Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

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forgetmenot
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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:21 am

Hey Glenn...lovely to hear you are settled and ready to push on as they say! :)

Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:36 am

Hi Kay

Push on I shall! Sending much love your way today. It’s been a week of change at this end, but things are settling down now. It’s great to be back here with you again. Thank you so much for your patience. Quite a long post from me today, so let’s just dive in.
Thinking about this is what creates tiredness. If you just LOOK at what is being pointed to…thinking is not required as the answers a recognisable via the LOOKING.
Yes, I understand. I was distracted by thoughts of my new job at the time of writing, and muddlingly tired. Overthinking kicked in. I realised that it had at the time, but I pressed on. It was a struggle to though. That’s why I thought it best to step back for a week and let things settle while superficially distracted by my new job. So I did. And they have 

The thoughts that are labelled ‘memories’ appear in the very moment they appear. If a thought about eating ice-cream yesterday appears in this moment, the so called ‘memory’ is appearing now. Where is the actual evidence that ice-cream was eaten yesterday?
My comment about the ‘fraction of a moment’ was the product of thinking, not looking. I was bleary at time of writing. Memories arose of bubble machines and Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ and things like that and I got caught up in a neurological story about the definition of Now rather than just looking at Now. ‘How long is now? Is it a millisecond? A half second?’ Counterproductive, get-nowhere stuff. That line of thinking tangled things up and made me even more tired. A week later I’ve sloughed it off. ‘Now’ is ‘now’.

Re: evidence of ice cream eaten yesterday. There is none. Just the content of a thought, a story about ice cream being eaten at another time. There are no past experiences. ‘There are no past experiences’: of all the things that have come up during this inquiry, that thought keeps returning the most. There’s a sense that it’s the key to unlocking the door. I’ll write more about that later in this post. I’ll address your other comments first.
Is there any actual evidence that any of these encounters have happened before?
Without thought / memory there would be no concept that anything at all had ever happened before, let alone evidence of it.
Yes, exactly. If you go back to the sports exercise. Is there anything actually happening if thought didn’t appear with commentary about what is appearing?
No. Without thought commentary, everything is neutral. Life lives, existence exists. 

How is it known that some thoughts are pervasive?
It isn’t ‘known’; for it to be known would require the existence of a knower, an ‘I’, and ‘I’ is just a thought. As for the *apparent* awareness of pervasive thoughts: one thought points to some other thoughts, which arise with frequency and all contain the same or similar content. The singular thought points to these other thoughts and labels them collectively as a pervasive thought. In turn a further thought points to that thought and labels it as awareness of pervasive thoughts. But really it’s all just thoughts arising and dying away independently. No one’s thinking them, there is no thinker. They’re just happening.
Gaps are no different to no gaps. There has to be a 'you' that is separate to experience to know that there is a difference. And there is no separation in any shape or form. Everything is ‘made from’ experience/THIS and therefore there is no difference between anything. And for there to be a ‘between’, points to separation i.e. that there are separate objects/things.
I accept and believe this. There have even been times very recently when the separation (or rather, assumed separation) has very fleetingly seemed to dissolve. But at this point it’s still conceptual. Not a not-self experience but still a belief.

Aside from the fact that your guiding me in the first place is itself amazingly beautiful and kind, your approach is absolutely right. I totally appreciate the value and effectiveness of containment and focus and of my sticking closely to your guidance and not wandering off. I know there’s more to do and I won’t go off track, but I think now might be a good time to explain some thoughts / feelings I’ve been having about obstacles. It might be instructive / helpful for you to hear about them. I’ll keep it as brief as possible.

In the weeks since we commenced this inquiry there have been a number of occasions when I’ve felt my senses heighten, my heartbeat quicken and a feeling of anticipation / beginning exhilaration well up in the body. It’s like something’s trying to escape. This has happened at times when I’ve been looking. Sometimes it’s even seemed, in a subtle way, as though the world looks physically different; multi-layered perspectives flattened out onto a single plane. But then something—which I think is fear—nullifies this feeling before it expands.

I had two experiences in my life of ‘selflessness’. One was blissful and beautiful and one was overwhelming and terrifying. The former occurred at my first meditation retreat; I went into a flow state, the lower half of the body disappeared and suddenly I had a sense that existence was spherical and that I was at all points in the room and, in fact, was the room and everything else. I was startled by the experience and snapped myself out of it, to lasting regret. The subsequent four months were the clearest and happiest of my life.

The second experience was a terrible emotional breakdown I experienced six years ago. Rest assured I’m fine now, but at the time all my self-defences completely evaporated. I was totally exposed overwhelmed by grief and confusion. It took many months to recover. It’s occurred to me in the last few weeks that ego defences came back even stronger after that, like thick scar tissue.

That’s as much detail as I think is required about those experiences, both of which had major effects. The only reason I’ve described them is because I feel that emotional echoes of both of them may be obstructing my path now.

It’s why I find the fact that ‘there are no past experiences’ particularly compelling. It’s the truth. As such, it follows that neither my good or bad ‘selfless’ experiences count for anything now. They’re not Now, they’re not the present. They’re just memories and aren’t real. I get that! And yet, I feel they are a hindrance. I understand that such callbacks, whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’, aren’t helpful. But I’m not sure what to do about them and I wondered if you might be able to offer advice.

I should also say that while I have been and remain completely committed to this inquiry, at times I’ve felt deflated by apathy and doubt: ‘Oh, I’ll never do it. Just give up’, ‘Stuck in the past / too protective of the self / waste of time / too much work / stay as you are, it’s easier’ etc etc. The inner naysayer is fairly busy, all right. There’s no way I’d ever submit to those thoughts, but they arise from time to time and in the agreed spirit of candour, you should know that.

OK – moving on.
There is no sound AND thought AND colour AND sensation AND taste AND smell. There is no AND. It is thought that divides THIS/experience into these categories. Soundcoloursmelltastesensationthought = THIS/experience appearing exactly as it is.
Understood. Through looking, there have been fleeting intimations of the singularity of experience over the last week or so. But I don’t want to ‘push it’ or second-guess anything. I’m continuing to look every day, openly and mindfully.
Can you explain what you mean when you say that the “contents of thought is consciousness”?
I think that everything is a singular pool of information. Thought inheres in that pool of information as its way of observing itself. That’s what I mean by “contents of thought is consciousness”.
What meaning is given to thoughts are only just thoughts about thoughts. The actual experience of thought isn't any different just because the content of the thought is different.
Yes. Understood. Ha ha! Yes, I understand that a thought that ‘thoughts constitute perception’ is just a thought about thought, like any other. That’s a serious realisation. It’s the sheer novelty of thinking about thought in this way that makes me laugh. It’s a light, happy laugh though—a ‘penny’s dropped’ laugh. I’ll never be able to return to the old way of understanding.
It doesn’t matter if a ‘mental’ image persists. That in itself is just another appearing thought. You can’t find where a thought comes from or goes to, for one simple reason it’s not a thing, nor is it known because of its appearance or its content...it is known because it is THIS/experience which thought has divided and called one of those divisions ‘thought’.
Understood.

{quote]No, thoughts arise spontaneously. At times they seem to do so in response to external stimuli, (AE of sound sensation, etc) sometimes they seem to arise in response to internal stimuli, which is to say, other thoughts, and sometimes they seem to appear without prompting from any discernible stimulus at all.
And without thought, how is this known?[/quote]

It isn’t. Without thought nothing can be known. Further, ‘knowing’ is itself a label / concept generated by thought.
With that said, if I stop to examine the process, there is a lingering sense—and it is a sense, not an articulated thought—that feels like ‘I’ am deliberately directing thoughts to arise.
And is this ‘feeling’ an actual body sensation, or is it simply an idea/thought?
Just a thought. 

Close your eyes and sit quietly for 10-15 minutes. 
Watch what focus does. 

Focus on focussing, attention itself. 
Do you move it, or it moves by itself? 
By itself
Hold focus on breath - see how it moves to thoughts, sensations, feelings, sounds. 
Is this something you control? 
No, it’s autonomous.

What moves attention? 
Sometimes sound, sometimes sensation, sometimes thoughts.
Is thought in control of attention?
No. It follows it.

And where exactly is this “I” that can “slow the pace at which thought appears”?
Nowhere. It doesn’t exist. It is the process of meditation that eventually causes thoughts to arise less frequently, not an ‘I’. During insight meditation thoughts point predominantly to AE of sensation, which is atypical in that, in the usual mundane sense, everyday thoughts are predominantly verbal or pictorial. There always seems to be an observing thought seemingly looking down on all the other mental and bodily activity though—“awareness”. It’s feels like an “I”, but it’s just a thought. (One wonders if it’s where the idea of an omniscient creator God arose from. Seems likely. An “I” thought and a “God” thought seem to share a lot of characteristics.)
And what is it exactly that is suggesting that thoughts are either slow or fast?
Other thoughts.

Love and thanks

Glenn


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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:58 am

Hello Glenn,
Re: evidence of ice cream eaten yesterday. There is none. Just the content of a thought, a story about ice cream being eaten at another time. There are no past experiences.
Knowing ABOUT something is called knowledge (ie thought).…right, so it is thought that suggests that something is known from the past. But is it really?

If you look at a cup, for example, do you actually see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, be¬ing thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on? Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for the past learning of/about it. Do you, then, really see it?

Knowing what actually IS, is direct/actual and what is a cup in actual experience?
How is it known that some thoughts are pervasive?
It isn’t ‘known’; for it to be known would require the existence of a knower, an ‘I’, and ‘I’ is just a thought. As for the *apparent* awareness of pervasive thoughts: one thought points to some other thoughts, which arise with frequency and all contain the same or similar content. The singular thought points to these other thoughts and labels them collectively as a pervasive thought. In turn a further thought points to that thought and labels it as awareness of pervasive thoughts. But really it’s all just thoughts arising and dying away independently. No one’s thinking them, there is no thinker. They’re just happening.
Yes…it’s turtles all the way down!
Gaps are no different to no gaps. There has to be a 'you' that is separate to experience to know that there is a difference. And there is no separation in any shape or form. Everything is ‘made from’ experience/THIS and therefore there is no difference between anything. And for there to be a ‘between’, points to separation i.e. that there are separate objects/things.
I accept and believe this. There have even been times very recently when the separation (or rather, assumed separation) has very fleetingly seemed to dissolve. But at this point it’s still conceptual. Not a not-self experience but still a belief.
And how would this be experienced exactly? And what exactly is it that would experience whatever you think this experience will be experience as?
I had two experiences in my life of ‘selflessness’. One was blissful and beautiful and one was overwhelming and terrifying. The former occurred at my first meditation retreat; I went into a flow state, the lower half of the body disappeared and suddenly I had a sense that existence was spherical and that I was at all points in the room and, in fact, was the room and everything else. I was startled by the experience and snapped myself out of it, to lasting regret. The subsequent four months were the clearest and happiest of my life.
Hmmm…so you are waiting for, have expectations of having a particular experience to appear to tell you that you have realised no self. It is good to be aware of this. Blissfulness is a STATE, and no state lasts because it is not it. Realising no self has nothing to do with becoming blissful 24/7. There has NEVER EVER been a separate self and yet this ‘blissful state’ appeared and like everything in the dream…passed on by, so how could that be the realisation of no self? There is no self to realise that there is no self! An illusory self cannot realise that it is an illusion!
The second experience was a terrible emotional breakdown I experienced six years ago. Rest assured I’m fine now, but at the time all my self-defences completely evaporated. I was totally exposed overwhelmed by grief and confusion. It took many months to recover. It’s occurred to me in the last few weeks that ego defences came back even stronger after that, like thick scar tissue.
And where exactly is this ego? Can you see that this is simply all thought story? Have you checked it with actual experience to see if this is simply a story or if it is actual experience?
That’s as much detail as I think is required about those experiences, both of which had major effects. The only reason I’ve described them is because I feel that emotional echoes of both of them may be obstructing my path now.
Nope. It is all very simple. AE is sound, colour, smell, taste, sensation and the face value of thought. Anything else is simply thought story and is pure fantasy.
It’s why I find the fact that ‘there are no past experiences’ particularly compelling. It’s the truth. As such, it follows that neither my good or bad ‘selfless’ experiences count for anything now. They’re not Now, they’re not the present. They’re just memories and aren’t real. I get that! And yet, I feel they are a hindrance. I understand that such callbacks, whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’, aren’t helpful. But I’m not sure what to do about them and I wondered if you might be able to offer advice.
Yes…just watch those thought stories as they appear and watch how they pass on by. There is no necessity to engage with them at all. Here is what is required for this exploration. Please read #4 several times :)

To see This, first, you must be 100% committed to seeing it. It can’t be a nice idea, an intellectual curiosity. You have got to pursue this as if you have no other choice.

Second, you must be open with a willingness to set aside your current beliefs about how things are and engage in rigorous inquiry. No-one can give this to you.

Your beliefs might rush in saying, “Yeah, but…”, “OK, but what about…?”, “I was taught that…”, “My other teacher or the book I read said…” All this must be pushed aside and sometimes quite aggressively.

Third, you must engage in active listening. Listen carefully to the words your guide is using. Be sure you are clear on the context within which the words are being used. Sometimes, when you review what was asked or said, you realize that what you thought you heard versus what was actually said are two different things.

Fourth, this ties in with number 2… practical application… You can’t just sit and ponder, you must apply the ideas to your life; see them in action. Do the work.

Fifth, be 100% honest with your guide and with yourself. You can’t cheat your way through this. Wherever you are in your understanding or lack thereof is fine, but your guide can’t help you if you are withholding. Withholding is unfair both to the guide and yourself.

Can you explain what you mean when you say that the “contents of thought is consciousness”?
I think that everything is a singular pool of information. Thought inheres in that pool of information as its way of observing itself. That’s what I mean by “contents of thought is consciousness”.
Glenn…how is what you wrote got anything to do with LOOKING? You are postulating an assumption, an idea that has no evidence in AE at all!

Where is this singular pool of information exactly? Where is it found?
Thoughts are NOT AN ENTITY and do not know anything any anything, let alone what they are, nor can they observe itself!

There is no such things as thoughts. Thoughts are not things. It is thought that suggests that thought is what it is and describes itself as. Thought is experience and experience is always here! It is just thought that says thought is something other than experience!

Can a thought be seen, felt, smelled, tasted or heard...or is it simply known?
I want you to look and 'find' a thought. You may see the label 'thought' and some mirage-like arisings, but can a thought be actually seen? Can you see that even the label 'thought' is also a mirage-like arising!


As I wrote in my last post, you can’t find where a thought comes from or goes to, for one simple reason it’s not a thing, nor is it known because of its appearance or its content...it is known because it is THIS/experience which thought has divided and called one of those divisions ‘thought’.
No, thoughts arise spontaneously. At times they seem to do so in response to external stimuli, (AE of sound sensation, etc) sometimes they seem to arise in response to internal stimuli, which is to say, other thoughts, and sometimes they seem to appear without prompting from any discernible stimulus at all.
And without thought, how is this known?
It isn’t. Without thought nothing can be known. Further, ‘knowing’ is itself a label / concept generated by thought.
Without thought, knowing ABOUT ‘things’ ie the story about ‘things’ and what they are, do etc would not be known. However, is thought needed to know experience (ie colour, sound, sensation, smell, taste, thought)? Is there ever a time when experience isn’t? If thoughts were to stop spontaneously and never return…would not what is labelled as ‘colour’, ‘smell’, ‘sound’, ‘taste’, ‘sensation’ still be known?
With that said, if I stop to examine the process, there is a lingering sense—and it is a sense, not an articulated thought—that feels like ‘I’ am deliberately directing thoughts to arise.
There is no such thing as ‘sense’? What is it exactly that has ‘sense’? It is either an actual sensation or it is an idea. “I sense the spirit of a loved one in this room” is no different to “I have a lingering sense”!
What moves attention?
Sometimes sound, sometimes sensation, sometimes thoughts.
And here is the idea that there is experience and an awareness of that experience, which points to two.

What is "awareness"? Is it something other than, different to, or separate from, experience?
Is "knowing" (experience/THIS) separate from what is “known", or are they one and the same?

Look at the display before you.
When seeing it, is there any division between seeing, see-er, and the seen?
Are these three separate?
If yes, can you find the boundary between the three? Not an imagined, conceptual boundary, but an actual boundary that can be perceived with one or more of the senses?

Is thought in control of attention?
No. It follows it.

How exactly does thought follow attention? Where are thoughts parked/hiding exactly, waiting for the opportunity to show themselves at specific times? They must be clever thoughts to know when they are needed to appear like a magicians assistance!

Sensation arising labelled ‘butterflies’, ‘anxiety’.

Thought 1: I’m feeling anxious

Thought 2: I'm not understanding what I'm looking at! This is nonsense, I've been myself and living my life.

Thought 3: If this stuff is true, then why are thoughts saying that colour is an object. That should stop because there are no objects, there is only colour and since I see that clearly, then why would thought continue to appear labelling objects? That must mean that I am not really understanding and seeing clearly at all.

Thought 4: Omg, I am so confused. I really don’t see or understand anything.

Thought 27: Wow! I understand now, I clearly see that I am not a character! It is pretty clear!"

Thought 28: I will never doubt again, I see it so clearly now and I feel such a relief.

Thought 29: I wonder what I will cook for dinner

Thought 35: Don't be stupid, this is nonsense! Obviously I am inside this body! I’m not understanding, because I have been me for x amount of years and living life. .

Now when we look at this, do we find thought 35 has any knowledge of any of the other thoughts, let alone them all? It seems that way, but when we look closely, what is found?
And where exactly is this “I” that can “slow the pace at which thought appears”?
Nowhere. It doesn’t exist. It is the process of meditation that eventually causes thoughts to arise less frequently, not an ‘I’.
What? Then what is it exactly that is meditating?

Love, Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:01 am

Hi Kay

I’ve had quite a time writing to you tonight.
Yes…it’s turtles all the way down!
Funny 
And how would this be experienced exactly?
As thought.
And what exactly is it that would experience whatever you think this experience will be experience as?
Just AE of thought. A belief is a thought construct, therefore it isn’t real. It’s just thought pointing to thought. So, it doesn’t matter if ‘I’ think I believe something or don’t believe it, because the ‘I’ supposedly doing the believing is just a thought, and the ‘belief’ is just more thought. While they appear in the mundane sense to be subject and object, in fact they’re just thought.

They don’t exist and that’s inarguable. So while thought generates the impression / feeling / thought that “I” believe in something , because that’s how things are, regardless. It’s really simple.
Hmmm…so you are waiting for, have expectations of having a particular experience to appear to tell you that you have realised no self. It is good to be aware of this. Blissfulness is a STATE, and no state lasts because it is not it. Realising no self has nothing to do with becoming blissful 24/7. There has NEVER EVER been a separate self and yet this ‘blissful state’ appeared and like everything in the dream…passed on by, so how could that be the realisation of no self? There is no self to realise that there is no self! An illusory self cannot realise that it is an illusion!
Thank you for the insight and reinforcement here. I knew from the start that this lingering half-expectation of a rabbit-from-a-hat was a no-go, but it kept coming up and was bothersome and I thought it was important to be transparent about it.

Not surprisingly I’ve been looking at it all day today. What it is really is a manifestation of the protective structure around the ‘I’ thought. In times when life feels stressful to ‘Me’, the magical protective thoughts arise to take ‘Me’ to an imagined safe place; in this case a bliss state, a happy time in the past. None of these desires or impulses or places are real, they’re imaginings—thought structures.

What is really noteworthy here is that seeing these thought stories of bliss and ‘the past’ and ‘I’ for what they are—unreal fantasies—feels like freedom. Which is the direct opposite of the conditioned response to retreat into imaginings of protection or nostalgia.

I suddenly and unexpectedly welled up in tears when I wrote that last line. Let me look at that.

Glenn is just a character going about a series of actions in places and situations that appear in the mind. They are just thoughts. They’re not real and neither is he. He’s like a cartoon character. I close my eyes and see him now. Right this second there’s a great feeling of affection welling up for him in the chest and the mind; it’s like love. I’m crying now and I’m not sure why. Big wave of emotion welled up.

All the things ‘Glenn’ is doing when I close my eyes and see him now are the things I wrote to you about yesterday—there he is in the meditation hall, there he is looking calm and peaceful. An imagined being, with imagined attributes.

Earlier this week when I was sitting in meetings at work and travelling on the train I’d look at people and imagine that they, not me, were Glenn and that they were living his life. I put him into their heads. It seemed novel but not startling or ridiculous to do that. It seemed no less likely for them to be him than me. I attributed Glenn’s characteristics to them—they were kind, lazy, grumpy, happy, musical, etc.

In a meeting I sat across from two pleasant men I hadn’t met before and looked at them and listened to them, with the thought foremost that what they ‘were’ was the manifestation of present experience, and that they had no ‘character’ ‘inside’ them. Which is to say, I looked at what was actually happening rather than ascribing imagined personalities to them, It was a strange and airy feeling for a few minutes. It became a tableau of sound and motion and immediacy. A gentle, almost neutral experience.

For years I have unquestioningly accepted the axiom that ‘we are nothing more than the sum of our memories’ but right now this second I’m thinking that’s not true.

Yesterday and for a couple of days before, anxious / protective thoughts seemed to dominate. It was right to share that with you, and also to put it out where I could get a good look at it myself. It’s enabled me to get a look at how robustly-constructed the thought cocoon around the “I” actually is. It can be strongly diverting but it’s definitely not impermeable.
And where exactly is this ego? Can you see that this is simply all thought story? Have you checked it with actual experience to see if this is simply a story or if it is actual experience?
As you will have gathered from the foregoing, yes, I really do see it’s just a story. I really do. I keep tearing up! I ask why, and the first thought that arises is: “Free from expectations”.
It is all very simple. AE is sound, colour, smell, taste, sensation and the face value of thought. Anything else is simply thought story and is pure fantasy.
Yes, I truly understand that and have taken it on board. As we say in London, ‘it’s just made-up bollocks!’  That’s a frivolous statement, but it’s made good-naturedly in acknowledgement of the serious truth. As my post yesterday demonstrated, the ‘Glenn’ character is not impervious to the pull of ‘made-up bollocks’ – but he’s just ‘made-up bollocks’ himself. What is real is here now in this moment, nothing else.

I don’t want to overstate it, but I’m very emotional as I write this. Nothing overwhelming, but tears coming and an opening up in the chest and waves of happiness. Completely unexpected. When I started writing to you tonight I was calm and if anything actually felt a bit sheepish about the hokeyness of some of the replies I wrote to you yesterday. I mean, the hokeyness wasn’t deliberate, but some iffy answers came out—I think, protectively. It was the protection mechanism of the “I” thought. Either way, experiencing a sudden strong surge of emotion tonight was totally unexpected. “I” had imagined I’d feel maybe a bit cowed and stupid. Anyway. Like I said, I won’t presume to rationalise it. But it’s happening, and now you know.
To see This, first, you must be 100% committed to seeing it. It can’t be a nice idea, an intellectual curiosity. You have got to pursue this as if you have no other choice.
Honestly, I am. Of course It’s true that it’s intellectually interesting and that can sometimes provoke a tendency to get think instead of look. But that’s something I’ve occasionally fallen into ‘by accident’, and is emphatically not something I actively pursue. I sincerely mean to avoid it. This inquiry is not frivolous to me, or a game. I’m absolutely serious about it. Any wavering that may occur does not arise from a lack of sincere commitment. I’ll redouble that commitment and do all that is required to see This. I don’t feel I have a choice. In too deep now!
Second, you must be open with a willingness to set aside your current beliefs about how things are and engage in rigorous inquiry. No-one can give this to you.
I am absolutely willing.
Your beliefs might rush in saying, “Yeah, but…”, “OK, but what about…?”, “I was taught that…”, “My other teacher or the book I read said…” All this must be pushed aside and sometimes quite aggressively.
Yes, that kind of thing arose yesterday. I saw that it did, and have spent today metaphorically kicking myself up the backside and vowing to avoid succumbing to those beliefs and intellectual conceits again.
Third, you must engage in active listening. Listen carefully to the words your guide is using. Be sure you are clear on the context within which the words are being used. Sometimes, when you review what was asked or said, you realize that what you thought you heard versus what was actually said are two different things.
I am always as attentive as I can be, and I follow your words with the greatest care I can muster.
Fourth, this ties in with number 2… practical application… You can’t just sit and ponder, you must apply the ideas to your life; see them in action. Do the work.
I have been. I had thought, quite a lot. But I realise that it can’t just be ‘very often’. It has to be all the time. I can let it slip just because someone’s asked to have that spreadsheet ready by 2, or whatever. I’ll apply the ideas yet more deeply into daily life.
Fifth, be 100% honest with your guide and with yourself. You can’t cheat your way through this. Wherever you are in your understanding or lack thereof is fine, but your guide can’t help you if you are withholding. Withholding is unfair both to the guide and yourself.
I always have been honest with you and I always will be. On so many levels that is absolutely fundamental.
Glenn…how is what you wrote got anything to do with LOOKING? You are postulating an assumption, an idea that has no evidence in AE at all!
Kay, it was bullshit. It wasn’t meant to be bullshit, it wasn’t intended to be dishonest, but it was bullshit. It was a learned idea. I probably got it from Carl Sagan or somebody, years ago. The minute I hit the send button I thought, ‘what the hell did I write that for?’. And the answer to that question is probably that there were a lot of conflicting thoughts swirling about yesterday and in the preceding days and it caused some kind of defensiveness.

As it happens, I looked at those thoughts and emotions today: Body tension, quickening heart, boredom, worries that the future would be the same as the past, that the treadmill wouldn’t stop turning, etc etc.

So I looked at them closely and saw a load of useless, irrelevant thoughts that pointed to nothing in actual experience. Inasmuch as all thoughts are stories, these thoughts really were fictional. They had no relevance to the present at all. They were characteristic projections around the Glenn character. They’d surrounded him since forever, rising up at the slightest imagined threat or provocation to prevent him from entering into presumed endangerment. Little wonder so much disappointment and frustration.

Also today, I opened up sincerely to your question about the nature of consciousness. I was eating lunch in a café. I took in my surroundings, and thought: consciousness is just thought. Then: No thought without experience, no experience without thought. Then: ‘Why is that?’ My first answer was: “Because they are symbiotic, interdependent, one can’t exist without the other.” Hmm, OK, but that answer implied duality, so, no.

I couldn’t get to it. I kept getting tweaked by things I’d heard / learned; even what you wrote in your own last reply to me—which, obviously, wasn’t wrong or misleading! But it also wasn’t something I’d got to myself.

So this eventually came:

Experience experiences and thought experiences experience and is itself experience. So there’s no difference between thought and experience. They’re one and the same.

I have to leave it there for tonight, as it’s late here and I’ve got to get up for work early. Please hang in there ‘til tomorrow, when I’ll reply to the other points in your post.

Love

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:11 am

Very brief postscript: In fact, my first observation when I was in the cafe today was "This is happening. This is it'.

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:17 am

PPS: I didn't elucidate a statement correctly in the preceding post. I stated that I had experienced thoughts 'that had nothing to do with actual experience whatsoever'. Of course, thought is actual experience. It would have been better if I'd written something like 'nothing to do with present reality'.

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:03 am

Hello Glenn,

I can see that this inquiry is having a deep emotional affect and I do not doubt your sincerity in wanting to see that there is no separate self. What I would like to suggest is that we connect via FB messenger chat and have a one-to-one voice chat about this. I think it would be a better way than doing it by posts via the forum. I will send you a PM.

With love, Kay
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:03 am

Hi Kay

I've PM'd you but I'm not sure if the message has reached you--it's telling me it's sent but appears to be stuck in the outbox. Please drop me a quick line to let me know you've got it or not.

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:30 am

Hello Glenn,

Yes, I have received your message and sent one back. The message stays in the 'outbox' until the person has opened the message, so you will find that it is no longer sitting there now :)

Kay
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https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:46 am

Aha!

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Thu Jun 27, 2019 12:11 pm

If you could answer the remaining questions from my last post...we can continue on with the thread.

Love, Kay
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https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:31 am

Hi Kay

OK, back in the saddle today. That doesn't mean I've necessarily experienced breakthrough upon breakthrough overnight, but certainly my head's clearer and I'm ready to move forward again. I admit to some confusion at this stage, but I'm going to work through it.
Knowing ABOUT something is called knowledge (ie thought).…right, so it is thought that suggests that something is known from the past. But is it really?
That sentence could be read two ways, but I’ll assume the question is ‘Is something from the past really known?’ and answer accordingly.

A thought containing a story about experience can arise and be labelled ‘past experience’ by thought. That is what is labelled as knowledge, but it can’t be ‘known’, because that would require a knower, and there isn’t one. There’s just thought, thinking and knowing.
If you look at a cup, for example, do you actually see a cup, or are you merely reviewing your past experiences of picking up a cup, being thirsty, drinking from a cup, feeling the rim of a cup against your lips, having breakfast and so on?
The latter.

To illustrate the point, let’s say there’s an object a little way from where I’m sitting, and from my vantage point it looks like ‘a cup’. The thought arises, ‘I’m looking at a cup’, and then all the labels and attributes and past experiences that comprise the concept of ‘a cup’ arise in thought. This in turn engenders the thought: *I know it’s a cup*. Then I walk closer to the object and see that it isn’t ‘a cup’ at all, it’s some other object entirely that isn’t recognised. Does the fact that thought constructed a cup out of past / learned experiences make this object ‘a cup’ in reality? No. The same would be true if the object *had* turned out to be what is conventionally recognised as ‘a cup’. It would be no less a construction of learned experiences; a product of knowing, not experience of seeing.
Are not your aesthetic reactions to the cup, too, based on past experiences? How else would you know whether or not this kind of cup will break if you drop it? What do you know about this cup except what you learned in the past? You would have no idea what this cup is, except for the past learning of/about it. Do you, then, really see it?
Yes, aesthetic reactions arise from thoughts labelled past experiences.

The ‘cup’ is seen, but not by ‘me’; there’s no ‘me’ to see it. It is actual experience taking place now, it’s not a ‘known’ object created by thought from other thoughts labelled ‘past experiences’. Seeing is seeing, knowing is knowing.
Knowing what actually IS, is direct/actual and what is a cup in actual experience?
I’m a bit thrown by the structure of the question but I’ll do my best to answer.

The concept of ‘a cup’ is actual experience of thought; numerous thoughts labelled ‘past experiences’ -aka knowledge- layered onto actual experience happening now. Actual experience of a cup is imagesensationsmellsoundtastethought
And how would this be experienced exactly? And what exactly is it that would experience whatever you think this experience will be experience as?[/quote}

It would be experienced as thought, by thought, as actual experience of thought. Which is to say: it’s not real, it has no physical existence.
And where exactly is this ego? Can you see that this is simply all thought story? Have you checked it with actual experience to see if this is simply a story or if it is actual experience?
I have indeed checked it and yes, I absolutely see that it’s all thought story. I mentioned it only because it arose unexpectedly and was being pesky and it put me off my stroke and I thought I should be upfront about that.

I’ve known it was just thought story for a long time and, in fact, it was one of the motivators that brought me here. Since I’ve been engaged with this inquiry, the fictional nature of this thought story has become more and more obvious. I recognise it completely as just thought, but it’s been entrenched. That situation doesn’t need to continue though.
There is no such thing as ‘sense’? What is it exactly that has ‘sense’? It is either an actual sensation or it is an idea. “I sense the spirit of a loved one in this room” is no different to “I have a lingering sense”!
Understood. Again, and I don’t really know why, for some reason I pulled back from the inquiry and briefly retreated to the comfort zone of old ‘certainties’ for a day or so there. I’m back on track now. Sometimes this work is challenging and I involuntarily backed off from that for a moment. Apologies for the blip.
Can a thought be seen, felt, smelled, tasted or heard...or is it simply known?
I want you to look and 'find' a thought. You may see the label 'thought' and some mirage-like arisings, but can a thought be actually seen? Can you see that even the label 'thought' is also a mirage-like arising!
Thought / thoughts are intangible. A thought is simply known—known by other thoughts. Words, pictures, feelings arise as the contents of thoughts but they have no physical presence. Something that doesn’t physically exist can’t be found.
However, is thought needed to know experience (ie colour, sound, sensation, smell, taste, thought)? Is there ever a time when experience isn’t? If thoughts were to stop spontaneously and never return…would not what is labelled as ‘colour’, ‘smell’, ‘sound’, ‘taste’, ‘sensation’ still be known?
Without thought there can be no knowing. If thought stopped, I assume that the physical phenomena that constitute the universe would continue to exist—but without thought there would be no way for them to be known. Thought is knowing.

Is there a time when experience isn’t. No. As long as there is thought, there is experience.
And here is the idea that there is experience and an awareness of that experience, which points to two. What is "awareness"? Is it something other than, different to, or separate from, experience? Is "knowing" (experience/THIS) separate from what is “known", or are they one and the same?
‘Awareness’ is experience of thought, thus it is experience. ‘What is known’ is experience of thought, thus it is experience. Knowing is experience. It’s all experience.

That adds up but I needs time with it.
Look at the display before you. When seeing it, is there any division between seeing, see-er, and the seen? Are these three separate? If yes, can you find the boundary between the three? Not an imagined, conceptual boundary, but an actual boundary that can be perceived with one or more of the senses?
There’s no division between seeing and the seen. There’s no seer though, just seeing and seen. The seer is a thought construct. I realised this for the first time earlier this afternoon, when I was travelling home from work on the train. Looking out the window, I became aware of looking. The thought arose ‘there’s no one in there’, meaning ‘there’s no person in that brain doing this looking’, and found no resistance to that arose. There was experience of colour, sensation, seeing, thought, all together, no roadblocks or turnstiles anywhere in the tableau of experience.

I still have a couple of questions left to address! There was a lot of material to get through and it wasn’t all a walk in the park.As I wrote to you earlier, I’ll be away across the weekend but will write again on Sunday evening with replies to the final two Q's in your big post and look forward to the next stage after that. It’ll be good to get out of the city for a while, take a walk in the forest and relax and let some of the bigger ideas here marinade.

Love and thanks

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:35 am

Hi Glenn,

I will wait until you have finished answering all questions before I respond. Enjoy your weekend.

Kay
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https://freedomalreadyis.com/

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby SterlingM » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:09 pm

Hi Kay

Warm thoughts from even-warmer London. 93ºF might not be too unusual where you are, but it's an actual shock to us here. I thought my brain might actually boil in its tank this weekend, but fortunately it's maintained its integrity just enough to finally answer these remaining questions:
How exactly does thought follow attention? Where are thoughts parked/hiding exactly, waiting for the opportunity to show themselves at specific times? They must be clever thoughts to know when they are needed to appear like a magicians assistance!
I understand this now. I hadn’t though it through properly.

Attention is thought and thought is attention; attention is thought about the immediate present moment, which is to say, it is the predominant thought descriptor of direct experience at any given present moment. What I’d meant in my previous reply was that other thoughts pointing to attention follow attention – labelling that which is being attended to and layering it with remembered experience / ‘meaning’.
Sensation arising labelled ‘butterflies’, ‘anxiety’.

Thought 1: I’m feeling anxious

Thought 2: I'm not understanding what I'm looking at! This is nonsense, I've been myself and living my life.

Thought 3: If this stuff is true, then why are thoughts saying that colour is an object. That should stop because there are no objects, there is only colour and since I see that clearly, then why would thought continue to appear labelling objects? That must mean that I am not really understanding and seeing clearly at all.

Thought 4: Omg, I am so confused. I really don’t see or understand anything.

Thought 27: Wow! I understand now, I clearly see that I am not a character! It is pretty clear!"

Thought 28: I will never doubt again, I see it so clearly now and I feel such a relief.

Thought 29: I wonder what I will cook for dinner

Thought 35: Don't be stupid, this is nonsense! Obviously I am inside this body! I’m not understanding, because I have been me for x amount of years and living life. .

Now when we look at this, do we find thought 35 has any knowledge of any of the other thoughts, let alone them all? It seems that way, but when we look closely, what is found?
What’s found is that these thoughts are often completely contradictory of each other, or entirely unrelated to each other. And no, they’re not aware of each other. They might look / feel like a linear process but actually they’re more scattered impulses than direct flow of current. They also all refer to the “I” thought, enforcing and supporting it. The “I” thought is illusory, so all these thoughts are illusory too.
Then what is it exactly that is meditating?
Thought is what is meditating. To better describe what I was reaching for before: the act of meditation seems to reduce the frequency with which the contents of thoughts enter into awareness. The impression is that the process of thought is to a great extent divested of the words and pictures that typically ‘clutter’ the thought process, and that chains of cross-referencing thoughts happen much less frequently. There arises awareness of ‘space’ more than of ‘occupation’. Of course this is still a phenomenon of thought. It’s just rather different form the mundane experience of thought.

Love and thanks

Glenn

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Re: Returning to LU after time away; seeking a guide

Postby forgetmenot » Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:44 am

My apologies as I am unable to respond for several days to your post as the internet in my area is down.

Kay
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