Confirmation

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Peter116
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Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:26 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that to mean you will try to help me see or realise clearly for myself that there is no actual separate self.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for a direct realisation that there is no separate self. I have an intellectual understanding of how this could be, but what I don't have is a clear and direct realisation of this in my own experience.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Well, sort of the same as above really. I am hoping that someone who already has this realisation will be able to lead me to the same realisation, that there is in fact no real separate self. But I want this to be more than an understanding, I want it to be clear and irrefutable and real, in other words, not a theory that I can agree with, but rather something that is obvious and real and true.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I don't really have any experience of spiritual practices. I have been actively seeking for less than a year. I have some experience of self enquiry and I have done a fair amount of reading about non-duality. It seems to have resulted in a theoretical understanding rather than a direct realisation.

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

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:32 pm

Welcome Peter,

I would be happy to help you with your inquiry.

I have an intellectual understanding of how this could be, but what I don't have is a clear and direct realisation of this in my own experience.
We use a technique here called direct experience (aka direct pointing) and it involves looking for the raw sensation that appears prior to mind labeling it one way or another, ex: You sense something in your arm. Then your mind interprets it as pleasant ("It was just a tickle") or unpleasant (pain).

So staying in DE, can you find a "I" (aka ego, self, persona, etc.) anywhere?

It doesn't get more direct than that :)


Andrei

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:46 pm

Hi Andrei,

Thank you for your help!

To answer your question, no, I cannot find a thing I can call self. There is a definite sense of existing and of "being in here looking at a world out there" but nothing I can identify or point to as an actual self.

Peter

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:08 pm

Perfect.
Now, what else is there you might identify with? Something that might feel "personal". Your thoughts maybe? Or your body, or sensations, or awareness/consciousness, or the choices you made in life? Anything?

Look in DE. Is there anything there or just unquestioned beliefs?

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:58 pm

Thanks Andrei!

Hmm. I've been sitting here looking at what I actually experience.

Thoughts in general feel sort of random. I do get caught up in them sometimes but usually there doesn't seem to be any real attachment to them. There is the sense that when they appear they appear "in here" but that's not to say they feel like they are mine, if that makes sense. It's more like they are just thoughts that come and go and I happen to be the one experiencing them. But when I think about something specific, such as writing down the answer to this question, there does seem to be a more focused thinking, which sort of feels personal, maybe as if I am actually participating at some level.

This body feels as if it is mine in the sense that I feel like I inhabit it, but that feels more like coincidence or convenience. It doesn't feel as if it forms part of me or who I am, it doesn't feel very personal.

Sensations just feel like "thoughts to do with the body" really. They feel like they are associated with the body but they come and go just like other thoughts and I don't feel particularly identified with them.

Awareness/consciousness is different. It does feel personal, like the awareness is actually who or what I am.

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:31 pm

But when I think about something specific, such as writing down the answer to this question, there does seem to be a more focused thinking, which sort of feels personal, maybe as if I am actually participating at some level.
Ok, let's clear all doubts.
Can you think and choose a thought right now?
If yes, what would the steps be?

This body feels as if it is mine in the sense that I feel like I inhabit it, but that feels more like coincidence or convenience.
Is the "body" just another thought label for sensations (namely tactile & kinaesthetic)?

Awareness/consciousness is different. It does feel personal, like the awareness is actually who or what I am.
Yes that's usually the case. It's easy to dis-identify with body or thoughts, but awareness seems to always be there, doesn't it?
But just because it's always there that doesn't mean it's "you". Could it be that awareness just IS independent of an "I"?

Here's another take on this matter. One of the ways to sort out a problem which seems too big to tackle is to break it into little pieces. For instance take awareness, that presence behind one's eyes. It's a bit of a pain in the ass isn't it? What makes awareness feel personal? Is it a sensation? A bunch of sensations maybe? Let's assume that's what they are. Can you control those sensations? Are they "yours"? No?

In the end, we don't even know if there is such thing as an "awareness" or it's just a label for a bunch of stuff.:)

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:06 pm

Can you think and choose a thought right now? If yes, what would the steps be?
That's interesting.. it's impossible to actually think of a thought before one appears :-)

And as I look closer, the thoughts which seem stronger, they are actually no different to other thoughts except for a feeling of attachment to them, which is probably why they feel more like "my" thoughts.

No, it seems thoughts are not personal at all, and it also seems that anything we think about thoughts, such as being attached to them, is just another thought :-)

Is the "body" just another thought label for sensations (namely tactile & kinaesthetic)?
Yes, it has to be, because that's all that is experienced. So there is no "in here" in terms of a body.

Could it be that awareness just IS independent of an "I"?
That's really interesting. As I thought about that I felt reluctance to not be an "I" which is very funny :-)

What makes awareness feel personal? Is it a sensation? A bunch of sensations maybe? Let's assume that's what they are. Can you control those sensations? Are they "yours"? No?
The sensations don't feel personal, there doesn't seem to be any control of anything. But I'm now wondering if awareness feels personal because there is a need to be an "I" :-)

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:41 pm

I just realised what I wrote - that I felt a need to be an "I" - but of course that's just another thought :-)

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:33 am

The sensations don't feel personal, there doesn't seem to be any control of anything.
That's right and good looking all around.

In direct experience, can you find an “I” that experiences anything or do experiences simply happen? Is there a watcher separate from the seen?

Take two objects/possibilities, of which you might ordinarily choose either e.g. coffee or tea, blue pen or black pen, salt and pepper, then sit and see if you can find the choice-point where you could go either way. Describe how choosing happens.

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:17 pm

In direct experience, can you find an “I” that experiences anything or do experiences simply happen? Is there a watcher separate from the seen?
No, I can’t find a personal “I” that experiences things, but there is still a feeling that “I” exist.

Take two objects/possibilities, of which you might ordinarily choose either e.g. coffee or tea, blue pen or black pen, salt and pepper, then sit and see if you can find the choice-point where you could go either way. Describe how choosing happens.
When I do this it all seems like a game. It might appear as if there are two objects in front of me, but in direct experience there is only the perception of shape and colour. The notion of choice doesn’t make sense. For there to be choice, there would have to be a chooser and things to choose between.

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:57 am

Hi Peter,

I like your take on choices. Can you apply that on the major choices you took in life, like family, career, education, etc. and see if there's no conflict there either and things simply happened?

I can’t find a personal “I” that experiences things, but there is still a feeling that “I” exist.
This feeling - Is it a sensation? Or maybe a bunch of sensations?
Or how would you describe it?

Again, you need to break it into little pieces. And you can use DE on it just like on everything else. Nothing is insurmountable. Everything lies in the open. Once you make the first step, you will see it's nothing more than a construct.
It's like when we're kids and we don't go in the attic because it's dark and you can hear strange noises but once we turn up the light we discover it's nothing there and the noises were made by a tiny mouse.

Nothing is in there. Everything is in there. The ages old paradox of awakening.

-----
Sorry about that. Its raining outside so Im feeling poetic :))

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:04 am

Hi Andrei.

The poetic is nice :-)

From here and now, it doesn't feel as if there were ever any choices taken. It's more like there is just this great dance of life and one of the tiny parts of it is an imaginary person who likes to believe he exists and can't help claiming things as his own. It seems very sad in a way. As I wrote that I started to cry and couldn't stop, and I have no idea why.

I must admit I am having real trouble knowing what to do with this sense of "I" and also breaking things down into steps. It seems hard to separate any of this out. Do you think maybe we could go through it step by step, and perhaps just ask/answer one question at a time?

Also, thank you for all the time you are taking with this, it is very much appreciated :-)

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:53 am

It's more like there is just this great dance of life and one of the tiny parts of it is an imaginary person who likes to believe he exists and can't help claiming things as his own.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

It seems very sad in a way. As I wrote that I started to cry and couldn't stop, and I have no idea why.
What we're doing here might seem something simple (Is there any self anywhere? No? Good. Pass me the salt please.) but it's really not. We're dealing with things that can change not just your whole perception over things but give birth to physical changes as well. Your senses, thoughts, metabolism are all intertwined.
So from this perspective, the fact that something is happening to you right now, these emotions might be a good thing. It's a sign that you're going through a shift. My advice is welcome it. Listen to these feelings and accept them. They can't harm you. They just want to be heard. Don't push them aside because they will come back. What you resist persists.

And if it was just an emotional episode no worries. If you see it's something that might be long-lasting let me know. I have a good technique I can share that helped me as well.

I must admit I am having real trouble knowing what to do with this sense of "I" and also breaking things down into steps. It seems hard to separate any of this out. Do you think maybe we could go through it step by step, and perhaps just ask/answer one question at a time?
Yes I still have a few topics to ask you about. Maybe the problem will make itself known.

So, you're pretty much confident there is no "self" (even if the sense of "I" persists). Is there any tension, any arising fear at the thought that you d o n o t exist?

And second, what about the other objects (people, animals, nature). Is there a "you" that feels separate from them or is that just another thought/belief?

Also, thank you for all the time you are taking with this, it is very much appreciated :-)
You're welcome. I like helping out. I like guiding. I actually learn a lot about myself as well when I guide others. :)

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Peter116
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Peter116 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:00 pm

I'm okay with the crying. I don't understand it but it feels like a good thing :-)
So, you're pretty much confident there is no "self" (even if the sense of "I" persists).

Yes, I can see that the "person" I used to think I was is not real, that it was never anything more than thoughts, feelings, beliefs ..etc. I don't miss it. Life is much simpler now.

Is there any tension, any arising fear at the thought that you d o n o t exist?
When I consider that the very sense of "I" might also be just a thought, that there might actually be nothing to "me" at all, not even the sense of existing or being aware.. there is excitement at the possibility. It would be wonderful to be free of that too.

And second, what about the other objects (people, animals, nature). Is there a "you" that feels separate from them or is that just another thought/belief?
Ah, things have just become clearer :-)

I just realised I haven't been applying the "there is no me" to awareness itself. I have been assuming that because there is always awareness that doesn't go away, there must be "someone" who is aware that also doesn't go away.

Okay, I had to stop because I am crying again but even worse than before, but it's fine because this time there is laughing as well! Oh, this is so funny and at the same time such a huge relief.

The bit that makes me laugh is that I have read so many times that there is just awareness but it never actually occured to me that there is just awareness without an owner i.e. without someone who is aware. Is this right? Yes, now I see. The "ownership" of awareness is no different to the "ownership" of anything else.. it's complete nonsense, just a thought, a ploy of the imaginary self. Oh boy, that was sneaky.. the last place I would have looked for myself :-)

The bit that makes me cry is that it feels like now I can finally let go of me. I know that doesn't make sense but this feels like such a big letting go and such a relief.

What do you make of it?

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Andrei
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Re: Confirmation

Postby Andrei » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:30 am

The "ownership" of awareness is no different to the "ownership" of anything else.
Click :)

The bit that makes me laugh is that I have read so many times that there is just awareness but it never actually occured to me that there is just awareness without an owner i.e. without someone who is aware.
So it was just an unquestioned belief and now you know what to do in case such beliefs come and pull you by the sleeve, just l o o k, see if it's anything there. Don't let your mind decide for you. Looking has to become the new habit.

What do you make of it?
Has that "sense of self" vanished as well? Could it be, just like awareness, something, anything, nothing maybe, over which we have no control over?


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