Seeking the end of seeking

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ablitofself
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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Mon Dec 04, 2023 8:49 am

Hi Rali,
Nice to have you back! I hope you are feeling better!
By the way, how is life these days?
I am still on the mend but feeling much better, thank you.

"How is life these days" feels like a big question at the moment. I have had a lot going on lately with both work and family life, and I felt in-the-flow for quite a bit of it. As I mentioned, I've been extending the practice of noticing the hand moves without cause to various activities throughout the day, and that has brought some equanimity, in that I can see that things, even what 'I' am doing, are happening by themselves.

But getting ill during my work conference only increased my fears that my going was a waste of company resources. Today those of us that were sent got a debrief asking to put together a short presentation on what we've learned. I am dreading this, wondering how I can tell the most useful story about my time there in 5 minutes. I'm trying to directly experience the dread when the thought of it arises, but I struggle with knowing when I have looked enough and when I should just move my attention somewhere else. It's a short presentation over a week from now; I definitely don't have to do anything about it today, a Sunday.

This specific dread is accompanied by a more general dread of going back to work tomorrow. I'm thinking about how I've felt like everything I'm trying to get done at work seems to be becoming more and more an uphill battle. And then bigger questions arise, like whether this is the right job for me anymore, or even the right career. Again, I try to directly experience what's arising at these moments, but I come out of it feeling stuck, like I'm not actually getting anything done.
Even though it might look as there are clearly defined senses, DE shows a different story. So even the senses are dependently originated which makes them also empty of inherent existence. To say it in another way, only thought can isolate “things” as separate and look for a relationship among them. So even the senses are empty, useful labels but still fictional. Is that clear?
Yes, this is clear.
At this point, it will be a good DE exercise to get out for an actual walk in nature and observe interconnectedness. See how ALL is moving interdependently, including thinking and the senses. Hold these questions in mind:
Is there anything that is separate from everything else?
Is there a border that divides “me” and “my body” from everything else, or is it just a thought?
I had to cut my walk short due to bad weather, so I didn't get to all the questions. Also, a lot of the time I was lost in other thoughts about the situations I mentioned above. But I held these questions in mind as best I could. I left feeling a bit defeated because I don't think I was able to get to the DE they are pointing to. To summarize what felt true at the time I left: These problems I am ruminating about are here in the forest because I am here in the forest. And when I go back home, they go back home with me. This feels like these problems go with 'me' places, and that feels like a separation.

I don't believe that's ultimately true, but it's what I felt like as I ended the exercise.
Is that interdependent movement outside of you? Is there an “inside” and an “outside”?
Is there an owner of being?
Are there others? Is there an “I” in others?
Is there a “you”?
I hope to continue with these questions with another nature walk tomorrow.

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Mon Dec 04, 2023 9:49 am

Hi Brian
"How is life these days" feels like a big question at the moment. I have had a lot going on lately with both work and family life, and I felt in-the-flow for quite a bit of it. As I mentioned, I've been extending the practice of noticing the hand moves without cause to various activities throughout the day, and that has brought some equanimity, in that I can see that things, even what 'I' am doing, are happening by themselves.
Very good!!!
But getting ill during my work conference only increased my fears that my going was a waste of company resources. Today those of us that were sent got a debrief asking to put together a short presentation on what we've learned. I am dreading this, wondering how I can tell the most useful story about my time there in 5 minutes. I'm trying to directly experience the dread when the thought of it arises, but I struggle with knowing when I have looked enough and when I should just move my attention somewhere else. It's a short presentation over a week from now; I definitely don't have to do anything about it today, a Sunday.

This specific dread is accompanied by a more general dread of going back to work tomorrow. I'm thinking about how I've felt like everything I'm trying to get done at work seems to be becoming more and more an uphill battle. And then bigger questions arise, like whether this is the right job for me anymore, or even the right career. Again, I try to directly experience what's arising at these moments, but I come out of it feeling stuck, like I'm not actually getting anything done.
Well, this is a story that has been brewing for a while… As we saw with the decision making exercises, there is a story of cause and effect – one thing leading to another, leading to another, dating back to first memories…But also there is a story of how things should be different. There may be many things that you want - control, security, acceptance. Wanting control is the flip side of lacking control. Wanting is a sign that something is incomplete, or missing. But wanting control is just that—wanting. Spontaneous actions are happening, and so is the thought story. There is a story about trying to be in control and not succeeding and the feelings of guilt and shame that arise with the failure. Sensations arise; take a look at them. Which one of them is the sensation of “being in or out of control”? Can you pinpoint it? What is that sensation without the label?
Wanting security has to do with thoughts or fear about the future. Thought creates endless what-if scenarios about how the future is uncertain, unwelcome, and scary. Interestingly, fear shows up when thoughts about the future come up. If there is no anxiety/thoughts about what will be, then there is no fear. If you stopped thinking about what may happen and paid attention to what is actually happening right here, right now, there wouldn’t be any room for fear; there wouldn’t be any need to protect a self-image from things that may or may not happen.
Consider this: the future never comes—all we have is now. Thoughts about the future appear NOW. Thinking about problems does not always solve problems, it mostly creates them. All of this is happening in thoughts, not in reality, so stop it. Don’t feed the stories with more stories. Instead, focus on the sensations that are happening now; let them be seen, and let them pass. Look behind the fear. What is it trying to protect?
In simple everyday life, what is happening is happening. Decisions are made, actions are taken, things get done. Thinking about what should be done, thinking about what needs to be done, and planning the next step flow with whatever is happening. Hands and feet are doing their thing and thoughts are flying by. What is in control of that?
The end of trying to change what is starts with seeing that the doer is imagined. When a story is seen as a story, not actuality, it can carry on without making things overly serious and dramatic. The story can be taken lightly; it can be entertaining and fun, as well as serious when a situation asks for seriousness.
To summarize what felt true at the time I left: These problems I am ruminating about are here in the forest because I am here in the forest. And when I go back home, they go back home with me. This feels like these problems go with 'me' places, and that feels like a separation.
You say that the thoughts “go back home with” you, do you move through space or there is just seeing labelled “outside” or “home”? You explored the mirror exercise. “Walking” was seen as sensations. Are the sensations localized in space, like ‘going home’; OR is there only an image that is labelled ‘outside” or “home” and appearing sensations without any location?
Now look at thoughts. Do they appear in a specific location – “outside” or “home”? Are you carrying the thoughts, or thinking appears the same way as everything else, inseparable of everything else?
I hope to continue with these questions with another nature walk tomorrow.
Please only go back to these questions when you deal with the “dread”
Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Tue Dec 05, 2023 9:10 am

Hi Rali,
Well, this is a story that has been brewing for a while
Yes it has. Thank you for guiding me back to DE.
Which one of them is the sensation of “being in or out of control”? Can you pinpoint it? What is that sensation without the label?
I tried during my meditation today, but I can't seem to pinpoint it. I focus on the DE of the sensation and it gets a bit more intense, but nothing seems to happen. Sooner or later I'm off thinking about something else. When I come back to it, it's not so intense anymore.

Reflecting on it now, it's interesting that the feeling of dread intensifies up to an apparent limit and then reduces in intensity, and I then interpret the relative absence of the dread as a failure on my part: "Now I've just distracted myself." Maybe the feeling is just arising and passing away, and I don't have to do anything else about it.
Look behind the fear. What is it trying to protect?
I tried this as well, and I can't find anything behind the fear. As mentioned above, focusing on the DE slightly intensifies the feeling, but I don't experience anything behind the sensation. It's just the sensation. Then thoughts about how I still haven't figured it out.
In simple everyday life, what is happening is happening. Decisions are made, actions are taken, things get done. Thinking about what should be done, thinking about what needs to be done, and planning the next step flow with whatever is happening. Hands and feet are doing their thing and thoughts are flying by. What is in control of that?
I am seeing more and more frequently that nothing is in control of that. But then I somehow start to think that I should be doing things (or should have done things) differently and better. I don't know why those thoughts seem to persistently feel more true and important than most of the other thoughts that fly by during the day.
You say that the thoughts “go back home with” you, do you move through space or there is just seeing labelled “outside” or “home”? You explored the mirror exercise. “Walking” was seen as sensations. Are the sensations localized in space, like ‘going home’; OR is there only an image that is labelled ‘outside” or “home” and appearing sensations without any location?
Yes, I just spent more time with that exercise, walking into various rooms in my house. The DE that I didn't make the choice to start doing the exercise or walk into any particular room is apparent. The underlying sense of a location is sometimes dropping away, causing a mild dizziness (actually kind of pleasant, relaxing -- no substances involved :)). I'm hesitant to say conclusively that 'there is no experience of location,' though. It's not that clear at this point. I intend to spend more time with that exercise.
Now look at thoughts. Do they appear in a specific location – “outside” or “home”? Are you carrying the thoughts, or thinking appears the same way as everything else, inseparable of everything else?
I'm not 100% clear on this series of questions. Thoughts do feel internal to me and thus separate from the external environment, like I am carrying them, but I can't seem to locate exactly where they come from. Their 'location' seems to change when I try to locate them. Like when I was trying to see if thoughts came from the forehead, I had a thought arise that felt like it came more from the direction of my throat. And when I looked there, the next thought felt like it popped up from behind and slightly below my eyes.

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Tue Dec 05, 2023 10:40 am

Hi Brian
I tried during my meditation today, but I can't seem to pinpoint it. I focus on the DE of the sensation and it gets a bit more intense, but nothing seems to happen. Sooner or later I'm off thinking about something else. When I come back to it, it's not so intense anymore.

Reflecting on it now, it's interesting that the feeling of dread intensifies up to an apparent limit and then reduces in intensity, and I then interpret the relative absence of the dread as a failure on my part: "Now I've just distracted myself." Maybe the feeling is just arising and passing away, and I don't have to do anything else about it.
:))) Funny how thoughts want to claim everything on behalf of an imaginary "I". Can you change the stream of thoughts/ distract yourself? We’ve been through this… Can you choose to have only happy thoughts (distract yourself)?? What is that "you"/entity that is distracted? Please desribe it!
If you can pinpoint the sensation “out of control” does that mean that you can’t isolate it/find it or simply it does not exist? There is just feeling/sensing there, layered with thoughts/labels. Simple!
I tried this as well, and I can't find anything behind the fear. As mentioned above, focusing on the DE slightly intensifies the feeling, but I don't experience anything behind the sensation. It's just the sensation. Then thoughts about how I still haven't figured it out.
You are seeing it already but thoughts says no :). Is there an entity that needs protection? What does that entity look like? LOOK don’t think!
I am seeing more and more frequently that nothing is in control of that. But then I somehow start to think that I should be doing things (or should have done things) differently and better. I don't know why those thoughts seem to persistently feel more true and important than most of the other thoughts that fly by during the day.
Again, are you doing the thinking, or there is just thinking about how THIS should be better? Obviously out of the whole “range” of thoughts – positive, neutral and negative – the negative have a bigger “pull” as they are associated with more “intense” sensations and they have been repeated many many times. As you already saw thoughts are self-organising – so the more they are repeated the more they will appear, unless they are seen as empty/fiction by looking ;). BUT is there anything “negative” in the actual sensations, besides the intensity?
Yes, I just spent more time with that exercise, walking into various rooms in my house. The DE that I didn't make the choice to start doing the exercise or walk into any particular room is apparent. The underlying sense of a location is sometimes dropping away, causing a mild dizziness (actually kind of pleasant, relaxing -- no substances involved :)). I'm hesitant to say conclusively that 'there is no experience of location,' though. It's not that clear at this point. I intend to spend more time with that exercise.
Well, it’s an illusion – it means that it looks like something else. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the illusion will disappear – a mirage does not disappear when it is seen as that – but its nature is known. That is the difference between an illusion and a delusion. Here is another famous illusion - the Kanitza triangle:
Image

It can be seen as both depending on what you focus on. Similarly with thoughts and seeing...
Now look at thoughts. Do they appear in a specific location – “outside” or “home”? Are you carrying the thoughts, or thinking appears the same way as everything else, inseparable of everything else?
I'm not 100% clear on this series of questions. Thoughts do feel internal to me and thus separate from the external environment, like I am carrying them, but I can't seem to locate exactly where they come from. Their 'location' seems to change when I try to locate them. Like when I was trying to see if thoughts came from the forehead, I had a thought arise that felt like it came more from the direction of my throat. And when I looked there, the next thought felt like it popped up from behind and slightly below my eyes.
Where exactly are you carrying the thoughts – your pocket? Where exactly is “inner/internal/inside”? Inside of what – the "body"? A body is a thought pointing to sensations. Do sensations have an “inside”?
Again, can a thought come from the “inside” of a sensation (labelled “eyes”, “forehead”, “throat”)? Do sensations have a location, or the location is their label (e.g. “eyes”)? Where are ”eyes” located (with eyes closed) – here? Where is here? What is the reference point?
Also, there are just sensations and thoughts present. What makes "eyes" connected to "thoughts? Where are they appearing?

Sit outside and listen to sounds and see if they are actually coming from a distance, or are they closer than that. Do the same with the view you are seeing. Are things at a distance or are they closer than close?

Does a sound appear in a different place to thoughts, or do sounds appear in exactly where thoughts appear - closer than close? Can you find an actual line/wall/boundary that divides the thoughts and the sound? Or is the line a mental construct? Do you have to overcome any obstruction in order for sound to appear exactly where thoughts appear in?


Now open your eyes and notice colours.
Do the colours appear in a different place to thoughts and sounds, or do colours appear exactly where thoughts and sounds appear - closer than close? Can you find an actual line/wall/boundary that divides thoughts, sounds and colours, or is that division a mental construct?
Do the same with sensations.
Are they appearing in a different place than sounds, colours, and thoughts – closer than close?
Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Wed Dec 06, 2023 8:47 am

Hi Rali,

I'm struggling a lot with inquiry at the moment. I've spent quite a bit of time looking into your questions today, but I'm finding them difficult to answer. Now I've been sitting in front of my laptop for well over an hour trying to answer even your first prompt because I get into a thought loop about whether I'm really looking or just thinking. I feel somewhat like I'm back at square one, unable to see the difference between looking and thinking about the questions. I seem to be able to 'look' sometimes and realize it's only thoughts and sensations, but I nonetheless can't seem to find my way to giving straightforward answers to the prompts.

For example the first set of questions
:))) Funny how thoughts want to claim everything on behalf of an imaginary "I". Can you change the stream of thoughts/ distract yourself? We’ve been through this… Can you choose to have only happy thoughts (distract yourself)?? What is that "you"/entity that is distracted? Please desribe it!
If you can pinpoint the sensation “out of control” does that mean that you can’t isolate it/find it or simply it does not exist? There is just feeling/sensing there, layered with thoughts/labels. Simple!
I'm stuck in the place where I see that you're trying to point me past the feeling of 'I,' but I feel like I'm failing to see past it. And I recall your past prompts and even other prompts in this same post, like "Again, are you doing the thinking, or there is just thinking about how THIS should be better?" to try and look more directly, but I somehow can't seem to do it, at least in a way where I feel like I can 100% honestly give the "right" answer to that question. But the more honest answer ("I don't know") doesn't seem satisfactory, either.

I did the 'locating the sensations' exercise today several times, including for a 30 minute meditation session, and it felt helpful. I don't find a boundary between the senses. I did experience some of the senses a 'closer than close,' as you described, for a short time. This is similar to the above: I did experience the closer-than-close for brief moments, but it doesn't feel like I can 100% honestly say I've seen there is no dividing boundary between the senses.

So in summary, I'm still 100% invested in doing the inquiry but I'm struggling with how to do it without exhausting myself, staying up late, really trying to be sure I've fully considered each question.

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Thu Dec 07, 2023 9:04 am

Hi Rali,

Just checking in to let you know I'm continuing to do the exercise to see where sensations show up relative to one another. I am seeing more clearly that each sensation is happening in the same closer-than-close space. I'm still 'struggling' with thoughts, in that I can't seem to see them as clearly. It's like they happen so fast I can't see them -- they are gone before I can get a look. Sometimes they seem too 'close' to see, as well, and I find myself scrunching my face trying to look harder at them. I then try to relax back since that doesn't seem helpful, but they still seem too close (like trying to look at a picture that is right up against my nose).

This is why I feel stuck on the first prompt: "Can you change the stream of thoughts/ distract yourself?" My answer at this point is: "I don't know." I've seen that thoughts come up from nowhere, and that I don't choose thoughts in the simple cases we've covered (choosing a number at random). But somehow I still seem stuck in the illusion that 'I' have some say in the matter. And I suppose what I mean by that is I find it hard not to believe the thoughts that I should try to occupy my mind with positive/productive thoughts. Do I just need to keep looking?

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Thu Dec 07, 2023 10:06 am

Hi Brian
I posted a reply yesterday which somehow disappeared.
I'll repost it:

Hi Brian
So in summary, I'm still 100% invested in doing the inquiry but I'm struggling with how to do it without exhausting myself, staying up late, really trying to be sure I've fully considered each question.
Let me remind you that if you feel tension when trying to look at what is, you are trying too hard. Stop trying. Looking is a matter of noticing what is already here, not inventing or imagining something that needs a huge amount of energy to sustain. It’s not mental gymnastics, and there’s no medal that you have to go for. Soften, breathe—smile even. Take your time to relax and simply notice what is happening in the present: sensations, muscle tension, feelings, subtle eye movements, sounds, smells. This sort of noticing is effortless; attention moves and focuses on different perceptions, different information coming in. Thoughts rush in to label what is being noticed. No special state is required; it’s everyday ordinary business.
Looking, noticing, and seeing are all the same action expressed through different words that can be used interchangeably for our purposes. If I asked you to tell me what is behind your back right now, you could answer by doing one of two things: by thinking and remembering, or by turning your head around and actually looking back and describing what you see. If I ask you to look for your phone or keys, you would quite naturally, without forcing it, take a look with your own two eyes and locate them. That’s how to look.
Looking is finding out what is true in experience. It is a nonverbal action of focusing attention on a target. Thinking is verbal—it is naming experience. Both work together as one mechanism. If you can’t see for yourself, you cannot describe it in your own words (but you can attempt to describe it using someone else’s words, from memory).
… to try and look more directly, but I somehow can't seem to do it, at least in a way where I feel like I can 100% honestly give the "right" answer to that question.
There is no “right” answer, there is only what is true for you at this moment.
I would suggest that you go back to page 1 and redo the thinking exercises. There are two posts with questions about the thinker. See, if there is a thinker, that plans his thoughts retrieves them, etc
Please do not answer questions in bulk. I’m not testing your knowledge on the subject that you can give me a summary. All the questions are pointers pointing from different angle to the same thing and whatever I’m pointing to needs to be seen from all angles. Thus I would expect all answers to my previous questions. The answers also show me what believes need to be pointed to. To say it differently, I’m not interested in your assessment of your “enlightenment” progress, I’m interested in what is seen so I can point further.
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Thu Dec 07, 2023 10:13 am

Hey Brian
I've seen that thoughts come up from nowhere, and that I don't choose thoughts in the simple cases we've covered (choosing a number at random). But somehow I still seem stuck in the illusion that 'I' have some say in the matter. And I suppose what I mean by that is I find it hard not to believe the thoughts that I should try to occupy my mind with positive/productive thoughts. Do I just need to keep looking?
Well can you really do that – decide to have only positive thoughts all the time 24/7? Then why are you here? Also please have a look and describe the actual mechanism of how exactly you are doing it? How do you choose the positive thoughts among all the thoughts, is there a container for thoughts where they are sorted into positive and negative? How do you actually retrieve them? And also have a look how this entity/thinker/retriever looks like, describe him please.

Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Fri Dec 08, 2023 8:51 am

Hi Rali,
:))) Funny how thoughts want to claim everything on behalf of an imaginary "I". Can you change the stream of thoughts/ distract yourself?
No. Sometimes I have the thought "I need to focus more," and my thoughts begin to be more about the subject I intend to focus on. But I don't choose any of the thoughts.

We’ve been through this… Can you choose to have only happy thoughts (distract yourself)?? What is that "you"/entity that is distracted? Please describe it!
No, I can't choose only happy thoughts. No entity is distracted. "Distraction" is thoughts and sensations occurring, then another thought "I should be thinking about (x)" and then sensations of tension/tightness, as if I'm forcing myself to pay attention.
If you can pinpoint the sensation “out of control” does that mean that you can’t isolate it/find it or simply it does not exist? There is just feeling/sensing there, layered with thoughts/labels. Simple!
"Out of control" doesn't exist in DE
You are seeing it already but thoughts says no :). Is there an entity that needs protection? What does that entity look like? LOOK don’t think!
No, I don't see an entity that needs protection.
Again, are you doing the thinking, or there is just thinking about how THIS should be better?
There is just thinking happening
BUT is there anything “negative” in the actual sensations, besides the intensity?
No, it's the thoughts that interpret the sensations as negative.
Where exactly are you carrying the thoughts – your pocket?
There is nowhere the thoughts are being carried in DE

Where exactly is “inner/internal/inside”? Inside of what – the "body"? A body is a thought pointing to sensations. Do sensations have an “inside”?
I see that "internal" is an elaborate thought. The thoughts and feelings are experienced in the same place everything supposedly 'outside' is being experienced. No, sensations don't have an inside.
Again, can a thought come from the “inside” of a sensation (labelled “eyes”, “forehead”, “throat”)? Do sensations have a location, or the location is their label (e.g. “eyes”)?
I don't see thoughts coming from inside sensations in DE -- like I said above, the sensations don't have an inside. The location of the sensation is a label.
Where are ”eyes” located (with eyes closed) – here? Where is here? What is the reference point?
There are just thoughts about location in DE. In DE there is no reference point for location.
Also, there are just sensations and thoughts present. What makes "eyes" connected to "thoughts? Where are they appearing?
Eyes are connected to a sense of self (sensation) through thought. That is why it seems like my thoughts are coming from that location. But there is no location in DE.

Sit outside and listen to sounds and see if they are actually coming from a distance, or are they closer than that. Do the same with the view you are seeing. Are things at a distance or are they closer than close?
Yes, the DE of the view and the sounds are closer than close.
Now open your eyes and notice colours.
Do the colours appear in a different place to thoughts and sounds, or do colours appear exactly where thoughts and sounds appear - closer than close? Can you find an actual line/wall/boundary that divides thoughts, sounds and colours, or is that division a mental construct?
They all appear in the same place, with no boundary dividing them
Do the same with sensations.
Are they appearing in a different place than sounds, colours, and thoughts – closer than close?
They are appearing in the same place.
Well can you really do that – decide to have only positive thoughts all the time 24/7? Then why are you here? Also please have a look and describe the actual mechanism of how exactly you are doing it? How do you choose the positive thoughts among all the thoughts, is there a container for thoughts where they are sorted into positive and negative? How do you actually retrieve them? And also have a look how this entity/thinker/retriever looks like, describe him please.
No, there is no storage container for the thoughts. And I don't experience an entity choosing thoughts.

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Fri Dec 08, 2023 11:05 am

Hi Brian

Very good! It seems like you had a break through with thoughts :) Is it really the case or you still want to explore them?
Eyes are connected to a sense of self (sensation) through thought. That is why it seems like my thoughts are coming from that location. But there is no location in DE.
Maybe I misunderstood what you said here but please clarify for me: What is the sensation of a “sense of self” in DE? Please describe it. What makes one sensation “self” and another “not self”?

Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Fri Dec 08, 2023 8:12 pm

It seems like you had a break through with thoughts :) Is it really the case or you still want to explore them?
I think exploring thoughts more will still be useful. It more or less seems like I'm just describing them differently. For example, in this answer:
:))) Funny how thoughts want to claim everything on behalf of an imaginary "I". Can you change the stream of thoughts/ distract yourself?
No. Sometimes I have the thought "I need to focus more," and my thoughts begin to be more about the subject I intend to focus on. But I don't choose any of the thoughts.
I somehow can't tell if I'm directly experiencing this or just trying to come up with an explanation for how it's happening. Trying to come up with an explanation just seems like more thinking. And this goes on and on for several minutes to the point where I get 'frustrated' (sensations in the body). I can see the sensations as just sensations, but that doesn't seem to resolve anything. I just find myself back to the same place -- trying to look at the thoughts, trying to make sense of what I'm directly experiencing, getting 'frustrated,' etc.
Maybe I misunderstood what you said here but please clarify for me: What is the sensation of a “sense of self” in DE? Please describe it. What makes one sensation “self” and another “not self”?
I honestly don't know. It's a sensation that somehow 'feels more important.' And when I look at that I see that it's just a more intense sensation that is different (i.e. feels different) from other, 'less important' sensations (e.g. feet touching the ground). But again, that seeing doesn't seem to resolve anything. I realize there's an expectation here that something should get resolved, but I don't know what else to do with that.

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poppyseed
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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Fri Dec 08, 2023 9:38 pm

Hi Brian
I somehow can't tell if I'm directly experiencing this or just trying to come up with an explanation for how it's happening. Trying to come up with an explanation just seems like more thinking. And this goes on and on for several minutes to the point where I get 'frustrated' (sensations in the body). I can see the sensations as just sensations, but that doesn't seem to resolve anything. I just find myself back to the same place -- trying to look at the thoughts, trying to make sense of what I'm directly experiencing, getting 'frustrated,' etc.
First, if you are not the thinker, how can you come with an explanation? Are you coming up with the explanation or it (thoughts) just appears as everything else? How exactly you are coming with the explanation? Are you in control of what is being told?

Second, let’s become clear about the difference between actual experience and content of thought. Content of thought is the interpretation by thought, of actual experience. Thoughts either point to AE or they point to thoughts about thought.

There are two types of thoughts:
(1) Thoughts with words “this is a cup”
(2) Visual mental images of a ‘cup’

So I invite you to:
Think of a cup. Get a very clear picture in your mind. See clearly the size, shape, colour and volume of the cup. Notice whether it is decorated or plain. Notice whether it has a handle. Notice whether it is heavy or fragile. Do you have a clear picture in mind?

Now, can you physically grasp that image of a cup?
Can you pour tea into it?
Can you drink from it?


Is there a ‘real’ cup or just an image of a cup?
Is there an appearing mental image?
Is the content of the mental image (the cup) ‘real’?


The thoughts and mental images are real only as the actual experience of arising thoughts and mental images, their ‘presence’ cannot be denied. However their contents, what they are about (like the cup) are not ‘real’, they are just fantasies. In other words, the picture/idea that thought is ‘painting’ is the content of thought, and it is fictional.
Can you see this?

Over the course of the next day, I'd like you to notice the content of thoughts. Whenever there is an arising thought or mental image, check whether its content (what it’s about) is REALLY happening, or the content is just pure imagination. Let me know how it goes.
I honestly don't know. It's a sensation that somehow 'feels more important.' And when I look at that I see that it's just a more intense sensation that is different (i.e. feels different) from other, 'less important' sensations (e.g. feet touching the ground). But again, that seeing doesn't seem to resolve anything. I realize there's an expectation here that something should get resolved, but I don't know what else to do with that.
So are there “more important” and “less important” sensations or just different intensity? What exactly makes the one “more important” (without thought content)? Is there something inherently important in the sensation?
Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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ablitofself
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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Sat Dec 09, 2023 8:37 am

Hi Rali,
First, if you are not the thinker, how can you come with an explanation? Are you coming up with the explanation or it (thoughts) just appears as everything else? How exactly you are coming with the explanation? Are you in control of what is being told?
Yes, that paradox has occurred to me. For me it seems to be the opposite, though. I'm not able to come up with the explanation and I don't seem to be able to do anything about that.
Do you have a clear picture in mind?
I don't have a great ability to visualize, but I can more or less 'see' the picture.
Now, can you physically grasp that image of a cup?
Can you pour tea into it?
Can you drink from it?
No.
Is there a ‘real’ cup or just an image of a cup?
Is there an appearing mental image?
Is the content of the mental image (the cup) ‘real’?
It's clear that there is a mental image, but there is no real cup.
The thoughts and mental images are real only as the actual experience of arising thoughts and mental images, their ‘presence’ cannot be denied. However their contents, what they are about (like the cup) are not ‘real’, they are just fantasies. In other words, the picture/idea that thought is ‘painting’ is the content of thought, and it is fictional.
Can you see this?
Yes.
Over the course of the next day, I'd like you to notice the content of thoughts. Whenever there is an arising thought or mental image, check whether its content (what it’s about) is REALLY happening, or the content is just pure imagination. Let me know how it goes.
Sometimes this distinction is very clear, especially when thoughts are about the future or the past. For example, I've been having occasional anxiety about a presentation I have to give next week. When thoughts about that arise, it's clear that it's pure imagination. I'm not giving the presentation now.

The ones I find challenging are the thoughts that appear to be about my immediate experience. A work example is: "I really need to get this task done so that Bob can have it by Monday." They are thoughts about the future (end of day, Monday), but they inform what I need to be doing with my time at the moment because the task I need to get done isn't instantaneous; in other words, I need to focus on it now so it can be done by end of day.

As I mentioned before, I have similar thoughts about whether I'm 'looking' correctly. "I should try to pay more attention to the content of thoughts." "Gah, I've been on this walk for 20 minutes and I'm so caught up in thoughts that I haven't been doing any real 'looking.'" "How do I get myself to 'look' right now?"
So are there “more important” and “less important” sensations or just different intensity? What exactly makes the one “more important” (without thought content)? Is there something inherently important in the sensation?
There is different intensity and also different quality, like it's more familiar. But I wouldn't say it is necessarily inherently more important. Oh, it does feel 'closer,' though, which I hadn't considered before in the location exercises. That is, the sensation of self in the eyes feels 'closer' than the sensation of the feet touching the ground. I'm not sure what the sensation is closer to at this point, but that's the best way I can describe the difference.

Best,
Brian

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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby poppyseed » Sat Dec 09, 2023 9:54 am

Hi Brian
The ones I find challenging are the thoughts that appear to be about my immediate experience. A work example is: "I really need to get this task done so that Bob can have it by Monday." They are thoughts about the future (end of day, Monday), but they inform what I need to be doing with my time at the moment because the task I need to get done isn't instantaneous; in other words, I need to focus on it now so it can be done by end of day.
That’s also good! As long as you “understand” how the planning and decision making are actually “done”. There is nothing wrong with thinking if its empty nature has been seen. In simple everyday life, what is happening is happening. Decisions are made, actions are taken, things get done. Thinking about what should be done, thinking about what needs to be done, and planning the next step flow with whatever is happening. Hands and feet are doing their thing and thoughts are flying by. The problem with expectations is that they create this unrealistic belief that things will change all of a sudden – there will be no more thinking and unhappy content – all will be happy and blissful. But it is not like the self was destroyed or dissolved, it simply never existed. It wasn’t in the way before and it’s not after – nothing’s changed except for the description. Some assumptions have been cleared and thinking becomes more efficient. Mind becomes a better “servant” instead of a bad “master”. We do not need to get rid of the story. We merely need to see it as a fiction, not as true or imagined. The story is happening, yes; the content of the story is a story, not reality. All is not as it seems. Ask yourself: Is it true that life goes on with or without the story? Are sounds and colours here if they don’t have labels? The story is part of life; it’s a reflection of beliefs about life. Unquestioned assumptions play a crucial role in where and how the story goes. Or so it seems.
As I mentioned before, I have similar thoughts about whether I'm 'looking' correctly. "I should try to pay more attention to the content of thoughts." "Gah, I've been on this walk for 20 minutes and I'm so caught up in thoughts that I haven't been doing any real 'looking.'" "How do I get myself to 'look' right now?"
Well, is there a wrong or right way of looking? Can you see the colour of your socks wrongly? If it is here, can be seen, felt, smelled, tasted, and/or heard then it’s real. If it disappears when you stop thinking about it then it’s not.
Otherwise, thoughts about an urge to look or reminding to look are good – they are showing that the story is changing :) (even if they are judgemental ;) ). The word “look” becomes a pointer to what is here right now – sensations, sounds, smells, tastes, colours, and thoughts trying to describe these (labels). It’s not that there is more or less noticing than before, or more or less thinking than before. Noticing happens as always just its description changes – being closer to DE. Seeing the empty nature of the description in general shifts the focus to what’s underneath thoughts, DE. That doesn’t happen overnight – conditioning was not created in a day so it won’t disappear in a day too. It takes time to examine all of it against DE. “
“Getting lost in the story” happens as some sequences come almost inseparable because they’ve been fired together for a long time - what we call beliefs. BUT ... Is there a believer? LOOK!
So what is it? What is it that is currently identified with thoughts?
What is it that is standing apart from thought and has the ability to disregard them, trying to look at them, make sense of experience, getting frustrated??
What do thoughts happen to?
Is there someone outside of thoughts, being identified with them?
Where is the mysterious, unknown, outside entity?


Just notice what is ‘underneath’ all thoughts.
Thoughts add an overlaying narrative of names, labels, interpretations, explanations over the simplicity of what is. The commentary is just like a radio, but there is no choice of channels. You wish you could surf channels, because then your life would be great: all positive, fun, peaceful, and lovely. But you have only one channel, and it’s telling the same old stories over and over again. Can comments be stopped at will?
Try to shut the judge up. Gag it if needed. Tell it to shut up.
How long does that last? Test it for the fun of exploration.

There is a fun video for your enjoyment:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXfltmzRG-g
Love
Rali
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.”
― Alan Alda
"The moment I am aware that I am aware I am not aware. Awareness means the observer is not"
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

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ablitofself
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Re: Seeking the end of seeking

Postby ablitofself » Sun Dec 10, 2023 9:41 am

Hi Rali
Ask yourself: Is it true that life goes on with or without the story? Are sounds and colours here if they don’t have labels?
Yes, life goes on regardless of the story. And sounds and colors remain here when I don't label them.
Well, is there a wrong or right way of looking? Can you see the colour of your socks wrongly? If it is here, can be seen, felt, smelled, tasted, and/or heard then it’s real. If it disappears when you stop thinking about it then it’s not.
Yes, this occurs to me sometimes -- How can I fail to look (i.e. notice what's right here)? But it does seem like I can sometimes get stuck "trying" to look, when I'm really just trying to get my experience to match an expectation of what I will feel like when I'm looking.
BUT ... Is there a believer? LOOK!
I don't see one.
So what is it? What is it that is currently identified with thoughts?
I don't know.
What is it that is standing apart from thought and has the ability to disregard them, trying to look at them, make sense of experience, getting frustrated??
Yes, this trying to "stand apart from thoughts" and look at them is what I'm trying to do that is so effortful and tiring. I don't know what it is that would be able to do it. I guess I've come to believe that it's an ability people have, having heard of the concept of 'metacognition,' and various spiritual teachings (which I'm doing my best to leave aside). But I've associated 'looking' with that act of trying to somehow be "the one observing thoughts." I don't mean to do that, but it seems like I have to do something different from just being identified with thought.
What do thoughts happen to?
When I look, it's just thoughts happening. There's not a separate entity they happen to.
Is there someone outside of thoughts, being identified with them?
Where is the mysterious, unknown, outside entity?
No, despite a lot of trying, I can't find an entity outside of the thoughts.
Can comments be stopped at will?
Try to shut the judge up. Gag it if needed. Tell it to shut up.
How long does that last?
No. I can make a huge effort to try and stop my thinking but I notice before long I'm thinking again. Either about the thing I was originally thinking about, or trying to 'distract myself' with other thoughts, or thoughts about not thinking.
There is a fun video for your enjoyment:
Thanks for that. I haven't seen it before and it's quite funny!

Best,
Brian


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