deconstruction site

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Agi
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deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Fri May 03, 2019 12:39 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
What I call myself is a complex of experiences, influences, conditioning, and habits inherited and developed over time. Upon closer inspection I find that there is no unchanging 'me' in there that I could identify with. I'm a puzzle and if all the pieces are taken out, nothing is left. This applies to my body as well as to what we might call 'soul'

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm looking for effective ways to take an honest look at my own ingrained views and habitual responses through which I maintain a sense of permanent self. I want to question these and put them into perspective. I would appreciate some guidance in all this.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect honest feedback to point out where I'm deluding myself and to reinforce skilful tendencies. I am hoping to learn new methods of approaching my experience of self and through regular contact to maintain this practice.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I am a GFR mitra in the Triratna Buddhist movement.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
9

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Vivien
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sat May 04, 2019 3:46 am

Hi Agi,

My name is Vivien, and I am happy to assist in exploring 'no-self' and other related topics.

You and I will simply have a conversation, but this process is essentially an extension of your own inquiry. It is 'guided' so that specific areas may be examined.

I am not a teacher. This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have.

Before we begin, here are links to information I would like you to read please.
Disclaimer:-
http://liberationunleashed.com/disclaimer-2/

Terms & Conditions:
https://www.liberationunleashed.com/register/terms/

“Liberation Unleashed is not …” in the FAQ’s of LU.
http://liberationunleashed.com/about/faq/#faq-1041

A few ground rules:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
2. 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 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 and such 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 and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.
5. Understand that I will be guiding you, rather than teaching you, and the more you put into this process the more you will get out of it.

A few technical support:

- You can reply to this thread by pushing the 'Post Reply" button at the left bottom of this page.
- You can learn to use the quote function, instructions are located in the link below this line:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

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.


If you are happy to agree to the above and have me your guide, we can start the process.

To begin with, so that we both become aware of what your expectations are about this exploration (for example, what life will look and feel like and what you want/hope will change or not change). Could you please answer the 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.
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Sun May 05, 2019 7:30 am

Dear Vivien
Thank you for getting in touch and apologies for not responding earlier but I am Jewish and observe the Sabbath, which means that on Saturdays I am offline. Below are my answers.
How will Life change?
Of course I don't know how life will change. But on the basis of my experience up to now, it will change for the better. If I see my life as a lake, the surface will go from disturbed to calmer. Maybe there will be less pressure to be a certain way, or do certain things. Maybe life will become lighter to carry.
How will you change?
As above, my expectation is that 'I' will change for the better. I will be less bothered by things I don't like. I will be less attached to things I do like. I may become more understanding towards others. I may become more patient, and have more equanimity.
What will be different?
I don't understand how this question is different from the first two. But to try to answer, I guess what will be different is not my circumstances but my attitude to them, and my responses to situations.
What is missing?
What is missing is a greater sense of peace, of togetherness, of understanding. Maybe clarity is an even better word. I would like more clarity when viewing myself and my tendencies and actions.


I also want to say that I find the way this website works rather confusing. Firstly, this whole quoting business - am I not getting something? Why do we need a separate quote button, and when I followed the instructions, the quoted text didn't actually appear, so I ended up copy-pasting the question. Not sure what I should be doing differently and whether it makes a difference in the first place how I cite. Also, I can't seem to find things. I can see private messages, but unless I follow the link in your email, I can't get to this conversation page. I also don't understand why I needed to create a 'topic', which is not actually a topic, just my conversation with you. Sorry to offload all this on you especially if it's not your job to answer such questions but I find this system frustrating. Let's hope I get used to it.
All the best
Agi

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Vivien
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sun May 05, 2019 8:41 am

Hi Agi,
Firstly, this whole quoting business - am I not getting something? Why do we need a separate quote button, and when I followed the instructions, the quoted text didn't actually appear, so I ended up copy-pasting the question.
Actually, I don’t know the answer. Yes, the website is not so straightforward, but this is what we have. I write my answers in a word document, so I copy paste everything from there, and make the quoting and all others highlighting by hand.
Also, I can't seem to find things. I can see private messages, but unless I follow the link in your email, I can't get to this conversation page.
When you are logged in, click onto your user name, and a drop down menu comes up. Select, ‘User Control Panel’, just as you would do when you go to your private messages. If you click on that, the ‘User Control Panel’ comes up. At the left side there is a tab called “Manage subscriptions”, if you click on that, you will find all the threads you are subscribed to, which is currently just this one. Btw, I also mainly use the link from the emails, so that works very well.

Thank you for your replies to the expectations. It is important, because every expectation is in a way of seeing what is here, right now. Every expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. Expectations are about the future. But seeing what IS cannot be ‘found’ in the future.

I go through all the expectations one-by-one. While you read them, please pay attention to what arises ‘in the body’. Is there any resistance to any of it?
But on the basis of my experience up to now, it will change for the better.
The thing is that there is no ‘you’ that could change for the better, or change in any way. Change might happen, but it won’t happen to anybody. It won’t happen to a self. It won’t happen to you. Since what you believe what you are is just an illusion.
If I see my life as a lake, the surface will go from disturbed to calmer.
Life won’t change just because no-self is seen. Only the perception of life could change.
Maybe life will become lighter to carry.
Life won’t change at all. But the attitude to life might change.
I will be less bothered by things I don't like. I will be less attached to things I do like. I may become more understanding towards others. I may become more patient, and have more equanimity.
Likes or dislikes can happen (and will happen) after seeing through the illusion of the self. But it will be seen that those likes and dislikes don’t happen to anything. More understanding might happen, but it won’t be done by you. Since it will be clear that there is no ‘you’ that could do anything. So ‘you’ won’t become more patient and you won’t have more equanimity. Patience or equanimity might happen, but it won’t happen to you.
I would like more clarity when viewing myself and my tendencies and actions.
Those tendencies and actions will be seen only as tendencies and actions, but without belonging to anyone.

Suffering happens when being lost in thoughts happens. It means that the thoughts in that moment are not seen only as arising thoughts (only as ‘containers’ coming and going), but rather they ‘content’, what they are about is taken as reality. And of course, since each thought is about the self, the self is taken as something real. And this, let’s call ‘delusion’ still can happen even after seeing the illusion of the self. But when it’s investigated, it can be seen for what it is. But there is no guaranty that in the next moment the story of a self won’t reassert itself. It’s a habit of the mind. It’s a conditioned pattern of thinking. It’s the result of a life-long conditioning. But upon each looking it gets a little bit weaker and weaker.

Also, personality problems, traumas, emotional pains don’t dissolve just because of seeing no self. So all the conditioned reactions that stem from them still can arise. However, if someone decides to work on these, it’s usually much easier after seeing no-self.

So, before starting, please report what came up reading the comments about the expectations.
Was there any resistance to any of it?


So, what we are going to do is that I’ll give you some exercises, physical ones, in which I will ask you to describe the experience of the senses. We call this direct experience, or the uninterpreted moment. This refers to the data from the sensations themselves, before the mind tries to make sense of it and begins to describe what is happening. Observing with the five senses — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching/feeling. These exercises can help to see what is ‘real’ and what is not.

So, the first thing to investigate is to find out what you currently believe yourself to be.
This should be kept very simple and should not be anything requiring in-depth analysis or thought.

The standard view of 'I', 'me' is that of a person - A body with a mind.
The standard view is that 'I' refers to this body that appears here in awareness. I am this body. Also 'I' have control over this body.
Since 'I' am this body, 'I' see, 'I' hear, 'I' feel, etc - I perform all the senses.
This body was born - It will live a number of years - And then it (I) will die.

Feel free to reject what I have suggested if they don't match what you currently believe yourself to be.

Currently, would it be fair to say that you believe that currently you are a person sitting in a chair, looking at a computer screen and reading words off it right now?

What does the word 'I' point to?
What makes this body ‘yours’?
What makes this body ‘you’?


I will write all questions in blue, please always answer ALL of them. These questions are pointers where to LOOK. Of course, you can also reply to any other parts of my posts if you feel need to.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Mon May 06, 2019 10:03 am

Dear Vivien
Thank you for your reply. Below are my answers to the questions you ask.
Is there any resistance to any of it?
I didn't encounter any physical resistance, at least none that was obvious enough to notice. I did encounter some mental resistance, not to the ideas that you put forward, but rather to the fact of being 'corrected'. A part of me immediately went on the defensive - I'm being attacked, I'm being criticized, I need to prove that I wasn't wrong when I said what I said. But another part of me just laughed. So reading most of your answers I was laughing, thinking, 'of course, what she says is right, of course that's what I really meant when I wrote what I did.'
Currently, would it be fair to say that you believe that currently you are a person sitting in a chair, looking at a computer screen and reading words off it right now?
Yes that would be correct.
What does the word 'I' point to?
I would describe 'I' as the little man in the control room inside my head, through whom the experiencing is happening. It's the bit of me that perceives, uses the data, draws conclusions, makes plans etc. and gives commands to the body to act in certain ways.
What makes this body ‘yours’?
It obeys when 'I' give it commands and so the obvious conclusion is that it is mine. Of course intellectually I know that my body is not mine, but it becomes a moot question in a way, because I don't see what difference it makes whether I call the body mine or not-mine.
What makes this body ‘you’?
Nothing, of course. But that's my intellectual response. The instinctive response is that this body and I have been together for ages and it is through this body that I experience reality, and so I identify with it. Without this body, there would be no experience of 'me'. It's only through this body that the entity I call myself exists, and so it must be a part of me.

I hope I've answered all your questions. Look forward to finding out more!
Best wishes
Agi

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Vivien
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Tue May 07, 2019 2:40 am

Hi Agi,
I did encounter some mental resistance, not to the ideas that you put forward, but rather to the fact of being 'corrected'. A part of me immediately went on the defensive - I'm being attacked, I'm being criticized, I need to prove that I wasn't wrong when I said what I said. But another part of me just laughed.
Thank you for your honesty. It's good that you can notice this conditioned reaction. So the seemingly existent separate self is always on defence, on survival. Since I’m separated from everything else. I’m locked behind or inside this bag of skin. Inside the skin is me, and everything outside the skin is not me. So I constantly have to be vigilant and protect myself from all sorts of perceived danger, both physical and emotional. This is how we humans lives our lives.

So my comments weren’t aiming to trigger this reaction, but it can happen, nevertheless. The comments were about emphasizing that every expectation is in the way of seeing what is here, right now. Every single expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. An expectation is nothing more than a mental concept. In order to compare it with the current experience, the current experience needs to be conceptualized. As a result, there ‘are’ two mentally fabricated constructs that can be matched up, with a ‘result’ of putting a label of either “this is awakening” or “this is not” onto the experience.

But be prepared, that this defensive mechanism might show up again during our investigation. But that’s all right. It’s enough to see them for what they are. Just conditioned defense mechanisms.
I would describe 'I' as the little man in the control room inside my head, through whom the experiencing is happening. It's the bit of me that perceives, uses the data, draws conclusions, makes plans etc. and gives commands to the body to act in certain ways. ..
The instinctive response is that this body and I have been together for ages and it is through this body that I experience reality, and so I identify with it. Without this body, there would be no experience of 'me'. It's only through this body that the entity I call myself exists, and so it must be a part of me.
All right. This is what our whole investigation will be about. Seeing if this is REALLY the case.

So let’s to try to separate out thoughts from what is ‘real’.

But at first, as an example, let’s try to find Darth Vader from Star Wars.
We’re looking for a real Darth Vader that can be found.
In order to prove that it exists, we have to experience it directly by seeing, hearing, touching/feeling, smelling.

The image projected to the cinema screen is not it.
The poster on the wall about Darth Vader is not it.
The memory in ‘my head’ about Darth Vader is not a proof of its existence.
A thought suggesting that “he may be exist somewhere in the galaxy” is just an idea, but not a proof of it.
A lego figure of Darth Vader is not a real Darth Vader.
A life size wax figure exhibited in a museum is not it.
A twelve-year old boy dressed in a Darth Vader costume is not it.

Now, try to find the ‘I’ that supposedly owns the body. Look everywhere. Search every corner of the body, memories, feelings, thoughts, or any other places. Don’t leave any stones unturned.

Let's take 'seeing' as a first example.

Right now, these words on the screen are being seen. Examine the actual experience right now.

Observing with the five senses — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching — prior to thought is what we refer to as Direct Experience. I will be giving you some exercises to sharpen your perceptions outside of thought. So notice what is directly experienced versus thoughts about what is experienced.

Now, can it be found what is seeing them?
Do you see a seer?
Can be located, found, tracked-down etc the 'thing' that is seeing these words on the screen right now?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Tue May 07, 2019 2:15 pm

Hi Vivien

In answer to your questions:
Now, can it be found what is seeing them?
I guess I'd say the eyes are seeing, and the brain is seeing. So what I call 'me' is a combination of perceiving and evaluating/identifying.
Do you see a seer?
No. There is consciousness. There is noticing, there is attention, there is identifying. But no seer as such. At least initially. But for example if I then try to decide whether I like the colours that appear on the screen, that choice of liking or disliking, I would call that the 'seer', the 'me' who evaluates, judges.
Can the 'thing' that is seeing these words on the screen right now be located, found, tracked down etc.?
No. All I can find is processes. These are inside my head, because I'm doing an exercise using my eyes, which are located in my head. But if it were a touching exercise, I'm not sure how I would locate the perceiver.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Tue May 07, 2019 11:47 pm

Hi Agi,
I guess I'd say the eyes are seeing, and the brain is seeing. So what I call 'me' is a combination of perceiving and evaluating/identifying.
This is not the description of actual experience (AE), but the contents of thoughts.
But that’s all right, this is what thoughts are ABOUT: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.

But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, BEFORE any thought interpretation. So I will give you exercises, and you just have to look what is there BEFORE thoughts, or WITHOUT thoughts, or if the contents of thoughts are ignored.

So AE is: sounds/hearing, smells/smelling, taste/tasting, sight/seeing, sensation/sensing, and seeing the appearance of a thought.

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= visual sight
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 you go.
These are inside my head, because I'm doing an exercise using my eyes, which are located in my head. But if it were a touching exercise, I'm not sure how I would locate the perceiver.
You noticed something interesting here. With touching the perceiver or the toucher would be really hard to localize (if at all). But it seems that with seeing the seer is in the head, somewhere behind the eyes. But this is just an illusion. Just because the eyes are on the head, it doesn’t mean that there is a REAL seer inside the head somewhere.

The whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. So therefore, we will investigate thoughts and thought labels thoroughly.
So then let’s have a deeper look on thoughts. Sit for about 15 minutes and investigate these questions:

Where do thoughts come from?
Where are they going?
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?

Can an 'I' be found that generates thoughts?
“I think” - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
What is the thinker of thoughts?
Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found?
Or could it be that the 'I' that thinks is also just a thought?
Do you think thoughts or you are just ‘being thought’?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?


Please go through these questions and answer and quote ALL of them one-by-one. Don’t miss any. Try to answer them only from direct experience, and leave aside all intellectual interpretation or understanding. Please, DON’T THINK about the answers, rather LOOK at what is before thoughts. Take your time.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Thu May 09, 2019 1:16 pm

Dear Vivien
Apologies for the delay. I am going away today for a month and the last couple of days have been pretty hectic. Now I'm on the train but hoping the wifi is good enough for me to send my replies.
Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and report back how you go.
Breakfast: cookie in hand feels dry and solid
as I bite into it, the teeth and tongue process the cookie
a sip of almond milk: the cup is cold. the drink is soft, creamy, cold and wet.

It feels like I'm a robot! Performing all these activities, somewhat mechanically, and observing just the sensations. It feels like the human aspect is lost. Makes me uncomfortable.

Swimming: my limbs are moving. The water feels cold. My eyes see the ducks.

Even though I am able to identify these individual elements of my experience, in most daily activities all the disparate perceptions still come together into a coherent experience of what I’d call ‘me’.
Where do thoughts come from?
They seem to arise out of nothing. In fact it’s very very hard - at this moment impossible for me - to notice them at the moment of their arising. In hindsight though I am able to reconstruct chains of association.
Where are they going?
Specifically in meditation, once I notice them they go where I want them to, but in normal life (and often in meditation too!) I often find that they are just running about, or like butterflies flying from one flower to the next.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
Yes, I often can. Some are particularly strong and persistent but generally if I don’t want to get entangled I can stop a thought.
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?
No! ☺
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
No. Luckily I rarely have those.
Can an 'I' be found that generates thoughts?
No. I did an experiment on this in my meditation, whose outcome I found very very interesting. I decided to choose what I want to think about. I chose to think about a lake. However, what kind of lake appeared in my mind was totally out of my control. As if from an archive, various images of lakes were thrown at me, as it were, but “I” didn’t decide to think of a particular lake, it came to me - and then I could choose from the options.
“I think” - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
Responses come up somewhere inside my head, I go over them, and then if I decide to identify with them and to proceed I utter the words ‘I think’
What is the thinker of thoughts?
My brain, I guess…
Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found? Or could it be that the 'I' that thinks is also just a thought?
In meditation I noticed that when I come to a very calm state and the thoughts quieten down, there is only perceiving. The sense of ‘me’ dropped away. So no, the thinker of the thought is not always there. But most of the time I’d say I habitually experience the thoughts as ‘me’ thinking.
Do you think thoughts, or are you just ‘being thought’?
Yes often that is definitely the case. The thoughts have their own life, they go on automatically, often creating a sense of me but without me having any control or supervision.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?
Well, to some extent perhaps it is possible. for instance, when I sit in meditation and my mind is fairly quiet, there is a ‘checking in’ process whereby I keep scanning the mind to see what’s going on, like a guard who’s guarding a gate, to stop thoughts from coming in. At some point I often notice that the mind begins to turn outwards, looking for something to latch onto. This would produce thoughts if I didn’t catch it at this point and lead it back to the object of meditation.
However, in the sense of any particular thought, e.g. can I stop the thought ‘I’m hungry’ appearing at 10 am, no I cannot because I have no idea what my next thoughts will be.

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Fri May 10, 2019 2:58 am

Hi Agi,
It feels like I'm a robot! Performing all these activities, somewhat mechanically, and observing just the sensations. It feels like the human aspect is lost. Makes me uncomfortable.
:) “It feels like I’m a robot” – when something starts with ‘it feels like’ that is a sure sign that that is not a feeling. It’s just a thought. But we will look at this later.

I gave this exercise in order to see the difference of the actual experience, what is really going on, and the thought interpretation of the experience which is overlaying the experience. This ability to see the pure experience before any thought interpretation is the most useful tool in our investigation.
Breakfast: cookie in hand feels dry and solid
as I bite into it, the teeth and tongue process the cookie
a sip of almond milk: the cup is cold. the drink is soft, creamy, cold and wet.
Swimming: my limbs are moving. The water feels cold. My eyes see the ducks.
All right. Let’s look what was really going on. One-by-one.
cookie in hand feels dry and solid
So there is AE of an visual image labelled by thought as ‘cookie’
+ the AE of a sensation, labelled by thought ‘dry and solid’
I bite into it, the teeth and tongue process the cookie
So this is the thought interpretation overlaying the AE of sensations and tastes.
a sip of almond milk: the cup is cold. the drink is soft, creamy, cold and wet.
This is the AE of a sensations labelled by thoughts ‘cold’, ‘soft’, ‘creamy’, ‘wet’.
Swimming: my limbs are moving. The water feels cold. My eyes see the ducks.
There is the AE of sensations labelled by thoughts ‘my limbs are moving’ or ‘I am swimming’
There is the AE of a sensation labelled by thoughts ‘water’ and ‘cold’
There is the AE of a visual sight labelled by thoughts ‘my eyes see the ducks’

So AE is: sounds/hearing, smells/smelling, taste/tasting, sight/seeing, sensation/sensing, and seeing the appearance of a thought. But what the thought about is not AE.
I did an experiment on this in my meditation, whose outcome I found very very interesting. I decided to choose what I want to think about. I chose to think about a lake. However, what kind of lake appeared in my mind was totally out of my control. As if from an archive, various images of lakes were thrown at me, as it were, but “I” didn’t decide to think of a particular lake, it came to me - and then I could choose from the options.
Nice!
V: “I think” - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
A: Responses come up somewhere inside my head, I go over them, and then if I decide to identify with them and to proceed I utter the words ‘I think’
How is it known exactly that the response came from the head?
How is ‘thoughts coming from the head’ actually experienced?
V: What is the thinker of thoughts?
A: My brain, I guess…
Please, don’t just guess. Don’t think about this. Rather go to the direct experience, and find the thinker of thoughts. Localize it. Where is it exactly?
How the ‘brain is doing the thinking’ is actually experienced?
What is the AE of ‘brain’?
In meditation I noticed that when I come to a very calm state and the thoughts quieten down, there is only perceiving. The sense of ‘me’ dropped away. So no, the thinker of the thought is not always there. But most of the time I’d say I habitually experience the thoughts as ‘me’ thinking.
“I habitually experience the thoughts as ‘me’ thinking” – so how many me-s do you have? :)

1. There are thoughts experienced as me thinking
2. The ‘I’ that habitually experience thoughts as me

So are you inside or outside thoughts?


Or is there a you inside thoughts or implied by thoughts, and another you outside of thoughts, controlling thoughts?
V: Do you think thoughts, or are you just ‘being thought’?
A: Yes often that is definitely the case. The thoughts have their own life, they go on automatically, often creating a sense of me but without me having any control or supervision.
Again, how many you are there?

1. Is there a you created by thoughts
2. And another you who has no control or supervision of thoughts creating the other you?

Where is the you which is has no control over what thoughts create? – localize it

when I sit in meditation and my mind is fairly quiet, there is a ‘checking in’ process whereby I keep scanning the mind to see what’s going on, like a guard who’s guarding a gate, to stop thoughts from coming in.
“when I sit in meditation and my mind is fairly quiet” – What is it exactly that is sitting in meditation and has a mind?
Where is this ‘thing’ exactly?

How the ‘mind’ is actually experienced?
“I keep scanning the mind” – What is it exactly that is scanning the mind?
This would produce thoughts if I didn’t catch it at this point and lead it back to the object of meditation.
“if I didn’t catch” – What is catching the thoughts?
Specifically in meditation, once I notice them they [thoughts] go where I want them to, but in normal life (and often in meditation too!) I often find that they are just running about, or like butterflies flying from one flower to the next.
What is that wants thoughts to go to certain direction?
V: Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
A: Yes, I often can. Some are particularly strong and persistent but generally if I don’t want to get entangled I can stop a thought.
What is it that is don’t want to get entangled in thoughts?
What is it that has a power to stop a thought in the middle? Where is this ‘thing’ exactly?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Fri May 10, 2019 6:51 pm

Dear Vivien
Just a quick message to let you know I won't have time to answer your questions tonight. They require proper attention and I"m in a rush right now, so I'll reply tomorrow night (European time).
Thank you for your understanding,
Agi

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Vivien
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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sat May 11, 2019 1:12 am

Dear Agi,

Thank you for letting me know.

Have a nice day,
Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Sat May 11, 2019 9:59 pm

Hi Vivien
Thank you for your patience. This process is getting very difficult but also quite fruitful I find. Sometimes I feel I'm going to go mad if I think too much about your questions :-)
How is it known exactly that the response came from the head?
It isn’t, actually. Well of course thoughts do come from the head in the sense that I now they are produced by the brain, but in direct experience I’m not sure I could locate them.
How is ‘thoughts coming from the head’ actually experienced?
I don’t know, because thoughts seem impossible to control, and because they are like bubbles, as soon as I turn towards them they disappear. So it’s very hard to put my finger on this experience. Maybe impossible even.
What is the thinker of thoughts? Localize it. Where is it exactly?
Well today I had an interesting insight which was connected to my realization the other day. There is no thinker of thoughts. I can’t consciously or wilfully produce thoughts at all. The thoughts emerge of their own will, there is no one directing their arising. There is no thinker.
How is ‘the brain is doing the thinking’ actually experienced? What is the AE of ‘brain’?
I don’t know if there is a direct experience, or whether there can be one. The whole idea of the brain thinking may just come from the fact that I have been educated to believe that this is the case. So without ever actually looking at the experience I assume that thoughts are in the head/brain. But as I said earlier, when I turn towards them, they typically disappear, not to be found anywhere.
“I habitually experience the thoughts as ‘me’ thinking” – so how many me-s do you have? :)
Probably an endless number. I’m not saying each thought is a separate ‘me’, certainly there are some patterns, but there’s no one individual core me and I don't think there's a way of knowing how many 'me's there are.
So are you inside or outside thoughts?
I was trying to find an answer to this today. Probably, neither. I am nowhere to be found, not inside or outside. Spooky but very very interesting.
Or is there a you inside thoughts or implied by thoughts, and another you outside of thoughts, controlling thoughts?
No I don’t think there’s a ‘me’ outside, controlling. I believed up until now that there was. But I now realize that I have absolutely no control over my thoughts. None. I would actually say right now that there is no me except as an illusion produced by my thoughts. My thoughts make me. Not the other way round.
Again, how many you are there?

1. Is there a you created by thoughts
In an unmindful sense yes there is, but when I pay attention, there is just the thoughts, no ‘me’.

2. And another you who has no control or supervision of thoughts creating the other you? Where is the you which has no control over what thoughts create? – localize it
First I thought there was a me, who has no control, yes, but now I’d say, there is no me there either. When I say in meditation today, my experience was that there was perception, and there was attention. And wherever my attention was, that was where ‘me’ was. But when I tried to see what ‘attention’ was or felt like, it was again impossible to pin down. Attention could just mean that my sense perception grows more intense in some part of the body. So for example if I am paying attention to the breathing in my lower abdomen, then the perception of the physical sensations in that area seems more intense.
“when I sit in meditation and my mind is fairly quiet” – What is it exactly that is sitting in meditation and has a mind?
This complex of body, thoughts, experiences, identifiable physical characteristics.
Where is this ‘thing’ exactly?
it’s not in any one place. It’s contained in the body though.
How is the ‘mind’ actually experienced?
Only through thoughts. Either through their presence or through their absence.
“I keep scanning the mind” – What is it exactly that is scanning the mind? “if I didn’t catch” – What is catching the thoughts? What is it that wants thoughts to go in a certain direction? What is it that doesn’t want to get entangled in thoughts? What is it that has a power to stop a thought in the middle? Where is this ‘thing’ exactly?
To all these questions I think the answer is the same. My experience on further examination is that the mind is scanning itself, mind being an aggregate of thoughts. And it is the thoughts that are catching other thoughts. ‘I’ am just the stage where all this is played out. Maybe I am just the body.
But then it’s very hard for me to understand, for example, who is making the decisions in my life. When I decided to learn to meditate or to call myself a Buddhist, who made these decisions? Were they the result of certain powerful thoughts, which overpowered other, contradictory but less strong thoughts?

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Re: deconstruction site

Postby Vivien » Sun May 12, 2019 1:32 am

Hi Agi,

You did a nice looking.
Sometimes I feel I'm going to go mad if I think too much about your questions :-)
Then don’t think about it :) Thinking is not necessary. Only looking and seeing what is going on BEFORE thinking and concepts.
There is no thinker of thoughts. I can’t consciously or wilfully produce thoughts at all. The thoughts emerge of their own will, there is no one directing their arising. There is no thinker.
Nice!
V: How is ‘the brain is doing the thinking’ actually experienced? What is the AE of ‘brain’?
A: I don’t know if there is a direct experience, or whether there can be one. The whole idea of the brain thinking may just come from the fact that I have been educated to believe that this is the case. So without ever actually looking at the experience I assume that thoughts are in the head/brain. But as I said earlier, when I turn towards them, they typically disappear, not to be found anywhere.
“I don’t know if there is a direct experience [of the brain doing thinking] – please, don’t think about this. Thinking cannot help here. Rather go to the actual experience.

In order to experience that the brain is doing the thinking:
- first, there has to be a direct experience of a brain
- secondly, there has to be a direct experience of the brain producing thoughts.

Not just knowing this intellectually what has been learn previously, but actually experiencing the brain, and that thoughts are produced by the brain.
So, go to the direct experience, and do your best to experience the brain itself. So what is the AE of brain?

Now, in order to make sure that really the brain is doing / producing thoughts, you have to be able to see/experience the process how the brain is actually producing the thoughts. Can you see the process directly?
V: “I habitually experience the thoughts as ‘me’ thinking” – so how many me-s do you have? :)
A: Probably an endless number. I’m not saying each thought is a separate ‘me’, certainly there are some patterns, but there’s no one individual core me and I don't think there's a way of knowing how many 'me's there are.
There is not just no individual core, but there are no ‘me-s’ either. None. Not endless number, but actually NONE.
There are only thoughts ABOUT ‘me-s’, and ‘endless number of me-s’, but in reality there is none. Those are just fictionary.
But I now realize that I have absolutely no control over my thoughts. None. I would actually say right now that there is no me except as an illusion produced by my thoughts. My thoughts make me. Not the other way round.
Great.
V: How is the ‘mind’ actually experienced?
A: Only through thoughts. Either through their presence or through their absence.
So ‘mind’ as such CANNOT be EXPERIENCED.

So if mind as such cannot be experienced, why assuming that it’s exists? Just because thoughts say so?
If mind as such really exists, it can be directly experienced. So where is it exactly?

My experience on further examination is that the mind is scanning itself, mind being an aggregate of thoughts.
If there is no AE of ‘mind’, then how is it known that the mind is scanning itself?
Isn’t this just another thought appearing?


Thoughts are there, their existence cannot be denied.
But is there a mind? Is there a mind experienced at all?

What can a thought do?
Does a thought have volition?
Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?


It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
But then it’s very hard for me to understand, for example, who is making the decisions in my life. When I decided to learn to meditate or to call myself a Buddhist, who made these decisions? Were they the result of certain powerful thoughts, which overpowered other, contradictory but less strong thoughts?
We will thoroughly investigate the notion of control and decider later.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Agi
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Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 12:36 pm

Re: deconstruction site

Postby Agi » Sun May 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Dear Vivien
I hope I've managed to answer your questions below.
So, go to the direct experience, and do your best to experience the brain itself. So what is the AE of brain?
I wasn’t able to have a direct experience of the brain. For me this was just not accessible like other body parts.
Now, in order to make sure that really the brain is doing / producing thoughts, you have to be able to see/experience the process how the brain is actually producing the thoughts. Can you see the process directly?
No. Only in retrospect most of the time, but even then, locating the root of the thoughts seems impossible.
So if mind as such cannot be experienced, why assume that it exists? Just because thoughts say so? If mind as such really exists, it can be directly experienced. So where is it exactly?
Well, I’m not sure this is actually correct. Electricity exists but it can’t be directly experienced, only through its workings. Mind in a way could be the same in principle. But now I tend to think, as you suggest, that mind is just a construct, an idea that we get used to using.
If there is no AE of ‘mind’, then how is it known that the mind is scanning itself? Isn’t this just another thought appearing?
Yes of course, it’s just another thought, but that thought is directed at some kind of self-examination. Introspection.
But is there a mind? Is there a mind experienced at all?
My experience is that mind is very difficult to experience in any given moment, nevertheless I interpret things that go on as processes of my mind. It seems to be a useful concept.
What can a thought do? Does a thought have volition? Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?
I tried to look into this in today’s meditation. I didn’t get anywhere. No, thoughts don’t do or will anything. Then I recalled a meditation book in which thoughts were described as individual shots from a film - those are all still images, but if you play them fast enough they make up a movie. So thoughts are just still images. But there’s so many of them and they come so fast that they make up a sequence which gives the impression of a thinking process.
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
My inclination is to say yes that’s exactly what’s going on.


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