Does CircadianBJC Exist?

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CircadianBJC
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Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:14 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand the self to mean the subjective, felt sense of being an "I". For me, this is experienced as being a sort of passenger - riding around in my head, located predominantly behind my eyes - with a narrative resulting from my cumulative experiences starting in early childhood to the present.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am hoping to obtain clear pointing instructions to experientially (and cognitively) view the selfless nature of consciousness. I feel that I have glimpsed this nature during formal meditation and immersive experiences (e.g., sports, creating and listening to music), but as of yet cannot reliably reproduce this knowing intentionally.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I am hoping for clear step-by-step instructions to see through the presumed illusory nature of the self. To be guided through experiential exercises that reveal the impermanent and non-substantive quality of my mind-generated self.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have maintained a near-daily (honesty here) formal and informal Vipassana practice for the past 3 years, carry and use active subscriptions to Sam Harris's Waking Up app and Dan Harris's 10% Happier app for the past 2 years and read their related works, currently 1/2 way through Mahasi Sayadaw's Manual of Insight, and have more recently been exploring Dzogchen and Mahamudra practices by reading Loch Kelly's works Shift Into Freedom and The Way of Effortless Mindfulness and watching Dzogchen videos by Jackson Peterson. Through these recent efforts, I feel that I have glimpsed a lack of self - resulted in a large smile and actual laughter out loud by myself in the kitchen at 1:00 a.m. I am hoping to further this journey with the help of Liberation Unleashed :)

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

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Bella
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:09 pm

Hi CircadianBJC,

My name is Bella and I’m happy to guide you towards the seeing of no-self.

You and I will simply have a conversation. The inquiry is totally yours. It is 'guided' so that specific areas may be examined.

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

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

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

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

A few ground rules:
1. Post at least once a day, if you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
2. Be 100% honest in your answers and inquiry. This is 100% about you.
3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour 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 supports:

- 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 another document, 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.

Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:39 am

Hi Bella,

Thank you so much for guiding me through this journey. I appreciate it so very much.
How will Life change?
I expect the basics of my life to remain as they are. However, I hope that clearly seeing through the self will result in the ability to intentionally shift into experiencing life from an awareness that is prior to thought.
How will you change?
I have spent much of my life planning for the future at the expense of being present for myself and others. I am scared of letting go of control. When I ask myself how I will change, the "me" that I feel behind my eyes is warning me not to let go.
What will be different?
When I ask this to myself, the response I hear is "Nothing will be different. Reality will just be more clear."
What is missing?
When I ask this to myself, I hear, "Everything is right here. Nothing is missing." However, the "me" immediately responded, "So much of your career, ambitions, and future are missing. You are not the person you know that you want to eventually be." Resolving this paradox is a central motivating force for my going on this journey. I feel that letting go and seeing through the self will allow an unfolding of my values and goals to proceed as they would anyway, but with an important reduction in suffering. I just heard the following: "But there is too much thought. Can you step back from thinking and just be?"

Thanks again Bella. I can see the "me" will struggle with not being overly analytical. I want to plant that flag here. My intention is to be as experiential, honest, and clear-seeing as I can throughout this journey. I'm looking forward to seeing where we go next.

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Bella
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:41 pm

Hi CircadianBJC,

Do you have a name I can call you by? Or do you prefer CircadianBJC?
My intention is to be as experiential, honest, and clear-seeing as I can throughout this journey.
Great. This is the best approach.

Ah, I see I forgot to blue the line about the agreements.

Can you please tell me that you read those and agree to the terms? So again:

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. This is 100% about you.
3. This exploration is based on Actual (or Direct) Experience (AE or DE) - smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour 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.

Now, let’s get on with it.

We come first to EXPECTATIONS. Expectations are desired outcomes in the future. In this process of direct pointing and looking into direct experience, DE, expectations are hindrances. As looking in DE always and only happens in the present, the now. Instead a curious attitude will help here. Curiosity is open ended, not fixed and allows for transcending existing views.

I go through all the expectations. While you read them, please pay attention to what arises ‘in the body’. Is there any resistance to any of it?
I expect the basics of my life to remain as they are. However, I hope that clearly seeing through the self will result in the ability to intentionally shift into experiencing life from an awareness that is prior to thought.
Yes, the basics will remain the same. But seeing no-self is just a knowing, not a state or ability to where you can shift.
. I am scared of letting go of control. When I ask myself how I will change, the "me" that I feel behind my eyes is warning me not to let go.
We are going to look into control and into fear during our investigation. Also into the “me” “behind the eyes”. See them for what they are. And we’re going to take it as slow as is needed.
"Nothing will be different. Reality will just be more clear."
This is also an expectation. It might, it might not. Although seeing definitely will lead to clarity around what no-self means.
I feel that letting go and seeing through the self will allow an unfolding of my values and goals to proceed as they would anyway, but with an important reduction in suffering. I just heard the following: "But there is too much thought. Can you step back from thinking and just be?"
Thoughts are important since thoughts are one of the biggest reasons for this illusion. So we will look at thoughts very deeply. Thinking is in itself not a problem. Nothing is. It is what we make out of it, how we conceptualise what makes experience confusing.

So beware of expectations during the inquiry. They will cloud your mind and prevent you from seeing. I will help you with this.

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


Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:23 am

Do you have a name I can call you by? Or do you prefer CircadianBJC?
Please feel free to call me Brian.
Can you please tell me that you read those and agree to the terms?
I read these all in full and agree to the terms.
But before starting, please report what came up reading the comments about the expectations.
Was there any resistance to any of it?
In the body, I did not notice any sensations that felt like resistance. I also did not observe thoughts that were resistant to moving forward with direct experiencing and an attitude of open curiosity. I really appreciate you highlighting my expectations and pointing to how these will prevent direct seeing. Currently, I am feeling a tension in my chest and abdomen that is being known more as excited butterflies than anxious worry. I also notice that I'm smiling :) I'm looking forward to seeing how we move forward from here.

Thanks again, Bella!

- Brian

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:29 pm

Hi Brian,
I read these all in full and agree to the terms.
Great. Thank you.
I also notice that I'm smiling :) I'm looking forward to seeing how we move forward from here.
It’s good to make a positive connection to the inquiry.


What is looking into direct experience (DE)? DE is what you can sense in the NOW. Sensing with your sense organs. Images, sounds, smells, tastes and touch/sensation. And also thought as fact of thoughts happening, not getting caught up in their content. Looking into DE means that you notice the sense experience before thought kicks in.
In that way you can observe what is there BEFORE interpretation happens. And then you can also observe how interpretation happens, the labelling and storytelling, the 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.
Another key component of this exploration is being able to tell the difference between DE 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 how you go.

Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:20 pm

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual/direct experience) and let me how you go.
When remembering to break down daily activities into direct experiencing, I observed a felt dropping away from labels, judgments, and being separated from the raw data of experience.

This exercise emphasized the sheer amount of time that the mind is engaged in interpretation at the expense of direct experience. I found direct experiencing quite difficult during times of high demand for attention to detail. In particular, while engaged in work-related writing. However, when I was able to notice the process, I observed that interpretation was often associated with a felt physical and mental tension. In contrast, direct experiencing was invariably associated with a sense of calm, of relaxing into experience, of opening to whatever was arising. It felt like an unburdening. A weight being taken off.

Thank you for this exercise and your guidance, Bella. I will look forward to where we move next.

- Brian

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:07 pm

Hi Brian,
I observed a felt dropping away from labels, judgments, and being separated from the raw data of experience.
When I was able to notice the process, I observed that interpretation was often associated with a felt physical and mental tension. In contrast, direct experiencing was invariably associated with a sense of calm, of relaxing into experience, of opening to whatever was arising. It felt like an unburdening. A weight being taken off.
Yes, this is the place to look, where DE is observed/experienced/happening.

As you move around in your normal activities, check and see if you can find a self moving the body around. Walking, driving, typing, dressing yourself, etc. Is there a WHO living your life?

Let me know what you observe, what you find (or don’t find).

What sensations arise?

Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:15 am

Let me know what you observe, what you find (or don’t find).
What sensations arise?
In looking throughout the day, there was no self behind any experience. There was seeing, there was hearing, there was smelling, there was tasting, there were sensations on the skin and inside the body, and there were thoughts and emotions arising. Each time I looked, there was only experience and the awareness of what was being known one moment to the next.

Is it like this: The sense of the "me" behind my eyes is a story that may make sense, given that the vast majority of direct experience is coming through sense organs located on the face = eyes, ears, nose, and mouth? When the "seer" is just collapsed to the "seen", like the hearer, smeller, taster, and toucher, there is only the direct experience. The location may change, but awareness does not change. The focuser of attention is not required. Pain in the leg does not require attention to be directed from the eyes or the face down to it. It can be known directly. In fact, it IS being known directly. The "self" behind what is known is created unnecessarily. It's a mistake. It's an illusion. It was never there.

I feel very close to something. This way of being is effortless in a very real way. Things are unfolding without any direction or intervention. No control is needed. There is experiencing and there is reacting effectively to what arises . . . all by itself.

There is a part of the mind that is unwilling to accept that it could be this simple and on the very surface of experience. Is this close Bella?

- Brian

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:42 pm

Hi Brian,
In looking throughout the day, there was no self behind any experience. There was seeing, there was hearing, there was smelling, there was tasting, there were sensations on the skin and inside the body, and there were thoughts and emotions arising. Each time I looked, there was only experience and the awareness of what was being known one moment to the next.
You did a very nice looking Brian.
Is it like this:
This reads as speculation. I won’t go into their content now. We will look into these aspects one by one during our conversation. And then you will see it for yourself and you will know. :-)
I feel very close to something. This way of being is effortless in a very real way. Things are unfolding without any direction or intervention. No control is needed. There is experiencing and there is reacting effectively to what arises . . . all by itself.
Great! isn’t it?
Stay open for whatever arises. Forget any expectation. Keep looking in DE. When answering my questions, stay as close as possible to describing what you experience with your senses.
.There is a part of the mind that is unwilling to accept that it could be this simple and on the very surface of experience.
This is because there is an idea that there exists a “mind” somewhere.
Looking for something simple or complicated is an expectation. It won’t help to see no-self. This is about looking for what is (isn’t) there in DE.

Who’s mind is it that is unwilling to accept?

Can you describe what you mean by “the mind”?
How does it look like? Is it big or small? What texture has it? What colour? How does it feel?
Where is it located?
Is it a thought?
How is it perceived? Who perceives it?
Is the mind an entity?


.Please investigate and answer all the questions one by one.

Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:59 am

Can you describe what you mean by “the mind”?
Before direct looking, the mind feels like an interpreter of experience. A narrative. A story. Labels on top of what is being known - often judgmental.
How does it look like? Is it big or small? What texture has it? What colour? How does it feel?
When looking from DE, I am unable to experience what the mind looks like. There is no size, no texture, no color, no feeling. It is experienced as an internal voice. A thought on top of an experience. I cannot observe anything more than thought.
Where is it located?
With DE, there is an arising of thought. With eyes open, it often feels like thoughts arise above the space where a head would be. With eyes closed, I observe an absence of mind in the absence of thought. The location is less definite. Thinking and what feels like the creation of a mind, the creation of a thinker/narrator just arises like other sensations.
Is it a thought?
When looing from DE, I can only observe thoughts - no mind.
How is it perceived? Who perceives it?
With DE, it is an awareness of thought in experience. There is no self behind thought that I can find.
Is the mind an entity?
In DE, the mind appears as nothing separate from thought. A fleeting mental voice or image. Through DE, I cannot locate a mind, just thoughts arising and passing away.

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:50 pm

Hi Brian,

You’re doing nicely. There are a few topics I want to make sure that you understand them correctly. To be more precise and for the sake of avoiding possible confusion later on.
When looking from DE;
In DE, the mind appears …;
With DE, it is an...
Just to make things clear. DE is just experience, not a different state or something the like.
There is only ONE experience. ALWAYS. For the sake of this inquiry we highlight DE to make sure that all that is experienced from the senses, image, sound, taste, smell, touch and thought, is looked in at the moment it is happening. On the other hand there is interpretation of experience. This consists of thoughtcontent. And although making stories also always happens in the now (how can it be any other way?), those stories are ABOUT sense experiences or thoughts or ideas from the past or about the future.

You made a good start with it in the first exercise of this thread. We want to look at what is REALLY happening RIGHT NOW. And this is ONLY what comes directly from the senses. What we want to avoid is INTERPRETATION.
Can you see what I mean? Can you notice the difference between what is directly experienced from the senses and where you interpret your experience (thoughtcontents)?
.it often feels like thoughts arise above the space where a head would be.
Be careful with expressions as FEELS LIKE. It is followed by a description that is not coming from an actual sense impression, but from an interpretation. It is not wrong of course to sometimes take refuge in using analogies to give words to what you want to say. As long as it clear (for both of us) that you’re aware of the difference.
For instance you could say: thoughts appeared, but I couldn’t pinpoint any location. Or, they were located above the head. (Whatever it was you experienced).
Can you see this?
.I observe an absence of mind in the absence of thought. The location is less definite
I don’t quite understand what you mean here.
. If there is nothing observed, how can there be a location (definite or not)?

You missed one question. Please answer all questions in blue.
Who’s mind is it that is unwilling to accept?
.
Please look carefully. Search for this who.

A few more questions on the topic “mind”:

Does the mind exist?
Is there a mind anywhere to be found in experience?
Describe what sensations arise when I say: there is no mind and there never was?(let this question hit you to your bones before looking)


Bella

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CircadianBJC
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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:50 am

Can you see what I mean? Can you notice the difference between what is directly experienced from the senses and where you interpret your experience (thoughtcontents)?
Yes. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touch experienced outside and insight the body, and experiencing thoughts when they arise. In looking throughout the day I experience interpretations as being thoughts - so far without exception.
Can you see this?
Yes. Feeling "like XYZ" is removed from the actual experience of feeling. Thank you for these distinctions as I have found them very useful in looking to experience throughout the day.
If there is nothing observed, how can there be a location (definite or not)?
On further looking, there is no location. A "mind" is experienced coincident with thinking in my experience throughout the day. Without thinking, I do not experience a mind.
Who’s mind is it that is unwilling to accept?.
In looking in as much detail as possible throughout the day, there was no mind without thought. My experience is that mind is only thought. I experience thoughts as arising without a thinking/author. The mind is experienced as thought and thoughts are experienced as not belonging to anyone. With careful looking, my experience is "thought of being unwilling to accept has arisen."
Does the mind exist?
Is there a mind anywhere to be found in experience?
My experience is that the mind is a thought. Thoughts do exist. They arise and are experienced. Thoughts are also experienced as "empty" in the sense of being without form, fleeting, and not having a thinker. In this sense, the mind does not exist apart from thought and is not a part of the tangible and observable world apart from thinking.
Describe what sensations arise when I say: there is no mind and there never was?(let this question hit you to your bones before looking)
Before looking, I experienced a sinking that began in the chest and lowered into the abdomen. A feeling of muscle tension in the chest, abdomen, and neck. I then had a thought of "This is what it felt like to learn about Santa." This thought was followed by the thought, "That's pretty cliche, but true." When looking, I was again unable to locate a mind. I notice sensations - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, external and internal physical sensations, and periodically thinking. There is no mind. There never was a mind, only thinking.

After looking, I experience a relaxing of physical tension in the body and "thinking tension" (the words that I observe arising now in the moment). There is a feeling of unburdening that is becoming more and more present each day. A willingness to allow an experience to occur and unfold without an immediate urge to act or control. This feels present, clear, and free. Like stepping back and observing experience prior to concepts, labels, and judgments. Less rumination about the past and planning for the future - although this still occurs and is experienced as thinking. I notice a thought/judgment that this is now a lot of typing, but this experience feels like something I haven't experienced for a long, long time. Possibly not since childhood.

Thank you for the continued guidance, Bella. This means so much. I am feeling so much gratitude for you and this community. Thank you.

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby Bella » Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:32 pm

Hi Brian
In looking throughout the day I experience interpretations as being thoughts - so far without exception.
Nice.
.A willingness to allow an experience to occur and unfold without an immediate urge to act or control.
Lovely. You have an open attitude that is conducive to this inquiry.
Without thinking, I do not experience a mind.
In looking in as much detail as possible throughout the day, there was no mind without thought. My experience is that mind is only thought.
When there is a thought present, is there also a mind present?
The content of the thought can be known, it is clearly there. But where is the mind?
Have you ever seen a mind?
Is the thought the mind? Or is the content of the thought just a story ABOUT the mind?
With careful looking, my experience is "thought of being unwilling to accept has arisen."
What you describe here is the content of a thought, what the thought is ABOUT. Can you see this?
Can the story, that is the content of the thought, be experienced?


Here is an exercise.
Close your eyes and imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine the spoons form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Look and feel at ​the imaginary spoon for a while.
Then open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or did it never exist?

Now go and get a spoon from the kitchen and hold it in the same way that you imagined it.
Feel the spoon’s form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Close your eyes and feel the spoon for a while.
Now open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
Are the image of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
How does imagining and experiencing the same thing differ?

The questions are really just there for you to consider as you do the exercise, I do not need detailed answers to each one, just some reflections on how the exercise went for you, or if you have any questions or need any clarification.

Bella

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Re: Does CircadianBJC Exist?

Postby CircadianBJC » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:08 pm

When there is a thought present, is there also a mind present?
In looking, there is only thought. There can be an experience of thinking about a mind, but there is no mind that I can find.
Is the thought the mind? Or is the content of the thought just a story ABOUT the mind?
From my experience in looking, there can be thoughts about the mind, which is a story about the mind. There is no mind that I can observe or experience.
What you describe here is the content of a thought, what the thought is ABOUT. Can you see this?
Can the story, that is the content of the thought, be experienced?
Yes. Thoughts can be experienced as arising and being known in my looking. However, when I look, the content of thought is without substance - no form, empty. Based on my observing, thoughts can be experienced but not their content.
The questions are really just there for you to consider as you do the exercise, I do not need detailed answers to each one, just some reflections on how the exercise went for you, or if you have any questions or need any clarification.
The exercise was very useful. I experienced with eyes closed that thoughts about the imaginary spoon and a spoon from the kitchen were very similar in terms of imagined form, size, weight, temperature, and position in space. With eyes open, only the spoon from the kitchen was experienced as existing in real life. The imaginary spoon never existed. The thoughts about the imaginary spoon did exist, but its content was empty.

When I apply this exercise to a "mind" or "self" I find the same result. Thoughts about mind and self exist and are experienced, but these thoughts are empty. When I open my eyes, I cannot observe a mind or a self.


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