From understanding to experiencing

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Glider
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From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Thu May 07, 2020 11:32 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that self is a concept, or an idea. It is generated automatically. It is a hypothetical "place" or "centre" from where experiences seem to be experienced.

Understanding this is one thing, but feeling it or truly "knowing" it is another.

What are you looking for at LU?
To know the truth about self and all experience. To see clearly that self is a construct, just like other ideas and concepts. Then to be open to all experiences with less filtering. To experience life as a natural flow without judgement. Not to be preoccupied with past and future but rather to abide peacefully in the present. Ultimately, to find abiding peace, and I realise that seeing through the self is the first step.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be questioned and guided towards self-inquiry. Most of the work will be done by me. I will not expect answers although there may be some reflection and steering from the guide. The questions will be challenging and novel for me, and I expect to find it difficult to go to raw experience over thought (initially).

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have akways been curious and sceptical. In the last few years I embarked on a quest to gain a better understanding of the world / universe. Initially I was interested in reading popular theoretical physics - to understand (and to be awestruck by) the physical universe. This led to an interest in psychology and how the mind works. Which took me on to trying to understand theories of consciousness. All the while I felt a desire to learn and understand. Recently it occurred to me that thing I am looking for is to understand truth. Truth is ineffable, I think, and needs to be experienced, rather than understood intellectually. I started meditating and reading on non-duality just over 1 year ago. And now I find myself honing in on this fundamental aspect: what is the self? Inspirations for me, so far, have come from Sam Harris, Ekhart Tolle, Jed McKenna, Rupert Spira to name a few.

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

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Fri May 08, 2020 12:03 am

Hi,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Vivien and I'd be happy to assist you in your inquiry.

This is YOUR inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have. We can have a conversation and see where it takes you.
The purpose of which would be for there to be a realisation, more than just intellectually, that there never was and never will be a separate self, as, such. All our efforts will focus on that.

I will tend to ask many questions. That's my job here. These, will be pointers towards no self. It will be for you to examine your experience to find out what's true or not.

I would like to ask you to write only from your experience as you see it, what feels true, with whole honesty.
And also post daily.
If you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
Can we agree on these?

Tell me, what are you really looking for. How would your life change if you find that?
What are you hoping for?
What do you want to happen?
Do you have an image in mind how seeing through the self-illusion would be like or feel like?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sat May 09, 2020 1:55 am

Hello Vivien. Thank you so much for offering to guide me. Yes I can certainly agree to the terms.
Apologies for my slow response. I am in the middle of a 24 hour shift at work. As soon as I'm done, I will reply with my answers.
Sending best wishes.

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat May 09, 2020 2:17 am

All right. Thank you for letting me know that you would like to do this inquiry. I'm looking forward to your reply.

Have a nice day,
Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sat May 09, 2020 3:50 am

Thanks Vivien. Here are my answers:
Tell me, what are you really looking for. How would your life change if you find that?
I am looking for peace. Ultimately, this is really what I'm looking for. I often experience peace in short snippets, usually when I am meditating or in nature. I sense that there is "more to know" about the universe, and I wish to know the truth about my "self" first. I understand on an intellectual level that the "self" is a construct, like other thoughts. Occassionally i get a glimpse of "getting this" experientially. I am looking for an abiding experience of non-duality, and my expectation is that that will open the door to a more abding sense of peace. If I find that, then I expect my life to be more peaceful, my relationships to be improved, and I will be more likely to experience fundamental wellbeing.
What are you hoping for?
I have expressed my hopes in the previous answer. But I would also like to say that I hope that I can make the world better by improving the wellbeing of others. I have compassion for other humans and animals and I hope for peace across the board!
What do you want to happen?
I want to truly know that the self is not here other than as a construct / a thought. I want this to happen as a shift of perspective, and for it to result from self-inquiry. I want to undergo a realisation: a subtle but profound difference in my way of seeing the world.
Do you have an image in mind how seeing through the self-illusion would be like or feel like?
An image per se doesn't come to mind. But I do "imagine" a sense of peace and contentment.

Thank you so much for helping me on my quest. I look forward to more questions and guidance.
Best wishes.

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat May 09, 2020 6:00 am

Hi,

How should I call you? I mean what name do you prefer?

Thank you for your honest answers about expectations. I’ve asked this is because all expectations, no matter what you expect is not what it is going to be like.

Every expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS.
Expectations result in comparison. Comparison between what is happening, and the imagined expectation. Thus what has been seen can be thrown out or ignored, since it doesn’t match the expected outcome.
I am looking for peace. Ultimately, this is really what I'm looking for.
Yes, I hear you, most of us are looking for peace. But seeing through the self is not about not having all the spectrum of emotions, not having any unpleasant ones only the pleasant or peaceful ones. Not all. It’s about feeling all emotions freely.
Peace is a state, and no states are permanent, they are all subject to change. Seeing through the separate individual is not about not having any ‘bad’ or uncomfortable feelings any more. Rather it’s about seeing that emotions don’t belong to anything. They are free floating without being tied to or anchored to anything.

Many seekers believe that seeing through the separate individual is a completely different state that they are currently having, with some special qualities (happiness, bliss, constant peace or whatever). However, this is not the case. Seeing through the illusion that there is a separate entity (self) is not a state. When it is SEEN it, the knowledge becomes factual. Many seekers have the impression that seeing there is no self is a state to ‘abide in’. It's not.
I often experience peace in short snippets, usually when I am meditating or in nature.
You see, peace is a state. But seeing the self-illusion is not a state, and also, it doesn’t depend on any state. It’s a deep experiential knowing, a recognition that the self whom states could happen to, is simply not there. It’s just imagined to be there. And freedom likes in seeing this.
But I would also like to say that I hope that I can make the world better by improving the wellbeing of others. I have compassion for other humans and animals and I hope for peace across the board!
OK. You are talking on behalf of the illusionary self, who wants to become better, who wants to improve the wellbeing of others. It might happen, or not, but it’s kind of irrelevant to this investigation, since what can be discovered that the self who wants this, is simply not there. But of course, the me-character will seemingly go on as an appearance who might make the world better. But this has nothing to do with seeing through the self illusion. It’s like Batman wanting to become a better person. Instead, it can be discovered that Batman is not real, it’s just an imagined character in the story about Batman.
I want to truly know that the self is not here other than as a construct / a thought.
This is a very realistic expectation, and this is exactly that we are going to aim for.
Truth is ineffable, I think, and needs to be experienced, rather than understood intellectually.
Exactly. You can think yourself into awakening :) So we are going to investigate experience (reality) versus thoughts about reality.

You won't need your intellect at all :)

An image per se doesn't come to mind. But I do "imagine" a sense of peace and contentment.
Only the fictional me-character wants peace and contentment, since it believes that it’s separate from the whole, and things, life and emotions are happening to it. But this is just a story. We will look into this deeply.
Thank you so much for helping me on my quest. I look forward to more questions and guidance.
You are very welcome :)

Please ponder on these comments to see your expectations from a different perspective. Because what I can say for sure, it won’t be how you imagine it to be. Since it cannot be known in advance. It’s never how one imagines it to be.

So it would be the best, if you could drop all your expectations, and just to be a clean slate.

Is there any resistance to any of my comments?

Do you feel ready to start the investigation? If yes, then let’s star wit this comment.
Not to be preoccupied with past and future but rather to abide peacefully in the present.
Who/what is it precisely that sometimes abides in peace?

Look for the self that is preoccupied with past and future. Where it is?

What is this self like? How does it look like? How big it is? Does it have a shape or a color? Where is its exact location?

Is there any other time than the present moment?
Is it possible to be any other place or time, than here now?




Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sat May 09, 2020 4:48 pm

HI Vivien,
How should I call you? I mean what name do you prefer?
I prefer the name Christopher, thanks for asking.

Thank you for explaining about states - e.g peace / bliss, and how the self-inquiry / seeing through the self illusion is not about achieving a state. That has added some clarity to this project. I really liked your comment "it's about feeling all emotions freely".

I also get the point about the fact that my desire to improve the world, comes from the "me", and is therefore also not directly linked to the endeavour of seeing through the self-illusion.

These points have brought some focus for this self-inquiry. I'm sure there will be many more clarifications along the way!
Is there any resistance to any of my comments?
Honestly, no there was no resistance. Just better understanding. And actually a slight sense of relief. I became aware of a feeling of clarity and improved focus.

Who/what is it precisely that sometimes abides in peace?
The occasional sense of peace that I refer to is actually a falling away of everyday mental "chatter". It feels like a quietening of thinking, yet the thinking is still happening. Thoughts and feelings subside and fade, and I become aware of a warm, bright peace; hard to put into words: I don't think there is a better word than peace. I think I am describing a state again. But to answer the question, it does feel like a "me" is experiencing the peace, just less distracted by the mind's activities (thoughts and narration). It is almost always triggered by being in nature. Birdsong and open skies (day or night) are particularly strong triggers. Coming back to the question again (this is going to take practice), there is a slight feeling that the peace that I am describing is simply there. i.e. there is peace, rather than I feel at peace. I am beginning to feel that as I write this. But it is only a glimpse.
Look for the self that is preoccupied with past and future. Where it is?
When I look for this self, I am drawn to my head; the space behind my eyes. And also the centre of my chest. Being completely honest, I do feel a centre in those places, even though I realise intellectually that it is not really there. It must be due to a life time of conditioning, I suppose. But when I look for it (the centre), I can't find it. I sometimes try to imagine that I don't have a head (I've read some of Douglas Harding's work) and I become aware of a feeling that the "centre" of me expands across the entire universe. i.e. the "i" is everything and everyone. But that is also a very brief glimpse. It's a positive experience; perhaps I am seeking "states" again when I do this.
What is this self like? How does it look like? How big it is? Does it have a shape or a color? Where is its exact location?
The self is like nothing! Interesting question - that made me "think". I can't find any characteristics of this self - such as colour, shape, image etc. It does however feel to have a centre in my head and chest, as I mentioned above. It feels like it just comprises awareness, but I also identify it with thoughts and some judgements. I feel that my "self" is a certain type, conforms to certain labels (e.g. based on my work and relationships and things I have learned). Intellectually, I realise I am referring to the "narrative self"; or a self-image, and that is just a contruct, no different from any thought. But it still feels that way, and that is why I am here on this forum!
Is there any other time than the present moment?
I understand the present moment is all there is - memories of the past and thoughts of the future are only experienced in the present moment. Again, this is something that I find easy to understand intellectually, but much harder to experience. I meditate most days, and this helps me to notice the fact that there is only the present moment (e.g. mindfulness meditation), but I am very easily distracted by thoughts of the future - and occasional thoughts of the past (e.g. regret and pride). As I write this, thoughts of yesterday come to mind, as do thoughts of tomorrow. Time feels like a real thing - tangible. I can plan for the future, and I cannot "die" to the past easily. It feels like it is always "there", and time will inevitably pass; so it feels like i am journeying through time.
Is it possible to be any other place or time, than here now?
That is a good question, because it is clear that "no" it is not possible to be in any other place or time.

Thanks again for your help, Vivien. Let me know if you would like me to make my answers more succinct. I chose to write freely today, so it may read like a stream of thoughts!

I really appreciate your help. It's inspiring to know that you and others are helping us.
Best wishes,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sun May 10, 2020 1:09 am

Hi Christopher,
Honestly, no there was no resistance. Just better understanding. And actually a slight sense of relief. I became aware of a feeling of clarity and improved focus.
Great! If resistance or fear comes up during our investigation, please let me know, so we can have a look on it.
Thoughts and feelings subside and fade, and I become aware of a warm, bright peace; hard to put into words: I don't think there is a better word than peace. I think I am describing a state again.
Yes, this is a state. And there is no problem with any state, but if you associate seeing through the self with this state, then you can miss the obvious, what is always here, always present. So please watch out for this.
Coming back to the question again (this is going to take practice), there is a slight feeling that the peace that I am describing is simply there. i.e. there is peace, rather than I feel at peace. I am beginning to feel that as I write this. But it is only a glimpse.
Exactly, nice observation :)
But to answer the question, it does feel like a "me" is experiencing the peace, just less distracted by the mind's activities (thoughts and narration). It is almost always triggered by being in nature.
You say that “it does feel like a me is experiencing peace” – so find this me that is experiencing. Where is it?
Who or what is it exactly that is feeling emotions and feelings (like peace)?
What does feelings belong TO?
What are they happening TO?
Find the exact location where feelings/emotions are felt FROM. Where is it?
Where is the feeler?
. I sometimes try to imagine that I don't have a head (I've read some of Douglas Harding's work) and I become aware of a feeling that the "centre" of me expands across the entire universe. i.e. the "i" is everything and everyone. But that is also a very brief glimpse. It's a positive experience; perhaps I am seeking "states" again when I do this.
Yes, this is a state, and you cannot imagine yourself into seeing no-self. These kind of imagination are not really helpful, since it happens only in thinking, in fantasizing. What we are aiming to do here is quite the opposite; to zoom out of thinking/imagining and just see what is actually happening in experience, UNDER all thinking and imagining.
I have learned). Intellectually, I realise I am referring to the "narrative self"; or a self-image, and that is just a contruct, no different from any thought. But it still feels that way, and that is why I am here on this forum!
This might be that easy at first, buy you have to shift the focus from thinking analysing to experiencing. Experience is always mush simpler than thinking.
I understand the present moment is all there is - memories of the past and thoughts of the future are only experienced in the present moment. Again, this is something that I find easy to understand intellectually, but much harder to experience.
We will investigate this later.
When I look for this self, I am drawn to my head; the space behind my eyes. And also the centre of my chest. Being completely honest, I do feel a centre in those places, even though I realise intellectually that it is not really there. It must be due to a life time of conditioning, I suppose.
Yes, it’s a conditioning, but it’s not enough to understand this intellectually, it needs to be seen experientially what is actually there.
But when I look for it (the centre), I can't find it.
Every time when it feels like or seems like that there is a center, stop for a moment, and FEEL that area, and investigate what is actually there.

Does experience happening TO that area of the body?
Do the sensations there are the experiencer?

Let me know what you find.


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Mon May 11, 2020 12:46 am

Hi Vivien,
You say that “it does feel like a me is experiencing peace” – so find this me that is experiencing. Where is it?
Who or what is it exactly that is feeling emotions and feelings (like peace)?
If I try to find the "me" that is experiencing, I feel a centre behind my eyes, or in my chest. If I try to pinpoint it, I find that is impossible. I don't know who or what it is, exactly. It is what i would call "me", or "I". It is my "identity".
What does feelings belong TO?
What are they happening TO?
My feelings do not belong to anyone or anything. They are private, experienced by me only. But that of course makes me ask, what is "me"? And I can't answer it in words because it feels so directly and intimately part of me and my mind, that it is not really separate or discrete. There is not a distinct, tangible way to identify this "me", without using the word "me" or "I", or my name.
Find the exact location where feelings/emotions are felt FROM. Where is it?
Where is the feeler?
Again, I am drawn to the location behind my eyes, or in my chest. I feel most emotions in my chest or in my head. If I pay attention to those physical sensations, the emotion often rapidly resolves and disappears, or passes away. It passes away to nowhere, and I presume that it arose from nowhere. The feeler is not easy to find...I think it is my entire body, including my mind. I have seen others use the term "body-mind"; to me, this encompasses the whole organism.
Every time when it feels like or seems like that there is a center, stop for a moment, and FEEL that area, and investigate what is actually there.
This is an interesting exercise. I have tried to feel my centre, and I can't feel anything except for occasional physical sensations - e.g. in my chest. If I try to feel the space behind my eyes, in my head, there is nothing to feel. It seems as if i am trying to sense something by using sensation. This seems to be circular, and paradoxical. How can I feel the very thing that is feeling? Does that mean that it isn't there, or that it can't be felt? It feels to me (at the moment) that the latter is true: there is something there, but it can't be felt directly. In the same way that i can't directly look at my own eyes. It also feels as if that centre is always there. It never leaves, because it is where I reside, so there is nowhere it could go.

Again, these are honest answers from me, and I appreciate your help in guiding me.
Best wishes,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Mon May 11, 2020 1:22 am

Hi Christopher,
How can I feel the very thing that is feeling? Does that mean that it isn't there, or that it can't be felt? It feels to me (at the moment) that the latter is true: there is something there, but it can't be felt directly. In the same way that i can't directly look at my own eyes.
This is a common saying that the ‘eyes cannot see themselves’, but it’s important to not think and speculate about the self/me, but rather investigate reality.

There are lots of assumptions and beliefs that we gather from others and society throughout our life, and we take them from granted, without ever really investigating their validity. And now it’s the time to check if those assumptions can stand up to the scrutiny of experience/reality.
The feeler is not easy to find...I think it is my entire body, including my mind.
Please ready your above comment.

Do you see that you wrote: “I THINK”?
Can you see that the first sentence is coming from looking at experience “the feeler is not easy to find”, but then you intellectualize your reply, by thinking?
I have seen others use the term "body-mind"; to me, this encompasses the whole organism.
Yes, this is a commonly used term. But it’s important not to fall back onto common sayings, but rather to investigate your own experience to see if that term can stand up to scrutiny. And this is what we are going to do.

And since we are not used to looking at the raw experience, our beliefs and assumptions are louder and seemingly covering the view of the simplicity of what is.
It also feels as if that centre is always there. It never leaves, because it is where I reside, so there is nowhere it could go.
OK… so you are saying that:
- There is a center
- And I reside IN that center
Right, is this what you are saying?


But, on the other hand, when you start to explore this center, you discover:
I have tried to feel my centre, and I can't feel anything except for occasional physical sensations - e.g. in my chest
So you only found sensations at that seeming center.

So during the day, whenever this seeming center appears investigate:

Are these sensations feeling the rest of the sensations of the body?
Are these sensations aware?
Are these sensations thinking thoughts?
Are these sensations feeling emotions?
Are these sensations hear and see?
Are these sensations = the me-character?
Are these sensations = the story about Christopher?


You can experiment with replacing the word sensation to center.

Is this seeming center the feeler of sensations?
Is this seeming center aware?
Is this seeming center thinking thoughts?
Is this seeming center feeling the emotions?
Is this seeming center hearing and seeing?
Is this seeming center the me-character?
Is this seeming center the story about Christopher?


Please be careful not to go to thinking about the answers, but rather investigate your immediate raw experience BEFORE any thought interpretation.

And also investigate, if there is anything else there, other than sensations. Is there?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Mon May 11, 2020 7:02 pm

Please ready your above comment.

Do you see that you wrote: “I THINK”?
Can you see that the first sentence is coming from looking at experience “the feeler is not easy to find”, but then you intellectualize your reply, by thinking?
Yes I can see the linguistic difference and what that refers to. There is also a difference in language when using the first person vs. the third person. The feeler is not easy to find, or to feel... This is written in the third person. It may be a use technique to use in self-inquiry to avoid idenitifcation with the "i", or at least to help to see through the construct of "I".
OK… so you are saying that:
- There is a center
- And I reside IN that center
Right, is this what you are saying?
Yes, that was the idea that was coming across. And then followed by the fact that it this centre cannot be found or felt, except for some occasional sensation in the area(s) identified. But there is also the fact that there is a sense of agency, which also seems to originate from the same centre. Something which not only witnesses (or senses) the input from the body - essentially sensation- and from the mind - i.e. thoughts. But also this centre seems to be the source of will and decision-making. Decision-making feels to be an active process taking place in the head. However, experience shows no evidence that decisions are being actively "made" - they take place automatically. The "self" might then become aware of the decision after it is made.
So during the day, whenever this seeming center appears investigate:

Are these sensations feeling the rest of the sensations of the body?
Are these sensations aware?
Are these sensations thinking thoughts?
Are these sensations feeling emotions?
Are these sensations hear and see?
Are these sensations = the me-character?
Are these sensations = the story about Christopher?
The sensations in the centre are simply occasional bodily sensations, like the sensations of breathing. They also include some physical sensations associated with emotions - e.g. a tightness in the chest when irritated, a warm feeling in the chest when being with loved ones. In experience, these sensations are actually not limited to the centre - they are felt across the body. In fact, emotions are always felt physically - this is new information resulting from this inquiry. Anxiety and fear and love and appreciation etc. can all be identified (experienced) as physical sensations. The sensations are not aware. Something is aware OF the sensations. The sensations are not thinking or feeling the emotion - they are simply input from the body (and also environment reacting with the body), turned into a "feeling" somehow. They do not see or hear, and they are not the "me", or even the story of "me". They are simply a unique phenomenon - perhaps best described as a type of energy, or a manifestation of energy.
You can experiment with replacing the word sensation to center.

Is this seeming center the feeler of sensations?
Is this seeming center aware?
Is this seeming center thinking thoughts?
Is this seeming center feeling the emotions?
Is this seeming center hearing and seeing?
Is this seeming center the me-character?
Is this seeming center the story about Christopher?
It does feel as if the centre is aware of the sensations and the underlying state of mind and body. It doesn't appear to think thoughts, however. Thoughts seem to arrive and disappear without being controlled by anything. There is a feeling that attention can be directed - e.g. to a body part, to something in the environment, to a thought or a pattern of thoughts. For example, it seems to be possible to construct a sentence based on experiences. This requires attention and choosing appropriate words, and following rules of grammar. The centre does appear to be the "me", or rather to contain the patterns and choices which make "me" "me". Memories can be accessed (from where?) by the centre, or by the attention-controller. The centre is not the same thing as the story of "me", however. That seems to reside in memory, which is accessed by the centre. It feels as if it is possible to have an entirely different "me" if somehow the memories were changed. That is an interesting idea...but now the inquiry is turning to thought, rather than experience!!

I tried writing all of the above in the third person. It seemed to help, and I might try that approach more in the future.
Thanks again and I look forward to further guiding.
Best,
Christopher

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Tue May 12, 2020 6:00 am

Hi Christopher,
There is also a difference in language when using the first person vs. the third person. The feeler is not easy to find, or to feel... This is written in the third person. It may be a use technique to use in self-inquiry to avoid idenitifcation with the "i", or at least to help to see through the construct of "I".

I tried writing all of the above in the third person. It seemed to help, and I might try that approach more in the future.
You can do this as an exercise, but when you write to me please don’t do this.

It’s very important that you always write what FEELS TRUE in that given moment. If you intentionally leave out the words of I/me/my/mine without actually clearly seeing that there is no I, then you would give me a false impression that you can see something while actually you can’t. I base my comments and questions on what you write, so in that case my comments would be inappropriate and useless for you.

So can we agree that you always write what FEELS true in that moment and also what you can see experientially?
Yes, that was the idea that was coming across. And then followed by the fact that it this centre cannot be found or felt, except for some occasional sensation in the area(s) identified.
Yes, this is only an idea, which doesn’t correspond with reality. What we are doing here is to check the validity of these kind of ideas.
But there is also the fact that there is a sense of agency, which also seems to originate from the same centre.
You are saying that ‘there is a fact that there is a sense of agency” – but this not a fact! This is an assumption! It’s not a reality, it’s an illusion only.

The fact is that there is no self, no agency, no center at all. It’s like an optical illusion.

Here is a youtube video about a visual illusion of 8 balls moving in a straight line, creating an illusion as if the balls were rotating in a circle. Let’s say that the illusion of the rotating circle is the self. Each ball represents the building blocks of the self (like thought label ‘I’, sensations, visual thoughts, etc). When looking happens, meaning that you follow only one ball, then it can be seen that these balls are not moving in a circle but in a straight line. But when not looking, the illusion of the circle (self) can show up again. However, upon each looking (focusing on once ball) it can be seen that there is no self (moving circle) there at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t7kwy3rN4k
Something which not only witnesses (or senses) the input from the body - essentially sensation- and from the mind - i.e. thoughts. But also this centre seems to be the source of will and decision-making.
What you are describing is the self-illusion.

That’s all right, this is how it SEEMS to be for you right now, like the rotating circle. But if you look very closely, it can be seen that this is not a reality, but an illusion only.
Decision-making feels to be an active process taking place in the head. However, experience shows no evidence that decisions are being actively "made" - they take place automatically.
The first sentence is an assumption, an everyday belief. But the second shows what is actually happening in experience, how reality actually is.
The "self" might then become aware of the decision after it is made.
And this is just un-investigated assumption.

There is a belief in the existence of a separate self, and the above sentence is a way to trying to validate that belief.
The sensations are not aware. Something is aware OF the sensations.
Yes to the first sentence. Sensations are not aware. But the second sentence is the based on the assumption of duality. That there MUST be a subject who/what is aware of objects (sensations). But this subject-object split doesn’t exist in reality. There is no separation. But we will look into this later.
It does feel as if the centre is aware of the sensations and the underlying state of mind and body.
You say that if FEELS AS IF the center is aware.

But is this REALLY a feeling/sensation?
Or rather it’s a thought assumption?

If you say that it’s a real feeling/sensation, then please tell me WHERE is this feeling exactly? Where is this felt exactly?

And how does this feeling/sensation is communicating or giving the information that the assumed center is aware?

Is there anything else giving this information other than thoughts?

You said that there are only sensations when you look for the center. So can this center be found at all?
Is there any reality to this center other than sensations?


Please be careful not to jump to logical conclusions or interpretations. Only observe the raw experience itself.
That is an interesting idea...but now the inquiry is turning to thought, rather than experience!!
This could happens much more often then you might realize. Most of your reply was intellectual. But that’s all right, that’s why we do this inquiry :)

Is this seeming center the experiencer, or is it experienced?

Is this center doing the experiencing, or is it experienced (as a sensation) just as everything else, like sound, color, sensation, taste, smell?


That center shows up as experience. As the experience of sensations. It is an experience just as sound, or taste is experience.

Is there a self, an entity separate from this experience, being outside, looking in, and experiencing experience?
What is it that could be outside and separate from experience?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Tue May 12, 2020 9:59 pm

Hi Vivien,
You can do this as an exercise, but when you write to me please don’t do this.

It’s very important that you always write what FEELS TRUE in that given moment
Ok, yes, I'll stick to the first person language now, and try to keep coming back to the feeling, rather than thoughts.
You are saying that ‘there is a fact that there is a sense of agency” – but this not a fact! This is an assumption! It’s not a reality, it’s an illusion only.

The fact is that there is no self, no agency, no center at all. It’s like an optical illusion.
I need to work more on identifying the difference between facts and assumptions. It certainly feels to me like there is agency, but I realise it is wrong to say that this is fact. It is just a feeling. I feel like I am making decisions, and having thoughts, and experiencing senses. I feel this "sense" in my head (and to an extent, in my chest too).

The video of the balls is interesting. It certainly demonstrates that there is more than one way to "see" something, and the effect of an illusion. Is this what it is like to see through the self? I ask, because it is clear to me that I can still see the circle, even after I've seen the balls moving in straight lines. i.e. the circle is still automatically seen and realised, even though I know it is made up of balls moving in a straight line. I have to concentrate to see the balls moving in a straight line. It takes a small amount of effort. But then it is obvious.
There is a belief in the existence of a separate self,
Yes, that's true - it is a belief. And for me at the moment, the belief seems to be supported by evidence.

You mentioned later that there is an assumption of duality. This is still a strong feeling for me - that there is a see-er, a doer, a thinker etc, and that thing that does the thinking etc is the "i". But it is true that duality must be an assumption because I do not actually know that it is true. It feels to be true, but I can't see proof. I'm not sure I know what proof would look like, however.
You say that if FEELS AS IF the center is aware.

But is this REALLY a feeling/sensation?
Or rather it’s a thought assumption?
No, the awareness of the center is not a feeling. It is indeed a thought! So many things are actually assumptions...
If you say that it’s a real feeling/sensation, then please tell me WHERE is this feeling exactly? Where is this felt exactly?
So I agree, it is not a feeling or sensation. I can't locate it, but there remains a feeling that "I" am located here in my body - in my head and in my chest. I look at my fingers typing and I notice that "I" am looking at them from above. When I stay with this experience, it's not entirely clear where the location of "I" is - it is a loose, nebulous gathering of senses somewhere between my eyes. It doesn't have a precise location. It is not in my fingers or in my legs, or in fact in any part of my body that I can see. It is behind or above the visible nody.
And how does this feeling/sensation is communicating or giving the information that the assumed center is aware?

Is there anything else giving this information other than thoughts?
The awareness of the centre is not communicated anywhere or to anything. It is simply experienced. I am aware. If you ask me if I am aware, I have to say yes. I don't have to think about it, but there is a moment when the answer comes forward. It comes from somewhere.
You said that there are only sensations when you look for the center. So can this center be found at all?
Is there any reality to this center other than sensations?
No, the centre can't be found precisely, but if I stay very still and close my eyes, I feel aware "from" my centre in my head. As above, it is not a precise location - it is vague and poorly differentiated. Intangible and I can't grasp it, or put my finger on it.
Is this seeming center the experiencer, or is it experienced?

Is this center doing the experiencing, or is it experienced (as a sensation) just as everything else, like sound, color, sensation, taste, smell?
This is an amazing question. Is the centre the experiencer, or an experience? It is actually an experience. "I" as a centre is definitely experienced. Like other senses, but I'm still left with a belief (or assumption) that something is doing the experiencing.
Is there a self, an entity separate from this experience, being outside, looking in, and experiencing experience?
What is it that could be outside and separate from experience?

There is no separate self on the outside looking in. But I sense the centre on the "inside" - looking out. I don't know how this could be separate from experience. It must be a belief, or a conditioned thought. It is hard to just shake it off because it feels self-evident (forgive the pun). It is self-evident that there is a self, an "I", a centre which experiences things, yet I can't find it.

Thanks for your patience!
Christopher

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Wed May 13, 2020 12:55 am

Hi Christopher,

Code: Select all

I need to work more on identifying the difference between facts and assumptions.
Yes, exactly. Ultimately this is what we do here.
The video of the balls is interesting. It certainly demonstrates that there is more than one way to "see" something, and the effect of an illusion. Is this what it is like to see through the self? I ask, because it is clear to me that I can still see the circle, even after I've seen the balls moving in straight lines. i.e. the circle is still automatically seen and realised, even though I know it is made up of balls moving in a straight line. I have to concentrate to see the balls moving in a straight line. It takes a small amount of effort. But then it is obvious.
Yes. So after seeing through the self, the illusion won’t stop, just as the illusion of a circle is still there. But it’s known to be not real, since every time it’s looked at, it can be seen again and again that actually there is no circle (self) there.
You mentioned later that there is an assumption of duality. This is still a strong feeling for me - that there is a see-er, a doer, a thinker etc, and that thing that does the thinking etc is the "i".
All right, let’s continue with this.

We are going to start to investigate thoughts. Seeing thoughts clearly is essential part of the inquiry.

It is very important that you never think or ponder on the questions. Rather you actually have to look what you can see in your immediate experience without any thought interpretation.

Please always be thorough with looking. Look repeatedly several times before replying.

Please sit, doing nothing for a few minutes. Watch thoughts coming and going.

Can you trace a thought back to where it came?
In the same way, can you follow a thought to its destination?
Can you tell where thoughts come from and go to, without using any imagination or speculation?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Wed May 13, 2020 10:36 pm

Thanks Vivien.

I spent some time today on those questions:
Can you trace a thought back to where it came?
In the same way, can you follow a thought to its destination?
Can you tell where thoughts come from and go to, without using any imagination or speculation?
What i noticed is that I can't see a thought coming. It arrives without any warning. It is suddently there, or rather, I am suddenly aware that a thought is there. If I wait and try to watch for a thought to appear, it doen't suddenly declare itself, or appear through some kind of opening. There is just an awareness that a thought it there. It's like the thoughts sneak up on me, and I suddenly find myself in their presence.

And the same is true for a thought's disappearance. I noticed that I couldn't watch a thought disappear, or fade. I noticed that a thought was not there, usually because it had been replaced by another thought.

So, no I can't trace a thought's origin or destination.

I also noticed that there are types of thoughts - some are language, and some are compusions or concepts. Also, some seem to be louder or more prominent than others. As if they are in the foreground, while others are in the background.

Thanks and best wishes,
Christopher


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