Help with post awakening clarification

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Original Face
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Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:59 pm

Hi,
I am 48 this year and have been a conscious seeker since I was 25 when I had a surprisingly deep no mind moment. I began going on retreat six months later and practiced hardcore Vipassana for the nest 7 years. At 30 I had what my teacher was sure was a path moment and I was pronounced a Stream Winner. I strove to go further for the next 2 years and then began to defect to Soto Zen which followed until I was 45, becoming ordained as a monk along the way. I had a very shattering awakening experience three years ago which destroyed Buddhism, path, meditation etc. for me completely. I had a series of interviews with my Zen teacher who said that I was where he was and that I could continue or step out of the 'Zen movie' as I wished. I found I couldn't continue and resigned from the Zendo I helped to run. We have remained friends but the relationship as teacher and student has gone. I have explored Neo Advaita with Tony Parsons and others and recently have begun to come home to Buddhism through Greg Goode and the emptiness teachings. Still the Non dual teachings (if not teachers) are making most sense to me (I was always a fan of Bankei anyway!).
Where am I now?
I know that as an individual self I don't exist at all.
Sometimes this appears as emptiness of inherent existence and sometimes as the primacy of awareness.
I do not believe that I am in charge or on a path or that there is any specific practice I should be doing.
I don't think the game is over.
There is a dramatic reduction in suffering and a completely different and developing view of the world but this throw into sharp relief the times when there is sudden attachment to events, ideas etc....
I would like some expert help with highlighting and disentangling the attachments.

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Freddi
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:17 pm

Hi there Original Face

I am Fred, and would be happy to accompany you in this investigation. What shall I call you?

To get started there are several formalities that we must dispense with first. If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info here, our disclaimer and a short video too. http://www.liberationunleashed.com/

Additionally, There are a few ground rules, please respond to confirm:

1. You agree to post at least once a day.
2. In general, the guide will ask the questions for you to respond to
3. Responses require your utmost honesty
4. Responses are best from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function; instructions are located in the link below this line:viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660”

If you could confirm you have seen all the above and would like me to be your guide - then we shall begin.

Warm wishes

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Original Face
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:37 pm

Yes, I am happy to begin. I haven't learned to use the quote function yet but I will have a look at it now.
Many thanks,
Tom

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Original Face
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:45 pm

I am having trouble understanding the quote function - perhaps you could explain.

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Freddi
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:59 pm

Hi Tom
I am having trouble understanding the quote function - perhaps you could explain.
Easy. When you see my post, you click 'Post Reply' just below (left) the window of the post. Then you select what you want to use in my text, and click 'Quote' (upper right). The selected text now appears between formatting marks in the field of your answer. You can then type your comments/answers normally below that.
If you want to select some more text, you return to the text of my post (below the field of your reply) and you repeat the steps.
If you want to see what your reply will look like, you can click 'Preview' before 'Submit'.
Don't worry if you don't get it, you can always put my text between quotes.

It sounds like you have had quite a journey, and you have come to see that the idea of a ‘you’ managing Life is just that, an idea. It has no reality, in direct experience.
When you say:
I know that as an individual self I don't exist at all.
1) Can you explain, in plain terms, how you KNOW that you do not exist as an individual self? Is it something you came to by deduction, understanding, learning, or by looking into your experience?

2) Do you exist as anything other than an individual self? Who or what are you?

Thanks!

Fred

PS By the way you can click 'subscribe topic' at the bottom of this page to receive email notifications when I post.
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Original Face
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:13 pm

1) Can you explain, in plain terms, how you KNOW that you do not exist as an individual self? Is it something you came to by deduction, understanding, learning, or by looking into your experience?
I had an awakening experience three years ago which appeared as an "I am awareness" experience.
I knew I needed to go further because of my Buddhist background.
I looked for a self in systematic way and found nothing over and over again.
I cannot find a controlling entity in body or mind.
It has become obvious now.
2) Do you exist as anything other than an individual self? Who or what are you?
I find that I still identify with awareness - a feeling of omnipresence and eternal being.

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:03 am

Hi Tom
I find that I still identify with awareness - a feeling of omnipresence and eternal being.
You have looked for a self in a systematic way and found nothing over and over again. Ask yourself: who or what is it that would identify with awareness? Stay with that question, and let me know what comes up.

Please consider this for a while, scan your direct experience to answer. Just for a moment, come out of your mind stream and come to your breathing, your senses, what is happening right here and now. Notice the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, the sensing, even the thinking (without getting involved in the contents of thoughts). Can you point me to this object you call ‘awareness’ and describe to me what it is like? Any physical sensation in the body? What is given in your present experience?
When you say ‘a feeling of omnipresence and eternal being’, how is this concept verified in your most intimate and immediate experience? In this moment, the only one there is, what is ‘omnipresent’ and ‘eternal’?

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Original Face
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:36 am

When you say ‘a feeling of omnipresence and eternal being’, how is this concept verified in your most intimate and immediate experience? In this moment, the only one there is, what is ‘omnipresent’ and ‘eternal’?
The sense of being is either a feeling in the body or a thought in the mind and yet there is a sense of continuity. Is the sense of continuity continuous? No. Upon what does it arise? Fear. Upon what does fear arise? Upon the idea of not existing. But I can't exist not even eternally. Not even as a backdrop for phenomena. The sense of eternity is a conditioned thing.

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Freddi
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:09 am

1)
The sense of being is either a feeling in the body or a thought
Can you be a bit more precise here? I am asking you to LOOK in your direct experience and check what reality this sense has, in the actuality of this present moment. Can you describe what is felt in the body?

2)
and yet there is a sense of continuity
Again, look in your present experience for this, don't scan your thoughts or memories for an answer. What does this sense of continuity refer to, in experience? A sensation? thought? The content of a thought?

3)
The sense of eternity is a conditioned thing.
It is a thought pattern, habitual thinking. The question I want you to ask yourself is: Is there a problem with this 'conditioned thing'? Who or what is labelling this conditioning as bad or unwanted?
You see, Tom, seeing that there is no such thing as a self does not stop the conditioning all at once. Sometimes habitual thinking recurs, especially in stressful situations. When it is seen that these thinking patterns arise to no one, they stop being a problem.

Take your time, no rush, make sure you answer all the questions I ask (I have numbered them this time).

4) You did not answer this from my previous post: who or what is it that would identify with awareness?

Thanks

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:35 pm

1)
Original Face wrote:
The sense of being is either a feeling in the body or a thought

Can you be a bit more precise here? I am asking you to LOOK in your direct experience and check what reality this sense has, in the actuality of this present moment. Can you describe what is felt in the body?
A kind of relaxed warmth in the chest, down the spine. It does seem really silly to call that a sense of being. There is also a sense of open mind or space. But that is just what it is - not a sense of being. Sounds. Pictures based on sounds. Again when I look for the sense of being the warm feeling in the chest appears. The mind is going to a feeling and attaching to that feeling as an anchor for the idea of a sense of being.
2)
Original Face wrote:
and yet there is a sense of continuity

Again, look in your present experience for this, don't scan your thoughts or memories for an answer. What does this sense of continuity refer to, in experience? A sensation? thought? The content of a thought?
Quite an emotional experience. There are just moments. No gaps. Just sense impressions and feelings. Dialogue, pictures. Continuity is a mental construct.
3)
Original Face wrote:


The sense of eternity is a conditioned thing.

It is a thought pattern, habitual thinking. The question I want you to ask yourself is: Is there a problem with this 'conditioned thing'? Who or what is labelling this conditioning as bad or unwanted?
You see, Tom, seeing that there is no such thing as a self does not stop the conditioning all at once. Sometimes habitual thinking recurs, especially in stressful situations. When it is seen that these thinking patterns arise to no one, they stop being a problem.
It is a problem in that if it is believed then there is a sense of something missing when the sense of eternity is not currently being experienced. If it is not believed then it is just a passing thought. There is desire to believe it or it would not be being clung to. There is a feeling in the chest of yearning, of desire for something, for some childlike relationship to something. It's just a feeling of sadness and my mother is coming into my mind. She's not so well and may die soon - I am sad at the prospect of her passing. There is desire for something eternal. The desire creates the construct - it is a cycle.

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:20 am

Hi Tom
A kind of relaxed warmth in the chest, down the spine. It does seem really silly to call that a sense of being. There is also a sense of open mind or space. But that is just what it is - not a sense of being. Sounds. Pictures based on sounds. Again when I look for the sense of being the warm feeling in the chest appears. The mind is going to a feeling and attaching to that feeling as an anchor for the idea of a sense of being.
Yes. The experiencing of the moment does not deliver anything like ‘a sense of being’, that is a label attached by thought. Good looking into your direct experience.
It is a problem in that if it is believed then there is a sense of something missing when the sense of eternity is not currently being experienced.There is desire for something eternal.
1) When you use the words ‘eternal’, 'eternity', what are you referring to? Stop for a moment and scan your direct experience. What is happening right now? What does ‘eternal’ point to? A concept? An idea? Any reality behind it?
2) When you say ‘I’, ’Tom’, ‘me’, what do these words point to, these days?

3) In your first post, you said
I don't think the game is over.
Can you tell me more about that? You also said you did not believe you were on a path. What expectations do you have about this process? What would you say liberation is?

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:58 pm

1) When you use the words ‘eternal’, 'eternity', what are you referring to? Stop for a moment and scan your direct experience. What is happening right now? What does ‘eternal’ point to? A concept? An idea? Any reality behind it?
Seeing, hearing,visualising,feeling etc. Eternal points to an idea of the future a very vague picture which I identify as me. No present reality to it at all. There is no time in reality.
2) When you say ‘I’, ’Tom’, ‘me’, what do these words point to, these days?
The actions performed by this body. The feelings in this body. The thinking - either expressed or not. The habit patterns. The fees and desires arising.
3) In your first post, you said
I don't think the game is over.

Can you tell me more about that? You also said you did not believe you were on a path. What expectations do you have about this process? What would you say liberation is?
There are times when there is not identification with thoughts and feelings. There are times when there is - these are noticed quickly but there is often a period of ignoring in which there is indulgence in the thoughts and feelings sometimes - not often to the point of acting out. The kind of thoughts I mean would come under the category of hindrances in classical Buddhist terms - ill will, sensual desire, sloth, worry/agitation and doubt.
I used to believe that there was a set out series of insights leading neatly to enlightenment and I was on this path. that just looks like a bunch of ideas to me now.
I expect that this process will produce more insights into the non existence of the self entity.
Liberation I think, would be a point at which the tendency to identify with thoughts and feelings ceased once and for all.
What is identification?
If there is no one here and I know that, how can there be identification?
How is the idea of an entity produced?

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:21 pm

Hi Tom

1)
The actions performed by this body. The feelings in this body. The thinking - either expressed or not. The habit patterns. The fees and desires arising.
In your here and now experience, do you see/hear/smell/taste a separate entity claiming these actions, feelings, desires? Or are they just labelled as ‘mine’ by force of habit?

2)
Liberation I think, would be a point at which the tendency to identify with thoughts and feelings ceased once and for all.
Again, is there a problem with the residual habit to identify, for a short while or sometimes longer, with thoughts, if you have seen that this is only conditioning?
Who or what is labelling this tendency as ‘bad’ or ‘unwanted’?
Liberation is seeing (not just understanding) that there is no one there to be liberated. Once seen, it does not matter whether residual thoughts arise. 'Identifying with thoughts' is just another thought, a thought following a thought.
I would like you to read the page on our website called ‘What LU is not’, which contains a list of expectations we often encounter. These expectations can stand in the way of clarity. Once seen through, they are sometimes dropped. Could you read them, and let me know if any of them invites a reaction in you, be it a physical reaction, a disappointment, a fear. Anything. Be as honest as you can. There are no right or wrong answers here.
http://liberationunleashed.com/faq/
and click on ‘What Liberation Unleashed is not’

3)
What is identification? If there is no one here and I know that, how can there be identification? How is the idea of an entity produced?
Same questions to Number 1. Can you see a reality behind this concept we call 'identification', in your present experience? The word 'table' refers to a concept and some apparent object. What does the word 'identification' point to?

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts

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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Original Face » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:36 pm

In your here and now experience, do you see/hear/smell/taste a separate entity claiming these actions, feelings, desires? Or are they just labelled as ‘mine’ by force of habit?
No. There is definitely no separate entity. I am convinced of that. There is a force of habit as you say, which labels experience as mine and disappears upon investigation. This has been known for some time. The ghost in this machine is the periodic belief in awareness as an identity not an entity as such. The idea of the individual self is a dead issue but the idea of a universal self is still and issue here.
Again, is there a problem with the residual habit to identify, for a short while or sometimes longer, with thoughts, if you have seen that this is only conditioning?
Who or what is labelling this tendency as ‘bad’ or ‘unwanted’?
Liberation is seeing (not just understanding) that there is no one there to be liberated. Once seen, it does not matter whether residual thoughts arise. 'Identifying with thoughts' is just another thought, a thought following a thought.
I would like you to read the page on our website called ‘What LU is not’, which contains a list of expectations we often encounter. These expectations can stand in the way of clarity. Once seen through, they are sometimes dropped. Could you read them, and let me know if any of them invites a reaction in you, be it a physical reaction, a disappointment, a fear. Anything. Be as honest as you can. There are no right or wrong answers here.
I hold the view that full enlightenment would constitute no added distress in relation to these states i.e. that self centred thoughts would arise BUT NOT BE BELIEVED! Currently there is the tendency to react with a view of self to certain situations. The view that this is bad or unwanted comes from a very strong desire to end suffering.
There is no entity which is doing the labelling.

I have read the section you recommended and my reactions to certain statements follow;

1. This is not about gaining a particular bit of knowledge.

I definitely have the feeling that there is something I am missing. I believe my knowledge is incomplete.

2. This is not going to lead you to eternal peace and happiness, it is not about happiness.

My initial reaction to that is "Well fu-k it then!" One of the turning points for me was when Rupert Spira asked me if I wanted to be enlightened or happy. I answered "Fu-k enlightenment I just want to be happy!" This was after years of miserable seeking. I definitely want peace. I definitely want to be happy. I believe that happiness will arrive when I stop seeking outside the moment - a habit which seems to still persist.

3. This is not about freedom from emotions and intense feelings.

I don't want emotions and intense feelings to stop. I would like them to stop causing me to suffer or cause suffering to others.

4. This is not about getting rid of self, ego, I.

I don't think of it in terms of getting rid of self, ego, I for the simple reason that these are phantoms. I would like to get rid of the tendency to believe in these phantoms including the 'universal self' phantom.

5. This is not a way to get free of depression or other diseases.

I know this. One of my pet peeves is the way that mindfulness has been hijacked and diminished by the medical profession. I do not believe that Understanding will free me from alcoholism, depression, cancer, smoking or anything else. I do believe that it would grant the ability to live through those states with out adding any suffering to them due to a view of self arising and being believed - which produces a whole raft of unnecessary suffering. I do not subscribe to the "It doesn't matter what an enlightened being does because they are enlightened" view. I am used to bulls-itting Zen frauds going around cheating on their wives, boozing it up, embezzling funds and just saying "It's my conditioning not me - I am free form worrying about that stuff - what's your problem?" Hmmmmm, sounds like there's a residual resentment there.
What does the word 'identification' point to?
Feeling arises on contact with some object. It is perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. A tendency to act in a certain way automatically arises. consciousness arises with view of a self in relation to this object and lays claim to the desire to act as me. If this is noticed - no problem. If not - problem.

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Freddi
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Re: Help with post awakening clarification

Postby Freddi » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:49 pm

Hi Tom,

1)
The idea of the individual self is a dead issue but the idea of a universal self is still and issue here.
The key word here is ‘idea’. As you saw that the individual self is only an idea, with no reality behind it, you must see something behind the ‘idea’ of the universal self if it remains an issue?
As you sit here, after reading these words. Take a moment to scan your direct experience and tell me, where is this ‘universal self’? Can you point to it? Does it have a shape, a size, a colour? Please describe what you see. Don’t scan your thoughts for it. Look in your here and now, that’s the only place we can test.

2)
I definitely have the feeling that there is something I am missing. I believe my knowledge is incomplete.
Can you describe that feeling, how does it manifests itself in your experience? Is there a physical sensation? A sensory experience attached?
If you say that ‘The idea of the individual self is a dead issue’, then who or what is missing anything? The 'universal self' you now identify with? Does a universal self miss anything? Please consider this for a moment. Stay with this question. See what comes up and let me know.

3)
I believe that happiness will arrive when I stop seeking outside the moment - a habit which seems to still persist.
Again, who or what is seeking? The individual self, which you saw through long ago? There is nothing to seek, nothing to find, and more to the point, no one who could find anything.

4)
I don't want emotions and intense feelings to stop. I would like them to stop causing me to suffer or cause suffering to others.
Who or what are these entities, ‘me’ and the ‘others’, that are suffering? Ideas, phantoms (your word)? The ‘universal self’?

5)
I don't think of it in terms of getting rid of self, ego, I for the simple reason that these are phantoms. I would like to get rid of the tendency to believe in these phantoms including the 'universal self' phantom.
If they are seen as phantoms, why are they still believed? When you found out that Santa did not exist, did you continue believing in it?

Do take your time with these questions. Stay with them. Contemplate them and look in your most present and immediate experience. Right now, what is happening? What is seen/heard/tasted/touched? What is experienced? Is there an entity doing all that experiencing? In other words, can you experience an experiencer? Or is there just experiencing?

Thanks!

Fred
"To come to your senses you have to go out of your mind" - Alan Watts


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