Here we go... again

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Nicolas
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Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:49 pm

Hello... again everybody,

I registered on this forum (on the French part) a few months ago and had a fruitful exchange with LEL, who I cannot thank enough for his time and patience. At the end, I had a clear view that there was no 'I'. The sense of freedom, of realization, and the feeling that the searching was over, lasted for a week or two. But slowly these feelings subsided and the "sense of I" came back again, with the the good ol' internal chatter, the suffering, the searching and everything.
The thing is : it is clearly seen that EVERYTHING, the things, the thoughts, the body, the sensation appear in awareness. And clearly also, nothing that could be called an "I", except maybe by convention, is visible in this awareness. But, except during the first few days, it didn't change anything : there are as many thoughts with "I" appearing, as many suffering sensations. And most of the times, there is a complete identification with these thoughts, as before. At some rare times, there is a recognition that : "Oh, in fact, I can see no 'I' anywhere", but it does not change anything to the content (fear, suffering, etc.), which is the same as before, and as heavy.

The way I feel :
You may see an mechanical clock on the table but there is no clock. If you look closely, you will see springs, gears, hands, a face with numbers on it. You will also see the beauty of the mechanism, transmitting energy and the movement from the spring to the handles. But here is no "clock", the clock is a concept : these are objects, and movement. A "clock" is useful concept you create to take all this as a whole, to speak about it.
But, when you clearly see that, what happens? Nothing. The clock will continue to work as before. And most likely also you will continue to consider it as a whole and to call it "a clock", because it is easier. Except maybe for the rare moments when you want to be fully aware of the truth, i.e. that there is no clock, just objects moving together.

Yes, the 'I' is a concept. But seeing this did not seem to have much effect on the long term. The insatisfaction, the fear, the searching and the suffering are as intense as before.

Apparently I seem to have completely missed a point. For this reason, I would be grateful if somebody could help me with this. Thank you very much in advance!!
(And believe me, I'm sincere : it was already hard to launch into all this the first time and I wouldn't do that AGAIN without very very good reasons!)

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Damon Kamda
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:12 pm

Hello Nicolas,

So it seems you had a peak experience as a result of your previous work here, yet the actual recognition of truth hasn't happened yet. Now the euphoria of that experience is gone and it's back to business as usual. It's great that you came back to clear things up.

From what you wrote here it seems you've fallen for what I think I might start referring to as the Awareness Trap, which is actually quite common these days with all these new age 'advaita'/'nondual' teachings everywhere and it is natural that it should happen, because when faced with uncertainty and groundlessness, it's simply habitual to grab onto the first thing that's available to hold on to.

The invitation now is to see the groundlessness and let go. Surrender and allow the freefall to happen.

The Awareness Trap is basically a more subtle version of the self-story.

The way out is simple: look again.

In direct experience, is there really such a thing as awareness?
You write the following:
It is clearly seen that EVERYTHING, the things, the thoughts, the body, the sensation appear in awareness
Can you see how awareness is simply another concept?
Where is the dividing line between EVERYTHING and the awareness IN which it apparently appears?

Let me know what you find, or don't...

I'm off to sleep now- will be back tomorrow.

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:10 am

Well Nomad, thank you very much for your quick answer!
I indeed had a lot of readings about "being the awareness in which...blablabla". After the first peak experience, I had also this idea that "there was no I", but :
1. It became clear, after a while, that it was more like an idea than a reality. An idea that I somehow grabed to convince me that "I understood",
2. A friend told me that "the absence of prooves is not the proof of absence" and I started to doubt the very idea that "there was no I", although there was no "I" to be seen.

What is SEEN in direct experience is... er, what is seen. :-) To describe it, I would use the words "shapes", "colors", "table", "chair", etc. Same for other senses : sounds, noises, sensations, etc.

Awareness is actually not "seen" anywhere : objects only are here. You're right : there is no real need to use the word "aware" because the things simply ARE. In direct experience, there is no distinction between the fact that "an object is" and that "it is seen here". Or with the fact that "there is awareness in which the object appears", which is, indeed, a very complicated (and conceptual) way to translate in words this direct perception.

Thank you again Nomad and good night!

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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:33 am

1. It became clear, after a while, that it was more like an idea than a reality. An idea that I somehow grabed to convince me that "I understood",
Yes, and that's of no use, as you have noticed. This way it is just another belief.
2. A friend told me that "the absence of prooves is not the proof of absence" and I started to doubt the very idea that "there was no I", although there was no "I" to be seen.
Indeed. What has to happen, is that the utter impossibility of the existence of self has to be apprehended directly.

So, where are we at now?

You write that an actual self is not seen in direct experience, just the sense of self, yet this inability to find an empirical self is not sufficient for a permanent perceptual shift to occur.

So, where does that leave us, Nicolas?

Let me simply ask you: DO YOU EXIST?

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:41 pm

The question is quite a shock!

Here is the reaction.
First, the automatic answer appears "Well of course, I exist!". But it seems very weak, not convinced at all. I tried to find the best comparison I could, and the only thing I could find is that it has the weakness of the kind of answers you give when you lie. So this answer is unable to "erase" or "answer" the question, because it does not answer it.

So the answer "No" appears. But it is also a lie! These are words only. The kind of answer triggered by the knowledge "Well, of course, you don't exist because you've read it in every book and on every forum on non duality".

So the question remains : "Do I exist?"
It is here, seen as words on the screen, as internal white letters on a black background, or heard as internal voice.
The question is here, in different forms, and meets no answer. Every answer I could give you seems incorrect or lying.

I'm still looking...

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Damon Kamda
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:15 pm

The question is quite a shock!
Good! That's the idea exactly.

As you seem to understand, the question does not need an answer necessarily- it is designed to make you look at that which is beyond words altogether.

Sit with it for a while and let me know what comes up.
The question is here, in different forms, and meets no answer. Every answer I could give you seems incorrect or lying.
Still, it may help to get the thoughts and sensations that are triggered out in the open, on "paper".
You know what they say, right?
The mind is no place for serious thinking.
I'm still looking...
Good, good. Let me know what's being seen.

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:13 pm

What comes up after the initial shock is another question : "What is the "I" whose I try to determine or not the existence? What is refered to by this word?" Otherwise, how could I answer this question?

If "I" is replaced by "gizmo" in the question "Do I exist?" :
1. the natural answer would be "I don't know what you're talking about!"
2. clearly the "emotional impact" of the question is much much much lower.

Because, in this question, "I", well... it's me! It's not only a word : I "care about me". When the word "I" appears in the mind, there is this tension in the body, this "position" which, in thoughts, could be translated by "I am me and not the others."
The painful contraction of fear in my stomach, somehow related to fear or anxiety is considered as "part of me". I could try to look at it "from the outside" and tell myself "This is only a sensation, this is not me", it does not work at all. And I say it doesn't work because I expect it to disappear.
Well, this last point is another "I-thing" : I expect what is considered as "me" to change. Bad feelings to disappear, good feelings to appear. Not necessarily the bliss a lot of people talk about, but at least peace and absence of suffering. And much less thoughts too. I don't expect the table to change when I look at it. But for everything I look and consider as "me", I expect it to change (or not to change if there is fearful thought about the future).

All this is triggered when the word "I" appears in the mind. And clearly, all this exists.

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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:11 pm

Earlier today, I was asking myself "Do I exist?" and this other question came : "Who asks this question to whom?". Well, of course, there was no one asking anything to anyone : only the question. Floating.

After a while, I felt very weird, somehow "untied" from this body, with these questions, and others "How could I know if I exist if I never saw myself?".
When tonight I saw my wife and daughter, it was for a while as if there was only them, and nobody on my side. Just an open space, open to them and to the world. It felt so strange that when I talked to them, it looked as if it wasn't me speaking. "Who's this guy talking?". Really, really weird.

Well now, back to normal! :-)
I will continue asking myself this question.

And again, Nomad, thank you for your quick answers and interesting questions!

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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:24 am

If "I" is replaced by "gizmo" in the question "Do I exist?" :
1. the natural answer would be "I don't know what you're talking about!"
2. clearly the "emotional impact" of the question is much much much lower.
Haha, yes.

Yet, this is exactly the reason we ask that question here, and not "Does gizmo exist?"- yet the structure and the content of the question are fundamentally the same.

The nature of the I is the nature of the gizmo- emptiness, nothing, nada. It's just a word, a concept, an idea.

The difference is indeed that the I-concept is so close to the heart, so intimately familiar, so habitual.

That doesn't mean it is real, though.

What needs to be clearly seen is that I is gizmo, all the way down, Nicolas.
Once this is thoroughly and completely seen (not just known intellectually, but actually seen to be REALLY the case) the emotional ties (or, more accurately: the accompanying feelings and sensations, considering that there is no one here to be attached to the notion of self) will gradually, or sometimes suddenly, dissolve- that is a process of unlearning.
Earlier today, I was asking myself "Do I exist?" and this other question came : "Who asks this question to whom?". Well, of course, there was no one asking anything to anyone : only the question. Floating.
That's a powerful insight, Nicolas. Allow yourself to see the importance of this. All of the truth is right here, in this one conception!!!
After a while, I felt very weird, somehow "untied" from this body, with these questions, and others "How could I know if I exist if I never saw myself?".
When tonight I saw my wife and daughter, it was for a while as if there was only them, and nobody on my side. Just an open space, open to them and to the world. It felt so strange that when I talked to them, it looked as if it wasn't me speaking. "Who's this guy talking?". Really, really weird.
Don't get stuck at these kinds of weird experiences. You'll have to learn to deal with the fact that existence is indeed very, very weird.

One other thing: if there is no one here on this side, how could there be anyone there on that side? Have you examined this angle yet?

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:20 pm

First I finish an email I started earlier this morning.

This morning, I thought : "Enough of this mentally repeating "Do I exist?", if you want to REALLY answer this question, what will YOU do? The answer won't come by miracle, you have to LOOK, to really deeply inquire. Don't be afraid to use ALL you have : observation and thinking. This is how you would study anything else."

So first : Am I the body? To summary, this is what happened.
There was an internal discussion between both parties the ones pro and and against this idea. At a time, I thought : "But I can control the body, look : he says what I think." And the body spoke : but there was this unmistakable interval between the thinking and the body speaking. The body may or may have not spoken : the time after, it didn't. The "I" who thinks is clearly not the body. The body has a life by itself, which, most of the times, doesn't require any thinking. I already had observed that before.

OK, so : am I the thoughts?
Well, first, there is not ONE thougth, but many. There is an internal dialog between thoughts, saying "I" and "You". So what should I assume? That there is several "me" chatting together? Or that there is only one, playing with himself, by giving opposite opinions, and answering questions he already knows the answers of?
But it is clear that whoever it is (or they are), they are not the thoughts. They are assumed to be the one(s) speaking.

After this course of observation/thinking, I thought it was obvious from the beginning :
- of course I am not the body, I control the body. Sometimes it works, sometimes not (when the body id tired, ill or clumsy). And I am "linked" to this body : if it dies, I die.
- and of course I am (or we are) not the thoughts, I think, I generate thoughts.
These are the fondamental knowledges/beliefs linked to me. So, if I want to find me, I shouldn't look at the thoughts, but at their source. Who thinks/speaks? Who is "between the thoughts"? Can I see anyone?

At this stage I read your post :

In my course of questioning, I actually already wondered if YOU existed, Nomad (no offense meant! ;-). I see words appearing on a computer : is this a proof that you exist? Clearly not. When I send a post, I expect (sometimes impatiently!) that you will answer. Although different in form, your messages seem not not to be that different from the thoughts in my head : words, sentences. Who decides which is worthwile or not, true or false? Where are these thoughts/sentences coming from?
I already wondered that during my first session here : how do I know that a sentence or a concept is true or not? How do I know that this thought is thought by "me", and not just a sentence appearing?

For instance, I first thought that the question "Do you exist?" was first asked by YOU. Then, it was slightly transformed as "Do I exist?" and was asked to myself by ME. But are there REALLY such things as "you" and "me"? I cannot tell, but I don't see them. The first question appeared on a screen, then the second one in my mind, with a memory of the first one, allowing me to say that the second is "somehow" a reflection of the first one. Where am I? Where are you?

But I somehow miss the point where all this becomes "actually true" and not just "seen" (or rather "not seen")...
I keep on looking.

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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:25 pm

Don't be afraid to use ALL you have : observation and thinking. This is how you would study anything else.
That's a helpful thought for sure and good advice!
There is an internal dialog between thoughts
Is there? Is one thought speaking to another? Do thoughts think? Do thoughts speak? What's really going on here?
Am I the body?
Am I the thoughts?
Before taking this approach, how about first asking this:

What is I?

What is the I that is or isn't the body?
What is the I that is or isn't the thoughts?

Perhaps you'll see that the very question (Am I x?) doesn't make sense AT ALL!

You see: what is it that's being looked for here?
Where are these thoughts/sentences coming from?
Well?
I already wondered that during my first session here : how do I know that a sentence or a concept is true or not? How do I know that this thought is thought by "me", and not just a sentence appearing?
Excellent question!
What does it mean for a sentence to be true or not?
Can a sentence or concept be true?
Can a sentence or concept be truth?

Awakening is not a thought, not a concept.
It's beyond (or before) thoughts and concepts altogether.

It's thoughts and concepts that constitute the illusory story of self.
But I somehow miss the point where all this becomes "actually true" and not just "seen" (or rather "not seen")....I keep on looking.
It is already actually true, Nicolas. You don't make it become actually true by having the correct thought or correct combination of thoughts and concepts and words.

It is already actually true that there is no separation in life.
No separation between seer and seen, subject and object.
There is just life, happening, life-ing. Existence existing.
No separation, none whatsoever.
You see...?

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:26 pm

Here are my current questions.

At this stage, it is seen that :
- thoughts just happen, one after the other. Nothing is seen at their source, and certainly no "I" : they just happen and disappear.
- there is nothing to be seen that separates this from that, this body from the other.
- What is seen is only the seen, objects, not the seer. The seer is never seen.

What is "I"? I don't know, further than a one-letter word. It's been awhile that nothing I can call "I" can be seen.
And yet I use this word all the time and believe that it means something. WHY? If "I" doesn't exist, the previous sentence doesn't even make sense anymore!!

What you describe seems to be clearly seen, when looked at.
But strong habits are still present :
- the use of the words "you" and "I" ... as if they meant something or pointed to something that is seen.
- all the truthes I've written above that are seen are completely forgotten when I am not focused on it. When in a professional meeting, it's the same old me again.

And suffering, tension, fear, insatisfaction are still here : this is also why I expect something to happen, and I believe I miss a point somewhere... Either there is something I don't see, or there is something else than just "see".

Thank you very much : your insight is much appreciated!

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:24 am

You asked me : "What does it mean for a sentence to be true or not?"

I thought about it and came to this conclusion: a sentence are words only. These words are never the reality they point to (when they point to a reality at all!) : so they are never "absolutely true". However, they can be helpful as signposts (I take this word from Eckhart Tolle, but is is quite accurate). On a common sense, we say that a sentence is "true" when it accurately describes a reality/a situation, and "false" on the contrary. Since this is subject to differences of interpretation from one person to the other, you can have infinite discussions on whether a word or a concept is "true" (i.e accurately describes a reality) or not.
You can also have concepts on concepts on concepts : this is called maths. :-)

Thinking about it, you say that a word "accurately describes a situation" when somehow, people talk together or communicate, and agree on the use of a word instead of another : a word is only a convention and is "true" only on the sense of social acceptability.

So the real question is : does the word "I" accurately describe a reality or not?
When I say "my body", "my job", "my car", etc. : these two words point to a body, a job, a car in particular -> it is a convention in order for people to know which body, job, car I speak of. There are also special conventions that apply when it is, on a common social sense, considered as "mine" : but this "common social sense" can change, during a war or a revolution for instance!
"My thoughts", "I'm afraid" : same thing, except that no other people will be able to say that "it is true" because they cannot hear the thoughts or feel the fear. This is why I feel the need, when speaking about them, to use the word "I" or "mine" : they are seen in a limited field of perception that other people cannot share. But what is SEEN is only perceptions, sensations, thoughts, without any "my". The use of "my" is also only a convention.

And for "I" alone, not associated to another word? Does it point out to anything? Well, no : nothing that I could call "I" is seen. "I" is a bad signpost. I guess that it is because I use it all the time that I am lost! :-)

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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Damon Kamda » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:29 pm

Nicolas, before I adress your posts above, I just want to make sure you're still here. Something seems to have happened to your account, but I can't figure out what. Perhaps it's just a glitch or maybe you've actually deleted or deactivated your account. Could you let me know? Thanks!!!

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Nicolas
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Re: Here we go... again

Postby Nicolas » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:16 pm

Well yes, I'm here.

Or not. It depends if I exist.

It's a trick question, isn't it? :-))


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