Path or No Path

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pwsamadhi
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Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:27 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
From an intellectual perspective and teachings from many Advaita Vedanta and Buddhist teachings, I understand that there's is no inherent self. At an experiential level and through meditation, I see that there is no tangible self. Only comings and goings, process. That the egoic self is a mere conceptual thought that begins with "I", "me", "my".

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for some direct experience of insight into no-self, impermanence, or stream-entry. To understand whether or not a path is necessary. Shall one continue to practice virtue, meditation, inquiry, and mindfulness. Or go back to old habits, ditching the path to pursue worldly desires and indulge in sensual pleasures. Trying to understand the whole purpose of how spirituality can free one self from the ego that's not supposed to exist, but can be seen and experienced daily. If there is "no-doer", can this understanding not be used as an excuse to pursue unwholesome actions? Now you may ask, why would someone want to pursue unwholesome actions? Well, sometimes the bad things in life feel good (selfish unhealthy stimulating dopamine fixes: e.g. gambling, alcohol, sex, sugary foods, partying, drugs, etc). Things usually given up for the spiritual path.

Secondly, seeking to gain liberation from from the desires/aversions mentioned above as well as other personality quirks, e.g. insecurities and the last remnants of social anxiety.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?

Insight and new understanding to the question I posed above. Hoping to find some guide who is firmly and deeply rooted in no-self that can satisfy some of the questions asked. To challenge the views expressed. To go beyond basic traditional non-duality teachings. Perhaps this is the inherent problem.

Let's play.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I'm familiar with teachings of Maharashi, Maharaj, Papaji, Mooji, Adyashanti, etc. Familiar Vedic subject area with Pantajali, Yogananda, Swami Vivekananda. I've dabbled with self inquiry practice ("who am i?", "who's doing so and so?"). Especially when personal pronouns arise in my mind.

I've practiced periods of celibacy and abstinence from various desires.

I currently practice Vipassana and Shamatha daily (2 hours weekdays, 3-5 hours weekends). Familiar with teachings from Shinzen Young, Culadasa, and Daniel Ingram. Familiar with Buddhist practice and philosophy.

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

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:09 am

Any takers?

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Artst
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:12 am

Hi, pwsamadhi,

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
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:35 am

Hi Robyn,

My name's Peter. Thanks for replying. Yes I'm okay with you being a guide... let's proceed with:

If there's no self, who or what is it that determine's whether or not to continue on a spiritual path or go back to a world of sensual pleasures and self indulgence? Who's the meditator, who's meditating? Why even meditate?

From the ego perspective, there's the illusion of choice and free-will. But if there's no self, then free-will cannot be the case.

Who or what is it that pursues the spiritual path versus doing whatever the ego pleases?

Is realizing no self just an understanding that the ego or "I" is a mere thought, and there's nothing more to do or know?

Then this "I" can go out and do whatever it pleases? Or does this further the delusion?

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:51 am

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your message and questions. It's great that you're eager to learn!

How guiding here works, though, is that I will ask the questions and you will discover the answers to your questions for yourself. Don't worry - the things you're concerned about will get clear for you if you stick it out. We will not talk theory at all. The way we will work is through only your direct experience, not your thinking.

The first thing to do is to uncover your expectations for this process. Getting them out "on paper" will be helpful for you, so you can begin with a more or less blank slate. We have found that unacknowledged expectations get in the way. So, please answer these questions:

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
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:18 am

What do you expect to happen as a result of this?
Direct experience of no-self. To be more firmly established in the understanding of no-self, versus intellectually comprehending it.

What do you want to not happen?
I don't have any expectations on the "not". Open to all understanding/experience.

What are you hoping for?
To attain insight into no-self and significantly weaken or eliminate the ego. To see through the ego. I understand the paradox of acknowledging it even exists, is already a flawed assumption. Hoping to get clarity around no-self.

Please make a list of all the things that should be different when you realize there’s no separate self.
  • To see through or come to terms with some of my character/personality flaws (e.g. insecurities, anxieties, doubts)
  • Diminish the power of these negative aspects over my being
  • Deeper satisfaction and peace
  • Experience more interconnectedness
  • To see things as they are

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:48 pm

Hi, Peter,

Thank you for the answers.
Direct experience of no-self. To be more firmly established in the understanding of no-self, versus intellectually comprehending it.
This is exactly what we're about! Good expectation. ;-)
significantly weaken or eliminate the ego. To see through the ego. I understand the paradox of acknowledging it even exists, is already a flawed assumption. Hoping to get clarity around no-self.
Yes, this contains the belief that the ego exists. Thanks for acknowledging this expectation. Using the analogy of Santa Claus, the man in the red suit doesn't cease to exist but the recognition that he is not really Santa never goes away. Can you set this expectation aside?
To see through or come to terms with some of my character/personality flaws (e.g. insecurities, anxieties, doubts)
Diminish the power of these negative aspects over my being
Deeper satisfaction and peace
Experience more interconnectedness
These can get in the way of the process; can you set them aside?

Anything else you need to say about any of this so far before we move on?

Sending love,
Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:37 pm

Okay. Sounds like my understanding is pretty close then. And that I need to set aside expectations and erase the last of my doubts.

Yes I can set them aside. We can proceed. =)

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:33 pm

Excellent, Peter --

It's ok to have doubts. They are just thoughts.

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

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:38 pm

When I look for the "I", I find the remnants or echoes of the "I" in the form of a thought as an inner voice. A self referrencing pointer that's part of my internal dialogue world. The "me" center. I feel it's presence arise from the center of my chest.

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:16 pm

Hi, Peter,

Great job of looking, so far.

In Direct Experience, there are sights, sounds, body sensations, emotions and thoughts.
When I look for the "I", I find the remnants or echoes of the "I" in the form of a thought as an inner voice.
What makes it 'an inner voice?' Look at whether it's really possible to distinguish inner from outer.
A self referrencing pointer that's part of my internal dialogue world. The "me" center. I feel it's presence arise from the center of my chest.
So, what do you mean by 'a pointer?' Is this something other than a thought?
Regarding what you call the 'me' center, is is then a physical sensation in your chest? Is this body sensation 'I?'

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:09 am

What makes it an internal voice is that it's not an audible sound heard externally from the sense organ, the ears.

So I can sense that it's definitely not a sound but more of a thought. "Inner" would be mental image or mental talk experienced within the mind versus seeing or hearing from outside the boundaries of the body.

Yes that pointer is just a thought. The "me" center is a combination of the feeling "i" in the chest and the understanding that this "i" points to me.

However I also understand that the "i" is a conceptual thought and the feeling "i" is just a physical sensation associated with the thought.

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:23 am

Hi, Peter,

You're doing great! This is a process that requires looking in a new way.
So I can sense that it's definitely not a sound but more of a thought.
Ok. Is it 'more of a thought' or a thought?
Is there an I sensing or is there just the sensing?
"Inner" would be mental image or mental talk experienced within the mind
So, there's a concept that there is 'mental talk' and that it's within the mind. Is this something you experience directly or something learned?
Is this 'mental talk' something controlled by an I?

Here's a 2-part experiment for you.
Sit down for a few minutes and do your best to
1) stop the thoughts for 30 seconds.
2) choose a topic and do your best to cause there to be thoughts only about that one topic for 3 minutes. Let me know
what you discover.

Sending love,
Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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pwsamadhi
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Re: Path or No Path

Postby pwsamadhi » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:54 pm

Ok. Is it 'more of a thought' or a thought?
To clarify, it's just a thought.

Is there an I sensing or is there just the sensing?
There's just the sensing. The arising and passing away of the thought and its associated experience. The "I" thought has been given meaning. However, the "I" thought in it's purest form is just a thought, a letter of the alphabet, an idea. A sensory experience.

So, there's a concept that there is 'mental talk' and that it's within the mind. Is this something you experience directly or something learned?
Both. I've experienced directly, thoughts happening as internal mental talk and later learned this to be coined as "mental talk". In a dualistic world, there are thoughts that become voiced as sound heard by others (but I suppose it's really just sound). And there are also thoughts experienced internally as a thought, not heard by others. Also, if there is no thought, there's no mind, only perceiving. So it's truly hard to pinpoint the boundaries of the mind, whether it's internal or external. Only that we're aware of the thought/mind form as an experience. The mind boundary is imagined (I'm guessing so is this self). But the experience itself appears very real.

Is this 'mental talk' something controlled by an I?
Both. At times, mind chatter occurs on it's own until I mindfully catch it and stop it. In this case, it's not controlled by an I. However, also at times, mental talk is deliberately called upon and utilized as a tool for thinking, planning, analyzing, judging, or organizing. In this sense, it's controlled.

1) stop the thoughts for 30 seconds.
I tried this exercise twice. Although for the most part, I can suppress thought. It's really difficult to control outside of meditation. My first attempt, one or two thoughts would bubble up. On my 2nd attempt, I was able to be relatively be free from thought, although there still were very subtle traces of thought forms I can detect.

2) choose a topic and do your best to cause there to be thoughts only about that one topic for 3 minutes. Let me know what you discover.
The topic I chose was "dog". I thought about everything I could regarding the subject area pertaining to dogs. At times, I found gaps or the mind struggling to come up with "dog" related subject items. At other times, it would really flow where I could come up with various topics and ideas related to the subject.

By the way, this is a lot of fun =)

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Re: Path or No Path

Postby Artst » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:26 am

Hi, Peter,

Glad you're enjoying this! It will be much easier if you keep it simple. Answer just the questions as asked. Set aside information you've learned and theory. The idea here is look only at your direct experience. The rigor will be worth it!
To clarify, it's just a thought.
Good.
There's just the sensing.
Yes. This is the answer to the question.
I mindfully catch it and stop it.
Where's this I you speak of? Is it something other than a thought itself? You have written that I is only a thought yet you refer to it as a thing that can stop thought. Where is this thing? It can't be both ways.

For the experiment, it should only be done during full waking state, not during meditation. Even one or two thoughts demonstrate that there's no I controlling thought.
At times, I found gaps or the mind struggling to come up with "dog" related subject items.
Struggling to come up with dog related items means having thoughts other than about dogs. Do you see this?

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life


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