In search of Truth

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:02 pm

Hi spiritfree
The machinations of the false self can be seen, however it in itself cannot. So if e.g. "fear-based patterns" or something like that could be used, these and the thoughts and actions stemming from/included in them can be observed but there is not really any substantial entity actually "doing" it. It cannot be located anywhere nor directly experienced since it but dwells in thoughts and ideas, had by nobody.
Yes, that is a pretty good description. Your English is really good by the way, how did you learn it?
Directing awareness to awareness itself quickly gives this collapsing feeling to the mind and what goes on in it, the shift from self thinking and doing all it needs to do to keep itself seem alive and real, to awareness becoming aware of itself without any concepts about itself, and thus obviously with no physical properties or feelings associated with it. I'd say it more just is than does anything, also in terms of making decisions. I guess it just sits there observing for instance fingers moving over a keyboard writing these words. Attention is on what is imagined, thought or perceived, awareness bothers not with that. Perhaps we could say that there is an awareness of attention being directed somewhere.
This is a pretty good description to. It just is. I couldn't put it any better myself. I have a few questions...

Does anything that happens in awareness change it in any way when you look?
Is attention fundamentally different to awareness or just another aspect of it?
Is there separation between a sensation and the attention placed on it?
How is awareness separated from what is experienced?
Is there an edge or line to be found between the “awareness” and sensations or thoughts?


I suggest doing some experiments to look into this.
For example close your eyes and run your fingers along your forarm. Is there a you in this experience, is there a forearm and a finger, an experiencer and an experience. or is it all just one sensation. Touch sensing is happening. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds occurring. Is there a me hearing, is there a location out there or in here, or is there just the sound happening? Can you see a barrier between something making the sound and the awareness the sound is happening in. Are the thoughts attributing the sound and making judgements and stories about it actually happening in reality or are they being added to it?

I think from your responses you have experienced and understood so much already. Do you think you have seen through the "self" now or is there more work to be done?

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:26 pm

Hi spiritfree

Can you have a look at this dialogue please and let me know what comes up when you are reading it anything unclear, conclusions one you have read it all?

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sudhir-k ... cation=ufi

Much love

Simon

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spiritfree
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Sun Jan 12, 2020 12:09 am

Hi Simon,
Your English is really good by the way, how did you learn it?

Thank you, I don't know, just an interest in English and reading a lot I guess. Certain words and expressions used may give the impression that I am better than I actually am.
Does anything that happens in awareness change it in any way when you look?
No, awareness is changeless and stays the same regardless of what is temporarily going on in terms of thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
Is attention fundamentally different to awareness or just another aspect of it?
If change and changelessness differ fundamentally, then I'd say attention is not just another aspect of awareness.
Is there separation between a sensation and the attention placed on it?
Hmmm, I guess I could use a practical example in order to understand the question.
How is awareness separated from what is experienced?
Maybe one way of putting it is that experience depends on awareness whereas awareness is not dependent on anything but itself.
Is there an edge or line to be found between the “awareness” and sensations or thoughts?
Sensations and thoughts taking place in awareness seems to imply that there is nothing separating them from one another. There is no longer duality in terms of a "me" that observes something "not me".
I suggest doing some experiments to look into this.
For example close your eyes and run your fingers along your forearm. Is there a you in this experience, is there a forearm and a finger, an experiencer and an experience. or is it all just one sensation. Touch sensing is happening.
Without the thoughts of a forearm, a finger, pleasure, an experiencer etc it all just seems to happen by itself in awareness.
Close your eyes and listen to the sounds occurring. Is there a me hearing, is there a location out there or in here, or is there just the sound happening?
Doing the exercise this way (and having worked with this kind of exercises for some time now) paves the way for a new way of describing it; in the past if someone would have asked me what's going on I would probably reply that "I am hearing a sound" whereas now something like "sound is being registered" could be a more probable answer. The very term "I" seems to lose its meaning more and more.
Can you see a barrier between something making the sound and the awareness the sound is happening in. Are the thoughts attributing the sound and making judgements and stories about it actually happening in reality or are they being added to it?
The thoughts, just as the self experiencing something, are added to it as the mind's habitual labelling, dividing, judging, story-telling etc.
I think from your responses you have experienced and understood so much already. Do you think you have seen through the "self" now or is there more work to be done?
Intellectually and to a certain extent experientially I seem to grasp it, although I feel the need to keep practising the looking so it occurs more automatically/spontaneously. If I need more guidance or pointers regarding that, I will bring it up.
Can you have a look at this dialogue please and let me know what comes up when you are reading it anything unclear, conclusions one you have read it all?

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sudhir-k ... cation=ufi
Certainly, I will do it tomorrow

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:44 am

spititfree

I think you have got it from your replies.

we can do some more exercises if you like but I am very encouraged :-)
No, awareness is changeless and stays the same regardless of what is temporarily going on in terms of thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
Yes, the classic Buddhist example is the mirror. It reflects what is in it but when that thing it gone it is unchanged and it reflects the next thing.
If change and changelessness differ fundamentally, then I'd say attention is not just another aspect of awareness.
Yes, one could think of it like a sphere or onion with layers. inside pure awareness, next sphere is the attention sphere, here there is an object of the senses interacting with awareness. But it comes out of awareness so is inherently made of it tough is different. In the example above this is the reflection.

Maybe one way of putting it is that experience depends on awareness whereas awareness is not dependent on anything but itself.
Yes, see example above. You need a mirror to have a reflection.
Sensations and thoughts taking place in awareness seems to imply that there is nothing separating them from one another. There is no longer duality in terms of a "me" that observes something "not me".
Yes. But no need to imply, this can be seen. In the exercises you did you saw a lot but did you ever find a seperation, or does that occur later? Think maybe of the thoughts and labelling and interpretation and stories as a third layer of the onion. You saw this
Without the thoughts of a forearm, a finger, pleasure, an experiencer etc it all just seems to happen by itself in awareness.
You are there with that thought "it all happens by itself". Any doubts about this? Emotions from it?
Doing the exercise this way (and having worked with this kind of exercises for some time now) paves the way for a new way of describing it; in the past if someone would have asked me what's going on I would probably reply that "I am hearing a sound" whereas now something like "sound is being registered" could be a more probable answer. The very term "I" seems to lose its meaning more and more.
How about, sound is happening? No need for an object doing "sounding" or an observer "hearing" that are seperate, both are needed for it to happen?

Two men were arguing about a flag flapping in the wind. "It's the wind that is really moving," stated the first one. "No, it is the flag that is moving," contended the second. A Zen master, who happened to be walking by, overheard the debate and interrupted them. "Neither the flag nor the wind is moving," he said, "It is MIND that moves."

You might like to try these exercises for completeness, we worked with the senses so now lets look at thoughts.

Observing Thoughts

Here is a thought exercise. Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts.

Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear without you doing anything at all.

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’?

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spiritfree
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:14 pm

Hi Simon,
Sensations and thoughts taking place in awareness seems to imply that there is nothing separating them from one another. There is no longer duality in terms of a "me" that observes something "not me".

Yes. But no need to imply, this can be seen. In the exercises you did you saw a lot but did you ever find a separation, or does that occur later?
I guess separating one thing from another is just another activity of the mind and thus it can't really be found in DE.
Without the thoughts of a forearm, a finger, pleasure, an experiencer etc it all just seems to happen by itself in awareness.

You are there with that thought "it all happens by itself". Any doubts about this? Emotions from it?
On an intellectual level there is no doubt, but my regular conditioning naturally has this ongoing narrative of "me" in a world of separate things and it seems it will take some more looking to decondition myself. I don't really feel much dwelling on these ideas, however due to the radical nature of this new way of relating to, well everything, I get a sense of disbelief or something coming up occasionally.
Doing the exercise this way (and having worked with this kind of exercises for some time now) paves the way for a new way of describing it; in the past if someone would have asked me what's going on I would probably reply that "I am hearing a sound" whereas now something like "sound is being registered" could be a more probable answer. The very term "I" seems to lose its meaning more and more.

How about, sound is happening? No need for an object doing "sounding" or an observer "hearing" that are seperate, both are needed for it to happen?
Well, working with this and actually having glimpses of the direct experience that denies the existence of a separate self, I still wonder if it's just semantics on my part when I tell myself that "it all just happens". I mean anyone could start using that kind of formulation without actually having the deeply rooted belief in a self really threatened, right?
Observing Thoughts

Here is a thought exercise. Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts.

Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear without you doing anything at all.

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’?
I did the exercise and noticed that I don't really have any control of my thoughts - they come and go as they desire, from nowhere returning whence they came. Even a thought like "I am not going to think about this any more" and similar meta-thoughts must just appear without me actually doing anything. Being hyper-vigilant monitoring the thoughts like this will bring about short periods of nearly no thoughts at all, it's just awareness being there.
Can you have a look at this dialogue please and let me know what comes up when you are reading it anything unclear, conclusions one you have read it all?

https://www.facebook.com/notes/sudhir-k ... cation=ufi

I have read it a few times now and in the dialogue I see the emphasis on questioning the role being played and identified with as an intentional choice. For instance, I am now playing the role of the "seeker", right? But as I do that, I guess I also need to ask who is the "I" playing that role, and look for it beyond thoughts about it and directly experience it as non-existent. Other than that, I am reminded to continually remind myself that I am playing a role and thus gradually dis-identify with it.

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:27 pm

Hi spiritfree

Thank you for doing the exercises, looking into what is actually happening and known directly and differentiating it from what happens after that in the mind is the key I think. The difference between veritably real things and anything happening in the mind (which is all a form of thought).
I guess separating one thing from another is just another activity of the mind and thus it can't really be found in DE.
Yes. this is a key insight.

I would like you to do some more simple excercise, repetitive but shows this clearly. I think you have seen but are doubting it could be this simple. It really is.

magine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine its shape, size, weight, temperature, color. Now keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.

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 it never existed?

-
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 a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
How does imagining and experiencing differ?



Please close your eyes, and imagine the spoon again.

Are there actual colours there?
Or there are only visual thoughts of colours?

And are there actual forms there?
Or there are only visual thoughts of forms?

Are the imagined colours are actual colours?
Or just thoughts ABOUT colours?

Are those colours and shapes actually seen, or just imagined?


Let’s dig deeper into this, since seeing the distinction between thought (imagination) and experience (reality) is essential.

More some simple exercises for you. I would like to ask you to actually do the exercises, and not just think through them. Although they are very simple exercises, but exactly because of the simplicity it’s often overlooked. So please actually do them.

Here is an experiment for you. You will need a chair.

Choose a spot where there is some space both to your left and right.
Put the chair to your right.
Now turn slightly to your left, where there is some empty space.
Not turn back to your right, and investigate the chair thoroughly. Touch it, feel the fabric or the material it’s made of, look at its size, shape, color, texture.

Now turn back to your left to the empty space and try to imagine that there is the same chair you observed on your right. If it helps close your eyes. Imagine its fabric, size, color, shape, texture. Make it as vivid as you can. So you have two chairs, one on your right, and an imagined copy of it on your left.

Now open your eyes, and sit on that imagined chair of your left. Literally sit on it.
Can you do that? Why not?


Now turn to your right, and sit on the chair.
Can you do that? Why?


While sitting on the chair, investigate these:
Can the thought ‘sweet’ be tasted?
Can the thought ‘warm’ be felt?
Can the thought ‘fragrant scent’ be smelled?
Can the thought ‘beautiful sunset’ be seen?
Can the thought of ‘loud noise’ be heard?


Can the thought of drinking water make your thirst away?

Can the thought of ‘walking on a beach’ make your feet wet and sandy?
WHY not?

So what is the difference between real and imagined?

What is the difference between a chair and the THOUGHT OF a chair?

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spiritfree
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:22 pm

Hi Simon!

Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine its shape, size, weight, temperature, color. Now keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.

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 it never existed?
The questions kind of answer themselves; obviously there is no spoon in real life, only in thoughts "verifying" themselves although they completely lack any substance whatsoever. The imaginary spoon didn't disappear, it was never there to begin with.
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 a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
In what we refer to as "real life" the spoon certainly is there, and is not just a visual thought.
How does imagining and experiencing differ?
Imagining occurs as content of thoughts, thoughts ABOUT something rather than the experiencing actually having substance beyond thoughts ABOUT whatever is experienced.
Please close your eyes, and imagine the spoon again.

Are there actual colours there?
Or there are only visual thoughts of colours?

And are there actual forms there?
Or there are only visual thoughts of forms?

Are the imagined colours are actual colours?
Or just thoughts ABOUT colours?

Are those colours and shapes actually seen, or just imagined?
Again, pretty self-evident answers when we differentiate between actuality and imagining.

Choose a spot where there is some space both to your left and right.
Put the chair to your right.
Now turn slightly to your left, where there is some empty space.
Not turn back to your right, and investigate the chair thoroughly. Touch it, feel the fabric or the material it’s made of, look at its size, shape, color, texture.

Now turn back to your left to the empty space and try to imagine that there is the same chair you observed on your right. If it helps close your eyes. Imagine its fabric, size, color, shape, texture. Make it as vivid as you can. So you have two chairs, one on your right, and an imagined copy of it on your left.

Now open your eyes, and sit on that imagined chair of your left. Literally sit on it.
Can you do that? Why not?
However "real" it felt in my imagination it just wasn't there when I opened my eyes, nor did it make the slightest effort to support me when I attempted to sit on it. Luckily the floor was very real, albeit a bit hard.
While sitting on the chair, investigate these:
Can the thought ‘sweet’ be tasted?
Can the thought ‘warm’ be felt?
Can the thought ‘fragrant scent’ be smelled?
Can the thought ‘beautiful sunset’ be seen?
Can the thought of ‘loud noise’ be heard?

Can the thought of drinking water make your thirst away?

Can the thought of ‘walking on a beach’ make your feet wet and sandy?
To all of the questions above, the answer is an unequivocal "NO!"
WHY not?

So what is the difference between real and imagined?

What is the difference between a chair and the THOUGHT OF a chair?
The thought of the chair can only seem real, and very real at that, however only a chair can be real and it is real no matter what I think about it.

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:09 pm

Hi Spiritfree



From your whole post it is really clear that you got this. An imaginary object is not real in any way, however at the time it may seem so. Any doubts? The perceived object is there, however we will never fully perceive what it may actually be, our senses are limited, we add labels and thoughts that don’t exist in reality onto it. Any doubts?

Doing the exercise this way (and having worked with this kind of exercises for some time now) paves the way for a new way of describing it; in the past if someone would have asked me what's going on I would probably reply that "I am hearing a sound" whereas now something like "sound is being registered" could be a more probable answer. The very term "I" seems to lose its meaning more and more.
How about, sound is happening? No need for an object doing "sounding" or an observer "hearing" that are seperate, both are needed for it to happen?

Well, working with this and actually having glimpses of the direct experience that denies the existence of a separate self, I still wonder if it's just semantics on my part when I tell myself that "it all just happens". I mean anyone could start using that kind of formulation without actually having the deeply rooted belief in a self really threatened, right?


This is a very valid concern. My way of avoiding this is not to use my logical labelling attention to answer this question, but just sit with it and wait for an answer. From where you may ask, I think of it as from the place of awareness, the place we cant know where thoughts come from, the unconsciousness or awareness, doesn’t matter what we label it if we can access it.


My suggestion is to look, like we did for the chair……


Sit in your meditation and when you have reached the calm state with no thoughts (Theravadins call this “access concentration”) be there for a while, then gently introduce the question “can the true self be found” and don’t start thinking or compose an answer, just sit with the query and see what happens. Then repeat this questioning but with the question “can the imaginary self be found”. Don’t force anything and when you go of on trains of thoughts just come back to being and look for an actual something, sensation or real input. I would love to know how you get on, please can you report any thoughts and hindrances or blocks as well as anything else that arises?



Do you perceive a doer, an I, in anything that happens in reality, or not?

Is there anything “real” in any of the roles you play, friend, employee?

Is there anything real in the role of “I”?


Think about your partner/wife.

Think to yourself “my wife”.

Does that define the totality of the being you are referring to as a permanent, unchangeable, isolated thing, or is it an empty label?



Think about “my body”.

How is the my a real part of the body, where is it in the body or attached to the body?



Try doing o the same with “my thoughts”,

How is the my a real part of the thought, where is it in the thought or attached to the thought?

I hope you have fun with these enquiries.

Are there any other areas you would like to explore, I think basically we covered everything?

Simon

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spiritfree
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:55 am

Hi Simon,

I replied to your post last night but now I see that for some reason it doesn't appear here. It was just a quick note before I needed to go to sleep.

Just sitting and waiting for answers, and not those that come from thinking, has been a new way for me to approach various questions and problems in meditation. Pondering something that I would want an answer or a solution to, I have come to ask the question: "And what has silence got to say about this?" thus bypassing my normal conditioned thinking that keeps the intellectual aspect of the false self so seeming real.

I will post again today once I have done the exercises you gave me.

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:06 pm

hi spiritfree
"Just sitting and waiting for answers, and not those that come from thinking, has been a new way for me to approach various questions and problems in meditation. Pondering something that I would want an answer or a solution to, I have come to ask the question: "And what has silence got to say about this?" thus bypassing my normal conditioned thinking that keeps the intellectual aspect of the false self so seeming real."
very happy to have introduced you to something new, I found this technique very helpful. Especially helpful when dealing with old hurts left in the body, just asking "is there any more to this, and can anything more be done".

When does your retreat start?

You havent replied fully to the other excercises but here are a couple more.


Let’s see if there is really ANY connection between thoughts.

How do you know that certain thoughts are connected without another thought saying that they are connected?

Take any 'repetitive pattern' you like. I use this example:

Thought 1: Take out toothbrush
Thought 2: Take out toothpaste
Thought 3: put toothpaste on toothbrush
Thought 4: Turn water on
Thought 5: Start brushing my teeth
Thought 6: The previous thoughts are all connected.

Go through these thoughts one-by-one, and investigate by LOOKING if there is anything that is actually linking them.

Can you find an ACTUAL link or connection between them?

If thought 6 would never arise would there be any knowledge about those thoughts being connected?

Does thought 6 know anything about thought 1 or thought 2?

Does thought 6 sees or knows about a hidden connection between thought 1 and 5?

Is there REALLY a connection between those thoughts or only thoughts suggest so?



The presence of a thought is known. It’s there, unquestionably.
But is the CONTENT of a thought real?


The thought is there. But does the CONTENT of a thought ACTUALLY happen in direct experience?

We can say that thought as a ‘container’, as phenomenon is real, it’s happening. Ie like the mirror containing a reflection.
But
What the thought is ABOUT ‘the content’ is not real, not happening. Just imagined. You cant drink a glass of water reflected in the mirror.
Do you get the distinction between thought as phenomenon (container) and what the thought is about (content)?
Thoughts can say, 'I need water to survive', but my actual survival isn't based around that thought or imagining water, but an actual sensation of thirst followed by actual experience of drinking. I don't need to "know" about this idea that I'll die without water to act to find water, although it can be useful so there is also no need not to have it.

Lets see what the "self" is in control of when actions are taken....Is there a chooser...how does choosing happen...?

Please place both hands on a table palm down. After a minute one hand must be raised in the air above your head whilst the other one will remain where it is. Notice where the 'choice' is made (between hands)
Can the very point of choice be detected, the exact moment? Does something choose? Noticing what happens, what makes the one hand go up in the air?

How do you feel our enquiry together is progressing?

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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:56 pm

Hi Simon,
Sit in your meditation and when you have reached the calm state with no thoughts (Theravadins call this “access concentration”) be there for a while, then gently introduce the question “can the true self be found” and don’t start thinking or compose an answer, just sit with the query and see what happens. Then repeat this questioning but with the question “can the imaginary self be found”. Don’t force anything and when you go of on trains of thoughts just come back to being and look for an actual something, sensation or real input. I would love to know how you get on, please can you report any thoughts and hindrances or blocks as well as anything else that arises?
Reminding myself that I shouldn't expect anything has been helpful since I otherwise might have wondered why I haven't yet attained complete liberation. It thus relaxes me doing the exercises and regarding the one suggested above, nothing labelled such as a true self or an imaginary self can be found in thoughts. What is experienced though is an impersonal silence and stillness for a few seconds at a time, and more and more easily accessible to me.

Do you perceive a doer, an I, in anything that happens in reality, or not?

Is there anything “real” in any of the roles you play, friend, employee?

Is there anything real in the role of “I”?
The answer to all of these questions is no, but the more I ponder them and other questions you have asked, the more I realize that these things just haven't really been questioned like this before; the "reality" of contents of thoughts, the self that "verifies" its own existence by an un-questioned, un-scrutinized thought system that is self-perpetuating, the different roles I play throughout the day. The practical value of this work so far is among other things that I i in my daily life stop, take a step back and remind myself of things like "This is a role I am playing" etc. The stream of thoughts (and sometimes words and actions stemming from these thoughts) are replaced by the silence and stillness I mentioned above. This work doesn't build upon itself accumulating more and more knowledge or intellectual understanding, and that is such a relief.

Think about your partner/wife.

Think to yourself “my wife”.

Does that define the totality of the being you are referring to as a permanent, unchangeable, isolated thing, or is it an empty label?
The "my" inserted before the word/thought "wife" tells me nothing about anything, however much it has seemed to do do (and still seems to when I don't question it like we're doing here.
Think about “my body”.

How is the my a real part of the body, where is it in the body or attached to the body?
Also here, the "my" is also a label that has no real counterpart in direct experience.
Try doing o the same with “my thoughts”,

How is the my a real part of the thought, where is it in the thought or attached to the thought?
I notice as I sit and work with these questions, my normal thought processes quickly die out and are replaced by another kind of thinking. It's hard to explain but without the normal conditioned chatter, it seems like the silence gives rise to thoughts that "speak" of the silence as it were.
Are there any other areas you would like to explore, I think basically we covered everything?
I'd like to get back to this question later and see if something comes up, if that's ok.
When does your retreat start?
I will go there next Wednesday and on Thursday it starts. Again, it's running late and I will return to the remaining exercises tomorrow.

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spiritfree
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:11 pm

Let’s see if there is really ANY connection between thoughts.

How do you know that certain thoughts are connected without another thought saying that they are connected?

Take any 'repetitive pattern' you like. I use this example:

Thought 1: Take out toothbrush
Thought 2: Take out toothpaste
Thought 3: put toothpaste on toothbrush
Thought 4: Turn water on
Thought 5: Start brushing my teeth
Thought 6: The previous thoughts are all connected.

Go through these thoughts one-by-one, and investigate by LOOKING if there is anything that is actually linking them.

Can you find an ACTUAL link or connection between them?

If thought 6 would never arise would there be any knowledge about those thoughts being connected?

Does thought 6 know anything about thought 1 or thought 2?

Does thought 6 sees or knows about a hidden connection between thought 1 and 5?

Is there REALLY a connection between those thoughts or only thoughts suggest so?
Doing this exercise I see how much meaning has been given to thoughts and words, in this case they seem to tell a story by linking pieces together when there's actually no connection - other than in thought. However, I also get the "feeling" that on one level they are not separate from one an other, together they form one complete whole but without the normal "story" being told by an artificial connection between the pieces. I also thought about how it would be if the sentences were written in a foreign language that I don't understand, and that made what I just wrote even more understandable. Digging deeper into this rabbit hole I guess all pieces everywhere, that seem so separate, are part of one unified whole.
The presence of a thought is known. It’s there, unquestionably.
But is the CONTENT of a thought real?
We have addressed this question before I believe, and again, no - the content is not real.
The thought is there. But does the CONTENT of a thought ACTUALLY happen in direct experience?
In direct experience something happens but it has no connection to any content of thoughts.
We can say that thought as a ‘container’, as phenomenon is real, it’s happening. Ie like the mirror containing a reflection.
But
What the thought is ABOUT ‘the content’ is not real, not happening. Just imagined. You cant drink a glass of water reflected in the mirror.
Do you get the distinction between thought as phenomenon (container) and what the thought is about (content)?
More and more so, and not only as I sit here working with these questions and exercises, but also in my daily life in various situations.
Lets see what the "self" is in control of when actions are taken....Is there a chooser...how does choosing happen...?

Please place both hands on a table palm down. After a minute one hand must be raised in the air above your head whilst the other one will remain where it is. Notice where the 'choice' is made (between hands)
Can the very point of choice be detected, the exact moment? Does something choose? Noticing what happens, what makes the one hand go up in the air?
Great exercise, the minute I waited to lift one hand was spent watching the thought that would decide which hand to lift, and it was seen that there was no control over what was going to be decided since thoughts just appear without any conscious decision. Again, deep-seated convictions, this time about (the experience of) free will and an active "decision maker" are slowly but surely seen through as just false beliefs with no basis in reality.
How do you feel our enquiry together is progressing?
Obviously I don't have much to compare with, but I can say that my thinking seems to be severely over-hauled so far, and for that I am truly grateful.

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Sunyata67
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Re: In search of Truth

Postby Sunyata67 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 11:31 am

Reminding myself that I shouldn't expect anything has been helpful since I otherwise might have wondered why I haven't yet attained complete liberation. It thus relaxes me doing the exercises and regarding the one suggested above, nothing labelled such as a true self or an imaginary self can be found in thoughts. What is experienced though is an impersonal silence and stillness for a few seconds at a time, and more and more easily accessible to me.
Good progress, nothing else to do here, just keep going like you are. I think finding this silence is more important than realizing no self, so I am very happy you found it, in Zen (the background I come from) this is a big thing, you might find it interesting to Google the terms “Kensho”, “Rigpa” and “Citta”.
Do you perceive a doer, an I, in anything that happens in reality, or not?
The answer to all of these questions is no, but the more I ponder them and other questions you have asked, the more I realize that these things just haven't really been questioned like this before; the "reality" of contents of thoughts, the self that "verifies" its own existence by an un-questioned, un-scrutinized thought system that is self-perpetuating, the different roles I play throughout the day. The practical value of this work so far is among other things that I i in my daily life stop, take a step back and remind myself of things like "This is a role I am playing" etc. The stream of thoughts (and sometimes words and actions stemming from these thoughts) are replaced by the silence and stillness I mentioned above. This work doesn't build upon itself accumulating more and more knowledge or intellectual understanding, and that is such a relief.,

Yes, once you have found this in my experience nothing more than keeping practising is needed. “You” don’t need to do anything but sit quietly and insight will come.

The "my" inserted before the word/thought "wife" tells me nothing about anything, however much it has seemed to do do (and still seems to when I don't question it like we're doing here.
As above, just keep going. It took many years of unquestioning to build beliefs, it does take some time to unwind them.

Looking for separation and boundaries is a key practice, I think we will do more of this.
Please place both hands on a table palm down. After a minute one hand must be raised in the air above your head whilst the other one will remain where it is. Notice where the 'choice' is made (between hands)
Can the very point of choice be detected, the exact moment? Does something choose? Noticing what happens, what makes the one hand go up in the air?
Great exercise, the minute I waited to lift one hand was spent watching the thought that would decide which hand to lift, and it was seen that there was no control over what was going to be decided since thoughts just appear without any conscious decision. Again, deep-seated convictions, this time about (the experience of) free will and an active "decision maker" are slowly but surely seen through as just false beliefs with no basis in reality.
How does this make you feel? Do you see these ideas differently now, free will, decision maker?
How do you feel our enquiry together is progressing?
Obviously I don't have much to compare with, but I can say that my thinking seems to be severely over-hauled so far, and for that I am truly grateful.
Good, worth continuing on then  So I will set another exercise, I found I was doing this every day for months at one stage and was very helpful….

Go to the park for a walk, or by the sea or countryside. Whilst there, notice everything that is going on using all your senses actively, weather, air, grass, trees, animals, sounds, people, insects, temperature, and including any thoughts or feelings that are going on. Now, look for a line in all this experience behind which is a 'me' and beyond which is 'everything else'. Can such a line or edge be found? Try this at places you have felt good at and like the experience you get there.

Another good exercise is to sit quietly face to face with your partner and look into her eyes for a few minutes. Don’t actively communicate in any way, just look deeply and experience (try to from the silent mind you have found rather than the analysing mind).


Have a great weekend

Simon

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spiritfree
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:03 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:34 pm

Hi Simon!
Good progress, nothing else to do here, just keep going like you are. I think finding this silence is more important than realizing no self, so I am very happy you found it, in Zen (the background I come from) this is a big thing, you might find it interesting to Google the terms “Kensho”, “Rigpa” and “Citta”.
Do you perceive a doer, an I, in anything that happens in reality, or not?
When I actively look for one, the very act of looking quickly silences the normal chatter and the impersonal silence and stillness emerges. However it is in my daily life that my sense of self doesn't seem too threatened, especially when I am upset or feel kind of grumpy or jaded. Deeply rooted behavioural and cognitive patterns with emotional reactions still seem to need a lot of work to let go of.
Please place both hands on a table palm down. After a minute one hand must be raised in the air above your head whilst the other one will remain where it is. Notice where the 'choice' is made (between hands)
Can the very point of choice be detected, the exact moment? Does something choose? Noticing what happens, what makes the one hand go up in the air?
Great exercise, the minute I waited to lift one hand was spent watching the thought that would decide which hand to lift, and it was seen that there was no control over what was going to be decided since thoughts just appear without any conscious decision. Again, deep-seated convictions, this time about (the experience of) free will and an active "decision maker" are slowly but surely seen through as just false beliefs with no basis in reality.

How does this make you feel? Do you see these ideas differently now, free will, decision maker?
On a theoretical level, having these kinds of experiences, a sense of clarity comes which feels good. The practical use of them (if there even is one) seems to elude me since I sometimes still think and act as if I hadn't learned or seen anything doing these exercises. The same old sense of self that gets defensive, trusts its insane thoughts, has no clue how to solve conflicts once and for all etc. Yet I know that the disclaimer makes it clear that I am not to expect any such changes.

Go to the park for a walk, or by the sea or countryside. Whilst there, notice everything that is going on using all your senses actively, weather, air, grass, trees, animals, sounds, people, insects, temperature, and including any thoughts or feelings that are going on. Now, look for a line in all this experience behind which is a 'me' and beyond which is 'everything else'. Can such a line or edge be found? Try this at places you have felt good at and like the experience you get there.

Another good exercise is to sit quietly face to face with your partner and look into her eyes for a few minutes. Don’t actively communicate in any way, just look deeply and experience (try to from the silent mind you have found rather than the analysing mind).
Thank you, the first one of the exercises I can do tomorrow, the second one I will do shortly before I go to bed, I will report tomorrow once I have done them.

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spiritfree
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:03 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: In search of Truth

Postby spiritfree » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:28 pm

Go to the park for a walk, or by the sea or countryside. Whilst there, notice everything that is going on using all your senses actively, weather, air, grass, trees, animals, sounds, people, insects, temperature, and including any thoughts or feelings that are going on. Now, look for a line in all this experience behind which is a 'me' and beyond which is 'everything else'. Can such a line or edge be found? Try this at places you have felt good at and like the experience you get there.
It is new and needs some effort to switch to this kind of focus, being fully present with what is sans my labelling, conceptual thoughts about it. However, that presence is the only thing that really can be found, any separation between "me" and "everything else" is just the mind doing what it has always done.

Another good exercise is to sit quietly face to face with your partner and look into her eyes for a few minutes. Don’t actively communicate in any way, just look deeply and experience (try to from the silent mind you have found rather than the analysing mind).
I did that but we had had an argument earlier the evening so I couldn't really ward off intruding thoughts about what had transpired between us just before the exercise.


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