking a question. Is there an expectation that thoughts should cease?

What if thoughts that reference 'me' or 'I' continue to appear?

I didn't mention a mind. Look now in immediate experience for 'the mind'. What is that?
. Ah, so you're saying that the mind will go on as before, and keep on thinking thoughts that are "I" centred? I suppose that makes sense.
No. I didn't mention mind. I'm not presenting 'answers'. I'm asking questions. That's how guiding works at LU. It's very important that the 'answers' come from within you. Otherwise it's an intellectual exercise and I will not have served you well.

I have noticed that you've tended to quiz me for answers quite a lot, as if this inquiry is about pidgeon-holing things conceptually. It's not.

Feel free to say how you feel or what you think as we go along but I'm going to tend to challenge you when you ask for 'answers'. Do you see what I'm saying and why?
. This is really the crux, isn't it? What's strange to me is that it makes perfect sense, I can see the truth of it. And yet there is this feeling that it hasn't really "clicked" yet.
That's because we need to take it outside the domain of reasoning.


Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:13 pm

Thanks Jon. You're right, I have been stuck in the domain of reasoning. I will try better to receive your guidance and directly look at the questions you're asking, in the present moment.

Is there an expectation that thoughts should cease? What if thoughts that reference 'me' or 'I' continue to appear?

There isn't an expectation that thoughts should cease. There had been an assumption that thoughts referencing self will stop. That assumption is now gone.

Look now in immediate experience for 'the mind'. What is that?

I can see that it's another artificial construct that doesn't really exist. Much like the self. An object that can be referenced by thoughts, claiming it to be the originator of thoughts. If I look, I don't see a mind, and I don't know where thoughts come from.

Feel free to say how you feel or what you think as we go along but I'm going to tend to challenge you when you ask for 'answers'. Do you see what I'm saying and why?

Yes. Thank you. I'm very grateful for the assumptions that you've helped me clear out already.

I realize that I don't really know or understand how to get outside the domain of reasoning. There may have been experiences of it in meditation and psychedelics but the identification with thoughts and thought-objects has always returned.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:14 am

Hi
. Thanks Jon. You're right, I have been stuck in the domain of reasoning. I will try better to receive your guidance and directly look at the questions you're asking, in the present moment.
Good. That can only help.
. There isn't an expectation that thoughts should cease. There had been an assumption that thoughts referencing self will stop. That assumption is now gone.
Good. It's interesting really, if you look at how thoughts reference all sorts of ideas, many of which connect with other ideas. But thoughts may reference 'me' or 'I' but is it true that there's a permanent and separate entity that corresponds to a thought-reference, or story, ABOUT one?
. I can see that it's another artificial construct that doesn't really exist. Much like the self. An object that can be referenced by thoughts, claiming it to be the originator of thoughts. If I look, I don't see a mind, and I don't know where thoughts come from.
Well done!
. I realize that I don't really know or understand how to get outside the domain of reasoning. There may have been experiences of it in meditation and psychedelics but the identification with thoughts and thought-objects has always returned.
I know. But just sit quietly, making no special effort and become aware of sounds, quiet sounds, louder sounds. Just notice everything that is heard. Thoughts will likely appear too but we've seen that whatever these 'say' they are not the hearing it's, self. So simply savour what is heard. You may find moments that are not within the domain of reasoning.

All best

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:31 am

It's interesting really, if you look at how thoughts reference all sorts of ideas, many of which connect with other ideas. But thoughts may reference 'me' or 'I' but is it true that there's a permanent and separate entity that corresponds to a thought-reference, or story, ABOUT one?

Not as far as I can see. I've been noticing different aspects of personality that I had previously thought of as having real existence, and realizing that they are equally imaginary constructs. It feels like there's an untangling process going on, seeing all the different aspects of self and seeing that they also aren't real.

But just sit quietly, making no special effort and become aware of sounds, quiet sounds, louder sounds. Just notice everything that is heard. Thoughts will likely appear too but we've seen that whatever these 'say' they are not the hearing it's, self. So simply savour what is heard. You may find moments that are not within the domain of reasoning.

Thank you. I have been doing that. The last couple of days there have been a lot of noisy thoughts, so less moments of being able to savour sounds, but some moments have been there.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:45 pm

Hi
. Not as far as I can see. I've been noticing different aspects of personality that I had previously thought of as having real existence, and realizing that they are equally imaginary constructs. It feels like there's an untangling process going on, seeing all the different
Good work. And untangling sounds very good. Please let me know if you reach any knots or confusions in the untangling and we can explore those?
. Thank you. I have been doing that. The last couple of days there have been a lot of noisy thoughts, so less moments of being able to savour sounds, but some moments have been there.
I understand about noisy thoughts. If it proves difficult to find opportunities to do the hearing I suggested there's another thing you can try. See if its possible to find a gap between the end of one thought and the start of the next one? You may not find a 'gap' as such. 'Gap' is just the word I'm using. I could have said 'space' or various other words. Any label I'd use would not really describe it. . But try it a few times.

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:57 pm

Hi Jon,

Seems like I blink and two weeks have gone by. The looking has continued, it just hasn't seemed like there was anything of significance to report.

There is more awareness of I-thoughts in different situations. The noticing usually triggers a cascade of other I-thoughts claiming credit for noticing.

There is also a growing awareness of the resistance or "holding on" that has been there seemingly forever. It seems to be coming more to the forefront of awareness, without it really changing. But it does feel like there may be more readiness for it to consider letting go.

See if its possible to find a gap between the end of one thought and the start of the next one?

There are gaps. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. And there are times of clarity when it feels like the here-and-now is very very close but still separate. I'm not sure if in those times there is any effort that can happen to break through the separation, so far that has not happened.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:22 am

Hello Oberon
. There are gaps. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. And there are times of clarity when it feels like the here-and-now is very very close but still separate.
It's good that you did this exercise..

But what 'here and now' is separate from what, exactly?

Please say more about what you mean?
. It feels like there's an untangling process going on, seeing all the different aspects of self and seeing that they also aren't real.
That sounds good. These aspects do appear, as thoughts ABOUT a 'me' or 'self'. What we can do is notice that the separate entity (referred to) is not a fixed 'thing' that 'exists' somehow 'separately'.

If possible Oberon, try to reply sooner. Its not compulsory but it is certainly helpful to most people for much if the time in these inquiries to keep up a daily exchange. There is a certain focus that is maintained that often helps.

Love

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:43 am

Thanks Jon. I will give my best efforts to post every day.

But what 'here and now' is separate from what, exactly?

Good question. What it feels like is that when there are a lot of thoughts, there is less direct perception of reality. Of course thoughts are also part of reality but it seems like they veil the experience of sight, sound, etc. And when there are few or no thoughts happening there is a much more direct perception of everything, but it still feels like there is some kind of veil in between the perception and that which perceives. I don't really know what either of those things actually are, and I don't even know if it's a false idea that there can even be no separation.

These aspects do appear, as thoughts ABOUT a 'me' or 'self'. What we can do is notice that the separate entity (referred to) is not a fixed 'thing' that 'exists' somehow 'separately'.

Yes. Thank you. I can see that thoughts about aspects of self are just labels for something that doesn't exist. Other thoughts don't seem to be about any kind of self, for example there is almost always a repeated musical phrase happening in thought, which had got a label as well, but that label doesn't refer to anything that has real substance.

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:36 am

Hi Oberon
. What it feels like is that when there are a lot of thoughts, there is less direct perception of reality. Of course thoughts are also part of reality but it seems like they veil the experience of sight, sound, etc
Maybe it's where the attention is? We often say 'lost in thought' and it can be like that. Whatever story is going on, whatever thoughts are 'saying' can seem to be reality, to be actually happening.

A good way to see the difference between what's really happening and what is only imagined is to go and find a piece of fruit, an oange or an apple maybe. Place it so you can't see it and, with eyes closed, for a minute, imagine that fruit. Imagine it vividly. It's colour, texture, scent and so on.

Now fetch the real fruit and hold it. See its colours, it's scent and even take a bite.

Now compare the experiences. The thought-fruit with the actual fruit. Is there a difference?
. but it still feels like there is some kind of veil in between the perception and that which perceives.
Sure. What is that veil? (and notice that 'veil' is a concept that already suggests some kind of physical or 'real' layer... Whereas it's just an idea.

This is where you need to look. Examine the actual experience of hearing, seeing, touch, taste, smell. Yes thoughts are likely to present commentary but that's just words and mental images. You're concerned with the immediate experience of sensation. That's actually happening whereas whatever is going on within thoughts is a kind of abstraction.
. . I don't really know what either of those things actually are, and I don't even know if it's a false idea that there can even be no separation.
Take a red cup, for example. Yours may be white or whatever but find an object with a clear single colour and put it in front of you. Now, with no particular effort at all, notice that redness. Now, is the redness 'separate' from the seeing of it? Is there any way of prizing apart the redness of the 'cup' from the 'experience of redness'?

Love

Jon

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ob3ron
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby ob3ron » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:44 am

Maybe it's where the attention is? We often say 'lost in thought' and it can be like that. Whatever story is going on, whatever thoughts are 'saying' can seem to be reality, to be actually happening.

Yes. There has been a lot of time spent lost in thought. Gradually there is becoming more time spent in the present, and the difference is very clear.

find a piece of fruit, an oange or an apple maybe. Place it so you can't see it and, with eyes closed, for a minute, imagine that fruit. Imagine it vividly. It's colour, texture, scent and so on.

Now fetch the real fruit and hold it. See its colours, it's scent and even take a bite.

Now compare the experiences. The thought-fruit with the actual fruit. Is there a difference?

Yes absolutely. There is a desire to live in the actual and not the imaginary world. Somehow the thoughts seem to capture the attention most of the time, but also there is a growing awareness of that happening.

What is that veil? (and notice that 'veil' is a concept that already suggests some kind of physical or 'real' layer... Whereas it's just an idea.

Yes I wasn't meaning that it was a real thing, just a way of trying to express the experience. Another way of expressing it would be that it's like the imaginary world created by thought processes seems to have a magnetic attraction for the attention, and in those moments of presence when the here & now has attention, it feels like that attention is never 100%, always something is holding back.

find an object with a clear single colour and put it in front of you. Now, with no particular effort at all, notice that redness. Now, is the redness 'separate' from the seeing of it? Is there any way of prizing apart the redness of the 'cup' from the 'experience of redness'?

No it's not separate, and can't be separate. So, that which perceives also can't be separate from what is being perceived... that is harder to see.

Honestly this all makes me feel really stupid, not to be able to see, despite really trying... I'm very grateful for your patience with my thickness.

With thanks and love,

Oberon

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JonathanR
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Re: Still caught up in self

Postby JonathanR » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:32 am

. Gradually there is becoming more time spent in the present, and the difference is very clear.
Great. It's very good if that difference is seen.
. There is a desire to live in the actual and not the imaginary world. Somehow the thoughts seem to capture the attention most of the time, but also there is a growing awareness of that happening
Which is very good.

Perhaps just note that it is always available to us to 'tune in' to the reality of the immediate moment at any stage. It's good to rest in this from time to time as it does reveal the contrast between the immediacy of actual experience versus all the stories that thoughts are a
ABOUT. As you're noticing, it's seeing how attention goes to these stories or images. Notice how, whatever story is playing out its never what's actually happening right now.
. in those moments of presence when the here & now has attention, it feels like that attention is never 100%, always something is holding back.
That may be an illusion? A thought that 'says' this enough for it to be believed enough for it to seem true. All you need to do is rest occasionally in sensation and things, will become clear enough.
. Honestly this all makes me feel really stupid, not to be able to see, despite really trying... I'm very grateful for your patience with my thickness
Oberon. You're not 'thick'. But it's perfectly possible to feel stupid. We cannot 'get' no self with the mind. But fortunately its not about being clever anyway. Don't force things. You're doing really well. I love being patient anyway when I'm working with someone like you who is putting in the effort. But as I say, don't force it and actually no real effort is needed. Just a little bit of focus..

Love

Jon


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