Pay Attention

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Purpleturtle
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Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:18 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That there is no such thing as a self in experience that can be directly known, and that is separate from the actual experience that is happening e.g. seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking. That the sense of a self is an illusion arising in imagination or thought that is not needed for experience to happen.

What are you looking for at LU?
I want to actually see, actually know, with a direct experience that the idea of a self is an illusion, and not just have a theoretical understanding, which is just another thing to add to the illusion. I am hoping someone will be able to help me to see this directly by pointing out to me where, and how to look.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To be pointed in the right direction to keep looking into the illusion of self, and to have my resistance to seeing through this illusion challenged. To be kept on track and not be allowed to wriggle off into thoughts and justifications. To be encouraged, and corrected as necessary with honest feedback from someone who has actually seen through the illusion of a self and who understands where I am getting stuck.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been a member of the Triratna Buddist Order since 2002, and have been meditating since 1991 (mettabhavana, mindfulness of breathing). Since ordination I have also been doing vipassana visualisation practices. I have had some insights along the way. For example when on retreat at Vajraloka in Wales I was filled with anxiety one night. I could not sleep and I decided to sit in my room. As the anxious thoughts ran away I kept coming back to the sensations in my belly. After some time my whole body shook as if it was a bell that had been struck and I heard the words "awareness is your on true nature" at which point I settled into a still place where the anxiety had totally vanished. I have had some similar experiences that seem to come when I am troubled in some way and stay with the experience. On the retreat I mentioned we had been reading from "Self Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness" and I have read this text over and over again. It has been both a help and a hindrance, as I feel like I have looked at the answers in the back of the book so to speak, and this maybe gets in the way of me properly looking. I have been guided for about 18 months by two fellow order members through the Tiratna Order Insight Inquiry. They have been very patient and encouraging, and one of them, Ratnapani, suggested I contact Liberation Unleashed to see if someone here could help me as we seem to have reached an impasse.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
8

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:25 am

Hi,

Thank you for the introduction!

We could explore this together, to see what occurs.

Just let me know, and we'll set off on a road to nowhere.

With best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:06 am

Hi John,
Thanks for getting in touch.
Let’s get going!
Keith

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jun 08, 2020 10:32 am

Hi Keith,

Good to meet you!

Hi John,
Thanks for getting in touch.
Let’s get going!
Keith

Ok, tell me about this impasse.

Best wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:16 am

I’ve been doing various exercises, and sitting and looking. I understand that I cannot find a self in experience, and somehow that understanding doesn’t shift a sense that it must be there somewhere. I have a story that I there is no self then there is desolation, loneliness and pain and therefore resistance to looking.

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:43 am

Hi Keith,

I’ve been doing various exercises, and sitting and looking. I understand that I cannot find a self in experience, and somehow that understanding doesn’t shift a sense that it must be there somewhere. I have a story that I there is no self then there is desolation, loneliness and pain and therefore resistance to looking.

Thank you.

Let's shift tack a second. What aspects of your experience strike you as self-like?

Ta,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:11 pm

Getting my foot caught in a cable, trying to kick it free and getting more tangled. Imagining that the cable, and the universe, is out to get ME. When someone criticises me and I feel that I must defend myself. When I listen to the stories in my head about who I am, what I like/don’t like, what others might or might not think of me, whether something I have done was successful or not etc.

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:34 pm

Hi Keith,

Getting my foot caught in a cable, trying to kick it free and getting more tangled. Imagining that the cable, and the universe, is out to get ME. When someone criticises me and I feel that I must defend myself. When I listen to the stories in my head about who I am, what I like/don’t like, what others might or might not think of me, whether something I have done was successful or not etc.

Ok, really good examples.

The best day of my life - well certainly up to that time :) - was the day I saw very clearly, from the bottom of my toes to the top of my head that I did, and had for years, utterly despised myself. I mean properly despised, hate didn't cut it.

Tell me, briefly, how would you characterise your relationship with yourself?

Warm wishes,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:44 am

Hi John,
Uneasy, more love/hate than outright despising. I find it hard to believe (really believe not just tell myself) that I am lovable as I am, or would be loved if everything about me were known by another. There’s a Swedish film called A Man Called Ove, which I watched for the second time on Saturday. The film is about a rather awkward, sometimes angry and very particular man who experiences a lot of tragedy in his life. There is a scene in the film where he takes the woman who will be his wife to a restaurant to repay her for a favour. She asks why he isn’t eating much, and he tells her that he ate before coming out. She asks why and he says so that she can eat whatever she likes, and that he has very little spare money, and he had lied to her about his situation, and he was going to leave now. She gets up at the same time as him and gives him a big kiss. This is when I started to cry.

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:41 am

Hi Keith,
Hi John,
Uneasy, more love/hate than outright despising. I find it hard to believe (really believe not just tell myself) that I am lovable as I am, or would be loved if everything about me were known by another. There’s a Swedish film called A Man Called Ove, which I watched for the second time on Saturday.

I cried just watching the trailer. Will have a watch of that - thank you.

The film is about a rather awkward, sometimes angry and very particular man who experiences a lot of tragedy in his life. There is a scene in the film where he takes the woman who will be his wife to a restaurant to repay her for a favour. She asks why he isn’t eating much, and he tells her that he ate before coming out. She asks why and he says so that she can eat whatever she likes, and that he has very little spare money, and he had lied to her about his situation, and he was going to leave now. She gets up at the same time as him and gives him a big kiss. This is when I started to cry.

Well, you have a big heart - that's for sure.

Most of us coming to these kinds of inquiries do so because we want or escape ourselves in some way - understandable really, I mean if everything was ticketyboo why would we bother. But therein lies the challenge, because escaping is not a useful intention in this regard.

That said, once we can see what we're doing, and ask why we're attempting to escape ourselves, we get some responses that are useful. As you know Keith, we're none of us angels. :)

And yes, loving ourselves sounds great as the title of a book, but it's a bit of a leap for most of us initially.

Though as we do stop the escape attempts, and settle down to our place, such as it is, then a feeling can often come up spontaneously, a feeling for ourselves, for our challenges, for the life lived, for our relationships - and maybe that's a little more towards compassion, or even a friendly open-hearted feeling towards ourselves - either way, we soften towards ourselves, and this direction is worth walking in.

These inquiries do have a kind of a pathway.

We start out want to run away from ourselves, then we stop and wonder what we are doing and why, then we soften to ourselves as we see what we have been through and the direction we want to go, and that's when another part of the journey starts which is coming home - because who wants to come home to a place they don't like?

We want to come home to ourselves - and in opening our heart a touch, we're on our way.



Have a ponder on this Keith, and share any feelings or thoughts that show up.

With much love,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:48 pm

Hi John,
Yes, I can relate to what you have written. After all these years there is still the tendency to want a different experience to the one that is, and yet the times I have felt most content are the times that I’ve been able to be with what is without trying to change anything. For example on a long retreat when I was feeling troubled after a group. Feeling insecure, self-critical and angry with others. I realised that, that was all ok, whatever arose could be contained in a sense of ok-ness. I understand that as metta. It’s no big deal, and it can contain anything.

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:40 pm

Hi Keith,

Yes, I can relate to what you have written. After all these years there is still the tendency to want a different experience to the one that is, and yet the times I have felt most content are the times that I’ve been able to be with what is without trying to change anything.

That's a good insight.

Now, what might we have accepted about life and ourselves, that would make to be with what is without trying to change anything ring true like a bell?

Just share whatever shows up when you ponder on it.

For example on a long retreat when I was feeling troubled after a group. Feeling insecure, self-critical and angry with others. I realised that, that was all ok, whatever arose could be contained in a sense of ok-ness. I understand that as metta. It’s no big deal, and it can contain anything.

This is a good point to note - are we are looking to make things ok? Or are we looking to see things as clearly as we can?
Each orientation is life-changing.

Have a ponder on both. Imagine living with one. Then, set that down. And imagine living with the other.

Cheers Keith.

Much love,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:51 pm

Hi John

What might we have to accept about life and ourselves...?

Powerlessness, contingency, change, limitation, the desire to change things, thought tangles, physical and emotional pain.

Looking to make things ok means I’d need to feel good about stuff. I’d have to work at changing things I did not like about myself, others and/or the world. To keep feeling ok about that I’d need to not work too hard yet the work would be endless as there would always be something that I did not like because the premise is things, including and particularly me, are not ok as they are.

Looking to see things as clearly as I can would involve looking with an open heart and open mind at whatever is. This would include distortion, deformity, imperfection, dirt, clumsiness, cruelty, selfishness, decay, shame, fear, closeness and defensiveness. It would involve slowing down to create space to look without any purpose other than to see what’s there.

With love, Keith

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s-p-a-c-e
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby s-p-a-c-e » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:20 pm

Hi Keith,

Looking to make things ok means I’d need to feel good about stuff. I’d have to work at changing things I did not like about myself, others and/or the world. To keep feeling ok about that I’d need to not work too hard yet the work would be endless as there would always be something that I did not like because the premise is things, including and particularly me, are not ok as they are.

Looking to see things as clearly as I can would involve looking with an open heart and open mind at whatever is. This would include distortion, deformity, imperfection, dirt, clumsiness, cruelty, selfishness, decay, shame, fear, closeness and defensiveness. It would involve slowing down to create space to look without any purpose other than to see what’s there.

Great. So looking to make things ok, keeps you forever on a hook. The very definition of suffering.

Looking to see things clearer is open-ended, always new, seeing habitual perceptions, realising they are not me, recognising the good, the bad and the ugly - not to judge (as above, to make things ok) but to learn, to see things clearer - because in seeing things clearly we can then...learn, shift, be fluid, smile...no longer trapped by having things HAVE to be ok for us to be ok, HAVING TO BE this way or that, to be awake, to not this, to more of that.

These are orientations Keith, a fork in the road.

Doesn't matter how far we've travelled, but we can decide which direction to head.

Each direction has big implications for the coming days, weeks, months, years.

What does your heart say?

Much love,
John
"The more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn't there." - A.A.Milne

Author, The Faun's Apprentice - see on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fauns-Apprenti ... B01AR2B63U

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Purpleturtle
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Re: Pay Attention

Postby Purpleturtle » Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:29 pm

My heart says “Yes”, to what is. It couldn’t say anything else it belongs to what is.


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