Where am I?

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Dep826
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Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:31 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
This means that we feel identical with our thoughts instead of the world around us. By observing our thoughts (looking for the self) we can create a gap in which thoughts stop. When thoughts stop, we begin to live in the immediate moment and feel complete liberation from the sense of self.

What are you looking for at LU?
I've been practicing Dzogchen on a moment-by-moment basis for the last two years and it's completely changed my life! From the first moment I was taught the technique of looking for the 'self' I was hooked. After practicing vipassana for years and suddenly being shown Dzogchen i immediately recognized its significance because it allowed me to occupy an entirely different space, and that space felt effortless. The first moment I discovered Dzochen I must have meditated for approximately 8 hours (the most relaxing 8 hours of my life). At the end of those 8 hours I went to bed and when I was on the verge of falling asleep I felt a shift in consciousness and for some reason my mind was throwing out the word "history". It felt like the events of the past accumulated in the room that I was sleeping in (if you could explain this to me that would be great!). I continued to use this meditation technique for the next two years but I haven't sat down and meditated as long as i had in the beginning simply because the technique of looking for the self was satisfying enough. However, I'm looking to advance further and seek liberation from the self which I have not experienced yet. I felt that I have come extremely close but it always slips away. If you can maybe improve upon any mistakes "I" am making that would be wonderful!!!

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
An honest conversation with a person who can free me from the illusion of the 'self' (there aren't many Dzogchen practitioners in the state of Wyoming). I'm not expecting a "cure-all" to my life. I'm simply looking for a short moment of relief from the idea that I'm separate from everything around me; from everything I've read, those moments cannot be overstated.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've practiced meditation since I was in my early twenties. For years, I was trying so hard to control my thoughts by forcing all of my attention onto my breath. It actually took me several years to realize that people are often taught this technique to show it can't be done. All we can do is stop seeking and simply observe. So, needless to say, I was lost again. I knew that liberation was possible but I didn't know how to attain it. Finally, about 2 years ago I read the book, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion" written by Sam Harris. In the book he explained the technique of looking for one's own head. The moment I tried this technique i recognized its significance. However, even though I've experienced several shifts in consciousness, I still haven't experienced the liberation from "I" which I have read about in countless testimonials.

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

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:02 pm

Hello. Welcome to LU. My name is Sandra and I can be your guide if that's okay with you. Thank you for your introduction.
However, I'm looking to advance further and seek liberation from the self which I have not experienced yet. I felt that I have come extremely close but it always slips away.
Well, for this expectation to realize you first need to find a self that can get liberated from itself. Do you think that right now such a self can be experienced? If you do, how is this self experienced? How do you know it is real ? Where is this self exactly?

Looking forward to our talk!

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:48 am


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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:03 am

Sandra,

I will be happy to have you as my guide!!! I look forward to our conversation together. I'm going to answer your questions honestly and straight forward without getting to caught up in long drawn out conversations.

Well, for this expectation to realize you first need to find a self that can get liberated from itself. Do you think that right now such a self can be experienced? If you do, how is this self experienced? How do you know it is real ? Where is this self exactly?
I do believe that a self can be experienced. The self is experienced through all of our senses (Smell, Sight, Sound etc). I feel that the self is real because I can feel my body, which I believe is the self. And I feel that the self is my body. When I look down I can see it.

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:06 am

Hi, good morning :) Lovely to see your enthusiasm around doing this exploration! Maybe I should mention that English isn't my mother thong, in the case you start thinking my writing is a little weird. Let me know if something I say makes you wonder about its meaning.

Here are some questions to help you explore the beliefs you mention in your post:
I do believe that a self can be experienced.
Is there a difference between believing a self can be experienced and believing in the existence of Santa Claus when you are a little kid? How do you know if something exists or not? I mentioned Santa and that's a good example of something that only exists in our imagination, can you give me one example or two of things you know without a doubt are only believes and can't be found when we use our senses?
I feel that the self is real because I can feel my body, which I believe is the self. And I feel that the self is my body. When I look down I can see it.
Yes, it may seem that the body is what you are. Apparently we are something inside the body, that's how we have a reference point that can create the illusion that a self is real. But imagine that you can do a scan of the body and see what is inside it, frame by frame. Would you be able to find a little you inside the body? Among the bones, flesh, and organs?

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:17 am

Is there a difference between believing a self can be experienced and believing in the existence of Santa Claus when you are a little kid? How do you know if something exists or not? I mentioned Santa and that's a good example of something that only exists in our imagination, can you give me one example or two of things you know without a doubt are only believes and can't be found when we use our senses?
Well, I believe the self is what I experience through my 5 senses, so I think there is a difference between that and believing in Santa Clause. Santa Clause is simply an idea. The reason I know something exists or not is because I can experience it through at least on of my 5 senses.

I imagine that i know without a doubt that Atoms exist even though I can't experience them through my 5 senses.
Yes, it may seem that the body is what you are. Apparently we are something inside the body, that's how we have a reference point that can create the illusion that a self is real. But imagine that you can do a scan of the body and see what is inside it, frame by frame. Would you be able to find a little you inside the body? Among the bones, flesh, and organs?
I thought about this last night and I'm starting to realize that maybe i'm not my body. If I were to cut my leg off, "I" would still be here. I started a mental exercise of removing all my body parts and realized that "I" would still exist even without my body . I soon realized that my sense of self comes from my thinking. So, now I'm convinced that the sense of self comes from my thoughts and what I am thinking in each particular moment.

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:23 pm

Thank you for your answer.
I thought about this last night and I'm starting to realize that maybe i'm not my body. If I were to cut my leg off, "I" would still be here. I started a mental exercise of removing all my body parts and realized that "I" would still exist even without my body .
Yes. But can the I you are talking about be found? Is the sense of existing linked to a me separate from all the rest? If you look to a hand, is the hand a part of the all or separate from it? What can you find that is personal - linked to the existance of a findable, real entity, a little real me?
I believe the self is what I experience through my 5 senses
What is this self exactely? Can you describe it? Use the senses and let me know how do you know - without having to think about it and believe it into an apparent existance - that a you can be seen, touched, smelled, heard.

If you look for a key, you don't have to believe the key exists, because when you find it, it is obvious it does. You don't need to think to know "here is this thing that is labeled key". Without relying in thinking, can a self be found? Have a look to what seems to be inside, to what seems to be outside and to the sense of self you mentioned. Can a you, a thing that is Dep826, a entity, a person be found? We are looking for the thing itself that you are saying it's you, not ideas about it.

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:20 am

Yes. But can the I you are talking about be found? Is the sense of existing linked to a me separate from all the rest? If you look to a hand, is the hand a part of the all or separate from it? What can you find that is personal - linked to the existance of a findable, real entity, a little real me?
I have been trying to find the "I" for the past 2 days using only my observation and I can't find it! Every time I look all I see is the world in front of me and what I am experiencing in the immediate moment. Even when I look at my thoughts they seem to be illusory. The more I look for it, the more I experience the world around me. I can honestly say that since i've been looking for it, it's been easier to stay in the present moment and things are feeling much clearer.
What is this self exactely? Can you describe it? Use the senses and let me know how do you know - without having to think about it and believe it into an apparent existance - that a you can be seen, touched, smelled, heard.
I think the sense occurs when I feel identical with my thoughts. After your questions, I began to look inside for this thing called "I". When I did this I started to observe my thoughts. I then asked the question, "Are my thoughts real?" and I concluded that they are not. I can't see, smell, hear, taste or touch my thoughts. Anytime a thought creates anxiety in me I realize that anxiety is an experience of the body and not thoughts themselves.

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:08 am

Thank you for sharing your experience, Dep826, you are doing great!
Isn't it amazing how simple is to see that a real thing that is supposed to be a self can't be found?
How do you feel when you see a self, a me, can't be found? Does it scary you? Does it feel liberating? Do any fears or anxiety pop up, around this exploration, preventing the clear seeing of what is present here and now?
I think the sense occurs when I feel identical with my thoughts. After your questions, I began to look inside for this thing called "I". When I did this I started to observe my thoughts. I then asked the question, "Are my thoughts real?" and I concluded that they are not. I can't see, smell, hear, taste or touch my thoughts. Anytime a thought creates anxiety in me I realize that anxiety is an experience of the body and not thoughts themselves.
Does this mean you can see the thoughts but you can't see a you thinking thoughts? What makes you say thoughts are "my" thoughts? Is it possible to find a thinker of thoughts? Is the thinker more than a thought?

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:47 am

Isn't it amazing how simple is to see that a real thing that is supposed to be a self can't be found?
How do you feel when you see a self, a me, can't be found? Does it scary you? Does it feel liberating? Do any fears or anxiety pop up, around this exploration, preventing the clear seeing of what is present here and now
As I continue looking for the self, everything starts to become very clear. I'm not referring to eye sight, but this mental noise that was in my head. I see things for what they are, without labeling. I did experience some fear when I started searching for "I" which I thought was unusual but it went away after awhile. It definitely feels liberating especially when I start to fall into excessive thinking; it gives me a way out!

Does this mean you can see the thoughts but you can't see a you thinking thoughts? What makes you say thoughts are "my" thoughts? Is it possible to find a thinker of thoughts? Is the thinker more than a thought?

It showed me that I don't think the thoughts. When I started to look for "I" I was able to closely observe these thoughts and realized that they come out of nowhere. Random thoughts just pop up! There is no actual thinker!

Also, I noticed that every now and again, when searching for "I" and not finding it that I would feel a connection with things around me; like a plant or a shoe. It's not a overly strong feeling but its definitely there.

I do have a question. One of the a ways i'm able to enter this state of awareness is by saying, "Thoughts are illusory." When I do this and look towards my thoughts or the "I" that's the brief moment when my mind stops. However, before we began communicating, I did read some of the books that this website recommends and it says that thoughts are real. However, I perceive thoughts as illusory. Can you give clarification on this?

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:48 am

Isn't it amazing how simple is to see that a real thing that is supposed to be a self can't be found?
How do you feel when you see a self, a me, can't be found? Does it scary you? Does it feel liberating? Do any fears or anxiety pop up, around this exploration, preventing the clear seeing of what is present here and now
As I continue looking for the self, everything starts to become very clear. I'm not referring to eye sight, but this mental noise that was in my head. I see things for what they are, without labeling. I did experience some fear when I started searching for "I" which I thought was unusual but it went away after awhile. It definitely feels liberating especially when I start to fall into excessive thinking; it gives me a way out!
Does this mean you can see the thoughts but you can't see a you thinking thoughts? What makes you say thoughts are "my" thoughts? Is it possible to find a thinker of thoughts? Is the thinker more than a thought?
It showed me that I don't think the thoughts. When I started to look for "I" I was able to closely observe these thoughts and realized that they come out of nowhere. Random thoughts just pop up! There is no actual thinker!

Also, I noticed that every now and again, when searching for "I" and not finding it that I would feel a connection with things around me; like a plant or a shoe. It's not a overly strong feeling but its definitely there.

I do have a question. One of the a ways i'm able to enter this state of awareness is by saying, "Thoughts are illusory." When I do this and look towards my thoughts or the "I" that's the brief moment when my mind stops. However, before we began communicating, I did read some of the books that this website recommends and it says that thoughts are real. However, I perceive thoughts as illusory. Can you give clarification on this?

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:39 am

Feeling fear is normal. Fear is a ingrained protection mechanism that pops up when something seems to be threatened. And it means you are stepping out of your comfort zone, probably. The best way to deal with fear or anxiety is to look "behind" it and see what is there, finding out if fear is personal, happening to a person, if something real is in real danger. If fear or anxiety pop up when you are inquiring - look to what is behind them - and if you do, let me know how it goes.
Also, I noticed that every now and again, when searching for "I" and not finding it that I would feel a connection with things around me; like a plant or a shoe. It's not a overly strong feeling but its definitely there.
This is very nice. And it is also a experience and experiences have something in common, they are always changing. Do you expect to reach a special state as a result of looking? If you do, you will start to have doubts when things shift into something different - something that you feel resistance about or that is perceived as being threatening and out of control - and life is all about change and movement and flow. If it is true that a self can't be found, do any kind of state prove something? Can you find a you that can reach enlightenment, perfection, bliss, eternal peace, etc?
I do have a question. One of the a ways i'm able to enter this state of awareness is by saying, "Thoughts are illusory." When I do this and look towards my thoughts or the "I" that's the brief moment when my mind stops. However, before we began communicating, I did read some of the books that this website recommends and it says that thoughts are real. However, I perceive thoughts as illusory. Can you give clarification on this?
Consider the possibility that both of these are just different perspectives, different points of view:
thoughts are real
I perceive thoughts as illusory
What it seems to me is that you are thinking about thinking :)
Any answer will be just more thinking. Is it okay not to know what a thought is? Who/what is trying to understand thinking and what for?

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Dep826
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Dep826 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:40 pm

Do you expect to reach a special state as a result of looking?
For awhile, I was expecting to get to a special state as a result of looking. And, you are absolutely right...it made me doubt everything. I'm starting to recognize that each experience is out of "my" hands and "I" just have to flow with it. This has made meditating on "I" much easier.
If it is true that a self can't be found, do any kind of state prove something?
I was trying to find "I" again today and I had another break through. I felt a sensation in my leg and I thought, "Well, that's me." But, the moment I thought to myself, "That's me" it stopped being "I". I then realized that there is just experience and any label of the thing is simply a representation but not the real thing itself. I realized that concepts tend to prevent us from seeing that there is no "I". All there actually is, is experience itself.
Who/what is trying to understand thinking and what for?
Fear has been starting to play a role when I search for "I". There's a part of me (probably the ego) that fears ignoring the thinking mind or seeing it as illusory. There's a part of me that is trying to hold on to it. It's difficult to describe. I'm afraid of what I will become if, even for a moment, I abandon the thinking mind.

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:09 am

There's a part of me (probably the ego) that fears ignoring the thinking mind or seeing it as illusory.
Do you see any evidence of the existence of a you that has an ego? Or any evidence of the existence of a ego?

Some thoughts can be seen as pointing to things that are illusory - unicorn, Equator, America - and others can be seen as pointing to things that are real - cup, cat, tree. Would you agree? What is the issue around seeing some thoughts as referring to illusions, mind stuff? When a kid realizes Santa is an illusion, can this realization damage the kid in any way? If you look and see that a self exists only in thoughts, what can get damaged by this seeing?
There's a part of me that is trying to hold on to it. It's difficult to describe. I'm afraid of what I will become if, even for a moment, I abandon the thinking mind.
Is it possible to abandon the thinking mind? Can you not think a thought? How does that work, how do you do it?

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Canfora
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Re: Where am I?

Postby Canfora » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:17 am

*second post!*

Just thought that I should ask you what do you do when I ask you to look or see something. Can you describe what you do when looking for a self? Thanks!


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