Looking for a guide

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Anousha
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Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:31 pm

Hi,
I have been aware of this process for a while and feel that now is the time to engage in this process of enquiry.

Briefly, I have been meditating for many years, starting with Buddhist practises in my 20's and 30's. I now do more of a Just sitting and being with my experience kind of practise. For around 10 years I followed the teachings of Anadi and was able to rest for much of the time in what he called 'The state of presence'. This gave some relief from a lot of mind chatter and relief from the stories and self views. I also was able to rest in the heart and at times a deep sense of being and rest.

However in the last few years I took up teaching small children and experienced a combination of stress, anxiety and feeling low and just coped day to day with not feeling very safe in the school environment.

I love engaging in enquiry with another's presence using Yoga Nidra's dyad work, focussing and compassionate communication. Just being present to myself in the presence of another can feel very freeing. Over the years I have been inspired by John de Ruiter, Byron Katie, Anadi and Amma. Over the next couple of days I have the good fortune to be in the presence of Amma as she comes to London on her annual tour.

If you would like to be my guide please get in touch.

With blessings Anousha

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:10 pm

Hi Anousha,

Thanks for letting me know a bit about yourself and how you've arrived at this point. My name's Pete and I live in Somerset. I guess from what you say that you're in the UK too?

Here are a few standard ground rules before we start:

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

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

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

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

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tabsting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://liberationunleashed.com/articles ... xperience/ for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

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

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

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

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

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. I know you've already answered some of these, but please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

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

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

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

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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

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Anousha
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:24 pm

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Can you tell me why it is a good idea to know the quote function? Thanks for explaining the process.

Here are some immediate answers to your questions. I am sure I could say more but this is what was present today when I wrote!

What are your expectations for this process?

That I can allow myself to feel freer and more open to the space behind the stories and views. Engaging in a daily dialogue will help me (yes, that is a word that could usefully be in a quotation marks) to hang more loosely to whatever arises and to be present to myself in a less contracted and habitual way.

What is it that you are searching for?

A natural state that is already there and to allow myself to speak/do/be from that space

How will you know that you found it?

There will be thoughts, feelings and so on - the personality may well still be present and in addition a holding off all that in a bigger less definable perspective

How will this feel?
Free, open and heart centered

How will this change you?
Well it won’t change my personality or probably a lot of the habits that I have around the strategies I employ to operate in daily life. But I will have a knowing of a perspective that feels more true, timeless and non judging

Looking forward to hearing from you

Anousha x

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:30 pm

Hi Anousha,
Can you tell me why it is a good idea to know the quote function? Thanks for explaining the process.
As you can see, it simply highlights the part of the post that's being replied to. It just makes it easier, for both me as the guide and you as the client, to see what's going on, particularly when longer or more complicated posts are in point. But, if for some reason, you can't or don't want to use the quote function, so long as you use a method that clearly discriminates between parts of respective posts, that's fine. It's no big deal.

Please confirm that you've seen the various clips and agree the disclaimer.
What are your expectations for this process?
That I can allow myself to feel freer and more open to the space behind the stories and views. Engaging in a daily dialogue will help me (yes, that is a word that could usefully be in a quotation marks) to hang more loosely to whatever arises and to be present to myself in a less contracted and habitual way.
How will this change you?
Well it won’t change my personality or probably a lot of the habits that I have around the strategies I employ to operate in daily life. But I will have a knowing of a perspective that feels more true, timeless and non judging
Thanks for sharing your expectations (part of which I've quoted above), which are more realistic than many, and your understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might and might not be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's very helpful if you can put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

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


And next:

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

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


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

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Anousha
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Thu Oct 30, 2014 10:18 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have seen the clips and read the disclaimer.
Nothing exists outside the present moment
Well my mind is happy with this story and I can 'use' this to feel better about what apparently happened just now or might happen later today or next week. In this moment especially when life feels burdened I love love using this present moment to speculate about the future.

I do recognise that a lot of, ok all, of the past as it exists in my head is a story that is not fixed and I can change and shift and play with to suit my purpose at the time.

There are the 'in the flow times' and being present times when that is all there is and in that however it is I feel real, present and connected. But I love to worry and the worry in this present moment is because at a deep level there is a fear around the immediate and distant future which may or may not arise.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
NO.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ 'me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
She is me. A sense of me that has always been present. This 'self' has a personality, views, and beliefs about self and other that loves to create stories and loves to search and look for things that will transform her and make her happy, contented and live a life with meaning and fulfilment. She loves to worry and gets anxious. She loves to rule the roost and take up all the head space. She has ideas and makes decisions and she is at the steering wheel choosing which turns to take.

But because I think she is REAL and solid and I let her rule the roost she does and this causes me pain and suffering. I want to surrender her and see through her but a lot of the time she feels the most real thing there is!
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
When I am in the flow of experiencing she is not there. She tries to interupt and get a foot in the door. But there just is
this now which I cannot fix or define.

That's it for now.
Speak soon
Anousha x

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:30 pm

Hi Anousha,
I do recognise that a lot of, ok all, of the past as it exists in my head is a story that is not fixed and I can change and shift and play with to suit my purpose at the time.
It's good that you can see that.
There are the 'in the flow times' and being present times when that is all there is and in that however it is I feel real, present and connected. But I love to worry and the worry in this present moment is because at a deep level there is a fear around the immediate and distant future which may or may not arise.
That's a good point about fear - which, although undeniably unpleasant, is really just a combination of thoughts and bodily sensations, only ever happening in the present.

Can you find a 'future', immediate or distant, in direct experience?
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does (exist outside the present moment)?
NO.
Splendid!
But because I think she is REAL and solid and I let her rule the roost she does and this causes me pain and suffering. I want to surrender her and see through her but a lot of the time she feels the most real thing there is!
A succinct description of how that is, but can you find this 'she', this separate self, anywhere, apart from as a thought? If you can, please describe it and say where it is to be found.
When I am in the flow of experiencing she is not there. She tries to interrupt and get a foot in the door. But there just is this now which I cannot fix or define.
It's clear to me that you're already pretty familiar with this 'territory' and that, as far as it goes, you've got a good handle on it. My job as your guide during this enquiry will be simply to point out to you where and how to look in direct experience so that you can see for sure for yourself whether there's a separate self-entity anywhere doing or being anything. I really like to maintain a specific skeleton structure to this process, which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area within experience where a separate self might be found.

As you'll have seen, the initial questions point you towards looking into 'your' direct experience, which is, as I say, where I'll be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the useful article on direct experience in the introductory post, and you might want to have another look at that.

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

So, let's start at last investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:

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

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

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


Pete x

Ps. Just so you know, I tend to post once a day, round about the time I'll send this, mid to late afternoon. But sometimes earlier, sometimes more than once. So, it's far from written in stone :-)
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Anousha
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:41 pm

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your response.
A succinct description of how that is, but can you find this 'she', this separate self, anywhere, apart from as a thought? If you can, please describe it and say where it is to be found.
Yes, the separate self is only found as a thought but some thoughts run deep and go way way back and because they seem to be consistent (unlike a lot of passing experience) it is so easy to believe them. I guess they give me a consistency and continuity even though it does tend to separate into rather boring and familiar views of myself in the good/bad continuum. Especially when they are triggered by fear or an outside event that seems to prove them!! So although that aliveness is present and the senses and just being here right now can feel what is real it gets interrupted by these felt thoughts - often not even really articulated but a familiar feeling/thought.
which then allows us to explore much more loosely within each and every area within experience where a separate self might be found.
When I wake up in the last few days I have had sensations in my belly/solar plexus. The story I tell myself when I sense this in my belly is that I am anxious or fearful about the day and that I shouldn't think/feel this. This sensation which is familiar on waking makes me think I am anxious and fearful of life. I then feel I have found myself each day.The thought is that I want to get rid of this sensation and just stay open to life. It is not the whole of my waking experience but it is one I get triggered into a familiar story by. And because it has been a regularly occuring sensory experience I attach it to a sense of self. But then it disappears!! So its not a permanent fixture.
actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience.
When I stop to investigate all experience becomes hard to pin down and I can open to that aliveness of being and presence. But what about in the moments when 'Life', people, situations take a certain shape and it is in those reactive moments that a fixed view of myself beams full and strong.
unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being)
Yes - a great description!

investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer:
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
Not especially in the moment. But I can follow up with a view/opinion/comparison about the tree which takes me out of just seeing. And who has this habit of following up with these opinions, thoughts feelings etc?
If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
Or even if there isn't an 'I' where are the boundaries or does the question no longer need to be asked? I guess the boundary at some level seems located in or around my head! The location of the seer in the eyes and a bit of my brain that interprets what I see and doesn't really want to just stay with what is seen but wants to make something of it.
Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
'In the heard only the heard'. If I kinda sense the outside world from the back of my head rather than the front it is easier just to let it all be.

That's it for now. Happy Halloween

Anousha

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:35 pm

Hi Anousha,
Yes, the separate self is only found as a thought but some thoughts run deep and go way way back and because they seem to be consistent (unlike a lot of passing experience) it is so easy to believe them. I guess they give me a consistency and continuity even though it does tend to separate into rather boring and familiar views of myself in the good/bad continuum. Especially when they are triggered by fear or an outside event that seems to prove them!! So although that aliveness is present and the senses and just being here right now can feel what is real it gets interrupted by these felt thoughts - often not even really articulated but a familiar feeling/thought.
Yes, thoughts continually 'interrupt' what we simply see, hear, touch, taste and smell. There's nothing wrong with thoughts. They just arise, abide a while and pass away. Thoughts are great for planning, analysis etc. But they're no use when it comes to this, here, now. They have no referents and don't tell us anything true.

When you say, 'I guess they give me a consistency and continuity', what do you mean by the 'me' that you say thoughts give these qualities to? Can you find it, or is that just another thought (about thoughts)?
It is not the whole of my waking experience but it is one I get triggered into a familiar story by. And because it has been a regularly occurring sensory experience I attach it to a sense of self. But then it disappears!! So its not a permanent fixture.
It's good that you refer to and can see that this is just a story, albeit a seductive and seemingly convincing one. Can you see that it's this habitual long-running thread that gives it its seductive power. And then it undermines all this by disappearing!
When I stop to investigate all experience becomes hard to pin down and I can open to that aliveness of being and presence. But what about in the moments when 'Life', people, situations take a certain shape and it is in those reactive moments that a fixed view of myself beams full and strong.
It's a common experience that, when the going gets tough, the illusion of a separate self seems at its strongest and most potent. Perhaps it's something to do with an evolutionary development to aid survival. Anyway, it doesn't make the separate self anymore real, just harder to remember to look and see that it's not there, or anywhere. As seeing through the illusion becomes more integrated, that gets easier.
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
Not especially in the moment. But I can follow up with a view/opinion/comparison about the tree which takes me out of just seeing. And who has this habit of following up with these opinions, thoughts feelings etc?
Thoughts will always follow up, claiming credit/ownership for the self for what's already happened. No worries, we'll move on to looking at thoughts and thinking after we've finished investigating these sense arisings.

But first, I need you to tell me, not at all from what thinking is saying, but solely from looking in 'your' direct experience, when looking at a tree, an orange, out of the window or whatever, can you find a 'you', a self-entity, present actually doing the seeing? If so, tell me what it looks like and how it does it.

Please do the same with each of the other four senses and let me know whether you can find an experiencer, or is there just hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, as well just seeing.

Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.

'In the heard only the heard'.
Good quote, from the Bahiya Sutta, where the Buddha said to Bahiya:

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

I'm enjoying this and it's going well Anousha. How is it for you so far?

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

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Anousha
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:45 pm

When you say, 'I guess they give me a consistency and continuity', what do you mean by the 'me' that you say thoughts give these qualities to? Can you find it, or is that just another thought (about thoughts)?
Yes, it is another thought about thoughts and so it goes on! I guess what I am saying is a yearning for some consistency and continuity in my experience is what I am looking for. And this infernal 'I' appears, changes and disappears so actually no consistency at all despite my best thoughts!
Can you see that it's this habitual long-running thread that gives it its seductive power. And then it undermines all this by disappearing!
That is really helpful! Yes and to pay attention to the disappearing and what is there instead. Just being, just alive and present. The disappearing is real presence.
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?
When I look at my keyboard now there is just seeing.And the seeing is not looking for anything it just is.


But first, I need you to tell me, not at all from what thinking is saying, but solely from looking in 'your' direct experience, when looking at a tree, an orange, out of the window or whatever, can you find a 'you', a self-entity, present actually doing the seeing? If so, tell me what it looks like and how it does it.
No not in the moment of just looking there is no 'me'. Well other than a generalised sense of me - a presence of myself which is not particularly personal or characterised by anything. The senses do their thing without any 'me' needing to turn anything on to sense. Senses just sense. mmm but I think I am more than the senses - there is a life energy in this body that is in everything. When I hear or listen it can be selective!! Hearing what I want to hear and missing the rest! Seeing what I choose to see and missing other details. Smell that stops smelling when the source has been present for a while. Touch that only realises what the touch is when awareness is present.
Please do the same with each of the other four senses and let me know whether you can find an experiencer, or is there just hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, as well just seeing.
See above.

Mmmm is there an experiencer? well there is this body which receives sensory impressions - which enter the sensory doorways and get brain interpreted prior to thought and often no thought.
Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.
Well I see the object as out there and my senses as being a result of being in this body with hands and eyes and nose and tongue. My eyes see and my brain says the computer screen is outside me and 18 inches in front of my face.


Yes I am enjoying this process and letting it seep into everyday life. Its like I am on my case more exploring what is present and what is absent.

Best wishes

Anousha

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:43 pm

Hi Anousha,
Yes, it is another thought about thoughts and so it goes on! I guess what I am saying is a yearning for some consistency and continuity in my experience is what I am looking for. And this infernal 'I' appears, changes and disappears so actually no consistency at all despite my best thoughts!
As you say, so it goes on. And can you see that that this 'yearning' is just more thoughts, mixed with sensations?
That is really helpful! Yes and to pay attention to the disappearing and what is there instead. Just being, just alive and present. The disappearing is real presence
Excellent. Yes, presence, awareness. Present awareness!
When I look at my keyboard now there is just seeing.And the seeing is not looking for anything it just is... No not in the moment of just looking there is no 'me'. Well other than a generalised sense of me - a presence of myself which is not particularly personal or characterised by anything. The senses do their thing without any 'me' needing to turn anything on to sense. Senses just sense. mmm but I think I am more than the senses - there is a life energy in this body that is in everything. When I hear or listen it can be selective!! Hearing what I want to hear and missing the rest! Seeing what I choose to see and missing other details. Smell that stops smelling when the source has been present for a while. Touch that only realises what the touch is when awareness is present.
That's splendid Anousha. As you can see, there's just life, living itself. Presence, awareness.

But when you say, hearing what I want to hear and seeing what I choose to see, can you see that there's really just no 'you' doing this wanting and choosing, no 'I', just more thoughts telling 'you' this?
Mmmm is there an experiencer? well there is this body which receives sensory impressions - which enter the sensory doorways and get brain interpreted prior to thought and often no thought.
However, is even this evident in direct experience? Ignoring labels that thought places on experience, can you actually find either 'this body', or a 'brain' when you look at 'your' direct experience?
Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.
Well I see the object as out there and my senses as being a result of being in this body with hands and eyes and nose and tongue. My eyes see and my brain says the computer screen is outside me and 18 inches in front of my face.
Yes, but again, aren't these all just labels applied by thoughts, by the mind, splitting experience off so that there is the separate self i.e. the seer 'in here' and the world, 'out there'? You've already said that you can't find a seer in direct experience, only seeing, so you've seen that there's no boundary between seer and 'the process of seeing'. Equally, looking solely at your experience, not thoughts, can you find any separation between seeing and that which is seen? Same goes for the other senses. Can you find any 'inside' or 'outside'?

Lovely stuff, and a good time to move on to looking at whether any self-entity can be found in thoughts and thinking.

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

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

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

Can a thought think?


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

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Anousha
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby Anousha » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:05 pm

But when you say, hearing what I want to hear and seeing what I choose to see, can you see that there's really just no 'you' doing this wanting and choosing, no 'I', just more thoughts telling 'you' this?
Uggh just had that horrible experience where a whole response to you has just disappeared!! So now have copied to another document. Yikes!

There is no volition to hear and see selectively. It seems to just happen. There is no conscious volition or choice. It all appears.
However, is even this evident in direct experience? Ignoring labels that thought places on experience, can you actually find either 'this body', or a 'brain' when you look at 'your' direct experience?
Also can you find any separation/distinction between seeing and the the object that's been seen? The same goes for hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.
My fixed view is that there is an inside and outside. But when I investigate and sit with my eyes shut the boundaries seem very fluid and interconnected. My awareness can seem to expand into what is around me. My sense of I or Me does not stop at the surface of my skin. Or My sense of me can feel very contracted and I notice that my sense of me may just be contracted around unpleasent sensations in the solar plexus. All very fluid and un pin downable! Nothing fixed! Despite my fixation!

Yes, but again, aren't these all just labels applied by thoughts, by the mind, splitting experience off so that there is the separate self i.e. the seer 'in here' and the world, 'out there'? You've already said that you can't find a seer in direct experience, only seeing, so you've seen that there's no boundary between seer and 'the process of seeing'. Equally, looking solely at your experience, not thoughts, can you find any separation between seeing and that which is seen? Same goes for the other senses. Can you find any 'inside' or 'outside'?
Not really only the thoughts that label. It is a way that I can order and seem to make sense of my experience but it is not how it is.

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

Where do thoughts come from?
A space inside my head. A constant trickling fountain of bubbling thoughts that come and go. Or big thoughts that get latched onto and seem pretty loud and insistent clamouring for attention.
Are you in control of them?
I wish and I do try!!
Can you stop a thought from coming?
No!
Can you stop it in the middle?
No but it may not finish itself.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No. However I can redirect my thoughts if they are going in a direction that gives me discomfort. If I move my body or talk to someone I can shift the flavour of my thinking and turn it in another direction. There appears to be a little bit of control. When simply resting in awareness and presence and the thoughts disappear or go into the background.
Is 'I' a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
mmm Interesting! 'I', as a thought can seem a lot more interesting than a table to think about. It is probably a lot less solid, definable or useful than a table! I get a lot more trouble and suffering from the thoughts surrounding 'I' than I do a table.
Can a thought think?

mmmm no but it can proliferate.

Well that's it for now. Anousha x

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:49 pm

Hi Anousha,
Uggh just had that horrible experience where a whole response to you has just disappeared!! So now have copied to another document. Yikes!
Yeah, that still happens to me sometimes. Really irritating isn't it? I usually work in a separate Notes app and copy and paste over when finished. But not always ...
There is no volition to hear and see selectively. It seems to just happen. There is no conscious volition or choice. It all appears.
'It all appears' sums it up perfectly.
My fixed view is that there is an inside and outside. But when I investigate and sit with my eyes shut the boundaries seem very fluid and interconnected. My awareness can seem to expand into what is around me. My sense of I or Me does not stop at the surface of my skin. Or My sense of me can feel very contracted and I notice that my sense of me may just be contracted around unpleasent sensations in the solar plexus. All very fluid and un pin downable! Nothing fixed! Despite my fixation!
As you say, it's just a fixed view, nothing more.

I can see what you mean when you refer to awareness, but can you see that there's nothing that makes it my awareness, rather than just awareness. It' cannot be personal or owned. Also, you then refer to My sense of I or Me rather than awareness. Can you a bit more about what you mean by that? How is this sense experienced? Can you find it in direct experience?
... looking solely at your experience, not thoughts, can you find any separation between seeing and that which is seen? Same goes for the other senses. Can you find any 'inside' or 'outside'?
Not really, only the thoughts that label. It is a way that I can order and seem to make sense of my experience but it is not how it is.
Absolutely. It's what we all do. It's being aware of doing that that makes the difference.

Your answers to the exercises on thinking show that you can see that they just come and go, as objects arising without any agency or entity present or doing anything. Just a couple of points to make sure that this is absolutely clear:
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No. However I can redirect my thoughts if they are going in a direction that gives me discomfort. If I move my body or talk to someone I can shift the flavour of my thinking and turn it in another direction. There appears to be a little bit of control. When simply resting in awareness and presence and the thoughts disappear or go into the background.
Given your earlier answers, it's interesting that you say I can redirect my thoughts if they are going in a direction that gives me discomfort and I can shift the flavour of my thinking and turn it in another direction. That indicates to me that you do think that there's a separate self somewhere 'inside your body' exercising choice and control. How do you know that? Is this entity, or is this process, evident in direct experience? If so, please describe it and explain what it does and how it functions. Or are these just more thoughts about thoughts, telling you that you've redirected, or shifted the flavour of, other, earlier thoughts?
mmm Interesting! 'I', as a thought can seem a lot more interesting than a table to think about. It is probably a lot less solid, definable or useful than a table! I get a lot more trouble and suffering from the thoughts surrounding 'I' than I do a table.
I know exactly what you mean. But can you see that in both cases, they're just thoughts, not the objects they purport to refer to. However, in the case of the table-thought, conventionally speaking at least, the thought is referring to an object, whereas an I-thought isn't and can't, because there is no 'I' to refer to in the first place?

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

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Anousha
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Ground control

Postby Anousha » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:38 pm

Hi Pete,

However I can redirect my thoughts if they are going in a direction that gives me discomfort. If I move my body or talk to someone I can shift the flavour of my thinking and turn it in another direction. There appears to be a little bit of control. When simply resting in awareness and presence and the thoughts disappear or go into the background.

Given your earlier answers, it's interesting that you say I can redirect my thoughts if they are going in a direction that gives me discomfort and I can shift the flavour of my thinking and turn it in another direction. That indicates to me that you do think that there's a separate self somewhere 'inside your body' exercising choice and control. How do you know that? Is this entity, or is this process, evident in direct experience? If so, please describe it and explain what it does and how it functions. Or are these just more thoughts about thoughts, telling you that you've redirected, or shifted the flavour of, other, earlier thoughts?
Yes, I reckon at some level I do have the thought that there is some kind of control centre that has volition/will and can direct my actions, influence my behaviour and maybe even ‘guide’ my body/mind in this life. This is both a comforting and discomforting thought! In my direct experience there appears to be a flow of being and doing, a lot of which I can label as familiar or habitual - that’s what my thoughts say and along with it judgment and opinions about Anousha and others. If we all did have a fixed self then we could set clear intentions and stick with them, follow through and not mess up time and time again!!

I am not so bothered about arguments which talk about if we didn’t have a fixed self then we wouldn’t be able to take personal responsibility. What is that in direct experience?

When I ‘sit back’ and let this body/mind/being do its thing (including thoughts) all is well and life does not go down the pan!! When I spoke to a neighbour today I sat back and was present. Then I had the thought that I was sitting back and being present. But it is a split second and hard to see which came first. This consciousness still makes choices. And then there is also choiceless awareness - a being present that I feel now.

Talking about these matters every day does shift my experience moment to moment in the rest of the day. And that is just a thought. I am sitting back on myself - a bit more of a relaxed kind of presence noticing the triggering that happens when my partner gets frustrated and expresses that around his new job. Less caught up in a very intimate way with all that is happening moment by moment. Phew!

of the table-thought, conventionally speaking at least, the thought is referring to an object, whereas an I-thought isn't and can't, because there is no 'I' to refer to in the first place?
Do you find that you give fewer personal opinions around what you think and believe? Less of an inclination to bother to give passing information?
Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this
Love it!

That's it for now

warm wishes

Anousha

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Anousha
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Whose awareness anyway?

Postby Anousha » Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:45 pm

Hi Pete,

And another thing!
I can see what you mean when you refer to awareness, but can you see that there's nothing that makes it my awareness, rather than just awareness. It' cannot be personal or owned. Also, you then refer to My sense of I or Me rather than awareness. Can you a bit more about what you mean by that? How is this sense experienced? Can you find it in direct experience?
mmmm I can feel a sticking point! I do want awareness to be mine! But with that contracted view I slip into judgements about being aware/not aware - limited contracted judgements and awareness is expanded and expansive. I can see that qualities/apparent experiences like love and wisdom = when I am in touch with those qualities I am happy for them not to be 'mine', but a partaking in a universal love and wisdom that is always present. In awareness there is an opening to life that is all pervading. mmmm so yes, Presence, being presence. 'Love is all around'.

Bye Anousha

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moondog
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Re: Looking for a guide

Postby moondog » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:41 pm

Hi Anousha,
Yes, I reckon at some level I do have the thought that there is some kind of control centre that has volition/will and can direct my actions, influence my behaviour and maybe even ‘guide’ my body/mind in this life. This is both a comforting and discomforting thought! In my direct experience there appears to be a flow of being and doing, a lot of which I can label as familiar or habitual - that’s what my thoughts say and along with it judgment and opinions about Anousha and others.
Thanks for clarifying that Anousha. Makes sense to me now.
If we all did have a fixed self then we could set clear intentions and stick with them, follow through and not mess up time and time again!! ...
I am not so bothered about arguments which talk about if we didn’t have a fixed self then we wouldn’t be able to take personal responsibility. What is that in direct experience?
You're right and, what's more, we have each never had a separate self. Until the illusion is seen through, we just think we have. But, whether seen through as mere illusion or not, without this imaginary self, life has just gone on as it always does, living itself. As you go on to say:
When I ‘sit back’ and let this body/mind/being do its thing (including thoughts) all is well and life does not go down the pan!! When I spoke to a neighbour today I sat back and was present. Then I had the thought that I was sitting back and being present. But it is a split second and hard to see which came first. This consciousness still makes choices. And then there is also choiceless awareness - a being present that I feel now.
Do you find that you give fewer personal opinions around what you think and believe? Less of an inclination to bother to give passing information?
Yes, what I once saw as being objectively real and true is now seen to be not so. That's very freeing.
I do want awareness to be mine! But with that contracted view I slip into judgements about being aware/not aware - limited contracted judgements and awareness is expanded and expansive. I can see that qualities/apparent experiences like love and wisdom = when I am in touch with those qualities I am happy for them not to be 'mine', but a partaking in a universal love and wisdom that is always present. In awareness there is an opening to life that is all pervading. mmmm so yes, Presence, being presence. 'Love is all around'.
Quite so, so long as 'you' can see thoughts for what they are, impersonal arsings with no possible referents, there can literally be no problem.

So that was great. Thoughts dealt with :) Let's now move on to looking at actions, doing and controlling.

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

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

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


Nice work Anousha.

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


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