For Spockycat

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perrym
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For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Fri May 17, 2013 10:38 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for hanging on!

An important preliminary: please could you confirm that you have read the Disclaimer on the home page?

Also a couple of very mundane points...

1. You might find it helpful to click the 'subscribe topic' link at the bottom of the page, so you know when I post a reply
2. The site has a nasty habit of logging you out while you write a reply, which can mean you lose what you have written. One way to avoid this is to write elsewhere, then just paste the message into the 'reply' window when you're ready to send

.........................................

Please could you introduce yourself a little, particularly:

* what brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
* what do you hope to get out of the journey?
* what would you expect it to be like it you are successful?

I'm looking forward to working together!

very best wishes,

Perry

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Spockycat
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Sat May 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Hi Perry

Thanks for setting the thread up. Yes I have read the disclaimer.

I have been a Buddhist for over 20 years. I have mainly practised with western teachers though have also been to a Tibetan teacher. Over that time I have done various reflections on the nature of the self, and certainly understand the reasoning that there isn't one. I'm not sure how useful that will be for this process. I guess I am interested to find out how much actually experience of it I actually have and to take that deeper.

Over the last few years my life has got busier with work and stuff! I feel I have lost my focus on my Buddhist practise and I hope that this process with help re-engage me. I don't suspect it will be an easy journey, these sort of things rarely are.

I'm not really sure what it would be like if I was successful. I am not expecting bright lights or lots of bliss! I'm interested to see if it will be similar to past experiences or totally different, though I suspect somewhere in between. I know it will be hard work and I expect I won't really full appreciate it till later as these things often take time to work through.

I hope that helps. I am certainly looking forward to the process and your guiding.

Thanks

Stephen

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perrym
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Sat May 18, 2013 10:22 pm

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for the background - that helps a lot.

So you understand intellectually that there is 'no self', that is a good start!

In this investigation, we'll be looking into direct experience, and seeing whether any 'self' is a component of actual experience or just an idea.

As you sit here now, seeing the screen, where is "I"? Is there a self "doing" the seeing, or is there just seeing?

Likewise hearing - whatever is heard now, is there an "I" responsible, or does it just happen?

Feeling-sensations, tasting, smelling ... is there any 'self' controlling these experiences?

What about thoughts - is there a self making them happen, or do they just arise and pass?

In immediate experience right here and now, where is "self"?

Best wishes,

Perry

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Sun May 19, 2013 6:47 pm

Hi Perry

Thanks for your post.

I have been exploring your question about self today. Overall whenever I try to look for a self I can't find one. Just asking the question where is the self seems to make my experience of the self disappear. When I stop asking or looking for the self, I get some thoughts about the experience which includes an 'I' in a linguistic way. Then within a sort space of time the 'I' in my thoughts gets louder and more solidified. As soon as I investigate this 'I' I can't find it again.

To give some concrete examples, I was sitting on the sofa drinking my morning coffee with a cat on of the arm of it. I could feel the sensations of heat of the coffee cup and the texture of the fur of the cat when I was stoking him. These were just sensations. I was then aware of an emotion of care or empathy towards the cat around my heart centre. This was a natural response to giving my full attention to what I was doing, but there wasn't a sense of 'I' in my experience. It was just sensations and feelings. A short while later I had a sip of coffee. This appeared to be a spontaneous response by my body, not something initiated by 'me'. Again I was aware of discomfort in my body and the body just moved to alleviate this.

Of course when my attention was not so focused the thoughts would come in and then a sense of self.

A few times throughout the day I experienced anger/ frustration/ aversion. This I noticed manifested itself as a tightness around the centre of my chest. It felt at the time quite solid, though after a time it did pass. I am not yet sure whether within this tightness was hiding a sense of self or 'I', or whether it was just the sensations of these emotions. I will need to investigate this further. Usually when I am experiencing these sort of emotions, I do not take them too seriously as I know, if I don't pay them attention, they will soon past on there own accord. So next time I will try to observe them to see what there nature is and whether I can find a self in them.

I hope that has somewhat answered your questions but I will keep exploring what you have suggested and update you in due course.

Thanks

Stephen

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Mon May 20, 2013 12:17 am

Hi Stephen,
whenever I try to look for a self I can't find one. Just asking the question where is the self seems to make my experience of the self disappear [...] when my attention was not so focused the thoughts would come in and then a sense of self.
OK, good ... so implied here is that there is some "experience of the self" or "sense of self" that is sometimes present (though it may be tricky to pin down).

Whatever this is made up of, is it evidence that a separate entity 'self' must exist?
I am not yet sure whether within this tightness was hiding a sense of self or 'I', or whether it was just the sensations of these emotions.
Even if there were a sense of self / I hiding in there ... would this be significant? If a 'sense of self' can arise and pass just like any sense experience or thought, then is it in any way special?

By the way, you may find you can 'summon' the sense of self by saying your name to yourself ... this may provide an opportunity to investigate it. Can you notice what it is made up of, how it arises, and how it passes?

Best wishes,

Perry

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Mon May 20, 2013 11:01 pm

Hi Perry

The sense of self that is present after I look for it actually seems to be evidence that the self doesn't exist! The 'I' is something that is in the thoughts that arise and pass. The fact that when I ask where is the 'I' it disappears show it isn't really there. Instead I mistake the 'I' that is part of my thoughts exists, when I can not find it.

As far as the significance of some sort of self hiding around the chest, will as you point out it is not special. Again when looking for this, or even an emotion that could also be there nothing substantial can be found. It is like as soon as I start looking for something then it disappears.

At times during the day when I am focused on other people at work, I can see there is no sense of 'I' in that. Instead I am just 'doing my job' in the way I have been trained to do. Only afterwards does the 'I' come in again in the same way it does once I have stopped actively looking for it. It, at first, is useful as it is a way of reflecting on my experience but again it then solidifies and takes me away from my actual experience. At least until I remember to go searching for it again.

In terms of 'summoning the 'I' by saying my name, that was interesting. At times I would not really have a strong sense of 'I' present until I said my name. It would appear upon that and then over time go again. Maybe I can make the 'I' appear and disappear by my thoughts in the same way as I can make an image of my mum appear by calling her to mind and then disappear by thinking of something else.

Thanks
Stephen

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Tue May 21, 2013 8:46 pm

Hi Perry

Just thought I'd update you a little more on my searching for self. This morning I felt much more in touch with the sense experiences rather then me being a self that was experiencing them. This searching for an 'I' brings about a calm, more concentrated state of mind like I would perhaps experience on a retreat. There seems to be so much more space when the experience of 'I' is not around.

I have also been trying to investigate the experience of an 'I' in my emotions. I just had an experience of this: I was worried about what could happen, as a result of somebody else not having done a job properly. This build up so I was fretting about possible outcomes. I then asked the question 'Who is it that is fretting?' It seemed there was nobody fretting it was just fretting. As 'I' wasn't fretting it just stopped and a sense of space appeared.

Thanks

Stephen

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perrym
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Tue May 21, 2013 10:21 pm

Hi Stephen,
The 'I' is something that is in the thoughts that arise and pass. The fact that when I ask where is the 'I' it disappears show it isn't really there.
Yes!

So if 'I' is a just a component of thought, and cannot be found in direct experience ... then what does it mean to say "I decide" or "I choose"? How do decisions come about? If there is no 'I' in reality, then is "Stephen" in control of "Stephen's life"?
Only afterwards does the 'I' come in again in the same way it does once I have stopped actively looking for it.
What is it that actually comes in again?

An important thing to understand is that 'sense of self' is not the enemy, we are not trying to get rid of anything, we just want to see clearly the nature of what is .... so 'sense of self' may return, but does this mean that an actual real self has come into being, or just certain feelings, thoughts etc?
Maybe I can make the 'I' appear and disappear by my thoughts
yes, indeed! This can be quite a helpful thing to do, since it helps dislodge the long-held assumption that this 'sense of self' somehow represents a real entity.
I felt much more in touch with the sense experiences rather then me being a self that was experiencing them.
yes, good - this knack of coming back to direct experience is incredibly valuable - you are probably familiar with this famous quote:
In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.
... in direct experience, no doer of the deed is found - here is found freedom from the illusion of self.
As 'I' wasn't fretting it just stopped and a sense of space appeared.
Great! That is very characteristic of the 'unbinding' that begins to happen once the illusion is seen through .... certain mental / emotional patterns are simply unsustainable in the light of no-self, and even though the habit-energy may still be there (there may still be a tendency for the patterns to arise) they drop away much more readily.

Regards,

Perry

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Wed May 22, 2013 10:45 pm

Hi Perry

Thanks for your last post and the feedback and questions it contained.

I have been reflecting on choice and who chooses or makes decisions. Firstly I realise I rarely make decisions. Most of my life is governed by patterns of behaviour. These patterns are things I've learned to do or I have found the best way to do something. It's almost like I have a number of 'computer sub routines' that take care of most of what happens in daily life.

For example there is the getting up in the morning routine: I get up, make coffee, feed the cats (if I am up first), drink coffee, make conversation with my partner if she is about. After I have been up an hour I'll have breakfast. If I am working I will already know what time I need to leave the house for each of my clients. I know how long the 'have a shower routine' takes and it is planned accordingly. I don't have to make any choices!

The same will go for various jobs I have to do, he various meals I regularly cook, the going to bed routine. It would appear that even if there were an 'I', most of the time it would be redundant!

Having said that I do make choices or decisions occasionally! It was interesting my response to your question

“If there is no 'I' in reality, then is "Stephen" in control of "Stephen's life"? “.

Part of me felt that it was a little to close to the bone and didn't want to pay it attention or even answer it. At the same time I needed to make a decision whether to answer it or not. So I thought one way of dealing with it was to look at the way that decision was made.

I was pondering this in bed last night. I then wandered off onto something else. I then noticed I was asking myself the question “Is there an 'I' that chooses or makes decisions?”. The decision had been made. There didn't really seems to be an 'I' associated with this process, just a process of deciding.

To put it another way it seems that a question was asked and that produced a volition or directionality of mind as a result. 'I' didn't appear to make it, or not an 'I' I could find.

I may have to come back to this, as unlike thoughts and sensations, real decisions aren't that common.

In answer to what actually appears when an 'I' enters my thoughts again: Yes as you point out it is a sense of self but I can see it is no more than that. It is interesting you comment about the sense of self not being the enemy. That is useful. I see that I understand much better what is the 'sense of self'. It's a label, or short hand if you like, for the thoughts, feelings, sensations, volitions to hang on. It is a means to process experiences, but is not an end in or of itself.

Thanks again Perry

Stephen

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Thu May 23, 2013 10:21 pm

Hi Perry

I have been giving more thought about your questions about how decision are made and is there a 'Stephen' in control of 'Stephens' life. I have tried, as much as possible to seek the answers from my immediate experience instead of giving you an intellectual answer.

So another decision was made today. There was something I have been wanting to do for a while and was waiting for the chance to come up and do it. Now that the chance has arrived I find I am not really interested in doing it after all, maybe as a result of Liberation Unleashed! I experienced this volition quite strongly. This change has come about without an 'I' making the decision, rather I experienced a decision had been made in the same way as I experience a thought that has arisen. The experience (or certainly existence) of an 'I' seems superfluous to both.

So the idea that there is an 'I' in control of 'My' life doesn't actually add up. It's a useful concept to use to describe my experience to others, but when I look at my actually experience I can't find anything that I can say is a really existing 'Stephen' let alone a life that this 'Stephen' is leading.

I can experience a whole range of sense experiences, feelings, thoughts, habitual patterns of behaviour and volitions which are associated with myself, and these relate to the past, present and future, leading to a sense of continuity. But I haven't been able to find an 'I' that actually experiences them, it's more they are the flow of experiences that can be called 'Stephen' as a short hand.

Thanks

Stephen

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Fri May 24, 2013 10:54 pm

Hi

i have just arrived on a week's holiday. I was expecting to have some usable Internet access, but it seems that i only have what i can get out of my phone.... Which is almost nothing. :-(

sorry, but i may not be able to reply properly for up to a week!

Many apologies!

Perry

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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Sat May 25, 2013 6:00 pm

Hi Perry
No problem. Enjoy your holiday. I will keep reflecting and may do some more posts in the mean time
Stephen

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perrym
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:16 pm

Hi Stephen,

Apologies for the disappearance!

I'll be able to reply properly tomorrow,

Perry

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Spockycat
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby Spockycat » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:36 pm

Hi Perry

I hope you had a good time away. I thought I would just give you a quick update on my reflections.

Overall I am not sure I have realised anything new over the last week. I have kept coming back to looking for an 'I' whenever I remember to. The result is the same as before: I can't find find one. I then feel much calmer and much more in touch with the raw sense experiences. It may be a little easier to do that than it was a week or so ago. It almost feel like that is how things should be rather than being lost on business!

It also feels like the searching has entered into the unconscious as I have had a number of dreams, I have woken up from, where I was searching for an 'I' or not finding an 'I'.

I'm looking forward to some more input from you.

Thanks

Stephen

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perrym
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Re: For Spockycat

Postby perrym » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:07 am

Hi Stephen,

Sorry for the long absence - it seems a very long time since I last wrote....

It is an absolute joy to read back over your last posts - so lucid! Everything you have discovered is completely on target as far as I can see.

Actually, there is nothing for me to add at this point except to ask - do you consider that you have seen through the illusion of self?

With joy and best wishes,

Perry


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