Why do I need I?

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:39 pm

Hello back dear Katerina!
thanks! We can definitely move on to the next step now:)
Very good. When in doubt - don't hesitate to let me know :)

______________________________________________________

We've just looked closely at a distinction between THOUGHT CONTENT and DIRECT EXPERIENCE. As you know now - based on your exercise - labels are not what is DIRECTLY here.
To make our inquiry easier - further down the line - we need to return to observing thoughts and finding the gap in between them.

GAP EXERCISE

Here is a step-by-step description of how to look at thoughts. First thing is to sit for at least
10-15 minutes quietly somewhere, several times throughout your day.
Close your eyes and just notice thoughts. Don’t engage with any thought, just notice them.

1. Notice the current thought that is present.

Like when you sit observing the body, a thought might arise “this is my feet” or “here is a
pain” or “my breathing is too quick” or “I am bored with this exercise” or “I have better
things to do” or any sorts of thoughts.

2. This thought will pass and another thought will come. So just observe this thought
passing.

3. Then wait for the next thought to come.

4. When the next thought is present, just notice it, and see how it passes.

5. Then wait for the next thought to come.

6. Repeat #4 and #5 many-many times.

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

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

I hope your start of the week is nice as well!

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:07 pm

Hi Adam,

I tried this excercise many times.

First couple of days everytime I sat down to do it I noticed lot of thoughts about the "gaps" one jumping into another. Last two days my thoughts were calmer and I imagine I could observe the gap between thoughts. I´m still not sure if I can experience the gap directly since I usually noticed it was there when a thought came describing the gap. They were the moments I experienced something with my senses right before the description of the sensation in my mind came up.

At first I felt quite frustrated by the excercise, trying too hard I guess and then I forgot about it and tried an ordinary meditation and in the middle of it I remembered about the excercise and suddenly it became easier.

Thanks for the clarification!
I´m not sure whether I should describe my experience further in some way...?
Have a great Monday!
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:16 am

Hello Dearie!
First couple of days everytime I sat down to do it I noticed lot of thoughts about the "gaps" one jumping into another
First off - I'd like to thank you for taking some time with this one. It is important to put all the information into practice. It is like chemistry - no amount of talk will give us the perfect mix required.

As you described - the thoughts are jumping - one into another. Sometimes there is a little bit of silence in between. THAT is what the GAP is. Most people walk around not noticing a single second of that silence during their lifetime. They live as if the thoughts are life itself.
I´m still not sure if I can experience the gap directly since I usually noticed it was there when a thought came describing the gap.
And here I'd like to take the opportunity and use my favorite metaphor about gap and thoughts:

Imagine that the gap is the sky. It is always there. Thoughts are like clouds. Some are small, some are bigger, some seem to pass for a long time, some for a split second.
You cannot control the passing of the clouds. Sometimes the sky will be seen for longer periods of time, sometimes the clouds will seem to almost cover the sky completely.

It doesn't change the fact - that the sky is always there. You can scream, dance and curse the heavens - the sky will do sky business and clouds - cloud business.
I´m not sure whether I should describe my experience further in some way...?
We will try that later, sure! Right now - I'd like us to concentrate more on thoughts themselves - so when we come back to finding the gap later - it becomes much, much easier.

Let's rock and roll!

______________________________

THE NATURE OF THOUGHTS

Sit down somewhere quiet for 15-20 minutes - few times a day. It is nice to close your eyes during this exercise - to avoid distractions.

Concentrate on the thinking happening. As we said before - the labeling machine will do its job to describe many different aspects of your experience - be it past, present or future. We are not interested in the content at this time.

Notice the thoughts occurring. Notice how they start and end.

After each exercise - try to answer the questions below. When you are ready - post them here and we will do some more awesome stuff, ok? Also - please describe how you felt during and after those quiet moments.

Here they are:

1. Can you control thinking? Can you (for example) - not think about unpleasant things?
2. Can you choose from a range of different thoughts before they appear?
3. Can you see what thoughts will appear - before they do - so you can stop them somehow?
4. Can you stop thinking altogether? Stop thinking for 1 or 2 minutes? 20 seconds?
5. Can you choose only pleasant thoughts to appear? Can you (for example) think about sweet puppies and cookies for a whole day?
6. Can we truly say where thoughts come from?

_________________________________

This exercise will help us to notice the gap later on. Just notice the thinking process. Nothing more at this time.

Good luck and have fun!

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Sun Apr 26, 2020 7:06 pm

Hi Adam:)

How are you?
After each exercise - try to answer the questions below. When you are ready - post them here and we will do some more awesome stuff, ok? Also - please describe how you felt during and after those quiet moments.

Here they are:

1. Can you control thinking? Can you (for example) - not think about unpleasant things?
2. Can you choose from a range of different thoughts before they appear?
3. Can you see what thoughts will appear - before they do - so you can stop them somehow?
4. Can you stop thinking altogether? Stop thinking for 1 or 2 minutes? 20 seconds?
5. Can you choose only pleasant thoughts to appear? Can you (for example) think about sweet puppies and cookies for a whole day?
6. Can we truly say where thoughts come from?
I had already considered all these questions before and at first I was tempted to just reply to you based on my previous experiences but it was actually really nice to do it again and I ended up doing it couple of times focusing on the nature of thoughts.

1. No, definitely can´t control what I´m thinking or not thinking about
2. They just appear by themselves so the thoughts are already here before I can "choose" them
3. No way of stopping thoughts or seeing which ones are coming
4. Definitely not voluntarily, if there is no thinking happening, it´s only during those brief gaps we were talking about in the last post
5. Haha, would be nice, unfortunately no control over puppies in my thoughts
6. I can´t say where they come from, I can only observe them appearing and passing

I enjoyed this excercise, it is fun to observe what thoughts are emerging. I´ve also been still observing the gaps between them. I imagine recently it´s been bit easier for me to let the thoughts flow without getting too entangled in them. I noticed I have some tendency to look at thoughts carefully and that they sometimes happen faster then my inner narrative or they are only partial (not a full sentence) and then I tend to repeat the thought slowly to "say" it whole and somehow grasp it. I don´t know if I make any sense right now, don´t know how to descrobe it.

Thanks for your thoughts:)) and have a nice Sunday evening!
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:45 pm

Hi Dear Katerina!

So nice to hear from you! I'm peachy keen!

Hope you're doing well!

First off - I'm glad you enjoyed it. Life is here to enjoy it! If we approach this matter as a fun game of observing our experience - everything gets less serious and uptight.

Now I'm gonna take out my Zen Master Stick (trademark pending) and gently poke you - so we can get a few things straight. I apologize if my next questions seem rude or too direct. My intention here is to just put some of your answers into the spotlight and observe them - like thoughts before. We will do this after each exercise to understand and SEE what we are not. All of this is done with love and purity of heart. I hope you understand.

Answer nr 2 struck me:
2. They just appear by themselves so the thoughts are already here before I can "choose" them.
Thoughts appear by themselves. That is correct - and you said it before yourself.
After they appear - Is there any choice available for you? Can you choose a thought after it appears? Or during the labeling?

The latter part sounds like you can choose something afterwards. Just wanted to make sure.
I enjoyed this exercise, it is fun to observe what thoughts are emerging. I've also been still observing the gaps between them. I imagine recently it´s been bit easier for me to let the thoughts flow without getting too entangled in them. I noticed I have some tendency to look at thoughts carefully and that they sometimes happen faster then my inner narrative or they are only partial (not a full sentence) and then I tend to repeat the thought slowly to "say" it whole and somehow grasp it. I don´t know if I make any sense right now, don´t know how to describe it.
I'm glad that you observe the gaps or simply the silence between thoughts. It is a immensely powerful practice that helps a lot in inquiry.

You wrote "It's been bit easier for me to let the thoughts flow without getting too entangled with them".

If you cannot control thoughts - Who is letting thoughts flow or getting too entangled with them?
If the sky is full of clouds or is clear and bright - is it because of our doing?
I noticed I have some tendency to look at thoughts carefully and that they sometimes happen faster then my inner narrative or they are only partial (not a full sentence)...
I've had a nice conversation with my friend once. He told me that: "His inner narrative is louder than his thoughts". Of course I knew that starting the subject of inquiry - with someone who is not interested in it - is a very dire prospect. It brought me however - firsthand - to a prospect of - what we can call "the split".

Thoughts happen in this reality. Thoughts might be experienced differently. Some people claim to see some letters or a text. Some claim to hear their own voice (or someone else's). Many people - it was my experience as well - have an illusion - "the split" - happening.

"The split" is an idea that some thoughts might happen spontaneously - while others are your "inner dialog".
When you watch a movie - some Noir classic, crime movie, coming-of-age movie or many others - the main protagonist is often talking to the audience. It is a distinct way of letting the audience know what is going on with the main character and progresses the story.

That's why my friend thought that there are two types of thinking - spontaneous and "his own".

If we look closer though:
Is "Inner Dialog" different than "Spontaneous Thoughts"?
Isn't "Inner Dialog" spontaneous as well?
If yes - Is Inner Dialog ANY DIFFERENT than spontaneous thoughts?

Finally - can we really divide thinking into our own and not our own?

I'm gonna place my Zen Master Stick on a cushion and wait for your reply.

Have a great day my friend!

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Fri May 01, 2020 8:36 am

Hi, Adam and good morning:)
Life is here to enjoy it! If we approach this matter as a fun game of observing our experience - everything gets less serious and uptight.
This definitely brought smile to my face, I like your attitude:)
Now I'm gonna take out my Zen Master Stick (trademark pending) and gently poke you - so we can get a few things straight.
Haha, keep poking, that´s what I´m here for, no need to apologize for being direct!
After they appear - Is there any choice available for you? Can you choose a thought after it appears? Or during the labeling?
No, no choice available, I didn´t know how to put that so I used the quotation marks. I imagine that the ilusion of choosing the thoughts is very strong but wen I was observing them close, it was clear they always appeared by themselves and the mind jumped in fast trying to make them mine.
Who is letting thoughts flow or getting too entangled with them?
If the sky is full of clouds or is clear and bright - is it because of our doing?
Right, rationally I get your point and still it is bit difficult to let it sink. I´ve been doing the same excercices over the last week and sometimes the thoughts were passing calmly and sometimes there was some overthinking about thinking, correct thinking, correct labelling, ...
Thoughts happen in this reality. Thoughts might be experienced differently. Some people claim to see some letters or a text. Some claim to hear their own voice (or someone else's).
This is super interesting how differently may people experience thoughts. So hard to imagine it could be different than my own experience.
"The split" is an idea that some thoughts might happen spontaneously - while others are your "inner dialog".
When you watch a movie - some Noir classic, crime movie, coming-of-age movie or many others - the main protagonist is often talking to the audience. It is a distinct way of letting the audience know what is going on with the main character and progresses the story.
This sounds very familiar to me, I can relate to the split. And I imagine there is no real difference between the inner dialog and the "spontaneous thoughts" since they are both thoughts appearing by themselves, noone creating them. And still I can observe the difference between some "types" of thoughts.

Wow, I must admit I find this fun and confusing in the same time. Sometimes it feels pretty clear and then it is all fuzzy and I get irritated by the process. Love it:)

Have a wonderful weekend!
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Fri May 01, 2020 6:15 pm

Hello Dear!

I'm so happy that you took your time with these questions! I really like your approach and clear, direct way of communicating!
No, no choice available, I didn´t know how to put that so I used the quotation marks. I imagine that the ilusion of choosing the thoughts is very strong but wen I was observing them close, it was clear they always appeared by themselves and the mind jumped in fast trying to make them mine.
Great observation! As we were saying before: labeling machine at work all the time. Making "things" "ours" and creating "us" minute by minute.
Right, rationally I get your point and still it is bit difficult to let it sink. I´ve been doing the same excercices over the last week and sometimes the thoughts were passing calmly and sometimes there was some overthinking about thinking, correct thinking, correct labelling, ...
This is perfectly normal. Thinking process - especially during this inquiry - might get louder. It is because it lives on rationalizing. As you wrote before - thoughts appear by themselves. We cannot "calm them down" or "make them louder". It is like trying to stop a storm by shouting. Will the storm obey?

It will become clearer and clearer. I got your back!
This sounds very familiar to me, I can relate to the split. And I imagine there is no real difference between the inner dialog and the "spontaneous thoughts" since they are both thoughts appearing by themselves, noone creating them. And still I can observe the difference between some "types" of thoughts.
That's amazing, ain't it? The ability of thoughts to describe even themselves! Telling us various things about our experiences. The trick is knowing that these are only labels. Since every label is subjective - it contains only "one side" of the whole. It is just a projection.

So - we established - and most importantly - OBSERVED in DIRECT EXPERIENCE - that thoughts flow by themselves. Like wind that cannot be controlled. We have no choice in the matter.

Since we've just touched upon the subject of choice - we are going to look at it next.

Choice is something that creates the imaginary foundation of a separate self . It is a strong argument against the wholeness and unity. Do "we" really have a choice?

Put on your lab coat and rubber gloves dear Katerina! Let's open our case!

CHOICE

Take two different drinks and put them on a table in front of you. Relax in front of the table and sit quietly for a minute.

After that calm minute - choose one drink.

While the choosing happens - notice:

1. What are thoughts saying before, during and after the choice?
2. Does a separate entity emerge and choose the first or second drink? Aside from thoughts - is there an experience of someone directly choosing and weighing possibilities?
3. Aside from thinking - is there any inclination that there was a choice made - after the experience?
4. Can thoughts choose?
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Please approach this exercise few times a day - if possible. It is a very powerful inquiry. One that touches upon the foundation of a false belief in a separate self.

As always - if you have any questions - don't hesitate to post them here.

Additionally - please describe how you felt during the Choice Exercise.

Stay awesome!

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Fri May 08, 2020 8:43 am

Hi Adam and good morning:)

I´m writing to let you know I have not disappeared or forgotten. I haven´t managed to make as much time for this excercise as I would like to and I really want to do it properly. I will focus on it during this weekend!

Thank you for understanding and enjoy your weekend:)
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Fri May 08, 2020 9:11 am

Hello Dear Katerina!

My heart is filled with joy :) thank you for your thoroughness and updating me on your progress.

Have a wonderful weekend and keep on rockin' the stage!
...and - as Richard Marx sings loudly : I'll be right here, waiting for you :D

Sending Love

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Mon May 18, 2020 8:44 pm

Hi Adam,

haha, your messages make me smile, I love it:))

Sorry I took so long. It took much longer then I imagined and I wanted to repeat the excercise multiple times.
I found it quite difficult to stay focused during this excercise and I noticed thoughts racing.

1. What are thoughts saying before, during and after the choice?
2. Does a separate entity emerge and choose the first or second drink? Aside from thoughts - is there an experience of someone directly choosing and weighing possibilities?
3. Aside from thinking - is there any inclination that there was a choice made - after the experience?
4. Can thoughts choose?
1. Before the choice thoughts were usually about having to choose one and which one to choose, about characteristics of the drinks or the excercise as such. During the choice thoughts were often wondering around what made the hand go towards the drink. Rationally I imagine there is no separate self that in one point lifted one of the drinks yet I found this moment most challenging. After the choice I noticed some thoughts judging the choice.
2. No experience with someone separate choosing aside from the thoughts
3. I´m not sure whether I get this one right but I could only notice the thoughts about the choice aftferwards and directly the taste/smell of the chosen drink
4. Again, rationally I would say there is no way thoughts can make my arm move or mouth water when smelling coffee, and in the same time it´s not sinking in fully

I tried it with different drinks and it was easier to see there was noone separate who would choose and direct the hand toward one drink when I didn´t prefer any of the drinks particularly.

I imagine I got bit stuck with this excercise and have even hard time describe the process. I would like to keep trying it couple more times and will be happy for any further guidance.

Thank you and have a wonderful week!
Love,
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Tue May 19, 2020 12:21 am

Hello there my dear!

Welcome back!

Thank you for taking your time with it. It is better to do it slowly and notice what's being pointed at.

So let me pick up my Zen Stick and poke you gently again. It might sting a little but the stick is an oriental one - so the poking is special and foreign and all that...

Now - well armed - I will slowly go over every point:

1.
Before the choice thoughts were usually about having to choose one and which one to choose, about characteristics of the drinks or the excercise as such
It is exactly like that! Well done! You might have noticed that many stories arise - "this drink is wonderful", "this drink tastes like this, another like that". Also thoughts like: "I think this drink is better", "I think I want to drink that one".
During the choice thoughts were often wondering around what made the hand go towards the drink.
Perfect! Notice another story there. "I think I will move my hand and pick up this drink", "Let me grab this one" etc.
Rationally I imagine there is no separate self that in one point lifted one of the drinks yet I found this moment most challenging
The best thing here - my dear Katerina - is that we don't need to imagine anything. We also don't need to rationalize. We look at what is in front of us and connect the dots - it is that simple. We just look at what is there and what is not.
After the choice I noticed some thoughts judging the choice.
Boom! Another thought story. "This one was better, because...", "I might have chosen the second one", "Why do I always choose those calorie dense drinks" (the last one is my imaginary fitness coach at 3 am - stopping me from opening the fridge).

2.
No experience with someone separate choosing aside from the thoughts
You've just put the nail in the coffin there my dear!

3.
I´m not sure whether I get this one right but I could only notice the thoughts about the choice aftferwards and directly the taste/smell of the chosen drink
That's it! The story is there yet again! It might appear even during drinking: "It is soooo good", "It's weird", "It's a healthy option and a very tasty one at that".

4.
Again, rationally I would say there is no way thoughts can make my arm move or mouth water when smelling coffee, and in the same time it´s not sinking in fully
Let's put aside the rationalizing for now. Just look at your nice responses from previous questions. Every single one of those points to the fact that there is no person choosing anything aside from thought. There is silence and thought story before, movement and story in between and drinking and story after. Direct Experience shows only thought arising and movement happening.

So the only thing that points to "a chooser" are thought stories.

To help you with this one - let's try something a little bit different!

Go for a nice walk. Just relax and then notice a few things during that walk (again - Direct Experience):

Notice the wind:

1. What is the thought story behind it?
2. What makes the wind move?
3. Does the story behind "the wind" change anything?
4. Is there some chooser present when the wind starts to move faster or slower?

Put your hand on your heart and notice the heartbeat.

1. What makes it beat?
2. Do you control any of the processes associated with your heart pumping the blood? How would that process look like?
3. Can you control every "cell" responsible for that process? How would that process look like?

Notice water flowing somewhere - be it in nature or on TV, phone etc.

1. What makes it flow?
2. Is there a chooser or a "person/entity" present to choose its direction?
3. Does your thought story change anything in its flow?

Lastly - come back to the previous exercise:

1. What are the similarities between "your choice", "the wind moving", "heart beating" and "water flowing"?

Just look in Direct Experience. Thoughts will tell you some wonderful stories (and less wonderful ones). This is what they do. Just look what is here in reality.

I know it might get confusing and strange at times. Don't worry. We are dancing here together and we both know the DJ. If the song gets too loud - we'll tell him to change the tune - or sit in our VIP lounge. I'm with you all the way!

Have some major fun!

Adam

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:58 pm

Is everything alright dear Katherina? It's been a long time since your last post.

Hope you're fine!

Adam

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Oh noooo!

Hi Adam, I was wondering whether everything is alright with you since I haven´t heard back from you and only now when I clicked at your post I noticed that the message I wrote days ago somehow didn´t upload! I´m so sorry, I honestly didn´t notice. I will put together the answer today and send it again!

Hope you are well!
Katerina

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adamrenton
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby adamrenton » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:47 pm

All is well! Don't worry!

I'm glad to hear back from you!

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Kachna
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Re: Why do I need I?

Postby Kachna » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:53 pm

Hi Adam,

again I´m sending a summary of my previous response, hopefuly this time it arrives!:)

Hi again, Adam,

I don´t know what happened to the last post I wrote, I remember it took quite long when I submitted it and I probably didn´t check it really went through. Anyway, it was a long one and I will try to partly recreate it and partly add my current experiences:))

In general, I notice I have some "waves", couple of days where it´s very clear to me that there is no separate self controling anything and then again getting too much into my head.
Notice the wind:

1. What is the thought story behind it?
2. What makes the wind move?
3. Does the story behind "the wind" change anything?
4. Is there some chooser present when the wind starts to move faster or slower?
1. I had some story about the wind being affected by climate change and therefore by people
2. Nothing, it moves by itself
3. The story doesn´t change it
4. No chooser
Put your hand on your heart and notice the heartbeat.

1. What makes it beat?
2. Do you control any of the processes associated with your heart pumping the blood? How would that process look like?
3. Can you control every "cell" responsible for that process? How would that process look like?
1. It beats by itself, no "beater"
2. I had some story about being able to influence it by changing my breathing and so but over all I always ended up with a conclusion that all of that also just happens by itself (noone changing the breath)
3. Nope, can´t control the cells
Notice water flowing somewhere - be it in nature or on TV, phone etc.

1. What makes it flow?
2. Is there a chooser or a "person/entity" present to choose its direction?
3. Does your thought story change anything in its flow?
1. Nothing, it flows by itself
2. Noone choosing the direction and some stories about people influencing it
3. The story doesn´t change anything
1. What are the similarities between "your choice", "the wind moving", "heart beating" and "water flowing"?
I imagine it´s all the same! no person actively choosing any of those and the same is with me "chosing" the drink - just thoughts about choosing and labelling and then direct experience with hand moving, ...

Thank you for your patience and have a great weekend:)
Katerina


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