Sorry for the slow reply.
Has practice continued? What is found?
You've written things like:
So, what is still missing? Anything?It feels expansive and wonderful.
So, what is still missing? Anything?It feels expansive and wonderful.
At this point in practice, whenever I feel that something is missing, I can usually look and see that the feeling of lack is actually appearing as something added, rather than something missing. So, maybe it’s a sense of ownership on top of the experience of the body and senses, or a sense of control on top of movements and thoughts, or a sense physical separation in addition to sensations. Then, if I look for the centre of that, be it an owner, controller, or a separate person, there is nothing to be found and I feel free from that sense of lack. If there’s doubt, I can look and see that the doubt just appears on its own, so it’s not a self.So, what is still missing? Anything?
I've had that happen while driving! Fortunately, slowly, in a parking lot. It's freaky.Also, a wonderful experience I’ld like to share is that while walking, there is often a shift from seeing myself moving through a stationary environment, to seeing moving scenery pass through still nothingness. This is lots of fun!!!
Experience is happening right now, but there is nothing and no-one owning anything, controlling anything, or existing separately from anything else. This is how experience always is and how it always has been, whether or not this is seen. Nothing arising in experience is an ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘self’ and experience itself is unowned, it doesn’t belong to anything or anyone.1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in any way, shape or form? Was there ever?
The illusion of separate self appears as thought labels which seemingly overlay how the experience actually is, after it occurs. In my experience, labels occur in three main varieties: separation, ownership and control. For example, I am sitting right now and I can feel that my body is a thing seperate from the world, but if I look more closely, both the feeling of the body and the feeling of the outside world are just points of sensation, appearing in one inclusive space. This space is without limit, so the feeling of separation is just a thought/concept appearing to overlay this openness where the sensations are appearing. Visually, the sight of the body and the sight of the outside world are also both arising in the same field of sight. It’s only the thought label of separation that makes them appear to be disconnected. Also, I can’t find an owner or creator to whom these sensations belong, or a seperate person who is a driver, owner or resident of this body.2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it starts and how it works from your own experience. Describe it fully as you see it now.
Separation and control have really dissolved since beginning this dialogue. I always used to feel that my body was a seperate thing, within an external world. But now, I can recognise as previously mentioned that both the sensations and sights that are comprising my experience of body and the world are appearing in the same empty, inclusive, unified, space. Feeling openness, feeling space, feeling no separation, is wonderful. Something that I never knew was tight, clenching, holding on, is relaxing. It feels like a physical sensation, but I can’t exactly pinpoint where or what it is.3) How does it feel to see this? What is the difference from before you started this dialogue? Please report from the past few days.
Practicing sitting on the chair and feeling the contact to see what’s really there opened up a new way of looking for me. Watching thoughts also helped me to see the illusion of control, and how it appears. It prompted me to experiment from a different angle and try to actually control thoughts: I saw that I couldn’t, and that trying was just another group of empty thoughts and sensations. Also, the palm flipping exercise really helped with seeing the lack of control from a physical perspective. This enabled me to look much more often in daily life, strengthening and integrating my practice. I can look to see who is walking or speaking, who is controlling and authoring these movements and commands ahead of time… there is nothing to be found.4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?
Decision is occurring spontaneously and on its own. Nothing precedes it. If right now I try to choose between three objects, a thought pops up choosing ‘that one’ and I had no idea beforehand what it would have been.5) Describe decision & give examples from experience.
Intention is also completely spontaneous. As I am writing this, my intention to complete it is simply appearing and as I write, what word will be chosen next is completely unknown. Intention is not made or created by anyone or anything, it doesn’t belong to anything or anyone. It’s just happening.Describe intention & give examples from experience.
Because decisions and intentions are arising on their own, without anything preceding them and anyone being here to author them, free will does not exist. Everything is just happening. Decisions just arise, they aren’t ‘decided’. The illusion of free will appears to happen when this process is followed by thoughts of ownership and control. In the very moment of ‘will’ however, just as always, everything is just simply happening, including the choice and the feeling of choosing.Describe free will & give examples from experience.
Nothing is choosing and choices are not preceded by choosing. The next choice is a mystery! I don’t know where attention is about to go next. Just then, it went to a sound, to a sight. To the screen. Now to these words. Attention is focusing on different points and each movement of attention is happening completely spontaneously and uncontrolledly. Even deliberate placing of attention is another spontaneous movement, just happening.Describe choice & give examples from experience.
Feeling control happens after a spontaneously ‘controlled’ experience happens, be it mental or physical. Even if it is preceded by an intention, the moment of trying just happens. It is not controlled nor is it known in advance. If I try to throw and catch something to a certain height or in a certain way, if successful, then all that means is that the outcome matched the goal. However, both outcome and goal are not controlled. They both simply appear.Describe control & give examples from experience.
Everything is happening on its own. If there is a thought or intention happening, that can precede an action, but the thought and intention are completely un-preceded. They appear, uncontrolled and spontaneously. Everything is just arising.What makes things happen? How does it work?
There’s nothing that ‘I’ independently do or have done. There is no ‘me’ to have done it either. Even when the absence of self is clearly seen, there is no one seeing it. No one controlling the seeing. The seeing is just happening.What are you responsible for? Give examples from experience.
It has been wonderful - thank you very much for the opportunity!6) Anything to add?
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