Ok, we can continue. It is important to maintain a momentum in the guidance.
You are clearly very intelligent and approach a lot of this from a scientific background and understanding. That's fine.
I'm happy to continue this way, but you must be open to examining the very basis of your own understanding of these things.
This is not to suggest that Science is inaccurate or wrong in any way. But it is a model. It is a model of how the world is, and how it works.
We take this model to be absolutely accurate and correct, and from within the model itself . . . it IS accurate and correct.
But what we DON'T realise is . . . that it is just a model . . . we cling to it in such a way as we believe it is absolutely correct! We believe 'It's not JUST a model, it is REALLY TRUE'.
What you need to do is to consider these points for yourself continually:
'What am I assuming here?'.
'What can I really confirm from my current experience?'
'What is determined from my current experience, and what is 'added' by my own mental faculties but which is NOT verified by my experience?'
I'm finding it extremely difficult to separate the touch sensations from the mental images that appear.
I understand, and that is common. It's a conditioning we have that we 'glue' the two things together (the mental image and the feeling sensation) and say that the one maps on to the other. It is good for you to notice this happening.
Should I just keep trying to narrow my focus to the touch sensation? Sometimes there's a strange feeling of ... dislocation, like a weird feeling like my hand is somehow separate from my body ... or at least not where it usually is - it's a vague 'floaty' feeling, but it's hard to characterize.
This is good BUT we are not trying to change anything or to have something alter. We are just looking at what is happening, that is all.
Can you get to a place whereby it is clear that what we would normally refer to as 'hand on desk' . . . when you examine it, there is just a sensation. Just the one apparent 'thing', rather than two things . . . one 'doing' feeling, and the other 'being felt'.
I quizzed you on the phrase 'Our awareness of it'.
I guess the 'our' would be 'people'.
And this points directly to the guidance here. You have started with an assumption that there is a person here right now, with a faculty of awareness and extending that belief out, you believe that there are other people 'out there' that also have that faculty like I do 'here'.
You need to find the separate self (the real 'I') with awareness.
I find atoms with vision, I suppose. I don't recognise them as atoms, but when I'm looking at a table I'm looking at lots of atoms, aren't I?
(Look at what I put in blue at the top, and then have a go at answering these).
You are looking atoms - Are you really? Can you count them? Could you describe one of them as it appears to you right now?
There is a 'you' made of atoms doing the looking - Is there really? Can you find this 'looker made of atoms' in the visual sense right now?
Or perhaps another way of the same question to you - Can the perceiver of sight be perceived by sight?
No experience of unwitnessed sounds. Of course.
It's a bit 'further on' than the current guidance, but some of the other paths get you to examine your assumption that 'there are sounds waiting to be heard', or 'sights waiting to be seen'. Are these things anything other than assumptions generated by our own mental faculties.
Yes, if there is no 'witnesser' then the semantics (at least) of empiricism need to be reevaluated.The whole thing is based on the idea that witnessing of [whatever] is the only real test of existence.
It is enough for this guidance.
But just a slight adjustment. It is not really 'there is no witnesser' as such. It is that there is no INHERENT witnesser.
It is that any witnesser that is suggested to be doing the witnessing cannot be found, and therefore . . . it is realised that the witnesser is only ever an assumption . . . in exactly the same way as saying Gravity makes an apple fall from a tree. We don't FIND gravity. We ASSUME it. We MAKE IT UP ourselves as an answer to the question.
1) Without the mental images to make sense of the sensation, there is only a vague sensation.
That's where we were leading.
So what is 'I am feeling the desk' or 'This body is feeling the desk' . . . IF, in the purest examination, the only thing that can be said is that there is 'only vague sensation'?
The sensation is too formless to parse into two different 'things' without images
YES YES YES!