Looking for a Guide please

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Tom707
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Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:57 pm

Hi,

I’m looking for a guide please. A little background on me if it helps.

Life has never made much sense to me in particular other people. A few years ago I took a long look at this and realised that it was actually me that made no sense - I don’t know who or what I am. Sometimes I think I do but who I think I am changes from one day to the next. If I have no idea who or what I am how can I possibly make any lasting, meaningful sense of the world?

This led me down the road of the usual Advaita/Non-duality/Enlightenment books. Until I came across books like this at the age of about 38 I naively had no idea that anyone else questioned their own experience in the way I did. I went through some initial “AHA” moments, then despair then more “AHA” moments, a common enough story I’m sure. I have a strong intellectual understanding of all of this.

So here I am now at 43 with what feels like a very flaky, fuzzy identity. I still have a strong sense of a me, I just have absolutely no idea who or what that me is! I am willing to drop everything I have read and know to try this method.

With huge thanks in advance to someone that can guide me.

Tom

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:37 pm

Hi Tom
My name is Sarah and I would be happy to guide you.

Just so that I know about any time differences, whereabouts do you live? I’m in England.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start:

Please agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer and then we'll begin.

Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

2) The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send.

Look forward to working with you.
Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Tom707
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:54 pm

Hi Sarah,

Wow that was quick. Thank you so much for your offering of help. I am also in England.

I agree with all the points above and I will do my best to post as often as I possibly can.

best wishes

Tom

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:13 pm

Hi Tom
I usually post after work and I will let you know when and if I have a longer shift on. OK.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find. If you've already answered some of these, please forgive any overlap and just fill in the gaps where you haven't, and we'll get started.

Have you looked around the site? Do you know what we do here?

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?
Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Tom707
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:46 am

Hi Sarah,

Assuming there are no wrong answers, here you go...
Have you looked around the site? Do you know what we do here?
I have watched most of the videos, read quite a few forum posts, used the app and can say I understand exactly what you do here.

What are your expectations for this process?
Some sort of greater sense of knowing what I am. The mind tells me I'm different things depending on which way the wind is blowing. I'm hoping to be helped through a process that will leave me in no doubt as to what I am.
What is it that you are searching for?
I’m fed up with wanting my experience of reality to be different than the way it is. It can’t be different. I know that. I am looking for a way to accept it. I know it, the mind doesn’t and right now I believe I'm an individual with a mind that's wants the world to be very different than the way it is.

How will you know that you found it?
I honestly have no idea. I just sense that it's possible and that I will know it when it happens.

How will this feel?
Again, I have no idea. There's a hope and expectation that this will lead to a greater sense of peace and happiness.

How will this change you?
I won't change. Though there's an expectation that change may come about only as a by product of seeing through the illusion. If reality is able to be accepted and seen as it is rather than through the filtered mind of an individual then change must occur. Looking at the world through a new set of lenses offers new possibilities.

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:59 pm

Hi Tom
Assuming there are no wrong answers
Correct! Just honestly report what is noticed. And feel free to ask any questions or let me know if Im not clear. OK.
Some sort of greater sense of knowing what I am. The mind tells me I'm different things depending on which way the wind is blowing. I'm hoping to be helped through a process that will leave me in no doubt as to what I am.
So as you look now how do you experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?

For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?

Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?

Where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
I’m fed up with wanting my experience of reality to be different than the way it is. It can’t be different. I know that. I am looking for a way to accept it. I know it, the mind doesn’t and right now I believe I'm an individual with a mind that's wants the world to be very different than the way it is.
What is it that wants things different from what they are? What tells you you are separate?
I won't change.
Is anything permanent – if so what?
Lots of Love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Tom707
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:26 pm

Hi Sarah,
So as you look now how do you experience the 'self', 'I' or ‘me’'?
As a series of thoughts, sensations and emotions over which there seems to be very little control that seem to be owned by some reference point somewhere ‘here’.
For instance does it feel like its in the centre or middle of experience, is it solid or thick, does it feel fixed or permanent, is it inside the body or part of the body, does it change, does it feel uniquely different and separate, does it become more or less solid or obvious depending on experience, does it have colour or shape or texture, is it small or large, does this self own the body or the thoughts and feelings it experiences?
‘I’ feels like it is at the centre of experience. It has no shape, colour, texture, size or any other attributes that come to mind. ‘I’ feels ‘here’ although I cannot find any single geographic location that can be attributed to ‘I’ anywhere.
Is it made up of thoughts and feelings, sensations, emotions, likes and dislikes, opinions, memories and experiences, perceptions, character and personality, does this self decide, chose, act, do and control? Anything else? Is there a time when the self is not experienced?
Although as explained above I cannot find a single location anywhere that can be attributed to ‘I’, there is still a subtle sense of ownership of anything that enters my experience, including thoughts, sensations and emotions when it is sensed that a (me) has been affected by the experience.

It seems to me that the more intense the experience the more difficult it is to deny the existence of an ‘I’. During or following a more subtle experience its easy to carry out a quick investigation and see that there is no ‘I’ to be found. But then who’s the one carrying out the investigation??? – definitely a sticking point for me!

Experience has shown me time and again that there is little control over thoughts and emotions. In fact the only real thing ‘I’ seem to be able to do to experiences is to label them as good or bad and then by seeming autopilot spend enormous amounts of energy trying to get more good ones and reject the bad ones – something which fails spectacularly almost all the time but doesn’t seem to dissuade me from trying!

‘I’ don’t choose to have the opinions I have – in fact I wish many of them were different. A lot of time and energy is spent on wanting my opinions to be different. In fact a lot of time and energy is spent wondering why if ‘I’ am in charge of my life why I can’t simply change anything about me (personality, likes, dislikes etc.) that I don’t like. It’s so obvious I am neither in charge of my life or what experiences are presented to me. So why do I continue to spend so much energy trying to change it? (how utterly ridiculous that I plainly know the answer but there’s something there (a me??) that keeps on asking the same stupid questions over and over again!!).

When you ask is there a time when the self is not experienced? are you referring to Tom or Awareness in the non-dual sense? I have always struggled with this one. In my direct experience Tom does not exist when he is not being thought about. Though writing this sentence seems to bring Tom into existence! Maybe we can come back to this?

Where does the 'self' that you conceive yourself to be reside? Is it in the body as a whole, part of the body or somewhere else? Can you pinpoint an exact reference point? Can it be found, at all?
I hope I have answered this above.
What is it that wants things different from what they are? What tells you you are separate?
This is a difficult one. There is something here that can’t be defined that wants things to be different. In recent years there has been an almost complete reversal in the way the world is viewed. ‘I’ used to want the world to be different. ‘I’ now accept that things can’t and won’t ever be different than the way things are. It’s me that feels the need to change to accept the world the way it is.

It’s like there’s 2 of me. Theres a me that completely and utterly accepts the world the way it is and sees how simple and easy it would be to live a life of complete acceptance. Then there’s a second me that just wont give in to it. I can’t find either of these me’s anywhere I look. That brings me back to who on earth is looking for these 2 me’s!!!!! is there a 3rd? and a 4th looking for the 3rd? arrghhh frustrating!

By naming or labeling a ‘me/I’ a subtle sense of separation is felt. For example ‘I’ can see this computer screen. ‘You’ can’t. I cant help explaining my experience in this way.
Is anything permanent – if so what?
There is nothing in my daily experience that has any permanence at all. Whether it be the feeling of the keys on the keyboard as I type, the bricks of the house in which I’m sitting, the sun in the sky or the mind which is thinking about these words. None if it will last forever.

Best wishes

Tom

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:27 pm

Hi Tom
Thank you for your lovely clear answers.
During or following a more subtle experience its easy to carry out a quick investigation and see that there is no ‘I’ to be found. But then who’s the one carrying out the investigation??? – definitely a sticking point for me!
Good question! Lets look at that. Can you force or control looking in anyway? Can you control looking and attention and everything else involved in looking in every way? Test this! Or does looking just happen? Or attention or investigation? You may notice thoughts – but when do they come in? Do they say things like ‘I did that’, or ‘that’s me doing that’?

Can a thought actually look? Have a good look.
Experience has shown me time and again that there is little control over thoughts and emotions. In fact the only real thing ‘I’ seem to be able to do to experiences is to label them as good or bad and then by seeming autopilot spend enormous amounts of energy trying to get more good ones and reject the bad ones – something which fails spectacularly almost all the time but doesn’t seem to dissuade me from trying!
Thoughts not liking thoughts about thoughts! LOL. We call this story. Every time you see this happening – thoughts stacking and commenting upon thoughts – have a little chuckle or smile :)
When you ask is there a time when the self is not experienced? are you referring to Tom or Awareness in the non-dual sense? I have always struggled with this one. In my direct experience Tom does not exist when he is not being thought about. Though writing this sentence seems to bring Tom into existence! Maybe we can come back to this?
No autopilot! You have noticed it already – like when driving. When in autopilot – where is Tom? Does he come and go? Is that possible?
This is a difficult one. There is something here that can’t be defined that wants things to be different.
OK – lets have a good look at want. When next you feel it – see if you can locate where it is felt? Is it physical or in thought? If in thought – where exactly is this want located? Can you find the one that wants? Is there a label attached i.e. ‘want’ – is it really a feeling being labelled? Is that label based on past experiences? Have a good look.
By naming or labeling a ‘me/I’ a subtle sense of separation is felt. For example ‘I’ can see this computer screen. ‘You’ can’t. I cant help explaining my experience in this way.
WELL noticed! Are you experiencing ‘me’? Or just think you are? Take the ‘me’ thought out of the equation – is there still separation? If you don’t think about any of it - is there still separation?
Now I’ve given you quite a lot to do here – take your time. No rush needed - just looking. OK.
Lots of Love Sarah xxxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:12 pm

Hi Sarah,

Thank you so much again for helping me. OK I’ve got some biggies here. I really went to town on myself and unfortunately for you, you have sift through this crap and work out which bits make any sense at all ;-)
Good question! Lets look at that. Can you force or control looking in anyway? Can you control looking and attention and everything else involved in looking in every way? Test this! Or does looking just happen? Or attention or investigation? You may notice thoughts – but when do they come in? Do they say things like ‘I did that’, or ‘that’s me doing that’?
The only thing there seems to be any sort of control over is where attention is placed – or at least there seems to be some limited control over it. Then attention just goes elsewhere when it chooses. ‘I’ may or may not agree with where attention goes. I am struggling to work out who makes the decision as to where attention is placed. I can see attention gets placed and then there’s the thought “I placed my attention on that thing” – attention just gets placed there is no one placing attention unless thought takes ownership of it. I (just another thought) feel the need to know who/what decided to place attention. If it’s just life (attention was placed on some-thing based on my genes and preferences) another thought arises that feels the need to identify who this ‘life’ person is and ask it why it does the things it does. Is this life person unique and separate to the life person inhabiting you Sarah or is this life person somehow shared between us? And if so how? – and still I can see that all these questions only ever appear in thought with no seeming individual thinking them – I think my head is going to explode !!!!

‘I’ is only a thought. I can see that intellectually it’s just not realized. There’s still something here trying to work it all out…
Can a thought actually look? Have a good look
.No – a thought most definitely cannot look. The most it can do is think about looking. There is only looking going on until a thought comes up and claims Tom is looking at something.

Thoughts not liking thoughts about thoughts! LOL. We call this story. Every time you see this happening – thoughts stacking and commenting upon thoughts – have a little chuckle or smile :)

I get this – thoughts about thoughts – they drive you mad. And I will definitely try to chuckle when it happens. But who thinks it’s a good idea to try to chuckle? and the decision to chuckle about the thoughts - is that another thought? If there are no thoughts about having a chuckle about it and a chuckle just comes up some ‘thing’ started chuckling and some ‘thing’ made a decision to do the chuckling because someone ‘else’ made a decision that it would be a good idea to recommend that I start chuckling. Is that just life doing the recommending and deciding? What is life and who is it? LOL – head exploding again.

No autopilot! You have noticed it already – like when driving. When in autopilot – where is Tom? Does he come and go? Is that possible?
Tom is only there when he’s thought about like when driving. Driving just happens. A thought appears “Tom is driving” but its just a thought, I see that. Thoughts about thoughts again. I can witness the driving but witnessing seems to be just another thought.

OK – lets have a good look at want. When next you feel it – see if you can locate where it is felt? Is it physical or in thought? If in thought – where exactly is this want located? Can you find the one that wants? Is there a label attached i.e. ‘want’ – is it really a feeling being labelled? Is that label based on past experiences? Have a good look.

Want seems to be a physical experience that’s felt in the gut/chest. It’s difficult to tell whether the physical experience has sprung from a thought or whether attention is placed on the physical experience and then a thought about it appears afterwards. I can’t find the one that wants – except in thought. The feeling of want definitely seems real so to me there seems to be a want for something. I am labeling the feeling of want based on past experience. If I’d never had the experience before I would not know what it was although a gut level instinct seems to tell me it’s bad and not good.

WELL noticed! Are you experiencing ‘me’? Or just think you are? Take the ‘me’ thought out of the equation – is there still separation? If you don’t think about any of it - is there still separation?


I see that its language that causes some of these problems with separation. That sentence has about 100 problems with it! We simply couldn’t communicate if I was talking about “the computer screen” if you had no idea if we were talking about yours or mine. I see that ‘yours’ and ‘mine’ are just words but for me they create a felt sense of separation (admittedly only in thought). I can see how if it were possible to go through life without language that separation would not be felt so much or maybe not at all.

I can look around the room and by direct experience see things in the room without labelling them and see that it’s only the mind that tells me there’s a distance of six feet to the window. Otherwise the eyes cant tell me there’s any distance to anything at all. I can also see that without thought its just looking going on. There’s no ‘I see the window’ without thought. The separation vanishes until its thought about. I can do this with all the other senses as well. The only one that I seem to have a problem with is touch. Everything is ‘here’ when I look, taste, smell or hear anything at all. But with touch, there’s no sense of touch unless I reduce the distance between my fingers and the object I’m trying to touch – there can’t be any touching something six feet away by direct experience. A sense of separation is felt. BTW free to let me know if I’m way off base here and you’re beginning to think you could’ve picked an easy person on the forum - head exploding again!

I’m well aware I’m probably over analyzing a lot of this stuff and making it harder than it needs to be but I guess I have one of those annoying minds that needs to know!

I've just had a brief albeit interesting realization after writing all this stuff.....some sort of tantalizing something or other! There's no seperation. There's just one thing going on as I've read a million times before. Just the one thing. Theres no seperation just this . Me here pretending to be separate but there isn't any it's just one thing that lots of seemingly seperate things that need each other to make the whole. I am pretending to be seperate. God knows why what a ridiculous thing to do - what idiot thought that was a good idea!!!

Thanks very much again Sarah.

Tom

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:46 pm

Hi Tom
The only thing there seems to be any sort of control over is where attention is placed – or at least there seems to be some limited control over it.

OK. Can you pinpoint exactly what part of the attention ‘you’ have limited control over? Really look and see if you can see it. Does this limited control come about because thought says it does?
‘I’ is only a thought. I can see that intellectually it’s just not realized. There’s still something here trying to work it all out…
Yes – thoughts! Isnt that why you’re here? You tried that approach and it didn’t answer your questions? Thought will NEVER understand this because thought deals with objects – it cant deal with no-thing. However thoughts will try at every opportunity to try and solve this – and off they go again……….! We will deal with all of this as and when things come up. OK.
No – a thought most definitely cannot look. The most it can do is think about looking. There is only looking going on until a thought comes up and claims Tom is looking at something.
YES!
I get this – thoughts about thoughts – they drive you mad. And I will definitely try to chuckle when it happens. But who thinks it’s a good idea to try to chuckle? and the decision to chuckle about the thoughts - is that another thought? If there are no thoughts about having a chuckle about it and a chuckle just comes up some ‘thing’ started chuckling and some ‘thing’ made a decision to do the chuckling because someone ‘else’ made a decision that it would be a good idea to recommend that I start chuckling. Is that just life doing the recommending and deciding? What is life and who is it? LOL – head exploding again.
How much of this is thoughts story? Chuckling may or may not happen – what would try and work out or worry about who or what does the chuckling? A thought? LOL :)
I can witness the driving but witnessing seems to be just another thought.
YES!!!!!!
Want seems to be a physical experience that’s felt in the gut/chest. It’s difficult to tell whether the physical experience has sprung from a thought or whether attention is placed on the physical experience and then a thought about it appears afterwards. I can’t find the one that wants – except in thought. The feeling of want definitely seems real so to me there seems to be a want for something. I am labeling the feeling of want based on past experience. If I’d never had the experience before I would not know what it was although a gut level instinct seems to tell me it’s bad and not good.
Well noticed! OK, when next it appears – see if you can look around the thoughts, or under them, or whatever. See if you can move them aside and go directly to the sensation/feeling of want. See the resistance to it – i.e. you said it didn’t feel good so there may well be a thought to say ‘lets do something about this’. Try and sit with it. Try and open to it and be with this feeling of want. Have a really good look at it. Notice anything?
I can look around the room and by direct experience see things in the room without labelling them and see that it’s only the mind that tells me there’s a distance of six feet to the window. Otherwise the eyes cant tell me there’s any distance to anything at all. I can also see that without thought its just looking going on. There’s no ‘I see the window’ without thought. The separation vanishes until its thought about. I can do this with all the other senses as well. The only one that I seem to have a problem with is touch. Everything is ‘here’ when I look, taste, smell or hear anything at all. But with touch, there’s no sense of touch unless I reduce the distance between my fingers and the object I’m trying to touch – there can’t be any touching something six feet away by direct experience. A sense of separation is felt.
OK. Pick up an object – anything you like. Hold it with eyes shut. Try not to move. Let that sensation settle a bit. Where is touch felt – over there or here? Where is the gap between you and it? Where is the line between you and it? Is the object really there – or is there only sensation? Look carefully and see if thoughts are trying to explain, guess, give opinions etc. Thank them and go to sensation again. Where do you end and object start? Can you find that separation?
Lots of Love Sarah xxxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Tom707
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:15 am

Hi Sarah,

OK. Can you pinpoint exactly what part of the attention ‘you’ have limited control over? Really look and see if you can see it. Does this limited control come about because thought says it does?
The only time I can find that I seem to have any control over my attention is when I think about it. Eg. You asked me this question so I thought "I'm going to put my attention on that wall over there" so my attention goes to the wall. This gives the illusion that I have control over my attention. But I don't! I noticed the thought comes AFTERWARDS! and the thought subtly implies that I decided to do it even though it was after it had already happened. This is quite an eye opener.

In fact I have just noticed that my attention is ALWAYS where IT wants to be until I think about it! and when I think about it all that does is give the illusion that my attention is now where ‘I’ want it to be! Therefore attention must be where IT wants to be AT ALL TIMES regardless of whether there’s a thought about it or not. This is both shocking and exciting at the same time!

If I watch or witness attention for a minute or so this also gives me the illusion I have control over it but that’s because I am thinking about it ALL the time!

I’ve also noticed that although this was quite shocking when I did it a couple of minutes ago, it no longer seems shocking now and its like I can conveniently forget about it to feel comfortably in control again. I have to force myself to do the experiment over and over again to remind myself that it actually happened and again couple of minutes later the mind is telling me “don’t be silly that didn’t happen don’t worry you are in control….” It’s like the implications of the realisation are getting erased from memory if that makes sense! The mind is tricking me into pretending it didn’t happen! – But then isn’t that just another thought?
Yes – thoughts! Isnt that why you’re here? You tried that approach and it didn’t answer your questions? Thought will NEVER understand this because thought deals with objects – it cant deal with no-thing. However thoughts will try at every opportunity to try and solve this – and off they go again……….! We will deal with all of this as and when things come up. OK.
Reading back I can see how much thinking and analysing is going on. I know of course the answer is not in the mind and I'm going to try hard not to do that in my answers moving forward. I've been trying to find the answers in thought all my life and it's clearly not worked so there’s no reason I'm going to find the answers there now...

How much of this is thoughts story? Chuckling may or may not happen – what would try and work out or worry about who or what does the chuckling? A thought? LOL :)
I see that much of thought is a story. I also see that some thoughts are useful. I guess the difficulty sometimes is working out which ones are story and which ones aren’t so much. And as far as I can tell trying to work that out requires thought!

Well noticed! OK, when next it appears – see if you can look around the thoughts, or under them, or whatever. See if you can move them aside and go directly to the sensation/feeling of want. See the resistance to it – i.e. you said it didn’t feel good so there may well be a thought to say ‘lets do something about this’. Try and sit with it. Try and open to it and be with this feeling of want. Have a really good look at it. Notice anything?
There seems to be the sensation of want itself and also the resistance to that sensation which kind of gets wrapped around it. A thought appears which doesn’t seem to be either words or images. Its as if the sensation is so common that the mind doesn’t need to think about what it is in words or pictures it’s just oh – there’s that want feeling again. There’s definitely a ‘lets do something about this’ kind of thought’ that comes up followed by other thoughts about trying to get rid of it, if things were different etc.

Sitting with the sensation and putting open attention on it and not thinking about it disperses the feeling after a short while but only slightly. It seems to be the resistance that disperses, the want feeling still remains.

Before long attention wanders and I have to bring it back again (although quite clearly not my decision to do this!). I can’t tell if the feeling is there before I think about it or the other way round.

OK. Pick up an object – anything you like. Hold it with eyes shut. Try not to move. Let that sensation settle a bit. Where is touch felt – over there or here? Where is the gap between you and it? Where is the line between you and it? Is the object really there – or is there only sensation? Look carefully and see if thoughts are trying to explain, guess, give opinions etc. Thank them and go to sensation again. Where do you end and object start? Can you find that separation?



Sensation is felt ‘here’. I still struggle with this a bit because in or order to pick up the apple I had to go over ‘there’ to get it.

With my eyes shut I simply cannot tell if there is a separate object there. I only have the sensation. There are definitely thoughts trying to squeeze in and explain what it is I’m holding. That I’m kidding myself that the sensation is ‘here’ - my mind is telling me it’s not and that the sensation is in fact felt in your fingers at the end of your arm. Keeping thoughts about it out are difficult.

In the brief moments I can shut out the mind the sensations are ‘here’. There is no distance between me and the sensation.



Sarah – please can you help me with something if you are able to?- I understand the difference between direct experience and thinking about something. I’ve also been told and read about many times (and at the moment I’m required to trust) that the answer to this is not in the mind but the only tool I have to make sense of the implications following the direct experience experiments we are going through is the mind - at least I think so?. I’ve shown that the mind only has illusory control and so if I can’t find the answer to the big question in mind how on earth is the mind useful in anyway whatsoever? I am almost at the point where I no longer trust my experience in working out if 2+2=4. For all I know this could also be an illusion :-)I guess what I’m asking is how do you know when you should listen to the mind and when not to? And yes I realise that’s just another thought! – could this be a mind generated fear arising about the seeming lack of control I have?

Thanks again Sarah

Tom

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:11 pm

Hi Tom
Again – some wonderful things noticed! Ive pm'd you too.
I’ve also noticed that although this was quite shocking when I did it a couple of minutes ago, it no longer seems shocking now and its like I can conveniently forget about it to feel comfortably in control again. I have to force myself to do the experiment over and over again to remind myself that it actually happened and again couple of minutes later the mind is telling me “don’t be silly that didn’t happen don’t worry you are in control….” It’s like the implications of the realisation are getting erased from memory if that makes sense! The mind is tricking me into pretending it didn’t happen! – But then isn’t that just another thought?
Firstly – once seen never unseen.
Secondly – Let this shock settle in. Test it over the next few days when remembering happens.
Thirdly – Thoughts are not the enemy. Where is the power of thought? How do thoughts have power? If there is no control …………………… where is their power?
Before long attention wanders and I have to bring it back again (although quite clearly not my decision to do this!). I can’t tell if the feeling is there before I think about it or the other way round.
LOL. Keep looking at it. Go straight for the sensation. If it doesn’t happen – no worries – have another go when remembering happens.
Sensation is felt ‘here’. I still struggle with this a bit because in or order to pick up the apple I had to go over ‘there’ to get it.
OK. Test that too! Stare out of a window. Where does there start and here end. Point to that line! Where does seeing happen – here or there? If here – then ………. Is there an over there? When moving look for evidence of travel – thoughts may well be saying lots of things – that’s their job after all – BUT is travel just another sensation? Have a look? Where is this sensation felt? There or here? Where is the separation outside of thought?
Keeping thoughts about it out are difficult.
Don’t need to keep them out! If you have ever meditated then you will know! Thoughts are like clouds passing across the sky – does the sky doesn’t pick which clouds it wants and which it doesn’t? Or does it contain them all?
Sarah – please can you help me with something if you are able to?
Never take mine or anyone else’s word for anything! Verify everything yourself.

Thoughts can be wonderful – they can be useful and they can be fun – they are not the enemy. No one is telling you to ignore thoughts if they tell you the road is busy and you will get squished if you cross now! All we do here is look and notice. We notice that some thoughts are not useful – like ‘Im useless’ or ‘I am limited’.

If fear does come up – if you would like to we can look at that too. It was experienced here pretty much over the same thoughts.

What else is there but experience? The only thing we need to verify is is it yours?

Whats wrong with right now – outside of thought?
Lots of Love Sarah xxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:02 am

Hi Sarah,

If it's ok I'll answer your last set of questions a bit later but I had some experiences last night and this morning I'd like to explain. I wrote everything below pretty much as it was experienced last night and still ongoing this morning but I cleaned the writing it up a bit...

Firstly Thank you very much for the book recommendation.

Last night I was re-reading our posts and just read your sentence "chuckling may or may not happen" and something really hit home even though I'd read it the day before. OF COURSE - chuckling MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN!!!! How obvious! How does anyone know if there's going to be chuckling if there's no decisions being made by anyone which I've already proven!!!!!!! In the long tradition of grand awakening moments staring at sunsets, sitting under the Bodhi tree etc. for me it was a sentence about chuckling! Lol.

I walked into the kitchen and spent a few minutes watching myself with no one in control - very strange and there was quite a lot of apprehension as a dawning of recognition came up. Then I went back to the computer thinking that I had to write it all down so here are some experiences that followed and are still occurring that I wrote about....

Someone just wrote this sentence - not sure who! A bit unnerving and pretty funny. A thought tried to claim it but I saw it and it disappeared. It's like I'm on autopilot I do something and then a thought comes up claiming I did it. But I'm catching it and seeing it for what it is.

There's a lot of watching going on. I used to do this a lot because I read somewhere that it was a good idea and if it I did it long enough I'd find who that real me was. Of course that didn’t happen. But now it's different - although there's watching going on I'm not looking for or assuming there is or imagining there is an individual doing the watching of someone else. It's just watching what goes on without feeling the need to take a step back and trying to find the watcher.

And the strangest thing about all this....there's nobody here doing any of it. I am just the observer but I'm not really something that's there at all. There's absolutely no one observing anything and yet there is observing going on. Wtf.

I've just noticed that for the first time I can remember there are no bad feelings in my experience though I'm sure there will be. There just aren't any now AT ALL. Even if I think about the future or tomorrow at work usually there's a slight feeling of anxiety. It sort of comes up and then a thought comes up about it. The feeling kind of melts with nothing it belongs to...and these keys ....who's pressing them??? This is ridiculously insane. Here I' am watching something being typed. What's going to get typed next I have no idea but it's not my problem it's like its someone else's problem!

Before this happened I thought about all the things I would be able to achieve in life if I could just 'awaken' I'd have more peace , less anxiety etc. Then this happened and now I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen but it's not my problem and instead of being scary it's kind of exciting.

A glass of water just got drunk. This body must have needed it because I caught the thought that said 'I need a glass of water' this is insanely funny.

Woke up this morning and there was the usual and instinctual thought 'tom is back' that seems to take place every morning but then I remembered the night before and had a good look to really see if Tom is still there. Tom was definitely not there to be found. I went over the experiments with attention and the thought popping up claiming ownership. I could almost feel Tom popping in and out of existence depending on which thought I pretended to believe.

What am I going to do today? Who the hell knows and it's not my problem!!! But there was still a felt need to get up and get ready for work

Just noticed there's thoughts coming up now without the immediate claiming of ownership afterwards. So the subtle sense of seperation is not felt. Some thoughts don't claim ownership and others do. I guess that must have always been the case but I never noticed...

Keep catching Tom making an appearance. Some reminder appears about some potentially difficult thing I have to do at work today then some sensations are felt in the gut followed by a thought claiming ownership and then a story is spun and the next thing I know I'm maybe 15 seconds into the story before something reminds me that's just what it is - a story. The sense of seperation lifts again and Tom Disappears.

This is the most boring and normal and at the same time incredible and amazing thing I've experienced. This is so ordinary I'm questioning it and the fact it seems to keep popping in and out is weird!

It seems to me that all the questions I once had are irrelevant. It's not that I know the answers it's just that the questions are so utterly pointless. In fact every question I can think of the answer is 'I just don't know' but the not knowing doesn't matter and is actually exciting. And the reason the questions no longer matter? - I CANT FIND ANYONE ASKING THEM!!!!!! God this is so completely crazy.

When Tom appears again for longer as I'm sure he will I'm sure I'm going to have like a zillion questions coming up at some point. That's really crazy isn't it- tom makes a reappearance and a question comes up. He disappears and so does the question!!!!!!!!!!!!


It's like a pool/snooker table out there. In the same way that one ball smashed into the pack effects every other ball and then those balls affect the balls they hit. Here there's just stuff going on that affects other stuff. I wouldn't be here now without that stuff happening here right back to the beginning of time. How can decisions ever be made by something????things just bounce of each other and stuff gets done and changed. I have no idea where this body is going to bounce next and what affect it's going to have on something else. It's not my problem.

If what I've just seen was something I'd paid for I'd want my money back and at the same time it would have been worth every penny.

Theres a lot of uncertainty I'm feeling - am I kidding myself, this can't be it. Maybe these are just thoughts, Tom is going to come back in a minute for good etc.

Sarah - Hopefully some of this complete gibberish makes sense - it does to me. Hopefully you'll say I'm not going mad!!!!!

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Sarah7
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Sarah7 » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:41 pm

Hi Tom
WOW! You are NOT mad!!!!!
In the long tradition of grand awakening moments staring at sunsets, sitting under the Bodhi tree etc. for me it was a sentence about chuckling! Lol.
Expectations!!!!! LOL.
I've just noticed that for the first time I can remember there are no bad feelings in my experience though I'm sure there will be. There just aren't any now AT ALL.
Before this happened I thought about all the things I would be able to achieve in life if I could just 'awaken' I'd have more peace , less anxiety etc. Then this happened and now I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen but it's not my problem and instead of being scary it's kind of exciting.
When Tom appears again for longer as I'm sure he will I'm sure I'm going to have like a zillion questions coming up at some point. That's really crazy isn't it- tom makes a reappearance and a question comes up. He disappears and so does the question!!!!!!!!!!!!
Theres a lot of uncertainty I'm feeling - am I kidding myself, this can't be it. Maybe these are just thoughts, Tom is going to come back in a minute for good etc.
OK. I want you to take the weekend. Let the dust settle. Keep looking as you have been doing.
Notice arising’s – possibly identification or anger or fear or happiness – or whatever appears in THIS.
See that there is simply THIS.
Be with simply THIS.
Lots of Love Sarah xxxx
If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

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Tom707
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Re: Looking for a Guide please

Postby Tom707 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:10 am

Hi Sarah,
OK. I want you to take the weekend. Let the dust settle. Keep looking as you have been doing.
Notice arising’s – possibly identification or anger or fear or happiness – or whatever appears in THIS.
See that there is simply THIS.
Be with simply THIS.
I hope your weekend was good. I let the dust settle for the weekend.

The events of Thursday night/ Friday morning left me knocked for six. I felt completely exhausted. My body felt like it had run a marathon and I had a stomach ache and headache from hell. I am fairly sure was it emotional drain. It seemed like the stomach ache was due to me placing so much awareness on the sensations I was feeling doing experiments and then my head felt foggy and numb from watching thoughts. Definitely not the light fluffy not a care in the world feeling I had been led to believe I would be left with from all the books I'd read lol.

Tom slowly came back over the weekend although he’s not as solid as before. It's like I am conveniently forgetting what happened.

I know that thoughts just come and go but it seems that noticing which thoughts are or aren’t useful is a lot of work. There seems to be a lot of effort involved in making sure the stories are seen for what they are – stories. I’m spending more energy on noticing thoughts and making sure the story isn’t followed than the energy that gets spent in suffering if the stories are followed anyway – that can’t be right! Am I ‘doing’ something wrong here? I’ve always read there’s no effort involved in ‘being’ but how can you ‘be’ if you have to constantly make sure you aren’t following stories. I don’t know what other peoples minds are like but mine seems to want to create a story several times a minute – this constant ‘noticing’ is very tiring! Is there a balance to be found somewhere and if so where is it found? Or am I completely on the wrong track?

I also notice that the constant watching for thoughts that might contain a story also creates a subtle sense of separation by seeming to create a difference between the one who is trying to be and the one that is having thoughts. So although I do see that there’s never actually anything to lose it feels like something has been lost and it feels like I’m trying to get it back!!

I’ve started doing some of the experiments from your book recommendation – they are brilliant in particular the sensations experiments and the direct experience of movement but that’s as far as I’ve got. We seem to be living in a hologram after all!!! Lol I realise I had read his previous book.

Thanks again

Tom


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