Who am I?

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Wed May 20, 2020 4:17 pm

First I noticed how much I think to hear in sounds normally. There is much information that is put on top of the sound itself: I label every sound automatically – what it is, what location it comes from. And there is an evaluation of sounds.
Also, first some sounds seemed mine: when they come from the body, or when they come from an object I own.

When they come from the body, at the exact moment they are there, I cannot change or control them. Also, when I ignore the idea that it comes from my body, the idea that I’m making the sound, and the vibration it gives me in the body, then all what is left is the sound itself. Then it doesn’t feel like ‘my’ sound, but just like any other sound.

I easily saw that all sounds are in my awareness. But at a point, all sounds felt like they were inside of me. No matter the distance. I don’t mean inside my body, but still inside me. But they did not feel personal. And while I noticed this, the sounds my body made like my breathing were inside of me in the same way and did not feel personal. In that moment, there was no identification with the body either.

There is no effort in hearing a sound, but I can change my focus from one sound to another which seems an effort. And knowing of the sound is not different from the sound. I do see what happens when I feel it IS different: there is an identification with the body at that time, or thoughts about the sound; that all makes it seem separate.

With love,
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Thu May 21, 2020 10:21 am

Thank you for sharing your insights.
There is no effort in hearing a sound, but I can change my focus from one sound to another which seems an effort.
This is interesting. Can you look closer how you do that? Is changing focus something you do or something that happens, that arises?

Is it you changing focus or experiences arise in focus?
Like right here right now, listen to sounds. Explore. Where is a line between effort and sound?

Love

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Thu May 21, 2020 4:45 pm

When I change focus in hearing, there are movements in the head toward the location of the thing that makes the sound; like animals twisting their ears toward a sound. That contributes to the feeling that I am doing the focussing. But these movements are not neccesary to hear and follow rather then cause the focus. (At the most, movement of the head or ears affects the volume of the sounds).
This is with involuntary focus. With things that involuntary attract attention because they are new, sudden or desirable.

But there is a way of focussing that seems voluntary: I decide to start focussing on some sound, or I decide to start looking for a particular sound.
When investigating I realized I needed to find out what it means to change focus:
If sounds come from roughly the same location, then I cannot really steer the direction of hearing (i.e., focus) to one sound or the other; so hearing is just happening, effortlessly. So the focus is a mental activity in which I choose to prioritize one sound over the other in terms of COGNITIVE processing (perhaps you can call that listening). Not in terms of steering a sort of spotlight of hearing to one sound or the other.
This choosing to listen to one sound and not another seems to be directed by thoughts. And thoughts are not controlled by a me (we covered that earlier a few times).

But is the focussed listening an effort? It definitely feels like it, because it is not easy, I need to concentrate and it gets tiring, because you constantly have to refocus after being distracted. But does that mean that there is a me that actively puts effort in it?
(1) There is mental activity of listening that takes energy. But I cannot find an I that is listening (sensations that feel like me do not listen, thoughts do not listen, ears don’t listen, etc.).
(2) And there are thoughts that say ‘listen to this or that’. Doesn’t mean there is an I thinking (we covered that earlier). (I guess same with walking: there is a body walking and that takes energy, and there are thoughts that can say ‘I walk’. But that doesn’t mean there is an I that walks).

To sum up: there does not need to be someone who does the focussing. Focussing means hearing plus listening. Hearing happens effortlessly. Listening is also a happening: there is nothing to be found that does the listening.

Perhaps I’ve made this more complicated than neccesary, but it helped... :-)

With love,
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Fri May 22, 2020 5:41 am

Wonderful. Thanks for looking and describing.
Let’s continue with sensations we call body. Sense of touch.
What information do you get from touch alone?
Without memory and thinking, what is there when hand touches a wall? The sense of bum on a chair? The sense of hand touching hand? Examine raw sensation and look, is there a feeler separate from the felt? Is there an I that feels a hand?
Look at the idea of ownership, is there an owner of sensation? Is an object owned by being touched? (My trousers, my cup, my computer.)

With eyes closes touch a table. Is there a sensation table and sensation hand and sensation I? Or is this one event in actuality + thoughts describing that event?

Can you see that sensations are happening, arising, appearing. Are you making them happen?

Describe what you learn from this investigation.
Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Sun May 24, 2020 11:26 am

Without memory and thinking, what is there when hand touches something?
A sensation with a temperature and texture and subtle movement of the bloodflow. The sensation of touch is strongest at the surface of the hand, but has an effect (of pressure & temperature) that can be felt inside the hand.

Is there an I that feels the hand?
There are thoughts saying it’s a hand and those feel like me. But thoughts aren’t me (they cannot think, they are what I’m aware OF). And without the thoughts, there is still awareness of the sensation. The felt and the feeling are one thing, they completely overlap, and thoughts are not needed to know the felt/feeling.

Ownership seems to come from thoughts alone. So the only information in touching are sensations and from sensations I can deduct form, and then I need memory to guess what object it could be. And then come thoughts that say ‘this is mine’. Not sure if form is information in touching, because when I grasp something I know how my hand is shaped so I can understand if my hand is straight or bent, which enables me to guess the form.

I see sensations are happening/arising because there is nothing I can do to change them directly. If my hand moves, sensations are not made by the hand. If I squeeze my hand, sensations change, but I am not in charge of how they change or how they feel. I can not directly make sensations appear or change. That happens as a result of other things changing, and never because I directly steer them.

With love,
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Tue May 26, 2020 9:33 am

Great work. Let’s look at taste next.

Have something to eat. Take a bite. Experience the taste.
In the actual experience, are you making taste appear or is it showing up? Is taste controllable? Can you adjust taste to your liking? Can you not like the taste?

Describe the taste in as many words as you can. How description and experience differ?

Can you see that both experience of taste and description arise as a simultaneous happening?

What do you notice from this investigation?

Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Wed May 27, 2020 1:26 pm

I am not doing anything for the taste to appear, and I cannot control the taste. I can put something in my mouth and move it around in my mouth – that will both change the taste and its intensity. But there is no way to change the taste in any given moment.

There is taste and names I give to the taste, and sometimes I need to think about what name or description I will give it. So there is a delay there in tasting and the description.

On the other hand, I see no delay in the taste and the tasting – that is one happening. It is not like I am tasting and then comes taste, it’s all one thing. There is no doing in the tasting.

The description is ABOUT the taste, not the taste itself, so that seems two different things. And I can give different tastes the same general description: e.g. chocolate and grapes are both sweet, but they taste different. The description will never fully match the taste.

With love,
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Thu May 28, 2020 6:26 am

Good stuff.
Now let’s look at thinking.
Are you making thoughts appear or are they showing up?
Can you make thoughts disappear?
Is thinking thoughts different from seeing colours, hearing sounds, tasting?
Can you think only beautiful, pleasant thoughts if you decide so?
Is there a seer of thoughts apart from thoughts?
And what is mind?
Can you look closer at mind, describe what you find.

Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Thu May 28, 2020 7:05 pm

This is the most difficult one for me: thoughts. There is such a strong identification with them. And I value them so much. I feel good after a good conversation, after helping someone with my ideas, etc.

If I just sit and wait for thoughts to come up, there is no effort in thinking. So I am clearly not doing anything for the thoughts to be there.

When I’m in a flow of thinking, even thinking which you might call ‘intelligent’ or analytical (as opposed to daydreaming), there is no experience of a thinker, and only afterwards I can ask myself questions about the process of thinking, such as the questions you pose: there did not seem to be effort of someone involved, but there was knowing of the thoughts, just not evaluation of them at the same time.
If there is evaluation of thoughts during a period of thinking, then it feels like me doing the thinking/evaluating.

I was hanging out my laundry and saw that my thoughts weren’t telling me how to do it and making me do it, but rather commenting on it and describing it. So with behavior that is not (entirely) repetitive, thoughts are not necessary to control the behavior; at least not always.

Is there a seer of thoughts apart from thoughts?
At first, when I decided to start looking at my thoughts, then there was a strong sense of a seer. That diminished after inquiring further:

When I relaxed my focus, I could see that the idea of a seer, the feeling of a seer and the thoughts were all happening simultaneously, as one happening. Then there was no experience of a seer anymore. Thoughts were arising in the moment, by itself, without thinker, and without a seer.

What is mind?
What I call my mind is that which processes incoming information (input) from my senses and creates thoughts and emotions (output). Processing consists of interpreting, categorizing, interpreting and evaluating input. I guess the mind as such cannot be experienced. Only its output, thoughts and emotions, can be experienced. So everything between the input and the output is a black box.

The mind also has certain temporary qualities: the mind can be calm vs excited, concentrated vs distracted. These qualities are perhaps not things in themselves, because all I see is that they are a function of speed of thinking, quantity of thoughts, diversity of thoughts, type of emotions and also the state of arousal/relaxation of the whole body.

Together, what I find of the mind is only thoughts and emotions, not an entity that is ‘the mind’.

This was all more difficult than the inquiry with the other ‘senses’. I did see things differently than before, but that was all temporary and it took much more effort/time to see it.

With love,
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Fri May 29, 2020 6:46 am

Yes, it’s more challenging as thinking process is not examined usually.
So with behavior that is not (entirely) repetitive, thoughts are not necessary to control the behavior; at least not always.
look closer here. When and what thoughts actually control? You say not always, I invite you to find out when precisely thoughts are in control of what is happening.

Yes, you see thoughts arising, emotions arising, there is a constant movement of the happenings. But zoom in and looked closer, and even closer, is there a thinker at all? Describe what you see when you look at it. Is thought thinker thinking thoughts?

Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Fri May 29, 2020 4:42 pm

Thoughts can give ideas, and then later I would do something in accordance with those ideas. But that does not imply the thougts made my body move into action.
Thoughts can make decisions, weighting pros and cons. But that does not imply that the thoughts itself are being controlled.
Thoughts affect feelings. If I start thinking negatively for a while, my feelings will be negative.

Thus as far as I can see, thoughts do affect things. The question is whether there was something in control of those thoughts…?
Thoughts can be affected by other things. But that does not imply that those things were intending to affect thoughts, trying to control them.

Is there an I who controls my thoughts? Is there a thinker?
When I’m thinking, sensations feel like the thinker. When a thought is a memory, then the thought does not feel as if it comes from me, but it’s more like a sound on tv. When a thought is ABOUT something, then the sensation of the body feels like me, the thinker.

There are sensations that are familiar and feel like me. But when I focus on those and start looking very carefully if those sensations control thinking, they don’t seem to be related to the thinking. I mean, the movement of the sensations are not necessarily in sync with the speed of the thoughts.

If there is a thinker, it needs to have intellect, needs to know what he is doing to make thoughts that make sense. Is there an intellectual being to find apart from thoughts itself then? The only intellectual thing I find are the thoughts itself. What is prior to that thinking then? That must be something else than thinking. But there is nothing there that has intellectual qualities as far as I can see.

Is thought the thinker?
Thoughts affect other thoughts: I can have an internal discussion for example. I can also evaluate that discussion, but that is just other thoughts (and accompanying feelings).
But I cannot find anything in the experience of ‘me’, that is able to control thoughts; nothing that can say what the next thought will be.

Love
Micha

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Sun May 31, 2020 7:11 am

Thank you for your thoughts. I can see you are dancing around the answers, thinking about thinking. I invite you to zoom in and look deeper.
What happens when you ask this question:
Is there a thinker?
Describe actual reaction.

Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Sun May 31, 2020 8:54 am

Hi Ilona,

Yes, I see what you mean.
Difficult for me to not start thinking when I ask myself that question, ‘is there a thinker?’ Thinking IS my first reaction :-).

OK, I’ll leave those thoughts for what they are and see what happens: my reaction to the question is to start scanning the area of my head. I’ll let that go because there is not really anything I see except for familiar sensations that feel like a thinker when I focus on them strongly. But when I loosen the focus they don’t feel like the thinker anymore. My attention now is resting and only focussing now and then on things that grab the attention, such as sudden sounds, thoughts or feelings.

It seems like the focussing makes me identify with the body part in focus, but when loosening the focus the identification loosens as well. (But this is thinking about it again...)

Not sure if this is what you mean by looking deeper? (Because I usually interpret that as thinking harder :-).

I’ll keep looking.

With love


Verzonden vanaf mijn iPad met Tapatalk

User avatar
Ilona
Site Admin
Posts: 7937
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:57 pm
Location: Lithuania
Contact:

Re: Who am I?

Postby Ilona » Sun May 31, 2020 11:05 am

Haha, no I’m not asking to think harder, only to describe what you see.

Yes, you can see attention resting and thoughts lash onto a thought, sound, feeling.

Do you feel silence of mind, when you ask that question?
Here is a video for you to demonstrate what I mean.
https://youtu.be/vVfvRetanr0

Love.

User avatar
Micha2019
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:38 pm

Re: Who am I?

Postby Micha2019 » Sun May 31, 2020 7:05 pm

Yes, the mind goes quiet after asking the question. At least, for a few seconds. Then sometimes a bit longer. One of the things in your video that helped was when you say to open up to 'it'.

I went for a walk outside and asked similar questions (who is seeing? who is thinking?), and each time my attention stayed rather unfocused. Before, it would go to my head or body and that would feel very much like me doing the seeing. Now there was no such pull, just a very relaxed awareness without a particular focus, and no sense of someone doing the thinking, seeing, etc.

with love
Micha


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest