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

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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 Apr 03, 2019 9:36 pm

Hi Husain,

So is there some thing called "ownership" of a body? Is that Actual Experience?


Deeper Body Investigation

Here is an even deeper investigation of the body. Please follow each step, don't leave outany. Take your time. Don't move to the next step until the previous one is clearly seen.

Repeat the exercise several times.

Stand in front of a bigger mirror.

(1) First, close the eyes and feel the sensations labeled ‘body’.

(2) Then open the eyes and look into the mirror while still paying attention to the sensations.

Is there any connection between the felt sensations and the image in the mirror?
Or just thoughts (and/or mental images) suggest that there is?


(3) While still paying attention to the sensations move one hand and observe the movement from the mirror.

Is there any connection between the felt sensations (labeled ‘hand’) and image of movement in the mirror?


(4) Now do the same movement with the hand, but this time look at the hand directly, not from the mirror.

Is there any connection between the felt sensations (labelled ‘hand’) and the image ‘of movement’?
Or only thoughts suggest it?


(5) Now, pay attention only to the image in the mirror.

Does the image by itself suggest in any way that is ‘you’ or ‘your body’?
Does the image itself suggest in any way that it is a ‘body’ at all?
Or are there only colors and shapes?


(6) Where the mirror ends, some parts of the body (probably legs) cannot be seen. Just by the image in the mirror, is there any ‘knowledge’ that there must be legs, or only thoughts and mental images suggest so?

(7) Now turn away from the mirror and look forward (don’t look directly to any body parts).

Is there a ‘body’ anywhere when all thoughts and images are ignored, or are there only sensations?

(8) Start to walk slowly.

Is there a ‘body walking’, or are there only sensations?
Is there actual experience of ‘walking’ at all?


Or just THOUGHTS ABOUT ‘walking’?

Can such a thing as ‘body’ be found OR just THOUGHTS ABOUT a ‘body’?

Can such a thing as ‘walking’ be found?


(9) Are the sensations localized in space, like ‘going through the room’; OR is there only an image that is labelled ‘room’ and appearing sensations without any location?

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 Apr 04, 2019 7:15 pm

Hello,
So is there some thing called "ownership" of a body? Is that Actual Experience?
No, there's no direct experience of ownership. Only thoughts of "ownership".
Is there any connection between the felt sensations and the image in the mirror?
Or just thoughts (and/or mental images) suggest that there is?
No connection. There is only the sensations and then the image, and then a thought of "me" or "my body"
Is there any connection between the felt sensations (labeled ‘hand’) and image of movement in the mirror?
Sensations and image. No connection.
Is there any connection between the felt sensations (labelled ‘hand’) and the image ‘of movement’?
sensations and image. No connection.
Does the image by itself suggest in any way that is ‘you’ or ‘your body’?
Does the image itself suggest in any way that it is a ‘body’ at all?
Or are there only colors and shapes?
The image itself is just an image. There's only the thought of belonging or me.
(6) Where the mirror ends, some parts of the body (probably legs) cannot be seen. Just by the image in the mirror, is there any ‘knowledge’ that there must be legs, or only thoughts and mental images suggest so?
Only thoughts. There's sensation and image of "body without legs" and then thoughts that try to connect the two things and make a story out of it.
Is there a ‘body’ anywhere when all thoughts and images are ignored, or are there only sensations?
There's only sensations.
Is there actual experience of ‘walking’ at all?
No. There's only the sensations and the changing image and thoughts about moving/walking.
Can such a thing as ‘body’ be found OR just THOUGHTS ABOUT a ‘body’?
Only thoughts about the body.
Can such a thing as ‘walking’ be found?
No. Only thought of walking.
(9) Are the sensations localized in space, like ‘going through the room’; OR is there only an image that is labelled ‘room’ and appearing sensations without any location?
Changing sensations and images, and then thought explaining it.

Lots of questions this time :)

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 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:49 pm

Hi Husain,

Yes, some are long, some are short.

You answered this one, but not directly answering the specific questions it asked. Could you please do that? It helps to answer each and every piece.
Does the image by itself suggest in any way that is ‘you’ or ‘your body’?

Does the image itself suggest in any way that it is a ‘body’ at all?

Or are there only colors and shapes?


The image itself is just an image. There's only the thought of belonging or me.
Just that and then we'll move on.

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 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:58 pm

Hello,

Sorry, I must've missed the questions!
Does the image by itself suggest in any way that is ‘you’ or ‘your body’?
No, nothing in the image suggest that. There's only image.
Does the image itself suggest in any way that it is a ‘body’ at all?
Nope, its just an image. Only thoughts imbue it with any labels or meaning.
Or are there only colors and shapes?
There's only colors. Even shapes to some degree involve thought.

Thank you so much for your help so far.

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 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:09 am

Hi Husain,

That's great. Thanks.

Label-Reality Correlation

There is a belief that labels have a one-to-one correspondence with ‘reality’. But there isn’t. Just like it is a generally accepted belief that labels like ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are inherent characteristics of ‘things’. But actually, they are not.

When you look at the word label ‘GREEN’, what is the actual experience?

Is the red color ‘experienced’ or is color green ‘experienced’ as the label suggests?

Do the labels have a one-to-one correspondence with ‘reality’?

Or do the labels suggest something else other than what is here now (red color)?

Is green-ness an inherent attribute of the ‘experience’ of the red color; or is green just a word label on the experience of the red color?

If the label ‘GREEN’ is replaced with the label ‘GOOD’ or ‘BAD’, is the redness affected in
any way as the labels suggests?

Does redness become ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or do the labels have no affect whatsoever on reality?

What is found?


You're quite welcome!

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 Apr 06, 2019 6:48 pm

When you look at the word label ‘GREEN’, what is the actual experience?
Seeing a red image.
Is the red color ‘experienced’ or is color green ‘experienced’ as the label suggests?
Red is experienced
Do the labels have a one-to-one correspondence with ‘reality’?
No.
Or do the labels suggest something else other than what is here now (red color)?
They suggest something else.
Is green-ness an inherent attribute of the ‘experience’ of the red color; or is green just a word label on the experience of the red color?
Just a label
If the label ‘GREEN’ is replaced with the label ‘GOOD’ or ‘BAD’, is the redness affected in
any way as the labels suggests?
No, labels don't affect the experience.
Does redness become ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or do the labels have no affect whatsoever on reality?
The labels have no effect.
What is found?
Seeing is an experience. Labeling is another experience(thinking). The two are unrelated. Just two different experiences.

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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 Apr 07, 2019 1:06 am

Hi Husain,

Yes. Exactly. Here is a similar exercise. Let me know what you find.


Friend/Stranger

Bring up a thought about a character labelled "friend".
Then bring up a thought about a character labelled "stranger".

Compare these thoughts.

Is there a difference in these thoughts?

Is there a true difference or is it just different content?

Now, bring up a thought about a character labelled "friend".

After that, look at a thought about the character labelled "me”.

Is there a difference?

Is there anything special about thoughts with the content "me-character"?


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 Apr 07, 2019 1:45 pm

Hiya,

This exercise was really interesting. Really developed my intuition. I tried it with visual thoughts and auditory thoughts and got the same answers below.
Is there a difference in these thoughts?
There is a difference in the content of the thoughts. However they are both just experiences of thinking.
Is there a true difference or is it just different content?
Just different content. Both are direct experiences of thinking.
After that, look at a thought about the character labelled "me”.
Is there a difference?
There is no difference in actual experience. Both are just mental images or thinking. Only the content varies.
Is there anything special about thoughts with the content "me-character"?
Nothing special with the thoughts. Although when bringing up me thoughts, the actual experience may include slightly more chest sensations? Hard to tell. Either way, the actual thinking experience isn't special.

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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 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:11 pm

Good morning, Husain.

That is one of my favorite exercises.

You seem to see the difference between thought arising and content of thought. So now let's look at decisions, choice-making, and control.

Palm Flipping Exercise

1. Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.

2. Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.
Watch like a hawk.

Don't go to thoughts – examine your direct experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:

How is the movement controlled?

Does a thought control it?

Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?

How is the decision made to turn the hand over? Track any decision point when a thought MADE THE DECISION to turn the hand over and the hand turns over immediately.

Who or what chose which hand - the left or right hand for the exercise?

Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?


Have fun!

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 Apr 07, 2019 9:39 pm

Hello,

Ahh this was exercise was great. I actually started doing exercises like this one spontaneously about 2 weeks ago, moving my fingers around, typing, cooking, running and walking while observing. It's so strange to notice how the body just moves. very fun though :) Like a watching a wild animal haha.
How is the movement controlled?
I have no idea. It just happens.
Does a thought control it?
No. Well, there are sometimes thoughts with content that claims to control it, but that's no reason to believe its controlling it. They are just two different separate experiences. Moreover, the "controller" thoughts aren't even consistent. especially if I move my hands quickly or if I'm focused at looking.
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
Only in thought.
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?
Nope.

Just a random thought that appeared: I don't know why I took this so seriously at first. This is quite fun to be honest. It's like a being scientist of my moment-to-moment experience, really watching carefully, seeing what's there and what isn't. Just an interesting thought I thought I'd share. As always, thanks for your support so far :)

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 08, 2019 2:58 pm

Good morning!
Ahh this was exercise was great. I actually started doing exercises like this one spontaneously about 2 weeks ago, moving my fingers around, typing, cooking, running and walking while observing. It's so strange to notice how the body just moves. very fun though :) Like a watching a wild animal haha.
That's great! It's so much more fun and relaxing, isn't it? Yes, much like a wild animal.
Moreover, the "controller" thoughts aren't even consistent. especially if I move my hands quickly or if I'm focused at looking.
Very good, noticing they are "not even consistent."
I don't know why I took this so seriously at first. This is quite fun to be honest. It's like a being scientist of my moment-to-moment experience, really watching carefully, seeing what's there and what isn't.
That is a very good analogy and yes, it can be quite fun. You're quite welcome. It is my pleasure.

So, let's do another Scientist of My Moment-to-Moment Experience exercise. This one is about choice.

Drink Exercise

The aim of the following exercise is to discover whether the function of choice can really be found or confirmed in actual experience. The idea of making ‘choices‘ is a very clear example of a function that we wrongly identify as the basis of our identity.

Here's what’s needed - a chair, a table and two different drinks. Any two drinks you like are okay for this: coffee, tea, milk, water, juices, smoothies, beer, wine, etc.

Preparation - Place the two drinks side by side on the table in front of you, sit comfortably on the chair and mentally label them as drink A and drink B.

Experiment - Finding the function of choice

Sit for a few moments, take a few relaxed breaths and let the dust settle. When you feel ready:

1. Look at drink A and at drink B. Think about their respective qualities, the things you like about them, compare and weigh the pros and cons of each. See if a preference is manifesting for one or the other.

2. Count to 5.

3. Choose one of the drinks. Pick it up and take a sip.

Questions:

Remember that we’re looking for some kind of function, a something, an ‘I’ which is doing the ‘choosing’.

In step 1 when thinking about their respective qualities, did you ‘choose’ the qualities? Or did they kind of appear by themselves? If some preferences manifested, did you ‘choose’ these preferences? Or did they just pop up by themselves?

In step 2 when you counted to 5, if the preferences took the back seat while the numbers took the front seat, did you ‘choose’ this sequence of event? Did you ‘choose’ to shut down the preferences to give way to the counting? Did you directly experience a mental function or faculty doing the ‘choosing’? Have you seen this function in action?

In step 3 where you made a choice, did you actually witness or directly experience a mental function or faculty doing the ‘choosing’? Did anything arise that announced, ‘I am the chooser’? If so, what does this function look like?

Sometimes we describe this sense of choosing as a ‘feeling’: It feels like ‘I’ did the ‘choosing’. But the question is, can a feeling ‘choose’? Is it in the nature of a feeling to ‘choose’?


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 09, 2019 4:55 pm

Hiya,
In step 1 when thinking about their respective qualities, did you ‘choose’ the qualities? Or did they kind of appear by themselves? If some preferences manifested, did you ‘choose’ these preferences? Or did they just pop up by themselves?
In step 1, I was just waiting for the thoughts to pop up. It felt like a meeting was being held, different voices appear weighing the pros and cons of each drink. At some point there were more thoughts of a specific drink and thoughts of preference. The process was happening completely on its own and did not 'feel' like I was making the decision at all.
In step 2 when you counted to 5, if the preferences took the back seat while the numbers took the front seat, did you ‘choose’ this sequence of event? Did you ‘choose’ to shut down the preferences to give way to the counting? Did you directly experience a mental function or faculty doing the ‘choosing’? Have you seen this function in action?
No. I did not choose when to even start counting to 5. At some point, a thought appears that "I should start counting to 5" now. The counting thoughts then start to appear. Sometimes, the preference thoughts will randomly pop up in between the counting thoughts. In general, the counting thoughts were in my direct attention thought, but I didn't choose to do this. Did not notice any choosing.
In step 3 where you made a choice, did you actually witness or directly experience a mental function or faculty doing the ‘choosing’? Did anything arise that announced, ‘I am the chooser’? If so, what does this function look like?
No, the arm just moved and picked up one of the drinks. I tried the exercise multiple times. The first time, there was also a thought of choosing arising. The second and third times, it was more automatic.
Sometimes we describe this sense of choosing as a ‘feeling’: It feels like ‘I’ did the ‘choosing’. But the question is, can a feeling ‘choose’? Is it in the nature of a feeling to ‘choose’?
Feelings don't choose. Feeling are just feelings. Passing phenomena. The brain/body chooses (probably).

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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 10, 2019 12:55 pm

Hiya,

I've had a strange experience over the last 2 days. I randomly started to notice my thoughts, choices and body movements a lot more. I noticed that thoughts appear, choices are made, activities are done and there isn't a controller to be found. Then the whole thing just felt ridiculous. The idea of a puppet master controlling the brain and the body is just silly and doesn't even make sense. This visual story popped into my head:

A young child and his older brother playing video games. Except the young child's controller is not even connected. Yet he still thinks he's playing the game and controlling his character. The older brother of course is the only one actually playing the game, yet this younger child gets angry when his character doesn't do what he wanted and elated when he pulls off an incredible play. The worst part is: the young child doesn't even exist. There's only a story of him. A story told in thoughts. I may be stretching the analogy here a bit haha, but that's what it feels like. Hopefully this makes sense to you, but the idea that there is a separate controller and thinker just seems like the most fantastical ridiculous thing ever. I've been randomly laughing since yesterday. I is just a relic of the language we use.

I think (Not that there is a separate I that thinks :). Just a useful concept of language) the belief that "I" am the experiencer/witness/observer is still there though.

Tell me if I'm getting carried away here :). The belief of a separate entity that is the agent/thinker has been highly questionable and silly since yesterday, so it seems like a long-term shift. Either way thanks for reading through this monologue haha.

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 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 1:54 pm

Good morning,

That's a beautiful analogy. Except that I don't think there's a big brother doing the controlling. It seems to be far more mysterious then we know. Best I can do is it just happens.
The brain/body chooses (probably).
Exactly how would a thing called brain / body do any choosing?
I think (Not that there is a separate I that thinks :). Just a useful concept of language) the belief that "I" am the experiencer/witness/observer is still there though.
What is left I choose to call Awareness. Some people might call it Consciousness, but that's got a lot of baggage these days. Where I live (Colorado) there's a brand of coffee called Conscious Coffee. I picture little Pac-Man things pouring into the cup. So with all of this over use of the word conscious, I tend to avoid it.


Explore Sense of Self


Let’s say that you have lost your keys and you swear that you left them in your coat. You go to look and check all the pockets - the keys are not there. You swear they must be as that was the last place you remember them. You have a vivid memory of putting them there after you left the house. But when you check they are not there. At this point you can keep believing that the keys are in your pocket, or you can admit you were mistaken. This is just like that. You may see clearly that the self is an illusion but still feel a sense of self - just like the keys. But feeling something to be true and seeing that it is or is not is different.

This is why we may find ourselves coming back to your expectations at the start and at the end.

Now, I’d like to ask you to explore this SENSE of self very-very thoroughly. Not by thinking about it, but by FEELING it.

Keep the focus of attention on the sense of self and inquire:

Does the sense of self have a location?

Does the sense of self have a shape or a size?

Does the sense of self say or communicate anything?

If the answer is yes, how does the sense do this exactly?

Does the sense of self have any characteristics or attributes?

What is the sense of self ‘made of’? An image? Sound?
Taste? Smell? Sensation?

Thought?


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 10, 2019 5:53 pm

Hi,
That's a beautiful analogy. Except that I don't think there's a big brother doing the controlling. It seems to be far more mysterious then we know. Best I can do is it just happens.
Thank you. Indeed, there doesn't even seem to be a big brother. Just the game playing.
Exactly how would a thing called brain / body do any choosing?
I guess a better way to put it is there's constant decision processes that happens in the brain + the environment, all of it. "Choosing" happens, and then a story about choosing appears. The brain "chooses" actions the same way a tree "chooses" to grow. It just happens.
Does the sense of self have a location?
I don't think so.
Does the sense of self have a shape or a size?
No.
Does the sense of self say or communicate anything?
In thoughts. There are stories of an I that has its desires and wants and needs. But there is no real entity called self saying these things.
Does the sense of self have any characteristics or attributes?
No. Not that I know of.
What is the sense of self ‘made of’? An image? Sound?
Taste? Smell? Sensation?
Other than thoughts I'm not sure anymore. Feels like only thoughts now.
Thought?
There are thoughts about self but they are seen as only thoughts.

I wanted to say I'm struggling to do the exercises, but for some reason 'struggling to do' doesn't make sense anymore? Hopefully you understand. I'm not even sure what the sense of self is either? There are thoughts of self for sure. I dunno, I'm confused. Thank you.

Much love,


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