Selfless Living?

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emptyself
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Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:34 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the self we habitually relate to has NO existence whatsoever - it is just a thought form. Life is just happening.

What are you looking for at LU?
To directly see the truth of this - to go beyond a mere intellectual understanding. I have followed the forum and app - I see so much of what is being pointed to - but I am still stuck with feeling there is some kind of self making choices. I can see that seeing is just happening without the need for a self etc, but still it seems that someone is directing the tool of seeing.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
To be pointed to a truth beyond dogma and belief. I would hope that I can directly come to see the truth of what I feel I kind of half know but am not fully experimentally convinced of. I would hope that a guide might help me to arrive at clarity

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
30 years of meditation and inquiry including Advaita, Buddhism and general non duality. When flashes of insight but still seeking! I have at times experienced the emptiness of self, but then I come back to feeling there is still some level of self that is like a virtual reality that can make choices etc. I spent many many hours contemplating this, attending workshops and retreats with non dual teachers etc.

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

Bananafish
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:03 am

Hi emptyself! Welcome to LU.

My name is Bananafish, and I'd be more than
glad to help you.

Thanks for your introduction, and it really helps that you wrote a specific point you're stuck with.


So, if you're ready, let's begin our inquiry by taking a look at whether there is a "self" that makes choices.


To start with, please raise either one of your arms now, and catch the exact moment choice
was made between the two arms.

Could you catch the exact moment?
What happened then?

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:09 pm

Hi Bananafish,

Thanks so much for offering to help - I very much appreciate it.
So, if you're ready, let's begin our inquiry by taking a look at whether there is a "self" that makes choices.

To start with, please raise either one of your arms now, and catch the exact moment choice
was made between the two arms.
hmmm - not sure if i can really find such a moment. When i do this exercise, I notice i start wondering which arm to raise and it seems it will be random. Then I suddenly notice that a choice has been made and I lift an arm - it does not really feel like a choice - so i get your point but perhaps only within this context - though it has already made me doubt my assumption. It still feels as if I had a choice whether to do the exercise at all. For example, something (me?) started to consider - shall I do this exercise now - or do some other jobs first - and I considered various options and came to the conclusion that the jobs could wait. So I can see that that was all thought, but it seems that there was a "self" directing the thinking process. Can I find such as a self - no - but there is a sense of one which makes it feel real.

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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:32 pm

Can I find such as a self - no - but there is a sense of one which makes it feel real.

Can we dig into that "sense of one"?

What kind of sense is it? Is it one of the five senses?

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:19 pm

Can we dig into that "sense of one"?

What kind of sense is it? Is it one of the five senses?
It is not one of the 5 senses.

It is more like a presence of existing here now, and it seems to utilise the senses. It feels as if it is located in the body but is not the body. It can direct the body - and direct attention. Clearly I can feel sensations in my body but not somebody elses body, so it must in some way be connected to my body. Likewise, I can notice thoughts in "my" mind but not somebody else's mind . The sense of self lets me make choices about my life. I can choose to stop and think, "what shall I do with my afternoon", contemplate options and choose a right fit.

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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:12 pm

I'm sure you know about mirages.
It actually "seems" as if they exist, but
they don't.

Even when you feel like
something really exists as a
concrete entity, it's still good to investigate
whether that's true.


So, here's my question:

Where in the body is that "sense" located?

If you found it anywhere, please describe the process through which you found it.

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:03 am

So, here's my question:

Where in the body is that "sense" located?
Yes, I get the mirages. In Buddhism the example of a rainbow is used - it clearly exists yet it has no true existence - it is ultimately just an appearance.

So it feels as if the sense of self is a consciousness located throughout the body, but particularly in the head, behind the eyes.

I sat and asked myself, "where is this self and what is this self"? It clearly identifies with the body but is not the body. If I feel pain in the body the self seems to experience pain or if there is danger to the body, the self feels endangered. Yet I say my body, which gives the experience and feeling of the self having a body that is other than the self. Also the self can have hopes and dreams or become embarrassed. When I look for that self it just seems to be a consciousness in the body. In other words it is non material and therefore not of the 5 senses. And as a consciousness it seems to be able to direct attention.

I can not find that self with the 5 senses, yet there is a knowing that I am conscious.

AI observe this process, and try to find the I directly in experience, it seems to only exist on a kind of mental level, and I am left wondering if it is just a concept. I am non yet convinced of that, yet there is enough doubt for that observation to produce a level of fear - as in, " wow - is it really possible that maybe this self is just an idea " .

So after the investigation, I am left in a state of doubt - contemplating your mirage example yet more inclined towards now considering the self to be a non material consciousness that can direct attention and therefore make choices.

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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:37 am

Hello David. :)

Your response made me an impression that you are doing your own thing
while not really investigating the question I asked.


For the next answer, please try to avoid answering the "as if" thing.


Get to the core of the question. Really look, as if you are actually looking
for a purse with your credit card in it that you lost somewhere.


Again, where in the body is that "sense of self" located?


And I want you to answer the exact location, not something vague like "everywhere."


From where is that "sense" directing attention?


Without relying on concept, knowledge, teachings,
can you directly know it?

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:26 pm

Again, where in the body is that "sense of self" located?

And I want you to answer the exact location, not something vague like "everywhere."

From where is that "sense" directing attention?

Without relying on concept, knowledge, teachings,
can you directly know it?
Yes, I can directly know it. It is located in the head, behind the eyes. There is a definite sense of it there.

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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:52 pm

Is that sense the "self" itself?

When you walk, talk, sleep, etc.,
is that sense that is doing these?

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:27 pm

Thank you for your guidance - I feel as if within the confusion, a clarity is starting to arise.
To your questions:
Is that sense the "self" itself?
I was unsure how to go about checking this. So I just focused on the sense of self that seemed to located in the head, behind the eyes and tried to find something - something like a central controller that is directing life. I could not find it - instead, more and more I just saw a self image in my mind and lots of thoughts. At one stage it was very clear that this apparent sense of self was just a self image made of thought - but this insight was soon lost again. But alongside my investigation of your other question, I am now seriously doubting if that sense of self in the head actually is the self.
When you walk, talk, sleep, etc.,
is that sense that is doing these?
I have tried to watch for a self when I am walking - walking seems automatic, talking seems automatic, sleeping is certainly automatic.

I can very clearly see that no self is doing seeing or hearing - in fact with those two it is clear that there is just seeing and hearing - I was able to watch how a thought based self claimed seeing as "I am seeing".

But despite that I seem to be recognizing that the self does not do these things, I still have a sense or an experience that the self initiates these things - it makes the choice to initiate what then seems like an automated process. So I am left with the feeling of the self being like a command center.

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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:57 pm

Great observation, emptyself. :)
And now I want to push you for more clarity. Open your eyes.

I still have a sense or an experience that the self initiates these things

Observe that sense and write everything that you've found.



What is that sense? Thought? Feeling? Emotion? Movement?


What is the felt quality of that sense?


Does it come from somewhere? Does it go anywhere?


If you were to name it, what is the name you would give to that sense?
Does the name "self" really fit it?


Can you catch the moment when the "self" walks? Body walks, but what
about "self"?


Can you imagine "self" walking, eating, talking, living life?

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emptyself
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby emptyself » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:01 am

It has been proving quite difficult to answer these questions - the self is very elusive.

I shall start with your first two questions and then answer the other questions later today if I have time:
Observe that sense and write everything that you've found.
The sense of the self being in the head behind the eyes:

It feels like a consciousness/awareness that inhabits the body and mainly lives in that location. It is certainly not physical.

As I observe it, at times it disappears. At times it migrates to other parts of the body - the center of the chest for example.

It seems to be a receiver of bodily feelings and thoughts. At the same time it seems to be able to initiate thoughts which are then felt as feelings in the body often.

It is often overtaken by thought and then the sense of the self being in the body is gone and the self just appears to be a mental process.

However, after doing this observing, the self felt more real than ever. It felt like a consciousness inhabiting a body which is seperate to others.

What is that sense? Thought? Feeling? Emotion? Movement?
That sense seems to be a combination of consciousness ( a sense of I exist and I am aware - ( (whether there is an I to that I do not yet know but certainly there is existence and awareness) and thought (internal talk, images, an image based on what I look like - my name - my job - my past etc). Physical feelings and emotions seem to cement it and movement gives the impression that the self has freedom to choose.

As I contemplated all of this, it suddenly seemed that really there is only consciousness - all I could find was consciousness and everything - including the body - is just appearing in the consciousness rather than the other way round. As I saw this, there was a much more expansive feeling and the separate self was absent.

I will continue to contemplate your other questions, though at this stage I feel more confused than ever. (partly because the investigation woke me up at 4am with a burning desire to get to the bottom of this)

Bananafish
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:34 am

Ah, you still seem to be doing your own thing ... I never asked you to
contemplate anything.


Can you stop your "contemplation" for a while and start anew?



Please do this:

Raise one of your arms.

Which one describes reality more precisely?

1. Consciousness rose the arm.
2. The arm rose.


Choose one from the two.

Please just write the number, and nothing else.

Bananafish
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Re: Selfless Living?

Postby Bananafish » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:37 am

Oh, and again, no "seems like" "appears to be" kind of answers, please. :)


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