Cutting through the paradox

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ossie123
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Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:57 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
This is the paradox I want to cut through. My own "seeing" has shown that the self is immaterial and is a fabrication of thought and conditioning. I believe your take is that the self does not exist at all. I understand that "I" am simply observing what is happening and the happening is automatic and not within my control. What do you see?

What are you looking for at LU?
I saw your site many years ago and passed by as it was of no interest. I bumped into it again yesterday and this time I want to go through your process to see if there is something I have missed or if I have jumped off the path too soon. There is a pathless path to the gateless gate and a trap is to get off before the gate and find a nice comfortable place to rest. I have been to the rest-stop where there is no self at all having been shown it by an individual but I found too many contradictions and problems. I am now at a place where the small s self is (a lot of the time) simply observed going about its business reacting to its programming as it is meant to do. It can get upset and react but it does not seem to disturb the underlying awareness as much as it used to, but that is still there. Have I missed something, have I stopped short, or have I just been too impatient to allow things to settle into their own flow in their own way. Maybe I've just heard too many stories about everlasting bliss and contentment. Maybe I want to ask you more questions than you want to ask me. :)

What do you expect from a guided conversation?

Ah, I think I just answered that, however I do suspect you will be asking me questions and your answers to me will be "Why don't you find out for yourself by asking ........". What I do expect is well thought out questions that apply to me and my inquiries and my proximity to the gate. Maybe to push me through it if needed. I hope it will not be a follow-the-bouncing-ball, tic the box Q&A type session. You will be expecting me to do the work but at the same time I suspect I might be a challenge for you, don't take me on if you are not up for a mental game of twister. I would actually be disappointed if you gave me answers, even if that is what I ask.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?

Jeepers. I have a library of books and been on may forums. It has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I've even written a book myself to get my ideas down onto paper so I could read my own thoughts. There is another half written and a third in planning. I tend to fall into the Advaita path but I am by no means traditional and consider I could easily fit into any mainstream religion but on the outskirts. My background is Christian but I know that at certain times in history I would have been considered a heretic. I could easily be a Christian mystic, or sufi, or jnani, or kabbalist, or any other on the outskirts of religion. They all point to the same thing. In answer to the next question I have spent my life doing exactly that and one of my pet sayings is that I do not believe in beliefs. Everything is up for debate.

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

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Anastacia42
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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:31 pm

Hello Ossie,

My name is Stacy and I can be your guide if you would like. Is Ossie what you would like me to call you?
don't take me on if you are not up for a mental game of twister.
This is more about slicing the Gordian knot than it is about Twister, although sometimes it can feel like Twister. It can feel like hard work, too, but the trick is that it's hard to relax and see what is already there.

Let me know if you're ready to begin and I will post some things I would like you to read and some guidelines before we start.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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ossie123
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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:38 am

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for responding and I'd be happy to have you as my guide. I even had to Google Gordian knot so that's a good sign, and I like the way you used it.

I'm ready and willing.

Ossie

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Anastacia42
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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:03 am

Hi Ossie,

Excellent, so . . . while guiding is very personal and very much tailored to your responses, there *are* some steps. How they are handled is the individual part. They are not
a follow-the-bouncing-ball, tic the box Q&A type session
Also, if anyone promises
everlasting bliss and contentment.
I would definitely head in the opposite direction. It ain't like that. In fact, it can be very unnerving and unsettling at times.

I liked this:
one of my pet sayings is that I do not believe in beliefs
I used to say that I had no beliefs; I had experiences. And now, even that falls short of what is.

If you haven't already read the disclaimer, please read it now and just confirm to me that you have read it. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Also please read “Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU. Here is the link.

http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

Some housekeeping guidelines:

1. Post at least once a day, or every second day. If you need more time, or are unable to post for several days, just write a quick post on your thread to let me know please.

2. There is no one judging answers given, so please be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry.

3. This exploration is based on actual experience (AE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and observed thoughts. Long-winded analytical and philosophical answers are best avoided and may even hinder progress. This is not a self-improvement process. There is no "self" to improve.

4. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily meditation practice, it is fine to continue that but is not necessary for this exploration.

Technology is not perfect and sometimes there is a glitch which can wipe out your responses. It is advisable that you copy and paste questions asked into Word, answer them there and then copy and paste them to your thread. Always save a copy of what you have done, it will save time in the long run!

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration. In your own words (not from actual experience, but just honest answers), could you please answer the 4 following questions:

How will life change?
How will you change?
What will be different?
What is missing?


Throughout this exploration I would like you to answer all questions that I have written in blue text (although sometimes I forget to make everything blue, so please just answer all questions.) Please answer questions individually, remembering to use the quote function to highlight the question being answered.

Warmly,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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ossie123
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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:36 am

Hi Stacy,

I’ve read those two documents again just in case I missed something.

Housekeeping is all good. I am not always in range of internet because I am traveling and have no fixed address but will let you know if I have issues and cannot reply for a time.

As for your opening questions, here are my answers.
How will life change?
The way I see it is that everything will change and everything will stay the same. As I understand it there is simply a different way of seeing things so it is a shift in perception. Kind of like when I look out my window to the horizon the earth looks flat, once I know it is round the view remains the same so nothing changes but it is totally different because I know it is round. Life will not change, there will still be the same issues as before, but I will see them differently.
How will you change?
Ha. I may have less hair after pulling some out. Apart from that I don’t expect significant changes. There may be a level of “contentment” because my “self” is no longer worried about what is going on around it (rather than to it).
What will be different?
As before everything will be exactly the same as before but my perception of it may be totally different. The impact of this we can only guess because I might go off to a cave to eat worms and contemplate my navel, or I might go on as now but with the shift only being internal.
What is missing?
Ummm. Nothing? No, if there was nothing missing I wouldn’t be here would I? Maybe I mean I am not expecting to find “the answer” or “enlightenment”. I guess it is confirmation that I am or am not on the right path, or a different view of the same thing. I am very good at convincing myself that I am right but I need to question that (which might be my biggest hurdle in this exploration). As an example I have realised that knowledge is baseless because it is mostly based on beliefs on concepts that are confirmed with unreal data. I know that I don’t know and I’m right in this knowledge.

That’s my quick response and unedited so it is as close to the source as possible.

Thanks for your time, I appreciate it.

Ossie

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:21 pm

Good morning, Ossie,

Thank you. Good.
I will let you know if I have issues and cannot reply for a time.
That is good. I considered a digital nomad lifestyle myself, but I have a cat and cats don't travel well.
The impact of this we can only guess because I might go off to a cave to eat worms and contemplate my navel, or I might go on as now but with the shift only being internal.
Yes, who knows? Although the second is much more likely than the first.
Ummm. Nothing? No, if there was nothing missing I wouldn’t be here would I?
Right. Probably not. Seeking tends to drop away when you aren't looking for something anymore.

Quick unedited responses are fine. We're not writing literature here. We are looking to see that there is no self, and a couple of other related pieces.

So, on that note, what comes up when is read that there is no self, never has been, and never will be? There is no no "I" at all in any form; it is a made-up story.

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:26 am

Stacy,

We have 2 dogs travelling with the 3 of us so it can be a challenge at times, one of them has been sick the last couple of days but seems OK now. They are going into a kennel today so the 3 of us can go to the zoo. We delayed because of the illness as we didn’t want the dog to be sick on his own. He is a sook and so are we.

From the hour your messages come in, I can guess that we are on the opposite sides of the world. That might be a benefit but if I’m late to check then you might not see a reply in more than a day your time.
So, on that note, what comes up when is read that there is no self, never has been, and never will be? There is no no "I" at all in any form; it is a made-up story.
Not much really. I already have my head wrapped around this concept quite nicely (I think) but am not sure if my heart has followed the lead. It is certainly not a shock or surprise or anything to be feared and is really quite nice.

I have had the experience for a few days where my entire being was in that space where I was “I-less” and timeless. I’ll use “me” as the story of small self and “I” as the one witnessing me, just for clarity. Life just seemed to happen and I witnessed it happening to me. It was not me in control of it as usual, setting plans and doing things but me was like a character in a stage play and I was watching the play. Occasionally me would stop to think about something, or react to a situation, and I would smile at me as if me was a child learning to walk and stumbling. When things needed to happen, they happened and me was not in control as me usually thinks. Something else was directing the play and me just had a role in the play. During these few days there was no thought of me not being in control because it just was what it was, no analysis required.

Slowly and gradually the thoughts of me became more frequent and (looking back) I started to take notice of me rather than simply watching. Then I became immersed in the story of me and me and I became one and me thought me was back in control.

I can’t “unsee” what happened but I also can’t repeat the experience. I do think that like anything for the first time I cannot have that same experience again but I also wonder if there is a point where it is the natural, no wrong word, normal way of being. It is natural but it is not normal. I think it should be both. That’s why I’m here writing this down and seeking guidance.

I look forward to your response.

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:30 am

Hi Ossie,

I am in Boulder Colorado in Mountain time in the United States. Feel free to say where you are or not.
He is a sook and so are we.
When I look up Sook it says "female crab." I have a feeling it's slang that I don't know.
I have had the experience for a few days where my entire being was in that space where I was “I-less” and timeless.
The experience you describe is very close to what we call crossing the gate. Seeing no self. It could even be that. I'm not going to try to judge it after the fact. But let's share some things with you and some exercises that can continue the shift in perception that has already started.

The Buddhists say that the first thing we do is see that there's no self and then they named 9 other Fetters. We will see the no self and then look at things like time, and body, and, well, we'll get there. I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves but I kind of did the same thing. I had seen no self off and on a few times. And I came here to learn more and put it in a context that works for me.

Rather than using I and me the way that you are doing, I tend to say that Awareness is life-ing.

There is Awareness. We can be aware of color, sound, sensation, taste, smell, and thoughts arising. Those are Actual Experience. They do not go away when you look. However the interpretations, the descriptions, all of that goes away when you look at what's there. All of that is overlaid onto Actual Experience. Thoughts happen - that doesn't go away. But the content of those thoughts is story. The story is not actual experience.

It is the same with self. We can look for a me or an I and when we really look, there is nothing there. You've seen that. So let's do a few exercises so that we're on the same page.

These may be easy for you, but I don't want to skip steps and wish that we had gone through them.

So first to be clear on what I mean when I say look or often LOOK.

If I ask you what color your socks are, you can do one of two things. You can think about it and remember that you put the green ones on this morning and tell me that they're green. That is not Actual Experience.

Or you can take a look at your socks and actually see them and see that they're green and tell me that they're green. The second way is what we want you to do when we ask you to look at something in an exercise.

Let me know if that's clear and we'll move on. I hope that you and the dogs and everybody are doing well.

No worries about the time zone thing. You're responding promptly and regularly. That's good for keeping up your momentum and looking.

Much love!
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:45 am

That was quick!

I thought sook was universal but here in Australia it is used for someone that cries at the movies, picks up stray animals and cares for them, needs help when they’re sick, that kind of thing. We use a lot of slang here so apologies in arrears and in advance.
Happy to start at the beginning and slowly go through the process. I’m in your hands and I trust them.
Let me know if that's clear and we'll move on.
Yep, that is clear. I did look through a couple of the other forum posts and got the idea of Actual Experience as you have described LOOKing. I only read half of one a bit of some others – I felt it was like reading the last chapter of a book first rather than just letting it unfold, so I stopped reading.

All systems go.

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:29 am

Hi Ossie,

Yes, sometimes I get to see that you replied really quickly, other times I'm at work or whatever. Like right now, it's 2:30 in the morning and I just happened to decide to look and reply.

I know a few other Australians, but I don't know half the slang. We'll just explain as necessary. I'll have a cultural learning experience. :-)

So, good.

Here's an exercise that I would like you to try as many times throughout the day as you can. Label daily activities simply colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So, for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how it goes.

Much loving,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:59 am

Hmmmm,

6:45 pm here and I feel like a coffee.

Just to clarify, I will do the exercise tomorrow and give a general feedback of how it went (a bit after this time tomorrow evening). I will not break down each activity and give a dozen pages of individual sensations but just the general feeling of what happened. It'll be good because tomorrow we are off to the zoo so lots of sensations to explore.

Translating...

No worries. I'll give you the heads up tomorrow arvo because I'll be flat out like a lizard drinking at the zoo. Lots to take a sqiz at so I'll keep it short and sweet.
Cheers.

:)

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:15 pm

Good morning!

You are hilarious!

Cheers!
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:41 am

Hi,

First a quick summary of what I think are the most important points to me, then a more detailed review of the day.

Main observations:

• It is really very very hard to keep focused on doing this through the day. I even missed doing it with my morning coffee!
• There is a veritable smorgasbord of sensory experiences available with so many choices you could never sample them all.
• It really draws you into what is happening right now.

Discussion of the day’s activity:
I started just after waking while lying in bed and was drawn by the options and the fact that all sensory experiences were available all the time. From the obvious cool toe and warm hip to the less obvious black behind the eyelids and taste of an empty mouth. It didn’t need to be a big deal to trigger an experience, in fact you can’t turn it off. It is all there all the time and the only difference is what you allow into your awareness by focusing your attention.

Then I got out of bed and into the usual routine and totally forgot about all this.
Then periodically through the day I would remember. I think sight is the most “important” of the senses so that seemed to be what was focused on more often and I’d have to push to go to the other senses.

There were thoughts through the day as well but then the act of labeling a sensory input is also a thought so that was hard to avoid. One example was while eating dinner I thought “this tastes like chicken” then “don’t be silly it is a sausage” then “even sausage is a thought so what is the actual experience of taste right now” then “Oh heck, is it sweet or sour or bitter – oh I don’t know it’s just a sausage”.

Sometimes I’d be off in a daydream and then remember the exercise and that would immediately draw me away from the future (most of my daydreams are) and back into the here and now to sample the sensations.
I found it almost impossible to be able to go through all the senses at the same time because there was so much input and then the thoughts overlaid over the top so I’d forget about smell for example.

Occasionally I sensed the experience without the labels being attached and that was very calming for a while until I labelled something such as “that light is bright white”.

It was an interesting day.

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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby Anastacia42 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:32 pm

Good morning!

Okay, fun to read & the exercise is simpler than that. No need to summarize or describe your day. Just the exercise.
It really draws you into what is happening right now.
This is what we're going for. Yes.

Rather than be overwhelmed by all the various sensory experiences available at the moment, stop and focus on each sense one at a time and observe how seeing the cup is just color, how smelling the coffee is just smell, how hearing it clink when it sits down on the table is just sound, etc.

Slow it down. Take one sense at a time and look for it.

In other words, what you're doing is separating Actual Experience from all the interpretations, including the label that tells you that it's "coffee" or a "cup," or some thing labeled, "sausage."

How do we know that is "coffee?" Or a "cup?" That label is completely fictitious, no AE involved at all. In AE, there is only color, there is nothing actual that can be sensed about the label & the stories that accompany what is called "sausage."


Label daily activities simply colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So, for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how it goes.


Just like that - one labeled thing (cup, coffee, sausage or whatever is before you. ) and the AE (Actual Experience) of that labeled thing - in a list like the one above.

Let yourself experience it meditatively. In the beginning you may want to set aside five minutes for doing the exercise, rather than trying to do it on the whole experience of going to the zoo. We do want it to generalize, but set aside a few minutes just for these observations.

While standing at the monkey's cage:

Seeing monkey = color
Hearing monkey chatter = sound
Touching monkey fur = sensation
Smelling monkey (!!!) = smell
Thoughts about monkeys that they are noisy, active, smelly = simply thought arising

And so on, observing the Actual Experience under all that "overlay."

Fun of a slightly different kind, right?

Much love,
~ Stacy

"Not to know there is an alternative to being lost
in thought is to be a kind of prisoner."

~ Sam Harris

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ossie123
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Re: Cutting through the paradox

Postby ossie123 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:10 am

Hi Stacy,

Sorry. I thought I tried to clarify what I was going to do before the trip to the zoo, and did what I said. Never mind, it was a good day anyway.

I’ll do it with my morning coffee since that seems to be the flavour of the day.
Label daily activities simply colour/image, sound, smell, taste, sensation, thought.

So, for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how it goes.
harsh metallic grind
harsh is a thought or judgement – noisy metallic grind
clanking, swishing metal spoon against metal cup
cold handle in right hand
warm cup in left hand
light brown froth over dark brown coffee
heat on lip
taste of first sip with smooth delay of flavour after swallowing
pressure of keys on fingers with sound of tapping
smell of fresh coffee as the warm cup is held to my nose
stronger taste with bigger mouthful
liquid swishing around inside mouth
hard and sharp teeth against tongue
refreshing cool water
refreshing is a judgement and thought, just cool

Ossie


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