direct experience over intellectual understanding

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Free2K
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direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:44 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I’ve had a few glimpses of the loss of self, but I didn’t understand them when they happened. Recently I’ve come to grasp this understanding in a profound way, but largely it still remains intellectual. I know no self to mean that there is no separate entity functioning within my body. There is nothing separate from all that is.
What are you looking for at LU? I want to have an experiential understanding of there being no separate self. I know that ultimately the self cannot experience it’s own dissolution but I want to be guided to the gate if possible. I desperately want to awaken from illusion... with every ounce of my being!

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I am hoping for someone to be able to meet me where I’m at and help me to see where I’m stuck. I feel like all the spiritual guidance I’ve received in the past has only reinforced my separate sense of self so I’m hoping this will be different and much more direct and harsh if need be.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I’ve been on a progressive spiritual path for about 13 years, since I was 20. I was raised Roman Catholic and became disillusioned at a young age. I became drawn to Buddhism in college and starting reading very intensely which brought me into a deep depression because I think I misunderstood non-attachment at that time and I repressed everything I was. After college I moved to a Tibetan Buddhist center to live and work there, I also traveled to India and studied forms of Hinduism and many types of Buddhism amping other things. In the past 3 years I’ve become immersed in more new-age philosophy, doing energy healing and I’m now in a clairvoyant training program. But I also discovered non-duality within the past few months and it has been resonating in an amazingly powerful way. It’s that feeling of wondering how I couldn’t have come across this earlier because it’s so direct. And yet I’m still here trying to make sense of it all in my experience! I still feel like a separate individual.

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

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Vivien
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:06 am

Hi,

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/

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:54 am

Hi Vivien, thanks so much for being my guide!
How will Life change?
If I can experientially realize no-self I feel that nothing with change in my life as a direct result of it, and yet at the same time my intense grasping would subside so there would be a much greater acceptance of what already is. I wouldn’t continue to struggle to want it to be something different.

How will you change?
There would be a realization that there was never a me to have changed! Change will happen on its own accord and there would just be witnessing.
What will be different?
The “wanting things to be different” would subside.
What is missing?
I always feel like something is missing in my life, but it’s like searching in the darkness to find something that continues to elude me. Ultimately I know that nothing is missing and it’s just this seeming self that’s veiling my true, felt knowing of that.

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:47 am

Hi,
thanks so much for being my guide!
You’re welcome :)

How can I call you? I mean what name?

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?
If I can experientially realize no-self I feel that nothing with change in my life as a direct result of it, and yet at the same time my intense grasping would subside so there would be a much greater acceptance of what already is.
Grasping and wanting things to be different are conditioned reactions based on other conditionings and personal problems. Just because the self has seen through, it doesn’t mean that these will stop. It might lessen, but it won’t stop appearing in an instant.

Perception changes and with that some reactions etc. may change. The core belief of being a separate self is seen through which also includes others beliefs that support this idea. However, like a rug that is beginning to unravel, there are still many knots (beliefs, patterns) that need undoing. Continuing to LOOK after the realisation is very much the key.
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.
I wouldn’t continue to struggle to want it to be something different.
Thoughts about wanting things to be different still could arise after seeing no-self. However, upon looking it can be seen that there is nothing wanting, there is no wanter, there are only thoughts about wanting without anything or anyone doing it.
Change will happen on its own accord and there would just be witnessing.
Witnessing by what? Witnessing implies a witnesser. An agent that performs the act of witnessing. But there is not even a witness. There is no subject-object relation. There is no separation.
The “wanting things to be different” would subside.
No, wanting things to be different, still will appear for a while. Realising that there is no inherent self is just a beginning and not an ending. There are still many beliefs, patterns and emotions that will need clearing as not everything is rewritten in one fowl swoop. So please put aside all expectations that by the end of this exploration you should be seeing/feeling this 24/7. There has never been a separate self….ever…so things aren’t going to change. The only thing that changes is how life and the idea of a separate self are perceived.
I’ve had a few glimpses of the loss of self
The self cannot be lost, since it’s ALREADY not there.
There could be peak experiences of without the illusion of the self. However, this is no our aim. These peak experiences are just states, which comes and goes. We are not after some special states where the illusion of the self won’t appear. Seeing through the self is not a state.

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.
I know that ultimately the self cannot experience it’s own dissolution but I want to be guided to the gate if possible.
The self cannot dissolve since it’s ALREADY not there. It’s NEVER been there. It’s not there even in this moment.
Since it’s never been there, therefore it cannot dissolve.

So there will be no experience of the dissolution of the self. Rather the recognition that the self has never ever been there, it’s always been just a fictionary or imaginary character. Nothing else.
After college I moved to a Tibetan Buddhist center to live and work there, I also traveled to India and studied forms of Hinduism and many types of Buddhism amping other things. In the past 3 years I’ve become immersed in more new-age philosophy, doing energy healing and I’m now in a clairvoyant training program.
For the time our investigation, I would like to ask you to stop reading/listening any teachers, and rather spend your time looking. Also, I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge. You have to see this experientially and not relying on others’ experiences. Can we agree on these?

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/

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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Sun Jun 23, 2019 4:10 pm

Hi Vivien, my name is Kelly :)

Yes, I agree to put aside all beliefs and other’s philosophies- as much as I consciously can.

While reading your replies the resistance that came up was kind of like a feeling of - how could I see anything differently if there never was a separate self and nothing will change? I want a shift in perspective, and I know it’s not a state to be sought after but I guess I feel my sense of self wanting something from this - like to be awakened to a better or more real experience of experience. Even though there isn’t a self, the belief and bodily sense that there is still creates a false illusion, right? I feel like deep down I have a knowing that there is no self but my experience doesn’t confirm that right now.

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:31 am

Hi Kelly,
how could I see anything differently if there never was a separate self and nothing will change? I want a shift in perspective
Seeing no self is just a shift in perception (just as you say), like with these images bellow. As if you were seeing only in one way for your whole life, and now there’s a shift, and you can see from a different perspective. But you can still see the original, old version too. From now on, you can switch back and forth between the two.
Image
Image
It’s similar when you’re watching a movie which is so enchanting that you completely forget that you’re in a movie theatre, sitting in a chair, watching images projected onto the screen. It totally seems like and feels like as if you were in the scenes of the movie together with the characters. And then suddenly, you ‘wake up’ from this illusion. But the movie will still go on. You just discovered that the whole movie is just a fantasy. But the movie will go on, it won’t stop appearing. So there is only a perception shift. This is the same with seeing through the self.
and I know it’s not a state to be sought after but I guess I feel my sense of self wanting something from this - like to be awakened to a better or more real experience of experience.
This is normal to expect this, however, it is still an expectation and it can be in the way of seeing what is really going on (if you firmly keep hold onto the expectations). But you don’t have to do anything with expectations, it’s enough if you are aware of them and thus not measure your success against them.
I feel like deep down I have a knowing that there is no self but my experience doesn’t confirm that right now.
That’s what your whole investigation will be about.

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/

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:42 am

Hi Vivien,

I’ve only been playing around with this looking and labeling for the last few hours but it’s been interesting. I found that labeling each direct experience forced me to pinpoint and choose a specific sense to focus on- this made me feel like I was dividing experience and it actually made me feel really conceptual and not present. I realized I had a easier time staying present with the whole of experience without labeling. For instance, I was taking a shower and having many perceptions happening like the sensation of the water on my skin, the sound of the water, the sight of the shower and my body, etc etc. I had to narrow down my focus in order to perceive and label a specific perception and then switch back and forth to different perceptions. It put me so much in my mind that I actually forgot if I had washed my hair or not! It was strange, it felt like I was somehow even more present in some sense when my mind was off thinking about something completely irrelevant, as it often is when I’m in the shower.
Is this what the exercise is supposed to bring to light or am I misinterpreting it?

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:15 am

Hi Kelly,
Is this what the exercise is supposed to bring to light or am I misinterpreting it?
The purpose of the exercise is not to get into any state, it’s not about being present or not. Being present or not is a state. We are not after a state.

I gave you this exercise to help you to differentiate between what is actually happening and what THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT what is happening.

Seeing clearly what is actual experience (AE) and what is only THOUGHTS ABOUT AE will be essential for our whole investigation. So this is just a pre-exercise (just as the following will be) to help you how to look.

It would be very useful, if you could learn using the quote function, since I will be asking lots of questions (in blue) and you will have to quote and answer them one-by-one.

Here is the link again how to quote:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660
For instance, I was taking a shower and having many perceptions happening like the sensation of the water on my skin, the sound of the water, the sight of the shower and my body, etc etc.
I will show you how to do it:

Water on my skin = sensation
sound of the water = sound
seeing the shower and my body = image/color
feeling the warmth of the water = sensation
having a thought “this water is so pleasant” = thought

So I would like to break down daily activities into these categories, and write me a list for me 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/

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:53 am

Hi Vivien,
I gave you this exercise to help you to differentiate between what is actually happening and what THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT what is happening.
Yes, I understand that. What I’m trying to say is, isn’t labeling the feel of water, for instance, as a sensation, a thought about the experience? It takes the entire experience of water (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound) and condenses it into “something felt” in order to focus on that aspect of it. That’s what I meant when saying that these labels about what is happening are not what is happening.
The purpose of the exercise is not to get into any state, it’s not about being present or not. Being present or not is a state. We are not after a state.
I don’t quite understand how being present is a state. Isn’t it simply being with what is currently happening? It’s not about any kind of emotional undertone.
So I would like to break down daily activities into these categories, and write me a list for me one period of doing this exercise.
I understand how to do this, it just feels like it is about thoughts about the experience.

Brushing teeth:
Taste of toothpaste- taste
Feeling of toothbrush in hand- sensation
Feeling of toothpaste and bristles in mouth- sensation
Sound of water and brushing- sound
Seeing face in mirror- image/color
Thinking about the correct way to brush- thought

Kelly

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:45 am

Hi Kelly,
What I’m trying to say is, isn’t labeling the feel of water, for instance, as a sensation, a thought about the experience?
Yes, that’s right.

Every single word or label is just a thought.
However, certain thought POINT TO directly to the AE, like the thought label ‘sensation’ is pointing to the AE of the pure sensation itself.
While other thoughts points only to THOUGHTS ABOUT AE, like the word ‘water’ or ‘feeling the warm water on my body’.
The word ‘water’ is just a conceptual overlay on the pure sensation.
Can you see the difference?
It takes the entire experience of water (sight, smell, taste, touch, sound) and condenses it into “something felt” in order to focus on that aspect of it.
There is no ‘entire experience of water’.
Since the sight/image labelled ‘water’ is NOT the AE of ‘water’, but AE of image/color only.
The sound labelled ‘water’ is NOT the AE of water, but the AE of sound only.
The sensation labelled ‘water’ is NOT the AE of water, but the AE of sensation only.
Can you see this?

So the labels ‘sound’, ‘sensation’, ‘image/colour’ POINT DIRECTLY TO the actual experience.
But the word ‘water’ doesn’t point to directly to the experience, rather just to a conceptual overlay on the actual sound + sensation + image/color.
Can you see this?

The word ‘touch’ doesn’t point to directly the experience.
Since there is NO AE of ‘touch’.
Touch is just a conceptual overlay on the AE of sensation.
The word ‘touch’ implies that one object is in contact with another (like the hand touching the table).
But there is NO AE of hand, table or touching. But we will investigate this later.
I understand how to do this, it just feels like it is about thoughts about the experience.
I asked you to write a list, since otherwise how would I know what can you really see? We have to communicate, and your written words here is the only thing I can work with. I will give my questions and exercises according to your replies.
And here is another important thing to mention. We are not labelling the taste of toothpaste as a taste. So it’s not about that you have an experience, what you describe in words as ‘taste of toothpaste’ and then we label this thought with another thought label ‘taste’.

We are not putting another thought label on top of the original thought ‘taste of toothpaste’. Rather we are going to the opposite direction. With the label ‘taste’ we are seeing what is UNDER the conceptual overlay of ‘taste of toothpaste’ and see what is there without the concept of toothpaste. And under the concept there is just the pure taste itself (as an experience). But since we have to communicate somehow, we call this experience of taste as ‘taste’.

We are doing this exercise to see, how thoughts are constantly overlaying and interpreting the experience (Like I feel the taste of toothpaste in my mouth). And now we are looking under that thought overlay to see what is really there (the pure taste itself) without the overlay.

So it’s not about:
experience of taste --> thought: taste of toothpaste --> thought label ‘taste’

Rather:
experience of taste <-- thought label ‘taste’ <-- thought: taste of toothpaste

Can you see the difference?


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: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:28 am

Hi Vivien,

Yes, I see exactly what you mean, thank you for clarifying this. I see that all words are conceptual overlays and we are trying to get as close to the AE by using only the descriptive words of sensation, thought, smell, taste etc. That all tastes for instance, are simply taste, not a taste of something because that is conceptual.

I let myself ease into this more and was able to practice perceiving things in this way when I was directly focusing on it- it was difficult to practice when I was busy doing something specific because my mind wanted to get involved. I noticed that when I was able to just stay as close to the AE as possible, I felt an underlying peace in all experience but also a deep feeling of emptiness of all phenomena- it was a bit depressing for my “sense of self” to acknowledge this because it made everything feel more dreamlike and unreal.

I also noticed that in getting close to perceiving AE, I could see how all perceptions were emanating from the same kind of placeless place, and for instance, that there wasn’t such a thing as a sound being distant or closer to me, like the sound of my breath vs the sound of birds. And yet all perceptions still feel as though they are experienced by “me”. I feel like I can’t fully grasp the depth and simplicity of AE because I still feel like I need to be in control in some way.

This may be a different topic, but I also wonder how there can be no self when I have the perspective of seeing out of a single set of eyes and a body that I can apparently move- but I can not see out of other eyes or move other bodies. My perspective is limited to a very specific viewpoint.

I’m so grateful for you to work with me on this Vivien, I can’t thank you enough.

Kelly

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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:37 am

Hi Kelly,
I’m so grateful for you to work with me on this Vivien, I can’t thank you enough.
You are very welcome :)
Yes, I see exactly what you mean, thank you for clarifying this. I see that all words are conceptual overlays and we are trying to get as close to the AE by using only the descriptive words of sensation, thought, smell, taste etc. That all tastes for instance, are simply taste, not a taste of something because that is conceptual.
Yes, exactly.
And yet all perceptions still feel as though they are experienced by “me”. I feel like I can’t fully grasp the depth and simplicity of AE because I still feel like I need to be in control in some way.
That’s all right, this is what we are going to look at deeply with our investigation.
This may be a different topic, but I also wonder how there can be no self when I have the perspective of seeing out of a single set of eyes and a body that I can apparently move- but I can not see out of other eyes or move other bodies. My perspective is limited to a very specific viewpoint.
We will look at this too. Just one step at a time. :) At the end, everything will be clear.

I gave you the previous exercise to helps you to differentiate between what is actually happening and what THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT what is happening.

Now we start investigating thoughts.
This exercise has a dual purpose. Firstly, to become aware of each and every though as they appear. Secondly, the careful looking for the gap is an example of how carefully to look when looking for the ‘separate self’.

Here is a step-by-step description of how to look at thoughts. First thing is to sit for at least 5-10 minutes quietly somewhere, several times throughout your day. Close your eyes and just notice thoughts. Don’t engage with any thought, just notice them.

1. Notice the current thought that is present.
Like when you sit observing the body, a thought might arise “this is my feet” or “here is a pain” or “my breathing is too quick” or “I am bored with this exercise” or “I have better things to do” or any sorts of thoughts.
2. This thought will pass and another thought will come. So just observe this thought passing.
3. Then wait for the next thought to come.
4. When the next thought is present, just notice it, and see how it passes.
5. Then wait for the next thought to come.


Between the 2 thoughts there is a gap. It can be very short or subtle, just a second or a few seconds before the next thought come in.

This is how to look at thoughts:
Looking how they come and go, and
Observing the short gap between them.
Noticing how the current thought is passing.
And waiting for the next thought to come.

Throughout your waking day, try to observe the gap between thoughts as often as possible. It can be done by noticing that ‘thinking’ is happening right now, then stop and just simply wait for the next thought to come. In the ‘waiting’ there is a gap between two thoughts.

Let me know how it goes.

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: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:36 am

Hi Vivien,
Here is a step-by-step description of how to look at thoughts. First thing is to sit for at least 5-10 minutes quietly somewhere, several times throughout your day. Close your eyes and just notice thoughts. Don’t engage with any thought, just notice them.

1. Notice the current thought that is present.
Like when you sit observing the body, a thought might arise “this is my feet” or “here is a pain” or “my breathing is too quick” or “I am bored with this exercise” or “I have better things to do” or any sorts of thoughts.
2. This thought will pass and another thought will come. So just observe this thought passing.
3. Then wait for the next thought to come.
4. When the next thought is present, just notice it, and see how it passes.
5. Then wait for the next thought to come.


Between the 2 thoughts there is a gap. It can be very short or subtle, just a second or a few seconds before the next thought come in.

This is how to look at thoughts:
Looking how they come and go, and
Observing the short gap between them.
Noticing how the current thought is passing.
And waiting for the next thought to come.

Throughout your waking day, try to observe the gap between thoughts as often as possible. It can be done by noticing that ‘thinking’ is happening right now, then stop and just simply wait for the next thought to come. In the ‘waiting’ there is a gap between two thoughts.
I have been doing this quite a bit already. I’ve realized that I can have thoughts in the form of words, images, sounds, sensations, etc - regardless, it’s all mind. All perceptions are experienced in mind.

When I place my attention on the gaps between thoughts I become aware of the emptiness, the nothingness. I can see how thoughts arise from nothing and go back into nothing. I see that there is no “doer” of thoughts. The thinker is just another thought. Again, I can see this is true but something is just not clicking, I still don’t feel it is true. And again, in practicing this and becoming aware of that vast emptiness, as with all perceptions, it brings about this dullness to my daily life. As if even beauty has no substance to it. I guess it’s my “illusory” self just trying to still cling to things?

Kelly

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Vivien
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:18 am

Hi Kelly,

Looking for gaps between thoughts were a preparation exercise to help you how to observe the coming and going of thoughts and also how to look for the self later.

I gave you this exercise to help you to differentiate between what is actually happening and what THOUGHTS ARE ABOUT what is happening.

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.

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.
I’ve realized that I can have thoughts in the form of words, images, sounds, sensations, etc - regardless, it’s all mind. All perceptions are experienced in mind.
Yes, these are all thoughts. But how do you know that it’s all mind?
What is the AE of mind? Is it a sound, taste, smell, sensation, image/color or thought?
What is the AE of thoughts being experienced in the mind?
When I place my attention on the gaps between thoughts I become aware of the emptiness, the nothingness.
What is the AE of emptiness? Is it a sound, taste, smell, sensation, image/color or thought?
What is the AE of nothingness?
And again, in practicing this and becoming aware of that vast emptiness,
How exactly ‘vast emptiness’ is experienced? Is it a sound, taste, smell, sensation, image/color or thought?
The thinker is just another thought. Again, I can see this is true but something is just not clicking, I still don’t feel it is true.
How can something be felt as true or not?
What kind of feelings do you expect?
And again, in practicing this and becoming aware of that vast emptiness, as with all perceptions, it brings about this dullness to my daily life. As if even beauty has no substance to it. I guess it’s my “illusory” self just trying to still cling to things?
Vast emptiness is just a thought interpretation, not an actual thing. Saying that vast emptiness brings dullness to my daily life is just a thought story, just the content of thoughts taken as reality, and not seen only as an arising thought.

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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Free2K
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Re: direct experience over intellectual understanding

Postby Free2K » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:51 am

Hi Vivien,

Thank you for pushing me on this.
Look for the ‘answer’ BEFORE thought interpretation kicks in.
I find it so difficult to do this because I understand what you mean but in order to put it into words with language, thought is needed. I will do my best to answer these questions from my AE.
Where do thoughts come from?
When I watch thoughts I can’t pinpoint any origin point, they just appear out of nowhere. But they do tend to relate to each other or in some way to the AE, even though they are conceptual overlays. I can’t help but wonder why my thoughts might be more linear compared to someone with schizophrenia for instance.
Where are they going?
Similarly, I can’t find a destination point. They often seem to flow into each other but when there are gaps I can’t say that they actually go anywhere.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
No, because it seems like it appears as a complete picture. But it seems as if I can interrupt one thought with another thought.
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?
I see that “Me” predicting would just be another thought.
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
I feel like at times I can. For instance when my husband is away in a business trip and I have to sleep alone overnight, I often have negative thoughts about someone breaking into the house or things like that. I can choose to think about things that take my mind off of the negative thoughts. But I guess that gets into the “who is the thinker” question.
Can an 'I' be found that generates thoughts?
No, I can’t locate anything apart from thoughts about an I.
“I think” - What is 'I'? What is the one that thinks?
Well it feels like a consciousness or “knowing” located in my body but I can’t find it because all I can know is the knowing.
What is the thinker of thoughts? – don’t think, rather look for a ‘thinker’
When I look for a thinker there’s just space- no perception of anything.
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?
No I can’t find the thinker but if I am the thinker, how could I experience myself? It’s like how an eye can’t see itself. I can see how the I that I conceive of is a whole chain of thoughts in a story about me but it still feels like there is a witness. Like in the gaps between thoughts, how can I be aware of those if there is no witness?
Do you think thoughts or you are just ‘being thought’?
Again, how could a thought be known if there is no witness? There would be no experience of a thought.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?
No because to prevent a thought from appearing would mean that the thought would already be thought.
But how do you know that it’s all mind?
What is the AE of mind? Is it a sound, taste, smell, sensation, age/color or thought?
Again, every perception is known so that implies some kind of ground of experiencing. But there is no actual experience of mind persay, I do see that is a concept. Even though my “mind” appears as separate from yours or anyone else’s.
What is the AE of thoughts being experienced in the mind?
Well I can’t find any boundaries or limits or container to what I think my mind is. The thoughts just appear.
What is the AE of emptiness? Is it a sound, taste, smell, sensation, image/color or thought? What is the AE of nothingness?
I perceive emptiness and nothingness as the same thing. There is no sensory or thought perception, it’s just kind of void. But there is still awareness of it somehow.
How can something be felt as true or not? What kind of feelings do you expect?
At times it feels more like a bodily knowing but I guess it’s also just thought interpreting that. I’m not sure what I expect to feel- some kind of solid knowingness? This is difficult!

Kelly


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