There was a lot of reflection in the last couple of days. Here are some realizations:
- All thoughts are neutral. There is no one thought that is more true than the other.
e.g. The thought 'I should check email now' is not any truer or less true than the thought 'I should go to bed now.'
or the thought 'I'm not messed up' is not any truer or less true than the thought 'I'm messed up.'
It suddenly occurs that all thoughts are neutral and cannot be used to validate or point to a truth.
If we want to find out the truth, we cannot use thoughts, or the intellect, or analysis which is based on concepts and thoughts. One thought does not prove the existence of another thought. Just because there is a thought about something (e.g. pink elephant) does not mean that thing is real or that it exists.
So the thought 'There is no I' cannot be proven to be truer or less true than the thought 'There is an I' using intellectual analysis. To find out, we have to use other methods.
Hence, now I understand why we've been using the 'direct looking' method, looking to what's here, what can be observed in direct experience, versus guessing, conceptualizing, hypothesizing.
- However, I am unsure if 'direct looking' alone is sufficient to prove the absence of a self. Just because something cannot be observed, does it mean it does not exist?
I understand this in the case of the equator and of Santa Claus. We look everywhere, but we cannot find the equator line, or a real Santa. So they don't exist.
But what about this... 'Thoughts happen in plants.' Do plants think? Do thoughts happen in a plant body the way thoughts happen in a human body? Who knows? This is not something that can be observed, tasted, smelled, seen, heard... Who can tell whether there is a presence or absence of thoughts in plants? Just because we can't see it, does it mean it doesn't exist?
Now to answer your questions:
What i get by reading your post (thank you for your honesty!) is this:
- a expectation to "to be able to be with all feelings and experiences, all the good and bad"
- a expectation to "whenever uncomfortable feeling arises I can just be with them and not try to run away like I used to do"
- a expectation to "not get stuck in self-stories anymore"
- a expectation to be able to be in a permanent state of looking, even when "uncomfortable feeling arise"
- a expectation to not get caught in the illusion ever again
Can you notice these expectations also?
Yes, these are expectations. Spot on.
It seems to me that you are putting the cart before the horse. Imagine a little kid that has just realized Santa Claus isn't real but, because Christmas doesn't stop happening, keeps thinking Santa has to be real. It still thinks that as long as there is Christmas there must be a Santa and that's the only possible explanation why there are gifts under the tree, and movies about Santa and all the Christmas apparatus on the streets, at tv and in the stores. Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?
No, I'm not sure if I totally understand what you're trying to say with this analogy...Perhaps you're saying that, even though something is already known to be an illusion (e.g. Santa), the world's still going around functioning as if that thing is real (gifts under the tree, movies, street decorations, etc.). So it can be misleading?
But I don't understand what you mean by putting the cart before the horse. What is the cart and what is the horse, in this case?
Consider the possibility that all that you are expecting to change is happening because there isn't a self that can control what is going on and go against what is already the case.
Yeah this really hits home! Yes, all that's happening is happening because what's going on cannot be controlled and gone against. Yes this totally resonates with me.
BUT this doesn't prove the absence of a self.
There might still be a 'self' that has no control. A 'self' that has no influence or control over what's already happening.
I'd really like to hear your explanation on this... because half of it totally resonates, just the other half still doesn't gel.
Uncomfortable feelings happen, feeling like a self happens, self-stories happen. Are these symptoms of the illusion or are they proofs that there is a self they are happening to?
Feelings like there is a self and self-stories are symptoms of the thought that there is a self. They are not proofs that there is a self.
Are the thoughts and expectations and resistance and sensations, that seem to imply the existence of a you, more than a habitual way of relating with what seems to be an outside reality? Do they have the power to make a you real? If you think they do, is this thought real or part of the illusion also? What is believing all these thoughts? Can a thought proof the reality of another thought? Is the thought I pointing to something real? Or, like the thought unicorn, it points to something that isn't here?
Thoughts, feelings, sensations, resistance, expectations, etc. they are all just what's happening. They don't imply the existence of an I. They don't necessarily happen to anyone. They just happen. A thought about an "I" doesn't make an "I" real.
As mentioned above, a thought cannot prove the reality of another thought, it cannot validate the existence of anything.
If you compare the thoughts about a uncomfortable you with what can be perceived, does perception match thinking? Is it possible to find a me, using the senses? Can you see, touch, smell, hear, taste a you?
Thought: "I feel so uncomfortable."
What can be observed using the senses: feelings of discomfort happen in the body, heart beating faster, stomach contracts, tension in the upper chest.
Will report more later... thanks Sandra.