Rick

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RickH
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Rick

Postby RickH » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:08 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
All there is, is this, what's happening. There is no 'one' doing, experiencing, thinking, feeling, etc. These things are just happening (to no one, by no one). The sense of 'I'/'me' is just that, a sense/thought/feeling - it has no substance. Life happens regardless of any sense of me/mine.
It is possible that the sense of I can collapse.

What are you looking for at LU?
The collapse of the sense of 'me', 'I', personal identity. There is great clarity/understanding, and 'life' is good, happy, peaceful - good relationships, happy home and family, work's good, bills are paid, fun times - but liberation is not apparent, the sense of me persists.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Perhaps 'pointers' that lead to no 'self'. I was once a seeker, but don't feel like one any more. Life/things are not significant as they once were. I am not burdened by aspirations, purpose, meaning, etc as I once was. A guided conversation might help to uncover things that I am not aware of, that serve to sustain the sense of self.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Nearly 40 years since I began 'searching', meditating, guru-ing, enquiring, etc. Non-duality has been of particular interest/appeal for most of that time. Over the last couple of years I have listened to Tony Parsons, Bob Adamson (and attended their meetings), and did an online course with Floyd Henderson.

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

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:09 pm

Hi Rick,

Welcome to LU. I would be happy to help you with your inquiry.
You look like you already have a pretty good understanding of what seeing through the illusion of the self is about, so I'll try to give you a few pointers in the right direction.

You say the "sense of me" persists. Can you locate it? Is it in your thoughts, body, awareness, senses? What do you identify with?


Best regards,

Andrei

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:15 am

Hi Andrei
Many thanks for contacting me and for your willingness to help. I'll spend some time reflecting on the questions you ask, and get beck to you soon.
Cheers
Rick

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:47 am

Hi Andrei

Sorry for the delay in replying. I've had a couple of overnight work shifts and a family event in between (grand-child's birthday), since your message. Now I'm ready to go!

Can I locate the sense of me? In short, no. I can think about it, but it's a bit like I'm trying to give it life, by doing so. It does seem to be in thoughts only.

What do I identify with? I seem to identify loosely with everything that's happening. Not that I am what's happening, but rather that I'm associated with it and therefore have some identity in relation to it.

What is thought of as 'I' is this thing that is central to what 'I' am aware of. Like, there is only awareness, but there is something/someone that is aware of what's happening/arising.
Also, an I/me seems more apparent in relation to other persons. Eg, in conversation, interaction, negotiation.
And the 'I' seems more concrete when 'I' am wanting something - a cup of coffee, a game of golf, etc.

Last night I read a pointer on the LU app that seemed relevant:
"There is no need to try and stop the mind from waiting for a pop. Just watch it with a playful curiosity. Allow your expectations to play themselves out and dissolve." Although it begs the question, who would be watching/allowing?

Warm Regards

Rick

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:56 am

Hi Rick,

First of all, good answers all around.
Can I locate the sense of me? In short, no. I can think about it, but it's a bit like I'm trying to give it life, by doing so. It does seem to be in thoughts only.
Let's take thoughts.
The sensible thing to say about whether there is a "self" is that that self can do/create stuff. So I want you to look and see if you do create/generate thoughts or if they just pop up independently.
Also if there is an "I-thought" popping up, in all sorts of situations, saying "I did that" basically assuming credit for something that it has nothing to do with.

What do I identify with? I seem to identify loosely with everything that's happening. Not that I am what's happening, but rather that I'm associated with it and therefore have some identity in relation to it.
Do things happen and then a wild I-thought appears and says "I did that" or "I had something to do about that"?

What is thought of as 'I' is this thing that is central to what 'I' am aware of. Like, there is only awareness, but there is something/someone that is aware of what's happening/arising.
What might happen here is that you took "awareness" and turned it into a state/object. Instead of identifying with your body or sensations, you moved to the next level and identify with this "presence" instead.
Would you say this is the case here? Are you "awareness"?

If the balance inclines towards yes, I have a pointer that might help.
Could this awareness be nothing more than a bodily function, like the continuous input of information coming from the senses through the nervous system towards the brain create this never ending presence we call awareness/consciousness? Awareness seems more poignant when one is focused isn't it?
-----
You gave me a lot of material to work with but I don't want to scare you off with too many questions so let's work with this for now :)

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:37 am

Hi Andrei

Thanks again for your time and help.

No, I don't have the idea/feeling that I create thoughts - they clearly just pop up.

And no, there doesn't often seem to be the I thought popping up to claim responsibility for things - if there is that sense of ownership/doership sometimes, it is fairly weak and passes quickly, with little attention, not believed.

But yes, to be honest, the I thought does sometimes say that it has had something to do with things. A good example is at golf - if I do a good or bad shot, I think that I have had something to do with it! So 'I' get information and practice so that more good shots happen and less poor ones. Although there is also the accompanying understanding that this is all just happening (in spite of 'me').

I think you are right, in that I turn awareness (or whatever seems to be arising/experienced by me) into an object and/or a state which is my world, my experience. I have not previously thought/felt that I am 'awareness', but perhaps this is the same thing as awareness being an object/state (my world, my experience).

The pointer you offer is very interesting and something I've not heard of or considered before, Andrei! That this awareness is simply the continuous, automatic flow of sensory information. Little different to any other automatic function of this thing, like blood circulating, digestive functioning happening, and all the other 'internal' happenings. This 'external' world is not some special world of mine - just the product of the senses working, and the sensory processing mechanism (nervous system, brain, etc).
I am getting a sense of the implication of this. The I seems very, very small in this scenario, basically irrelevant as what happens, happens. Nothing is external to me, so there is really no me interacting with a world, no me, just what's happening. I will ponder this some more.

Warm regards

Rick

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:31 am

Thanks again for your time and help.
Your welcome! I'm glad I can help :)

Also, an I/me seems more apparent in relation to other persons. Eg, in conversation, interaction, negotiation.
When you interact with others, there is a referring back happening, a continuous comparison between your body and the other`s, your clothing and the other one`s, your eloquence and that of the other's, etc. This continuous comparison happens in the realm of the thoughts, most of the time at a subconscious level (eg. you feel drawn towards the beauty of a person and repulsed by the negligence of another).

Can you look and see if that mind process going on, that comparison, has anything to do with an "I" or it's just an independent (automatic) process?

And the 'I' seems more concrete when 'I' am wanting something - a cup of coffee, a game of golf, etc.
This "wanting", look into it. Is it anything more than sensations + thoughts going on at a conscious or unconscious level, and probably based on how was your mind programmed from early life?

Last night I read a pointer on the LU app that seemed relevant:
"There is no need to try and stop the mind from waiting for a pop. Just watch it with a playful curiosity. Allow your expectations to play themselves out and dissolve." Although it begs the question, who would be watching/allowing?
Is there a "watcher" or is there just "watching" happening?
Does the "watcher" seems more poignant when you refer back, basically being created by your focusing?

But yes, to be honest, the I thought does sometimes say that it has had something to do with things. A good example is at golf - if I do a good or bad shot, I think that I have had something to do with it! So 'I' get information and practice so that more good shots happen and less poor ones. Although there is also the accompanying understanding that this is all just happening (in spite of 'me').
It's good you brought that up. Is there a "self" that does daily activities, that breathes, walks, plays golf and gets better at it? Or are there activities simply happening, decisions are being taken, practising in some sport simply makes you better at it, getting more information makes you more knowledgeable in an area, etc?
Is there an actual "controller" to be found anywhere? Or is that just an unquestioned belief?

Nothing is external to me, so there is really no me interacting with a world, no me, just what's happening.
That's it. Look into it some more. Don't think about it, just watch your sensations, your senses, your thoughts poping up telling their story. This is what we call "direct experience", watching the raw sensations and how they are immediately labeled by the mind (as good or bad, pleasant or painful, etc.). Direct experience is that which is real. The "I" is in the labeling so basically it's make-belief.

The pointer you offer is very interesting and something I've not heard of or considered before, Andrei! That this awareness is simply the continuous, automatic flow of sensory information. Little different to any other automatic function of this thing, like blood circulating, digestive functioning happening, and all the other 'internal' happenings.
Maybe yes, maybe no :) The purpose of a pointer is to make somebody look in a certain direction and start "seeing" instead of intellectually understanding. There's a possibility that awareness is not a biological function and I'm actually full of shit hehe.

What I said seems sensible enough, but can one really know what awareness is? No. We don't have te tools to study it. We can just watch it. Everything else is labels and suppositions.

Bottom line is, whether awareness is or is not, either way it's independent of an "I". If that's clear you're all good.

-----
I'm off to the countryside and I should have internet there but just in case something happens and you don't hear from me in a while, no worries, I'll get back to you :)

Andrei

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:08 pm

Hi Andrei

I hope you're enjoying the countryside! Where are you? I'm in Australia, not far from Melbourne.

It's pretty clear - has been for some time - that the mind process, including comparison, is automatic. No 'I' doing the thinking. The idea of an 'I' doing the thinking is quite amusing - how these crazy notions stick!

Yes, the 'wanting' just happens - thoughts/sensations. They don't mean anything, don't really matter. Sometimes they are fulfilled, and sometimes not.

There is no watcher, just watching happening. And yes, any apparent 'effort' at watching/observing strengthens the sense of 'I' - serves to create this illusion of self. Generally, that doesn't really happen much here, nor does any deliberate 'practice' or 'discipline' - except golf practice of course! (and that to no avail, haha). There doesn't seem to be any interest in doing 'practices' of any kind. What would they be done for, and who would do them?

No, no controller to be found.

Thanks for reminding me that you could be full of shit! No point replacing one belief with another. A pointer is only a pointer! Pointing to god know's what! But the idea that awareness is only automatic, objective sense perception is very interesting. Fun to consider! The process continues, without any need for an 'I', without effort, and for no reason.

Cheers, Rick

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:35 pm

Hi Rick,

Im from Bucharest, Romania, currently evaded from between the grey buildings to a place a bit north towards the mountains. Not close enough to the mountains unfortunately, but it's still good to be in the nature :)

The idea of an 'I' doing the thinking is quite amusing - how these crazy notions stick!
It is funny isn't it. We've been in a sort of a Matrix really.

I like your answers all around and it looks like you got the hang of it. When in doubt, always, always, go back to direct experience and you'll see the castle of cards collapsing.


Let's talk a bit about choices. Have you ever made any choices in life or did choices simply happen? (for then the I-thought to come and say "I did this" and with it came all the feelings of accomplishment or grief in case of a "bad" choice.) And I don't mean simple choices but the ground-breaking ones: family, career, place you live, etc.


And second, I have a question which is probably easy for you: Is the "body" just another thought label for sensations (namely tactile & kinaesthetic)?

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:02 am

Hi Andrei
It seems that things have simply happened - no choices ever made. Of course, it seemed, at the time (in the past), that choices were made - that 'someone' selected from a range of options. And that 'someone' took ownership/responsibility for those choices. And felt personal achievement/success if those choices had 'good' outcomes, and personal failure if they had 'poor' outcomes.
But from today's perspective, things just happened - there were thoughts, feelings, different possibilities, and conversations before things happened, but no one actually did anything (including making a choice). So there's no-one to own/suffer personal achievement or failure. Of course good feelings and not-so-good feelings arise seemingly in response to what happens, but the feelings aren't personally significant, and they pass. Much more peace and contentment without personal investment.
And about the body just being sensations - well, maybe, but really who knows, as you pointed out in relation to awareness maybe being just ongoing, automatic sensory perception. Maybe, but how could we say for sure. And really, it doesn't matter what the body is. And can the body really be distinguished from anything else in order to be understood or identified? Doesn't matter.
Cheers, Rick

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:19 am

And about the body just being sensations - well, maybe, but really who knows, as you pointed out in relation to awareness maybe being just ongoing, automatic sensory perception. Maybe, but how could we say for sure. And really, it doesn't matter what the body is. And can the body really be distinguished from anything else in order to be understood or identified? Doesn't matter.
I like your take on this one. Indeed, it really doesn't matter. I guess my analytical mind pushes me to deconstruct everything to its smallest components. But truly, there might be a body. Who knows? Who cares? haha
That's why I like to guide. I always learn new things, new approaches. The inquiry never really ends :)

What about the other objects(nature, animals,people)? Is there a "you" that feels separated from them or is that just another thought/concept?

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RickH
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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:40 am

There is a sense of separation from other 'things' - other people, objects, animals, etc. They are perceived as things - objects of awareness/attention. Over there - some apparent distance away. Is there a 'me" that feels separate? There is no real seperate me to be found, but there is the sense of separation, the thought of 'me', the vision of this seemingly separate body.

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Thu Jun 22, 2017 12:53 pm

Are there any doubts at all about seeing through the illusion of the separate self?

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Re: Rick

Postby RickH » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:43 pm

Hi Andrei
Yes, there are doubts about seeing through the illusion of separate self. Doubts happens. I would say the illusion of self is seen through, but when you ask this question it is difficult to answer. There doesn't seem to be someone to categorically say yes to this question. I'd like to consider it a bit more, and get back to you in a day or so.
Thanks again, Rick

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Andrei
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Re: Rick

Postby Andrei » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:04 am

Ok, no worries.
Whenever a doubt appears look into it and see where it originates from.
Is it an unconscious thought, like something pulling at you? Is it a sensation? A resistance? A sum of several things?

Also consider this: Is there any tension, any fear at the thought y o u d o n o t exist?

Any hidden beliefs as to how things should have unfolded or what "seeing through the illusion of the self" entails?
Was there an expectation, hidden or not, as to what this should have brought?


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