Looking for a clearer look

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Philosoraptr
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Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:03 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the entity that I thought I was, was just a thought. That somehow it has the power to convince itself that it is running the show and that so are others.

What are you looking for at LU?
It's very hard to figure out if what I understand is the mind just making a more subtle story to itself or if I'm recognizing something accurate. I want help getting out of any conceptual understanding towards a direct understanding. Also I've heard that once it's seen it can never be unseen but my experience is of having a clear seeing but then forgetting, so it's not clear if it's an error in understanding or I'm not really getting it.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Analysis of the experience I'm reporting, and logical pointing of what constructs I should break out of or subtle beliefs I'm still holding on to, about the realizing of no self. An understanding of effort and free will would also help untangle some areas.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I've spent about 3 years with non duality, I'd say seeking pretty strongly from the start to understand it and it was all quite intellectual for the first couple of years before it hit home that direct experience and the present moment was where I needed to be looking. I've resonated the most with the teachings of direct pointing from Rupert Spira, John Wheeler and Sailor Bob but after a phase of being frustrated with trying to work out it (and confusion about the role of effort) I let go of learning more concepts and focused on happiness through understanding the pointings of Roger Castillo around being lived. I randomly came across the 'LU a guide to breaking free ' on Kindle and was just intending on reading it to itch the ' non dual fresh perspective on it' tick. Wasn't really expecting much from it but while reading the first conversation of Ilona and Nona I had a clear realization dawn on me that all of the life unfolding was THE story and the labels 'I' and the 'other' were just names given to the main character (me) and the others were also labels. Sort of a false ownership of associating with one of the movie characters in a movie youre watching and then commenting on everything in the movie (as the lead actors thoughts) from that perspective. Now at the time it felt like a very clear realization and seemed true, but I lost the certainty and the clarity the next day and the seeking and identification with thought came back,

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: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:00 pm

Welcome!

My name is Stacy and I can be your guide, if you would like. If so, please begin with the instructions below.

What would you like for me to call you? What time zone are you in?

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 (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, color and observed thoughts - only. 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! (This is especially important lately, as last week the site had a lot of bots bogging it down and posts timed out. We believe this is fixed, but things like that happen sometimes.)

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. 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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Philosoraptr
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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:48 pm

Happy to hear from you Stacy. Yes I'd be very grateful for you to guide me. Appreciate you taking the time and effort.
What would you like for me to call you? What time zone are you in?
You can call me Sid. I'm currently in Brazil which is GMT -2

Confirming that I have read and acknowledge the disclaimer. Also have read the other link shared too.

I'll work on the answers and get back to you.

Very excited to start!
Sid

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:37 pm

Great, Sid. Thank you!
~ 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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Philosoraptr
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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:29 am

Hi Stacy, Answers below and I've tried to avoid putting a non-dual filter but rather be honest about my expectations.
How will life change? 
It will be the same for the most part, but with less (or hopefully no more) seeking. Less frustration of not understanding what the concept of no-self means. An ending of the existential dilemma of "what am I" and "what is existence". (Though I know the answer to the question of 'why existence exists' cannot be known, but the certainty of tying up the connection of my identity and existence is what I seek)
How will you change? 
I expect to be less involved in negative self talk of thoughts, or rather less pulled into defending my identity.

I hope to be able to relax and enjoy and appreciate life more in the present.

And also be able to free up time from seeking to do other things that I don't do because I put in so much energy into seeking.

I expect thoughts related to worrying about death/dying to go away (But I believe the conditioned responses of fear/being risk averse to situations will still come up)

Being less fearful of others and less uncomfortable with myself and my faults. Being more open to what arises in me and not resisting negative feelings or negative thought patterns, but accepting them as harmless or not believing their stories. Being less self-critical.

What will be different?

No major experiential difference other than more of being in the present and the moment to moment subtle changes to mood that might come as a result of those things I mentioned to the previous answers. I hope to take life as it comes and not be attached to outcomes as much. I used to want a good life of getting favorable health and life circumstances, but I now believe that ups and downs will come and I will react as I'm programmed in the moment.
What is missing?
Assume this means what's missing in life now? Just a feeling of being a little jaded with life. Not finding a satisfactory feeling of why life is and being kind of like "ok, life is good, but is this really it?" I reached a point where I just found the concept of being an entity that lives and dies to be strange and unfulfilling. I'm a pretty happy go lucky guy but there's always the feeling that I know there's something bigger to this (existence) and I can't accept what science says. I feel like I have gotten way more than I expected to get in life in terms of material things and achieving goals (super grateful to the universe) but it's not truly fulfilling without proof in my mind that what spirituality says about not being a separate self (and being whole and complete) is true or directly experienced.

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:14 am

Hi Sid,

Those are relatively reasonable, if lengthy, expectations. :) But expectations will get in our way, so try to put them aside as much as possible and just experience the exercises.

Here's the next question:

When it is read that there is no self, never has been, never will be, that it is all a made-up story, completely fictional, what comes up?

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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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:39 pm

When it is read that there is no self, never has been, never will be, that it is all a made-up story, completely fictional, what comes up?
I've done this before from the exercises in the LU unleashed book and at the time what came up was a fear of failure at not being able to to experientialy get it. I've made peace with that one so it didn't come up now.

Repeating it now, when the import of the statement was realized, what came up was that " then all functioning has to be autonomous" which gave me relief and a feeling of being able to let go of control, but then a thought objection appears, that it needs to be logically true as well and will the body-mind really be fine if there's no me controlling self centered thoughts during times of a need to protect it from others/ negative situations? This doesn't feel like fear but more not being able to trust it as true.

Cheers
Sid

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:13 pm

Good morning, Sid,

Good, nice that you've looked at that before and some fear subsided.
will the body-mind really be fine if there's no me controlling self centered thoughts during times of a need to protect it from others/ negative situations? This doesn't feel like fear but more not being able to trust it as true.
The fascinating thing is that there is already no "me" and things are working out just fine. It is a fear, not just "not able to trust." This is shown in "need to protect." In duality, things are either love or fear. There are other wordings and yes, you can come up with a kaleidoscope of fascinating and distracting variations and facets, but in simple terms, it's one or the other.

However, you came to experience this. Do not believe me. The exercises will bring you to your own Awareness. In order for that to happen, you must LOOK, rather than think, to respond to the exercises.

Colored Socks

There is a big difference between knowing that there is nothing to give up and seeing that there is nothing to give up.

Here is an example to illustrate the difference:

If I ask you what color socks you are wearing right now you have two ways to come up with an answer:

• You can have a think about it, you can think back to this morning and try to remember putting your socks on, and you can probably tell me what color you think they are.

• Alternatively, you can take a quick look at your socks and tell me what color they actually are!

Hopefully you would agree that you can only be 100% certain by looking.

For the purpose of our dialogue together, it is going to be very important that you are clear about this difference. Knowing is about knowledge which is all in the mind and we are not interested in that. We are only interested in looking at and seeing what is actually going on in your present moment to moment experience. We are only interested in your direct experience in the moment.

Please let me know if you are clear about this or if you would like any further clarification.


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: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:07 pm

is a fear, not just "not able to trust." This is shown in "need to protect."
Very interesting. Yes I see that it's actually a fear that's guarding or sustaining the idea of a me that will protect a self.

All clear about the difference between knowing and looking!

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:30 pm

This is odd. I posted a new exercise to you yesterday and I don't think it's here. I will repost it again in a second.
~ 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: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 3:39 pm

Good morning!

Actual or Direct Experience is ONLY

Color/Image
Sound
Sensation
Taste
Smell
Thought Arising ( but never the content of thought. Content of thought is just a story we made up. It doesn't exist in reality. If nobody told us or taught us, we would not have that story. )


Direct Experience - Labelling Daily Activities

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

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

Seeing a cup, simply= image/color
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 with two or three lists like the one above and any questions you may have.


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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Philosoraptr
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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:01 pm

Hi Stacy, Hope your weekend is going well! I spent the day outside so have 2 lists while looking at AE. The labels I've added are for context. For the most part I was focused on not adding them while being experienced, but they creep into a narrative during the experience sometimes and here to make it more understable.

Sitting by the ocean.
Colors of yellows blues and greens making what is labelled as ocean sand mountain.
Movement as a change of colors, very slight in the ocean and more on the shore.
Moving yellow patches labelled people. Sounds that rise and fall labelled waves. Sensation labelled feet on sand and waves of sensation labeled breeze.

Hiking.
Colors of greens and browns changing as movement, thought frequently appears and pulls me into images and narrative about future events. Returning to looking. Seeing colors and noticing differences of color between what is labelled as bright and dark areas . Sensation labbeled heavyness and hands swinging alternating between left and right.

Sounds of different pitch and location relative to "me". Guess that's a label to but feels like location is part of sensing.

Question. I'm usually lost in thought a fair amount and this AE exercise felt like a good way to get out into the world and the present. Normally I'd add on a non dual thought exercise of how to treat the current experience (such as thoughts that will say ok this image is arising in awareness and it's made up of awareness blah blah) , but not going into what thought was pointing to was refreshing. Is this a practice that you think is beneficial to do more often or on a more regular basis? I.e is it useful for for investigation of a separate self or is it one of those things that you'd say is just an exercise to ensure I understand the difference between AE and thought based knowing

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:36 pm

Hi SId,

Good to get outside and enjoy the exercises. This is a good first try.

Please follow the instructions exactly and do not add or subtract anything from the instructions and examples given. That's thinking taking over and not Actual Experience. That's okay. That's why you're here and that's why we are doing this.
I'm usually lost in thought a fair amount
Yes, that's what we are beginning to address. Good noticing. Everything you added is a lot of labeling and thought that was not called for in the exercise. Can you see that?

No context is needed. No description is needed. ALL of that is the "content" or "story" that we are learning is not Actual/Direct Experience and should be left off. Notice it, but it is not what the exercise asked you to do.

Sitting by the ocean.
Colors of yellows blues and greens making what is labelled as ocean sand mountain.
Movement as a change of colors, very slight in the ocean and more on the shore.
Moving yellow patches labelled people. Sounds that rise and fall labelled waves. Sensation labelled feet on sand and waves of sensation labeled breeze.
These paragraphs do not tell me that you can tell the difference between Thought Arising (AE) and content of thought (not AE). Every single word is content of thought or story without clearly showing that ALL of it is Color or Sound or Sensation. Please make sure to check ALL 6 things somewhere in the lists you post.

Please do the exercise again a couple more times and give the list precisely as the example did. In doing so, this should help you to notice that everything else is content of thought.

The point is to see what is Actual Experience. From the way you replied it appears that you did not distinguish and were lost in labels, content, story and thoughts the whole time. Now, maybe you weren't. Maybe you know the difference, but the reply does not tell me this. Can you see how that is?

Yellow & blue are NOT AE. Someone had to teach you that. If you did not speak English or if you landed here from another planet you would have to be taught those words. However, your Actual Experience would see "color." Yes, color is a label, too, but we have to use something. So, we keep it to the barest minimum of 6 things only.
Sounds of different pitch and location relative to "me". Guess that's a label to but feels like location is part of sensing.
Yes, "location" is a label. There are a couple of exercises later that will help with that. For now, just call it "sensing" or "sensation."

Actual or Direct Experience is ONLY

Color/Image
Sound
Sensation
Taste
Smell
Thought Arising ( but never the content of thought. Content of thought is just a story we made up. It doesn't exist in reality. If nobody told us or taught us, we would not have that story.)


Direct Experience - Labelling Daily Activities

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

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

Seeing a cup, simply= image/color
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 with two or three lists like the one above and any questions you may have.

Normally I'd add on a non dual thought exercise of how to treat the current experience
Please do not add on anything.
Is this a practice that you think is beneficial to do more often or on a more regular basis? I.e is it useful for for investigation of a separate self or is it one of those things that you'd say is just an exercise to ensure I understand the difference between AE and thought based knowing
If you have time after doing the currently assigned exercises, sure, you can do this. What we are doing is trying to make LOOKING and SEEING this your natural experience. Once you SEE that there is no such thing as "yellow" or "people" you don' t need to continue it as an exercise. It becomes normal.

Yes, it also serves to teach you the difference between AE and content of thought. This, too, will become your normal experience. It won't need repeating once you SEE it, just as you no longer recite your alphabet or practice your multiplication tables. But we aren't there yet, so it's fine to repeat it. It is possible that just keeping up with each new exercise assigned will be more than enough to occupy you. :)

Looking forward to seeing your next lists in response to this exercise!
~ 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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Philosoraptr
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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Philosoraptr » Sun Dec 02, 2018 3:23 am

Appreciate the feedback Stacy
Everything you added is a lot of labeling and thought that was not called for in the exercise. Can you see that?
Yes, I do see it as a lot of labelling the way I wrote it. There's a bunch of what I typed that was being experienced as AE but I realize now that the exercise itself took on a bit of a thought overlay as I was doing it then. I think I understand it now as just seeing/experiencing without the layer of thought coming in with learned knowledge and labelling things. Giving this another stab and let me know if I'm closer to it this time or please send be back to the drawing board! I'll stick to how you've described your example.

Brushing my teeth:
Seeing a reflection = Just seeing a shape/color and motion (harder to do with my face as an image without having a thought coming up)
Putting toothpaste on= movement and colors.
Holding a brush and brushing= feeling sensations first and then vibrations (this is potentially a label?), different sounds appear without interpretation.
Toothpaste in my mouth= Just a noticing of smell and taste.
Thought = When I started the exercise a thought narrative was going on with a description similar to what I'm typing now. But I caught that as just thought and stayed with the direct experiencing.

Sitting in my room quietly:
Lying in bed = presence of sensations
Hearing the fan overhead and people outside = noticing that sound is present. Attention then moves between sounds
Smells = noticing no smells present.

Will try out more examples tomorrow.
The point is to see what is Actual Experience. From the way you replied it appears that you did not distinguish and were lost in labels, content, story and thoughts the whole time. Now, maybe you weren't. Maybe you know the difference, but the reply does not tell me this. Can you see how that is?
Yup I definitely over intellectualized the exercise a bit the first time. I have a tendency to slip into conceptual thinking as well so I'll try to keep an eye out for this.
Is possible that just keeping up with each new exercise assigned will be more than enough to occupy you. :)
:) Hehe going to take it easy and be thorough with the new exercises then.

Thanks
Sid

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Re: Looking for a clearer look

Postby Anastacia42 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:01 am

Hi Sid,

I am awake briefly & couldn't help looking to see if there were replies. Since you said you going to do some more, which, yes, is a good idea, I wanted to give you feedback before you continued.

This is much closer!

Do you see the words, "movement" or "motion" anywhere on this list?


Actual or Direct Experience is ONLY

Color/Image
Sound
Sensation
Taste
Smell
Thought Arising ( but never the content of thought. Content of thought is just a story we made up. It doesn't exist in reality. If nobody told us or taught us, we would not have that story.)


No. "Movement" is a story, too. It is not Actual Experience. We will go into that more. But it is like "location" that I mentioned earlier we will go into later. You have to be taught that was movement. Otherwise, it's still just color and an image.
Seeing a reflection = Just seeing a shape/color and motion (harder to do with my face as an image without having a thought coming up)
Again, there is a lot of extra here. This one should have 2 lines. One for the Image. One for the Thought Arising. Nothing more.

Reflection in mirror = image & color

(content of thought, whatever it was, that you did not mention, but referred to) = thought arising


Nothing instructed you not to have thoughts. The examples shows a thought that arose that is noted as thought arising. Go back & look at the example. It includes:

Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought

See how that was noted? Content of thought on the left. The AE, "Thought Arising" on the right.

Keep it VERY simple.

One brief aspect of experience on the left. An = dign. Then note the AE of it on the right.

Follow the example precisely.


Yes, we are all taught to conceptualize and we are rewarded for it in school. Here we are UNlearning.

When a "concept" or thought comes up, notice that it is simply a Thought Arising. The content of that thought is a made-up story that we were taught. You cannot see it, hear it, feel it, taste it or smell it. It is never AE. The fact that the thought arose, is Actual Experience, but it is content is not.

"Vibration" is not AE. That would look like this:

Vibration of toothbrush = Sensation

ALL of this is not AE:
Thought = When I started the exercise a thought narrative was going on with a description similar to what I'm typing now. But I caught that as just thought and stayed with the direct experiencing.
That one would be:

(Thought of description of ... (whatever it was) ) = Thought Arising


Sitting in my room quietly:
Lying in bed = presence of sensations
Hearing the fan overhead and people outside = noticing that sound is present. Attention then moves between sounds
Smells = noticing no smells present.
The above is also closer. Here is how it would be:

Sitting in my room
Lying in bed feeling bed beneath me = Sensation
Hearing fan = Sound
Hearing people outside = Sound
Thought about sounds = Thought Arising
Noticing no smells = Thought Arising (see why? there were no smells, only a thought! )


This is much closer than the first try! This is fabulous for your learning the difference between actual experience and the story or content that is made up and not real.

Pare it down. We want only the very basics.

Okay, give it another try. Make your reply exactly like the example and instructions. And notice why you are doing that. Because the rest of it is just story. We're not just leaving out the description haphazardly. It has no meaning. It is made up.


Hopefully, you are starting to see that.

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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