From understanding to experiencing

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:14 am

Hi Christopher,
Good question...there is obviously a strong belief in the separate self. Because even when I look and see that it is not there, AND I can follow the intellectual argument that the separate self is a construct; there is still an automatic labelling of every thought with "I" or self-reference.
And do you think when the self is seen through this labelling will stop? It won’t. There is already no self, and yet self-referencing is almost always on. Why would this change? It’s enough to see the self-referencing and labelling for what it is. Just thoughts on behalf on a fictional character.
You are patient and very kind to perservere with me. Please don't feel obligated to continue with me if I am a hopeless case.:)
Dear Christopher, there are no hopeless cases, not even you! :) But there are some people who are not ready yet to deeply investigate their beliefs. And only you can know if you feel ready to really dig deep.
There are many things I believe in which I can't see: like atoms and air and galaxies, so the simple fact of not being able to see something is obviously not proof that it doesn't exist.
Yes, conventionally speaking atoms, air, galaxies, etc. exist. But when we investigate the self, we cannot get anywhere with conventional ‘truths’. Since conventional truths are the results of thinking, which is exactly what is creating the illusion of the self, by creating concepts. We have to look ‘behind’ this conceptual overlay, and see what is really there without concepts.

Conventionally speaking the atom is a useful concept, just as many other concepts. But when we want to see through the illusion, we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself.

Thought will always ‘want’ to understand and intellectualize everything, this is what thoughts are ABOUT: analysing, interpreting, and putting everything into categories or into order, and most of all, conceptualizing the actual experience.
And it’s not problematic in and of itself. But for this investigation we have to stick to the pure experience, BEFORE any thought interpretation.

Why? Because the whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. The self is just a concept. It’s not a real thing. It’s a fantasy. It’s a mirage in the desert. For a newborn baby, there is no concept of self. For the newborn there is only pure experiencing. And just later, when language is introduced, the concept of a self emerges, out of the thin air. It’s just a fabrication, but with time this fabrication is taken as reality. And what is the problem with that? It’s suffering. Only a self could suffer.

So for the infant there is only pure experiencing. Sight, sound, taste, smell, sensation. She is in direct contact with experience. But as cognition develops she starts to conceptualize her experience. Putting everything into categories, labelling the experience, etc. And of itself it’s not problematic. But this conceptualization is overlaying the experience, and it gets thicker and thicker. And at some point she hardly can access her direct experience, since she can only see the conceptual overlay. Like seeing everything through a pink tinted glass. At some point pinkness gets so natural (used to), that she even stops knowing/seeing that everything is just coloured pink, but not in reality. And at that point this conceptual overlay is believed to be THE TRUTH. Pink becomes the ultimate truth. The pinkness distorts our perception of what is really going on.

Whatever thoughts ‘say’, is the truth/reality from now on. This is how humans live their lives. We hardly can connect with our immediate experience since we believe that the overlaying thought concepts are all there is. And of course concepts are very useful when solving a problem, building a bridge or a house. But concepts/thoughts are just tools. But for humans the tool itself is overthrown what is really happening and creating all sorts of problems. This tool cannot be turned off. It’s like having a hammer as tool. The hammer is very useful for hitting the nail into the wall, but it’s not so useful for making dinner. But for humans, thoughts (the hammer) cannot be switched off, and we hammer everything with thoughts.

Thoughts, as a tool, has its place and value when a problem needs to be solved, but when the task is done, we should be able to put the tool (thoughts) down and just rest in the natural peace of experience. But thoughts are constantly on in forms of self-referencing narrating talks. Which is the basis of human delusion and suffering.

But the aim is not to stop these overlays from appearing, but rather to see them for what they really are. The overlay in and of itself is not problematic, as long as we see that it’s just an overlay.

This is why we have to stick to our immediate experience while doing this investigation. Not to devaluate thoughts and concepts, but rather to see what is really going on ‘behind the scenes’. When investigating the nature of reality and the self we cannot use the same tool which created the illusion itself on the first place.

So, from now on, please try to put aside all doubting thoughts, and just trust the process. Trust your immediate direct experience. Trust that this process will yield result. If you stay with the actual experience and just keep looking and looking, you will be able to distinguish what is really happening and what is just a fabrication. At the end, many of your intellectual answers will be answered by your direct experience.

It’s the process of looking and looking and looking and not finding what brings about of the realization.

So, can you trust this process?
Can you commit looking at your actual experience rather than what thoughts has to say about it?


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 Jun 03, 2020 12:17 pm

Thank you Vivien.
Your post was very clear and I will re-read it frequently to keep me on track.

Yes I trust the process. Thinking won't help me in this inquiry. Just raw sensations; without labelling.
Yes I will commit to this.

I will write back this evening after a few hours of looking at pure/ raw experience. I will tell you what I found.

Thanks
Christopher

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Wed Jun 03, 2020 2:25 pm

First observations from a fresh attempt to do this properly:

Raw sensations are immediately attached to thought. Or they are labelled: label seems to be the best word. Language fails here.

The labelling cannot be stopped. I open my eyes and a tree is seen. It is recognised as "tree" in the same instant that the colour and shadow and light are seen. There is no noticeable time between sensing the raw sensation and identifying the label.

The same is true for other senses.

Thoughts are also noticed to be immediately identified with the separate self.

So identifying raw sensation as sensation alone requires retrospective removal or ignoring the labels. I find this can be done momentarily. Using vision alone I find that everything observed and sensed is changing. There is constant change: colours / light / shade.

I'll write more this evening.

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:56 pm

Update:

Every sensation is a change. There is a realisation that all of reality is constantly changing: colours, sounds, movements, temperature. And all is interdependent. This must he what some people call flow.

Looking for the separate self in all of this change. There is a sense of something constant amidst the change. This is awareness. Looking to see if it really is still or if it too moves constantly.... something is moving constantly: and that is attention, or focus. It moves on its own, randomly. It highlights sensations and that is when they are labelled. Sensations are labelled when attention is on them.

Excuse me riffing like this. I'm practicing looking without thinking.

Thanks for sticking with me.
Christopher.

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:38 am

Hi Christopher,
Your post was very clear and I will re-read it frequently to keep me on track.
I’m glad you’ve found it useful. And yes, please keep re-read it, that could help.
Yes I trust the process. Thinking won't help me in this inquiry. Just raw sensations; without labelling.
Yes I will commit to this.
Very good.

Now let’s turn back our focus on control.

What is the difference between a happening and a doing?


Look around, all colours are given, they are happening. It’s not that the me-character can choose and make colours that are present into different ones. Or choose not to see green and see pink instead. Colours are happening. Shapes are happening. Sounds are happening.

What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?

Now look, what is not given?

Is the me-character doing anything in life?
Or is it given? As an idea? Or as an entity?


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 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:43 pm

Hi Vivien,
What is the difference between a happening and a doing
A happening is passive; it occurs without control or direction. But it is dependent on everything it is connected to. All is interdependent.
A doing is active; it is under control, some sort of volition from a source of some kind.
What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?
Sensations and feelings and thoughts are all happenings. They occur and are either noticed or not noticed. So what is noticing them? They are noticed when attention is focused in them. Attention can only focus on one sensation or thought at a time. Sensations can be happening and 'I' become aware if them when attention is focused on them. What controls the focus of attention? I don't know, it wonders about by itself. Part of the great flow in which everything is moving constantly.
There is a tendency for the focus to move to a particular sensation or thought either in response to a trigger (e.g. a command to "notice the colours in the sky", or "notice your breathing sensations" ; or a large, sudden change in a sensation - e.g. a loud sound or a painful injury.)
But when focus moves in this way it is also doing so without any control from a central agency or central intelligence. It is moving automatically in response to triggers.
Now look, what is not given?
What is not given = what is DONE?
Doing requires a control from some sort of source. Thoughts label decisions and actions as "controlled by me" but there is no evidence that this is true. As I type these words I notice that the words are just there. In the "mind" as thought, then in the keyboard and the screen. There was no active selection of the words - they unfolded naturally.
Is the me-character doing anything in life?
Or is it given? As an idea? Or as an entity?
I can see how the actions and thoughts and feelings experienced by the organism that is "me" are all happenings, rather than doings.
So...the separate self is a label; a character which is a constant, ever-present idea. It is in the "mind"; I.e.it is a thought.

Hopefully I will have time to write more this evening.
Thanks
Christopher

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:41 pm

More noticings:

Attention is ALWAYS focused on something, be it a thought or a feeling it a sensation. And it is ALWAYS moving. Even when I am dreaming in sleep.
Sleep is rushing in now. I can't stay awake.
I'll write again tomorrow.
C

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:35 am

Hi Christopher,
They are noticed when attention is focused in them. Attention can only focus on one sensation or thought at a time.
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?


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.
Sensations and feelings and thoughts are all happenings. They occur and are either noticed or not noticed.
And what about noticing? Is it a doing or a happening?
Is there any control over what is being noticed?
Is there someone or someone performing the act of noticing, or noticing happens on its own too?


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 » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:40 pm

Hi Vivien,
Notice, that focus of attention is constantly moving. Watch closely.
Yes - agree!!
I did quite a bit of watching / looking at this today.
Is there something moving attention or is it going to the next thing automatically?
It is automatic. It may be random - certainly not predictable and can be quite surprising at times. Attention can suddenly focus on an unexpected thought or a sensation.
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?
I don't know what moves attention. It appears to move by itself, or at least, not under any control.
And what about noticing? Is it a doing or a happening?
Noticing is a happening. It is passive and just happens. It can't be turned off - whatever is in the focus of attention is noticed. That is what noticing is.
Is there any control over what is being noticed?
No. It can't be unnoticed - it is automatic, once it is in attention it is noticed.
Is there someone or someone performing the act of noticing, or noticing happens on its own too?
During my observation, the question arose: what is it that is noticing this? The attention focuses on sensations or thoughts, but it is not clear what is noticing whatever it is that is in the focus. There is no locus of awareness, no single point or place where the witness is; but it is sensed as "me". Yet, the noticing is happening on its own.

As I look around the room now, the focus of attention follows my eye-gaze and picks out objects in the room. They are labelled automatically and recognised. The focus of attention moves without warning to a thought about tomorrow's plans, and a memory of the events of the day. The thoughts disappear...or does attention simply move on? I can't tell which order that happens in. I close my eyes, patterns in my visual field are noticed and then thoughts are the subject of attention again. Fleeting, self-referential thoughts; imaginings about what will happen tomorrow, or what might have happened today. Then a body sensation, followed by a thought and a compulsion to move my legs. Attention just wanders around randomly, aimlessly It is fickle and flits around.

Somewhere this is all being witnessed.

Thanks Vivien,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:01 am

Hi Christopher,
You did a nice investigation :)
During my observation, the question arose: what is it that is noticing this?
See what happens if you change the question form “what is it that noticing this?” to:

Is there anything noticing this?
Is there anything doing the noticing?
Is there a noticer at all?


How you phrase the question can influence the outcome. Since with the question of ‘what’ there is a hidden assumption that there is something, I just have to found it. So the most important part is not investigated, since the notion of there must be something is taken from granted, and never questioned and looked at.
There is no locus of awareness, no single point or place where the witness is; but it is sensed as "me".
So there is no locus, but it still SENSED as ‘me’. So please focus on this SENSE.

How is it SENSED that it’s me?

What is sensing that?
Is there another you (outside of this seeming witness) sensing that the locus-less witness is ‘me’?

Is that really a SENSE information, or rather it’s a thought label ‘me’?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:16 am

One more question:

Are there attention + focusing + witness + me?
Or all of these are just different descriptions on the same ‘thing’?
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 Jun 06, 2020 9:23 pm

Hi Vivien,
Is there anything noticing this?
Is there anything doing the noticing?
Is there a noticer at all?
I spent most of the day looking at this. Is there a noticer / is there anything doing the noticing? As before, I noticed (!) that thoughts are attached to the self / labelled as "self" or referring to self. They appear to be witnessed, but when I looked closer, there is clearly no witnesser. In fact, there can't be a witnesser, because there is nowhere for it to be. The "witnesser" is the thought itself. or, put it another way, there is just thinking...or seeing / hearing / touching etc.

I realised this by noticing that the witnesser is not SEPARATE from the thought. It is all the same thing.
So the thought is not witnessed per se; it is just thought. i.e. it is a happening, not a doing.

There are many sensations and thoughts all the time, but only some come into focus (in attention). As noticed previously, the focus of attention moves by itself.
So there is no locus, but it still SENSED as ‘me’. So please focus on this SENSE.

How is it SENSED that it’s me?

What is sensing that?
This sense is a thought. Which arises automatically. As above, thoughts are not sensed or witnessed by anything. They are simply present in the focus of awareness. I can't notice anymore about awareness and how it focuses, other than to say it is not under any control.
Is that really a SENSE information, or rather it’s a thought label ‘me’?
Yep, it's a thought label.
Are there attention + focusing + witness + me?
Or all of these are just different descriptions on the same ‘thing’?
This is a great question...I can notice that the "witness" is the same as thought; and that a "witnessed thought" is one that is in the focus of attention. So yes, it follows that they are all the same. This is a conclusion arrived at by thought, though. I need to see this a bit more clearly. There is no awareness of anything which is outside the focus of awareness. I realise that the "focus of awareness" is itself a thought or a concept I have created...

I look out of the window and attention focuses on the visual sensation of a tree - a thought label "tree" is noticed. Unrelated thoughts appear, and then attention focuses on the leaves of the tree, followed by a thought about comparing the leaves of the tree with the adjacent tree. Related thoughts come and go, then attention focuses on speech sounds from the adjacent room. None of these thoughts is witnessed by a witnesser - their presence in awareness is all that is required. The attention moves around by itself. I can't explain how that happens - there are no clues that I have noticed so far.

Thanks,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:39 am

Hi Christopher,
As before, I noticed (!) that thoughts are attached to the self / labelled as "self" or referring to self.
But isn’t the seeming noticer is also noticed?
I realised this by noticing that the witnesser is not SEPARATE from the thought. It is all the same thing.
Exactly! Very nice observation.

So the noticing or knowing a thought is inherent in the presence of a thought.
Noticing a thought = thought is present

Can you see this clearly that the noticing + thought are different words to describe the same thing, the same happening, that a thought is?
There is no awareness of anything which is outside the focus of awareness. I realise that the "focus of awareness" is itself a thought or a concept I have created...
Yes, but...

Are you using the words of attention and awareness interchangeable?
Or instead of 4, there are 5 things happening: attention + awareness + focusing + witness + me?
Or even 6? attention + awareness + focusing + noticing + witness + me?

Do you see that this is just a play with words, describing the same and only event happening: thought? And just imaginary diving it into 4-5-6 things?

Unrelated thoughts appear, and then attention focuses on the leaves of the tree
You are talking if there were a separate attention, which has the ability to focus, and it turns its focusing ability to the leaves. But is this so?

Can you find a ‘thing’ called attention + its ability to focus? Is this really happening?

Try to find attention ITSELF. Not just the idea of it, but the ACTUAL attention.
Where is it exactly? What is it like?

Is there really an attention that is jumping from one object to another, from a thought to a sensation, then to a sound, etc?

Are there REALLY two things there, an attention + the attended object (thought/sensation/sound)?

Or rather there is ONLY thought, then there is ONLY sensation, then there is ONLY sound?


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 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:25 am

Hi Vivien,

Yes this is becoming a bit more clear now. I have been coming uobwithbwirds and concepts to identify different aspects or facets of the same thing.

How can attention have a focus? What is outside of attention's focus!?? So it is not the focus of attention, it is just attention.

And then noticing: well noticing is what happens when a thought or sensation is in awareness. But it can't be separated from the thought or sensation. So it is just thinking or sensing.

You asked me to look again to see if attention is jumping around. I can't look at attention or notice it directly. It is not tangible. It is just a property of the thought of sensation.

Everything is just thoughts and sensations.

It isn't clear how or why this happens and I have tendency to try to understand that. But that is the realm of science and philosophy. So it doesn't matter for now.

I'll write back later this evening.
Christopher.

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:03 pm

Hi...some more notes from my observations today:

This focusing-of-attention-thing is simply always "on". So, naming it is pointless. It is simply a descriptive term for noticing a thought. And noticing is a property of thought, so it is all one thing - just thought..or sensation.

I also noticed that many things "come into awareness" seemingly from "outside awareness". For example, there are sensations in my body which are not the sensed until I concentrate on them. A good example is the sensation of breathing. For most of the day, I don't notice these sensations...but when I concentrate on them (e.g. in meditation) they are clearly present.

This appears to create a duality. But looking more closely at this...the breathing movements which are outside awareness are actually just movements and not being sensed in the current moment. So the truth is that they are NOT sensations...until they are! I'm not sure that this line of inquiry is helping with the primary objective here: to realise that self is illusory / non-separate.

Looking at this again: nature unfolds, constant movement, this include breathing movements, the organism which is christopher is occasionally configured in such a way that sensation of that particular movement occurs: none of this requires a separate self. The same is true for any thought or any other sensation. None of it requires a separate self entity, it is all nature unfolding.

There is a growing realisation that there is nothing left if all thoughts and sensations are gone. This must be true: if there is no separate self then what can be left once the thoughts are sensations are removed? Like in deep sleep, or general anaesthesia. This leads to somewhat negative thoughts. If there is nothing left, then there is no separate "beingness"; nothing special about life outside everyday experiences. I realise this must be true, but it seems rather depressing, and it may be hindering my progress. I have read that this realisation can also be liberating / freeing, but I'm not seeing that currently.

Thanks Vivien,
Christopher


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