The fear of losing the illusory self

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blizzified
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The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:10 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
What seems to be out there isn't really out there, it is right here. Whatever I see, taste, feel, hear or smell are instantaneously known. From reading, I understand that there should not be a "I" behind these impersonal functions of pure knowing. I see guidance as a way of seeing past my stupidity and making me see how my fear is unwarranted.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for liberation from this blasted seeking that I've had ever since I was a child. I understand that 'child' is no longer me, but I cannot understand why I see from my POV of experience while another person sees from a different POV. If we are all the same "I", the universe looking out from different eyes, shouldn't all selves be experienced? All beings appear as discrete phenomena, my identity feels like a discrete sphere of awareness, at the very center, this egocentric blasted I is calling out the shots as a seer, a hearer, a knower, a perceiver. I am aware of this premeditated seer, hearer, knower and perceiver, but this fear rises when I try to see through them.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect my self-identity to be torn apart and to get through the gateless gate. I expect myself to abandon all my previous practices of 'meditating'. I do not really have many expectations at this point for anything, I just want out of this stupid, foolish seeking that is leading nowhere. I want out of chakras, out of body-scanning, out of meditation techniques, out of this tradition or that tradition, out of all the crazy technical labels of the Abhidharma or needless labels used to categorize experience in all those spiritual literature. I understand that reality cannot be labelled, reality cannot be encompassed in words, it must be pointed to, and I deeply wish for someone to point the way for me.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I started out with simple meditation, later progressed on into Buddhist concentration practices, later on realizing that all religions seemed to be speaking of the same "Big Self", the Universe, God, whatever else it is called. I delved into Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Hermeticism for a while, did some Vedanta for a while, Zen enquiry, Chan meditation, breath meditation, pranayama, body meditations and visualizations, chakra meditations, breath holding, Yogacara, Madhyamaka, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, mantra-repetitions, prostrations, and all of that. I've found all of them to be useful in calming my mind. For example, I understand that there is 'no distance' between whatever I experience. There is no distance between the Seer and the Seen. But yet I still have a persistent feeling of a center, a self.

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: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm

Hi there!

All this sounds really really good.. Especially the part about you being finally done with all this pointless spiritual effort.
You can confidently leave it behind now. Really.
You can now start looking at things yourself. ONLY yourself. Wihtout any need in reliance upon "spiritual knowledge".
Having said that...
but I cannot understand why I see from my POV of experience while another person sees from a different POV. If we are all the same "I", the universe looking out from different eyes, shouldn't all selves be experienced?
Look only at and trust only in your very own experience and insight.
What does it matter what others might experience or not.
What this investigation is about: Is there an "I" running the show, or not. The aspect "others" can be also looked into.
But let us first have a look at the apparent subject, alright?


Let us start this with a sober and clear approach regarding actual experience.
If ThisWhatIs/Existence/Awareness/Life would be - for pragmatical purposes - broken down in terms of language,
is there more than
Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Smelling, Sensation and Thought?

Look at what is here now.
And tell me: Is there something more to experience?
If so, what exactly? And how is it experienced?


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

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blizzified
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:11 am

Hi there!

All this sounds really really good.. Especially the part about you being finally done with all this pointless spiritual effort.
You can confidently leave it behind now. Really.
You can now start looking at things yourself. ONLY yourself. Wihtout any need in reliance upon "spiritual knowledge".
Having said that...
but I cannot understand why I see from my POV of experience while another person sees from a different POV. If we are all the same "I", the universe looking out from different eyes, shouldn't all selves be experienced?
Look only at and trust only in your very own experience and insight.
What does it matter what others might experience or not.
What this investigation is about: Is there an "I" running the show, or not. The aspect "others" can be also looked into.
But let us first have a look at the apparent subject, alright?


Let us start this with a sober and clear approach regarding actual experience.
If ThisWhatIs/Existence/Awareness/Life would be - for pragmatical purposes - broken down in terms of language,
is there more than
Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Smelling, Sensation and Thought?

Look at what is here now.
And tell me: Is there something more to experience?
If so, what exactly? And how is it experienced?


With kind regards
Matthew
Hello Matthew, I really appreciate your reply. I took a while to examine it in my experience and came up with the following answer.

When seeing, there is no distance between the seen and the seer, so there is actually just seeing and not two. An "I" pops out to claim the stage. To me, the "I" feels like it is separate to the seeing, like it is a contraction, a tension-filled kind of sensation, as if it is grasping onto something non-existent.

Hearing is also the same. Tasting, smelling and sensation are contact-based or close-distance, but they are also the same, where there is no distance between the sensed and the senser. I kind of understand that this sense should be pure, that there shouldn't be an "I sense this" but just "sensing", but that sensation of the I seems to continue to linger behind every single thought, claiming all sensations.

So I guess this "I" probably falls under some kind of thought or sensation when I examine it through the five senses. When examined closely, the "I" is like a hijacker that steals the credit from nature's work. The "I" is kind of useless. It seems to delude itself that it is doing everything, but nature is actually doing everything. Apart from sight, hearing, taste, smell, sensation and thought, there does not seem to be any experience outside of that, because the "I" feeling is included within sensation and thought.

What I do not understand is, if I wish to raise my hand, the "I" seems to be able to send an intention towards the body and drive the hand upwards. If this intention falls under thought, then it should be uncontrollable with no locus of control. I have a slight doubt, feeling that there is some form of autonomy within this seemingly-uncontrollable field of experience. Perhaps this sense of autonomy is the problem, but I cannot seem to find where it is.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:10 am

the "I" feeling is included within sensation and thought

The idea that sensation has itself meaning, that it even has anything to do with "I" is a sticky one.
To see this for what it is, let us start with an especially nice little excercise.
If you have done things like that before, please have a completely fresh look. Do not rely on learned stuff.
The learned is only a thought story about the past. Look only ever at what is here now!


Please find a quite place and a quiet moment.
Sit or lay down, close your eyes and relax. Relax.

Can you attend to sensation only? Not minding thought babbling about this and that, not minding thought labelling sensation?
Thought might say that "I am lying here" or "My body is lying here" or "A body is lying here".
But could this be known from pure sensation?

Thought might tell that there is a soft pressure against the back.
But does pure sensation tell anything about "pressure" or "back"?

Upon arriving there, please have a look at these questions:

Can it be known, how tall the body is?
Does the body have a specific size?
Does the body have a specific shape?
How many toes do you have?


Please answer these questions individually. And as always from here: Enjoy!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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blizzified
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:11 pm

Thank you for the prompt reply. :)
Thought might tell that there is a soft pressure against the back.
But does pure sensation tell anything about "pressure" or "back"?
No, it does not. There seems to be a spatial awareness, proprioception, which is a separate sensation from the feeling of the pressure. So pressure is pressure, spatial-sense is spatial-sense. It does not seem to tell me "back" or "pressure". I could use the words "tingling" to describe, but the word itself only represents the sensation and is not identical to it.
Can it be known, how tall the body is?
If I feel spatially the crown of the head and the bottom of the feet, a thought arises to bridge that distance and calls it my sense of "body height". It seems to be like the field of my tactile sensation. But to tell exactly how tall it is, it can't seem to be done.
Does the body have a specific size?
If the body has sensations at the extremities, I can feel that there is a certain size. However, if there are no sensations at the extremities, such as in sleep paralysis, I will not be able to tell the size.
Does the body have a specific shape?
It seems to be very difficult to make out a distinct shape. I am only able to feel 'general areas' which is very vague and not as precise.
How many toes do you have?
This was pretty interesting, because I do not seem to be able to tell how many toes I have if there is no movement.

I think I seem to have mistaken vague muscular tension as part of the "I".

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Matthew
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:09 pm

I think I seem to have mistaken vague muscular tension as part of the "I".
Yes, good.

I could use the words "tingling" to describe, but the word itself only represents the sensation and is not identical to it.
Is there a more accurate term for sensation than "sensation"?


I want you to "go in there" again:
If I feel spatially the crown of the head and the bottom of the feet, a thought arises to bridge that distance
So the "bridge" is made of thought.
But how do you know about a "crown of the head" and "bottom of the feet" in the first place?
How is it known, that there is a distance between those?
Does this information reside in pure sensation?
Where does it come from?
Have a close look!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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blizzified
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:37 pm

Is there a more accurate term for sensation than "sensation"?
Haha, that's true, it's just sensation.

---

For the next few questions you asked, I decided to imagine my body was blind all along with just the body sense intact.

You're right, I can't pinpoint exactly what it is, but the sensation seems different. I always thought position-sense was part of sensation though, are you saying that it is a thought?

The distance is made up by thought, it seems.

The position-sense still seems to me to be part of sensation, while the distance seems to be imagined as thought.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:38 pm

I decided to imagine my body was blind all along with just the body sense intact
You can also imagine waking up from a coma and having an amnesia.
Eyes are still closed. You've lost ALL your memory, but awareness is completely present and wide-awake.
You've never heard of a leg, of a head, a torso. You do not even remeber having a body. You also do not remember that sensation is supposed to come from a body. You also have never heard of the terms "person" and even "human".

Try this when looking at sensation again!


While being in this mode, no memory, while being completely blank and empty, while experiencing thought just as an indistinct ambient noise..
The position-sense still seems to me to be part of sensation, while the distance seems to be imagined as thought.
Where is sensation? Does it really have a distinct location without reliance on thought?
"Down there"? That's a thought.
"Up here?" That's a thought.
but the sensation seems different
It is different depending on a location without having heard of the word "different" or "location"? How's that?

Is it over here, or over there?
Is it everywhere?
Is it nowhere?
Is it closer than even the word "here" could describe?

In your very own words!
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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blizzified
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:27 pm

It is different depending on a location without having heard of the word "different" or "location"? How's that?
No, sensation is sensation.
Is it over here, or over there?
"over here" is a memory, "over there" is a memory as well, all thoughts of the past linked to the present.
Is it everywhere?
It almost feels like it is everywhere, omnipresent, but not "out there". I tried to imagine my body as a sphere with no edges. I found that I could not make out where the sensations are when the 'familiar body memory' is not present as a thought.
Is it nowhere?
It's not in a "place", it's in the mind. It's not a spatial location, it's just... being known.
Is it closer than even the word "here" could describe?
From the word "here", I thought to myself, by "here", does it mean the ground I stand on? Does it mean the body? Does it mean the brain? Then I realized that this "here" is also "everywhere". Space is like an illusion, space is just imagination. All is felt are the sensations. The spatial construct, the sorting out, the interpretation comes as thoughts from memories.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:48 pm

Very well.

So is there an "I" anywhere to be found in pure sensation?
Or maybe a "me"?
Or a "self"?
A "controlling instance"?

Can this be found in sensation?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:59 pm

So is there an "I" anywhere to be found in pure sensation?
No, the "I" seems to be what 'knows'. It is not involved in sensation.
Or maybe a "me"?
That "me" name was given to a non-existent thing.

Or a "self"?

No, it simply occurs in the field of experience.

A "controlling instance"?

No, sensations come and go, there is no possibility of controlling it.

Can this be found in sensation?

No, it cannot be found.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:02 pm

No, the "I" seems to be what 'knows'
Please have a look at this "I".
Say "I" loudly many times or just as a thought.
When it is right there, observe it like a hawk:

Does "I" react?
Can "I" do anything?
Can "I" become anything else than the thought "I"?

Can "I" think?

Does "I" know?


Is it really "I", which knows?
Or isn't "I" also known?
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:15 pm

Does "I" react?
Something reacts to the name of "I". These seem to be thoughts. Something stirs within, as if it wants to answer. When I look at what this feeling of wanting to answer is, it is yet another thought. But when I call it out a second time after looking at it, the "I" has become just a sound.
Can "I" do anything?
This is what I am slightly troubled with. "I" seems to illuminate experience, it is not an identity or a clinging, but an impersonal shining that allows the entire field of experience to be seen.

On the other hand, this "I" seems to be able to call out the word "I". Why am I able to call out the word "I", if not for autonomy? What exactly is this false self of autonomy? It is as if I truly believe in this autonomy, that if it wants the hand to rise, it will rise - and it does exactly that. It can direct the picking up of a pencil and write words. It seems to still believe in this autonomy of choice. It says, if there is no choice, then why is there karma?
Can "I" become anything else than the thought "I"?
"I" is just a sound, but it seems to pull up ideas of autonomy. It seems to say that the "I" is inquiring right now, the "I" is looking back itself right now.
Can "I" think?
No, "I" cannot think compulsively, thoughts rise out of nowhere. Come to think of it... If there is no memory whatsoever, then it is impossible to conjure out a thought or imagination. What exactly would a decision be made under the basis of?
Does "I" know?
The "I" is a sound, the "I" label itself doesn't know. There is just knowing, but I am not sure if you would call that the "I".
Is it really "I", which knows?
Perhaps it is just knowing and the "I" is a wrong label.
Or isn't "I" also known?
I think I partially understand... the knowing is speechless, you don't call it an "I".

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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby Matthew » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:29 pm

Perhaps it is just knowing and the "I" is a wrong label.
the knowing is speechless, you don't call it an "I"

Yeah, this is basically "it".
This could already be over.
"Welcome home" you know..

But in the other answers, what was observed was not only the "I", but stories around this "I".


Does "I" react?
Something reacts to the name of "I"
So yes. Thought tells stories about this "I".
But does "I" react?

It seems to say that the "I" is inquiring right now
Look at "I" in isolation, like described above.
Just "I".
Just this little thought. A word. A letter.
Can "I" inquire?
Can "O" inquire?
Can "E" inquire?

Can "I" do anything?
This is what I am slightly troubled with. "I" seems to illuminate experience, it is not an identity or a clinging, but an impersonal shining that allows the entire field of experience to be seen.
Illuminate experience, impersonal shining..
This is a great choice of words!
If there is no idea of an "I" within this light, what remains here?

then why is there karma
Is there karma?
Or is there a belief in karma?



Let's keep up this momentum, feels really really good.
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.

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blizzified
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Re: The fear of losing the illusory self

Postby blizzified » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:43 pm

But in the other answers, what was observed was not only the "I", but stories around this "I".
I get it... I think? That meta-calling of "I", all that self-referencing are just extra steps. Just not making one extra step, remaining right there, that is already "I".
Thought tells stories about this "I". But does "I" react?
No, it can't react. It's completely separate from thoughts.
Can "I" inquire?
Can "O" inquire?
Can "E" inquire?
"I" is just a sound with added narratives of obsession.
If there is no idea of an "I" within this light, what remains here?
Nothing else but sensations and thoughts. Knowing can't remain here because it's not part of experience.
Is there karma? Or is there a belief in karma?
When the identity arises, then the belief of karma on that identity arises.


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