looking for clarity

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:50 pm

I hear your advice to simplify, simplify. Stay at the level of just noticing all thoughts and sensations, their nature or details being unimportant, except that there is no one living there.

There is no "I" OUTSIDE of the watching of this. This is quite clear.

My job is to keep seeing that there is no "I" INSIDE the cocktail of thoughts and sensations. They are just dead thoughts and sensations, even the thoughts that say "I live, I suffer, I want!".

For me, this takes constant vigilance. And yet there can be no failure either, because as soon as I believe in a separate "I" made of thoughts/sensations and suffer the consequences, it is seen that these beliefs are thoughts/sensations themselves, with no one in them.

All is flowing already. This is clear, beautiful.

Thanks

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Ilona
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

Who’s still has a job?

Let’s not give a quality to thoughts and sensation. Let’s not call them dead. Or anything at all. Sensations = energy in motion, thoughts or no thoughts, it’s still one — nothing is separate.

Underneath all judgement, there is this flow of happening and seeing that, being aware of all flowing by.
All is flowing already. Yes.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:36 pm

Who still has a job? The first reaction is that if I don't stay vigilant that I will be tricked into believing there is a separate entity, evidenced by thoughts and feelings. Therefore I have the "job" of being careful. But maybe there is no such job, because I cannot really fall back into illusion having had all this pointed out. And maybe by saying there is a "job" I am implicitly assigning it to a separate self, so the job is totally self-defeating! I will see what happens if I drop the "job"...

Ok, will drop the "dead" characterization of thoughts and sensation.

All is flowing, and is seen

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:27 am

How is it going?
What are you noticing?

Is the seeking energy still strong?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:55 am

Hi Ilona, the watching is going "well" during the daytime, in many short bursts whenever I remember. I am staying as still as possible, regardless of what is happening, when there is the remembrance to do so. But there was also a period where I was thinking about the future and how "impossible my problems are and how they are piling up", and then I was lost in those stories for a long time. So much so that I eventually looked at youtube videos to escape. By chance one had an exercise of purposely thinking of some heavy thoughts (either pleasant or unpleasant psychologically) and then putting all attention on the raw "bodily" feelings that emerged with these thoughts. Somehow this resonated and I could see that I could allow these thoughts and bodily feelings trembling with the thoughts, and yet they did not threaten me. Then the heavy story did not consume me any more.

I read and reread the sutra to make sure I was "getting" what it was asking me to do. As you say, just to see that as things arise they do not contain a separate "me". But I feel like giving this another try tomorrow to just stay watching, even as the heavy emotions may or may not return.

There remains some sort of seeking, but in the sense of wanting to sink further and more often into just seeing the thoughts and feelings. I don't think I require my circumstances to change for the "better", but there is still some desire for my thoughts to not get carried away. I want to play with seeing all this some more.

Thanks

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:53 am

I played again with following the sutra you suggested, during the course of the day. I reread another translation online, and think I understand it better (of course it is quite simple in the end). A number of heavy things and events came up today, but there was the presence to allow them in, with little resistance. There was the looking to see that there was no "me" in the experiencing. When the emotions were strong, I just felt them with more attention.

There was not much seeking energy today, it seemed like anything could be allowed, and that there was nothing else to do. Why should I seek more?

I will keep going...

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:51 am

Nicely said, why should you seek more?
It’s all presented already.

One of common expectations in this process is that all unwanted feelings and strong emotions will go away. But the outcome is quite the opposite, all is allowed to show up. And the feeling is deeper, more raw, more intimate, as there is less analysing and trying to get rid opportunity, change the feeling, more diving in with pure curiosity and openness. That’s freedom - to feel deeply, to experience life in all its richness, to appreciate this experience.

Is there any doubt? Is separate self seen for what it is?

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:47 am

Hi Ilona, I do think the sutra distills everything you have been pointing to. I again spent the day allowing the feelings in as deeply as I could, to be fully felt. I also looked to see that there was no separate self in them, even though at first they presented themselves as if they did relate to a separate self. All this is an ongoing process from what I can tell. There were very difficult emotions that came up in the face of very difficult decisions for the family, but there was the presence to allow these emotions in and to check that there was "no one" in them. I am repeatedly taken away by the emotions in the midst of the action, but I rapidly am reminded to look without resistance.

I understand that there is no goal to get rid of the heavy emotions, any more than getting rid of the outer circumstances that preceded the emotions. The heavy emotions (and everything happening) is to be fully felt, and examined to see that there is no one separate in them.

At the end of the day though, I try to escape rather than face the disturbances. It seems there is no energy left to look by night time, but maybe I'm misunderstanding this.

Is the separate self seen for what it is? I don't have a once-and-for-all understanding of this. All I can do is look each time heavy emotions or other things arise, and check that there is no separate self. I am not absolutely clear what I am checking to see in this regard, but I have some felt sense of resolving everything happening into its components and seeing that the "troubles" I am suffering are not on behalf of any final separate being. Any such separate being I am sensing can itself be seen as just a collection of feelings and sensations. There is still some sense of a separate self hiding in the shadows, on whose behalf suffering is felt, there when the close looking is absent. I don't know how to convey this. But maybe I have all the tools to explore this, as "troubles" arise.

Is there any doubt? A bit. I have had no "aha!" moment of understanding where all sense of the separate self has dropped away, never to return. But I do feel strongly that the sutra summarizes what is to be done, and that this is correct by my own experience. It makes no promise for the future, its effect is immediate. You let in the full experience, and the story stops. I will do this as much as I can.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:59 am

I spent another day sinking into feeling whenever possible, during both ordinary conditions as well as emotional situations, as well as during the chronic low-level sense of dread. The Bahiya Sutra is the essence of what is to be done, and I feel it is being done. This is a great gift. As you say it does not eliminate heavy emotions, but it removes the label "bad" from them, and then there is a sense of curiosity to look. I can now say, "bring it on", and just immerse myself in heavy emotions, or just look at a tree. There is a greater sense of safety, because no matter what happens there is the freedom to look and there is the space that allows everything in. In the middle of heavy emotions, it still feels heavy, there is pain, but the texture of suffering is changed.

I saw a youtube video last night on "two kinds of awareness", pointing to ordinary awareness of what's happening around us, and the less ordinary awareness of being aware (of what's happening). It pointed to the fact that this awareness of awareness is more stable from disturbance, even when there is disturbance going on "outside". I guess I must have heard this kind of thing many times, but in this case it somehow fed into the looking that we have been talking about and doing. The sensations and thoughts change dramatically, and of course show up in awareness, but the awareness of this awareness is silent and unchanged.

I cannot answer any tough questions with any confidence. I cannot say that I see through the illusion of the separate self absolutely, given that I am periodically taken over by the sense of a separate vulnerability several times a day. But it does feel as if I possess the means to explore further. Even if I think there is a separate self at some point in the day, I can immediately catch it and look carefully and see what is really there. I can let anything be. Thoughts still arise that say, "no, this is really important, and you don't know what to do, there is no way out of this bad situation, we have to solve the problem", and I can be drawn off into a thought-storm, but I emerge from it and can look again. There is still that sense of disaster in the future, but I am learning that when/if that disaster comes, there is always space enough for it to be seen and felt without labels.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:55 am

Wonderful. Keep playing with the sutra.
I cannot say that I see through the illusion of the separate self absolutely, given that I am periodically taken over by the sense of a separate vulnerability several times a day.
What do you mean by separate vulnerability? What is the sense separate from? Does feeling vulnerability indicate something separate from awareness? From life happening? From other senses? Is this something that you do or something that arises to be seen?

Is there a feeler of vulnerability? Someone that vulnerability happens to?

Explore this :)

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:07 am

"Separate vulnerability": I just meant the usual story people (including me) have of a big universe with a small "me" character inside it, who is unsafe. This is a character in a story, but this story plays often, and is often believed. It often seems more serious than what we talk about here. But the more I see that all present moments are safe, and that present turbulence can be seen without labelling it good or bad, then the threat from the future is lessened. But not yet eradicated.

It seems like the separate self is a kind of resistance to what might happen or is happening. It works by playing the above story. The more I see that this resistance can be dropped, and what happens can be fully felt, the less the "separate self" has any meaning. This is the process that appears to be happening.

So, I confess that the vulnerable one is not real, but the central character of a story that still plays frequently.

But here is a thought, an extreme thought to test my understanding: Why don't I just refuse to lift a finger to do anything on my to-do list? Then everything will slowly fall apart in my life, but if everything can be allowed in without being a problem, then even this "falling apart" is perfectly ok. I'm a lazy person, so why don't I just throw out my to-do list? I have not followed this question to the end yet. Is it crazy?

If you think I am hopelessly caught in confusion, I am happy to just continue the practice of feeling and seeing as deeply as I can, which is happening many times throughout the day, and seeing that there is no one showing in these feelings/seeings.

Thanks

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:54 pm

Maybe I can answer my last question.

Why do I lift a finger to do anything to help my circumstances? The question itself is framed from the viewpoint of the future story, there is a worrying now about future struggles, and this is weighing on me. If I did not have the thoughts of the future taken so seriously, the future hardships would also not weigh on me now. In reality, the only thing that has to be done is the thing in front of me right now. Doing this one thing is not a struggle. And it will get done or not. There is a dance going on and my feet move one way or another. From the viewpoint of the story, one way is "right" and another "misguided". But either is fine, and it and its consequences can be allowed in. In this sense it does not matter what I do, but there is also no struggle in the present.

Wanting to give up all work and planning is not the result of being rooted in the present, but rather being absorbed in the future story playing in thought and resisting it. When resisted, work seems like struggle and planning seems like agonizing decision-making.

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:41 am

There is nothing wrong with planing! That too is included.

Do you notice that everything happens? All is given. No doer, no manager, no thinker, no planer.. when time is right, when conditions are ripe, it shows up.

Sitting on the sofa and doing nothing is fine. But it’s not that kind of doership we are talking here about. Even that sitting shows up.

Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com

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arus7
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Re: looking for clarity

Postby arus7 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:12 pm

I took the example (the main example in my life right now) of an "agonizing decision", in which no matter what I decide some people will suffer. This comes up often to mind, and I'm not clear what to do, and I cannot predict the future. I see that when these thoughts arise, sometimes prompted by circumstances and people, there is the feeling that "I" am in trouble, and the "I" feels separate, unsafe and lost.

So this is a good example to drill into, to see what makes me even think there is the illusion of a separate self, why does that separate self haunt me? So the truth is that these thoughts of the future options just arise, and they are really thumb-nail sketches of the future options without a lot of detail. But when they arise suddenly there is a lot of thought searching for answers, looking to see if there is new information or logic that might help, but also running movies of how bad it will be, and accompanying them are the bodily sensations. The whole package we call heavy emotions. And of course all this is just arising. I see the thoughts going "on the one hand you can do this, but on the other hand there is this consideration, but on the one hand...", and this back and forth is felt as an "I, the decider", and this decider seems unsafe because all choices look bad.

So is this decider real? No, it is just the arising of back and forth thoughts, mental movie clips, and bodily sensations. In the end the thoughts will settle on some course of action, and possibly that action will take place (or not). But, as the sutra says, there is "no thing there" (or as I interpret it, "no one there"). I now see this absence of the decider as I work through the anatomy of this challenge I'm facing. Nevertheless, by force of habit perhaps, there are many times in which I am taken in by the illusion "I am in trouble". I see that the job is to pause at such times and look more deeply at what the ingredients really are, oscillating thoughts and sensations, but not a separate living thing. Because once one thinks there is a separate self, then that spawns an enormous amount of thought about that separate self and its fate and danger.

Indecision arises a lot, hesitating thoughts and feelings. But I see clearly (as I write this) that they are not true signs of a separate self, they are not true signs of a "decider'.

The package of thoughts/feelings of indecision is painful and disorienting, and in the past it has been met by resistance, not wanting to look inside the package. That resistance to the package has been mistaken for a separate "me", and I can still feel the momentum which may mistake it again. But I also see that I now have the presence to drop the resistance, which means I can explore the package fully and see that it is just made of thoughts/feelings with no separate "me".

The last day has felt as if the looking was more scattered, hard to focus. But I recognized that this was the beginnings of thoughts that wanted to say it was "hard", and "I'm not getting it". So this too was seen and I have refused to be drawn into thinking about the practice of the sutra as the endeavor of an earnest but separate self. Rather, I am looking at this sense that "it is hard to look, today, I am feeling too distracted for some reason". This too is just a set of thoughts/feelings in which there "is no thing".

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Re: looking for clarity

Postby Ilona » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:33 pm

Good stuff. So there are problems arising as thoughts and sensations. Some sensations are more intense. But no matter what kind of thoughts and sensations are there, there is knowing of them. Being aware of what is passing through the mind. Mind is looking at different options and is trying the best to be a good manager.
But..

The problems do not need to be solved. By problem I mean the what-if-scenarios. What happens happens. No way to stop it or change it or manipulate. There is no manipulator. Seeing that, the problem looses its stickiness. There is an exit from that place of mind spin. And that is noticing what is actually here. And that all the problems are being created over the top of experience that is currently here. That’s it.

That does not mean that there are no more what if scenarios coming, but that they are optional. They don’t decide anything.

So it’s ok to stop spinning.


Love.
Truth realized will set you free.
http://ilonaciunaite.com


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