Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

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Toonami
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Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:41 am

Hi people,
My name is Jason and to start with it feels absolutely wonderful being here. I recently purchased the book 'Gateless Gatecrashers' and read the book half way through. I followed up other's experience in a surrogate mode but arrived at a conclusion, I will wake up only if I personally go through the direct pointing experience.

I have read concepts mainly from Advaita in losing the ego etc. but frankly, I have no experiential knowledge or benefit I have gained from these readings.
With that information, I humbly request someone to guide me through this process.

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:26 am

Hi Jason and welcome,

My name's Pete and my role is to guide you through your own unique process.

There are a few things that we need to go over before the journey begins.

Tell me a bit about yourself, how you came to LU and what it is that you're looking for. Also, what time zone are you're in? I'm in Somerset in the UK.

There are also a few standard ground rules before we start:

You agree to post at least once a day, even if only to say that you're still around, and I'll do the same. Sometimes it might just not be possible for one of us to post substantively and of course we'd find a way to work round that.

I am not your teacher, all I can do is point and you look, until clear seeing happens.

In general, I will ask questions and you look deeply and respond with 100% honesty.

Responses require simple, uncontrived, honest looking. There are no wrong or right answers.

Responses are best from direct experience (the physical evidence of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, prior to the story or explanation about them). Long-winded, analytical and philosophical or stream of consciousness answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. Just listen very closely to the answers that arise in you, and answer to the very best of your ability at that time. (Read the article at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html for more help on distinguishing what is direct experience.)

Put aside all other teachings, philosophies etc. for the duration of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention into seeing this reality, as it is. (If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it's ok to continue with that. And it's fine to read threads in this forum and the Gateless Gatecrashers book.)

Please learn to use the quote function, http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660 for instructions.

If you haven't already seen it, there is intro info at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/, together with our disclaimer and a short video.

Please confirm that you have seen these, that you agree to the disclaimer, and that you'd like me to be your guide and then we'll begin.

Let's start with a summary of what you're looking for and what you expect to find.

What are your expectations for this process?

What is it that you are searching for?

How will you know that you found it?

How will this feel?

How will this change you?


Finally, here's a couple of helpful points:

1) You can press 'subscribe to this topic' in the blue bar at the bottom of this page and receive a notification email every time I post here.

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.

Don't worry, I don't intend to send any more posts this long, if I can help it! This is just to set things up for you nicely.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love,

Pete
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Toonami
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:15 am

Dear Pete,

I'm really thankful to you for offering to be my guide and I really like you to handhold me in this process. I also confirm that I have read all the disclaimers and clauses and I agree with those.
I'm from Australia, but currently based out of Singapore due to job demands. I have been interested in meditation/spirituality for the last 3 years where I went through a low phase in my life with a feeling of inadequacy lingering throughout. One thing led to another and while I was browsing the subreddit enlightenment, I came across a comment which suggested the book Gateless Gatecrashers. And that is how I came to LU. Previously, I've read a bit of Advaita philosophy and also Ramana Maharshi's 'Who am I?' self-enquiry and did meditations without any conclusion. It did not have a lasting effect on my perception outside the meditation hours.

It is helpful that you have given me some questions to ponder over and answer and it makes easy to start the conversation along those lines. Here are my answers.

What are your expectations for this process?
My expectation is to have a final solution to the classic 'Who am I?' question. To practically realize (not just intellectually understand) that there is no I.

What is it that you are searching for?
I'm searching for a pasture/shore where I can live without any feelings of fear,insecurity or comparative jealousy.

How will you know that you found it?
I can embrace every day I wake up with full acceptance and conduct myself throughout the day positively without harming myself(due to negative feelings/depression) or others.

How will this feel?
To be honest I'm not sure. Maybe it will feel like how I was as a child.Hopping, skipping about with general abandon (mentally). Not getting too much entwined in attachments/bereavements.

How will this change you?
I think will help me become more detached and carry on life without attributing or trying to justify. (For example, why good things happen to bad people etc.)

Looking forward for your response.
J

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:12 pm

Hi Jason,

Thanks for accepting me as your guide, for letting me know a bit about yourself and for accepting all the various conditions etc.
My expectation is to have a final solution to the classic 'Who am I?' question. To practically realize (not just intellectually understand) that there is no I.
I'm searching for a pasture/shore where I can live without any feelings of fear,insecurity or comparative jealousy.
I can embrace every day I wake up with full acceptance and conduct myself throughout the day positively without harming myself(due to negative feelings/depression) or others.
Maybe it will feel like how I was as a child.Hopping, skipping about with general abandon (mentally). Not getting too much entwined in attachments/bereavements.
I think will help me become more detached and carry on life without attributing or trying to justify. (For example, why good things happen to bad people etc.)
Thanks also for sharing your expectations and understanding of what seeing that you have no separate self might be like. It's natural, of course, to wonder and speculate about what this liberation/awakening will be like but, by its very nature, I can assure you that it's just not like anyone expects, although it does differ for each one of us. I'd just stress that the work we do is definitely not intellectual or thought-based. That being so, it's best to put aside any expectations, as they reside in thoughts about the future and so are not within direct experience.

Rest assured, that when you see that there isn't and never has been a "you", a self-entity, with my guiding to help you see that fact for yourself, you'll just know. In exactly the same way that you know that unicorns aren't real, Batman doesn't exist, and there's no Santa Claus. It isn't fundamentally at all difficult, amazingly simple in fact, but only if you don't rely on trying to figure it out by thinking it through but, instead, just LOOK, LOOK, LOOK in direct experience.

So, excellent, as I've already said, actually seeing for sure that there is no separate self, and never has been, is different for everyone. It can come with a definite pop of realisation, or it might creep up gradually until it is seen. Also the effects on life lived after liberation can vary widely.

It’s worth mentioning at this early stage that what can hold a lot of people back, and something that we can perhaps knock on the head now, are assumptions around what one would 'be like' or what life ought to 'look like' once it’s seen that there’s no self-entity. There is a view that 'getting it' is tantamount to kind of somehow seeing it all the time, or being in some kind of state in which negative emotions or problems don’t arise.

It's really helpful to be clear that it's not any kind of state - it's simply direct knowing, insight. The Santa example puts it very well - 'seeing through' Santa, i.e. knowing for sure that there is no Santa, doesn't mean that little kids then spend the rest of their lives constantly thinking, 'there's no Santa'! Nor does it mean that Santa isn't apparently spotted in shopping malls in December. It's just that the story has been seen through. The direct knowing of no-self may be recollected at any time, but states still continue to come and go - pleasant, unpleasant, 'positive', 'negative'. However, that said, changes will be noticed, some possibly quite dramatic, including in relation to suffering arising from a pre-occupation with a separate self that simply doesn't exist!

I'll post once a day, perhaps occasionally more, and will tell you in advance if I know I won't be able to post. It would be good if you could do the same, as already agreed.

I hope that's helped to clarify the background stuff a bit. Don't hesitate to ask me about any of this.

Moving on towards the core of this work - just look at the following statement, and ponder it every which way you can:

Nothing exists outside the present moment.

Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?


And next:

How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?

Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Toonami
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:17 am

Hi Pete,
Seeing through Santa is a fine example indeed. Easy to relate with and expectt what could happen post the 'seeing through' phase.
I'm trying to answer your questions and provide my responses to your statements to ponder. Please correct me if I do this wrong.
Nothing exists outside the present moment.
Can you find anything, anything at all, that does?
Let me classify the timeline as past, present and future to provide a response accurately.
The way I see is that the past is nothing but a collection of memories. And every moment we are living, we add stuff to our memory bank. Those that are sticky, stick and all else withers.I'm not sure about future though. For example, if I put money in a fixed interest bond fund, I'm sure that in future I will get back the interest in addition to the principal. Hence I can say that there is in fact something which exists outside the present moment, at least in future.
But what I can see,touch,hear and smell (physical life) never exists outside the present moment in reality. I however can't find the import of this statement and the relation in seeing that there is no self.
How do you conceive the 'self' or 'I'/ me' that you hold 'yourself' to be?
Now look directly at the flow of experiencing. Where in that flow does the 'self' that you conceive reside? Can it be found, at all?
When I try to see what this 'self' or 'I' is, I can feel a slight heaviness or gravitation somewhere near my heart, somewhat towards the right side. It is that part or area which rejoices success / beautiful and agreeable things, that part which becomes sad when I look at anything horrific/dehumanizing or negativity in general.And this is what I hold my self to be.
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by 'flow' of experience. If for instance I'm riding a roller coaster, there is a thrill and joy which affects that part(which I explained above) positively, if a stock I own soars up, there is positiveness and joy oozing in that part. If I see something morbid, there is shock and sadness engulfing that part.

Regards
J

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:09 pm

Hi Jason,
Seeing through Santa is a fine example indeed. Easy to relate with and expectt what could happen post the 'seeing through' phase.
Yes, I agree that the Santa analogy is really helpful for giving useful perspective into this process of seeing through the illusion of a separate self, and it can be particularly helpful in counteracting the strong tendency to believe the various expectations that often arise as thoughts both before and during the process of looking for a self.
The way I see is that the past is nothing but a collection of memories
And memories are just thoughts, happening in the present moment, nowhere else and at no other time.
I'm not sure about future though. For example, if I put money in a fixed interest bond fund, I'm sure that in future I will get back the interest in addition to the principal. Hence I can say that there is in fact something which exists outside the present moment, at least in future.
But when are you having this thought that you are sure that you'll get the money back in the future? Like memories, isn't that thought, happening right now? It can't be actually in the future can it, because by definition that hasn't happened yet.
If you believe something can actually exist outside this moment, rather than just as the content of a passing thought, let me know what that is and how it can be.
But what I can see,touch,hear and smell (physical life) never exists outside the present moment in reality. I however can't find the import of this statement and the relation in seeing that there is no self.
What you can see, hear, touch, taste and smell, i.e. sense arisings, are your direct experience, or what I also termed the flow of experience and, along with thoughts, are all that ever happens 'to you'. Looking into 'your' direct experience is where I will be frequently pointing you to look, and where this investigation will take place. That's as opposed to thought content. Direct experience is the very core of what we're doing here with this. Essentially, and utterly fundamentally, all there is, and can ever be, is here right now in this moment. So looking to see whether a separate and separating self is to be found can only take place within direct experience of this. Now. There's nothing else. It follows therefore that all of our work to realise and actually know that there is no self is done by investigating In direct experience. To this end,and reiterating what I've just said, we can divide direct experience into thought, sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic] and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being). I referred to the comprehensive article on direct experience in the introductory post. If you want to refresh your memory, it's at http://www.liberationunleashed.com/Arti ... ience.html

So, to recap, the whole of this investigation centres around looking in direct experience to see if a self-entity can be found anywhere there. This is accompanied by seeing that it is in thoughts and only in thoughts that 'I' ever 'occurs' and that 'I' doesn't actually occur there either because thoughts, or at least their contents, are neither reliable nor real in any sense.

So anyway, let's at last start investigating in direct experience where a self-entity might be by looking at sense arisings and the self as experiencer (or not).

When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.


Sorry it's a bit of a long one again, but they do get shorter, honest.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:29 pm

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your response.
But when are you having this thought that you are sure that you'll get the money back in the future? Like memories, isn't that thought, happening right now? It can't be actually in the future can it, because by definition that hasn't happened yet.
If you believe something can actually exist outside this moment, rather than just as the content of a passing thought, let me know what that is and how it can be.
Yes I can see that, the money(incremental) in the future is nothing but just a thought in the present. Even though I can reconcile that future exists (for example if I go to sleep, I can reasonably assume that I can wake up in the future say after 8 hours), it is just a thought content that is running in the mind 'now'. Hence I agree that nothing can exist outside this moment.

I’m trying to see if I can understand the elements of direct experience -
thought
- I can understand this,
sensations (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling [tactile and kinaesthetic]
- I'm fine with this as well
and an unmistakable sense of Aliveness (presence/being)
- I don't understand this one.What exactly is this? At best it can be another figment of thought itself telling you are alive. When you are in deep sleep, it doesn’t exist right? In deep sleep, you are still alive without the sense of Aliveness. It would be good if you can precisely explain this.
When you look at something, a book, a tree outside or whatever, can you find an 'I' that is looking or seeing, or is there just seeing?

If there is an 'I', where are the boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Please do the same with hearing: birdsong, music, a pneumatic drill or whatever; and similarly with each of: tasting, tactile feelings and smelling.
At the first reading of your questions, at a surface level, I can answer that there is just seeing/hearing/tasting etc. as a process. But digging a bit deeper, when I witness that there are likes and dislikes - being a vegetarian, I have a normal attraction to veggie food and dislike towards non vegetarian food. The ‘I’, comes exactly here making the work of selection and rejection. And it is unique in a way that what I like might not be what you like. This you can extend to food, cinema, music etc. The individuality/preferences in the direct experience is where ‘I’ comes in.
Sorry it's a bit of a long one again, but they do get shorter, honest.
I don’t mind long posts at all mate! No worries.

Cheers
J

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:17 pm

Hi Jason,
I agree that nothing can exist outside this moment.
Good, I'm glad, because for the purposes of your looking into direct experience for a self, that's absolutely fundamental.
- I don't understand this one.What exactly is this? At best it can be another figment of thought itself telling you are alive. When you are in deep sleep, it doesn’t exist right? In deep sleep, you are still alive without the sense of Aliveness. It would be good if you can precisely explain this.
When someone says, 'Are you present?' Or 'Are you awake?', do you have to think about it before you answer 'Yes!'? I know I don't, it's just immediately apparent that 'I' am right here, right now. It's awareness. I might then have a thought that says, 'I know that' or suchlike, straight afterwards, but that's just the mind/ego trying to claim credit. Obviously, I can't respond when I'm asleep, but neither do I experience anything directly either.
At the first reading of your questions, at a surface level, I can answer that there is just seeing/hearing/tasting etc. as a process. But digging a bit deeper, when I witness that there are likes and dislikes - being a vegetarian, I have a normal attraction to veggie food and dislike towards non vegetarian food. The ‘I’, comes exactly here making the work of selection and rejection. And it is unique in a way that what I like might not be what you like. This you can extend to food, cinema, music etc. The individuality/preferences in the direct experience is where ‘I’ comes in.
Remember, we are simply concerned here with raw, unfiltered experience, before any thoughts intrude, as they inevitably tend to do. I'm a veggie too and recognise the response you describe. So, when you say, But digging a bit deeper, when I witness that there are likes and dislikes, is that actually digging deeper, or is it simply thoughts, arising and labelling what you're seeing, hearing or whatever, reminding 'you' of what you like and dislike etc. It may be that what you think you like one day you don't think you like the next, although your direct experience of it would be the same. Do you agree?

You go on to say, The ‘I’, comes exactly here making the work of selection and rejection. And it is unique in a way that what I like might not be what you like. This you can extend to food, cinema, music etc. The individuality/preferences in the direct experience is where ‘I’ comes in.

So, what is this 'I' that comes in here, that tells you what you like, and tells you that you're unique and special? Can you find it in direct experience, or is it just a thought? Is it any more than just a passing thought? If so, please describe it and explain why it's more than just a thought.


Just to be sure, returning to my questions about your direct experience of seeing, hearing etc., can you find an 'I' doing the sensing or is there just seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and touching? And, can you find any separation/boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:43 pm

Hi Pete,
Thanks for explaining a bit more about 'aliveness'. However, I'm not sure if I got it right.
When someone says, 'Are you present?' Or 'Are you awake?', do you have to think about it before you answer 'Yes!'? I know I don't, it's just immediately apparent that 'I' am right here, right now. It's awareness.
From your response, sense of aliveness is still nothing but direct experience (what is heard, seen, tasted,smelt or felt). Actually, there are a lot of other questions to which one can answer without thinking - for example 'What is your name? Are you a man? Is this a woman?' etc. What can awareness be outside sense experience?
Just to be sure, returning to my questions about your direct experience of seeing, hearing etc., can you find an 'I' doing the sensing or is there just seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and touching? And, can you find any separation/boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
To be raw here, the things listed here are nothing vastly different from bodily functions. We don't try to find out if there is an 'I' while taking a piss (it just happens), similarly there cannot be an I who sees, hears, feels or tastes.
So, what is this 'I' that comes in here, that tells you what you like, and tells you that you're unique and special? Can you find it in direct experience, or is it just a thought? Is it any more than just a passing thought? If so, please describe it and explain why it's more than just a thought.
I can see there are two lines of explanation here:

1. For normal thoughts, for example if someone tells me, think of a pink elephant, the image of the pink elephant forms on my head (this thought is localized in my head). But if someone asks what is this 'I', this thought or 'I' for me seems to be localized in my heart (as against head). Hence there is a distinction between all other thoughts and 'I'.

2. While sensory perceptions are not really controlled or restricted by self, there exists a mental filter which tells you what you want.We may argue that this filter is still nothing but a thought - which I agree, but it is very real in a sense, that as a human being which enables you with your preferences and wants. For example, I may want to buy a new smartphone - yes it is just a thought and I will be satisfied if the smartphone is bought and used by me and by no one else. Similarly, when I feel hungry and want to eat some food, who feels hungry? My hunger is not satiated because my wife eats food but the only way to eliminate my hunger is that I eat food personally.

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:14 pm

Hi Jason,

First, I reckon it would be helpful if I clarify my role here. It's simply to point out to you where to look in direct experience for a separate self. When you can't find one anywhere there, you will know for a fact that there is no such entity and never has been. This cannot be done by using the intellect. If it could, many more people would have figured out the illusion of self by now. So, part of my job in pointing out to you where to look is ensuring that you don't go down the unproductive route of trying to think your way to an answer. I'm impressed with the way you've applied yourself to this investigation so far and it shows that you clearly do want to see for yourself that there really is no 'you'. However, there is often a tendency for the mind to try and work this all out, as some kind of red herring, and some of your replies could lead us down a variety of discursive paths, and bluntly, it would just be a waste of time and effort were we to follow them. Seeing that there is no self is the best discovery that you can ever make and so I just want you to see that as soon as possible. Please bear all of this in mind when you see what I choose to respond to and what I choose not to include.
From your response, sense of aliveness is still nothing but direct experience (what is heard, seen, tasted,smelt or felt). Actually, there are a lot of other questions to which one can answer without thinking - for example 'What is your name? Are you a man? Is this a woman?' etc. What can awareness be outside sense experience?
To be frank, from the perspective of actually seeing that there is no 'you', at this point it doesn't matter whether you think that a feeling of aliveness is synonymous with sense arisings or not. It's one of the aforementioned red herrings.
there cannot be an I who sees, hears, feels or tastes.
Good, you seem to be saying that, in direct experience, you can find no 'I', there's just seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling.

Please confirm that is correct.

Also, please answer the following from my previous post
And, can you find any separation/boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
In this search for a separate self entity I want, in a fairly systematic but loose and relaxed way, to move through all the areas where this self might be found. We've looked at sense arisings and you've found no 'you' to be present there, so now, given your remarks about thoughts and thinking in your last post, let's look here next. If, once you've answered the following questions, we still need to look at your 'two lines of explanation' in the context of 'your' direct experience, we'll go back to them.

Not from what you think, but from direct experience, please say:

Where do thoughts come from?

Are you in control of them?

Can you stop a thought from coming?

Can you stop it in the middle?

Do you know what the next thought will be?

Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table?

Can thought think?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:26 am

Hi Pete,
Thanks a lot for patiently reading through my ramblings and doing an excellent job of focusing on what is needed. I agree with you and recognize the reason why you choose not to respond to some of my points. I'm fine with the approach. I can only hope you can put up with me till I see through.
Good, you seem to be saying that, in direct experience, you can find no 'I', there's just seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling.

Please confirm that is correct.
Yes, that is correct.
And, can you find any separation/boundaries between what is being seen, the seeing process itself and the seer?
No there is not, object that is seen, the subject etc. are just labels to make communication easy.
Where do thoughts come from?
Thoughts come from direct or modified memories of previous direct experiences.
Are you in control of them?
No I'm not in control of them. Even if I try to control them and choose one thought over the other, I'm not successful in doing so.
Can you stop a thought from coming?
No, I cannot.
Can you stop in the middle?
No it is not possible.
Do you know what the next thought will be?
No, I do not. However, if I'm thinking/reading/browsing about certain topics, I can see that the 'thought-landscape' mainly consists of these topics. But it certainly is not watertight. There can always be other thoughts creeping in as well.
Is "I" a different thought from the thought of say, a table?
No, they are just nouns. 'I' might be a pronoun, but still a noun. Ultimately these are words that point to something.
Can thought think?
Thought cannot think. It is human(may be other animals as well) with functioning brains that thinks.

Regards
J

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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:59 pm

Hi Jason,
Thanks a lot for patiently reading through my ramblings and doing an excellent job of focusing on what is needed. I agree with you and recognize the reason why you choose not to respond to some of my points. I'm fine with the approach. I can only hope you can put up with me till I see through.
I really appreciate your positive and constructive response. For my part, rest assured, I'm one hundred per cent committed to guiding you right through to seeing through the illusion of self.

Your answers to my queries about sense arisings and thoughts are just fine. It's clear you are not under the illusion of any kind of separate self being involved in any way or present when sensing or thinking.

The main route to actually seeing for yourself that there's no I/me/mine (or you/yours) is simply by looking, looking, looking in direct experience, as I keep saying. However, analogy or metaphor can also be useful for helping place all of this into perspective. So, I thought I'd chuck in a comparison term, 'university', but it could just as easily be library, country or many other similar collectives. Anyway, let's just take a look at a university. All it is, is a bunch of buildings, with certain types of people, with certain things being taught there. The label 'university' is put on this area, and the feel of it being a university becomes very real, almost like an entity in itself. But there is only a bunch of buildings there. Now take your life, your limbs, head, brain, blood, guts, memories, thoughts, and feelings. All this stuff very much exists and is very real, but when all this stuff references itself and uses language like 'me','myself' and 'I'', over time something that seems real appears, a feeling of ownership over all that—a feeling of control, a feeling of 'I am my name', ' 'this is me'. But truthfully, there’s nothing more there than the brain, the blood, the guts, the thoughts, the memories, and so on. Much of this work consists of seeing how we get hooked by 'our' thoughts. We are examining these sharp, pointy, and sticky places. Just look in your direct experience for the answers.

Right let's move on to looking - in direct experience - for the self as doer/controller:

It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?

How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.

Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?


Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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Toonami
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby Toonami » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:47 am

Hi Pete,
The main route to actually seeing for yourself that there's no I/me/mine (or you/yours) is simply by looking, looking, looking in direct experience, as I keep saying. However, analogy or metaphor can also be useful for helping place all of this into perspective.
Yes, this analogy helps. 'I' is a label for the collective(brains,thoughts, feelings, body) to make communication and the process of ownership (of properties, possessions) in society simple.
It's clear that when we breathe, blink, digest food etc. there's no 'I' involved, but how is it for you when walking?
It is the same for walking as well when I'm doing it generally. But if it is done for a purpose, for example walking as exercise, I find that I have a plan to vary the pace of my walk for physical exertion, in which case, it seems to be forced rather than automatic (without a driver).
How is it when doing various everyday things like say, brushing your teeth, washing up, that kind of thing?
Try all kinds of stuff.
These are automatic for me, maybe a result of habit in normal conditions. But, if I'm feeling low or in a state of depression, it takes a lot of effort on my part to conduct these activities. I need to literally force myself out of bed, get the brush/paste and start brushing my teeth.
Is there any 'I' there for any of these actions, or are they just like 'automatic'?
As I had written with specific examples above, it is conditional. Sometimes it is automatic while sometimes it is forced.

Merry Christmas!

Regards
J

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moondog
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:42 pm

Hi Jason,
Yes, this analogy helps. 'I' is a label for the collective(brains,thoughts, feelings, body) to make communication and the process of ownership (of properties, possessions) in society simple.
Absolutely.
But if it is done for a purpose, for example walking as exercise, I find that I have a plan to vary the pace of my walk for physical exertion, in which case, it seems to be forced rather than automatic (without a driver).
First, given that you've already seen that thoughts just kind of pop up seemingly out of nowhere, rather than being created or controlled by 'you', where would the plan to pace your walking come from and how would it be formed? Looking in direct experience can you see a plan or any entity creating it?
Secondly, during a planned walk, are you aware in direct experience of any independent self entity deliberately adjusting your pace? If so, please describe that process, as well as the entity controlling what happens.

if I'm feeling low or in a state of depression, it takes a lot of effort on my part to conduct these activities. I need to literally force myself out of bed, get the brush/paste and start brushing my teeth.
I know how energy levels can feel very low in such states. There are often particular physical feelings, accompanied by thoughts about not feeling good.
But can you find any evidence in direct experience that, although whatever you do is 'automatic' when you feel ok, when you feel ill, low, or are in any other stressful or negative state, a self entity that is a doer and a controller somehow appears and takes over?
As I had written with specific examples above, it is conditional. Sometimes it is automatic while sometimes it is forced.
Can you say a bit more about what you mean by conditional Jason.
If what you do is sometimes forced, can you explain to me what it is that you see when you look into your direct experience that is doing this forcing, and go into brief detail to describe your experience of how the forcing mechanism works.


As it's Christmas tomorrow, and seasonal festivities and guiding to see no-self really aren't all that compatible, I'll be taking a brief break for a couple of days, but will make sure I reply to your reply to this post on Friday. I hope that's ok with you.

That being so, because I find that there's quite an overlap between these investigations and enquiries into the self as chooser/decider, even though we haven't finished looking into the former, I thought I'd just throw in some stuff now about choosing /deciding, particularly as you'll have longer than usual to look into it. So, here goes:

To see whether there's any self to be detected in direct experience when choices/decisions happen, try this exercise:

Raise your right arm (or don’t). In that process of raising the right arm (or not), a decision is made, or at least something happens (or doesn’t). But can you pinpoint the actual moment of choice and find the actual entity that appears to be making that choice? In direct experience, can that moment of choice, that apparent chooser, actually be found? Or does the idea 'I just chose to (not) raise my right arm' come after the event itself?

Also, can I ask you to have a look at the following short video clip from BBC Horizon - The Secret You on Neuroscience and Freewill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3AiOS4nCE . It demonstrates scientifically that our decisions and choices are made a full 6 seconds before we think we make them, i.e. before a thought arises saying, "I decided to do this." There is no substitute for looking in direct experience, but this is excellent scientific corroboration for what is to be found, or rather not found, in direct experience. Not only that, but this is pretty fundamental stuff and I don't think it can only apply to certain decisions and choices but not others, say, those that are more complex or emotionally charged! Let me know what you think.

In direct experience 'things' just happen. Do you agree? If not, please describe for me what you see that makes choices or decisions.

Just to let you know that I think it's going really well so far Jason. How do you think you're doing?

Merry Christmas to you too!

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'

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moondog
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Re: Requesting a guide to help me gatecrash

Postby moondog » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:27 pm

Hi Jason,

Hope you had a good Christmas. Mine was fine and I'm back and ready to resume helping you get through the Gateless Gate.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Pete x
'Just consciousness taking the shape of experience from moment to moment.
Just this'


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