Where to look next

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Electabuzz11
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Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:54 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
There is nothing I can point to which can be identified as "self". When I examine aspects of my experience -- doing, thinking, planning, remembering, body sensations, feelings / emotions -- they all exist as phenomena arising without an origin in a "me". I experience "self" / "me" as a habit, but when I actually look, it disappears.

What are you looking for at LU?

I am looking for clarity. Right now I feel stuck in an in-between place where, if I look for a self, I can't find one, yet I act out of habits that serve my former sense of self. I feel that I am missing something, or have not yet truly seen the nature of existing.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?

I expect a guide to ask questions relevant to my situation, and for me to respond to those questions in a direct and active way. I expect not to be given beliefs or truths, but for the guide to have me discover for myself.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?

Vipassana and zen meditation, various retreats and personal practice, 8 years.
I've read many books by Osho, Krishnamurti, Suzuki, Tara Brach, Hawkins.
I have been practicing sync-based Neurofeedback meditation for the past two years.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self? 11

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:06 pm

Hello and welcome!


Before we start, you seem to have a profound spritual background:
Vipassana and zen meditation, various retreats and personal practice, 8 years.
I've read many books by Osho, Krishnamurti, Suzuki, Tara Brach, Hawkins.
I have been practicing sync-based Neurofeedback meditation for the past two years.
You don't need all that anymore.
Can you leave all these books, teachings and especially gurus behind so that you can look only for yourself what is true and what is not true - right here and right now?

This is very important. Could you give me a clear "YES" on that?


If that is OK with you, let us jump right in, shall we!
I act out of habits that serve my former sense of self
What is this "I" which you are referring to?
How is it experienced?
Is it a thought? Is it a sensation? Is it a sensation plus a thought?
Can it even act?

Furthermore:
There are habits.
What exactly is bothered by those habits appearing?


With kindest regards
Matthew
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:41 pm

Thank you for your reply and email.

Yes, I'm leaving everything else behind. Just focusing on this.
What is this "I" which you are referring to?
I'm not sure what this "I" is, but I do know that I get caught in identifying sometimes. I identify with the body, looking at it, thinking "I" am the body, then the feelings that arise from that. Or I identify with thoughts, especially those that have a strong emotional pull or valence. But, if I look into the process, the identification drops.
How is it experienced?
It is experienced as a thought that "I" am the thoughts, or the body, or the feelings. That "I" thought makes the nature of the thoughts, body, or feelings more heavy. And, the "I" thought process happens automatically, often times for extended periods. I suppose the "I" thought could also be a sensation because when I identify with the body, it creates a certain tightness or constricted sensation either in the entire body or a particular region, like the belly or the head.
Can it even act?
The "I" thought would like to believe that it can act. The "I" thought does seem to shift the decision-making process towards having more selfish thoughts, towards wanting to present / preserve a particular image of the self, towards depression and behavioral paralysis. However, the "I" is just a labelling process so although it seems to create a certain veneer or quality to the thing / process its attached to, it has no volition or agency. Attaching agency to the "I" thought would just be another "I" thought.
What is bothered by those habits appearing?
Good question. I don't know. I was going to say, "I" feel bothered by these habits, but what or where is the "I"? If there is a self, it acts in opposing directions. One moment trying to create a positive, healthy image for self / others, the other moment trying to tear it down and pull "me" down. I don't know what is bothered, but life is experienced as chaotic.

best,
Nicky

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:49 pm

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But, if I look into the process, the identification drops.
Sounds good! Seems I don't have to explain to you the difference between thinking about and looking at.

I suppose the "I" thought could also be a sensation because when I identify with the body, it creates a certain tightness or constricted sensation either in the entire body or a particular region, like the belly or the head.
Have a look at those sensations. Look at them exclusively in isolation. Dive into them. In a relaxed way.
And see:
Is there an "I" anywhere to be found within these sensations?
Do any of these sensations tell something about "I"?

Does sensation by itself even tell anything about a certain body part? Looking at sensations while ignoring thoughts (memories) about "body", could it even be known how tall the body is?


Have fun!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:30 pm

Is there an "I" anywhere to be found within these sensations?
When I look into each body area separately, I can't find an I. There can be awareness or sensation or movement or lack of sensation. Identification drops, and with it drops the tightness from needing to control. The head is where the "I" identifies most, believing it exists behind the eyes / between the ears. I suppose the sense of self is generated in the brain. But this also is a thought.
Do any of these sensations tell something about "I"?
These sensations tell me that "I" wants the body to look a certain way- fit, strong, etc. "I" wants to have control over the body and how it is perceived.
Does sensation by itself even tell anything about a certain body part?
Yes and no. The sensation can signal if something is amiss / hurting / injured. But aside from that, the sensation can't even really show the form of the body part. For example, lying eyes closed, if I didn't have an image of what the body is, I couldn't really tell specifically what it looks like from the sensory information. Not even how tall. It's just empty space plus sensations.

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:53 am

Very good observations right there!

The head is where the "I" identifies most
So is there identification? Or are there thoughts about identification? Thought with the content "identification"..

Is there really something which identifies?
Can you look closer here?

Bring up the thought "I". Say it loudly a few times or just as thought. When it is right there, observe it!

Just some questions to pose in direction of this "I":
Does this "I" react?
Can this "I" do anything? Can this "I" become anything?
Can "I" think?

Furthermore:
Does this "I" identify with the body?
What is behind that "I"? Some thing or some one, which identifies?

Can some thing be found, or can no thing be found?
Can some one be found, or can no one be found?


You don't have to answer all questions individually. Just tell me what comes up.
Looking forward to your reply!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:29 am

When I look at the identification, especially with the head, it seems like more of a sensation than a thought. It seems real at first. Then I realize that the sensation of "me" being "there" (in the head) is just a projection of a thought, not a physical reality. Yet the habit of identifying there, especially with tension, runs deep.

When I say "I" and look, I can't find anything. "I" doesn't react, especially when I repeat the word "I" out loud or in the mind. Will continue looking and report back.

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:31 am

Great!

Looking forward to your reports!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:38 pm

Can this "I" do anything? Can this "I" become anything?
This "I" cannot do anything because there is no source or manager behind doing. Doing happens on its own, and when the "I' tries to control reality it is just reacting to its own shadows / creations, not to reality itself. That said, the "I" still believes that it is in charge of making decisions.

The "I" cannot become anything because it is just a shadow. For a while, it may be felt that "I' is in the body, or in a particular emotion, or in a particular thought pattern. But this is a mistake.

I can't find anything! When I look into different aspects of experience, there's either a) no I or identification or b) identification which drops away. Identification clings for the longest around the intimate relationship, where there's the most emotional weight /content. Perhaps that is what's keeping the "I" alive. Even there, when I look into the thoughts I see they have a life of their own and don't really come from anywhere. Just cycling in space.

Sometimes I wonder why I haven't had some profound 'aha' moment. And then I see that is just a thought, and that I have many beliefs about 'enlightenment' that are founded in other people's words or my own imagination. End of suffering, end of social awkwardness, people noticing me as being special, being more likable, etc. I don't believe these to be true, but I see that they effect my view on how this whole process is going.

Other times "I" feel more present in my life and can ascribe it only to not needing to present a specific image of self. And I wonder if that arises from looking into the nature of self, or if I'm just imagining things.

What all this means to me is that "I" must be attached to a specific outcome. So much of the ego or separate self is built around spirituality and self-development. I wonder if actually seeing is truly possible given how invested the ego is in being "enlightened". Won't I just be fooling myself into a particular feeling state, a particular belief? Is there a part of me that genuinely wants to see? Or is all of this just a show, wanting a pat on the back from someone the ego perceives as higher or more spiritual?

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:04 pm

Yes. There seem to be a lot of expectations left how "it" is supposed to be, supposed to look like.
I understand.
The beeingness is loaded with expectations by all those teachings and gurus proclaiming enlightenment for a person.

What if this moment of recognition cannot be expected. In any way.
Then any expectation (reasonable or not) would itself pose the greatest obstacle for seeing this utter simplicity.

Can you -just for those last meters- drop also the last and most subtle expectations?


Sometimes I wonder why I haven't had some profound 'aha' moment.
Who or what exactly is supposed to have an "aha" moment?


Won't I just be fooling myself into a particular feeling state, a particular belief? Is there a part of me that genuinely wants to see? Or is all of this just a show, wanting a pat on the back from someone the ego perceives as higher or more spiritual?
You're going to be fine.
Drop these ideas right there.
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:39 pm

If the moment of recognition cannot be expected in any way, all there is to do is look. And do nothing.
I am dropping my expectation of what this should look like. It's impossible for the experience to match my expectation anyway.
Sometimes I wonder why I haven't had some profound 'aha' moment.
That's the thing. If there is nobody to experience that moment, why chase after it, or wonder when it will happen?
You're going to be fine.
Haha. Ok. Yes, I know. I will drop those worries.

Even as I write this and drop the expectations, the mind then goes to. . . "Ok, so now will it happen?" haha. You can't stop the mind from doing its thing.

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:31 pm

Even as I write this and drop the expectations, the mind then goes to. . . "Ok, so now will it happen?" haha. You can't stop the mind from doing its thing.
Treat thoughts like an old radio playing in a restaurant kitchen.
No one really cares what is played. It just plays and plays all kinds of things.
No one listening.


I am dropping my expectation of what this should look like. It's impossible for the experience to match my expectation anyway.
Yes. Keep dropping them. And then also drop the idea of a one, who would do the dropping. And the idea of a one, who could have any expectations in the first place.


Until this is crystal clear:

Is there a one who would have to drop anything?
What exactly? Who exactly?

Is there a one who could have any expectations in the first place?


There are thoughts about expectations.
But is there actually anything that has these expectations?
What has expectations?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:53 pm

Is there a one who would have to drop anything?
What exactly? Who exactly?
I can't find a one or a thing. Expectation is just a thought process. It's an illusion that it comes from someone or somewhere. The same goes for observing. There is observing of the expectation. When looking at the observing, it too cannot be linked to some source in a self or a thing.

There is nothing that "has" these expectations, even when expectations seem intense or weighty. They constitute part of experience, and are influenced by the past, and by imagination, by desire, by the way the brain is working, etc. None of those things is a "self".

No "self" to experience enlightenment. No "self" to be 'good' or 'bad' at this, 'close' or 'still with lots of progress to make' etc. Just what is real, and what is not real.

Not sure where "I" am in any of this. Haha.

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Matthew
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Matthew » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:56 pm

How does it feel to see this?

What changes, what stays the same?

Also in daily life?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Electabuzz11
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Re: Where to look next

Postby Electabuzz11 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:03 am

It feels like just an emptiness, an open space.

Sometimes there is identification, worrying about image, trying to manage reality. Other times there is no separation and life just flows. I'm a violinist, and today I played the violin for what felt like the first time in my whole life. There was no effort around trying to make it happen in a particular way, there was just listening and moving all on its own. It was a piece by Bach I have played hundreds of times, but this time none of the past mattered, and there was no tension around it.

There is uncertainty about whether "seeing" has really happened. When the uncertainty arises, I notice that as a feeling or thought, and then I continue looking for a "self". Still haven't found one. Still noticing the pattern of putting tremendous pressure behind 'becoming enlightened', but not giving that pattern any more energy.

What changes when there is no "I" trying to preserve itself, to manage experience? Less conflict with life. Life has more mystery and wonder, because it cannot be separate-- no inner and outer.

The self has played the game of trying to be liked for so long. Now there is a sense of exhaustion and also relief. And also fear around whether my life will come together and if I will be able to handle the challenges of the mundane world.


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