Ready to see

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alisa
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Ready to see

Postby alisa » Wed May 30, 2018 9:39 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that there is no such thing as "I", but only intellectually. I have difficulty experiencing this directly.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for truth. From my earliest memories, I have always been seeking Truth. I have been feeling stuck in place for a long time now, just kind of going in circles. I want to break-out of circular thinking and experience life directly.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I have read through Gateless Gatecrashers, so I think I have a reasonable idea of how the process works. My problem is that when I read the guide's questions, I try to answer them myself before reading the answers, but I can't be sure if what I'm experiencing is real or just more thinking. I'm hopeful that a guide can help me differentiate truth from more thinking.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I was raised in Jewish home and loved the traditions as a child. As I became a teenager, the religion felt stale...kind of like a dead thing. Over the past 30+ years I've read about the mystical teachings of Jesus, I've studied Buddhism, Advaita, Jiddhu Krishnamurti, I have repeatedly tried and failed to maintain a meditation practice. Everything seems to point to the same truth of "no-self".

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

How did you find Liberation Unleashed?
I honestly don't remember. I believe I stumbled across LU by reading about it on another blog, but I'm not sure which one. Maybe Raptitude?

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Artst
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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Thu May 31, 2018 6:14 am

Hi, Alisa,

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

My name is Robyn. I can be your guide if you like.
I understand that there is no such thing as "I", but only intellectually.
You're in the right place.

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

Should I call you Alisa, or is there another name you would prefer?
I want to break-out of circular thinking and experience life directly.
That's perfect since it's the crux of the methodology you will use for this exploration.

Before we get started, here are some 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 right there. Rinse & repeat. Simple :)

It is best to avoid analyzing, speculation and debate. The mind will try to create distraction.

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

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

During our conversation, please avoid any other teachings, spiritual books, writings, YouTube videos or talks. If you have a meditation practice, feel free to 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 you are unable to do this on occasion, just let me know. I'll do the same for you.

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

Warmly,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:19 pm

Hi Robyn,

Yes, please call me Alisa as it is my given name.
It is best to avoid analyzing, speculation and debate.
This will be the biggest challenge for me, but I'll do my best to remain focused on direct experience.

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:50 pm

Great, Alisa!
This will be the biggest challenge for me, but I'll do my best to remain focused on direct experience.
I'll remind you if needed. ;-)

By the way, when you looked at the wrench icon down arrow, were you already subscribed to the topic?

Ok.. here we go!

The first thing to do is find out what your expectations are regarding LU. Please respond to each of the following:

  • 1) What do you expect to happen as a result of this? 

    2) What do you want not to happen? 

    3) What are you hoping for? 

    4) 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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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:07 pm

Hi Robyn,

Much gratitude to you for being here.

No, I didn't even notice the wrench icon. Thank you for pointing it out.

As for the questions...

1) I'm not sure what to expect, but what I'd like to happen is to no longer be self-conscious / self-centered. By seeing that the self doesn't exist, I would expect those concerns to disappear which would allow me to effortlessly give of myself to anyone and everyone unconditionally. But again, I expect that this experience can go any number of ways so I'm trying to not hold too tightly to any kind of expectations.

2) What I don't want to happen is loneliness. I do feel that this seeking sometimes has the effect of isolation since no one around me seems to know what I'm talking about or can understand what I'm trying to achieve. If having a "self" is necessary to function in society, does not having a self cause dysfunction? This can be a lonely road to walk. That's my worry.

3) see #1...also, with the self out of the way, I hope to be able to asses situations more holistically and be able to make better choices based on that. I don't expect a choir of angels and halo to appear...hopefully I'm ahead of the curve ;)

4) I've read enough on the subject to know that the answer to this question is that nothing will change after realizing that there is no separate self. But in the interest of total honesty, I still believe that after the realization I should be able to weather any storm with equanimity, emotions will pass through me and I will never again have to deal with the negative self-talk, I will be able to smile in the face of criticism (and my child's teenage years) :)

Just reading through my answers above, I see so much self identification...it's so deeply entrenched in the thought process!

Much love to you,
Alisa

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:00 pm

Hi, Alisa,

Thanks for you message and your honesty.
I'm trying to not hold too tightly to any kind of expectations.
GOOD! I ask that you do your best to let go of all of your expectations about this. They will only get in the way of seeing. Just like any experience, the notions about it are not like the experience, just like the menu vs. the actual meal.
I would expect those concerns to disappear which would allow me to effortlessly give of myself to anyone and everyone unconditionally.
That sounds lovely - I'd like that too! Hahaha! ;-)
What I don't want to happen is loneliness. I do feel that this seeking sometimes has the effect of isolation since no one around me seems to know what I'm talking about or can understand what I'm trying to achieve. If having a "self" is necessary to function in society, does not having a self cause dysfunction? This can be a lonely road to walk. That's my worry.
If you have isolated yourself, this could continue but there's no reason why seeing through the illusion should have this happen. You won't lose anything; you'll still have everything you've ever had that allows you to function in the world. You've probably already read the analogy that this is kind of like finding out there's no Santa in that you'll still see men dressed up in red suits as Santa but know that it's not Santa. Simple, yet subtly life-changing stuff.

Assuming that you are ok with setting aside expectations, here's are the next questions:

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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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:28 pm

Hi Robyn,

So, here's the thing...

When I look for the "I", I find nothing. I can identify thoughts and sensations and I can SEE that there is an "I" thought that attaches itself to other thoughts and sensations.

But then I forget and I have to constantly remind myself (even though there is no "myself" to remind!). If I have a headache, I think, "My head hurts." And then I have to correct myself, "There is pain happening in the head." It feels clumsy.

Like with the Santa analogy...ever since learning that Santa is not real, when seeing a guy in a Santa suit I've never had to remind myself that he's just a guy pretending to be Santa. So why does it feel like I have to drill this into my consciousness every time I happen to catch myself responding to a situation with a "self" (and there are plenty more times that I don't even notice it)? Maybe it's the decades of habitual thinking that needs to be reconditioned, but that just feels like teaching myself a new story. This is where I get caught in the loop.

With deep gratitude,
Alisa

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:00 am

HI, Alisa,

Thanks for your message!

I want to make sure you're looking newly as I ask questions. Sounds a little like you're reporting from past -- ??
When I look for the "I", I find nothing.
Ok. Where did you look?
I can identify thoughts and sensations
Ok. Tell me about the thoughts - are you referring to the content? What sensations are identified as "i?"
I can SEE that there is an "I" thought that attaches itself to other thoughts and sensations.
Please describe the direct experience of an "I" thought attaching itself to 'other thoughts and sensations.'
Do 'I' thoughts have some control or volition? How do they attach themselves?
But then I forget and I have to constantly remind myself (even though there is no "myself" to remind!). If I have a headache, I think, "My head hurts."
Where is this 'I' that thinks "My head hurts?" What controls thoughts?

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:26 am

Hi Robyn,

I looked within, since there is no "I" in my visual field. With eyes looking out, there is a body in a room, sitting in a chair at a desk with a computer and a lamp on it, a window looking out. It's dark here now, but I can see some lights outside.
Within, there are thoughts (content)...stories of past conversations and things on my to-do list come and go in my awareness. Bodily sensations of a heartbeat, breathing, a chill on the neck and arms, soreness in the lower back. But no "I". The "I" is a thought talking to itself about all these thoughts and sensations. "I feel cold." "My back is sore." "I have to remember to call Michelle." "I can't believe he said that to me!" LOL!

"I" thoughts have no control. Thoughts have no control. Nothing has control! Thoughts just appear from nothing and fade into nothing.

When I focus my awareness on it, it's clear and obvious. And then the doubting thoughts come in. Thoughts like "this is pointless." "Of course I exist...who else is thinking these thoughts if not ME???" The circle closes and I'm stuck inside. Very frustrating.

I am going to shut-down the computer now and try to relax before bed.

Thank you again for your patience and care. Talk to you soon.

Have a wonderful evening, Robyn.

-Alisa

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:43 am

Hi, Alisa,
I looked within, since there is no "I" in my visual field. With eyes looking out, there is a body in a room, sitting in a chair at a desk with a computer and a lamp on it, a window looking out. It's dark here now
Very nice.
but I can see some lights outside
Is there an 'I' seeing or is there just seeing?
Within, there are thoughts (content).
Is "within" Direct Experience or something learned?
stories of past conversations
When are thoughts happening? When is anything happening? What does "past conversations" mean in DE?
And then the doubting thoughts come in. Thoughts like "this is pointless." "Of course I exist...who else is thinking these thoughts if not ME???" The circle closes and I'm stuck inside. Very frustrating.
So, is the content to be believed? What controls thought content?

I suggest slowing down, Alisa. There are stories (assumptions and learned ideas) mixed in with DE (Direct Experience).

Sweet dreams!

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:00 pm

Good morning, Robyn.

Things appear to be clearer to me today. Writing this out with you is proving to be very helpful!
Is there an 'I' seeing or is there just seeing?
There is just seeing. "I can see" is just the easiest way to communicate what is being experienced.
Is "within" Direct Experience or something learned?
"Within" is my direct experience. A way to differentiate what is happening in my visual field from what is happening with eyes closed (or open...the eyes are unnecessary to look "within"). But then when I meditate on it, there is no difference between outside and inside except that what is outside is apparent to another person whereas what is inside is only apparent to "me"...a private experience that cannot be shared except through descriptive words and even then, with only minimal success!
When are thoughts happening? When is anything happening? What does "past conversations" mean in DE?
Now. Anything can only happen now. Past conversations are memories that come up now.
So, is the content to be believed? What controls thought content?
It occurred to me shortly after writing to you last night that the doubting thoughts are just more content that doesn't have any basis in truth. They are more thoughts like the "self". Nothing controls thought content. The content consists of learned programming built up over time by parents, teachers, friends, family, employers, society, results of past experience, etc.

When I acknowledge this, there is a slight constriction in the chest. Like something being protective. There is a struggle to accept that this is true.

With love,
Alisa

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:14 pm

Hi, Alisa,

Thank you for your message. Nice work, Alisa.
There is just seeing. "I can see" is just the easiest way to communicate what is being experienced.
Super! Best to use the awkward language here for the sake of clarity. ;-)
Within" is my direct experience. A way to differentiate what is happening in my visual field from what is happening with eyes closed (or open...the eyes are unnecessary to look "within").
Ok. Seeing is seeing. Sensations and thoughts are sensations and thoughts. Does "within" mean that there is something inside the body that experiences these things as a separate sensor? Or is all experience simply happening just as seeing is happening?
But then when I meditate on it, there is no difference between outside and inside except that what is outside is apparent to another person whereas what is inside is only apparent to "me"...
How is it known what is apparent to another in DE?
Now. Anything can only happen now.
:)
Past conversations are memories that come up now.
What is true of this in DE? In DE, are there memories? What says they are memories?
doubting thoughts are just more content that doesn't have any basis in truth. They are more thoughts like the "self". Nothing controls thought content.
YES!
The content consists of learned programming built up over time by parents, teachers, friends, family, employers, society, results of past experience, etc.
Hmmmm...let's stick with DE, ok?
When I acknowledge this, there is a slight constriction in the chest. Like something being protective. There is a struggle to accept that this is true.
1. It's normal to have fear. What's the fear about?
2. Notice that when these sensations and thoughts arise, there is a pull to revert back it an 'I' doing it. Experiment with just allowing these thoughts and sensations and see what happens.
3. Above, you wrote that nothing controls thoughts -- but now they constitute a struggle? What is this in DE?

You're doing great.

Love,

Robyn
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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:43 pm

Thank you for the encouragement, Robyn!
Does "within" mean that there is something inside the body that experiences these things as a separate sensor? Or is all experience simply happening just as seeing is happening?
How can I be sure without using thinking? It feels like there is something inside the body experiencing these things. It is possible that "looking within" is just some language I picked up in my search, however it does resonate and feel correct to say "look within" to mean pay attention to the mind, the body, sensations, thoughts. And yes, all experience is just happening but there is this sense that there is something inside directing the focus. When I look, I can't point to anything at the controls. So where does this sense of a director come from? Is it also just a thought? I don't experience it as a thought. A thought comes:"look within," and then it happens. I apologize if this is jumbled...I'm working through the thoughts as they come.
How is it known what is apparent to another in DE?
It is not known what is apparent to another in DE. However I can point to a flower and tell you to look at that flower and you will see it. How you perceive it can be different but we will be looking at the same object.
In DE, are there memories? What says they are memories?
In DE there are thoughts. If the contents of thoughts recall an event that has happened in the past, they are memories. But it is all happening now.
What's the fear about?
I have no idea. I can only use thought to speculate. In DE there is no fear...only thoughts and sensations.

I will spend some more time allowing thought and sensations and noticing. I will write more on this later.
Above, you wrote that nothing controls thoughts -- but now they constitute a struggle? What is this in DE?
In DE there are thoughts bouncing off other thoughts. Thoughts that are incompatible with each other feel like a struggle...the mind works to declare a winner for the sake of cognitive harmony and consistency. But it is all only thoughts playing.

So basically, this all boils down to "don't take any of it seriously." HAHAHA! Hysterical!

Love,
Alisa

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Re: Ready to see

Postby Artst » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:53 am

Hi, Alisa,

Let's take a step sideways and do an exercise to clarify exactly what constitutes Direct Experience.

Direct Experience (DE) refers to your current experience right now, without the labels and thought stories. So, direct experience (DE) is color, sound, smell, sensation, taste and the simple noticing of thought at face value. What thought says ie, the content of thought is NOT experience. This is evidenced by the fact that you cannot taste the word 'sweet'. When looking at direct experience (DE), you are looking at raw experience WITHOUT what thought says ABOUT the raw experience.
Thought layers concepts over direct experience. A thought (concept, idea, label) is never the actual/direct. Some thoughts point to the actual, and some point to other thoughts, but the content of every single thought is just a story.

Here's an exercise for you to get super clear on what direct experience is. You can use this an apple or another fruit or vegetable for this exercise. I'm going to use the word "apple," but substitute whatever you use.

Have a look at an apple. When ‘looking at an apple’, there's color, a thought saying ‘apple,' and maybe a thought saying, "I'm looking at an apple." 
What is known for sure? Color is known and thoughts are known. 

What about the content of thoughts, what they describe? 
Actual experience does not refer to thoughts ABOUT something…because that is just more thought. Direct, actual experience is sound, thought, color(sight), smell, taste and sensation.

Is there really an ‘apple’ here, or only color and a thought ABOUT ‘apple’? 
Can ‘apple’ be found in actual experience?

While these thoughts are known, what they talk ABOUT cannot be found in direct or actual experience.

This is what is meant by ‘looking in direct experience ‘. What you know for sure.

Taste labelled ‘apple’ is known
Color (visual information) labelled ‘apple’ is known
Sensation labelled ‘apple’ is known (when apple is touched)
Smell labelled ‘apple’ is known
Thought about/of an ‘apple’ is known
However, is 'an apple' actually known? (Or is it a label?)

Sending love,

Robyn
Bring Art to Life

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alisa
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Re: Ready to see

Postby alisa » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:46 am

Hi Robyn,

I understand. "Apple" is a label and cannot be known in direct experience.

I told you this was going to be a challenge for me ;-)

Signing off for the night. Sweet dreams.

Love,
Alisa


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