‘No doer of the deed is found...’

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River1
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‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:49 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
The self is compounded - it is a process, impermanent, and it lacks essence. My sense of self is a concept, a habit, an identification with the subjective content of experience. I can’t find anything that I can pin down, that isn’t subject to change. Self is an illusion that continually reasserts my view that ‘I’ exist separately.

What are you looking for at LU?
To deepen my emotional understanding of what I can grasp theoretically - to know this truth more fully in my actual experience. To challenge my views, loosen the attachment I have to self and the behaviours that arise from this view. I don’t want this to be a merely intellectual pursuit, but a means to help me see more clearly that there is not a separate self.
I hope to explore the dimensions of my experience directly, so that I can come into closer contact with the reality that I am not fixed, and that I am not separate. I want to continue to challenge myself in this investigation of ‘self’ and ‘other’. I hope to keep peeling back the layers of my views, which I recognise to be limiting (and seemingly limitless!), and to touch into truth at an emotional level of understanding, rather than as a interesting philosophical approach. At the moment I feel that I am exploring these spheres in my own practice, and that with guidance I can continue this investigation more effectively - seeing my blind spots and guarding against the possibility to stumbling into wrong views or cul-de-sacs along the way.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I would expect to be given exercises that I take time to do and reflect upon, and report back to my guide. I expect there would be a regular conversation that helps to guide and challenge me to explore the nature of my experience more deeply, moving beyond the limits of concepts and into direct experience.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been a practicing Buddhist for 9 years, mostly in the context of Triratna. I regularly go on retreat - both studying and meditating - with others and in solitude. I have a regular daily meditation and reflection practice, most recently I have been exploring the insight dimension of metta (loving-kindness), which has led me to investigating the nature of the self/other duality. I also consider my training in yoga to be part of spiritual inquiry - body work is an important ‘gateway’ for me.

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

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:22 am

Hi
I''d be happy to guide you if you would like that. I'm a member of the Triratna community myself, so that would give us common ground, if you'd like that..
Have you read all the introductory info on this site?
And are you able and willing to post AT LEAST once a day? I think that this is necessary for continuity and to build momentum - investigations seem not to get going successfully without that. I ask that you let me know if you're unable to post for some reason on any particular day - and I will do the same with you.
What would you like me to call you?
Prabhakari

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:36 am

Hi Prabhakari,
Thank you for offering to be my guide in this process.
Yes I have read the material.
Yes I can commit to posting once per day.
Please call me Sara.

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:15 pm

Hi Sara
Where are you based? It's especially helpful for me to know if we're in different time zones! I'm in North Wales.
To get started, can you tell me something about your hopes and fears for this process?
Thanks

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:52 pm

Hi Prabhakari,
I am based in Scotland.
My hope is to bring more awareness to the ways in which I continually build and defend my sense of self, to unpack the views that underpin this way of relating to experience, and to understand the truth that there isn’t a fixed self, in my own direct experience. I hope this guided exploration will help me to engage in a more structured, subtle and thorough investigation than if I were to explore this on my own. My fear is that my understanding remains more theoretical than experiencial.
Sara

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:45 am

Hi Sara,
My fear is that my understanding remains more theoretical than experiencial.
. This is what tends to happen without a guide. It's the key part of my role here, to keep pointing you back to your actual experiences, in the senses (and NOT via thoughts)
A minor point, but see if you can familiarise yourself with how to use the quote and bold functions here. I'll use BOLD when I'm giving you an instruction, and use quote when I'm quoting you. It just makes it easier to keep track of what we're doing.[/i

And so to begin!
At this stage, it is important to realize that looking and thinking is not the same.
For example, if I asked you to describe what is behind your back right now, you can answer from memory- thinking, or you can turn the head around and see, then describe what is there as you see it. In this work you need to look in your experience and forget all you know, all you think is true, all you heard or read. Trust your direct experience.


Read this aloud now, slowly, three times:

There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.

Watch, wait, notice- what comes up?


I look forward to hearing back from you!
xx

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:24 pm

There is a flow of thoughts, images and bodily sensations. There is an image of the words, and the sound of them spoken internally. Some images come to mind in response to certain words.And thoughts about the words - I like, I don’t like. I notice changing sensation in my body - tightness, and the release of tightness - around my chest and throat. There are thoughts around what I need to ‘do’ to try to understand the words - ‘you need to focus/relax/you’re trying too hard’ and then I’m aware that I am aware of those thoughts and I try to sit in that space and I soon become distracted by other thoughts. There is also a sense of tension around trying to watch my experience so that I can report it to you, which results in a momentary freezing up of thoughts as I try to watch them and then thoughts such as ‘now nothing is happening’ arise.

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:54 pm

Hi Sara
Good noticing!
is there also any fear? ,doubt?, resistance? or frustration? in response to the sentences?
Say them aloud 3 more times and check for these specifically

xx

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:57 pm

No agent, no manager - that there is nobody in control gives rise to both a flicker of fear, and of relief. My sense of self seems particularly linked to a feeling of agency, and questions around this - what does this mean in terms of ethics, for example, quickly arise. And so there is a bit of an unsettling feeling, that things don't add up in a way that is in line with the views I have been living life by.

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:30 am

Hi.
More in the morning!
Xx

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:53 am

Good Morning, Sara,
It's been full on with Bhante's death for me the past couple of days, but today is more spacious, so let's continue!
No agent, no manager - that there is nobody in control gives rise to both a flicker of fear, and of relief. My sense of self seems particularly linked to a feeling of agency, and questions around this - what does this mean in terms of ethics, for example, quickly arise. And so there is a bit of an unsettling feeling, that things don't add up in a way that is in line with the views I have been living life by.
That flicker of fear + relief does seem to be a common response, and makes absolute sense. As you observed, seeing the truth of "no separate self" does indeed raise questions, does challenge our views and ways of being to date. So an unsettled feeling is quite a realistic response. We can't say at this point how this process will unfold for how, and how it'll affect you. It does indeed challenge our views.
Knowing that, are you happy to continue? I'll wait for your response before posting any more
xx

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:50 pm

Yes, I want to continue.
And thank you for your input of time and energy when there is such a lot going on.
Sara x

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:20 pm

Hi Sara
I think it's worth exploring that flicker of fear a bit before moving on...
Notice, that fear is a protection mechanism. The fear itself is like a door, it holds you from looking behind the door. But it's just fear. It’s ok for it to be here, it is only doing its job. Just let it be there, acknowledge its presence with respect and gratitude, check where it feels physically in the body. Notice sensation.

What is fear itself?
What is it protecting?
What needs to be protected?
What is that feels threatened?

Ask it to reveal why it’s here, what it is trying to tell you, ask the fear to share its wisdom.
If there is no self, then there is nothing that needs to be protected, right?
Honor the feeling. Bow to it, thank it for doing its job. Notice, it is here to protect, it's a friend. Fer is really love in disguise. It is only showing you where to look, the dark areas.

Now, look behind it.
Is there anything behind the fear?
if so, what? And what is behind that?

xx

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River1
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby River1 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:10 am

Fear is sensations - a heat in the gut, a tightening of the throat - plus thoughts. I then give this experience the label ‘fear’. I could label the same set of sensations as ‘anticipation’. So what I’m calling fear is thoughts and bodily sensations in response to an experience challenging my view of self. Do they arise together?
When I relate to the experience in this way, there is a shift into a much more spacious quality of awareness. In this space I can be aware of the experience I am calling fear, but it doesn’t stick, there is a bigger perspective. So behind the fear is something that is bigger than it, with a quality of ease.
Reflecting on the experience of fear in a broader context, I notice how much fear is related to trying to maintain a sense of control. Perhaps fear is protecting ‘The controller’. When the controller is alerted to a threat it begins a process of assessing and adapting to the situation. So ultimately fear keeps me safe. That is it’s function, it’s wisdom.
But I know, theoretically, that fear is protecting a ‘self’ that is not there - it is keeping safe a sense of self, not an actual thing that is self. This mechanism has kept me alive - it’s doing a good job of that. But I have learned to relate to the sense of self in a way that is limiting. And fear feeds on that, creating a tighter sense of self. The self needs fear to help protect it.

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Seamist
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Re: ‘No doer of the deed is found...’

Postby Seamist » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:53 pm

Good Morning Sara,
what I’m calling fear is thoughts and bodily sensations in response to an experience challenging my view of self
Yes
Do they arise together?
Look and see what you notice in your own experience: do they?
there is a shift into a much more spacious quality of awareness. In this space I can be aware of the experience I am calling fear, but it doesn’t stick, there is a bigger perspective. So behind the fear is something that is bigger than it, with a quality of ease
Great

So... behind the fear is the urge to protect the self?
What's behind that?


xx


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