I am awareness

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omega6666
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I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Tue May 15, 2018 9:00 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
In that very clear reality of "right now" there's a small part inside our awareness that usually gets way too much attention, which makes it seem very big. Happenings inside our awareness that get "coloured" by this feeling of self are experienced as though "I" changed something through the course of time. But nothing can be changed in right now.

What are you looking for at LU?
I accept what-is, which makes me observe a lot of details that feel as "I", "me" or "my". This observation creates distance/space to those details. I currenly feel I am this space. Yet, there are many situations where I find myself lost in the dream of "I". Especially during conversations with people. Never a problem, but I feel I that finding important pointers without external help might create blind spots I am not aware of.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Getting help with finding pointers to my own illusions. A lot of philosophic thoughts tend to come up when I notice an illusion, instead of just becoming quiet. Especially a conversation would be helpful, since it tends to put me in ego mode.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I meditate by resting as awareness, by accepting what-is. I practice neti neti and self-enquiry. My practice is my life and life is my practice.

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

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Wed May 16, 2018 2:34 am

Hello omega6666,

Welcome to the Liberation Unleashed forums! Should I call you omega6666 or is there another name you would prefer?

Before we get started, a few important preliminaries. During our conversation I will ask you a series of questions. For each, you will look at your own direct experience and answer with 100% honesty.

I point. You look. You tell me what you see. Repeat. Simple :)
A lot of philosophic thoughts tend to come up when I notice an illusion, instead of just becoming quiet. Especially a conversation would be helpful, since it tends to put me in ego mode.
It is best to avoid lengthy analysing, speculation and debate, the mind will always try to create distraction. Usually what we are looking for here, is just a simple glance, a realisation...done.

It is vital then, that you really do each “experiment” I provide, and look at your direct experience — in the present moment — instead of relying on analytic thought and memory.

Please watch the below 30 second video and learn how to use the Quote function. This is important for us to have a clear dialogue around the questions and answers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fAToDNh9hQ

During our conversation, please refrain from reading any other teachings, spiritual books, writings, YouTube videos or talks. As you have already seen, seeking only feeds the ego further, which will make it much harder to see through the illusion here. If you have a meditation practice you may continue with it as usual.

Please make an effort to write here every day. This works best if we keep a constant focus on looking.

If the above all sounds ok, then I will be happy to guide you and we may begin.

Tim
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Wed May 16, 2018 8:59 am

First of all, thank you for doing this beautiful work, Tim. I really appreciate it. You can call me Tom.

I'll be completely honest in my direct experiences and I'll follow your guidance.
It is best to avoid lengthy analysing, speculation and debate, the mind will always try to create distraction. Usually what we are looking for here, is just a simple glance, a realisation...done.
Just to first create a bit more context for you, before I start following your guidance: I definitely already had a glance, but I believe either the uneducated mind had unjust expectations, or the glance wasn't as deep as it could be. Yesterday I read through "Gateless gatecrashers" and some more was suddenly seen through. There was a lightning fast, unnoticed spiritual "me" that was still judging my observed conditionings whenever they were "negative", like anger, for instance. This disappointed "me" wasn't seen through, only the angry "me".

Furthermore, I tend to have more blind spots in the procrastinating, indulging "me's" than in the angry or fearful "me's" and there's mostly ignorance found during dwelling in thought when it's the type where I'm explaining my spiritual beliefs to close family, like my brother or sister. Like the new "spiritual I" must be clarified to them in rational terms. There's a very strong "I" conditioned with them, of course and there's clearly fear in thoughts of them not acknowledging the "new spiritual me".[/rant]
If the above all sounds ok, then I will be happy to guide you and we may begin.
Sounds perfect!

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Wed May 16, 2018 1:35 pm

First of all, thank you for doing this beautiful work, Tim. I really appreciate it.
You’re very welcome! It’s always a pleasure to help those who truly come to look at the truth.

Notice I said “at”, not “for” ;).

Because this is not some mystical, unobtainable thing which may or may not ever be found after decades of searching. The truth is always RIGHT here, it is present in every moment, just waiting for you to look directly at it. It is not hidden. The trick is most are just afraid to actually look, when shown. Remember, be simply like a curious child, staring at church paintings in wonder, with no fear, expectations, or worry, and you will see in no time at all.
I definitely already had a glance
Yesterday I read through "Gateless gatecrashers" and some more was suddenly seen through
This is great! So as a starting point it would be useful to know which realisations you have already had from reading the book.

We may go over them again, but could you briefly list what truths you have seen from it already, and what your experience was at each moment of realisation as it happened? Just a couple of bullet points on each realisation.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Wed May 16, 2018 2:25 pm

So as a starting point it would be useful to know which realisations you have already had from reading the book.
Know I've only read three and a half talks, so far...
WIthout specific words directly being responsible for the insight, I noticed reading them through put my mind out of the very limiting state of believing it has to be very, very hard to "completely break through". It put me out of the seeking mode and into the looking mode (indeed, not look "for" but "at"...).

It also helped my mind accept that some conditionings have remained, even after the truth was (at least partly) seen, after reading this part in the book;
Ilona: If I have this right, your word “me-ness” is the glue that holds illusion together. How is that glue these days, still strong and sticky or is it getting looser?
Philip: Yeah! Nice, the glue is brittle and falling away as we speak, like old resin.
It helped my mind realize I shouldn't focus too much on analyzing:
What you wrote to me was more like a discourse, Shane.
It helped my mind understand that strong emotions are actually quite helpful for becoming disspelled:
Please do not go into equanimity, go hot and desperate and ask. “Where the hell am I clinging?!” ask.”
It helped my mind realize there may not be a need to seek further, just because it contains false expectations.
Jamie: Elena, nothing has changed, except... I realised I would be lying if I told you there was an “I”, and you wanted the truth.
But, Elena, this can’t be it, can it? Please don’t tell me that this is what I’ve been looking for!?
But the open, enthusiastic and alert state the book put me in, was responsible for noticing the spiritual "I"-thoughts making all sorts of conclusions at the end of observing "my mind".

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Thu May 17, 2018 3:08 pm

Excellent! It seems the book has helped get through some of the common pitfalls that trip many at the start of these guiding conversations. Thus it has served a very important purpose. And also has brought you here!

Now we must go to direct experience, because this is an experiential thing - you cannot "learn" about it, you can only see it for yourself directly. It is beyond the grasp of all thought and all movement of the mind (thinking, analysing, seeking etc).

Let's start with a nice easy exercise, but which lays very important groundwork. You may have read this in the book, but it is important you do ALL experiments for real, for yourself. Humour me!

Try this and report back what you find:

Sit at home with eyes closed. In your mind, imagine going to the kitchen and getting a piece of fruit (make sure you choose something you already have in stock).

Try to fully imagine actually going there, picking it up, the look of it, the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light. Then imagine biting into the fruit, tasting it, the texture, sweetness, sharpness, all the qualities. Imagine every aspect, make it as real as possible! This is thought.

Now open your eyes, and actually go to the kitchen. Take the piece of fruit out for real, and look at it, examine the colour, texture, smell, reflections of light. Now actually bite into the fruit and taste it, experience the texture, the sweetness, sharpness, etc. This is direct experience.

How does direct experience compare to thought?
Which feels more "real"?
Was thought able to fully capture all the detail of the experience?
Can thought ever be as complete as the direct experience itself?

Please answer each question individually, and answer all questions.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:51 pm

How does direct experience compare to thought?
Thoughts about eating my apple contained like 'motion snapshots' of simple stored concepts. Like those short moving GIF-files in the internet. For instance only my teeth hitting the apple, then only the idea of biting through, then the possibility of some apple skin entering between my teeth, then the tart juicyness of chewing, then the swallowing, all without also having sounds around me and feeling my body, etc. I even forgot about the smell of the apple. Reality had much more detail I didn't think of. Furthermore I didn't think about also having thoughts while eating the apple. "How shall I describe this?", which temporarily stopped me from registring more sensations into memory.
Which feels more "real"?
Reality felt much more real.
Was thought able to fully capture all the detail of the experience?
No, far from it. Once the concept of 'tart juicyness' was covered in thought, it was left behind. In reality it obviously continued much longer than that.
Can thought ever be as complete as the direct experience itself?
Never. Present reality is the only reality.

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Sun May 20, 2018 2:46 pm

Great! You have seen clearly that, while thought may sometimes be convincing, it is never reality.
Actual experience is the only thing which is real and accurate.

Thought can only do one of two things:
— Thoughts about actual experience
— Thoughts about other thoughts

You can see that:
>> actual experience <<
is completely different to
>> thoughts about actual experience <<

Let's investigate thought a little further:

Sit quietly for a minute with eyes closed.
Just passively observe thoughts, as and when they arise.
Do not get caught up in the content, or follow it down the rabbit hole.

Answer the following:
How do you decide the next thought which comes up?
Maybe with a previous thought?
Then, who decides the thought before that, and the one before that?
At which point do YOU make actually the decision, of what to think next?
Can you observe any self-authoring of thought happening, in actual experience?
Describe the process if so!

To look at it another way, when a sound is heard, do we instantly claim it as "my sound"?
Is it then correct, to claim a thought when experienced, as "my thought"?
Are thoughts simply experienced involuntarily, like the other senses?

LOOK carefully in actual experience at how thought works.

Write back with answers to the above questions when ready.
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Wed May 23, 2018 8:56 am

How do you decide the next thought which comes up?
There's no decision making about the next thought. There is a clear cause and effect, though.
Maybe with a previous thought?
A previous thought has influence on a next thought, but the other senses influence it too.
Then, who decides the thought before that, and the one before that?
It's a bit like a drop of ink inside water. It just goes on and on. No "I" moving anything that's separate from (or outside) nature/dharma. Impermanent reality just happens. It's just that the feeling of belief and the feeling of "I" (both a result of this continuous flow of reality) accompanied to a thought is very convincing (and very familiar). There's also an observed will in wanting to change that familiar feeling of belief and feeling of "I", but I start to notice that by just observing those colorings of thought gives distance/space to those colorings, which is probably enough.
At which point do YOU make actually the decision, of what to think next?
Never. But ignorance can surely make it seem that way. I also notice that whenever I wake up from this ignorance, an unneeded "I thought" that thinks about paying attention comes up. It's sometimes hard to not believe that accompanied thought. The "spiritual me".
Can you observe any self-authoring of thought happening, in actual experience?
No, none at all.

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Thu May 24, 2018 3:32 am

A previous thought has influence on a next thought, but the other senses influence it too.
There's no decision making about the next thought. There is a clear cause and effect, though.
Yes! Thoughts do indeed spawn entire chains of other thoughts, this is a common cause of suffering.
The senses also trigger thoughts, another cause of suffering.

Can I just check that these two things were all you meant by "clear cause and effect"?

And you have seen clearly that the next thought is not "decided" -- it is "experienced".
It's a bit like a drop of ink inside water.
Thank you, this is a beautiful metaphor indeed :)
just observing those colorings of thought gives distance/space to those colorings
Great! You are beginning to see how peace can be found.
I also notice that whenever I wake up from this ignorance, an unneeded "I thought" that thinks about paying attention comes up.
Yes. Exactly!

So, you have seen the "I thought".
Bring it up again. Call out "I" loudly a few times into the room, and see what comes up.
Is there anything else associated with "I"?
Is it ONLY a thought and nothing else?
It may help to list out all the things that came up for "I", and tag each one with either "thought" or "AE" if it pointed to an actual experience.

Let me know what you find!
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Thu May 24, 2018 8:37 am

Can I just check that these two things were all you meant by "clear cause and effect"?
Yes, that's right.
And you have seen clearly that the next thought is not "decided" -- it is "experienced".
Yes, whenever I pay attention, this is clearly seen. But it sometimes feels like I should need to pay attention 24/7 in order to not be ignorant to this clear fact throughout the day.
Yes! Thoughts do indeed spawn entire chains of other thoughts, this is a common cause of suffering.
For me the autopilot chains of thought are usually not a direct but rather an indirect cause of suffering. My usual chains of thought are pleasurable mind dwellings where I explain myself to others (I hate to say it) and I impress them and I am acknowledged to be "part of the tribe" as it were. But what I'm really doing is explaining things to myself, to rationalize and analyze things out for myself.

This type of mind dwelling doesn't really have a very strong sense of "I" to it, but they can be lengthy. They cause indirect suffering because they have been used as forms of escapism to other thoughts, they're still used as a tool for procrastination at work and they make me miss the beauty of the present moment, make me unreachable for the ones I love and lock me inside of my mind, really.

But the strongest sense of "I" is always felt when there's an acute doing/change/action happening. Like me feeling a need to respond to someone to set something right, or like when I'm driving, but lately it has been hiding inside my spiritual thoughts, where it appears like there's an "I" behind the action of needing to put attention somewhere. At night when I'm awake (doesn't happen as often as it did) the spiritual "I" trying to "do" all sorts of things is going bonkers. And the silly thing is that it (the mind) knows there is no doer, but that's just mere belief for the mind. It's like at night we more easily lose touch of reality.
So, you have seen the "I thought".
Bring it up again. Call out "I" loudly a few times into the room, and see what comes up.
Yes, I have. When I just say "I" that feeling doesn't clearly arise. It needs to have context it seems, like "I am intelligent", "I am weird" or "I'm Yorik's and Nora''s father", "I'm Edgar's collegue", etc.. Like that false "I" only dwells inside the relative, but it's nothing but a thought.
Is there anything else associated with "I"?
Is it ONLY a thought and nothing else?
Besides the visual "dream part" of the I-thoughts just mentioned, the emotions accompanied with that (like "I am weird" for instance) that are ocurring somewhere inside my chest/stomach are also very much labeled "I". This label goes away when awareness observes these feelings mindfully.

I actually lead a relatively easy life, so in order to feel that very strong sense of "I" in order to clearly see through it, there needs to be felt some strong emotions. When they occur, the spiritual "I-thought" comes up shortly after that and it says "Oh, this is good, make use of this!". BUT THAT "I" THAT APPEARS TO MAKE USE OF THIS SITUATION DOESN'T EXIST!!!
So there we have the strong emotion "I", and the spiritual action "I" that appears to do something with that. All just appearing in awareness.

When I'm not mindful, when I'm in an ignorant state, there's always an "I" at the end that I'm not seeing. Do we need to be mindful 24/7? When I'm not mindful, all there's left inside consciousness is mere belief.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Fri May 25, 2018 8:10 am

Okay, something has shifted. No idea of this is temporary, but it's like "I" don't want to keep things in check anymore. I watch the "in check keeping" pulse arise........and then I let it go!

For my spiritual samadhi chasing mind this feels very much like things will go astray, but the opposite is happening, actually. I keep going back to a very stable base of nothing. The spiritual mind base has a lot of needs and judgements.

Still all that spiritual knowledge of the mind must have its use, right? Confused spiritual mind...

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gondwana
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Re: I am awareness

Postby gondwana » Sat May 26, 2018 11:05 am

Okay, something has shifted.
I watch the "in check keeping" pulse arise........and then I let it go!
This is great! Surrender - just simply that that - is the very basis of all of this.

What we are looking for, is to see that there is no "I" or "self"; to do that, we must SURRENDER the idea of being in control (because to be in control, of course requires an "I" to do it).

Counter-intuitively, trying to "keep things in check", trying to "pay attention to thoughts constantly", trying to "enlighten" or "awaken" are all ... guess what ... ways to feel in control! They are feeding the illusion of "I" -- the very opposite of surrender.

Counter-inuitively, all of that must be dropped in order to have the realisation.

In truth, "you" do not exist anyway, as a separate entity; it was only ever a false belief that there ever was any control. Nothing is changing, nothing that is not already true. The task is only to realise that which is already true.
When they occur, the spiritual "I-thought" comes up shortly after that and it says "Oh, this is good, make use of this!". BUT THAT "I" THAT APPEARS TO MAKE USE OF THIS SITUATION DOESN'T EXIST!!!
This is good. We must be careful here not to rely on memory of past events; it can be deceptive.
Always take each new message from me, as an opportunity to LOOK again -- NOW, in the present moment -- and see what is true within actual experience, not thoughts about the past.

The pointer to look at here is, whenever this situation occurs, do you LOOK for the "I" and not find it?
And when that happens, does the situation just evaporate by itself?

Watch out for the next day for just such a situation, and whenever one arises, LOOK at the above questions and verify whether or not this is true. Do you look for an "I" and do you find one? Does this evaporate the belief?

Let me know what you find!
Seen in the moment of looking, freed in the moment of seeing.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Mon May 28, 2018 11:17 am

Not listening to the arising "me" thoughts about craving and pushing away, and then simply watching them go feels very relieving and clarifying. It really strenghtens the silence behind it. What seems to be key is to not see the dream of thoughts as real, even when we do find ourselves acting on thoughts. Is that right?
For example an "I need to go now, or else I'm going to be late!" thought. Not me, the stress is not believed as 'mine', I watch the thought evaporate, but then I find myself leaving in time, nevertheless...
The pointer to look at here is, whenever this situation occurs, do you LOOK for the "I" and not find it?
And when that happens, does the situation just evaporate by itself?
Yes.
Watch out for the next day for just such a situation, and whenever one arises, LOOK at the above questions and verify whether or not this is true. Do you look for an "I" and do you find one? Does this evaporate the belief?
Yes, it does.

I noticed yesterday I still had a very restless mind filled with "spiritual thoughts" of "what to do about this restless mind" :). Like an Ouroboros type of problem. So there really was no problem, of course. The only thoughts that had a very strong feeling of "me" and belief were thoughts of doubt. Doubt of "have I truly seen through the me?". I couldn't find a "me" in those thoughts either. But the mind is very cunning in this respect, it seems.

I now realized why it is said that there is no gate. All prisons are only thought up in the mind. When I compare the present moment with a thought up "other side", like some preferred state, I will never, ever, ever get to that thought up other side, because I was comparing a thought up opinion about the present moment with another illusive thought of the future.

Even when I'm in some state of ignorace, it has no use to compare that moment with a thought about being in a state of clarity and then trying to 'attain' that. It is only found "right here and now", because when there's no desire to want to change anything about the present moment, no believed "I thoughts" of judging myself, and just start LOOKING at what's occuring right now, clarity is suddenly right there, waiting for me all along.

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omega6666
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Re: I am awareness

Postby omega6666 » Tue May 29, 2018 8:18 am

What's funny is that this can't feel as escapism, because that's just a thought as well. Besides, I notice I find myself doing just the things that my ego/conditionings don't prefer. No procrastination, as in a battle between "I should" and "I don't want to". Those thought are now simply observed without being "me". I am more prone in finding myself doing things I have been postponing habitly.


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