Circling This Idea

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grape
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Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:04 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I see it as the idea that there is no "me"--that me is a social construct, something created to interact with the world. This idea makes sense to me, and per the title of this thread, I've been circling this notion for two years now.

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking to see for myself if there is no I. Whatever the truth is, that's what I'm after. Whenever I start considering the idea of no-self, I sometimes feel a tinge of fear. What happens to my daughters and grandchildren if there's no "me"? If there's truly no me, I want to know, but not on a purely intellectual level. I can sometimes grasp it on an intellectual level, but I don't "feel" it in my heart. I hope that makes sense.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I hope someone can point me in the right direction to discover for myself what is true. I've read many books, watched many Youtube videos, and spent hours in meditation, and haven't made it yet. I'm not bored, angry, helpless, depressed or frightened. My life is actually pretty good. There's something else though, something deeper about life that I'm missing. Maybe what I need is someone to personally "push" me over the obstacles I keep encountering. There's no-one in my life--not friends or family or co-workers--that I can discuss this with.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I spent years in organized religion. That became a dead end for me 8 years ago, and I became what you'd call a seeker. I've read countless books on spirituality (esp. Buddhism, advaita, etc.) and do a zazen style meditation twice a day, usually for a total of 30-45 minutes. If there's a next step for me, I'm ready to take it.

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

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:19 am

Good morning

My name is Bambaji, and I am a guide here at LU. I would love to guide you if you are happy to have me. First of all, please have a look around the site and acclimatise yourself to how things work here. Go to the "Home" button at the top of this post and have a read of what LU is and is not.

We will have a conversation which will take the form of an inquiry. I will tend to question existing beliefs but will not give new beliefs or 'teachings'. It is for you to 'take a look' at your experience.

Could you please agree to post at least once a day? I will try to do the same and will let you know if I am not able to.

If you feel ready to start then please consider this question:

What is your current understanding of what it is that 'you' are?

Warmest wishes

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:56 pm

Good morning Bambaji

Thank you for volunteering to help me with this. I do agree to post at least once a day.
What is your current understanding of what it is that 'you' are?
I see myself as fufilling roles. These include father, grandfather, friend, son, employee, etc. These roles, combined with a variety of attitudes, habits, personality quirks and memories, make up "me". I believe that we're trained from an early age to assume a set of characteristics that help us to interact with society and the world at large. I feel at times that there's something else, a watcher, a "seer" behind all this. And occasionally, behind the watcher, nothing. A void. This notion comes and goes, and it rarely happens, but I do glimpse it from time to time.

The idea of "no-me" walking around seems puzzling and sometimes a little scary. If there is no me, what is interacting with the world? How do I hold down my job, and enjoy time with my family? If there's truly no me, why even bother to get out of bed in the morning? And yet, at times the idea of no me seems liberating, a way to see and interact with the world in a fresh, new way. If this no-me is the truth, I want to know it and believe it.

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:04 am

Hi, thank you for confirming that you are happy to look with me :) and thank you for answering the question.

And you have already found and mastered the quote feature - excellent!

Before we begin, please could I ask you not to read/watch/listen to any teachers whilst you are looking here? It can be distracting and your full focus on this will help you really look.
The idea of "no-me" walking around seems puzzling and sometimes a little scary. If there is no me, what is interacting with the world? How do I hold down my job, and enjoy time with my family? If there's truly no me, why even bother to get out of bed in the morning? And yet, at times the idea of no me seems liberating, a way to see and interact with the world in a fresh, new way. If this no-me is the truth, I want to know it and believe it.
With regard to "no-me", what expectations do you carry around this. Could you please look deeply and report back. This will give me a better idea of where you are, and will give us a good jumping off spot :)

Go gently

Bambaji

....how would you like to be addressed? No name is necessary, but let me know if you would like me to use one

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:12 pm

Good morning.
Before we begin, please could I ask you not to read/watch/listen to any teachers whilst you are looking here?
Absolutely. I feel heavily invested in this, so I've put away the books, videos, etc. I'm "all in" with LU. You can just call me grape if you want. That was a spur of the moment username.

With regard to "no-me", what expectations do you carry around this
That's a tough one to answer. Definitely, I'm expecting clarity. I'm hoping a no-me walking through this world will see things (and accept things) exactly as they are, rather than running around trying to change things to suit itself. The me that seems to live behind my eyes carries history with it--imagined slights from people, stupid things I did as a kid, embarrassing moments--and I'd definitely like to drop that. Not drop the memories, but rather drop my self-conscious responses to them.

This "me" is sensitive to criticism, sometimes lazy, and wants to be universally loved. I'm hoping a no-me will be beyond all that. Some people walk easily in this world, accepting of everything, unafraid to love everyone. They seem to know when to change adverse situations, when to accept them, and when to simply walk away. They love much, and hate no-one. These people are few and far between in my experience, but they're around. I want to be one of those. I hope being a no-me will make that possible.

Another expectation is to simply know the truth. I'm getting on in years, and before I go, I'd like to have a firm grasp on how I think this life works. How will a no-me see existence? Is a no-me possible? I want to find out.

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:08 pm

Hello Grape

Thank you for your reply, your honesty is much appreciated. We may look at some of these expectations a little later.

For now, I would like to know more about this "me".
The me that seems to live behind my eyes
Is that the location of the me? Have you ever seen this me? Please sit and close your eyes and look for it. See if the actual location of the me can be found. Report back with your experience.

Have fun with these exercises :)

Bambaji

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:24 pm

Is that the location of the me? Have you ever seen this me? Please sit and close your eyes and look for it. See if the actual location of the me can be found. Report back with your experience.
That's odd. Although I've had a couple of brief moments of no self over the years, I've almost always felt that there was a director in my head, someone to whom experiences appear. I've never actually looked for this experiencer until now. I can't find one there. And yet, this stuff seems to be happening to "something/someone". The fan on my desk blows wind in my face, and here I am perceiving it. I hear my fingers tapping on this keyboard. I see my iPhone on the corner of the desk. And yet, when I look, I don't see a me anywhere. So who is perceiving these experiences?

This is fun, but it's harder than I expected. :)
Thanks again for your help.

Grape

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:49 am

That's odd. Although I've had a couple of brief moments of no self over the years, I've almost always felt that there was a director in my head, someone to whom experiences appear
.

This is not an uncommon assumption!
I've never actually looked for this experiencer until now. I can't find one there

Fabulous Grape, this is Direct Experience!
And yet, this stuff seems to be happening to "something/someone". The fan on my desk blows wind in my face, and here I am perceiving it. I hear my fingers tapping on this keyboard. I see my iPhone on the corner of the desk. And yet, when I look, I don't see a me anywhere. So who is perceiving these experiences?
Is it possible that this stuff is just happening? Does it need something or somebody to happen to? Have a really good look at this and report back.

Have a look for the 'I' hearing fingers tapping and perceiving. What do you find? Take your time, go for the Direct Experience and report back.
Thanks again for your help
You are so welcome :)

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:26 pm

Is it possible that this stuff is just happening? Does it need something or somebody to happen to? Have a really good look at this and report back.
Well...it doesn't need somebody to happen to. In a sense, it's just life unfolding, like it always has. Following that idea, if there's no one in the drivers seat observing and directing my experiences, then there's no me to make decisions. No free will. That would imply that I have no control over any aspect of my life. I'm not sure how to approach that idea.

Have a look for the 'I' hearing fingers tapping and perceiving. What do you find? Take your time, go for the Direct Experience and report back.
I'm sitting here drumming my fingers on my desk as I think about this. There's no I who initiated the drumming. There's no I hearing it. It seems like there has to be an I there, but as a matter of direct experience, I can't find one. Things are just happening. But it feels like there's a me making choices, evaluating things, making decisions. That feeling is hard to deny. Maybe it's just a habit to feel this way, a symptom of the "programming" we've all been subjected to.

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:03 am

Well...it doesn't need somebody to happen to. In a sense, it's just life unfolding, like it always has. Following that idea, if there's no one in the drivers seat observing and directing my experiences, then there's no me to make decisions. No free will. That would imply that I have no control over any aspect of my life.
Indeed!

Is free will real or is it maybe a thought to support the illusion of a separate self? Check this out.

Next time you are walking, look at the experience closely. Is there any control over the movement? What about breathing? Drinking a glass of water? Or thinking?
I'm sitting here drumming my fingers on my desk as I think about this. There's no I who initiated the drumming. There's no I hearing it. It seems like there has to be an I there, but as a matter of direct experience, I can't find one.
This is excellent looking Grape, really good work. What is actually happening? In direct experience there is the sensation that is labelled 'fingers drumming' and there is hearing. Is this enough? Is something/anything missing?
Things are just happening. But it feels like there's a me making choices, evaluating things, making decisions. That feeling is hard to deny. Maybe it's just a habit to feel this way, a symptom of the "programming" we've all been subjected to.
Call to mind a recent activity, something as simple as placing your iPhone on the corner of your desk. Can you pinpoint the exact moment when a decision was made to do that?

Take your time, I've given you a few exercises here! Please say if I am overloading you.

Go gently

Bambaji

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:34 pm

Hi Bambaji:
Please say if I am overloading you.
Not at all. This is exactly what I need; someone nudging me to keep going. :)


Is free will real or is it maybe a thought to support the illusion of a separate self? Check this out.
I thought about this for quite a while this morning. If there's no I, there's never been any free will. Things have always happened just like they're supposed to, and always will. One thing I got stuck on: what about moral choices? I'm a normal law-abiding citizen. I'd never rob a bank, or shoot up heroin, but if I don't have to worry about making moral choices, what's to stop me from robbing a local bank? After all, it's just the universe doing what it does. Perhaps the universe decides I should be a bank robber. What then?

Maybe being stuck on the idea of free will has to do with my desire to make good decisions, like I've always tried to do. Sigh.


What is actually happening? In direct experience there is the sensation that is labelled 'fingers drumming' and there is hearing. Is this enough? Is something/anything missing?

Nothing is missing. Given that the universe just does what it always does, no "me" is needed to initiate or judge anything. There's still that pesky moral decision thing though.


Next time you are walking, look at the experience closely. Is there any control over the movement? What about breathing? Drinking a glass of water? Or thinking?
It just happens. I don't make a decision to breathe. When I drink water, I don't think about picking up a glass and swallowing, it happens by itself. Thinking also happens by itself. Thoughts/ideas just seem to drop out of nowhere; I can't find an I that creates these thoughts. So where are these ideas/thoughts coming from? Thoughts don't arise about chemistry or microbiology, but rather things like literature, spirituality, my family, etc. Why does that particular set of thoughts occur regularly for me? What makes the grape entity behave the way it does? Why isn't it out buying drugs this morning, or shoplifting?


Call to mind a recent activity, something as simple as placing your iPhone on the corner of your desk. Can you pinpoint the exact moment when a decision was made to do that?
I just took my hands off the keyboard, scratched my head absently, and looked down at the floor. I can't see when a decision was made to do that, or any decision at all. It just happened. When I examine it closely, there are no decisions being made about anything that happens to grape. It occurs. I've never quite looked at things this way before. Maybe I'm getting somewhere with this. At any rate, I really appreciate your help looking at these thing.

grape

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:37 pm

Thanks for your report Grape.
It just happens. I don't make a decision to breathe. When I drink water, I don't think about picking up a glass and swallowing, it happens by itself. Thinking also happens by itself. Thoughts/ideas just seem to drop out of nowhere; I can't find an I that creates these thoughts.
Ok, this is great, thoughts arise and pass like clouds across the sky. Can thoughts be controlled? Can a thought be stopped? Does the sky control the clouds?
So where are these ideas/thoughts coming from?
Must thoughts come from somewhere? Sit with this, is it possible to have a direct experience of a thought? Can a thought be touched, seen, heard? Are thoughts real?
Thoughts don't arise about chemistry or microbiology, but rather things like literature, spirituality, my family, etc. Why does that particular set of thoughts occur regularly for me? What makes the grape entity behave the way it does?
There are habits of thought but they are still just thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts! Does it matter if thoughts repeat? Is that just another thought?
After all, it's just the universe doing what it does. Perhaps the universe decides I should be a bank robber. What then?
Is this universe a separate entity controlling the fate of Grape?! Is Grape separate? Where is this universe? Are these more thoughts? Is there any direct experience here: a feeling, sensation? Look. Report what is being experienced only. No 'whys', 'perhaps' or 'what ifs'.

Only what is happening right now..

And now

And now

Stick with it, be really clear, and don't forget to smile and breathe!!

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grape
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby grape » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:51 pm

Can thoughts be controlled? Can a thought be stopped? Does the sky control the clouds?
I keep trying, but can't control thoughts. They seemingly come and go of their own volition. I tried not thinking about my cats, and thoughts about cats just proliferated. These thoughts come and go without any "me" directing things. Like clouds moving across the sky. :)


Must thoughts come from somewhere? Sit with this, is it possible to have a direct experience of a thought? Can a thought be touched, seen, heard? Are thoughts real?
In my direct experience, I can't find an origin for thoughts. They're just life happening, like everything else. They can't be touched, seen, hear, or controlled in my direct experience. Thoughts aren't real in any way I can find. That would indicate (to me) that thoughts of anger, aggression, unhappiness, joy and love come and go freely. They are experienced, but are nothing to obsess over. What happens just happens.

There are habits of thought but they are still just thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts! Does it matter if thoughts repeat? Is that just another thought?
It doesn't matter if thoughts repeat. After all, they're just thoughts. Thoughts about thoughts...life doing what it does. No problem.


Is this universe a separate entity controlling the fate of Grape?! Is Grape separate? Where is this universe? Are these more thoughts? Is there any direct experience here: a feeling, sensation? Look. Report what is being experienced only. No 'whys', 'perhaps' or 'what ifs'.

Only what is happening right now..

And now

And now

By universe, I mean life...everything just as it is, doing what it does. As such, when you get right down to it, there's nothing controlling my fate. I'm not seperate from life, I'm neither controlled nor controlling. There is no I in my direct experience. "I've" never approached life like this before--there's a great deal of freedom associated with this. I understand now why this place is called Liberation Unleashed.

In my back yard, there is bird song. Cats prowl around eyeing each other and me. A bee shows up, the first of this year. There is a warm wind, and tree limbs on my neighbors property sway gently. There's no me involved here, just things happening like they do. There are feelings of peace and contentment, and of being part of everything.

There are dog barks interrupting the quiet and that's how it's supposed to be. A slight chest tightening and wheezing (asthma), so "I" use an inhaler. The momentary discomfort happens like it's supposed to. That's life right now, and I'm part of that, but there's no director or owner of any of this, just the experience. This is pretty awesome.

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:24 pm

Wow!! Pretty awesome indeed Grape, very very good looking, and thank you.

Rest in this, more tomorrow

Bambaji :)

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Bambaji
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Re: Circling This Idea

Postby Bambaji » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:24 am

Good morning Grape, how are you today?
I keep trying, but can't control thoughts. They seemingly come and go of their own volition. I tried not thinking about my cats, and thoughts about cats just proliferated. These thoughts come and go without any "me" directing things.
Yes!
In my direct experience, I can't find an origin for thoughts. They're just life happening, like everything else. They can't be touched, seen, hear, or controlled in my direct experience. Thoughts aren't real in any way I can find. That would indicate (to me) that thoughts of anger, aggression, unhappiness, joy and love come and go freely. They are experienced, but are nothing to obsess over. What happens just happens.
Yes!
It doesn't matter if thoughts repeat. After all, they're just thoughts. Thoughts about thoughts...life doing what it does. No problem.
Great :)
"I've" never approached life like this before--there's a great deal of freedom associated with this
How does this seeing feel?

Here are a couple of exercises using 2 of the senses and, again, it is all about Direct Experience:

Sit with your eyes closed: what can be heard? Is there a boundary between what is heard and Grape? Is there a place where a bell (for example) can be heard "over there" but not "over here"? Is there an "in here" and an "out there"? Does hearing only happen in the ears? Are there any ears in this experience? Play with this and report back on your DE. It may be easier with eyes closed to begin with, but try it with eyes open and also when you are out and about.

And another - beginning again seated with eyes closed: use the sense of touch. What can be felt? Is there an experience of "chair" or just a sensation of pressure? What is the direct experience of the body in this exercise? As before, this may be easier with eyes closed, but play around with it and report.

Have fun!!


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