Am I there yet?

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:12 pm

Really focused attention and really total surrender, all at once. That's what's most helpful here. Not anything "I" can control, but when it happens there's a sense of "Yes, that's it! That's where this needs to go."
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:29 pm

Tension is just a sensation, it's not a self that shows up and needs to be deselfed.
Without the label "self" it's just a raw energy- reaction to something that presses a button.

What else do you notice? What triggers reactions, what is behind that?

Sending love.
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:10 am


What else do you notice? What triggers reactions, what is behind that?
Most of the reactions have to do with stories. When I'm interacting with someone difficult, or someone I care about who is having a problem. When I'm worried about something. Sometimes I'm caught up in a story, then see that "oh, it's just a story", and everything feels totally different. But the sensation of tension + feeling caught up in a story is the "sense of self".
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:51 am

Good stuff, now look closer how the thought- feeling feedback loop gets created, how thoughts reinforce feelings and feelings trigger more thoughts. What breaks the loop?

In this sense of self, is there an actual self? Or it's just a label put over some unwanted sensations? Is there a self in sensations that needs to be dealt with? What does the word self actually mean?

Keep looking :)
Truth realized will set you free.
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:50 pm

Good stuff, now look closer how the thought- feeling feedback loop gets created, how thoughts reinforce feelings and feelings trigger more thoughts. What breaks the loop?
OK, just got a great example to walk though. I just wrote a complex and long- winded reply to your questions, with lots of good verbiage that I was really proud of. Detailed examination of some of my typical thought streams. Then somehow I got kicked off the forum, and my message vanished into the electronic ether. So- Trying to post message. Getting message back that I'm not logged in and reading it. Anger, frustration. "I worked so long and hard on that post! Maybe I can get it back!" Futile attempts to get the message back. More anger and frustration. "What the heck went wrong???" Recognition of the reality of the situation. "Well, it doesn't look like I can get the message back. I'll have to start on a new one." More frustration, combined with resignation this time. Then logging back in and starting to write this new message. Not quite out of the loop as of now. Trying to remember what I said in the previous message, frustration about my memory not being that good. Recognizing the irony of this whole incident- it gave me perfect material to work with! There was no sudden break in the loop here, I'm just easing out of it as I write and give more attention to what I'm doing now instead of thinking about the past. Residual frustration in the emotional tone, subsiding.

Reflecting about previous times I've been in these loops- some thought or sensation is the trigger. Thinking about a situation, getting a call or text from someone. The thoughts and emotions come heavy and fast. I made the comparison to a waterfall in the post that was lost, and I still like it- the thoughts, emotions, actions as the droplets that are blurring together into a seemingly solid wall of water. The thoughts including more "I", more memories and anticipations of the future, more "what ifs", than is typical. While writing the last post, I had the realization that this isn't fundamentally different from the "thought, action, feeling, impulse, action, thought, sensation, emotion, thought... " type sequence that happens under calmer conditions.

What breaks the loops? Different things at different times. Sometimes they just subside with time. Other times a distraction comes up, a thought about a completely different topic, a loud noise, or somebody trying to get my attention. Sometimes one of the thoughts in the sequence will be "DROP IT!", followed by shifting focus away from the thought stream.
In this sense of self, is there an actual self? Or it's just a label put over some unwanted sensations? Is there a self in sensations that needs to be dealt with? What does the word self actually mean?

Keep looking :)
The sense of self is usually some form of tension in the body. Sometimes a self- conscious thought- "What does this person think of me?" Sometimes a free- floating sense of "I'm here". But these all come and go. None of them are self, unless they're identified with.

Self is slippery, changes over time. At this point for me it's the character in the story. "I" am what cares about EmptySet's past and fate. Getting caught up in the story is what provokes the storms, the negative feeling- thought loops. The story is really complex and detailed. Memories, labels of being this or that kind of person, histories of relationships with lots of other people, identifying characteristics like "I live here" and "I have this job." The sense of ownership of my possessions. Plans and concerns about the future. Likes, dislikes, roles, responsibilities. The clinging here can be ferocious. "Why would I want to give these things up? They're _me_!"

Another set of stories is developing around this process itself. "Maybe this will never happen for me. Or maybe it already has." Wavering between an identity as Someone Who Gets It and one as Someone Who Doesn't Get It and Never Will. Then realizing both of these are just more "I- thoughts". Thinking that I'm wasting my time. Or your time. Thinking, "Ilona should go work with people who are farther along than me, whose karma is more developed or something." Frustration. Going back and forth between thinking this is of supreme importance and that I should walk away because it's completely bogus. Not wanting to turn into a "seeker" who spends years & years following different paths to nowhere. Uggh!

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:04 am

Wow.. That was intense!

Forum has that "habit" to kick one out and eat the writing if one spends too long time to write. You may type in a separate editor and copy paste answer later.

It's good to notice that feedback loops get broken when attention shifts. Notice also, when focus goes on sensations, raw feeling, without naming it, it moves past quickly. Test it with resistance, next time frustration and anger arises, feel them fully, on ourpose, to examine what happens.

You say that me is a character in the story. So there is story ABOUT me and that story IS me? Like story about batman is a real batman, that cares about his past and future and all in between? Can batman stop thinking about the past?

Is batman in the room right now?
How about empty set, is the character here? If you had to touch it with a finger, where does the finger land?
On the past, future, worries, memories, wishes and preferences? Or it's all a nice big story about a character, told from first perspective using words I, me, to describe what is going on in the story?

What is that listens to the story?


Write soon!
Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:27 am

Oooh, good question. Mostly I feel like the character IS me. I'm playing the character. I know the character is just a collection of stories, but there's a lot of attachment to all those stories. As I said in the last post, there's a reaction of "Why would I want to give these things up? They're ME!". The things I've identified with all these years. The things that it seems hard to detach from, even after giving up the "mini-me", the controller, the experiencer. There are thought processes and emotions hanging on to the stories. My identity is wrapped up in the stories.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:01 am

I am playing character- so there is I and character and I is a player, a puppet master in charge of character?

Is identity wrapped up in story or it is a story ABOUT identity?
Have a look.

What is that identifies? What does identity stick to?


Sending love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:01 pm

I am playing character- so there is I and character and I is a player, a puppet master in charge of character?

Is identity wrapped up in story or it is a story ABOUT identity?
Have a look.

What is that identifies? What does identity stick to?


Sending love.
There is not an "I" separate from the character. It's more like a felt awareness was along with the character, "along for the ride", getting caught up in the emotions the character's adventures and difficulties provoke.

It's a little different now. Last night I wrote down some parts of the story. I wrote it in the third person, about "EmptySet" rather than about "me". It became clear that the story is real in the same way that stories about Batman or Santa Claus or Hamlet are real. The story is attached to other real things, thoughts and memories. But all these are abstractions pointing at other abstractions. I could also point to a birth certificate, ID cards, old photographs. You could also talk to other people who would tell stories about me. But none of these are me. All of them are symbols pointing to other symbols.

I know this is philosophising, but it's how I'm making sense of this now. I've been under Buddhist influences lately, so the idea of emptiness has been jumping out at me. Anything that I ever do or did think of as "me" is transient and conditioned. Dependent on other things and in flux. They have reality as thoughts, sensations, emotions, actions, symbols. Not as anything essentially different from other thoughts, sensations, emotions, actions, and symbols, the ones tagged with the concept "not- me".

Just this morning I went through some unusually intense emotions. I was "out of control". I was "not myself". Those weren't the thoughts I was having at the time, that was just sheer, direct, intense emotion. But afterwards, I thought, "Boy, was that out of character for me!" Then I saw all the layers of irony here. I never was in control. What is or isn't myself are just ideas with no objective standards for distinguishing them. And I can't step in and out of character, whatever I do is "in character". The emotions were real,the thoughts were real, but so many of the things they pointed to, were hooked onto? Stories. Symbols.

Thanks for the advice about shifting attention and focusing on the actual sensations of emotions rather than the thought- loops. It does help things "run their course" with less attachment and fewer identification notions. Once again, attention and surrender.

There is relief and freedom here, and also some fears and sense of loss. It's almost like grief, but not so intense. The losses are entirely symbolic. But it's unexpected.

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:24 pm

Oh, brilliant, I see, something is shifting, a story of me is no longer believed to be ME. great!
Now find that which word awareness points to and have a good look, can this awareness be trapped in the story, or story unfolds IN awareness and does awareness get caught up in emotions? Is there a gap between emotion and awareness of it? Is there a story without awareness of it?

Is awareness what emotion is happening to?
What is that emotion is happening to?

Keep looking!
Much love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:35 am

Awareness, emotion, thought, story, self.

There is no "I" or awareness separate from emotion. Feeling of an emotion is
awareness of that emotion. Sometimes an emotion is so overwhelming that there's
no room for much awareness of anything other than the emotion and whatever
thoughts are part of the storm. If the emotion is less strong, awareness shifts
back and forth between the emotion and a more detached, neutral view of the situation.
"OK, I'm sad now. Something happened that hurt my feelings. Why did that thing set
me off? I know from experience that the sadness will dissipate and I'll go on with my life."
Or the attention will shift to the raw sensations of "sad", maybe a sensation in the eyes
that feels sort of like I'm about to start crying, or a heavy, weighed- down feeling
somewhere in the body.The shifting of attention between a more "carried- away" state
and a calmer, more reflective view of the emotion running its course can feel kind of
like an "awareness" separate from the emotion. But it's just other thoughts and sensations,
not "awareness" distinct from everything else.

The story does not exist for me unless it is present in my thoughts. The story is
really a set of attachments, hooks, things with Velcro on them. An object, thought,
symbol, person can set off a chain reaction if the attachment process hooks on to it.
"That's MINE!", the thought says, and it's off to the races. "I like it. I don't like
it. That makes me feel good. That makes me angry. That makes me sad. I hate her. He's
my best friend. Why did this happen and not that? How could so- and- so DO this
to me???" The hook or Velcro is linked to a whole chain or web of memories and
emotions. "That jerk cut me off in traffic. The drivers around here are SO bad!!
Why the heck do people talk on their phones while driving? Don't they know that's
illegal? I hope that $@#%^ gets in an accident- they deserve it!" One incident on
the road links up to the whole story of my experiences driving and my feelings about
other drivers. In a different circumstance, if I'm in a different mood, it's "Oh-
whoops- they should watch it! OK, need to calm down", then take a few breaths, shake
off whatever fear or anger is left, and just go on.

What/ who is emotion happening to? That thought comes up, with a different answer at
different times. Sometimes- "Huh? Question makes no sense. It's just happening".
Other times- "It's happening to ME!" "Who or what is ME?" That ends up almost always
being physical tension in the body. "Tension is me? That doesn't make sense. But
the tension still FEELS like me. What???" Then usually some distraction comes up
and the inquiry stops there. Sometimes the tension starts to break down, but it often
seems to happen very slowly. So many of the other thoughts, emotions, stories,
sensations are happening so fast that this line of inquiry or the "feeling through"
of this process is easily interrupted. Sometimes this then hooks in to the "This is
never going to work for me!" story. Then frustration. Sometimes "Where is the
frustration felt? Who is frustrated?", then to another set of physical sensations.
Reflecting back on it it's clear that it's a whole chain of feeling, thought,
sensation, thought, story, sensation, feeling just moving through. But at the time
it feels like "I" am something that is getting caught on "hooks" constantly. That's
actually the flavor of a lot of my experience lately. Stimulus, thought/ feeling loop,
"hook", story, then sometimes "Oh, spinning a yarn again. Telling a story. What's
here without the story?", emotions, sensations, emotions running their course, then
something else happening. Repeat.

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:56 am

I'd like you to zoom into right now, what story is here?

Please answer from experience now. Not what happens some times or other times, or what happened before. Just see what stories arise now and describe, as you see it, what is the story made of?
What are the hooks?
What is the glue made of?
What does the story stick to?
What is listening to it and judging it?

Keep digging!
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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EmptySet00
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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:10 pm

I'd like you to zoom into right now, what story is here?

Please answer from experience now. Not what happens some times or other times, or what happened before. Just see what stories arise now and describe, as you see it, what is the story made of?
What are the hooks?
What is the glue made of?
What does the story stick to?
What is listening to it and judging it?

Keep digging!
Stories about my job, especially relations with certain co- workers. The stories are made of memories of previous interactions, and anticipations/ "what-ifs" about possible future interactions.

The hooks are emotional reactions to the thoughts that make up the stories.

The glue, what's attached to the hooks, is a sequence of thoughts and emotions that lead into some loop. "Sticking" is being inside a loop. Then the loop continues for a while until there's some recognition of what's going on, or some distraction. Then, "Wow, I was really in a loop there! I felt really stuck!" It's thoughts reflecting on memories of other thoughts and emotions I had just a few minutes prior.

The process is very self- referential. Provocation, thought, emotion, thought/ emotion chain reacting to initial thought and emotion, getting caught in an eddy that goes around and around for a while, getting out of the eddy, remembering being in the loop, reacting to having been in the loop. The feedback, along with the speed at which all this can happen, can make this all seem a lot more solid and real. Once it's slowed down and picked apart, it's empty, a chain of cause and effect including memories, anticipations, emotions, thoughts bouncing off each other.

It's quite something to watch this unfold in real time. Will keep working on this. Life keeps providing material!

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby Ilona » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:42 pm

Oh yes, it's quite something to see that in action and be aware of how it works! Life brings situations so you can study this subject.

Ok, next question:
Are all those sticky stories about what is happening now, what happened already or what will happen? Which story time is most sticky?

Watch this video http://youtu.be/G4j6cUwCRmI Alan watts talking about time, in this perspective, do thoughts about past and future control what happens? Do thoughts about past create present?
Are these stories, that create thought-emotion loops useful, practical? Are they managing what happens and what does not happen?

Describe what feels true.

Sending love
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com/book

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Re: Am I there yet?

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:41 am

Are all those sticky stories about what is happening now, what happened already or what will happen? Which story time is most sticky?
The stories have their roots in memories. So- and- so did something a year ago, and it affects how I think of that person now. Or, the stories are generalizations based on a lot of incidents that aren't consciously remembered separately. All my previous experience driving affects how I perceive other drivers' behavior now. I develop mental images of the personalities of the people I interact most frequently.

The stickiness can come from what are basically old grudges, or from thoughts about what might happen in the future. I can think of myself as being in the middle of a situation that developed into a problem at some time in the past, and come up with scenarios of what might happen. The anticipations are kind of like "memories projected forward". Sometimes they have value, since thinking through scenarios can be a kind of mental preparation, so I don't feel like I'm stumbling into a situation "blind" and completely making it up as I go along. Other times the anticipations are incorrect, and I have to readjust my expectations as new information comes in. The stickiness comes from anticipations of bad things that could happen in the future, especially if the anticipations lead to anxiety without any productive planning.

The present figures very little in these processes. I can get stuck in the past, stuck in the future, or caught in a loop back and forth. Sometimes a present stimulus can jolt me out of these thought patterns.
Watch this video http://youtu.be/G4j6cUwCRmI Alan watts talking about time, in this perspective, do thoughts about past and future control what happens? Do thoughts about past create present?
Sending love
Thoughts about the past are part of the present, and affect the present that way. But thoughts about the past aren't, themselves, the past. They're an image of the past that I've reconstructed in the present, kind of like an historian reading old documents and using that information to write an historical account.

I also feel like the past affects me subconsciously. My thoughts and actions are sort of like the output of a computer program that was written in the past. There are some things I learned to do long ago, like walk or ride a bicycle. When I do those things now I don't consciously remember how to do them, I just do them without even thinking.

It is easy to get so wrapped up in thoughts about the past and future that information about other things that are going on here and now goes unnoticed.
Are these stories, that create thought-emotion loops useful, practical? Are they managing what happens and what does not happen?
Memories are useful when they provide information that makes the present easier to understand. Otherwise, I would be like somebody with amnesia. That would be really confusing,

But the thought/ emotion loops seem like kind of a glitch. They're almost always distracting, not helpful. Like I said earlier, the mental noise can crowd out other sources of information. I often cope better with a situation once I've gotten out of the loop and can deal with the situation as it is now, put new information that might be available together with my memories, stop assuming that the present is going to be an exact duplicate of the past.

The thought/ emotion loops aren't "in control" any more than any other thoughts are. I know that when I'm outside of one- the thoughts and emotions in the loops come from the same source as any others, they just happen. But when I'm really sucked in, it can feel like the loop is "in control". It's because it's so distracting! But it's actually more like loud background noise. It can't affect what happens in any way other than by being distracting.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!


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