...in need for a stick

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

...in need for a stick

Postby Anoketu » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:13 pm

Hello, I would be grateful for some guidance. I spent my holiday reading the ebook "Gateless Gatecrashers". Intellectually, "no self" makes sense. However, I seem to struggle to find an adequate emotional equivalent i.e. a deeper realization of this understanding. I took notes of many key statements, thought about them, meditated... sometimes until "I" became very tired and passed out, hence the possible usefulness a stick. :-)

For several years I lived in an environment of intense Buddhist practice - at least it felt intense to me. Several years ago I left this life behind because at some point it felt more right to re-engage with the world and live a rather ordinary life, being a Buddhist ikognito with more "freedom", so to speak. I seem to have adopted a myth of a more or less anonymous wanderer. "No self" might have become a bit of a "selfing" habit.

I recall several experiences in my life when "letting go" came as a feeling of liberation. Not that it was a big bang, rather a feeling of relief, just seeing that I simply had to let go. Once this happened whilst practicing the Buddhist six element practice. The imagined loss of body, space etc. until nothing was left apart from blue sky was a surprisingly refreshing and pleasant experience. However, in daily life lots of organizational tasks, work with people's mixed motivation ambitions and my own responsibilities get me at times and I feel rather polarized or entangled. To avoid this, I often tend to have an urge to distance myself physically or emotionally.

What do "I" expect? Well, in a way to let go of the "special self" notion whether it is ordinary or spiritual. Perhaps more simply, to have a freer heart, substitute melancholy with humor, perhaps be more able to help others and feel less sleepy when trying to get deeper.

In my reading I quite liked Ilona's approach. Not sure whether she has still capacity. Somebody with a Buddhist background would also be appreciated.

Uwe

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:46 pm

Hi there and welcome Uwe,

My name's Pete ( Buddhist for many years) and my role is to guide you through your own unique process.

There are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

Tell me a bit more about yourself, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for. Also, what time zone are you're in? I'm in Somerset in the UK.

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

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided 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 the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

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?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...searching for

Postby Anoketu » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:11 am

Hello Pete,

thank you for your quick reply and your willingness to help out. It's only a few minutes since I discovered your message... may have to check the mail function or just log in habitually.

I understand the conditions you lined out and I will do my best to follow them in due course.

I am located in Germany which means there is one hour time difference. LU attracted me because I read statements from other fellow Buddhists who went through the direct pointing process. I first came in contact with Buddhism in 1990 and I am 52 years old. After years of intense involvement I felt it more appropriate in recent years to live a more "ordinary" life, mostly tutoring and assisting international students. However, I did not loose my general interest in spiritual matters and once the discussion about LU came up I thought I want to give it a go.

Let me answer your questions.

What are your expectations for this process?

In the past I had a couple of experiences when "letting go" felt like a liberation and a way of opening up. So I hope that a deeper look at insubstantiality helps to loosen up self clinging.

What is it that I am searching for?

It's basically a search for more inner and outer freedom. At times I feel restricted by myself, my ideas, past conditioning, just a tad too strict.

How will I know that I found it? How will this feel? How will this change me?

I guess less attachment to a fixed self-view could make "me" more easy-going, less irritable, freer to express myself in new ways. If the outcome was a way of becoming more light-hearted, perhaps could turn a bit more social inside, also less afraid of ordinariness. Like that.

Although I am working with a lot of people I can feel a bit like a recluse or detached in the midst of all. There is no need for me to stick out, rather to flow along more happily and to engage in helpful and enjoyable ways.

This as a start. Thanks again for taking the time and for your interest.

Best regards,
Uwe

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:20 pm

Hi Uwe,

Many thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit more about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc. It's good that we are virtually on the same time.
In the past I had a couple of experiences when "letting go" felt like a liberation and a way of opening up. So I hope that a deeper look at insubstantiality helps to loosen up self clinging.
It's basically a search for more inner and outer freedom. At times I feel restricted by myself, my ideas, past conditioning, just a tad too strict.
I guess less attachment to a fixed self-view could make "me" more easy-going, less irritable, freer to express myself in new ways. If the outcome was a way of becoming more light-hearted, perhaps could turn a bit more social inside, also less afraid of ordinariness. Like that.
Thanks for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. I'm pleased to see that your expectations are not too specific or unrealistic. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a "you", a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

So that's great, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite 'pop' of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Please don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.

Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete x

Ps If you just tick the box marked notify me when a reply is posted, which is just below the Save, Preview and Submit buttons, you'll get an email telling you each time I've responded.
Pps Also, let me know if you have trouble using the Quote function to highlight anything you're replying to.
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...moving on

Postby Anoketu » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:26 pm

Dear Pete,

thanks for your reply. I will answer your questions.
"Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?"
No not really. There are memories from the past or imaginations of the future, but they are always very changeable products of the moment. I notice this is not just the case with ideas about the future, but also my remembered past which seems to be more of an imagined product of the present.
"And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?"
Superficially seen 'self' is 'my' identification with body, sense impressions, feelings, thoughts... perhaps even more the initiation of and attachment to actions, perceived likes and dislikes, opinions-based views or habits of the past. It's even found in possessions, 'my' (rented) apartment, 'my' favorite belongings.
"Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?"
Body, feelings, even thoughts are there without the notion of self or not.. However, how about habit, intention, planned action? They seem to possess more of an expression of self or 'me'. Yet, they cannot be pinned down or controlled completely. Thinking, planning, decision-making happens... there is continuity, remembering, sense of purpose, controlled action - yet also uncontrolled impulses: thoughts arise without command of an 'I', unforeseen feelings, too. Impulses get their way: craving for the pleasant - chocolate, beautiful women... whatever - more like a reaction following sense impressions which seem pleasant or promising. Similar averse reactions follow unpleasant stimuli. 'Self" - or is it the mind, awareness, feelings - are rather dragged along, sometimes resisting. Where there is no strong identification or sense impression little interest develops and attachment does not take place.

All these things occur a lot of the time without reflection, without awareness, just by themselves. They just happen like breathing, driving, walking, hearing, thinking or acting. The conundrum lies in the personal character of certain actions. I mean intended, planned actions... and the fact that there seem to be personal choices. Without conscious choices 'I' could not even draw up a shopping list.

There is thinking, fridge looking, reflection, imagining, judging, calculation, writing of shopping list, getting dressed, walking, seeing... and so on until the shopping is done. The 'me' is in the 'will' or continuity that holds the process together - some force that temporarily manifests like a bundle? Not very precise, because I sense there is no real control over what's happening. It's more like a tendency... a wandering mix of intentions, some more under 'control' than others. Who is the controller? Hm, is it awareness in its aspects? A mix of faculties such as mirroring, judging, feeling, reflection? In it there is no separate "me"... it appears more like a soup after all the components have been thrown in.

I guess I am a soup - at least souping, so to speak.

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:37 pm

Hi Uwe,
just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:
Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
No not really. There are memories from the past or imaginations of the future, but they are always very changeable products of the moment. I notice this is not just the case with ideas about the future, but also my remembered past which seems to be more of an imagined product of the present.
Absolutely. You clearly get all of that. As you will have seen, all of those initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience which is where I will be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post.
Body, feelings, even thoughts are there without the notion of self or not.. However, how about habit, intention, planned action? They seem to possess more of an expression of self or 'me'. Yet, they cannot be pinned down or controlled completely. Thinking, planning, decision-making happens... there is continuity, remembering, sense of purpose, controlled action - yet also uncontrolled impulses: thoughts arise without command of an 'I', unforeseen feelings, too. Impulses get their way: craving for the pleasant - chocolate, beautiful women... whatever - more like a reaction following sense impressions which seem pleasant or promising. Similar averse reactions follow unpleasant stimuli. 'Self" - or is it the mind, awareness, feelings - are rather dragged along, sometimes resisting. Where there is no strong identification or sense impression little interest develops and attachment does not take place.

All these things occur a lot of the time without reflection, without awareness, just by themselves. They just happen like breathing, driving, walking, hearing, thinking or acting. The conundrum lies in the personal character of certain actions. I mean intended, planned actions... and the fact that there seem to be personal choices. Without conscious choices 'I' could not even draw up a shopping list.

There is thinking, fridge looking, reflection, imagining, judging, calculation, writing of shopping list, getting dressed, walking, seeing... and so on until the shopping is done. The 'me' is in the 'will' or continuity that holds the process together - some force that temporarily manifests like a bundle? Not very precise, because I sense there is no real control over what's happening. It's more like a tendency... a wandering mix of intentions, some more under 'control' than others. Who is the controller? Hm, is it awareness in its aspects? A mix of faculties such as mirroring, judging, feeling, reflection? In it there is no separate "me"... it appears more like a soup after all the components have been thrown in.
I guess I am a soup - at least souping, so to speak.
That's a wonderfully detailed response Uwe; a very interestingly flavoured soup indeed! Your description contains elements of much of what we will be covering as we move through this investigation. During this guiding, I'd like to take you gradually, in a loosely structured, flexible way, through all areas of experience, to see if you can find a self here. So that you can actually SEE for yourself.

As I've just said, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So anyway, let's start investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer (or not). First, here's a quote from the Bahiya Sutta, which succinctly sums up our investigation into no-self, when the Buddha says:

Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.

So, at last, looking for a self in sense arisings:

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby Anoketu » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:11 pm

Hi Pete,

thank you for your patience and your efforts to guide me through this process. I am especially grateful that you are doing this with Buddhist concepts as this helps to put things heard in the past into perspective.

I do realize that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs'. It's especially true when engaged in discourse with others listening to their (and my own) specific opinions and observing habitual tendencies (mine and theirs). 'I' seems to become very 'real' as identification with thoughts and actions taking place. However, I find for myself it's not really 'me' because most of the time thought contents are simply adopted, just popping up, not reliable and never real in any absolute sense. They are at best just pointers to something that may or may not be there. The thoughts in themselves do not carry substance. Habitual actions are repetitions which just happen with thoughts of 'I' or 'me' attached to them.

Whenever hearing the Bahiya Sutta my mind tends to go a bit blank...
"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
This sounds like: "Stick to your immediate experience and do not 'personify' it." It's like 'stress' or suffering happens, but it's not necessary to be taken personal even if something is hurting badly.

So, let me look for a self in sense arisings:
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
It's just seeing taking place. I can see without or with thoughts. The first case is more like 'just looking' - a mirror-like process. In addition, there can be naming, reflecting, judging of or comparing what I see with something else. Yet these are just processes and faculties of awareness or consciousness. It can happen very fast without the thought of 'me'. Whilst reading a book, immersion into the contents takes place without any notion of 'self'. Later recollection may take place or awareness expands, so I finally realize the thought 'I have read' i.e. reading took place... also the unfolding of imagination.

In the above described example, seeing process and what is being seen are the same. Without seeing no seen object. When seeing there is no separate seer unless I create 'him' afterwards, but that again is just a thought or a mind construct. There may be awareness, yet that is a sense of being or presence - no 'I' needed for that. Ok, I can refer to 'my' body, eyes, mind etc. engaged in the seeing process, but it is an add-on, a further thinking process. It's all immediate, seeing as well as thinking. No boundaries in that.

Sound works similar. Hearing... a little trickier. With sight eyes can be closed. Hearing often takes place whether 'I' like it or not. Although hearing is just hearing, there can be clearly an interpretation of the heard (pleasant, unpleasant). It makes it more difficult to just refer to hearing as the heard. There is also an emotional response with the mind giving preferences and interpretations of what is desirable and what not. Smelling very much goes along the same lines.

Tasting seems easier: it's happening very directly. Assumptions of "pleasant and unpleasant" are not quite as fixed as with hearing and sound. In the tasted only the tasted appears to be an easier start or may be 'I' am just not a gourmet i.e. less able to combine tasting with judging and thinking.

Tactile feelings are similar to eating... feeling happens upon sense impressions after being touched in various ways.

There is no 'I' in any of those sense experiences. It's more how much 'self' is generated around and after any sensual impression. If it was a matter of just sticking to pure sensual experience, then no personal issues would arise. However, it's hard not to stick to or to crave what is perceived as pleasant or not to react with aversion to what is perceived as undesirable. Again habits of thinking and doing things as a separate 'I' entity seem to kick in easily. Since it requires effort to engage in the 'selfing" process it seems a more natural and less cumbersome state not having to do this. Still, the temptation to muster up the 'I' is great. Whenever doing one of your suggested exercises it's there like a ghost, ready to pitch in. In daily life it's like an imagined cloak of expectations, self-made or projected onto us by others, whilst it's probably not needed at all.

Best regards,
Uwe

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:30 pm

Hi Uwe,
thank you for your patience and your efforts to guide me through this process. I am especially grateful that you are doing this with Buddhist concepts as this helps to put things heard in the past into perspective.
That's ok Uwe, it's my privilege to help you see that no self exists, nor ever has. We do indeed share a Buddhist grounding and all that we'll be doing fits within the Dharma. I must stress however, that in my actual guiding all I do is point you where to look, and remind you to do just that, whilst not being seduced by the contents of your thoughts.
Whenever hearing the Bahiya Sutta my mind tends to go a bit blank...
Yeah, I know what you mean, a lot of suttas and sutras do that to me too, but all it's saying is that, in direct experience, when 'you' look, listen, feel etc., really all there is is seeing, hearing, feeling etc. no seer or that which is seen etc., thus:
In the above described example, seeing process and what is being seen are the same. Without seeing no seen object. When seeing there is no separate seer unless I create 'him' afterwards, but that again is just a thought or a mind construct.
So that's it. Excellent.
Sound works similar. Hearing... a little trickier. With sight eyes can be closed. Hearing often takes place whether 'I' like it or not. Although hearing is just hearing, there can be clearly an interpretation of the heard (pleasant, unpleasant). It makes it more difficult to just refer to hearing as the heard. There is also an emotional response with the mind giving preferences and interpretations of what is desirable and what not. Smelling very much goes along the same lines.
That's interesting that you find hearing trickier, for a lot of people it's simpler than vision. But that doesn't matter, and neither does your overlay of interpretations and other thoughts, so long as you can see that these for what they are: simply thoughts arising, and that there is no 'you' doing any hearing. In direct experience,there is just hearing.
So that there is no doubt - can you please confirm that to be the case.
There is no 'I' in any of those sense experiences. It's more how much 'self' is generated around and after any sensual impression. If it was a matter of just sticking to pure sensual experience, then no personal issues would arise.
Great, I'm really pleased that you can see that there is no self to be found anywhere in sense arisings.

Again, just to make sure, and to eliminate any possible doubt here, for each of the senses can you say whether, In direct experience, you could find any boundaries between what is being seen, heard, smelled etc., the seeing process itself and the seer(etc.).

I haven't directly addressed your comments on arising thoughts, craving etc because I'd like now to move specifically on to looking at thoughts and thinking.

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can a thought think?


I think it's going well so far. How about you Uwe?

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...the next thought

Postby Anoketu » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:32 pm

Hello again Pete,

you made me chuckle by not wanting to get seduced by compliments. That wasn't my intention and if it had been the case, there probably was no seducer either.

Joking aside. Can 'I' confirm there is no 'I' in any of those sense experiences? Yes. Today I became aware - as I was moving through the day - how the notion of 'I' is added to any kind of experience. When directing some awareness to it I realized how an 'I' or the aspect of 'not me' is added the moment I think about or identify with any kind of activity or object. It's so easy to stick a label on experiences: yes, that's 'me', even if it's simply an object which is somewhat pleasing... or no, that's 'not me'.

So, it could be said there is only 'labeling', 'walking', 'seeing', 'seeing something', judging it pleasant, identifying with it... 'observing', 'breathing', 'walking', 'smelling fresh air'... it's going on and on, pleasant and unpleasant, and so forth.
"Again, just to make sure, and to eliminate any possible doubt here, for each of the senses can you say whether, in direct experience, you could find any boundaries between what is being seen, heard, smelled etc., the seeing process itself and the seer(etc.)."
No, not really. In direct experience all the senses are in operation: seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, thinking, feeling, moving, intending.
"Where do thoughts come from?"
I don't really know, because I cannot really say 'I' initiate a thought. They just come, wanted or not. However, it's a miracle that often enough the 'right' kind of thoughts seem to pop up. Especially when working in office I couldn't predict the sequence of thoughts. It's a mystery. However, at the end of the day lots of useful thoughts were amongst them and 'I' was able to accomplish a whole lot of appropriate tasks. How do you explain that? Usually, I enjoy my work, even love it... so experiencing it as a flow, responding to the needs of young clients, fulfilling tasks often unforeseen, but thanks to attitude and routine experienced as very satisfying. Perhaps this is the case because there is not too much thought of' 'me' in all of it.
"Are you in control of them?"
I am not really in control of my thoughts. However, the resulting response or actions seem to work out reasonably skillful.
"Can you stop a thought from coming?"
I cannot stop my thoughts. 'I' can try to relax. There can be identification with a thought or reflection, or an attempt to push it away, an emotional response... but really there is no real control, as much as 'I' would love to be the one in control.
"Can you stop it in the middle?"
No, I cannot stop my thoughts in the middle. With awareness there could be a sort of follow-on dialogue, judging, relaxing, or else... 'I' cannot stop them - yet awareness seems to have an influence how much importance is attached to those thoughts.
"Do you know what the next thought will be?"
No, I do not know. Thoughts just come and go. At work I try to initiate thought processes with Microsoft Outlook calendar tasks. It seems to help to remember and accomplish tasks. It seems to work as an anchor to get those thoughts hooked up in a useful way.
"Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table? Can a thought think?"
'I' is just a thought, less 'real' than a table. Thoughts have only conceptional meaning. They are pointers, not realities in themselves. The thought of a tomato cannot be eaten and it is quite different form a 'real' tomato. It's similar with a table. The thought of 'I' is therefore also just a fairly random mental construct. There's a body which is relatively real. The 'I' is not. It's arbitrary, leaving aside habitual tendencies.

I don't think a thought can think. Hehe, saying that is a contradiction in itself. Thoughts are arising without control. I guess they are a sort of by-product of awareness. The less awareness the more confused the thoughts. A thought cannot think. A thought is not a subject and it is not substantial. A thought has no 'self', no 'form'. In a funny way a thought is 'nothing'. Thoughts are so "interchangeable', and it is ridiculous to attach too much importance to them. When engaged in conversation, I often think exchanging thoughts is just like making bubbles, bubbles produced by 'myself' or others.
"I think it's going well so far. How about you Uwe?"
I am very grateful for this opportunity. 'Your' approach is experienced as very kind. In a way these are quite delicate subjects because they touch upon deep assumptions about our 'selves' and the (empty of self) nature of the world as such. Not that this is deeply penetrated, but 'I' do sense the freedom in it. Yet, opening up is also terrifying.

Uwe

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:04 pm

Hi Uwe,
you made me chuckle by not wanting to get seduced by compliments. That wasn't my intention and if it had been the case, there probably was no seducer either.
I can assure you that your compliments were much appreciated Uwe.
Joking aside. Can 'I' confirm there is no 'I' in any of those sense experiences? Yes. Today I became aware - as I was moving through the day - how the notion of 'I' is added to any kind of experience. When directing some awareness to it I realized how an 'I' or the aspect of 'not me' is added the moment I think about or identify with any kind of activity or object. It's so easy to stick a label on experiences: yes, that's 'me', even if it's simply an object which is somewhat pleasing... or no, that's 'not me'.
It's good that you are aware that the notion of a self 'doing' is added to your raw, direct experience. Your observations around labelling are spot on.

When you say, When directing some awareness to it I realized how an 'I' or the aspect of 'not me' is added the moment I think about or identify with any kind of activity or object, can you say what you mean. Who or what does the directing? Can awareness be directed anyway? Is it even a thing, an object that can be moved about?
So, it could be said there is only 'labeling', 'walking', 'seeing', 'seeing something', judging it pleasant, identifying with it... 'observing', 'breathing', 'walking', 'smelling fresh air'... it's going on and on, pleasant and unpleasant, and so forth.
Yes, that's it. And can you see from direct experience that there really is just seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling ('inside' as well as 'out') plus thoughts arising, with their contents giving rise to judgments, opinions etc. etc?
don't think a thought can think. Hehe, saying that is a contradiction in itself. Thoughts are arising without control. I guess they are a sort of by-product of awareness. The less awareness the more confused the thoughts. A thought cannot think. A thought is not a subject and it is not substantial. A thought has no 'self', no 'form'. In a funny way a thought is 'nothing'. Thoughts are so "interchangeable', and it is ridiculous to attach too much importance to them. When engaged in conversation, I often think exchanging thoughts is just like making bubbles, bubbles produced by 'myself' or others.
I like your comments and descriptions of thoughts throughout. As you say, although there's no one there to create or organise thoughts, stuff gets done, generally reasonably well, (and always exactly as it should be at this very moment). And all without a 'you', 'me' or 'anyone else', ever! You clearly have no problem seeing that thoughts just arise, abide and subside.

Ok, now let's move on to looking - in direct experience - for the self as doer/controller:

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.

Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?

Look to see whether, when 'you' do these things there is sometimes a thought, just after that says, 'I did that.'

Are all actions 'automatic'?


Finally, a heads up just to let you know that I'll be offline from tomorrow (Friday) evening for the weekend as I'm going to London to see friends, back and ready to resume on Monday. So, I'll be able to reply tomorrow afternoon to your reply to this, and then I'll reply to your subsequent post on Monday. I hope makes sense, and that this short break is ok with you.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...spots on

Postby Anoketu » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:00 pm

Hi Pete,

this time your pointing and questioning is spot on.

I wrote: "When directing some awareness to an action I realized how an 'I' or the aspect of 'not me' is added the moment I think about or identify with any kind of activity or object..."

You are asking:
"Who or what does the directing? Can awareness be directed anyway? Is it even a thing, an object that can be moved about?"
Hm, it really is more like 'directing' is taking place. However, more often than not little directing is happening or it's going in the 'wrong' direction when succumbing to yet another temptation. It cannot be said that there is an 'I' in control.

But Pete... at such a moment 'something' is taking place. It's not arbitrary. It involves aspects, such as consciousness, awareness, external' conditions, a sense of direction, there are certain drives or volitions (conscious and unconscious), habitual tendencies - at least at times. However, it cannot really be traced back to a single thing or origin.

Perhaps, the self-thoughts being attached to what's happening are creating the habits and this is what is creating the "automatic" responses?

Sometimes 'I' want to hit myself over the head when realizing that the same experienced unpleasant patterns repeat themselves again and again. Of course, the 'I' is just a thought. So those patterns are like haunting ghosts and I have no control... except to hope they peter out eventually, because they are not 'real' or a real 'me'. 'Me' is not real. It's a construct. Actually, at least in meditation, when letting go of all the constituting elements... there is no loss of 'me' experienced - on the contrary: it always ended up with great relief and a sense of freedom. The difficulty remains to kick the 'self' out in daily life.

Just realize, it's not a matter of kicking... more one of letting go i.e. forgetting it, not 'doing it', so to speak. Ok, as you say, let's move on to looking - in direct experience - for the self as doer/controller:
"It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?"
Walking happens, whether I waste a thought of 'me' walking on it or not. Initially, there is an impulse. What on earth is initiating things or triggering an impulse? 'I' always wonder about that. Is it to do with 'seeing' taking place? Seeing interconnectedness with whatever awareness is available at the present? Hence a certain 'flow' is happening... perhaps not always the best imaginable, but action or reaction happens in relation to the quality of awareness.

Just wondering: something happens, in due course a response, a perspective, a course of action unfolds. Again attitude plays a role; opening up to a situation, mirroring, judging, seeing sameness, feeling a compassionate response, resonance... all together. Like that.
"How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing? Try all kinds of stuff.

Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?

Look to see whether, when 'you' do these things there is sometimes a thought, just after that says, 'I did that.'

Are all actions 'automatic'?"
Hehehe, an 'automatic' button would be very useful. The thought, 'I did that' is quite common (at least as long as things worked out well. When things go wrong it seems more convenient to attach the label to someone or something else).

But really, looking at it deeply, there seems to be no such thing as an automatic response, no matter to what extend there are habitual tendencies coming to fruition. There might be a certain routine, yet each event is quite unique, never follows exactly the same procedure. So it is more accurate to say that all actions happen spontaneously, unforeseen, in a unique way. Just once, in a blue moon(dog).

There is a certain routine in life: 'I' am doing 'my' current job for roughly eight years. Still, nothing is the same. Things happening are always new and unique, sometimes completely surprising, so as to widen the field of experience and awareness.

Saying this, there is a constant unforeseeable, sometimes reasonably familiar (in terms of resonance with the past) flow of events or phenomena. There is anticipation, awareness, habitual labeling tendencies, memories, intentions etc. involved. Each of them seems to pop up in mysteriously spontaneous ways, not really a product of a 'me' in control. Nor is there an autopilot. It's more a free interaction, a connectedness, a play of consciousness or phenomena. It cannot be pinned down. There is also no flying spaghetti monster directing it... all just pulsating, like an endless play. Sounds nuts.

Well, perhaps there is something more illuminating coming up over the weekend. In any case, enjoy London. Thanks for a challenging, but enjoyable exchange.

Uwe

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi Uwe,
Who or what does the directing? Can awareness be directed anyway? Is it even a thing, an object that can be moved about?
Hm, it really is more like 'directing' is taking place. However, more often than not little directing is happening or it's going in the 'wrong' direction when succumbing to yet another temptation. It cannot be said that there is an 'I' in control.
There is, as you say, no 'I' to be found in direct experience that does any directing or controlling. Apparently, objects just arise in awareness.
But Pete... at such a moment 'something' is taking place. It's not arbitrary. It involves aspects, such as consciousness, awareness, external' conditions, a sense of direction, there are certain drives or volitions (conscious and unconscious), habitual tendencies - at least at times. However, it cannot really be traced back to a single thing or origin. Perhaps, the self-thoughts being attached to what's happening are creating the habits and this is what is creating the "automatic" responses?
.
Who knows how this all happens. It's the fruition of an infinite number of conditions coming together at this moment, such as those you mention. In direct experience, there is just this, now.
Sometimes 'I' want to hit myself over the head when realizing that the same experienced unpleasant patterns repeat themselves again and again. Of course, the 'I' is just a thought. So those patterns are like haunting ghosts and I have no control... except to hope they peter out eventually, because they are not 'real' or a real 'me'. 'Me' is not real. It's a construct. Actually, at least in meditation, when letting go of all the constituting elements... there is no loss of 'me' experienced - on the contrary: it always ended up with great relief and a sense of freedom. The difficulty remains to kick the 'self' out in daily life.
And, of course, there's no self to be kicked out, and indeed no-one to kick themselves out. (Even positing such a scenario shows how ridiculous the concept of a separate self is.) Once it is seen that there is no self to be found anywhere in 'direct experience, and this is accepted and known to the very depths of your being (in much the same way that Santa is known not to exist), with thoughts seen for what they are, carriers of concepts and no more than that, then the energy that feeds all of your self-rooted suffering, is cut off. The second arrow of dukhka no longer finds its mark, and the burden starts to lift. For some, this is swift, for others more gradual.
But really, looking at it deeply, there seems to be no such thing as an automatic response, no matter to what extend there are habitual tendencies coming to fruition. There might be a certain routine, yet each event is quite unique, never follows exactly the same procedure. So it is more accurate to say that all actions happen spontaneously, unforeseen, in a unique way. Just once, in a blue moon(dog).
I was once a blue moondog for a while, before I became red moondog. I agree that 'automatic' isn't quite right, it lacks a feeling of life, but I can't think of a better word right now. It's just to convey the lack of any controlling entity within the continual unfolding of now.
Saying this, there is a constant unforeseeable, sometimes reasonably familiar (in terms of resonance with the past) flow of events or phenomena. There is anticipation, awareness, habitual labeling tendencies, memories, intentions etc. involved. Each of them seems to pop up in mysteriously spontaneous ways, not really a product of a 'me' in control. Nor is there an autopilot. It's more a free interaction, a connectedness, a play of consciousness or phenomena. It cannot be pinned down. There is also no flying spaghetti monster directing it... all just pulsating, like an endless play. Sounds nuts.
Lovely description there Uwe. Maybe it does sound nuts, but a beautiful kind of nuts I reckon.

You very clearly get that in direct experience there's no pilot, nobody at the wheel. So, let's now move on a little from doing/controlling to deciding/choosing (although the border between these is, to say the least, a little hazy). Try this exercise:

Raise your right arm (or don’t). In that process of raising the right arm (or not), a decision is made, or at least something happens (or doesn’t). But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice? In direct experience, can that moment of choice, that apparent chooser, actually be found? Or does the idea 'I just chose to (not) raise my right arm' come after the event itself?

Also, can I ask you to have a look at the following short video clip from BBC Horizon - The Secret You on Neuroscience and Freewill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3AiOS4nCE . It demonstrates scientifically that our decisions and choices are made a full 6 seconds before we think we make them, i.e. before a thought arises saying, "I decided to do this." There is no substitute for looking in direct experience, but this is excellent scientific corroboration for what is to be found, or rather not found, in direct experience.

Something to look at over the weekend. And more generally, in a relaxed kind of way, review the ground we've covered so far. And, most of all, just keep looking, looking, looking at your direct experience as life unfolds, to see if there's a 'you' anywhere present, playing any part at all.

I'm looking forward to your replies and I'll be responding on Monday. Have a great weekend Uwe.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

...objects arise in awareness

Postby Anoketu » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:23 am

Hello Pete,

I hope you spent an enjoyable weekend in London. In the meantime I took the opportunity to ponder over our previous exchange.

There is no 'I' to be found in direct experience that does any directing or controlling. Objects just arise in awareness.
"Who knows how this all happens. It's the fruition of an infinite number of conditions coming together at this moment, such as those you mention. In direct experience, there is just this, now."
It is good that you point out the infinite number of conditions coming together thus not tempting me to pin things down in a simplistic way. There is no self to be kicked out, also no-one to kick themselves out. No wonder kicking out does not work. It's like thinking to let go of an imagined spoon in hand when it is not there in the first place.
"Once it is seen that there is no self to be found anywhere in 'direct experience', and this is accepted and known to the very depths of your being (in much the same way that Santa is known not to exist), with thoughts seen for what they are, carriers of concepts and no more than that, then the energy that feeds all of your self-rooted suffering, is cut off. The second arrow of dukhka no longer finds its mark, and the burden starts to lift. For some, this is swift, for others more gradual."
Oh, how this sounds promising. Yes, no Santa, no God, no Batman, no Easter Bunny, and alas at last no 'me'.
You say: "I agree that 'automatic' isn't quite right, it lacks a feeling of life, but I can't think of a better word right now. It's just to convey the lack of any controlling entity within the continual unfolding of now."
So all existence is continuum. Life unfolds uncontrolled as there is no controller, neither human nor divine. I can understand this from a point of view of looking at what's happening i.e. moment for moment arising. However, where does this leave ethical decisions? The sort of difference that it makes when things happen one way or the other.

To give up the notion of 'self' as well as stating a spontaneous uncontrolled rise of phenomena would suggest that full surrender to the 'selfless' nature of reality brings about - let's say - the ethical behavior and virtues of an enlightened being as a natural consequence.

If this true, it would not be a matter of 'me' trying to 'better' my 'self', but instead it's looking deeper at direct experience - awareness unfolding. In the end 'goodness' takes care of itself. As the notion of a self is given up the pure i.e. selfless nature of the mind is realizing its (no-)self. Mind being direct awareness. So much goes the thinking, not the thing itself.

Ok, sitting with that: breathing, senses do their sensing, staying with direct experience, there's no pilot, nobody at the wheel. It's not even a path. Looking deeper, it's always there, the flow of phenomena...

Hey, but that's not spectacular - a little bit like the cow in the field. They spent no thought on chewing. It's done on autopilot all the time, like the heartbeat or breathing process, whereas for human beings it seems involve a bit more awareness. After all cow does not write reports.
"So, let's now move on a little from doing/controlling to deciding/choosing (although the border between these is, to say the least, a little hazy). Try this exercise:

Raise your right arm (or don’t). In that process of raising the right arm (or not), a decision is made, or at least something happens (or doesn’t).

But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice? In direct experience, can that moment of choice, that apparent chooser, actually be found? Or does the idea 'I just chose to (not) raise my right arm' come after the event itself?"
Actually, there is no moment to be pinned down as a definite moment of choice. The arm is just lifting (or not). There is also no real entity who would make such a choice. However, specific events take place in dependence upon each other. As I am reading this I was turning around to refill a cup of coffee. Afterwards I realized that there certainly was no 'me' involved in the sense of making a conscious choice to do that. It happened spontaneously. Baffling and yet so ordinary.

I had a look at the suggested video clip from BBC Horizon - The Secret You on Neuroscience and Free Will. As you pointed out, it demonstrated scientifically that decisions and choices show up as a brain signal a full 6 seconds before we think we make them, i.e. before the thought arises 'I decided to do this.' They didn't say what brings about this brain signal. Never mind, I suppose it's enough to see there is no conscious 'I' doing it. This of course raises the issue of the nature of consciousness and the unconscious, but I don't want to get lost in thinking. Summing up, there is no separate 'self', no 'free will' either, because it's already decided before we come to conscious conclusions about what's happening.

Everything is arising in dependence upon specific and unique conditions. Phenomena are bound and unbound by whatever swirls together at any particular moment. Hence, there cannot really be a free will and no free choice eiher. Cup is being refilled. Cup is not really a cup. There is cup-ing holding coffee-ing. Once emptied there is no more coffee. It has become part of what is provisionally called 'Uwe'. None of this has a 'self'. Now I know why chocolate eating takes place due to the non-existence of free will and lack of conscious choice. I was always suspecting it's not really 'me' who is tempted to gobble it up, certainly not a whole bar of chocolate at once.

No choice means there is no stepping out of the stream of conditions. Actions arise spontaneously and unforeseen and later they may be claimed by the mind as aspects of a 'self'. Yet, as this process is unfolding there is the question how parameters for actions influence each other based on no 'self' being there. Following this logic and looking at my experience I dare to say that all too familiar 'selfing' or selfish activities create all the trouble as well as the notion of a 'self' experiencing it. There is a moral dilemma in thinking. If nobody is deciding, there is no responsibility and nobody held responsible. However, if selflessness is understood as being part of whatever underpins the whole, all would be fine. However, holding on to a 'separate' self creates trouble and suffering. Everything is exposed to potential suffering to various degrees. Luckily, for the selfless at least there is no sufferer. That's thought again.

Experience is spontaneous arising, not originating from a 'self', origins unconscious. Thought of decision may take place or not. Left is a body and mind, a certain sense of continuity, based on memories from the past, some habits, preferences based on thoughts and past experiences - a flow without a center. Experiences are happening as well as thinking about them. Thinking itself, like all phenomena, seems to influence future events as well, although it cannot be said to what extend. Ultimately, there is no control. Nobody to do the controlling. Things happen.

User avatar
moondog
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:14 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby moondog » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:53 pm

Hi Uwe,

Back from the Big City, tired and refreshed at the same time.
There is no 'I' to be found in direct experience that does any directing or controlling. Objects just arise in awareness.
I'm glad that we can both see that.
There is no self to be kicked out, also no-one to kick themselves out. No wonder kicking out does not work. It's like thinking to let go of an imagined spoon in hand when it is not there in the first place.
Your imagined spoon analogy is spot on.
In the end 'goodness' takes care of itself. As the notion of a self is given up the pure i.e. selfless nature of the mind is realizing its (no-)self.
Yes, it appears that once the myth of a self-entity is seen to be just that, a myth, it is seen that oneness and compassion are just facets of the same 'thing'.
Actually, there is no moment to be pinned down as a definite moment of choice. The arm is just lifting (or not). There is also no real entity who would make such a choice. However, specific events take place in dependence upon each other. As I am reading this I was turning around to refill a cup of coffee. Afterwards I realized that there certainly was no 'me' involved in the sense of making a conscious choice to do that. It happened spontaneously. Baffling and yet so ordinary.
So, you clearly see that there is deciding (apparently spontaneous, but in relative terms, a product of an almost infinite number of conditions), but no decider to be found anywhere, save merely as an afterthought, vainly claiming all of the credit.
As I am reading this I was turning around to refill a cup of coffee. Afterwards I realized that there certainly was no 'me' involved in the sense of making a conscious choice to do that. It happened spontaneously. Baffling and yet so ordinary.
I like that you can see the splendid mystery, but the complete ordinariness at the same time.
This of course raises the issue of the nature of consciousness and the unconscious, but I don't want to get lost in thinking. Summing up, there is no separate 'self', no 'free will' either, because it's already decided before we come to conscious conclusions about what's happening.
Yes, there's such a lot to think and speculate about, but you're right not to be sidetracked by that, but just to stick with looking once again at your actual experience. Stuff happens. There's no one making that happen or influencing it in any way, and no one for it to happen to.
Experience is spontaneous arising, not originating from a 'self', origins unconscious. Thought of decision may take place or not. Left is a body and mind, a certain sense of continuity, based on memories from the past, some habits, preferences based on thoughts and past experiences - a flow without a center. Experiences are happening as well as thinking about them. Thinking itself, like all phenomena, seems to influence future events as well, although it cannot be said to what extend. Ultimately, there is no control. Nobody to do the controlling. Things happen.
Yep. You got it!

So, anyway, there's just one aspect we haven't really looked at yet and that's the body and how that might be identified as either being or containing the self. So, let's look at that:

As always, in direct experience:

Does the body experience sensations and thoughts?

Is the "body" just another thought label for sensations (namely tactile & kinaesthetic)?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

User avatar
Anoketu
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Re: ...in need for a stick

Postby Anoketu » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:16 pm

Hello Pete,

our dialogue reminds me of a 'Strickliesel'. That's German for 'Knitting Jenny'. The version of my childhood was a hollow wooden doll which, by way of circular knitting, produced a long fluffy string. In the same way our exchange is turning out to become a sort of Knitting Goodness Sock. It is perhaps more appropriate to talk of unraveling instead of knitting and you are there to make sure the thread or yarn is not lost over it.

So, there's one aspect we haven't looked at yet and that's the body and how that might be identified as either being or containing the self.
"As always, in direct experience: Does the body experience sensations and thoughts?"
There is direct experience. Hurting, pleasant sensations etc. This seen/directly experienced - there is no body as a separate entity. There is sensing, feeling, thinking... the body as an abstract separate entity does not exist. The body itself is in a way a concept. Looked at it deeply, there is just this again not really controllable or foreseeable chain of sense impressions, feelings, thoughts arising and subsiding. Sometimes it can be traced back afterwards when elbow is knocking against a corner or else. So, correctly speaking there is only experiencing or sensing to be labeled later by the mind or not.
"Is the 'body' just another thought label for sensations (namely tactile & kinaesthetic)?"
Yes, body is just another label of sensations. In a way, body seen a separate entity is artificial, mind-made, as there are so many aspects to it. Body and mind may be a distinction or labels for everyday practical purposes, but
ultimately it does not hold true.

Sounds daft, but it's all flow, direct experience, a force, a flux - whether labeled as body, as thought, as mind, as sensuous experience. Yet, whether it's thoughts or body, ultimately all is empty of a self, without being a separate entity.There is just reality. There is not even a wave nor a particle, just direct experience flowing, and awareness is a reflection of it.

For some reason this brings me back to 'will' which was one of the first aspects we looked at. Is the will 'me'? No. Again, I cannot control it, cannot pin it down. Therefore, will, volitions are also empty of 'self'. There is no 'free will', things simply happen. This must mean there is no karma either unless it's 'created' i.e. personalized in the same way as 'I-thought' or 'body' are taken as 'me'.

So, left is the flow, now, always. Being in it, being part of it, it's sort of all 'me', no perceived beginning, no end. Suffering is a label, happiness, too. All just is.

Need to get new glasses to see it clearer. It should sink in deeper. Quite moving. Not that anything has moved... still 'I' recognize the labeling machine popping out labels. Labels are labels.

I will tie imaginary knots into Knitting Jenny's tail to remind 'me' of direct experience for it to become second nature - if not first. This nature being no-nature, of course. Thank you Pete. Happy label out now, don't know why.

Best regards,
Uwe


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest