Flickers of seeing through

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Skygazer74
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Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:23 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
My understanding is influenced by buddhist study and practice, and discussions with a Triratna guide. I understand that the view of self is the root of craving - and I have recently seen that the skandhas are simply such, simply happening. However I am not sure that this was a seeing which will last, and have questions and doubts at the moment.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking to confirm and get help to try to stabilise what I think I have seen, or uncover where there is still holding on to the view of self. I am confused about the idea of a relative self, or the degrees of subtlety in terms of seeing. I think that when I imagine describing this to someone more rooted in conventional reality, I see it from their point of view and doubt, or see that what I am doing can sound absurd.
At times, the sense of a continuity or story seems to perpetuate the idea of my story, but at times I can see that this is an idea or structure imposed on direct experience. At times, despite repeated undoing of the sense of self in the body, the idea that this body is here in this room as opposed to elsewhere and another body seems to make absurd the seeing though of self, if indeed, that has happened. Yet on reflection I get that just because this body isn't another does not mean it is separate or fixed. I do experience the liberation that comes from seeing that the body and the senses and awareness are simply conditioned arisings, a constant give and take of elements. I then experienced some guidance and saw that I still held onto a self in decisions or agency - which started me doing the skandha meditation and beginning to see that choices are but conditioned arising, and are just happening. This led to the deepest letting go when I did a guided meditation (every day for a few months) that pointed out the suchness of the skandhas. Seeing that consciousness and awareness, form, perception and choices, are just such seemed to help me remove the selfing filter. The holding to a self in awareness seemed to be relieved by the acceptance of awareness as suchness. For quite a while, and this is ongoing, I have felt a freedom and a lightness, an equanimity, an unrufflability, and a clarity. I am not getting so caught up in things, in cravings, in reactions. So I am curious about whether I have seen through or not, whether it is normal to have doubts, but also how to make this seeing more permanent, since I have had insights before and watched them fade away and negative states return. My confidence in what I think I have seen seems to go up and down - at times I think it is ridiculous to think that I could have attained something significant, such as stream entry, and at other times I feel that I am moving through the other fetters. My cravings and aversions have seemed to almost disappear, except for the odd moment driving and the cravings for sex! Also why do i still get fear arising when speaking publicly - surely if I was beyond clinging to a self I wouldn't get nervous!? So I get confused about what's happened and how to either step through the gate or see that I have done so? So yes, some help would be very much appreciated!

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I hope to discover where I am at and how to proceed to ensure that I do see through the self. I often think there is something distasteful about wondering where I am at and craving progress, but I feel so close to, if not at the gate. If there is still a view or a clinging, I want to identify it and move beyond it, and having read some of the conversations I am hopeful that this can be done. I work hard to help spread the dharma, and inspire people to practice, and I feel that this spirit will be aided by ensuring that the I is not going to get in the way of teaching or the flow of dharma to others.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been meditating since 2001, been through the twelve steps a few times, and for the last four years do a few hours of meditation a day. I have read the forums and engaged in direct pointing with a friend in Triratna. I have also done the six elements practice for 13 years, and a meditation on the skandhas quite intensively since discovering I held onto the idea of a self in choices, consciousness and awareness. I tend to do these practices when I am getting into dhyana and then use that state to begin enquiry or do insight practices. I think I have seen through this to some extent now, and had quite a liberating period earlier this year, however doubts and questions are arising now.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?: 11

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Xain
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:45 pm

Hello SkyGazer, and welcome to LU.
My name is Xain, and I am a guide here.
And I have recently seen that the skandhas are simply such, simply happening
The buddhist Skandhas are a valid breakdown of all 'parts' to be examined in the search for a self.
This is pretty much the basis of the LU guidance, although we use a much more modern 'western' breakdown of things.

However, the specific instruction would be to examined the Skandhas and see that they are all empty of a self.
That in each case, no inherent self is found.
However I am not sure that this was a seeing which will last
Last for whom?
Examine the skandhas and look for the one that 'seeing' will last for.

(There is a lot of Buddhist terminology here - I can scrap using it if you'd prefer a more western / direct discussion).
I am looking to confirm and get help to try to stabilise what I think I have seen, or uncover where there is still holding on to the view of self. I am confused about the idea of a relative self
We can go through relative and absolute so you understand that difference. This will reveal how the self is 'empty'.
At times, the sense of a continuity or story seems to perpetuate the idea of my story, but at times I can see that this is an idea or structure imposed on direct experience.
I understand - Sometimes the thoughts based story is 'seen through' and sometimes it appears to be on automatic and believed in. Even here, is this process happening for an inherent self? Is there a 'real' believer of a story?
I then experienced some guidance and saw that I still held onto a self in decisions or agency - which started me doing the skandha meditation and beginning to see that choices are but conditioned arising, and are just happening.
Yes, good.
For quite a while, and this is ongoing, I have felt a freedom and a lightness, an equanimity, an unrufflability, and a clarity. I am not getting so caught up in things, in cravings, in reactions. So I am curious about whether I have seen through or not, whether it is normal to have doubts, but also how to make this seeing more permanent
Perhaps immediately we can go into an explanation of the 'relative self' here.
What you have given me here is a sentence using words from language. This is based on ideas, thoughts and beliefs.
This is the level in which the world is based on - It is 'the finger'.
It is assumed (automatically perhaps) that all these words and ideas point to inherent objects (i.e. the word 'moon' points to a real inherently existing object 'moon').
But this is an error.
The words themselves do not point to inherently existing objects. In this guidance we examined 'I' to see if the word points to an inherently existing 'thing' that can be found - We fail to find it - We only find the word, the thought, the belief, the conceptual.

So you see, a relative 'I' / relative self exists - It is a concept - An idea - There will always be an 'I' in language and communication / this discussion. However, there is no inherent self, no 'real' I.
surely if I was beyond clinging to a self I wouldn't get nervous!?
Two 'I''s . . . one that is beyond, and another one that is nervous.
Which have inherent existence? Which are merely ideas?

You wrote a lot in your initial post (which is good), but I'll stop here for the moment to allow you to digest what I have mentioned and ask questions about anything you are unsure of.

Xain ♥

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 2:06 am

Thank you very much Xain for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it.

The skandhas is the model I have been meditating on with seemingly good results, and I think I have seen that there is no self in any of the skandhas. I am interested in what the western terminology for it is? Is it translations - form (body) feelings, thoughts/perception, mental events/habits/volitions, and consciousness?

I hear what you are saying about ‘to whom the seeing will last for’ and understand. I only say it because I have believed I have had insights which would be permanent (!) or lasting before and then watched the 'selfing' return or the sense of freedom fade. Hence my doubt and eagerness to try and make sure that that doesnt happen this time!

I don’t really know how to paste replies to specific comments - but your comments about seeing through the story are interesting. I can apply the same process to this process as to the other mental events. The process is happening, but it is less likely to hook me or be believed or assumed to be real. Frankly it isn’t happening much, planning and choices are occurring, but without all the anxiety and the worry about it. Its just planning and decision-making happening, and I get that the idea of a me doing that stuff is simply that process.
Is this process happening to a self? I have to tell my story using language which assumes the self, but it is simply a congeries of conditions and reactions, a story which is relatively real but I can see most of the time that is just happening, simply such. Sometimes this writing still feels a bit absurd, and all a mind game which makes me doubt the validity of my experience!!
Is there a real believer in the story? Thats a good question, and it feels like layers of an onion exposing layers of self - the self believing in the story of self. It makes me wonder about who is seeing that there is no self in awareness or choice or story. So raw awareness, or naked awareness, or pure awareness, and then the apparent split into the reflexive or apparent I that can watch or investigate awareness. I get that this reflexive layer is not proof of self, I think!

Understood re relative self! Thanks for clarifying this.

The last point is about the fear - and it relates again to the above point about layers, of the illusion. Would it be fair to say that fear is happening, even if it doesn’t make sense for it to be happening given the supposed seeing through of self in relation to audience! Yes I see that both the self that is beyond and the fearing part too do not have inherent or lasting or any real existence that can be found. It is, I suppose, the same process - that the fear is simply conditioned arising and does not confirm any self to whom it is happening. It is the same as the previous seeing through - that there is fear, but the idea of an I who fears is simply an additional illusion.

So I suppose it is the same for the doubts that arise - they too are mental events arising according to past karma and conditions, but not me, not mine, not ‘I.’
Wow, so I hadnt appreciated that layers of this process - that the fear, the doubts, the ‘second layer’ or part of consciousness is simply the same as and in fact of course included in the skandhas. I suspect that I didn’t go deeply enough into the layers of mental events in my analysis and appreciate your ability to cut right through to the next layer, and pointing out that in fact fear, doubt and analysis are also just arising and not any indication of a self who seems to experience these events. I will do the meditation again with this in mind.

Is this right? Through the gate can these things still arise? Like fear or nerves or doubt? I had imagined you see that the full seeing through would end all these types of suffering, or am I simply not there yet? Perhaps this is simply an expectation about what it is that we are doing..
Since you understand buddhist terms - is the gate the breaking of the first three fetters and thus leaving craving, aversion, conceit? Or is the gate the breaking of all of them? Are there kind of karmic imprints which need to be seen through or processed after the fact - like a sudden sense of dislike for someone or a fear or a tendency to doubt? Can this happen once the illusion of self has gone? It feels a bit like threads or knots unravelling in the more open awareness that seems to be more and more the norm.

I think that because in buddhism breaking the fetters seems like kind of a big deal, I do fear the conceit or delusion that fetters are breaking or stream entry or even enlightenment! I fear that I might delude myself over this and even if it was true would be very reluctant to make any claims and would be deeply disappointed if I end up appropriating it in any way to a new and improved self that has entered the stream or whatever. There is a karmic thread in my thinking that doubts that 'I' could possibly be getting somewhere with it - even though I know it is not an I doing it, and I have no doubt that the dharma and this direct pointing does work. It's a paradox to believe in it working but doubt it would work for 'me!' But none of this wrangling and doubting, or fears, proves the existence of self. Is it a case of being patient and continuing the analysis at deeper and deeper levels? Or letting those threads unravel? Do you still experience craving, aversion or doubt or anything?

At the moment, I feel a bit like a heat seeking missile in my practice, but I don't feel like I am making effort, it is genuinely feels as if I have been picked up by a current or force beyond anything a self could do, and am drawn to practice and analysis and study, and service, without any kind of choice or agency in it. Effort is just happening, like my questions and doubts around it all are happening, like the analysis of it all, which is all ok and not in any way actually revealing an real self. When I was in hospital last week I realised I could be leaving this earth, and was totally at ease, with the exception that I felt regret that I could have done so much more over the next thirty or forty years for the spreading of the dharma, and regrets that those close to me would suffer. So I do definitely sense a liberation, or at least significant progress in seeing through this strange and absurd illusion! Do you ever wonder at the absurdity of it all?

I am sorry for the length of this post once again, I will try and be more precise! But also I want to share exactly what seems to be going on - the progress and what is still a little sticky so that we can genuinely 'get there,' as it were. Ill also try to be a bit more proactive in reading threads as perhaps these questions have been answered elsewhere. And thank you so much for your time and interest.

With metta,

Skygazer74

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Xain
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:49 am

The skandhas is the model I have been meditating on with seemingly good results.
Even here . . . is there an inherent self that meditates? Or directs meditational focus?

The break-down we use here at LU is generally the fives senses, thoughts and imagination, choice and control.
I have had insights which would be permanent (!) or lasting before and then watched the 'selfing' return or the sense of freedom fade
Suffering caused by the thinking process is best examined later (fetters 5 & 6).
Is it clear at this point that there is no inherent self that had insights or that has a 'selfing process'? Is it clear what you are describing is 'appearance' only?
. . . but it is simply a congeries of conditions and reactions, a story which is relatively real but I can see most of the time that is just happening
Is this a problem?
Is it realised / clear that this isn't happening FOR anyone (an inherent self)?
Do you ever wonder at the absurdity of it all?
Yes - The fact that we are all deluded . . . and waking up to the delusion . . . and none of it could be different . . .
Leaves me speechless.
It makes me wonder about who is seeing that there is no self in awareness or choice or story.
You assume there is a who.
Would latching on to another belief or concept satisfy you?
. . . that there is fear, but the idea of an I who fears is simply an additional illusion.
Yes, but this need not lead to denying the feelings. Or not inquiring upon them.
If fear manifests itself, it is there in an effort to protect something. Even to the extent of being unwilling to inquire upon its nature, as the inquiry itself is feared may cause the death/destruction of something.
The fear itself isn't protecting anything, but it 'darn sure feels like it is' :-)
they too are mental events arising according to past karma and conditions, but not me, not mine, not ‘I.’
Without an inherent self, what is Karma? Past Karma for whom?
. . . and pointing out that in fact fear, doubt and analysis are also just arising and not any indication of a self who seems to experience these events. I will do the meditation again with this in mind.
No problem - But as mentioned, these arising need not be dismissed. We merely try to see if they are happening to an inherent self, a REAL I.
Is this right? Through the gate can these things still arise? Like fear or nerves or doubt? I had imagined you see that the full seeing through would end all these types of suffering, or am I simply not there yet? Perhaps this is simply an expectation about what it is that we are doing.
Yes things still arise, but it is clear that they never arise for an inherent self. Nor could these arisings have been any different through the choice or control of an inherent self.
Craving and Aversion are for further inquiry (fetters 4 & 5).
It is enough to realise that any arising whatsoever is not arising to an inherent self / person.
Or (in another way of putting it), that any arising that is said to occur to a self e.g. 'I feel fear' is dependant. Specifically, it is dependant on thoughts. That 'I feel fear' is a thought only, and the thought does not relate to an inherent person or object. Merely that it is mistaken to do so.
Are there kind of karmic imprints which need to be seen through
Karma is a problem. It fine to talk about it in a relative way, but is there an inherent self that ever did anything bad, or could do anything bad in the future? To whom does Karma act upon?
I think that because in buddhism breaking the fetters seems like kind of a big deal
The egoic processes and the minds operating is very strong.
In a relative sense, we can say 'I broke the first three fetters and have attained stream entry' . . . but it should also be clear to us that no inherent self ever broke any fetters and entered a stream.
Yes, if we use new insight in a purely egoic fashion we are deluding ourselves.
Do you still experience craving, aversion or doubt or anything?
Doubt about my insights - No. But craving and aversion still occur, and I am looking into the further fetters to deal with this area (4 & 5).
but I don't feel like I am making effort, it is genuinely feels as if I have been picked up by a current or force beyond anything a self could do
Good. Even your coming here to LU was not of the volition of an inherent self - Do you realise that?
I am sorry for the length of this post once again
The depth and clarity of your writing is enjoyable and refreshing. Lengthy dialogue can be a problem if we start addressing many different individual areas - We can become 'lost'.

Xain ♥

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:49 pm

Even here . . . is there an inherent self that meditates? Or directs meditational focus?
I can see that there is simply meditation, and awareness arising in and out of meditation, which allows for focus. It's actually kind of miraculous that there is! I am so used to describing that kind of function or thought with the label 'I' that it almost interrupts the awareness that sees through that activity.
The break-down we use here at LU is generally the fives senses, thoughts and imagination, choice and control.
Interesting, I have seen that the senses are dependent upon the body, and seen that the body is just a flux of elements. Consciousness unbound from the grosser elements and space is simply free. I still have the habit of referring to an I who sees, or remembers, even if I understand its not there.We talked about choice and control before, I feel confident about this, but imagination is a new one on me! That is even more miraculous right? Unless of course it is imagining scenarios based around presenting the self, or remembering them. Yes to imagine a world in which nobody related to the world as though they were separate, and thus recognise interconnectedness is very inspiring. I feel that this habit of 'presenting me' in imagination has faded, but time will tell if that is true.
Is it clear at this point that there is no inherent self that had insights or that has a 'selfing process'? Is it clear what you are describing is 'appearance' only?
I hope so! I think the confusion and doubt arise when I try to talk about it, and use the language that counters that view. If in communication I try to describe what is going on it sounds exactly as if I think there is a self having insight, a part of the story of that self. I confess that doubt also arises when I wonder if this 'insight' is just another idea, a head game.
. . . but it is simply a congeries of conditions and reactions, a story which is relatively real but I can see most of the time that is just happening

Is this a problem?
Is it realised / clear that this isn't happening FOR anyone (an inherent self)?
No no problem, it simply feels liberating unless the above doubts kick in.
It makes me wonder about who is seeing that there is no self in awareness or choice or story.

You assume there is a who.
Would latching on to another belief or concept satisfy you?
It just seems like another layer of self that I hadnt analysed - I don't believe it is a truly existing self I can find who is aware of awareness, or aware of non-self, it is just a slightly expanded or higher level of awareness if that makes sense. The not self that sees that there is not a self seeing not-self..(lol :S)
I hope that isn't just another concept or belief, how would i know the difference between believing this is true and it being the real deal? Is there some kind of benchmark you noticed in your daily living which confirms it? As I have said, I do feel lighter and easier, and less likely to relate to the world according to my needs or desires, or the supposed self who needs and desires. I do still simply not know if it is a belief or idea or a genuine crossing over, although this work with you is definitely clarifying and seems to be removing some of these doubts, which is a priceless gift thank you.

. . . that there is fear, but the idea of an I who fears is simply an additional illusion.

Yes, but this need not lead to denying the feelings. Or not inquiring upon them.
If fear manifests itself, it is there in an effort to protect something. Even to the extent of being unwilling to inquire upon its nature, as the inquiry itself is feared may cause the death/destruction of something.
The fear itself isn't protecting anything, but it 'darn sure feels like it is' :-)
Right thanks very much for clearing this up - I think I am clear that there is still room for delusion or suffering after the gate and that is a relief. What though is the difference between this seeing through of self and the latter fetter that breaks conceit altogether? Is it a matter of subtlety? Sorry I can see that I am trying to impose a structure on this work, and clarify exactly what we are trying to see. Perhaps I should drop this for now.
they too are mental events arising according to past karma and conditions, but not me, not mine, not ‘I.’

Without an inherent self, what is Karma? Past Karma for whom?
That was a bang. Another new one on me! My first instinct is that I really don't know at all. I know about the yogacara concepts like alaya and store consciousness holding positive and negative seeds but I guess this is just a heuristic. Can karma still happen without the self? I guess it must because it was never there (self) and karma appears to operate. Or is just an illusion as well?
My ethics are pretty pure, but as with meditation and service, it isn't as if I choose to purify ethics or act in certain ways, life is just living itself with respect and love for other life - I believe that that is the natural state of the human heart - bright, boundless and full of love. But the delusion and the wounding, habit and craving, all obscure that radiance, and the chief obscuration is this crazy view of self is it not?

Karma is a problem. It fine to talk about it in a relative way, but is there an inherent self that ever did anything bad, or could do anything bad in the future? To whom does Karma act upon?
Im so used to telling my story as if there is a self who behaved in this way or suffered x and y. In a way, the life or stream of consciousness that conventionally is referred to as a self, was just responding to the environment under the delusion that things happened to that self. I can't see who karma acts upon, but there is a sense of threat at dismissing karma haha. Yes if I look, there is no entity who behaves ethically, except relatively. What that leaves seems to be very much a mystery, and perhaps I need to let go of needing to understand what that means. I was taught to use the laws of karma and to create the conditions for awakening. I can see it may be a raft which is not always necessary, as indeed is the whole of the dharma, and also the danger in abandoning the raft too early!
Is this right? Through the gate can these things still arise? Like fear or nerves or doubt? I had imagined you see that the full seeing through would end all these types of suffering, or am I simply not there yet? Perhaps this is simply an expectation about what it is that we are doing.

Yes things still arise, but it is clear that they never arise for an inherent self. Nor could these arisings have been any different through the choice or control of an inherent self.
Craving and Aversion are for further inquiry (fetters 4 & 5).
It is enough to realise that any arising whatsoever is not arising to an inherent self / person.
Or (in another way of putting it), that any arising that is said to occur to a self e.g. 'I feel fear' is dependant. Specifically, it is dependant on thoughts. That 'I feel fear' is a thought only, and the thought does not relate to an inherent person or object. Merely that it is mistaken to do so.
I think this is becoming clearer now thank you so much. I bolded your statements about arising and thinking as they felt so powerful and clear - I want to remember them. So I am beginning to understand that whatever arises, be it craving or doubt or fear, is imply such. Like the awareness that experiences it, or the imputed 'I' that understands it, none if it infers a self and it is all simply quite amazing. It happens, still, but not to an inherent self. The thinking around these arisings it what gives rise to the illusion of self, and creates extra suffering. That thinking creates a sense of story and the story perpetuates the idea of 'I.' So confusion may arise, but the thought I am confused is, despite being useful for communication, a concept bundled around the experience which can seem to solidify the illusion. The penny might just be dropping!


I guess I want to also check I understand around the body, as I have this idea that I have let go of seeing a self in the body, but don't want to assume that this is fully seen yet. Sometimes it seems absurd to say that this body is not real, separate or different from other bodies. There are sensations in this body, senses and perceptions in this organism and not others except through empathy. I see how senses and sensations arise, in dependence upon sense organs and elements and something mysterious that is awareness. We know from science and six elements meditation that 'solid' matter, liquids, air and heat joins and leaves this body all the time, a process and not a fixed entity, so the perpetuation of a recognisable form is amazing - genes or whatever, even though of course it ages. I know from enquiry that if I look there is no permanent fixed or inherent substance to this body, or even its parts or even atoms, I believe it is now theorised that we are 99% space. I can't find that space or possibly own space, so why did I assume I could own body or consciousness. Although I feel I can let go of identification with he body, it still appears to be a form which can dance or run or move by volition - all of which is not a basis for inferring a self in charge or owning that body.
I love the metaphors in the perfection of wisdom for the skandhas - samskaras are like the leaves of a plantain tree, you peek them away to find there is no core, no solid existing tree. Feelings are like bubbles on a stream, perceptions a mirage, awareness a magically created show, and amazingly, the buddha saw that form, that the body, is like a mass of foam, full of cracks and holes. It also goes on to say that the bodhisattva knows that there is no basis for the arising of the skandhas, and knows that they go to nowhere, even though they appear to exist actually, and this is what is meant by the suchness of the skandhas.

I also feel clear that if you apply this kind of analysis, or view of emptiness, to craver and craved, the craving has no basis. This definitely isn't just an intellectual play, it seems to work. For example if I see cake and craving arises, I can see that the craving is just a passing phenomena, the cake is simply in process on its way to the sewer, and the taste or satisfaction is fleeting and insubstantial. The pleasure isn't real and isn't capable of satisfying, even if there was an I to satisfy! I am in recovery from addictions so this work has been very important to me. Both sides of the craving situation are empty, of self or substance, satisfaction or permanence.

Lol so much for staying concise..writing the process out seems to help me to see. I saw on another post you are going on retreat - I hope you enjoy Vajraloka, I am seeing Tejananda next week myself!

Much metta and gratitude, I am off to a festival thing today and will be trying to maintain awareness that dancing is arising, attractions are arising..I do five rhythms every week and have been increasingly aware of not doing the dancing, it is wonderful and liberating!
x

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:27 pm

I have seen that the senses are dependent upon the body
Is there a separate body here right now that is actively performing the senses?
For example, is the body responsible for 'feeling' ('I am feeling' or 'This body is feeling') or are these statements dependant on thought about a self? So (in a more real sense) there is 'feeling' only?
I am so used to describing that kind of function or thought with the label 'I' that it almost interrupts the awareness that sees through that activity.
Yes - In order to think or communicate these ideas, we add in the separate self 'I' . . . but such a separate self is not found outside of these thoughts.
I still have the habit of referring to an I who sees, or remembers, even if I understand its not there
Then you answered my first question :-)
What about the 'I' with a habit? Is there an inherent self with habits here right now?
I feel confident about this, but imagination is a new one on me!
Well each sense has it's corresponding 'mental version' so thoughts are essentially 'the voice in the head' or the memory of a voice or a sound, imagination is the mental version of sight, the remembrance of images, objects, people.

A very simple exercise for imagination would be thus:
Imagine an orange.
Can what is witnessing that (imaginary) orange be found in the experience itself?
Can what created that (imaginary) orange be found in the experience itself?
If it is said 'I created the imaginary orange' or 'I am witnessing the imaginary orange', can this 'I' be found?
Or is the 'I' in these statements from thought / belief only?
If in communication I try to describe what is going on it sounds exactly as if I think there is a self having insight, a part of the story of that self.
Yes. I completely understand. We cannot escape the language, and the language itself creates the confusion . . . and the illusion!
I don't believe it is a truly existing self I can find who is aware of awareness, or aware of non-self, it is just a slightly expanded or higher level of awareness if that makes sense.
I hope that isn't just another concept or belief, how would i know the difference between believing this is true and it being the real deal?
Sure. We don't address these things at LU. My only concern would be that anything landed upon is seen as 'empty' and not clung to as a new identity to replace the old one / old belief. As soon as you give it a name, it's not 'it' (the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon).
What makes a belief 'the real deal'? Is it anything more than the attachment we have to it?

In this guidance we only address the first fetter of realising 'no inherent self' (or realising that the self is 'empty').
I guess it must because it was never there (self) and karma appears to operate. Or is just an illusion as well?
You guess? Is it not clear yet?
The idea of Karma is important, and I am not dismissing it.
However, what can you find right now in your experience that Karma relates to or cling to? Is this anything more than an idea / belief? An illusion created by the thinking process?
It happens, still, but not to an inherent self.
We can say this, yes. It would be worthwhile mentioning that the 'happen' can also be realised to be empty also.
Did things happen REALLY? Or did things happen because the mind / thought / memory suggests that they did?

I will write more later as I must go out now (to a group meeting about the ten fetters actually) :-)

Xain ♥

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:22 pm

Hi Xain, hope your meeting went well. I was dancing most of the day and am pretty tired today!
Is there a separate body here right now that is actively performing the senses?
For example, is the body responsible for 'feeling' ('I am feeling' or 'This body is feeling') or are these statements dependant on thought about a self? So (in a more real sense) there is 'feeling' only?
Yes, that is what I meant, that perceptions, and/or sense consciousness arise due to the sense organs, and are simply a part of the body which is empty of I. In the seen only the seen..and it is clear how this sensing was wrapped up in the idea of a self who was sensing. There is feeling only, except when the thinking arises interpreting and comparing, and the relating it in terms of a separation between the inferred subject and illusory object.
I still have the habit of referring to an I who sees, or remembers, even if I understand its not there

Then you answered my first question :-)
What about the 'I' with a habit? Is there an inherent self with habits here right now?
Writing is happening, and thinking about habits, and maybe still habits, but there is no inherent self to be found now or ever who owns or directs it all. Again its all conditions and process...but yes that statement again wasn't meant to point to an I who has a habit, it just feels like the problem of language again.
Well each sense has it's corresponding 'mental version' so thoughts are essentially 'the voice in the head' or the memory of a voice or a sound, imagination is the mental version of sight, the remembrance of images, objects, people.

A very simple exercise for imagination would be thus:
Imagine an orange.
Can what is witnessing that (imaginary) orange be found in the experience itself?
No just an image in awareness...amazing as that is.
Can what created that (imaginary) orange be found in the experience itself?
Never thought about that - interesting, and no not at all. It just can happen in response to instruction or intention - not that I intend to do it, or that I can find anything intending or imagining or seeing.
If it is said 'I created the imaginary orange' or 'I am witnessing the imaginary orange', can this 'I' be found?
Or is the 'I' in these statements from thought / belief only?
No there is direct experience, and the seen tendency to create this I from the thought about it. It seems that this tendency is unravelling by doing this work, or that it is more clear how this tendency operates or used to operate (give me some time to check if it is)
On reflection, having had a meeting with friends during which I tried to communicate this process and how exciting it is, there is still the tendency to see an I who was describing. I know it is not to be found, but the tendency is still there. If I remember to look, without simply communicating the experience in language which infers that I, of course it isn't to be found. Excitement, communication and friendship was arising, and in remembering it, the tendency to posit the I is seen.
Sure. We don't address these things at LU. My only concern would be that anything landed upon is seen as 'empty' and not clung to as a new identity to replace the old one / old belief. As soon as you give it a name, it's not 'it' (the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon).
What makes a belief 'the real deal'? Is it anything more than the attachment we have to it?
Thats exactly what I was worrying about. I don't know what makes this seeing the real deal, or the belief in this seeing, but that is ok. There is definitely growing clarity and loosening though so I hope we are on track!
I guess it must because it was never there (self) and karma appears to operate. Or is just an illusion as well?

You guess? Is it not clear yet?
its becoming clear, I just hadnt applied this kind of analysis to concepts like karma before.
The idea of Karma is important, and I am not dismissing it.
However, what can you find right now in your experience that Karma relates to or cling to? Is this anything more than an idea / belief? An illusion created by the thinking process?
No and when you asked the question in your previous post I realised I couldn't, and it was blindingly obvious I couldn't! It is a concept, that is relatively useful, but from the absolute perspective, or even the gate perspective, it seems obvious that is dependent on there being a self to work with karma. Without the illusion of self, karma may still happen, or perhaps it ceases to apply?
We were just talking in my group about how useful it is to, while you think you have one, direct the ego towards the dharma, or towards enquiry. It seems now as if that orientation is simply occurring dependent upon conditions. There is no I to direct any ego anywhere - pennies are dropping now, illusions or veils seem to be lifting. I also can see that although it was exciting to talk about it, the reactions to what I said were interesting and I tried some pointing, not sure how effective. I don't think I will keep talking about it for now. It does help consolidate this work to try to explain it though..
It happens, still, but not to an inherent self.

We can say this, yes. It would be worthwhile mentioning that the 'happen' can also be realised to be empty also.
Did things happen REALLY? Or did things happen because the mind / thought / memory suggests that they did?
I just need to check - by 'happen' here do you mean the selfing process around mental events or the events themselves? I understand that both can be seen to have the characteristics of emptiness but Im just not sure which you are pointing me to here?
The first one is clear, the second I understand at least to some extent, but still find value to learn from what has been arising and how I have reacted or not. I get that the memory or story around it is just a thought or idea in awareness, and not proof of self, but still relatively useful? I think I might need to look at this one again in the morning!!

Hope you are well :)

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:08 am

Yes, that is what I meant, that perceptions, and/or sense consciousness arise due to the sense organs, and are simply a part of the body which is empty of I.
This is not quite right - You need to examine / contemplate this.
We are not suggesting that there is a body which is empty / lacking an 'I'.
The very idea that 'I am this body' is the issue.
The very idea that 'I am something separate to everything else' is the issue.

'I am this body' is not inherently true.
'Consciousness arises / is dependant on the senses organs of the body' is not inherently true.

Forgive me if you already are clear on this, and it was just a confusion about words.
There is feeling only, except when the thinking arises interpreting and comparing, and the relating it in terms of a separation between the inferred subject and illusory object.
Yes - The important line is 'when thinking arises'.
This is the very core issue.
Writing is happening, and thinking about habits, and maybe still habits, but there is no inherent self to be found now or ever who owns or directs it all.
Yes - Good that you realise this.
But if there is no inherent self directing life, does 'Karma' actually refer to an inherent self? Is it anything more than a useful idea?
Without the illusion of self, karma may still happen, or perhaps it ceases to apply?
It is clear that it ceases to refer to an inherent self.
However, the IDEA of Karma need not be rejected.
It just can happen in response to instruction or intention
Yes, providing you understand that what you are describing is merely an appearance . . . if you believe literally that intentions or instructions cause things to happen, then that is an issue because it is intimated that there is an inherent self through-which the operation is carried out (the mechanism which is suggested to do that function).
I know it is not to be found, but the tendency is still there.
Tendencies may still be there - Perhaps we can call it 'conditioning'.
Is there an inherent self involved? Or are the tendencies merely 'how it appears'?
I don't know what makes this seeing the real deal, or the belief in this seeing, but that is ok. There is definitely growing clarity and loosening though so I hope we are on track!
Don't worry - I will not allow you to land on a new identity without a fight ;)
When it is clear that there is no 'I', no inherent self, then it will be seen without doubt. Paradoxically, it will be realised that no inherent self ever realised anything. It is all an illusion caused by the thinking process (and misperceptions).
It seems now as if that orientation is simply occurring dependent upon conditions.
That is one way of considering it (using thought).
Another way would be that everything 'merely happens, without any choice or control at all'.
That would include you coming here for guidance - That would include every word in this reply. That would include your choice (or lack of choice) in which to read these words.
I just need to check - by 'happen' here do you mean the selfing process around mental events or the events themselves? I understand that both can be seen to have the characteristics of emptiness but Im just not sure which you are pointing me to here?
I was referring to the emptiness of both - But this is beyond the scope of this guidance really. It was just for your interest.
Since you understand buddhist terms - is the gate the breaking of the first three fetters and thus leaving craving, aversion, conceit? Or is the gate the breaking of all of them?
The first three fetters only - But I can certainly offer you a few pointers for 4 and 5 . . . and 6 also.
Suffering, craving, aversion will still arise after the gate - However, it will be understood that these things do not arise for an inherent self - They are merely appearances.
For example if I see cake and craving arises, I can see that the craving is just a passing phenomena, the cake is simply in process on its way to the sewer, and the taste or satisfaction is fleeting and insubstantial. The pleasure isn't real and isn't capable of satisfying, even if there was an I to satisfy! I am in recovery from addictions so this work has been very important to me. Both sides of the craving situation are empty, of self or substance, satisfaction or permanence.
This is a study into 4 & 5th fetters. However, is there still a belief of an inherent self to which these things arise to?
What is the craving sensation arising for or to?

I have sent you a private message also.

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:30 pm

Yes, that is what I meant, that perceptions, and/or sense consciousness arise due to the sense organs, and are simply a part of the body which is empty of I.

This is not quite right - You need to examine / contemplate this.
We are not suggesting that there is a body which is empty / lacking an 'I'.
The very idea that 'I am this body' is the issue.
The very idea that 'I am something separate to everything else' is the issue.

'I am this body' is not inherently true.
'Consciousness arises / is dependant on the senses organs of the body' is not inherently true.

Forgive me if you already are clear on this, and it was just a confusion about words.
No worries - no forgiveness necessary, its not easy to write about this, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to clearly see where someone else is with it from writing. Anyway I think Im clear - I will try to put it differently.

Doing the six elements practice, the clarity dawned that there is nothing to grasp at say is me, mine, or I. The earth element is the taking in and returning of solids, water liquids, air and heat..space, and Ill come back to consciousness. So I see that 'I am this body' is not inherently true. I had assumed sense consciousness to depend on sense organ coming together with sensed object, and I include mechanics of perception, memory, and perhaps imagination in this - but to expand on this I see that this doesn't describe all of consciousness. I understand pure awareness, or reflexive perhaps, to be beyond the sense consciousness. A lot of dhyana experience also seems to be beyond anything related to a body or the senses.
I think there were breakthroughs for me last year when I realised that dhyana was not me, mine or I. It ceased to be why I wanted to meditate, and I felt quite a deep letting go. Just another mental event, albeit quite nice! Then doing the skandha meditation I saw the awareness is such, and thus the other levels of consciousness, did not contain or belong to an I. The assumption of an I in awareness fell away again and again, and this has led to a clearing and a brightening of awareness, a lightness and an openness I find it hard to describe, just that thoughts, cravings, anxiety seem to all be significantly reduced, hardly there at all, but as i say I am watching this to see if its true or if it stays true.
So I am almost sure I am clear - and have seen for a long time that there can be no something separate to the network of conditions and so on. The flow between body and world, or contents of mind and world, is so interwoven that separation is impossible. I can't say that any of these ideas are mine, even the seeming creative ideas are in actuality life open to the flow of life and potential. I can't say that I have seen through duality completely, or that it pervades my experience, but the understanding is there.
Just looking at trees in the park, and the sunlight this morning, I find I can look with a clear mind and a sense that all the life in it, and beings are all beautiful and a part of the dance that is life living itself, growing or reaching for the sun. It feels a little bit trippy to be honest!
Yes - Good that you realise this.
But if there is no inherent self directing life, does 'Karma' actually refer to an inherent self? Is it anything more than a useful idea?
No from our dialogue, and your prodding, I do see that karma does not refer to an inherent self, and that it is useful up to a point. I think it makes sense to me in terms of leaving the karma niyima to come under the influence of the dharma niyima. I don't know if you know that model of karma, but it describes how you work with karma niyima processes, setting up conditions, practice and so on, until you are taken by the current of another influence - the pull of enlightenment or reality. Perhaps this is unnecessary, but it helps me fit it into the language of the order I intend to join and serve. I certainly won't go around telling people that karma is an illusion or that 'I' have gone beyond it (lol) but I completely understand what you have pointed me to.
It is like the belief in a self or controller - while you are under the illusion you have one, it is useful to think in terms of directing yourself towards the dharma, towards awakening, setting up conditions and so on. After that belief falls away, what is happening is less easily understood, it just is.

Yes, providing you understand that what you are describing is merely an appearance . . . if you believe literally that intentions or instructions cause things to happen, then that is an issue because it is intimated that there is an inherent self through-which the operation is carried out (the mechanism which is suggested to do that function).
I see what you are saying, actually maybe Im not sure. Is all not merely appearance? In terms of intention and karma, I can see that the process intimates an inherent self, and yet I still notice intentions. An example - I meet someone new to meditation or to recovery, and I intend to say something helpful or inspiring or comforting. This desire can happen without my buying into a real self or a substantially existing person with whom I am trying to communicate something. Im not actually interested in the karmic effect any more. It feels good, I know it to be valuable, but don't take pride in it. I feel it is true to say that life seems to have given me tools to do that kind of thing, experience or knowledge or compassion, but that doesnt have to include the inherent self does it? I take it on board that any kind of story can't be found in experience now, and doesnt reveal a self, yet there is still a story to share, experience to share. This is making me smile, I wonder what I would share at a meeting instead of a story which seems to imply a self. I joke sometimes that self-obsession falls away if you cease to believe in or construct a self, but I just get a funny look.
I am clear that the story is constructed to create self in thought. Relatively speaking though, aspects of that story can be useful still. Is this the question of relative and absolute truth again? Sorry just trying to work this one out!
I know it is not to be found, but the tendency is still there.

Tendencies may still be there - Perhaps we can call it 'conditioning'.
Is there an inherent self involved? Or are the tendencies merely 'how it appears'?
I love this. I thought you meant 'appear' i'n the way suchness is used. Here I can see that yes there are tendencies, and that this is how the self is constructed in relation to tendency. All of this raises some questions and musings, like about how strange it is that people all appear to choose or live such different lives. In a way, it makes habits a lot easier to change, those that it would be worth changing at least.
It is starting to become clear, and some of the perfection of wisdom is starting to sink in more deeply. Such as, the bodhisattva acts for the benefit of beings whilst understanding that there are no beings. Compassion without the subject and object...
This work is so exciting!!

I don't know what makes this seeing the real deal, or the belief in this seeing, but that is ok. There is definitely growing clarity and loosening though so I hope we are on track!
Don't worry - I will not allow you to land on a new identity without a fight ;)
When it is clear that there is no 'I', no inherent self, then it will be seen without doubt. Paradoxically, it will be realised that no inherent self ever realised anything. It is all an illusion caused by the thinking process (and misperceptions).
Thanks :) Thats good to know! Ok I get it, once the doubt is gone, the seeing will be complete. So realisation happens, but not to or by anyone. It feels clearer and less uncertain by the day at the moment, although there is still the tendency to doubt that this is it, it is as simple as this, and that it can be happening to 'me!' (Lol there it is...)
It is weird, but as someone training for ordination, there are conversations happening about my readiness, which make me wonder how they see me. Relatively speaking, they might be describing the process pertaining or seeming to pertain to a being...if I imagine someone saying that 'he has seen' x or y, then the self is intimated even if its not there. In response to that process I imagine a story, or a desire to show there has been progress. I have recently changed a lot of habits, and there seems to be a story in that, a continuity which is having effects like weight loss or more energy and more engagement with practice.
I can see that the effects of this work still have to ripple into all areas of being, and that involves the seeing staying fresh and the analysis continuing. Again, it seems like this work is occurring in a consciousness which is mine, even if I know it isn't. I can't find this 'work occurring' or the mine in consciousness, yet something amazing is happening, of this there is no doubt.
I wonder how long it will take for the doubts to fall away and the liberation to be unleashed!
That is one way of considering it (using thought).
Another way would be that everything 'merely happens, without any choice or control at all'.
That would include you coming here for guidance - That would include every word in this reply. That would include your choice (or lack of choice) in which to read these words.
I see. One of my teachers loves to say that 'conditionality or pratitya samuptpada is the perfect response to the free will debate. We are free to choose our actions but not the consequences.' I can see that again we are back to the useful idea. Without a self who chooses, where is freedom. There seems to be freedom, I can decide to go and sit in the sun and get off the computer, but really this is simply happening because the sun is shining and beautiful, and there is a tendency and a craving operating, conditioned.
Is this what is meant by the term 'choiceless awareness?' Are we back to the lovely phrase life living itself, or experience is suchness?

I just need to check - by 'happen' here do you mean the selfing process around mental events or the events themselves? I understand that both can be seen to have the characteristics of emptiness but Im just not sure which you are pointing me to here?
I was referring to the emptiness of both - But this is beyond the scope of this guidance really. It was just for your interest.
Definitely interested!! The dharma has never seemed so exciting...

Since you understand buddhist terms - is the gate the breaking of the first three fetters and thus leaving craving, aversion, conceit? Or is the gate the breaking of all of them?
The first three fetters only - But I can certainly offer you a few pointers for 4 and 5 . . . and 6 also.
Suffering, craving, aversion will still arise after the gate - However, it will be understood that these things do not arise for an inherent self - They are merely appearances.
I am clear about this now. I will definitely carry on after this work, but I should probably be sure about the first before focusing too much on craving etc. Although looking at self in the light of craving is very interesting and revealing, so maybe it is useful. It seems to be a really crucial seeing, that it is all 'merely appearance,' or 'such.'
For example if I see cake and craving arises, I can see that the craving is just a passing phenomena, the cake is simply in process on its way to the sewer, and the taste or satisfaction is fleeting and insubstantial. The pleasure isn't real and isn't capable of satisfying, even if there was an I to satisfy! I am in recovery from addictions so this work has been very important to me. Both sides of the craving situation are empty, of self or substance, satisfaction or permanence.

This is a study into 4 & 5th fetters. However, is there still a belief of an inherent self to which these things arise to?
What is the craving sensation arising for or to?
No and that is the magic. Craving is left without support, floating and not real...yet some of them are biological and powerful! It isn't arising in terms of ideas so much, like wealth or security or owning anything, just attraction to women and the beautiful in the world. I have so many questions about this but it can wait until the right time.

Thanks again. I am going to reflect on this and go for a walk and sit in the sun. Its funny, i was going to type that I feel I am experiencing less doubt, and the statement arose - "what is there to doubt?" Then, "who doubts what?"

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:57 pm

Doing the six elements practice, the clarity dawned that there is nothing to grasp at say is me, mine, or I.
Yes - Would it be acceptable to suggest that . . . 'anything that is suggested as 'me' or 'mine' is entirely based on thought / the thinking process, and not inherently true or real.
So I see that 'I am this body' is not inherently true.
Yes, good.
A lot of dhyana experience also seems to be beyond anything related to a body or the senses.
It is, but that is way beyond the guidance offered here.
The assumption of an I in awareness fell away again and again, and this has led to a clearing and a brightening of awareness
I understand - But even here . . . is it falling away for / from an inherent self?
The flow between body and world, or contents of mind and world, is so interwoven that separation is impossible.
Yes - This is another way to approach the entire issue.
We normally suggest 'seeing' is being done by a 'seer' . . . we completely ignore the fact that there would not be 'seeing' without 'that which is seen' also! They are BOTH equally important. And yet, we look for this duality . . . these two separate things and we fail to find them (an inherent seer, in this guidance).
I find I can look with a clear mind and a sense that all the life in it, and beings are all beautiful and a part of the dance that is life living itself, growing or reaching for the sun. It feels a little bit trippy to be honest!
Yes - It is indeed amazing - It is 'beyond belief'.
. . . practice and so on, until you are taken by the current of another influence - the pull of enlightenment or reality. Perhaps this is unnecessary, but it helps me fit it into the language of the order I intend to join and serve.
I do not know the Karma model, but what you refer to makes sense.
Is all not merely appearance?
It is, but within the guidance we only focus on one aspect - The self.
We do not deconstruct or examine other items.
Within my own guidance (with is loosely based on the Bahiya sutta), I make the assumption that there is 'What is seen' and 'What is heard' (for example), and with those assumptions in place, I ask people to try to find an inherent seer and hearer.
I feel it is true to say that life seems to have given me tools to do that kind of thing, experience or knowledge or compassion, but that doesnt have to include the inherent self does it?
Is there an inherent self with experience, knowledge or tools? Or 'taking things on board'?
Relatively speaking though, aspects of that story can be useful still. Is this the question of relative and absolute truth again? Sorry just trying to work this one out!
Yes.
In 'relative truth' we can say that I am guiding you on this forum - Two people.
But it is clear that there is no inherent guide - Is there any inherent person being guided?
Such as, the bodhisattva acts for the benefit of beings whilst understanding that there are no beings. Compassion without the subject and object...
Yes. There are many ways this can be approached and described.
I don't like to use the wording, but if we take the position that the Bodhisattva no-longer believes that there is separation, and no-longer believes that 'This body is me' . . . then any act is an act of helping himself. There is only him.
(I don't mean these words literally, I mean them as a description of what may be considered to happen if it is clear that there is no separation).
I don't know what makes this seeing the real deal, or the belief in this seeing, but that is ok.
We are heading for a realisation - Not a belief. There is a difference.
A belief is a mental position, perhaps switching from one position to another position.
Here in this guidance, we simply recognise that 'I', the separate self is an illusion created by the thinking process itself.
The very thought / belief that there is an inherent self, holds the belief / illusion in place!
it is as simple as this, and that it can be happening to 'me!' (Lol there it is...)
Yes, it is utterly simple - Just to recognise what has always been the case. But it is because it is so simple that creates the issue. The mind loves puzzles - To try to work something out. We are investigating the operation of the mind itself!
Again, it seems like this work is occurring in a consciousness which is mine, even if I know it isn't.
There is a personal consciousness?
I can decide to go and sit in the sun and get off the computer
But can you really? Do you truly believe there is choice? That there is a 'you' (inherent self) with free-will. Be honest.
I can give you a simple exercise for this if you wish.

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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:37 pm

The assumption of an I in awareness fell away again and again, and this has led to a clearing and a brightening of awareness

I understand - But even here . . . is it falling away for / from an inherent self?
No it is just awareness. Even if the instinct or habit is to describe experience as mine, I do see that it simply awareness aware of itself as awareness, aware that the thoughts about awareness were what created the sense of I in awareness. I think I see clearly the difference between direct experience and the conceptual layerings. Thoughts seem to try to create an I or a story in which it falls away for or from a self, but there can't be, and never was an I in those thoughts, in that story, or in the awareness, or in the awakening process.
Within my own guidance (with is loosely based on the Bahiya sutta), I make the assumption that there is 'What is seen' and 'What is heard' (for example), and with those assumptions in place, I ask people to try to find an inherent seer and hearer.
Yes I was doing this earlier in the bath, there was a lovely play of light reflected from the sun onto the wall. I was looking into what i was seeing, and what the seeing actually is. Direct seeing or raw seeing was happening without thoughts around it, apart from flickers of recognition that there is no self seeing, and that this is true. As this is now memory, I can see how the self gets constructed around memory and thoughts connecting memory to the now forming story. But at the time, I saw clearly that there is seeing and seen, but no seer. Seeing simply is, and clarity simply is about it. Memory simply arises, but the self in this apparent continuity is only constructed by thought or concept...Im going to explore this because I feel a vague stickiness here.
I can remember the image or play of light, can see it in mind's eye. This seems to suggest it happened, and the thought 'to me' seems to really want to jump in. So yes the experience arose, and now memory arises..it feels like we are clearing away residual tendencies. Some seem to be more powerful or tendency-like than others!
I feel it is true to say that life seems to have given me tools to do that kind of thing, experience or knowledge or compassion, but that doesnt have to include the inherent self does it?

Is there an inherent self with experience, knowledge or tools? Or 'taking things on board'?
This is a bit confusing, as it seems to be true that I know certain things - have practised certain skills. Perhaps this is more accurately that life has presented certain opportunities to learn and there was attraction to some areas or abilities. I suppose that for so long there was a self defined by abilities or habits or learning...
I play music, so a lot of time was taken in learning. That inclination occurred very young, and formed part of my identity. Obviously now, the identity seems to be fallen away, but the skill remains. So do I possess a skill? No. Is there skill? Yes. Do I possess knowledge? No. Is there knowledge? Yes.
Does that sound about right? Sorry it must be confusing reading this process of working out, although as I said it feels like clearing now. Like working out the implications of all of this..and it seems to be experiential rather than conceptual even if its hard to know where one begins and the other ends.
Same with taking things on board - understanding is happening, or deepening, and yet, nowhere is there any entity that understands except as a relative concept.
So where and in what way does understanding, knowledge or skill happen? Something stores memory and ability. I think I see that this is part of the body, part of the memory..in actual experience, typing is happening and had to be learned, language, understanding etc etc..and it all seems to suggest that 'I' learned these things. On analysis, learning is a function of consciousness and is great..it is just thought and habit which imputes an I who can do or can learn. Phew...
Yes.
In 'relative truth' we can say that I am guiding you on this forum - Two people.
But it is clear that there is no inherent guide - Is there any inherent person being guided?
No. It's like awareness seeing awareness more and more clearly, and the illusions or habits and thoughts becoming more obviously illusion and habits and thought. Not, I suppose, that thought is separate from awareness, or habit separate from thought, and so on, like waves and ocean, or ripples in puddle. But mind shaking off a leaning towards imputing a self. Nor, that guide is separate from guided but I understand that is not what we are working on!
Haha, the idea that there is a person being guided feels so familiar, but it's just an idea! Here and now there is no self in experience, definitely no fixed self, or permanent entity, just experience and tempting ideas lol.
I don't know what makes this seeing the real deal, or the belief in this seeing, but that is ok.

We are heading for a realisation - Not a belief. There is a difference.
A belief is a mental position, perhaps switching from one position to another position.
Here in this guidance, we simply recognise that 'I', the separate self is an illusion created by the thinking process itself.
The very thought / belief that there is an inherent self, holds the belief / illusion in place!
Oh gosh! So I see that the separate self is an illusion created by thought. The seeing of no self in awareness isn't or doesnt seem to be supported by thought, it just isn't there. What supports continuing to see it isn't there? The twilight zone theme is in my head now! Do I need to use thought or reasoning to continue seeing through the illusion? I guess that is the question that will define whether it is a mental position or a realisation..I feel like only time can answer this one.
Again, it seems like this work is occurring in a consciousness which is mine, even if I know it isn't.

There is a personal consciousness?
There is awareness in this organism, same as there is awareness in others. This creates the appearance of that awareness being personal, the idea that there is and I who owns or experiences. Nowhere to be found though.
I can decide to go and sit in the sun and get off the computer

But can you really? Do you truly believe there is choice? That there is a 'you' (inherent self) with free-will. Be honest.
I can give you a simple exercise for this if you wish.
There are actions, and it seems like I can do one or another. It seems like volitions are in my control, but I get that it all simply happens and doesn't mean that I do them or choose them.
"I am not going to my class tonight because my legs are sore." Ok so there is pain there, and decision arises in dependence upon that. I realise they aren't my legs absolutely speaking, or that it is 'my' pain. It seems like a decision but really it is all appearance and sensation and experience.
"I want to engage with this and see through the illusion." I don't think wild horses could stop me, engagement has arisen and any will behind that is appearance. If I think about this mind wants to impute a self. On analysis, no self can be found in the process, just ideas and awareness. No illusion can be found, nor realisation.
I want to believe in free will, which is a preference, a belief in creative potential. In my experience, I can't find free will, or choice, or a self who possesses or controls or to whom it all occurs. So neither free will nor predetermination seem to apply. Just awareness again...LOL. Can I find creativity or creative impulse - it seems to happen sometimes and in certain conditions but again, this does not imply a self being creative, or a self in whom creativity arises. Creativity is simply an aspect of life expressing or living..eureka?

I would be very happy to try the exercise, I certainly don't want to assume it is done. Confidence is certainly growing...
And what of decisions..there are decisions to make soon regarding a life situation. Conventionally one would say that 'I have to make a decision.' What will actually occur is phenomena will arise, options will be seen, and life will steer the best course it can see. I am sure it is the same as choice just on a different scale or level, with differing levels of consequence. So I won't be making decisions, it will all just arise. The decision is maybe just another idea..because where is it? Or where the self who makes it?
Solutions may have to be investigated..or things will simply arise and appear or be described as solution or decision lol
This is a hell of a ride, I love it, thank you! :)

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Xain
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:29 pm

This is a hell of a ride, I love it, thank you! :)
Me too - I love this stuff!
This is a bit confusing, as it seems to be true that I know certain things - have practised certain skills.
I play music, so a lot of time was taken in learning.
Is this a relative truth / an appearance?
Or are you referring to an inherent self that knows and has these skills?

Simple instruction to you -
Look in your immediate experience for this inherent self - Do you find one? Or only thoughts about one?
(So the 'I' that plays music . . . what is that . . . where is that?)
Something stores memory and ability
Are you referring to an inherent self here?
Again, use the tool above - Examine your experience for an 'I' that has a memory.
Do you find this one?
Haha, the idea that there is a person being guided feels so familiar, but it's just an idea!
Yes :-) A perfectly acceptable idea - But just an idea, none the less :-)
What supports continuing to see it isn't there?
You are inferring a 'thing' which performs an activity - This is another hiding place for a separate self.
It is not so much a question of 'it isn't there' . . . it is that 'I' IS only in thoughts.
Your task . . . without the thought 'I' occurring, what and where is the 'I', the separate person?
Look for the 'I' that examines things and sees things are here or not here.
What is that one?
There is awareness in this organism, same as there is awareness in others.
This is a problem.
This is the description of a separate self.
Rather than thinking, tell me how awareness manifests itself AS or IN a separate organism?
(Please ignore OTHERS for the moment - That can cause a distraction - Please only speak from your own experience)
There are actions, and it seems like I can do one or another.
Ok - Let me offer you a guidance.

Here's a very simple exercise you can do while sat down.
You must compare your EXPERIENCE (what you can find with the senses) with what answers you get from THOUGHT / THINKING.

Choose one of the hands, it doesn't matter which.
I want you to actively make a choice of one hand or the other. Left or right.
Then when you've chosen one and you feel you wish to, raise that hand into the air.

Do this as many times as you like, but each time you do it - Inquire on this:

1) Can what is making the hand / arm rise into the air (the muscles contract etc) be FOUND?
2) Can what chose that particular hand be FOUND?
3) Can an 'I', a Person, (or the body itself??) be found making that happen?
4) Can an 'I', a Person, (or the body itself??) be found making a choice?

What exactly is making that happen?
What exactly is making the choice?

What do you FIND?

Just as a note, of course the limbs of the body are 'seen' and they are seen to be moving.
Remember we are trying to find what causes such a thing to happen. What and where is the controller found?

What proof do you have that the hand and arm are in control by a self?
What proof do you have that the hand is being chosen?

Xain ♥

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Skygazer74
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:11 am

Hi Xain, Im going to respond to some of this now but am tired - I have busy days for a few days but will try to stay on it/
This is a bit confusing, as it seems to be true that I know certain things - have practised certain skills.
I play music, so a lot of time was taken in learning.

Is this a relative truth / an appearance?
Or are you referring to an inherent self that knows and has these skills?

Simple instruction to you -
Look in your immediate experience for this inherent self - Do you find one? Or only thoughts about one?
(So the 'I' that plays music . . . what is that . . . where is that?)
I think what is happening is that I start my response to your guiding by working it out, describing what I see as the illusion and then going into experience and seeing that that illusion or is not in experience. If I left out the working out it might be clearer - often to work it out I state the conventional appearance and unpick it.
Playing music is an interesting one, as clearing the concept of 'I am playing' has always helped, to become almost more of a channelling of music. The experience is that playing is happening, movements, flow or absorption, expression and awareness. Someone might look and say, 'he is playing music,' and I might say I am playing music, but really something more mysterious is happening.

Something stores memory and ability

Are you referring to an inherent self here?
Again, use the tool above - Examine your experience for an 'I' that has a memory.
Do you find this one?
No it can't be found, yet memory happens, competency happens.
What supports continuing to see it isn't there?

You are inferring a 'thing' which performs an activity - This is another hiding place for a separate self.
It is not so much a question of 'it isn't there' . . . it is that 'I' IS only in thoughts.
Your task . . . without the thought 'I' occurring, what and where is the 'I', the separate person?
Look for the 'I' that examines things and sees things are here or not here.
What is that one?
Yes I was thinking that if thought supports the illusion, what supports the awakening. I see what you are saying, that the clear seeing doesnt need support as its simply resting in reality rather than needing to (falsely) interpret it.
Beyond the thought I, there is no I. Whatever activity conventionally associated with I, is seen to be without it, including the examining.
I see a pattern - I have a breakthrough, and then questions or doubts flood in, almost as if it is the minds defence mechanism. I don't see and cannot find an I in the questioning or defending, or the breakthrough, just happening.
Yet thinking returns and it feels like I need to remind myself to cut through that thinking and return to clarity. I see no reason why this won't change and become more stable in the same way that returning to breath in meditation becomes more stable. I read that thinking will occur after the gate, but will it still try to create an I? Does it still try to re-create the illusion?
There is awareness in this organism, same as there is awareness in others.

This is a problem.
This is the description of a separate self.
Rather than thinking, tell me how awareness manifests itself AS or IN a separate organism?
(Please ignore OTHERS for the moment - That can cause a distraction - Please only speak from your own experience)
I need to check this, as I thought it was a given that there was awareness, including body sensations, whether or not a self is identified or imputed in it. The logic was that by being the same for others it is not special to me or separate - but leaving that aside:
Awareness manifests now in the body, sight, sound, engaging with this, typing results, looking again. This is happening without thought of I except linguistically as I try to report. I notice that I can't find my eyes, just seeing, 'my eyes' is a thought. It is only thought which adds my or I into the equation. I also can't find a division between awareness and what is in awareness. This is the two wheatsheafs supporting each other I guess.
Yet being honest what seems to make the body separate is that if I walk into another room, nothing here follows me, it moves independently of other objects. Im also 'thinking' (!!!) that awareness of sensation in body feels separate because I can't feel sensation in the chair or the wall or whatever. Im guessing this might be revealing more problems, but Im just following instructions and keen to get what seems to be happening down to highlight where there is holding.
Actually the fact that I can't feel sensation much beyond the body, and I can a bit beyond the body, doesnt necessarily imply separation, as the idea beyond the body cannot be found except as visual objects which are in awareness and mind tells me are separate.. Anyway ignoring beyond the body, in experience I can only find sensation, beyond body is an idea.
But back to raw awareness without that thinking, and it is true that there is nothing there except awareness, and nothing in awareness that is a self. So the above may all be conceptual only..Im just trying to zero in on what there is to imply 'separate.' I thought separation was seen through by doing the six element practice, but perhaps there is more to do.
Maybe it is somehow in the division between senses that I impute separation. In tactile sensation there is just sensation, but with eyes open, seeing what seems beyond body, the tactile seems to be limited to body and what it can touch, so it 'feels' like a separation.



1) Can what is making the hand / arm rise into the air (the muscles contract etc) be FOUND?
It just happens. Thinking is objecting again, with some reasoning about how it doesnt just happen for no reason, it happens because of the exercise, because mind wants to know or see what makes it happen. So there is a conditionality, but the impulse to raise it really can't be found or identified or grasped.
2) Can what chose that particular hand be FOUND?
There was a quick process, I wanted to use the right to scroll. SO I closed my eyes and did the decision again - and found a kind of pause and stillness. So I reread the instruction and chose the right hand this time, just quickly and no no reason is apparent, and no decision seemed to happen. Thought now says that it wasn't random, a choice needed to be made so was made..but I still can't find what chose that hand. A choosing happened (that sounds weird!)

3) Can an 'I', a Person, (or the body itself??) be found making that happen?

Eyes see a movement, body senses movement and air, awareness knows it to be happening. None of this shows 'making it happen' just how happening is known. Wow it really does just happen, I can't find the impulse or leaning into making it happen. (Mind is asking if this is true in a more loaded scenario, like daring to kiss a girl for the first time..but I already know that the same thing will be seen) Mind is also trying to find explanations and phrases like muscle memory and synapses..but this is all only idea and can't be found.

4) Can an 'I', a Person, (or the body itself??) be found making a choice?

No, really the choice just happened..mind is throwing up something about Derren Brown and influence..but this is just proliferation really.
What exactly is making that happen?
What exactly is making the choice?

What do you FIND?
I find nothing in experience. I see action and that a choice is made..but no agent or impulse. I see thought looking for answers, fighting with this finding lol. But its true, bringing everything right back to experience there is a very simple and obvious lack of anything. So why does anybody do anything? I find a sense of absurdity, simplicity, and the realisation that I don't know anything.
I can see how the I is assumed and educated into thinking, and that it seems so important to us, so important to please 'I' and choose wisely for 'I' and have that 'I' well thought of or loved, feel good about my 'self' and my 'choices..and all the worldly winds blow. Yet every step in that process is illusion layering onto illusion.
its simple, but the implications sometimes seem mind-boggling. Or is that just mind boggling..trying to hold on?

Can I ask - at this point should I be reading other posts? I read a few a few days ago, and felt kind of clear that I was getting there but actually Im having periods of clarity and confidence, and then doubts come back or proliferation around it all. It feels like Im there, and then it feels like Im not, even if no there or not there exists, or I who is feeling it.
However I don't want to see what other people write in response to these kinds of exercises, or know what the 'right answers are so I want to keep it to my experience and your guiding. That said it might help to see how others moved through blocks, doubts, and proliferation around it all.

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Xain
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Xain » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:12 pm

We are addressing far too many points in one go now - This won't work properly.
Would you be happy to have a chat over Skype?

Xain ♥

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Skygazer74
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Re: Flickers of seeing through

Postby Skygazer74 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:42 pm

Ok, sorry for not keeping it more simple!

Sure, I'm free till 5, or after 10pm..and again tomorrow morning or afternoon? Or daytime Thursday :)

I'll pm you me mobile etc


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