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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Mon May 22, 2017 8:55 pm

With thoughts like this, the situation seems experientially very similar to the previous exercises. Imagining an image is basically the same as the seeing exercise, and having subvocalised thoughts is basically the hearing exercise.
Yes. Nice observation.
In a way, each sense has a matching 'mental component'.
though one thing that strikes me is that the 'where' of that seeing is less clear than looking out at the world, and it's not clear where the images are appearing when they're imaginary
Great!
It is very common for people to suggest that the imagined objects are 'in my head' - Yet, you've already realised this isn't true.
A thinker/witness/imaginer of the thoughts ... it doesn't appear in the thoughts in question; ex. in the subvocalised phrase "I'm hungry" or the mental image of the Eiffel tower). It's true that there's an occurrence of the word 'I' in the phrase "I'm hungry" but that's the only trace of the witnesser that I can see here - there's no actual experience of the 'I' itself in that phrase, only an experience of the word.
Yes - When you say 'no experience of the I', you are referring to any separate thing assumed as the experiencer of the thought or imagined object are you?
3) The thoughts that occur or the images that occur just occur as if unchosen.
Yes. Can you perhaps see that 'I made that thought appear' or 'I chose that thought' is . . . just a thought / an idea.
The 'I' is just in the content of the thought and not something that can be located as an inherently real 'thing'.

Was there any real choice about doing that last exercise?
A real choice would require an inherent chooser. Is there one?
Or is the only thing being referenced is simply an IDEA about a choice?

Is there a real separate experiencer here right now?
We can go to thoughts and get 'I am experiencing' or 'This body is experiencing'.
Can an inherent self be found that is experiencing?

Can an inherent self be found AT ALL?

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Wed May 24, 2017 6:08 am

Was there any real choice about doing that last exercise?
A real choice would require an inherent chooser. Is there one?
Or is the only thing being referenced is simply an IDEA about a choice?

Is there a real separate experiencer here right now?
We can go to thoughts and get 'I am experiencing' or 'This body is experiencing'.
Can an inherent self be found that is experiencing?

Can an inherent self be found AT ALL?
I'm starting to think - since all there ever is is seeing/hearing/touching/smelling/tasting - that it never felt like there was a witnesser in the first place. When it is thought "I feel like a witnesser", all that can really mean is 'there is seeing/hearing/touching, etc'. And this means that "I feel like a witnesser" is just shorthand for 'there is sense data'.

I don't know if there was real choice in the last exercise, but I know that there wasn't a real choice made by what I'm calling 'I', because the choice is made apparently outside of experience, and what I'm calling 'I' is the thing that is having the experiences - a thing which, incidentally, can't be found with any of the senses.

Or is it that ... there may be something which is having experiences, but it is unknown directly since it is not in direct experience. So, if there is an experiencer, it is not something which is known directly, and none of its characteristics are known directly, and all knowledge about the experiencer can only be inferred from the things which are experienced. When I talk of an experiencer I am talking about something which is only known as a model based on what is known directly; I am not talking about something which is here right now - something as obvious to me as the table - but about something like gravity, which is a concept thought to be here by inference from other things that are known directly (let go of apple, apple falls.)

If there is a chooser, the chooser is outside of experience (because I don't experience the choice itself, only the result). Yet I might often say "I chose to eat", "I moved my hand". The 'I' in those two utterances is unknown and not what is experienced, because what is experienced doesn't include the choice actually being made or the actual genesis of movement. I might then suggest: "well. Okay, then. So I didn't make the choice, And here I am, not making choices." But it's still true that 'I' am not known directly right now, only experience is. 'Here I am' is a model of the world, not a direct observation. 'here is a table' 'here is an odour' 'here is a sound' ... maybe these are okay, but 'here I am, not making choices' is a hypothesis which is really only capturing the following: there is no experience of choice.

This leads me to consider that 'I', if it is anything at all, isn't the experience-er, but is maybe instead better thought of as the experience itself. The experience is here, and is known directly. But a separate experiencer of experiences is not here and not known directly, only assumed to exist by virtue of there being any experience at all.

I'm just word vomiting right now. Still feel confused. The thing that I keep coming back to is this: when considering that choices are made seemingly outside of experience, thoughts like "I don't choose, but I'm still here, not choosing" come up. This 'I' - the 'I' which thoughts suggest I am - this 'I' is not identical with the body, and not findable. It seems to just mean "choosing isn't experienced", and it seems that the 'I' is just some grammatical convenience. "I am here, not choosing" ... Okay, well, what exactly is here? And which part of it is 'I'? What's here is image of a table, sound of a desk fan, sensations of air blowing, aching pains, sounds of interior monologue suggesting what is then typed. 'I' is not any one of these sensations or appearances in particular. 'I am here' is not an expression of a separate entity being known here ... but just a way of bringing everything else together, and explaining what does happen to be here.

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Wed May 24, 2017 11:06 am

I'm starting to think - since all there ever is is seeing/hearing/touching/smelling/tasting - that it never felt like there was a witnesser in the first place. When it is thought "I feel like a witnesser", all that can really mean is 'there is seeing/hearing/touching, etc'. And this means that "I feel like a witnesser" is just shorthand for 'there is sense data'.
Could be . . .
In fact I like your phrase . . . 'sense data'.
In my own way, I would suggest 'can you find what is seen, what is heard, what is felt, what is tasted and what is smelt?'
What about the assumed activities of seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and touching?
What about the assumed subject of the objects?
I don't know if there was real choice in the last exercise, but I know that there wasn't a real choice made by what I'm calling 'I', because the choice is made apparently outside of experience, and what I'm calling 'I' is the thing that is having the experiences - a thing which, incidentally, can't be found with any of the senses
How do you mean 'the choice is made outside of experience'?
How are you establishing something outside of experience is choosing?
It sounds like you are still clinging to the idea of a definite independent choice being made.

Without the thought occurring 'that was a choice' . . . what is a choice?
There may be something which is having experiences, but it is unknown directly since it is not in direct experience
Unknown by what?
The experience is here, and is known directly.
So you find experience knowing experience? That's what you actually find?

Xain ♥

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Space6006
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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Wed May 24, 2017 5:06 pm

How do you mean 'the choice is made outside of experience'?
How are you establishing something outside of experience is choosing?
It sounds like you are still clinging to the idea of a definite independent choice being made.

Without the thought occurring 'that was a choice' . . . what is a choice?
I only mean IF the choice is made it's made outside of experience. In experience there's no evidence of a choice being made, only of things happening/being done. All a so called choice really is is something happening which is considered a certain way in thought. Without the thought occurring a choice is just the same as anything else that happens.
There may be something which is having experiences, but it is unknown directly since it is not in direct experience
Unknown by what?
Not unknown by something in particular, but unknown in experience. It's true that something is happening; something is going on; there's stuff happening undeniably. Even if the table isn't really there (if its a hallucination) the image of the table still exists, is still happening. You could say sense data is happening. To answer your question ... there may be something which is having experiences, but it isn't here in what's happening; it is't in the sense data which is happening, the sense data which is real. (I just mean, it may be there the same way there may be a teapot in orbit around mars; only, I'm predisposed to believing in 'something having experiences' - due to my habitual thoughts - whereas I'm not predisposed to believing in the teapot. I was really just hedging).
So you find experience knowing experience? That's what you actually find?
No, I guess not. Just finding experience. Not experience knowing experience. "The experience is here, and is known directly." ... This is just one way of expressing something ... What's found is that experience is happening. I say that experience is known, because I want to express that experience is obvious, is immediate, can't be turned off, can't be ignored or denied without talking nonsense. But I can see that talking in terms of 'knowing' could just be a model or concept.

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Wed May 24, 2017 6:12 pm

I only mean IF the choice is made it's made outside of experience.
Are things outside of experience entirely mental in nature?

If we take 'making a choice' as something that a 'thing with free-will' has the ability to do . . .
Is there an 'I', an inherent self here right now that has free-will?
All a so called choice really is is something happening which is considered a certain way in thought. Without the thought occurring a choice is just the same as anything else that happens.
Good. I wanted to ensure you grasped that it is the operation of the mind to label something as a choice or not a choice.
Not unknown by something in particular, but unknown in experience. It's true that something is happening; something is going on; there's stuff happening undeniably
This is for further investigation.
You are right that at this stage, it is enough to suggest 'there are things happening'.
the sense data which is happening,
I'm not following you that the sense data 'is happening'.
There is sense data. We can suggest that perhaps.

Is it (the sense data) being sensed? Can you find an operation of 'sensing' being carried out?
(With the usual proviso as mentioned before that the visual experience may appear to be a 'perspective from a point'.)
So you find experience knowing experience? That's what you actually find?
No, I guess not. Just finding experience. Not experience knowing experience.
A few non-duality teachers use this language by way of description - I'm not suggesting it's wrong to use it in that way - Merely, asking does it really match the experience that is present right now. It may be that you use some similar pointers like this later on to examine other things.
Right now, the only thing we need to look for is a separate 'knower' of any kind.
. . . can't be ignored or denied without talking nonsense. But I can see that talking in terms of 'knowing' could just be a model or concept.
Well the first part is a matter for further investigation. But in relation to 'knowing', that term is usually applied to a 'thing' - For example, 'The cat KNOWS that a mouse is hiding under the stone' or 'I KNOW that I must go to work tomorrow'.
Applying it to experience suggests that experience is a 'thing' which has an ability of knowing.

But we are digressing a bit.
Right now you appear to want latch onto a new identity of 'what I am' . . . but that's not what this investigation is for, or I as your guide intend for you.

Is there a separate 'you' knowing something?
Is there a separate 'you' experiencing?

Xain ♥

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Thu May 25, 2017 6:02 pm

Are things outside of experience entirely mental in nature?
I'm afraid I don't understand!
If we take 'making a choice' as something that a 'thing with free-will' has the ability to do . . .
Is there an 'I', an inherent self here right now that has free-will?
By 'here right now' do you mean in experience? And by 'inherent' do you mean separate from experience? If so then no. These are the definitions I've gathered that you mean by these terms over our conversation. But doesn't it seem like a tautology when you use these definitions?
I'm not following you that the sense data 'is happening'.
There is sense data. We can suggest that perhaps.

Is it (the sense data) being sensed? Can you find an operation of 'sensing' being carried out?
(With the usual proviso as mentioned before that the visual experience may appear to be a 'perspective from a point'.)
All I mean by "sense data is happening" is "there is sense data." Sorry for the confusion.

Is sense data being sensed? This is only a semantic construction. 'Sensing' isn't a thing that can be sensed. The notion of sensing sense data is a bit of a Russian doll, isn't it? It's not really whats going on. I don't sense sense data in any other way that that I sense what I sense; but not in a recursive way, just in a tautological way. This is just semantics, though ... as a matter of experience, I don;t experience sense data, sense data is a concept explaining it in a meta way. Actual experience is not of sense data per se, but of images, sounds, etc. I call these images and sounds 'sense data' as a referring expression.
Is there a separate 'you' knowing something?
Is there a separate 'you' experiencing?
If by "separate" you mean separate from experience, and you're asking me to answer from experience, then the answer can only be 'no'.

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Xain
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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Thu May 25, 2017 11:21 pm

Are things outside of experience entirely mental in nature?
I'm afraid I don't understand!
We were referring to something outside of experience - I was trying to establish what you meant.
It doesn't matter.

Clearly 'Paris' isn't something you can experience right now - However, you can perhaps conjure up a mental image of that city.
By 'here right now' do you mean in experience?
Yes. I am asking what you can find using the senses.
And by 'inherent' do you mean separate from experience?
The word 'inherent' means independent. Something that does not depend on anything else. Particularly in this case, something that does not rely on thought.
But doesn't it seem like a tautology when you use these definitions?
I am asking what you can find. It's far simpler than what you appear to be making it out to be :-)
We are looking for a real self. One that is assumed to be here right now.
I don't sense sense data in any other way that that I sense what I sense.
What is the 'I' that is sensing?
If by "separate" you mean separate from experience, and you're asking me to answer from experience, then the answer can only be 'no'.
What other way could I have you answer?

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sat May 27, 2017 4:10 am

The word 'inherent' means independent. Something that does not depend on anything else. Particularly in this case, something that does not rely on thought.
How would I know if something was like this? Not dependent on anything else? If my goal is to "find using the senses" all that is really found is images, sounds, sensations, smells, tastes. How do I know if the images are dependent on anything? Are the images dependent on the objects out there in the world that are reflecting light? Obviously I'm not aware of the light being reflected, that's just what I've been taught, so I don't have any real engagement with anything which indicates that the images are dependent on anything. These images, as a matter of experience, don't depend on anything. They never go away and even though the specific content of the images might depend on certain things (I can move my head etc) images in general are non-negotiable.

I'm tempted to say that the images depend on me, for with no seer there would be no images per se. But I know you will ask me about this seer, and I will have to answer that the seer is a concept used to explain, or make sense of, the fact of there being any experience at all. Direct engagement with the self (finding a self with the senses) is just exactly the same as direct engagement with anything at all, is it not? By being aware of anything - by anything being experienced at all - isn't that the experiencer, the self, being known by default? Being experienced?

True enough, there's no one part of all this experience that is the part, no one piece that I can point to and say "There he is!". But I don't understand why there needs to be when this condition that exists right here and now is undeniable, and this condition is all that I mean when I talk about a self. Right?

True enough, nothing that I find is found to be experiencing. Not even other people. They're just found to be moving and making noises, just like trees and pebbles and whatever else. But experiencing is happening (as long as we don't screw up the definitions, and experiencing means what it usually means) and that is the most obvious thing in the universe. Descartes said it best, right?

When I watch somebody else's hand touch a table, I can't sense that their hand is feeling the table, or that there's any experience there at all. Looking at my hand touching a table, I can't see that the hand is feeling, or hear it feeling, or smell it feeling, or taste it feeling ... but I can feel the table. I can't tell that there's any experience going on there with any of the other senses, but as opposed to the example of somebody else's hand on the table, if it's my hand, experience is obviously happening. You will ask me '"what is experiencing this sensation? Can it be found?". It can't be found independent of the touch sensation. With no sensations or images or experience whatsoever, there would be no self! It's true! That would just be unconsciousness and in unconsciousness there's no evidence of a self or of an experiencer. An experiencer without experience is nothing at all; it doesn't make sense because with nothing being experienced you've just got nothingness on your hands - something indistinguishable from what's going on with a tree or a pebble.

So I would say that the sense of self - the feeling that there's a self here - is not independent, but rather precisely dependent on there being stuff experienced. There couldn't be 'feeling a self' without 'feeling' in general. And it's not only the case that 'feeling' is a necessary condition for the feeling of a self, but that it's a sufficient condition, I think. Whenever you've got feeling of any kind, you've got a self. Regardless of whether or not you've got the language capacity to put it into words, the fundamental sense of being a self here right now is probably there in all conscious creatures, I would have thought, and only because they're conscious at all.

Thank you for your patience, by the way.

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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Sat May 27, 2017 9:07 pm

So I would say that the sense of self - the feeling that there's a self here - is not independent, but rather precisely dependent on there being stuff experienced
Is the exercise 'go to the experience of hand on table with eyes closed', tell me where the self ends, and the table begins.

Xain

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Sun May 28, 2017 4:24 am

Is the exercise 'go to the experience of hand on table with eyes closed', tell me where the self ends, and the table begins.
In that experience, at the point where we say 'hand is on table', there is only vague shapeless sensation ... If attention is fully focusing on the sensation there, there's no attention left to consider objects like tables; being aware of a 'table' would be tantamount to distraction from the sensation itself, I think. In the moment of attention being with that sensation, the sensation is all that there is, for as long as the attention can be maintained. This would mean that for that moment there is no boundary between self and table because objects don't really exist in that moment, just the vague sensation.

The truth is its a little difficult to give an accurate report of what that moment is like, because it doesn't last very long before the attention is distracted again.

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Mon May 29, 2017 3:02 am

Checking in again! :)

As an addendum to the above, I suppose this entails that perception is not sufficient for a sense of self, really, since the sense of self requires some experience of things besides the raw sensation of 'hand on table'. Because when 'HoT' is taking up all of the attention, self is not being considered or really noticed.

The main impediment here is my propensity to be distracted by thoughts I think. If, as you suggest, the self is a thought, it would be helpful to be able to notice when that thought is 'active' and notice that this thought is what is responsible for this supposed 'sense of self'. It's one thing to look amongst the non-thought sensations and fail to find 'self', but would be another to be able to look amongst thoughts and find the one(s) containing the 'self'.

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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Mon May 29, 2017 8:54 am

If attention is fully focusing on the sensation there, there's no attention left to consider objects like tables; being aware of a 'table' would be tantamount to distraction from the sensation itself
Would 'distraction' mean 'going to thought and preconceived ideas about what is happening for the answer'?

So let's try to get to grips with this 'I' that is 'feeling a table'.
Previously you made reference to 'other people feeling tables', which (I'm going to suggest to you) is simply an extension of the first assumption that is already being made that there is a self 'here' feeling a table. It's this first assumption that you are going to have to address here.

So what exactly IS this self that is feeling a table?

Don't answer from preconceived ideas - Answer from what you find.

You also made reference to 'got to answer from experience' as it this was some sort of limiting factor or problem with this guidance.
Well, in relation to the question 'what exactly IS this self that is feeling a table', how is it possible to gain any firm answer of this question without going to experience for the answer? How else are you going to resolve it?

In a nutshell - Is it possible to answer this question without reference to any preconceived idea / belief?
If we 'want the absolute truth' to this question - Are we going to get it? Or are we only going to get a preconceived idea / belief?

Xain ♥

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Tue May 30, 2017 7:30 am

Would 'distraction' mean 'going to thought and preconceived ideas about what is happening for the answer'?
Yes, I think so. The image only becomes an image of 'a table' when memory gets involved. Just the image is just the image, and the image alone contains no self evident 'table', just patterns and colours which memory can label as 'table'. Its really hard to just experience the image and not have thoughts constantly butt in and keep suggesting that it's a table, keep recognising it as a table. Without these thoughts I can only imagine it would be like seeing for the first time.
So what exactly IS this self that is feeling a table?
Well, there's a bunch of experiences happening right now. The feel of the keyboard, the sound of the fan, the image of the keyboard. If I knew no better, and had never met another person, and was sort of a blank slate, I imagine I might think this was the whole universe, like these experiences aren't 'experiences' per se but just everything, just life, just what exists here. Just what is going on in existence. I might think that these 'sensations' are everything there is. Just the universe being, without any concept of a feeler of stuff, just the universe is 'being' and the universe 'being like this' right now. But actually, there are other experiences too: thoughts about other people, and thoughts about a world outside of these experiences. It's because of this suggestion - that there is stuff going on outside of these experiences - that these experiences are considered to be just one 'piece' of the whole universe. These experiences have to be considered in a certain way in order to escape the solipsism of the above view (that these experiences are just the whole universe being itself), so they are thought of as being not everything - the whole universe - but as like a little private slice of the universe...

So, the self that is feeling a table ... there's this private slice of the universe which is considered to be separate from the actual reality, (separate from the actual tables and chairs 'out there') and separate from the other private slices (other people who are also separate from the 'real world out there'). This private slice is this self.
You also made reference to 'got to answer from experience' as it this was some sort of limiting factor or problem with this guidance.
Well, in relation to the question 'what exactly IS this self that is feeling a table', how is it possible to gain any firm answer of this question without going to experience for the answer? How else are you going to resolve it?
I didn't mean that answering from experience was a limiting factor or problem. I agree that going to experience is the only legitimate way to pursue resolution.

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Re: Hello

Postby Xain » Tue May 30, 2017 9:02 am

Yes, I think so. The image only becomes an image of 'a table' when memory gets involved.
Yes. Good. So this is deconstructing 'the object'.
What about the subject?
Does 'an image of a self' only appear when memory gets involved?
Does a self only SEEM to appear when thinking gets involved?
The feel of the keyboard, the sound of the fan
You are keen to ignore what you've just discovered.
I don't say this as a negative remark to you - But this is what you constantly seem to be doing.
Realising something . . . then ignoring it and going on a thought expedition to mentally try to work something out.
I imagine I might think this was the whole universe
But surely that would require knowledge/belief in a 'universe'. Some sort of container that 'all this is'.
Perhaps it would also require knowledge / belief that 'What I am is something separate to all this'
'This is the whole universe' . . . what is thinking this thought?
What is witnessing all this?
thoughts about other people, and thoughts about a world outside of these experiences.
Occurring to whom?
So, the self that is feeling a table ... there's this private slice of the universe which is considered to be separate from the actual reality
Is that what you found in the exercise? Or is this 'thoughts and beliefs about it?'
This private slice is this self.
I understand what you mean - But where is it located?
Why exactly is this 'the self'?
Or is it only 'the self' because thoughts / beliefs suggest it is? (Or as you suggested, 'when memory gets involved'?)

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Re: Hello

Postby Space6006 » Wed May 31, 2017 5:11 pm

Yes. Good. So this is deconstructing 'the object'.
What about the subject?
Does 'an image of a self' only appear when memory gets involved?
Does a self only SEEM to appear when thinking gets involved?
You might be onto something, here...
You are keen to ignore what you've just discovered.
I don't say this as a negative remark to you - But this is what you constantly seem to be doing.
Realising something . . . then ignoring it and going on a thought expedition to mentally try to work something out.
I appreciate your remark; no negativity inferred. It's an interesting comment to me.
Is that what you found in the exercise? Or is this 'thoughts and beliefs about it?'
Yes... this is a thought, isn't it? The private slice is just a thought model, and what is found can be thought of as a one slice of something bigger, but nothing outside of that 'slice' is found and so therefore the idea that there's something outside of the 'slice' is an inference in thought.

What is found can be interpreted, or thought of, as stuff being found by a self, but it doesn't have to be thought of this way. You can instead think of it as just 'stuff happening': images happening, smells happening, etc. At face value this is actually all there is but the habit of interpreting it in terms of 'self feeling' is very strong and almost automatic for me. You can see I'm still doing it when writing these sentences. (But is that inevitable?)


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