From understanding to experiencing

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Thu May 14, 2020 3:48 am

Hi Christopher,

You did a nice investigation :)
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.
Are you sure that thoughts appear through some kind of opening?
How do you know this? Where does this information coming from?
Is this something that can be experienced, or is this rather a mental image, an imagination?


Look very closely.

But isn’t the belief or assumption that “I AM the THINKER of thoughts’?
So are thoughts made to appear and then disappear by the I, the person?
What is thinking thoughts?
Is there a thinker at all, or thoughts just appear by themselves, without anyone or anything doing it?
Is thinking a doing, or a happening?


Please investigate the above questions thoroughly. Pay close attention not to fall into the trap of thinking or taking any visual thoughts (mental images) as facts. Rather investigate their validity and compare them with the immediacy of experience.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Fri May 15, 2020 2:11 am

Are you sure that thoughts appear through some kind of opening?
How do you know this? Where does this information coming from?
Is this something that can be experienced, or is this rather a mental image, an imagination?
No, thoughts do not come through any opening. I really can't see where they are coming from. They seem to just be there at the time of noticing. They are already there when I notice them, and they are already gone when I notice they are gone.
But isn’t the belief or assumption that “I AM the THINKER of thoughts’?
So are thoughts made to appear and then disappear by the I, the person?
What is thinking thoughts?
Is there a thinker at all, or thoughts just appear by themselves, without anyone or anything doing it?
Is thinking a doing, or a happening?
I spent some time observing on these questions today.
I find it hard to see through the belief that I am the thinker of thoughts. But I don't see any other thinker. I just notice the thoughts, so who is noticing them if it isn't me? They are just there, and they come and go without any control or direction. I can however focus attention on the thoughts, and I noticed that when I do this, they sometimes turn into verbal / language thoughts. I noticed that these are really a form of communication - in this type of thought, I am essentially "talking in my head", or having a one-way conversation with myself. I am talking to myself. This is not all thoughts, just the ones which I turn attention to; and it is not even all of those - just some turn into language.

There is no apparent thinker in the sense that there is no one actively generating the thoughts. They appear, uninvited, almost at random. In some cases, they are triggered by an external event or "sense" - e.g. reading a tweet about something, or some irritation in my environment. I noticed that this can trigger negative thoughts which turn into a monologue or an emotion (which is felt in the body very clearly).

There really does NOT appear to be a thinker who is generating the thoughts. But there does still appear to be a "me" who is aware of the thoughts.

Thinking is not a doing. The thoughts are running continuously in the background. If I become still, I am suddenly aware of a stream of thoughts - appearing spontaneously, and disappearing spontaneously. Like a stream, or a flow - one after another, relentlessly. So thinking in that sense is a "happening", not a doing.

Thank you, Vivien.
Christopher.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Fri May 15, 2020 6:19 am

Hi Christopher,

I can see that you are looking, but then you fall for thought interpretations at face value, without investigating their reality.
I find it hard to see through the belief that I am the thinker of thoughts. But I don't see any other thinker.
This inquiry is not about seeing that you are not the thinker of thoughts. Much worse than that :)
It’s about seeing that you, who supposedly is the thinker, is simply not there.
There is no thinker, no you.
There is only thoughts appearing, but without anything or anyone thinking or noticing them.
There is no subject of experience.
The subject is just assumed to be there by the dualistic nature of language.
There is only what’s happening…. but without a subject that what’s happening could happen to.
I just notice the thoughts, so who is noticing them if it isn't me?
HOW do you know that what is supposedly noticing thoughts is a ‘who’?

HOW do you know that there is anything separate from thoughts, waiting in a background for a thought to appear, and then to notice it?

Investigate this… thoughts are coming and going, but:
Is there a thought + a noticer? Are there two things there: thought (object) and a noticer (subject)?
Or there are only thoughts happening?
I can however focus attention on the thoughts
Attention is moving, yes.

But is there anything moving attention?
Is there a director, or a puppet-master moving attention?
Or attention goes from one thing to another automatically?
Is focusing a doing or a happening?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Fri May 15, 2020 10:13 pm

Hi Vivien,
HOW do you know that what is supposedly noticing thoughts is a ‘who’?

HOW do you know that there is anything separate from thoughts, waiting in a background for a thought to appear, and then to notice it?
Well, it turns out that I can't be certain that there is anything separate from thoughts. I can't "know" this. If something can't be "known", does that mean it doesn't exist? Is the absence of evidence the same as evidence of absence (an old critical thinking saying)? Of course, that is going into thought and intellectualising, so I will put that away...

I notice that although there seems to a centre who is a subject, separate from the objects, I can't find that centre. Other than a vague sense that it is positioned in my head. But I realise now that I can't be sure of that either.

I am cautious about exploring this deeply as I realise that it will shake every belief I hold! Seeing through the illusion of the self will require me to see everything differently. I realise that if I say that there is no "I" or "me" noticing the world, then there everything will change. There is just unfolding of the universe. No free will, no decision-making, no "me", no separateness. This fills me with awe and fear / trepidation. I realise that those feelings are simply thoughts / emotions, and there is no "me" to attach to them, but they are there in experience at the moment. I do wish to go on, but I'm just sharing the feelings I'm sensing.
Is there a thought + a noticer? Are there two things there: thought (object) and a noticer (subject)?
Or there are only thoughts happening?
Again, I can understand how one could say that there are thoughts / experiences, but there is no noticer or subject. It is a strong challenge to my worldview, but I am beginning to see it. It is very difficult to avoid intellectualising at this point. But going directly to experience, all I can say is that there are definitely thoughts happening, and if I turn attention to the thinker, or the observer, I can't find it.
Attention is moving, yes.

But is there anything moving attention?
Is there a director, or a puppet-master moving attention?
Or attention goes from one thing to another automatically?
Is focusing a doing or a happening?
It very much feels as if I am directing focus, and attention. For example, as I type these words, it feels as if "I" am choosing them. However, I am choosing them from available words which are bubbling up as thoughts. On investigation, this is actually happening without any direction - the words and thoughts just appear. They are there; some of them stick - and end up being typed here; and others disappear.

On further investigation, I notice that I cannot be certain that I am steering the attention; the attention may be steering itself. A bit like the chicken and egg question: am "I" choosing what to pay attention to, or is attention focusing on something without direction? When I look closely into this, I can't answer it. I can't be sure that I am directing attention. This is a disturbing idea, but I am keen to investigate it further - with guidance!

I can see that there is another "side" to this, and I can sense resistance to crossing to the other side.

Thanks Vivien.
All best wishes,
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat May 16, 2020 4:33 am

Hi Christopher,
Well, it turns out that I can't be certain that there is anything separate from thoughts. I can't "know" this. If something can't be "known", does that mean it doesn't exist? Is the absence of evidence the same as evidence of absence (an old critical thinking saying)? Of course, that is going into thought and intellectualising, so I will put that away...
Yes, please try to not go to any speculation. It won’t help. Actually it’s in the ways of seeing the simplicity of what is.
It very much feels as if I am directing focus, and attention. For example, as I type these words, it feels as if "I" am choosing them.
Please watch out for thoughts of ‘FEELS like’ or ‘SEEMS like’, since they are always analogies, not actual feelings. These never come from exploring what is, but from using an analogy to trying to describe SEEMING things.

But a SEEMING thing is not a real thig. Like the optical illusion of rotating circle.
I am cautious about exploring this deeply as I realise that it will shake every belief I hold! Seeing through the illusion of the self will require me to see everything differently. I realise that if I say that there is no "I" or "me" noticing the world, then there everything will change. There is just unfolding of the universe. No free will, no decision-making, no "me", no separateness. This fills me with awe and fear / trepidation. I realise that those feelings are simply thoughts / emotions, and there is no "me" to attach to them, but they are there in experience at the moment. I do wish to go on, but I'm just sharing the feelings I'm sensing.
Thanks for sharing this. It might be useful to look into this a bit before going further, especially you mentioned resistance at the end.
I can see that there is another "side" to this, and I can sense resistance to crossing to the other side.
Let’s look into this a bit more.
Say this aloud to yourself a few times:

There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.

Watch, wait and notice for what comes up.

Is there fear? Is there a doubt? Resistance? Frustration? Something that wants to scream and run away?
Or maybe there is a feeling of wow, joy, relief?


If there is a fear, a fear of what exactly?
If there is a resistance, resistance to what?

What could happen as the result of this inquiry that could justify fear or resistance?

I realise that if I say that there is no "I" or "me" noticing the world, then there everything will change.
What is it that you imagine that will change? How you imagine this change?

Notice all that is going on inside and 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/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sat May 16, 2020 11:53 am

HI Vivien,
Please watch out for thoughts of ‘FEELS like’ or ‘SEEMS like’, since they are always analogies, not actual feelings.
Yes, I will try to get better at this. The language "feels" or "seems like" is a useful cue to remind me to go to raw experience, rather than thoughts and feelings which may have arisen.
Say this aloud to yourself a few times:

There is no separate self at all in reality. No agent that is in charge, no manager, no watcher, no owner of life; all there is is life flowing freely as one movement.
I did this a few times and waited to see what I noticed. There was a small amount of fear and trepidation in the beginning. THe phrase "no owner of life" triggered this most. But when I said "all life is flowing freely", there was a relaxation. Loss of tension and a sense of peace. It was very compelling and it is what drives me forward in this inquiry. I want to go further, through the trepidation.
If there is a resistance, resistance to what?
There is a slight resistance. The resistance is to my pre-existing beliefs that this type of inquiry is not scientific or logical. I inquired into those beliefs and found that this is not true - it is just a conditioned belief; a type of prejudice. I am opening up to the raw experience, and finding it easier now to identify what is true (direct experience) and what is unknown (pre-existing beliefs) and what is inferred secondary to raw experience, or converted into a story (thoughts and emotions). This is getting easier, but the resistance has not completely disappeared.
What could happen as the result of this inquiry that could justify fear or resistance?
The resistance is arising spontaneously. It is already there, I can't directly stop the resistance (i.e. I can't push it back). But it does decrease if I inquire into its nature, and the thoughts and feelings that are associated with it. In fact, it disappears if I do this. There is no justification for the resistance, other than the fact that it arises when my pre-existing beliefs are challenged. I am aware of a desire to speculate as to why this is happening, but I will avoid speculation for now. The simple truth is that it is there, and it disappears when I look directly at it.
"I realise that if I say that there is no "I" or "me" noticing the world, then there everything will change."

What is it that you imagine that will change? How you imagine this change?

Notice all that is going on inside and let me know what you find.
The thing that will change is a loss of my pre-existing beliefs; my "world-view" will change. The rest of the world itself will not change, although my relationships may change (this is a speculation, and I will avoid "thinking" about this for now). The loss of my pre-existing beliefs will change the way I "see" the world, or "live in" the world. When I inquire into this, I am aware of positive energy, positive feelings. It is compelling and there is a desire to move deeper into the inquiry.

"Imagining" the change requires thought and speculation, so the mind is activated and thoughts of the future start to appear. They are all positive and hopeful and optimistic. They originate from the same place that all thoughts originate - i.e. no place. When I inquire into the thoughts, I find that there is no truth in them; they are only thoughts. It is getting easier to notice that thoughts are just thoughts.

It is, however, still not obvious that the self is just a thought, or a construct. I find that I have a tendency to try to analyse this using thought; and this can lead to frustration. I realise now that using thought and logic to analyse the self is only going to strengthen the sense of self, so i am trying to do this less and less. Instead, I am noticing direct experiences as a preferential approach to self-inquiry. Your guidance is very helpful, as the questions are more probing if they come from someone else.

Thanks as ever,
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sun May 17, 2020 4:27 am

Hi Christopher,
The language "feels" or "seems like" is a useful cue to remind me to go to raw experience, rather than thoughts and feelings which may have arisen.
Yes, please watch out for this.
It is, however, still not obvious that the self is just a thought, or a construct. I find that I have a tendency to try to analyse this using thought; and this can lead to frustration. I realise now that using thought and logic to analyse the self is only going to strengthen the sense of self,
Very good that you can see that thinking just strengthens the belief in a self. :)

Previously you wrote:
It very much feels as if I am directing focus, and attention. For example, as I type these words, it feels as if "I" am choosing them. However, I am choosing them from available words which are bubbling up as thoughts. On investigation, this is actually happening without any direction - the words and thoughts just appear. They are there; some of them stick - and end up being typed here; and others disappear.
Sit down, close your eyes, and think of a car.

How does the visual thought of a car arrive? Is there a you doing it?
Is there any doing for an image of a car to appear?
What does make that happen?

Is there a storage place somewhere hidden where all the visual thoughts of cars are stored, and the self goes there and chooses and picks which one it wants to think of?
If not, how does that particular car appear from all the possible cars that could have appeared?

What is being done EXACTLY for that happen? Is there any doing at all? Or it’s just happening on its own?

Is there an I which chooses of the color?
What is being done exactly to the car to be a certain color?
Is the appearing color a doing or a happening?

And what about its size and brand? Is the size and the brand was done or made to appear by a me? Or it’s just appeared without anything or anyone making it to happen?

Is there a mind, or an I, or a self creating the image of a car?

On further investigation, I notice that I cannot be certain that I am steering the attention; the attention may be steering itself. A bit like the chicken and egg question: am "I" choosing what to pay attention to, or is attention focusing on something without direction? When I look closely into this, I can't answer it. I can't be sure that I am directing attention.
It’s not about whether you are the chooser or not. It’s about whether there is a you!

Big difference. There is no choice not because there I’m not in control and I’m not choosing what to pay attention to. There is no choice since there is no me whatsoever, who could or could not direct attention or choose anything.

We are going to focus on this more.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sun May 17, 2020 9:23 pm

HI Vivien,
Sit down, close your eyes, and think of a car.

How does the visual thought of a car arrive? Is there a you doing it?
Is there any doing for an image of a car to appear?
What does make that happen?
The car seems to arrive if I wait. It's a little vague to be honest, but it happens. I don't seem to have a choice about what is appearing. The image is changing, and I can't control it, although I can focus on it; or apply some attention to it. When I inquire about who or what is paying attention, I draw a blank. There is no real doing here, it just appears. I don't know what makes it happen.
Is there a storage place somewhere hidden where all the visual thoughts of cars are stored, and the self goes there and chooses and picks which one it wants to think of?
No this isn't what happens. The car image arises from somewhere, and it then in awareness. There is no picking from a list, and avaialble options. In fact, I didn't have any choice at all, interestingly.
If not, how does that particular car appear from all the possible cars that could have appeared?
I dno't know why that car appeared. It was initially my own car, but then changed to other models and colours. It was not clear how this was happening.
Is there an I which chooses of the color?
What is being done exactly to the car to be a certain color?
Is the appearing color a doing or a happening?

And what about its size and brand? Is the size and the brand was done or made to appear by a me? Or it’s just appeared without anything or anyone making it to happen?

Is there a mind, or an I, or a self creating the image of a car?
No there is no I which chooses the car, but there is still a sense that something is directing attention. The appearing is most definitely a happening, though. Not a doing. It is the focusing of attention which still seems to be a doing.
Big difference. There is no choice not because there I’m not in control and I’m not choosing what to pay attention to. There is no choice since there is no me whatsoever, who could or could not direct attention or choose anything.

We are going to focus on this more.
Yes, this is more intuitive now. The idea that I am not choosing anything, because it is just happening.

Interesting experiences earlier today:
1. I am reading the Liberation Unleashed book at the same time as doing this inquiry. There was a quote from the book which really stopped me in my tracks: "If there are no thoughts, is there still a "me"?"

2. One of my children was upset by a sad movie. I comforted her by reminding her that the movie is only a story. THen I briefly saw that all of life is only a story.

Thanks Vivien.
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Mon May 18, 2020 3:43 am

Hi Christopher,
No there is no I which chooses the car, but there is still a sense that something is directing attention. The appearing is most definitely a happening, though. Not a doing. It is the focusing of attention which still seems to be a doing.
Let’s look into the assumption that there is something moving attention.

You can experiment with sitting quietly, and holding attention on breathing.
Sooner or later attention will move on to another object/thing.

Try to ignore thinking about how all of it happens. We are not trying to figure out the ‘how’. That would be just more thinking and not experiencing.

We are just noticing WHAT IS, what is actually happening, without trying to interpret or give meaning to it.

Notice, that focus of attention is constantly moving. Watch closely.

Is there something moving attention or is it going to the next thing automatically?

If it seems to be a mover, then try to locate it. Where is it? Can you find a person, a me moving attention?

What is that moves attention? Is there anything moving it? Or does it move by itself?

It is the focusing of attention which still seems to be a doing.
A doing by what?

Experiment with this several times a day, even if just for a few minutes each, but try to have a longer session. Let me know what you find.
2. One of my children was upset by a sad movie. I comforted her by reminding her that the movie is only a story. THen I briefly saw that all of life is only a story.
Yes :)

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Mon May 18, 2020 6:10 pm

Hi Vivien,
You can experiment with sitting quietly, and holding attention on breathing.
Sooner or later attention will move on to another object/thing.
Yes, most definitely! I've tried this quite a lot today. Attention moves on, without any direction. It is definitely true that there is no "me" controlling it in its wanderings. However, I am able to re-focus attention on an object - e.g. the breath, or an object in the visual field, or a thought. It's like I can "pull it back" to focus, but then it wanders off outside any sort of control.

It makes me visualise a landscape of "stuff", on which is everything in the universe; and the lens of attention seems to wander around the landscape randomly. I realise that this is imagining and not really of relevance to this inquiry.

So when I inquire deeper, the obvious question is "is it 'me' who is able to refocus the attention, or is it just happening anyway?".

It does seem to be "me" who is able to refocus it. This is a "seems like", so again, I inquire deeper again to see the truth. The truth is that attention refocuses itself. It is recursive: attention focuses on an "object", then wanders off, then refocuses itself again.

So that is interesting and new to me.

It takes a lot of inquiry to see this - it doesn't come to me intuitively. i.e. i can't "see" it directly, but I can see it by close / deep inquiry.

Something else came up today while I was doing this exercise: it occurred to me that consciousness / awareness is aware of itself and comprises only what it is aware of. So if the contents of awareness are removed (i.e. the sense perceptions, along with thoughts and emotions), what is left? I had previously thought that some sort of "naked awareness" would be left, but now I'm not so sure. I am starting to see that there would be nothing left - literally nothing. If input is turned off, then there is no awareness. This would explain deep sleep and general anaesthesia. But I don't see this directly - it is, in part, conjecture. I'm not sure if this is relevant to this inquiry - something tells me that it is relevant, so I thought I would share.
I sense some resistance when I inquire into this, but on the other hand I am drawn into inquiring deeper by the something. There is a "pull" (or maybe a "push") to go deeper and get to the truth. It is tantalising, and I can sense that it is very simple when "seen". But I can't see it yet.

Sorry for rambling; I find it helpful to put this down in words.

Once again, I am very grateful for your guidance.
Best wishes,
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Tue May 19, 2020 5:33 am

Hi Christopher,
Yes, most definitely! I've tried this quite a lot today. Attention moves on, without any direction. It is definitely true that there is no "me" controlling it in its wanderings. However, I am able to re-focus attention on an object - e.g. the breath, or an object in the visual field, or a thought.
So there is no you, no self controlling attention, but suddenly, out of the blue, the self, the I appears which re-focusing attention on an object? Is this really the case? What does experience show?

Is the I something that can be turn on and off, or it exist in one moment, but not in the next?

And how does this assumed I refocusing attention on an object? Does it grab attention by its hand and turns it to the direction of the object the I wants awareness to focus on?

Is this refocusing of attention is actually done by a me, or it just happens automatically?

HOW do you know that this re-focusing is done by an I, and it doesn't happen automatically?
What is the experiential proof of attention being re-focused by an I/me/self?

It makes me visualise a landscape of "stuff", on which is everything in the universe; and the lens of attention seems to wander around the landscape randomly. I realise that this is imagining and not really of relevance to this inquiry.
Yes, it’s an imagination, a visual thought. Watch out for this. Visual thoughts/imagination appear more often than you think. And it’s very easy to mix it with reality.
It does seem to be "me" who is able to refocus it. This is a "seems like", so again, I inquire deeper again to see the truth. The truth is that attention refocuses itself. It is recursive: attention focuses on an "object", then wanders off, then refocuses itself again.

So that is interesting and new to me.
When it SEEMS to be that there is a me refocusing attention, then stop for a moment, and search for this me. Search for the doer, who has the ability to re-focus attention.

Where is it? Where is the me? Where is the doer?
How do you know that it's a doing and not a happening?

Something else came up today while I was doing this exercise: it occurred to me that consciousness / awareness is aware of itself and comprises only what it is aware of. So if the contents of awareness are removed (i.e. the sense perceptions, along with thoughts and emotions), what is left? I had previously thought that some sort of "naked awareness" would be left, but now I'm not so sure. I am starting to see that there would be nothing left - literally nothing. If input is turned off, then there is no awareness. This would explain deep sleep and general anaesthesia. But I don't see this directly - it is, in part, conjecture. I'm not sure if this is relevant to this inquiry - something tells me that it is relevant, so I thought I would share.
This is very relevant :) We definitely has to look into this.

“Awareness being aware of itself” – is one of the most popular spiritual beliefs, and it’s a very enticing one. A background awareness is a romantic idea, which leaves a room for the imaginary self to be something real. And this imaginary self is masquerading as awareness in a form of pleasant sensations, this self is untouched by the ‘harsh reality of life’. Since it’s just observes what happens, but always untouched by anything, even by death. So this idea is very attractive… since I can live on forever… I will never die… I can never be hurt… I am always pure and untouched.

So we will defiantly look into this later.
So if the contents of awareness are removed (i.e. the sense perceptions, along with thoughts and emotions), what is left? I had previously thought that some sort of "naked awareness" would be left, but now I'm not so sure. I am starting to see that there would be nothing left - literally nothing.
Exactly! Very nice observations.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Tue May 19, 2020 9:52 pm

HI Vivien,

I spent some more time today tocusing attention on objects (e.g. breath) and noticing how attention wanders off, and the occasionally refocuses. There is a sense that "I" am refocusing attention, but if I look, I can't find the "I". It is true to say that attention is just refocused and it is happening, rather than being done. So where is this "sense" of "I" coming from? It is not clear... When I look for it by only noticing raw sensation, it is nowhere to be found. So then thought becomes engaged, and thoughts arise suggesting that "I" is here somewhere. So thoughts must make "I". THis is occasionally glimpsed, but not for long.

There were a few very brief glimpses of the world unfolding as I "watched" from no particular place. I notice this most clearly when I'm outside, and the wind is blowing, or the birds are singing.

Another insight I gained today is that the practice of going straight to raw sensation through "deep looking", or "honest looking", as I like to call it, is very helpful indeed for dealing with negative thoughts as they arise. By noticing thoughts more and more for what they are, I have been able to identify that most thoughts are actually negative or judgemental or critical in some way; and they feed off each other. They build on top of each other - thoughts are generated by other thoughts. And none of them is true. They lose almost all of their power when I focus instead on the bodily sensations (often reflecting an emotion triggered by the thought). Then the thoughts disappear.
I'm rambling, but again, I thought this was good to share.

Returning to some of your questions:
When it SEEMS to be that there is a me refocusing attention, then stop for a moment, and search for this me. Search for the doer, who has the ability to re-focus attention.

Where is it? Where is the me? Where is the doer?
How do you know that it's a doing and not a happening?
I can't find the doer when attention is refocused. I don't know it is a doing, but I am not entirely seeing that it is just happening without someone / something at the helm.
“Awareness being aware of itself” – is one of the most popular spiritual beliefs, and it’s a very enticing one.
It is indeed an enticing idea / belief, but very hard for me to see. I see more clearly that awareness is simply the senses and thoughts / emotions (which are also just senses). Without them, there is nothing. But perhaps that is wrong, and I am interested in looking deeper into this. I feel that some of the answers I'm looking for are here - i.e. the truth about self.

Thanks and all the best,
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Wed May 20, 2020 3:40 am

Hi Christopher,
When I look for it by only noticing raw sensation, it is nowhere to be found. So then thought becomes engaged, and thoughts arise suggesting that "I" is here somewhere. So thoughts must make "I".
Are thoughts actually making and creating a real I, or there are only thoughts ABOUT an I?

There is almost constant steam of thoughts, labelling and narrating what is going on.
Have you noticed that this narration is mostly in first-person pronouns (I/me/my/mine)?
That almost everything is being interpreted in relation to ME?


So experience is being narrated in form of thoughts on behalf of a self/me.
But is there an actual self behind the first-person pronouns?
Or there is just the narration on behalf of an imaginary self, that doesn’t exist in reality?


So the thought story appears in a first-person narrative.
But is there an actual narrator behind these thoughts?
It is indeed an enticing idea / belief, but very hard for me to see. I see more clearly that awareness is simply the senses and thoughts / emotions (which are also just senses). Without them, there is nothing. But perhaps that is wrong, and I am interested in looking deeper into this. I feel that some of the answers I'm looking for are here - i.e. the truth about self.
Is awareness is the me on behalf the sorry is narrated?
Is this SEEMING awareness is the narrator of the story?

Is this seeming awareness is the subject of experience?


Sit for a moment, and notice thoughts coming and going.

The thoughts are there, unquestionably. Would you agree?
But where is the noticer? Where is the awareness that is supposedly aware of thoughts passing by?

Do you find both, thought + awareness?

Are there both a subject (awareness/noticer) + an object (thought, sensation, etc)?
Or is there only what is happening, in this case, only thoughts appearing?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Glider
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu May 07, 2020 11:30 am

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Wed May 20, 2020 10:34 pm

HI Vivien,
I've spent some time on this today. Particularly, to answer the questions about the internal "voice", the narrator.
There is almost constant steam of thoughts, labelling and narrating what is going on.
Have you noticed that this narration is mostly in first-person pronouns (I/me/my/mine)?
That almost everything is being interpreted in relation to ME?
Yes, there is definitely a constant stream of thoughts. And it is clear that they are not related to senses. So there are raw sensations, like vision / touch etc, and they are separate from thoughts. Thoughts are therefore less "real", since they only exist in the mind. And the more I notice them, the faster they seem to arise. A constant flow / stream of thoughts.

But here's an interesting thing: my thoughts are not narrated in first-person. A few of them are, but the majority are second person - i.e. I am talking TO myself. Perhaps my thoughts are odd (compared with "normal" people!). But they are still referring to an "I", and indeed it is an "I" who is saying the thoughts. I just tend to form thoughts which are essentially a conversation in my mind. Since you have been guiding me, I feel a bit less connected or attached to the thoughts. I find it much easier to move to raw sensation and then I notice the thoughts disappear.
Or there is just the narration on behalf of an imaginary self, that doesn’t exist in reality?
Yes, the narration / commentary is directed at "me", and also narrated by "me"; so it is obvious that both of these entities cannot exist simultaneously. I am still not seeing directly that the "me" is not there, and yet it is becoming clearer that the thoughts are not real - they are just imaginations.
Is this seeming awareness the subject of experience?
Yes, being completely honest the awareness is still the subject of experience. There is an awareness that is aware. If I look for it, it can't be found because it is looking for itself. It is already there. Frustration arises slightly when I try to do this.
Sit for a moment, and notice thoughts coming and going.

The thoughts are there, unquestionably. Would you agree?
But where is the noticer? Where is the awareness that is supposedly aware of thoughts passing by?

Do you find both, thought + awareness?

Are there both a subject (awareness/noticer) + an object (thought, sensation, etc)?
Or is there only what is happening, in this case, only thoughts appearing?

Yes, the thoughts are there, no doubt. They come and go. The noticer is still in my head, but still can't be found when I look for him / it. The awareness can't be found, but the thoughts can be "seen". Although thoughts are not seen to appear - they are not announced with any sort of notification - I simply find that they are already there. Where is "there"? It is simply "in awareness".
I have read in many spiritual books and teachings that the awareness is always present, and is "behind" or "above" thoughts, and other sensations. Sometimes I see this - a clear, peaceful emptiness beyond thought. But other times, I see that awareness can not exist without senses and thoughts - i.e. if those things are gone, then there is nothing left.

Confusing, but compelling.
Thanks and as always, I look forward to your reply.
Best wishes,
Christopher

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7066
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Thu May 21, 2020 4:06 am

Hi Christopher,
I have read in many spiritual books and teachings that the awareness is always present, and is "behind" or "above" thoughts, and other sensations. Sometimes I see this - a clear, peaceful emptiness beyond thought. But other times, I see that awareness can not exist without senses and thoughts - i.e. if those things are gone, then there is nothing left.
It’s very important that you put aside everything that you’ve learned from others. Why? Since that’s just an intellectual knowledge for you what you can agree with or not, or in other words, you either believe in or not.

Intellectual knowledge is utterly useless in this inquiry.
Actually, it’s in a way to see what is here at plain sight, but ignored, or unnoticed, since the focus is on trying to justify the learned information.

This whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. So you cannot use the same tool to see through the illusion which is creating it in the first place.


But for now, we are halting to investigate awareness, since there are other beliefs in your comments which needs attention first. But later we will come back to it. I know you are keen to look at this, but as long as other beliefs are in place, seeing this could be much harder.
Yes, being completely honest the awareness is still the subject of experience. There is an awareness that is aware. If I look for it, it can't be found because it is looking for itself. It is already there. Frustration arises slightly when I try to do this.
This is a pure intellectualization. It’s coming from logical thinking. Thinking is exactly what is creating the illusion.
You need another tool to see through it. And that tool is investigating experience directly, BEFORE any thought interpretation. And you might THINK that you are investigating experience, but you aren’t. You have an idea what you’ve learned from others, and now you are trying to justify this idea. This justification happens in thinking. The circle is closed.
The noticer is still in my head, but still can't be found when I look for him / it. The awareness can't be found, but the thoughts can be "seen". Although thoughts are not seen to appear - they are not announced with any sort of notification - I simply find that they are already there. Where is "there"? It is simply "in awareness".
Here, you are actually doing some looking! You are noticing what is actually there in experience. And you see that this noticer in the head is not there. But, and this is a big BUT, you are quickly shifting back to thinking and trying to interpret what has been seen, and then you are concluding that “it’s simply in awareness’. And this conclusion is based on the belief that there is such thing as awareness in which things appear. You’ve heard it so many times, that it has become a belief accepted at face value. And even when there are experimental facts of showing that this might not the case, the evidence is dismissed, since it’s not in accordance with the belief.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not your fault :) It’s not your doing. This is how we humans function. We conceptualize almost everything and this conceptual layer is ‘covering’ the experience. And even if we peek ‘under’ this thought overlay and see what is going on in realty, it’s automatically interpreted through this conceptual layer, through our beliefs.
Yes, the narration / commentary is directed at "me", and also narrated by "me"; so it is obvious that both of these entities cannot exist simultaneously.
Exactly! But what if none of them is real? What if both of them are pointing to the same fictional character?
Thoughts are therefore less "real", since they only exist in the mind.
So, do you believe that there is such thing as a mind?

Is mind something that is experienced, or something that is learned?


It’s very important that you put aside ALL learned knowledge, all beliefs, all assumption, theories, philosophies, speculation, imagination and you stick to only your own immediate experience. Only to the facts of experiential reality.

So, if you put aside all learned knowledge, HOW do you know that there is a mind inside your head?
Can you find a mind?

You can easily find your head, right?


Now, focus on experiencing your head.

How is you head experienced?
As a color? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation?


And now shift your focus to experiencing the mind.

How is it experienced? How does it look like? How big it is? What shape it has? What color? Texture? Does it have a smell? Taste? Where is its exact location?

Can you find a mind at all?

Can a mind as such be experienced at all? Or it can only THOUGHT OF, and IMAGINED?

And HOW do you know that thoughts exist or appear in a mind?

Have you ever seen a thought appearing IN a mind?
Or you can just imagine a thought appearing in a mind?



Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest