If you're looking for a guide, step in

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Iida
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If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:15 pm

If you want to look now, please read the rules of one-on-one and introduce yourself!

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Sat Jul 14, 2012 7:18 pm

Hi Marie - Jeff here. I have a long time spiritual practice that includes meditation, inquiry, practices around establishing embodied presence. I'm well versed in the non-dual orientation, and when I remember to look its very apparent that there is only whatever is arising in awareness - not too, but one arising. And then, this mind seems to get restless, starts its planning, and the identification with the small self takes hold until the next time there is a remembrance. So I am looking to see if I can stabilize the recognition of awareness as my true Self.

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:48 am

Hi Jeff, nice to meet you. The first step was taken as you replied. :)

Have you read the rules of one-on-one?
Can you commit to posting at least once a day until the seeing has happened without a doubt AND answering 100 % honestly from your own direct experience only?

I'm in time zone GMT+2, where are you?

Marie

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:51 am

And just to let you know, at the bottom left of this page it reads Subscribe topic. I've found it useful to get email notifications of new messages, so use that if you feel like it.

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:15 pm

Hi Marie - Yes, I've read the rules of one-on-one and am happy to commit to posting at least once a day until the seeing has happened without a doubt and answering 100% honestly from my own direct experience only. I am in Berkeley, California, which is GMT - 7 so I guess we are nine hours apart. I will look forward to following up with you.

Thanks, Jeff

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:13 pm

California sounds lovely at the moment when it's pouring in here. Anyway, I asked to find out how our posts might go timewise. But let's not bother too much about that, at least once a day it is.

Ok, so let's get started.

Since you said you are a long-time seeker and well versed in non-dualism, I'd like to especially emphasize the importance of speaking ONLY from your own experience and not from what you think you understand from what you've read. Only looking at things yourself will get you to see, so we wouldn't want you fooling yourself or trying to convince me of anything.

I'm asking you also to leave all the other material on the topic aside while we're working on this together. Can you do that too? You are free to return to it when this process is finished and you'll then have the rest of your life for that - if that is what you still want. ;)

Could you now expand a bit on your history of seeking and list all your expectations on what being liberated would be like? What would change? Why are you here now? List everything you can come up with, even the silly things.

Marie

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:44 am

Hi Marie - I am fine with putting all the other material on this topic aside while we work together and also being sure to speak from my direct experience. That makes sense as going back to my mind's points of reference is probably the primary reason I feel stuck at the gate.

The history of seeking has been long. I am 50 years old now. Up until the age of 40 I had a strong belief in my ego self and my ability to control things. That came crashing down when I was 40 when I couldn't hold my marriage together and had a nervous breakdown. That was excruciating and gave me a very strong motivation to get to the bottom of things and heal myself as deeply as possible. In addition to doing trauma therapy I have had a very dedicated spiritual practice which has included meditation, working with a teacher, inquiring into ego structures and reactive patterns, with an overall orientation towards non-doing and being deeply present with whatever arises. There has been lots of healing on many levels, less reactivity, more openness, more presence, many realizations and non-dual experiences, but there is still a consistent habit of attention getting fixated on the thought stream and identifications taking hold. So my idea of liberation is knowing deep in my bones, to the depth of my soul that indestructible awareness is my true nature and there is nothing to fear. For fear seems to be at the heart of my reactivity. So being free of fear, or even better, having the complete freedom for any state to arise and knowing truly that I am not separate from any of it but also not threatened by any of it. So stabilizing that realization so that I could live in a completely present, undefended state - in touch with everything, one with everything and in love with it all. Not needing to hold on to any state and able to trust in the intelligence and the complete freedom of that. And what would change? The striving and longing for something else would be resolved. The feeling that something is missing would go away. My fear of death would be resolved. My fear of not getting realized would be resolved. I would recognize the inherent beauty and innocence in everyone and feel compassion for all of our reactivity and pain. I would rest in the recognition that there is nothing outside of this moment and there is nowhere to get to. I would rest in the recognition that my small sense of self never has control over anything, is never the doer, and rest in the openness of that surrender. I would be able to rest in the recognition that this is reality is a mystery that my cognitive mind will never be able to grasp. And with that deep recognition my mind will bow in reverence and take its place as the servant and not the master. And the consciousness of the body will awaken and the heart will open. And maybe most importantly, I am interested in an abiding realization of true nature that doesn't negate the human and includes it all. And why am I here - to deepen this realization, to have the realization be deep enough so that doubt is removed from my soul. So that no matter what comes up I can I truly know the indestructible nature of my soul and so I can be completely open to whatever arises.

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:58 am

Hi Jeff!

Thanks for opening up the history of your seeking, it will help me see clearly where you're coming from.

About your expectations - wow, you certainly are well versed in what you're expecting this to be like. You' ve definitely read more than enough. :-D But what this process is about is getting you to look at reality directly, without the mind obscuring that looking. Just this pure seeing of things as they are, not any experience of bliss ot harmony. Experiences come and go, so we shouldn't put too much emphasis on them.
What if it's nothing like you expect? What if there isn't a 'you' to attain all that?
Can you now leave all those ecpectations aside too?

What thoughts or feelings come up if I say you don't exist in any shape or form and never have? Write everything that comes up as it comes, without editing you reply. It doesn't need to be well versed or typoless. Is that a word, typoless? :)

Looking forward to hearing from you again.

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:36 pm

Hi Marie - Thanks for your feedback, and what you say makes sense. If it was just about having clear expectations I think my search would have ended by now :-) So yes, seeing what is here and not having expectations about it being a certain set of experiences.

I do think I am open to it being not like I suspect. Virtually every realization I have had has been a completely new experience, something I didn't anticipate or even know was a possibility. And for context, there have been many experiences here of open awareness, with no sense of boundaries, no fear, the normal self-consciousness being notably absent. And then there is the inevitable return to the habitual, dualistic, self-centered, fearful perspective. So I guess my expectation is not to be locked perpetually into any one state, but to deeply know the true non-dual nature of my soul so that that perspective is accessible.

As for a "me" not existing to attain it all, that makes sense on the level that I do get that my small self is never the source of my realization. I can seemingly take action to create conditions that support the possibility of realization - slowing things down, doing trauma work to develop more capacity/resiliency in this nervous system, noticing where my attention is fixated, noticing how my fear is motivating my small self. Of course, taking a step back (where does the motivation to slow down come from, etc.) that sense of a small self "doing" anything falls apart. So yes, it makes sense that there is something much larger at play than my small sense of self. On the other hand, there is seemingly always experience happening and even in the direct, non-dual experience of that where there is no sense of a separate self, I seem to have personalized that as in - this experience is happening, that is all that is in awareness, so this experience is what I am right now. So in the sense that I can't imagine existence without awareness, I do have an attachment in the sense that there seems to always be some sense of self. And if nothing else that self is simply the focal point of awareness.

So if I think about not existing in any shape or form, and never having existed, I am fine with that when I think of that as losing my small, fear bitten, small sense of self. I can feel some attachment to wanting some meaning, wanting an unfoldment to take place, wanting some rhyme or reason, as in, if this thing is understood then that will lead to something that is more significant than, is more open than my current frame of reference. So I can get in touch with a feeling of being lost and helpless without that, lost in a universe without direction that doesn't make sense. So some aversion/dread with that. Logically, and at times experientially, I am fine with not having a sense of boundaries. At other times there is clearly aversion/revulsion when I come in contact with people or states that I have repressed and/or rejected.

So feeling into "no me ever having existed" - that brings up a sigh, some belief that there is loss associated with that. The image of my soul child being abandoned, hurts and wounds not being addressed, things being lost, abandoned or skipped over. There is an attachment to not wanting to leave anything out, not leaving anything behind. Wanting it all to be seen, understood, healed, resolved and come to rest. A sense of the realized version of Jeff being larger, more whole, more capable, more healed, more free than the small Jeff.

And yet there is curiosity and willingness to engage to see where this leads regardless of the consequences. So I look forward to your follow up.

Also, in case it is significant, one realization that stabilized for a few weeks seemed to come with the recognition of how much energy it took to create this small sense of self. A deep tiredness arose with that and for the next two weeks it was clear that things were arising in the field, but none of it was personal. Even desire was just another arising and not a statement about a self at the center of it. So that was clear and persisted for a while and then my small self seems to have generated enough energy to get that habit of personalization back up and running. That recognition of tiredness and how much energy it takes doesn't seem so far away though.

Thank you, Jeff

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:41 pm

Typo in the third paragraph - "As for a "me" not existing to attain it all," was supposed to be "As for a "me" not existing at all,".

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:10 am

Good morning Jeff!

Thanks for your reply. It's good you're aware of the possibility that this realisation is something totally different from your expectations. It is actually possible both to "have expectations" and see them as thoughts only. Thoughts of expectations obviously happen, but the point of getting you to verbalise them was so that you have seen them and can forget about them for now.

OK, let's look at something together.
Senses are the only way we really directly get information about reality. Even as you read this, the information comes through your vision (or through touch if you're blind). So if you exist in reality, you should be able to find yourself with your senses, right?
Here is something for you to do with all your five senses. Wherever you are right now, use each one of your senses one at a time (try to concentrate strictly to that one sense alone and ignore the others) to try to check two things:
1. What kind of "raw data" does this sense (seeing, then hearing, smell, taste, touch) bring you? List the type of data one sense at a time.
2. Is there anything in you senses that supports there being a separate entity 'me'? Does the sense bring any information about there being a seer, hearer, smeller, taster or toucher?

Please do this as if you'd never done anything similar before, give it your full attention and get back to me when you are done. Report anything you found. Off you go now! :)

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:15 am

One more thing. As you are doing this, try to distinguish sensory data from thinking and only look at the sensory data and the information the senses alone provide you.

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:08 am

So yes, senses are the only way we get information directly from reality. Letting that sink in.

Seeing: I am seeing colors, shapes, textures, shades of gray, different colors side by side. At first things appear to be in a 3d landscape, but looking at that closely that is just a combination of edges, shading, and some things appearing to be more in focus than others. The fact that what is in focus can shift gives the impression of the surroundings being 3 dimensional. Looking at a reflection now it appears to show my body, but this is just another collection of outlines and colors. Looking itself doesn't give any direct evidence of a "me", but having a central point from which the viewing takes place does give rise to a sense that there is a place from which this vision is happening and that is where "I" am located (somewhere behind the eyes). No direct evidence there, but aware of how the mind is scanning around trying to create a frame of reference - where this body is located, confirming the contours of this body, etc. Again, no direct evidence of a me, but aware of this activity of vision being used by the mind to confirm a center.

Touch: Pressure of my feet on the floor, feeling the weight of my body in the chair, feeling my clothes press on my body, outlining my body, the feel of the keyboard, the temperature of the air, the feel of the breath. All sensations, equal in the field of awareness. No confirmation of a me there, but again I can see the mind activity piecing this sense data together to create a 3 dimensional sense of a body - a sense of width, breadth, height and relative location. None of it is actually indicated in the individual sensations, but this seemingly automatic, perpetual activity of the mind to piece it together to create an image of a larger whole. And while the mind is constructing that body image, there is still no direct evidence of a me, even if there is a body.

Smell: Not immediately aware of any smells, very neutral. As I become aware of more subtle smells, I can't readily label what they are - a mix of people, food, the carpet, faint traces of the trees and grass outside. Smell seems very neutral in the sense of creating a sense of "me". The only significant thing is that smells seem to come from the outside. But looking more closely at that I see that isn't true. Smells are just in the field of awareness without a location. They just are, and there isn't even a vocabulary to describe them, only words about other objects they seem to come from.

Sound: The sound of typing, sound of cars outside, the sound of other people in this building, the sound of a plane overhead. Sound seems to convey a sense of things being outside of this body and a sense of location of the source of the sound. But looking more closely at that, the sensation of sounds are arising in this field of awareness, and I can't say exactly where in this field of awareness the sounds are registering. At first thought there is the belief that I am listening, but in reality the sounds (like all the other senses) are effortlessly arising in this field of awareness.

Taste: Not much sense of taste right now - very neutral. The is the default orientation that taste (like the other sensory capacities) is something I own, that I can do. But looking at it more closely taste happens automatically. I tend to think of it as happening in my mouth, but in reality it is another sensation that is arising in the field of awareness that doesn't really have a location.

So taste and smell seem to be the most objective in that I don't seem to be very identified with them - not a lot of reactivity there. They arise and my mind doesn't put too much energy in creating a sense of self out of them. They arise and they don't say too much about me except what I have preferences for.

Hearing seems more active in the sense that I can feel heightened awareness around sounds - a sense of being on the lookout for dangerous sounds, a judgement about sounds being on the outside and informing the "me" about the outside world,

Looking and touch seem to be most active in the mind's use of creating a sense of me. This piecing together of data to create a constant sense of the body in this 3 dimensional world. And the belief there is that since this body is always around when this awareness is around, that this awareness must be dependent on this body. I have no sense of being aware prior to this body, this body seems to be where this awareness is located (vision being a strong factor there, the source of vision always seemingly being located behind the eyes) and if this body dies that will be the end of this awareness. So that is where the fear comes in.

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Iida
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby Iida » Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:55 am

Hi Jeff

Thanks for your looking.
You got this very well, but just to summarise your findings a bit:
Every one of the five senses bring some ”raw sensory data” differs for every sense:
- Vision: dirrerent shades of all different coulours in different size and differently shaped surfaces. Of course even the namers of colours are just a label given to certain type of visual stimulus. Even 'texture' is just an interpretation done by thinking, since that too consists of different shades when perceived with vision only. So by vision only, you can't even detect textures.
- Hearing: different sound frequencies in different volumes. Even things like distance and location are interpretations of the sensory data (as for example stereo surround systems can make the sounds seem to come from any direction, like a car passing by even though there is no car whatsover).
These are the most prevalent senses, but the same goes for all the rest too.

The sensation happens in the same way for each of the five senses: in some kind of an awareness or space, something (a sensory stimulus) floats in, gets noticed and floats away. Impressions appearing and disappearing in that space one by one, from emptiness to emptiness.
As you noticed, not any single one sense can confirm the existence of a 'me' or an 'I'.

I'm not trying to piss you off :) but just make this very clear to you:
If you quickly look once again at each of the senses one by one, can you find a hearer, an seer, a toucher, a smeller, a taster? Do the stimuluses happen to anyone (can this be verified with the senses) or are they just impressions in space/awareness? Can you find any evidence of an I without thinking?

Looking forward to your message and giving you new things to look at later today!

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JeffBurkhart
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Re: If you're looking for a guide, step in

Postby JeffBurkhart » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:18 pm

Hi Marie -

Looking at seeing can I find a seer? There are colors, outlines, lines (one color coming up to another), the sense of distance conveyed by shades and what is in focus, but even that is a construction. So just seeing happening effortlessly. The color sensations arising in this sensory field. Without thinking there is just this silent seeing. The sensations of seeing give no indication of an "I". There is just this silent seeing. It is what it is and without thinking there is just this first without a second.

Looking at touch, is there a toucher? The sensations themselves make no statement about anything besides the experience of the immediate sensation. The sensation of contact arising in the field. Just looking at that sense alone I can't even say what is touching what. Just the sensations of pressure, temperature, size of the area of contact and texture. Those things are pure in and of themselves in that they give no information except about their immediate sensation. So no, the sensations of touch give no evidence of a "me".

Looking at smell, is there a smeller? Smells in themselves are effortless here in the field. Without thinking I can't tell that the smells come from anywhere, just the smell being here. And like the others, the sensation of smell only gives information about itself. So no "me" indicated by that. Nothing indicated by that except the sensation itself.

Taste is here, arising as a neutral bland experience. In and of itself it gives no information outside of the sensation. From the experience of taste I can't tell where the taste comes from or where it is experienced in the field of awareness. So just the experience of taste. And that experience indicates nothing beyond itself. So no "me" is indicated by that.

Looking at hearing, does that indicate a hearer? Sounds are being received, precise, clear, coming and going. There is a sense of magnitude, tone, pitch, texture, there are sounds appearing in proximity to each other. But the sounds only give information about themselves. Like the other sensations, they are very clear and direct, only making a statement about themselves. They do not indicate a "me", they only speak about their own direct qualities, which are completely immediate and don't go beyond that.

So all of these sensations arising effortlessly in this field of awareness, each of them experienced immediately, arising and dissolving one by one, all of it only making a statement about itself - its texture, intensity and so on. All of it different forms of energy, different unique qualities, arising and falling effortlessly, indicating nothing beyond themselves.

Jeff


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