Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

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Neal
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Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:56 pm

I'm trying to understand the no-self idea. If "I" do not exist, who or what undergoes the process of liberation? Who or what has been liberated?

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:57 am

Hi Neal

There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:
1. You agree to post at least every day.
2. I will post questions, and you will answer them.
3. When you answer you answer 100% honestly,
4. When you do answer, you answer from your direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660

If this quote function explanation is not clear enough here is my version.
1. Highlight what you want to quote.
2. 'control C' to copy.
3. Select where you want to place the quote.
3. Click on the quote on the subject bar.
4. This will appear [Quote][Quote]
5. Place the cursor between the [Quote]...cursor... [Quote]
6. Press 'control V' and the text will appear.

Finally if you wish to proceed give me a rant on what your expectations are for being here. Your hopes, desires and what you actually expect.

Cheers
Ian

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:00 pm

Post once a day? Okay, I'll do my best to post at least once a day.

I'm not too good with computers. Is it okay if I respond to questions by number? I would prefer and appreciate it.

1. Yes, I will post once a day at least, if able.
2. I'll answer every question to the best of my ability, although I may not fully understand.
3. I will give my honest perspective.
4. Not sure I know what you mean here, but I will stick to my own life experience, personal thoughts and feelings and such. I hope that is satisfactory.
5. I don't hold to any particular belief system, though they all interest me. My beliefs are my own, born from reflection and reason. I have meditated on occasion but that is very infrequent.
6. Would it be okay to do as I've suggested above and respond to numbered questions? Thanks in advance.

I don't have any expectations from this. It may be a waste of time, maybe a small learning experience, or maybe a life-changing revelation. I hope, of course, that something of value will be learned.

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:34 pm

Hi Neal,
By the way what time zone/City are you in. I am in Sydney, Australia.

You have said that you don't have any expectations. If you did have expectations what would they be e.g
Leap tall buildings in a single bound,
live in a state of eternal bliss,
not get stressed filling in a tax return,
not having to listen to the eternal chatter in your head,
being a natural chick/bloke magnet because of your glowing aura.
Come on there must be few lurking around in that head.
I'm trying to understand the no-self idea. If "I" do not exist, who or what undergoes the process of liberation? Who or what has been liberated?
This is actually a good opening question. In a nutshell being liberated, enlightened, awake etc means that you see through the illusion of an imaginary "I". The "I" is a thought and does not exist as a separate entity, has never existed and will not exist in the future. What is you reaction to the last sentence.

I have simple exercise for you to do.
Write a 1 page description of what you did from the time of getting up in the morning to the afternoon or the end of the page whatever comes first. As an example "I got out of bed, I got my clothes from my side of the wardrobe, I went looking for a tie to wear with my new suit etc.

Later on I want you to write another description but don't use the words 'I' 'me' or 'mine'. For example, "went to car, drove to office, locked car, said hello to boss, typed report on computer.

When you have done these two pages, look at them what have you noticed?

Well that should keep you occupied and remember I point, you look and report from your own direct experience.

Good night

Ian

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:42 pm

Hi Neal,
4. Not sure I know what you mean here, but I will stick to my own life experience, personal thoughts and feelings and such. I hope that is satisfactory.
What is direct experience?
There are raw experiences: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. There are sensations in the body (hunger, thirst, or pain). This is what we refer to as direct experience. This is the level of experience of cats, dogs, birds, and newborn babies. Then there are thoughts. Thoughts layer concepts over these raw experiences. A thought or concept or label is never the actual. Some thoughts point to the actual, and some point to other thoughts. This is the realm of make-believe. This is the realm of “I.” Is there an “I” in direct experience?

If at anytime I have said something that seems confusing feel free to ask for clarification from me.

Goodnight again

Ian

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:51 pm

Am in the southern US here. Not comfortable with getting very specific on a message board about my location or other private details, though. I hope you understand.

Do you want me to write that exercise on this forum or will just paper suffice? I am uncomfortable with the former.

You ask again about expectations. I honestly don't know what I could expect from liberation from self. Would there be a change? What would change? In order for something to change from one state of existence to another, it seems to me it would have to exist. Yet if there is no "I" that changes, then how could there be any difference?

I don't know. The idea puzzles me.

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:14 pm

Thinking on your post regarding direct experience. It seems to me you are arbitrarily leaving out the sixth sense, mind or symbolic processes. While that may not be real in the same way as a tree or other object that can be touched, tasted, heard, seen, smelled, it has its own reality to me that isn't necessarily disqualified from existence simply for being different.

To me, that would be like saying love doesn't exist because it can't be neatly summed up and encapsulated as a singular physical object.

Same with thoughts. I become aware of them continually and may engage them seriously, ignore them, or just toy with them. Sometimes they are extremely stubborn, sometimes not. But the point is that it is in its own way a direct experience for me. I try not to overly identify with anything, however. It helps keep me lucid. Sometimes I fail, though, and get caught up in one sensation or idea or another. I'm still learning.

So the distinction between direct and indirect experience seems very questionable to me.

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:27 pm

Hi Neal,
After midnight here and just noticed your post.
Do you want me to write that exercise on this forum or will just paper suffice? I am uncomfortable with the former.
Just write it on paper. I will address the rest of your post tomorrow.

Cheers

Ian

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:38 pm

Thanks for clarifying. I will be back tomorrow. Peace.

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:10 am

Hi Neal,

Lets clarify direct and indirect experience.

Exercise
Think about having a bowl in front of you that is filled with iced water. Close your eyes and now imagine what it would be like to have your hand in there for 30 seconds or so, how would it feel, what sensations would there be. Would there be pain or discomfort, what would this feel like? Would your hand change in appearance, get red or blue or look pale. What else could you imagine. This would be indirect experience mainly relying on memory.

Now go and fill a bowl with iced water, plunge your hand into it and after 30 seconds you will really know what it is like. This is direct experience. By the way if you have a medical condition that could cause you problems with this exercise don't do it.
Thinking on your post regarding direct experience. It seems to me you are arbitrarily leaving out the sixth sense, mind or symbolic processes.
1. Are these raw experiences or is thought involved?
Same with thoughts. I become aware of them continually and may engage them seriously, ignore them, or just toy with them.
2. Where do these thoughts come from?
3. Do you have any control over these thoughts?
3. Are they your thoughts or do they just arise?


Cheers

Ian

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:24 am

I have done the exercise. Some thoughts and questions: Was the purpose of the exercise to help me realize identity is a linguistic and social construct? I would agree to the extent that there are identities which essentially are that, serving for daily purposes of role referencing; familial labels such as father or brother have a concrete basis. Specific designations given, such as "Neal" may have less tangible associations.

There seems to be a hidden assumption or three in this "Direct Experience" approach. Foremost, a sort of oblique materialism which refuses to fully engage the abstract as an equal partner in the everyday experience of individuals, instead emphasizing sensual data as an ultimate truth unto itself...

I'm not criticizing, mind you. It's a valid way of interpreting and interacting, albeit willfully limited in my opinion.

Just giving you my honest perspective here.

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:28 am

Your questions about thought are interesting. I'm pondering and will try to get back to you shortly.

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:43 am

1. Again, thought is as raw an experience to me as any ordinary physical stimulation such as smelling cookies baking or taking a cold shower. Just different.
2. Thoughts can arise purposely by reasoning, arise due to what my body feels, and can arise associatively through other thoughts.
3. I can have control of them, yes, though that can be difficult.
3. In a sense, yes, they are mine insofar as I can take control, reason, use them, but they are also the same "stuff" that other thinkers have. Much the same as how I have my own body to control yet it is the same meat, blood and bone that others use.

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Neal
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Neal » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:10 pm

I'm curious about your thinking regarding the cold water exercise: Did you intend that I should equate greater intensity with greater reality? Is an experience necessarily realer or truer if it is very intense?

I would have to disagree if that is the intended lesson. A person could watch a movie at a theater and have a very intense experience. Does that automatically make that experience realer than doing the laundry or debating in your mind what to watch on the television tonight?

I understand that recollection can be limited and imprecise, though some people have eidetic memories. I don't see how lesser intensity would necessarily make an activity subordinate somehow to more intense stimuli.

Does 2 + 2 = 4 have less reality than a kick in the groin? A kick in the groin may be painful and be the focus of attention at the time but that doesn't erase or invalidate the truth of 2 + 2 = 4.

Similarly, you could ask if hearing is realer than smelling or if taste is realer than sight. They are different.

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Finoh
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Re: Who is it that is aware self is an illusion?

Postby Finoh » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:16 pm

Hi Neal
Wow great collection of questions you have posted in the last 4 posts fantastic for an intellectual discussion on no-self but what Liberation Unleashed is about is getting earnest seekers ‘through the gateless gate’ by looking at their own direct experience. Once you are through the gate we have forums where people can share experiences and intellectualise to their hearts content.

So what comes up when I say- there is no separate entity self in real life at all. Take your time to look at this and answer from your own direct experience.

Cheers

Ian


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