The time is now

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Megs Sconset
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The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:01 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?:
The sense of I is clinging tightly. I glimpse its absence and then the thought that I will be rejected by society--others--creeps in to reinforce the I's vulnerability. I can talk it, I can understand it, i can even love the absence of myself, but then there I am again.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?:
Not bliss everlasting. I would like to end my fruitless efforts at self improvement. I hope for freedom from warring selves. I'm waring of hoping, seems off track. May Truth reign.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?:
Varied and intermittent. I could list MANY well known teachers that I have listened to and read, sometimes in person, more often online. I have been teaching yoga for about a dozen years.

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what? On a scale from one to ten (ten being most ready). :
10

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:29 pm

Hi Megs (is it ok to call you that?)

Welcome to LU. I would be happy to assist you on your journey.
You need to understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it. Ultimately you will have to look and see for yourself the absence of a self.

Over here we use a technique called direct experience. There are raw experiences: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. There are sensations in the body (hunger, thirst, or pain). This is what we refer to as direct experience.

When you use the term "I" or "me", what do you mean by it?

During our convo if you have any questions, anything not crystal clear, feel free to ask. If I move too fast, or too slow, let me know. This is your journey so walk it at your own pace :)

Andrei

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Sat Aug 06, 2016 1:32 am

Thank you for your reply and guidance Andrei, and yes feel free to call me Megs. It's not my first name, so answering to it may be somehow useful.

When I use the term "I" or "me," I do it reflexively, without thinking what I mean by it. It is presumably referencing an entity of combinations, mostly (perhaps not strictly) a personality sum within the confines of this body. This "being" has memories of a past, tendencies, abilities or their lack, beliefs, attachments, habits, and preferences. Most or all of such attributes are subject to change--but the being, "I," who has them, may not be subject to change, though that doesn't seem clear currently. The term "I" comes up (in silent thought and/or speech) most often as a basis for judgement or comparison. For example "I" am smarter (or less smart than), "I" am fatter (or skinnier than) and a favorite, "I" am wiser (or more deluded than). Actually, while it does come up often in this way, as a separator or measuring mechanism, in all honesty it shows up in most thoughts, the vast majority really.

Is it the body? It seems to be within the body, but perhaps not strictly limited to it. It doesn't feel bound by the body in some dreams. But often it feels restricted by the body during waking hours.

When I think of certain emotions such as shame, embarrassment, or loss, it's seems they arise in connection to a self. It's not difficult to think of joy or sadness, or fear or love simply coursing in and out like irregular tides. But, with others like shame, how can it come to pass without a target self?

"I" could go on...

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:48 am

In order to find out what is true you need to discover and discard that which is false. It`s a technique that helps you understand the nature of something by finding out what that something is not. In advaita it`s called neti neti (neither this, nor that). I find it particularly useful when used with direct experience.
You start from a question like "what is the I" and then you dissect the answer, removing the layers of false to uncover the truth.
You said the I is a combination of: memories, beliefs, habits, the body, certain emotions, etc.
If it`s ok with you I could sum them up to just 3: thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Now the question is not whether these 3 things exist in real life but whether they are "yours".

Let`s start with thoughts. I want you to look and see if you can think and choose a thought or if they simply appear on your mind screen.

Second, I want you to check and see if the I-thought is just a regular thought that comes and says "I am doing this. It`s me, mee, meee" and hijacks the whole experience or whether the I-thought is something more than that.

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:50 pm

Neti neti resonates.

I want you to look and see if you can think and choose a thought or if they simply appear on your mind screen.
It seems both. Though thoughts arrive as if from nowhere or from I don't know where, there is an idea (another thought) that I have a choice about whether or not to "entertain" them. For Instance, I went to a memorial service (for a friend's mother, whom I'd not met) this morning and had many unpleasant thoughts. Lots of self-centered things came through, like no one would be able to say nice things about me if I died, and that I wouldn't be able to speak at my mother's service when she dies. Then as these ideas recurred and morphed, it seemed like I am to blame, at fault, for my feeling bad. Then this familiar thought: I feel bad about myself because I think these things. Or, my thoughts are my fault. Now the thought arrives that I am so full of ego. And then, wouldn't it be wondrous if I had no control over my thoughts, because then I wouldn't have to blame myself for them. Feels like a rabbit hole. Who's thought was that?

It brings me to where thoughts often do: Does free will exist? To any extent?
The idea that I do not believe in free will is a frequent and persistent topic of thought for me.


I want you to check and see if the I-thought is just a regular thought that comes and says "I am doing this. It`s me, mee, meee" and hijacks the whole experience or whether the I-thought is something more than that.
Yes but also yes. That regular hijacking thought claims the doings of this body, and with that considers itself The Chooser (I know, seems to claim the free will it says doesn't exist). Also, it's more, somehow it's a perspective; a unit of "from here." It's the thing that has always been as it is, me, the seer of all as other. Words falter here.

And what it isn't: "Thoughts, sensation, emotions." I see myself as "the haver" of thoughts, sensations, emotions. And I guess in the absence of thought the haver is the potential for having. Potential gets closer, an infinite aptitude, and yet there is nothing separate about that, no more mine than belonging to All.


UGH!

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:42 pm

It seems both. Though thoughts arrive as if from nowhere or from I don't know where, there is an idea (another thought) that I have a choice about whether or not to "entertain" them[...]
You said "it seems both" but you only gave me examples of when thoughts simply pop up on your mind screen. Do give me examples of when you actually think and choose thoughts yourself, and please explain how you do it.
What we do here is not a matter of "it seems", or "maybe", or "perhaps", but of looking and seeing WHAT IS.
So what I want you to do is to clear your mind of everything (funerals, faults, ego, etc.) and then simply create a thought.
If you can, great, but do tell me how. If you can`t, then you have no control over thoughts. Try to keep things simple. I want you to apply direct experience and not give me philosophical answers. The mind likes to create all sorts of scenarios and barriers and all this time you`re just walking in circles.
And what it isn't: "Thoughts, sensation, emotions." I see myself as "the haver" of thoughts, sensations, emotions. And I guess in the absence of thought the haver is the potential for having. Potential gets closer, an infinite aptitude, and yet there is nothing separate about that, no more mine than belonging to All.
I think my mind just committed suicide reading the last 2 paragraphs. I start to get what that "my mind is shitting bricks" meme was all about :D
It brings me to where thoughts often do: Does free will exist? To any extent?
The idea that I do not believe in free will is a frequent and persistent topic of thought for me.
Not sure if it`s a good idea starting on the free will just yet. If you like, try to apply neti neti and direct experience on it and see where it takes you.
Something like:
So free will... Q: What is it?... A: A concept... It speaks about one`s power over it`s destiny... Q:how does one have that power?... A: by thinking thoughts... Q: how does one think thoughts?... A: Uggghhh. They sort of appear... Q: if one has no power over his own thoughts how does one have free will?... A: Errrmmm... well...
And so on. Play with it if you like. But first you need to figure out the thoughts thingie.

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:23 am

Hi Andrei,

give me examples of when you actually think and choose thoughts yourself, and please explain how
If I choose to meditate with a mantra, is that not choosing the thought to think? I could choose a phrase such as "I am Love" to repeat rather than a mantra. Throughout repetition of this, other thoughts intrude intermittently. So the repetitive parts are voluntary and the intruding parts are simply appearing. [The thoughts that just appear are also often repetitive, such as "I'm doing this wrong."] Another example of choosing thoughts? If a stranger asks me for directions I can choose to recall a route and relay it or I can choose to say "I don't know," or something else. 'How" do I choose the voluntary thoughts? Currently, when I clear my mind to create a new thought, a thought arises prior to my creation of one. Meaning an involuntary reference appears before I can make one of my own choosing. Just because that is happening now, is not reason enough for me to conclude all thoughts are involuntary. I may have no control over thoughts (which is very appealing to me, actually), that is plausible. But just because involuntary thoughts precede other thoughts now, does not necessarily mean that they do so at all times under all circumstances. It may be true, but that just isn't sound reasoning to make such a leap.

Disclosure: I am very uncomfortable without prefaces like "it seems," "perhaps," and "maybe" because I don't have clarity about most of WHAT IS. If you asked me to tell you how I know I exist, I wouldn't be able to answer you with conviction. I am choosing to write without these qualifiers, but by omitting I do not convey my uncertainty.

I think you were joking when you said your mind committed suicide reading those 2 paragraphs, and I'm not familiar with the shitting bricks meme. I'm not trying to be humorless about all this, but I'm just not sure what you meant by that or if there is something for me to understand about that response? No need to pursue further if that gets us off track.

Also, It makes sense that it's too soon to start unraveling the topic of free will. I'd like more clarity about the thinking.

Thank you for sticking with this effort.

Sincerely, Megs Sconset

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:36 am

All right. Let`s get back to the difference between direct experience versus thinking because what you do is very little direct experience and a whole lot of thinking.
~~~~~~~~~~
There are raw experiences: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. There are sensations in the body (hunger, thirst, or pain). This is what we refer to as direct experience. This is the level of experience of cats, dogs, birds, and newborn babies. Then there are thoughts. Thoughts layer concepts over these raw experiences. A thought or concept or label is never the actual. Some thoughts point to the actual, and some point to other thoughts. This is the realm of make-believe. This is the realm of “I.” Is there an “I” in direct experience?

When you stay with your immediate, direct experience, you perceive only sights, sounds, smells, taste, sensations, thoughts, and emotions. None of those experiences belongs to you. They start belonging to you only when a “my” or “mine” arise.

You can sense the environment. You can sense aliveness. If you stop thinking, aliveness is still there. Being-ness is still there. We are talking about direct experience here. Don’t theorize. Look.

Stay with bare observation and what is actually seen. Really try to describe what that false sense of self is. Is it really false? Does it seem true? If this launches you into a present-moment investigation, go with it. Act like your own scientist. Verify whatever you can by observation.

~~~~~~~~~~
All of the above, and more, you can find in the Enlightening Quotes app which you can download and install from here: http://liberationunleashed.com/resource ... p/windows/ If you need more DE vs thinking examples just give it a go.

After reading the above can you now make the difference between direct experience and thinking?

Now, when I read your last 2 posts I can barely find any direct experience in there. It`s just thinking.
Andrei wrote:
give me examples of when you actually think and choose thoughts yourself, and please explain how
Here`s what I expected you to do from a DE perspective: you close your eyes (meditate, whatever) and watch your mind. Plenty of thoughts popping in and out of your mind screen, right? Nothing wrong there, that`s what the mind does, it thinks thoughts. All these thoughts however are not "yours". They were not created by you. They just appear out of nowhere. Then you have another thought (or a sensation, or a feeling) that those thoughts were yours and you say "I`m doing all the tinking". Wrong. You did not create those thoughts.

But how do you see that you do not create thoughts? Obviously, you try to create one. So I gave you the hint to empty your mind and try to think and choose a thought.
The reason I can`t explain you the entire process of creating thoughts is because there is none! One can not create thoughts. But you must not take for granted what I say and you must see for yourself. So apply DE (I hope by now it`s clear the difference between DE and thinking) and try to create a thought.
If I choose to meditate with a mantra, is that not choosing the thought to think?
How did you make that choice? Was it a thought in your head? Was it a movement towards it from inside of you? And if it was, what makes you think "you" did it?
See, you do a lot of "I did that", "I chose that", "I thought that" but when I ask you to explain how exactly you made the choice or created the thought you don`t know how. Saying "I made the choice" without actually seeing you made the choice is a belief, is a story you tell yourself.
Throughout repetition of this, other thoughts intrude intermittently. So the repetitive parts are voluntary and the intruding parts are simply appearing.
And how exactly did you decide that "you" create those repetitive thoughts? Because they repeat? And what makes you think you make them repeat and it`s not just the mind repeating itself? See, you take ownership of a lot of things without going into depth in which case it`s just a belief, a lie you tell yourself.

And that entire paragraph is an example of believing in stuff without having an actual proof.

Anyway, for now, leave free will and choices and all that and try to see the difference between direct experience and thinking. And then tell me who creates thoughts.

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:21 pm

I see the difference between direct experience and thinking. Recognizing that difference is nothing new. If I get still and quiet I notice that thoughts appear. NO problem there.

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:52 pm

I see the difference between direct experience and thinking. Recognizing that difference is nothing new. If I get still and quiet I notice that thoughts appear. NO problem there.
That`s not what I got from you yesterday:
If I choose to meditate with a mantra, is that not choosing the thought to think? I could choose a phrase such as "I am Love" to repeat rather than a mantra. Throughout repetition of this, other thoughts intrude intermittently. So the repetitive parts are voluntary and the intruding parts are simply appearing.
If there`s no problem maybe you can answer my question: Do you create any thoughts or not?

And then apply the same DE on free will and choices. Do you have any free will? Do you make any choices or choices simply happen?

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:43 am

If there`s no problem maybe you can answer my question: Do you create any thoughts or not?
Sure that's easy to answer honestly: I don't know. And I have looked and looked again to know. I know that when recently I have cleared my mind I've noticed thoughts appear. If from that I am to presume that all thoughts at all times are not created by me, that's a pretty big leap. Again, it may be true, but if every time I drive a car I don't get in an accident, that doesn't make me immune to car crashes. Did I create the answer to your question? I don't know. It makes sense to me, but so does the earth being round. I have no idea if it's round from direct experience.

On free will/ choices: I don't know. A hunch tells me, and has for decades, that there is no free will. I've never heard an argument that convinces me that free will does or doesn't exist, or that it does or doesn't to some degree. But my direct experience --right now-- of free will/choice is noticing whether I can change the speed at which my fingers hit the keys on this keyboard. Now quickly, now slowly. nnnnnooooowwwww very very s l o w l y. Did I do that? or Did that happen? It SEEMS (I know "seems" isn't direct-experience language) like I chose it, but that seeming may be conditioning, assuming, believing, or something other than what is. My direct experience was the change of speeds. Was that my will? Doubtful. Does that get me closer to realization? No. Or not that I can see.

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:47 am

Regarding my very recent reply, I must have used the quote function wrong because in the highlighted box of your words it starts with Megs Sconset wrote:

Oops!

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Sat Aug 13, 2016 10:33 am

Sure that's easy to answer honestly: I don't know. And I have looked and looked again to know. I know that when recently I have cleared my mind I've noticed thoughts appear. If from that I am to presume that all thoughts at all times are not created by me, that's a pretty big leap.
"Don`t know" is not necessarily a bad answer and definitely preferable to presuming anything.
However staying in the state of "don`t know" equals not moving forward. You don`t know if you think thoughts, if you feel feelings, if you have a self or not.
At least not knowing is better than being certain you think thoughts and have an I.

Let`s leave the thoughts for now and do something else. You never know how and when a shift can happen that can offer you an answer to other things as well, like thoughts or choices.

When I say "There is no you", is there any tension, any arising fear?

Is there an “I” in direct experience?

And, regarding choices, I have a little story to share. Some Danish or German scientists made this experiment. They connected this guy`s brain to a machine that showed his brain activity and then asked him a series of questions with yes or no answers and check with his brain scan. Then they started the tape with the questions. What they noticed was that the brain would show neurons firing together in the areas responsible with the chosen answers 6 seconds prior to the subject even seeing the actual question, let alone answering it.
I don`t recall the entire story but if it`s true then things like choices, free will, thoughts and all that are so predetermined we really have no say in it at all. It`s like we`re glued to a screen watching some old movie thinking it`s the present and all this time we don`t even have a remote to change the channel. Matrix basically.

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Megs Sconset
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Re: The time is now

Postby Megs Sconset » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:18 am

Hi Andrei,
When I say "There is no you", is there any tension, any arising fear?
No tension or fear arises. Some relief really. That is quickly followed by thoughts that birth a sense of doubt but the first experience is relief.
Is there an “I” in direct experience?
I've turned my attention to this repeatedly since I first read this question. So far what I see is absence of I in the barest beginning of DE. Then thoughts intrude, as if to explain the experience. The shift from "what is" to "what I think this is" is so immediate it's almost imperceptible.

About your "little story." I'm familiar with other similar versions of that story. The facts are compelling, the conclusions are plausible.


Thanks for your continued guidance.

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Andrei
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Re: The time is now

Postby Andrei » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:36 am

I've turned my attention to this repeatedly since I first read this question. So far what I see is absence of I in the barest beginning of DE. Then thoughts intrude, as if to explain the experience. The shift from "what is" to "what I think this is" is so immediate it's almost imperceptible.
Perfect. This is what I wanted you to type with your own fingers. This is the difference between direct experience and mind. There is no "I" in THAT WHICH IS. Then the thoughts start and the mind takes over, with it`s analysing, and fear, and doubts.

Now that you yourself so clearly stated the difference, I want you to go back to your last post, and apply it to what you said there...
Do you create any thoughts or not?
Sure that's easy to answer honestly: I don't know. And I have looked and looked again to know. I know that when recently I have cleared my mind I've noticed thoughts appear. If from that I am to presume that all thoughts at all times are not created by me, that's a pretty big leap.
When you clear your head you notice thoughts appear. Afterwards you start presuming, and doubting, and analysing, and all that. Your mind just took over. And your mind is simply NOT THAT WHICH IS, it`s a lie.

I don`t think it gets more clearer than that. So, leave the mind behind, stop analysing, fearing, doubting and answer me: Are your thoughts really yours? Can you think and choose a thought?
No tension or fear arises. Some relief really. That is quickly followed by thoughts that birth a sense of doubt but the first experience is relief.
Another perfect example about direct experience versus the mind. The mind is what keeps you trapped. You know it now. You can see.


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