"Don't Know" This is for you.

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otterrivers
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"Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:32 am

now that' you've got the name changed, let's continue. I've pasted the precious conversation below with the old name removed. ;)

DON'T KNOW
Hello guide, thanks for offering, I am wanting to enter the gate of liberation from separate fixed self view, I see it intellectually but don't feel it... Would appreciate being pointed in right direction, I must confess I really struggle with technology, don't do face book, have never posted, blogged or anything like that so patience may be required on both fronts.

OTTER
hi i'll be happy to work with you. Please try to respond every day and answer with complete honesty and from direct experience only.

1)to start, tell me what you expect or hope for from this process?
How will you know if you've "entered the gate of liberation from separate fixed self view"?

2) What reactions come up if I tell you directly there IS NO "ME" "MYSELF" at ALL in reality?

3) tell me what you find when looking for Self, "I"?
Stay away from thinking as much as you can here. ask with your feelings. look directly at life/experience, not memory or conjecture.

I ask the question literally. what DO you find?
So if you can find "Myself" or "I" please describe it. But even if you can't, tell me what you DO find when looking for it.

DON'T KNOW
Hi otterrivers,
(Is that what you would like me to call you?)
Thank you so much for your e mail and being willing to work with me. I will try to respond every day and from direct experience. I do also have some questions but maybe they will fall away with this process.

1) what I expect or hope from this process is to cross the gate into life, liberated life, not bound by the illusion of self which causes so much suffering. To see things as they truly are and flow fearlessly in the river of existence (that sounds a bit flowery) but i mean freedom/ flow. I must confess that there's a subtle desire to both be special and disappear as well. My head answered that rather than direct experience.
2) I imagine that i will know I have entered the gate because I will recognise the truth of no self at all times and on all levels (after an initial consolidation period). What I mean is at the moment there is a serious amount of concentration and energy running mantras like 'there is no self, you is a thought, thoughts are real you are not' and so on which get forgotten as soon as I engage in work, conversation, driving etc. also I only know this to be true on a superficial level, the minute "I" am threatened it all pings back to habitual me and self defence.
3) What reactions to being told no self.? Initially the thought arises 'of course that's obvious', then frustration and thoughts like how come so many other people get this and i don't, then fear that I won't get it, then fear that I will... I imagine having to accept myself, be happy with my lot, let go of aversion and craving, self pity and self hatred, that all,seems a bit daunting, there's also fear of fatalism, hedonism and nihilism But I have wanted to know the truth as long as I can remember and I can't go on living like this, seriously there has to be a way out/ in different way of doing life, i am struggling at the moment and i haven't even got to deal with old age, sickness and disability yet (i work with those who do) also remembering times when there has been a sense of getting it and the freedom,relaxation, compassion and appreciation that goes with that.
4) When looking for self I start with body, 'my' body which I relate to as the home for 'myself', trapped in this body, if I look more I experience senses (seeing, hearing, feeling etc), senses that only this body experiences. Then there's awareness of sensation ( feelings, emotions) located in the heart, gut or even head area. Then awareness of mind labelling above said experiences, recognising, judging, (pleasant, unpleasant), and then thought arising (want that/ don't want that). The fact that these experiences are unique perpetuates the myth that there is a self. That plus conditioning and belief in karma. So when looking for self I find action (body moving etc), sensation and thought. No self but hold tenaciously to feeling of self.

Question: can other people read this?
Also are you and i on same time zone (UK GMT)?

thanks again

OTTER RIVERS
I am in seattle. u.s. west coast. it is now 12:37am Tuesday morning.
I logged out and tried to read this, and yes it appears anyone could read this. are you using your real name? if it is a concern for you, you can start a new account with a false name. then just tell me what that name is (you can email me at otterrivers@gmail.com) I will copy our conversation so far and paste it in the new conversation with your name removed. then I will ask admin to erase this conversation. I don't need any personal info about you. but I want you to feel very comfortable to be 100% honest without holding back for concern of what someone else may think of it. so let me know if you'd like to start a new name. let me know then when we get that figured out we'll continue the conversation. ok?

DON'T KNOW
Hello,
Thanks for that, yes would feel more comfortable to be honest if anonymous, am so flakey with technology may take me a while to re register and find you again?! Appreciate your patience in advance, here goes...

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otterrivers
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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 24, 2013 5:40 am

haha I see in the top line at the beginning of this new conversation I said "precious conversation" I meant "previous".

Yes call me otter. that's what my friends call me. and what should I call you here?
also please click "subscribe topic" at the bottom of this page so you'll get email alerts when I respond with a link directly here.

one more piece of advice, it may be a good idea to click "full editor" and "save" when you're done writing (button below the box you write in) or highlight and copy what you've wrote before hitting "submit". this website has been known to log people out cause them to lose everything they wrote.

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:28 am

you say ""at the moment there is a serious amount of concentration and energy running mantras like 'there is no self, you is a thought, thoughts are real you are not' and so on which get forgotten as soon as I engage in work, conversation, driving etc. also I only know this to be true on a superficial level""

How is it that you think using thought will help you see outside of illusory thought? that seems to me like trying to fly by pulling really hard on your shoe laces.

instead, let's just look. no need to figure anything out or get to any permanent state of always ""recogniz[ing]the truth of no self at all times and on all levels"" Just a brief look right now. what is seen is always there. what comes and goes is illusory. so let's look for self right now. if you forget later, that's fine. you'll always know what is true by looking again.

leave aside all thinking for now. including your story. the rest of your answer in 3) is story. "how things are. what has happened. why I am this way". let it go for now. (where is it besides thought right now?) or don't, but realize it has nothing to do with what we are talking about here.

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:38 am

I say that with 100% compassion because it's really the most helpful thing I can tell you in this context. we are looking to see if there is really any "me" in reality. the circumstances of your life are irrelevant to this looking. again I say that with total compassion. I hope it does not sound heartless.

So looking for self, you find body. very good. you can see it isn't the self. but you can't find a self, so you describe the closest thing you can to "me": a "feeling of ME".

1) You described a "sense of self". please feel this directly and describe the feeling to me. Just feel the bodily sensation that comes up with the thought "ME". Describe it fully to the best of your ability without referencing any thought (memory, conjecture, story etc)

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:46 am

2) close your eyes and feel everything... what is that feeling? even before mind labels it "body" "skin feeling air temperature" "feet on the floor" "my ass on the seat" etc. what is it before that? I ask the question but not looking for an answer, just getting you to look at direct experience. life exists perfectly as it is before any thought about it right? now feel that feeling with your eyes closed. where does it end? where is there anymore "inner" or "outer"? that's enough for now. please describe only exactly what is noticed, not what you think about it.

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:58 pm

Hello otter,
Yes this precious conversation, very sweet, it is precious what you guys are giving.
I guess you could call me DK?!
I can't find the full editor button so will just try and remember to save.

1. Describe the bodily sensations that come up with the thought ME?
There are just bodily sensations when I look for ME so i'm not sure i'm getting the question, touch, sight, sound, smell, taste, pressure bum on chair, foot on floor, breathing, sensations I call fear in the belly, (fluttering, constriction), grief in the heart area, (aching, discomfort) and a strong tendency to go into memory, story...

2. What is the feeling before the mind labels it? There's like a contact of energy, a meeting, co arising of the sensation and the thing it relates to, like skin sensing breeze. The object feels outer and the sense perception feels inner eg eyes seeing screen, seeing feels 'inner' and 'screen' feels outer.

Oh dear the judge says these answers are unacceptable, I really sat and looked but it's like you said about trying to fly by pulling on my shoe laces I just get exhausted, stuck and despairing circling round and round
Xxx
DK

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:49 am

with 1) I am asking you to describe the bodily feeling you associate with the feeling of "I". a description of the physical feeling. what part of the body? what kind of feeling? no need to answer I guess, just look and feel. is this body-feeling "me"?

what judge do you mean?

but yes, you're circling around and around with more thoughts. this isn't direct experience.
what does thought do besides cover up reality with a label? can you drink the thought "water"? it's ok if you're having a little trouble differentiating between description of direct experience and saying what you think about it. most people aren't trained to be aware of this. we live as though their thoughts were the reality they represent. like thinking the map was the actual terrain. we have time. just be patient and keep looking. :)

your answers to 2) are really just more thinking, cant you see? is it really true that with your eyes closed, before any learned mental labels and images, that you feel a meeting of inner and outer? where is there a separation between feeling, feeler, and felt? try this again. just have a quick look. feel the feeling and see if there is really any separation outside of thinking. is this 'feeling of being' noticed by some being inside the body which is sensing something outside the body? if so, what is noticing this? is it felt by a feeler"

Let's investigate this idea. Just because humans have invented a language which uses words like "seeing" "seen" see-er" that there is a real separation here? do this with sight. before the thought "I"(see-er) "am looking"(seeing) "at the screen"(seen)...
is this your actual experience or an educated way of describing it? is there a being in the head receiving information from an outside world? or is some experience called "sight" happening?
Let go of wanting to get it right. once we get you seeing the difference between mental symbol(thoughts) and what you actually experience, you won't have to rely on getting anything right. you just look and see. what need is there for despair then?

please check out this link before trying the exercises again. it's written by a fellow guide here. a good (short haha) explanation of d.e. or Direct Experience.
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:04 pm

Hi otter,
Looking again for ME the same responses arise 'tension in belly, ache in heart', I don't understand how these aren't bodily feelings and in what part of the body, sorry.
The judge is content of thoughts arising, it's just critical
How would I describe water to someone without labels? Even if I break it down to wet, fluid etc they are still labels.
I don't understand how I can feel or communicate anything without labels.
When looking with eyes closed there's like a mush or void, then everything gets labelled self/ other, want/ don't want.
Logically obviously sensations aren't a ME and sight is happening, (in the seen only the seen) but I was trying to describe my experience which is separate, fixed. Could you give an example of how to describe experience in the way you are asking to help me out as my head is starting to hurt?!

Oh PS you mentioned plenty of time which prompted me to say that I have a retreat booked in two weeks for ten days, I really need a break from work, parenting and the city but if you think it would be unhelpful I will consider cancelling. It's part personal retreat and part group retreat on the theme of conditioned co production. I could skip all the input and walk a lot in nature but won't have e mail access...

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:57 pm

Hi otter,
Can't see a response today so hope you OK?

Been reading gate less gate cashers and wrote down what resonated, a sort of summary;
Breathing, hearing, thoughts happening
No separation between feeling, feeler, felt thing
Labelling continues but belief in self drops away
There is only pure awareness the I belief makes something missing
Sadness happening, behind sadness thought happening, sadness and awareness happening
I works by identification with ... Sensation, thought etc
Everything just happens and it happens to no one, doing happens, no one is doing anything
This moment is real

The above is how I would like to experience the world but below is the last 5 minutes ( looking for me)
Resistance, sweetness, sound, sight, body (awareness of), writing, breathing, sound, eyes closing, swallowing, tummy rumbling, thought, breathing, thought, feeling seat on sofa, neck tension, leg circulation, sound, hand writing, thought, relaxation, thought, tiredness

Round and round, thought arises, is that all there is?

On a slightly more positive note dreamt last night that I had a shift in perspective and got no self, ironic that I woke up to the fact that I'm not awake!
Yours
DK

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:00 pm

Just realised I missed the bit about following a link will do that tomorrow

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:27 am

sorry when I went to get online last night something was wrong with the internet connection.

yes 'tension in belly, ache in heart' is a good enough description. I just didn't get that you were using these to describe the feeling of self. got it now.

I agree you can't communicate ideas without labels. and I know you must type to respond to me, but i'm only asking you to look at what there is before labels instead of looking at mind's labels. It's not so much that I want you to describe anything accurately, I just am trying to get you to look at reality. just see that reality is not the mental label.

so the thought "water" is not the real thing but it represents something that can be found in reality right? Try this with "self". Some thoughts point to things in reality. other thoughts just point to other thoughts.

You say " I was trying to describe my experience which is separate, fixed."
Really have a look at that.
looking directly at experience, you say that when sensing directly "there's like a mush or void, then everything gets labeled" now THAT sounds very accurate to me. this is what i'm asking for. we're not working to make the labeling stop, but just to see that the labels are ONLY labels. a symbol which covers up the reality. useful for practical purposes but not the truth! So "your experience" is of a fixed separate reality? is this true before the mental labeling kicks in? or is it a thought that comes after?

Yes, there is plenty of time. no need to cancel any plans over this. take the inquiry with you. look at life wiggling around doing what it does. is there any self behind any of it? I know this trip isn't for a bit but do this in every day life as well. look outside. is there any self moving anything? watch the body you call "mine". there are movements happening. what is doing it?

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:58 pm

I was so happy and excited to get your e mail today, should I rephrase the habitual 'I' speech or is that pedantic and pretentious (eg happiness and excitement happening when reading e mail)?! Dreamt that I understood 'no cause and effect' just a paradigm shift, I really struggle with that one when I'm awake, my sleeping self is progressing very well...

Anyhow "Some thoughts point to things in reality, some thoughts just point to other thoughts" WOW that one really went in this time! I sat with awareness of sensations (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought-sensation) and saw that thoughts that point to other thoughts have less weight, just take 'me' away from experience into some phantom centre, can't describe it quite right but there was a shift and much relief and some laughter. Phew. So yes I see what you mean now that 'my experience is separate and fixed' is a label/ thought that comes after (duh)!

Checked out Neil's link on direct experience, very good and confirming of today's experience/ realisation. If I stay with senses that really helps but if I think about thought/ aliveness I get confused again. Also there is a subtle sense of self and object with labelling, I think this is what I meant by co-arising. Like phenomena and label arise simultaneously (in dependence upon each other) but there's a story of labelled and labeller. I will continue to reflect on Neil's words; "Those (labelling) thoughts are also just part of experience and as such there is only experience." Thought is just sensation.

Experience experiencing itself. Love that one. Sometimes when I'm eating I fell like I'm eating myself. Is that weird or what he's getting at?

"No doer behind doing, no mover behind moving" that feels a little advanced for me yet so will reflect more on that one too.
Much appreciation
DK

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:14 am

it's ok to say things like "I was so happy to see your email." it's just a way of talking. perfectly harmless unless taken to be literally true. no need to use special spiritual talk like "there is seeing happening here" haha. you can just say "I see it" or whatever. :)

1) glad you've had in insight into what thought is. from this new perspective try the eyes closed, body-feeling exercise again.

is there really a meeting of outer and inner felt? that would mean you are inside the body feeling what is outside. picture it this way: isn't that "insidey feeling" of the body also noticed? from this viewpoint it is all outer right? either that, or all inner. and you can't have one without the other (inner/outer).


2)is it really true that the sense-arising and the labeling happen at the same time? try to watch this in direct experience. take a magazine or some book with pictures in it. with your eyes closed, flip to a random page. keep your eyes closed until you're relaxed. open your eyes and see the page. like if it is a picture of a truck, is there immediately the label "truck"? or is there a small moment where it's just colors and angles and shapes? if you can, please try this a few times and tell me what happens. I'm not saying you can control that labeling happens, but isn't this an educated-conditioned response to stimuli rather than something that Is simultaneously appearing with the stimuli?

Included with this exercise also watch "seeing". i'll repeat a bit from a previous(precious lol) post. have a good hard, honest look and report only what is noticed. not what you think about it.

otter- ""Just because humans have invented a language which uses words like "seeing" "seen" see-er" that there is a real separation here? do this with sight. before the thought "I"(see-er) "am looking at"(seeing) "the screen"(seen)...
is this your actual experience or an educated way of describing it? is there a being in the head receiving information from an outside world? or is some experience called "sight" happening?""

I won't try to explain the parts of that link that may be confusing you a little. I think you get the basic point of direct experience vs. thoughts about experience. stick with direct looking and report to the best of your ability what is noticed, not what you conclude after some thought. :)

You say you don't quite get the "no doer of the deed" bit huh? well I do want to get to that subject with you. that's a big one. "control, decisions, intention". ...but... ....I've given you a good piece of homework there i'd like you to focus on first. we will get to it though. be ready for some surprises.
You're doing fine by the way. glad you're really looking. that's all it takes. willingness to keep looking honestly. even if it gets scary. even if it really pisses you off. talk to you later D.N.

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby Don't know » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:57 pm

Hello precious otter
"Eyes closed body feeling exercise again, is there really a meeting of inner and outer felt?... From this viewpoint it is all outer right... either that or all inner, and you can't have one without the other."
OMG it's all inner, which means there's no outer!? Or vice versa. It's all within experience, only the imagined is outer and it's not present, there's only awareness/ noticing, if it's present in noticing it's within presence, everything is 'within' presence, and there's a reference shift from ME to presence, like my centre loosened or got lost for a while, that's SO weird, like a rug pulling roller coaster kind of feeling. Are you sure once seen can't be unseen? I really wanna remember that one. No inner/ outer.
"Is it really true that the sense arising and the labelling happen at the same time?"
There's light, colour, shape, texture, name and form. Sight is happening and labelling is learned, applied after. That feels less revolutionary more learnt/ unlearnt than direct experience because labelling is so quick and I questions what is sight, as in sense-arising, before labelling? Seeing, seer, seen. Feels like a circle, can't make sense of it but looks more like they can't be separated. Need to look more deeply with that one.

Thanks for the head pat, tail wagging, a little scared but not pissed off yet (the Truth will set you free but first it will piss you off said Jack Kornfield) OK deep breath, am committed to looking...

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Re: "Don't Know" This is for you.

Postby otterrivers » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:42 pm

Don't worry about investigating the sight/labeling thing anymore. it's enough to see that labeling is a response to stimuli. and what is a label other than something which covers reality. maybe labeling will always happen. it's enough to see that they are ONLY labels(as good as any other label) and not the reality they cover.

And don't worry about holding on to anything. if you're ever unsure, or you forget, you just look again!
that which wants to grasp is that which you're trying to let go of. this is just metaphor of course. really there is nothing which can grasp and nothing to grasp on to. "an illusory hand grasping at smoke." It always was this way and believing there was any other possibility is the only thing causing any suffering. You can't let go. you can only let go of trying to grasp or let go. there was never a self. you know that feeling of talking to someone who you thought was in the room and then finding out there was really nobody there? this is how I felt when I awakened to self-less reality. a bit shocking and embarrassing.

Some wonder "how will I be able to continue with every day life if I really didn't think there was a self to protect?". well if there is no self, there never WAS a self and everything continued on just fine. why would it change?

Try this: Close your eyes with your hands out in front of you like you are holding a pumpkin. imagine it's weight. it's smell. it's color. maybe some decorations. toss it up and catch it a couple times. feel how heavy it is. now open your eyes and look at your hands. now tell me, How can you get rid of that pumpkin?

seeing that there never was a pumpkin to get rid of does not mean all pumpkin referencing habitual thoughts, feelings, behaviors etc will immediately stop. this happens with some but it's not usual in my experience. seeing illusion as illusion doesn't mean it will stop appearing real when you're not staying aware (and who can stay aware constantly?). but every time you see again that there is no self that these thoughts, behaviors, sensations are referencing it's building a new habit. a "loosening" as you described it. just relax and let it deepen.

I've given you a lot here. we'll get to control, doer, choice next time. I just really wanted to address what you said:
""Are you sure once seen can't be unseen? I really wanna remember that one.""
this can cause a lot of doubt and "I haven't really seen it" reactions if not understood.


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