Crossing the gate

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Tue Apr 27, 2021 5:51 am

All right, thank you for letting me know
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:34 am

Hey Vivien,

I did a lot of investigating, so I won’t quote anything in particular because I had everything in mind at the same time. After reading all your comments, I was super frustrated. I thought I was further from the truth than ever, and all the going back and forth was frustrating me even more. Until... it didn’t anymore. My main thought went something like this:

I am much more than this character “Raffi.” I was labeled Raffi and since I was aware of it, Raffi was what “I” was. But that is not the case. I am more than that. More than a human body learning things. There is no way to define what I am, and like you said, questioning that only brings “answers” (stories) from Raffi. Let’s say I’m this force, or thing, whatever you want to call it. I just happen to be experiencing life in a human body, and that’s it. The labeling should stop there, but it doesn’t. I associate myself with this body, with this mind, and with the stories. Truth is, essentially, all I do is get sucked into these stories about Raffi, let it affect my being, and only worry about Raffi. Because that is what it seems right. But it is not. I exist, but not as Raffi.

What I thought before understanding more was only stories. The stories were always about the past or the future. The past and the future don’t exist. One already happened at one point, and one is yet to happen. They are only stories. Now I understand that these stories are useless, honestly. They are stories that kept me occupied, worried, stressed, hopeful, etc for no reason at all, because these stories just don’t matter. Positivity and love is just like these stories. Silly me thinking I can control love or deserve love. Even more silly I was afraid of losing love. That is literally impossible. Depending on how you define love, love is everything. Love is an emotion, too. Love comes and goes, just like other emotions, but I do think it’s more than that, too. But it’s not something I depend on, or something that happens to “me,” because “me” doesn’t exist. Love happens like everything else. All these psychological things are completely separated from this journey. I see it. Wanting to be loved, wanting positivity and wanting peace are just part of the story of Raffi. Like most things really, besides the here and now. That is the only thing that there is. The here and now.

Like you said, “I” can’t get hurt because “I” is much more than this human form. It goes deeper than that. There is simply nothing that can hurt the real “me,” and therefore, don’t really matter. These stories can’t hurt “me,” these feelings can’t hurt “me,” and they can’t improve “my” life either. It goes beyond that, yet I used to focus on “me” so much. The stories are just stories, there is no need to attach myself to them, or to this character Raffi. No reason to “get mad” at things and people, no reason to hope for better things. Emotions are here to be felt, and released. The only truth is here and now, and hoping for other things, I take away from what I really have. I see that now.

What do you think?

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:47 am

Hi Raffi,

I’m glad you approach this with an open mind :)
Emotions are here to be felt, and released.
Exactly. And whenever there is an unpleasant emotion, it is there because a thought was taken as a fact.

I do private sessions working with emotions, but that is a different kind of inquiry. Later, if you still be interested, we can have a look. But, that inquiry is not equal to seeing through the self-illusion.
The only truth is here and now
That is the only thing that there is. The here and now.
Exactly! So seeing that there is no separate self at a core can only ever happen here and now.

Do you feel ready to continue with the inquiry?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:39 pm

I do private sessions working with emotions, but that is a different kind of inquiry. Later, if you still be interested, we can have a look. But, that inquiry is not equal to seeing through the self-illusion
Absolutely, later we can take a look if needed. For now, I am ready to continue with the inquiry!

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:45 am

Hi Raffi,

We looked at that our experience comprises of those 6 aspects (color, sound, taste, smell, sensation + the knowing the presence of a thought).

Taking this discovery in mind, what is it that you perceive yourself to be in your everyday life? I don’t mean what you intellectual understand and reason what you are, but rather what is it that you perceived yourself to be in the mist of ordinary life?


Please spend a whole day investigating this.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:34 am

Good morning Vivien,
Taking this discovery in mind, what is it that you perceive yourself to be in your everyday life? I don’t mean what you intellectual understand and reason what you are, but rather what is it that you perceived yourself to be in the mist of ordinary life?
I hope I’m understanding the question right, if not, I will be around here a little longer still tonight so if I am around I can still answer again in a little bit:

This question is not easy. I’m not sure if I can fully answer that. What I seem to understand is that I am this thing inside a human body, that needs to do human things, like work, pay bills, do things - my everyday things. This human body and mind that has memories and stories of this character, yet I also understand that I am not limited to this character. I am much more than just this character. I’m not exactly sure what I am, honestly. I know I’m not just this human being, but I’m stuck only doing human being things because that is the limit we give ourselves. Our experiences are made up of the six senses, so I’m experiencing, yet stuck being a human. Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this question, so I will just send it back to you, and see if I’m on the right track. I will be here a little longer!

Thank you!

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Fri Apr 30, 2021 4:54 am

Hi Raffi,
What I seem to understand is that I am this thing inside a human body, that needs to do human things,
Look for this thing that is supposed to be inside the body.

Where is it exactly?

How bit it is?

What is it made of?

How do you know ‘that thing’ is an I?


Dig deep here. Make sure you look in your experience, and you are not just intellectually contemplating it.


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Sat May 01, 2021 3:24 am

I’m going to take my time on this one! I’ll get back by tomorrow!

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Sat May 01, 2021 3:31 am

great, thank you for letting me know
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Sun May 02, 2021 1:10 am

Hey Vivien,
Where is it exactly?

How bit it is?

What is it made of?

How do you know ‘that thing’ is an I?
These were hard, but this is what I came up with after taking a little while to really experience, and think back on thing we went over before.

Besides this feeling of feeling alive and present, and the voice in my head, I can’t seem to find this “me.” Being alive is a just being alive, and the voice in my head is essentially just thoughts, so I’m left with a body that doesn’t even belong to “me.” So then I went back to our posts about senses. The only real thing is what is happening right now through the six senses. That then means that “I” only exist “right here and right now.” Anything else is just a story.

Now, besides having the ability to think, what is the difference between “I” and a squirrel outside? Or a tree? A bird? We all seem to exist “here and now.” We all seem to be connected as one, in different forms labeled by us, but in reality, are they different than “I?” Then the answer to “what am I” has to be “everything.” That is what is making sense to me so far. What are your thoughts on my thoughts?

Thank you!

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Sun May 02, 2021 3:30 am

Hi Raffi,
Now, besides having the ability to think, what is the difference between “I” and a squirrel outside? Or a tree? A bird? We all seem to exist “here and now.” We all seem to be connected as one, in different forms labeled by us, but in reality, are they different than “I?” Then the answer to “what am I” has to be “everything.” That is what is making sense to me so far. What are your thoughts on my thoughts?
That this is an intellectual reasoning. We don’t speculate or use logic to figure out what the I is. We are only ever look at experience…. If there is actually an I, a person, an entity in experience… or it’s just the figment of imagination.

But before being able to do that, we have to look at the difference between experience and the thought narration ABOUT experience. Seeing this clearly is essential.

Generally speaking, we can say that there are two distinct world or realms:
- the realm of direct experience,
- and the world of thoughts and ideas ABOUT experience.

But we, most of the time, are confused by the two, unknowingly mixing them, imagining that experience is what we THINK it is.

Mistaking conceptual rendering of reality FOR reality is the source of human suffering, and also the source of the belief in being a separate self.

So let’s start to looking into this.

Sit somewhere alone for about 15-30 minutes and just simply feel into the experience what we call ‘breathing’.

Just notice all that is present; the incredibly rich array of experience that constitutes what we call ‘the breath’.

Now, notice whatever concepts, thoughts, interpretations are generated in the mind ABOUT the experience of breathing (what it is, what are its qualities, how it works, what it’s for, etc. – all the description and explanation about it).

Notice all the labels and categories applied to it (like cold, warm, shallow, superficial, depth, quick, slow, stressful, peaceful, etc.) – including the names we give to the experience (like the name/label ‘breathing’).

What are the labels? What are the thoughts ABOUT it?

And what is there on the experience’s ‘side’? What is there, what is happening independently of those labels/thoughts?

As a next step, can you notice that the direct experience of breathing, and thoughts ABOUT it appear simultaneously, side-by-side, operating / happening on their own, independently of each other?


Just notice, the rich array of experience appears independently of its thought based description, just as the description doesn’t interfere with the experience itself.

Notice that the experience of breathing doesn’t come with a tag or a label attached to it ‘breath’, right?

The experience and the thought story ABOUT it existing parallel, side by side, without meddling with each other.

Doesn’t matter what the description is about, doesn’t matter how detailed it is, those definitions are NOT intrinsic to the experience, are they?

Can the thought based definition, can the labels ever be able to describe the fullness and the richness of the direct raw experience?

Can thoughts ever fully convey what the experience of breathing is?

Please experiment with this several times before replying. From now on, please spend a whole day with each post, looking at the same thing again and again. It’s all about repeated investigation of your experience in any given moment.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Tue May 04, 2021 1:59 am

Hey Vivien,

I’m taking another day on this one. I’ll get back to you by tomorrow.

Thank you

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Tue May 04, 2021 5:26 am

All right, thank you for letting me know :)
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Raffi03
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Raffi03 » Wed May 05, 2021 1:55 am

Hey Vivien,

When I stop to think, I do see the separation. I see the two “worlds.” I can separate the direct real experience vs the thoughts and ideas about the experience. I notice when I’m thinking, and stories come up that use to worry me, but then I quickly realize that those stories are stories about the character, and not the real direct experience. However, when it comes to defining the “I,” it becomes really hard. Maybe I’m missing something, but I cannot define it. Here is my investigation after sitting by myself for a while:
What are the labels? What are the thoughts ABOUT it?
The labels come instantly throughout the experience. For example, when I first started my breath was faster, so the label was “fast breathing.” Then immediately came the thought about it “hmm, why am I breathing so fast? Of course that was followed by the answer “you just got home after a day of work.” Then between “breathing thoughts” come along stories about other things and about “Raffi.” Those thoughts are impossible to stop, but I quickly realize they are just thoughts about the character, so I went back to focusing on the actual experience, but of course while you are directing experiencing “breathing,” other thoughts and ideas come up at the same time. Other labels come up “peaceful, warm, slower.” Immediate thoughts came up about those labels: “Focusing on breathing is so relaxing, you can feel the warm breath in, nothing to worry about.” I realize those are also just thoughts about the labels. This went on for quite a while, together with other stories about the character, but always realizing what was a story and what was the actual experience of breathing.
what is happening independently of those labels/thoughts?
Breathing. Breathing is happening independently of the labels and thoughts. I don’t control breathing, it just happens. Of course I’m talking specifically about breathing because that was the exercise, but I see that it applies to everything. Independently of labels and thoughts, breathing happens, eating happens, sleeping happens, living happens, etc.
can you notice that the direct experience of breathing, and thoughts ABOUT it appear simultaneously, side-by-side, operating / happening on their own, independently of each other?
Absolutely, I mentioned above a little that yes, I can notice the direct experience of breathing and the thoughts about it happening at the exact same time independently of each other. It also seems like our minds like to make it seem like there is a lot more going on than there actually is, and as a result, the raw experience of breathing isn’t appreciated as much. The attention mostly goes to the thoughts and stories. However, I do notice it quickly and the story just moves on. And that goes with your other follow up questions. Thoughts and labels do not affect the actual experience of raw breathing. It just happens. Those labels also can’t fully describe the experience, as words are just words. Labels are just labels, and they can never describe the full experience of raw experience. Neither can thoughts. Thoughts can never fully describe the experience of breathing. It is impossible!

Just a side note, I always take my time with the experience, and never try to hurry a response, but from now on like you said, I will take an extra day to make sure I am fully experiencing what you ask me and multiple times, too.

I really appreciate your guidance.

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Vivien
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Re: Crossing the gate

Postby Vivien » Wed May 05, 2021 2:19 am

Hi Raffi,
Thoughts and labels do not affect the actual experience of raw breathing. It just happens. Those labels also can’t fully describe the experience, as words are just words. Labels are just labels, and they can never describe the full experience of raw experience. Neither can thoughts. Thoughts can never fully describe the experience of breathing. It is impossible!
Nice discovery :)

Here is a blog post I wrote along the same line. Please read it and look with the pointers.
https://fadingveiling.com/2020/10/03/al ... e-symbols/
Just a side note, I always take my time with the experience, and never try to hurry a response, but from now on like you said, I will take an extra day to make sure I am fully experiencing what you ask me and multiple times, too.
Great, your thoroughness is key. The more time and effort you put in (but without overefforting, rather with kindness, fun, curiosity, playfulness), the greater the fruits can be :)

Okay...so let's move onto looking at the nature of thought. Looking at your direct actual experience and seeing how your thoughts work are the 2 main key components of realizing that there is no self as you thought it to be.

This is important: A thought is DE (direct experience), it can be noticed right now, but its content isn't DE.

Think of yesterday’s dinner. There can be a picture brought up, smell and taste remembered, all content of a thought, but you won't be able to eat it right now.

And why? Since the dinner is not experienced, it’s not real.
Imagination is real, but not the dinner. Can you see this?


If you had pizza for dinner last night, it was real then.
Now, it is a thought.
The memory is a real mental construct, now.
A memory is nothing else but a thought occurring NOW.
It is real now as a thought only.
But the pizza is not real now.
It is just an imagined pizza, a visual thought OF a pizza, not a real, directly experiencable pizza in this moment.
It this utterly clear?


The problem comes when we misperceive the contents of thoughts and believe that they are at the same order of reality as what is actually taking place here-now.


And this happens over and over again, hundreds (if not thousands) of times a day.
The goal is to learn not to confuse a mental construct (thoughts) with reality.
A mental construct (thought content) is NOT a real experience.
A thought content is an IMAGINED experience, but not an actual, real one.
Is this totally clear?


Real is what can be experienced DIRECTLY, here-now.
Can you see this clearly?


Reality is what is left when you stop thinking about it.

If nothing is left (when there are no thoughts about it) then it wasn’t a real experience, it was just a thought / imagination / fiction / mental abstraction.
Is this totally clear?


There is nothing wrong with mentally evoking an image of another time and another place… the problem comes when we don’t see that ‘that other time and place’ is not real, it’s just a mental construct now.

Thinking about past or future, or another place is all right, as long as you realize that it is just a thought, and that thought is NOT a real experience here-now, since it has no independent reality.

So there can be a mental reference something that is not an immediate experience of here-now, but it is essential to see moment-by-moment that these mental references are NOT here and now, they are not real.

As soon as there are no thoughts about them, they cease to exist, because they are not real experiences, just mental fabrications.
Is this clear?


Let’s look at this in practice.

Think about sugar now.
When you think the thought 'sugar', do you experience the taste sweetness?

A thought never contains experience. If it did you could taste the word 'sweet', and feel the word 'hot'.

But, when the thought 'sugar' is there, you know that a thought is present, don't you?

So that knowing of the presence of a thought is the experience of it.

So there is an experience of a thought, but not the experience of 'sugar', or 'sweetness', or a taste, right? Just the experience the occurrence of a plain thought?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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