Seeking Guidance

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kenmorgan
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Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:30 pm

HI
I heard about this forum from Jackson Peterson, a Dzogchen teacher who recommended it. I've been Buddhist for many years mostly following the Tibetan tradition but not necessarily meditating regularly at present. I did a retreat in January. I have a feeling that one to one pointing may be more effective. Obviously, not-self is a basic teaching of Buddhism but I don't think I directly know that. I'm looking to get to the direct experience with your help. I've read the disclaimer and watched the video and some of the book.
Thanks
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:07 pm

Hello Ken,

Welcome. I would love to guide you, if it`s okej for you?

Unfortunatly, you will never get the direct experience my frieand of no self. The no self is not an experience. Its a seeing/knowing. Its a fact. Experiences comes and goes but is there anyone to whom all this experiences happen to? This we have to find out. Maybe there is a I or maybe not. You have to look and find out how things are. I am not going to hold a lecture and give you all the answers because that wouldnt help you. I am just pointing you in right direction then its up to you to look. That one I cant do for you.

There are a few ground rules - the usual - please respond to confirm:

1. You agree to post at least once a day, time permitting.
2. I will post questions, which prompt your investigation and answers.
3. When you answer/report, please do so with 110% honestly and answer from what you see,
4. and when you do answer, please answer from direct experience (felt senses and observed thoughts). Long winded analytical and philosophical answers are not needed and may even hinder progress.
5. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies and such for the remainder of this journey. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
6. Please learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

And please, try to keep the language as simple as possible, because English is my second language. If this is fine with you we can start the process : )

So, What are your expectations for liberation?
How will this feel?
How will this change you?

Put some time on this. Take youre time to write down every expectation that you have. Imagine that all youre expectations are in a box. I want you to empty that box, clean it and take out everything thats in it so we can see all the expectations together. I recommend that you do this cleaning really good otherwise we will probably come back to them again later in the process : )
So do this good once and for all and be done with it.

Love
Behzad

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:28 am

Hi Behzad
Thanks so much for agreeing to guide me. I really appreciate it. I agree to all the ground rules.
So, What are your expectations for liberation?
My expectations have got less and less over the years as I've moved away from any religious dogma. I'm really looking for the truth. Intellectually I'm convinced there is no self - so I expect to see that. I also don't believe there is any one thing that is liberation - I suspect different paths lead to somewhat different results. So here I only expect to see through the self and to be free of a false idea which I think causes all sorts of problems and unnecessary frustration and suffering.

I have vague ideas from my Buddhist background that liberation is freedom from suffering (in the sense of frustration but not in the sense of physical pain or having feeling like grief and sadness). Dzogchen talks a lot about relaxation and the nature of mind being open like the sky. So, I expect some kind of relief from frustration - to just accept things as they are. Dzogchen says the mind is like a mirror and the world is like a reflection in it. The reflections can't affect the mirror (awareness) whether they are good or bad. So my idea of the goal would be an open awareness with no self there and the world and thought/emotions not affecting that awareness.
How will you feel?
I expect to feel the same but be less attached to those feelings because who is there to be attached to them. I do expect less frustration and more relaxation - more openness of awareness.
How will this change you?
There won't be any "I" in the same way other than as a conventional thought which has no power. I don't expect it to change anything in my personality other than being more relaxed, open and unattached to what appears (thoughts, emotions, objects).

I like to think of myself as more like a spiritual scientist - looking for the truth! I've become very disatisfied with religion because it always incorporates dogma along with some truth.

Love
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:09 pm

My expectations have got less and less over the years as I've moved away from any religious dogma. I'm really looking for the truth. Intellectually I'm convinced there is no self - so I expect to see that. I also don't believe there is any one thing that is liberation - I suspect different paths lead to somewhat different results. So here I only expect to see through the self and to be free of a false idea which I think causes all sorts of problems and unnecessary frustration and suffering.
This sounds like reasonable expectations.
I have vague ideas from my Buddhist background that liberation is freedom from suffering (in the sense of frustration but not in the sense of physical pain or having feeling like grief and sadness). Dzogchen talks a lot about relaxation and the nature of mind being open like the sky. So, I expect some kind of relief from frustration - to just accept things as they are. Dzogchen says the mind is like a mirror and the world is like a reflection in it. The reflections can't affect the mirror (awareness) whether they are good or bad. So my idea of the goal would be an open awareness with no self there and the world and thought/emotions not affecting that awareness.
This sounds reasonable to BUT if you have concepts, ideas, expectations about enlightenment or how seeing no self would look like then it can be difficult to see this. As long as there is expectations then there is also someone underneath that having those and beliving in those expectations. So for now, leave all expectaions behind. You really dont need a single one of them they are meaningless.

Its like a soldier that wears all his weapons while he is in a paradise island. Does he need all his weapons in a peaceful Island? Its just makes things complicated, right? Having weapon means that you dont have a peace of mind, you have to be on youre guard all the time, no relaxsation. So put down all youre weapons, relax and we will explore this together.

And please leave everything that you have heard and read about this aside for now. This has nothing to do with youre book of knowledge, this has nothing to do with what you know and this has nothing to do with thoughts att all, so we can leave them to. This is really simple if you are ready to leave youre expectations and knowledge to rest for now.
I expect to feel the same but be less attached to those feelings because who is there to be attached to them. I do expect less frustration and more relaxation - more openness of awareness.
Sounds good.

So lets get things started. This is a experiement I want you to do. So read through the experiment then close youre eyes and do it. This experiment is enough for you to see whats real and whats unreal if you are ready, so do this 120 %. The questions direct you where to look, good luck : )

I want you to just relax and to settle down here and now. Then close your eyes and think of who you are. Like a scanner, scan back into youre past, see it clearly everything that has happend to you, everything that you have been through. Start to see how youre seeking started, everything that you have done in youre spiritual path along the way til today. All the practises, meditations, retreats, stasangs, books you have read, all the teachers you have met. Every ups and downs you have been through. Truly see all this cleary with closed eyes and feel it with every fiber of youre being.

Now keep youre eyes closed and start to see who you are right now. All this memories have led you you to this moment right now. Keep youre eyes closed and see who you think you are today. Probably a spiritual seeker who have not become enlightened yet, maybe someone that have not seen that there is no self here, maybe you think you are someone that is lacking something and maybe this no self stuff will end that lack etc Keep seeing who you think you are right now at this moment with closed eyes. See it cleary. Right now you should have a clear picture of who you think you are.

Now, open youre eyes and look if you can see that person here in direct experience. Is that person that wants to see the no self, that wants to awaken here in youre direct experience?
Is there a self here outside of the story of you?
And is the story of you real, is it really happening here in direct experience or is it just a story, a layer on whats happening? Wich one is real, whats happening or the layer on the now, the story, the fiction about you?
Can you see the difference between whats real (whats happening) and whats unreal (not happening) ?

Stay with these questions and look into every single one of them until they are clear. This is just about looking nothing more is needed, no thinking, no analyzing, no meditation, no self enquiry nothing. JUST LOOK to see what the answer to these questions are.

Take youre time, dont hurry. Answer when you are ready...

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:54 pm

Hi Behzad
Now, open youre eyes and look if you can see that person here in direct experience. Is that person that wants to see the no self, that wants to awaken here in youre direct experience?
Is there a self here outside of the story of you?
And is the story of you real, is it really happening here in direct experience or is it just a story, a layer on whats happening? Wich one is real, whats happening or the layer on the now, the story, the fiction about you?
Can you see the difference between whats real (whats happening) and whats unreal (not happening) ?

Stay with these questions and look into every single one of them until they are clear. This is just about looking nothing more is needed, no thinking, no analyzing, no meditation, no self enquiry nothing. JUST LOOK to see what the answer to these questions are.
I did the exercise and I see that everything in my history is just a story - it has no reality other than thoughts/memories - there is no way I can know if any of it was ever real. It's certainly not here now.

When I look at my present person - again it's just a story - thoughts/feelings. The thoughts are real in the sense I'm aware of them but they don't represent anything concrete - anything real other than just empty thoughts. I think I'm a seeker but that's just a story. There's no "I" that I can identify that corresponds to that story.

What's really happening is sensations, vision, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings. Thoughts are also real but what they refer to, any story they tell isn't real - unless they refer to a present sensory experience.

If I say "I see my leg": that is a real experience. If I say I'm a seeker, "seeker" is just a thought. The thought is also a real experience but beyond the thought, I can't find any real seeker that the thought refers to.

I notice there is a certain group of physical sensations which are associated my feeling of "me" but actually they are just physical sensations and nothing more.
Thanks
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:30 am

I did the exercise and I see that everything in my history is just a story - it has no reality other than thoughts/memories - there is no way I can know if any of it was ever real. It's certainly not here now.
Good.
When I look at my present person - again it's just a story - thoughts/feelings. The thoughts are real in the sense I'm aware of them but they don't represent anything concrete - anything real other than just empty thoughts. I think I'm a seeker but that's just a story. There's no "I" that I can identify that corresponds to that story.
Very good. So if the seeker is just a story, is there anyone here to see the truth
What's really happening is sensations, vision, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings. Thoughts are also real but what they refer to, any story they tell isn't real - unless they refer to a present sensory experience.
Good, all this is happening. Can you take a look and see if there is anyone all this happen to or are they simply just happening?
If I say "I see my leg": that is a real experience. If I say I'm a seeker, "seeker" is just a thought. The thought is also a real experience but beyond the thought, I can't find any real seeker that the thought refers to.
Is there an I seeing the leg? Where is that i located, can you point exactly where that I is so I can see it too? Look at the leg again, isnt seeing happening with or without the story "I see the my leg"? Isnt the seeing happening before, during and after the thought "I see my leg"? Can you distinguish what is naturally happening (seeing) from what comes and goes (the story)?
I notice there is a certain group of physical sensations which are associated my feeling of "me" but actually they are just physical sensations and nothing more.


Thats right, good Ken. See if you can find any entity, any Ken behind that feeling of me?

You are doing great Ken so keep going and you will se how simple this is : )

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:09 am

Is there anyone here to see the truth?
There is no "I" to see it. There is an awareness present in these experiences but the awareness itself has no story. It's impersonal.
Good, all this is happening. Can you take a look and see if there is anyone all this happen to or are they simply just happening?
It's just happening. There is a knowing of these things but no one that knows - no "I". When paying attention, this is clear but at other times it seems that thoughts creep in and masquerade as a self. When I pay attention to the inner dialogue,it is known as just objects, thoughts passing through. But when attention is not there, a stream of thoughts and feelings masquerade as a self.
Is there an I seeing the leg? Where is that i located, can you point exactly where that I is so I can see it too? Look at the leg again, isnt seeing happening with or without the story "I see the my leg"? Isnt the seeing happening before, during and after the thought "I see my leg"? Can you distinguish what is naturally happening (seeing) from what comes and goes (the story)?
It's impossible to find any location for an "I". Everything is known by an awareness which is beyond any idea of dimension. There is no need of any story with perception. There's no need of an "I". The seeing just happens.
See if you can find any entity, any Ken behind that feeling of me?
There is no entity. I can see that the sense of self comes from a stream of thoughts/feelings/sensations, none of which are permanent or continuous. It seems particularly associated with the feeling of lips and mouth but when I look that is just a sensation - no self there. The sense of "I" also seems strongly associated with the head because of sight and hearing. It gives a vague sense of being located there at the receiving end of the perceptions. But looking, these are all just sensations. Any idea of head or location or receiving are just ideas that give an illusion of self and location. I can't find anything other than perceptions, thoughts and feelings and knowingness or awareness. There no "I" there.

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:00 pm

Really good Ken.

So can you deepen the awareness ?

Is there anything you control?

And

Do you exist?

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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:40 am

Hi Behzad
So can you deepen the awareness ?
I will keep looking closely at what arises, at what is real in awareness.
Is there anything you control?
I seem to have intention and make decisions like meeting with you on Liberation Unleashed. But actually the whole process is a mystery. There seems to be a cause and effect process going on in this stream of consciousness. But if I look at an individual intention/thought - it just arises in awareness out of nowhere. There is no one outside the stream of consciousness controlling it.

Looking at how a decision arises in awareness really does seem like the edge of a great mystery. We can think up stories about how it happens like the subconscious but actually we don't know.
Do you exist?
This stream of consciousness definitely exists. There is definitely an awareness of experience. But there's nothing to point to in it as an "I". It seems that this stream has intentions even though I can't see how they arise. It's very paradoxical.

The above was written yesterday. I've been closely looking at experience. I've been very aware of the presence of physical sensations, especially mouth and face area as present in the ongoing field of awareness, rather than their being unconscious and presenting as a feeling of self. There is a strong sense of presence just aware of all these passing sensations and thoughts. This presence does have a point of view, i.e. it sees the world from a particular viewpoint which is very specific, always related to this particular continuing stream of physical sensations and thoughts which is labeled Ken. When looking down, it's always the same body I see, not another one. So, while there is no self, there is a continuing person, the sum of all these sensations and thoughts. But there's no controller outside the stream of sensations and thoughts. How the stream unfolds is itself a mystery.
Regards
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:25 pm

So can you deepen the awareness ?

I will keep looking closely at what arises, at what is real in awareness.
I dont mean what arises in awareness. Let me see so we are on the same page. For me Awareness is synonymous with presence, consciousness, being, the sense of I am, existence. Are we talking about the same thing?

Let us be clear on this before we conitue otherwise we will misunderstand each other : )

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:14 pm

Hi Behzad
I dont mean what arises in awareness. Let me see so we are on the same page. For me Awareness is synonymous with presence, consciousness, being, the sense of I am, existence. Are we talking about the same thing?
I understand presence and awareness to be the same - the knowing quality of experience. I wouldn't personally use the other terms. Awareness is what knows thoughts, objects etc.

I wasn't quite sure what you meant by "deepen awareness". To me awareness is what it is, I don't know what "deepen" means in this context. I don't see how awareness can be changed in any way at all. I can pay attention to specific things in the field of awareness but I can't change awareness itself.

Please clarify some more.
Regards
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:58 pm

I understand presence and awareness to be the same - the knowing quality of experience. I wouldn't personally use the other terms. Awareness is what knows thoughts, objects etc.
Good, this was what I were looking for so I know where you stand. So lets get into it.

I usully dont use the word awareness because in my experience its misleading. Awareness feels like a point of view, like a location as if you can point to where it is. So I dont use that word because what you are is locationless, pointless, has no point of view and it can be very misleading to call what we are for awareness. Awareness is also often associated with being the subject to experiences and also this can be misleading because there is no experiencer here, there is no subject here that is experiencing life. As soon as you have a subject then you have objects. They go hand in hand. So this keeps the seeker still in duality as if they are the awareness (subject) that is aware of the world (object). Now its all about being awareness, staying as awareness and this takes effort, so the I/ego sneaks in the back door and creates another identity as awareness.

Try to follow me here Ken, is it really awareness that knows thoughts, feelings, experiences and so on? This is very subtle so dont hurry here. You need to look in direct experience. IS IT REALLY AWARENESS that knows thoughts, feelings, experiences etc...?

If so, what knows awareness? You cant deny that you are aware right now, right? If something did not knew awareness then you would not sit here and talk about awareness to me. So even awareness is known. Even awareness is recognised.

Now if you see consiousness/presence/awareness as a screen on wich everything happens. Can you look and see if there is anyone whatching the screen (consiousness/life)?

I sense that you talk about awareness as something that is always here, but thats not quite right. Is there any awareness in deep sleep? There is no awareness in deep sleep but still the body is breathing, heart is beating, movement happen, changing positions happen, everything without any awareness. So I am pointing you to that wich is beyond and before awareness. I am pointing you to that wich even knows awareness. Is there anything that knows awareness? Look and let me know whats seen. The answer is here in direct experience.

You have verified that there is no I in the stream of consiousness. If there is no I, what is left?
I wasn't quite sure what you meant by "deepen awareness". To me awareness is what it is, I don't know what "deepen" means in this context. I don't see how awareness can be changed in any way at all. I can pay attention to specific things in the field of awareness but I can't change awareness itself.
Another way of putting the question could be. Is there any you to be more or less aware?

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:27 am

Hi Behzad,
Excuse me if I'm not seeing what you are pointing at!
Try to follow me here Ken, is it really awareness that knows thoughts, feelings, experiences and so on? This is very subtle so dont hurry here. You need to look in direct experience. IS IT REALLY AWARENESS that knows thoughts, feelings, experiences etc...?
I think language becomes very difficult talking about this. I don't see awareness and thoughts as two separate things. Talking about awareness and thoughts is just a way of conceptualising experience. The knowing is just integral to the experience - it's there in the experience and not a separate watcher.

I agree that especially with sight it can seem like awareness is a screen but that is just a concept. I do understand what you mean about "I" slipping in the back door as awareness. The idea of awareness knowing thoughts is just a concept - there is just the experience itself which is self-knowing.

I don't find anything beyond the experience itself. Awareness and object as two is a concept. The watcher is a concept.
If so, what knows awareness? You cant deny that you are aware right now, right? If something did not knew awareness then you would not sit here and talk about awareness to me. So even awareness is known. Even awareness is recognised.
What I see is just experience being self-aware. If there were something outside experience that knew awareness, that would surely lead to an infinite regress. It would also be another duality.
Now if you see consiousness/presence/awareness as a screen on which everything happens. Can you look and see if there is anyone watching the screen (consiousness/life)?

I think consciousness as a screen is just a concept. Experience is self-aware. The perception and the knowing of it are one thing. Separating them is what conceptual thought does.
I sense that you talk about awareness as something that is always here, but thats not quite right. Is there any awareness in deep sleep? There is no awareness in deep sleep but still the body is breathing, heart is beating, movement happen, changing positions happen, everything without any awareness. So I am pointing you to that wich is beyond and before awareness. I am pointing you to that wich even knows awareness. Is there anything that knows awareness? Look and let me know whats seen. The answer is here in direct experience.
As far as I can see there is a presence which is always there. If it wasn't there, then time would stop for Ken. If such a thing as lack of presence were possible, clearly it would be completely unknowable. My experience is that there is a presence in sleep. There's an awareness of turning over, of time passing and so on. There is a knowing that sleep is very pleasant and enjoyable. Maybe I'm just a light sleeper but I don't really experience total loss of consciousness.
You have verified that there is no I in the stream of consiousness. If there is no I, what is left?
Experience, a flow of self-aware perceptions.

Another way of putting the question could be. Is there any you to be more or less aware?

No, there is no me to be more or less aware. It's the nature of experience to be self-aware. No need of any me.

I agree that ego easily slips in the back door. Language is very difficult here and experience seems a mystery in fact.
Thanks
Ken

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Behzad
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby Behzad » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:29 am

I guess we are talking about the same thing here but using different words so whats being said gets misunderstood : )

And ofcourse its all conceptual and the only tool we have to comunicate this is language wich also is conceptual. So we are trying to use concepts, thoughts to point to that wich is not itself a concept, a thought but appears as concepts and as thoughts.

So lets be clear on this I stuff then you can explore the rest for youre self and use the pointers that resonate for you.

How do you see thoughts? Do the thoughts belong to you?
Is there a thinker of thoughts?
And how do you see other people?

Love
Behzad

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kenmorgan
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Re: Seeking Guidance

Postby kenmorgan » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:12 am

Hi Behzad
How do you see thoughts? Do the thoughts belong to you?
Is there a thinker of thoughts?
Thoughts arise spontaneously and are self-aware without there being any thinker and without belonging to anyone.
And how do you see other people?
Not sure what you're asking here? They're seen the same as any other perceptions. As to what other people are, I don't know how that can be known by direct experience. I assume they have thoughts also but there's no awareness of that.

While I can see a thoughts arise spontaneously without any control from me. It's not a continuous thing. I still feel like there's someone looking at all this stuff. It's like believing something that you know isn't true. I don't feel liberated and how can I when there's no I to be liberated. The whole process makes no sense actually. The whole process seems impossible and ridiculous in one way!


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