Ready to go

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philkingston
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Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Mon May 13, 2013 6:13 am

Honestly, my main motivation at the moment would be to see through the fiction of 'self' enough to stop reacting to my five year old.

In approaching this I've realised that after many years practising meditation then losing much of that discipline to domestic demands there was little interest at first in the liberation this process seems to offer. I was just sceptical it could happen and then so occupied by the demands of work and family I wondered if I even wanted it to happen.

So it's the suffering I experience and cause in being short tempered with my children that decided me to try. It is a hard sense of 'me' and 'my' standards or expectations being flouted that cause the anger. Will braking through help me work with this? Change the pattern?

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philkingston
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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Mon May 13, 2013 6:15 am

I may not be able to do this every day but near enough. I will be honest and can avoid using frames of reference other than my direct experience.

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nonaparry
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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Mon May 13, 2013 3:04 pm

Hi philkingston,
it's the suffering I experience and cause in being short tempered with my children that decided me to try. It is a hard sense of 'me' and 'my' standards or expectations being flouted that cause the anger. Will braking through help me work with this? Change the pattern?
It is my experience that conditioned thoughts and behaviours do not just magically drop after seeing through the illusion; however, the certainty that there is no one here to have standards or to suffer can very much assist in the reduction of the experience of suffering.

If you wish to see through the illusion even if you continue to feel afflicted by your children, I am available to help you. On the other hand, if ridding yourself of the habitual thoughts and behaviors is what matters most to you, I can suggest an alternative to giving this inquiry a less than whole-hearted attempt.

Looking forward to your considered reply.
love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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philkingston
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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Tue May 14, 2013 6:00 am

Hi Nona,

My considered response is that seeing though the fiction of a fixed self will help me deal with the responses which are my current main source of pain and that any other technique will only deal with the symptoms of my lack of insight.

This response is both intellectual - I spent a long time studying Buddhism and reflecting on its ideas - but also instinctual - since engaging with this there have been two brief moments where I have felt a freedom 'behind' the ruminations I was engaged in. The first was the day when the site was introduced and while hearing a friend describe it over lunch a motivation to attend to him more arose, a prompt to be more mindful. As I watched his face and noted his clothes and generally left the enclosure of self-preoccupation a sense of lightness came. It was brief but it felt significant. The second time I was on my way to work and was reflecting on how I would feel if there were no 'I' while reading 'The Gateless Gate' dialogues. That same brief whiff or hint of freedom/clarity/lightness appeared.

I trust that experience is a taste of what entering the gate will be like and I trust it is the right way to go. My concern over one strand of my current dissatisfaction is really a reflection of an angst that has been around for awhile. I don't think this process will cure it but I hope it will make me (or what's left) more resourceful.

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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Tue May 14, 2013 9:24 am

Hi philkingston,

Welcome aboard!
How we work here is I ask questions, and you answer with complete honesty from your direct experience, not from what you have read or heard. Please do not engage with spiritual teachers during our conversation; it can confuse the ability to answer from one's direct experience of the moment.
You have mentioned you may not be able to post daily, and we can work around it. If you cannot post several days in a row, please let me know.

You write "I trust that experience is a taste of what entering the gate will be like"
No. That's not it.
Seeing through the illusion that one is or has a separate self is more like discovering that Santa or the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist in reality. It's not a State; it's a Fact.

Another expectation I see is "seeing though the fiction of a fixed self will help me deal with the responses which are my current main source of pain".
Maybe. Habitual, or conditioned, thinking and behaviour do not magically drop away; however, without a "self" to stick to, habits are more easily investigated and seen for what they are: mere thoughts that Life should be happening differently from how it IS happening.

What other expectations do you have regarding seeing through the illusion of a separate self?

It is of the utmost importance to get them written down here, all that you can find, and as we converse, if you notice more, it is important to bring them to my attention. Expectations are obstacles to seeing through the illusion.
I am not a Buddhist and have no knowledge of what you might have been taught, or what you might have read, or what you might believe regarding seeing no self, so you will need to write in terms a layperson can understand.

After you have laid out your expectations as fully and clearly as possible, answer this:

What comes up, especially emotions and sensations, when I state There is no separate self at all in reality; no manager, no observer, no witness. There is no entity "me" to which life happens or which has control over "your" experience. There is only life happening, moving freely, without a general manager that is "you".

Please respond in detail from your direct experience.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Wed May 15, 2013 8:09 am

Hi Nona

What other expectations do you have regarding seeing through the illusion of a separate self?

That it will make life better in some way, that by being closer to the way things are the quality of life will improve.
That it will be uncomfortable, unnerving, frightening.
That it will effect how I operate which brings me to a whole list of fears rather than expectations but which feel like they need to be listed here...

That I will lose my sense of identity as an agent, someone whose actions have an effect in the world. I'm attached to this status of being decisive and effective both in the eyes of others but also in my own eyes.
Im afraid my values will change and I'll become a proselytising born again Gatecrasher, banging on at every opportunity about the importance of seeing through the self.
I'm afraid this chnge will separate me from those I love.


What comes up, especially emotions and sensations, when I state There is no separate self at all in reality; no manager, no observer, no witness. There is no entity "me" to which life happens or which has control over "your" experience. There is only life happening, moving freely, without a general manager that is "you".


First response is relief and exhilaration, it sounds so free. It also feels true.
Then I ponder how this would work. Sitting here on the tram to work I'm aware of the man and woman opposite. If I see thorough the self will I see them differently? Will I still understand them or appreciate them?
I wonder how I'll work. Going in today I have meetings, plans, demands at work . I enjoy this experience of activity and sometimes creativity. Will this satisfaction disappear?
The more I sit with it the more I see how the loss of control is frightening. I'm attached to feeling in control. This would be hard to relinquish.
Re- reading it the phrase 'moving freely' is attractive, I feel stirred by a promise in that.

Thanks for doing this.

Love

Phil

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nonaparry
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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Wed May 15, 2013 11:35 am

Hi Phil,

Let's address your expectations, as unfilled expectations are obstacles to seeing the fact that there is no separate self at all in reality.
That it will make life better in some way, that by being closer to the way things are the quality of life will improve.
Here I want to point out that "better" and "improve" are judgments we place on events that happen. Something occurs and we LIKE it, so we say it's "better" and "improved"; if, on the other hand, we DISLIKE it, the very same event, suddenly we say it's "worse". It's not the actual event that is likable or dislikable; the same event can be liked or disliked by different folks. It's only our own judgment of the event, whether it goes along with our preferences, that has us label them "better" or "improved".

You will find that shifting focus to what is happening in this moment now, to your direct experience, which you access through the senses, will put you in touch with "the way things are". Things are as they are; what we think about them is not what is.
That it will be uncomfortable, unnerving, frightening.
What do you fear about the process? All I will do here is Point you to LOOK where you will see the fact: there is no separate self in reality. You won't lose anything; there never was a self apart from a thought.
That it will effect how I operate which brings me to a whole list of fears rather than expectations but which feel like they need to be listed here...
Hmmmm. It cannot affect how "I" operate, because there is no I. Most gatecrashers notice that although their Life doesn't alter, their perspective on Life does.
That I will lose my sense of identity as an agent, someone whose actions have an effect in the world.
Rather than losing this, you will see that this belief in agency has always been an illusion. There has never been a "you" that affects the world; rather, all the actions you claim are simply part of Life happening.
I'm attached to this status of being decisive and effective both in the eyes of others but also in my own eyes.
Yes. You are attached to an illusion. There is no separate decide-er or effect-er; Life happens without any controller.
Im afraid my values will change and I'll become a proselytising born again Gatecrasher, banging on at every opportunity about the importance of seeing through the self.
Hahahahaha!!!
I won't say it can't happen. I shared LU website with friends and colleagues and found most of them were so positive that they Are or Have a separate self that they wouldn't question whether it's true.
I'm probably more a proselyte of The Work of Byron Katie, to which I was going to point you if you chose not to engage in this process. A free, simple, Tool that reduces suffering seems like a good thing to tell folks about. Whether they choose to check it out or not is not my business.
I'm afraid this chnge will separate me from those I love.
What change? What is the "this change" that could separate you? What exactly do you imagine liberation from the illusion is?

Please answer these with my complete assurance that addressing them now will help smooth the process.
What comes up, especially emotions and sensations, when I state There is no separate self at all in reality; no manager, no observer, no witness. There is no entity "me" to which life happens or which has control over "your" experience. There is only life happening, moving freely, without a general manager that is "you".
First response is relief and exhilaration, it sounds so free. It also feels true.
It is both freeing and true, same as gravity. You don't try to stick to the earth's surface; you allow gravity to hold you. When you see for yourself that there is only life happening, you can allow it to hold you too.
Then I ponder how this would work. Sitting here on the tram to work I'm aware of the man and woman opposite. If I see thorough the self will I see them differently? Will I still understand them or appreciate them?
I wonder how I'll work. Going in today I have meetings, plans, demands at work . I enjoy this experience of activity and sometimes creativity. Will this satisfaction disappear?
Yes; you move immediately from sensation, direct experience, into thoughts about the statement.
For the duration of our work together, I am going to ask you to respond from your Direct Experience; from your physical senses, rather than from your Thinking.
The more I sit with it the more I see how the loss of control is frightening.
No you don't. You don't SEE it; you Think it. You Imagine that you have control and you fear "losing" it.
There is a big difference between what we Experience directly and what we Think about our experiences. It is necessary for this investigation that you are able to separate Experience from Thought. Direct Experience is seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and awareness. Thought is mental activity about something—either about experience or about other thoughts.
Throughout this process, I'm going to ask you do some exercises that require you to describe exactly what you are experiencing in that moment.

Right now, what do you actually SEE, in reality? What is going on in front of the eyes at this moment?
I'll describe what I see:
At this moment now, I am seeing a screen on which characters are appearing as typing is happening. I see wrists and fingers moving, and a keyboard. I see orange and other colours on a screen. Peripherally, there is more in the line of vision than is focused on: I see a cup, a phone, and some clutter on a table; beyond those I see a wall, two chairs, and a lamp; between the eyes and the table there is a peripheral view of a chest and legs, and the green of a rug.
I'm attached to feeling in control. This would be hard to relinquish.
Yes. This is often a sticking point. But you never were "in control"; you have no control to "lose".
Consider an event in which what you wanted to happen, did happen. You feel effective and in control about that. Now consider an event in which what you wanted to happen didn't happen. If you are actually "in control", how did this occur? If you actually have control over events that happen around you, why is Life not marching to your command?
Re- reading it the phrase 'moving freely' is attractive, I feel stirred by a promise in that.
It's seeing what was always there. Moving freely is what Life does. Without a controller.

Looking forward to your reply,
love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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philkingston
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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Thu May 16, 2013 6:36 am

What do you fear about the process?

The loss of control, the loss of identity.


I'm afraid this chnge will separate me from those I love.


What change? What is the "this change" that could separate you? What exactly do you imagine liberation from the illusion is?

Hard to answer this while sticking to talking from direct experience because you are asking me to describe what I imagine. I'm talking about a change in view, a change in perspective, the shift that has some of us on the site with acorn avatars and others with trees. I imagine liberation from the illusion will affect how I look at experience and therefore how I respond in general.

Direct Experience - I am siting here watching fingers moving on black keys and hearing the tap of the keyboard as those fingers move. I can hear one of my children start to move around upstairs and there is the stirring of anxiety in my stomach that he will wake my partner. I can see the cursor in front of the letters as I type, I have just heard a car go past outside . To my left is a lamp, to my right a detachable hard drive, both sit on a wooden table top. in my peripheral vision, wire and wooden racks with papers in them and in front of me a cork noticeboard. My bowels are heavy reminding me I need a shit. Faint flurry of anxiety there about whether that's an appropriate use of language. Sound of a crow. glancing up to check the spelling I notice the orange, black and purple colours of the LU website.

doing this I do see how quickly and habitually I move from direct sensation to thoughts about sensations - the biggest revelation is noting how the body reacts emotionally, how much anxiety is there

I'll try and return to this a couple more times today, to watching the flow of sensation, letting go of a sense of control

Thanks,

Phil

PS - I'd like these replies to be clearer in their formatting but can't get the quote function to work. When I select part of your reply and press quote it ends up reproducing the whole of your message.

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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Thu May 16, 2013 11:00 am

Dear Phil,
What do you fear about the process?
The loss of control, the loss of identity.
You cannot lose control; you truly don't have any. Check it!! When things happen that you didn't want to happen, where was your control then?
There is no separate entity "I" that is in charge and command. That there appears to be is an illusion.
There is nothing here in direct experience that is separate from what is experienced. Just this. Always now.

I want you to do another exercise to help clarify this; I will describe it further below.
What change? What is the "this change" that could separate you? What exactly do you imagine liberation from the illusion is?
Hard to answer this while sticking to talking from direct experience because you are asking me to describe what I imagine.
Good noticing!! In order to describe the feared change, you must leave your direct experience and shift to Imagination! Have you ever imagined something that didn't happen?
Is what occurs in your imagination real life?
I'm talking about a change in view, a change in perspective, the shift that has some of us on the site with acorn avatars and others with trees. I imagine liberation from the illusion will affect how I look at experience and therefore how I respond in general.
Fair enough; seeing through the illusion is a change in perspective: it is shifting from seeing things as we imagine them to be to seeing things as they are. Without any filters, without thoughts that colour reality.

Which is more frightening: to see Life through a haze, through confusion? or to see what is happening as it is, clearly?

Direct Experience - I am siting here watching fingers moving on black keys and hearing the tap of the keyboard as those fingers move. I can hear one of my children start to move around upstairs and there is the stirring of anxiety in my stomach that he will wake my partner. I can see the cursor in front of the letters as I type, I have just heard a car go past outside . To my left is a lamp, to my right a detachable hard drive, both sit on a wooden table top. in my peripheral vision, wire and wooden racks with papers in them and in front of me a cork noticeboard. My bowels are heavy reminding me I need a shit. Faint flurry of anxiety there about whether that's an appropriate use of language. Sound of a crow. glancing up to check the spelling I notice the orange, black and purple colours of the LU website.

doing this I do see how quickly and habitually I move from direct sensation to thoughts about sensations—the biggest revelation is noting how the body reacts emotionally, how much anxiety is there
Good work!! Excellent description of what is actually seen and experienced!

Now, do this little exercise I mentioned above. All you need is 20 minutes.

First write what you are experiencing right now, using the words I and me. Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just a plain description of here & now.
Like this—
I am lying in bed. I am hearing rain, I am typing these words...
Do this for 10 minutes. Check the body, are there any sensations of tightening or relaxing?

Then for next 10 minutes write without the words I and me. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs:
Waiting for next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing rain.
Again check what is happening in the body.

Now compare the two ways to label experience—is one truer than the other? If so, which one?
What is here without labels? Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?

The body knows. I is a label, not the experiencer. Not a thinker, not a doer, not a hearer of rain. I is not what makes eyes blink and it is not a breather; it's a word, used for convenience of communication. If it's believed to be an entity, the mind is confused, the body is tensed up. Unconfusing it is simple—bring attention back to NOW and look once again—is there a me behind the word 'me'?
Life is happening. Looking is happening. Getting lost in the story is happening. With or without label I.
I'd like these replies to be clearer in their formatting but can't get the quote function to work.
What I do is copy the part of your message I want to quote, then press the quote button, and then paste. The bit I want to quote then goes between the open and close quote tags.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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philkingston
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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Sun May 19, 2013 10:56 am

Hi, my last message doesn't appar to have gone through. It recorded that I had done the exercise but hadn't concentrated on verbs in the second part and that I would do it again.

Have just done so and notice the following:

There a big resistance to staying with the body and direct sensation because of an anticipation it's boring or it will be boring, my mind wants to jump in to speculating, reflecting, thinking about the sensations being experienced. This I would say is the biggest obstacle to embracing direct looking at experience.

I'm a bit frustrated the last message didn't get through to you as I do recognise this process needs a momentum behind it and the lag in our communication feels like a loss of momentum.

To be honest I also wonder if I am more interested in how his process will help fix the problems in my life than a fearless desire for truth. A fearless desire for truth feels like a luxurious aspiration in th context of my present life.

Love

Phil

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nonaparry
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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Sun May 19, 2013 5:04 pm

Hi Phil,
There a big resistance to staying with the body and direct sensation because of an anticipation it's boring or it will be boring, my mind wants to jump in to speculating, reflecting, thinking about the sensations being experienced. This I would say is the biggest obstacle to embracing direct looking at experience.
Mind tells you that anything other than Thinking is a waste of time, boring, uninteresting. Mind wants to "jump in to speculating, reflecting, thinking about the sensations" because that's what Mind does.
I want you to circumvent Mind, stop the Thinking by focusing intently on sensation, on verbs, on direct experience. Mind wants to stay the Star of The Phil show, and won't give in easily, but sensation is always happening whether you are noticing or not—I want you to focus on it.
To be honest I also wonder if I am more interested in how his process will help fix the problems in my life than a fearless desire for truth. A fearless desire for truth feels like a luxurious aspiration in th context of my present life.
That's Mind again, telling The Phil Story. You can believe it, or you can question it. If you question it, you may find out it's not true; you may find out that the story that there are real problems is just a story, just the spin Mind puts on its description of Life-of-Phil.

No one can make you see through the illusion of a separate self, and no one can do it for you. It's a journey, and for those of us caught up in trying to Think our way through Life, it can be hard work.

Have you read Gateless Gatecrashers? http://www.liberationunleashed.com/LU_Books.html
A read through might help clarify for you whether you want to do what it takes to see through the illusion.

Whether you choose to continue or not, I recommend you check out The Work of Byron Katie at http://www.thework.com It's completely free of charge and provides a unique tool for seeing through the stressful thoughts we so often take to be true. In the six years I've been using it, my experience of life has changed from disaster to joyous anticipation.

If you choose to continue, I'm keen to see the results of your writing exercise and your answers to my questions.

With much love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Tue May 21, 2013 6:28 am

The exercises:

I ma typing I AM TRYIGN TO SEE THE KEYBORAD I HEAR THE CROWA OUTSIDE I am touching the keys with my fingertips and the end s of my fingers are sliding off the plastic I am wiping my left hand on my top, I am wiping the sweat from my run on my top, I am hearing the sound of the car outside, I am waiting to think of something to say I am typing I have just wiped my face with the fingers of my right hand I am expectorating enjoying the satisfying lump of phlegm it brings I am hearing another car I am thinking I know I am not ding this the right way and I know what Nona will say about al this thinking and ‘I’ ing, I am win gore sweat with y left hand and wiping it down the side of my leg (sounding like a porn film now) I am pausing I am hearing more cars a car outside I feel a rumble in my stomach I’m aware of my fat stomach pushing against the material of my t shirt I am feeling my lower back no pain yet more uncomfortable rumble sin my stomach another wipe of my forehead with the back of my left hand I am noticing my feet on the floor the tops of the feet touching the plastic of my crocs, I am sniffing an expectorating wondering if my lungs are coated with phlegm I am slightly shifting y weigh tin the chair pulling my back backwards to ease pressure I am hitting the space bar with my right thumb its satisfying I am seeing my pink hands poised above the keyboard I am looking up at the screen and seeing letters appearing I am looking back down at the keyboard I am coughing I am expectorating I am lifting my trunk higher to straighten my back I am flexing fingers of my right hand I am rubbing the top inside of my ear I am turning on my iPhone to check how many minutes areleft, I am sitin gup and reathing deeply thourgh my nose left nostril preferred I am sniffing to check why the left nostril is dominant I am restng my wrists a moment I am hearing ht etapping of the keys the different sounds depending on where in the keyboard I touch I sniff again I notice beside ht eaptop a yeallow pen and a pair of collapsible headphones with heisser upside down I look up to see the notieboad o fbill sin forn tof me I feel some anxiety I feel an urge to fart I fart ahhh, I hear more cars I am waiting to notice something I hear the whirring of the laptop motor I am waiting I feel mild pain in my back in my lower back I hear the single cry of a crowI sniff and cough


Pushing the black keys with fingers senasation of hardness at the end f fingers hearing the sound of keys clisking noticing louder sound of space bar feeling weight of wrist resting on laptop hearing sounds of brids outside hearing sound of car moving past window, sund coemsand goes hearin gsoudn of motor in laptop feeling pressure in small of back expsctroating sitting trunk of body up straighter couhign with eyes closed lookin gat screen and noticing the red marks that show spelling mistakes resti gwrists on laptop adjusting lower back feeling feet on the floor hsifitn gweigh tin chair feeling hardness of chair against backs of thighs feeling twinge of sexual interest breathing deeply through nose wiping gnose with right hand with back of hand an dthen with two fingers feling hardness of chair against elbow of left arm stopping lookin gat screen watching the letters appear deleting misspelling straightening back and brething deeply through nose hearin gth esoudn of crows pausing , noticing fingers hovering over keys nticng fngers poised ingers curled enjoying senasatin of energy in fingers expectorating resting wrists against laptop flesin glower back pulling lrigh tfoot back and resting ankle against side of chair enjoyin gfeeling of ease this creates rubbin ghari an dface with left hand expectorating rubbing inside of right ear with fnger of right hand pulling fngers back from last typing a dcruling fingers of right hand into palm of hand relaxin gshoulders having though about why this happening breathing deeply thorugh nose putting right foot back fully onto ground stting back and looking up at noticeoards on wall infornt of me leanig back in chari and briefly restg back against back of chair feeling gruble o pain from lower back tying on keys noticing white of letter son balck key sf laptop notincg shaepes of letters rubbind right side of nose with finger of right hand breathing deeply and sitting up straight nticing small symbls on function keys above letters n keyboard noticing gmissig key onkeyboard slidn gpen iphoen to check time doble ackn gnscreen to correct spellin gmstake rubbing left hand through hair ntoincg pink hands obscuring sight of keyboard noticng silve rrin gon finger of left hand expectorating loweirn shoulders speculatin gabotu the feel of this experience

Reflections:

The second experience is freer and fresher, there was a sense of being more in touch with reality which, when I persevered past resistance, felt rich as if there were a seam of fascination just past my habitual perception of things.

I started to write in the paragraph above how this felt ‘better’ than the thinking that went on in the first but that would be a lie to please you. There was a difference in the felt sense of say discovering the shapes of the letters on the keyboard, seeing them anew, and having a thought about how breaking through to such a fresh perception is the result of persevering, but both are satisfying in their own way. Overall though there is a sense of openness in the second which isn’t there in the first. The use of ‘I’ and mine’ felt like they were tethering me to something, well okay not ‘me’ but holding back the full roaming possibilities of experience that were there when I didn’t use those words.

Best,

phil

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Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Tue May 21, 2013 9:19 am

Dear Phil,

Really good writing with and without "I, me"!! You did a great job with that!
The second experience is freer and fresher, there was a sense of being more in touch with reality which, when I persevered past resistance, felt rich as if there were a seam of fascination just past my habitual perception of things.
YES. And this is something you can notice all through your day as you go about living Life. As you walk, notice whether "walking is happening" or is it that "I am walking"? Whether "paperwork is happening" or is it that "I am doing paperwork"? Breathing is happening vs I am breathing. Just notice what is happening in reality, in sensation rather than in thought.
I started to write in the paragraph above how this felt ‘better’ than the thinking that went on in the first but that would be a lie to please you.
Good! "Better" is also just a label, one we apply to an experience we have judged as somehow "positive"; when we judge plain vanilla experience as somehow "negative", the label we use is "worse". The experience is not altered by the label we apply to it.
Check it! What labels do you apply to sensation? Maybe "cold" or "hot", "painful", "good" or "bad"... Check it!
Overall though there is a sense of openness in the second which isn’t there in the first. The use of ‘I’ and mine’ felt like they were tethering me to something, well okay not ‘me’ but holding back the full roaming possibilities of experience that were there when I didn’t use those words.
Really good to notice!! And it's only language doing that! Here are common labels, "I" and "me", that are only words, but have a distinct impact on our experience of Reality. So interesting to notice!

Today I want you to pay attention to the difference between what is really happening, i.e., sensation, and what mind describes as happening, i.e., thoughts about what is happening.
For example, in reality, fingertips feel pressure as smooth plastic moves; in thought, I am typing this reply.
In reality, chest lifts and lowers as breathing simply happens all by itself; in thought, I am breathing: inhaling and exhaling.
Notice the difference between the action and the thought.
Bum feels pressure against something hard; shifting weight relieves some of the pressure. In thought, I am sitting on a hard chair; I move to relieve the discomfort.
Pressure is what is happening in reality; "discomfort" is a label I stick onto the sensation of pressure when I judge that I don't like it. But what if the pressure I felt were my husband's lips on mine? I would probably judge that as likable, and apply the label "pleasurable".

I look forward to your reply!

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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philkingston
Posts: 335
Joined: Thu May 02, 2013 5:04 pm

Re: Ready to go

Postby philkingston » Thu May 23, 2013 6:10 am

Sorry for the delay Nona. I have been turning my mind to your exercise. A few snatches the first day walking round the block where I work eating a chocolate bar, the intense sweetness in my mouth (that ‘intense’ gives away how quickly I label). Returning, when I remembered, to the sun on my skin, the noise of the traffic, or just the noise which then becomes labelled traffic. The pressure of the pavement on my feet . Interesting, as I write this, there’s a vivid quality to the remembering which I don’t get with other memories.

Often there would be resistance to doing the exercise but then a sense of relief and clarity once it was done. Like a palette cleanser between rich meals.

This morning I decided to give it a long session and practiced while doing my morning run. Some observations:

- despite being already quite buoyant this morning I noticed that staying with the reality of the breathing, quicker , slower, more pressured, harder etc.. meant the whole experience was less of a chore, the story of ‘how demanding this run is’ couldn’t get any purchase. Writing this I also realise this stopped a whole lot of other stories from kicking in – ‘how out of shape you are’, how unattractive and schlubby you’ve become’, how jaded by life you are’ etc… which now seem faintly ridiculous in their gloominess as I write them here.

- whatever word I choose feels like a label, though some are clearly more interpretations than others. Painful breathing is more a label than laboured breathing or pressure in lungs. But even pressure carries subtle connotations of bad in its wake. ‘Cold’ for example is simply a marker of where in the temperature range something is but it also carries negative connotations. It’s hard to be completely neutral.

- The mind really doesn’t like staying neutral. I can feel it kicking against the fiftieth description of something as ‘a shape, a colour’

- there is so much information assailing the senses that the act of choosing what to focus on in itself feels like an imposition of self. Sure, by staying with the sensation of breathing I cut down on the misery lit that is my most common mind chatter but there’s still the awareness of a choosing to concentrate on this one aspect of the wave of sensation coming in , and the implication that there is a someone choosing this

- it would be dishonest of me not to mention I keep remembering my old philosophy degree where the philosopher David Hume went on about this practice of concentrating purely on sensation and it became a cornerstone of the empirical tradition. I can’t help wondering whether some of the writings of these thinkers hint at practical insights completely missed by the academies. Here’s a quote form Wikipedia:


A prominent figure in the sceptical philosophical tradition and a strong empiricist, he argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding instead that humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience. Thus he divides perceptions between strong and lively "impressions" or direct sensations and fainter "ideas", which are copied from impressions. He developed the position that mental behaviour is governed by "custom", that is acquired ability; our use of induction, for example, is justified only by our idea of the "constant conjunction" of causes and effects.

- what I keep remembering about him is what a lovely bloke people said he was and wonder if that’s because he saw things more clearly.

I had a quick look at the Byrom Katie and she looks very helpful but as I have one other psychological process going on (I’m trying to untangle some of my anxieties over money) I’ll leave that for a while.

Thanks for all your help Nona, this process feels very healthy, especially now I’ve gone to the trouble of getting up early, doing it and writing it down.

Best

Phil

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nonaparry
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Location: London, England

Re: Ready to go

Postby nonaparry » Thu May 23, 2013 10:36 am

Hi Phil!
the intense sweetness in my mouth (that ‘intense’ gives away how quickly I label). Returning, when I remembered, to the sun on my skin, the noise of the traffic, or just the noise which then becomes labelled traffic.
FABulous!! This is exactly how I want you to notice sensation and labels!! If it takes remembering Hume as a lovely bloke, then go for it!! I did my graduate work in philosophy; it's good experience for separating thought from sensation!

As you've described it, the activity is experienced, and then AFTERward is labeled. Mind judges the experience and then describes it to you—as if you weren't the principal player in your experiences or as if you weren't present at the time: a kind of play-by-play commentary. By FOCUSing intently on the sensations, all the labeling, the describing, stops.
Often there would be resistance to doing the exercise but then a sense of relief and clarity once it was done. Like a palette cleanser between rich meals.
Nice analogy. For me, the clarity and relief have become preferable to the alternative, and they are always waiting for me; I need only turn my Focus to my direct experience. :-)
the story of ‘how demanding this run is’ couldn’t get any purchase. Writing this I also realise this stopped a whole lot of other stories from kicking in – ‘how out of shape you are’, how unattractive and schlubby you’ve become’, how jaded by life you are’ etc… which now seem faintly ridiculous in their gloominess as I write them here.
Excellent!!!
Incidentally, separating the Story from the reality is what The Work of Byron Katie does. Isn't it exciting to notice how much of our thoughts is just our ridiculous Story?
whatever word I choose feels like a label, though some are clearly more interpretations than others. Painful breathing is more a label than laboured breathing or pressure in lungs. But even pressure carries subtle connotations of bad in its wake. ‘Cold’ for example is simply a marker of where in the temperature range something is but it also carries negative connotations. It’s hard to be completely neutral.
Notice that any meaning you give to your labels or descriptions is a Story. And it's only "hard to be completely neutral" because of Habit. We habitually assign meaning to our experiences and then assume the meaning we've assigned is True, but this is merely conditioning. The habit of judging, labeling, story-telling can be replaced with a habit of LOOKing at what is really going on in the moment.
Here is a useful exercise:
Recall one time something "very upsetting" happened. To give you an example, I'm going to go with the time my mother told me she could never love me.
First, write out the entire story as mind tells it now.
Then cross out all the adjectives and adverbs.
Cross out any labels that are actually meaning you imposed on physical reality. Cross out anything that did not actually happen in reality.
When I did this, I ended up with "Mother speaks to Daughter".
And even that is not true: "Woman speaks to Woman" is truer, as the labels "mother" and "daughter" carry meaning that is assigned.
Try it! Notice Mind insisting that the meaning you've assigned is true.
The mind really doesn’t like staying neutral. I can feel it kicking against the fiftieth description of something as ‘a shape, a colour’
Hahahaha!!! Mind sure doesn't like staying neutral!! Wait til you do the exercise above! Mind shouts all kinds of "truth" that is only Thoughts About what happened, not what actually happened in reality!

Sweetheart, if you can separate out the Story from what happens in Reality, you will experience less suffering. That's a guarantee.

the act of choosing what to focus on in itself feels like an imposition of self.
...there’s still the awareness of a choosing to concentrate on this one aspect of the wave of sensation coming in , and the implication that there is a someone choosing this
Ooooooo, good one!! I invite you to watch a video that may astonish you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Biv_8xjj8E
In this video, neuroscientists are experimenting with the illusion of choice. The principal subject is asked to make a simple choice, over and over, while his brain is scanned in an MRI. The result is that the scans show which 'choice' the subject will make up to six seconds before he "makes" his choice.

I notice that sometimes I concentrate, or Focus, on "one aspect of the wave of sensation"; other times I focus elsewhere, even on thought. There is no "self" that jumps out of the closet and runs over to adjust my focus; it just Happens. There is no "self" standing by with a remote control to direct my focus, my thoughts, my actions; these simply happen, and then Mind adds the thought "I did it".
Check it!
Decide to do a deliberate action; I will decide to lift this coffee cup and drink from it. The thoughts turn to coffee; the hand reaches for the cup; the cup is lifted to the mouth; coffee is sipped. Mind announces: "I did it".
Now decide again. I decide to lift this coffee cup and drink from it. The decision is made. The hand is going nowhere; the cup remains in place. No coffee-sipping is happening, though the decision was made. Mind is silent.

Cup-lifting and coffee-sipping either happen or they don't; there is no "I" in charge of it.

The idea that decisions get made and as a result of them something occurs is only a story, an explanation of our thoughts about what occurred. What happens in reality is cups get lifted or not, get sipped from or not. No "I" is doing any of it.
What mind views as an implied doer is merely an accident of language.
Every language on this planet (except two) has a subject/object construction. Therefore, the moment we attempt to describe Life in language, we have duality: subject and object. So we use a limited tool (language) to attempt to describe the indescribable, and then we pretend that the tool shows us reality.
Check it!!
Do this exercise: Write what you are experiencing right now using the words "I" and "me". Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just a plain description of what's happening here and now.
Like this—
I am sitting in a chair. I am breathing. I am typing these words.
Do this for 10 minutes. Be aware of the body; what physical sensations are there?

Then for the next 10 minutes write what is being experienced right now without the words "I" and "me". Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs:
Waiting for the next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing rain.
Again be aware of body sensations.

When you have finished, compare these two ways to label experience: how are they experienced?
Were the physical sensations experienced different with and without the use of the labels "I" and "me"?

Thanks for all your help Nona, this process feels very healthy, especially now I’ve gone to the trouble of getting up early, doing it and writing it down.
You are very welcome.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


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