My Personal Thread Title

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zenyogi
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My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:13 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I started meditating over 40 years ago and have been on many retreats. I've come to directly see that the "person" that experiences is an occlusion of pure awareness. Awareness can see from this personal point of view. Or it can just be as it is, open, bright, clear, unbounded awareness. Thoughts and emotions still arise and pass with no center.

What are you looking for at LU?
Truth. I clearly see that the small, egoic self is illusion. But, I often feel complete oneness with the environment, do not feel separate from this Earth, the sun, stars, space. There is still subtle identification. It is not the sense that I am a discrete entity with lots of likes and dislikes. Although there are preferences, thoughts, opinions, these do not define a "me". They simply occur, rise and pass away. But, there is a sense of unity with what is perceived. And with that, a subtle kind of identification. I am all that I perceive. Or at least, not separate from it. On the other hand, I see other people and see that the same pure awareness is occluded in them and they are caught in a dream, in dreams within dreams. They are trapped and can't see that they are ensnared by their own traps. Compassion naturally arises, but the sense of unity diminishes. There is a sense that I am not that. So, there is still a sense of separation when I see injustices, a sense of, "No, this is entrapment by illusion and not truth." So, in that sense, there is a sense of separation. On the other hand, when these same precipitations of "self-sense" occur in me, I see them and they are not usually impediments. I accept the rise and fall of sense of self like any other thought or feeling and it doesn't seem to be an obstruction. But, when I see it in others, there is a sense of distance. Of wanting to help them but still a sense of separation. Letting go, this subsides. Then, there is just bright, open, clear awareness in which everything is resolved. Yet, the next time I see someone trapped in their own labyrinth of thought patterns and habit energy, again there is a sense of separation that arises. So, there is still a subtle sense of identity that wants to differentiate that still is there at times.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
See through this subtle sense of separation that seems to still come up when I see certain people. On the one hand I see that we all have Buddha-Nature. I can find no center, nothing I can point to and say this is the discrete, unique me that is independently existing from all else. Love seems to be universal. It has become hard for me to satisfy partners in relationships because there is no center and as such no infatuation, no sense of being "in love", but more a sense of being love. Women seem to want me to act as though they are the one, the soul mate. I simply can't love unidirectionally in an exclusive way. I no longer look for female companionship because it always ends the same way. There is always a sense women expect more from me that what I can give, this exclusive kind of love. And when love come from them, it is a kind of binding, controlling, possessive love that I see quite plainly. They are loving an idea of who they think I am but that person isn't there. There is no center. When I tell them that the person they think they are in love with doesn't exist the way they think he does, the whole thing breaks down. So, I no longer seek such relationships. I intuit that there is still a subtle craving/aversion mechanism in place. I want to completely shed this.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
41 years practicing a variety of Vedantic and Buddhist meditation practices. I have hosted meditation groups since 2006 and have led retreats. Have received transmission in a Chan lineage and have had perception of no self certified by Burmese Vipassana master. Day to day life is a flow. Being in the present moment is quite natural. Awareness is open, bright, unbound. Even so, still find old habit energy arising at times. Very aware of it as it happens. Even at its inception. But, still comes and goes.

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

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi there!


You had to wait a longer time, the forums are very busy.
But now you have my full attention!

Has something worth mentioning changed since your application?

If not, then I would like to start with reference to your opening post.


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

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:52 pm

Hi Matthew,

Nothing new. Hopefully you saw the humor in the thread title.
:)
ZY

Hi there!


You had to wait a longer time, the forums are very busy.
But now you have my full attention!

Has something worth mentioning changed since your application?

If not, then I would like to start with reference to your opening post.


With kindest regards
Matthew

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:13 pm

Yes I saw that :-)


But, I often feel complete oneness with the environment, do not feel separate from this Earth, the sun, stars, space. There is still subtle identification.
But, there is a sense of unity with what is perceived. And with that, a subtle kind of identification.

This sense of unity.
How is it experienced?
Is it a thought?
A thought like "I am this person"
Or
A thought like "I am [whatever the name is]"?

Or does that knowing of oneness also prevail when thought is absent?


Is this unity a thought construct like the separate self?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:26 pm

The first time there was oneness with the surroundings was when I was in 1979 or 1980, a few years after I started practicing Transcendental Meditation. I was walking along a path and suddenly noticed the breeze hitting my chest, but I was feeling it about 2 or 3 feet out further than my chest. I began feeling the wind flow around my body and suddenly became aware of the ground under my feet and the morning sun hitting my face, the sky, the trees and grass, everything in my environment but it was all within awareness. I could feel the moist soil deep around me and smell its rich coolness. I could feel the roots of plants reaching down, drawing up nutrients. There was no center, just an enveloping silence which was awareness itself. Inner and outer disappeared. There was no sense of identification, but just wonder. The experience faded after awhile.

From that time until about 2006, I increasingly experienced silence in activity, like there was a silent witness to everything that the body was doing, a kind of duality, silent awareness witnessing thoughts, the outer phenomenal world. But, between 2006 and 2008, I went on several Chan (Zen) and Vipassana retreats. During the Chan retreats, I was practicing a method when outdoors called Direct Contemplation. I began experiencing a kind of pivoting of awareness. The silent awareness that was normally the subject and the outer phenomenal world that was normally the object of awareness suddenly shifted. It was like the phenomenal world was as aware of me as I was of it. And then the whole sense of subject and object just vanished. There was no inner and outer, it was all just pure awareness, both silent awareness and the lively play of cause and effect. The wind flowing through the trees, the leaves rustling, the water flowing below, the sun shining through the overcast clouds, everything perfect, just as it could only be, all happening within absolute silent perfection.

The difference between the initial experience of unity with the surroundings and these later initial experiences was that the later experiences didn't ever fully go away. As I walk, there is a sense of oneness with everything in the environment. It can range between a subtle intuitive feeling and a full blown emersion of centerless unity. It is not a thought or an analysis of experience, but just a living presence.

In subsequent retreats between 2008 and 2012, this just deepened. Since 2012, I haven't felt the need to go on retreat. I've been to a few one day retreats. Also, I don't feel such a need to practice sitting meditation anymore. There is little difference between sitting and normal activity. It is all just pure awareness being aware.

Where I notice this contract a bit is when I see other people and see them caught up in thoughts that keep them suffering. There is darkness there and confusion. When I see that, there is a sense of separation that is otherwise not present. I notice it when I'm driving. I can go from feeling one with the car and the road but then another driver does something selfish and again the separation becomes apparent.

I clearly see when ego arises in myself and what causes it to arise. But, I can also see that in others. I can let go when it happens to me and in letting go, the contraction releases and again there is no center, just omnipresent awareness. But, when I see it in rude, pushy people, I can also let go and not let it concern me. But, in doing so, there is a sense of separation.

At times this doesn't happen and I see that it is all just one big play of awareness filtering through all things, like sunlight through trees. Then, there is great peace and no sense of separation or sense of identity. But, this doesn't always happen.

Does this make sense?

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:28 pm

This might help to explain. I wrote this a few weeks ago and summarizes what is seen pretty well. http://barrywadsworth.com/past/14-medit ... -awakening

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:35 am

Since 2012, I haven't felt the need to go on retreat.
Also, I don't feel such a need to practice sitting meditation anymore.
Good for you!


So the short answer to these questions
This sense of unity.
Is it a thought?
A thought like "I am this person"
Or
A thought like "I am [whatever the name is]"?
clearly is "NO".


Where I notice this contract a bit is when I see other people and see them caught up in thoughts that keep them suffering. There is darkness there and confusion.
There appears to be darkness and confusion. And thought gives a sense this being true.
But is it?
Is there truly darkness and confusion?
What is in darkness? What is confused exactly?

Furthermore:
How is it known that "others have thoughts"?
Can this be known from actual experience? Or is that an assumption?


I clearly see when ego arises in myself and what causes it to arise
So what is it really, that arises there?
Does an ego exist, which could arise?

What arises really.

Thoughts about a me-character?
Thoughts about a me-character and another thought telling "I am that me-character"?
Thoughts about a me-character and another thought telling "I am that me-character" and another thought telling "...and this is true"?

Does that make it true?

What is it, that is bothered by the appearance of thoughts like the ones above?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:20 am

There appears to be darkness and confusion. And thought gives a sense this being true.
But is it?
Is there truly darkness and confusion?
What is in darkness? What is confused exactly?

Furthermore:
How is it known that "others have thoughts"?
Can this be known from actual experience? Or is that an assumption?
The actions of others reminds me of times that I also did such things. I remember what prompted the behavior and the reaction. There was a sense of identity felt threatened in some way. Or that wanted something to happen more quickly. There was impatience. These thoughts and feelings arose out of insecurity or expectation. It's a very bound state, caught up in thought about what might happen or what should be. It's not a direct seeing of what is. So, when I see people behaving insecurely or impatiently, I'm reminded of a darker (so to speak), confused state I have been in when I behaved like that. So, yes, there is an assumption that they must be in that more constricted state caused by their thoughts.
So what is it really, that arises there?
Does an ego exist, which could arise?
The baseline experience is generally bright, open, clear awareness without a center. Things happen in that awareness. When something happens, let's say someone zips around me in traffic in a rather reckless way. That open awareness sees thoughts arise about this event and this person and feelings might arise in the chest. I kind of witness this. I might even call the person an ass hole. But, then recedes and is gone. There is just bright, open awareness again. The whole thing might last a few seconds. But, there is a recognition that this is a kind of habit energy on autoplay. Years ago, there was no seeing of it. I was too bound up in the experience. Now, there is awareness of it happening. It doesn't always happen. Often something like that happens and there is no reaction at all. It's just an event with no spawning of judgmental thinking and therefore no negative feelings. Just an acceptance of what is happening. So, what I labeled "ego" doesn't arise. That is, the habit energy or conditioned response doesn't engage. But no, the ego is just a label for this conditioning and habit energy. There is no real ego as a discrete entity. That much is clearly seen.
What arises really.

Thoughts about a me-character?
Thoughts about a me-character and another thought telling "I am that me-character"?
Thoughts about a me-character and another thought telling "I am that me-character" and another thought telling "...and this is true"?

Does that make it true?

What is it, that is bothered by the appearance of thoughts like the ones above?
There is a range of experience. There is generally always a silent background to experience, a silent witnessing awareness. Before there was this, there was a strong sense of identity that was enwrapped in the experience of events. A kind of ignorant unity. But, for the past several years, there is awareness as a backdrop to all perceiving. The perceiving can't be separate from awareness. They are one. There isn't a need to seek definition other than that. It is just being/perceiving. It doesn't feel like there is an inner or an outer, but just events happening in awareness. And the events seem to also be aware. Leaves rustle in acknowledgment of wind, water courses in a predictable fashion, it all seems part of the same silent but playful awareness. So, there is no sense of identity. And no sense of separation. But, when someone cuts in front of me and I have to brake to avoid an accident, that can sometimes collapse down. There is suddenly a sense of identity separate from the person that cut in front of me. So, it's not completely stabilized. But, I see that the mode of identification is false and transient. Phantom-like. So, no, it is not true. This phantom comes up to register the even and pronounce that the person is an ass and then and just as quickly is gone again. There is a residual feeling of a phantom-like ego just came and went. It was this "phantom" that had arisen to proclaim being bothered by the event and then vanish again. Old habit energy almost like muscle memory.

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:13 am

someone zips around me in traffic in a rather reckless way
...
I might even call the person an ass hole
when someone cuts in front of me and I have to brake to avoid an accident, that can sometimes collapse down
Seems like the root cause of suffering here is not a sense of separation, but road traffic :-)


There is suddenly a sense of identity separate from the person that cut in front of me. So, it's not completely stabilized.
There appears to be a cycle of alternating spaciousness and contraction.
It's a natural thing, which can be found everywhere. Like in flowers opening in the morning, closing at night.

You shouldn't be bothered by paradoxes anymore:
Spaciousness can prevail when there is no one asking for it.



For the next questions, please do not rely on knowledge or previous insights.
Have a very fresh, innocent and non-knowing look at the questions and the aspects to be investigated!

The actions of others reminds me of times that I also did such things.

Recall a moment when this was the case. Look at it.
What does "memory" consist of?

Is there any evidence for "past" in actual experience? Or is there just thought about past?

When does thought about past always only arise?



Now have a close look at these particular memories:
The actions of others reminds me of times that I also did such things.
Was there an "I" back then, which did such things?

I'm reminded of a darker (so to speak), confused state I have been in when I behaved like that
Recall a moment of darkness and confusion. Look at it.

What "I" exactly are you referring to here?
What "I" can be in a dark, confused state?

We might say: "Yes! It really felt like that back then!"
But looking at it right now:
Was there truly an "I" in a dark, confused state?



Recall a moment of sadness. Look at it.
Was there ever an "I" which could be sad?
Or were there ever only thoughts about an "I"?
Thoughts about a "sad I", thoughts about a "happy I", thoughts about a "confused I" and so on...
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:46 pm

What does "memory" consist of?
Thought, feeling.
Is there any evidence for "past" in actual experience? Or is there just thought about past?
Past is experienced as a thought. May trigger feeling. Or, a feeling may trigger memory of a past event. These are thoughts, feelings, sensations.
When does thought about past always only arise?
There is only ever the present. The present is not static. It is always just the current state of fruition.
Was there an "I" back then, which did such things?
. . .
Recall a moment of darkness and confusion. Look at it.

What "I" exactly are you referring to here?
There was a sense of self that needed to be somewhere at a particular time. There was not openness but constriction caused by identification with the thoughts. A kind of blind unity with the thinking and story, "I am going to be late. I needed to get around this guy that is blocking my way." A constricted, constrained bundle of thought and feeling with no openness. A separate sense of self that was more important or had more pressing needs than those around me.
What "I" can be in a dark, confused state?
Essentially, just a cloud obscuring the light of open awareness. A story. A bundle of thoughts.
We might say: "Yes! It really felt like that back then!"
But looking at it right now:
Was there truly an "I" in a dark, confused state?
There was a phantom drawing its seeming existence from illusion caused by occluded perception. An overshadowing of bright, open, pure awareness. A convincing story in which there is identification with the main character to the extent that the fact that it is a story is forgotten. But, looking back, I see that it was all just a case of mistaken identification.
Recall a moment of sadness. Look at it.
Was there ever an "I" which could be sad?
Or were there ever only thoughts about an "I"?
Thoughts about a "sad I", thoughts about a "happy I", thoughts about a "confused I" and so on...
Just as you say, "thoughts about . . ."
Thoughts about something that was sad may involve empathy for the self-sense that felt sad, almost like a descending into that constricted space that reconstructs the original feeling. But, without a complete collapse of spaciousness. The same thing can happen when I see others that are apparently suffering. A kind of empathic reconstruction of their assumed state, but more as a witness. Compassion arises from openness seeing into how consciousness can appear to pinch off from the rest of the world to give the illusion of separateness and solidity. An actual "I" entity that must survive in the world and therefore must look out for number one, "me". I can see how it happened to me and assume the same is happening to others. Compassion is a movement within the spaciousness to remove the pinching off and restore breadth of perception.
You shouldn't be bothered by paradoxes anymore:
Spaciousness can prevail when there is no one asking for it.
Yes, the spaciousness is there because there is no one there asking for it.

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:42 pm

There is no unclarity in these words.
Concerning the sometimes appearing contraction, the best approach is just to relax when it happens.

And to look.

And to see, that even in the midst of trouble, this is still just thought telling a story about the dream character "me".


These are thoughts, feelings, sensations.
Could you explain what you mean with "feelings"?
Is that something special?
Something aside or beyond thought plus maybe sensation?

Yes, feelings are very well known.

But when looking at this appearance.
Is it more than a thought?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:57 am

Could you explain what you mean with "feelings"?
Is that something special?
Something aside or beyond thought plus maybe sensation?

Yes, feelings are very well known.

But when looking at this appearance.
Is it more than a thought?
If you are still asking about memory, these days, when I remember something that happened in the past that may have been sad, I don't feel sad now, but just remember that it happened. Just a thought. If the thought does trigger a feeling, it is a sensation usually in the chest. But, memories don't usually trigger these sensations anymore so much.

My mother died in late October and there were many family issues. When I stood in front of the casket, tears came to my eyes and I felt movement in the chest. But, it was completely natural response. There was no suffering, just emotion welling up, witnessed by silent awareness. I wasn't in pain, but nevertheless, tears flowed down my cheeks. Internally, it was all silence awareness.

When I pause and let awareness just be, it seems to pivot from being silent awareness to completely encompassing, everything happening within awareness. It is very easy to get back to that if I find myself as silent witness. I just rest into it, let awareness just rest on the object of perception and it pivots such that there is no silent witness that is in here looking out there. The in and out disappear and it is all just awareness. If I just let go into that, there is no sense of identity. But, certain things still seem to trigger old thought patterns. But, these aren't obstructions so much anymore. They just come and go like a cloud passing through an otherwise cloudless sky. It seems it's all good.

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:30 am

Very well.


To bring some more clarity concerning phenomena labelled "feelings", we can inquire into sensation a bit deeper.

Please find a quite place and a quite moment.
Close your eyes, relax and attend only to ("bodily") sensation.
Ignore thoughts alltogether for the duration of this excercise.

Thought might tell, that the body is lying on a bed.
But could this be known form pure sensation?

Thought might describe a "soft pressure" at the "back".
But can anything about "soft pressure" or "back" be known from pure sensation?


When the attention is only with pure sensation, in a relaxed and joyful way, please have a look at these questions:

Can it be known, how tall the body is?

Does the body have a size or a shape?

Does pure sensation provide any information?
Could pure sensation itself tell anything about "sadness" or "happiness" or "feelings" or whatever?
What only tells, that sensation has anything to do with such?

How many toes are there?
Are there even toes?

Is there even a body?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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zenyogi
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby zenyogi » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:44 pm

Hi Matthew,

My practice is Silent Illumination, which is not different from what you describe. The perception of the body diminishes and awareness expands to encompass the environment.

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Matthew
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Re: My Personal Thread Title

Postby Matthew » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:22 pm

Fine. So I suppose that there is nothing unclear concerning body and sensation.

Is there anything else left you would like to investigate?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.


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