I'm Looking for a Guide

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:54 am

Okay, look at what you do.

Right now, move up your left arm. Is there someone doing it? Is there an agency behind this action?
Pay close attention to your movements. Look up, look through the room you are in. How about now? How does this work?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:35 am

There is a moving of the arm, and perception of the moving of the arm. After that there is mental commentary on the moving of the arm. There is no actor with independent agency to be found outside of the post-movement mental noise. I tried observing different sorts of actions, like if I perform a movement after deliberation over how to do it; what I found was that the thoughts making up this internal debate were also spontaneous and without agency; the content of them tells the story of someone making a decision outside the environment and flow of events, and somehow injecting that choice back into reality.

Sometimes this is obvious, like when I'm able to get a good grasp of the conditions that caused a thought or action on my part; most of the time it's not. Seeing this story-weaving process in action can be interesting and enlightening, but I don't expect to need to peek into the inner workings of the mind every time I do something to ensure "nope, no independent actor there now either". Like the ever popular Santa example, once you know there is no Santa you don't have to check the chimney every Christmas eve to make sure.

I can't find as much to say about looking. I typed 2 different paragraphs that ended up looking like short essays on the physiological process of sight, but then I remembered what your first post said about "don't get too analytical." I look around, and there is seeing. There don't seem to be any intermediate mechanisms in this process; it's as spontaneous as spontaneous can get. As long as the appropriate conditions of light, an eyeball, and a nervous system are present all interacting with eachother properly are present, seeing happens.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:31 pm

Sometimes this is obvious, like when I'm able to get a good grasp of the conditions that caused a thought or action on my part; most of the time it's not.
I don't understand what you mean. Please explain.

I can't find as much to say about looking. I typed 2 different paragraphs that ended up looking like short essays on the physiological process of sight, but then I remembered what your first post said about "don't get too analytical." I look around, and there is seeing. There don't seem to be any intermediate mechanisms in this process; it's as spontaneous as spontaneous can get. As long as the appropriate conditions of light, an eyeball, and a nervous system are present all interacting with eachother properly are present, seeing happens.
Nice.

So, now what?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:46 am

I don't understand what you mean. Please explain.
To use an example that I think I already used, if a car backfires and I flinch it's pretty easy to understand the chain of cause and effect in that process. There is a loud noise, and the brain tells the body to react defensively; there isn't much room for a story of intent to slip in. If, however, I consider a time when I was deciding what to have for lunch, there were innumerable variables at work influencing what I ended up deciding on, more than the conscious mind could ever hope to understand.

That's ok, though. I don't expect to ever be fully conscious of every working of the brain; that would be impossible.
Nice.

So, now what?
That's the big question. I swear I asked myself those exact words 2 days ago. This all feels so ridiculous, me sitting here saying "well, I get it but I still feel like I have a problem." I don't know if there is something wrong with the way I'm approaching this whole investigation. If there is, tell me; I can take some tough love. I just want to finish this; I don't want to waste your time or my time. I don't say this to express impatience, but my desire to not prolong this unnecessarily.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:17 am

To use an example that I think I already used, if a car backfires and I flinch it's pretty easy to understand the chain of cause and effect in that process. There is a loud noise, and the brain tells the body to react defensively; there isn't much room for a story of intent to slip in. If, however, I consider a time when I was deciding what to have for lunch, there were innumerable variables at work influencing what I ended up deciding on, more than the conscious mind could ever hope to understand.
So is there a self who decides?

That's the big question. I swear I asked myself those exact words 2 days ago. This all feels so ridiculous, me sitting here saying "well, I get it but
I still feel like I have a problem."
What is the problem?

Is there someone to have a problem?
I don't know if there is something wrong with the way I'm approaching this whole investigation.
Look, is there actually someone who is approaching this?
If there is, tell me; I can take some tough love. I just want to finish this; I don't want to waste your time or my time. I don't say this to express impatience, but my desire to not prolong this unnecessarily.
Then, look. Everytime there seems to be a problem, who's having it?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:01 am

So is there a self who decides?
No, not really. It's just shorthand for saying that this body and brain ending up acting in a certain way, when to an observer there were multiple possible outcomes.
What is the problem?
To be perfectly honest, the problem is that I feel like I have a problem. There is no self, I don't have to get rid of it or make a better one or anything like that. Actually, what else could it be but a feeling? Either the problem is some physical situation out there in the physical world that I can go fix with my hands, or it's something psychological, and what does that break down into? Thoughts and feelings, sometimes repetitive negative ones that get a 'problem' label slapped on them.

At least part of the problem has been the lack of change in my thoughts and behaviors; I expected a softening and less seriousness in the 'I' story when it's seen that its ultimately just a story. (Here I am with more expectations)
Is there someone to have a problem?
No, but there can be situations and preferences counter to those situations.
Look, is there actually someone who is approaching this?
No, that was nonsense fluff I typed. Sometimes I wonder where this stuff comes from when I read it again a day later. If I had to rephrase it, I'd say that there is looking taking place, and I would ask if it's possible that this process of looking is somehow gone about poorly. I can hardly ask you to judge an inward action like introspection over the internet, so it may be a useless question.
Then, look. Everytime there seems to be a problem, who's having it?
I'm having it(laughing here). Mercifully thats not such a big deal when I'm a fiction, and that fact is seen.

I'll be out of town this coming saturday and sunday; my hotel should have internet, but worst case scenario I'll still be able to read/post saturday morning and sunday night.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:14 pm

Thanks for notifying you might not make it regularly.

So, what is missing?

Please tell your expectations of " it" in detail.

Now, in your direct experiences, which are the senses prior to thought; seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting. Can you actually find an agent who is doing this? Look around, look. Hear the sounds, is there an actual hearer of sounds. Taste, smell etc.

I am not trying to convince you of no-self, that you cannot choose anything anymore. Choices have been made before. But was there a separate entity who made it?

So look and experience. You might want to take another walk through nature and just experience. Use the senses and look; is there a separate entity doing these things?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:53 am

So, what is missing?
I get so frusturated with myself and this question (it's a very good question though). Looking for what's missing feels like looking for the 'I'. 'Something is missing' is an idea found in thoughts and sometimes it gets associated with a physical feeling of anxiety, but I sure as hell can't find a hole and say "this is where something is missing". Just another story, but damn is it a believable and persistent one.
Please tell your expectations of " it" in detail.
This really does unconsciously change from day to day. Right now my expectations are that at some indeterminant point in the future, I will see that there is no self. This will result in me no longer having a vague sense that life is somehow fundamentally incomplete, or that there's some important fact I need to learn or belief I need to integrate before I can relax and get on with living.
Now, in your direct experiences, which are the senses prior to thought; seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting. Can you actually find an agent who is doing this? Look around, look. Hear the sounds, is there an actual hearer of sounds. Taste, smell etc.
All 5 senses are prior to thought. Sometimes this can be observed in experience, other times thought follows perception so quickly that it is difficult to separate them in time. Sensing happening first is the only thing that makes sense logically, though; thought doesn't have anything to comment on before interaction with the environment has been turned into sensory information. I've never experienced and cannot conceive of thought happening prior to sensation.
I am not trying to convince you of no-self, that you cannot choose anything anymore. Choices have been made before. But was there a separate entity who made it?
No. I just say "I decided" as shorthand for what is really going on. Language and communication seem to get really messy when we try not to reference a separate self.
So look and experience. You might want to take another walk through nature and just experience. Use the senses and look; is there a separate entity doing these things?
No, there is no separate entity doing things. This only hit me near the end of my walk, when I saw a puddle with dozens of little waves spreading out and interacting as rain drops hit it. For some reason it was a really neat thing to look at at the time. I can't say I had any grand insights, though.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:29 am

Look. Is there something missing in direct experience?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:40 am

No. No problem, no solution to a problem, and no one to say that there is or isn't a problem.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:33 pm

So what is the experience when you look?

What is there now?

If you are not able to answer, because you can't find a quiet place and find some time to look, just do it when you get back from your trip.

If you do have a quiet place. Just look and describe what's there.

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:52 am

So what is the experience when you look?

What is there now?

If you are not able to answer, because you can't find a quiet place and find some time to look, just do it when you get back from your trip.

If you do have a quiet place. Just look and describe what's there.
Many, many things. Sights, sounds, smells, and tactile sensations (no tastes at the moment); thoughts too, and the occasional thought masquerading as a sight/sound/smell (a memory, or a daydream). This seems like an incomplete summary, though. My first thought of that description of experience is "that can't possibly be all there is to it, that's so unsatisfying." My next thought is "who finds it unsatisfying?" Unexpectedly I couldn't find an answer to that. Something in me wants to suggest the existence of something more; consciousness, awareness, 'open space', something like that. This isn't coming from direct experience though, I think I've read too many spiritual books in the past. It just feels so odd to have all this stuff going on and no 'canvas' for it to be grounded on.

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Ewoud
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Ewoud » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:15 am

My first thought of that description of experience is
"that can't possibly be all there is to it, that's so unsatisfying."
So, what does this thought tell you? Is this an expectation? Is the content of this thought true?
It just feels so odd to have all this stuff going on and no 'canvas' for it to be grounded on.
What's there in direct experience?

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:30 am

What's there in direct experience?
Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and thoughts. These sensations can appear on their own, or combine in different ways: like a smell bringing back a memory of a past event where I experienced that particular smell, and all the other sights/sounds/etc. that the memory also contains. Those 6 elements of experience are the only ones I can personally attest to.

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Hurt
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Re: I'm Looking for a Guide

Postby Hurt » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:57 am

So, what does this thought tell you? Is this an expectation? Is the content of this thought true?
Sorry, I missed this part of your reply.

It is an expectation; no, the content isn't true. It's an odd thought, really; its not like other feelings where if I feel "anxious" there are real physical changes in heart rate/sweatiness/shaking that the label points to; dissatisfaction has no reality outside of a concept in thought and language. All it tells me is that reality did not line up with my expectations. In that sense it isn't "true" or "false", its just a necessary consequence of me putting expectations on reality.


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