I'm curious

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notsarah
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I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:05 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I've had some intense resonance with the idea that this world that appears to be reality is actually some kind of dead, thin substitute. I've read some non-duality books and something in me really knows that there's something true there. I am most at ease when I try to connect to "what I really am"... and whatever it is, it isn't this woman

What are you looking for at LU?
I'm so damn curious about what I'm resonating with. My life is really good - I have a lot of joy and gratitude. I consider myself very lucky. But there's still a curiosity there that never really goes away for long... what is that powerful thing that I resonate with - or at least, why does it reach me in that way? The only other thing that feels anywhere near as impactful is when I see acts of love or unselfish kindness - but even that seems tied to this person/personal stuff. I suspect that there's something BIG there but I don't know how to articulate it or where to locate it... it feels right here, but not at all right here. I'm decidedly confused about all of it and I'd like the opportunity to expand my experience or understanding of what this thing is that clearly has my attention.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I'm not really sure. I'm assuming that anyone who is a guide likely has more experience with this kind of thing than I do, so I'd like to continue this conversation that has taken root inside of me with someone else who possibly has the same resonance or at least knows what the hell I'm talking about (most people don't AT ALL). What I've read of non-duality clearly states that there's nothing to be done (and no one to do it), but knowing that doesn't stop my curiosity... so I suppose that I'm trying to scratch this itch in whatever way I can - even if it doesn't lead to anything more than the experience of asking in itself. What else can I do?

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
It's clear that I suffer far less than I ever used to over things that happen in my life, but I'm not sure if that's because my life has gotten easier (it has)... or if it's that my life has gotten easier because I suffer less (I do)! I did a lot of inquiry 5 or 6 years ago via Byron Katie's method - and that actually did a lot in terms of making me see a broader perspective about what happens in this apparent reality (and so, suffer far less over life). But, I eventually tired of it - because over time I began to suspect that her method actually reinforces my individual sense of being someone in particular: some-one-who-does-inquiry, for example... And so as nice as it is to get some serious relief from the life drama bullshit, I keep feeling like there's more to it that I'm decidedly not looking at - or not seeing - or, or ... what? I don't know. I think that it's something that doesn't have anything to do with a determined person doing inquiry. I just know that that resonant feeling is not how I spend most of my time - but that when I'm in it, the resonant feeling feels far more real than the sense of this 50 year woman who lives in Texas. (Which, by the way, if that's all there is, is still okay. It's an extraordinarily miraculous and fun ride.) And anyway, it's my experience (which I'm beginning to suspect is the whole enchilada... I think I might just be conceptualizing it wrong or something... again, shit, I don't know how to say what it is I want to accomplish beyond scratching this ever-so-persistent itch). I've read a small amount of a bunch of different writers - from Carse to Nisargadatta to Tolle to Lisa Cairns, etc. - and all of it feels like there are some tendrils reaching out and wrapping around my arms and neck. Which, when I write it, sounds bat-shit crazy. :) But there you go. It's the resonance and ever-present-no-matter-how-I'm-trying-to-get-on-with-my-life curiosity that never really leaves me alone. One of those authors wrote or said something about how there was truly nothing I could ever do to influence any of it - so I thought, "Well, fuck it then. Why would I spend my time studying this stuff when nothing will necessarily ever come of it?" So I put all the books away and moved on with my regular life for the past year or two. But, it's still there - it's just still there. So I'm circling back again to look at it - because there is a drive to do so, even if nothing more ever comes of it.

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

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Jadzia
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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:08 am

Hallo notsarah,

wellcome to the nonduality game! Where there is a woman and there isn't a woman. Where there can be an investigation and at the same time no investigation is needed. Where always both is true and a lie. And in the end all is a concept, a mumble of words put into thoughts.

You seemed to have already walked quite a way and I would love to accompany you part of the way.

Ready?

Love
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:52 pm

Good morning! Yes please. Let's start. I'm excited to see what comes of this. Thank you for reaching out and offering your assistance.

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Jadzia
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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:48 pm

Alright. What we point to here is that what is generally labeld self isn't what it seems to be, what is generally thought to be.

There is the idea of an I, a me, a self usually used for a something called body organism.
There is this strong identification: I am, I feel, I think, I decide and so on.
This entity called I seems to have things or living beings connected to it - the my body, my friends.
There is the idea that there is an inside of me and and outside of me, me and others.
All seems to actually be experienced.

We will look at how it is experienced and what this experience really is.

What was it what you strongly believed in as child? The tooth fairy, Santa, Angels?
Do you still believe in any of them?
Did stopping the belief change your life?

The only thing that happens when you see through the illusion of Santa is that a belief that you once held is undermined - notice that it is the belief that is destroyed, not Santa Claus! He still exists in exactly the same way that he always has, in your imagination, it's just that you no longer believe that he exists in actual experience, you no longer believe that he is real.

Same with the belief in the self.

Mull this over and share your thoughts.

Love,
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:58 pm

It just dawned on me this morning that I should check the board... I was expecting to receive an email notification whenever you posted something here (the box is checked) - but I didn't for whatever reason. I thought you had just been too busy to respond yet. So, I'm just now seeing your response. :)

I'll just check this board periodically from here on out.

I like the Santa Clause analogy - it makes perfect sense to me. However, the understanding of it is largely intellectual. Funnily, as I write that I'm very aware of a vague experience somewhere in the background that knows it isn't true. Something somewhere knows that I'm not this individual person. I can't locate that awareness - it's just there, somewhere. Awareness notwithstanding, I mostly FEEL like an individual person. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Denver at the moment, watching my hands type this response. They seem like my hands.

My back hurts from sleeping on the mattress here last night, and it feels like I'm experiencing that through "my" body. Which, as you pointed out, seems to have an inside and an outside. My husband, Travis, seems to have walked his individual self out of the room a few minutes ago to go to a conference. His individual self feels vastly different than mine.

The experiences seem to come through MY body, and I seem to see things through MY eyes. Yet when I close MY eyes and feel into whatever it is that I really am, it feels much, much bigger than that. But then as my eyes open, I'm back to me again.

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Jadzia
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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:29 pm

I was expecting to receive an email notification whenever you posted something here (the box is checked) - but I didn't for whatever reason.

Unluckily this can happen sometimes. It might help to un-check the box and check it again.
Something somewhere knows that I'm not this individual person.
It is always known. See, what we two do here is much more like helping you to allow knowing than helping you to learn something new.
One could say there is a smaller (over)view and a much bigger, all encompassing one. Both are there at the same time, both are known.

Have you ever looked at a 3D picture book, the ones with for example lots of flowers on the page? When relaxing the background of the eyes while looking at one the focus shifts from all the different flowers to one 3D flower. Both are there at the same time, all the flowers, one 3D flower. Very similar.
My back hurts from sleeping on the mattress here last night, and it feels like I'm experiencing that through "my" body.
Yes, body has a strong identification with self - my body, my eyes.
So where in this body is a self found?
In the head? Left toe? Heart region?
Have a look, and look carefully, can you feel a self - like a physical sensation-, see it, touch it, smell it, taste it?

Love,
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:20 pm

It feels like it's contained somehow inside the skin. But if you opened up the skin and laid all of the body pieces out on a table, my self wouldn't be in those pieces. They'd just be pieces. So maybe self is what animates the pieces? But if the eyes don't work anymore - or the parts that sense, touch, smell, etc., is there anything left to notice that it isn't a body? If this real-not real individual dies, what's left? Is anything still experienced?

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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:01 pm

It feels like it's contained somehow inside the skin.
Yes, this is what many people feel like.

"Feels like" usually points to a thought not to a sensation. A sensation would be when you pinch yourself and then you really bodily, physically feel something.
So the "It feels like it's contained somehow inside the skin." appears as content of a thought.

One is able to notice a So where in this body is a self found?
In the head? Left toe? Heart region?
Have a look, and look carefully, can you feel a self - like a physical sensation-, see it, touch it, smell it, taste it?thought, like "ah, a thought".
But can one notice the content of a thought? Is it in any way real, like a smell, colour you see, a taste, a physical sensation like wind on skin or a sound you hear right now?

Think of your morning meal.
You can imagine the taste, the foods structure, the smell - but is the food here right now? Could you eat it?

What we are interested here is what is here right now in your direct experience.

Remember what I asked? :-D
Have a look, and look carefully, can you feel a self - like a physical sensation-, see it, touch it, smell it, taste it?
Look again and check only in your direct experience where do you find this self, anywhere other than in thought.
And don't think about it, do plain looking.

Love,
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:52 pm

Good morning.

"Yes, body has a strong identification with self - my body, my eyes. Look again and check only in your direct experience where do you find this self, anywhere other than in thought. And don't think about it, do plain looking."

When looking for a direct experience of a self inside the body I can't find anything. No proof of it. No smell, no physical sensation, no taste, no sound of/from it. I feel, hear, taste, etc., but those are bodily sensations and aren't directly tied to a self. Just sensations.

When I think, "Is it inside the skin?" the experience of a self comes back - and it feels like it is inside the skin. This seems to prove that that is just a thought. Without the thought, there is no tangible/physical experience of a self inside the body. No end to it and beginning to things outside of it. The opposite feels true: the body feels like it is an object in the self. The self feels like everything.

I can hear some cranes moving heavy equipment outside the window and I don't feel separate from them. Then in an instant I'm back inside my body. I have to stop, consciously stop thought, in order to expand beyond the body again. It isn't "natural" and it is difficult to sustain. But for the moment I'm not identifying with the body, it's very peaceful. So this is why people meditate... ;)

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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:55 am

When looking for a direct experience of a self inside the body I can't find anything. No proof of it. No smell, no physical sensation, no taste, no sound of/from it. I feel, hear, taste, etc., but those are bodily sensations and aren't directly tied to a self. Just sensations.
Yes, in direct experience an entitiy called self isn't found. So it stands to reason to ask oneself if it exists - at all.

If you stay with DE, direct experience, the self appears only in thoughts, as content of thought. Right?
When I think, "Is it inside the skin?" the experience of a self comes back - and it feels like it is inside the skin.
Always be watchful when the 'ifeel' turns up - Is there a sensation, yes or no. So there is either something in direct experience or there is thoughts' content.
Without the thought, there is no tangible/physical experience of a self inside the body. No end to it and beginning to things outside of it.
Beautiful.
The opposite feels true: the body feels like it is an object in the self. The self feels like everything.
Right now the only place you find self is in the content of thoughts. How can a content of a thought be everything?
I can hear some cranes moving heavy equipment outside the window and I don't feel separate from them. Then in an instant I'm back inside my body. I have to stop, consciously stop thought, in order to expand beyond the body again. It isn't "natural" and it is difficult to sustain. But for the moment I'm not identifying with the body, it's very peaceful. So this is why people meditate... ;)
Where is the I who could feel separate from anything?
And do thoughts really have to stop? Think of 3D pictures, both pictures are there at the same time. The all and everything and the something which seems as if it would be separate.

I would like you to watch thoughts closely over the day. Enjoy how the story of sarah is built up, maintained, reinforced and just watch and notice, don't interfere, don't try to stop something, just allow and enjoy the story.


Love,
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:40 pm

Tricky mind! Thoughts seem real even when I know they aren’t! :)

FYI, my name is actually Rachel. When I was born my parents were trying to decide between Rachel and Sarah - and they picked Rachel... so, notSarah.

It will be an interesting day to watch thoughts. I have a big billiards tournament (I play competitively) - and nerves have been a major problem lately. Curious to see what thoughts come up around that today.

Thanks, as always, for your help.

Rachel

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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:17 pm

It's really, really, really hard to pay attention to my thoughts. I'll be 5 hours into being Rachel and having my life and I think, "Oh shit - I'm supposed to be watching my thoughts..." and I pay attention for about 1 minute and then without even noticing I'm back into the story of "my" life. And I don't notice that again for several hours... it's very difficult for me to separate my experience from my thoughts about it. They are glued together and quite resistant to change.

There are stories all day long about what I'm doing (or failing to do), who I am, what it means, etc. There is a story all day long THAT I am. It's non-stop. It only stops when I quiet my mind and look for direct experience - which is very difficult to maintain for any length of time at all. And you're clearly telling me that thoughts don't have to stop. There's an ability to experience both at the same time, apparently. I have a very hard time separating the two when my mind isn't quiet. But I can see that they are different.

YOU: Where is the I who could feel separate from anything?

Since I only exist in the content of the thoughts, in reality there is no I who could feel separate from everything. A separate I is completely dependent upon thought. I have to think (create and believe in) Santa Clause in order for Santa Clause to experience anything. The I who could feel separate is a thought.

YOU: Right now the only place you find self is in the content of thoughts. How can a content of a thought be everything?

Since the ideas in a thought aren't real (not DE), and since the self only exists in thought, then I can't be everything because I don't actually exist except as a concept in thought. Something creates thoughts that include the concept of a me, and then that me lays claim to everything that is experienced. And then I go a step further and say that I am everything... which isn't possible because I actually don't even exist except as a content of thought. I literally can't be anything. I can't be, except in thought. In reality (DE) there is only experience, not concepts or descriptions of experience... Just experience without any meaning. Until it mistakenly gets labeled, claimed and categorized by a me/mine thought. This is what I must have meant by the world being a kind of "thin, dead substitute." There is the world, and then there is the story about the world which is all about the content of thoughts - which includes a story about me (Santa Clause). And then the content of thoughts are taken for experience, for reality. But they aren't - they are only ever thoughts ABOUT reality.

So I assume that the content of thought just happens? It's a consequence of whatever experienced is had? That can't be right, though - because separate people experience the same thing in completely different ways - so content of thought must be more than just a consequence of experience?

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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:22 am

Thoughts seem real even when I know they aren’t! :)
They are 'real' like in one can notice them, content of thought is something different.
it's very difficult for me to separate my experience from my thoughts about it. They are glued together and quite resistant to change.
Thoughts turn up in light speed, that doesn't make it easy to simply watch them.
We are very used to "follow" them and get sucked into the story.
There are stories all day long about what I'm doing (or failing to do), who I am, what it means, etc. There is a story all day long THAT I am.
One gets the idea why the story has such a creditability.... with everything beeing commented, explained ect.

In the long run, not exactly directly after gating, thoughts will slow down and turn into a whisper.
A separate I is completely dependent upon thought. I have to think (create and believe in) Santa Clause in order for Santa Clause to experience anything. The I who could feel separate is a thought.
Yes.
It is helpful to see I as viewpoint, the point from which life experiences itself. This small point of view actually being the overall view. It sounds a bit weird in the beginning - but we leave duality behind, small/ overall being one.
Something creates thoughts that include the concept of a me, and then that me lays claim to everything that is experienced.
Yes. It seems to appear so.
Until it mistakenly gets labeled, claimed and categorized by a me/mine thought.
Not really a mistake, it is as part of what is as is everything else.
And then I go a step further and say that I am everything... which isn't possible because I actually don't even exist except as a content of thought.
What about being both? Nothing and and everything?

Have a look at these questions and check via DE:
Where are they coming from and going to?
Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
Can you predict your next thought?
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?
Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’?

Love,
Jadzia

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notsarah
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Re: I'm curious

Postby notsarah » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:48 pm

YOU: It is helpful to see I as viewpoint, the point from which life experiences itself. This small point of view actually being the overall view. It sounds a bit weird in the beginning - but we leave duality behind, small/ overall being one.

I understand what you mean conceptually, but “a point of view” tends to push me back toward content – content that supports an individual’s experience. It makes me think, “If ‘I’ die, then life ends.” But you’re pointing to being both the individual and the whole – so I’m guessing that eventually the individual point of view fades to the background a lot as you mentioned.

YOU: What about being both? Nothing and everything?

So, being both Santa Clause (that is what appears to be being experienced) and that in which Santa Clause exists… but knowing that Santa Clause isn’t a DE, just content of thought.

Where then does the act of thinking fit in? I cannot really stop it or make it go away. Just like I can’t make touch, hearing, smelling, etc., go away. Is thinking a form of DE? Just like experiencing anything?

YOU: Where are they coming from and going to?

I have no idea! They slip in and out at their own will.

YOU: Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?

No. I don’t have control over them. I can seem as though I do for short periods of time but I know that’s an illusion... just another thought telling me I controlled the last few thoughts...

YOU: Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?

No. I’m only the content of a thought myself. How could I control other thoughts?

YOU: Can you predict your next thought?

Absolutely not.

YOU: Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only pleasant thoughts?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ☺ Uh, no.

YOU: Can you choose not to have painful, negative or fearful thoughts?

That has not been my experience at all. I have painful thoughts all the time – they’re just a part of the landscape. I can’t stop them. I can do things like inquiry that appear to widen the perspective and bring in other thoughts – but I’m not doing that either. It’s just what is happening.

YOU: Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?

I cannot – not even when it looks as though I have. I can think something silly like, “Let me think about butterflies” – and here comes a hippopotamus.

YOU: Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

Nope. They just appear. It’s interesting and pretty funny to watch what pops up. Frankly, it sounds like there’s a crazy person in my head. ☺

I have been playing in a billiards tournament these past few days and it’s been quite amusing to watch what comes through. I’ll think something like, “Ok, now I’ve got my opponent – this match is mine” and then I’ll think, “Don’t think that! You’ll jinx it!” and then I’ll think, “That’s hilarious… as if I could stop any of it – or as if the thinking of it could influence the outcome of the match.” Then I’ll think, “Look at all of this identifying and taking ownership of the thoughts, the match, this life…”

And meanwhile, they just keep coming. And I don’t have any control over any of it. None. Not even the apparent decision to answer these questions. This me who would control things only exists as the content of a thought, so there’s nobody there to control whether/what I think. I know this on some level, and yet the thoughts keep telling me that I’m running all of this. ☺

The pleasant thing is that I’ve had almost no nerves during this tournament. It seems as though the nerves are directly tied to identifying as me - as the only real thing (“my experience”). When I’m less attached to the idea of an individual self there seems to be less “stickiness” to the nerves. They pass through much more quickly. So far, at least. I have a very tough match tonight, so I’m very much looking forward to watching what happens with the nerves and with the thoughts.

YOU: It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’?

There is not an organized sequence that I can tell. It’s all just craziness. And it tries to justify, organize, make sense of itself – but it’s just more of the same. Thoughts are just happening, apparently randomly.

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Jadzia
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Re: I'm curious

Postby Jadzia » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:04 pm

Beautiful work!

Good, thoughts are seen as they are. Simply happening. Appearing, being noticed or not, disappearing.
Ah, while looking: Are all thoughts noticed?
I can seem as though I do for short periods of time but I know that’s an illusion... just another thought telling me I controlled the last few thoughts...
This is a good point. Thoughts are self referencing, which is tricky isn't it, when one looks at them.
I have painful thoughts all the time – they’re just a part of the landscape.
Beautiful way of putting it. They are just part of it.
I can think something silly like, “Let me think about butterflies” – and here comes a hippopotamus.
lol
“That’s hilarious… as if I could stop any of it – or as if the thinking of it could influence the outcome of the match.”
Exactly, it looks as if thoughts could "do" something but they can't, we will look into this.
The pleasant thing is that I’ve had almost no nerves during this tournament. It seems as though the nerves are directly tied to identifying as me - as the only real thing (“my experience”). When I’m less attached to the idea of an individual self there seems to be less “stickiness” to the nerves.
Well observed.
When the illusion weakens emotions/sensations are less sticky and more prone to simply be noticed and they slip through much quicker.Same with thoughts, they don't stick that much and there is less going in circles.

Another belief is that we are the doer of things. We think something through, we decide, we do it.
Time to look at this.
When do thoughts telling what to do appear: Before, during or after action started.

Here is an excercise which helps clarifying it:
1. Hold a hand in front of you; palm turned down.
2. Now turn the palm up. And down...and up and so on.

Watch like a hawk.

Don't go to thoughts – examine your direct experience. Do this as many times as you like, and each time inquire:-

How is the movement controlled?
Does a thought control it?
Can a ‘controller’ of any description be located?
How is the decision made to turn the hand over? Track any decision point when a thought MADE THE DECISION to turn the hand over and the hand turns over immediately.
Who or what chose which hand - the left or right hand for the exercise?
Can you find a separate individual or anything that is choosing when to turn the palm up or down?

Find out if you want to do the exercise today or tomorrow - what goes best with the match tonight.
And lots of coolness and calm hands tonight!

Love
Jadzia


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