Focusing on finding out the truth about self

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:54 am

Hi Kat,

You did a nice looking.

Let’s start to investigate the difference between the appearance of a thought, and what thought is about.

If you were in a desert, dying of thirst, could you quench your thirst just by thinking about water (thoughts), or would you need to drink ‘real’ water?

Let’s say I’m with you in the desert and offer you two options:
(1) In my left hand there is a piece of paper with the word ‘water’ written on it, and
(2) in my right hand there is a bottle of water.

Which one would you choose to quench your thirst, the label or the water?
So, can the label ‘water’, which is actual/direct experience (AE) of thought only, quench your thirst?

Labels are ‘real’ as appearing thoughts (as ‘containers’) but their ‘contents’, what the labels/thoughts are ABOUT are not ‘real’, not happening. Is this totally clear?


Thoughts can be looked at in 2 different ways:

- seeing the CONTENT of a thought, what is a thought ABOUT
- and only seeing the thought itself (as phenomenon taking place), as a ‘CONTAINER’

When a thought is seen only as a container, and the content of a thought (what it’s about) is being ignored, is what we call the actual experience of a thought. Do you see the difference?


Thoughts as arising thoughts (the containers) are ‘real’, but their contents (what they are ABOUT) are not. Like when you think about Dart Vader. There is an arising thought, it cannot be denied, but its content “Dart Vader” is not real. Sometimes thoughts point to something tangible, like chair, however a thought about a chair is not a chair. A thought about a chair is just a mental concept with an arising mental image of a ‘chair’ but that image is not ‘real’. However, as an arising image is there, it is ‘real’, but not its content (what it’s about).

Certain sensations can be felt in the body that is labelled such and such emotion, like ‘cheerful’. However, ‘cheerful’ is just a mental label on the felt sensation. So the felt sensation is ‘real’, the arising mental label, simply as arising label is ‘real’, but its content ‘cheerful’ is just an idea. 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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:12 am

Hi Vivien. How are you today?
Which one would you choose to quench your thirst, the label or the water?
I would choose the bottle of water even though the label is usually confused with the water. Such is the case with the label I and experience.

So, can the label ‘water’, which is actual/direct experience (AE) of thought only, quench your thirst?
No, the label can’t do anything

Labels are ‘real’ as appearing thoughts (as ‘containers’) but their ‘contents’, what the labels/thoughts are ABOUT are not ‘real’, not happening. Is this totally clear?
Not at first, but I read your whole reply and took a walk and this seems more clear now. Thoughts are essentially labels, and sometimes if there’s a tangible objects present, as you mention, the labels “point” to real experiences of sensation, color, sound, etc. But, especially when a tangible object is not present, labels contain a bundle of concepts or images, which are not real as thought but not real as separate objects. For example, if I think of my partner, that thought is not “her” (colors, etc), it is a real thought, but “she” is not real. In that way, I is not real and it’s just a concept/image (memories, changes in color, etc) or a series of them.

It’s striking. Even if there’s a thought of doubt (e.g. “what if I’m not getting this right”) that content is absolutely not real.

When a thought is seen only as a container, and the content of a thought (what it’s about) is being ignored, is what we call the actual experience of a thought. Do you see the difference?
Yes. I’m wondering if it’s so common to believe the contents of thought because the actual experience of thought is real, but there’s confusion over the container and content. I.e. something is real about thought (the experience), except no one explained that it’s not the content.

So the felt sensation is ‘real’, the arising mental label, simply as arising label is ‘real’, but its content ‘cheerful’ is just an idea. Can you see this?
Yes. That’s why some teachers say the world is not real, because “the world” and everything associated with the world is an idea (not real), whereas everything real is only the experience of thought or label/sensation/smell/sight or color/taste/sound, except these are usually ignored.

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:07 am

Hi Kat,
For example, if I think of my partner, that thought is not “her” (colors, etc), it is a real thought, but “she” is not real. In that way, I is not real and it’s just a concept/image (memories, changes in color, etc) or a series of them.
Yes.
It’s striking. Even if there’s a thought of doubt (e.g. “what if I’m not getting this right”) that content is absolutely not real.
Exactly.

Now let’s go a step further.

So let’s say there is a sensation present. The sensation itself.
Then a thought label it as ‘sensation’.
Now, the thought label ‘sensation’ is real as an arising thought (as a ‘container), it’s there but the ‘content’ (sensation) is not there. The content of the label cannot be felt. It only POINTS TO the actual sensation itself.

So although certain thoughts POINT TO AE, still the content of those labels are still not ‘real’, not happening, since the content of the label ‘sensation’ cannot be felt/experienced. This label can be experienced only as a thought.
Can you see the difference?

Thought, in and of itself contains no experience, if it did you would be able to taste the word ‘sweet’. Thought either points to AE or it points to thoughts about thoughts.

Here are some statements based on our investigation so far. Please read them careful, and see if you are clear on them. If any of them are not totally clear, please let me know.

- In actual experience thoughts don’t come and go from anywhere. They just there when they are there. And when they are not there anymore, then they are just simply not there.
- The supposed ‘me’ has no power over thoughts. None.
- Thoughts just appear on their own, without anyone or anything doing it.
- There is nothing that is thinking thoughts. Thinking happens, or rather say thoughts appear but without a thinker. There is no thinker of thoughts.
- Thoughts have no power whatsoever. They cannot think or do anything.
- Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.
- In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found.

Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?

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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:20 am

Hi Vivian, thank you for the reply.

So although certain thoughts POINT TO AE, still the content of those labels are still not ‘real’, not happening, since the content of the label ‘sensation’ cannot be felt/experienced. This label can be experienced only as a thought.
Can you see the difference?
Yes. If I have a thought “I feel anxiety,” the “anxiety” is a real thought (container/label), and “anxiety” points to a real sensation, but there is no anxiety. That is not real. It’s an idea, a concept.
Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?

I took the time to check out each of the statements and asked “is this true? Is this clear?” Yes, all except one is totally clear. Can we please work with this one more: “Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.” When I did some looking on my own just now about what the actual experience of wanting and intending is, it is thought. But, something about this one is not as clear as the others.

Thank you,
Kat

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:35 am

Hi Kat,
Can we please work with this one more: “Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.” When I did some looking on my own just now about what the actual experience of wanting and intending is, it is thought. But, something about this one is not as clear as the others.
We will investigate choice and decision making soon.

Can a thought do anything?
Can a thought know anything?
Does the thought “I want to eat some chocolate” know anything about chocolate?
Does the thought know anything about the taste labelled ‘chocolate’?
Does the thought know anything about the image/color labelled ‘chocolate’?
Does the thought know anything about wanting?
Is a thought aware?


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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:56 am

Hi Vivian, thank you for the reply.

So although certain thoughts POINT TO AE, still the content of those labels are still not ‘real’, not happening, since the content of the label ‘sensation’ cannot be felt/experienced. This label can be experienced only as a thought.
Can you see the difference?
Yes. If I have a thought “I feel anxiety,” the “anxiety” is a real thought (container/label), and “anxiety” points to a real sensation, but there is no anxiety. That is not real. It’s an idea, a concept.
Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?

I took the time to check out each of the statements and asked “is this true? Is this clear?” Can we please work with this one more: “Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.”

I did some looking on my own just now about what the actual experience of wanting and intending is. It is thought. But, I would like to do more on this.

Thank you,
Kat




Hi Vivien,

Thanks for the reply and for your time.
Can a thought do anything?
A thought is present, or it is not. There are labels and images when a thought there, and some thoughts might say or imply “doing” but all there is is labels and images. There’s no experience of doing.
Can a thought know anything?
Thoughts are happening one at a time. They are unconnected from a thought that follows. There is also no connection to the other actual experiences. What a connection like that even look like? It’s not happening, thoughts aren’t knowing things.

Does the thought “I want to eat some chocolate” know anything about chocolate?
Even though a thought can have an image of chocolate, that is not the actual experiences that the word chocolate points to. Thought has never known chocolate and never will. There’s not even something like knowing. It’s a thought. It’s here as a though

Does the thought know anything about the taste labelled ‘chocolate’?
I used some other food I have handy for this. There’s no connection at all. There’s a label, there’s a taste. The label isn’t the taste. There isn’t any “knowing” either.
Does the thought know anything about the image/color labelled ‘chocolate’?
No, they don’t interact.
Does the thought know anything about wanting?
You know, it makes my body jerk around asking this question and being still without thought. And there’s tightness in a little spot on the left side of my abdomen. Wanting and knowing, they are only there when there’s a thought with those labels. There’s no experience like wanting or knowing. There’s just thought about them.
Is a thought aware?
Labels aren’t interacting with anything. Neither are actual experiences. Thought is either there or not, and there is no experience other than that.

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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:58 am

Oh, I still had my previous reply in my text editor when I copied everything. Funny :p

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:39 am

Hi Kat,

You did a nice looking. Before starting inquiring into the notion of choice, let’s finish with thoughts, by looking at the content of thoughts this time.

Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?


During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.

Let me know what 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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:24 am

Hi Vivien,

Thanks :)
Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?
There were 14 thoughts during the exercise. All the thoughts were self-referential. None of the thoughts weren’t about self. All of the thoughts except one had to do with the exercise. The other thought just repeated what you wrote “the video was funny”. The same thought repeated it’s self about five times (“there was one thought”). Once there was a variant on this (“I had three thoughts”). More often than not, a thought would repeat it’s self as the next thought. Sometimes a thought would make a reappearance.

Let me know what you find.
I kept a log of narrative thoughts when ever there was judging going on. Here’s what I found:


I should wash up
I should go for a walk
I should stop being on the computer
I should just take five more minute son the computer
I should go shower
I need to do homework
I’m wasting time by not doing readings.
I should just skip the module and go to the reading
Reading this isn’t helping me answer the discussion question
I should be focusing on what will help me answer the discussion question
If I work at this pace, I’m not going to be able to complete my essays on time
I shouldn’t have bought all those things
I shouldn’t spend on my credit cards x2
I should have filed my taxes earlier
I should be going grocery shopping
I shouldn't go to that event tomorrow
I shouldn’t do this

- Kat

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:23 am

Hi Kat,
I should wash up
I should go for a walk
I should stop being on the computer
I should just take five more minute son the computer
I should go shower
……
Lots of should-s :)

Almost every thought, if not all, is about the self. Sometimes it might not be as obvious, but when looked at it a bit more closely, it turns out that this ‘narrating mind’ is always about me (some way or another).

Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.


Here is an interesting exercise.
Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when 'you' control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?


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: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:44 am

Hey Vivien, thanks for your response. Really grateful for your time.

Lots of should-s :)
I know… pretty bossy, eh? Haha.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.
Yes, this is accurate. I don’t have anything to add at all.

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
I didn’t make any decision, Vivien. After “I” started the kettle, “I” started walking into the dry pantry and saw the thought “tea.” I picked up a box, saw the tea label and after starting to put it down thought “calm tea? no.” I picked up another box, thought “green tea” and brought it to the kitchen. I didn’t choose to pick up any box, and I didn’t choose which box of tea to use. On the way to the kitchen, a story about “needing to be alert” came up on the way. So, I made up the reason what tea was “chosen” after things were already happening. It just seems like I make decisions because of little thoughts describing things already in motion.

Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
No, I didn’t choose to put cream in the tea. My body was already in action, reaching for the cream before the thought “cream” was there.

Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
All the “choices” happened automatically. But, there wasn’t even a choice. Even if there would have been thoughts weighing options, these would have been just been thoughts and not choosing.

Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
I don’t make the tea. I just describe what’s happening and I usually describe things after they have already happened. The whole thing just happened.

Can a chooser be located?
No, there’s no actual experience of a chooser. Even if there’s a thought “I choose to have a sip of tea now,” this is thought. These are just stories about deciding and choosing.


Mmmm, this tea tastes good.

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 23, 2019 12:53 am

Hi Kat,

You did a nice looking.

Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.
Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.
Watch very carefully.

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?

When the head of a sunflower turns to the sun, what is moving the flower?
Is there a ‘mover’ somewhere inside the flower to turn its head?

When the hand is turning up and down, is there a ‘mover’ hidden somewhere inside the hand or the body performing the movement?


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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:53 am

Hi Vivien, thank you. Even though these big "should" thoughts (fear) still arise about course work, they're now more like brief blips on a radar without the lingering physical sensation of pain I remember having before.

How is the movement controlled?
The movement isn't controlled. The colors and sensations are just changing.

Does a thought control it?
No. There's no thought present at all as my hand moves, yet it moves over and over.

Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
No, no controller can be located. The motion is just happening without cause.

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.
When a thought becomes present with the content "turn the hand," then the colors change and there are sensations (movement). That's all there is. There's no link or connection between the two in actual experience.

Who or what chose which hand - the left or right hand for the exercise?
I don't choose which hand. One hand or another just starts moving. Even if there's a thought "The right hand this time" this is an experience of thought, not choosing. Choosing is a label, even if it's just a tricky implied choosing like the thought I mentioned.

Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?
Not at all. What would a separate individual even be like? There would need to be something outside of experience for that to happen, right? There's nothing like that

When the head of a sunflower turns to the sun, what is moving the flower?
Just like the movement of a hand, the turning head of a sunflower just happens. It is uncaused and spontaneous.

Is there a ‘mover’ somewhere inside the flower to turn its head?
No, there are not hidden things, such as a mover, residing inside something. Everything is exactly what is experienced and nothing more. Colors and sensations change without cause. Thoughts and labels are present and then they are not. Illusion about a mover is present and then it is not. None of these are experienced by a hidden someone.

When the hand is turning up and down, is there a ‘mover’ hidden somewhere inside the hand or the body performing the movement?
No. Nothing is hidden. The experience of a hand turning up and down is exactly as it is, changing colors and sensations.


Thanks again for your time.

- Kat

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Vivien
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:18 am

Hi Kat,

Nice looking. Now let’s investigate the process of making a decision.

Please put some chocolate (or something you think you shouldn’t eat or drink) in front of you. Look at it. Inspect it closely. Smell its delicious fragrance. And pay attention to emerging desire to eat it.

When the desire is there, pay close attention to the thought process.
See how thoughts list pros and cons why you should or shouldn’t eat the chocolate.
These opposing thoughts might even try to argue or convince each other what to decide.

What is it that is considering these options?
Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully


Now, make a decision, but whatever you decide, don’t eat the chocolate (yet). Rather just pay very close attention when the decision is made. Particularly pay attention to thoughts, as the decision is made.

Let’s say a thought appear: “I decided not to eat the chocolate”
So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
How exactly the decision is made?


Now, do according to the decision. (Either eat or don’t eat the chocolate.)
What is it that performed the chosen action?

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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RainKat
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Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:36 am

Hi Vivien,

Thank you. I’m using a huge glass of table cream with a black cherry fruit bottom yogurt mixed in.

What is it that is considering these options?
There are thoughts with an I in it that talk about eating or not eating the food. But, these “considerations” include the I-thought. There’s no I experienced that is considering, and there’s nothing else considering either.

Is there anything that is listing the pros and cons, or only just thoughts appear about pros and cons? – look very carefully
No, there’s nothing listing or generating pros and cons. In actual experience, there are just thoughts about the pros and con, as you say.

So the thought about the decision just appeared. What made that thought to appear?
It appeared spontaneously. Nothing made a decision appear at all. For a time there was no decision, then there was a thought about a decision.

Can you find the thing that made that decision, apart from the presence of the thought about the decision?
No, I cannot. The other actual experiences of taste, smell, sight, hearing, sensation cover everything that is real, and out of those there is no thing, no decider experienced.

How exactly the decision is made?
There are thoughts about a decision being made. But, that’s not a decision, it’s a thought. Decisions aren’t made, per se… Things are just happening, in a way. There can even be a “decision” (e.g. “I’m going to drink this cream right now after one second”) that doesn’t follow with the decision’s actions happening.

What is it that performed the chosen action?
There’s nothing like that. Colors change, sensations are felt, but a performer isn’t experienced moving the “body.”


Thanks Vivien.


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