End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

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bradd
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End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:53 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
Sensation, Thought, and Perception (feeling) are all in the same field. The body/mind uses these as reinforcements to feel solid dense. By conditioning the mind from birth we are made to believe that this density is real. The baby learns that he is a separate individual that necessitates attachment to parents/community for survival.

What are you looking for at LU?
Attachment is not love. Unconditional love can only come from the _________ before conditioned mind. We try to make this a complicated issue that needs to be resolved or fixed. What I feel I need to merge back into consciousness is probably something more like remembering. My mind is made up of 100% memories (stories) that I believe are real. I need to remember what it is like before I had memories. I need to widen my view outside of the tiny lense of perception. When I wake up from daydream I expect to see body/mind/world as it is. I have had some openings that have given me the confidence to continue seeking. I can see objects (anger, tree, sky, purple, pressure, bells) as objects if I am aware. I am aware of my awareness. I know how simple awareness, conciousness is. I just want someone to point out what I believe will be the simplest of simple. What is. Being.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I have no idea or expectation. If I had another means of inquiry I would have tried it by now. I don't know or have access to anyone that knows anything more about this than me. I find most people are satisfied with their spiritual progress and only reach a certain stage of awakening. I'm not. I'm sure that I'm just scratching the surface of self knowledge on liberation.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have done meditation for about 4 years. I have been on 5 ten day Vipassana Courses as taught by S. N. Goenka. I attend meetings of the Insight Meditation Society one or twice a week. I have attended ~ 1400 meetings with Alcoholics Anonymous. I have been sober 6 years. I regularly study and contemplate Buddhists texts/ideas. Lately I have been more attuned to the teachings of the Advaita Vedanta.

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

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:24 am

HI Bradd,

I am happy to guide you if you are happy to have me :) If you are interested post back here and we can begin.

Amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:12 am

I have read more than half of the online book Gateless Gatecrashers. I am a ripe piece of fruit, ready willing and able for awakening. There seem to be so few that have a real understanding of non dualism. Lots of people do meditation -Buddhism but they get to some point of satisfaction for themselves and stop inquiry into Anatta/non dualism. I started on this quest just a few months ago. I read a book by Michael Singer - The untethered soul. He started talking about subject/object and I stopped, exasperated at seeing this same theme for the umpteenth time. Of course these are the make or break kinda moments. What came next I consider an opening or what some Buddhists call Kensho. I looked out the window and felt like: a leaf at the top of a cottonwood tree, yellow truck, neighbor's wind chimes - all of these things were(are) me. I understood that all of this sensory stuff was "made" in my mind. I am yellow, sound of chimes, shaking leaf and so so much more. It was a moment of grace that I needed to give me confidence to continue. I continued reading the book and found more. It said that I am not the constant chatter in my head. The voices and labeling are not me. The rest of the book was more methodology to see reality and be happy. Like I said I never seem to be satisfied with spiritual matters like most people. I keep going and going. After this I found other non dualist. Rupert Spira. Tony Parsons Jim Newman. I've been studying and watching videos for years by Mooji Papaji and Ramana Maharshi not knowing that the teaching had to do with non dualism.

What I feel like is that I need you to verify, check me to see if this is the real deal or if I'm doing some quasi advaita that will eventually just lead me to a dualistic dead end. Like most people who are on this journey I can say that I understand all of this intellectually but I'm not sure if it has sunk in experientially. I appreciate you all that want to help others on the path.
Brad

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:12 am

Hi Brad,

I am happy to have a dialogue with you to help you explore the nature of experience. As has been said many times before the essence of this inquiry is experiential. It's not intellectual or interested in various models of non-duality. The inquiry is about "looking" or exploring one's actual experience of the here and now in order to see there is no self or I at the centre of experience. From what you say, this may be a very quick process for you.

If you are happy to go ahead then post back and we can begin our journey. It also really useful if you can learn to use the quote functions as it makes reading these threads so much easier.
What I feel like is that I need you to verify, check me to see if this is the real deal or if I'm doing some quasi advaita that will eventually just lead me to a dualistic dead end. Like most people who are on this journey I can say that I understand all of this intellectually but I'm not sure if it has sunk in experientially.
Also, if you want to proceed with this it is good to make a commitment to each other to post every day in order to keep the conversation alive. Let me know your thoughts and we can begin.

Warmly

Amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:58 pm

Hello Amrita,
Yes - I think a daily post would be good. I think the experiential approach is most appropriate. During Vipassana Meditation Goenkaji says many times, "...no imagination." If I am to uncover the illusory "self" and see the reality of my existence then I need to understand for real what it means and not just talk about it. No imagination for meditation means that I feel sensation in the body. No mantras or other artificial means to get concentrated. What this means for getting to the bottom of non-dualism i don't know. I think it means taking note of what I am experiencing and what I am NOT -in reality- experiencing. I think this also means taking a look at what I believe to be true and finding evidence to prove it is true.
It also really useful if you can learn to use the quote functions as it makes reading these threads so much easier.
I watched a video on how to use the quote function. We'll see if it works.
Thanks in advance for your time and patience.

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:20 pm

Hi,

I think you have hit the nail on the head when you said,
I think it means taking note of what I am experiencing and what I am NOT -in reality- experiencing. I think this also means taking a look at what I believe to be true and finding evidence to prove it is true.
Before we begin this process its very useful to clarify the terms we are going to use so we are both talking about the same thing. In light of what you have said above can you say what you understand by direct experience and what is the difference between direct experience and thinking about experience?

Best wishes

amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:01 pm

I think for most of my life I believed my beliefs to be true. I listened to the voices in my head and thought that "they" were me. Direct experience ask me to look at my experience (sensation, thought, perception) objectively and see what's happening. My thoughts come and go every 5 seconds or so. I repeat the same things over and over from one day to the next. 95% of my thought are the same as yesterday's thoughts. I can't trust thinking and I know that thinking is not me. Sensation comes and goes, arising and passing away, anicca. My emotions aren't real either. If I catch myself angry or annoyed, I pause and try to see the emotion, What I discover is that most emotion is alike. When I can be aware of emotion and really see it with direct experience I discover angry and content are the same for mind. They feel different in my body. Most of the emotion that I feel gives extra sensation, mostly in my gut. Direct experience allows me to get extra information from emotion. When I'm thinking during emotion it's a whole other things. All thinking is memory -100%. When I feel emotion I'm also bringing in all the memory of the last time I was feeling the same way. It's 100% false. How could the the emotion be true when I'm in a completely different situation on a different day? Direct experience allows me to break down my body-mind information and see that it is just that, information. This morning I was sawing a piece of wood in half. The 2 x 4 was 8 feet long. What I actually needed was two 3 foot pieces. When I figured my mistake I said to myself, "idiot." I do this to myself all the time.

I know how to get to this point in awareness. I know that the voice that calls me an idiot is not me. I know there is no me. Problem is these moments are few and far between. Will I ever get to the point where I get away from these guys talking in my head, for more than a few seconds at a time? Maybe I should set my watch to go off every 5 minutes so I don't get carried away in thought for long periods of time. Can I change the ration of direct experience:conditioned mind. Lots to think about - hee hee:)

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:33 am

HI Brad,

Lots of interesting thoughts in your answer but lets see if we can slow this inquiry down and stay with our direct experience of the here and now. Firstly, I want to ask you abot your expectations of this process.

What do you imagine life would be like without a self or I at the centre of it?

What would you gain by seeing through the illusion of self?

What do you imagine you might lose?

Best wishes

amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:59 pm

Amrita,
Greetings from Madison, the capitol of Wisconsin. I'm from close to Green Bay. If you know anything about American Football you know they are the the winners of the first two Superbowls. I don't know much about sports - kind of a waste of time for me. My ancestors came from the Netherlands in the south close to Belgium. They all came over with a priest in three ships and settled in my little town.
What do you imagine life would be like without a self or I at the centre of it?
I think life would be pretty much the same without self. I think it more of a subtraction than anything else. I wouldn't waste life listening to my thinking mind. I wouldn't have to rely on language to label the world. I wouldn't be so concerned with voicing my opinion. I think if I didn't have to waste so much time and energy on this stuff I would be able to notice more, experience more, and focus more on reality. The biggest thing to gain I believe would be focus. My mind wanders and it takes me soooo long to get things done. I'm in such a hurry to finish so many things that lots of things don't get finished. I imagine that my priorities are set to please people and try to make me feel good about myself.

Without a self I wouldn't have to worry about self esteem. I wouldn't have to worry about what others think of me. I wouldn't have to identify so closely with my career career or fulfilling my life story. I imagine that if I could let go of my self I would do in the moment what needed to be done. I wish that I would be less distracted by Thing 1 and Thing 2 and The Cat in the Hat in my head. I've read about the "flow" that people experience and I can do this from time to time within short periods of time.

What I think I might lose is the drama in my life. That's ok for me. If I could focus on reality and not on writing the story of my life that'd be great. I don't know what I don't know but I don't know what the down-side of shedding self would be.

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:01 pm

Hi Brad,

In response to your answers I would agree with you that its almost impossible to guess what it will be like when the illusion of self disappers. Nice to know a bit about you and your family history too!

Let's start our journey by examining the sense experiences (seeing, hearing, bodily sensations, taste, smell) in search for self or I before we look at thinking and the nature of thought. How guiding works is the guide suggests an exercise to try and you try it out and report back here. Again, its great if you can keep an open mind whilst you explore this inquiry.

Lets begin with physical sensations.

Try this exercise to start with.

If you close your eyes and look at the sensations in your body can you find any self or I within any of those sensations? Do these sensations belong to you or are there just sensations?

With your eyes closed touch something. Can you describe what the sensations are like? If you push against something with your hand can you experience your hand seperately fromthe thing you are pushing against or are there just sensations? Is there a self or I anywhere to be found in the sensations?

In your daily life, try closing your eyes at different times of day whilst engaging in different activities and pay attention to the sensations. Can you find a self anywhere in the experience of physical sensations?

Good luck :)

amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Tue Aug 22, 2017 3:07 am

Hello Amrita,
I speak Spanish and when I see your name I see Amor(Love) and the -ita at the end it sort of adds a bit of endearment to the name. What I think your parents intention was to call you little loved one:) A Zen Master once told me that everything comes from love. If you are angry it shows you care. If you didn't care about the issue that you are angry about it wouldn't be an issue and you'd just be left with love. Either way it all goes back to love. Speaking of parents I have a son, a daughter and another son ages 18, 19, and 20. I'm 53 years old.
Sensation for me is easy. I've listened to enough YouTube videos to choke a horse. If I hear a dog barking or even imagine a dog barking it feels like it "in" a certain place in my head. If I see,touch or imagine seeing,touching a cat it happens in the same space/field. Sensation, thought, emotion, perception all happen in this field. I understand that I am not my arm. I am not brain. I am not my thought/mind.
When I take a walk, I make myself aware and the world turns into a 2D world of sorts. Things that are far from me move slowly and things close to me move fast. The moon, sun, and sky don't move at all; it like a background. It all looks like a giant pop-up book. Seeing everything in 2D reality makes everything look surreally beautiful. When I hear a sound I become aware that I know where the sound is coming from...even though it is in the field of mind. It's really amazing the things we take for granted. I also think then, if I was an eagle, I would have even better eyesight. The fact that I am me and not an eagle changes the world. I have no idea what the world of the eagle looks like. It surely is not the same world that I see. If I were born blind and suddenly was able to see I wouldn't have any idea what I was seeing. If I saw and apple or an unidentified fruit I would not be able to label it with FRUIT.
It's the same with the self. I think I know who and what I am because from infancy I have constantly been making judgements about like/dislikes and better/worse. I think this all goes back to a need for survival. I had to identify good food, attach to parents/community, and act in a way that I BELIEVED would meet their approval. This all worked when we were hunter/gatherers. I dunno, maybe these people were all happy because they had the love and support they needed from the people around them. For me it means that I want to please and impress people. I think that I know what they want from me. I even think I know what they are thinking. Crazy! When I am in a state of awareness my own thoughts just pop in from nowhere. The lungs breath. The heart beats. The mind thinks thoughts.
When my son was younger we used to have this argument. He said that a meme was a thing on the internet that more and more people shared. I argued that the internet had nothing to do with it. It was just an idea that got copied, like the DNA on a gene. This is actually the origin of the word. It sorta combines memory and gene. The same thing happens with the separate self. Ideas that reinforce the separate self get copied over and over until we think that they are true. These are ideas that want to survive. If they didn't survive they wouldn't exist. Sad, afraid, nervous, depressed all exist to reinforce the idea that I am something. I only remember(on the surface) the happy times in my life even though I know that all the awful shit is still in there protecting the self like armor. This is the trick that the self plays on itself so that it can continue (survive).
It is relatively easy to see that sensations are not me. It's not so easy to see that the sensations emanate from the same place as emotions, memory, and thought. It's easy to understand that the input of sensation is really just information that our computer-like brain. A bigger obstacle is seeing memory/thinking this way. I know that they are just memories/stories but it feels like it is me. It is easy to say that I want self to end or collapse. My real fear is not that I will lose self. My real fear is not that self won't survive. It's not self(object) that wants to survive. It is ME wanting to survive! I think this is an obstacle that I need to get past. I've been tricked into believing that this is not fear.

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:25 pm

Hi Brad,

From your very full and warm answer it seems clear you can find no sense of self within sensations :)

However, is there a seperate self that percieves or feels sensations or feelings?

When you say,
I understand that I am not my arm. I am not brain. I am not my thought/mind.
Can you say where, if at all, any sense of self resides?

It seems like you have done a lot of work in this area but before we begin to look at thinking and the nature of thought lets try one more sense based exercise.

If you close your eyes and become aware of any sound in your "field of experience", can you say whether that sound arises within you or without you? Or is there just simply sound arising?

Is there a self that hears the sound or is there just an awareness of sound? If that is the case, who or what is aware of the sound?

Warmly

Amrita

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:29 pm

Awareness is aware of the sound. Awareness is aware Awareness.

Everything is real. Sensation, thought, emotion. All are real. The only thing that is not real is I me mine myself.
Can you say where, if at all, any sense of self resides?
No. It is the smoke and mirrors produced by me, self to continue the illusion of self. I'm beginning to see that even the illusion of self is real. I can make myself aware of the attention that I am putting on self. It is like a movie. I really like movies. The feelings and emotions that are felt during a movie are similar (same) to real life ones. It doesn't matter if I hear a helicopter on TV or for real it resides in the same field. The field is consciousness. The sound is heard. The sound is not an illusion on TV or for real. It is sound. if a magician does a trick it is always surprising and fun. I know it is an illusion. I don't get upset when he saws the woman in half. I don't suffer because I am aware of the illusion. I'm not one of the people that gets off watching the action of the car accident. I enjoy illusion for illusion and reality for reality. It's what is without bringing judgements/labels.

I can be aware of the illusion of self. I can even be aware of the attention that I am putting on self. Mind can be lost in emotion...and I can be aware of it. I can begin to be aware of self and nevermind trying to get rid of it.

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amrita
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby amrita » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:09 am

Hi Brad,

I like your film analogy of the self being a character in a film and the goal of this work is to wake up and realise the self in the film is not real. Its just a film composed of pictures, sounds, words and feelings.

Can you say a bit more about this please? I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean here.
I'm beginning to see that even the illusion of self is real.
Can you also say how the illusion (the smoke and mirrors) of the self is created? What is actually happening in your experience to convince you a seperate self exists?

I also like your phrase Awareness is aware Awareness :)

Amrita x

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bradd
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Re: End Seeking >>Begin Liberation

Postby bradd » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:50 pm

I talked about sensation - thought/emotion - body/mind all happening in the same "field." All that is or happening occurs here. I like the screen/movie analogy because it helps me realize the simplicity. We think that our experience is this complicated series of events that we are part of. The self thinks that it is part of the big drama of life. We think our lives are important enough that we should have our own movie made of it. The reality of it is that we are not characters in a movie. We are the movie itself. We are light, sound, texture, narrator, plot, feelings. We are more like the screen of the movie than the composite of what goes into the film. Further, each one of is not a screen. We are all the same screen along with all of existence included. There are no individuals on "the big screen." We only think that we are individuals.

The illusion of self is reinforced over and over as a protection for the body. A turtle has a shell. A chameleon has camouflage. a tree has bark. The body has a self to give it a will to survive. Most of the 7 billion people alive today believe that that they are selves as evolutionary method to increase their survival. I don't know. Perhaps this belief was useful thousands of years ago. Continuing this believe, however, only causes suffering. Fear, shame, anger, hostility, depression - all come from I-me-mine and a false belief that they will allow me to survive. Once this pattern of thinking starts we forget how we ever once were - without Beliefs. If we didn't have a brain big enough to remember our beliefs then we wouldn't have any.

To end seeking for me is not just not suppressing the I-me-mine. It is abandoning what I believe to be true so that I can actually experience reality. Fortunately, I don't have to do this in one fell swoop. It won't take me as long to drop the idea of self as it did to condition mind into thinking so in the first place. In an instant awareness can be entered and the swamp of self can begin to drain. The new feedback loop is awareness leading to awareness and not suffering leading to stronger sense of self. This is the Path. This is real inspiration(breathing) for meditation. Meditation on simple awareness, reality, direct experience of Reality.


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