direct experience over intellectual understanding

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:33 am

Hi Vivien,
EVERY TIME when the witness shows up, just LOOK and SEE if there is really a witness there. LOOK again and again and again. Hundreds of times a day. The more you look, the easier it gets. At some point looking will happen naturally without effort.
I was on a mission today to REALLY look deeply at this. Every time the witness showed up I couldn’t find any “thing” other than the seeing or witnessing. Then there was a realization that the witness perspective is also only a thought that has a subtle way of pretending to be removed from experience. The more I sat with this it struck me that ALL experience is only known through thought. Without thought, there is no division whatsoever. And since there is no witness, then nothing can even be known. So in that sense even AE of sensations or hearing or seeing isn’t happening because how could that be known? When there’s nothing to divide, nothing can be said at all. Wow, that has major implications here.
Taking the self as real, is also a conditioned habit of thinking. It’s a habit of the ‘mind’. It’s the result of a life-long conditioning. But upon each looking it gets a little bit weaker and weaker. So further looking is the key.
it also seems like all ways of the “mind”- any thoughts that arise are all conditioned in a really macro sense- like all existence creates a thought. It come out of nowhere but really it’s just a massive, impersonal playing out of endless patterns and conditioning.
”An ability to accept absolutely everything that appears- and in that there’s no one doing the accepting.”l

Huge expectation again. The ability or the lack of ability to accept things as they are, is rooted in the personality, in emotional issues. These won’t go away just because it’s seen that there is no self doing it. These will need lots of further looking. Seeing through the self is just the first step. Just the beginning, and not the end.
Sorry about all my massive expectations, all these notions about enlightenment from spiritual teachers has really distorted things. I feel like that’s why it can be so challenging for me to separate what we’re doing here from ordinary reality. But I definitely see what you mean, and how seeing through the self has nothing to do with appearances.
K: “I can’t see an entity inside me being a seer or doer. But I perceive seeing and doing. But when that is broken down further I see thoughts about seeing and doing which are just thoughts that can’t actually see or do.”

Good. And what about the ‘I’ in the above sentences?
When I look, I see the “decision to look” and the looking. But beyond both of those, there is no one doing it. The idea that there was a decision is a thought and I also see that the looking itself is a subtle thought that positioning itself as looking. But it’s really just an empty concept. So the “I” just arises with all thoughts since thought content isn’t an actual experience so it automatically creates the illusion of an “I” that’s separate.
What is it that can’t see an entity inside itself?
What is that perceives seeing and doing?
What is it that sees thoughts about seeing and doing?
It’s all just thoughts! I’m really seeing that now!
Here are some statements based on our investigation so far. Please read them careful, and see if you are clear on them. If any of them are not totally clear, please let me know.

- In actual experience thoughts don’t come and go from anywhere. They just there when they are there. And when they are not there anymore, then they are just simply not there.
yes, I see this. Saying they come and go from nothing would be another concept.
- The supposed ‘me’ has no power over thoughts. None.
Yes, I see this. Because every time “I” think I can create a thought, change a thought, stop a thought- it’s all just more thoughts. No me that has power over thoughts can be found except in thought content.
- Thoughts just appear on their own, without anyone or anything doing it.

Yes, because any “doing” that is seen is a thought.
- There is nothing that is thinking thoughts. Thinking happens, or rather say thoughts appear but without a thinker. There is no thinker of thoughts.
Yep, same as above.
- Thoughts have no power whatsoever. They cannot think or do anything.
I see that thoughts can’t think but what about thoughts having an effect on the body? Or like Masuru Emotos water experiments where thoughts were seen to have a physical effect on the water molecule structure. Or mass prayer. That’s more than just thought content isn’t it?
- Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.
Yes, they cannot actually “do” their content. But I’m still a little stuck on the physical connection.
- In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found.
I see this within “my” thoughts, but if there is no “container” as such, why are our thoughts personal to a large extent? We can’t know everyone’s thoughts who we pass on the street.

Kelly

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Vivien
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:00 am

Hi Kelly,
Without thought, there is no division whatsoever.
Yes, that’s true. Only thoughts talk about divisions.
The more I sat with this it struck me that ALL experience is only known through thought.
Are you absolutely sure about this?

Are you saying that thoughts are aware, that thoughts are the knower of experience and without thought nothing is known? – this is a HUGE intellectual jump

When there is no thought present, there cannot be the knowing of a sensation?

Does sensationknowing requires a thought to know it?
Isn’t the knowing element is already in the ‘package’ already?
Can there ever be a sensation without the knowing of it?

Are you saying that the knowing element is a thought? So thoughts are aware and know things?

And since there is no witness, then nothing can even be known.
I have no idea how you came to this conclusion. But it’s definitely not coming from looking. It’s just an unexamined thought conclusion taken as reality.

With this sentence you say that nothing exists. That without thought there is no experience at all. And this cannot be further from the truth.

The existence of experience doesn’t require a thought or a witness.
The experience is self-aware. Whether there is a thought or not.

With the above statement you also assume that thoughts are aware and know things. But is this really true?
So in that sense even AE of sensations or hearing or seeing isn’t happening because how could that be known?
You are thinking again! You are spending your time with inventing stories and explanations about how things are, instead of directly looking at experience.

We cannot go further without seeing though this assumption.
I see that thoughts can’t think but what about thoughts having an effect on the body? Or like Masuru Emotos water experiments where thoughts were seen to have a physical effect on the water molecule structure. Or mass prayer. That’s more than just thought content isn’t it?
Again, theorizing.
I see this within “my” thoughts, but if there is no “container” as such, why are our thoughts personal to a large extent? We can’t know everyone’s thoughts who we pass on the street.
Thinking and not looking.

Are you sure that you can CLEARLY SEE the difference between a thought as an arising phenomenon, and its content?
Can you CLEARLY SEE that the content of a thought, NEVER EVER real, it's not happening?



Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:57 am

Hi Vivien,
Are you sure that you can CLEARLY SEE the difference between a thought as an arising phenomenon, and its content?
Can you CLEARLY SEE that the content of a thought, NEVER EVER real, it's not happening?
When you ask these questions I can see the difference between a thought as content and a thought as arising phenomenon, but I can’t say the same for every thought that arises. Some are so subtle that I can’t tell the difference and I get sucked back into the content... as you can see. It’s so painful for me because I’ve been trapped in thought games for so long. I’m really honestly trying to look... really I am. But no, I can’t always see that the content of a thought is not happening, as much as I want to say otherwise.
“The more I sat with this it struck me that ALL experience is only known through thought.”

Are you absolutely sure about this?

Are you saying that thoughts are aware, that thoughts are the knower of experience and without thought nothing is known? – this is a HUGE intellectual jump

When there is no thought present, there cannot be the knowing of a sensation?

Does sensationknowing requires a thought to know it?
Isn’t the knowing element is already in the ‘package’ already?
Can there ever be a sensation without the knowing of it?

Are you saying that the knowing element is a thought? So thoughts are aware and know things?
I’m just feeling so, so confused. Whenever I perceive “the knowing of” something, I immediately see that as the witness. And to me, this seems like a subtle thought. Without thought, I see that the sensation, hearing, etc can be there but without thought to label it as that, how can a sensation even be differentiated from hearing? But my experience is filled with constant thoughts so I’m not sure how to look at this without thinking. Honestly, I can’t clearly see how experience is self-aware.

I thought I was seeing, but now I’m just so incredibly lost :/ I don’t know how to stop conceptualizing this stuff, and my mind is totally distraught because of it. Do you think everyone is really meant to see through the self in this way? Why don’t any other spiritual teachers promote this type of intense looking? I just feel hopeless right now...

Kelly

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Vivien
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:48 am

Hi Kelly,

You don’t have to worry. If you are determined enough you will be able to see through the self. You are not the first one feeling confused. And yet, those having difficulties were able to see through the self. Almost everybody has difficulties along the way. The only way to fail is to give it up.

I would like to ask you to go back to my posts on awareness. There are 3 posts about it. One posted on 07 July, and 2 posts on 3 July.

Please read through all my 3 post very carefully.
And then do the exercises again.
Please write me after you have finished with all the exercises.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:13 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thanks for the reassurance and thank you beyond words for sticking this out with me. I really really am determined to see this.

I went back and read your posts from those dates, and did the exercises again but it felt a little overwhelming because I wasn’t exactly sure what aspects you particularly wanted me to focus on. So I’m just going to go to my direct experience right now and work from there....

I woke up with a bad headache and my thoughts immediately went to saying how it’s a result of thinking about all of this way too hard. (Sensation —> thought label). I look at these thoughts arising. They appear and disappear. There isn’t a gradual phase in of the thought and then a slow fading out. They’re just here and not here. The sense of the “thinker” appears in subtle thoughts about being the one thinking, cause and effect, mind body association. I do see these all as thoughts, as convincing as they may be.

The “witness” or knowingness arises innately with every perception. Thoughts say that the witness is a positioning of my mind through thoughts to act like a separate witness. This is what has started to confuse me. But when I look, every perception is “known”, which is just a part of the perception. The perception and the knowing can’t be separated even though my thoughts claim that they are separate and that the knowing is a “witness”. But that is just a thought. My thoughts are also simply known. Nothing can appear as experience without being known. In deep sleep, I cannot say that anything is known because I have no experience of it. So there is no witness or “I” there. I can’t really say anything about it- except that it helps me to see that there isn’t an “I” apart from experiencing. My thoughts appear so continuously in waking life so the I also appears continuously. The I appears to just be an innate counterpart to thoughts because thoughts are always “about” something which implies separation. But when I look at them as containers, they are just a known aspect of what is appearing, like every other perception.

Kelly

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:16 am

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for the reassurance and thank you beyond words for sticking this out with me. I really really am determined to see this.
You are very welcome :) I am here to help as long as it takes :)
I look at these thoughts arising. They appear and disappear. There isn’t a gradual phase in of the thought and then a slow fading out. They’re just here and not here. The sense of the “thinker” appears in subtle thoughts about being the one thinking, cause and effect, mind body association. I do see these all as thoughts, as convincing as they may be.
Very good.
But when I look, every perception is “known”, which is just a part of the perception. The perception and the knowing can’t be separated even though my thoughts claim that they are separate and that the knowing is a “witness”. But that is just a thought.
Exactly.
My thoughts are also simply known. Nothing can appear as experience without being known.
Yes!
In deep sleep, I cannot say that anything is known because I have no experience of it. So there is no witness or “I” there. I can’t really say anything about it- except that it helps me to see that there isn’t an “I” apart from experiencing.
It seems that your intellect needs convincing too :)
The I appears to just be an innate counterpart to thoughts because thoughts are always “about” something which implies separation. But when I look at them as containers, they are just a known aspect of what is appearing, like every other perception.
Yes.

So I suggest now, to start investigating the self from a different angle. At first we will look at the contents of thoughts to see that everything is revolving around ME.

Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?


During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.

Let me know what you find.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:26 pm

Hi Vivien,
Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?
I did exactly this- sat down for 5 minutes and watched the content of my thoughts. Obviously a whole slew of direct thoughts about “me” or “I” appeared, and also a bunch of indirect ones like being concerned about others, which was really just a concern about how I came off to them, or what they think of me. I only had two thoughts in the actual “others” category. One was immediately after I started and I thought “I wonder if the timer is set too loud and will wake my son up” (this was at night and he was in bed). When I look at it now though, I see my concern about waking him up was really just because “I” didn’t want to have to put him back to sleep again. That wasn’t directly apparent when the thought arose- it seemed like maybe it was in the “back of my mind” but that notion seems to just be the form that the thought took as a whole- concern about waking up my son + a vague notion of not wanting to put him to sleep again. The second thought in the “others” category were song lyrics that showed up as a thought. This one is more subtle but I think it was still attached to the idea that “I” was singing in my head. Ah, so really EVERYTHING in my thoughts appears to revolve around me! This became even more clear as I explain below.
During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.

Let me know what you find.
I spent all day focusing in on this and it was really interesting. There was definitely a ton of endless narration about what was happening to “me” or what was going to happen to “me”, or how others were perceiving “me”, on and on. I saw that all the thought stories were essentially all about wanting things to be different then they are, or considering how things might be different than how “I” perceived them- thoughts about thoughts. This is what made the sense of “I” the most prominent. When I was caught up in the moment and didn’t have the thought of the witness happening, there was only the knowing of what was happening without any reflection- the sense of “I” only arose after the fact when the witness thought arose and thoughts appeared about what just happened. It realized how this happens over and over again so seamlessly in experience so it was really eye opening to become aware of it in my AE.
I also noticed that sometimes thoughts are so fast- they’re like flashes that contain a whole entire story- like an impression that barely even registers but still enables the continuation of the “I”. Even at times when I thought my “mind” was quiet, when I looked further I could see subtle impressions there. I want to say the thought games run deep- all the conscious, subconscious, unconscious crap that I’ve learned in psychology courses- but I now see there actually is no depth- it’s all just complex thought forms. So the “I” can’t really hide in the depths somewhere- it’s there and then it’s not there, blinking on and off with thoughts. But in my AE it’s there the majority of the time because of the witness thought. I do find a bit of a release though, in having realized that the witness is also just a thought. I still can’t get over how so many people claim that the witness stance is realization! Such an ego trap. Thanks for helping me see this Vivien, that was a big step in itself.

Kelly

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Vivien
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:19 am

Hi Kelly,
When I was caught up in the moment and didn’t have the thought of the witness happening, there was only the knowing of what was happening without any reflection- the sense of “I” only arose after the fact when the witness thought arose and thoughts appeared about what just happened. It realized how this happens over and over again so seamlessly in experience so it was really eye opening to become aware of it in my AE.
Exactly!
Even at times when I thought my “mind” was quiet, when I looked further I could see subtle impressions there. I want to say the thought games run deep- all the conscious, subconscious, unconscious crap that I’ve learned in psychology courses- but I now see there actually is no depth- it’s all just complex thought forms. So the “I” can’t really hide in the depths somewhere- it’s there and then it’s not there, blinking on and off with thoughts.
Yes, great looking.
But in my AE it’s there the majority of the time because of the witness thought. I do find a bit of a release though, in having realized that the witness is also just a thought. I still can’t get over how so many people claim that the witness stance is realization! Such an ego trap. Thanks for helping me see this Vivien, that was a big step in itself.
You are very welcome :) and yes, lots of people believe in being the witness, the knower of everything else. And this is a separation. There is me, the witness + everything else I am witnessing, which is not-me.

As you discovered, almost every thought, if not all, is about the self. Sometimes it might not be as obvious, but when looked at it a bit more closely, it turns out that these narrating thoughts are always about me (some way or another).

Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.

And now we start investigating the process of decision making. Here is an interesting exercise.

Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when 'you' control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:09 am

Hi Vivien,
Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.
Yes, these are all really valid points and when I look, they are all very true. It’s not that there are constant thoughts that directly say “I am”, “I exist”- it’s more like the “I” is constantly inferred through the narrating content. That it exists as the imaginary center from which all thoughts revolve. Everything comes back to being about me- my survival, my safety, my comfort, my sanity, my possessions, my opinions. Everything is in relation to “what’s in it for me?” Theres this constant need to claim and own experience because I see that the I fears it’s own death if it doesn’t do this, so that’s how it keeps itself going- it’s always MY experience. My “mind” can’t even imagine a life without a central reference point- but I guess it’s because that’s what the “mind” or “me” is- an illusory central reference point.
And now we start investigating the process of decision making. Here is an interesting exercise.

Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when 'you' control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?
Rather than making tea or coffee I used making dinner as the exercise- especially because it involved apparent decision making (making coffee in the morning is very much an automated task for me ha). When I focused in on chopping broccoli and making rice, I noticed how many small “decisions” were involved but for the most part there weren't even any thoughts involved, and if there were they just appeared as a decision, there was no “making” a decision. For instance- which knife to use, what size pieces to chop, how much rice to make, which burner to use, etc etc. When there was awareness of each task, I had a more subtle appreciation for the flow of it all- it was kind of like a dance. And then completely irrelevant thoughts would flow in and the “I” would reappear to be off in some distant land thinking about tomorrow or whatever. So with this practice no, I ultimately couldn’t find a chooser!

What gets me the most though is when it comes to the apparent difficulties in making a decision because this happens a lot for me- going back and forth between choices. This always really validates the sense of “I” ultimately choosing. So I waited for a distinct decision issue to arise and one that came up was what should I have for dessert. My mind gets real crazy with food choices so this is a good topic to watch tomorrow too. So a bunch of thoughts arose about dessert choices. Then “I” start recalling what I had eaten earlier and how much sugar I’ve had today and how this all needs to weigh into my decision. Ugh I have to stop even writing details about this, it’s so obnoxious because I see how irrelevant it is, and also how it’s all still just appearing! The “I” feels stronger when difficulties making a decision arise because it’s a greater amount of thoughts involving an “I” reference point. But the conclusion that “I” apparently come to is all still just random thoughts based around whatever conditioning patterns. It’s trickier to catch the delusion, but as I’m writing this out to you I see it clearer! Trouble making decisions is just part of the story here, it still doesn’t involve a chooser, just thoughts appearing and then a final thought appearing saying this is my choice. I want to say I’m starting to feel the emptiness behind all of this, or like a spaciousness underneath all of these apparent “I” thoughts. But that’s just part of it too, right? Just this... and then just more thoughts...

Kelly

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:37 am

One thing I also wanted to mention to you is this funny fear that keeps arising. Every time when I refresh the page to see if you wrote back, this fear appears that you are going to say something like- yep, you got it, we’re done here, that’s it! When in my AE there’s still not a total “getting it yet” and I go and get sucked back into my regular self-deluded life ha! I keep questioning- how will I ever know if I really see it? I’ve heard that it’s like finding out Santa isn’t real- that there’s no going back to believing it. But from my vantage point now, I feel like I have more of an understanding but it’s something that I could forget if I’m not focusing on our work together everyday. Does this make any sense or am I overly intellectualizing? I know its all just thoughts but still! I want to see through the self and be able to reallyyy say that to you confidently. But how can this see through something that isn’t?! Just wanted to put this out there :)

Kelly

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:17 am

Hi Kelly,
Yes, these are all really valid points and when I look, they are all very true. It’s not that there are constant thoughts that directly say “I am”, “I exist”- it’s more like the “I” is constantly inferred through the narrating content. That it exists as the imaginary center from which all thoughts revolve. Everything comes back to being about me- my survival, my safety, my comfort, my sanity, my possessions, my opinions. Everything is in relation to “what’s in it for me?”
Yes, this is a nice description
it’s because that’s what the “mind” or “me” is- an illusory central reference point.
Yes!
One thing I also wanted to mention to you is this funny fear that keeps arising. Every time when I refresh the page to see if you wrote back, this fear appears that you are going to say something like- yep, you got it, we’re done here, that’s it!
You don’t have to worry about this. There are lots of things to look at. I have a tendency to guide a bit further than just seeing no-self. We will investigate other related topics too, like the body, sensations, emotions, time, memory, and we will look at awareness and subject-object split in more detail.
When in my AE there’s still not a total “getting it yet” and I go and get sucked back into my regular self-deluded life ha!
I’ve heard that it’s like finding out Santa isn’t real- that there’s no going back to believing it. But from my vantage point now, I feel like I have more of an understanding but it’s something that I could forget if I’m not focusing on our work together everyday.
Here is an unrealistic expectation. The statement ‘what has been seen cannot be unseen’ means that once the self has clearly seen through, every time when LOOKING happens it can be clearly seen again and again that there is nothing there. But it doesn’t mean that the illusion of the self won’t rearrange itself in the next moment when not looking. The illusion of the self won’t go away and it even can be taken as real again and again, but every time when looking happens, it can be seen again and again that there is no self at all.

This is an unrealistic expectation what we talked about before. So I copy my previous replies to you:

Realizing that there is no inherent self is just a beginning and not an ending. There are still many beliefs, patterns and emotions that will need clearing as not everything is rewritten in one fowl swoop. So please put aside all expectations that by the end of this exploration you should be seeing/feeling this 24/7.

There is a hidden expectation here. We are NOT aiming to change our day-to-day experience with constantly (24/7) seeing through the contents of thoughts. We are only investigating, if thoughts are in line with AE or not. But we are not wanting to remove this conceptual overlay. It doesn’t have to go away. It’s enough to see it as an overlay when LOOKING happens. And not 24/7.

Can you see that the self is nothing else than a conceptual overlay?
I want to see through the self and be able to reallyyy say that to you confidently. But how can this see through something that isn’t?!
You cannot find something that is not there :) but you can see that what SEEMS to be there (the me) is actually not there. You can see that there is nothing inside the body controlling and observing the world out there. It’s the seeing as you described so nicely just an “illusionary central reference point”.

So there are thoughts coming up again and again ‘talking’ about someone, taking about ‘I’ that is having fears, that is doing the looking, that is noticing thoughts, that is not getting it, etc.

These thoughts are conditioned reactions based on an old belief that there is someone, that there MUST BE someone, a ‘me’, that all experience is happening TO.

Since this belief (which is nothing else than a thought) was never questioned, was never compared to the experience, a whole sets of conditioned thoughts evolved around it.

And now, although this belief is constantly being questioned, and it has been seen several times that there is no ‘I’ behind this word, it doesn’t mean that the thoughts around this self will stop appearing. They won’t stop appearing for some time, since they are conditioned to run on autopilot.

But just because these patterns of thoughts are running around, it doesn’t mean that there is any truth to them. So any time when they arise, you can investigate if they are actually in line with experience/reality.

The more you do it, the weaker they get. But they will be around for quite some. But just because they are around, it doesn’t mean that they know what they are talking about. These thoughts have no idea what they are talking about.

Can you see this?
What gets me the most though is when it comes to the apparent difficulties in making a decision because this happens a lot for me- going back and forth between choices. This always really validates the sense of “I” ultimately choosing
Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.
Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.
Watch very carefully.

Don't go to thoughts – examine your direct experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

How is the movement controlled?
Does a thought control it?
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
How is the decision made to turn the hand over? Track any decision point when a thought MADE THE DECISION to turn the hand over and the hand turns over immediately.

Who or what chose which hand - the left or right hand for the exercise?
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?

When the head of a sunflower turns to the sun, what is moving the flower?
Is there a ‘mover’ somewhere inside the flower to turn its head?

When the hand is turning up and down, is there a ‘mover’ hidden somewhere inside the hand or the body performing the movement?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:36 am

Hi Vivien,
There are lots of things to look at. I have a tendency to guide a bit further than just seeing no-self. We will investigate other related topics too, like the body, sensations, emotions, time, memory, and we will look at awareness and subject-object split in more detail.
You are seriously an incredible human being!! I can’t even fathom you devoting so much time and energy to help me see! I just wont ever be able to thank you enough ha. All these years of seeking help from spiritual teachers and psychologists and I just became more and more deeply entrenched in mind games. You are doing what I thought was impossible and helping me to actually SEE beyond all this... I am forever grateful.
The statement ‘what has been seen cannot be unseen’ means that once the self has clearly seen through, every time when LOOKING happens it can be clearly seen again and again that there is nothing there. But it doesn’t mean that the illusion of the self won’t rearrange itself in the next moment when not looking. The illusion of the self won’t go away and it even can be taken as real again and again, but every time when looking happens, it can be seen again and again that there is no self at all.

Can you see that the self is nothing else than a conceptual overlay?
I guess I needed to hear that again. I completely see what you mean that the self is seen through when looking happens, it’s not a total wipeout of all of the self’s appearances. So many people also claim this- that suddenly the self was gone in an apparent moment and after that there was only the realization that it was never there in the first place and that there’s nothing one can do to “make” this happen. But I’m putting that all aside because it’s irrelevant now. What you’re helping me do seems like the only way to truly “teach” this because hearing others’ perspectives of how it is, without actually looking myself, is of no help. So it’s really all about the looking, I totally see that now. And yes, I see that the self is nothing more than a conceptual overlay. I still do feel like this seeing is continuing to deepen though.
You cannot find something that is not there :) but you can see that what SEEMS to be there (the me) is actually not there. You can see that there is nothing inside the body controlling and observing the world out there. It’s the seeing as you described so nicely just an “illusionary central reference point”.

So there are thoughts coming up again and again ‘talking’ about someone, taking about ‘I’ that is having fears, that is doing the looking, that is noticing thoughts, that is not getting it, etc.

These thoughts are conditioned reactions based on an old belief that there is someone, that there MUST BE someone, a ‘me’, that all experience is happening TO.

Since this belief (which is nothing else than a thought) was never questioned, was never compared to the experience, a whole sets of conditioned thoughts evolved around it.

And now, although this belief is constantly being questioned, and it has been seen several times that there is no ‘I’ behind this word, it doesn’t mean that the thoughts around this self will stop appearing. They won’t stop appearing for some time, since they are conditioned to run on autopilot.

But just because these patterns of thoughts are running around, it doesn’t mean that there is any truth to them. So any time when they arise, you can investigate if they are actually in line with experience/reality.

The more you do it, the weaker they get. But they will be around for quite some. But just because they are around, it doesn’t mean that they know what they are talking about. These thoughts have no idea what they are talking about.

Can you see this?
You describe it so perfectly, and yes, I see this. All these “I” thoughts are old beliefs that built up because they were never questioned. They were always taken to be the actual experience, rather than seen as thoughts that can never touch the actual experience. I’m “catching myself” and seeing this more and more in my day to day. There’s much more awareness of content and how it’s so conditioned - there’s been less reactivity here lately, and not being so quick to act based on emotional rash thoughts, because they’re being seen through. Pretty amazing the more looking happens.
Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.
Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.
Watch very carefully.

Don't go to thoughts – examine your direct experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

How is the movement controlled?
Does a thought control it?
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
How is the decision made to turn the hand over? Track any decision point when a thought MADE THE DECISION to turn the hand over and the hand turns over immediately.

Who or what chose which hand - the left or right hand for the exercise?
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?

When the head of a sunflower turns to the sun, what is moving the flower?
Is there a ‘mover’ somewhere inside the flower to turn its head?

When the hand is turning up and down, is there a ‘mover’ hidden somewhere inside the hand or the body performing the movement?
There’s absolutely nothing there!! No controller or doer or decider. Wow, what a simple way to really see it. There’s just the happening of it + the thought overlay of witnessing the happening and comments about being a “me” just doing it. But there’s really nothing behind the happening! I started looking in all areas of experience- literally every moment things like this are happening- typing, body movements, taking a sip of water... all these things that the “I” claims- or it’s just even casually assumed to be done by the me. But when I really look, ALL of these things are very specific “decisions” as such- but they’re all just happening in this flow! We like to say how it’s so amazing that internal body processes like breathing and digestion happen without our control, but it’s the same for talking and walking and driving and thinking too! Wow, that’s big. It almost seems so obvious when I stay with the experiencing. It’s so strange how thoughts about identifying with thoughts have been built up to claim total ownership over all this. I feel like my thoughts are going haywire trying to desperately hold onto all this. Ha! So much delusion. And then back to the hand simply moving.... everything really does start to look like a dance- that even our most “contrived” movements and ways of being are just happening. Crazy!

Kelly

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Vivien
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Location: Australia

Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:42 am

Hi Kelly,
You are seriously an incredible human being!! I can’t even fathom you devoting so much time and energy to help me see! I just wont ever be able to thank you enough ha. All these years of seeking help from spiritual teachers and psychologists and I just became more and more deeply entrenched in mind games. You are doing what I thought was impossible and helping me to actually SEE beyond all this... I am forever grateful.
Thank you Kelly for your kind words, you are very welcome :)
So many people also claim this- that suddenly the self was gone in an apparent moment and after that there was only the realization that it was never there in the first place and that there’s nothing one can do to “make” this happen.
Some people have peak experiences, when for a period of time, the sense of self dissipates. But these are just states, and no states are permanents. Sooner or later these states are gone and they are back to their everyday experience. And the question is what realizations remains after the sense of self is back.
What you’re helping me do seems like the only way to truly “teach” this because hearing others’ perspectives of how it is, without actually looking myself, is of no help. So it’s really all about the looking, I totally see that now. And yes, I see that the self is nothing more than a conceptual overlay. I still do feel like this seeing is continuing to deepen though.
Yes, only looking helps. And yes, it gradually deepens with each looking. That’s why I’m saying the continuing with looking is the key.
there’s been less reactivity here lately, and not being so quick to act based on emotional rash thoughts, because they’re being seen through. Pretty amazing the more looking happens.
Very nice :)
There’s absolutely nothing there!! No controller or doer or decider. Wow, what a simple way to really see it. There’s just the happening of it + the thought overlay of witnessing the happening and comments about being a “me” just doing it. But there’s really nothing behind the happening!
You did an amazing looking! I am happy for you! :)

But just to make sure that it’s 100% clear, let’s do one more exercise on decision making.

Please put some chocolate (or something you think you shouldn’t eat or drink) in front of you. Look at it. Inspect it closely. Smell its delicious fragrance. And pay attention to emerging desire to eat it.
When the desire is there, pay close attention to the thought process.
See how thoughts list pros and cons why you should or shouldn’t eat the chocolate.
These opposing thoughts might even try to argue or convince each other what to decide.

What is it that is considering these options?
Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully


Now, make a decision, but whatever you decide, don’t eat the chocolate (yet). Rather just pay very close attention when the decision is made. Particularly pay attention to thoughts, as the decision is made.

Let’s say a thought appear: “I decided not to eat the chocolate”
So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
How exactly the decision is made?


Now, do according to the decision. (Either eat or don’t eat the chocolate.)
What is it that performed the chosen action?

-
Investigate the followings one-by-one very carefully. Spend several minutes with each question.

Is there a control over ‘sensations’?
Is there a control over ‘thoughts’?
Is there a control over ‘sounds’?
Is there a control over ‘image/color’?
Is there a control over ‘smells’?
Is there a control over ‘tastes’?

Is there a control over anything?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Free2K
Posts: 84
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:41 am

Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:26 am

Hi Vivien,
Please put some chocolate (or something you think you shouldn’t eat or drink) in front of you. Look at it. Inspect it closely. Smell its delicious fragrance. And pay attention to emerging desire to eat it.
When the desire is there, pay close attention to the thought process.
See how thoughts list pros and cons why you should or shouldn’t eat the chocolate.
These opposing thoughts might even try to argue or convince each other what to decide.

What is it that is considering these options?
Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully
I did this with a sugary drink earlier today. Thoughts definitely went into listing back and forth pros and cons about why I should or shouldn’t drink it. I noticed that they were the same types of arguments I’ve heard countless times- just so conditioned. Along with the arguing thoughts I noticed mounting resistance to the situation and tension, but I saw these were also just thought forms. I honestly can’t say there is anything considering and weighing the options. I’m getting better at catching my thought patterns and seeing them for what they are... so when I look and look, all I can find are appearing bodily sensations and appearing thoughts. The thoughts happen in such fast succession that they create the illusion of the thinker and decider but I can’t find anything outside of the thoughts.
Now, make a decision, but whatever you decide, don’t eat the chocolate (yet). Rather just pay very close attention when the decision is made. Particularly pay attention to thoughts, as the decision is made.

Let’s say a thought appear: “I decided not to eat the chocolate”
So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
How exactly the decision is made?

Now, do according to the decision. (Either eat or don’t eat the chocolate.)
What is it that performed the chosen action?
The decision was made to drink the drink but all I can say about the final decision was that it was just there. It just appeared after all the back and forth with thoughts. My mind says I came to the most logical conclusion but there is just nothing perceivable that makes these thoughts happen. And then the drinking the drink just began. When this whole process is broken down like this and looked at closely there’s not much I can say about it other than it’s just happening.
I tried this out again later on when I needed to buy a hat online for my son. Thoughts kept going back and forth about which color to get and then they would stop and there would be a subtle thought that maybe it’s not time to make the decision right now. Then I resorted to asking my husband and he made a choice which I then made my decision of off. My thoughts like to take ownership of all this and reinforce how “I’m so bad at making up my mind”. But again, when I look at it closer, the indecisiveness is just a label over the thoughts going back and forth. So that’s not even a thing. It’s still just the thoughts happening, whether or not a decision is even made. I guess now I’m even seeing that calling it a decision is irrelevant because if there’s not one deciding, how can there be decisions. It’s thoughts about an action, and whether or not the action either happens or doesn’t, really having nothing to do with the thought process. Still just patterns and conditioning playing out I suppose.
Is there a control over ‘sensations’?
Is there a control over ‘thoughts’?
Is there a control over ‘sounds’?
Is there a control over ‘image/color’?
Is there a control over ‘smells’?
Is there a control over ‘tastes’?

Is there a control over anything?
When I look intently at each of these experiences, there is only the experience + the thought overlay. Its actually so freeing to really see that direct experience can only be truly known through the 5 senses, and then it is thought that interprets and claims and acts like the controller. There can’t be any way anything else is known! Thoughts are the only thing that keep emphasizing the illusion of the doer. But then I remind myself that thoughts are just thoughts, like we discussed- they cannot actually do anything in and of themselves, they just constantly claim to. So no, ultimately there is no control over anything. I see this again and again when I catch my thoughts in their game and see through them now. When I attempt to look at how everything is just happening if there’s no controller, it’s just crazy and difficult to grasp. But I guess I can’t in a larger sense, I can only know and see this from my direct experience.

Kelly

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Vivien
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Location: Australia

Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:25 am

Hi Kelly,
So no, ultimately there is no control over anything. I see this again and again when I catch my thoughts in their game and see through them now. When I attempt to look at how everything is just happening if there’s no controller, it’s just crazy and difficult to grasp. But I guess I can’t in a larger sense, I can only know and see this from my direct experience.
Exactly.

Is it totally clear that there is no such thing a chooser?
Is it totally clear that there is no such thing as choice or free will?
If not, please write some examples when it seems to be otherwise.


Here is something that might help to satisfy the curiosity of the intellect. Even science had discovered that decision and free will are just illusions. Here is a few minutes long youtube video about this. Sometimes I’m a bit reluctant showing this because at the second half of the video the explanation of the self is really off. Scientists discovered that this is just an illusion, but then they try to interpret it through the belief in the self, so don’t take the second half too seriously :)

https://vimeo.com/90101368

Let’s start to investigate the body and sensations. The illusion of the self is not just simply coming from thoughts, but also from the belief that “I am the body” or “I have a body” or that this or that sensation is ‘me’ or the location of the ‘me’, or that this or that sensation is happening to ‘me’. So the thought label ‘this is me’ and the appearing sensations are welded together, creating a ‘sense of self’.

Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on verbal or visual thoughts:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or volume?
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

Is there an inside or an outside?
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?


Look very carefully, especially with the last question. Take your time, don’t rush. You can look several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc) before replying.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/


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