Requesting a Guide, please....

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Sagaram
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Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:11 am

My name is David, and I'm ready to live my life in reality. I've attended a one-day workshop with Elena, and I've read most of the book, several threads in this area, and the YouTube versions of some of the material. So far, all that happens is a greater "understanding" with my mind, and that's not enough. I need some help getting thru this..... please.

Gotta get off, gonna get
Out of this merry-go-round
Gotta get off, gonna get
Need to get on where I'm bound..............

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Steve
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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:51 pm

Hello, David.

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. I will guide you if you like.

There are a few formalities to take care of. If you haven't already, please read the Disclaimer and watch the short video on the LU home page.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start.

1. You agree to post at least once a day, time permitting. (If you can't respond fully on a given day, a few words to let me know you're still engaged would be appreciated.)

2. I will post questions, which prompt your investigation and answers. (I'm here to guide, not to teach.)

3. When you answer/report, please do so with 110% honesty.

4. And when you do answer, please answer from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read this article for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really commit to begin looking for this separate self, this "I"; look for what is the experience throughout the day as this looking happens. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's fine to continue that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

And here are a couple of notes about posting in this forum.

1. Learn to use the quote function. There are instructions in this post.

2. The forum can log you out without warning. If you're typing a post directly in the edit box here, and you get logged out before you click Submit, your words can get lost. There are two ways to avoid this. One, use the Preview button frequently. That will keep you logged in. Or two, type your responses in a separate program like Notepad first, then copy and paste them into the forum. (But that way you don't get to use the quote function and have to use BBCode to highlight quotes.)

Please confirm that you've seen all the above and agree to it.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?

With Love,
Steve

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Sagaram
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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:56 am

Steve, Thank you for your kind offer to assist me with this process. I accept your offer and am eager to begin. By the way, we live in the same state - Arizona.
There are also a few standard ground rules before we start
Agree to all five of the ground rules as described.
Please confirm that you've seen all the above and agree to it.
Yes, I have seen all the above directions and agree to it.

A brief history: I have been seeking something beyond my current experience for decades. Read a lot, lots of therapy, religion/spirituality, commune with Rajneesh/Osho for 2 years, 10 years working with processes developed by Scientology, 15 years in feng shui, 6 years in Ho’oponopono. The story goes on.....
What are your expectations for this process?
To know the truth about self/no self. I have lots of beliefs, history, experiences that point to a “me”, an individual “self.” Yet that has never been enough. I still have this restlessness. Something isn’t right and I know it. I just don’t know what. I want to find out.
What is it that you are searching for?
Answers, peace. Knowing without a doubt.
How will you know that you found it?
In a way, I have to say that I don’t really know. Except that I will know when I have found it.
How will this feel?
I think it will feel amazing, yet no different from current life. And, I must admit, I really don’t know.
How will this change you?
Live in the present; live in truth. May or may not look/act different from current life. I don’t know.

Seems to be a bit of a theme... I don't know. I don't believe I know exactly how the realization of no self will affect my life. Yes, that causes a bit of fear. Will I continue to be able to support myself, will I still want to work, will I take care of my house and dogs, keep my same friends?

Though this may be "fearful," there is something pushing me to find out anyway, in spite of the concerns. As I type this, I'm torn between the thought that I'm already aware of the "no self," just afraid to admit it. And the other thought that seeing no self can happen to most other people, just not me. I'm too stubborn, too.... I don't know. Maybe freightened.....

Anyway, that's what came up as I was entering all this. Thanks for taking the time to review it all.

With gratitude,
David

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Steve
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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:13 am

Hi, David. Excellent! Always nice to meet a fellow Arizonan here.
Seems to be a bit of a theme... I don't know. I don't believe I know exactly how the realization of no self will affect my life.
Very good. Stick with that. It's much better than thinking you do know.
Yes, that causes a bit of fear. Will I continue to be able to support myself, will I still want to work, will I take care of my house and dogs, keep my same friends? Though this may be "fearful," there is something pushing me to find out anyway, in spite of the concerns.
This kind of concern is common beforehand. That you're pushing through anyway tells me you're ready.

Now that your expectations are out in the open, I ask you to forget them for now. We may or may not revisit some of them later. Right now we're looking for anticipation without specific expectations.
As I type this, I'm torn between the thought that I'm already aware of the "no self," just afraid to admit it. And the other thought that seeing no self can happen to most other people, just not me. I'm too stubborn, too.... I don't know. Maybe frightened.....
Good. This is the level of honesty required. Let's look deeper.

Who is the "I" torn between two thoughts? What does that point to in direct experience? Is there actually an entity "I" present? If so, what are its characteristics? Does it have a shape, size, color, sound, fragrance, feel? Or are there just thoughts appearing in experience, one after the other?

Look deeply in direct experience and report what you find in response to those questions.

With Love,
Steve

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Sagaram
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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:45 am

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your response.
Steve wrote: Who is the "I" torn between two thoughts?
When I wrote my words initially, it seemed that there was a separate self filled with fear, overwhelmed with emotion, tearing up. When I look at it now, I can't seem to find the same focus. Interesting.....
Steve wrote: What does that point to in direct experience?
In direct experience, there were thoughts along with strong emotion and physical tears. From this point of view, there is not much more to describe.
Steve wrote: If so, what are its characteristics?
Ok, this is where I begin to waiver.... The characteristics of this "I" .... I searched for about 10 minutes and could not find a way to finish the sentence. I don't know. I don't know how to answer this. Confusion........ How can there be characteristics if it does not exist? Next thought: But sometimes, it seems to exist--then it has the characteristic of ???? No answer... Sorry, just typing as stuff comes up...... All that comes up are more stories about the past, beliefs in spirit/soul, and a whole bunch of stuff that I can't prove, that I can't observe by direct experience......

Ok, so that means that the "I" has no characteristics. How can it?
Steve wrote: Does it have a shape, size, color, sound, fragrance, feel?
No, it cannot be experienced via these terms.... it cannot be experienced at all.
Steve wrote: Or are there just thoughts appearing in experience, one after the other?
As soon as I read this, I could see this is exactly what had happened.... First one thought one way, followed by the opposite thought. So there were thoughts, and feelings, and tears. It seems so simple here.

I'll review the questions again later to see if more comes up.

Thank you so much for your time.

In Gratitude,
David

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:22 am

Hi, David. Very good. You're clearly open to questioning long-held beliefs.
First one thought one way, followed by the opposite thought. So there were thoughts, and feelings, and tears. It seems so simple here.
That's excellent. It is very simple. Much simpler than any imagining. That's looking directly into experience. Keep doing that!

I'll be glad to hear anything else that you see when investigating the previous questions. And here's somethig else that will shed light on the same area from a different perspective.

Observe closely and report what comes up when you read the following:

There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.

Take those statements deep inside. Really let them sink in.

What physical sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

What feelings do you notice?

With Love,
Steve

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:20 am

Hi Steve, Thanks once again for your reply and your continued support. Let's get to it.....
Steve wrote: I'll be glad to hear anything else that you see when investigating the previous questions
I kept coming back to the previous questions. The only thought that kept coming up was about making the "questions" more difficult than they were. Not necessary.
Steve wrote: There is absolutely no "you" in any way, shape, or form. No "you" thinking your thoughts. No "you" living your life. There never has been a "you" nor will there ever be.
The response was stong and immediate.... tears and laughter!! Followed by a lot of thoughts.. Such as "Is it all really this simple? What if I'm just fooling myself?" Fear... Then calm. Thoughts, "Well, the statement is true. What's the big deal?" Followed by a big sigh, I noticed my shoulders relaxed.
Steve wrote: Take those statements deep inside. Really let them sink in.
Ok, did that. Took about 2 hours, then read it again. No reaction. Waited a while, then decided to go in and reply. Felt a bit of fear. Thoughts about "Is this real?"
Steve wrote: What physical sensations do you notice?
Tears at first, and laughter. Later, sighing and relaxing my shoulders.
Steve wrote: What thoughts do you notice?
The main thought is "Is this real?" and "Is the process this simple?"
Steve wrote: What feelings do you notice?
The main one is fear, though not very intense. Also, relief, relaxation.

This has been an interesting weekend. In the past, there have been feelings/thought of overwhelm, there's so much that needs to be done (chores around the house, walk the dogs, etc.) leading to a diagnosis of ADHD. Usually the results would be worry, thinking, but doing nothing about it. This weekend, there has been no worry, no flood of thoughts about what needs to be done, no aggitation. Thoughts were calm (no pressure) and a lot was accomplished--without thinking about it. It will be interesting to go back to work tomorrow.

So, where am "I" now? Never was... Is this real? Yes, No, it really doesn't matter... It is what it is and "Is it real?" is just a thought with no consequence.

Thank you so much for your help.
David

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:57 am

Hi, David.

You're letting go of resistance. Very good! It's beautiful to read about the relaxation.

You mention "fear" several times. Let's zero in on that.

When fear is present, look deeply in direct experience and find what's actually happening.

Walk up to the fear and look it in the eye. Don't try to get rid of it in any way. Embrace it and allow it to be experienced.

What sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

Do the thoughts come after the sensations? What do they say about the sensations?

Behind all of that, does the fear have a story to tell? If so, what is that story?

Obviously, some of these pointers are metaphorical. Don't try to figure out what they mean. Just report what you observe when you follow along.

With Love,
Steve

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:59 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks again for your response, and your question is right-on. I can tell by my intense response. Initially, I felt tears and sadness, then fear in the pit of my stomach. Followed by thought, after thought, after thought. Most were very negative, confusing. Mainly focused on failure, criticism, aloneness. Most of these emotional reactions and thoughts have been playing out for the past two hours or so, letting the thoughts be thoughts and the feelings be feelings.
Steve wrote: Behind all of that, does the fear have a story to tell? If so, what is that story?
Often in my life up to this point, there has been fear, then confusion (thoughts), then more fear. Seems to be protecting in some way, maybe more out of habit than any real need. Protecting whom? Who needs to be protected? No one, just more of a habit. Don't know if there is anything more behind it.

Current sensations: Body - headache, tired, a little tense. Thoughts - I can't figure this out. I felt a lot better until you mentioned fear. Now, I feel "off" - physically, emotionally, and in thought.

So, again, thank you for bringing this up. Anything that has such a strong response indicates that it's right on target.

David

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:47 am

Hi, David.
Initially, I felt tears and sadness, then fear in the pit of my stomach. Followed by thought, after thought, after thought. Most were very negative, confusing. Mainly focused on failure, criticism, aloneness. Most of these emotional reactions and thoughts have been playing out for the past two hours or so, letting the thoughts be thoughts and the feelings be feelings.
This is good observation, but it's very general.
Current sensations: Body - headache, tired, a little tense. Thoughts - I can't figure this out. I felt a lot better until you mentioned fear. Now, I feel "off" - physically, emotionally, and in thought.
This is closer to what's needed because the details are starting to come into focus. Do you see the difference? Here you're beginning to penetrate beneath the surface and observe direct experience.

Now I'm asking you to look deeper. What we're after is observing in minute detail how the sensations arise, how the thoughts arise, how the sensations influence the thoughts, and so on.

Picture yourself as a detective with a microscope. You're determined to find all the clues to how your inner mechanisms really work. That's the kind of intense looking you have to bring to this investigation.
Now, I feel "off" - physically, emotionally, and in thought.
Let's put these under the microscope and separate their constituent parts.
Now, I feel "off" - physically.
What is your direct experience of specific sensations? List them in detail.
Now, I feel "off" - in thought.
What is your direct experience of specific thoughts? List them in detail.

Do you notice the thoughts before or after the sensations? What is the relationship between them? In other words, what do the thoughts say about the sensations?
Now, I feel "off" - emotionally.
What is your direct experience of specific emotions? List them in detail.

Do you notice the emotions before or after the sensations and thoughts? What is the relationship among them?

Focus and magnify until you see how it all works together. You'll begin to notice that sensations usually come first (tightness in the pit of the stomach), followed by thoughts that stick labels on the sensations ("That's fear I'm feeling"), followed by a full-blown emotional response ("I'm afraid").

Do you notice that in your experience? Do you see how the thoughts work like a labeling machine?

Now look at this facet of the labeling machine:

When you notice a thought "I feel fear," what is that "I"?

When you notice a thought "I feel alone," what is that "I"?

When you notice a thought "I feel like a failure," what is that "I"?

When you notice a thought "I can't figure this out," what is that "I"?

When you notice a thought "I felt a lot better before," what is that "I"?

What does "I" refer to in those thoughts? Can you point to it? Does it have a shape, size, color, sound, fragrance, feel? Or are there just thoughts appearing in experience, one after the other? (Yes, you're right. You've seen that before!)

Get out that magnifying glass and let me know what you discover! (Deerstalker hat and meerschaum pipe -- Sherlock Holmes' trademarks -- are optional.)

With Love,
Steve

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:38 am

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your detailed response. Let’s investigate….
I wrote: Now, I feel "off" - physically.
Steve asked: What is your direct experience of specific sensations? List them in detail.
The physical sensations are/were mainly stomach related. Stomach contracting, feeling smaller. Indigestion, nauesa. Headache.
I wrote: Now, I feel "off" - in thought.
Steve asked: What is your direct experience of specific thoughts? List them in detail.
Thoughts were very specific. "I am confused, I am overwhelmed, I can't figure this out, I can't think, I can't see why I am so afraid, This (confusion) happens all the time.)"
Steve asked:
Do you notice the thoughts before or after the sensations?
I do notice the emotions first, followed by the thought. First the feeling of fear in my stomach, followed by the flood of thoughts mentioned above.
Steve asked:
What is the relationship between them? In other words, what do the thoughts say about the sensations?
The thoughts often provide meaning, substance, interpretation of the sensations. Instead of the sensation being just a sensation (content,) the thoughts provide the reasons (context) which makes the impact of the experience increase exponentially.
Steve asked:
What is your direct experience of specific emotions? List them in detail.
In this case, the emotion experienced was fear. Just experiencing the emotion, its no big deal. Accompanied by all the "stories" or thoughts, it is paralyzing. Recalling other emotions (anger, sadness, and joy,) the same observation is true--they are all made more intense by the "stories" the mind makes up around the feeling.
Steve asked:
Do you notice the emotions before or after the sensations and thoughts? What is the relationship among them?
My experience is the sensation first (contraction of my stomach,) followed by a feeling (fear,) followed by thoughts (I can't do this right.) Well, actually, the first two -- sensation and feeling -- it's difficult to determine which is first. They work synergistically to distort/exaggerate the impact of each.
Steve wrote:
Focus and magnify until you see how it all works together. You'll begin to notice that sensations usually come first (tightness in the pit of the stomach), followed by thoughts that stick labels on the sensations ("That's fear I'm feeling"), followed by a full-blown emotional response ("I'm afraid").
My experience seemed a bit different, emotion before thought. I'll continue to check this one closely.

I read thru the list of questions and considered each one. From [When you notice a thought "I feel fear," what is that "I"?] to [When you notice a thought "I felt a lot better before," what is that "I"?] Then,
Steve asked:
What does "I" refer to in those thoughts?
Ok, the "I" referred to in those thoughts is the belief of a separate, individuated composite of feelings, thoughts, sensations, with a physical body and a spiritual core.
Steve asked:
Can you point to it?
Nope.
Steve asked:
Does it have a shape, size, color, sound, fragrance, feel?
Nope, none of that either.
Steve asked:
Or are there just thoughts appearing in experience, one after the other?
Yes, they are just thoughts, one after the other. They cannot be controlled or stopped. They continue on their own accord as a part of life functioning as life. At times, there is a thought that the "I" can control, shape, force, choose, limit, sway, influence, focus, or direct these thoughts. And many (myself included) have spent decades/fortunes seeking a method to do so; only to no avail. So, it is just that-- thought 1, then thought 2, then thought 3, etc. No, it doesn't go round and round. No, there's no big magic. Just thoughts, one after the other. Simple, isn't it?

So, again thank you for taking the time to work with me.

In gratitude,
David

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:04 am

Hi, David. Thanks for the detailed reply. You're doing fine!

I have to break the pattern of replying in the evening today. Look for my next post midday Wednesday. Keep investigating!

With Love,
Steve

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:26 pm

Hi, David.
My experience is the sensation first (contraction of my stomach,) followed by a feeling (fear,) followed by thoughts (I can't do this right.) Well, actually, the first two -- sensation and feeling -- it's difficult to determine which is first. They work synergistically to distort/exaggerate the impact of each.
Let's turn the magnification up higher here. Look at this:

sensation first (contraction of my stomach)

followed by a feeling (fear)

Which of those observations is closer to direct experience, and which is more of a thought story?

In other words, how did the experience of a sensation in the stomach turn into a feeling of fear?

Here's an exercise that will help. Notice the screen on which you're reading these words. Is there anything about the visual perception that carries the word or concept "screen"? Of course not. There are just some shapes and colors. Then a thought comes along saying "that's the screen."

As you go through the day, watch for this thought labeling to arise. You'll begin to notice that it's happening all the time. First you notice a visual perception, a hearing perception, a smelling perception, a touching perception. Then you notice a thought coming right along with a label for the perception. Watch closely. You'll see it.

Now apply this seeing to the sensation of contraction followed by the feeling of fear. What happens in between?

Let me know what you discover.

With Love,
Steve

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Sagaram » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:45 am

Hey Steve,

Thanks again for checking in and letting me know your schedule. And thanks for your response.

We were discussing sensations (contraction of my stomach) and followed by a feeling of fear....
Steve asked:
Which of those observations is closer to direct experience, and which is more of a thought story?
Great way of demonstrating the nuances of direct experience. When you put it that way, it's clear that the physical sensation is first followed by the emotion. And, at this level, I am beginning to see more and more how the "feeling" is a story, too.... a way of labeling the physical experience in this case. Does that mean that all feelings/emotions are "stories?" No, not necessarily.... they can emerge on their own. Just watch for the "labeling."
Steve asked:
In other words, how did the experience of a sensation in the stomach turn into a feeling of fear?
Thru labeling, thru association....contraction of my stomach is interpreted as fear. OK, that helps separate the two -- the physical sensation and the feeling. Cool!
Steve wrote:
Notice the screen on which you're reading these words. Is there anything about the visual perception that carries the word or concept "screen"? Of course not. There are just some shapes and colors. Then a thought comes along saying "that's the screen."
Yep, got it. Good analogy. Is so easy/habitual to have the experience, then to label it. There are all these corresponding thoughts rationalizing these events.... That's what humans do to understand their experience, That's a process of differentiation so that choices can be made, etc, etc. Ok, so thoughts are there. Hmmmm... ok. Moving on.

From what I have read, there are indigenous tribes that have no word for "I" or "me." The sense of a separate self does not exist within their society. So, all those thoughts about labeling/differentiation being necessary for human existence were just disproved. Oh, well.... moving on.....
Steve wrote:
First you notice a visual perception, a hearing perception, a smelling perception, a touching perception. Then you notice a thought coming right along with a label for the perception. Watch closely. You'll see it.
Yes, watching closely......
Steve asked:
Now apply this seeing to the sensation of contraction followed by the feeling of fear. What happens in between?
From the contraction in my stomach to the feeling of fear, there had to have been a thought, something to label or interpret the experience. That's what I think happened, though very quickly. Now there's greater understanding about how this works.

Thanks so much for your help!
David

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Re: Requesting a Guide, please....

Postby Steve » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:48 pm

Hi, David. This is great. You're starting to notice what's going on in more detail. That's the kind of penetrating investigation that will expose the inner workings of the "separate self" illusion.
When you put it that way, it's clear that the physical sensation is first followed by the emotion. And, at this level, I am beginning to see more and more how the "feeling" is a story, too.... a way of labeling the physical experience in this case.
Yes. All direct experience is like this. You notice a certain perception arising, just as it is, without labels, and then thoughts may come along with labeling and commentary. Keep watching. You'll notice it more and more.
Yep, got it. Good analogy. Is so easy/habitual to have the experience, then to label it. There are all these corresponding thoughts rationalizing these events.... That's what humans do to understand their experience, That's a process of differentiation so that choices can be made, etc, etc. Ok, so thoughts are there. Hmmmm... ok. Moving on.

From what I have read, there are indigenous tribes that have no word for "I" or "me." The sense of a separate self does not exist within their society. So, all those thoughts about labeling/differentiation being necessary for human existence were just disproved. Oh, well.... moving on.....
Notice what happened here. As soon as you wrote, "Yep, got it," all looking went right out the window and you were purely in the realm of thought commentary. That's why Ground Rule #4 is there, to help keep these excursions to a minimum.
From the contraction in my stomach to the feeling of fear, there had to have been a thought, something to label or interpret the experience. That's what I think happened, though very quickly.
No doubt about it. Your challenge is to turn up the magnification even further and keep looking to the point where you catch it in action.

This exercise will help. Notice the sounds you’re hearing, like the chirping of the birds. Notice the habitual thought, "Those are birds." Notice the habitual thought, "I hear that." Now just pay attention to how hearing happens. Take your time with it. Can you find a dividing line between the sound and the hearing of the sound? Are you doing the hearing? Or is it truer to say that hearing is just happening?

With Love,
Steve


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