Not "Getting It"

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Bayou1
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Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:09 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the sense of doership, being a separate person is not who we are - that we are not a body. Rather, there is only consciousness.

What are you looking for at LU?
I've read a lot on this subject, but it hasn't really all sunk in. Some authors say there is nothing to do. Other say that there is a lifetime of stuff to do. Some say life will feel different after "realization," while others say absolutely nothing changes. I'm sick of being confused. I just want to get through this gate and call it a day!

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Help in getting through to the truth once and for all. Different authors, websites, podcasts, and the like seemingly just all either contradict each other or present significantly different ways of looking at this situation. I'm beyond confused and feel like I'm still at square one.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've done a lot of reading on non-duality, Christian mysticism, etc. Personally, I'm a Christian

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
10

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:17 pm

Hi Bayou,

I am happy to guide you (to the best of my abilities). If you are happy to be guided by me post back and we can begin our conversation here.

I hope you are very well

Amrita

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:30 am

Hi Amrita!

Thank you very much in advance for your help. I really appreciate your offer and would love to take you up on it. I'm really ready to go as well as put a lot of thought and attention into this process, so please feel free to layer on the exercises, questions, "homework" :)

Bayou

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:56 pm

That's great Bayou!

Are you happy for me to call you Bayou or would you prefer another name?

I'm happy to have a dialogue with you to explore the nature of experience and *look* for any sign of a self or I until it is clear there is no self to be found. As I'm sure you know the essence of this inquiry is experiential. It's not intellectual or interested in discussing various models of non-duality. The inquiry is about "looking" or exploring one's actual experience of the here and now in order to see there is no self or I at the centre of experience. I found this process so helpful and "liberating" that I am willing to give a bit of my time to share it with others in a free and openhanded manner so please feel free to ask any questions as we go along.

It would be good if we can make a commitment to each other to try and post at least once a day to keep the conversation alive as it were. The "looking" takes a certain amout of energy and focus which is best sustained through our dialouge so its good to report back as often as you can. I'm sure you know the inquiry takes the form of the guide asking questions or suggesting exercises and you reporting back on how you you got on with them.

It would be great if you learn how to use the quote function it makes reading replies so much easier if you are quoting such as,
Hi Amrita!

Thank you very much in advance for your help. I really appreciate your offer and would love to take you up on it. I'm really ready to go as well as put a lot of thought and attention into this process, so please feel free to layer on the exercises, questions, "homework" :)

Bayou
And if you are happy to go ahead lets jump in and examine your expectations or preconceptions about this process,

What do imagine you will get from this process?

What life would be like without a self or I at the centre of it?

What would you gain by seeing through the illusion of self?

What do you imagine you might lose?

Best wishes

amrita

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:09 am

Hi Amrita,

Sure, "Bayou" is fine :) Thanks again for taking on this liberation, selflessly helping others who you do not even personally know! That's very kind.

Absolutely - I will do my best to post daily. If I don't post in a day, there will be a really good reason why I did not (working around the clock, etc.). This is truly a priority for me.

Let me try out the quote function here:
What do imagine you will get from this process?
Part of my overall "not getting it" may be that I've read too many non-duality books. Lots of them say that different outcomes happen as a result of "getting it." Whatever happens when one "wakes up" or whatever one would like to call it, that's what I want. I just want to really know and live out reality; if that's that we're not the body but rather consciousness or something else, then that's what I want to live out and realize at a cellular / gut level.
What life would be like without a self or I at the centre of it?
Without a self in the middle of life, I would imagine that it would be more flowing and less of an effort in addition to being less stressful and scary. When one is a self, it's you against the world, a dog-eat-dog world where everyone is fighting to get ahead. Without having to worry about getting everything right, saying the right things, maintaining one's reputation, it would seem that it would be easier!
What would you gain by seeing through the illusion of self?
This is something I'm confused about. If there is no self, then whatever happens doesn't happen to a self. However, at the same time, non-duality talks about the effects realized by recognizing the lack of a self as joy (even when things happen that could be considered not good), peace, and other favorable outcomes. So, there is an effect, but I guess it happens to "no one"? Again, though, whatever happens will happen; I just want to wake up and see reality
What do you imagine you might lose?
I would imagine that without there being a self, I would take offense less / not at all. I would feel less personally attacked when overloaded with work at my job or when someone makes a comment that I misconstrue somehow to be negative towards me. I would also imagine that perhaps I would judge others less, because if we're all just selfless organisms living life without a director in each of us (sitting in our brains, behind the eyes:), how can I be judging another director-less person?

Great questions! They got me thinking.
Thank you :)

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:05 am

Nice answers!

Let's go ahead and begin our inquiry / conversation. For the purposes of this approach we can think about Daniel Kahneman's work on the two selves: the experiencing self vs the remembering or narrating self. We are very much going to look at the experiecing self rather than the secondary *symbolic* self if that makes any kind of sense.


If so, let's begin by looking at the difference between what is directly experienced and what thought (thinking) says about what is experienced. Here is an opening question for you.

What is the difference between direct experience and thinking about experience? What can be experienced directly?

Please post back whenever you are ready and we can continue our conversation.

Best wishes

Amrita

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:35 pm

Hi Amrita,

I think that concept of there being two selves makes sense, so I'm on board with the gist of how you summarized the approach.
What is the difference between direct experience and thinking about experience? What can be experienced directly?
Direct experience is only experienced in the exact moment of the experience. There is no pre-experiencing the direct experience or reliving it later. It is raw in the sense of just happening without any filter. It's instantaneous. Also, while there would be differences (different points of view, different variations on sensory perceptions, etc.), direct experience can be shared with others, such as a crowd of people being able to directly experience the same exact sunrise or smell the same scent of a cooking pot.

Thinking about experience is never in the exact moment of the experience. It only takes place in one individual's mind and reflects upon the past or future. It can never really be totally accurate or complete, either, as we cannot remember every aspect of a certain experience with perfect clarity or reliability...particularly as time passes. So, thinking about experience is only a shadow of the real thing, and this shadow is specific to the person - this is not something shared. I would also say that thinking about experience introduces a lot of judgements, criticisms, and extra commentary that did not exist in the exact moment of the actual experience.

Thanks again!
Bayou

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:18 am

Hi,

You are completely right when you say this,
Direct experience is only experienced in the exact moment of the experience.
Here's an exercise that I would like you to try as many times throughout the day as you can. Label daily activities simply colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell,
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation.
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought.

Practice this as much as you can throughout the day and post back about how you found this when you are ready.

Love

amrita

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:12 pm

Hi Amrita,

I wish that I could remember more often to try to experience everything in this way! Given that this is a workday, I was usually distracted with work discussions and activities, but from time to time, I was able to remember and shift perspective for at least a moment. For me, the trying to experience sight as just colors instead of objects out there was the most powerful and interesting. Really, that's all that sight is - colors and shades of colors that we interpret as items certain distances away. All we can possibly see, though, at its root, is colors; that's all that sight is. That's not how people perceive sight, though!

When I did remember to pause and shift perception, there was a feeling of relaxation. Stress and worries felt like they decreased. It just felt easier to be in that way than the default, although shifting perception into that state is difficult to remember to do.

Running through that exercise, one can see that the base data / the source inputs into our experience is simply what you said - color, sound, taste, etc., but then we put it all together and just assume that when combined, it makes the world.

Thank you, Amrita,
Bayou

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:46 pm

Hi Bayou,

I'm glad this inquiry is opening things up for you and :)
When I did remember to pause and shift perception, there was a feeling of relaxation. Stress and worries felt like they decreased. It just felt easier to be in that way than the default, although shifting perception into that state is difficult to remember to do.

That is great you can begin to sense there is a shift in perception possible in your daily work life. I work in a busy demanding job too so know it can be hard to find time to look and I think this process needs space. I dont think its impossibe to look at work but you have to be committed to this process in order to create time and space to do so.

We will look at sight and seeing later but I like to start this process by looking at bodily sensations since many people assume the "self" is the body so lets explore that first.

If you close your eyes and look at the sensations in your body can you find any self or I within any of those sensations? Do these sensations belong to you or are there just sensations?

With your eyes closed touch something. Can you describe what the sensations are like? If you push against something with your hand can you experience your hand separately from the thing you are pushing against or are there just sensations? Is there a self or I anywhere to be found in the sensations?

As you go about your daily life, try closing your eyes at different times of day whilst engaging in different activities and pay attention to the sensations. Can you find a separate self anywhere within the experience of physical sensations?

Love

Amrita

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:23 am

Hi Amrita,

Thanks for a second reply in the same day :) As I mentioned, this is a priority for me, so I'll soak as much up of this as I can!
I work in a busy demanding job too so know it can be hard to find time to look and I think this process needs space. I dont think its impossibe to look at work but you have to be committed to this process in order to create time and space to do so.
By this, do you mean that I should try to do these tests / explorations only outside of work - generally speaking?
many people assume the "self" is the body so lets explore that first.
Yes, this is something that I have struggled with as I've read through non-duality books. I've heard the exercise where the leader goes through the exercise of naming body parts and asking, "is that you?" or "is that where you are located?" Of course people would not likely think that they are in their knee or bicep, but the head is trickier. Maybe because that's where most senses are housed, but what gets me is that I could lose an arm, leg, finger, and so forth, but if I were to lose my head, I'd be dead. Therefore, that seems to be the one thing absolutely necessary in that non-dual body walkthrough. Do you have any thoughts on this point?
If you close your eyes and look at the sensations in your body can you find any self or I within any of those sensations? Do these sensations belong to you or are there just sensations?
Just closing eyes and watching sensations shows that those sensations are just there, just happening.
With your eyes closed touch something. Can you describe what the sensations are like? If you push against something with your hand can you experience your hand separately from the thing you are pushing against or are there just sensations? Is there a self or I anywhere to be found in the sensations?
For this, I touched the top of the desk that the monitor for this computer is on. It was a sensation of smoothness, coolness, and hardness (polished wood). Touching and pushing against it or anything else just gives one sensation, not one sensation of the hand and another of the table or chair. There is not necessarily a self found here, but where the sense of ownership of these actions of touching and pushing and the subsequent sensations comes in is that they only occur when my hand pushes or touches against them. Not pushing on the desk at this moment while typing, that desk isn't giving me any sensations. It's only when I reach out and push on it that it does.

It seems that related to this is the item above, where the exercise was to see if there are just bodily sensations or if they belong to a me. Because I can interact with those sensations (pinch my arm, slap my knee, etc.), there is an ownership sense about them: I'm making (at least some of - ) them happen. That's me doing the action that's giving me that sensation of the pinched arm.
As you go about your daily life, try closing your eyes at different times of day whilst engaging in different activities and pay attention to the sensations. Can you find a separate self anywhere within the experience of physical sensations?
Will do! This will be my homework tonight and tomorrow :)

Talk to you soon!
Bayou

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:00 pm

Hi Amrita,

I hope that you are doing well. I don't think that a response came through from you after my response on Monday, so I hope everything is okay with you! Since then, I have been trying to remember throughout each day to reflect on if a separate self is ever found - in sight, touch, sensations, etc. So far, I've only found sensations, sights, and so forth, but nothing that shows a separate self experiencing these things.

It would be helpful to me as well if you can also address the couple items in my last message to, if you don't mind. Those are a couple hang-ups that are blocking me from going beyond the mind...

Thanks again!!!
Bayou

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:53 am

Hi Bayou,

sorry I have just seen this. I am on my way out now and will be out for most of the weekend but here is something for you to explore until I get back (and answer some of your previous questions).

If you close your eyes and listen to a sound, any sound, can you find a seperate observer or self that is listening to that sound or is the sound simply present (within awareness)? If you listen to sounds can you find whether sound is arising within or without you? If the sound is occuring outside of you, so to speak, can you find the line between "you" and the "sound"?

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow and we can pick this up from there...

Amrita x

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Bayou1
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby Bayou1 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:19 pm

Hi Amrita!

Not a problem at all - I figured that the notice that I had replied was lost somehow or never sent to you. I hope that you are heading out to someplace fun for the weekend.
If you close your eyes and listen to a sound, any sound, can you find a seperate observer or self that is listening to that sound or is the sound simply present (within awareness)? If you listen to sounds can you find whether sound is arising within or without you? If the sound is occurring outside of you, so to speak, can you find the line between "you" and the "sound"?
I went through the sound experiment that you laid out in your last message. The sound used was the hum of the desktop computer tower's fan, a constant, lasting noise to let me take my time with this. This sound appeared to just be in my awareness, not outside of it, as I could not detect any separation between the sound and my own consciousness. There was no border between my consciousness and the sound; it was just in there.

Thanks again, and have a great weekend.
Bayou

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amrita
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Re: Not "Getting It"

Postby amrita » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:26 pm

Hey Bayou,

Let's try the same exercise with the visual sense of sight. This may be more difficult as *sight* seems to be a more primary sense for many people.

If you look at any object in your vicinity, and spend some time exploring the actual sense of what is seen i.e. an image, can you find an observer seperate to what is being seen or is there simply images present? Do you make seeing happen in any way or is seeing just present? Is there any sense of being seperate from what is seen?

love

amrita


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