Me, Myself, and I

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Guy
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Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:42 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand an inherent separate self to be a feeling that we are separate from the world and that an "I" in here is confronting a world out there. I understand that this feeling of an inherent self is illusory and causes suffering.

What are you looking for at LU?
All the nonduality books I have read say that there is no separate self. I am looking for a guide who can lead me to see that my feeling that I am a separate self is an illusion. I notice that I am attached to my thoughts and this sense of self. I seek liberation from this attachment.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect the guide to lead me to the discovery and realization that there is no separate self. I want to know this, to perceive it, to recognize it, to realize it; not just believe it as another concept. I expect the guide to help me gain clarity and insight.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been a seeker for a few decades. I have read over twenty books on nonduality, including "Liberation Unleashed." I have tried the seven steps at the end of this book. I have often tried inquiry, but always get stuck. Asking myself "who am I" or "what am I" gets me nowhere. I am highly motivated to see the truth.

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

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:29 pm

Hello Guy! Welcome to LU. :)
My name is Bananafish and I've been a guide here since two years ago.

I also had been a long time seeker before I came to LU.
I'd be more than glad to help you see through the illusion of separate self.

When you're ready, we could start from this first question:


What is the "I" in your own experience? What does the word "I" point to?

Please feel free to write anything that comes up.


Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:37 pm

Hi Bananafish,

Thank you for being my guide.
What is the "I" in your own experience? What does the word "I" point to?
First, the word “I” points to this person over here, as in “I live in Chicago” and “I like classical music.” Perhaps you live in Milwaukee and you like jazz.
Second, I can see, hear, and feel. So the word “I” points to the one who is having those experiences. I have read and am willing to believe that this “I” is illusory, but it seems real. Even more than believing, I really want to “get” that this “I” is not real.
Third, even if there were nothing to see or hear, I would still have a sense of aliveness, and the word “I” points to that sense. I have read that I am “awareness.” Perhaps the awareness referred to elsewhere is this sense of aliveness which I experience. Is that correct, Bananafish?
Fourth, I sometimes use the word “I” to point to my body, as in “I am ill.” I know that I am not my body and there is no “I” within my body. But it does seem that this body is mine. If you pinch it, I will experience the pain, and you won’t.
Fifth, the word “I” refers to me as the doer and the chooser, as in “I am typing now on the keyboard and I am choosing what words to type.” I know that this doing and choosing is limited. I cannot choose not to breathe and I cannot control most of my bodily functions.

I know that I am not my thoughts. I know that I have no control over my thoughts. Despite this knowledge, I often react as if those thoughts were “me” speaking to “me,” and I don’t question them or doubt them.

Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:11 am

First, the word “I” points to this person over here, as in “I live in Chicago” and “I like classical music.” Perhaps you live in Milwaukee and you like jazz.

What does the phrase "this person over here" point to?
Can you actually point at it with your index finger?

What is there where you pointed at?

Second, I can see, hear, and feel. So the word “I” points to the one who is having those experiences. I have read and am willing to believe that this “I” is illusory, but it seems real. Even more than believing, I really want to “get” that this “I” is not real.

Please look at the display before you.
Where is the I that is looking at the display?
This time again, could you point at it with your index finger?

Third, even if there were nothing to see or hear, I would still have a sense of aliveness, and the word “I” points to that sense. I have read that I am “awareness.” Perhaps the awareness referred to elsewhere is this sense of aliveness which I experience. Is that correct, Bananafish?

It is better to set aside the knowledge you've gained from books, as
concepts and arguments (or discussion on them) may hinder the direct seeing of what
reality is. Please focus on what is felt here and now, not on anything acquired in the
past. See things as if you had the eye of an infant.

Now, how does that sense of aliveness felt?
Is it felt as one of the five senses? Is it felt 'inside' you or 'outside' you,
or both?

Fourth, I sometimes use the word “I” to point to my body, as in “I am ill.” I know that I am not my body and there is no “I” within my body. But it does seem that this body is mine. If you pinch it, I will experience the pain, and you won’t.

This relates to the first question I asked ...
When you say "I am ill," which part of the body does the word "I" refer to?
Can you pinpoint it?

Fifth, the word “I” refers to me as the doer and the chooser, as in “I am typing now on the keyboard and I am choosing what words to type.” I know that this doing and choosing is limited. I cannot choose not to breathe and I cannot control most of my bodily functions.

See if walking on the road is any different from breathing.
Please take a little walk from where you are to a place not too far,
maybe to the bathroom or somewhere else.

Did "you" command the body to move your legs?
If so, from where did "you" make commands?

I know that I am not my thoughts. I know that I have no control over my thoughts. Despite this knowledge, I often react as if those thoughts were “me” speaking to “me,” and I don’t question them or doubt them.

It's time to question them! :)
I feel we can cover this issue after you've answered the
above questions on what "I" refers to.

Thanks for the sincere answers. :)


Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:33 pm

Hi Bananafish,
What does the phrase "this person over here" point to?
Can you actually point at it with your index finger?
What is there where you pointed at?
I would point to my body, but there is no “I” there. Whatever “I” is, it has no physical existence like a book or a chair. It is not a physical object. So, the answer is “no.” I cannot point at it with my index finger.
Please look at the display before you.
Where is the I that is looking at the display?
This time again, could you point at it with your index finger?
It seems that the I looking at the display is behind my eyes, but there’s nothing there. I don’t believe in a little me inside my head. Again, I cannot point at it with my index finger.
Now, how does that sense of aliveness felt?
Is it felt as one of the five senses? Is it felt 'inside' you or 'outside' you, or both?
It is not perceived by one of the five senses. This sense of aliveness is neither inside nor outside. It has no physical location. It’s almost like a kind of knowing.
When you say "I am ill," which part of the body does the word "I" refer to? Can you pinpoint it?
Sometimes I can as when I have a sore throat or am sneezing or coughing. Sometimes this illness appears as malaise, a feeling of weakness or tiredness, which may be more of an emotion.
Did "you" command the body to move your legs? If so, from where did "you" make commands?
At first, it seemed obvious that I commanded the body to move my legs. But observing carefully, I notice the following sequence of events: (1) I read your suggestion that I take a brief walk, (2) I had the thought, “O.K. Let’s do this now.” (3) I saw and felt my body rising from the chair and beginning to walk, (4) etc.
Between steps (2) and (3), it seemed that there was an “I” who caused the action, but I’m not sure. I cannot locate a source of the command. Are you asserting that there is no free will? No choice?
I feel we can cover this issue after you've answered the above questions on what "I" refers to.
I am looking forward to this.

Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:14 am

Greetings from Yokohama, Japan! :)

I would point to my body, but there is no “I” there. Whatever “I” is, it has no physical existence like a book or a chair. It is not a physical object. So, the answer is “no.” I cannot point at it with my index finger.
It seems that the I looking at the display is behind my eyes, but there’s nothing there. I don’t believe in a little me inside my head. Again, I cannot point at it with my index finger.
Fabulous! How do you feel to realise these?

It is not perceived by one of the five senses. This sense of aliveness is neither inside nor outside. It has no physical location. It’s almost like a kind of knowing.

Is that aliveness the same as the "I" when you say "I wrote this"?
Does this "knowing" write or type anything?

Examine it here and now when you are typing a reply to me.

Sometimes I can as when I have a sore throat or am sneezing or coughing. Sometimes this illness appears as malaise, a feeling of weakness or tiredness, which may be more of an emotion.

Is the throat ,or pain in your throat "you"?
Can throat or pain walk or talk?

At first, it seemed obvious that I commanded the body to move my legs. But observing carefully, I notice the following sequence of events: (1) I read your suggestion that I take a brief walk, (2) I had the thought, “O.K. Let’s do this now.” (3) I saw and felt my body rising from the chair and beginning to walk, (4) etc.
Between steps (2) and (3), it seemed that there was an “I” who caused the action, but I’m not sure. I cannot locate a source of the command. Are you asserting that there is no free will? No choice?

Again, you have to see it yourself. I won't convince you of anything.


Let's take a closer look to it.

Can the thought "I move my fingers" move your fingers?
If not, what is it that is moving the fingers?
Can you directly experience the mover of the fingers?


Warmest regards,

Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:07 pm

Hi Bananafish,
Fabulous! How do you feel to realise these?
Confused. There seems to be a camera or viewer behind my eyes. This is the viewpoint from which I seem to see the world. Also, thoughts seem to occur inside my head. But when I touch something, the source of the feeling seems to be my fingertips, not inside my head. Taste seems to occur in my mouth, but olfaction (smell) does not seem to occur in my nose, and hearing does not seem to occur in my ears.
Is that aliveness the same as the "I" when you say "I wrote this"?
No.
Does this "knowing" write or type anything?
No.
Examine it here and now when you are typing a reply to me.
This aliveness doesn’t do or cause anything. It just is.
Is the throat ,or pain in your throat "you"?
No.
Can throat or pain walk or talk?
No.
Can the thought "I move my fingers" move your fingers?
No. Thoughts cannot move anything.
If not, what is it that is moving the fingers?
I don’t know. There is a sense of I that moves the fingers, but I cannot find that I. Using my senses, I cannot find what is moving the fingers. Therefore, either whatever is moving the finger is beyond perception by the five senses, or nothing is moving the finger. I really don't know. This is puzzling.
Can you directly experience the mover of the fingers?
No.


Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:22 am

Confused. There seems to be a camera or viewer behind my eyes. This is the viewpoint from which I seem to see the world. Also, thoughts seem to occur inside my head. But when I touch something, the source of the feeling seems to be my fingertips, not inside my head. Taste seems to occur in my mouth, but olfaction (smell) does not seem to occur in my nose, and hearing does not seem to occur in my ears.

Point at where the viewer seems to be.
What's there?



Close your eyes and touch the display.
Where is that touch felt?

Can you tell about any specific location
without any preconceived knowledge
about the word "hand"?

Pretend that you know nothing about
what a hand is. With your eyes closed,
where is the hand?

This aliveness doesn’t do or cause anything. It just is.

Is that any kind of object or subject?
Is it even a human?
Is it what you've taken as "you"?

I don’t know. There is a sense of I that moves the fingers, but I cannot find that I. Using my senses, I cannot find what is moving the fingers. Therefore, either whatever is moving the finger is beyond perception by the five senses, or nothing is moving the finger. I really don't know. This is puzzling.

Great! That's a sign that your belief
is being shaken. Are you saying that
you're not sure that "you" are moving
your fingers?


Best wishes,

Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:35 pm

Hi Bananafish,
Point at where the viewer seems to be. What's there?

In my experience, I can find nothing inside my head. Certainly, there’s no “I” there. By knowledge and thought, I know that a brain can be found inside my head, but I know that I am not my brain.
Close your eyes and touch the display. Where is that touch felt?
It seems that the touch is felt by my fingertip.
Can you tell about any specific location without any preconceived knowledge about the word "hand"?
I'm confused by this question. I can’t tell anything about the location of the display without a preconceived knowledge of a hand containing fingers, but it doesn't seem relevant whether or not there is preconceived knowledge about the word "hand."
Pretend that you know nothing about what a hand is. With your eyes closed, where is the hand?
If I know nothing about what a hand is, I couldn’t locate the hand.
Is that any kind of object or subject?
No
Is it even a human?
No
Is it what you've taken as "you"?
No
Great! That's a sign that your belief is being shaken. Are you saying that you're not sure that "you" are moving your fingers?
Yes. That is what I said.

Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:20 am

It seems that the touch is felt by my fingertip.
Is the fingertip "you?"
Who feels that sensation?

Is there any subject that feels it?
Please search for it.

I can’t tell anything about the location of the display without a preconceived knowledge of a hand containing fingers, but it doesn't seem relevant whether or not there is preconceived knowledge about the word "hand."

I'm sorry for the lack of clarity in my question.
I'll change the question so that I can go a bit more direct.


Please close your eyes again.

When touching the display, which one of these three is the most
precise description of the direct experience of touch, here and now?


1. I am touching the display

2. A finger is touching the display.

3. Touching.


Yes. That is what I said.
How does it feel when your belief is being shaken?
What is happening? Please elaborate.

Do any words come up?
Do any sensations appear?
Anything other than that?


Peace,

Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:10 am

Hi Bananafish,
Is the fingertip "you?"
No
Who feels that sensation?
I feel the sensation.
Is there any subject that feels it? Please search for it.
It seems that there is a subject that feels it. It seems that I am the subject who feels it. But if I search for the subject, I cannot find it.
When touching the display, which one of these three is the most precise description of the direct experience of touch, here and now?
1. I am touching the display
2. A finger is touching the display.
3. Touching.
The second is the most precise. The first and third sentences are not precise because they could mean that I am touching the display with my toe. Also, the third sentence is imprecise because it could refer to the sensation of touching cold water, which is a different sensation.
How does it feel when your belief is being shaken? Do any words come up? Do any sensations appear? Anything other than that? What is happening? Please elaborate.
What is happening is confusion and uncertainty. Thoughts arise similar to the ones I mentioned, namely: “Either whatever is moving the finger is beyond perception by the five senses, or nothing is moving the finger.” Then I try to figure out what’s really happening. Then I conclude that "I" must be moving the finger. But then when I search for that "I," it can’t be found. To summarize: what happens is a series of thoughts and emotions.

Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:39 am

I feel the sensation.
It seems that there is a subject that feels it. It seems that I am the subject who feels it. But if I search for the subject, I cannot find it.

Your word "seems" indicates that you are not really sure about that.

Keep searching for this "subject" until you are sure about
whether it exists or not. Look for it in every place possible.

The second is the most precise. The first and third sentences are not precise because they could mean that I am touching the display with my toe. Also, the third sentence is imprecise because it could refer to the sensation of touching cold water, which is a different sensation.

Let's dig the third sentence a bit more.

Please touch some very cold water. You could make it
extremely cold by putting some ice in it.

Which sentence describes your direct experience, just right
at the moment you touched it
, more precisely?


1. My hand feels cold because I touched some cold water.

2. Cold!

What is happening is confusion and uncertainty. Thoughts arise similar to the ones I mentioned, namely: “Either whatever is moving the finger is beyond perception by the five senses, or nothing is moving the finger.” Then I try to figure out what’s really happening. Then I conclude that "I" must be moving the finger. But then when I search for that "I," it can’t be found. To summarize: what happens is a series of thoughts and emotions.

Great! Please don't try to avoid those thoughts and emotions of uncertainty and
confusion. Feel them and report as something new pops up.

Kind regards,


Bananafish

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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:26 am

Hi Bananafish,
Keep searching for this "subject" until you are sure about whether it exists or not. Look for it in every place possible.
I have looked everywhere and it cannot be found. There is no subject. There is only a sense of a subject; no real subject exists.
Please touch some very cold water. You could make it extremely cold by putting some ice in it. Which sentence describes your direct experience, just right at the moment you touched it, more precisely?
1. My hand feels cold because I touched some cold water.
2. Cold!
The second statement more precisely describes my direct experience. The first sentence requires thought to reach a conclusion.

Best wishes,
Guy

Bananafish
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Bananafish » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:49 pm

Hi Starr. :)
I have looked everywhere and it cannot be found. There is no subject. There is only a sense of a subject; no real subject exists.
The second statement more precisely describes my direct experience. The first sentence requires thought to reach a conclusion.

Fabulous! How does it feel to see that?


Now, let's get back to the uncovered issue below.
You wrote:
I know that I am not my thoughts. I know that I have no control over my thoughts. Despite this knowledge, I often react as if those thoughts were “me” speaking to “me,” and I don’t question them or doubt them.

Do you still react as if thoughts were “you” speaking to “you”?


Regards,

Bananafish

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Guy
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Re: Me, Myself, and I

Postby Guy » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:20 pm

Hi Bananafish,
Do you still react as if thoughts were “you” speaking to “you”?
I have meditated for a long time, so that I know that I have no control over my thoughts. I now know that there is no “I” or “me.” When I said that I react as if thoughts were “me” speaking to “me,” what I really meant was that I have not developed the habit of questioning my thoughts or doubting them. For example, when the thought “You should clean up your room” arises, I feel guilty. I have gone to the School for the Work by Byron Katie, where we were taught techniques to question our thoughts. The problem is that I do not apply the techniques I was taught. Alternatively, I have not developed the awareness to notice that thoughts are just thoughts.

I have a question, Bananafish. Thoughts seem to elicit emotions. How does that work? Why does the body exhibit an emotion in response to a thought?

Best wishes,
Guy


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