A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

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Narracja
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A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:59 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
A quest for freedom and a wish to alleviate the suffering of others. Or so I tell myself.

What do you expect of the conversation on this forum?
New perspectives to an old practice.

What is your background in terms of seeking and inquiry?
12 years old, I got into martial arts and meditated for the first time but didn't develop a consistent practice in self-inquiry. At around 15 years old, I was left feeling disillusioned by the new age, occult, shamanistic, etc. literature I used to engulf enthusiastically.
Ten years later the same realization of shallowness had happened with self-help and business literature. No-one actually *knew* anything! Between 5 to 10 years ago I started a weekly meditation practice.
Three years ago I started a career in psychological science, as well as a stable daily meditation practice. After delving into statistical inference (and thus, quantification of uncertainty), I found the information content of peer-reviewed science journals shockingly dissappointing. I felt betrayed by our knowledge of reality.

In the beginning of 2015 I started practicing 1.5 hours and shortly after, 2 hours a day. Hard to say if anything has changed during the last 5 years; there's a lot less anger than there used to be but that can be attributed to maturation by aging.

Cognitively, I know there is no "me" in my head. Experientially, I don't feel I know anything.

I want to learn to live with uncertainty and be ok with the unforeseen but inevitable shocks the process of living entails. I also feel more people than ever are nowadays doing practices which may lead to a transformed sense of self; I want to be there to help those who go through frightening experiences and have no-one to discuss the path with.

I have discipline. Sometimes too much so. Would be cool to feel more joy.
I notice there's a lot of I in all of the above :)

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:43 pm

Hello Naracja. Is that what you would like me to call you?

I'm Empty Set, and I would be happy to be your guide through this process. What I will do is ask you a series of questions intended to show you that the separate, personal self exists in thought only, and is nowhere else in experience.

Before we start, I have a couple of requests:

Please read our disclaimer carefully, if you haven't already.
http://liberationunleashed.com/terms/

Then also please read the "What this is not" page.
http://liberationunleashed.com/faqs/lib ... ed-is-not/

I also request that you try to post at least daily, and I will as well. If you're busy or will be away for a while and can't respond, please let me know that.

You seem to be aware that sometimes this process can be uncomfortable or disturbing. If things ever get too intense and you'd rather exchange private messages at any time, please let me know.

If you agree to all this, here are my first questions. Please tell me a little more about yourself and why you are interested in this. What do you expect from this exchange? How do you think it will affect you?

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:25 pm

Hello ES,

Thank you for your reply, help is much appreciated.

Perhaps you could call me M. We'll save some electronic ink and I'll avoid possible connotations about the made-up username :)
Please tell me a little more about yourself and why you are interested in this.

Male, in my 30s, I wish for a release from the grip of thoughts.

The "narrative" goes like this: gaining freedom from the suffering would mean an improved quality of life and lead to clearer seeing. Clearer seeing and lessened suffering would act as a personal proof of the worthiness of the process. This proof would motivate me to help others achieve the same. Perhaps I could then use scientific methods/rhetoric to make the liberating option of self-inquiry available for larger audiences. More widely accepted, at least.

I do recognize an underlying egotistic motivation here.

There is also the wish of finding strength to continue my work in health sciences. I gave up a lucrative corporate career to earn a living ethically, but my devotion to my work (including giving up alcohol for most of the year) has lead to decreased feelings of (hedonistic) enjoyment.

In the past, pleasure-seeking has lead to increasing the suffering of people around me, and I wish to find a way to live that would do the opposite. But right now it feels like a meditation practice (as well as an ethical occupation) takes up time, but doesn't seem to change anything. Thus, frustration and demotivation occasionally ensue.
What do you expect from this exchange?
I expect a small chance of a profound shift in perspective, which could lead to the decrease in suffering described above. Or, at least, an insight as to what this method is, which has worked for so many in the past.
How do you think it will affect you?
My expectation (based on how I think things I tried in the past have affected me), is that there's a big chance it won't affect me at all. Fond of experimentation, I want to take the chance. I wonder if these initial doubts will affect the process itself.

Thanks again for getting in touch,

Be well,

M

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:22 pm

Hello M,

Thank you for sharing more of your background and your expectations about this process. It's important to get these expectations out in the open. It's good that you recognize that this process may have strong or weak effects. It varies a lot in how it affects people. The more attention and focus you can bring to this, the more you're likely to get out of it.

Please put aside any spiritual teachings, books, videos, etc while we're working on this. Taking in more ideas and concepts will not help.

Doubt is actually a good thing here, if it's combined with some open mindedness. Please don't let me talk you into anything. It's important that you really see this and not just accept anything "on faith".

Now please tell me, how do you conceive of yourself? When you say "me", what are you referring to?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:45 pm

Great, thanks again.

One more thing regarding your earlier message; I'm eager to feel uncomfortable or disturbed, so feel free to push if you see an opportunity.

When I say "me", I refer to this body which is separate from other bodies, as well as the particular set of habitual patterns and tendencies which lead to my actions. Maybe to my skill-set, too. Without these, the "I" would still exist but it would be (although perhaps very slightly) different.

Cognitively, I "know" the sense of self is a side product of a complex system, like the central planner of an ant colony (it seems there is one, when in reality a lot of small mindless actors are following simple rules).

Or something.

It's hard to tell how much of the above is what I "really" think and how much I've just accepted from reading books.

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:44 pm

Are you the body, or are you the owner of it? Are you the whole body, or just a part? Do you feel like you are somewhere "in" your body? Does that feeling change over time?

When you breathe in, eat food or drink water, when and how does "not you" become "you"? How does the opposite happen when you breathe out or eliminate?

How do you experience "habitual patterns and tendencies", or a "skill set"?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:13 pm

Are you the body, or are you the owner of it?
The body feels like a description of the owner. Should the body change, the description of the owner would change, which is part of the owner, and thus the owner would change (even though very slightly, perhaps).
Are you the whole body, or just a part?
By wearing the body, I feel like I kind of engulf it as a part of me...
Do you feel like you are somewhere "in" your body?
I feel like I'm in my head, but "know" that there's no thinker in my head. The narrative: the brain in my head controls the body, and as a side-product, the sense of a doer emerges. But this is not something I feel directly. I can create the feeling of being in a first-person computer game.. But who's the player? Thoughts say it's just an illusion.
Does that feeling change over time?
No, I'm always behind my eyes, "knowing" that there's no entity looking out.
When you breathe in, eat food or drink water, when and how does "not you" become "you"?
When oxygen is extracted from air in my lungs, it becomes a part of the description of self mentioned above. When food or water enters moves forward from the stomach, it becomes a part of the description. Although once it's in the stomach, it's already a small part of the description of the body as a whole.
How does the opposite happen when you breathe out or eliminate?
When CO2 exits the lungs, it becomes a negligible part of the description. It's still a little "mine" but so little it's negligible. When I excrecate, same thing. Maybe "mine" is a continuous measure (instead of a discrete one).
How do you experience "habitual patterns and tendencies", or a "skill set"?
Habitual patterns and tendencies refer to things that are easy to do. I experience them as impulses to act in a certain way. A skill set is a more egotistic concept; thinking about what I'm good at makes me feel good.

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 10:00 pm

An important part of this inquiry is to put thinking and interpretation to one side and just focus on experience. As an example, your last reply included both.
The body feels like a description of the owner. Should the body change, the description of the owner would change, which is part of the owner, and thus the owner would change
This is an interpretation, thoughts about how two concepts ("body" and "owner") fit together.
By wearing the body, I feel like I kind of engulf it as a part of me...
This is a description from experience, which is what we are looking for here. I think you sense this difference already.
I feel like I'm in my head
This is a report from experience.
but "know" that there's no thinker in my head. The narrative: the brain in my head controls the body, and as a side-product, the sense of a doer emerges. But this is not something I feel directly. I can create the feeling of being in a first-person computer game.. But who's the player? Thoughts say it's just an illusion.
This is mostly trying to figure things out by thinking about them. It's often useful to use logic in everyday life, like if you need to calculate something. But that's not what we're going for here. You don't "figure it out" in your mind.
No, I'm always behind my eyes, "knowing" that there's no entity looking out.
Would it be correct to say that your experience is of being behind the eyes, but that there are also thoughts saying that there's no entity there?
Habitual patterns and tendencies refer to things that are easy to do. I experience them as impulses to act in a certain way. A skill set is a more egotistic concept; thinking about what I'm good at makes me feel good.
Can you see that you are describing a certain type of experience (impulses) as "habitual patterns", but that "skill set" is more abstract, a bunch of thoughts about things you're good at?

Here's an exercise to look into the experience of the body more. Close your eyes. Can you sense a boundary to your body?

ES
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:07 pm

Ok, so tone down everything that makes me want to say "I think" and focus on the things that come out of "I feel"?
Would it be correct to say that your experience is of being behind the eyes, but that there are also thoughts saying that there's no entity there?
Yes, that is correct.
Can you see that you are describing a certain type of experience (impulses) as "habitual patterns", but that "skill set" is more abstract, a bunch of thoughts about things you're good at?
Yes, I can see a difference.
Here's an exercise to look into the experience of the body more. Close your eyes. Can you sense a boundary to your body?
Yes. I feel the skin is the boundary, and when I focus on a certain spot, there's a tingling sensation (easier to find in more sensitive places [like the fingertips] than the back, for example).

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:31 pm

Are you actually feeling skin?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 5:32 pm

Close your eyes again and ask what is it, exactly, that you are calling "skin"?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:44 pm

Hmm... I can't feel the skin because the skin is the one doing the feeling. So, I would say I'm feeling sensory input from the skin?

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:12 pm

Pay attention to just the sensation. Do you see the difference between the sensation itself and the thought that it is sensory input from the skin?
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!

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Narracja
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby Narracja » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:13 pm

Yes, I hadn't thought about what it is before. So there's the feeling and the thought about what it is, the thought being much more subtle.

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EmptySet00
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Re: A logical mind seeks freedom and joy

Postby EmptySet00 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:45 pm

So, close your eyes and see if you can find a boundary to the body, an edge -just in the sensations-, not in the mental image of the body.
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an "I"!


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