Guided Self Inquiry

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Neel1234
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Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:17 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
To me it means that there is no separate self as described by thoughts such as "I" or "me" ( No real/inherent self = no separate "me" ). The sense of self is a complete fiction created through body- mind identification and is not to be taken as a real entity who manages all aspects of life.

What are you looking for at LU?
To get some guidance in regards to my practice of inquiry into the nature of "I" or "me". To see if I can get some direct pointing to navigate through strongly held beliefs that prevent me from seeing through the illusion of a separate "me".

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To help me investigate into the nature of "I" and slog through all the strongly held beliefs that prevent any further inquiry from happening (Or seeing the truth). The guidance session could also help generate a massive amount of doubt in the mind so I can begin to question and look into the idea that" I'm just this body and mind".

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I'm quite new to meditation as i just installed a meditation practice to my daily routine about 3 weeks ago.
I've been reading books such as "The Gate-less Gatecrashers " & "The power of now" to better understanding my existential nature.
I've also been practicing the method of "self Inquiry" for about 2 months now . It has really helped me to question some of my deepest held beliefs. But sometimes its hard to generate any honest answers due them being so ingrained. I mean its easy to understand intellectually that I'm not my thoughts etc. But "true not knowing" isn't happening. It's like I need raw/solid experience to come up with any honest answers. I have been making progress in self inquiry to the point where certain beliefs have begun to fall away. However there is still some strong identification with thoughts and the body.

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

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:07 pm

Hi Neel1234

Welcome to LU - My name is Xain, and I am a guide here.
The sense of self is a complete fiction created through body- mind identification and is not to be taken as a real entity who manages all aspects of life.
Yes. I couldn't have described it any better :)
To see if I can get some direct pointing to navigate through strongly held beliefs that prevent me from seeing through the illusion of a separate "me".
Good. Yes, I'd be happy to try to help you with that.
I've been reading books such as "The Gate-less Gatecrashers " & "The power of now" to better understanding my existential nature.
It was 'The Power of Now' that got me on the road into trying to work it all out too.
However there is still some strong identification with thoughts and the body.
Can you give me some idea of how this manifests itself? Where is the problem area?

Do you have any expectations of what realising 'no self' will be like or what it will entail?
Do you have any concerns or fears?

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:16 am

Hi Xain. Thanks for getting in touch with me.

As I stated earlier on , the practice of self inquiry/self observation has led me to contemplate existential questions such as "Who am I?", what is this "I" that seems to claim everything? etc..
I understand that I cannot be this "body" since it can be perceived . (Feels like the "body" belongs to me but it's not actually who I am). I also understand that I'm not my "thoughts" . After all, thoughts are just labels (a bunch of sounds and letters,mental pictures) that are being programmed into the mind from an early stage in life.
Understanding this seems to make sense . But the problem is just knowing this doesn't really reflect through my daily activities. For example I still get overly concerned about physical appearance,self image etc. As for thoughts , there is still that feeling of being unconsciously identified with the "inner voice". But I guess its not unusual due to years of conditioning etc.
My expectation is to see the truth for what it is. Not expecting any fancy experiences here .(Wouldn't mind if I did haha). But just expecting a shift in perception .
I don't have any fears or major concerns regarding no-self. The only concern I guess is whether this has anything to do with a persons journey towards awakening or enlightenment?

Peace & Love.

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:30 am

(Feels like the "body" belongs to me but it's not actually who I am)
Can you elaborate? Why does it feel like the body belongs to you?
I understand that I cannot be this "body" since it can be perceived
Ok. This guidance tries to steer away from logical absolutes. It's not really the difference between 'Is this body me' or 'Is this body NOT me'.
It's more of a question of, 'If it is said 'This body is me' . . . is that absolutely true . . . or merely a convention of language?

Is it completely clear to you that there is no real self experiencing the outside world right now?
Is it completely clear to you that the body is not experiencing the outside world right now?
Be honest.
(Essentially the difference between 'I am experiencing' and 'There is experience').
You mention the body 'feels like me', so that might point to the idea that you truly believe the body IS you.
(But I don't want to put words in your mouth - You tell me - Just be honest about what you believe right now)
After all, thoughts are just labels (a bunch of sounds and letters,mental pictures) that are being programmed into the mind from an early stage in life.
Yes - And this is a very good consideration.
However, we have to be a little careful here. Although we can talk about programming and conditioning, it might suggest 'I have been programmed' or 'My mind has been programmed' . . . both of which might point to a belief in a real self or person that this has happened to.
As for thoughts , there is still that feeling of being unconsciously identified with the "inner voice". But I guess its not unusual due to years of conditioning etc.
Conditioning is a great thing to consider. How much of 'all of this' is through conditioning that we don't really grasp or are unconscious of.
The only concern I guess is whether this has anything to do with a persons journey towards awakening or enlightenment?
It is . . . but what if you realise there is no real person to become awakened or enlightened?
That would be our goal in this guidance.

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:20 am

Thoughts like my and mine are very possessive in nature. They seem to claim or have ownership over certain things. Hence the feeling of this body is mine. But how can a thought own the body?

If it is stated "this body is me", that's merely a convention of language. It's like me pointing out a photo of mine and saying "that's me". Just used for communication purposes.

It is not completely clear to me as to why there is no real self experiencing the outer world at this moment. It looks like everything is converging or centering around this I. But how can a thought alone perceive the outside world. If it's not "I" then who /what does the experiencing? The mind comes up with answers like"it's a region in the brain that does the experiencing and that's who you are". But this is just more thoughts about the self. Not direct experience.

It is completely clear to me that the body is not experiencing the outside world. It's just a medium that helps in experiencing the outer world. It's also very obvious that the "I" thought is not the experiencer. But then who / what perceives All this phenomena? Something or someone has to be registering the experiences for the brain to interpret them in thoughts. This is where I seem to get stuck at doing further inquiry.

It feels like the body belongs to me. Not that I would see the body as "me"..(perhaps sometimes due to unconscious identification with the body)But as mentioned earlier, how can a thought own the body? Who is this "me".. where does this label point to..?

I think a great deal of thins happened through conditioning which we don't fully understand.

I guess the whole point of enlightenment is realizing that there is no one to become enlightened right?
Thanks Xain :)

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:18 am

It is completely clear to me that the body is not experiencing the outside world. It's just a medium that helps in experiencing the outer world. It's also very obvious that the "I" thought is not the experiencer. But then who / what perceives All this phenomena? Something or someone has to be registering the experiences for the brain to interpret them in thoughts. This is where I seem to get stuck at doing further inquiry.
Ok. But your questions automatically assume there is a separate 'thing' perceiving.
'If it's not me, then who or what is it!' - Maybe it isn't a separate 'who' or 'what'?

You mention 'brain' - But this is a paradox from what you just said.
If it is clear that the body is not experiencing the outside world, then the brain isn't doing it either. (The brain being part of the body).
If it is stated "this body is me", that's merely a convention of language. It's like me pointing out a photo of mine and saying "that's me". Just used for communication purposes.
Ok. Good. Yes.

So 'eyes are seeing' is just a convention of language also?
How about 'body is experiencing' - Would that be the same?
What about 'I am experiencing thoughts'?
What about 'Brain experiences'?
What about 'Brain interprets the world'?
But how can a thought own the body?
Indeed :-)
The content of a thought might be 'I own this body' . . . but that's a reference to two things.
1) A physical body
2) An 'I' that owns it.
What exactly is this owner called 'I'?

What owns the brain? It is personal? Perhaps the only link is found within the content of thoughts?
What do you 'think'? :-)
It feels like the body belongs to me.
But again, this brings us back to the same question I asked previously.
WHY does it feel like the body belongs to an 'I'.
What is the 'I' that owns it?
Yes, the content of thoughts might claim things . . . but is that the only reference you can find?
(If it was the only reference you could find, that would be OK just to say that - Perhaps that is all that it is!)
I guess the whole point of enlightenment is realizing that there is no one to become enlightened right?
Yes, a paradox.
I don't like to use the words 'awakened' or 'enlightened' generally - They carry too much fancy spiritual baggage with them.

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:29 am

I see. This is somewhat of a tricky issue . But it seems like there is no "who" in the brain experiencing things. The person only exist as a thought - "I" or "me". "I" cannot also be a doer. How can "I" have any input in doing or controlling activities.After all , Its just a letter and a sound. It is also becoming somewhat apparent that there is no separate "what"(something) that is perceiving experiences. I mean, how can an "object" itself (the brain,neurons etc) has the ability to perceive .If anything its the thoughts that keep telling there is someone or something doing the experiencing. (It would be more accurate to say that experience is happening). However , during brief states when the mind is silent , there is still hearing, seeing etc happening. So there cannot be "someone" being aware. Something?Not pretty sure from my current experiences. But it definitely cannot be an object in nature . Mind is coming up with answers like "its consciousness or awareness". But these are just more concepts and not direct experiencing. But all in all, its becoming clearer that there is no " person" inside me perceiving things. The "I" that I think I am cannot be awareness or consciousness. "I" is a word to itself and awareness/consciousness just is.( I will ponder over this some more ).

Eyes are seeing - Just a convention of language
Body is experiencing - It would be the same
I am experiencing thoughts - Just a convention of language
Brain experiences - The same
Brain interprets the world - Interpretation is happening

The so-called owner "I" is just a thought. ( And a very persistent one haha)
There's no owner of the brain. And it's not personal.

No. Now I would say that the body does not belong to an "I". It's just a convention of language..like "my body".
I guess it's because of years of believing in it without questioning this assumption . It has also to do with how language is used in society throughout the years.
The "I" that owns the body is just a thought.And only a thought.
Yup.It was the only reference I could find.

Thanks :)

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:01 am

Hi again Neel1234
But it seems like there is no "who" in the brain experiencing things
Well . . . the idea / belief that there is a brain doing things right now is an acceptable idea that is used in science and the medical fields. There is nothing wrong with it on that level.
But is it anything more than a idea? Anything other than a 'theory' if you prefer.

How much of what is going on is only assumed?
A scientist looks at a screen with moving lines on it that represents the brain functions of a patient. Is he seeing brain functions, or is he seeing waving lines on a screen . . . and assuming they represent something else?
I mean, how can an "object" itself (the brain,neurons etc) has the ability to perceive
I like that.
How can an object have the ability to perceive 'of itself'!

For this guidance, I like to address ANYTHING that is consider to be separate and is some-sort of essence in 'what you are' - Be it 'Neel1234', 'The body', 'The mind', 'The brain' etc
Whilst we can have ideas and beliefs that these words point to something which is inherently 'us', are they anything more than mere labels . . . labels with associated beliefs attached to them. Or if you prefer, is there any form of inherent separate self here at all right now?
If anything its the thoughts that keep telling there is someone or something doing the experiencing.
Yes. Exactly! The content of thoughts might suggest a whole lot of things in the area of a 'someone' or 'something' here that is doing something or responsible for something. Are they ever anything more than mere thoughts? That's the essence of our investigation. Are they 'just thoughts' or are they 'thoughts that point to something inherently real that can be found'.
The "I" that I think I am cannot be awareness or consciousness. "I" is a word to itself and awareness/consciousness just is.( I will ponder over this some more ).
Excellent. Yes.
In some paths, they use the word 'Awareness' to point to some all-encompassing phenomena . . . it's not a personal awareness which is usually linked to a person or a body. I don't know if you follow or have interest in this specific path.
But when you say 'it just is' . . . why isn't the separate self 'just is'?
Brain interprets the world - Interpretation is happening
On the one hand, what you suggest makes sense. I mean, a certain 'thing' appears in experience and some 'thing' else interprets the experience and makes a suggestion as to what is appearing . . . 'Oh that is a cup!'
But is there something that you can find 'here' right now that is doing 'interpreting'?
Or is 'there is something separate here interpreting' merely a convention of language? A belief only - Just an idea?
The so-called owner "I" is just a thought. ( And a very persistent one haha)
Yes. We will explore 'thinking' and 'thoughts' shortly to examine even this landing place.
The "I" that owns the body is just a thought.And only a thought.
Yup.It was the only reference I could find.
Good. And again, this is the essence of the guidance right here.
Comparing thoughts / ideas / beliefs with what we can find in our immediate experience.

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:48 am

Hey Xain

So the "brain doing things" is nothing but an idea or a theory. Doing is happening but the brain is not a "doer" or a "self that is doing".

Almost everything that is going on inside of us is assumed,theorized, conceptualized or believed.
The scientist is seeing waving lines on a screen while assuming they represent brain functions.

Yes these are merely labels that do not point to an inherent "self".
The label "brain" points to a real thing but not a "self".
The label "mind" refers to a collection of thoughts and emotions/feelings and not a real "self".
The label "body" points to a real thing but it is not who " I" am.
There is no inherent separate self at all right now. Except for the thought "I" /"me" arising and claiming to be a real self.

So thoughts keep suggesting that there's something or someone doing the perceiving or experiencing. It seems like these are merely thoughts that do not point to a real self that can be found in direct experience. Could it be that the solid illusion of a "self" is created through the intermingling of mental images, sense perceptions,feelings/emotions and internal dialogue?

Yes . Recently I've been interested in the path regarding awareness :) .
Well the separate self does not exist in reality... hence it isn't "just is".

There isn't something or someone interpreting. If there is , it's just a convention of language. Just a belief/idea.

:)

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:50 am

Doing is happening but the brain is not a "doer" or a "self that is doing".
Would be acceptable to say that 'The Brain is doing things' is a theory about it's function?
'Brain is not a doer' might suggest that Science or the Medical fields are inherently wrong. I don't want to give that impression.

Again, we have to be a little careful with our description in relating to 'doing' or 'activities'.
We could say as a general term that 'seeing is happening' or 'typing is happening' but in our usual understanding of things, if we say that there are activities being carried out (I mean that they are REAL activities), then there must be an inherent self (a REAL thing) that is doing them. Otherwise it doesn't make any sense.

You are doing extremely well, so let's immediately dive in to CHOICE / FREE-WILL - This would illustrate what I just said in the sentences above.

As you sit there, actively choose one of your hands - It doesn't matter which - Just choose left or right.
Got one?
Ok, now raise that hand into the air.


Do that little exercise as many times as you like - Each time, try to work out what is making the choice.
What is choosing the hand? What is doing that? Can what is choosing BE FOUND in the experience of choosing?
What do you find?
Do this exercise and tell me what you come up with.

If we say that a REAL choice is being made, then there must be a REAL chooser - Otherwise we couldn't suggest that there was a real choice.
Could it be that the solid illusion of a "self" is created through the intermingling of mental images, sense perceptions,feelings/emotions and internal dialogue?
You are exactly on the right lines - Use this in your own inquiries - Try to work out what is happening.

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:57 am

Hello again Xain

Yes.From a theoretical standpoint , it would seem more appropriate to say that "the brain is doing things".

I just did the exercise and in my direct experience , there isn' anything or anyone making the choice . It's as if there is no "chooser". The "I" claims the action after the choice has been made. But it's definitely not "me". The workings of the mind and the body are extremely complex and highly ordered with so many subsystems in place. So I highly doubt there is a real chooser making a conscious decision . Every cell within us is probably involved in some way in impacting the choice. So I don't think it's a matter of "real choice" as "I" have no real control over it.

:)

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:50 am

I just did the exercise and in my direct experience , there isn' anything or anyone making the choice
Then was a real choice being made?
The "I" claims the action after the choice has been made. But it's definitely not "me".
I'm not sure what you mean.
What is the 'me' that it definitely is not?
So I highly doubt there is a real chooser making a conscious decision
Highly doubt?
When you did the exercise, what did you find?
I'm not asking you to speculate and theorise, I'm asking you to do an experiment and tell me what the results were.
Find the answer for CERTAIN.
Every cell within us is probably involved in some way in impacting the choice.
?????
You previously said:
I understand that I cannot be this "body" since it can be perceived
Why are you now referring to 'cells' which are in the body being 'you'? (us)

I don't think you are being honest - I think you are referring back to what you heard from non-dual teachers or ideas that you've picked up from books or reading other things - You are attempting to give me what you think is 'the right answer'.
Don't.

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:45 am

Ok so there was no real choice being made since there was no "real chooser".

The "me"was referring to the thought itelf. For instance , during this introspection I inquired.."So who's making this choice"..and the mind answered "well it's me". But as mentioned in our previous conversations the thoughts me or I have no real power in governing actions of the body.(or are not involved in making conscious decisions because they are just thoughts)

Yup. So I did the exercise again. And the definitive answer is that there can be no chooser found in direct experience.

Gotcha. No more theorizing or referring to non dual concepts ,teachings etc. Just gonna rely on direct experience through only looking/seeing what is happening right now in the present moment.

:)

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Xain
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Xain » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:15 am

Ok so there was no real choice being made since there was no "real chooser".
Ok. Good.
So what implications does that have?
The "me"was referring to the thought itelf. For instance , during this introspection I inquired.."So who's making this choice"..and the mind answered "well it's me". But as mentioned in our previous conversations the thoughts me or I have no real power in governing actions of the body.(or are not involved in making conscious decisions because they are just thoughts)
Good - Yes.
Notice how the content of thoughts generates the assumption 'I'.

Would 'I am not choosing' also be the content of thoughts?

Do the exercise once more, but this time inquire about an 'I' that is controlling the body - Making it move.

1) Can what is making the hand / arm rise into the air (the muscles contract etc) be found in the experience?
2) Can an 'I', a Person, (or the body itself??) be found making that happen?
What exactly is making that happen?
What do you FIND?

Just as a note, of course the limbs of the body are 'seen' and they are seen to be moving.
Remember we are trying to find what causes such a thing to happen. What is the controller / mover?

Xain ♥

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Neel1234
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Re: Guided Self Inquiry

Postby Neel1234 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:34 am

This implies that there is no real "person" influencing decisions or making choices. There is no "me" or "I" that is making choices.

"i'm not choosing" can be a content of thoughts.But the "I" not being a chooser can be found in direct experience . It's just another thought arising and claiming experience.
- Who / what makes the hand rise into the air cannot be found in direct experience.
- An "I" or a "person" cannot be found making this happen.
- the body itself cannot be found making this action happen in direct experience.
- The mind says 'oh its "the brain" that is controlling this action. But "the brain' is merely a thought and is not being found as the controller/mover in direct experience.
- So who/what is controlling the body? There is no controller to be found . Yet these actions are taking place. Therefore, these actions are taking place without a manager in place. Seeing is happening, reading is happening , moving etc .....All of these are happening without a "controller" in place. I mean its like the process of rain falling down from clouds...it has no doer/controller making that happen.


:)


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