Riding the Ox

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Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:49 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
I have read the book and several forum posts. I've been seeking most of my life (the past 28 years). Never been able to make the breakthrough to be free of the illusion of self. Some progress I suppose but I'm still deluded.

I was delighted to read Gateless Gatecrashers and see how a guide can help one drop their own delusions and see the truth.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?

The term "Enlightenment" or "Awakening" has become so glamorised in my mind that I believe I am getting in my own way. I can intellectually get that awakening is to realise the delusion that I live inside, and I can occasionally do this. However it does not stick. I still believe in my self as a separate agency which has the ability to exert influence and control over the world and to create it's own life. It seems that I am not quite able to see through the veils of illusion and to drop them completely - I'm stuck!

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?
28 years of various forms of seeking. A lot of reading and introspection and meditation. I became drawn towards zen and advaita as I found everything else too "fluffy" and full of distraction. I've looked into the pointing of Ramana, Nisargadatta, Poonjaji, Mooji, Adyashanti, Fred Davis, Jed McKenna, Rupert Spira and others.

I'm pretty tired of seeking actually and want this to end.

How ready are you to question your beliefs about who you are and see the truth no matter what?
10
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:14 pm

Dear Bodhi,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed and thank you for the kind introduction.

I'm a guide here and happy to walk along together, see what's to be seen.

If you're ok with that, let me know, and we'll make a start.

With kind thanks,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:23 pm

Hey John.

It's great to meet you and my gratitude to you in advance for your time and effort in being my guide. Please call me Bud.

I'm good to begin as soon as you are, thanks.

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:07 pm

Hi Bud,

Lovely to meet you too. :)

First of all, you mention a separate agency, good. Do you have a strong sense of myself?

If so, that's excellent.

I want you to address this separate agency as follows:

"Dear myself, thus far you have run the whole show, but as you may know, I'm not too happy with this state of affairs, and haven't been for a long time. But still, you have continued to rule the throne, with my tacit agreement. This is coming to an end. Don't worry, I'm not going to throw you out. Only to see what you are made of. So relax. All is well."

And share what shows up.

With kind thanks,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:24 pm

Hey John - great! Let's get going!!
First of all, you mention a separate agency, good. Do you have a strong sense of myself?
Yes, there is a strong sense that I am the master of my life and my destiny. That I am in charge, that I have control. I have tended in the past to rely on my self will to the extent that I nearly ruined my life and my family - there was lots of financial and emotional damage. About two years ago, I went through a serious overhaul of my values and beliefs, and my spiritual search intensified thereafter. In short, I am strongly run by ego, though there has been some relaxation of this over the last two years. Some light is finally peering in through the curtains!

There is something that “senses” that my self reliance is smoke and mirrors -that I am fooling myself. However, I have not been able to isolate this sense and imbibe it. I guess that is why I am here :)
I want you to address this separate agency as follows:

"Dear myself, thus far you have run the whole show, but as you may know, I'm not too happy with this state of affairs, and haven't been for a long time. But still, you have continued to rule the throne, with my tacit agreement. This is coming to an end. Don't worry, I'm not going to throw you out. Only to see what you are made of. So relax. All is well."

And share what shows up.
I like the term “tacit agreement” - it says a lot.

When I internalise this statement, there is a feeling of resistance, some apprehension and anxiety. No real thoughts come up, except for some confusion - who is telling who that they have run the show? It’s like some gears grind against each other and get stuck - “internal server error - does not compute”.

The first part of the statement causes some tension, and the latter part releases some of that. When I say “So relax. All is well” - there is definitely a sense of relaxation and acceptance.
This is coming to an end
This causes a bit of jarring - like a gong being struck unexpectedly and my alertness increases on stating this.

I guess there are mixed feelings coming up - some fear, some tension and also some relief.

I hope there's enough detail in the response, do let me know if you need more - looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:11 am

Hi Bud,

This is coming to an end
This causes a bit of jarring - like a gong being struck unexpectedly and my alertness increases on stating this.
If you weren't somewhat concerned, I'd be.

What keeps folk seeking for decades is they don't quite grasp (don't want to grasp) that the 'self' really is who they think they are. Of course, we all want to have our cake and eat it. To be the enlightened one. :)
...who is telling who that they have run the show?
And this is a great point, which points to the biggest fallacy of all, that we are obsessed with seeing this in terms of WHO.

We have one 'who' that we know well, and if that goes, WHO replaces - and WHO is running the show now?
We feel that without being a 'who' in terms that we understand, then there will be no-one in charge. And then what?

Troubling isn't it.

But it presumes that the 'who' we have placed such faith in :) IS what it says on the tin.

Let's explore this 'who', or to use your term, 'this ego' - for this ego/persona is PRECISELY the target for our inquiry.

First of all, assuming that the ego inhabits the body, which parts of the body can you rule out as being Ego HQ?

For example, are YOU in the left little toe nail? A strand of hair, a piece of snot? Are YOU inside a knee cap, an ear, the back of the neck? Where do YOU reside most - does it feel/seem?

Thank you,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:53 am

Hi John

Thanks for your response.
Of course, we all want to have our cake and eat it. To be the enlightened one. :)
Yes - for many years I thought enlightenment would be something to add to myself. To be a shiny addition to my array of spiritual medals - all of which I had ceremoniously given myself of course. Even though I have conceptually “got it” for a long time - that enlightenment is the dropping of illusion of a separate self - my approach has been to “acquire the prize of enlightenment”. It is an “addition” rather than a “realisation”.
We feel that without being a 'who' in terms that we understand, then there will be no-one in charge. And then what?
I think this is the crux of it right here, there is resistance to these words. It feels like I am handing over the steering wheel to an invisible person. Then what? Crash and burn? Disaster and mayhem? Peace and bliss? Truth and clarity? Who knows? I certainly don’t. I don’t even know who the f%$k I am.
But it presumes that the 'who' we have placed such faith in :) IS what it says on the tin.
Yes - the “who” I have placed faith in is my ego, which tells me that it is in charge.
Let's explore this 'who', or to use your term, 'this ego' - for this ego/persona is PRECISELY the target for our inquiry.

First of all, assuming that the ego inhabits the body, which parts of the body can you rule out as being Ego HQ?

For example, are YOU in the left little toe nail? A strand of hair, a piece of snot? Are YOU inside a knee cap, an ear, the back of the neck? Where do YOU reside most - does it feel/seem?
Ha ha! I’ll never find the ego or the evidence of the ego this way since the ego (which claims to be me) does not have physical reality. I can cut off most of my body and still be “me”.

I wish it resided in a piece of snot as you said because then I could easily discard it :)

Where I feel the ego resides (the “me”) is mostly between my eyes. It is a voice in my head that incessantly talks to me in the form of thinking and self-talk. It seems to reside behind my eyes. It colours everything I see with labelling, judgement and opinion.

This is an analogy that came to me, apologies in advance if this is just a bunch of theorising:

The ego feels to me like a game of snooker. In physical reality there are balls on a table, chalk, cues, extended cue supports, a score board and two people walking around the table knocking the white ball into the others. So there is a bunch of motion which we can watch and in physical reality all that is available are some bodies, balls, table, sticks etc. The “game” that is being played is nowhere to be found physically. However, the game is what feels real and is made possible by all the physical objects in motion and the forces being applied.

If we freeze frame, we cannot find the game anywhere. If we look at any individual object we will not find the game in it. We can examine any of the parts but not find a game anywhere.

The game only comes into reality at a conceptual level.

This “me”, this “ego” seems also to be a resultant conceptual effect of the movement of life through the physical system that is my body. I know that I can’t find it anywhere within me - physically. I have looked many times and laughed in amazement that I don’t know who I am, where I am or what I am.

Somehow I know I am. I can't say I know "who" I am , just that "I am".

And somehow the me "I think I am" (call it ego,persona or whatever) feels disingenuous - not the genuine article. It’s a poor counterfeit of the real me. But I can’t see the real me!

For some reason, I cannot believe that the real me is me.

You know John, this feels like one of those crossword puzzles where you have a sense you know the answer, yet you can't get it, nor can you stop yourself from obsessing over it - it's like an endless search in the dark without a torch.

Enough rambling, over to you.

Thanks for listening/reading and caring

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:14 am

Hi Bud,

Thanks for the response - all good stuff.

Let's explore the 'voice in the head'.

Sit and wait for it to 'spark up'. :)

Should it do so, listen to it.

Did you have any clue when this was starting?
Be very clear about this.

Pick a number between 30 and 59. Wait for it to show up, as an 'image' or 'sound/voice'.
Again, did you have any clue as what the number would be, before it appeared?
Be very clear about this.

Did 'Bud' pick a number, or was it more like waiting to see what it would be?

Now count to ten using this 'voice in the head'.

What is different between the 'voice in the head' that comes, and the one used for counting?

Thank you,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:32 pm

Hey John

Thanks again - please see my response below:
Let's explore the 'voice in the head'.

Sit and wait for it to 'spark up'. :)

Should it do so, listen to it.
First when I wait for it there is silence. There is a bubbling undercurrent of “aliveness”. There are some images forming in my awareness. The senses seem to become quite acute, especially the listening when I close my eyes. There is a volition - almost an intention - to think. An impatience. Then I end up being in the middle of a train of thought and catch myself thinking. As soon as I become aware of the thinking and try to listen to it - it seems to become contrived. It changes from “thinking” to “self talk”.

Once I go back to watching, the silence returns.

It seems that, when I am actively watching for thinking, it nearly disappears. There seem to be two different kinds of thinking:
1. A background noise of thinking - just about anything and everything (that’s nice, feeling hungry, where did I put the paper clip?)
2. A self talk - more directed, focused and instructional (You need to get *this* done, don’t forget to do *this*, have you thought about how *this* will effect *that*, make sure you speak to him about *this*)
Did you have any clue when this was starting?
Be very clear about this.
Nope - I end up mid stream in thinking - the first kind of “background” thinking. The self talk seems to be more directed, but even that seems to have an origin “under the covers”. I become aware of it as sentences - a voice in my head. However it seems to have a non-verbal source which is nearly imperceptible.

It’s the self-talk that gives me the impression that I am in charge. The other thinking is just kind of happening.
Pick a number between 30 and 59. Wait for it to show up, as an 'image' or 'sound/voice'.
Again, did you have any clue as what the number would be, before it appeared?
Be very clear about this.
I did not have a clue what the number would be before it showed up. I saw an image “38” and then the verbalisation of the number in my head - “thirty eight”. I don’t know where the image came from, or why it was of this number.
Did 'Bud' pick a number, or was it more like waiting to see what it would be?
“Bud” did not pick that number for sure :) It welled up from some abyss and showed itself. The thinking about the choice happened after the choice was made.
Now count to ten using this 'voice in the head'.

What is different between the 'voice in the head' that comes, and the one used for counting?
When you say voice in the head that comes - it feels like this refers to the background thought processes I mentioned before. They just well up from somewhere within - much like when you asked to choose a number. I seem to be unaware of them a lot of the time.

The counting voice is very contrived, it feels more tense. I don’t get an associated image, just a voice counting. Almost like the repetition of rote leaning (like times tables).

The counting voice has effort associated with it, like I’m forcing it to do the work. The former is more relaxed, like thoughts bubbling up to the surface and then becoming vocalised.

I hope this is giving you some clarity, I can’t say I feel clear at this stage. Got a headache!

Thanks very much John, hope you are having a good day :)

Cheers

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:58 pm

Thanks Bud.

Now,
Where I feel the ego resides (the “me”) is mostly between my eyes. It is a voice in my head that incessantly talks to me in the form of thinking and self-talk. It seems to reside behind my eyes. It colours everything I see with labelling, judgement and opinion.
Let's go and have a look around. Without looking at the right foot, attend to it and take a minute to feel the sensations within it.

Do the same with the lower back, and the left shoulder.

Then, inside, at the back of the skull. Then to the left, then to the right, then to the front behind the eyes.

Share what you find apart from varying sensations.

Thank you,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:25 am

Hey John

Apologies for the late response, been a bit tied up with some work related stuff. Back now:
Let's go and have a look around. Without looking at the right foot, attend to it and take a minute to feel the sensations within it.

Do the same with the lower back, and the left shoulder.
Yes I can easily “feel” these parts of the body. It is like awareness visits the location and a warm, comforting sensation is felt from that location.
Then, inside, at the back of the skull. Then to the left, then to the right, then to the front behind the eyes.
It feels much the same as the other parts of the body. The place behind my eyes feels exactly like my right foot feels - or for that matter, like every other part of the body.

There are only sensations present - nothing else.

Thanks and awaiting your guidance

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:13 pm

It feels much the same as the other parts of the body. The place behind my eyes feels exactly like my right foot feels - or for that matter, like every other part of the body.

There are only sensations present - nothing else.
Sensations. Always cracks me up when I read there was 'just' sensations, or 'only' sensations. Poor sensations, the foot soldier of experience. :D Don't mind me, just having fun. :)

Here we are, armed with a conviction, built over time, that behind the eyes sits 'me', master of all he surveys. And I know I am there, because I can feel me.

And now we set apart, the feeling, sensations, varying, shifting, and the idea, the association, that this location, bundle of familiar sensations is, somehow, key to me.

We have sensations and an idea.
Put these two together and we have the impression of substance, a something, namely ME.

All over the world, such familiar sensations are either ignored, or assigned some other culturally-defined idea.

But we, here, are interested in one thing: what is the nature of the substantial separate self/ME that I feel to be the case.

There is no point keep asking 'is there a self?' because if you don't know quite what it is, how will you ever find it!? :D

All we can ask about is: what do I make as a 'self' such that I deem it true?


It's being willing to entertain the possibility, that everything you always considered to be true about YOU, isn't, and has never been.

Ponder seriously on this...and share what shows up.

Ta,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:20 pm

Sensations. Always cracks me up when I read there was 'just' sensations, or 'only' sensations. Poor sensations, the foot soldier of experience. :D Don't mind me, just having fun. :)
Don’t worry I laughed too when I read your perspective of it. Yes poor old sensations, undervalued, underrated and underpaid :)
We have sensations and an idea.
Put these two together and we have the impression of substance, a something, namely ME.
Aha! The “impression” of substance as opposed to something tangible. Yes, I get how this is playing out to create a “me” that I cannot find.
But we, here, are interested in one thing: what is the nature of the substantial separate self/ME that I feel to be the case.
Couldn’t agree more.
All we can ask about is: what do I make as a 'self' such that I deem it true?

It's being willing to entertain the possibility, that everything you always considered to be true about YOU, isn't, and has never been.
Very prepared and ready to do this.
Ponder seriously on this...and share what shows up.
This is what I observe. I can become aware of sensations inside my body. If I stay still long enough, my body disappears and then I still have awareness but there is no inside and outside of me.

My eyes are closed so I can become aware of my foot, my neck, my nostril but I am, in this state, not able to discern if they are in my body. In the same way I can become aware of the chair, the door, the room, the cat. IT all becomes the same, it all blends into one “awareness”.

I cannot differentiate if there is a “me” and a “not me” - it’s all just awareness.

This awareness is a silent “field” of aliveness. It does not speak, in it there is no me or the other, there is just an “is-ness” of “alive vitality”.

Somehow, in some way, I am this silence - but I don’t know how.

Inside this field of awareness, there are thoughts. As an analogy, think of a calm deep lake. The surface is still, there is no discernment of what is here and what is there. Dead water. Deep water.

Then, the surface is broken by some bubbles, disturbing the calm surface of the lake which was, prior to this, motionless.

Awareness feels like this - a deep calm lake, the surface disturbed by a multitude of thoughts.

My attention immediately goes to the thoughts. And as my thoughts gather momentum, more and more bubbling of the surface happens, grabbing more and more of my attention.

The silent depth is forgotten when there is a storm of activity on the surface.

I am so engrossed in the activity of the surface, the ripples and waves that I forget I am actually the deep calm lake (awareness) whose surface is being disturbed (thoughts). I fool myself into believing I am the thoughts - that is what awareness constricts into and becomes my focus.

Thoughts are LOUD, hence they grab my attention whereas awareness is deep and silent - easily forgotten. That does not mean the thoughts are me. They refer to “me” or “I” as separate from “not me”. I end up believing them. I become a separate self as long as I put my attention into and believe my thoughts. I am not separate from anything when I abide as awareness.

The disturbance of the surface needs the depth of the water, it cannot exist without that. The disturbance on the surface is MADE of the SAME STUFF as the depth of the water - it is all awareness.

This is becoming clearer…bit by bit.

I can’t say there is COMPLETE CONVICTION, but I can say the fallacy of “I am my thoughts” or “I am my ego” or “I am a separate, autonomous self” has definitely been exposed. And I need to thank you for that - much gratitude and heartfelt appreciation.

Awaiting your further guidance :) Please have more fun :p

Bud
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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby b0dhi » Fri Oct 07, 2016 8:18 am

Hey John

I am still pondering “what is true about me”.

Nothing is really true about me.

1. I cannot find a “me” when I look for one.
2. I feel like I inhabit this body. This cannot be “my” body since I do not own it. I somehow “woke up” in this body and then assumed it to be me. This body came into existence through a birth that I had nothing to do with. It is animated somehow by the forces of nature that I cannot understand. It lives and survives and eats and shits and sleeps and digests and maintains its immunity and bleeds and gains weight and gets older and hurts and somehow I know will eventually stop moving and start rotting.
3. I am unaware of much of the workings and functioning of this body. I can become aware of sensations. Mostly I am aware of thoughts. The body seems to produce thoughts. Just like the heart beats itself, the lungs breathe themselves, the body lives itself, thoughts produce themselves.
4. Thoughts well up from the non-verbal parts of what I can be aware of to the verbal part where they have some “meaning” and are spoken in a language. They start referring to things - concepts and other internal representations of reality.
5. Something, I don’t know what, believes these thoughts are “mine” - even though I don’t know right now what “mine” even means. The thoughts call out to me by referring to something as “I” or “me”.
6. I only see thoughts thereafter. When I look at anything (tree, chair, sky, bird, whatever) I am not “one with it” I am caught up in the concepts, opinions judgements and other thoughts about it.
7. My believing that the thoughts are mine or that the thoughts define me is the cause of all my suffering. Getting caught up in the content of thought happens - I lose myself to what I am thinking - or more accurately to what the thoughts are saying.
8. Thoughts are simply old stuff regurgitating into my awareness, there is nothing new to thoughts. When I see something (the experience is new and fresh - there is alive awareness) and then thinking happens (the old, rusty tapes start playing and the freshness is gone from the experience). I become removed from the experience and become a separate thing (something that is thinking about another thing). All the magic from life is gone.

What is true is that whatever this thing is that is called “me” or “I” is just a hijacker of this body and the experiences this body is having and the awareness that this body is producing (or the awareness that produces the body - whichever way we want to look at it).

This “me” is an ungrateful parasite getting its life from the workings of the body and hence the entire environment that has created and sustains this body and then claiming it is separate from the very thing that breathes life into it.

It is like a leaf claiming sovereignty and ownership of not just the tree, but the whole fucking forest.

And when I look for this hijacker, I cannot even find it!!

So John - the only thing that is true about me that I can say for certain is that “I exist”. I don’t know how I know that, just that I do.

There is nothing else I can state with certainty. Nothing else that I can say is true.

I don’t know who I am, what I am. I just am.

The more I think about who I am the further I get from who I am. Everything else is a dead, old, recycled concept.

My head hurts. It's not even my head.
Bodhi

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Re: Riding the Ox

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Sat Oct 08, 2016 12:19 am

Great work Bud. Keep exploring.

No need to get tied up in metaphysics just yet. :) It's a distraction from something real and present.

So, here before you, are all the remaining tissues of perceptions about who you are, what you are, and so on. All the everyday fabric of identify. Here it is.

All of this is neither true nor false, it is perception - whether memory, social conditioning, whatever. Fact is, here and now, there will likely be a remaining subtle glaze, a blur of vague perception, about you as a person, character, with a particular history etc.

Except now, you have pulled back an inch or more, no longer soaked in it, now you start to see/feel the tone/flavour of perception, and see that this perception is not you, and somehow you can observe this perception, and thereby see its not you, without being able to categorise you.

You might feel outside of all concepts, indefinable.

Explore, and share.

/John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne
https://johnchristophercoaching.wordpress.com/


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