Celeste, we can start here.

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Elizabeth
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Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:31 am

Hello Celeste,
Nice to hear from you.
Could you tell me a little about you, and if you have any path or practice?
And as you look for a self, can you describe what you find?
Love, Elizabeth

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celeste
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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:11 am

Dear Elizabeth ~ Have been attending satsangs with a variety of teachers since approx 1998. Usually advaita teachers but not always. Spent a lot more time with some than others. Have not been very good at making time to sit still which I feel would be my practice. My excuse is that I am always trying to keep up with life owing to ill health since 1983. Unable to work for 23 years. Most likely I have been very over identified with the body as it is so difficult to live with all the many weird symptoms and feel so useless (not so much as before) and accept them. Have been perpetually looking for a cure but it remains a mystery. My father was a doctor and I am always researching. Although now my memory is quite bad! Aged 65. Read too much. Always trying to find the last word in how to practice something without practising it!

Very recently feel drawn to self enquiry which is a surprise. Maybe partly because I am under the impression that I don't necessarily need to be meditating to accomplish this. Not sure of the best way of going about this. I have just been questioning 'my' thoughts.

I cannot find a self. I cannot find anything - only emptiness. Actually it's quite peacful! Maybe I should look for a self more often?

Love and thanks
Good night ~ Celeste

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:27 am

I forgot to look at whatislooking.blogspot before replying!

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:57 am

Hi Celeste,
Glad you figured out the forum.
Now am smiling, I can't find a self, either, only emptiness! Nothing!
This may be the shortest conversation on record.
We'll just explore a bit further.
What line of inquiry showed you the emptiness, and where did you look?
Much love, Elizabeth.

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:00 pm

Hi Elizabeth,
Can't seem to answer these questions today. Don't know that there was a line of enquiry. Short term memory very short and brain fog happening. Sitting still nobody seems to be inside anywhere until thoughts come usually about feeling ill! Attached to 'I' or 'me' or 'my'. Even without a good memory 'I' probably has the concept of there being no 'I' learned over many years but not really experienced. There is the concept of there being no 'I' but it has not hit some place it needs to hit?!


Can hear a lot of thoughts e.g. no clarity, confused etc. Somebody seems to be watching these thoughts. Don't need to believe them but if there is no one there, as is being pointed to on this website, then who is it that seems to be watching these thoughts? Consciousness/ Awareness comes the answer (from my Advaita background!) whatever that maybe! Is that the same as 'No one'. Not a separate being?

Day in and day out 'I' can hear thoughts saying 'Oh God, I feel ill' or different words to that effect or practising what to say to a close friend about how 'I' am to explain why' I' may not be able to do what is 'expected' of 'me'!
Thoughts arrive which are constantly practising what to say about ill health to a healer or acupuncturist or whoever! Thoughts are constantly commenting on how the body is feeling.

Sorry seem to be bogged down at the moment. Probably won't be shortest conversation on record after all!

Is there any point in changing thoughts to, for example, 'discomfort happening' and detaching them from the 'I' Am used to the practice of 'watching' thoughts etc. Then who is the 'I' that would be dropping the 'I' thought if there isn't one!
Better stop and eat before becoming more bonkers happens! Feeling a bit sorry for 'you' having to read all this rubbish!

Thank you ~ Love, Celeste

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:02 pm

Hi Elizabeth,
Can't seem to answer these questions today. Don't know that there was a line of enquiry. Short term memory very short and brain fog happening. Sitting still nobody seems to be inside anywhere until thoughts come usually about feeling ill! Attached to 'I' or 'me' or 'my'. Even without a good memory 'I' probably has the concept of there being no 'I' learned over many years but not really experienced. There is the concept of there being no 'I' but it has not hit some place it needs to hit?!


Can hear a lot of thoughts e.g. no clarity, confused etc. Somebody seems to be watching these thoughts. Don't need to believe them but if there is no one there, as is being pointed to on this website, then who is it that seems to be watching these thoughts? Consciousness/ Awareness comes the answer (from my Advaita background!) whatever that maybe! Is that the same as 'No one'. Not a separate being?

Day in and day out 'I' can hear thoughts saying 'Oh God, I feel ill' or different words to that effect or practising what to say to a close friend about how 'I' am to explain why' I' may not be able to do what is 'expected' of 'me'!
Thoughts arrive which are constantly practising what to say about ill health to a healer or acupuncturist or whoever! Thoughts are constantly commenting on how the body is feeling.

Sorry seem to be bogged down at the moment. Probably won't be shortest conversation on record after all!

Is there any point in changing thoughts to, for example, 'discomfort happening' and detaching them from the 'I' Am used to the practice of 'watching' thoughts etc. Then who is the 'I' that would be dropping the 'I' thought if there isn't one!
Better stop and eat before becoming more bonkers happens! Feeling a bit sorry for 'you' having to read all this rubbish!

Thank you ~ Love, Celeste

Not rubbish, just life :-)
Please take good care of the body as we go through this conversation, that is certainly a priority.
So let's explore some side issues as we circle around the lack of a separate self.
So far that seems more concept than reality, a matter of belief rather than simple seeing.

You can see that the thoughts come with an I attached.
An I that claims that it owns experience, and does things.

As you can look at thought, it will be simple to see:
1/ where thoughts come from. Can you be sure they are generated by a 'you"?
2/ whether or not there is an entity separate from thoughts, that can control them
3/ whether or not the I comes before a simple event (I will reach for the cup) or after (I reached for the cup)

Can you take a look and report back?
And if possible, posting once a day works well with this process, giving you time to explore the questions in ordinary experience, see if they road-test.
Direct experience seems the only way. If books and proximity to learned ones could do it, we'd have done it already.
Much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Dear Elizabeth,
Yes, the fact that there is no separate self seems to be only an adopted belief.
1) Even though there is "something" that is noticing the thoughts as they appear "I" don't know where they are coming from. Feels as if they arrive in the head! My history would say they arise out of consciousness but they are just words at the moment.
Thoughts are about past experiences and future concerns especially for the well-being of the imaginary "I" or friends and family of this "I". They appear and disappear out of and into nothing. The 'watcher' of these thoughts endeavours not to take them seriously! This maybe another thought, not Awareness - I don't know!
It would appear that these thoughts are generated by a "you" because they are always about "your" life which makes it convincing.
They could all be just appearing and disappearing and "I" gets attached to them by what/whom/a thought? But then why would they be so fitting? These thoughts are a perfect fit! They don't seem to belong to another!
2) There doesn't seem to be a separate entity from thoughts that can control them. They can be seen/noticed by something else (Awareness?) but not controlled. They can be attached to (identified with) by manufactured "I" or dismissed and not taken seriously.
3) It doesn't seem that "I" comes before a simple event. Emphasis on a "simple" event.

This was very much longer but have cut it down and tried to keep to the questions put as best as possible ~

Love,
Celeste

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:14 pm

Oh, nice work.
I see that the sticky bit here is how an I shows up clothed in all the thoughts, and the thoughts about the thoughts, and so on.
Let's look at the cup in front of you.
Is it truer to say, it's A CUP, or a MY CUP?
How on earth did a self manage to acquire a cup?
And yet a self acquires cups, clothes, house, people, political world-view, and so on.
Are all of these acquisitions supported by the thoughts of other selfs? Apparently separate selves, with their separate cups?
This is a big story, so if you would like to take a moment and step back and really see how far the possessing thing goes, and what the mechanism is, it will be of value.
It's 'your' whole world, and I've left out the most important possession.
Let me have your best rant on this! :-)
Much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Hi Elizabeth ~ Here is the rant:
As this email is read, a cup is next to me. A cup given to 'me' to be 'my' cup. Other separate selves believe it to be 'my' cup and would not use it. In the play, this self is the one using it exclusively. The cup may break so even though it is 'my' cup I have no control of it or ultimate possession. Usually, what 'I' am attached to most is broken or eaten by moths! It could be taken away at any moment! Sometimes such acquisitions are supported by the thoughts of other selfs/selves and sometimes not. There may be thoughts of envy/jealousy etc. Or the cup may have been a gift so is supported by 'another' self.
It seems that 'I' and 'me' and especially 'mine' is inherited from our carers when we are very small as in 'my' teddy. 'my' mummy etc. and is coming from strong feeling/emotion. We are taught when small that 'something' is 'mine'. This toy belongs to 'me''. Young children use their names/labels e.g. Rosie wants milk and that must change to 'I' at some point. Not sure at what age? Am watching 'my' grand child for a live experience but she is only 10 months! So, which comes first the label for 'I' or the labels for objects?
In 'my' flat, everything these eyes can see is 'mine' and when this body dies none of it is 'mine' so how can it be 'mine' now? This body could die any moment now of a heart attack! 'My' everything!
Every thought and feeling is 'mine. I own everything in my flat. I own 'my' body. 'I own 'my' illness. Every pain is 'mine'. We own family and relationships.
I am possessed by my thoughts so there is no room for who 'I' really am. It must be covered up by thoughts. Starts the moment one awakes. Was brought up to say 'one' like the queen instead of 'I' or 'you' but was dropped in teens.
Mechanism: believing that thoughts are true. Believing everything they say. So belief and trust in thoughts. One thought leads to another. Lots of small things happen without thinking e.g. picking up glasses to read with. Thousands of small actions.
The belief in the story and me and the thoughts. Thoughts create tensions in the body. Movements happen all day - they don't need a 'me' to initiate them.
The most important possession? My body? My mind? My thoughts? My soul? Everything but Consciousness is 'mine'!
'I' has taken possession of everything it can! IS THIS TRUE?
'I' thinks it owns/possesses everthing!
'I' thinks it owns all feelings.
How much of thought is 'I attached to? Everything except when 'I' is being questioned.
'I' has fear thouhts. 'I' is frightened of everything. Who/What is this 'I'? Can 'I' kill the 'I' thought? It ('I') thinks that it is all that 'I' am!
Obviously. 'I' think/believe 'I' is who I am!

Many thanks and love ~ Celeste

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:55 pm

Wow, good rant.
"The most important possession? My body? My mind? My thoughts? My soul? Everything but Consciousness is 'mine'!
'I' has taken possession of everything it can! IS THIS TRUE?
'I' thinks it owns/possesses everthing!
'I' thinks it owns all feelings.
How much of thought is 'I attached to? Everything except when 'I' is being questioned.
'I' has fear thouhts. 'I' is frightened of everything. Who/What is this 'I'? Can 'I' kill the 'I' thought? It ('I') thinks that it is all that 'I' am!
Obviously. 'I' think/believe 'I' is who I am!"

It seems to be true. At the center of 'your' world is a persistent and self-reflective thought construct.
We cannot discern a separate self that generates the thoughts.
We cannot discern a self that controls thoughts. Or we'd have more pleasant ones.
If we are dead honest about it, our history is composed of thoughts that are selective and subject to revision. Very questionable. Huge gaps. Much second-hand information.
We have thoughts of an I in the future, hopeful or fearful. That is clearly a fantasy.

In this very moment, we can have an experience that the thoughts have not yet taken into the narrative. But until the narrative resumes, that experience has not got an I in it. Just experience. Let's look at that.
Shall we take a look at where and how the narrative comes in to claim the experience?
The myth of ownership and doership?
Please raise your hand. Move it to the left. Now, move it to the right.
At what point did an I thought come in to claim that? Before, or after the movement?
Try it a few times, and during the day when you remember.

Is a separate self moving the hand (and if so, please indicate how) or is it more true to say that hand is moving?
Is it really a MY hand? MY choice? MY movement?
Try walking. Is there really an I directing the walking, all the time?

Much love, Celeste, I look forward to the next rant and report.

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:14 am

Hi Elizabeth ~ spent a lot of today on trains (6) so may colour experience.
Moving hand from left to right: 'I' thought comes in AFTER movement. Repeating movement during day perhaps wasn't so spontaneous as initial time. Although seemed to be more of an observer of movement than an owner. More true to say that hand is moving. Similar movements on train: turning pages in catalogue happened. No ownership. Notice 'myself' doing other things with no 'I' claiming them e.g. putting on coat, opening/closing handbag. Other small movements such as scratching head, shaking hair out of eyes, walking, licking lips, scratching back etc. Not MY choice to be scratching head/back, coughing etc. I have noticed that when lying in bed in the morning trying to get out of bed that it can happen before deciding to, so movement often seems to happen without thought. Noticeable with small movements.

Would like to ask you a question but if it is not your department or not relevant - please ignore. I see a healer every so often (like today and that it is why the query has come up) who is very effective for most people he heals. Have been helped quite a lot with walking and who knows with what else in actual fact. However, for the reason I went CFS (ME) not much has changed. Am wondering if this is because i am kind of split when I go there? Half of me believes that the Truth lies beyond the mind (and positive and negative) and that I am not the doer. Therefore 'I' do not take full reponsibility for'my' thoughts which left to their own devices are much more negative than positive. He said to me today that my thoughts should be more positive with regard to being healed! If I notice myself thinking negative thoughts with regard to health - is it good to alter them to positive as long as they are not claimed by 'I' , 'me, 'mine'? e.g Health is improving everyday or is it better just to take the negative thoughts re health much less seriously - or both or neither! Part of me believes that I should be Ok with everything the way it is and the other part can't stand it any longer. A third part tells me that it is my karma.

In the light of what you have been saying - if 'I' apparantly decides to have more positive thoughts about health and there is the realisation that 'I' am not the choser or claimer of this - then i can't see what would be wrong with this?
This is what is happening?

I understand that it has been proved scientifically that our thoughts do influence our relative reality but not absolute reaiity. However, if I lived in trust of everything being Ok just the way it is then the body may relax and healing happen. However, practically speaking this hasn't happened! This rut and lack of clarity in this area has been going on for so long that am hoping you could throw some light on it!

Many thanks ~
Love,
Claudine

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:29 am

Hi Claudine,
Today you noticed that thoughts do not own or do many actions that we would previously have said 'I' did.
You are out of bed while the narrative struggles to get out of the sheets and catch up :-)
It's great you noticed all the gaps in thought and narrative as life continues moving the body around.
There is a lot of life that goes without being noticed by an I, unless it is appropriated and inserted into a history of 'me' that exists only in thought.
You will have noticed that 'your' history is an unreliable construction, subject to change, errors, revision, and outright forgetting. So, more gaps in a 'me'.
You also noticed that the Ithoughts come *after* on many actions. Maybe all actions and thoughts are subject to MY-nification, as a friend calls it. Everything attributed to a central point of self-interest.
In thought.
1/ Can this be true? You've had a chance to see more of that appropriation process. MY cup. MY world. MY choices.
2/So, what does this MY-nification in thought imply about choice? Did a separate self actually choose to move the hand, scratch, stumble, suffer? Can you really know that is true? Can there be, in reality, a choice, or is it more true to say, there is a movement?
Please check, otherwise it's another unquestioned concept.
3/ And can thoughts (which seem to simply arise, and are not controllable) control an future (therefore imaginary) outcome?

This work might help you answer those practitioner-related questions yourself. In fact, I invite you to do the above exercises, then take your best shot at clarifying them for yourself. Looking forward to what you discover.

Much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:21 pm

Hi Elizabeth, 25/2/12
1) Can this be true? Yes, it is true that there is an attempt by 'me' to own all thoughts and actions and make them 'mine'.
2) 'I' wants to be in control but there isn't really any choice to be in control. A separate self did not choose to move hand, scratch etc. How will I know this is definitely true? More thorough observation will confirm this?
3) Obviously, 'I' must want to stay in control at all costs! If 'I' changes out-of-control negative 'health' thoughts to positive, the situation (issue) may improve as 'I' will feel better about its imaginary self!?
It is obvious that 'I' cannot be interested in Truth but really just wants to be in control to make 'my' life and 'my' body more comfortable!
I must be staying in the duality of thoughts/mind by considering the choice of positive and negative thinking. This must be out of fear of losing apparant control and ultimately fear of anihilation!
26/2/12
Who/what is owning or noticing these negative thoughts about health? Negative thoughts about health must be just happening along with everything else and 'I' is owning them. Somehow they have been singled out! If 'I' now changes them to positive - then what? They are still owned by a manufactured 'me' that does not exist. So, even if it has been proved by science that positive thinking improves health 'I' is still a Lab Rat (as my friend called 'me' yesterday - very apt!) running around the restricted area of so-called mind.
Since 'I' claims to want to know the Truth why would 'I'continue to do this?
Because 'I' wants to stay in control and have better health. 'I' is not interested in Truth at all and is just trying to use it for its own purposes/agenda!
What to do? Notice these negative thoughts to do with health. Stop claiming them for starters. Don't start adding positive thoughts - first notice the mechanism.
Who is frightened of their health not improving? 'I' is frightened not ME.
Will observe these negative health thoughts more as they have literally become 'me' and get back to you? Don't have much 'time' this weekend as people around so feel I cannot give this my best attention. This may or may not be true? Happy if you reply or if not will carry on noticing what is going on as best as possible under prevailing circumstances!

Many thanks ~ Love, Celeste

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby Elizabeth » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:51 pm

Hi Celeste, you are going in the right direction, good, please just keep me informed as to where you are.
Your descriptions of an I are similar to many, but each of us has to see how 'our' particular clump of thoughts hook up.
If you keep following the thoughts down, they reveal a remarkable thing.
Accumulated book knowledge will not do in this case, the looking and experiencing and willingness to accept what you find is key. No deferring to others. It's very interesting and enlivening to approach reality, quite the adventure.
If people are around, it's a wonderful time to look at what is talking to them, and what that talk is really trying to achieve. Might want to observe choice in this context, also. I notice that what comes out of this mouth is not scripted by a me. Sometimes pleasantly surprised, sometimes, not.
Sometimes it is easy to see self-concept, self-centeredness, and self-construction operating in others. Critical faculties are much sharper when observing apparent others :-)
Always interested in the next post.
Much love, Elizabeth

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Re: Celeste, we can start here.

Postby celeste » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:52 pm

Dear Elizabeth,

I am sorry I have not got back to you before. Seem to have been carried off by life circumstances althought keep watching.

I would just like to thank you for all the help you gave me. 'I' couldn't keep up the pace of emailing every day. It reminded me of being at school and getting my homework in on time! This is not a criticism - just an observation. It seems like I put everything else first rather than sitting in silence. Maybe I don't know strongly enough that all the answers lie within! I really don't know what more you can do?!! I think it must be upto 'me' to see what is important - however long that takes!?

Apologies for not living up to first impressions!

With love, thanks and best wishes,

Celeste


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