"Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

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Cam-RT
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"Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Cam-RT » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:58 pm

Welcome...

2012!! A New Beginning... Starts here.

Lets start with telling little about yourself and what expectations you have from becoming Enlightened...
The illusion isn't destroyed...Just seen for what it 'Is'
Thoughts vs. Reality----->Reality always wins.
"Have courage...Don't give up!!"

http://cam-rt.blogspot.com

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moxley
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:53 pm

Hi Cam :)

You're absolutely right, this is the year it should be done. No more time to waste.

Just a little background on me: I have been into Zen and lately Theravada buddhism for about 2 years now (more seriously at least.)
What that means is basically reading lots of books/on the internet and doing a formal meditation of ~45mins once a day. Haven't been on any retreats yet (only a 5 day Solo-retreat at home).

My spiritual "plan" so far has been to build up lots of concentration power by the formal practice I mentioned, and later use that to start insight meditation and look behind reality with laser-sharp focus (the typical "wet" approach to theravadan buddhism).

I don't think I am quite that concentrated yet, and I found the idea of this site very cool, it obviously has created some results (probably cutting off years of other kinds of practice for basically the same result). Just reading other people's threads hasn't really been enough to make it click for me though, I guess you just really need that direct confrontation with someone who has made it to really do whats necessary.

My expectations from enlightenment, well, would the good old "to end all suffering" be too much to ask? ;)
I have somewhat of social anxiety problems and sometimes I get hit by fear of loss (i.e. what if something terrible happened to some of my loved ones), paired with the realization that in the end gruel and horrible things (death, sickness) are unavoidable.
I would certainly love to live the rest of my life from a base of more peace and lightness.


I would be thrilled if you want to do this with me, I would just ask to keep things as little abstract (and therefore as specific) as possible. I will try to be as open and honest as I can possibly be about everything.

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Cam-RT
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Cam-RT » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:18 am

Thank you! for joining me...

I'm glad that you prefer to not speak in an "ethereal" manner cause this process is pretty straight forward anyway, and as you mentioned being honest, along with patients and determination helps also...

Meditation, is a good medium for examining thoughts and I'm sure will continue to be beneficial even after we are through with this process; Yet I would like to ask that (at least for right now) you put the rest on the back burner until we are done, spirituality and religion has nothing to do with this...

The first thing need to touch on is thoughts that bring up any uncontrollable fear or discomfort... these type of thoughts act like a security system. (Protecting something from being found out.) Look at these thoughts and just let it be there, find out where in in body it's being felt, bring it closer, Respect it, Bow to it.. Then look whats behind the fear... The same go's for any other strong and uncomfortable feelings that come along through out the day..

We will challenge these thoughts and get to the core of "No-Self"....
The illusion isn't destroyed...Just seen for what it 'Is'
Thoughts vs. Reality----->Reality always wins.
"Have courage...Don't give up!!"

http://cam-rt.blogspot.com

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Cam-RT
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Cam-RT » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:33 am

In addition to my last post, I need to add that your reply
I would certainly love to live the rest of my life from a base of more peace and lightness.
That my friend, is not only possible; then gets deeper the further you go after awakening.....

Pick one or two thoughts that bug you the most, that create strong feelings, and sense how your body reacts.

Tell me about what you find...
The illusion isn't destroyed...Just seen for what it 'Is'
Thoughts vs. Reality----->Reality always wins.
"Have courage...Don't give up!!"

http://cam-rt.blogspot.com

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moxley
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:59 pm

Thanks a lot for doing this with me, Cam. I certainly appreciate it!

When these uncomfortable situations and thoughts come up, my body reacts in the following way:

My chest and upper body (shoulders etc.) feel very tight and constricted. The most prominent though, is a feeling of pressure and heat in the head, almost like someone is pushing the head together. In this state I just feel very uncomfortable, my legs and hands become weak and shaky and my focus is really tight and unrelaxed.
I tried to just relax when these situations come up, but it does not seem to help. Unfortunately, these situations come up very easily for me. For instance, when I get to work in the morning and there is someone else arriving at the same time, I am even scared of just unlocking the door in front of him with my key, because the other person might see my hand shaking etc.
This is like a self-enforcing circle, the fear of it happening makes it even more likely, and I end up avoiding a lot of actually simple social situations because of this fear.
Now I thought that this is a nervous problem (which it probably kinda is), and that I should seek help with a doctor, but I don't think that it is absolutely necessary (yet), because:

1. I don't have these problems when I am alone or in comfortable situations (for instance at home with my girlfriend), so the mental factor must be the real issue here
2. I don't want to get drugged up and addicted to some chemical shit, which is what I think a neurologist would prescribe ^^

Don't get me wrong though, this all may sound like I am a complete depressive maniac, but generally I am actually pretty happy with my life! I try to not let these situations affect the rest of my life/day (which they did in the past). Still, these episodes keep coming up and getting rid or at least alleviating them somewhat would be really really wonderful.

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:55 pm

Since I don't want to look like someone who is just seeking for cheap psychotherapy ;) here is something maybe more relevant that occurred to me last night when I was pondering the idea of no-self. I was lying in bed for quite a while, trying to find that "feeling" of no-self (actually it sounds kind of silly now, trying to find something that isn't even supposed to be there).
I was watching thoughts come up and so on, then I fell asleep and awoke later that night. Upon awakening, the following scenery played out in my head (kind of a fantasy, semi-dream, or something):

I was walking through a VERY dark and VERY silent corridor. There were not even thoughts present (turning it into an even creepier silence). I didn't know where I was or how I got there. At the end of the corridor there was a mirror. I walked up to it, I looked into it and saw...absolutely nothing. That moment felt like a real shock to me. It was sad and scary as shit, to be honest. Like one of those movies, where suddenly the main character thinks his house is haunted, just to find out in complete shock in the end, that HE is actually the ghost, and that he is doomed to stay there in that dull and hopeless state forever. Or like someone who suddenly realizes that he is crazy and unable to communicate with the outer world anymore.

I guess this just shows that there is still a lot of fear of the unknown here for me, of maybe losing something special and never being able to get it back, or even worse (going crazy..).

However, I am aware that these thoughts basically should not have any substance and I am determined to go through with this to the end. Honestly though, I still don't have the slightest clue how to get this 'no-self' thing, I kind of get it via the intellect, but that's about it. It's kind of funny to have a question and already know the answer, and still being nowhere near the 'solution'.

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Pratityasamutpada
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Pratityasamutpada » Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:21 am

Hi Moxley :). My name is Mark. Something unexpected has come up for Cam, so I'll take over for him, if that's alright. I love that you prefer a straight-to-the-point, down-to-earth approach, so that's what we're gonna do! :)

I've read the posts so far, and for now I'd like to take a look with you at the following two questions.

1:
I am aware that these thoughts basically should not have any substance
Consider for a moment what you really mean here by saying "should". This is not to be picky, but to bring an important point across. "Should" is a belief about something. Or an opinion or idea, an abstract notion to strive for or latch on to. But this can be made really easy when you look at it, so let's look at it :).

Is the question whether or not thoughts should have substance? Or is the question whether or not they actually have substance? Look at your own thoughts as thoughts right now, and tell me if they have substance.


2:
I still don't have the slightest clue how to get this 'no-self' thing, I kind of get it via the intellect, but that's about it.
Please tell me what your current understanding is about "no-self", let's see if we can hook into that.

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:01 am

Hi Mark,
thanks a lot for trying to help me out here, and I hope Cam is alright. Of course I appreciate any kind of help I can get :)
Is the question whether or not thoughts should have substance? Or is the question whether or not they actually have substance? Look at your own thoughts as thoughts right now, and tell me if they have substance.
To be frankly honest, I am not even sure how wide or narrow to define the word "thought". Certainly if there is a spoken sentence in my head, that counts as a thought. Also if I am imagining something visual like a mountain landscape. But what about my intention to grab the glass of Coke on the table. Is that a thought or does it only count if there is a sentence like "I'm gonna grab me that fine glass right now" playing along?

As far as I can see, it's not that thoughts are nothing. I tried to locate them (by repeating some random sentence in my mind and looking 'where' it is happening). It's pretty hard to pinpoint it, but I would guess it's somewhere "around" the head area. But maybe that is just deception, because usually there is the most going on around the head (center of most of the important sense organs, feelings of slight pressure etc.).

Thoughts are certainly a pretty weak construct, but I could not really say that they are absolutely nothing/substance-less. They also seem to have very strong effects on my body, as in these stressful situations I described above. I couldn't really tell for sure if the thoughts are the cause for the tensions arising, or if thoughts just chime in and worsen the situation. I guess it's some kind of "recognition of a socially dangerous situation" that triggers these stupid unwanted effects for me.
Please tell me what your current understanding is about "no-self", let's see if we can hook into that.
To be completely honest, this whole "no-self" thing already seems a little abstract (as does the notion of "self"). I would say the point is to realize that everyone has the habit of "holding certain things together" and to have certain subliminal mental and physical processes running that cost a lot of energy and can just let go of.
I wonder how I can see no-self in a simple activity. Am i supposed to kind of feel alienated from my hand when I reach for that glass, for instance?

I sometimes get these little glimpses where I feel that really the current moment (and that probably goes down to micro-second timeframes) is the only thing that counts, because I am basically always 'trapped' in that exact timeslice. That also makes me feel that some distinctions, like splitting time in certain days of week etc., are very artificial somehow.


What do you think?

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Pratityasamutpada » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:49 am

Alright great, let's poke at some of this.
To be completely honest, this whole "no-self" thing already seems a little abstract (as does the notion of "self").
Yes, "no-self" seems abstract because to you at this point it's just a concept, and all concepts are abstract :). But you make another excellent observation, namely that "self" also seems abstract. I can tell you that is a clue, my friend, do you see what it could be? Take a moment to consider this before you read on...
I would say the point is to realize that everyone has the habit of "holding certain things together" and to have certain subliminal mental and physical processes running that cost a lot of energy and can just let go of.
What you say about that habit is true, and this is also what you probably know as the "sense of self". However, this is a good time to address a common confusion, and I'm going to turn it into another clue for you: What is the difference between the "sense of self", and the "self"? Take another moment to consider this before you read on. And in trying to answer, don't do it only by thinking about it logically, but take a look at this sense of self that you're feeling right now. Don't worry about concentration or meditation. You already feel a sense of self right now without even trying. Just feel it for a moment and find out that way, is this really a "self" that you're sensing? What is it?
I wonder how I can see no-self in a simple activity. Am i supposed to kind of feel alienated from my hand when I reach for that glass, for instance?
What you're refering to is (dis)identification. This is how the sense of self arises. Identification creates a sense of self. Disidentifying from your hand, to use the example, is just changing your sense of self. So here's another clue: Would changing the "sense of self" affect whether or not there actually is a "self" in reality?


Now about the substance of thoughts, maybe you're already starting to see what it is that makes some thoughts appear more substantial than others. It has to do with identification with thought, as well as the reactions this causes in the body, which in turn are also identified with. Which gives rise to a "sense of self". Let's not worry about what classifies as thought or not for the moment, or where they might be physically located in your sense of 3D space.
They also seem to have very strong effects on my body, as in these stressful situations I described above. I couldn't really tell for sure if the thoughts are the cause for the tensions arising, or if thoughts just chime in and worsen the situation. I guess it's some kind of "recognition of a socially dangerous situation" that triggers these stupid unwanted effects for me.
Can the thoughts themselves do anything to the body? Or do thoughts just come and go, and it's the body that reacts to the interpretation in a certain way?

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Pratityasamutpada » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:08 am

I sometimes get these little glimpses where I feel that really the current moment (and that probably goes down to micro-second timeframes) is the only thing that counts, because I am basically always 'trapped' in that exact timeslice. That also makes me feel that some distinctions, like splitting time in certain days of week etc., are very artificial somehow.

What do you think?
I think you're right. Splitting times in days of the week, etc. is something the mind does, like a conceptual overlay onto reality. Monday exists only as a concept in the mind, there are no actual days in reality, much less mondays :P.

Now note that the same thing happens when you talk about micro-seconds and timeframes and timeslices. Those also don't really exist, except as concepts in the mind which it projects onto its interpretation of reality. So don't think of the current moment as a tiny tiny tiny slice of time (hey, I tend to do it too, but it's really just another delusion). Even to think of it as infinitely short, is just a mathematical abstraction.

In fact don't think of the current moment at all :P, but actually taste it right now. It's not some static thing, like a snapshot, like a frame from a movie reel, with a fixed determinate dimension and duration. It's the continuous flow of existence, constant change in direct experience.

This kind of philosophical discussion is a bit of a distraction here, but I took this opportunity to illustrate this phenomenon called delusion. Which is to say, how the mind confuses concepts with reality.

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:12 pm

Yes, "no-self" seems abstract because to you at this point it's just a concept, and all concepts are abstract :). But you make another excellent observation, namely that "self" also seems abstract. I can tell you that is a clue, my friend, do you see what it could be?
You are right in that both terms just seem like concepts to me, and I guess as such they are basically futile and dont' have to be maintained. On the other hand, it's not really like I am running around all day thinking "Me Me Me". Or to put it another way, I cannot see how the concept of self that is always there in the background should be hurting me so much.
What is the difference between the "sense of self", and the "self"?
Phew. That is a pretty tough one. The difference between these two seems so subtle to me that I can't even make a real distinction between them. You probably want to point me to the fact that the "sense of self" is just the illusion that is maintained, while the actual self just does not exist. Like that picture in your avatar: The sense of self would be the bandage and clothing, but that whats underneath - the real self - is just "air". But when I say these things, I don't do so because I can really see it for myself, but because I have read similar descriptions and know that this probably is what i SHOULD be sensing myself. However, as said before, drawing the line between self and sense of self seems almost impossible right now. I just dont know how or where to look.
What you're refering to is (dis)identification. This is how the sense of self arises. Identification creates a sense of self. Disidentifying from your hand, to use the example, is just changing your sense of self. So here's another clue: Would changing the "sense of self" affect whether or not there actually is a "self" in reality?
Wait, are you saying that this is NOT about disidentification?? I was under the impression that this whole process is ALL about disidentifying from things (like "my" hand that is reaching for the glass). Am I missing the point here somehow? Maybe I should take back that claim of even having an intellectual grasp of this stuff :D
Can the thoughts themselves do anything to the body? Or do thoughts just come and go, and it's the body that reacts to the interpretation in a certain way?
Yes, they certainly come and go, a thought doesn't stay for long (it may be repeated for quite a while though). I am reluctant to say that they can't have effects on the body though. There seems to be at least a high level of correlation (as opposed to causation, maybe?).

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:39 pm

A couple of other things I need to mention are these sensations of doubt and fear that I feel I need to get rid of before I can go any further. Right now there are 2 things that bother me:

1. Fear: I already described that semi-dream I had where realizing no-self felt very negative. If realizing no-self means letting go of that habit of holding things together, wouldn't that mean that everything would just fly apart? Somehow I also have the feeling that completely losing the sense of self would equate seeing "my" thoughts as not mine anymore. And if somebody is hearing thoughts in his head, does that not mean that he must be hearing someone elses thought, which basically means insanity to me. Since seeing no-self apparently is a no-way-back road, I feel like I have to make sure not to make any wrong assumptions, and know about possible negative side-effects and dangers if there are any.

2. Doubt: Since I am supposed to see through the illusion of self, I am wondering: If it aint "me" that is experiencing this life, who or what else is it? Am I supposed to see some kind of godly touch or a mystical interconnection between all people and things here (because I clearly don't)? Another thing that bothers me is the following: I am trying to see that the self is just something that is made up by the ego that is trying to stay in control (or something like that). But I don't really see a difference between the words self,I or ego, which would lead to an interesting question: How can that which isn't supposed to exist at all, try to keep me from seeing that very fact by blinding me with all kinds of fluff? Is this some kind of paradoxon that has to be resolved, or am I just completely besides the point here?

Just needed to get these 2 things off my brain, because I feel they keep me from going further somehow.

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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Pratityasamutpada » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:10 am

Dude there's some really great stuff in what you wrote. I'll try to be concise but probably fail horribly :P. But bear with me, there are some concerns and confusions which I think warrant some attention to clear up. Once those are out of the way, verbosity in subsequent posts should become less of an issue, hehehehe :). Let me address your fear and doubt first.
1. Fear: I already described that semi-dream I had where realizing no-self felt very negative. If realizing no-self means letting go of that habit of holding things together, wouldn't that mean that everything would just fly apart? Somehow I also have the feeling that completely losing the sense of self would equate seeing "my" thoughts as not mine anymore. And if somebody is hearing thoughts in his head, does that not mean that he must be hearing someone elses thought, which basically means insanity to me. Since seeing no-self apparently is a no-way-back road, I feel like I have to make sure not to make any wrong assumptions, and know about possible negative side-effects and dangers if there are any.
This (and that dream) is the fear to lose control or disappear somehow. Now look at what you wrote in an earlier post:
I would say the point is to realize that everyone has the habit of "holding certain things together" and to have certain subliminal mental and physical processes running that cost a lot of energy and can just let go of.
First a little question to ponder... Is it necessary to eradicate that habit in order to realize that it's a completely pointless and superfluous one? Because it sounds to me like you already realize this, even though the habit is still there.

Now then, despite fear, you already know that whatever you're unconsciously trying to hold together, does not need to be held together. It never did, it's just unnecessary contraction, constantly triggered by that very fear. But control is part of the illusion. You're not going to lose control, you never had it, at least not in the way you think. And yet life has gone on fine so far, and it will continue to go on fine whether you try to tense up your whole body and mind into a knot, or not.

Would you say that habit of contraction is actually preventing stuff from flying apart? Is something actually going to disappear? Not even the illusion is going to disappear :). All that will happen is that you can see it as being just an illusion, and only then can stuff start to fall away that aren't needed anymore.

And once you've seen it, there's an aftercare group of over 150 people (and growing fast) who help eachother, and who can attest to the fact that nothing horrible is going to happen. In fact, you might actually be slightly disappointed, and yet totally relieved. So, let the fear be there for now. You already know there's really nothing to be afraid of, it's just a natural conditioned reaction by the body to something which isn't real. Is that not right? If I'm wrong, tell me honestly. So whenever there is fear, don't suppress it, it can not harm you. Look at it, feel it, leave it be.

As for the owner of thoughts... If it's true that there is no actual self in reality, then who owns those thoughts right now? If it's true, then there never was a self, was there? Then thoughts are just thoughts without an owner, always have been. Never someone else's thoughts. It's not like your "self" is going away and someone else's "self" is going to take over :P. There is no self. We're going to find out if that's true. And if it is, well then it was always already the case, so nothing changes except now you know. There will still be thoughts and they won't suddenly belong to a different "self".
2. Doubt: Since I am supposed to see through the illusion of self, I am wondering: If it aint "me" that is experiencing this life, who or what else is it? Am I supposed to see some kind of godly touch or a mystical interconnection between all people and things here (because I clearly don't)?
Who or what is experiencing this life after seeing through the illusion of self will be the same as who or what is experiencing this life right now. I'll probably be asking you in some later post what that is, once you've seen it ;). But becoming clear about reality is not going to change what is already the case.

And no, it's also not going to be fireworks and mystical experiences. Although it's not impossible, but that would at best be a side effect and it will wear off, which does not mean the actual realization itself wears off. But don't bet on anything of that nature to let you know when you "got" it, we're not fishing for altered states here. I'm certainly not in some constant state of mystical union or something. Don't be too concerned about what it's going to be like, because then you'll be fumbling around in imagination instead of looking at what's right in front of you ;). What it's going to be like is the refreshing truth of what has always been right in front of you already.
Another thing that bothers me is the following: I am trying to see that the self is just something that is made up by the ego that is trying to stay in control (or something like that). But I don't really see a difference between the words self,I or ego, which would lead to an interesting question: How can that which isn't supposed to exist at all, try to keep me from seeing that very fact by blinding me with all kinds of fluff? Is this some kind of paradoxon that has to be resolved, or am I just completely besides the point here?
This is such good stuff my friend. It's not a paradox, but other than that, you are hitting the nail right on the head. Don't try to resolve it intellectually, that's again one of those tendencies that will keep attention focussed at anything but reality. When you start looking at what I, ego, self, really is (yeah I'm using those words interchangably here), it will become clear. Insofar as it isn't already!

If after reading the rest of this post, fear or doubt still seems to be a real obstacle for you, please let me know. But as for the grasping at intellectual closure, don't worry about it, and try not to be too drawn into that world of thought. That's exactly what you describe as being blinded by fluff. Thoughts are there, but the content of thoughts is fluff. Attention gets drawn in, mesmerized by fluff, you know how it goes. However if you look AT the thoughts as thoughts, instead of INTO the content of thoughts (as per the usual automatic habit), ploop! You've snapped out of it, at least for a moment. And a moment is really all you need.

Try reading this sentence a couple of times while listening to the voice in your head which is saying these words as you read them...

Voila! :). So that's the difference between looking at something and thinking about something. And while we're at it, try reading that sentence again, listening to that voice in your head, and tell me, is there a self doing the voice? Or is there just the voice?
I cannot see how the concept of self that is always there in the background should be hurting me so much.
That's right, why indeed should it hurt? See if you can look inwards at your own experience, how a mere concept can be turned into such a problem. Don't worry about right or wrong answers, just observe a simple, suitable, everyday example of it as it happens, and see if you can describe it.
The difference between these two seems so subtle to me that I can't even make a real distinction between them. You probably want to point me to the fact that the "sense of self" is just the illusion that is maintained, while the actual self just does not exist.
Yes, exactly. And you already said it bro. The sense of self is a feeling, it's composed of various sensory phenomena. While the self is just a concept, refering to some supposed entity behind the scenes which is operating all this stuff, but which doesn't actually exist. This stuff is all operating itself. If it seems hard to distinguish between thoughts of "me" and the feeling of "me", it's because they're kinda tangled up together in experience and you just haven't really looked at it before. That's the illusion at play! Well, read on, because there's good news in all this.
Like that picture in your avatar: The sense of self would be the bandage and clothing, but that whats underneath - the real self - is just "air". But when I say these things, I don't do so because I can really see it for myself, but because I have read similar descriptions and know that this probably is what i SHOULD be sensing myself.
Here we come to the illusion at play again. You think you can't see it for what it is, because you think you ought to be sensing something differently. You think you ought to be sensing the non-existence of self. Let's rephrase that in order to clarify the basic confusion in this: You're saying that in order to see that no such thing as a self exists, and to see the concept of self for just a concept, and to see the sense of self for just sensations, you need to stop having those sensations, and stop having those thoughts. Now is that really true?
Wait, are you saying that this is NOT about disidentification?? I was under the impression that this whole process is ALL about disidentifying from things (like "my" hand that is reaching for the glass). Am I missing the point here somehow? Maybe I should take back that claim of even having an intellectual grasp of this stuff :D
That's your meditation background speaking. All this is first and foremost about recognizing the way things really are. Consider this: Identification may happen, or it may not happen. Does it change what is real? Does it change what you know to be real? Do people who are strongly identified with what they think is their "self", really have a self?

Identification may gradually start to dissolve, but only as a result of knowing it for what it is. It's just one of those conditioned habits that most likely won't instantly altogether vanish. Luckily, it doesn't need to. Not in order to wake up to the truth about it. And the truth is, identification happens, it's just part of reality, part of the flow of life expressing itself. But it is not self, and there is no actual self doing the identifying. Keep reading, we'll get to where you see this for yourself. And whatever expectations you may have about this, put them aside for the time being.
Yes, they certainly come and go, a thought doesn't stay for long (it may be repeated for quite a while though). I am reluctant to say that they can't have effects on the body though. There seems to be at least a high level of correlation (as opposed to causation, maybe?).
Yes, in the sense that you mean, there is certainly interaction between thoughts and feelings and tensions in the body etc. reacting to eachother in a constant feedback loop. But! If you see a fly on the wall, and you cast a shadow over it, chances are it will fly away. Does that mean there is some kind of force inherent in the shadow that made the fly move? Or was it just a survival reaction originating in the fly itself? A thought is just like a shadow. The body is conditioned to react. It's only the body which gives a thought its felt power, the thought has no more force inherent in it than a wisp of smoke. But that conditioning (that pointless habit of contraction we discussed at the top of this post) gets undermined any time thought is no longer taken at face value.

Now then, to take the analogy of my avatar (excellent observation there), do you think that either removing the bandage, or leaving the bandage on, changes anything about the fact that there's nothing underneath, and that there actually never was? Once you know what to look for, it's not that hard to see it. Just look at it:

- Look at the sense of self (feel it, observe it) and tell me, is there an actual self experiencing those sensations, owning them or making them happen? Or is there just the experience of sensations?

- Look at thoughts about yourself and tell me, is there a "you" having those thoughts, owning those thoughts, making them happen? Or are there just thoughts, coming and going, repeating, etc.?

- If the self exists only as a concept referring to nothing real, i.e. it's just more thoughts, can it have its own thoughts? In other words, can a thought think?


Now check this out...

- Thoughts of self: Exist.

- Feelings of self: Exist.

- Actual self: Does not exist.

Verify this, observe those thoughts about "you", observe that sense of "you". Look at it, take your time. Is it true?

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moxley
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby moxley » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:47 am

Thanks so much for your help Mark.
This is so great, I just have a feeling that this sense of fear is finally gone now. I'm not afraid to DIRECTLY look at myself anymore, and I know sure as hell that I was so before. That alone is such a great relief somehow!
Now then, despite fear, you already know that whatever you're unconsciously trying to hold together, does not need to be held together. It never did, it's just unnecessary contraction, constantly triggered by that very fear. But control is part of the illusion. You're not going to lose control, you never had it, at least not in the way you think. And yet life has gone on fine so far, and it will continue to go on fine whether you try to tense up your whole body and mind into a knot, or not.
Contraction is the perfect word for what this feels like, and I can feel it this very moment at a subtle level. Now check out this little realization I had today: When I get into these awkward social situations I described in my first posts, it's exactly that same feeling of contraction that gets really pronounced. It's almost like my body gets 'squeezed' by this false sense of self, that fear that somebody might see "me" fail in some way, or somehow see that "I" am just not perfect. I never thought that there could really be a connection here, but I am believing so more and more.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think I am there yet. Feeling and looking at these tensions and contractions has not really influenced them (and I am basically just talking about the body here). They haven't gone away yet, but I have a feeling that they might at least get weaker in the future if I just "stare" at them relentlessly. (It is also much more clear now what exactly is happening, I realized that there often is a very strong "pressure" on the shoulders, basically pushing them in. This feeling constricts my natural movement ability to use my hands, making them shaky etc. - and then the vicious circle goes off)
This is such good stuff my friend. It's not a paradox, but other than that, you are hitting the nail right on the head. Don't try to resolve it intellectually, that's again one of those tendencies that will keep attention focussed at anything but reality. When you start looking at what I, ego, self, really is (yeah I'm using those words interchangably here), it will become clear. Insofar as it isn't already!
Gee, I have to admit these paradoxa still have me completely puzzled. :) How can the non-existing self deceive "me"? No clue. How can "nobody" realize no-self? No clue either. Do you wanna give me a little hint here maybe? :D
Actual self: Does not exist.
I am beginnging to really agree with you here. It's like the doubts are (slowly!) falling away.

Wow, I just feel like everything has already been determined somehow. By whom? I don't have the slightest idea. Do you??

I am starting to love the analogy with the person driving the car I read somewhere around here. We are clamping up on the steering wheel, very cautious not to crash, when in reality the wheel is just a dummy. But what is really important here is to realize that we are extremely conditioned to mimic every turn of the car on the steering wheel just microseconds after they actually happen, enabling us to CLAIM the actions of the cars as OURS. It's like we are always just these microseconds too late, which makes it seem like 'we' are 'acting' in realtime, but I feel very strongly now that it can be seen that it is not so (I guess this is what makes high concentration abilities such a valuable tool, really seeing the gaps and delays here).

Now I don't think I am completely seeing through all of this. It's more like I am looking at something underwater, with very blurry vision. I really wish I could see this all with absolute clarity, like an experience in clear daylight how this all works together instead of just sensing the tiny glimpses.


I want to tell you that I feel really grateful already, just this courage to look at anything I want directly feels really good somehow. This never seemed to be an issue for me, but now I know that it was. In the past, when I was thinking I was looking or closing in on my self, it was like me looking and that "center" of self were 2 magnets with same polarity. The closer I got to it, the more I got pushed off to the side and away from it.

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Pratityasamutpada
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Re: "Awakening" An Excellent Resolution for 2012 :^)

Postby Pratityasamutpada » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:20 pm

Great, that's very good to hear, mate. Then let's get down to business.

Gee, I have to admit these paradoxa still have me completely puzzled. :) How can the non-existing self deceive "me"? No clue. How can "nobody" realize no-self? No clue either. Do you wanna give me a little hint here maybe? :D
Indeed, if there is no self, no "me", then who is doing the deceiving, and who is being deceived? I will give you hints :).

But not in the way you think. Check this out, you wrote: "It is also much more clear now what exactly is happening", about that constricting pressure on your shoulders. Did you find that out because I explained to you about constricting pressure on your shoulders? Or because you were looking at it and you saw it happen?

Rumination on theory is a distraction from looking. If it happens, take a step back and look at the rumination, see if there is a "you" doing the ruminating or if there is just rumination happening.

These are the kinds of hints I will give you, in the form of questions. And your job will be not to think about the theory, but to look at what I'm pointing at in your actual everyday experience, and find an answer in there. You have to look for it, I can't give it because then it's only an idea for you, not an observation. And believing in an idea, you might stop looking at reality. I would be hurting you, not helping you. And yet, it's not some grand mystery that I'm withholding or anything. You already have all you need. I'm just here to point that out.
I am beginnging to really agree with you here. It's like the doubts are (slowly!) falling away.

Wow, I just feel like everything has already been determined somehow. By whom? I don't have the slightest idea. Do you??
And so, I will now start cutting these intellectual lines of inquery short :).

That sense you have of things unfolding the only way they can, I won't deny. That was an observation, and a relevant one at that. Because that observation really undermines any notion of a "me" in control, doesn't it.

But then mind steps in. Mind is trying to "get" this. And the getting is not going to be achieved by mind. Not by thinking, only by looking. So mind will protest and will keep on grasping. Let it. And be careful about "agreeing", in the sense of accepting consensus beliefs. Throw beliefs out the window and look at reality directly.
I am starting to love the analogy with the person driving the car I read somewhere around here. We are clamping up on the steering wheel, very cautious not to crash, when in reality the wheel is just a dummy. But what is really important here is to realize that we are extremely conditioned to mimic every turn of the car on the steering wheel just microseconds after they actually happen, enabling us to CLAIM the actions of the cars as OURS. It's like we are always just these microseconds too late, which makes it seem like 'we' are 'acting' in realtime, but I feel very strongly now that it can be seen that it is not so (I guess this is what makes high concentration abilities such a valuable tool, really seeing the gaps and delays here).
That's a wonderful analogy. You don't need high concentration to get a sense of this, just a basic level of attention. Throughout the day you can look at various actions that "you" take, and see what thoughts they get accompanied by. For example, feeling of full blatter comes up. Then human organism inclines towards bathroom. Then thought comes up claiming control and ownership of the action by a "me" which is supposedly "behind the wheel" of this inclination and the human organism.

You don't need to be constantly aware of this 100% all the time in order to see this happening and know what is going on. You've had those glimpses, and sooner or later it will just become obvious.
Feeling and looking at these tensions and contractions has not really influenced them (and I am basically just talking about the body here).
Don't worry about influencing them just yet, only worry about observing. Seeing the truth is not about manipulating stuff, but about looking without an agenda at what is actually going on.
I have a feeling that they might at least get weaker in the future if I just "stare" at them relentlessly.
Next time there is an awkward situation, and there is contraction, and there is staring at it, see if there is a "you" feeling awkward, or there is just the feeling of awkwardness.

Look at the contraction. Is there a "you" contracting? Or is there just contraction?

Look at the shaky hands. Is there a "you" shaking "your" hands? Or are they just shaking?

Look at the looking (the staring). Is there a "you" doing the staring? Or is there just staring happening?


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