Thank you again for the time and energy you put in these posts, they help me a lot in the work with my mind and my interpretation of reality. I really appreciate that.
Without thought, how is this known?
There’s a thoughtless awareness, a silent presence that looks without comment. Once the inner stories are dropped, watching continues. It doesn’t come from “me”, it’s like in the air.
Close your eyes and sit quietly for 10-15 minutes. Watch what focus does. Focus on focussing, attention itself.
Do you move it, or it moves by itself?
Focus moves by itself, of course I can also move it voluntarily when creating a thought consciously but when I let things happen naturally attention mainly moves by itself.
Hold focus on breath - see how it moves to thoughts, sensations, feelings, sounds. Is this something you control?
No, usually I can't control focus for a long time. It depends very much on the calmness of the inner sea. When my mind has been busy, control can be hard to find. At best I can feel close to controlling focus for a while, when it doesn’t move, in stillness, but I can’t say I control focus.
What moves attention?
Sometimes it can be a sudden event that distracts me. But in stillness, a desire to experience something may capture my focus and move it from a neutral to an active state; the desire to seize, to control, to be, sometimes out of a fear for nothingness.
Is thought in control of attention?
Thought blindsides attention. Thought and attention seem mutually exclusive because a thought is made out of attention; it’s attention-that-is-out-of-control
that shapes thought. What seems to be attention is often only a thought about attention.
Thought can be recognised by attention. Attention can exist when there's no thought.
Yes! So, this is something that helps greatly to see what is actually appearing as opposed to what thought says is happening. It is a good idea to do it with all emotions.
Recognizing what sensations appear, feeling how they rise, stay and go, is more direct and useful for recognizing emotions than thoughts about the reasons or the content of an emotion. These thoughts are too confusing to be fair.
When I feel anger coming up, I feel a stress ("in my chest" is a thought).
When I feel sadness coming up I feel pain ("in the heart region" is a thought).
When I feel desire for something I feel a tension that wants to seize or hold something.
When I feel joy, I feel a relaxation ("in my belly" is a thought).
“Alternating feelings of fresh and warm” is AE of thought. Does the sensation itself suggest in any way that there is “fresh and warm”?
No, fresh and warm are thoughts, interpretations, the sensations themselves don’t say anything. They just are what they are.
Does the sensation itself know anything about “air in nostrils” or “fresh and warm”?
A sensation doesn’t know anything. Qualifications are given by the thinking process, thoughts.
Now, can you physically grasp that image of a cup? Can you pour tea into it? Can you drink from it?
No, none of these can be done, ith's obvious.
Is there a ‘real’ cup or just a mental image of a cup? Is the content of the mental image (the cup) ‘real’?
It’s no more real than a dream, it's purely mental.
Now let’s look at the word thought “here is a cup”…. Can a 'real' cup be found in the thought itself?
No, of course not. Otherwise I would be a magician and create rightaway whatever I think about.
Here is a cup" is the thought; the ensuing thoughts of what a cup is and does, what it is made from etc are the content of that thought. What do those thoughts point to exactly? Do they point to colour, taste, smell, sensation or sound?
No, they only point to the previous thought that imagined the cup, they refer to the cup in the dream.
Or do they simply point to actual experience of thought and thought only?
The thought "here's a cup" is only a thought. The cup in the dream is thought only.
So thoughts and mental images are actual experience only as arising thoughts (words and mental image), their ‘presence’ cannot be denied. However their contents, what they are about, what they are pointing to (like the cup) are not ‘real’, they are just fantasies. Can you see this?
Yes, I see this clearly.
This reminds me of a morning, about two months ago, when I woke up after a lucid dream. The dream seemed very vivid and real, just before I woke up. Once awake I remained motionless and looked to the objects of the dream that I still could remember well, the persons in the dream, the scenes and the feelings I had then. My eyes were open and my dream was all gone. It's absence gave me clearly the feeling that what I considered real was just thoughts, all fantasies. It was very obvious. Then I compared it to life in the waking state and I came to the conclusion it was identical, that I was just my mind that made my experience of reality.
Then I looked back to the dreamer during the dream. He too was completely gone. This gave me the feeling that also in the waking state I was no more than the dreamer. Just a thought in fact. It came like a shock and I got out of this thinking.
Over the course of the next day or so, I'd like you to notice the content of thoughts. Whenever there is an arising thought or mental image, check whether its content (what it’s about, what it is pointing to) is REALLY happening, or the content is just pure imagination. Let me know how it goes.
Ok , I will do that.
Tomorrow, I have to fly abroad from my home to my country house (untill May 24th), where I will be alone and where I will be able to spend more time looking at my thoughts. I hope the internet connection will be good and allow me to resume our dialogue from Tuesday May 14th.