deconstruction site

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:15 am

Dear Vivien
Thank you for pointing me back to our discussion in May. My problem with direct experience, I think, was not that I don't trust it, but I guess it's such an unfamiliar state of being, I feel much more comfortable in the world of thoughts. And here doing this practice my sense sometimes was that the message was that thoughts were the 'baddies' and actual experience was the 'goodies', the good place we wanted to get to by recognizing how bad the other place was.
But the way I see it now is rather that actual experience is also for us a method - through discovering AE I come to realize things about the workings of what I call 'me'. It doesn't necessarily mean that one is bad and the other is good. So reading your guidance from earlier was helpful. I'll try to bear this in mind throughout the practice, and if I do slip back, that's because thinking habits as you know are very strong and deeply ingrained. It's not because I don't 'trust' this process. On the contrary! What I wrote last night in my question to you, about people not responding when I raise the subject of no-self, I was actually quite astonished to see this, because suddenly I felt that I had gone such a long way since I started doing this practice with you. So it might seem that it hasn't resulted in much, but actually I think there are huge results already, and I'm only scraping the surface still. So thank you and please don't give up on me :-)
If there were a you then looking at AE would teach you that there is NO YOU to be taught. :) Can you see this?
Sounds like a Zen koan but I guess that if there really were a me then AE would show me that there is a me, whereas it has been showing me the opposite.
AE cannot confirm the above, since all the above just assumed by thoughts.
It’s just a conceptual overlay on the actual experience. Can you see this?
Yes I can.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:10 am

Hi Agi,
But the way I see it now is rather that actual experience is also for us a method - through discovering AE I come to realize things about the workings of what I call 'me'. It doesn't necessarily mean that one is bad and the other is good.
Exactly. AE is just a tool helping to see through the self. And since one of the main identification is with the body, therefore we have to see that the body is also constructed. So then there is nothing left to identify with.
suddenly I felt that I had gone such a long way since I started doing this practice with you.
Yes, I agree with this. There is a big difference compared to when we started the conversation.
So thank you and please don't give up on me :-)
Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on you. I am here to help you as long as it takes. And it doesn’t matter how long it will take. So don’t feel pressured. :)

And I know that questioning the validity of looking at AE is just the result of old conditioned beliefs surfacing up again. So it might be worth for you for periodically re-read my previous post about it, whenever any doubt would arise again.
Sounds like a Zen koan
:) I haven’t thought of it as a zen koan, but yes, it’s sounds like that.

Here is a little exercise. With eyes closed, put one of the hands on a desk or a table. Pay attention only to the pure sensation.

Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that the hand is doing the touching?
Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that there is a hand (subject) that touching the table (object), or is there only touching?
When all mental images and thoughts are ignored is there a ‘hand’ or a ‘table’ at all, or is there only touching (pure sensation)?

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


Let’s see if there is a connection between a visual image and sensations.

Here is an exercise that helps to see how the illusion of the body is ‘created’, so to speak. Normally we believe that sensation is coming from sight (colour), meaning the object seen. In this example, the object being the ‘hand’ (colour labelled as ‘hand’).


1. Close the eyes and hold up one hand. Pay attention only to the felt sensations ‘of the hand’.
2. Open the eyes, and now observe the hand by looking only.
3. While looking at the hand, pay attention to the felt sensations.

Repeat 1 to 3 as many times as needed and investigate…

Normally we believe that the sensation is coming from the sight, the ‘object’ seen (hand).
But if you look, is there any link between the sensation and the sight? In other words, is the sensation ‘coming from’ the sight (labelled as hand) or only thoughts and mental constructs link them?

Can you see that both the ‘visual sight’ and the sensation appear simultaneously but ‘separately’, meaning that none of them is coming from the other or contained by the other?

So they just appear equally, ‘beside’ each other without any hierarchy or link between them?


So you can repeat this with all of the body parts below, one-by-one.
- feet
- legs
- arms
- belly
- chest
- head (looking into the mirror)

What do you find?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:00 pm

Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that the hand is doing the touching? Does the pure sensation itself suggest in any way that there is a hand (subject) that touching the table (object), or is there only touching? When all mental images and thoughts are ignored is there a ‘hand’ or a ‘table’ at all, or is there only touching (pure sensation)?
As you say, there is only the pure sensation and I’d go even further and say that if I try to go deeper into what ‘touching’ is actually like, I can’t seem to describe it or find the actual experience of touching as such.
Can an ‘INHERENT FEELER’ be found? Would anything that is suggested as the ‘feeler’, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?
No; as I try to identify the thing that’s doing the feeling, I realize I can’t really. Is it the hand? Which part of the hand exactly? The skin? Can I point to the place where the sensation is happening exactly? Is it my hand feeling the surface, or the surface feeling my hand? These distinctions are becoming blurred.
1. Close the eyes and hold up one hand. Pay attention only to the felt sensations ‘of the hand’.
2. Open the eyes, and now observe the hand by looking only.
3. While looking at the hand, pay attention to the felt sensations.
Repeat 1 to 3 as many times as needed and investigate…
Normally we believe that the sensation is coming from the sight, the ‘object’ seen (hand).
But if you look, is there any link between the sensation and the sight? In other words, is the sensation ‘coming from’ the sight (labelled as hand) or only thoughts and mental constructs link them?
Spooky to realize how separate they are actually.
Can you see that both the ‘visual sight’ and the sensation appear simultaneously but ‘separately’, meaning that none of them is coming from the other or contained by the other?
Yes!
So they just appear equally, ‘beside’ each other without any hierarchy or link between them?
Yes. It’s only the thoughts that connect the two. I actually had a similar experience this morning in meditation. I was looking at bodily sensations and I came to realize that the different sensations in different parts of the body were completely separate and unconnected. I.e. they didn’t feel like they were sensations taking place ‘within the same body’. It’s again only my thoughts that are creating a connection by saying, this feeling is in the hand, which belongs to the body, and this feeling is in the leg, which belongs to the same body.

It’s late now and I’m tired, but tomorrow morning I’ll continue looking at the other body parts in the same way, as you suggest.

Thank you!

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:20 am

Hi Agi,

I wait for your remaining answers before replying.

Have a nice day,
Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:48 am

Good morning,
Here's the continuation of last night's exercise.
So you can repeat this with all of the body parts below, one-by-one.
- feet
- legs
- arms
- belly
- chest
- head (looking into the mirror)

What do you find?
I have found that while last night's experience was very striking and clear, this morning it was more vague. Especially with the feet I had difficulty distinguishing the sensations from the visual sight, I think mainly because the sensations weren't as strong. The rest of the body went OK, and the most interesting thing was that for the chest and the head I used a mirror, and when I looked at these body parts in the mirror it was much easier to notice this distinction between sensation and visual sight. I think it's because the mirror objectifies me, so I'm looking at 'something else out there', a sense of distance is created compared to when I'm looking directly at my own body. So with the head and chest this sense that the two were separate was particularly sharp. I could even notice that as my eyes wondered to different parts of my head my thoughts immediately started making connections with the sensations in my body.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:48 pm

Hi Agi,

Great looking!
for the chest and the head I used a mirror, and when I looked at these body parts in the mirror it was much easier to notice this distinction between sensation and visual sight. I think it's because the mirror objectifies me, so I'm looking at 'something else out there', a sense of distance is created compared to when I'm looking directly at my own body. So with the head and chest this sense that the two were separate was particularly sharp.
And all this is because of the assumption that the sensations are coming from the image labelled ‘body’, and not from a reflection in the mirror.

Have you ever pondered about that you can never ever be able to see your head directly? Without a mirror, we would never be able to know how our face, eyes, head look like. And we treat the image of the head in the mirror as a proof of how our faces look like. But actually, that image is just an image in the mirror, and only thoughts suggesting that that image labelled ‘head’ is MY head, MY face, belonging to the sensation I feel.
But there is no experiential proof that those colours in the mirror is MY face. Can you see this?

Here is a deeper investigation of the body. Please follow each step, don't leave out any. 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 labelled ‘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 (labelled ‘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 colours 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?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:30 am

Hello Vivien

LU 13 June
Have you ever pondered about that you can never ever be able to see your head directly? Without a mirror, we would never be able to know how our face, eyes, head look like. And we treat the image of the head in the mirror as a proof of how our faces look like. But actually, that image is just an image in the mirror, and only thoughts suggesting that that image labelled ‘head’ is MY head, MY face, belonging to the sensation I feel. But there is no experiential proof that those colours in the mirror is MY face. Can you see this?
Yes.
Stand in front of a bigger mirror.
(1) First, close the eyes and feel the sensations labelled ‘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?


The thoughts immediately jump in and make the connection, but I can see that this is only a learnt connection. It’s not there in actual experience.
(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 (labelled ‘hand’) and image of movement in the mirror?
No. Again the connection comes from the thoughts.
(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?
No there isn’t.
(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 colours and shapes?
No, it’s quite bizarre. It’s just an image.
(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?
No! It’s only the thoughts that assume there is a continuation.
(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?


Only individual 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?
Initially this was very hard to experience directly because the thoughts are so strong, especially when I walk with my eyes open (somehow the eyes and the thoughts are very closely connected), but no, again there were only sensations.
(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?
Again this was very hard to experience directly, but doing it the second time round I found that it was only my thoughts that located the sensations a) inside the body and b) inside the room. In direct experience, the sensations just were. They weren’t anywhere in particular, they weren’t located in space.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:06 am

Hi Agi,

You did a great looking!

Here is a fascinating experiment showing that correlation between sensations and images is just a fabrication.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dphlhmt ... q0RhEFGLeA

Find somewhere quiet to sit. Rest for a moment and listen to the sounds in the room where you are, or sounds from outside. Whatever it is, I'll just refer to it as 'what can be heard'.

In 'hearing' can anything be found other than 'what can be heard'?

Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?

An 'I'? a 'body'? a 'person'? a brain? A pair of ears? Can these be found doing the hearing? Or is there just 'what can be heard'?
What do you find?

Can an INHERENT HEARER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the hearer, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:53 am

Hello Vivien

This was a fascinating though pretty difficult exercise. I spent my whole morning meditation 'looking at' the sounds. And not even sure what I found!
In 'hearing' can anything be found other than 'what can be heard'?
No.
Can what is doing the hearing be found? Or is there only 'what can be heard'?
There was no one/nothing 'doing' the hearing. There was hearing, there were the sounds, but I can't explain how the hearing took place. I certainly did not feel that my ears did the hearing.
An 'I'? a 'body'? a 'person'? a brain? A pair of ears? Can these be found doing the hearing? Or is there just 'what can be heard'? What do you find?
Well I found that I tend to immediately associate the hearing with 'inside my head'. But actually the sounds were not at all inside my head, they were out there. And then I began to wonder, what does 'out there' even mean? Out there compared to what? The 'in here'? But what/who is in here? So it was very interesting to explore and not be able to find. I found this exploration, trying to place the sounds and my relation to them in space, very interesting because it led to questions such as: where are 'my' boundaries? How far does this thing that I call 'I' extend? I take in things that happen 'out there', I see and hear things, so 'my' boundaries must include all those elements of space that I can hear and see.
Can an INHERENT HEARER be found? Would anything that is suggested as the hearer, be anything other than a concept/idea/thought?


No. No hearer, only thoughts. There is the hearing happening, and there are the thoughts that identify the sounds (it's very hard to stop them from doing that), but no inherent hearer.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:26 am

Hi Agi,

Have you watched the video about the experiment showing that the correlation between sensations and images are just a fabrication?
There was hearing, there were the sounds, but I can't explain how the hearing took place.
How is it known that there was a sound + hearing?

Is there a separate sound + a separate hearing going on?
Can there be a sound found + hearing be found?
Are hearing and the sound are 2 things?
I found this exploration, trying to place the sounds and my relation to them in space,
And how ‘trying to place the sound and my relation to them in space’ actually happened?
By a mental image?

What is the AE of a mental image “showing my relation to sound in space”?
‘my relation’ – what does the word ‘my’ point into this sentence?
very interesting because it led to questions such as: where are 'my' boundaries? How far does this thing that I call 'I' extend? I take in things that happen 'out there', I see and hear things, so 'my' boundaries must include all those elements of space that I can hear and see.
“Where are my boundaries?” – what does the word ‘my’ point to in this sentence?
What is it exactly that has boundaries?

“How far this thing that I call ‘I’ extend?” – what does the word ‘I’ point to in this sentence?
What is it exactly that is being called ‘I’?
What is it that is calling the ‘I’ as ‘I’?

“my boundaries must include all those elements of space that I can hear and see” – what is it that can hear and see?
But actually the sounds were not at all inside my head, they were out there. And then I began to wonder, what does 'out there' even mean? Out there compared to what? The 'in here'? But what/who is in here?
So what/who is in here?
And IN what exactly?

What is the dividing line between inside and outside?
Where is this dividing line exactly?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:03 am

Dear Vivien
Have you watched the video about the experiment showing that the correlation between sensations and images are just a fabrication?
Yes I did. It only confirmed my own findings in the exercises.
How is it known that there was a sound + hearing? Is there a separate sound + a separate hearing going on? Can there be a sound found + hearing be found? Are hearing and the sound 2 things?
No actually this is an interesting pointer. I cannot separate the two. It’s only mental constructs that create that distinction.
And how ‘trying to place the sound and my relation to them in space’ actually happened? By a mental image? What is the AE of a mental image “showing my relation to sound in space”? ‘my relation’ – what does the word ‘my’ point into this sentence?
Well yes of course it’s a mental image. But this was precisely the point of what I was trying to say. I noticed that there was a habitual thought of separation, and then I explored the question: in relation to what is the sound a separate thing? Is there really a 'me' here that’s hearing the sound which is over there? And I concluded that it’s impossible to create such a separation.
“Where are my boundaries?” – what does the word ‘my’ point to in this sentence? What is it exactly that has boundaries?
Again, the point was that I noticed the habitual response, the thoughts creating a distinction, and explored it further. Is there such a thing as boundaries, and whose boundaries are they, and again concluded that in actual experience these cannot be found.
“How far does this thing that I call ‘I’ extend?” – what does the word ‘I’ point to in this sentence? What is it exactly that is being called ‘I’? What is it that is calling the ‘I’ as ‘I’?
Thoughts and mental images of the ‘I’ as a separate thing.
“my boundaries must include all those elements of space that I can hear and see” – what is it that can hear and see?
There is seeing and hearing. But no hearer or seer to be directly experienced.
So what/who is in here? And IN what exactly?
In my actual experience, there is no one 'in there', just a bunch of thoughts interpreting the sensations. In… thoughts tell me that ‘in’ means inside the body, but the experience tells me that there is no distinction between in and out.
What is the dividing line between inside and outside? Where is this dividing line exactly?
Precisely! The dividing line has disappeared.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:13 am

Hi Agi,
Precisely! The dividing line has disappeared.
Great! :)

Now, let’s look at emotions, what they really are. Bring up an emotion, feel it, and let’s examine what is really going on.

An appearing ‘emotion’ like ‘fear’ or ‘happiness’ has three ‘components’:

(a) a pure bodily sensation, like contraction or relaxation
(b) a mental label stuck to (layered over) the sensation, like “this is fear” or “this is contraction in the stomach” or “unpleasant” or “I am happy”
(c) and simultaneously appearing mental images (pictures) about a certain body parts, like picture about the stomach or the chest

So when an emotion is present, identify these three components, and investigate them:

Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that this is ‘sad’, ‘happy’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’, ‘bad’ or ‘good’?

Or ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’ are just mental labels on the pure sensation?

Does the pure sensation have any innate attributes, or is it totally NEUTRAL?

Is there REALLY ‘sadness’ or ‘sorrow’ or ‘suffering’, or are there only thoughts about ‘sadness’ or ‘suffering’?


So if you look very closely, you’ll see that there is neither sufferer, nor suffering. There are only thoughts ABOUT a sufferer and suffering. Can you see this?

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:17 pm

Dear Vivien

I didn't find investigating emotions easy. I bring up an emotion and there is a bodily component, true, but when I start examining it, like a soap bubbles it disappears very quickly.
Also, I have found it hard to separate the physical sensation from the labels 'pleasant' and 'unpleasant'.
Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that this is ‘sad’, ‘happy’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’, ‘bad’ or ‘good’?
I haven't been able to see the sensation only as a sensation - those associated with positive emotions were pleasant, and those brought about by negative ones were unpleasant. I understand that this is only my thoughts labelling pure sensations in this way, but in my experience I haven't been able to separate the sensation from those labels. So e.g. when the stomach contracts, the unpleasantness feels very real.
Or ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’ are just mental labels on the pure sensation?
I understand that this is what I ought to find, but it has not been my experience. Maybe more looking is needed.
Does the pure sensation have any innate attributes, or is it totally NEUTRAL?
No, I haven't found it to be totally neutral. There are some that are painful, some pleasurable, to varying degrees. I agree that 'painful' is not in itself 'bad', we only learn to label it as bad, and the same way, pleasure is not in itself good, we just learn to label it as good. But it is still the case that e.g. there will be a spontaneous recoiling from experiences that are painful - I'm not even sure that this involves any thinking. So if I put my hand in boiling water, and I feel the pain, I can learn to distinguish between the sensation of pain and labelling it as 'bad', but it is very likely that before I do any of this, my hand will automatically pull back from the boiling water, no?
Is there REALLY ‘sadness’ or ‘sorrow’ or ‘suffering’, or are there only thoughts about ‘sadness’ or ‘suffering’?
Here my answer is a clear yes - all these emotional states are only thoughts about being in that emotional state.
But to me it seems that their physical manifestations/ the accompanying sensations played a large role in making some emotions pleasant or positive, and some unpleasant/negative.
So if you look very closely, you’ll see that there is neither sufferer, nor suffering. There are only thoughts ABOUT a sufferer and suffering. Can you see this?
This I can see, yes.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:24 am

Hi Agi,
Also, I have found it hard to separate the physical sensation from the labels 'pleasant' and 'unpleasant'.
So e.g. when the stomach contracts, the unpleasantness feels very real.
So just to clarify, the main difficulty was separating the labels ‘pleasant’ and ‘unpleasant’ from the sensation, but it was much easier to see with emotional labels like ‘sorrow’, ‘sadness’, ‘suffering’, right?

If yes, then that’s all right.

In reality, there are only 3 types of sensations. Pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. But usually the neutral ones are ignored, we hardly notice them. Buddhist call these vedanas as ‘base’ feeling reactions to certain stimuli (probably you’ve heard of them). All the negative emotions generate unpleasant sensations, and in reality there is no difference in sensation of ‘sadness’, ‘anger’, ‘fear’, etc. There might be differences of the location and the intensity of the sensations, but the ‘feeling’ is the same. All these sensations feel contracted (actually the muscles are contracted). That’s why they are unpleasant.

The pleasant sensations are just the opposite of contraction, they feel open, expanded (because the muscles are relaxed) That’s why they feel pleasant. ‘Love’, ‘peace’, ‘calmness’, ‘gratitude’… these are all expanded sensations. The pure sensations of them are the same. There might be difference in location and intensity, but that’s all.

For the exercise you’ll have to bring up certain emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant ones. You don’t have to dive deeply into the unpleasant ones, you just bring up them lightly, just enough intensity that you can observe the underlying sensations.

So bring up the memory of ‘sadness’. When the sensation is present, don’t pay attention to the thought story, just stay with the pure sensation for a minute.
After about a minute let go of the sensation labelled ‘sadness’, and try to slightly feel ‘fear’ (just gently). Let go all thoughts, and just feel the pure sensation.
Now try to feel the sensation of ‘anger’ for a little while. Then let it go. Let your body calm down.
So, could you see that all the negative emotions felt very similar, contracted and unpleasant?
And only the labels make them seemingly different?


Now bring up the feeling of ‘love’, and pay attention only to the pure sensation. Let it be there for a while.
Then bring up the feeling of ‘peace’, observe the sensation carefully.
Now bring up the feeling of ‘gratitude’, and stay with a sensation as long as you like.
So, could you see that all the positive emotions felt very similar, expanded, pleasant?
And only the labels make them seemingly different?

And now the last step. Bring up just the feeling of an unpleasant sensation. You don’t even have to label it, just feel it. When the sensation is present observe it very carefully.
Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that it’s ‘unpleasant’?
Does the pure sensation itself is REALLY unpleasant?


Now, bring up a pleasant sensation, stay with it for a while, and observe it carefully.
Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that it’s ‘pleasant’?
Does the pure sensation itself is REALLY pleasant?

So if I put my hand in boiling water, and I feel the pain, I can learn to distinguish between the sensation of pain and labelling it as 'bad', but it is very likely that before I do any of this, my hand will automatically pull back from the boiling water, no?
Yes, all living creatures are wired to react with anything that could danger the organism. And feeling a strong unpleasant vedana (pain) is the way how nature guarantees that the organism backs off from the danger.


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:21 pm

Dear Vivien
So just to clarify, the main difficulty was separating the labels ‘pleasant’ and ‘unpleasant’ from the sensation, but it was much easier to see with emotional labels like ‘sorrow’, ‘sadness’, ‘suffering’, right?
Yes, that's what I meant.

I have studied and worked with vedana in my Buddhist practice, so this is not unknown territory to me, though I'm always amazed to discover how in my Buddhist practice I never for a minute looked at (nor was told to look at) where feelings/experiences came from. I.e. I never realized that almost everything going on 'inside me' was thoughts - this was completely new to me in the LU practice.
So bring up the memory of ‘sadness’. When the sensation is present, don’t pay attention to the thought story, just stay with the pure sensation for a minute. After about a minute let go of the sensation labelled ‘sadness’, and try to slightly feel ‘fear’ (just gently). Let go all thoughts, and just feel the pure sensation.Now try to feel the sensation of ‘anger’ for a little while. Then let it go. Let your body calm down.So, could you see that all the negative emotions felt very similar, contracted and unpleasant? And only the labels make them seemingly different?
Yes it was quite surprising to notice that the bodily responses to all these were identical. It was only the mental labelling that created the differences.
So, could you see that all the positive emotions felt very similar, expanded, pleasant? And only the labels make them seemingly different?
Yes, same as with negative emotions.
And now the last step. Bring up just the feeling of an unpleasant sensation. You don’t even have to label it, just feel it. When the sensation is present observe it very carefully.
Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that it’s ‘unpleasant’?
Does the pure sensation itself is REALLY unpleasant?
Yes, well this is where my main difficulty was yesterday. So, on further looking I have found that an unpleasant sensation is not inherently unpleasant, at least when we talk about relatively mild sensations. When I get a stomach cramp though, that's very hard to not experience as really inherently unpleasant...
Now, bring up a pleasant sensation, stay with it for a while, and observe it carefully.
Does the pure sensation suggest in any way that it’s ‘pleasant’?
Does the pure sensation itself is REALLY pleasant?
No, I have found that the closer I look the harder it is to say that something is pleasant or not actually.


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