saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

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aroseof
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saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:46 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the sense of being a separate person is really just based on a thought, or a belief. It's an illusion that "I" exists as an entity that's separate from everything else. Really, just everything is happening, including the sense and the belief of "I." But it's not happening TO the I. It's all just happening--thoughts, sensations, perceptions...

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for the understanding that I wrote above to become my ongoing experience of life. When I consider the possibility that I do not really exist, I feel a momentary relief and relaxation. But it doesn't stay that way. So I haven't really seen through the belief in a separate self. I'd like to find out if it's really possible for me to see through that belief, and for that experimental understanding to remain permanent. I guess underneath that, I want to be relaxed; I want to feel like life is easy, in that it flows. I don't expect it to be easy in terms of not feeling any feelings or anything. I just want to live in accordance to whatever existential truth there really is, and I expect that this will be a better way of living. I don't really know if it will be, of course. But I have hope, and maybe an intuition that it will be. Something about how Ilona and Elena were on Buddha at the Gas Pump, how relaxed and easy they seemed, really resonated with me. And the idea of there really being no separate self seemed so simple the way they put it, though I'd heard it a million times before from others. The message seems so simple that I can actually get it, is what it feels like to me, though I'd been searching for so long. I have improved in many ways from before I was introduced to nondual teachings. (I'm much less anxious than I used to be.) But I have not become liberated on my own or through watching videos or having occasional interactions with teachers, or dialogues with peers. So I'm looking for some help. I'm hoping that because this is free, continual everyday guidance that it might help me see through to the truth better than how I've been doing it, with consistent video watching but inconsistent guidance from real people. And because the message of LU is so clear to me, I don't have to wrap my brain around it to understand it. There's nothing that seems contradictory to me. So I feel like I'm ripe to just get it experientially if I can have some help. I hope so, anyway.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect a guide to ask me direct questions that make me question the existence of my separate self. And I expect to answer honestly from my actual experience, and for the guide to respond with another question and so on, until the guide and I have completely deconstructed my belief in a separate self.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've been in many Krishnamurti dialogues on and off for decades, and read/seen a fair amount of Krishnamurti over that time. Krisnamurti dialogues are supposed to be inquiries, and I really do try to inquire in them. I've also seen a lot of videos of and/or read a lot of Eckhart Tolle, Rupert Spira, Adyashanti, and Mooji, have worked privately on the phone and in person a few times with Pamela Wilson, and have talked with Francis Lucille and Gangaji in satsangs. I also did Byron Katie's school for The Work (which is a specific kind of inquiry, as you probably know) and trained to be a facilitator of The Work for a year or so afterwards, though I never finished the training. I also did a weeklong retreat at the Option Institute where they do Socratic dialogues deconstructing beliefs, and continued to do it with others for awhile afterwards. Anyway, I'm very versed in inquiry and familiar with these perspectives. And it's not all just intellectual with me. But I really do want to get it more fully and experientially than I have so far.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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gondwana
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby gondwana » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:21 am

Hello!

The good news is, it is all possible. In fact, it is easy in a sense :)
Just some courage is required, and the right pointers for where you are at.

I will be happy to guide you, if you are ready to begin?

Apologies you had to wait a while for a guide, LU has been quite busy recently.

-Tim
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:46 am

Hi Tim!

It's great to hear from you. I'm sorry it took me a few days to get back to you; I just got back from a camping vacation where I was away from phone and internet reception. But no problem for the wait. I was beginning to wonder what happened, but I'm glad the reason it took awhile for me to get a guide was that LU has been so busy recently.

Yes, I am ready to begin. I've been reading the Gateless Gatecrashers book and finding it illuminating. So I'm really looking forward to working with a guide. How shall we start?

Sean

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:51 pm

Hi Tim,

Just checking in, not to rush you because I know how busy you are, but just to express my eagerness to start! :)

I really appreciate you taking the time to help me, and so many others, with this.

Best,
Sean

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gondwana
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saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby gondwana » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:47 am

Great, then let’s get started!

Firstly, during this inquiry, we always look in direct experience, in the immediate present moment. Do not go to thought, memories of the past, conjecture or analysis. Just look at what is immediately true.

Secondly, from this point forward until the end, please pause all other seeking - books, videos, satsangs, teachings. It will confuse matters.

Now, look at your direct experience right now.
What is “I” or “self”?
Where is it located?
Does it have a smell, shape, colour or texture?
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:32 pm

It's this feeling in the body, in my gut and heart and head. A kind of fear or vulnerability, a tension. A clenching in my gut with a slight burning sensation, and a clenching in my heart. It's the sense of "mine," which feels like a kind of holding all these things written above. It's also this feeling of needing to defend and promote an image and an idea that is felt to be mine as opposed to other people's.

It has a shape of sorts, in the form of these feelings inside the body. Kind of like a bare tree generally following the shape of the body, with a ball in the gut and two branch/roots going down and branches going up. But it keeps changing as I'm writing this. An energy in the head, which is more like a texture than a shape, becomes prominent. Of course, there feels like something behind all of this that is aware of all of it. But this something behind all of this also identifies with the sort of thing that I'm describing.

There's emotion, too, a burning, a longing in the gut, fear and worry in the chest. These things change a bit, of course. And there feels like a shell around my body. There is just the sense of "my" which is maybe an idea more than a sense, but it feels like both an idea and a sense, located all around and in my body.

It doesn't have a smell or a color.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Fri Aug 16, 2019 5:28 pm

Going further into this sense of 'my"...
It feels like a holding, an attachment between...
a me, which is an idea, it feels like this morning. A very strong idea that there is an essence with certain fixed qualities and abilities that are good and not good, and that essence belongs to me. This is a circular argument. What is the me that this essence belongs to? A sense of being.

There was the feeling of love and beauty and peace for a long moment.

Then my wife came in the room and asked me some questions about daily life, and I felt contractions in my body and a desire to protect this sense of being and the experience of love and beauty and peace, and felt it diminish a lot, though not completely.

There is the belief that I have to protect my sense of being. Also, I am motivated by the desire to be peaceful.

So, getting back to this sense of "my'"...
There is a sense of being that I'm calling me for the moment.
Which feels like it owns, or is believed to own, an essence that has good and bad qualities.
So this sense of "my" is the perception that the sense of being is holding onto this essence/image with good and bad qualities.

This perception may not be true, though. By definition, the sense of being just is. It doesn't really do anything in particular. Otherwise, it would be a sense of doing.

So there is the sense of being. And there is also the sense of doing, of owning, or of holding onto and keeping thoughts, ideas, images, feelings, sensations and perceptions and closely associating them with this sense of being (me), while not associating other thoughts, ideas, sensations and images and perceptions with this sense of being (not me). But feelings/emotions are almost always associated with this sense of being (me), while thoughts, ideas, images, sensations and perceptions are alternately associated with and not associated with this sense of being (me/not me).

Like lying in my bed right now, I could say that my BACK feels warm against my bed (which is associating the sensation with my body and so to the sense of being which feels close to my body) or that my BED feels warm against my back (which is associating the sensation with something outside my body and so to something other than the sense of being). But I feel some anxiety in the pit of my stomach, and that is primarily associated with my sense of being.

Of course "my" sense of being begs the question, who owns this sense of being? If I were to say the anxiety in the pit of my stomach is associated with THE sense of being, it wouldn't really reflect my experience. So there is the sense/belief that someone owns this sense of being. But who or what would that be? No one, obviously. That would be just another sense of being. There can't just be one sense of being behind another sense of being forever and ever. That would be another circular argument.

So there is the sense of being. And this sense of being is associated with some perceptions and not other perceptions. And that's the "I."

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:40 pm

So I am a thought process of labeling what is or is not associated with the sense of being.

The question, then, is is there any entity managing this thought process of labeling me and not me, or is this thought process just going along by itself, one thought after another with no one or nothing controlling it?

I can't see any entity controlling it. But it feels like there is one. And I have a bunch of thoughts about this. A couple stand out. One is that it is terrifying to think that I can't control my thoughts or my actions. Don't I need to be able to control my thoughts and actions to be able to take care of my kids and my career? Wouldn't it be irresponsible not to control my thoughts and actions? And won't I get overwhelmed with anxiety if I don't control my anxious thoughts?

The other is that I'm not good enough to be able to be liberated. I've tried so long and nothing permanent has shifted in terms of experientially knowing that I am an illusion, that it's hubris to expect it to happen now.

On the other hand, looking for this I entity, and going into the feeling of it and seeing that the feeling is really based on a series of thoughts labeling what is or is not associated with the sense of being does change something. It releases an energy. And weird things are happening in my body, like last night I had the weird sense that I was trapped in my body, and felt an energy emanating from my body. Somehow this feels related to this inquiry, but I can't know for sure.

But right now I still feel like I am a separate person even though I can't find an I when I look for it. I think I need some more guidance. I look forward to seeing your response. Can you tell me about how often I can expect you to respond to my posts?

Thanks,
Sean

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Mon Aug 19, 2019 6:33 am

Getting back to your first questions, to revise my answers in accordance to what I've found through this inquiry so far:

What is “I” or “self”?

A thought process of labeling what is or is not associated with the sense of being.

Where is it located?

It could be said to be located every place where there is a thing to be labeled at any particular moment, basically everywhere. But as it is not an entity, but a process that labels entities, it can't necessarily be said to have a location, in the way that the spoken word does not really have an exact location in a mouth or an ear or a mind.

Does it have a smell, shape, colour or texture?

No. It is the processing of labeling smells, shapes, colors and textures. But as it is a just process of categorization, it itself has no objective qualities.

This all makes logical sense to me and I see it experientially, as well. And knowing this has relaxed me to a degree in general. But I still go back to the old way of thinking of and feeling myself as a separate entity when I am not focussed on the inquiry. But there has been a loosening, I think. At least for now. But all my fearful questions in my last post still need to be addressed.

In any case, I look forward to reading your responses to all of this, and/or to answering more questions!

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:12 am

Put more simply, and referring only to the present moment, I is a thought that associates itself with the sense of being.

It is located wherever thoughts are located. I really don’t know where that is. It’s like the location of a sound that has no clear source.

It has no smell, shape, color or texture because it is a label of the sense of being, which itself has no smell, shape, color or texture.

It feels so real, though. But then it doesn’t. It goes back and forth between feeling solid and being exposed as just a thought that associates itself with something real.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:47 pm

Hi Tim,

I just wanted to check in to clarify posting expectations. Since the instructions recommended that I post once a day, I'd expected that a guide would also post once a day to keep the inquiry going. Was I mistaken about that?

I hope everything's all right with you. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks,
Sean

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gondwana
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saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby gondwana » Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:33 am

Normally we will both post roughly every day, apologies for the slow response from my side. It is a very busy period at work.

Thanks for the detailed response to the question!

So some useful things were seen here, which lead to some clarification.

During this inquiry, we only focus strictly on what can be seen directly with the senses, in actual experience (AE). This only occurs in the present moment, never past or future, which was correctly seen nice work.

AE consists of, and only of the following 6 things:
The seen
The heard
Sensation
Taste
Smell
The experience of thought

And NOT the content of thought! Which includes all analysis. Only the experience of having thought - we should be aware when we experience a thought in the present moment, and that’s as far as it goes; the content itself is not of interest to us here.

As you saw, thought says many, many, many(!) things about the “self”/“I”. We are less interested in WHAT it says about it. Almost all of thought is mere speculation, projections, fears, or highly inaccurate replays of prior experience. Focusing on this content is not the aim of self-inquiry.

So, restricting to the list of possible contents of AE could a new list be provided of what exactly constitutes the experience of “I”, right now in the present moment?

e.g.
- sensation of pressure from the chair
- sounds of outside traffic
- thought about being hungry
- thought about not sure what to look for

Please provide a short bullet list of what constitutes the experience of “me” right now.

Make sure each entry starts with one of the 6 types of AE above. Analysis and metaphor are best avoided as the interpreted meaning varies from one person to another.

Then we shall deconstruct these elements one by one :)
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:23 am

Sounds good. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this.

The experience of "I" right now in the present moment:

The seen

The living room/dining room and everything in it. My body, meaning the arms, hands, chest and pelvis that I can presently see. And the tip of my nose. And some of my thighs under the laptop.

The heard

The sound of fans. The clicking of my fingers on the keyboard.

Sensation

Tension in my thighs and calves. Slight pain in my knees and in the left side of my pelvis. Tension in my glutes. A contraction and slight burning sensation in my gut. Tension in my heart, jaw and shoulders. Tickling, phlegmy sensation in my throat. Heavy sensation in eyes and on eyebrows. Feel breath coming in and out of my nose. Feel the warmth of the couch underneath my thighs and glutes and on my back. Feel the floor under my feet and the socks on my feet. Feel the shorts and shirt on my body. Feel warmth around my body. Feel some sweat on my skin. Itchy sensation on my scalp, on my back.

Taste

Taste the saliva in my mouth.

Smell

Smell a little funky under my arms.

The experience of thought

I'm having a thought about wondering what exactly I'm allowed to write for the purpose of this exercise. I'm having the thought that all of these descriptions are kind of disgusting, that they reduce me to a dirty animal. I'm wondering what you're going to be thinking about what I've written. I'm thinking that I should be getting ready for bed soon. I'm wondering when I will have written enough and so can stop and move on with my evening. I just had a flash of an image of my wife's mother who we were having dinner with earlier this evening. I have a thought that my wife's mother's worried face is the same as my wife's worried face. I'm having the thought that I didn't include everything in the above descriptions because it was too private, but thinking that it probably doesn't matter, but worried that it does. I'm having the thought that this is boring and I wonder if it's really going to help. I'm having the thought that I wasted time answering your question in such detail before because I didn't do it right, and that's a bummer. I'm having the thought that I'm not sure if I'm allowed to note my emotions for this exercise, since you didn't say that emotions was one of the Actual Experience categories, and I'm wondering if that's a limitation of this exercise, not including emotions, since emotions are part of my actual experience. I'm wondering if what I'm writing now is what you mean by content or not. I'm feeling repelled by the way my dog is licking the air in that weird way that she does and I'm wishing she would stop doing that. I'm wondering if I'm allowed to write what I just wrote because it started with a feeling rather than a thought. But I'm thinking that it's a real part of my experience, so it would be an oversight not to include it.

Yadayada. I could go on forever.

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gondwana
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby gondwana » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:16 pm

Ok good. Now let us try an exercise in direct LOOKING.

Make sure you don’t just imagine or assume the outcome - do this for real - report back what you find:

Sit at home with eyes closed. Imagine going to the kitchen and getting some fruit, chocolate or similar (be sure to choose something you actually have in stock, we will need it for real in a moment).

Try to fully imagine going to the kitchen, picking it up, the look of it, the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light...Now imagine biting into the fruit, tasting it, the texture, sweetness, sharpness, all the different qualities of the experience. Imagine every aspect, make it as real as possible!

That was an example of using thought. Now open your eyes, actually go to the kitchen. Take the piece of fruit
for real, look at it, examine the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light. Now actually bite into the fruit and taste it for real, experience the texture, the sweetness, sharpness, etc. This is an example of actual experience (AE).

Now answer:
How does actual experience compare to thought?
Which feels more real?
Was thought able to fully capture all the detail and richness of the experience?
Can thought actually ever be as complete as AE?

Please answer each question individually, and answer all questions.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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aroseof
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Re: saw you on Buddha at the Gas Pump

Postby aroseof » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:27 am

How does actual experience compare to thought?

Actual experience is much more detailed than thought/imagination. When I imagined eating a spoonful of cookies and cream flavored ice cream, I anticipated the coolness and the smooth sweetness of the ice cream, and some of the flavor, which I did experience through my imagination; my mouth did water and I could taste some of the sweetness. But when I actually went to eat it, the smell was much more vivid, pungent. And eating it, it was way creamier than it was in my imagination, and tasted way more amazing. The flavors were much more complex. And my mouth watered a lot more.

Which feels more real?

Obviously actual experience.

Was thought able to fully capture all the detail and richness of the experience?

No.

Can thought actually ever be as complete as AE?

Probably not.


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