Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

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Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:10 pm

Hi dear members of Liberation Unleashed,

my name is Martin and I have serious intellectual doubts about the existence of an "I" but there hasn't been any undoable observation to consolidate this into something permanent.
I've been practicing Vipassana for about 5 years and have recently started with self-inquiry according to Garry Weber's Happiness beyond thought book (Who am I? Not this / Where am I?).
When I'm alone, the awareness of body, thoughts and emotions is usually stable and I started searching for the "I" with little luck ;)
I've also read the first 10 or so protocols from the book, so I know the general direction of this process.
On the other hand, this might lead me into fantazing of things which I might not have seen yet...

Right now my body is shivering from a mix of anxiety and excitement, I'm not a 100% sure if I'm ready, on the other hand I'm a 100% sure that I want to follow the path of liberation and things are probably not even in my control.

I'll be happy for any help!
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:28 pm

Hi Martin,

I like your openness to things 'probably' not in your control.

How we work here is I ask you questions, and you answer honestly from your own direct experience, not from what you've read or heard. You agree to post here every day, even if only to say you're tied up and can't post.

If you agree, please tell me what you expect from liberation — what being liberated from the illusion of a separate self means to you. What will you get from it? Answer with complete honesty. I am not here to judge you, but to point you.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:56 am

Hi Nona,

thank you very much for adopting me :)
There are mixed thoughts coming up w.r.t. seeing through the illusion of a separate self.
On the one hand there's a lot of fear of entering the "dark night" where the painful sides of not being in control and living in an ever-changing world are perceived clearly but there is not enough equanamity to deal with it.
On the other hand, the fear seems to be there as a constant undercurrent anyway and I guess seeing through the illusion also means finally having all cards on the table and not having to blind out the truths in life like the certainty that we'll all die at one moment...
I guess it also means to me that I become better at stepping out of my own way, becoming softer, more accepting and loving with myself and others. Sounds like I want an improved version of me, right? I probably do...

One question Nona, when you speak of answering from my direct experience does it mean I should try to constantly see thoughts as thoughts and emotions as emotions or should I answer as "I" when I feel like "I"? (Oh gosh, a lot of I's in here ;)

With warmth
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:59 am

Hi Martin,
One question Nona, when you speak of answering from my direct experience does it mean I should try to constantly see thoughts as thoughts and emotions as emotions or should I answer as "I" when I feel like "I"?
Have a look at this and see if it helps to unravel what is meant by direct experience. If not, we will attempt to clarify it for you. http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html
there's a lot of fear of entering the "dark night" where the painful sides of not being in control and living in an ever-changing world are perceived clearly but there is not enough equanamity to deal with it.
As you will discover, you have been living without any control in an ever-changing world already. What, in your opinion, would constitute "enough equanimity"? Would there ever be enough if there were still discomfort?
Humans are not emotionless, which is a very good thing. Emotions bring important information to our attention regarding what we are currently believing. When you experience a lack of equanimity, look directly at the feeling that appears to cause that. What is its message to you?
I guess seeing through the illusion also means finally having all cards on the table and not having to blind out the truths in life like the certainty that we'll all die at one moment...
Sweetheart, all the cards there are, are already on the table. Your truths are carried deep within you and can be found with the simple question, "Is it true?" Close your eyes, breathe, and gently ask yourself about any fearful thought, "Is it true?" Then wait. Your answer will come if you wait and listen for it.
Do you meditate? This is a kind of meditation.
I guess it also means to me that I become better at stepping out of my own way, becoming softer, more accepting and loving with myself and others. Sounds like I want an improved version of me, right? I probably do...
Again, this is already available to you. Seeing through the illusion of self does not make us softer or improved. It does usually help us to be more aware of the complete lack of separation between "myself and others", which generally results in compassion for all.

As we go through this process, watch for any expectations of what is supposed to happen here. Expectations are the blinders that prevent one from attending to what is being seen in the moment. Seeing through the illusion that one is a separate self is a beginning, not a final graduation from the school of Life.



What comes up for you when I state, There is no self at all in reality. No you that lives your life.
Describe all the feelings, thoughts, fears, joys, everything.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:24 pm

Hi Nona,
Have a look at this and see if it helps to unravel what is meant by direct experience. If not, we will attempt to clarify it for you. http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html
Understood :)
As you will discover, you have been living without any control in an ever-changing world already. What, in your opinion, would constitute "enough equanimity"? Would there ever be enough if there were still discomfort?
Humans are not emotionless, which is a very good thing. Emotions bring important information to our attention regarding what we are currently believing. When you experience a lack of equanimity, look directly at the feeling that appears to cause that. What is its message to you?
Right now this feeling is not experienced so I could only tell from memory how it feels like. That probably doesn't help here?
Sweetheart, all the cards there are, are already on the table. Your truths are carried deep within you and can be found with the simple question, "Is it true?" Close your eyes, breathe, and gently ask yourself about any fearful thought, "Is it true?" Then wait. Your answer will come if you wait and listen for it.
Do you meditate? This is a kind of meditation.
My mom probably has an appendicitis and might need an operation tomorrow. When I closed my eyes the question arose if she could die tomorrow. After that there were images flashing through of my mom lying lifeless in front of me and my brothers and my dad sitting in our living room in silence and sadness. The next question that arose was if she could die without me being able to do anything about it. And there were also images of scenarios where this could happen. These images triggered a mild fear, but as they were perceived as thoughts there was no thought spiral.
I guess it also means to me that I become better at stepping out of my own way, becoming softer, more accepting and loving with myself and others. Sounds like I want an improved version of me, right? I probably do...
Again, this is already available to you. Seeing through the illusion of self does not make us softer or improved. It does usually help us to be more aware of the complete lack of separation between "myself and others", which generally results in compassion for all.

As we go through this process, watch for any expectations of what is supposed to happen here. Expectations are the blinders that prevent one from attending to what is being seen in the moment. Seeing through the illusion that one is a separate self is a beginning, not a final graduation from the school of Life.
Ok, I'll try my best!

What comes up for you when I state, There is no self at all in reality. No you that lives your life.
Describe all the feelings, thoughts, fears, joys, everything.
First there is confusion and flashing of only half-drawn or half-perceived visual thoughts. There is doubt and aversion which are noticeable by a mild choking, a contraction and tightening of the stomach region and the feeling of my eyebrows being lifted sceptically.
There's fear, noticed by small and fast vibrations in my arms, a feeling of needing to get away, music that seems to be playing within my head and thoughts like "If I don't accept this it won't become true". Another image that came up was a picture of a croud of people all doing their thing and the label "Robots". There are also visual thoughts seen through my perspective of doing something that I really don't want to do (some crime or hurting someone) without being able to interfere.
On the pleasant side there's thoughts where I happily tell friends that "I've finally made it" and images of myself being extremely relaxed (expectations here :)
There's also images of me going for a walk, only observing the walking happening by itself and relaxing in the fact that nothing needs to be done (more expectations).
The pleasant images are accompanied by short moments of joy followed by craving.
All in all a mild but not paralyzing fear is predominant.

Is this the level of detail you need? Too much Vipassana? (direct experience now: fear, doubt)

A nervous
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:09 am

Hi Martin,
Is this the level of detail you need?
Beautiful detail. Good reporting of experience.
Right now this feeling is not experienced so I could only tell from memory how it feels like.
Fair enough. Next time you perceive a lack of equanimity, check how much would constitute enough.

Most people fear death, especially the death of loved ones. My experience is I regularly meet my dad, my grandmothers, my husband, my cousin, my best friend, and others whose earthsuits have ceased to function, in my memories. All I need do is call them to mind, and there they are.
there were images flashing through of my mom lying lifeless in front of me and my brothers and my dad sitting in our living room in silence and sadness.
And were those images actually your mom? Or were they images, mind-pictures. When you imagine her death, is that really your mom dying, or only images projected into an imaginary future?
This is the kind of trick that mind plays on us, telling a story, especially a deeply emotional story, that is actually only a mind-movie. It is not real.
Look around the room right now; what is your actual experience right now?? Do you feel the pressure of your bum and thighs against a seat? Do you see a screen, as reading happens? Do you feel pressure on your fingertips, as typing happens? The rising and dropping of the chest as breathing takes place? Notice the difference between what is happening in your experience and what is happening in imagination.
These images triggered a mild fear, but as they were perceived as thoughts there was no thought spiral.
It is good to experience the emotions that come; this is how they get processed. When there is fear, welcome it, and check what the fear is of. Notice that she is living without your being able to do anything about it. Is that fearful?
First there is confusion and flashing of only half-drawn or half-perceived visual thoughts. There is doubt and aversion which are noticeable by a mild choking, a contraction and tightening of the stomach region and the feeling of my eyebrows being lifted sceptically.
There's fear, noticed by small and fast vibrations in my arms, a feeling of needing to get away,
Good to notice! What do you need to get away from? How would you get away from it?
music that seems to be playing within my head and thoughts like "If I don't accept this it won't become true".
It's already true, Martin. There is no need to accept it. We are not looking to adopt another belief; only to see what is already true.
Another image that came up was a picture of a croud of people all doing their thing and the label "Robots".
Why is this? What is it about "there is no self in reality" that has you imagine robots?
There are also visual thoughts seen through my perspective of doing something that I really don't want to do (some crime or hurting someone) without being able to interfere.
Like hypnosis? Does a self-entity protect you from being hypnotized? How does that work?
On the pleasant side there's thoughts where I happily tell friends that "I've finally made it" and images of myself being extremely relaxed (expectations here :)
"I've finally made it": what does that mean to you? Made what?
There's also images of me going for a walk, only observing the walking happening by itself and relaxing in the fact that nothing needs to be done (more expectations).
Next time you go for a walk, check whether you are DOing the walking or whether it is happening without your direction. Do you send messages to the legs telling the slow and fast-twitch muscles to extend and contract? Tell the weight to shift right or left, the musculature to propel the bony skeleton forward, tell the heel to strike and then the foot to roll forward while the weight shifts again? Do you in fact DO walking? Or do you simply move?
The pleasant images are accompanied by short moments of joy followed by craving.
What stops the joy? What is being craved? Check it carefully and report.
All in all a mild but not paralyzing fear is predominant.
Fear of what? exactly? Get really clear; what could happen/is happening that is fearful?
Too much Vipassana?
I wouldn't know a Vipassana if I bumped into it in the road. You're doing great—the more detailed your answers, the easier for me to assess where you are right now.

Tell me about the nervousness. What about beginning this process stimulates the nerves? Again, I assure you, I am not here to judge you, but to point you.

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:32 pm

Hi Nona,
And were those images actually your mom? Or were they images, mind-pictures. When you imagine her death, is that really your mom dying, or only images projected into an imaginary future?
This is the kind of trick that mind plays on us, telling a story, especially a deeply emotional story, that is actually only a mind-movie. It is not real.
Look around the room right now; what is your actual experience right now?? Do you feel the pressure of your bum and thighs against a seat? Do you see a screen, as reading happens? Do you feel pressure on your fingertips, as typing happens? The rising and dropping of the chest as breathing takes place? Notice the difference between what is happening in your experience and what is happening in imagination.
I had a closer look at imaginations and one thing that gives them a feeling of realness is that they trigger real emotions and feelings in the body.
When awareness and concentration is there and thoughts are clearly perceived as such the emotional and bodily reaction seems to be less intense.
It is good to experience the emotions that come; this is how they get processed. When there is fear, welcome it, and check what the fear is of. Notice that she is living without your being able to do anything about it. Is that fearful?
Today there were several experiences of fear. I welcomed it and it spread from the belly region to the entire body. With this it seemed to become less dense and opaque. I also asked what the wisdom behind it is and what it is trying to protect. There was a short phase without or with little thought then there were spoken thoughts of me telling you that the reason for fear wouldn't show up. Along with the fear there was a feeling of sadness and resignation but there was no awareness of any thoughts that might be causing those feelings...

First there is confusion and flashing of only half-drawn or half-perceived visual thoughts. There is doubt and aversion which are noticeable by a mild choking, a contraction and tightening of the stomach region and the feeling of my eyebrows being lifted sceptically.
There's fear, noticed by small and fast vibrations in my arms, a feeling of needing to get away,
Good to notice! What do you need to get away from? How would you get away from it?
Hmmm, maybe it's getting away from the "investigation", but there was no clear awareness of the cause of fear.
music that seems to be playing within my head and thoughts like "If I don't accept this it won't become true".
It's already true, Martin. There is no need to accept it. We are not looking to adopt another belief; only to see what is already true.
There were spoken thoughts that state "If it's the truth there's no way of or use in evading it". There were other more subtle thoughts that seemed to propose that "if I stop investigating and looking than everything will stay as it is and at least won't get worse". Those thoughts are very quick and subtle, it seems that they're not even spoken out fully but rather exist as concepts before the mental voice "reads them aloud".

Another image that came up was a picture of a croud of people all doing their thing and the label "Robots".
Why is this? What is it about "there is no self in reality" that has you imagine robots?
I guess it is thoughts like "if you can't control anything and everything happens by itself then there is no creativity/beauty/love". Again, these are very subtle and quick thoughts that are quite hard to see clearly.
There are also visual thoughts seen through my perspective of doing something that I really don't want to do (some crime or hurting someone) without being able to interfere.
Like hypnosis? Does a self-entity protect you from being hypnotized? How does that work?
Ok, for a short moment the corresponding thoughts were a little more clear. There were visual thoughts where an "I" that also seemed to own thoughts had to observe that the body as a separate entity performs actions that the "I" does not want it to perform.
On the pleasant side there's thoughts where I happily tell friends that "I've finally made it" and images of myself being extremely relaxed (expectations here :)
"I've finally made it": what does that mean to you? Made what?
I guess it's having seen through the illusion of a separate self and having made a step in the right direction that cannot be undone.
There's also images of me going for a walk, only observing the walking happening by itself and relaxing in the fact that nothing needs to be done (more expectations).
Next time you go for a walk, check whether you are DOing the walking or whether it is happening without your direction. Do you send messages to the legs telling the slow and fast-twitch muscles to extend and contract? Tell the weight to shift right or left, the musculature to propel the bony skeleton forward, tell the heel to strike and then the foot to roll forward while the weight shifts again? Do you in fact DO walking? Or do you simply move?
That's what I had observed while doing walking meditation: The movement happens by itself, there are only short images about the destination that shall be reached and then the feet set off by themselves. On the other hand, there seems to be some kind of "veto" right if there is awareness. Is that right?
The pleasant images are accompanied by short moments of joy followed by craving.
What stops the joy? What is being craved? Check it carefully and report.
I'll check on that once it comes up again.
All in all a mild but not paralyzing fear is predominant.
Fear of what? exactly? Get really clear; what could happen/is happening that is fearful?
...
Tell me about the nervousness. What about beginning this process stimulates the nerves? Again, I assure you, I am not here to judge you, but to point you.
I guess it's the growing perception that many things are not in "my" control and happen automatically. Sometimes there is a strong aversion coming up when this loss of control is perceived. I had an argument with my girlfriend yesterday evening and after the call the body was shaking. Along with this there was an aversion against the shaking and aversion against the fact that I did not seem to be able to stop the shaking.

Spoken thought: "This is really not an easy trip..."

Observing with interest
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:06 pm

I had a closer look at imaginations and one thing that gives them a feeling of realness is that they trigger real emotions and feelings in the body.
When awareness and concentration is there and thoughts are clearly perceived as such the emotional and bodily reaction seems to be less intense.
Good. Notice that the emotions and feelings are Real, but the images themselves are imaginary.
Today there were several experiences of fear. I welcomed it and it spread from the belly region to the entire body. With this it seemed to become less dense and opaque. I also asked what the wisdom behind it is and what it is trying to protect.
Good. Continue to look directly at the fear when it arrives, and ask for its message.
There was a short phase without or with little thought then there were spoken thoughts of me telling you that the reason for fear wouldn't show up. Along with the fear there was a feeling of sadness and resignation but there was no awareness of any thoughts that might be causing those feelings...
Yes; mind is evading the question. Keep asking. If there is no excuse for fear, fear doesn't show up. SOMEthing is being protected.
What do you need to get away from? How would you get away from it?
Hmmm, maybe it's getting away from the "investigation",
Yes. It can be frightening to imagine that somehow as a result of this investigation that a self is going to be taken away or destroyed. It's not. There is no self in reality. None, zero, zilch, nada. What does not exist cannot be taken away or destroyed.
There were spoken thoughts that state "If it's the truth there's no way of or use in evading it".
What is it that is speaking those thoughts? Where is it located?
I guess it is thoughts like "if you can't control anything and everything happens by itself then there is no creativity/beauty/love"
You have no control over Life at all, Martin, and never ever have had. Yet you perceive creativity/beauty/love. These are present to awareness despite our complete lack of control; they are simply aspects of Life living itself.
the body as a separate entity performs actions that the "I" does not want it to perform.
There is no "the I" to not want anything. The body is not an entity separate from all of Life; it is part of Life.
Check it with this exercise:
Get comfortable and close your eyes. Direct attention to the physical body. Without relying on memory, that is on mental pictures of the body dressed in clothing, try to locate via sensation the place where the skin meets the clothing. Is there a sharp boundary in your closed-eyes experience? or is it quite nebulous? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you feel how tall you are? How much volume the body takes up? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you feel the exact distance between the head/shoulders and the ankles/heels? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you locate exactly a boundary between the thighs and the chair? Or is there just pressure?
"I've finally made it": what does that mean to you? Made what?
I guess it's having seen through the illusion of a separate self and having made a step in the right direction that cannot be undone.
Not what is it; what would it mean? As in, "If I saw through the illusion that I am or have a separate self, it would mean that... "
Make a list.
That's what I had observed while doing walking meditation: The movement happens by itself, there are only short images about the destination that shall be reached and then the feet set off by themselves.
Good.
Is a destination required in order for walking to occur? Have you ever started walking to one destination and in mid-stride experienced a change of mind and moved in a different direction? Or been out on a walk in nature without a specific destination? Can you get up and walk a few steps without having a specific place to walk to? Try it.
On the other hand, there seems to be some kind of "veto" right if there is awareness. Is that right?
The operative word here is seems. There seems to be all kinds of magical Control going on, yet in reality there is just Life happening. Veto is just a label for a change of Life's movement.
Neuroscientists have found that what we think of as "our" decisions have actually been created up to six seconds before we even become aware of them. We don't usually give links to outside sources here, but this is a very worthwhile video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM
I guess it's the growing perception that many things are not in "my" control and happen automatically. Sometimes there is a strong aversion coming up when this loss of control is perceived.
Nothing at all is in "your" control. Ever. There is no you to control anything. Life is simply happening all around you.
Check it: as you go about your day, notice if there is anything in your direct experience which is not happening 'on automatic'.
Have you ever gotten into your car and driven somewhere very familiar, only to realise after you had arrived that you did not recall the entire route, the landmarks, turning the wheel this way and that way? That driving happened without a drive-er'?
Does breathing happen without a breath-er? Blood move without a move-er?
I had an argument with my girlfriend yesterday evening and after the call the body was shaking. Along with this there was an aversion against the shaking and aversion against the fact that I did not seem to be able to stop the shaking.
The body shaking is one way that emotions get physically processed. There are other ways. They are not in your control.
Spoken thought: "This is really not an easy trip..."
What is it that speaks these thoughts? Is it a "you"?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:59 pm

Hi Nona,
What is it that is speaking those thoughts? Where is it located?
...
What is it that speaks these thoughts? Is it a "you"?
The voice seems to be located at the back of the head although it sometimes shifts to other locations.
Together with the voice there seems to be an assumption/belief that there has to be a speaker and that is assumed to be an "I". Depending on the position of the voice it is more or less assumed to be an "I". If the voice seems to be located within the head its interpretation as "I" is stronger than when it seems located outside (e.g. beside the ears).
I could not yet find the speaker and I'm guessing I probably wont be able to ;)
There is no "the I" to not want anything. The body is not an entity separate from all of Life; it is part of Life.
Check it with this exercise:
Get comfortable and close your eyes. Direct attention to the physical body. Without relying on memory, that is on mental pictures of the body dressed in clothing, try to locate via sensation the place where the skin meets the clothing. Is there a sharp boundary in your closed-eyes experience? or is it quite nebulous? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you feel how tall you are? How much volume the body takes up? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you feel the exact distance between the head/shoulders and the ankles/heels? Without access to memory, to mental images, can you locate exactly a boundary between the thighs and the chair? Or is there just pressure?
In closed-eye experience the bodily sensations have a rather fuzzy location and volume. With the sensation itself or maybe shortly after there is a subtle and mostly dark image of the body part from which the sensation is assumed to arise. Sometimes there's also a label like "arm", "head". When these perceptions are seen clearly as distinct perceptions the body seems to be rather transparent or fluid or fragmented.
Not what is it; what would it mean? As in, "If I saw through the illusion that I am or have a separate self, it would mean that... "
Make a list.
Ok.
If I saw throught the illusion that I am or have a separate self, it would mean that
  • blaming myself or others for something would seem rather absurd
  • thoughts about controlling something would be useless
  • Expectation: such thoughts would become less frequent after a while and the mind would spend more time in observing and enjoying
  • Expectation: dying and impermanence wouldn't seem so frightening anymore
  • Expectation: loss of control wouldn't seem so frightening anymore
  • Expectation: there is more or complete sympathy with other
Tightness in the belly, doubt: "Is this what Nona wants to know? I have listed mostly expectations. Am I a good student?"
Is a destination required in order for walking to occur? Have you ever started walking to one destination and in mid-stride experienced a change of mind and moved in a different direction? Or been out on a walk in nature without a specific destination? Can you get up and walk a few steps without having a specific place to walk to? Try it.
I just got up and went around the house a little:
Walking, seeing, thoughts, seeing an open cupboard, an image of the hand closing the cupboard, the hand really closing the cupboard, an image of a place in the house, the body moving to that place. The body turning around (no awareness of a thought/image that made it do so), walking, image of the laptop, walking to that laptop, sitting down (no awareness of a triggering thought/image).
After that: Thought "Is this the stage of cause and effect? Am I nearing the Arising and Passing away?", fear, images of someone shaking in terror and dispair, "Am I ever gonna make it through this?", doubt, "Does it make sense to mention all the stuff that goes on apart from trying to answer the questions?"
The operative word here is seems. There seems to be all kinds of magical Control going on, yet in reality there is just Life happening. Veto is just a label for a change of Life's movement.
Neuroscientists have found that what we think of as "our" decisions have actually been created up to six seconds before we even become aware of them. We don't usually give links to outside sources here, but this is a very worthwhile video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM
That video is quite interesting. There was a lot of sympathy with the guy leaving the building and having to sit down on the stairs.
Nothing at all is in "your" control. Ever. There is no you to control anything. Life is simply happening all around you.
Check it: as you go about your day, notice if there is anything in your direct experience which is not happening 'on automatic'.
Have you ever gotten into your car and driven somewhere very familiar, only to realise after you had arrived that you did not recall the entire route, the landmarks, turning the wheel this way and that way? That driving happened without a drive-er'?
Does breathing happen without a breath-er? Blood move without a move-er?
Thought: "Blood definitely moves without any control, but I can stop my breathing", doubt, fear, "Nona just told me that nothing is in my control and I still don't see it that way..."
On the other hand there were several occasions during the day where there was a awareness and everything seemed to be happening on automatic. Still it seems that at least thoughts are assumed to be in "my control".
Anxiety, "Nona, it's not that I don't believe you, but I don't see it yet"
Doubt, "Do I need to see the beginning of thoughts? Is there enough awareness for this?"

Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:35 pm

Dear Martin,
In closed-eye experience the bodily sensations have a rather fuzzy location and volume.
Yes. Without access to memory and images, what we believe to be the boundaries of a body are no longer clear.
With the sensation itself or maybe shortly after there is a subtle and mostly dark image of the body part from which the sensation is assumed to arise. Sometimes there's also a label like "arm", "head". When these perceptions are seen clearly as distinct perceptions the body seems to be rather transparent or fluid or fragmented.
Try again. An image is an image; a label refers to something seen or remembered. Your eyes are closed. The exercise is to be done WITHOUT access to memory or to mental images at all. What you are describing here are mental images. What do the sensations alone tell you about body?
If I saw through the illusion that I am or have a separate self, it would mean that
blaming myself or others for something would seem rather absurd
thoughts about controlling something would be useless
Good. These are already true. Blaming and controlling are absurd and useless.
Expectation: such thoughts would become less frequent after a while and the mind would spend more time in observing and enjoying
Why wait? Why not spend more time observing and enjoying NOW?
Expectation: dying and impermanence wouldn't seem so frightening anymore
Possibly. What do you find frightening about these? They are facts of Life, not threats.
Expectation: loss of control wouldn't seem so frightening anymore
You cannot lose what you never had to begin with. You have no control at all. Period. You are not going to lose anything by seeing that you have been mistaken all along.
Expectation: there is more or complete sympathy with other
Because you are not separate from all of Life, there is nothing "other". Everything is what you are part of.
Tightness in the belly, doubt: "Is this what Nona wants to know? I have listed mostly expectations. Am I a good student?"
Hahahahahaha!!! I am not here to judge you; I am only here to point to what is obvious but somehow unseen.
I just got up and went around the house a little: Walking, seeing, thoughts, seeing an open cupboard, an image of the hand closing the cupboard, the hand really closing the cupboard, an image of a place in the house, the body moving to that place. The body turning around (no awareness of a thought/image that made it do so), walking, image of the laptop, walking to that laptop, sitting down (no awareness of a triggering thought/image).
Good. Very nice reporting. Did you notice an "I" anywhere while you were walking around? Was there anything Controlling your perambulations?
That video is quite interesting.
Yes. Did it have you reconsider what constitutes "making a decision"?
"Blood definitely moves without any control, but I can stop my breathing"
Oh yeah? Go ahead: stop breathing. When you faint, breathing will resume, entirely outside of "your" control. Go ahead and check it.
Still it seems that at least thoughts are assumed to be in "my control".
Okay. Thoughts are in your control? DON'T think of a pink elephant.
Whoops. The words translate into a thought, instantly.
Now don't think of a tangy juicy lemon, cut open, spraying lemon oil into the air, dripping tart juice.
Great 'control'.
Do "you" choose which thoughts are going to come? Can you decide, I will only have these thoughts and not those? Can you stop having a thought part-way through? Check it.
"Nona, it's not that I don't believe you, but I don't see it yet"
Do. NOT. Believe me. Check everything for yourself. If it's not part of your Direct Experience, then it won't have the effects you listed in your expectations.
"Do I need to see the beginning of thoughts?"
Yes. Follow your thoughts back back back...from whence do they arise?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:11 pm

Hi Nona,
Try again. An image is an image; a label refers to something seen or remembered. Your eyes are closed. The exercise is to be done WITHOUT access to memory or to mental images at all. What you are describing here are mental images. What do the sensations alone tell you about body?
I sat down with eyes closed for 15 minutes and tried to look into it. There were only very few occasions where there was no image together with the sensation. In those occasions there was no clear perception of space at all, I couldn't have said anything about where the sensation is coming from.
I'll keep looking into that.
Expectation: dying and impermanence wouldn't seem so frightening anymore
Possibly. What do you find frightening about these? They are facts of Life, not threats.
Hmm, good question. The fear of death seems to be so common and shared that I haven't questioned myself too much. I'll try to sit with this question and see what answers come up.
Good. Very nice reporting. Did you notice an "I" anywhere while you were walking around? Was there anything Controlling your perambulations?
Hmm, there was seeing of familiar things from a familiar perspective, there were visual and spoken thoughts that seemed to implicate the existence of an "I" (e.g. a voice telling Nona what was just being experienced). So, there was no encounter with an "I". On the other hand there was also no awareness of any doubt about the existence of an "I".
Yes. Did it have you reconsider what constitutes "making a decision"?
While watching the video there was a thought "Oh, I think I read some articles that mentioned a similar thing". There seemed to be no surprise or resistance against the idea that the conscious mind only knows the decisions already made by the unconscious.
Okay. Thoughts are in your control? DON'T think of a pink elephant.
Whoops. The words translate into a thought, instantly.
Now don't think of a tangy juicy lemon, cut open, spraying lemon oil into the air, dripping tart juice.
Great 'control'.
Do "you" choose which thoughts are going to come? Can you decide, I will only have these thoughts and not those? Can you stop having a thought part-way through? Check it.
...
Yes. Follow your thoughts back back back...from whence do they arise?
Hmm, maybe the feeling of having created a thought is just assumed after the thought is already there. I was no perception of thoughts arising yet, it seems the awareness is there only after the thought...

All in all there was quite high awareness the last days. In a phone call with my girlfriend there was a minute of observing of the talking without any controlling or a feeling of "me" doing the talking.

With growing interest
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Hi Martin,
I sat down with eyes closed for 15 minutes and tried to look into it. There were only very few occasions where there was no image together with the sensation.
It takes a concerted effort to allow the experience of sensations without allowing mind into the act. This is an important skill to cultivate as it helps you see the difference between actual experience and Story. Here we call it Direct Experience. Direct Experience is that which is experienced without judging, labeling, attaching mental images, telling a story about what is happening. It is the closest we come to real information about what is happening.
The fear of death seems to be so common and shared that I haven't questioned myself too much.
It is certainly common and shared; it's a story that our culture feeds us, that remains unquestioned for most of us, much like the story that there is a self. It is almost never questioned, so we end up assuming it must be true.
there were visual and spoken thoughts that seemed to implicate the existence of an "I" (e.g. a voice telling Nona what was just being experienced).
The spoken thoughts, are they at all like a play-by-play commentary on television sports? A sort of voice-over announcer describing what is going on?
maybe the feeling of having created a thought is just assumed after the thought is already there.
Very good! Also check when the thought "I did it" arrives. Something is experienced, and then after the event,
mind attaches an "I did it" to the event.
All in all there was quite high awareness the last days. In a phone call with my girlfriend there was a minute of observing of the talking without any controlling or a feeling of "me" doing the talking.
Good to notice!! Keep watching as you go about your day. Is there anything that is not "on automatic"?

love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:15 pm

Hello Nona,

today I sat for a while in meditation posture and tried to look deeper into what is direct experience of the body and what is added by the mind. There seemed to be slightly more occasions where there were no (clear?) images of the body. In some occasions there was an image of the body, but the sensations seemed to spread outside of that image.
The perception of this was often quite "foggy" but there were also moments when things seemed to be less dense and lighter.

I also focused on thoughts and how the "I" is created for half an hour. After a spoken thought containing the word "I" there often was a sensation from the center of my body together with an image of that region. When "I" was exchanged by "you" the sensations seemed to arise from the front of the body instead of the center. Moreover, in a few occasions an "I" thought was followed by a body sensation without or with a weak mental image. In such circumstances the I felt less capturing and real.

Whenever fear was noticed, I asked what it is protecting and what it is hiding. Still no clear answer hear but there seems to be less resistance against and more interest in fear.
The spoken thoughts, are they at all like a play-by-play commentary on television sports? A sort of voice-over announcer describing what is going on?
The voice often tells Nona what was just happening, often also things that didn't really happen but that seem to be expected to happen. Often there's a sequence of recognizing an object, then a spoken label and sometimes a judgement or statement about that object.
There's many planning thoughts as well, especially images of other people and "my" voice telling them something.
Good to notice!! Keep watching as you go about your day. Is there anything that is not "on automatic"?
The auto-pilot is getting clearer, but to my surprise there wasn't a lot of fear coming up with that. Sometimes there was even a sudden joy or amusement coming up when a thought arose of how absurdly funny all that worrying would be if there was no self at all.

In the last days there were also several moments where joy, fear and sadness seemed to arise at the same time, sometimes leading to crying and a general feeling of being stirred up.

Smiling
Martin

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby nonaparry » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:32 am

Hello Smiling Martin,
today I sat for a while in meditation posture and tried to look deeper into what is direct experience of the body and what is added by the mind.
Excellent. This can be done as a moving meditation as well. As you go about your day, try to notice what is sensation and what gets added to sensation by mind. There is movement movement movement; is there a move-er?
In some occasions there was an image of the body, but the sensations seemed to spread outside of that image.
YES. The image we hold of the limits of a body is just an image. We imagine the limits to be true, but when we look for them in our Direct Experience, they are fuzzy, and don't map our actual experience. We think we know what and where body is based on those images.
I also focused on thoughts and how the "I" is created for half an hour.
Please do the following exercise.

First write what you are experiencing right now using words I and me. Get right to the point, no past or future fantasy, just plain description of here and now.

Like this—
I am lying in bed. I am hearing the rain, I am typing these words...

Do it for 10 minutes. Watch the body; are there any sensations of tightening or relaxing?

Then for next 10 minutes write without the words I and me. Just describe the experience as it is happening using verbs:
Waiting for next thought, typing, breathing, blinking, hearing the rain.

Again watch what is happening in the body.

Now compare the two ways to label experience — is one truer than the other? If so, which one? What is here now without labels? Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?

Your body knows. I is a label, not an experiencer. Not a thinker, not a doer, not a hearer of rain. I is not what makes eyes blink and it is not a breather; it's a word, used for convenience of communication. If it's believed to be an entity, the mind is confused, the body is tensed up. Unconfusing it is simple — bring attention back to now and look once again — is there a me behind the word 'me'?
The voice often tells Nona what was just happening, often also things that didn't really happen but that seem to be expected to happen. Often there's a sequence of recognizing an object, then a spoken label and sometimes a judgement or statement about that object.
There's many planning thoughts as well, especially images of other people and "my" voice telling them something.
Good noticing!! Please consider that the voice tells "things that didn't really happen but that seem to be expected to happen". In other words, it tells a Story. The voice is heard, but its content is not the truth.
One untruth is that an "I" is doing the movement you experience. Check it! When the voice describes what is happening with an "I", a "me", a "self" or a "you", check whether there is actually an entity "I", a "me", a "self" or "you" doing what is happening at all!
The auto-pilot is getting clearer, but to my surprise there wasn't a lot of fear coming up with that. Sometimes there was even a sudden joy or amusement coming up when a thought arose of how absurdly funny all that worrying would be if there was no self at all.
It is absurdly funny, and there is no self at all in reality. Self is only a label, a thought that refers to more thoughts about self, not to any entity self.

Go back and look at what you wrote for the exercise. Here is the clue that all you experience is "on automatic". Is an "I" really necessary to produce anything that is happening?

Life is happening. Looking at Life happening is happening. Getting lost in the story is happening. With or without the label "I".

What is not on automatic?
Why be enslaved by mere labels? After all, experience is what labels point TO.

The story goes on. The belief in story drops away. The story is way more enjoyable without the fear that something can happen to a "me" once it's clearly seen that there is no actual me. Confidence, grace, fearlessness, peace with what is starts to shine through as fear gets loosened.
In the last days there were also several moments where joy, fear and sadness seemed to arise at the same time, sometimes leading to crying and a general feeling of being stirred up.
Stirring is good; it indicates a loosening of something unquestioningly believed in for many years. As emotions arise, look at them directly to discover what message they carry. Fear usually carries a message that one is in danger; joy usually carries a message that all is well in your world. Ask the feeling what it wants you to know. If you haven't listened to the messages from your feelings for many years, it may take time to hear them; it may take time for them to whisper what is true in your world.

Keep smiling,
love
Nona
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains—however improbable—must be the truth." ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Re: Anxiety, Doubt and Excitement, but I'd like to try

Postby Blacklight » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:07 am

Dear Nona,
Excellent. This can be done as a moving meditation as well. As you go about your day, try to notice what is sensation and what gets added to sensation by mind. There is movement movement movement; is there a move-er?
During the day in the office it seems to be a different world, little awareness, much on auto-pilot without being aware of the auto-pilot. There are planning thoughts about doing a walking meditation and trying to find the move-er.
Please do the following exercise.
I am sitting on my bed. I am leaning against the pillow behind my back. I am looking up the instructions you wrote on my mobile phone while I am typing on my Laptop. I am feeling my fingers typing. I am thinking about the body and images of it. I feel my pinky fingers. I am thinking if pinky finger is the right translation. I am seeing a picture of a translation page. I feel my fingers. I am thinking about if I should write every little detail because that would be a lot to read for you. I am deleting some words. I am thinking about the cold spring this year and I am hoping for warmer weather. I am remembering what I did at work today. I am happy about the results. I am exhausted. I am thinking if I should have gone out with my colleagues to relax a little. I am thinking that then I would have drunk something and I couldn't have replied. I am imagining how the situation will be like if I don't put an I in front of everything. I am feeling the warm air from my fan heater. I am remembering looking up the word "fan heater". I am thinking when did I start writing and did I write for 10 minutes already? I am thinking about writing that I am thinking that it has been 10 minutes already. I am thinking "How many indirections and loops thoughts make". I am smiling a little. I am hearing my flat mate leave the bath room. I am looking at the clock. I am thinking that now the 10 minutes are definitely over. I am thinking about writing that I am stopping now. I am amused a little.

Ok, so in those 10 minutes the mind seemed to be jumping back and forth. It seemed that it was in a hurry justifying so many I's by creating many thoughts using the word "I". Right now when looking at the text, the I mentioned in there seems to be another I than the one sitting here, only a memory I that would take energy to reconstruct. Atm there is no motivation to reconstruct that memory I. The body is a little tense but it had already been before the excercise. There has been no noticable feeling of relaxation.

Now to the second part:
Holding, feeling fingers, thinking, doubting, thinking, slightly clenching teeth, feeling palm, feeling arm, hearing fan heater, thinking, itching, scratching, thinking, stabbing pain in the knee, waiting for something to come up, scratching, thinking, itching, feeling pinky fingers, remembering, scratching, itching, pulsating head, thinking, itching, waiting, hearing, spoken thinking, leaning against pillow, touching, itching, remembering scratching, itching, scratching, seeing, remembering, spoken thinking, feeling cold, feeling tickling, feeling tired, eyes feeling heavy, thinking, thinking, planning, itching, scratching, lying down, touching, thinking, typing, reading, thinking, planning, thinking.

This time the experience felt much more direct. There was less focus on the content of thoughts and some spoken thoughts (after being perceived with awareness) seemed to be not even worth ending and stopped in the middle of a sentence. These 10 minutes felt less straining and clearer and maybe the body is also a little more relaxed.
Right now there is doubt coming up if the mind is only lulling "me" trying to ... Not worth ending. Awareness present again. Right now there seems to be a motivation to just continue writing whatever comes up because this is just so simple and relaxing.
Now compare the two ways to label experience — is one truer than the other? If so, which one? What is here now without labels? Do labels affect the experience or just describe it?
The second way to label without the I seems to be simpler, easier and more true than the "I" version. Without labeling the individual moments feel less connected or entangled. Labels cannot effect the original experience as they're already too late. But they are experiences themselves that sometimes also trigger additional thoughts.

...
Oh, just fell asleep while looking for the entity behind the word "I" ;)
I'll keep on searching!

Nona, thank you for all your support and patience!

Martin


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