Lingering Doubts

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Zechs
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Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:05 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
When I ask myself, "Who am I?", a feeling of tension arises in the middle of my brow and there's this sense that 'I' am somehow here, in this place of tension, looking out on the world from inside my head behind my eyes. I believe guidance is meant to help me see for myself that the 'self' which I feel like resides here is illusory.

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking to clear up the doubt I have regarding whether or not I've seen through this illusion to the truth. I've been reading Gateless Gatecrashers again and following the dialogues with my own self-inquiry and it sometimes feels like I've got it or gotten very close to it, but then this feeling of anxiety comes up and I think that maybe, because the truth is so simple, or I've read the words so many times, that I've convinced myself of an understanding which isn't really there. I want to be through, once and for all

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect that I'll be prompted in some way on how to see for myself that this doubt, anxiety and sense of being an observer behind my eyes are transient thoughts and feelings having nothing to do with any kind of self or 'me'. An analogy I've been working through is one where somebody spreads out a map of the world in front of me and says, "What's Canada?", to which I automatically respond by pointing to the familiar region to the north on the western hemisphere. They respond, "No, I asked, 'what' is Canada," implying that 'Canada' is just a name some people chose in the late nineteenth century to represent a sectioned-off region of land that existed long before then without any name or border. Of course, the land is still there, nameless and without borders, but for me, it feels like while I know that 'I' is just a label, I don't have a clear feeling of the freedom that preceded this act of labeling. I hope to see that for real.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Like I said, I've followed along and tried to give my own sincere responses to the questions in the dialogues in Gateless Gatecrashers. I've also attempted to meditate sporadically for four years or so and been otherwise dedicated to making my life a mess in the name of figuring out who I am, if anything, what the self is, whether or not I have one and if I can enhance or eradicate it depending on what I thought might be best or most likely to pay off for me at any given time. Probably the few experiences I've had that are genuinely relevant had to do with 'glimpse exercises' in Loch Kelly's Shift Into Freedom, in particular, the reader is told to ask themselves "What's here now if there's no problem to solve?". With that in mind, I looked around the room I was in and, without really anticipating or asking for it, found a smile creeping up the corners of my mouth, I could see very clearly that everything was okay and I was okay and I could just sit and be there in that moment without having to do or figure out or solve anything and there was nothing wrong with me or with that. I feel like I got caught up on the positive feelings associated with that experience and started making problems for myself again by trying to get back into that state during moments when I felt unhappy or confused and stopped being able to know what it had shown me and started having to believe in it and struggle.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
8

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Artst » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:16 am

Hi, Zechs,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed :). Glad you made it here. 

My name is Robyn, and I can be your guide if that's okay with you. 

I will do my best to guide you to see that the “self” is no more real than Santa Claus. Although you may see a guy in a Santa suit, you never again believe it’s Santa Claus. 

I will point the direction and you will be doing the work. 

A couple of things before proceeding: 
-Here's a link that shows how to use the quote function: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ[/
-Please try to keep up posting every day if you can for the sake of momentum; However things come up of course and that's okay, just let me know when you're unable to respond and I will do the same for you. 
-Think of this as writing in a journal, feel free to be 100% honest and just write what's true for you. It's generally helpful to put aside teachings, books, and videos for the time being so you can be more available to focus on your own experience. That's where we'll look. 

If you're okay with everything so far, we can start. 

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:43 pm

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for the welcome. I'm glad to hear from you.

I would appreciate it if you were to be my guide.
I will do my best to guide you to see that the “self” is no more real than Santa Claus. Although you may see a guy in a Santa suit, you never again believe it’s Santa Claus.
Like a suspicious toddler, I'm ready to tug on the old guy's beard and see if he's really who he says he is.
I will point the direction and you will be doing the work.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Think of this as writing in a journal, feel free to be 100% honest and just write what's true for you. It's generally helpful to put aside teachings, books, and videos for the time being so you can be more available to focus on your own experience. That's where we'll look.
Sounds good to me. For the duration of this process I'll keep from reading, watching or listening to any material I think could be related to what you intend to point out. I'll be sure to post daily.
If you're okay with everything so far, we can start.
Let's go!

<3

Zechs

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:01 am

What I'm struggling with right now is the sense of limited control I feel as though I have over my attention and actions. I've seen quite clearly that I'm unable to make thoughts happen, and that some kind of thought, sensation or image is needed in order for me to intentionally think, or move my body or my attention. It's likely that it's during moments such as this that I think of my body and attention as being mine, despite the fact that they tend to act automatically in response to other sensations.

However, it does feel as though, once I've noticed a sensation, including any sensation of the body or attention, be they still or in motion, that there exists a certain degree of freedom within which "I" am able to direct or control what my body or attention does next. I notice myself typing and [here follow a few moments spent staring at the screen without moving my fingers] so long as the appropriate thought or intention comes up, I can choose to stop typing. I can also mentally run through the possibility of stopping my fingers, considering whether to do so or not while continuing to type the very words that you're reading right here and now. Although that effort of attention affects the tempo of my typing, it's exactly that sort of difference by which I'm usually able to differentiate intentional from automatic behaviour. Intentional movement feels deliberate, and is peppered throughout with moments of awareness of the movement happening which open onto the possibility of my being able to change or interfere with the movement, like I can pivot or switch gears to another sort of activity, provided the thought of that activity arises on its own. It definitely feels like it's then up to me whether to make such a change or not.

I notice myself breathing, and so I can breathe more deeply or more quickly, or stop breathing entirely. There's a sense of "me" being an observer behind my eyes that comes up, who can choose amongst these options as they present themselves to me as particular thoughts or ideas. The thought occurs to me that if I could stabilize this sense, extend it or make it more permanent somehow, that that would be a good thing. A feeling of nausea came up when I first considered that possibility but there's also some pleasure or satisfaction in the idea of always being in control of my reactions in this way.

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:16 am

I've been spending time with my family and taking it easier than usual with regards to intentionally sitting down and investigating my experience. It can be really stressful looking into the confusion surrounding the "I", which takes a little more energy than I feel like I've got to give deliberately right now.

While resting this afternoon, I felt in behind this confusion and tension in the place where it feels like there's an observer behind the eyes and picked up on a feeling of being overwhelmed and afraid. Thoughts started coming up about this feeling and about how it felt like no matter where I might go it would still be there, at which point there was a noticeable shift in my experience. Nothing had changed but I felt okay, as if whatever had been troubling me was suddenly and unexpectedly gone.

I went for a walk tonight and had some trouble with feeling self-conscious when people or cars were passing me nearby. At times like that, it feels like I retreat into and become trapped within that observer place, which makes me feel buggy and paranoid. However, after goofing around for a bit as I listened to eccentric music, I noticed the feeling of being in the observer place was there without the same anxiety and paranoia that tends to accompany it. There were still some strange, uncanny sensations, but it felt like I could be in that place without having to be there, in the sense of being trapped or imprisoned inside my mind. In fact, when anything came up that would begin to trigger my anxiety, I found my attention could unstick itself from the trigger by conjuring up a figment of the imagination that dispelled the emotionally-charged impression it carried before it had a chance to take hold. There was a sense of "me" intentionally causing my imagination to picture something else than what my mind was about to get hung up on, but I don't feel like I was in control of the experiential shift that made that activity effective. If I tried the technique again when I felt anxious without having first replicated the change in experience that prefaced it becoming available to me, I don't think it would work nearly as well.

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:28 pm

Hey Robyn,

I haven't heard from you in the past few days. Should I keep posting journal entries like I've been doing or wait for a reply?

I sent this message as a PM too.

Thanks and I hope this finds you well,

Zechs

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:00 am

Hi Robyn,

I still haven't heard from you so I don't know how to proceed.

In any case, I didn't do too much looking today so there isn't much to say. I was surprised to find the trick with using the imagination to reconfigure triggering phenomena still worked today. I was listening to some caucophonous music this evening and found myself worrying about whether the noise was bothering my family, then getting almost frustrated and angry with them in my head, as though they were somehow bothering me by making me unable to enjoy the music because I was concerned for them.

Thinking back on it now, it seems like a feeling of frustration had come up that I was trying to find someone to blame for putting there, and being unable to pin it on myself or my family, I had to work with just feeling angry - although there was a defiant sense to the situation, like my family's feelings be damned I was going to listen to this album until it was done. At that point, the music had gotten really jagged and intense, and I began imagining some pretty dark and horrifying things, but quite intentionally, by referring to the style of and images from certain movies I like, like I was making a movie in my mind inspired by what I was feeling. Emotionally, I was still concerned and uneasy, despite it feeling sort of freeing to indulge myself in visualizing these uglier sensations.

It feels like there's a struggle when I experience a sensation as reflecting a negative situation, which puts me in a position of feeling as though I have to do something to make the situation better, that causes me even more pain and confusion as I try to think of an appropriate solution to the problem. There's a paradox that arises where my sense of there being a problem is what's in the way of my mind being able to do what it wants (whether that solves things or not is unclear, it's more like that becomes irrelevant as time goes on) but I can't put that sense out of my mind because it's somehow still necessary for me to make an effort, either to continue creating the problem-sense or to redirect my thoughts toward dealing imaginatively with what's happening without necessarily changing anything about it. However, I don't think I was actually responsible for the change toward responding more creatively. Perhaps I'm just trying to find a way to control this shift so that it stops bad feelings from coming up while missing something crucial about how this is all happening independent of any "me".

... Perhaps there was a little to be said.

Let me know what I should be looking for whenever you can, Robyn. Thanks for reading along if you are.

<3

Zechs

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Artst » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:19 am

Dear Zechs,

I apologize profusely for not replying to you sooner. I'm not sure how it happened, but I wasn't receiving any notifications from you, although I had subscribed to your messages. Smart that you contacted the Admin team-- Kay let me know your plight. From now on, I'll check at least once a day manually to make sure I don't miss any more messages from you. Thank you for persisting!

It's great that you've been journaling and sharing it with me. It's clear that self guiding is very difficult!

I get where you are right now. If you stick with this and allow yourself to be guided, your suffering can be a thing of the past.

The first things to get out on the table is a list of your expectations.
What do you expect to happen as a result of this?
What do you want to not happen?
What are you hoping for?
Please make a list of all the things that should be different when you realize there’s no separate self.

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:50 pm

Dear Robyn,
I apologize profusely for not replying to you sooner.
Please don't worry too much about it. Technical difficulties are like the bad weather of the internet. I'm just glad you didn't get caught out in the rain!
Smart that you contacted the Admin team-- Kay let me know your plight.
Unless you're referring to the PM I sent you, I didn't. Maybe our thread has a good samaritan watching over it? In any case, my thanks go out to Kay, wherever they might be.
What do you expect to happen as a result of this?
I expect something of a deep cognitive shift, which nevertheless doesn't somehow upset the world's ability to make sense. Like, there's a house in my neighbourhood with a really big rock in front of it. If you told me that rock was hollow papier-maché, or better yet, a hologram, there's no way I would believe you, but then I'd expect to be able to go up to it and prod it and when my hand had passed through and found nothing but air, whether I believed it or not wouldn't change the fact that I had seen for myself what you were talking about. Yet for all that I wouldn't suddenly start believing that all rocks were holograms and think I could go around riding my bike into boulders without anything going wrong.
What do you want to not happen?
I don't want a hole to open up beneath me that swallows everything, or for a tear in the fabric of space to appear that starts spewing out monsters. I don't want my everyday expectations regarding cause and effect to become suddenly useless in a world made chaotic and dangerous by an unexpected change in reality.
What are you hoping for?
An increased ability to remain calm in the present without worrying about images of the past or thoughts of the future. I hope that I'll be able to live my life more authentically. I don't want to keep having to mentally check back and see whether my life matches up with some kind of scripted set of expectations regarding what I should be experiencing.
Please make a list of all the things that should be different when you realize there’s no separate self.
Experientially, I'm not sure what should be different, like with respect to the contents of my thoughts and feelings. I feel like I should be able to see and know moment by moment that what I am experiencing has arisen without "me" for a cause and will persist for as long as it does without my being able to do anything about it, and that I will feel something like equanimity and resignation with regards to this fact. I think especially what will be different is that I won't experience any feelings of effort or struggle that come up in response to problems or negativity as though they were produced or maintained by "me", and that I won't believe in any thoughts that seem to say there's something I can or must do in order to change these feelings or resolve those problems.

Thanks for taking the time to read what I've written, Robyn. My writing background is mainly in academic philosophy, so I know that in trying to describe as accurately and precisely what I mean, ironically the sense of what I'm saying can become lost in an excessively long series of clauses and rejoinders. I'm trying not to get too hung up on editing by instead writing down thoughts just as they come, because that might lead me to mask something important if I'm afraid it isn't the right idea based on my wanting to meet whatever image I might have at that time of your expectations. Although, given the sense of safe distance between parties imparted by text-based communication, I'm not really concerned with that becoming an issue for us.

Basically, if you ever find that my writing has become simply inscrutable, please let me know because I can definitely express myself more clearly and more briefly. Something that I didn't learn until I was well outside the realm of posturing in university classrooms is that it's totally okay to say, "I don't know what you mean," without that entailing a loss in status or fundamental respect and appreciation for anyone.

With love,

Zechs

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Artst » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:19 pm

Hi, Zechs,

I love your open and honest communication.

I'm going to ask you to set aside your expectations, which I know isn't always easy, but they can get in the way.

As for the fears, don't worry. Nothing dire or chaotic will happen and you won't lose any of your faculties or abilities. You won't lose anything - literally.

Are you ok with that? If not, let me know and we'll delve deeper.

Provided you're fine with that, please answer this question, and from here on out, to the best of your ability, answer just from your Direct Experience, omitting anything you've learned or theories you might have. Direct Experience (DE) includes: sights, sounds, thoughts, physical sensations and emotions.

If you look for the I, what is there? Can you describe what you find?

Sending love!

Robyn

p.s. Thanks for opening yourself to coaching regarding writing. I'll provide guidance as best I can.
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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:51 am

:)
Are you ok with that?
Yes... maybe, we'll see?
If you look for the I, what is there? Can you describe what you find?
When I look in DE for the I, I must admit I'm at a loss to say what, if anything, is there. There's a feeling of turning inward where my gaze goes out of focuses like I'm trying to look for something behind my eyes. These sensations of nausea and uneasiness come up in my chest and stomach that spread outward over my body to become this emotional tone of more general dissatisfaction. I start to feel annoyed, almost contemptuous. My upper lip curls up into a snarl and my nose furrows as if a rotten scent has begun to fill the room, although I don't actually smell anything unusual on the air. There's a feeling of tension in my forehead and in between my eyebrows. Although the breath isn't actually obstructed, it feels as though my sinuses are blocked and as though it's difficult to breathe.

However, these are all just feelings, sensations, and thoughts about them, or if not exactly about, they're what comes up when I intend to describe what's happening while I'm typing here and now. In reality, I don't find anything in DE that corresponds to the I. It's more like there's this place inside my head where I expect the I to be, but when I look there, there's nothing particularly me-like, just the empty space where thoughts and feelings seem to arise. All these twisted up and uncomfortable emotions and physical sensations come up in response to that. These range from revulsion to a restlessness and ambivalence that wants to throw itself into activity in order to get away from whatever is making it so uneasy. The experience is like looking into an empty room where I expect someone to be and finding there's no one there. Except for some reason it's so important or crucial that they be in there, that my gut response is to turn away from and hide this emptiness from myself as if it's the worst or most horrible thing in the world, which almost makes it seem in retrospect like the room must not have been empty. Something must have been in there to cause such a strong reaction of aversion towards it, despite the fact that when I look inward once again, although my apprehension and skepticism about finding nothing are very strong, I still don't see anything there worth calling me. What the body really seems to revolted by and what it's trying so hard to hide from itself is the gross error that's come up between its expectation of what would be there and actual reality.

DE of the room I'm in, the light coming in through the curtains and the sound of birds outside my window became more prominent. There's a band of tension wrapped around my skull, like two hands holding onto and pressing firmly into my head. Some thoughts came up disputing whether it was appropriate for me to refer to the skull and head as "mine" and if I shouldn't change how I phrased that in case you brought it up. I was about to write, "I can hear my computer," and paused. Although the sound of the computer is there, I don't know who hears it. It's more like it became prominent enough in the range of my attention for a thought to occur which remarked thereupon, that did so in terms of an "I" hearing, but without it being really clear to what or to whom that word refers. I want to say "I don't know," but all that seems to mean is a thought hasn't come up in mental space such as "I know [this]," in conjunction with a feeling of confidence or certainty in the truth of what that thought seems to say.

Although, thoughts don't really "say" anything, do they? I hear them, or they are heard, but there's no one speaking. This feels like a performance where the actor being heard is meant to be backstage, but there's no backstage into which someone can go and look because everything that's happening is out here in the open. That feels discomfiting to admit, as though it means whoever was supposed to be backstage must somehow be brought out into the open and exposed to everyone else out front. Thinking like this brings up a lot of anxiety. This seems like it has less to do with the truth and more with feeling self-conscious and wanting to control how others perceive me in terms of my actions and the things I say.

When I look for the I, I expect to find something or someone in the region of mental space interior to the skull, including spots between and behind the ears where it seems like I hear thoughts coming from and in between and behind the eyes where it seems like I see imaginary visualisations being produced. These spaces don't feel clearly distinguishable from the rest of DE as it's experienced external to the image of the body and tactile bodily sensations. Sometimes I will hear a thought and turn to look over my shoulder as though someone else were speaking to me. Sometimes visual sensations that are purely imaginary can appear overlaid on top of my ordinary perception of things as they are seen to exist outside of my body. For the most part, however, mental space feels like it's inside my head and ordinary space feels like it's outside my body.

It seems as though the expectation of finding someone inside mental space responsible for the production of thoughts and visualisations comes from an analogy with ordinary experience. There are objects 'out there' that can be touched and experienced with the body in addition to being seen, smelt, tasted and heard. If there are sensations 'in here' being seen and heard, there must be something making them. It seems more familiar or somehow likely to the mind to imagine that there are ghosts or spirits creating mental sensations, insofar as no I can be found that is capable of controlling when they arrive or when they pass away, than for it to admit that they come from nowhere and out of nothing, and nothing and no one can be found who is altogether responsible or to blame for their doing so. It goes very strongly against my ordinary intuitions regarding causality, which are very difficult to contradict without bringing up feelings of anxiety in response to the potential existence of an unknown and therefore possibly dangerous threat capable of making absolutely anything happen. This is completely irrational, since the truth is whatever has always been the case, which means seeing the non-existence of the self isn't going to somehow change the rules the ordinary world follows in my everyday experience. However, the more I open myself to the possibility of mental sensations just happening without sufficient reason or cause for their doing so, the more random and unpredictable the ordinary world seems to become from the imagined perspective of any entity that might find itself living within it. Unfortunately, the way in which my body orients and directs its activity is by imagining itself from the perspective of an entity living within a world and dreaming up situations which that entity might find itself in based on whatever the mind thinks is possible. Although these situations are imaginary, like movies in my mind centred upon the character "me", the feelings that come up in the body in response to its experience of them are all too real. Everyday experience is real, which exacerbates the feeling of separation between what's going on outside my body and the emotions I'm experiencing based on whatever movie is playing in my head, insofar as the latter is an interpretation of my expectations and predictions regarding what's going to happen next in the former.

At some point during this deliberation, the thought came up that this wasn't altogether a bad thing. After all, it would be strange to believe that something was wrong because the mind and body were working properly. There doesn't seem to be anything more than that, than what's happening right here and now. It feels more weird than okay. Something still feels wrong and the thought that came up in response to that recognition had to do with identity. It feels like the mind is trying to lure itself into becoming occupied with a pattern of thinking about and trying to solve a problem with the self because that's what it's used to doing when it feels this way. When I look for the I now, there's still a lot of tension in the eyes and forehead as if something was living in the space there that was trying to establish or exercise some control over what's happening and getting frustrated with not being able to do so. I think these patterns are what gets called by my name but they don't actually belong to anyone, anymore than my arm belongs to me when my hand comes up on its own to scratch an itch. Everything I've written so far is starting to feel like the mind trying to do something to scratch the mental equivalent of an itch that's come up on a part of itself that it can't reach because it does not exist.

In which case, why am I itchy? Is there just some part of me that doesn't want to be wrong about what it expected it was going to find when it looked for the self so badly that it's going to make the rest of me feel miserable and confused every so often for the rest of my life? I feel like I could keep going on like this forever without getting anywhere, which is why I wanted to come here and seek out someone else's guidance.

Okay. Robyn, I need help. Please. It can't keep going on like this.

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Artst » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:56 am

Hi, Zechs,
Yes... maybe, we'll see?
Not sure if you're being ultra-realistic here (knowing that expectations could creep in) or that you're not up to setting them aside. If the latter is the case, can you tell me which ones you don't think you can set aside? Or can you now set them aside?
When I look in DE for the I, I must admit I'm at a loss to say what, if anything, is there.
Great. Is there something there other than the body sensations and emotions you described?
It's more like there's this place inside my head where I expect the I to be, but when I look there, there's nothing particularly me-like, just the empty space where thoughts and feelings seem to arise.
Yes!
What the body really seems to revolted by and what it's trying so hard to hide from itself is the gross error that's come up between its expectation of what would be there and actual reality.
Interesting story. What is story made up of? What generates it?

You're doing great, Zechs!

I look forward to your reply.

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:49 am

Hi Robyn,
Not sure if you're being ultra-realistic here (knowing that expectations could creep in)
Just so. When I began that post I'd only written "Yes." However, as I read over everything I'd written, I started to wonder whether I wasn't inadvertantly letting my expectations determine what I was willing to admit to myself about what I was seeing. If something comes up where I really don't feel like I can let go of what I think is supposed to happen I'll let you know. I don't think I'm at that point right now though.
Is there something there other than the body sensations and emotions you described?
There's the aforementioned tension and dissatisfaction, along with the feeling of there being a space inside the head where thoughts and images appear.
What is story made up of? What generates it?
The story is made up of thoughts and memories. Without meaning to, despite your request to do otherwise, I imported a theory that came from something I'd read in the past in order to form an interpretation of what it felt like the body was going through. Sorry about that, I didn't realize at the time that that was what I was doing.

I don't know what you mean by 'what' generates it. The memory of the theory came up in the midst of trying to describe what was happening. It felt relevant to the feeling of dissatisfaction I had, which seemed to come up at the moment when I didn't find any sort of me-thing in the place where I expected the I to be, in the mental space behind my eyes. I liked that it explained my aversion.
You're doing great, Zechs!
I really appreciate your support, Robyn. Thank you.

<3

Zechs

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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Artst » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:32 am

Hi, Zechs,
There's the aforementioned tension and dissatisfaction,
In Direct Experience there are thoughts, body sensations, sights, sounds and emotions. What is tension? What is dissatisfaction?
along with the feeling of there being a space inside the head where thoughts and images appear.
Ok. I get that. But look and see if there really is a place inside the head where thoughts and images appear -- in the same way that there is a tree outside or a piece of furniture in the room. Is it real or imagined?
The story is made up of thoughts and memories.
What is a memory?
Sorry about that,
No apology needed; this is an unfamiliar approach. ;-)
I don't know what you mean by 'what' generates it. The memory of the theory came up in the midst of trying to describe what was happening.
You reported a story/explanation and my question of 'what generates it' is about what caused or controlled the producing of that story to explain what was going on in body. What controls thought?

Enjoy!

Sending love,

Robyn
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Re: Lingering Doubts

Postby Zechs » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:02 pm

Hey Robyn,
In Direct Experience there are thoughts, body sensations, sights, sounds and emotions. What is tension? What is dissatisfaction?
Tension is a body sensation and dissatisfaction is an emotion.
But look and see if there really is a place inside the head where thoughts and images appear -- in the same way that there is a tree outside or a piece of furniture in the room. Is it real or imagined?
It's more like my attention turns away from, or rather fades out, dims and turns down, the sights and sounds of the outside world in order to more easily pick up on mental sensations. When I imagined a tree outside, I saw it, but it wasn't like I was looking inside my head to see it so much as the outside world very briefly became darker as a fleeting image came up in front of it, while still being within my field of vision. When I hear a thought, I can't point to the source of that sound, like I would be able to if there were a person speaking to me from somewhere over my shoulder. That is to say, the sound doesn't have a source, so it doesn't seem to make sense to say where it's coming from. Images come up that seem to explain what's going on, like perhaps the visual field crosses the boundary between the inside and outside of my body where I feel my eyes are, as if it scooped into and around my peripheral vision to reach through the temples and behind the eyes, or like there were tuning forks near the base of my skull that vibrated when I heard things.

The idea of there being a place inside my head where thoughts and images appear is based on these kinds of illusions coming up and being taken for fact. It is imagined.
What is a memory?
A memory is like a video resembling a past experience that my mind creates in the present moment. It often feels to me like experiences which turn out to just be memories are actual events occurring right now. It's frustrating coming out of a memory playback like that and feeling like I have no control over what happened because I'm not there anymore.
You reported a story/explanation and my question of 'what generates it' is about what caused or controlled the producing of that story to explain what was going on in body. What controls thought?
Nothing controlled the production of that story. It was more like the sensations and the thoughts that followed which were my description of them triggered a reflection in the form of a story about what was going on. I could see nearly the same kind of sensations resulting in an altogether different sort of reflection based on things like my mood or intention while I'm observing them.

Nothing controls thought. Whether a thought arises or not is like whether a pebble dropped from a plane lands on the ground with less than a thud, or falls into a pond, producing a splash and subsequent ripples. Whatever control one feels like they have over when they drop the pebble has essentially zero effect on where it's going to land exactly.

-- This is starting to be fun!

<3

Zechs


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