We can start here when you are ready.

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:53 pm

Welcome to the forum. This is where we get to the bottom of a 'you'.
Please tell me a little of your self and your path to this place.
Much love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:08 pm

Hi Rogue, thank you for your reply.

We start out by asking:
What is the self?
And where do you look to find it?

Just a simple question :-)
Love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Postby Rogue » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:15 am

The self is...I suppose the self is almost more like a half remembered story than a fixed thing. The details of the story can change in each retelling. In some people it does seem to be more fixed than others, and it seems the more fixed it is the more people get angry when they're questioned about who they are. But I think for most people the self seems to be something that shifts over time. And it's made up of a collection of memories and preferences. Feelings and thoughts make up the self as well, but they shift even more than preferences do.

Where do you look to find it? That's actually quite tough. I would say inside yourself, but finding yourself in yourself seems redundant. Within your body? Or are you your body? Uhm. I suppose most people would say they 'have' a body, but not that they are it.

If I was looking to find myself, I would take stock of how I feel, what I'm thinking about and that sort of thing. How I feel about what's going on around me at that moment. But if you mean where is it physically located, then I don't know. It's not wherever I have looked, I do know that. I can't find my 'self', but I can find my feelings and what I'm thinking.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re:

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:49 pm

The self is...I suppose the self is almost more like a half remembered story than a fixed thing. The details of the story can change in each retelling. In some people it does seem to be more fixed than others, and it seems the more fixed it is the more people get angry when they're questioned about who they are. But I think for most people the self seems to be something that shifts over time. And it's made up of a collection of memories and preferences. Feelings and thoughts make up the self as well, but they shift even more than preferences do.

Where do you look to find it? That's actually quite tough. I would say inside yourself, but finding yourself in yourself seems redundant. Within your body? Or are you your body? Uhm. I suppose most people would say they 'have' a body, but not that they are it.

If I was looking to find myself, I would take stock of how I feel, what I'm thinking about and that sort of thing. How I feel about what's going on around me at that moment. But if you mean where is it physically located, then I don't know. It's not wherever I have looked, I do know that. I can't find my 'self', but I can find my feelings and what I'm thinking.
So if I condensed this, the only place that seems to have self-ness about it is memory, and feelings.
1/ Do the feelings have a story attached?
2/ What is a story made up of?
3/What's the story about a body? Is it really yours?

Love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:38 pm

1/ Do the feelings have a story attached?

I think they usually do. There's almost always an ongoing commentary or story being told by thoughts and memories influencing how I feel. I can usually influence the story being told by changing how I think about something, and usually that changes how I feel about it as well.

But I don't think this is always true. Sometimes thoughts don't seem to be involved at all; I experience something and feel a certain way about it without any conscious awareness of a story being told. So I suppose a one word answer would be 'sometimes'.

2/ What is a story made up of?

Events that have happened and my perspective on them. I think the perspective thing is important, too. Changing that changes the

story.

3/What's the story about a body? Is it really yours?

I think it is really mine. It's connected to my feelings and thoughts, which are the only me I can find. The body is a vehicle for the feelings and thoughts and senses. They're all connected, so if the feelings and memories are my 'self' then the body must be mine too.

To put it another way, my body never goes anywhere without me.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:55 am

1/ Do the feelings have a story attached?

I think they usually do. There's almost always an ongoing commentary or story being told by thoughts and memories influencing how I feel. I can usually influence the story being told by changing how I think about something, and usually that changes how I feel about it as well.

But I don't think this is always true. Sometimes thoughts don't seem to be involved at all; I experience something and feel a certain way about it without any conscious awareness of a story being told. So I suppose a one word answer would be 'sometimes'.

2/ What is a story made up of?

Events that have happened and my perspective on them. I think the perspective thing is important, too. Changing that changes the

story.

3/What's the story about a body? Is it really yours?

I think it is really mine. It's connected to my feelings and thoughts, which are the only me I can find. The body is a vehicle for the feelings and thoughts and senses. They're all connected, so if the feelings and memories are my 'self' then the body must be mine too.

To put it another way, my body never goes anywhere without me.
Hi Rogue.
Ah, this is a good answer to start work with.
What are stories made of?
I'd like you to look a little more closely at this question.
If I just met you on the street, could I know any of your story except the part where we are meeting on the street? I could see your body, but not your story.
What tools would you use to convey to me the reality of a self? With a past and a present and a future?
Sounds simple, but there is a point here :-)
Because apart from the tools you use to remember and convey story
(which are what?)
does a story of you actually exist?
Please give this some serious examination.

And one small exercise.
What makes the computer in front of you YOUR computer?
In reality, is it truer to say it is A computer? or a MY computer?

Much love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:24 am

Hi Rogue.
Ah, this is a good answer to start work with.
What are stories made of?
I'd like you to look a little more closely at this question.


They're made up of a mixture of memories and feelings. I've been thinking a lot about this question and I'm having difficulty narrowing it down any more than that. Every time I try and look closely at my own story, it always seems to have changed each time I look at it.

Actually, I just realised that stories can be true or false. Nothing says stories are inherently factual and true. That's related to the perspective comment I made earlier. But the implications of that are huge, because if the story can be partly false, it can be entirely false. There's nothing to say that a story you tell yourself about yourself has any bearing on you at all, and there's no way of knowing whether it does or not.

Which means that your own 'story' has...absolutely no relevance to you. You can't be sure that your memory is correct, or that your feelings haven't changed since the last time you experienced something. So..you don't actually gain anything by keeping the stories around. You could just look at each moment fresh, and be better off because you're not carrying around all this baggage.

If I just met you on the street, could I know any of your story except the part where we are meeting on the street? I could see your body, but not your story.
No, you would have no way of knowing any of my story at all. The only way you could learn about that would be through my actions and what I said. If I assumed that my story was important, I might talk about parts of it as a way of introducing myself. There's no floating signpost that tells you what my story is, though. It only exists for you if I bring it up and talk about it.
What tools would you use to convey to me the reality of a self? With a past and a present and a future?
Sounds simple, but there is a point here :-)
Because apart from the tools you use to remember and convey story
(which are what?)
does a story of you actually exist?
My own memory, to remember what had happened before, the events and experienced which have shaped me to be the way I am and to have my preferences. And then language, so that I could tell the story to you and explain who I was. Which seems rather silly, given the revelation I just had answering the first question. It seems kind've childish. "Hey look, here's who I am! I decided it already."

I guess the only reason I think it exists is because I'm so used to focusing on it. If I didn't keep bringing it up in my thoughts and acting as if it was there, I don't think there's anything that would keep it alive. As you pointed out, nobody else would be able to know that it existed. Basically I think that it exists only so long as I buy into it. I'm the only one keeping the stories around; they don't exist if I don't keep remembering them and then telling other people about them.

And one small exercise.
What makes the computer in front of you YOUR computer?
In reality, is it truer to say it is A computer? or a MY computer?
It sounds silly, but it's only my computer because I say its my computer. I paid for it as well, so I assume I have rights to it that other people who haven't paid for it don't. I would be angry if someone took it, for example. Intellectually, I'm starting to doubt that I can own anything. It just is, and I just am. Sometimes, the computer and I will be at the same location and I might use it. I feel like trying to own something is just setting yourself up to be angry or upset when something happens to it. I can understand that intellectually, but have trouble accepting it. Should I not stop someone from taking the computer, as its not mine? I don't know.

But I think it's truer to say a computer. The computer is just a computer; it does what computers do whether or not I'm around. I just happen to be the one using it right now.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:15 pm

And one small exercise.
What makes the computer in front of you YOUR computer?
In reality, is it truer to say it is A computer? or a MY computer?
It sounds silly, but it's only my computer because I say its my computer. I paid for it as well, so I assume I have rights to it that other people who haven't paid for it don't. I would be angry if someone took it, for example. Intellectually, I'm starting to doubt that I can own anything. It just is, and I just am. Sometimes, the computer and I will be at the same location and I might use it. I feel like trying to own something is just setting yourself up to be angry or upset when something happens to it. I can understand that intellectually, but have trouble accepting it. Should I not stop someone from taking the computer, as its not mine? I don't know.

But I think it's truer to say a computer. The computer is just a computer; it does what computers do whether or not I'm around. I just happen to be the one using it right now.[/quote]

Really good work. Thank you, you keep unpacking this stuff and it takes you to the bones!
"There's nothing to say that a story you tell yourself about yourself has any bearing on you at all, and there's no way of knowing whether it does or not.
Which means that your own 'story' has...absolutely no relevance to you."

And as you observed, without the narrative in THOUGHT (not reality) it would not exist, nor be maintained, even as the rather dubious and changeable history of a self.
We tell our stories, and memories, to other people as if they were real. We use words to identify things as ours.
Like MY computer. Truer to say it's A computer.

Word computer is not the computer, of course. It's just a verbal pointer.
That sounds exceptionally simple but please take a moment to look at the computer and think on it.
Is the word the actual thing?
What happens in your mind when you say the word "computer"?
When you've done that, say "MY computer".
Whole new story, as you've indicated. Lot of thoughts ABOUT the computer. Any of them real? Please check!
There might be a mechanism that is so automated, that we have come to see the word as the thing.
In language, in law, we ATTACH a possessive pronoun to something (anything, like MY wife) and act like it's real.
Please explore this notion.

Let's go back to where you said that the self must be attached to the body. Little closer to home. MY body.
Attached, how?

So for today, if you could look very carefully at how we attach things to a self.
Which appears to be constructed and maintained as a mental construct.
Can this be true?

Feel free to write copious amounts on this, evidence for, or against. It helps to write it down, so you can retrace the argument, without the mental revisions that mind likes to make.
Lots of work! Much love to you, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:10 pm

Is the word the actual thing?
What happens in your mind when you say the word "computer"?
When you've done that, say "MY computer".
Whole new story, as you've indicated. Lot of thoughts ABOUT the computer. Any of them real? Please check!
I think I realise what you mean. I've done a lot of thinking on this today. The word isn't the actual thing at all, it's a symbol that represents the actual physical object that we can touch and see. Language is a useful tool, but I think I and many people, even most people, buy into the symbols and treat them like reality so that we can no longer see what is really occurring.

This became really clear when I started thinking about computer, as you suggested. Specifically, when I started thinking about 'my computer', I found a whole story going on which was only vaguely related to a computer. What I like to do on my computer, the room it's in, how I really ought to clean up the study a bit more so that it's tidier, what I plan on using my computer for in the future. These are just examples, but the list really seemed to just keep going. I could have sat for an hour or perhaps longer thinking about the word 'computer' without really focusing on an actual computer at all.

And were any of them real? Not really. It's a continuation of the self story going on. When I think computer, I think what I like to do on a computer. It's scary to realise how deeply embedded the concept of a self is into my way of thinking. I didn't realise that even simply using the phrase 'my computer' launches my thinking into more thoughts about who I am, what I like and so on.
There might be a mechanism that is so automated, that we have come to see the word as the thing.
In language, in law, we ATTACH a possessive pronoun to something (anything, like MY wife) and act like it's real.
Please explore this notion.
I think that mechanism is what I was talking about. It's like I skip over what a computer actually is and skip straight to what it means to me, personally. It worries me that this type of thinking happens so often. By thinking like that, I don't think I'm dealing with anything real and tangible. Instead, I'm dealing with..an interpretation of reality. And an interpretation that might be wrong. It's like I'm distanced from whats actually happening. It's hard to convey in writing.
Let's go back to where you said that the self must be attached to the body. Little closer to home. MY body.
Attached, how?
I don't know. If the self doesn't exist physically, I can't sense it or touch it or interact with it in anyway when I look for it, it can't really be attached to anything. It's imaginary. In that sense, I could -say- it was attached to anything and believe it, but I'd have no evidence for doing that. The evidence seems to suggest it's not attached to my body at all because it can't be attached to anything.
So for today, if you could look very carefully at how we attach things to a self.
Which appears to be constructed and maintained as a mental construct.
Can this be true?
No, I don't think it can. I like the way that's worded, mental construct, so I'll borrow that. The idea of attaching anything to a mental construct seems ridiculous. It only seems to exist because most people believe in it so strongly, but there's not actually any sign that the self is real. This means that, in a sense, we try to attach a real something to what is basically nothing, and we get upset when everybody else doesn't go along with our make believe story.

I feel I've worded this badly, but I'm struggling to find the right words to express the concepts we're working with. Probably because words are the problem in the first place, and I'm trying to point at something with what suddenly feel like faulty tools. I hope this makes some sense.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:10 pm

Dear Rogue,
I think you've worded this very well. Excellent work!
So we are exploring the question of ownership, as in, how does the self own things?
And looked at a possible mechanism. There in thought, and in word, Great that you begin to see how reality is heavily filtered by our thinking ABOUT reality. Not reality itself.
So, just to nail it down, is a thought ABOUT reality different from direct perception of reality?
Without a thought, how does reality look? Try catching yourself looking or feeling something before a thought claims it.

Now a small exercise on ownership and doership. Does the self, which, in thought, OWNS much of what happens, really DO anything?
Please lift your left hand. Wave it to one side, then the other.
Reconstruct the thoughts ABOUT the action. Did they occur before, during, or after hand moving?
Other than in thought, did a self move the hand? Just plain observation here.
If so, how did you observe that working?


To expand on this, please observe as you walk around. Is a self walking? or is it truer to say, walking is happening?
Do things really happen without a self (in thought) owning the action?
I walked into a lot of things doing this exercise, so watch out :-)

Love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:23 pm

So, just to nail it down, is a thought ABOUT reality different from direct perception of reality?
Without a thought, how does reality look? Try catching yourself looking or feeling something before a thought claims it.
Yes, a direct perception doesn't seem to involve any thought at all. It just is.

I keep having glimpses but they don't last very long before the thoughts kick in and stories start twisting what's going on. I have to really focus to keep myself centered on what is happening. I don't know that I can describe what it's like very well. I'd say it's kind of simple. Things just are what they are. I can look at a cup and not think the word 'cup', or think about what cups are used for and what my favourite drinks are and so on. I just really notice the patterns on it, the shape of it, the lighting on it. It's like paying attention to whats in front of you.
Now a small exercise on ownership and doership. Does the self, which, in thought, OWNS much of what happens, really DO anything?
Please lift your left hand. Wave it to one side, then the other.
Reconstruct the thoughts ABOUT the action. Did they occur before, during, or after hand moving?
Other than in thought, did a self move the hand? Just plain observation here.
If so, how did you observe that working?
This is what I've spent most of my time doing and thinking about. My observations are less clear here than they felt in the previous few questions.

It seems like the self isn't actually involved in the action. The thoughts sometimes seem to arise simultaneously, but after some practice and while paying attention to it really carefully, it seems there's a moment after the action has happened but before the self kicks in to take ownership of it. This is really weird to me, because one of the questions I've wondered about is what life is like without a self to attribute actions and stuff towards. I don't know where the action come from if not the self, but I'm pretty certain it doesn't come from the self anymore.

That said, it's still very hard for me to seperate them. I have to pay careful attention to what I'm doing to notice that it isn't a 'self' doing the action. What I don't understand, as I said, is where the actions come from. I can't find their source either, just as I can't find a self. They just seem to occur from a point I can't see. I don't know if I haven't looked carefully enough or not, but I'm pretty perplexed by it.
To expand on this, please observe as you walk around. Is a self walking? or is it truer to say, walking is happening?
Do things really happen without a self (in thought) owning the action?
I think things do happen without the mental construct of a self owning the action. But if the self doesn't -do- anything, and doesn't own anything either then it's entirely pointless. So far as I can see, then, the self only serves to make us miserable.

But I don't know how else to explain the actions that are occurring without some sort of doer or active participant. An arm moves, in the exercise. When walking, legs move and scenery changes. Why? What is prompting the actions to occur? I can't make sense of it without some executive participant involved in the process. Surely someone or something needs to decide to start walking? And yet, I've experienced moments where the action happens before the 'self' kicks back in.

I don't understand at all. It's like there's a void from which actions come, but I can't see into it to figure out why or how. It suddenly makes sense why people invent a conceptual self to cling to; it's easier to explain what's going on by saying 'the self did it. I did it. I chose to do that.'

If my self has no control over my actions, then what does?

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:05 pm

Hi Rogue.
What happens as you directly observe thoughts and actions is very simple. Life carrying on without a thought ABOUT it. Movement does appear to occur before appropriation in thought, or, as a friend put it, the "MYNIFICATION" of pretty much everything. An I attached to everything in My world.
Seems like sense of self, like a sense of balance, is a useful tool. An organism can orient in relation to complex environments, mapping danger and opportunity. If you look at thoughts/history/stories many fall into just these categories. Fear and desire :-)
It does seem incredible that the only place we find ownership and doership, in reality, is in thoughts that attach it to a story of self. Thoughts are real, but the content of thought is not the thing itself. Thoughts about Batman don't make Batman real.

I love your question, "If MY self has no control over MY actions, then what really does?"

This question brings you directly to Gate.

Let's deconstruct just a little more.

1/ Where do thoughts come from? Are they generated by a self?
2/ Can a self control these thoughts? Even when they are all about a 'you'?
3/ And outside of the thoughts ABOUT life, can you find an actual self that is claiming to own and do life?
4/ Without an I thought, is the world any different?

These are worth hammering down on. This is where your absolute honesty and focus is required. Feel free to write and rant about implications, revelations, or doubts that come up. Ranting loosens the nuts and bolts of the construct :-)
Let me know what you see when the illusion of a separate self wears thin.

Love, Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:09 pm

You're right about the self having some purpose, of course. I was a bit quick to discount it as useless. You're right, it's a tool. It reminds me of the questions you asked me earlier about language. The words themselves are pointing towards the reality, they aren't the reality themselves. It's the same idea; it's a useful tool that is easy to get carried away with if you never stop to think about it.
Let's deconstruct just a little more.

1/ Where do thoughts come from? Are they generated by a self?
They seem to be the same as actions. I'm not sure where they come from exactly, but I am certain they don't come from any 'self'. They just are, the same way that actions just are. Your explanation was really helpful, though I'm not sure I can put it into words, the idea of life carrying on without any thinking about it makes sense on some level to me. It's a good description of what I'm experiencing; life is happening. The self is an afterthought, not a cause as I used to think.

2/ Can a self control these thoughts? Even when they are all about a 'you'?
A self is a result of thoughts, so..I don't know that a self could ever control thoughts. Especially when they are about 'me', because that's exactly the process that creates the construct called 'self' in the first place. As I see it the self cannot simultaneously be being created by and yet alter the thoughts.

I want to say that thoughts can be influenced on some level, though. Perhaps its an illusion, but its always seemed to me that by focusing and being aware of my train of thoughts, I can alter the course it takes. Actually I just had a realisation! It's not the thoughts that I alter at all, it's the course they take, and I achieve that not by influencing the thoughts but by bringing my awareness to something different. If I'm caught up in thoughts and thats where my awareness is, the thoughts will continue in a never ending stream that justifies themselves. But if I bring my awareness to somethinge else, then thoughts will continue to arise but they'll be about something different.

Thoughts, then, seem to be a side effect of..well..being alive. So long as I am awake, there are thoughts. What those thoughts are about is directly related to where my awareness is. But no 'self' can ever control the thoughts. If it could, you could say "I want to stop thinking now." and it would happen. Which would be really cool, but I don't know anyone that can do that. I certainly can't.

3/ And outside of the thoughts ABOUT life, can you find an actual self that is claiming to own and do life?
No, I can't find it. Life is just happening everywhere. Sometimes I attribute that to the 'self', but every time I stop to look there's no self there pulling the strings. It just..likes to take credit for whats happening, I suppose.
4/ Without an I thought, is the world any different?
I don't think the world is at all directly influenced by thought. But it sometimes can seem that way because of how drastically thought and feeling can alter our perception of events. 5 people can view the same event and have completely different thoughts and feelings about it. And as you said, thoughts are real and I think so are emotions. But those thoughts and feelings, whatever they are about, don't change the world, only perception.

So I guess my answer is that someone without an I thought might perceive the world quite differently, but the world itself wouldn't be any different no matter what the person thought. As I've learned, life happens, no matter what we try to do about it.

User avatar
Elizabeth
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:04 am
Location: USA, or Texas. Whichever is bigger.
Contact:

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Elizabeth » Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:04 pm

Well, awesome!
You are looking right at it.
Do you exist?

Elizabeth

User avatar
Rogue
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:54 pm

Re: We can start here when you are ready.

Postby Rogue » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:30 pm

No, I don't.

I'm not real.

I felt so strangely good when I realized that. It's been a few hours since then.

It's so simple I keep thinking I've missed something, though. I feel pretty good about it, but I keep wanting to battle it and set up safeguards and tell myself 'watch out if you start thinking like this because that means that' and so on.

It all defeats the point, doesn't it? Life happens. I don't exist, I can't guard anything. There's nothing to do the guarding. Nothing to sit there watching the thoughts and making sure they dont step out of line, which is what I've tried in the past. There's nothing there. I'm not there.

Everything just is.

These thoughts, though, god damn. Is this like detox or something?


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests