In need of a "rough" guide

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nemecsek
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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:04 am

Hi Mark.

Perhaps I got what you mean. While "meditating" on your questions I got some clear answers without thinking. They just bubble up as thoughts. The difficult part is to keep them clean, without adding thinking.
someone makes the claim 'there is no chair in the room'. How can you test the claim?
Using senses. Opening the eyes is enough to check the truth, it is not necessary to add any thinking.
they make the claim 'there is no polar bear in the room'. How can you test this one?
Easy, like for the chair. It is possible to test it opening your eyes. Or if the room is dark other senses such as touch, smell, hearing.
they make the claim 'there is an Alex in the room'. How can you test this? What kinds of evidence can be found either way?
This is far subtler but the only way to check for its existence are senses once more. Thoughts are completely useless. The problem is that Alex is a concept, not a physical object like chairs and bears. It cannot be touched (you touch a body). It cannot be smelled (you smell a body). It cannot be heard or seen. You can experience the body alone. And for this reason it is (apparently) impossible to spot an Alex anywhere.

Thank you once more.
Have a nice day
Alessandro

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ElPortal
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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:53 am

Hi Alex

Good. This feels like clarity.

Stay with this, with different examples, and notice the aliveness of testing with the sensations.

A. So it seems that we have established that thoughts are fine, but ultimately useless. And we seem to have established that thinking is fine too, but it can only lead us to concepts about reality, not to reality itself. Have we? Is that established or is there the sense with you that thinking is in some way bad? or better than sensing?
I got some clear answers without thinking. They just bubble up as thoughts. The difficult part is to keep them clean, without adding thinking.
B. If thinking happens, who is doing that thinking? Can you find an 'Alex' who does the thinking, or does it just happen?
Notice some thinking during the day, and try to see whether you can find the Alex who is doing that thinking? Please give me some examples.

C. Then, at some point during the next day, do this exercise. Sit quietly and choose between two objects, or foods. Notice the process of choosing. Describe to me the process of what seems to happen. Can you find any 'Alex' or choicepoint where the decision seems to happen? Can you find any Alex intending, or controlling what is chosen?

In some meditative traditions there is the idea that thought is somehow bad and we are invited to reduce the thoughts, or look for the space between the thoughts, to try to find the state beyond thought, whether this be called mindfulness or some other state of transcending. Here we are looking even more fundamentally at whether there is even anybody there to do all these things. And at whether one state would be 'better' than another state. Whether Life is just happening all by itself without the need of a me to drive any of it.

Cheers

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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nemecsek
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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:46 am

Hi Mark.
I need more time on these. Yesterday I couldn't give them a minute.
The biggest problem is that I KNOW how to answer them with mental answers after reading the damned books. To avoid intellectualization and Libet's experiments will be hard.
Please be patient till answers bubble up.

Thank you.
Have a nice day
Alex

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:38 am

Hehe, hard for the 'mind' but easy for the senses.
Take your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
If emotions come up (you mentioned something before) that's ok. Just note them and let me know.

Cheers

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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nemecsek
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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:55 am

HI Mark.
A. is there the sense with you that thinking is in some way bad? or better than sensing?
Thoughts are useless to understand reality and thinking leads only to concepts, not to the reality itself. That's for granted.
Thinking is useful when there is some planning or organization to do, it is not bad by itself and probably necessary.
Senses look like more valuable than thinking to interact with reality because they are unfiltered and "pure".
B. If thinking happens, who is doing that thinking? Can you find an 'Alex' who does the thinking, or does it just happen?
Thoughts happen. They bubbles up from nowhere.
In these days the internal voice came back full strength and the physical sensations disappeared.
Giving some attention to the train of thoughts it is possible to spot when an answer to your questions comes to life. It "pops up" in the middle of the train without any apparent link to the previous thought.
Of course it is not possible to spot the origin. "Alex" looks more a curious entity peeping to the train without being the thinker.
C. Sit quietly and choose between two objects, or foods. Notice the process of choosing.
Here Benjamin Libet's experiments suggest what to write and I didn't receive an answer yet.
I "know" there is not a real choice because the thought about what to choose comes on its own accord.
I "assume" there is some elaboration before choosing and Alex believes he is the chooser. It is obvious he is not.
At the moment I cannot go deeper on this and it is an just an intellectual idea.
Can you find any Alex intending, or controlling what is chosen?
No. I can spot a loop: there is a choice (not made by "Alex"), there is the knowledge of the choice ("Alex" claims he is the owner), sometimes the choice (mostly if difficult) is followed by an explanation why it has been taken instead of an alternative possibility but even this explanation comes from nowhere ("Alex" looks like in need to be sure the choice is in accord with the rules).
It is not necessary to involve an "Alex" in this process because most of it is below conscience anyway.

Mark, I slowed down in the last days. I'm not taking real effort in this because of heavy daily chores and lack of sleep.
Be patient, after the first of May I'll be able to enjoy a lot of free time (I am resigning after 21 years in the same company) and, children permitting, will begin to pay the attention this process deserves.

Thank you
Have a nice day
Alex

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:40 am

Hi Alex

Thanks for those responses. Some nice work there.

A. Yes, spend more time with the 'choosing' experiment, avoiding the theory of it, and staying with looking at the experiences which come up. Notice if something feels like theory, a person you have seen or read, or any other conceptual thing, and notice if something feels like a 'here' experience with no one else attached and no theory attached. Notice the difference in feelings between these two types of experience.

B. "To understand reality" = ossimoro?
Is there truly any understanding of reality?... other than the sensing of THIS which is always present, which never leaves?
Or, put another way, once the misunderstandings are questioned and peeled away, is there anything left except for THIS which is always present, which never leaves?

I invite you to spend some time with this short video. Yes, it is atmospheric with music etc, but please sense whether the baby is straining to find reality with his/her mind or is Life just 'engaging' via the immediate sensations? :-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPSAgs-exfQ

C. You wrote:
I "know" there is not a real choice because the thought about what to choose comes on its own accord.
I "assume" there is some elaboration before choosing and Alex believes he is the chooser. It is obvious he is not.
At the moment I cannot go deeper on this and it is an just an intellectual idea.
Consider carefully, is it really that this is just an intellectual idea, or is it possible that really this is fully KNOWN, but being resisted by an active mind for fear of 'the consequences'? eg do fears come up?

D. So I will leave you to consider this deeply until we next communicate. You can use two enquiry exercises if you like without straining at all: 1. Rubbing thumbs and fingers together gently, whenever it happens during the day, or smelling this smell, or hearing that sound, or tasting this taste in mouth (even just the saliva).. relax and gently ask: "is there anything more than THIS?" or "is THIS enough?" 2. At each thought or question which seems to present itself, just (whenever this is remembered) insert the label: "ahh, the thought that (this)", "ahh yes, the question that (that)" etc.

Contact me when you are ready, Alex, and until then good luck with the final days of your job and with your family too.

All the best

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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nemecsek
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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:02 am

Hi Mark.
Thank you for your time, patience and questions. They are really helpful.
A. ... spend more time with the 'choosing' experiment, avoiding the theory of it
I try to practice throughout the day and more and more it is like discovering that conscience comes to the choice a little late, after it has been already taken. There is this "delay" that's very strange. Very similar to the feeling you get after drinking some wine and turning the head: there is a little delay, like eyes are positioning later than the rest of the face... I try to express it better: it is like I "know" what I will choose, and then I begin to choose. Strange indeed, like the self is a spectator who comes too late when the show is already begun.
I cannot spot differences between the conceptual experience and the "here" experience because there is only the latter. I also can feel the same now while writing you: the conscience is late compared to the fingers.
B. "To understand reality"
No, it is just a bad choice of words.
Experience reality is ok.
Understand a concept of reality is also ok, even if useless to experience reality.
Understand reality isn't.

THIS is always here. It is damned easy to forget it alas. Self's tricks are like fireworks: even is you don't want to watch them it is impossible to continue reading your book...

It is obvious that the baby is not even intellectually conscious of what is happening. He is just experiencing, probably involved in a 100% touch experience.
C. You wrote: I "know" there is not a real choice because the thought about what to choose comes on its own accord.
No answers here. I can only respond mentally.
I don't feel any fear about not having a choice. I welcome the possibility there is no choice. A resistance, if present, is very difficult to spot.
D. .. You can use two enquiry exercises if you like without straining at all
It is very easy to feel THIS moment with no labels attached while scrubbing fingers. There is no meaning to do it and no need to classify the experience. It is more difficult when trying with other senses (such as listening) because there is an heavy labeling going on. Any noise is "a dog", "the neighbor", "what was this?", "need to repair the sink", etc... Scrubbing finger is so useless that the simple action is not labelled.
Even labelling thoughts is becoming easier. Moments spent doing it are becoming more and more frequent.

I go on on this line for a couple of days more.
Adding to the daily chaos (sick daughter, leaving the job) there are 8 relatives living with us for a week :-)
Being outside all day I will not post tomorrow.

Happy Easter
Alex

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:13 am

Hi Alex,

Again, nice work. Don't rush: take your time. Do a little each day. The mind jumps in more quickly and eagerly than the senses and (dare I say it) the intuition, so let's give them some time and attention now.

A. About the choosing experiment, I look forward to hearing about your experiences on this in more detail later.

B. About the baby-wash video, I wonder whether you watched it to the end, or just enough to get the 'correct' answer? ;-) Again, let the sensory experience come forward.

C. About fears and resistance, I wrote:
Consider carefully, is it really that this is just an intellectual idea, or is it possible that really this is fully KNOWN, but being resisted by an active mind for fear of 'the consequences'? eg do fears come up?
You responded:
I don't feel any fear about not having a choice. I welcome the possibility there is no choice. A resistance, if present, is very difficult to spot.
Fear would not necessarily be attached to not having a choice, it could more likely be attached to 'the unknown' or 'consequences' or things feeling 'out of control'. Earlier, you wrote (24th March):
I begin to feel why you lose everything, and, yes, I begin to be afraid of this because it is a jump in the dark.
then 7th April:
I also found a resistance. In this period of my life (I mean into the dream world) I am jumping without a safe net. After 21 years of work in the same office I resigned and choose to begin something new on my own, even if there is a family to sustain and it is not clear what I will do in the future. I am afraid that if I will "succeed" I will not to be able to put some effort into this dream world again. I fear that later I will consider everything of no value. This subtle fear is there.
So, is any subtle fear, anxiety or resistance coming up or not? If nothing is there, that is great. If there is, stay with it, describe the physical sensations. Just let me know.

D. Not 'scrubbing fingers'. We are not trying to clean the floor here Alex! Just gently caress thumbs against the fingers, any time during the day when it comes to the attention. Eg at dining table, talking with family, at work, TV. Same with the other sensory things we mentioned, e.g. the taste of Easter Eggs ;-).

Cheers

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:15 pm

Mark,
with 8 extra people in the house for another week it is difficult to find time for dedicated exercise, but it is extremely easy to check for my thoughts and feelings whenever I remember. Luckily enough they are foreigners (my wife is German), and they speak a dialect of a language I don't master. I am excused when silent and I can examine my thoughts.
I can notice lot of thoughts coming because the foreign language is like a mantra and it doesn't let me concentrate on anything.
A. About the choosing experiment...
...it didn't bring anything yet.
B. About the baby-wash video
Yes, I watched till the end :-) It is obvious the baby is experiencing pure sensations.
I watched the movie once more. I had an image of a flower blooming being not so different from the baby. Just life spreading. Just another form of life, expressing itself in the form of a new human instead of a blade of grass.
C. About fears and resistance
Yes, I know that I wrote different things in other posts.
At the moment I feel like waiting what comes up. I cannot plan for the future and I don't want to. No fear involved. I feel everything is just what it must be now. Even my momentary frustrations, or moments of calm and peace.

I am overwhelmed by things to do in these days (leaving the job I need to pass my knowledge to half a dozen colleagues) and perhaps my brain is just overstrained. To know if this is the case I will need to wait another couple of weeks, when all this stuff (job + visiting relatives) will be over. Only relaxing a little bit I will see if there is residual fear.
D. Not 'scrubbing fingers'.
Another wrong word, I need to refine my English. Of course it is "touching" :-)
It is easy to do it during the day and very often there is the sensation without label attached.
Something changed since the beginning of this "experiment": in the beginning sight was the main sense and there were lots of labels attached. Now touch is by far the most powerful sense and there are no labels. Not even "cold", "heavy", "smooth", etc. Just touch. It is in a way.... "peaceful".

Thank you
Alessandro

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:25 am

Hi Alex,

Really enjoyed reading this last post. Although things sound fairly frantic in your life, in the writing there seems to be less franticness than in some earlier posts, more of a smooth feeling.

Thanks for the description of the baby and the flower blooming. Feels right. Feels good.

For now, during this busy period, just continue to work with what we have up to date and let me know if anything comes up. Anything you would like to discuss.

Yes, the touch, taste, smell are less inclined to attach labels and are therefore the most immediate. Followed by hearing, and then last of all sight! Try to explore several senses regularly. This is like dusting off an old compass that has been overlooked. Gradually honouring it and getting to know it again.

Oh, just one thing easy to consider during these days:
I am overwhelmed by things to do in these days (leaving the job I need to pass my knowledge to half a dozen colleagues) and perhaps my brain is just overstrained. To know if this is the case I will need to wait another couple of weeks, when all this stuff (job + visiting relatives) will be over.
As this 'overwhelming period with so much to do' happens, keep considering whether is all 'just happening' or is "Alex" actually making any of it happen? Of course, I am not looking for any quick answer, but it's something you can consider each day, during each 'emergency', during each list of 'things to do', during each 'decision', during each 'feeling of need to pass on my skills to someone else at work' etc etc. Keep asking "did "I" do that, or really did Life just do it?"

Vielen Glück mit deinem Deutschen Dialekt!

Warmly

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:55 pm

Hi Mark.
Just a quick reply today.
is "Alex" actually making any of it happen?
I write continuously "I" even if it is more and more evident that Alex cannot be found anywhere. Everything is happening on its own. "Alex" appears to be present but at the same time "I" can never affirm for sure "This has been done/thought/acted by Alex". The paradox is evident. Very confusing indeed when I try to think about it (this is why I don't try to think about it anymore).

Sometimes I just wait for the next thought to label it. It can happen than thoughts are sparse and some seconds pass waiting for the next one. During this time only body sensations are available and the general feeling is of pleasure. The increase of sensations is evident.

Going on with your "exercises".
Vielen Glück mit deinem Deutschen Dialekt!
Thank you! I need it all.
Have a nice day
Alessandro

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:00 pm

Hi Alex

Good to hear from you with the short update. Sounds good.

Yes, continue with those experiments, ....and looking into all the "decision-making" and "managing" things over these few days may give a great opportunity to find an "Alex" somewhere or other? Let me know what evidence is found.
Sometimes I just wait for the next thought to label it. It can happen than thoughts are sparse and some seconds pass waiting for the next one.
Great. Now that we are seeing thoughts as 'just thoughts', is there really any preference for less of them or more of them? If so, whose preference? Do thoughts prove a real 'Alex'? Certain traditions seem to seek less thoughts and more space between the thoughts, others seek more mindfulness etc etc, but although the feeling may be more peaceful, is there REALLY more of a 'me' in more thoughts than in less? Is there any 'me' in any of it really? ...something to consider through these days.

Cheers

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:29 pm

Hi Mark.

My self-appointed task today was to be "present" as much as possible when choosing, to check the mechanism.

While walking to the office I understood abruptly that there are really THOUSANDS of occasions to choose among possibilities during the day and almost all of them are automatic: where to put the foot, if to kick a stone, where to cross the road, if to jump over a puddle, to walk on left or right side of the road... My body knows how to behave and chooses completely without any conscious help.

Then out of the blue I choose to keep my breath as long as I can, just to show myself that Alex CAN ultimately choose to act in a way that is not foreseen.

And then, bang!, it was clear that the choice to keep the breath has been purely fictional: apparently Alex choose to keep the breath, but the real choice was done WELL BEFORE the beginning of the exercise arising from nowhere. Alex "took control" only later when the idea was already formed and ready to be used. The idea that Alex has been the chooser was completely wrong.
is there REALLY more of a 'me' in more thoughts than in less?
It looks like thoughts cannot change the "quantity of me". I can be more attentive or less, noting thoughts or being completely involved in them, but there is no difference in "quantity of me".
I have this image of a damaged Ferrari: a light scratch on the car body can capture the full attention of the driver that will be concentrated on that damned line on the paint, but it does nothing to reduce the power and the speed of the car.
Thoughts are like scratches that do really nothing to "me". They look like disturbances that make me forget that "I" am something a lot bigger than them... It is strange we give so much attention to normal disturbances in life, forgetting that there is a wonderful machine working inside our skin, able to perform feats a lot more impressive than thinking.

Mental, I know, but it what comes up, often out of the blue.
Going on.
Thank you very much for what you are doing!

Alex

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby ElPortal » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:00 pm

Hi Alex

Great! Another enjoyable read.

Don't forget to keep with those simple sensing exercises as often as they occur through the day.... dusting off the 'compass' of sensing and experiencing... giving it a more central place, listening to it a little more.

Great to see all those 'decisions' examined. Now you could even a little further and also ask, as you see more of them happening, is there even a clear distinction between the environmental factors (culture, weather, upbringing, education, other people etc etc) and 'this body'? Can you even say that any decision can be taken by this body alone, autonomously? Let me know if you can find one.

Re the thoughts: just like with the decisions, can you actually find a person there who is owning the thoughts? Or are there just the thoughts?
Thoughts are like scratches that do really nothing to "me". They look like disturbances that make me forget that "I" am something a lot bigger than them...
What are 'you' that is a lot bigger than thoughts? Tell me from your present experience.

Scratches presuppose that there IS a Ferrari. Thoughts suppose there IS a me. But where is that me? Do the thoughts PROVE a me? And if the thoughts are not me, why would there be any need to reduce them or improve them (maybe reduce brain ache)?

Cheers

Mark
"I": a simple case of mistaken identity.

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Re: In need of a "rough" guide

Postby nemecsek » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:07 pm

Dear Mark,
four deep questions today...
is there even a clear distinction between the environmental factors (culture, weather, upbringing, education, other people etc etc) and 'this body'?
No, I cannot see any difference. "This body" is a collection of memories. I come back to the first intellectual glimpse of it, even if now I can (sometimes) FEEL it: we are machines which act autonomously on senses according to memories. I would also add "and genetic stuff", but only because I learned it.
just like with the decisions, can you actually find a person there who is owning the thoughts? Or are there just the thoughts?
I would say that decisions are taken by "the body" and then claimed by the self which affirms "I was the chooser".
What appears to be a "decision" is really a label, not the decision itself who was taken before in some hidden place.
At the moment I cannot say if thoughts are useful for anything or if it would be the same to live without them. I feel life wouldn't change a bit removing thoughts completely. They look like a label attached by the mind on something already evaluated or acted upon. No owner is involved. Animals can live, they ARE life, and it is possible they have no notion of what a thought is.
What are 'you' that is a lot bigger than thoughts?
I am a very complex machine who can be alive (whatever it means) for decades in a very demanding variety of conditions. Thoughts are just clouds. They are the tip of an iceberg believing they can float at will, while they move according deep water currents. Alex is not bigger than thoughts. The body is.
Scratches presuppose that there IS a Ferrari. Thoughts suppose there IS a me. But where is that me? Do the thoughts PROVE a me? And if the thoughts are not me, why would there be any need to reduce them or improve them (maybe reduce brain ache)?
Too difficult and it is late :-) Please give me more time on this.

Thank you
Have a nice day
Alessandro


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