liberated? help please!

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GerryBeee
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liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:47 pm

hello friends, my name is ger.

i am looking for some help seeing the truth of the non-existence of self. i could use some expert help to
talk me through the process.

i don't have a background in spirituality or philosophy but a couple of years back i noticed quite by
accident that there doesn't seem to be anything there controlling my thoughts. my belief in my self hasn't
been the same since and i now have a powerful desire to know for certain whether there actually is a me at all.
i've delved into nonduality as it is the only area i could find where the idea of no self is discussed seriously,
but even after reading a million books etc i am none the wiser. i tried to get into meditation as well but i
have CFS and i tend to fall asleep when i meditate so that's a washout.

if there isn't a me then 'my' life has been a total lie. i really must find out if this is true.

what do you think - do you want to take a shot at this?

Ger
,

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:51 pm

Hi Ger,

Love to take a shot at this with you, hit that targetless target.

What we ask here is that for the duration of this process you put aside anything and everything from the million books you've read. I'll ask you questions and you please focus to answer them honestly based on what is in your direct experience, rather than from any previously gained knowledge, OK? Also please post once a day if possible.
there doesn't seem to be anything there controlling my thoughts

You've already noticed that thoughts happen all by themselves, they just appear and disappear. Have you noticed whether this is so for memory and imagining also? What else have you noticed seems to happen without there being anyone there controlling and pulling the strings?
if there isn't a me then 'my' life has been a total lie
If this turns out to be true, what impact would that have on 'Ger'? What's the worst that could happen?

best wishes
Odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:25 pm

Love to take a shot at this with you, hit that targetless target.
many thanks! my timezone is GMT+1 in case you need it.
What we ask here is that for the duration of this process you put aside anything and everything from the million books you've read.
no problem. i found them so contradictory anyway i can't say that anything i've read has actually filtered it's way
into my belief system.
I'll ask you questions and you please focus to answer them honestly based on what is in your direct experience, rather than from any previously gained knowledge, OK? Also please post once a day if possible.
i'll do my best of course. the CFS can knock me down for a day sometimes and i have a disabled parent to look
after but most days i can still find time to do some work.
You've already noticed that thoughts happen all by themselves, they just appear and disappear. Have you noticed whether this is so for memory and imagining also?
yes, i would include memories and imaginings under 'stuff that pops automatically into my head'
What else have you noticed seems to happen without there being anyone there controlling and pulling the strings?
not really anything else, except the biological stuff in the body - heart beating, digestion, hair&nails growing etc.
If this turns out to be true, what impact would that have on 'Ger'? What's the worst that could happen?
well i really don't know what the impact would if in truth ger doesn't exist even now. i don't even know how to
approach finding an answer to that one from where i stand. but even if it's more bad than good i still want to
find the truth.

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:57 pm

Hi Ger,

Thanks for your replies, it's great that there's the drive in you to find the truth of whether there's a self or not. And of course it's fine for you to do this at a pace that fits with your lifestyle. Let's do some investigations into truth.

You've noticed that all the mental processes happen automatically, as something that just 'pops into your head'. What happens when you see an object, or smell something, or hear something? What 'pops into your head' then? Please spend some time noticing what's going on.

You've also noticed that all the biological processes just happen automatically. Breathing etc. What happens when you decide to make a cup of tea or go to the bathroom or similar? Please spend some time noticing the decision-making process, and describe it in your email.

And finally for today, let's examine feelings next. Do they also happen automatically or is there a self that controls them? What's the process?

Take your own time to do this, as long as you need.

with best wishes
Odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:45 pm

hi again odemira.

i'll answer question 1 and 3 now as they seem straightforward enough. i'll probably answer 2 tomorrow as it'll
require more looking and thinking than the others. i also have some demanding things to do in the morning
which might leave me pooped - if so i apologise in advance if i'm unable to answer until thursday.
You've noticed that all the mental processes happen automatically, as something that just 'pops into your head'. What happens when you see an object, or smell something, or hear something? What 'pops into your head' then? Please spend some time noticing what's going on.
when the object is familiar i detect no thoughts. i seem to know what the image, smell or sound is already and
nothing comes to mind. there might be a sense of recognition (not quite sure how to describe that) but it's so
subtle i might actually be imagining that this sense exists. i looked at a bunch of objects, an ipod, a remote
control, a trilobite fossil. nothing automatically comes to mind as they are so familiar - unless i force myself
to think about them for some reason.

when the object is unfamiliar there is a cascade of thoughts designed to work out what the thing is. there is also
a focusing of attention on the sound,smell, or image-also to help identify the object. just now there was a
barking outside the window. barking was recognised as a dog sound so there were no thoughts related to
identifying what sort of sound it was, but the particular dog is unrecognised so there were thoughts along the
lines of 'what dog is that', ' who owns him', 'he sounds big', 'i hope he's not vicious', 'i hope my cat is indoors' etc.
And finally for today, let's examine feelings next. Do they also happen automatically or is there a self that controls them? What's the process?
i'm assuming we are talking about emotions here. if not, throw out the next paragraph! =)

i'm really glad you asked me that. i've never thought about emotions along these lines before so i'm discovering
something new already. i can't automatically generate an emotion right at this moment to test but i'm pretty sure
they are completely automatic. i think the emotion appears first - just all by itself. then it will cause a
cascade of thoughts like 'i love this damn song' or 'this queue is too slow' or 'he should mind his own business'.
then if it's something like anger there might be 'calm yourself down' or 'it's better not to make it worse by losing
your temper' - that type of thing. then the emotion just fades out so long as the thoughts don't keep it going
somehow. if i experience any emotions tomorrow i'll pay attention to them and try for a more detailed answer.

question 2 to follow when i get back...

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:54 pm

Hi Ger,

It's completely fine to answer on Thursday. The request for a daily post is to help people stay committed to the process, not for the guide's benefit - and you seem to have no shortage of commitment to truth.
when the object is unfamiliar there is a cascade of thoughts designed to work out what the thing is. there is also
a focusing of attention on the sound,smell, or image-also to help identify the object.

Great observations! The mind is designed to work out what objects are and to give them a label, a name. If they already have been identified, then you noticed there was no need for any thought to be given. Maybe there is a subtle one, something like 'That object is already identified'? And when they're not recognised, the questions and thoughts automatically begin.
barking outside the window. barking was recognised as a dog sound so there were no thoughts related to
identifying what sort of sound it was, but the particular dog is unrecognised so there were thoughts along the
lines of 'what dog is that',
Really clear observations! First there's a sensory input (sound), mind identifies it as a dog making the sound, then asks more questions to identify it further, then evaluates and judges the answers. All automatically.
i think the emotion appears first - just all by itself. then it will cause a cascade of thoughts like 'i love this damn song'
Looking forward to your observations about what's happening.

with best wishes
Odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:45 pm

It's completely fine to answer on Thursday.
thanks odemira - it has been a heck of a day!
i think the emotion appears first - just all by itself. then it will cause a cascade of thoughts like 'i love this damn song'
this question has been on my mind a lot since you asked it. i didn't make it plain that the emotion does not
appear first of course - the stimulus for the emotion is always first. i never paid much attention to this until
your question brought it into focus but the stimulus-response nature of emotions has become very clear. just
a minute ago i heard a football bouncing in the garden and fear arose that the ball might hit the window. sound of football > recognition of what that sound is > thought that the ball might hit window > fear arises. it's strange i never noticed this before but it is a valuable thing to see.
Looking forward to your observations about what's happening.
i'll get right onto this tomorrow!

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:05 am

Hi Ger,
the stimulus-response nature of emotions has become very clear
More great observations!

You're clear about the stimulus-response nature of thoughts, and of emotions.

Looking forward to reading tomorrow what you observe about the nature of decision making and action.

with best wishes
Odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:16 pm

hi odemira!
Looking forward to reading tomorrow what you observe about the nature of decision making and action.
ok this one was a lot trickier than i expected somehow. not too sure why. if i'm not looking at what you asked
me to then let me know.

first there are thoughts about the question - mostly too fast to remember
should i make a cup of tea?
am i thirsty?
(a sort of focusing to see if there is any thirst - none detected)
no i don't really want anything to drink.
should i create a different experiment to test the same thing?
what will i do instead?
(a sense of confusion)
(mind is blank)
i'll make something to eat instead. (very clear,this thought just comes from nowhere)
is it time for food?
(looks at clock)
yes, it's 2:00PM
am i hungry enough?
(focusing, looking for hunger)
yes i'm hungry
is there anything to eat in the fridge?
(blank mind for a few seconds)
(image of chicken pops into head - clearly out of nowhere again)
yes there is some chicken.
ok i'll make a sandwich.
(i get up and go downstairs to the kitchen)

the thinking / sensations / impulses / decisions part of the process is easy enough
to see as an automatic chain of events that happens without the need for a me to
be involved. when the body actually acts though there is a very strong sense of a 'me in
control' of the body - there's no seeing of it as automatic the way there is with
thoughts and emotions and impulses. even actions that you would imagine would be easy
to see as happening-without-a-me (e.g. walking) really do seem to be something *i* am doing.

that's where i am at the moment. if you want more experiments along these lines
or more detail please let me know.

many thanks!
.

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:08 pm

Hi Ger,

You've definitely been looking where I was pointing! Let's look for a bit longer, ok?
even actions that you would imagine would be easy
to see as happening-without-a-me (e.g. walking) really do seem to be something *i* am doing.
If you're engrossed watching TV and you scratch your head, did you tell your hand to move?
If you're resting in bed, and roll over, did you tell your body to move?
If you are halfway across the room and then a thought comes that you've left something behind and so you turn around, do you instruct your body to change direction?

You are really great at observing what's happening in the body/mind, I'd encourage you to investigate for another day.

with best wishes
odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:31 pm

You've definitely been looking where I was pointing! Let's look for a bit longer, ok?

good stuff. onwards we go.
If you're engrossed watching TV and you scratch your head, did you tell your hand to move?
If you're resting in bed, and roll over, did you tell your body to move?
If you are halfway across the room and then a thought comes that you've left something behind and so you turn around, do you instruct your body to change direction?
LOL just had a head-scratch a second ago. there's no sense that that it was an action i was doing - it just
happened quite quickly without any conscious involvement at all.
also just noticed blinking - again it clearly happened on autopilot.

simple movements that have happened a million times before seem to become so automatic it's plain
enough there's no one doing them. more complex movements are tricky to see clearly. if no attention
is paid to walking, but then i suddenly pay attention, it is clear that it was happening without anyone in
control. but when attention is paid to it, it really seems like i'm doing it. the same is possibly true for any
action where attention is focused on the action? i need to look into this more!

also i'm still noticing the automatic nature of thoughts, impulses, emotions - it is becoming clearer and is
very helpful.

many thanks!

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:44 pm

Hi Ger

Great noticing again!
Just a pointer - remember that you noticed that thought gets triggered to identify an unfamiliar sensory input? Is movement also a sensory input?
Happy looking!

You're very welcome!

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:11 pm

Just a pointer - remember that you noticed that thought gets triggered to identify an unfamiliar sensory input? Is movement also a sensory input?
that's interesting - i never thought about movement that way. looking at what the movement of the body is, all i
actually find is an experience of movement, not movement of the body in itself. paying attention to typing now,
there aren't hands moving as such - instead there is the experience of hands moving or the perception of hands
moving. yes, bodily movement is certainly a sensory input. not sure what to make of this just yet but it seems
an important thing to notice. i'll keep looking at this. if anything else occurs i'll post it.

let me know if you need me to do anything else in the meantime.

thanks!

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odemira
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby odemira » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:20 pm

Hi Ger,

Great noticing!
bodily movement is certainly a sensory input. not sure what to make of this just yet but it seems
an important thing to notice. i'll keep looking at this
Looking forward to reading what you notice.

Just to recap, you've noticed so far:

- thought appears automatically, no 'Ger' controlling it - in other words, thinking just happens.
- emotions/feelings appear automatically, no 'Ger' controlling it - in other words, emoting/feeling just happens.
- decisions are made automatically, no 'Ger' controlling it - in other words, decision making just happens.
- body processes are automatic, no 'Ger' controlling them - in other words, breathing just happens, etc.
- simple movements are automatic also, no 'Ger' controlling them - blinking just happens, head scratching just happens.

But with complex movements, such as when the body walks somewhere, it feels as if 'Ger' is controlling it? Or is something else going on? Is it really a feeling, or is it a thought, a mental commentary on what is happening automatically? What's really happening? (LOL - do you know of Daleks from the TV show Dr Who? Is there a mini 'Ger' installed inside the head pressing buttons and switches?)
paying attention to typing now,
there aren't hands moving as such - instead there is the experience of hands moving or the perception of hands
moving.
When there is noticing of hands moving, is there any sense of ownership of those hands? If so, which sense? Or is something else happening? You can repeat this with other objects - when you were directly looking 'at an ipod, a remote control, a trilobite fossil and nothing came to mind', was there a sense of possession at that time?

Happy noticing!
Odemira

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GerryBeee
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Re: liberated? help please!

Postby GerryBeee » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:43 pm

hi odemira! these were the toughest questions for me so far.
But with complex movements, such as when the body walks somewhere, it feels as if 'Ger' is controlling it? Or is something else going on? Is it really a feeling, or is it a thought, a mental commentary on what is happening automatically? What's really happening? (LOL - do you know of Daleks from the TV show Dr Who? Is there a mini 'Ger' installed inside the head pressing buttons and switches?)
i'm finding it very hard to drill down into this. it seems like it should be straightforward but i'm not seeing it
clearly at all. i'm going to go with a feeling, and i think i'm going to change my previous position. it seems
to be the case that the complexity of the movement isn't so much the issue, rather whether focus or attention
is on it. very complex movements can clearly happen without anyone at the helm if no attention is paid to them.
but if they are performed more carefully or under close scrutiny then it seems like i am doing them. this seems
to be a feeling more than anything. i'm not 100% sure that what i've said here is even correct - hopefully i'll
either observe this a little better or maybe you'll help clear my fuzzy thinking up. =)
When there is noticing of hands moving, is there any sense of ownership of those hands? If so, which sense? Or is something else happening? You can repeat this with other objects - when you were directly looking 'at an ipod, a remote control, a trilobite fossil and nothing came to mind', was there a sense of possession at that time?
there's something quite valuable in this question i reckon - i'm glad you asked it. truthfully, i can't find any sense
of ownership of the hands, indeed i have no thoughts or feelings about them at all. they seem to fall into the
recognised objects basket like the ipod, and fail to illicit any reaction or sense of ownership. at best there's a
subtle sense of recognition of what they are but i still suspect even that's imaginary.

i'll continue looking, and i'll post if anything comes to mind. keep bashing me over the head with these
questions - LOL if i fall the right way i might accidentally stumble through the gate! xD

many thanks!


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