Thank you for your precise description. It’s getting clearer for me what might cause the confusion.
For the sake of communication, what word would you use for the reality that is the combination of thoughtawareing, senseawareing, sightawareing, smellawaring, tasteawareing, and soundawareing?
Could we call it “experiencing”?
All right. Let’s call it that.
V: Isn’t it clear if both the head and tail is left, then nothing is left of the coin?
M: But what about when all six coins are gone? (The six coins being thoughtawareing, senseawareing, sightawareing, smellawaring, tasteawareing, and soundawareing).
With my above question this is exactly what I asked (what if all six coins are gone). Probably it wasn’t totally clear but I started my example with: “Let’s say, there is just only thought present (nothing else)”. So my above question was about what is left if the last coin is gone too?
I see the fault, but that’s not how I'm formulating the question.
I’m not suggesting that something remains; I’m asking if anything remains.
Maybe you’re not suggesting it, but your question inherently suggesting it. Can you see this?
You are asking it with a question which is based on the assumption of duality (subject-object separation).
But if it were totally clear that there cannot be aware-ing going on without the awared, head without tail, then this questions wouldn’t come up.
I don't think I'm going to be able to move past this.
I wouldn’t allow it :) since this is quite important. We will investigate this is long as it takes. No matter how long that would be. Can we agree on this?
I can verify, in actual experience, an absence of thoughtawareing alone.
I can verify, in actual experience, an absence of senseawareing alone.
No. And this is one of the causes of the confusion.
Let me leave out the ‘awaring’ endings for an easier communication.
There is NO AE of the ABSENSE of anything.
When there is no sensation, the absence of sensation cannot be experienced.
Only thoughts make the comment that the sensation is gone, or it’s not there.
When a thought is not present, there is NO AE of the absence of the thought.
Let’s say there is the AE of thought A + sensation + sound present.
Then thought A disappears, and only the sensation and the sound are left.
And then thought B appears ‘saying’ that thought A is gone, absent.
And in that moment when thought B appears, there is the AE of thought B + sensation + sound.
But the lack or the absence of thought A is NEVER actually experienced.
What is not there, the lack of something cannot be experienced. It’s only inferred by thoughts.
Only what is present can be experience, what isn’t cannot. Only the contents of thoughts make that claim.
And although the presence of thought B is actually experience, the ‘content’, what the thought is about “that thought A is gone” cannot be experienced. The content is NEVER actually experienced, only the ‘container’, the thought itself. Is this clear?
To make it experiential, not just intellectual, I’d like to ask you to sit with closed eyes about for 5 minutes, and just observe the coming and going of thoughts, sensations, sounds, etc. And pay particular attention to the absence of any of those.
Can the absence of sensation be actually experienced?
Can the absence of thought be experienced?
Can the absence of sound be experienced?
Can the absence of smell be experienced?
Can the absence of taste be experienced?
Cant the absence of sight be experienced?
Can the absence of a mental images be experienced?
Can the absence of anything be experienced?
Please look for the above questions one-be-one. Examine each sense perceptions to have an experiential understanding.
each aspect can be removed individually.
Breaking up experience into 6 elements is ARTIFICIAL.
We do it only for the sake of the investigation. We use this only as a tool to see the difference between what can be directly experience and thoughts about AE.
‘In reality’ experience doesn’t have 6 elements, it isn’t divided up into sections.
This division can be done only conceptually, only in thoughts.
Without thought, without the conceptual overlay there is no division in experience.
The elements are blended together into one seamless experience.
But again, let’s have an experimental understanding on this. Now sit for about 10-15 minutes again, and look at the experience itself:
Where does a thought end and a sensation starts?
Is there a border or a dividing line between a thought or a sensation?
Where does a sound end and a thought starts?
Is there a dividing line or a border between sound and thought?
Or just take a thought. Does it have edges, or an outline?
And what about a sound? Does a sound have edges or an outline?
See in experience that there aren’t any lines or borders where one part of the experience ends and an another one starts. Can you see this?
So when we say that some elements can be removed individually, then it’s just a thought interpretation, a conceptual overlay on the experience.
When there is only a thought + sensation + sound as one unit called experience, the experience doesn’t suggest in any way that 3 other elements are missing or removed.
Only the content of thoughts suggest this. But the experience itself doesn’t come self-labelled as “I’m missing 3 of my elements”, or “3 of my elements have been removed”.
Can you see this?
But, that alone does not answer the question because there’s far more to reality than my own experience; I’m not a solipsist.
This has nothing to do with solipsism, which is the view or theory that the self or one’s own mind is all that can be known to exist. So let put this idea aside.
Conventionally speaking there are lots of things that exist outside direct experience, like electricity, gravity, harmony, etc. But when we investigate the self, we cannot get anywhere with conventional ‘truths’. Since conventional truths are the results of thinking, which is exactly what is creating the illusion of the self, by creating concepts. We have to look ‘behind’ this conceptual overlay, and see what is really there without concepts.
Conventionally speaking concepts are very useful and essential to navigate in live. But when we want to see through the illusion, we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself.
Thought will always ‘want’ to understand and intellectualize everything, this is what thoughts are ABOUT: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.
And it’s not problematic of itself. But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, BEFORE any thought interpretation.
Why? Because the whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. The self is just a concept. It’s not a real thing. It’s a fantasy. It’s a mirage in the desert. For a newborn baby, there is no concept of self. For the newborn there is only pure experiencing. And just later, when language is introduced, the concept of a self emerges, out of the thin air. It’s just a fabrication, but with time this fabrication is taken as reality. And what is the problem with that? It’s suffering. Only a self could suffer.
So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not in reality. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.
Whatever thoughts ‘say’, is the truth/reality from now on. This is how humans live their lives. We hardly can connect with our immediate experience since we believe that the overlaying thought concepts are all there is. And of course concepts are very useful when solving a problem, building a bridge or a house. But concepts/thoughts are just tools. But for humans the tool itself is overthrown what is really happening and creating all sorts of problems. This tool cannot be turned off. It’s like having a hammer as tool. The hammer is very useful for hitting the nail into the wall, but it’s not so useful for making dinner. But for humans, thoughts (the hammer) cannot be switched off, and we hammer everything with thoughts.
Thoughts, as a tool, has its place and value when a problem needs to be solved, but when the task is done, we should be able to put the tool (thoughts) down and just rest in the natural peace of experience. But thoughts are constantly on in forms of self-referencing narrating talks. Which is the basis of human delusion and suffering.
But the aim is not to stop these overlays from appearing, but rather to see them for what they really are. The overlay of in itself is not problematic, as long as we see that it’s just an overlay.
This is why we have to stick to our immediate experience while doing this investigation. Not to devaluate thoughts and concepts, but rather to see what is really going on ‘behind the scenes’. When investigating the nature of reality and the self we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself on the first place.
Now, I’d like to ask you to check if you can experience anything outside of the 5 senses.
We leave out thoughts, since although the thought as ‘container’ can be experienced, but the content of thoughts, what the thoughts are about are not. This is the same for mental images (which is just a pictorial thought).
Take a cup or any object into your hands. And investigate if you can experience the cup in any other way then with the 5 senses. Can you?
Can you experience in any other way than with the 5 senses?
Look carefully. Don’t just think, but really try to experience outside the 5 senses.
We will come back to your remaining comments and questions later. This reply is already way too long.