It is what it is...

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Ngakawau
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It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:14 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
The idea that 'I' exists as a kind of 'ghost in the machine,' constantly present, observing, evaluating, commenting, on every event/experience, is a mistaken perception possibly generated by memory. My understanding is that LU's objective is to guide/assist people to appreciate the reality of this situation and not simply as a conceptual ideal...

What are you looking for at LU?
I understand the idea that there's not a 'real' inherent self and, occasionally have an appreciation of that (as opposed to merely thinking it) ... I'd like to explore the possibility of stabilising that understanding/appreciation in my awareness. I think that many of the confusions and unnecessary confrontations in life arise from our belief in the existence of this nebulous 'self' as a continuously present entity and the subsequent need to protect it and keep it 'safe' ... that is, to maintain its good opinion of itself ... A lot of wasted energy goes into that...

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Hmm .. To my knowledge, I've not participated in a guided conversation before, except perhaps during interactions with salesmen, so my expectations are fairly open-ended, However, given that LU's stated preferred outcome aligns with my own, my hope is for an exchange of ideas and perceptions widely differing from those usually found in the mainstream of thinking. Possibly an examination of the validity of unexamined beliefs, values and perceptions and the behaviour and outcomes they generate ... Being guided toward the ability to look past the various filters, generalisations and distortions of inner landscapes to clearly see what is as it is.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Raised in a church going family (nothing extreme) I was/am generally skeptical (not cynical) with regard to both conventional religious and exotic and 'spritual' esoteric practices ... anything requiring an acknowlegment of and communiction with invisible, intangible entities. I went through a bit of a life-crisis in my early 30's and on the advice of a friend, took up a daily practice of meditation and Tai Chi which, 40-something years later are still as good now as they were then.

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

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:23 pm

Hi Ngakawau,

If you are still looking for a guide - here it is.

All I ask before we begin is that you read the FAQ section of the main site - especially what LU is not.

https://www.liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/

When you have confirmed that you have read this, we can begin.

BTW - do you have another name or would you like to be addressed as Ngakawau? My name is Dave, and I live in Japan.

All best wishes!

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:33 pm

Hello Dave,
Thanks for getting in touch. It's much appreciated.I've done as you asked and re-read the FAQ section.
My name is Rod MacKinn. Ngakawau is where I grew up in a remote area of NZ. Very beautiful.
Very briefly, I've meditated for years as a mental health practice without a spiritual connection.
I've had a couple of experiences in the middle of full-blown activity when suddenly there was a complete absence of mental chatter. Just awareness of the environment as it was. Everything kept happening but what had required a lot of physica/mental effort went on happening effortlessly, fluidly. It only continued for seconds but I've thought about it a lot.
I've done some reading of Alan Watts' ideas around Zen and the idea of no-self which make a lot of sense.
Currently I've been reading the LU quotes app and practicing looking at thoughts. I'm aware (at least intellectually) that there isn't an "I" other than as a work of fiction.
Once again,
Thanks for getting in touch,
Regards,
Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:48 pm

Hi Rod,

Great to hear from you! Thank you for sharing more about yourself. I have a background in Buddhism and meditation, but haven't been involved in regular practice of anything "spiritual" for years now.

As regards the absence of mental chatter, fluidity that you mentioned, I understand what you mean. However, the relative absence of thought or mental chatter is not necessary for there to be a direct realisation that self does not exist.

As an opener I would like you to consider this:

There is no thinker.
No do-er.
There is no chooser.
There is no observer.
There is nothing experienced that is separate from any and all that there is.
There is no experiencer.
No one who is being aware.
Everything as it is is exactly all it can be, unfolding perfectly now.

It's always been this way.

Please take those statements in as fully as you can and tell me, how that is for you. Write as much as you like.

If you want to refer to specific parts of the statement you can use the quote function. It will also come in useful later on!

All my best wishes,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:39 pm

Hi Dave ... I've thought about, considered the statements you presented and, when I pay absolute attention, they all confirm to me,what's really going on ... the thoughts come and go, appear and disappear, some in reponse to something occurring in the environment, others seem to just randomly surface unrelated to anything I can identify... The doing, rather like the thoughts, happens as part of a seamless flow ... it's not even cause and effect... everything is part of everything else ... "I" don't drive "my" car ... driving' includes me, the vehicle, the road, the people, other cars, lights, signs,the weather, the sounds, the time of day, on and on....all the way to world's end...
When I sit and consider these ideas, i feel integrated(?) with everything ... embedded in the world, no separation....
The "I" attachment still shows up a lot in various ways ... when I begin to get caught up in mental scenarios of past events or projecting imaginary future events... but I think I'm becoming more aware of those and learning to bring my attention back to what's actually happening in the real world right now ... then I see it's just a slide show ... there's no-one really 'thinking" anything ... and there really isn't a 'mind' ... thoughts and mind are the same thing, just as the wind doesn't blow ... wind and blowing are the same thing but we speak about them as if "the wind" is doing "the blowing"...
I feel a sense of freedom and flow when I'm paying attention.... but I don't think I've got it all sussed...
Having re-read all the stuff just written, during the writing process, there's a significant feeling of "I" attachment.... habit I guess but it's still pretty strong ... insistent... having an opinion...
I'd appreciate any observations, direction, suggestions...
Best regards and thanks...
Rod

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:52 pm

HI Dave ... Got it... This morning I read "Labeling and Language" (LU App) and was thinking about the ideas when I had one of those quiet epiphanies and realised "I" as the constant illusion. Not just a thought about it but actually "saw" it... Things went kind of quiet inside for a moment, then thoughts continued but the viewpoint is different. They're just the soundtrack/commentary to the life activity/events. They'll always be there as will a "sense of self" but there isn't a 'me' trying to deal with it all. there's simply all thatis being all that is ... got it.

I've been reading LU pretty exclusively since I came across it a few weeks ago and I think I was at the point of preparedness ... I just needed your gentle nudge to bring the moment of clarity...

As LU says... once you've seen it, you can't not see it... what a surprise ... I'd almost got to the point where I I was ready to believe that I was the one individual on earth who couldn't "get it". ... This morning, as I write I can feel laughter welling up inside ... It's just so funny.... I need to suppress it as there are others around and I could never explain why I'm laughing ...

Thanks to you and all the other people who've committed to sharing this great knowledge.... down the track, if I can contribute I'd be happy to do that...

The very best to you,
Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:04 am

Hi Rod,

Wow! I'm very happy for you!

Let's continue to talk for a bit, if you don't mind?
I'd like to go back to something you said in the post before last:
I feel a sense of freedom and flow when I'm paying attention....
With this new realization - can you explain what is attention? Is anyone or anything paying attention? Is attention somehow different from experience?

Big love to you
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:18 pm

Hi Dave ... I'm more than happy to continue talking and appreciate your generosity of time and interest...I think it's a good idea.
It's been a very interesting day ... There are still a gazillion "I" thoughts

Firstly, to answer your question ... Previously, believing there was an "I" who did things, "I' could/would from time to time and in certain situations intentionally(?) bring my focus of attention to what was immediately happening ... I've heard it referred to as "mindfulness." What "I" was actually doing was thinking about and attempting to maintain focus on what "I" was doing in the present ... just another set of "I" thoughts ... possibly more relevant to the situation at hand but "I" thoughts just the same ...It wouldn't take long before the usual random thoughts were once again at the forefront ...
With the realization that "I" is just an idea...the "intention" to focus is just another thought in the thought-stream as is the idea of attention. Attention and experience are the same thing ... there isn't an experiencer...
Interestingly, the experience is exactly the same, though more relaxed, without the "i" thought...
There's still a strong sense of self ...
Regards
Rod

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:31 pm

It's probably important to understand that the sense of self doesn't indicate a real self ... any more than the line on the horizon indicates a real place...

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:13 am

Hi Rod,

Brilliant. Yes, let's continue to investigate. It sounds like there isn't any doubt - you see the illusion, but I'd like us to be sure as we didn't really get a lot of time to explore before the penny dropped!
With the realization that "I" is just an idea...the "intention" to focus is just another thought in the thought-stream as is the idea of attention. Attention and experience are the same thing ... there isn't an experiencer...
Yes! So could you describe from experience another situation where intention, decision or choice appears? What do these thoughts refer to? When and how do they appear? And what actually happens when something is apparently chosen or decided? It can be almost anything - what to have for dinner, where to go on holiday, which direction to walk when there is more than one option available.
It's probably important to understand that the sense of self doesn't indicate a real self ... any more than the line on the horizon indicates a real place...
Great, good analogy. But can you explain, from your own experience, what exactly this "sense" of self consists of? Where is it "sensed" this self? How does the illusion work?

For these questions, I'd like to ask that you stop reading any non-dual stuff or even LU stuff like the app or other threads. This is about taking the realization deeper and it's important we are sure you are looking only at actual experience and answering with as much honesty as you can.

Look forward to hearing back from you.
All best wishes,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:35 am

Hi Dan,

Haha … I wondered when I’d get the dreaded …”Don’t read any non-dual literature” … and I anticipated the LU App might be included. I absolutely understand the reasoning and it truly does make sense. It’s important to look into my own life, not the ideas of others.

I’m self-employed, running my own small business, landscaping/gardening/property maintenance so my work schedule (and most of the rest of life) looks pretty autonomous … that it’s pretty much down to me to choose my own work, recreation, family and social time. The thing is, that’s not how it feels or actually operate. There’s always, without an exception that I can detect, an exterior stimulus to any apparent choice or decision.
Waking up, first thing in the morning, my body feels warm in bed, the air is chilly, I hear the wind outside, as a consequence I think I’ll stay a little longer in bed, then the thoughts kick in with, “Need to get up … there’s a lot to do” … so I get up and go through my morning schedule … A decision whether or not to call/update the client depends entirely on what has happened and what still needs to happen … none of it needs a “me” … It’s a seamless continuum, a process. Though there’s a lot going on there isn’t a sense of pressure … Just an awareness that it happens the way it happens … Everything, even simply deciding whether or not to use the the weather tarp isn't truly a "decision" It's a part of life responding to the way another aspect of life is behaving...

It's late here in Aotearoa ...I'll respond to your query about sense of self in the morning ...

All the best to you Dave,

Thankyou,

Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:19 pm

Hi Rod,
There’s always, without an exception that I can detect, an exterior stimulus to any apparent choice or decision.
And
A decision whether or not to call/update the client depends entirely on what has happened
This sounds like thoughts about how choice appears in the life it is imagined “you” have, rather than actual experience of looking directly at the appearance of choice, and what it actually is. Let's look for more clarity. Try this exercise:

Place 2 drinks on the table in front of you. Water and tea, tea and coffee, juice and soda, whatever.

Observe the two drinks and notice the thoughts that arise. Is one preferred to the other? Is one more appealing than the other? Allow the mind to settle on one or the other. Once it appears to have settled, watch very closely indeed at this moment - reach out and take one of them. Drink.

Regardless of which drink was taken, watch the thoughts now as they arise.

You can try this experiment a number of times, and answer these questions:

At what point EXACTLY is the choice made and the item chosen? Can it be found?

Is it possible to do something other than what was apparently chosen?

Was anything chosen at the moment when you looked so carefully? Does it matter how many times you try the exercise?

At what point is it thought a choice has occurred? Before the course of action? During the course of action? Or after the course of action apparently “chosen”?

What does the concept or thought label “choice” actually refer to?

Once you've had a go at this exercise a few times, try applying the same close looking and questioning to any of the day to day decisions apparently made in the course of life. Let me know what you find out!

Best,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:03 pm

Thanks Dave ... I'll get back to you after I've run the exercise a few times...

I see In my previus post I addressed you as "Dan" ... Please accept my apologies ...

All the best,

Rod

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:19 am

Hi Dave,

That was pretty interesting…
After setting up the choice situation(s), each time, thoughts became very busy, back and forth, some with reasons for one or the other, some about the situation itself, then, in the actual instant of choice, there isn’t a chooser. The choice makes itself. Immediately then, thoughts reappear, reviewing what occurred, some rationalising the choice.
I tried it several times as you suggested and each time, no-one makes the choice, it just happens in an instant...

I’ve noticed something for quite some time now which, if it’s not irrelevant in the context we’re discussing I’d like to ask about:
When I recall a past experience, for instance, being with friends yesterday, I can clearly remember the situation but “I” (the “I” that feels(?) as it exists right now) definitely isn’t the “I” that felt it existed and experienced the situation then. In fact in retrospect, it’s clear that there wasn’t an “I” present at all. Just the experience. Any time I recall a previous experience and look to locate “me” experiencing it, it isn’t present. I’m always just observing the recollection, just as when we look at a reflection in a mirror. It looks like us but there’s no “one’ in there.
The corollary is … if there wasn’t a “me” experiencing all those previous occasions, there isn’t a “me” experiencing this one… just the hands typing, the eyes reading, the thoughts flowing, the sounds sounding ….
Does that make sense? Is it relevant?

Best regards,

Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:21 am

Hey Rod,
The choice makes itself. Immediately then, thoughts reappear, reviewing what occurred, some rationalising the choice.
I tried it several times as you suggested and each time, no-one makes the choice, it just happens in an instant...
Great stuff! So what is the thought label/concept "choice" actually referring to? What does it imply...?

And let's not forget:
But can you explain, from your own experience, what exactly this "sense" of self consists of? Where is it "sensed" this self? How does the illusion work?
As for your question: I'm not sure how it helps this investigation, even though I get some sense of what you are getting at. If I look at a recollection to see that self was not there, does it actually follow that self is not here now? What is the actual experience of a recollection anyway? Is no self something that can be realised in retrospect? How could a self be present in any recollection? What does actual, present experience of "the past" consist of? Is there any other way to experience "the past"?

Try to make sure every question is answered - including those from the previous posts please! There's a methodology at work here I promise you - lets be in no doubt and let's leave no stone unturned, and let's be as clear as possible what is actually happening in actual experience. Anything with a question mark is something I'd like you to answer.

Once again, if you get a chance to, learn how to use the quote function (it's not so hard, even on a phone) - it will help make sure I know which bit you are taking about and that we don't miss questions/answers.

And lastly, I know we say post every day, but you needn't be in any rush to come up with answers... There's plenty there to be getting on with and if it takes a couple of days to explore fully, that's fine. Just send a quick message letting me know you're working on it.

Keep up the good work! I look forward to hearing from you.
Dave


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