Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

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Softsocks
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:28 pm

Hi Pete,

I seem to have 2 beliefs that still have a fair hold:
1) I should not be experiencing emotion like this (frustration, confusion, despondency)
2) I should be able to do something about them

Both beliefs were very present today. Although I know emotions are no different to thoughts and sensations it feels freeing to look at them directly, together so to speak, so there may be more to see there.

Also, I missed your question about being 100% earlier (not sure how to quote on my phone). And the answer is I'm not sure how I could tell. I suppose I expect not to have any doubts at all, and by doubts I mean doubts that are taken seriously, that have a strong emotional impact (I wouldn't see doubts that aren't taken seriously as doubts at all really).

Will write more tomorrow but in the meantime if you think I'm barking up the wrong tree please let me know.

With thanks,
Steve



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Softsocks
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:09 am

Hi Pete,

So, expectations. So I'm realising this morning how troublesome expectations are. Any expectation about this, realistic or not. So I've definitely been labouring with the expectations that my experience ought to be a certain way once I've seen through - in part from talking to friends about their experience (which was maybe not the most helpful of things to do in hindsight). But expectation, any expectation, is just thinking, no mater how accurate or realistic I might also think it is. By taking them seriously I end up giving credence to the very things I am trying to see through. Not that I can stop having them, but I can recognise them for what they are. And of course all of this is just thinking as well.

Feels like a proper tug of war going on over here at the moment (not that I have a problem with that this morning).

with thanks,
steve

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:23 pm

Hi Steve,
I'm back to being extremely uncertain. I'm experiencing doubts, which I am definitely being sucked in by, and taking seriously. Sure, I can see through them when I look, but as soon as I turn away they are back.
Yes, but who is there to be sucked in, and who turns away? I know it seems difficult but, if these doubts come back, they come back. All 'you', and need, and indeed can, do is to see them for what they are, impersonal arisings in awareness, and return to your experience. That's it. The pesky buggers will gradually get sick of it.
So back to looking and focusing on the feeling of not finding.
Yes, stick with it.
I have wondered if I might be believing in an I as an experiencer of thought, rather than a creator or controller of thoughts (which I think I am clear about) so I will look at that.
Can you say a bit more about what you mean by this Steve.
What is aware?
I'm not sure I know what this is - I can't find awareness within my experience.
Again, can you say what you mean here. Aren't experience and awareness the same 'thing'? If so, what experiences awareness or, to put it another way, what is aware of experience?
I seem to have 2 beliefs that still have a fair hold:
1) I should not be experiencing emotion like this (frustration, confusion, despondency)
2) I should be able to do something about them
Both beliefs were very present today. Although I know emotions are no different to thoughts and sensations it feels freeing to look at them directly, together so to speak, so there may be more to see there.
I agree. Try the following for each of the emotions/feelings that appear to be problematic.

Look behind this feeling/emotion and see what, if anything, is there.

What sensations do you notice?

What thoughts do you notice?

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

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

So, expectations. So I'm realising this morning how troublesome expectations are. Any expectation about this, realistic or not. So I've definitely been labouring with the expectations that my experience ought to be a certain way once I've seen through - in part from talking to friends about their experience (which was maybe not the most helpful of things to do in hindsight). But expectation, any expectation, is just thinking, no matter how accurate or realistic I might also think it is. By taking them seriously I end up giving credence to the very things I am trying to see through. Not that I can stop having them, but I can recognise them for what they are. And of course all of this is just thinking as well.
I'm glad you're revisiting expectations. They are something that was stressed at the beginning of the thread because, when taken seriously, they can undermine the whole process, for obvious reasons, working hand in hand with doubt and frustration. All garbage thought constructs. Same goes for comparing gating experiences with others. You simply can't know what someone else's experience was like. And what would be the point anyway?. Even for you, whether fireworks/whistles and bells are experienced or not, simply isn't important. Realising that no self is a fact, is real, and seeing the whole panoply of I-thoughts and supporting cast, as fake, is what counts.

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

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Softsocks
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:28 pm

Hi Pete,

So a few posts back you said:
if, as now seems to be the case, you can't find a self anywhere in direct experience, and you've no doubts about that, and there is only reference to a self in thought, i.e. as a concept, which you know can't be real and needn't be taken seriously, and you no longer have any doubts about this that you take seriously, that's it. Let me know if this is now so.
I'm now able to say that that this is the case – I no longer have any doubts that the self is only a thought. Yay!
I'm back to being extremely uncertain. I'm experiencing doubts, which I am definitely being sucked in by, and taking seriously. Sure, I can see through them when I look, but as soon as I turn away they are back.
Yes, but who is there to be sucked in, and who turns away? I know it seems difficult but, if these doubts come back, they come back. All 'you', and need, and indeed can, do is to see them for what they are, impersonal arisings in awareness, and return to your experience. That's it. The pesky buggers will gradually get sick of it.
The doubts are still at it to an extent, particularly now (I suspect it may be as I'm tired, but who knows) but they aren't getting taken seriously. They pop up, do their thing and leave. No harm done to anyone.

I have wondered if I might be believing in an I as an experiencer of thought, rather than a creator or controller of thoughts (which I think I am clear about) so I will look at that.
Can you say a bit more about what you mean by this Steve. 
Not sure there is much to say – I'd had a thought that although I could see there was no self controlling thoughts – maybe I thought there was a self experiencing them – like something there listening to the worst radio station ever or something like that. I couldn't see anything when I looked and it was probably just a red herring anyway.

I'm not sure I know what this is - I can't find awareness within my experience.
Again, can you say what you mean here. Aren't experience and awareness the same 'thing'? If so, what experiences awareness or, to put it another way, what is aware of experience?
We'll I guess I was sort of thinking something similar – that awareness and experience are the same, so I was reading the question as 'what experiences', and I couldn't actually see anything – all I could find was experience. Looking again, I am still don't see anything. Something feels still I suppose, but I can't say I can see anything.

Try the following for each of the emotions/feelings that appear to be problematic.
Look behind this feeling/emotion and see what, if anything, is there.
What sensations do you notice?
What thoughts do you notice?
Do the thoughts come after the sensations? What do they say about the sensations?
Behind all of that, does the feeling emotion have a story to tell? If so, what is that story?
I've not had any problematic emotions since (literally) waking up this morning. There have been stories running through thoughts from time to time, and the occasional flash of associated sensation – but not much to look at.


I'm glad you're revisiting expectations. They are something that was stressed at the beginning of the thread because, when taken seriously, they can undermine the whole process, for obvious reasons, working hand in hand with doubt and frustration. All garbage thought constructs. Same goes for comparing gating experiences with others. You simply can't know what someone else's experience was like. And what would be the point anyway?. Even for you, whether fireworks/whistles and bells are experienced or not, simply isn't important. Realising that no self is a fact, is real, and seeing the whole panoply of I-thoughts and supporting cast, as fake, is what counts.
Recognising and letting go of the expectations that had arisen seems to have tipped me over the edge so to speak. I wasn't worried about bells and whistles in particular (handy as there haven't been any), but I had asked about how their experience had been since – and that had gotten in the way. And of course, being a Buddhist there is all the stream entrant malarkey – expectaions of what that must mean etc that had lain dormant until I began to feel like I was almost 'through the gate'. As soon as I got close all the beliefs about needing to be some sort of superhuman popped up to undermine. As soon as it clicked that passing through the gate didn't necessarily mean that I was going to experience anything in particular, and that whatever was experienced was as it should be, then everything seemed to click. And actually my experience does seem to have changed a fair bit – or rather so much of it is the same but there's a sense of openness, and an easy lack of conflict,resistance and fear, that has actually been taking me by surprise throughout the day.

I'm off for the weekend form tomorrow afternoon. I expect I will be able to write from my phone, but it might depend on reception.

With gratitude,
steve

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moondog
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:30 pm

Hi Steve,
if, as now seems to be the case, you can't find a self anywhere in direct experience, and you've no doubts about that, and there is only reference to a self in thought, i.e. as a concept, which you know can't be real and needn't be taken seriously, and you no longer have any doubts about this that you take seriously, that's it. Let me know if this is now so.
I'm now able to say that that this is the case – I no longer have any doubts that the self is only a thought. Yay!
Yay indeed Steve. That's great to know. I'm really pleased!
The doubts are still at it to an extent, particularly now (I suspect it may be as I'm tired, but who knows) but they aren't getting taken seriously. They pop up, do their thing and leave. No harm done to anyone.
And no one to have harm done to.
We'll I guess I was sort of thinking something similar – that awareness and experience are the same, so I was reading the question as 'what experiences', and I couldn't actually see anything – all I could find was experience. Looking again, I am still don't see anything. Something feels still I suppose, but I can't say I can see anything.
That's fine.
Recognising and letting go of the expectations that had arisen seems to have tipped me over the edge so to speak...As soon as it clicked that passing through the gate didn't necessarily mean that I was going to experience anything in particular, and that whatever was experienced was as it should be, then everything seemed to click. And actually my experience does seem to have changed a fair bit – or rather so much of it is the same but there's a sense of openness, and an easy lack of conflict,resistance and fear, that has actually been taking me by surprise throughout the day.
Expectations are quite insidious aren't they? And they can be very effective as a block, a barrier to the fruition of this process. They appear to kind of just sit there (pure metaphor in every way here) inert and unnoticed, and then just release like a virus (of thought), casting a veil over seeing clearly the utter simplicity of no self. It's just great that you've seen through that.

It looks to me that you're ready for the final questions, so here they are. (When answering question 5, please give specific and very recent examples from direct experience.) Once I get your answers, I'll put them forward for other guides for any comments. Then I'll arrange for you to get access to various aftercare and other groups on Facebook and the LU site. Have you got a Facebook name? If so, either let me know here or, if you prefer, PM it to me.

Always from direct experience.

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.

3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

5) Do you decide, intend, choose, control events in Life? Do you make anything happen?

Please give specific examples from your recent experience.

6) Anything to add?


I know you're off for the weekend so, if you've got time to complete the answers over the weekend, by all means do so. But clearly, they do need a bit of time and attention so, if you do need to take a bit longer, no problem. Just let me know, if you are able to, and I'll sit back and wait. Enjoy your weekend. I hope it's not so wet!

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

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Softsocks
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:16 pm

Hi Pete,

Well, this is getting a little silly. Yesterday, I was sure, absolutely certain, and now I'm just as certain that I haven't seen through anything. I almost feel like apologising to you!

Like I say, everything was smooth as silk yesterday, then some doubts - nothing that stuck - then today just an increasing number of thoughts, and then doubts - just a constant, relentless barrage. By the end of which I was about ready to pack this in.

I'm not packing it in - I'll go back to looking, as often as I can, at as much as I can. But jeez...

I won't answer the final questions now unless you think it would be helpful.

with thanks,
steve

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:04 pm

Hi Steve,
Well, this is getting a little silly. Yesterday, I was sure, absolutely certain, and now I'm just as certain that I haven't seen through anything. I almost feel like apologising to you!
No, it's not getting silly, it's just the way things are right now. There's no you to have made this happen and no one that needs to apologise. Just accept it as it is.

I don't want you to answer the final questions until you're ready, and that's when you know that you've definitely seen that there's just simply no self-entity anywhere, and never has been, and there are no longer any doubts that you take seriously or believe. Instead there are just thoughts passing through. It's not dependent on any particular state when it all feels right, as these states all just come and go. It's knowing it all the time no matter how 'you' feel. By that, I don't mean knowing no self is present in your mind all the time but, just like there's no Santa, when you look, you know for sure.

I'm not going to give up on you so long as you're up for seeing no self. So, if this is still what you really want, relax and keep looking. Let everything settle and then let me know what's happening, and answer the questions if that feels right.

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

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Softsocks
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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:24 pm

Hi Pete,

So a while back you instructed me to ignore the thoughts and focus on the feeling of not finding.

Here's what's going on at the moment:

I'm thinking I may have been looking wrong, since the beginning. I suspect I have been attending too much to the thoughts that arise on looking, rather than simply looking and noticing (or not noticing). Rather than getting caught up in the distracting thoughts that arise when noticing, I'm now focusing better on what is found, what is not found, and the feelings of confidence that build when I actually look. Most of the "realisations" I've posted about recently have been based on thoughts that arose, rather than from actually looking.

I'm noticing that I have tensions/confusions around a couple of areas.

1) the values of thoughts - that some thoughts more valuable than others. Should some be listened to.
and then, intimately tied to that belief...
2) decisions are influenced, if not controlled, by thoughts. I suspect that this might be more significant than the first.

So I've spent a lot of the morning paying attention to both these areas, though mainly thought to start with.

So I don't get to choose or control thoughts. That much seems clear when looking.
I can't see an experience of thought, just the thoughts, or thoughts about thoughts.
I can see that some thoughts label, describe, or 'talk about' actual things from actual experience.
I can see that some label etc groups of things from actual experience.
I can see that the difference between "I'm enjoying this cola" and "I enjoy drinking cola" is that the first is a thought that references immediate experience and the second is a thought that also references past experience, which now only exists as memory/thought (and may also lead to future fantasy).

What I'm having trouble seeing is why these thoughts don't have value. Right at the start you 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.
I'm not sure where to look to see this unreliability. Does that make any sense? To sum up, the more experience a thought is based on, regardless of it being in the past, the more reliable a thought seems. I think this is an issue as when doubts arise, for example, some of them are very hard to dismiss as unreliable.

I've probably over thought the living hell out of that, so moving on...

I still seem to believe that thoughts influence decisions. I can see I can't control my thoughts, but I still believe that there is something that can choose which thoughts to act on and which not to.

When looking at this I find it difficult to make out clearly as the thoughts involved are often subtle, quick, and almost simultaneous with the action. Sometimes it's blatant, like earlier while playing a game on my phone - "this will be the last game I play", starts another game, "just one more game", starts another game, "ok, enough now" starts another game etc until I just stopped playing. But at the moment of actually switching it off, there was another more subtle thought, that I can't quite remember now - and I couldn't tell if it came before, simultaneously or after.

Anyway, will keep looking at decisions as best I can.

with thanks,
steve

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:26 pm

I'm not going to give up on you so long as you're up for seeing no self. So, if this is still what you really want, relax and keep looking. Let everything settle and then let me know what's happening, and answer the questions if that feels right.
I also meant to say thanks for this Pete, it's appreciated!

Steve

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:56 pm

Hi Steve,

I've been reviewing our thread and what I see is that it progressed well to the point where you were able to say:
I'm now able to say that that this is the case – I no longer have any doubts that the self is only a thought
Since then, there appears to have been a very strong reaction where your mind has pumped out thoughts to analyse, distract from and deny what you had said you were certain of. Your most recent post is a continuation of that with a lot of overthinking that takes you away from what is really relevant here. My job as guide is simply to show you where to look for a self. If I were to follow all your recent points, much of which are conceptual investigations, we'd both get dragged off somewhere and lose the plot. I'm just not going down that road.

So first, please re-read this thread where you look at each area of experience and remind yourself what happened. At each aspect, look again, in direct experience, to see whether you can now find a self-entity.

Is there one there?

Now to thoughts, specifically thoughts whose content refers in any way to 'you' as a separate entity. This includes where you might say, 'I feel that this is so/must be so' or 'I believe this is so', which are, after all, just more thoughts. Do you consider that there is anything 'within' any of those thoughts that in any way convincingly contradicts all of the raw evidence of 'your' direct experience? Something that has value and can be relied upon. If so, please explain why you believe that, and tell me why it's more convincing than actual experience. If not, why do you still have such serious doubts that there' is no self?

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

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby Softsocks » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:43 am

Hi Pete,
Is there one there?
No
Now to thoughts, specifically thoughts whose content refers in any way to 'you' as a separate entity. This includes where you might say, 'I feel that this is so/must be so' or 'I believe this is so', which are, after all, just more thoughts. Do you consider that there is anything 'within' any of those thoughts that in any way convincingly contradicts all of the raw evidence of 'your' direct experience?
Not any more.
1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
No, and there never was.
2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
The illusion of self is only ever found in thought. It's an interpretation of experience, and even an interpretation of thoughts about experience. It arises when we stop experiencing life directly and instead start thinking about experience – especially thoughts/stories thoughts of the past and future. Thinking about life in this way - and assuming it is true - creates a disconnect between how we think the world is and how it actually is and the illusion of self is part of this disconnect, and metaphorically speaking, seeks to smooth other the disconnect by providing explanations.
3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
At the moment it actually doesn't feel very different at all – although subtle differences are there. Mostly I'm noticing that self-critical thinking isn’t affecting my experience in the way they used to (unsurprisingly) as I can see that they it doesn't relate to anything real. There's a sense of relaxation and ease. I'm more open to my experience in general. I used to think in terms of 'allowing' my experience to be there, but now I can see that 'allowing' has nothing to do with it as there is nothing to allow or disallow so the acceptance is more complete (there is still plenty in my experience I would rather not be experiencing, and may occasionally push away so to speak, but even that pushing away is part of the experience as there is no separate self to do any pushing.
4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
It was realising that although seeing the truth once seen can’t be unseen, my experience may not always reflect it. That I may sometimes act/think/feel as if the belief is still in place, but that when I remember, I remember fully – the belief remains seen through.The getting lost/forgetting, and the remembering are all part of the same flow of experience (I don't choose to forget, and I don't choose to remember)
5) Do you decide, intend, choose, control events in Life? Do you make anything happen?
No – decisions and choices are just made – there is nothing that has any control over them. Today I sat to meditate. The thoughts arose that I still needed to sit today, and that I wanted to make sure that I did. Then came all the other thoughts about all the other things that I would rather do, and at some point I started to get my stool ready and I sat. There was no conflict (thoughts can't fight each other!) so no need to choose, and no one to choose. The thought of the specific practice I was doing arose, along with the memory of what the practice entails. The “intention” to practice was seen mainly in thought, with some sensation, and the practice followed naturally – all by itself, with no direct connection between “intention” and the action – the intention is just another part of the flow of experience, not something imposed by any separate entity.


6) Anything to add?
Only to express my thanks Pete, to you, all the other guides, and everyone involved in keeping the site up and running. It's a precious thing.

steve

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:21 pm

Hi Steve,

Many thanks for your answers. I'm so pleased all has now become so clear.

I'll now ask the guides to have a look and will let you know whether they have any queries to clarify anything, as they often do. It's a good idea to check whenever you can, to keep the flow going if necessary. It can take a day or more, or it can be quicker.

In the meantime, you may wish to let me know your Facebook address, if you have one. There is one group on the LU site, but the other groups are on FB. They are lively, friendly and supportive for people like you that have just gated. If you do want to do this, you may prefer to PM your details to me.

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

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Re: Looking for an available (buddhist?) guide

Postby moondog » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:08 pm

Hi Steve,

I'm happy to be able to tell you that the guides are satisfied that you have seen through the illusion of a separate self and have no queries.

I'll now get in touch with LU admin to get you 'turned blue' and they will be contact you with invitations to the various groups etc.

I've really enjoyed guiding you here and have found this a really interesting thread, particularly the way everything just resolved itself in the end.

Go well Steve.

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


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