Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncovering

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:25 am

Hello,

I loved this exercise. I kept rewatching the video and switching the audio off and on haha.
What did you find when doing this exercise?
I noticed that with the commentary, there was a lot more tension. A tigher feeling in my chest. I was looking and hoping for a certain result with every play. The game also felt a lot more important like you mentioned and there was this feeling of aspects being “good” or “bad”. Without the commentary, it almost felt like watching nature? As if I was watching some animals in the wild, just doing their thing, if that makes sense. It was a lot calmer and nothing felt “wrong” about it.
Is the commentary on the soccer game a necessity for the play to happen?
No, it is completely unnecessary.
And in the same way, is the inner narration of thought a necessity for the play of life to happen?
No, it isn’t necessary. Life happens and thinking comments on actual experience.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:35 am

Yay!

Yes, these exercises can be a lot of fun. That's exactly right. It is so much morr peaceful without the narration. It's not that there's anything wrong with narration. Thoughts will continue to arise. We just don't get so caught up in them.

Here are some other things to notice about different kinds of thoughts.

Fruit Exercise

Have a piece of fruit handy, or something that you like to eat.

For the first couple of minutes imagine you are eating the fruit…..feel the sensations of chewing, the taste, the texture, the fragrance, hear the crunching sound that the chewing makes. Really enjoy the imaginary piece of fruit as much as you can.

Then for the next couple of minutes actually bite the fruit and see the difference.

Experience the fruit with curiosity and dive into the sensations of chewing, swallowing, the sounds and the taste. Really enjoy the experience of actually eating the piece of fruit.

Then for another minute or so describe the taste and smell in as much detail as possible.

Write about it here. What was the experience like?

After you have done this, tell me what you noticed when you compared these three experiences:

1. Imaginary fruit

2. Real fruit

3. Description

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:32 pm

Hello,

Sorry for disappearing again. Been swamped in uni work and have been feeling like avoiding this for some reason. Not sure why. Anyways, I've simplified my life a lot and cut out a lot of distractions in the last 2 days so I can focus on spiritual stuff(Just meditating and this forum, nothing else) and uni. Tell me if you still wanna continue :).
Write about it here. What was the experience like?
Description: The banana had some sweetness and a flowery smell. It felt cool. The texture was mushy. The imagined fruit and the description were just thoughts describing the idea of a banana. They weren't the real thing. The experience of it was just thinking.
The real experience was smelling, seeing, tasting, feeling/touching and hearing.

Thank you,
Husain Tammam

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:41 pm

Good morning!

Simplifying seems to come with the territory here. Yes, continuing is fine.
Description: The banana had some sweetness and a flowery smell. It felt cool. The texture was mushy. The imagined fruit and the description were just thoughts describing the idea of a banana. They weren't the real thing. The experience of it was just thinking.

The real experience was smelling, seeing, tasting, feeling/touching and hearing.
Yes, that is the AE (Actual Experience) - smelling, seeing, tasting, feeling/touching and hearing.

We don't usually refer to it as "real thing" or "real experience." That can be confusing. Let's stick to AE (Actual Experience) or (DE) Direct Experience. "Real" is a label that ... well, usually refers to nothing real!

AE or DE is:

Image/Color or Seeing
Sound or Hearing
Sensation or Touching/feeling (not emotions, though)
Smell or Smelling
Taste or Tasting
Thought Arising (but never the content or story of the thought - that is made up and has to be taught to us and is never AE).


Direct Experience

Sit quietly and relax, take your time just looking at what is in front of you for awhile.

Observe how the mind is dividing and labeling every thing into objects and is embellishing them with stories about what they are.

Give it some time.

Then, stop watching the objects as labeled objects. Just look at the seeing itself. Observe the pure process of seeing. This is direct experience (DE).

Let me know how that goes.


Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:25 am

Hello,
We don't usually refer to it as "real thing" or "real experience." That can be confusing. Let's stick to AE (Actual Experience) or (DE) Direct Experience. "Real" is a label that ... well, usually refers to nothing real!
Aha that's good. Thank you, I'll keep that in mind.
Then, stop watching the objects as labeled objects. Just look at the seeing itself. Observe the pure process of seeing. This is direct experience (DE).

Let me know how that goes.
Okay, so I did this on my desk. I very habitually separated the scene into "things". The laptop, phone, books and chargers. I did try to relax that and see everything as a whole. Trying to notice seeing. Its a wide field of color, like an image on a screen. Pure seeing, the direct experience of it is just a sheet of colors. When I started labeling again, the scene felt like separate objects again.

Kind Regards,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:12 am

Hi Husain,

Good.
Its a wide field of color, like an image on a screen. Pure seeing, the direct experience of it is just a sheet of colors. When I started labeling again, the scene felt like separate objects again.
Yes, just color, exactly. You seem to understand what Actusl Experience is, as opposed to labels, descriptions, and stories we've made up . So.now let's look at thoughts.

Observing thoughts

Here is a thought exercise. Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts.

Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear without you doing anything at all.

Where are they coming from and going to?

Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?

Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?

Can you predict your next thought?

Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?

Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?

Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?

Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just
notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’?



Please quote each question separately.

Give your answer under the quoted question.

That helps me to see each answer. Thank you!

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:31 pm

Hello,
Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear without you doing anything at all.
I wasn't really sure how to do this. I tried to just leave the thoughts alone in a kind of "aware that they are there but completely disinterested in their content" approach. I would still understand the content though. Is that supposed to happen?
Where are they coming from and going to?
Nowhere? They just appear in consciousness and then disappear
Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Nope, they just arise and go away randomly or at least seemingly randomly.
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
No.
Can you predict your next thought?
Definitely not.
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
Nope, although that would be really great :).
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
No.
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
No.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
No.
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just
notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’?
Hmm, I didn't notice the logical ordered sequence to be honest. It was either the same topic rehashed again and again or completely unrelated thoughts.

Something weird I noticed while doing this is that I very quickly feel this weird sort of pressure around my head. I still feel it now. This same feeling appears whenever I do this kind of exercise of just observing thoughts come and go. I thought that maybe I'm trying to suppress my thoughts and that's causing tension but I think I'm relaxed. Is this something to be worried about? Thank you.

Much love,

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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:53 pm

Good morning!
I wasn't really sure how to do this. I tried to just leave the thoughts alone in a kind of "aware that they are there but completely disinterested in their content" approach. I would still understand the content though. Is that supposed to happen?
You did it fine. You're not suddenly going to fail to understand language most of the time, although that can happen sometimes.
Something weird I noticed while doing this is that I very quickly feel this weird sort of pressure around my head. I still feel it now. This same feeling appears whenever I do this kind of exercise of just observing thoughts come and go. I thought that maybe I'm trying to suppress my thoughts and that's causing tension but I think I'm relaxed. Is this something to be worried about?
What is the AE of 'pressure'? Is it color, smell, taste, sound, sensation or thought arising?

To examine the "pressure around the head" let’s examine the solidity of the head.

Please IGNORE all thoughts and images of ‘head’ and ‘fingers’ and just answer from actual experience.

Close your eyes and take in a couple of deep breaths to settle the dust and keeping your eyes closed...

Press a finger down onto the top of the ‘head’.

Notice what is actually present.

Is it a head, or is it just a sensation (labelled ‘pressure’) and thoughts ABOUT a head?

Do the same with a finger on each side of the head.

Is a head actually found, or are there just sensations again?

And is there anything between the pressure points, or are there just thoughts about something being in between them

Without thought, how big is your head?

Without thought, does it have an inside or an outside?

Without thought, does it have a location?


Now...let's examine the idea that thoughts are in the 'head'.

It is generally believed that thoughts are coming from the head. When we try to trace back the origin of a thought, it is often believed that it's coming from the forehead, because the attention automatically goes to the sensation of the forehead. Investigate this carefully as often as you can throughout the day.

What is the forehead in the actual experience?

A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?

So, can a thought come from a sensation?

Can a thought come from a mental image?


Have a very deep look here... the forehead is one of the 'residence' of the SENSE of self. Or rather say, the sensation that is labelled as forehead is believed to be one of the location of the sense of self. A self that is thinking thoughts.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:08 pm

Hello :),
What is the AE of 'pressure'? Is it color, smell, taste, sound, sensation or thought arising?
its just a sensation.
Is it a head, or is it just a sensation (labelled ‘pressure’) and thoughts ABOUT a head?
Its just a sensation and sometimes a mental image of a head.
Is a head actually found, or are there just sensations again?
There's only sensations
And is there anything between the pressure points, or are there just thoughts about something being in between them
Hmm sometimes there is a thought, sometimes there is nothing between them.
Without thought, how big is your head?
Impossible to tell.
Without thought, does it have an inside or an outside?
No.
Without thought, does it have a location?
No. Although touching sensation does seem to have a location associated with it. I'm not sure if that's thought + sensation, or if sensation has a position. I suspect its the former but its hard to tell.
What is the forehead in the actual experience?
Generally, it's not in actual experience. Sometimes, there can be thoughts of where the "forehead" should be. And sometimes there are sensations.
A sensation + a mental image (of a forehead), right?
Yeah. There isn't always a sensation though, see my previous answer.
So, can a thought come from a sensation?
No.
Can a thought come from a mental image?
No. Thoughts come from nowhere!

My answers have become a lot shorter since we first start began haven't they. Something I noticed through direct experience ;). Thank you for your help so far, I appreciate it.

Much love,

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 3:36 am

Good evening, yes. Your answers are short and sweet now.

Without thought, does it have a location?


No. Although touching sensation does seem to have a location associated with it. I'm not sure if that's thought + sensation, or if sensation has a position. I suspect its the former but its hard to tell.
Let's check -

Assuming you are sitting down, find the space where your butt ends and the chair begins. Just mentally go there and see if there's a real boundary there or only something thought tells you. There is sensation, yes, as you say there is.

Is there a boundary?

Is there a location of your butt?

LOOK very closely. What is AE?


Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:38 am

Hello,
Is there a boundary?
No, but thoughts about a boundary.
Is there a location of your butt?
There's a thought of the location of my butt.
LOOK very closely. What is AE?
AE seems to be just a sensation. When I'm really paying attention there's only a sensation. Very quickly afterwards, thoughts add certain details such as this is my butt and its resting on the chair and its far away from my head.

This is off-topic but something has been bothering for an hour now. It's very distressing, or at least there are thoughts that say its distressing. That's exactly the problem. I've started to notice that a lot of things I like, dislike, what I do, what I know, who I am, what I should say right now, what I shouldn't say. So much of it is just thoughts and I just started to feel like what if its all just a load of shit. Even now I can't even tell if I'm really distressed or just have a thought that I should be distressed. There's a sensation in my chest and that's all I know for sure. Hmmm, I'm sitting and scratching my head because I'm not sure what to do. It feels like everything I say is just a load of shit. Sorry about this I think I need to sleep maybe. Then again its just a thought so I have no clue. This is gonna probably look really stupid when I read it tomorrow, which is just another thought that gets typed. Thank you for taking the time to read through whatever this is.

Much love,

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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:06 am

Hi Husain,

It is not stupid, but we can feel very foolish when we notice how many stories we are telling day in and day out that have no basis whatsoever in reality.

You are waking up. That's what waking up is. We noticed the dreams we've been dreaming.

Mind labelling experience

Here is an exercise which examines the way in which the mind labels experience - it takes about 20 minutes and you will need a pen a paper.

This exercise is broken into 10 minute lots. For each 10 minute period pay attention to any bodily sensation ie is there any tightening, or any relaxing?

For the first ten minutes write down what you are experiencing right now using the word “I”.

For example: I am sitting on a chair, I am hearing a clock ticking, I am looking at a computer screen, I am feeling hungry. Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just a plain description of your experience right here and now.

Then for the next ten minutes continue writing down what you are experiencing but this time without using the word “I”. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs. For example: sitting on a chair, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing the clock. (Again, watch what is happening in the body.)

At the end of the twenty minutes compare the two ways in which the experience was labelled and answer the following four questions:

1. Is one truer than the other, and If so, which one?

2. What is here without labels?

3. Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?

4. Did you notice any differences in the body?


Enjoy!

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:14 pm

Hello,
It is not stupid, but we can feel very foolish when we notice how many stories we are telling day in and day out that have no basis whatsoever in reality.

You are waking up. That's what waking up is. We noticed the dreams we've been dreaming.
Thank you for that. It's very reassuring.
1. Is one truer than the other, and If so, which one?
The first one felt very, very wrong and somewhat awkward. So many I's. It feels ridiculous to say that I write, its just my body doing its thing. I say my body because I do still feel some ownership to my body. However, its clear that it does what it does. When I say felt wrong, I mean it had this kind of resistance sensation, in my body. There were also thoughts saying: "This is wrong/awkward/not right/etc.."
The second felt a lot more true and correct. There was no previously mentioned "resistance", and a lack of thoughts relating to whether this was right or wrong.
2. What is here without labels?
Sensations, hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and thinking.
3. Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
They just describe it, but they do seem to add thinking and sensations of tension? or discomfort to the experience. It's a thin addition over the actual experience, but it doesn't change it.
4. Did you notice any differences in the body?
I noticed the "head sensations" again. The head feels lighter in the second part but I think what it actually is that in the first part there is the sensation. and in the second part that sensation goes away and so it is noticed. Feels like my body is empty? There are no sensations in the body there's only sensations.

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Anastacia42
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:24 pm

Hi Husain,
Thank you for that. It's very reassuring.
Good. You're welcome.
When I say felt wrong, I mean it had this kind of resistance sensation, in my body.
The tension, often in the gut, is an intuition, a gut feel that we are lying. That what we said or thought is not true. It is very good to pay attention to when this happens. The feeling may be heavy, tight, or a contraction. When we are not lying, it tends to be neutral, light, relaxed or expansive.
I say my body because I do still feel some ownership to my body.
Let's look at the body, then, starting with a hand:

Hand on Desk

Please close your eyes for this exercise, just notice any ‘mental’ images or thoughts that appear and put them aside.

Place a hand on a desk or table (flat surface) - Close your eyes.

Now 'go to' the feeling/sensation which we would normally refer to as 'hand on desk' and answer from what you can FIND (not from the content of thought).

1) How many things do you find? Are there two things (hand and desk) or is there one thing – sensation?

2) Can a ‘feeler’ be found in 'what is being felt'?

3) Do you notice 'one thing feeling another thing'? Or is there just 'a sensation'?

4) Do you find an 'I', a body, a hand 'feeling' . . . or is there just 'a sensation'?

What do you find?

Can an INHERENT FEELER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the feeler, be anything other than a concept?


Let me know.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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camelrider
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Re: Feeling a lot of cognitive dissonance around my beliefs relating to self. Would really appreciate some help uncoveri

Postby camelrider » Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:13 am

1) How many things do you find? Are there two things (hand and desk) or is there one thing – sensation?
Just sensation.
2) Can a ‘feeler’ be found in 'what is being felt'?
Nope, just feeling.
3) Do you notice 'one thing feeling another thing'? Or is there just 'a sensation'?
Just sensation.
4) Do you find an 'I', a body, a hand 'feeling' . . . or is there just 'a sensation'?
No, I, hand, feeler. Just a sensation.
Can an INHERENT FEELER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the feeler, be anything other than a concept?
Cannot be found. Thoughts about a feeler but no feeler in actual experience.

Much love,


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