Relax - nothing is under control

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Nagan
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Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:31 am

What brings you to Liberation Unleashed?
I have friends who have experience of direct pointing. The way they relate to the world is very inspiring. It seems that this is a fruitful method for gaining insight. I have a theoretically understanding of the no-self but would like to actually experience this in my everyday life.

What are you looking for? What do you expect from this?
I’m looking for guidance, inspiration and support in my exploration. I have a strong tendency to (over)analyse and theorize, being a lot “up in my head”. I long for connecting more with my body, see and stay with my direct experience. I expect the process to be interesting, scary, waking a lot of resistance, but ultimately I expect to see through the illusion of a separate fixed self.

What is your past experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I’ve been practicing Buddhism for six years meaning trying to follow the ethical precepts, practicing loving kindness and compassion towards myself and others, having a regular meditation practice, attending retreats several times a year, studying Buddhist texts, discussing and exploring together with my sangha. I’ve also participated in a one-year training programme in zen-coaching where one of the main tools were inquiring into direct experience.

What is your past experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
10

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:56 pm

I can guide you if you wish.

Please confirm that you have read the guidelines and agree.

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Tue Feb 14, 2017 4:32 pm

Hi Kvotski!

Thank you for offering your guidance! Yes, I have read the guidelines and I promise I'll try as hard as I can to write from experience, not speculation, be as honest I can possibly be and to post regularly.

How do you suggest I begin this journey? :)

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi Nagan,

Is that your name?

Mine is sunil, kvotski is for the forum.

To begin, you said,
I have a strong tendency to (over)analyse and theorize, being a lot “up in my head”. I long for connecting more with my body, see and stay with my direct experience. I expect the process to be interesting, scary, waking a lot of resistance, but ultimately I expect to see through the illusion of a separate fixed self.
Can you elaborate on over analysis?

let's investigate the body.

What is this body, how would you describe it in direct experience?

If you haven't already check the article on direct experience under the resources/home tab.

Welcome aboard.

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi Sunil!

My name is Monica, not Nagan :)

I’ve been thinking and analyzing (haha!) about what I mean by (over)analyzing. Quite often it feels like I get caught up in thoughts about things, trying to understand things intellectually/conceptually even though I know that an intellectual/conceptual understanding of something is not as deep as a real experience (though I’m not sure what I mean by that…). Let’s take the notion of self. A part of me do believe that the self doesn’t exist and when I have looked for it, trying to actually experience it, I haven’t been able to find it. BUT I do act like I have a self most of the time. One thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is the question of choice. I’ve learned (and experienced) from my Buddhist studies that actions have consequences. There are skilful and unskilful actions and, according to Buddhism as I have learned, there is a choice to act in one or the other way. I find myself thinking that there needs to be someone making the choice. But I really don’t know why I think that. I look at my cats and my dog and presume that they don’t have the same sense – or story! - of self as I have, but they make choices all the time. Acting from craving, like I also often tend to do… Then there is the question of intention, linked to the choice. Skilful actions are based on generous and compassionate intentions – but mustn’t there be someone who can have the intention? And what is intention anyway? I quite often feel I can make choices, but intentions are somehow there – or not? Maybe it’s the same with what I believe to be choices?

Well that was a little example of how I can get caught up in my head, trying to analyse. Often when I do this I loose contact with my body and can feel quite anxious after a while.

You ask me what is this body and how I would describe it in direct experience. Right now I experience movent, energy (tickeling and tingeling sensations), tension, pressure, breath, heartbeat - or at least something that feels beating in my chest (I have actually never seen my heart and realize I have a conceptual understanding of what’s going on inside this thing I experience as my body). The body does things without “me” controlling it, breathing, adjusting itself on the chair when feeling uncomfortable and so on. But I do experience that I can direct my awareness and choose to do things (do I?). When I think of how the body can feel during meditation, whit my eyes closed, I have experienced that I can’t tell where the body begins and ends. Sometimes it feels like the body has expanded and that body sensations are hard to locate, meaning that what I think is my feet doesn’t feel like they are where they usually are. This is very hard to describe…
Yes I did read the article you recommended and I can see that the question about choice or intention is the same as the assumption that there is an experience-er that experiences. BUT still I’m very confused…

I guess that – if I relate to what the article describes as direct experience – I tend to experience a lot of thoughts, which I sometimes believe to be true, but when looking more closely and trying to verify them through sensations, they often don’t feel as important? I guess I feel more alive when I’m aware of my body sensations compared to when I get caught up in thoughts? No, not more alive, but there is definitely another sense of aliveness.
I think I stop here for now… Feeling confused…

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:46 pm

Hi Monica,

Great expose'. And i would say i get caught in thoughts too and overanalyse. I am sure there are a lot of us.

The issue is of suffering becuase of this. And that happens when thoughts do'n't quite jibe together. And that happens when one believes there is a separate self. There really isn't any true evidence in direct experience, of a separate self, a you or me.

You said,
et’s take the notion of self. A part of me do believe that the self doesn’t exist and when I have looked for it, trying to actually experience it, I haven’t been able to find it. BUT I do act like I have a self most of the time. One thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is the question of choice
Does acting like a superman make you one?

Can you relate to me what acts make you feel like a separate self?
Then there is the question of intention, linked to the choice. Skilful actions are based on generous and compassionate intentions – but mustn’t there be someone who can have the intention? And what is intention anyway? I quite often feel I can make choices, but intentions are somehow there – or not? Maybe it’s the same with what I believe to be choices
Are intentions not thoughts?

And if yes, wouldn't choices be also more thoughts?
You ask me what is this body and how I would describe it in direct experience. Right now I experience movent, energy (tickeling and tingeling sensations), tension, pressure, breath, heartbeat - or at least something that feels beating in my chest (I have actually never seen my heart and realize I have a conceptual understanding of what’s going on inside this thing I experience as my body). The body does things without “me” controlling it, breathing, adjusting itself on the chair when feeling uncomfortable and so on. But I do experience that I can direct my awareness and choose to do things (do I?). When I think of how the body can feel during meditation, whit my eyes closed, I have experienced that I can’t tell where the body begins and ends. Sometimes it feels like the body has expanded and that body sensations are hard to locate, meaning that what I think is my feet doesn’t feel like they are where they usually are. This is very hard to describe…
That was well described in fact.

Can you share your experience when you direct awareness and choose?

Is the body also a concept, all there is are sensations which you described?

Is the body available in direct experience?

Nice start, Monica.

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:27 pm

Hi Sunil,

I've been thinking quite a lot about your questions. Most of them I have to think more about. The only question I can find an easy answer to is
Does acting like a superman make you one?
No. I see your point. :)

The other questions I will elaborate some more on. From now until Monday I won't have access to the internet so I'll write to you on the other side of the weekend. Wishing you a pleasant one!

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:05 pm

Hi Sunil!

I’ve been pondering and exploring your questions during the weekend.
Can you relate to me what acts make you feel like a separate self?
No I can’t describe what acts make me feel like a SEPARATE self, because when I look at what I’m doing I see that I’m responding - or reacting to - various conditions. All my actions are dependent on things happening around what I perceive as “me”. Sometimes it feels “I” make a choice but mostly things happens. Like when I’m walking the dog. I can have a rough idea about where we are going, but then I see the sun shining and find myself walking in that direction instead of the one I had thought we were going. I can’t say I made a clear decision that I would follow the sun, I just did. But sometimes it feels like “I” make decisions, thinking rationally, going through different options and then choosing one of them. But maybe that is just a thought? That I make the decision? The different options I go through could maybe just be seen as different kinds of conditions I think about? This relate to your other questions:
Are intentions not thoughts?

And if yes, wouldn't choices be also more thoughts?
I can see that a choice could be seen as a thought, and often the thought comes AFTER I’ve already acted but I think I made the choice before I acted. But I feel confused. There is this voice saying that there must be someone who makes decisions, but I can honestly not locate who that might be… The same goes with intentions. It feels like there must be someone who can HAVE the intention, but where would that someone be found?
Can you share your experience when you direct awareness and choose?
In meditation, for example, I can choose to direct my awareness to different parts of the body or body sensations. Often the mind wanders off after a while and when I see that I can direct the awareness back to the point of focus.
Is the body also a concept, all there is are sensations which you described?
Yes, I can see that the body is a concept. Especially when I reflect upon what the body is made up of. The food I eat, and experience as outside me/the body before I eat it, ends up in what I call the stomach, being digested and transformed to energy and after some time leaves the body in liquid or more solid form.
Is the body available in direct experience?
Yes I would say that what I label as the body is something I can see, feel, smell and experience as flow of energy, stiffness, tickeling and tingeling and so on.

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:25 am

Hi Monica,

That is a good look. Let's take them one at a time.

You described well what are the separtae self acts. Notice that they are just acts like pretending be superman is no diferent than being Monica. Is it?

You asked me if in meditation do i chose ?

Not at all. All choices arise from other conditions. Can you look as you have for many other acts?

Sitting for meditation appears to be a choice made by a separate self. But is it?

For me, i try to set a time becuase it seems to be th emost effective way to have a regular practice which in turn is a conditioned response to what the body and mind has learned to be the best way. No me involved here. Just a bunch of thoughts leading to an act of sitting to meditate.

How about you?

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Wed Feb 22, 2017 8:26 pm

That is a good look. Let's take them one at a time.
You described well what are the separtae self acts. Notice that they are just acts like pretending be superman is no diferent than being Monica. Is it?
I’m not sure I follow here. Could you clarify what you mean?
You asked me if in meditation do i chose ?
Haha, actually I didn’t. That was your question to me but I missed to make a quotation. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your practice. It makes me curious. You say you don’t choose at all, that all choices arise from other conditions and then you ask me
Can you look as you have for many other acts?
I’m afraid I don’t understand what you ask me to do in this quote. It can be good to know that English is not my first language, so it would be helpful if you could be a bit more specific :) Are you asking me to describe more acts where I feel there is a me doing them?
Sitting for meditation appears to be a choice made by a separate self. But is it? For me, i try to set a time becuase it seems to be th emost effective way to have a regular practice which in turn is a conditioned response to what the body and mind has learned to be the best way. No me involved here. Just a bunch of thoughts leading to an act of sitting to meditate.How about you?
I do like you do – have a daily routine - and often I don’t feel I make the choice to meditate. But, as I wrote in my previous post, I do feel I can direct what I experience as my awareness. Not all the time, but sometimes. Can’t you?

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:25 pm

Hi Monica,

Yes there are a lot of ideas floating around in my last post. So let us do this slowly.

I am trying to point to what we consider a personal self who thinks he or she acts. As you said it was more like an act, like a superman.

So, is there a separate person called Monica? Or are there only separate acts like a sister, a daughter, a worker, a wife, a friend?
Among the various roles you play, is any of them a you?

Is there a separate you at all?

We will talk about meditation and choices later. I don't want to lose this important thread here.

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:50 pm

Hi Sunil, sorry for late reply, didn’t feel well yesterday.
So, is there a separate person called Monica? Or are there only separate acts like a sister, a daughter, a worker, a wife, a friend?
Among the various roles you play, is any of them a you?

Is there a separate you at all?
No, there is not a separate person called Monica. I sometimes label me, or are labeled by others as a sister, a daughter, a friend, a Buddhist, a teacher and so on. I think of these as labels as just labels. Or temporary positions. Or roles, as you say. No I can’t see that there is any role I play that is a “me”. I have been, though, and have suffered a lot because of it. I used to identify myself completely with my work, had very fixed ideas about who I am, what I like/dislike, need/don’t need and so on, but I can honestly say I don’t have that anymore. The last year I’ve made some big changes in my life – I’ve moved from the city to the countryside, I’ve quit my job, I no longer think I can control or fix things, as I used to. The changes I’ve made prove to me that my former ideas about who I am and can be wasn’t true. I wasn’t my job – I’m still here! And thriving!

No there is not a separate me. This existence which I experience as me is dependent on millions of conditions, influencing my thoughts, acts, stories, living conditions and so on. Everything is interconnected. If I hadn’t come across Buddhism, I would probably not sit here out on the countryside, writing to you, contemplating these things. If my parents hadn’t met I wouldn’t sit here at all. The feelings of joy I feel this particularly day is connected to some very good news my sister got yesterday. No, there is no separate me! :)

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kvotski
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby kvotski » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:43 pm

Great looking, Monica. Indeed, all seem to flow following conditions just as Buddha taught.

Now let us look at choices.

You aksed,
I do like you do – have a daily routine - and often I don’t feel I make the choice to meditate. But, as I wrote in my previous post, I do feel I can direct what I experience as my awareness. Not all the time, but sometimes. Can’t you?
Choices during meditation are no different than any other time.

So look at choices you make in simple daily activities like walking, typing here, eating, driving.

Is there a Monica doing all of these?

Then look at directing what you experience in mediation.

A thought arises, then another thought says focus on your nostrils or counting not thoughts. This goes on until there is a respite of calm. Is this calm something you create or was it alwyas there?

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:50 pm

Hi Sunil!
Choices during meditation are no different than any other time.
So look at choices you make in simple daily activities like walking, typing here, eating, driving.
Is there a Monica doing all of these?
Spontaneously I would say yes, but when looking more closely no… No, not a separate, fixed Monica, no. BUT, I don’t experience that things just happens randomly. I don’t get into the back seat of the car if I’m taking a ride, I don’t throw everything I can find in the fried into a bucket and then eat with my hands, I don’t walk backwards and so on. But I guess you can look at almost everything I do as habits?
Then look at directing what you experience in mediation.
A thought arises, then another thought says focus on your nostrils or counting not thoughts. This goes on until there is a respite of calm. Is this calm something you create or was it alwyas there?
No the calm is nothing I can create. When non-buddhist friends ask me why I meditate and what meditation gives me I usually tell them to imagine a glass of water filled with stirred up sand. If you want to be clear it’s pointless to stir more. The only way is to sit still, let the thoughts come and go and not engage or believe in them, then the sand will sink and the water will be clear. That’s a metaphor for how I experience the mind when meditating regularly. Your description of what goes on in meditation made me see that I only think I can direct “my” awareness. Thanks for sharing and pointing that out! :)

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Nagan
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Re: Relax - nothing is under control

Postby Nagan » Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:51 pm

I mean FRIDGE, not fried


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