Simply start here.

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Elizabeth
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Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:39 am

Hello, and welcome to the forum.
I'll be glad to enter a conversation with you if you are here to see through the illusion of a separate self.
All we need is a little backstory on you, and a brief description of how you see your self.
That will get us oriented, and give me a question to ask of you.
Then, if you can post roughly once a day, and give any answers as directly and clearly as you can, it would be helpful.
Looking forward to your reply.
Love, Elizabeth

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Seichi
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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Hi, Elizabeth

I am new and should like very much to be "awakened".
Dare you guide me? I warn you: I am a sceptical by nature!

I am a man, 65 years, married, 2 children and 5 grandchildren.
I am retired...

I have for my whole life been a seeker. I have haved tossed around christianity, buddhism, different new age-things, non-duality, meditation... - I am a seeker, who never found..
For the moment (!) I am a practitioner of tibetan buddhism.

I don't know if "awakening" this way (Liberation Unleashed) is at all possible...
I don't know if it is possible for ME... - I might be too sceptical.

But I WISH by the whole of my heart that it IS in fact possible!

PS: I am afraid that this thing here might influence my buddhist practice...

Love and thank you, if you dare :-)

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Elizabeth
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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:27 pm

Dear Seichi:
Ooo, a challenge! :-) Happily accepted.
Me: 35 years of seeking, practicing, some Buddhist background, in my fifties, and a scientist by training.
So glad you have a sense of humour.

Shall we commence?
It's pretty easy, I ask some simple questions, you look in your direct experience in this very moment (not your knowledge base, your books, or what a teacher told you) and write what you see, or feel. Include doubts, confusion, joyous discovery, and jokes, please. We don't want to leave anything out, if it is there in experience.

First question:
Please look around, or within, and describe to me what you find of self. You've referred to 'your self' for decades, what is it?

Much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:04 pm

Thank you very much for accepting the challenge :-)
First question:
Please look around, or within, and describe to me what you find of self. You've referred to 'your self' for decades, what is it?
I think that self for me is what is looking through my eyes... - I mean I see things in a certain perspective. I am not looking through your eyes (it might be interesting...), but through my own eyes. This gives me a sense of ME in oppostion to the rest of the visible world.

What or who is this thing looking through my eyes, I don't know... - but it makes a collection of sense impressions that are MINE.

I buy theoretically the theory that we are all One, but unfortunately I cannot feel it that way...

Is this answer something that you can use to anything?

Love Leif (Seichi)

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:49 pm

Hello, Leif,
Nice start.
So, would it be correct to say that you have a SENSE of self, largely based on accumulated sensory perceptions? That are arranged in a pattern(s) that you think may be unique to a you?
You may elaborate on that as you wish, if that is not correct, or lacking in some way. Remember, this is about what you directly perceive.

Meanwhile, I'll supply the next question which arises around that sense of Me, I, Mine, and Yours.
Notice that a cup or glass in front of you looks separate.
Is it truer to say that it is A Cup, or a MY Cup?
Please explain.
How does one own a cup?

Much love, Elizabeth



Thank you very much for accepting the challenge :-)
First question:
Please look around, or within, and describe to me what you find of self. You've referred to 'your self' for decades, what is it?
I think that self for me is what is looking through my eyes... - I mean I see things in a certain perspective. I am not looking through your eyes (it might be interesting...), but through my own eyes. This gives me a sense of ME in oppostion to the rest of the visible world.

What or who is this thing looking through my eyes, I don't know... - but it makes a collection of sense impressions that are MINE.

I buy theoretically the theory that we are all One, but unfortunately I cannot feel it that way...

Is this answer something that you can use to anything?

Love Leif (Seichi)

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:36 pm

Hi, Elizabeth
So, would it be correct to say that you have a SENSE of self, largely based on accumulated sensory perceptions? That are arranged in a pattern(s) that you think may be unique to a you?
Yes I think I will say it that way... - not that I SENSE the self, but "something" is using my sense organs and become thereby conscious of things...
I become conscious of - let's say a table - from another perspective than you do. If there is no self, why can't I be conscious of the whole table regardless of perspectives? Who is using my body?
This might sound stupid, but hope you understand what I'm referring to :-)
Notice that a cup or glass in front of you looks separate.
Is it truer to say that it is A Cup, or a MY Cup?
Please explain.
How does one own a cup?
A cup is a cup is a cup :-)
To say it is mine does not add anything to the cup, it's nothing but convention. It is called MY cup if I have bought it or it has been given to me.
If I give it away to another person it is no longer MY cup, but it is still exactly the same cup.

NB: If it is a glass of good red wine, then it is absolutely mine :-) OK, just kidding...

Love Leif

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:18 pm

Hi Leif,
Yes, I think we can leave that description at consciousness.
It seems hard to locate, this consciousness that you also refer to as a self? Interesting point, let's keep that in mind as we go on. It will come up again.

Very true on the cup. Labeling it with MY is a convention, a pointer to a particular cup, that does not change it's nature.
We label a lot of things. My Cup, My Wife, My Thoughts, and My Body. If you try to steal MY stuff, the police will reinforce that My-ness for you :-)
Nearly everything we think about refers to a ME as the center.
Ownership is ingrained, and re-inforced, in language and culture.

As an exercise, I would like you to check this in your experience. You are a skeptic, you need to prove it to your self.
For the next day, please observe your mental narrative, or thoughts.
Simply going around in your normal life, check out what the mental narrative is saying. How many of the thoughts are automatically self-reflective in some way? Me, mine, yours, ours....I?
At what point in an thought does an I attach itself? Please observe carefully.
Can you see a pattern or a mechanism?

If you do this with focus and honesty, it will lay the groundwork for the next question, or maybe, you will begin to ask it yourself.

I am interested in what you might report!
Much love, Elizabeth





So, would it be correct to say that you have a SENSE of self, largely based on accumulated sensory perceptions? That are arranged in a pattern(s) that you think may be unique to a you?
Yes I think I will say it that way... - not that I SENSE the self, but "something" is using my sense organs and become thereby conscious of things...
I become conscious of - let's say a table - from another perspective than you do. If there is no self, why can't I be conscious of the whole table regardless of perspectives? Who is using my body?
This might sound stupid, but hope you understand what I'm referring to :-)
Notice that a cup or glass in front of you looks separate.
Is it truer to say that it is A Cup, or a MY Cup?
Please explain.
How does one own a cup?
A cup is a cup is a cup :-)
To say it is mine does not add anything to the cup, it's nothing but convention. It is called MY cup if I have bought it or it has been given to me.
If I give it away to another person it is no longer MY cup, but it is still exactly the same cup.

NB: If it is a glass of good red wine, then it is absolutely mine :-) OK, just kidding...

Love Leif[/quote]

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:07 pm

Hi, Elizabeth

Grrr... - I had almost finished an answer to you when I went dining, but when I got back I had been logged out... - and gone was all that I had written ;-/
Well, I learned NOT to write online but instead in a writing program and then copy/paste!

OK: Maybe my answers will be even better when written twice?! :-)
Simply going around in your normal life, check out what the mental narrative is saying. How many of the thoughts are automatically self-reflective in some way? Me, mine, yours, ours....I?


I think that almost all of my thoughts are followed by some kind of ”I-thought”. That is, I am very much self-aware all the time, and I do not see that as a good thing. I should rather just be aware instead of that much self-aware...

Of course I can think ”thirsty”... (not even ”I am thirsty”) - and without other thoughts or hesitation go out in the kitchen taking a glass of water. No need there to introduce I-thoughts.

But the extreme opposite situation is when on Facebook. I do nothing there without thinking of what other people think of ME when I am posting this and not that... - it is a kind of making a ME!

I make the food today because it is MY turn.
I have a meeting this afternoon where I teach another guy some it-thing that HE didn't know beforehand... etc. etc.

In the traffic I really make differences between me and others. All (almost) the others are idiots, they drive as if they were mad... - I (!) drive like an angel :-)

I,I,I, me, me, me... etc. etc. - it's too much!
At what point in an thought does an I attach itself? Please observe carefully.
Can you see a pattern or a mechanism?


I feel that a thought arises almost by itself, and then - most of the time - very qucikly thereafter arises this I-quality in connection with the thought.

Maybe this I-thought arises mostly when I feel uncertain or insecure...?
When I can do things automatically these I-things might not occur. But when unsafe, there comes these accompaning I-thoughts: What wil he/she think of ME when, if... - something...

Does what I have written make sense?

Love Leif

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:46 pm

Hi Leif,
Yes, it will log out, and the Quick reply feature can be equally quick to dump your thoughts!
I will add that there is a suscribe to topic place to click at the bottom of the page, that will send email notifications to you, and that is handy.

Yes, what you have written makes sense. In another conversation someone called it the MY-nification of the world. It is disturbing to most of us when we see how much there is of a Me in the thoughts.
So, to sum up your writing:

Self-awareness seems to be found as an attachment to thought. You watch thought, and it seems to come in AFTER a thought begins. So, for instance, it's entirely possibly to feel thirst (without a thought) and arrive at the sink, fill a glass, be drinking it and THEN the thought comes, claiming self and owning action: I am thirsty.
You noted that this action could have happened without a thought, or a claiming riding the thought.

The next question is: You say that thoughts seem to arise almost by themselves.
Let's nail that down.

1/ In your direct observation (you meditate so I hope this is not entirely foreign) of the thoughts, can you see where they come from? (remember, if you can't see it, say that, an honest 'I don't know' is perfectly acceptable)
As they come through, and some have an possessive I, me, mine, or yours attached, can a you control them? Any of them?
When they leave, where do they go?

2/ And as you walk around, reach for food, drive to meetings, speak, and type, please check to see how much of life happens without THINKING ABOUT it. Remember the cup :-)
Much love, Elizabeth

Hi, Elizabeth

Grrr... - I had almost finished an answer to you when I went dining, but when I got back I had been logged out... - and gone was all that I had written ;-/
Well, I learned NOT to write online but instead in a writing program and then copy/paste!

OK: Maybe my answers will be even better when written twice?! :-)
Simply going around in your normal life, check out what the mental narrative is saying. How many of the thoughts are automatically self-reflective in some way? Me, mine, yours, ours....I?


I think that almost all of my thoughts are followed by some kind of ”I-thought”. That is, I am very much self-aware all the time, and I do not see that as a good thing. I should rather just be aware instead of that much self-aware...

Of course I can think ”thirsty”... (not even ”I am thirsty”) - and without other thoughts or hesitation go out in the kitchen taking a glass of water. No need there to introduce I-thoughts.

But the extreme opposite situation is when on Facebook. I do nothing there without thinking of what other people think of ME when I am posting this and not that... - it is a kind of making a ME!

I make the food today because it is MY turn.
I have a meeting this afternoon where I teach another guy some it-thing that HE didn't know beforehand... etc. etc.

In the traffic I really make differences between me and others. All (almost) the others are idiots, they drive as if they were mad... - I (!) drive like an angel :-)

I,I,I, me, me, me... etc. etc. - it's too much!
At what point in an thought does an I attach itself? Please observe carefully.
Can you see a pattern or a mechanism?


I feel that a thought arises almost by itself, and then - most of the time - very qucikly thereafter arises this I-quality in connection with the thought.

Maybe this I-thought arises mostly when I feel uncertain or insecure...?
When I can do things automatically these I-things might not occur. But when unsafe, there comes these accompaning I-thoughts: What wil he/she think of ME when, if... - something...

Does what I have written make sense?

Love Leif

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:13 am

1/ In your direct observation (you meditate so I hope this is not entirely foreign) of the thoughts, can you see where they come from? (remember, if you can't see it, say that, an honest 'I don't know' is perfectly acceptable)
As they come through, and some have an possessive I, me, mine, or yours attached, can a you control them? Any of them?
When they leave, where do they go?
As I see it:

My thoughts might arise because of external happenings such as a anothers persons voice or a car door slamming or whatever. Or because of you asking me questions ;-)
Or they might arise because of a former thought. One thought leading to a second leading to a third... etc.

I cannot controle them. They arise. I can do nothing to prevent them doing so. But I can - when I am clever :-) - concentrate on other thoughts or a visualisation which I decide should be more relevant in the situation, e.g. a meditation session, but this is difficult...

Then the ”unwelcome” thoughts might disappear or dissolve. They go nowhere, they just seem to cease to exist.
2/ And as you walk around, reach for food, drive to meetings, speak, and type, please check to see how much of life happens without THINKING ABOUT it. Remember the cup :-)
Yes, there is as a matter of fact many ”things” that happen without any specific thoughts around them.

Thinking of the typing: I think of what to write, but I do NOT in any way think that I now have to hit the L, then hit the e, then the i, then the f... - this goes totally automatic.
The same when I drive etc. etc.

The thing out there is not ”my” cup, it is just ”a cup”. The thought right now that a certain person irritates me (read a mail from him while writing this)... - this thought is not ”my” thought, it is just a thought... - coming and going, somthing going on in the brain....

Love Leif

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:49 pm

Ah, nice observation. I like meditators!
So, thoughts arise, apparently not originating in a self, not controlled by a self (or they would all be very pleasant and productive :-) but they can and do focus on something of interest or concern. Yes.
You notice you don't own the thoughts. But the thoughts with an I attached, they do claim ownership.
You already have noticed that ownership is simply a thought, a concept. A thought ABOUT the object, not the object itself.

My thoughts.
My thoughts about my self. My thoughts constructing a self-story. A self-construct.
I would like you to look at all of your thoughts ABOUT a self. YOUR self.
Your history, your memories, your virtues, sins, relationships, dreams, future, etc. So real, right? And yet, present only as thoughts. About a you that might as well be a character in a story.
Can you find a self, other than in thoughts ABOUT a self? LOOK for it. Really dig.

Please look at this very carefully. It's a key question.
Feel free to write a rant about what you find.
With much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:11 pm

Hi, Elizabeth

Thank you for your help :-)
I'll try answering your questions...
My thoughts about my self. My thoughts constructing a self-story. A self-construct.
I would like you to look at all of your thoughts ABOUT a self. YOUR self.
Your history, your memories, your virtues, sins, relationships, dreams, future, etc. So real, right?
And yet, present only as thoughts. About a you that might as well be a character in a story.
Can you find a self, other than in thoughts ABOUT a self? LOOK for it. Really dig.
When I think of Leif anno e.g. 1992, 1972 or whatever... - I do NOT feel any connection with that man at all. It is like looking at a movie. It becomes even more obvious when I think of the earliest childhood of this body from which I do not remember much. I have been told that I as a four year old boy bit a girl in the nose ;-)
But that has nothing to do with me as I am now. I don't even remember it. I feel that I have absolutly nothing to do with that boy...

I have asked my wife whether she feels connected with ”her” say 30 years ago. She does...
I don't know... - maybe it is unusual to think the way I do?

It is more difficult when we talk relationships: My daughter is my DAUGHTER. It is difficult to wiew this relationship to be nothing more than a thought. It is also a physical relation (through her mother).

Sins are also a difficult point. I have done things of which I am ashamed. This shame is still in my body/brain even though the thing that caused the shame is 15 years back in history. Who or what is ashamed?

Maybe it is nothing but conditioning patterns in the brain? These patterns still produce shame when provoked by some outer occurrence.

Yes, I think it is so. When I think of the guy do did that bad thing I cannot relate to him, but some patterns in the brain have survived...

To sum it all up: I cannot find any lasting fixpoint throughout my life. Things changes constantly...

But relations do not change, my daughter is still my daughter... - here ”my” might be appropriate because of the physical conditions...

Hm... - or maybe not. Father/daughter relationsship is a relationship between two body stories... Is there any ”I” involved in this? No...

There is another father/daughter relationship: that of two human beings loving each other. Is there any ”I” involved in this? No... - there should not be.

OK, I have been chatting away. Are you confused?

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:48 am

Not confused :-)
Just to clarify, no matter how much love is there for a daughter, and there seems to be a lot. would the love and the daughter be there prior to a thought ABOUT a MY daughter? See if this is true.
It's like asking, can things exist if you don't think ABOUT them, incorporate them into YOUR story? Is My-nification at work here?

I see you are working your way around the actual question. You will get there. Little further. Little more time to find this answer for yourself. It's a bit tricky, using mind to find out how mind constructs a self from thoughts, but it can be done.
Keep looking for a 'real' you. Something that can be pointed to other than as a tag on a thought. Don't rest till you have an answer you cannot refute. Subtract all these thoughts ABOUT a self, and what is left?
You are doing great, looking at what you fear to lose by this process.
Keep going. Write as you go, doesn't matter how long this takes, it's been years of practices, we can take our time.
Love, Elizabeth

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Seichi » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:47 pm

Hi again, Elizabeth
Would the love and the daughter be there prior to a thought ABOUT a MY daughter? See if this is true.
It's like asking, can things exist if you don't think ABOUT them, incorporate them into YOUR story? Is My-nification at work here?
Yes, it is so: Whatever is going on in my thoughts (or not going on), my daughter and the love is definitely there. I may have thought of love as a thought, but it is not. Love is prior to thoughts about who, when, why or why not...

My daughter - both of them, my wife, my grandchildren... - they are all there whatever I think ABOUT them. And the feelings (love - or sometimes irritation ;-)) are always there... - but then I begin to judge my feelings, think about them, dividing them in good, neutral and bad feelings. Who judges? The brain by itself? In accordance with the patterns laid there from childhood?
Do I need to label the feelings? Maybe not...
WHO need not to label...?
Keep looking for a 'real' you. Something that can be pointed to other than as a tag on a thought. Don't rest till you have an answer you cannot refute. Subtract all these thoughts ABOUT a self, and what is left?
Who or what is this real ME? The ”thing” that thinks, divides and judges...?
No, the thoughts inkluding divisions and judgements are not mine, they just are. And they are the way they are...
Is there anything at all that could be called ”mine”?
If there is not there will be no need for an ”I”, but it is very difficult to feel it being that way.

Well, enough for now :-)

Love Leif

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Re: Simply start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:24 pm

Hi Leif,
Yes, you keep on tracking closer to the unthinkables, yes, just so...:-)

'"Who or what is this real ME? The ”thing” that thinks, divides and judges...?
No, the thoughts inkluding divisions and judgements are not mine, they just are. And they are the way they are...
Is there anything at all that could be called ”mine”?"

I ask a question here:
Is it possible, that the mind and the thoughts and conceptual abilities (while beautiful and useful tools evolved to help us orient this organism to a complex social environment), IS IT POSSIBLE...
that the world we have constructed in mind is not the reality? A very small box, constructed around what is important to a 'Me'? Labeling, dividing, all about what it means to a me?

You don't have to believe anything, just look at how that box might be put together around what a 'you' sees. Totally conditioned by the thoughts and patterns of a mental construct through which 'you' see a world.

But just as a test, look at a cup. Take the MY off it. Allow it to exist outside all your expectations of what a cup should be. What is that experience?

Much love to you. Elizabeth


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