Focusing on finding out the truth about self

This is a read-only part of the forum. All threads where seeing happens are stored here and come from this forum, the Facebook guiding area and various LU blogs. The complete list, sorted by guide, contains all links. The archives include threads of those that came to LU already seeing as well.
User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:23 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
Normally, habitually, I operate from the idea that I am doing things. When I "look inward" to see who's feeling or thinking something, there is such thing. In my understanding, “seeing” that there is no real self means that there is no longer the habit of assuming there is an I that does/thinks/perceives.

What are you looking for at LU?
I’m not sure… I just ended up on this page. But, I struggle with some things. I have a lot of thinking around doing course work for my studies. I also have a lot of thinking around desire. I habitually try to solve my problems by making an effort. It doesn’t seem like making an effort really helps for long. I'm really stuck in a loop about trying to make my life better in these areas, letting go of trying and focusing on trying to find out the truth about the self, then trying to arrange my life again when I get scared. But, something just doesn't seem right.

I wonder if it might be helpful to not try to find out the truth about the self alone.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I don't know what to expect. But, I'm constantly tugged back and forth between trying to find out the truth about the self and obsessing about my life. It might be helpful to have someone to be honest with. In a way, something seems off with what I've been doing so far. Perhaps a guided conversation might be helpful instead of what I've been doing now: trying to figure things out alone.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
have been practicing self-inquiry for three years. I do a formal practice of sitting meditation and short self-inquiry breaks during the day. I also self-inquiry during the day in response to thoughts. This practice has not been steady for the whole time. There were a lot of interruptions in my formal meditation in the beginning, sometimes for months at a time. There can still be interruptions in my formal practice. But now, informal self-inquiry in response to thoughts is very strong regardless of my formal practice. Right now I sit for meditation for 29 minutes in the morning. I just ask my self-inquiry question. I am trying to slowly increase back to 45 minutes. There was recently a period of about 4 or 6 months where I sat for 45 minutes each day. For a few months, I was sitting for an hour. Another time I sat for an hour in the morning and an hour at night.



I used to practice simple meditative vinyasa coupled with self-inquiry and negations during inhales and holds, respectively. I did this before meditating. There was a period of about 4 months where I took an hour meditative walk with self-inquiry as thoughts arose.



I had practiced using affirmations for a time. I used “I am not the body?” and followed that with “is this true?” and tried to feel the answer. I don’t do that right now.



I have tried to work with chanting to various degrees. Right now I chant the dakshinamurthy gayatri mantra three times before I meditate. After meditating I chant the gayatri mantra with mudras. After that I chant nirvana shatakam with mudras. I try to see where the mantra is coming from and going to. I try to be very present with varying success. After this, I work progressively with one part of nirvana shatakam each day, chanting one part of a sloka in sanskrit and then english and try to feel what comes up in the body. I see if any stories come up. For example, “I am not my desires” and then I wait for a desire to come up, feel it in the body, and try to let go by using the questions “Could I let go?” “Would I let go?” “If not, when would I?”



In the past, I’ve used the aforementioned letting go technique in response to thoughts during the day. I don’t do that right now. I just do self-inquiry.



I used to work with Gary Weber 1-on-1 by email. I did so for almost three years.

Right now, I listen to a talk by Robert Adams at night as I fall asleep. I listen to the same talk for several nights, sometimes for a week or more. 



I used to read Talks by Ramana Maharshi before i went to bed. I read that book one and a half times. I don’t read at all anymore. I was reading the Ribhu Gita for a little bit, but didn’t get very far. 

I used to read a lot of spiritual books years ago. I had read something by Byron Katie, Eckart Tolle, Ram Dass, Nisargadatta, Jiddu Krishnamurti.

In total I might have been seeking for 13 years. I encountered Ramana Maharshi’s teachings 13 years ago, but didn’t understand how to practice it.



I am Anishawbe and sometimes go to sweat lodges, speak to healers, do rituals like burning sage. I don’t really do that anymore.



I had tried bhakti on and off. I feel attracted to Shiva and Dakshinamurthy. I have two idols of them on a tray with a photo of Ramana Maharshi where I meditate. When my formal practice is not going on (usually I’m suffering from a lot of desire) often I start praying to Shiva a lot, praying for surrender and the return of the practices. Usually I forget to pray to Shiva for surrender once the practices start again. I pray to Shiva every day for surrender before I start my sitting meditation.



I have had periods of extensive experience with psychedelics and dissociative anesthetic drugs over the past 18 years. I don't do that naymore. I have had temporary experiences of no-self and bliss on the latter substances.

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

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:42 pm

There is an error in my post.

"When I 'look inward' to see who's feeling or thinking something, there is such thing", should read "no such thing."

Best,
Kat

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:50 am

I've been reading a few threads and the pdf and I think I have a better idea about what it means to be honest and why listing expectations is important. I'd like to expand on my answers a bit.

What are you looking for at LU?

I had been expecting for a while that awaking would fix my problems and make my life conditions better. My life has been very hard at times and I have been constantly striving to make my life situation better with mixed success. I also used to expect awakening to make all my desires go away.

Now, at LU, from what I understand is possible, I'm looking for awakening to make it okay that my life is messy, full of conflicting desires, and that things often don't go as I expect. I also have a bunch of left over beliefs around what I expect from awakening. But I'll save that for when/if it's asked.

What do I expect from a guided conversation

I can see that there's no one that's thinking or doing anything, but I still have the habit of believing this and thinking in this way automatically. I am constantly wondering if I'm doing something wrong around awakening. I have been wondering if I just haven't been diligent enough, or have not been honest enough.

So, looking honestly about what my expectations are from a guide, I notice that I expect a guide to point out where my standpoint or perspective is wrong. Or, I see that my expectation is that a guide would show me where I'm intellectualizing.

I also hope that being accountable to someone that I don't look up to as a teacher will help me to actually LOOK and do what's being asked, to look at what's needed to look at. I have been asked by my former teacher to look in the many of the same ways as I see here, but never really did it and also felt pressure not to email him too much. I guess I'm expecting that a constant dialogue with someone waiting on the other side will help me to actually do the looking.

Hope this helps,
- Kat

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:52 am

Hi Kat,

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

At LU we are described as guides - not teachers - as our role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been. This is an experiential based guiding and is not a discussion or a debate.

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.

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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:48 pm

Hi Vivien, thank you for your willingness to help with guidance around no-self. I’ve reviewed the links you provided and agree to the rules you listed.

How will Life change?
Asking this question, I feel tight in my chest over my heart and also a little tightness on the right side of my chest opposite the heart. I also feel a little tightness on the left side of my abdomen.

Sitting still with the question, now I see little blips of thought, and feel uncomfortable feelings coming and going in my upper chest and stomach area. “I want life to change.” “I’m unhappy.” “I struggle with events that happen in life.” “I want to be free from pain.”

I’m seeing different thoughts trying to formulate how I know these desires are inaccurate, and I feel uncomfortable still around areas in my abdomen. I’m having a little bit of crying now. The discomfort in my body fades away and comes back a little bit in a different area.

I understand that awakening will not change the conditions in my life. That hurts, right over the right side of my chest, and down on my side, and different areas coming and going. And, I feel teary again.

How will you change?
“A different perspective.” “It will be understood that there is no me.” “I may still arise, but it will be easier to let go.” My chest feels tight in little spots on both sides in the heart area.

“See the future.” I don’t like that that thought came up, and I felt burning pain in my chest when I thought I didn’t like it. I’m watching different thoughts coming up trying to minimize the fact that occasionally some thought about “powers” comes up here and there. I’m having fear. There’s a dull aching on the right side of my body by my hip. “There are some thoughts I know I shouldn’t have.” There’s an ache on the left side of my body just around my mid-abdomen.

“I want to completely eliminate the I.” How contradictory. I’m seeing thoughts trying to explain how I understand that seeing no-self won’t do that.


What will be different?
I’m seeing a flurry of thoughts trying to formulate the perfect answer based off teachings I’ve had. But, I don’t know. I’m curious now, “what will be different?” I focused on the question while I was doing some chores, and there was just stillness. Eventually I started to tingle and feel a whelming sensation, and then it passed. I didn’t get an answer, so I tried a different angle: “What do I want to do be different?”

Vivien, I’m having a reaction to this question. My intellect comes in and corrects whatever answer is given by pointing out that what I want is already happening. I’m getting really sharp, sometimes dull aching off and on around both sides of my solar plexus.

Eventually this came: “I want the story of me to be seen as an illusion,” the thought comes “that already happens.” Then, “then perhaps it should happen more, all the time.” “Illusion might still arise”

Essentially, I want the identification with ego to drop away on a moment-to-moment basis more frequently (or more fast?) than it is happening now.

What is missing?
This is kind-of a funny question. At first, I don’t know how I can answer this without just repeating teachings I’ve learned. As usual, having some tightness in my abdomen on the right side of my solar plexus.

“Concentration.”
The word peace keeps coming up over and over, and this answer really doesn’t feel right. Tightness all over.

Hrm… “I don’t know.. there’s nothing missing.” I’m starting to tear up. Somehow I’m resisting this answer. I’m getting tense and squinting, all in my face. I’m whining a little.

There’s nothing missing, yet somehow I cannot accept this answer. If nothing is missing, “then why isn’t…” but I cannot finish that sentence. I seem to think something is wrong, but cannot say what. “I believe my thoughts too much,” but that’s not the question being asked. Stillness? “But there is stillness.” Now there’s more resisting and scrunching my face and tearing. I’m crying a little. I feel tired. My solar plexus area hurts on both sides, it’s burning. I’m just feeling it. I’m feeling frustrated, sighing. I’m getting restless. “What am I not getting?” pops up. My jaw is tense, my teeth are clenched. I’m tearing up again, I see “I don’t understand.” I’m just staying with all this.

There’s a lot of resistance here. I’m seeing “I want to escape. Stop thinking about this.” My body relaxed, my head is tingling. “Oh no, oh no.” I’m not sure what that’s about.

“There’s nothing missing.” There doesn’t seem to be resistance to this now, just kinda teary and soft. My body tingles a little here and there, my head tingles. “There’s nothing missing, is this true?” Some tightness around both sides of my chest under my pectorals.

- Kat

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:34 am

Hi Kat,

Thank you for getting through these questions about expectations. It’s 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 results in comparison. Comparison between what is happening, and the imagined expectation. Thus what has been seen can be thrown out or ignored, since it doesn’t match the expected outcome.

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?
“I want life to change.” “I’m unhappy.” “I struggle with events that happen in life.” “I want to be free from pain.”
I understand that awakening will not change the conditions in my life.
No, it won’t.

Happiness or peace is a state, and no states are permanent, they are all subject to change. Seeing through the separate individual is not about not having any ‘bad’ or uncomfortable feelings any more. Rather it’s about encompassing all emotions, accepting WHATEVER is arising in this moment (even the so called negative emotions).

Many seekers believe that seeing through the separate individual is a completely different state that they are currently having, with some special qualities (happiness, bliss, constant peace or whatever). However, this is not the case. Seeing through the illusion that there is a separate entity (self) is not a state. When it is SEEN it, the knowledge becomes factual. Many seekers have the impression that seeing there is no self is a state to ‘abide in’. It's not.

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 their ‘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.
“A different perspective.” “It will be understood that there is no me.” “I may still arise, but it will be easier to let go.”…
….“I want to completely eliminate the I.” How contradictory. I’m seeing thoughts trying to explain how I understand that seeing no-self won’t do that.
For many, there is an expectation that the sense of self will be gone completely, never asserting itself ever again. But this is not the case. Due to a lifetime of conditioning, self-constructs still arise out of habit. It needs time and lots of further looking for it to gradually dissolve.
“See the future.”… some thought about “powers” comes up here and there.
Seeing through the self doesn’t come with special powers, like seeing the future. But rather it’s about seeing that the self who wants to have special powers and see the future is not there. It’s just an illusion, a fantasy.
Eventually this came: “I want the story of me to be seen as an illusion,” the thought comes “that already happens.” Then, “then perhaps it should happen more, all the time.” “Illusion might still arise”
Essentially, I want the identification with ego to drop away on a moment-to-moment basis more frequently (or more fast?) than it is happening now.
It might happen more often than now, but as I mentioned before believing in the self is a conditioned habit, and it requires lots and lots of looking. But with each looking it gets a bit weaker and weaker.
For example, “I am not my desires” and then I wait for a desire to come up, feel it in the body, and try to let go by using the questions “Could I let go?” “Would I let go?” “If not, when would I?”
Doing these types of questioning can be hard and tyring, since it’s based on the assumption that there is a ‘me’ who has a power to let go or not let go. It would be much useful to inquire into the one who/what is supposedly could or could not let go. This type of inquiry will be our tool with this investigation.
I have had temporary experiences of no-self and bliss on the latter substances.
It’s important to mention here that these were peak experiences which are states, and the nature of states is to come and go. Seeing through the self is not about having a constant state of bliss, however quite some people expect this to happen. But it won’t.
Right now, I listen to a talk by Robert Adams at night as I fall asleep. I listen to the same talk for several nights, sometimes for a week or more. 

You have been doing all sorts of practices, but now I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge and rather focus on looking things for yourself.

Also I would like to ask you to stop reading and listening any teachers for the time of our investigation, and rather spend your time looking for the topics we will investigate together. Can we agree on this?
have been practicing self-inquiry for three years. I do a formal practice of sitting meditation and short self-inquiry breaks during the day…… Right now I sit for meditation for 29 minutes in the morning. I just ask my self-inquiry question.
You can still sit in meditation, but rather asking self-inquiry questions, rather ask the questions I will give you.
Doing self-inquiry is a much harder task, since those questions implies that there is a self, I just have to figure out who or what I am really. But actually there is no self that could be anything, and it might take a very long time with self-inquiry to realize this. So let’s do this the easier way, not the hard way. Can we agree on this?

Before starting, please tell me what came up reading the comments about the expectations.
Was there any resistance to any of it?


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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:28 am

Hey Vivien. Thank you for the reply. Here’s what I noticed when reading about the expectations.
Rather it’s about encompassing all emotions, accepting WHATEVER is arising in this moment
I think that would be nice. I felt a little passing sharp pain in the left side of my body come and go quickly.
Many seekers believe that seeing through the separate individual is a completely different state that they are currently having, with some special qualities (happiness, bliss, constant peace or whatever).
Yes, I have that belief even though I’ve been instructed otherwise before. I feel a dull aching just below my heart.
However, this is not the case. Seeing through the illusion that there is a separate entity (self) is not a state. When it is SEEN it, the knowledge becomes factual. Many seekers have the impression that seeing there is no self is a state to ‘abide in’. It's not.
Hmm.. I had a to read that a few times. I feel a dull ache just around my solar plexus. I have been trying to abide in a state of being, or watching for the I-thought. Thanks for clarifying. The whole idea of abiding in a state, that would require a self to do the abiding, wouldn’t it?
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 their ‘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.
I feel a little tightness down on my left side on the front. It’s faded away.
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.
That’s acceptable. I’ve struggled with meaningfully doing letting go practices on the above things. Feeling a brief sharp pain that comes and goes on my side again.
For many, there is an expectation that the sense of self will be gone completely, never asserting itself ever again. But this is not the case. Due to a lifetime of conditioning, self-constructs still arise out of habit. It needs time and lots of further looking for it to gradually dissolve.
Okay. Thank you. I feel a some tension on the right side of my abdomen around my belly and some pain just beside the right side of my solar plexus. I was thinking about how I want to do that further looking.
Seeing through the self doesn’t come with special powers, like seeing the future. But rather it’s about seeing that the self who wants to have special powers and see the future is not there. It’s just an illusion, a fantasy.
Yes, understood. I find it embarrassing that my thinking goes to those places sometimes.


Here are my responses to your other comments. Thanks for taking the time to address individual parts of the practices I had been doing.
Doing these types of questioning can be hard and tyring, since it’s based on the assumption that there is a ‘me’ who has a power to let go or not let go. It would be much useful to inquire into the one who/what is supposedly could or could not let go. This type of inquiry will be our tool with this investigation.
Okay, great. I do find that kind of questioning hard, and don’t do it anymore as I get distracted by other thoughts. Maybe those practices will be useful again some other time, or maybe some other practice will come up later for letting go of attachments.
You have been doing all sorts of practices, but now I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge and rather focus on looking things for yourself.
Also I would like to ask you to stop reading and listening any teachers for the time of our investigation, and rather spend your time looking for the topics we will investigate together. Can we agree on this?
[/quote]
Yes, I agree. Yesterday I stopped listening to talks to fall asleep. It was fine.


You can still sit in meditation, but rather asking self-inquiry questions, rather ask the questions I will give you.
Doing self-inquiry is a much harder task, since those questions implies that there is a self, I just have to figure out who or what I am really. But actually there is no self that could be anything, and it might take a very long time with self-inquiry to realize this. So let’s do this the easier way, not the hard way. Can we agree on this?
I know… I’m never quite sure if I’m doing self inquiry correct. Even though I can see there’s no thinker or self back there nothing has noticeably changed such as factually knowing there is no self outside of when I’m doing meditation. After a while of stillness in meditation it starts to become clear as thoughts arise there is no one thinking them. But then things go back to normal pretty fast during the hour after meditation.

But, sure, I’m game.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:09 am

Hi Kat,
I have been trying to abide in a state of being, or watching for the I-thought. Thanks for clarifying. The whole idea of abiding in a state, that would require a self to do the abiding, wouldn’t it?
Yes, exactly. Also, abiding in a state is about not wanting and avoiding certain experiences. And the question could be that who or what is not wanting or trying to avoid certain experiences.
Even though I can see there’s no thinker or self back there nothing has noticeably changed such as factually knowing there is no self outside of when I’m doing meditation.
What noticeable changes you think should happen other than experientially knowing that there is no self?

Let’s start it. As stated in my first post, my role is to directly point to what IS, through the use of exercises and questions. Your role is to LOOK carefully to what is being pointed at. It is this simple LOOKING (not thinking) that brings the realisation that there is no separate self and never has been.

Okay, now we become aware of actual experience (AE) and what LOOKING is.
‘Looking’ is just plain looking at actual/direct experience (AE), which is simply colour (image), sound, smell, sensation, taste and the simple knowing of thought at face value that is appearing right now in the moment. You are looking at the raw experience of AE and noticing the labels and thoughts ABOUT the raw experience. The key to this exploration is the careful LOOKING. Why? Because it’s the act of actually LOOKING and not finding an “I” that brings about the realisation of there being no separate self and that there has never been a separate self.

The interpretation of actual experience happens quickly. So while inquiring, labelling and thought interpretation will always appear, but it is possible to become aware of the thoughts that appear with and overlay actual experience. Another key component of this exploration is being able to tell the difference between actual experience and the interpretation by thought of actual experience.

Here's an exercise that will help you to see what we mean exactly by direct experience. 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 let me know how you go. Please write a list as above for one period of doing this exercise.

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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:13 pm

What noticeable changes you think should happen other than experientially knowing that there is no self?

I can’t say. The practices that I was doing have created a habit of looking inward regularly in reaction to feelings and thought to see if there’s an I thinking or feeling. Regularly throughout the day I experience that there is no self at all. I also experience having a memory of a thought or a chain of thought where I believed there is a self doing or thinking, and see a shift between believing there is a self and experiencing there is no self. However, I think “there should be more” or “something else” that’s experienced.


I’ve been experiencing with actual experience labeling at various times during the day as you recommended. Here’s what I noted during one activity, lunch:

When looking at my plate: The “plate” is composed only of colours red, brown, white. What I think is food is a change in color from red to brown. Without thought, there’s no food and no plate, just colours. There’s nothing to indicate a separate existing object without thought.

Holding my utensils in my hand, there is pressure, resistance, and temperature. There is some sense of how my fingers are positioned. Only when thought comes in and labels is there a fork. Nothing about pressure, resistance, or temperature indicates a fork. There is also no one perceiving these sense or labels. There’s just these “perceptions”


Chewing my food, there is a sensation of pressure in my mouth. Taste arises as well, and so does temperature, sound, some sense of the positioning of my mouth and jaw. There is sensation as muscles tense. These were labeled simply as “thought/taste/temperature/sound/position.” This is thought. As I think about what to write, I see the labels expanded into a sentence that includes the word I. This is thought only. There’s no experience of anyone thinking these thoughts. They just arise like other sensations with no feeler, thinker, or even perceive.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:41 am

Hi Kat,
However, I think “there should be more” or “something else” that’s experienced.
What more should be there? What else?
Are you expecting something that you cannot even tell what you expect exactly?
When looking at my plate: The “plate” is composed only of colours red, brown, white. What I think is food is a change in color from red to brown. Without thought, there’s no food and no plate, just colours. There’s nothing to indicate a separate existing object without thought.
Nice looking.
Holding my utensils in my hand, there is pressure, resistance, and temperature. There is some sense of how my fingers are positioned. Only when thought comes in and labels is there a fork. Nothing about pressure, resistance, or temperature indicates a fork.
And what is the actual experience of ‘pressure’? – is a sound, image/color, smell, taste, sensation or thought?
What is the AE of resistance?
What is the AE of temperature?
There is also no one perceiving these sense or labels. There’s just these “perceptions”
Great.
This is thought only. There’s no experience of anyone thinking these thoughts. They just arise like other sensations with no feeler, thinker, or even perceive.
Good, all right.

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 or longer and look similarly as you looked for the gaps between thoughts. Look for the ‘answer’ BEFORE thought interpretation kicks in.

You might have seen some of these clearly before, but regardless, please look again.

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? – don’t think, rather look for a ‘thinker’
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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:16 am

What more should be there? What else?
Are you expecting something that you cannot even tell what you expect exactly?
Asking that question, what came up was that “I should just know there is no self.” But, that feels really off. I feel tight around my solar plexus thinking that. It’s close to what you’re saying, that I can’t settle on what I expect to be differently. Just that SOMETHING should be different. Is it possible this is a way the delusion of self maintains it’s self? Just an idea.
And what is the actual experience of ‘pressure’? – is a sound, image/color, smell, taste, sensation or thought?
What is the AE of resistance?
What is the AE of temperature?
These are sensations. But, I thought that resistance (like the pressure that happens when skin touches fork) was actual experience. What’s the difference between pressure and sensation, or even sensation and smell?
You might have seen some of these clearly before, but regardless, please look again.
Yes, I have done some of these before. And, I’m happy to visit them again for a new experience.
Where do thoughts come from?
I noticed that I feel a lot of sensation, tightness in a big ball right in the centre of my solar plexus when I sit with this question. I don’t see any evidence for where thoughts come from. My actual experience is that there is no thought, and then there is thought, and then there is no thought again.
Where are they going?
Again, this question brings about the same sort of tightness. I might call it anxiety. I can’t really answer this question. I see interpretations of where thoughts go, but the actual experience of where thoughts go before interpretation is just devoid of thought.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
More sensations, now moving down towards my belly. I’m getting some thinking, fear?, about how I can’t answer this question without interpretation. Is what ever thought comes after the space between thoughts an interpretation?

Thoughts can stop in the middle of a sentence, but there’s no middle of a thought experienced. I just experience thought, or no thought. I didn’t experience any I-thought coming in and affecting another thought, somehow causing another to stop.
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?
This question… It’s frustrating. I noticed at first a couple of simple thoughts generated and repeated, “potato…. potato, “salmon…. salmon,” then a complex thought would come in that wasn’t predicted. A few more complex unpredicted thoughts would happen a few times, and then after I asked the question again there was no effort to try to predict a thought. 

Vivien, I sat with the above questions for about 35 minutes this evening. I’m going to come back to the rest tomorrow during the day when I have more time. I’d be grateful for any feedback from what you’ve seen so far. I’m a little confused about how to report on my findings that come before the interpretations.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:26 am

Hi Kat,
It’s close to what you’re saying, that I can’t settle on what I expect to be differently. Just that SOMETHING should be different. Is it possible this is a way the delusion of self maintains it’s self?
Yes. Only a self wants to get something out of this inquiry.
And since that ‘something’ can never be reached, the conclusion will be that whatever is right now, this is NOT it.
So watch out for this expectation.
Is what ever thought comes after the space between thoughts an interpretation?
Interpretation happens only in thoughts. There are certain thoughts that POINTS TO AE, like the word sensation is pointing to the sensation itself.

But most of the thoughts are NOT pointing directly to AE, but rather pointing only to THOUGHTS ABOUT AE.

So it’s important to see the difference between what is actually happening and what THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT what is happening.
I’d be grateful for any feedback from what you’ve seen so far. I’m a little confused about how to report on my findings that come before the interpretations.
I wait for your remaining answers before replying, not to have our conversation go on two threads.
I don’t see any evidence for where thoughts come from. My actual experience is that there is no thought, and then there is thought, and then there is no thought again.
This reply came from looking at AE.
Thoughts can stop in the middle of a sentence, but there’s no middle of a thought experienced. I just experience thought, or no thought. I didn’t experience any I-thought coming in and affecting another thought, somehow causing another to stop.
This description is also coming from AE.

So you look at what is there when thoughts are ignored, then you try to describe what has been seen as precisely as you can without adding any further stories.

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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:45 am

Thank you for the guidance Vivien. There was much less sensation going on in my body this time, and no worry about doing things wrong.
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
Thoughts, including painful or negative ones, become present without any apparent cause. There’s no link in my experience between one I-thought and the not arising of another thought.

Can an 'I' be found that generates thoughts?
An “I” didn’t come on the scene before the thought that contained it. I didn’t experience a thought coming out of an “I”. There’s nothing at all like that. “I” isn’t present outside of a thought that arises seemingly uncaused.

“I think” - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
I’m not experiencing something I can identify as thinking at all. I know I call it a “thought,” but there’s not a process of thinking that is experienced at all. If I see a thought “I think...” it’s not referencing or pointing to anything I can experience.

What is the thinker of thoughts? – don’t think, rather look for a ‘thinker’
I couldn’t witness any thoughts being thought by a thinker. A thought is either there, or it is not.

Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found?
There is something there, but it’s not “thinking”. But, most thoughts didn’t include the idea of a thinker. If a thought “I think” came up, it just happened in a thought and I didn’t experience another thought coming from it.

Or could it be that the 'I' that thinks is also just a thought?
My mid-section is burning. “I” isn’t appearing when a thought isn’t there, and when a thought is there I can’t really locate an “I” in my experience.

Do you think thoughts or you are just ‘being thought’?
Watching carefully, “I” is thought. What is thinking? I didn’t experience anything “thinking,” that is anything generating a thought. There’s either a thought, or there isn’t. “I” was either in the thought, or it wasn’t. I didn’t experience anything thinking an “I.”

Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?
Watching carefully, it’s possible for there to be long periods without a thought. In these moments, there’s no experience of something, especially not a thought stopping thoughts from coming.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 4768
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:36 am

Hi Kat,
These are sensations. But, I thought that resistance (like the pressure that happens when skin touches fork) was actual experience. What’s the difference between pressure and sensation, or even sensation and smell?
Pressure, resistance, temperature are just labels on the AE of sensations.
Only thoughts divide sensations into different categories and labels sensations according those categories. Can you see this?
V: Where are they going?
K: Again, this question brings about the same sort of tightness. I might call it anxiety.
What is this tightness or anxiety is about?
If the tightness or anxiety could speak, what story would they tell?
A few more complex unpredicted thoughts would happen a few times, and then after I asked the question again there was no effort to try to predict a thought.
What is/was making the effort to try to predict a thought?
If I see a thought “I think...” it’s not referencing or pointing to anything I can experience.
“If I see a thought ‘I think…’”- what is it that is seeing thoughts?
“it’s not referencing or pointing to anything I can experience” – what is it exactly that experiences?
I couldn’t witness any thoughts being thought by a thinker. A thought is either there, or it is not.
What is witnessing thoughts?
V: Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found?
K: There is something there, but it’s not “thinking”.
What is this ‘something’ exactly which is there, but it’s not thinking?
Where is this ‘something’ exactly? – localize it
it just happened in a thought and I didn’t experience another thought coming from it.
“I didn’t experience….” – what does the word ‘I’ point to in this sentence?

What is the experiencer?
Where is the experiencer?
when a thought is there I can’t really locate an “I” in my experience.
“I can’t locate an ‘I’ in my experience” – what is it that has or owns experience?
I didn’t experience anything thinking an “I.”
What is it exactly that didn’t experience anything thinking an ‘I’?

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/

User avatar
RainKat
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:21 am

Re: Focusing on finding out the truth about self

Postby RainKat » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:02 am

Only thoughts divide sensations into different categories and labels sensations according those categories. Can you see this?
Yes. It seems like sensation, touch, and sound are also labels pointing to actual experience.

What is this tightness or anxiety is about?
If the tightness or anxiety could speak, what story would they tell?
It’s hard to say. That anxiety isn’t here anymore.

What is/was making the effort to try to predict a thought?
Although a thought arises that guesses what the next thought is, there’s nothing there trying to predict or make the effort.

“If I see a thought ‘I think…’”- what is it that is seeing thoughts?
When a thought arises, even though it’s experienced there’s nothing experienced that “sees” the thought.

“it’s not referencing or pointing to anything I can experience” – what is it exactly that experiences?
These things, sound, smell, taste, sensation, sight, thought, appear but they’re appearing happening to anything.

What is witnessing thoughts?
Nothing could be found outside of a thought looking in and witnessing the thought. And, even though there’s a thought, there’s no evidence of “witnessing”, no process of witnessing seen.


[quote[
What is this ‘something’ exactly which is there, but it’s not thinking?
[/quote]

It’s the experience it’s self that’s there. Be it thought, smell, sound, etc. That’s what the something is.

Where is this ‘something’ exactly? – localize it
All these different experiences (sight, smell, etc) seem to blend together. Sensation wasn’t behind or beside sight. There doesn’t seem to be a location.

What is the experiencer?
There’s no evidence for one. There’s just experiences.

Where is the experiencer?
There’s no experiencer, just the “experience” of sight/smell/taste/sensation/touch but without the labels. Or thought is there too and there’s a label.

“I can’t locate an ‘I’ in my experience” – what is it that has or owns experience?
The experience doesn’t have an owner and there’s nothing having it, unless it’s having it’s self.

What is it exactly that didn’t experience anything thinking an ‘I’?
There’s no experiencer. Whether or not there’s a thought, regardless of it contains an I, there’s no experiencer. If something seems like an experiencer, it’s a thought.


Return to “ARCHIVES”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests