Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

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lunarpig
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Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:42 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
The self is an epiphenomenon resulting from innumerable processes occurring in the brain each moment. The self is an appearance, an illusion, albeit a rather persistent and very convincing illusion, that is a product of evolution and conditioning. LU works to help one experientially know what one may know merely intellectually.

What are you looking for at LU?
Since experiencing a life-changing insight about the ego and the the self, which things I had never heard, read, or thought before, I have been on a journey to fully understand experientially the wisdom of that insight. I have a whole library of books ranging from Buddhism (most all schools), Hinduism, Taoism, Kabbalah, Christian mysticism, occult and new age, and have spent years of meditation, yoga practices, ritual, chanting, visualization, etc. trying to fully realize the no-self. I have had wonderful glimpses into reality during my 10 years of being on this journey, but it just does not stick. I've spent so much time in contemplation, questioning, observing thoughts and the plethora of mental phenomena that arise, but it seems that reality, which I know to be right here, now, always, eludes me. I hope that LU can help me break through that glass wall and cross the threshold to what is.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
'm not sure what to expect from a guided conversation. I guess I'm quite a bit skeptical really. I've heard repeatedly that it is rare for one to fully awaken on one's own, so I hold on to hope that someone can help guide me past my illusions/delusions. So, honestly, I really do not know what to expect.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
So, I answered this question in some detail up above. In addition to the answer above, I have spent some time with spiritual teachers from Zen and Advaita schools of thought, and I feel the insights shared were good; however, I feel that something is lacking, or I would have gotten past this illusion before now. In addition to reading more spiritual books than I care to admit, I've watched hours of talks on YouTube from the likes of Alan Watts (whom I greatly admire), J. Krishnamurti, and many others. Above, I also mentioned the many types of practices I have engaged in over the years. Mostly, I just practice vipassana mediation these days (I have pretty consistently for several years 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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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:24 pm

Hi Lunarpig,

I would be happy to guide you if you like.

Let me know if you are interested and we can begin our explorations.

best wishes

amrita

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:33 pm

Hello, Amrita, and thanks for your reply. Yes, I would be grateful for a guide on the journey down the rabbit hole.

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:04 am

HI,

That's great. What name would you like to be known by? Are you happy to be lunarpig or is there another name you would like to be called?

I will post more tomorrow but just wanted to say the essence of this inquiry is to pay attention to your direct experience of the here and now. The aim is to clearly see there is no such thing as a "Self" or an "I" in experience. This exploration takes the form of a dialogue or conversation in which we will explore various aspects of experience so it would be great if we could both commit to post to each other every day (as much as life allows it) in order to keep the conversation alive, as it were. Is that ok?

It would also be helpful if you learn how to use the quote buttons on here as it makes reading answers and replies so much easier. if you click on the "quote" button it pastes the bit you want to quote into your answer. Like this..
Hello, Amrita, and thanks for your reply. Yes, I would be grateful for a guide on the journey down the rabbit hole.
If you are happy with that we can go ahead :)

amrita

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:57 am

It would also be helpful if you learn how to use the quote buttons on here as it makes reading answers and replies so much easier. if you click on the "quote" button it pastes the bit you want to quote into your answer. Like this..
If I did it correctly, the text up above is in a handy dandy box.

My name is Craig, so you are welcome to address me as such. I have read Gateless Gatecrashers, so I have some insight as to how this process unfolds. I have been engaged in "self" observation since reading the book, and I can see momentary glimpses of the stuff of life unfolding sans a self, but those moments are fleeting. Discursive thought often sweeps in, each thought laced with the gut-feeling of I-ness.
This exploration takes the form of a dialogue or conversation in which we will explore various aspects of experience so it would be great if we could both commit to post to each other every day (as much as life allows it) in order to keep the conversation alive, as it were. Is that ok?
I will gladly read your responses and post daily. I can see where it is important to create and maintain momentum with this process.

I will follow your lead on where to start, but to give you a glimpse into the world of my mind, I think my biggest sticking point with seeing through the illusion of self is with the questions of volition and observation. It seems the self can be stripped away, but at the core there must be an observer, even if that observer is the cosmos at large. And then with volition, it seems there is some driving force called "will" that is moving me along on this journey, else what is it that is seeking "enlightenment" or awakening?

Thanks,
Craig

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:14 am

Hi Craig,

it's great you have begun to pinpoint areas of investigation such as choice, volition and will as well as the "gut-feelng of I-ness". I hope they will all be fruitful areas of exploration for you but firstly I wanted to ask you about your expectations of this process.

What do you imagine it would be like if you clearly saw there was no "self" or had a sense of I?

How, if at all, would life be different if there was no I at the centre of it?

What do you imagine you would gain or lose through this process?

amrita

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:45 pm

What do you imagine it would be like if you clearly saw there was no "self" or had a sense of I?
I think I will feel freedom. The kind of freedom one experiences when sitting among a beautiful natural landscape in which animals and insects and the wind and all in one's field of experience are happening without the need or desire to take hold and do something to alter the setting. However, I think just as in such a setting if that person were to be approached by a bear, he or she would react to the danger and seek refuge, so will I, once free from the attachment to self, feel that freedom but also know it will not be a perfect utopia in which no "negative" situations arise.
How, if at all, would life be different if there was no I at the centre of it?
I know life will not change and that losing one's sense of self is a shift of perspective. I imagine there will be much less clinging to good experiences and less aversion to bad experiences. There will probably be more of a lightness to life overall. All of this is just speculation though. I guess when it comes down to it, I don't really know how, if at all, life will be different.
What do you imagine you would gain or lose through this process?
I imagine I will ultimately gain more wisdom and understanding. Likewise, I imagine I will lose that deeply ingrained need to defend my "self," and that need to push away negative experiences and/or bury my head in the sand when it comes to negativity in the world.

Best wishes,
Craig

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:01 pm

A question I forgot to include in the above response post: in which time zone are you? I'm in the USA Central time zone.

Thanks,
Craig

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:19 pm

Hi Craig,

I am in UK so on Greenwich Mean Time so a few hours before you :)

In relation to your answers,
I think I will feel freedom. The kind of freedom one experiences when sitting among a beautiful natural landscape in which animals and insects and the wind and all in one's field of experience are happening without the need or desire to take hold and do something to alter the setting.
It's really best to approach this inquiry with an open mind and with as little expectations as possible. Saying that, my experience of going through this process resulted in a great feeling of freedom and expansiveness but its important to keep as open a mind as possible.

The essence of this process is in the ability to examine or "look" at ones direct experience of life rather than be caught up in intellectualisations about what is happening. In order to do this it would be helpful if we agree on the terms we use so lets look at that.

To the best of your abilites can you describe what is the difference between direct experience and thinking about experience?

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:58 pm

To the best of your abilities can you describe what is the difference between direct experience and thinking about experience?
Direct experience, which is admittedly very challenging due to discursive thought (except during meditation), is the actual observation of experience in the instant it unfolds. Therefore, it is like observing a river, which continuously flows and is ever-changing. On the other hand, thinking about experience occurs after the actual happening and typically involves reasoning and contemplation on what has happened, whether 5 seconds ago or 5 days ago.

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:44 pm

Brilliant answer! In this inquiry we are going to be looking into direct experience for any sign of an I or a self. Let's start by examining the sense experiences (seeing, hearing, bodily sensations, taste, smell) in search for self or I before we look at thinking and the nature of thought. How guiding works is the guide suggests an exercise to try and you try it out and report back here. Again, its great if you can keep an open mind whilst you explore this inquiry.

Try this exercise to start with.

If you close your eyes and look at the sensations in your body can you find any self or I within any of those sensations? Do these sensations belong to you or are there just sensations?

With your eyes closed touch something. Can you describe what the sensations are like? If you push against something with your hand can you experience your hand and the thing you are pushing against or are there just sensations? Is there a self or I anywhere to be found in the sensations?

In your daily life, try closing your eyes at different times of day whilst engaging in different activities and pay attention to the sensations. Can you find a self anywhere in the experience of physical sensations?

Good luck :)

amrita

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:46 pm

If you close your eyes and look at the sensations in your body can you find any self or I within any of those sensations? Do these sensations belong to you or are there just sensations?
Nope. No self. Just a plethora of sensations - itches, gurgles, tingles, pressure, heart beating, inhalation, exhalation, and a general pulsing of energy. It's actually quite calming to sit quietly and notice it all transpire.
With your eyes closed touch something. Can you describe what the sensations are like? If you push against something with your hand can you experience your hand and the thing you are pushing against or are there just sensations? Is there a self or I anywhere to be found in the sensations?
Touching an object or pushing against something creates a feeling of pressure that is not localized but spreads and seems to be felt by the brain. Pushing against a large object definitely creates sensations that affect much of the body - muscles tensing, counterbalancing, etc. and that creates a noticeable sensation of pressure in the brain.
Can you find a self anywhere in the experience of physical sensations?
There is no sense of self when focusing purely on the experience of bodily sensations, hearing, touch, etc. This is a beneficial exercise, which I will continue to do throughout the day. It's a good grounding exercise.

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:50 pm

Hi,

Great answers. I'm glad you found it beneficial. Let's look a bit more at what is actually going on in direct experience and what is added onto experience.

When you say,
Touching an object or pushing against something creates a feeling of pressure that is not localized but spreads and seems to be felt by the brain. Pushing against a large object definitely creates sensations that affect much of the body - muscles tensing, counterbalancing, etc. and that creates a noticeable sensation of pressure in the brain.
Can you really say there is a noticeable sensation of pressure in the brain? Isnt there just sensations occuring within experience? How do you know they are occuring in your brain? Is that a theory that you are applying to your experience or can you directly experience pressure in your brain?

Likewise, are notions of 'muscles tensing" or "counterbalancing" perceived in direct experience of sensations or are they thoughts that are somehow added to the primary experience of sensations? Can you be aware of sensations seperate from thoughts about sensations?

warm wishes

amrita

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lunarpig
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby lunarpig » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:24 pm

Hey there...
Can you really say there is a noticeable sensation of pressure in the brain? Isnt there just sensations occuring within experience? How do you know they are occuring in your brain? Is that a theory that you are applying to your experience or can you directly experience pressure in your brain?
Hmm... Several years back when I began meditating in earnest, I begin to be very aware of sensations in my brain during meditation. So, saying I feel pressure in the brain may sound odd, but I do feel the sensations. However, to get more to your point, I cannot say with certainty that the sensations are there in any concrete sense independent of thought -- I don't mean explicit thought (e.g., "I am experiencing pressure in my brain.") rather the type of pre-thought that exists more as an awareness than as a typical thought.
Likewise, are notions of 'muscles tensing" or "counterbalancing" perceived in direct experience of sensations or are they thoughts that are somehow added to the primary experience of sensations? Can you be aware of sensations seperate from thoughts about sensations?
After reading your post and doing the exercises again, I would alter what I said before and now say that the sensations seem to exist within my general field of awareness, but that awareness is tied to the body.

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amrita
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Re: Serious Seeker Seeking Solace from Seeking

Postby amrita » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:12 am

Hi,

I like your phrase, that " sensations seem to exist within my general field of awareness". Let's explore this a little further.

If you close your eyes and become aware of any sensations present, in direct experience are the sensations tied to the body or are there just sensations? Are notions of the body more to do with thoughts rather than what is going on in direct experience? Have a look into any sensations that are present. Do these sensations belong to you or your body or are they just present in awareness?

Is there any sense of self or I within these sensations or they just impersonal sensations present in awareness?

As you sit with your eyes closed, can you discern or find the edges of your body or experience? Is there a point or line where you stop and the rest of the universe begins?

Best wishes

amrita


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