Started to question whether the observer is real.

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karlakarla
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Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Tue May 19, 2020 11:44 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
There is no personal self or the idea of "me", there is a mental structure/function that we call "ego" or "personality" but it's just a constallation/combination of thoughts (memories, thoughts, recycled bits of knowledge/info, labeling, etc.) + emotions (fear, guilt, happiness, desire, shame, etc.) + body sensations (tension, release, pain, etc,).

What are you looking for at LU?
Last week when I meditate I started to see that the one "meditating"/"observing"/"paying attention" (or the "I") seemed to be just like a passing experience, akin to thoughts/emotions/sensations. Then I went to Google to find out more about this with the goal of getting some pointers on how to "let go" of this meditator/observer/I, the Google search led me here. I am looking for the truth of my being (up until this point I only know myself as an "I"/"me" who has memories, very much lived in the past & future, and who have to be a good and responsible person by managing her fears, desires, negative thoughts and emotions).

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
Since the insight during the meditation, the question that keeps coming is: "If I am not this sense of "I" that I thought I am all of these time, then what am I really?". The most logical next step is to first see the "I" as an illusion/experience. Since I haven't directly realized anything, all I have are beliefs and some knowledge from reading/watching videos, I would like to directly see it as an illusion. Since I haven't directly see or realized the "I" or the individual self as an illusion, I have no point of reference as to what will happen after such realization. I am intelectually confinced that the attachment or identification with the "I" is the source of suffering, not the "negative" experiences themselves like fear, anger or whatever.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Just a couple of years ago (maybe 5 years ago) I started mindfulness meditation using an app. I used to expect so many things from my meditation, such as: it would improve my psychological conditions (anxiety, depressions, mood swings) and transform me into this strong person who has no fear, don't have negative thoughts and emotions, not easily triggered, be this super creative person, can control desire, etc. --basically psychological/life makeover.
Never been to any Satsang, retreats, etc. However, last year, I stumbled into Adyashanti's teaching, started to get familiarized with his teachings and other similar teachers. From then on, I felt that the intention/direction has started to shift. The only spiritual practice that I do now is meditation (ala Adya's true meditation).
I have tried inquiry but I always ended up intelectualising and getting sucked in the thinking/mind game. I trust you will slap me!

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: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Wed May 20, 2020 2:07 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?

Could you please tell me what are you really looking for? How would your life change if you find that?
What are you hoping for to change?
What do you hope that should 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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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Wed May 20, 2020 11:08 am

Hi Vivien, thank you for you reply and for your time. Here are the answers:

Can we agree on these?
Yes, but… Vivien, I do have a question if you don’t mind. Whenever I try to do inquiry the thoughts that most always came up are: “I don’t know how to do it”, “I don’t understand what ‘seeing’ means”, “what does direct experience means”, “there is no point”, etc. Sometimes it felt that these thoughts are running in circles for minutes and minutes, I often gave up feeling like I am wasting my time and I did often feel "possessed" by frustation. These thoughts came up again when I read your reply: “So,I would like to ask you to write only from your experience as you see it, what feels true, with whole honesty.” Can you give me some pointers on how to get through this?


Could you please tell me what are you really looking for? How would your life change if you find that?
What I am looking for from this forum/guidance is realising the seperate self as an illusion, not an intellectual realization but a direct one. I understand that this is not an and all and be all, probably a start. Ultimately, I am looking for freedom and hoping to live authentically.
-Freedom from suffering: I used to be someone that is very “triggered” by people or events that happens in life, in short I used to take a lot of things personally. Another kind of suffering that can be observed internally is this need to control negative thoughts and emotions, it is exhausting and draining, like expending energy fighting phantoms, seems futile because the next thought/emotion is just around the corner, the feeling is strong tension in the body. This seems to be caused by this strong identification with the sense of “I”, which also inflict suffering towards others through words and actions.
-By living authentically, what I mean is: if this “I” is not real, then what is real about me, about people, about events in life? I hope to live from this authentic place, not from the point of view of the “I”.


What are you hoping for to change?
I don’t expect life to be only filled with the “ups”, life will unfold the way it wants to. By directly realizing the “I” as an illusion, I hope that there is clarity, seeing things for what it truly is or not seeing events/people/things from the point of view of the “I”, because the thoughts that come with the “I” seems to always have a commentary or opinion of what happens, so I guess the change I am hoping is a shift of perspective: not taking personally however life unfolds. As a result, I imagine there will be a sense of flowing, lightness, and harmony because there would be no “I” who try to grasp or reject things and no "I" that is seperate with people and things.


What do you hope that should happen?
Change of perception from direct realization (not an intellectual one).


Do you have an image in mind how seeing through the self-illusion would be like or feel like?
Honestly, i don’t know. Because I haven’t seen it through so I have no point of reference. Thinking about it now, the images that come up is: like having an aha moment, clear perception, very much in the present.


P. S.: English is not my native/first language. Let me know if there are issues with how I communicate, I will try to communicate more clearly.

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Vivien
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Wed May 20, 2020 12:00 pm

Hi karlakarla,

What name do you want me to call you?

Here is a link to a video on how to use the quote function. It might be easier in the future.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Thank you for getting through these questions about expectations. It’s important, because every expectation is in a way of seeing what is here, right now.

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.
Yes, but… Vivien, I do have a question if you don’t mind. Whenever I try to do inquiry the thoughts that most always came up are: “I don’t know how to do it”, “I don’t understand what ‘seeing’ means”, “what does direct experience means”, “there is no point”, etc. Sometimes it felt that these thoughts are running in circles for minutes and minutes, I often gave up feeling like I am wasting my time and I did often feel "possessed" by frustation. These thoughts came up again when I read your reply: “So,I would like to ask you to write only from your experience as you see it, what feels true, with whole honesty.” Can you give me some pointers on how to get through this?
Yes, absolutely :) We will be doing lots of exercises to help you to see what is coming from looking at experience directly, and what is just from thinking. You are not the only one having problems with it. Actually almost all of us live in a state of constant thinking and thinking and thinking, and we hardly ever pay attention to our immediate experience. So don’t worry, you will get you there :)
What I am looking for from this forum/guidance is realising the seperate self as an illusion, not an intellectual realization but a direct one.
Great! This is exactly what will be our main goal.
I understand that this is not an and all and be all, probably a start. Ultimately, I am looking for freedom and hoping to live authentically.
What if there is no you that could be free and live automatically? What if life just happens, but not to anyone or anything?
-Freedom from suffering: I used to be someone that is very “triggered” by people or events that happens in life, in short I used to take a lot of things personally.
Taking things personally is a conditioned habit. And just because the self is seen to be as an illusion, it doesn’t mean that all conditioned habits fall away in an instant. Falling away of conditionings can last at the end of the organism. So there is no guarantee that this will be gone soon after the self is seen through.

Suffering is not just the result in believing in a separate self. Often it has roots in our childhood experiences, traumas, and emotional pains.

But these don’t dissolve just because of seeing no self. So all the conditioned reactions that stem from them still can arise. However, if someone decides to work on these, it’s usually much easier after seeing no-self.
Another kind of suffering that can be observed internally is this need to control negative thoughts and emotions, it is exhausting and draining, like expending energy fighting phantoms, seems futile because the next thought/emotion is just around the corner, the feeling is strong tension in the body. This seems to be caused by this strong identification with the sense of “I”, which also inflict suffering towards others through words and actions.
Again, this might or might not happen. However, there is a chance (but not a certainty) that it might lessen to some extent, since it can be seen that control itself is an illusion. We will investigate this topic deeply later on.
-By living authentically, what I mean is: if this “I” is not real, then what is real about me,
But what if there is no me at all? – you don’t have to answer now, I’m just offering this as a different perspective.
I hope to live from this authentic place, not from the point of view of the “I”.
This assumes that there are two of you. :)

That there is the illusionary I, and there is another me, who could live from another point of view, other than from the point of you of the first I, the illusionary I.

But what if there is no I at all? What if there is literally nothing that is living form the point of you of the I, and can live from an ‘authentic place’ as the result of this inquiry?
I don’t expect life to be only filled with the “ups”, life will unfold the way it wants to. By directly realizing the “I” as an illusion, I hope that there is clarity, seeing things for what it truly is or not seeing events/people/things from the point of view of the “I”, because the thoughts that come with the “I” seems to always have a commentary or opinion of what happens, so I guess the change I am hoping is a shift of perspective: not taking personally however life unfolds.
It is highly unlikely that the commentary on behalf of the self will stop. Why would it? There’s ALREADY no self in this very moment, and yet there is an almost constant commentary going on.

There is a common misunderstanding out there about seeing through the self; that the illusion itself will stop appearing. But it won’t. It will just be recognized as an illusion. But it doesn’t mean that it will stop, that there will be no more commentary going, or even judgement.

But it can be seen that there is nothing commenting or judging. They are just happening as part of life. But they don’t belong to a self or anything at all. They are just fee-floating, not anchoring to anything.
As a result, I imagine there will be a sense of flowing, lightness, and harmony because there would be no “I” who try to grasp or reject things and no "I" that is seperate with people and things.
Grasping and rejecting are not the same as seeing no self. There is already no self anywhere, and yet there is grasping and rejecting. These wont’ disappear either, however, with lots of further looking, they can gradually fall away. Seeing no self is just the first step, just the beginning, not the end.

Flowing, lightness and harmony are state. And no states are permanent. It's their nature to change. But luckily, seeing no self is not a state. It doesn't depend on any emotion or state. Many people believe that seeing no self is a different state that they are currently having. That it's something to 'abide in'. But it's not.
Thinking about it now, the images that come up is: like having an aha moment, clear perception, very much in the present.
“being in the present” is a very popular spiritual idea, which is based on the belief that there is a me, a self, which could be in the present moment. This is not freedom. This is a belief about a self who could gain the ability to be and stay present. This has nothing to do with seeing through the self. Since when the self is seen through, then it’s clear that there is nothing, literally nothing that is present or not. There is nobody to gain anything, or to get anywhere.
P. S.: English is not my native/first language. Let me know if there are issues with how I communicate, I will try to communicate more clearly.
Your English is excellent! :)

Please ponder on these questions 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.

For the time our investigation, I would like to ask you to stop reading/listening any teachers, and rather spend your time looking. Also, I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge. You have to see this experientially and not relying on others’ experiences. Can we agree on these?

Before starting, please read my above comments carefully a few more times and tell me what comes up by reading the comments about the expectations.

Is there any resistance to any of it?

Do you feel ready to start the investigation?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Wed May 20, 2020 4:47 pm

Hi Vivien, thank you for your reply and the link to the video.
What name do you want me to call you?
Karla is fine.
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.
Okay, I will try to keep this in mind.
Yes, absolutely :) We will be doing lots of exercises to help you to see what is coming from looking at experience directly, and what is just from thinking. You are not the only one having problems with it. Actually almost all of us live in a state of constant thinking and thinking and thinking, and we hardly ever pay attention to our immediate experience. So don’t worry, you will get you there :)
Glad to hear this!
What if there is no you that could be free and live automatically? What if life just happens, but not to anyone or anything?
Initially a feeling of relief then a thought "what if I don't like what/how this life will happen" (i.e career/success/health/relationship, etc.), feel some tension in my belly.
Taking things personally is a conditioned habit. And just because the self is seen to be as an illusion, it doesn’t mean that all conditioned habits fall away in an instant. Falling away of conditionings can last at the end of the organism. So there is no guarantee that this will be gone soon after the self is seen through.

Suffering is not just the result in believing in a separate self. Often it has roots in our childhood experiences, traumas, and emotional pains.

But these don’t dissolve just because of seeing no self. So all the conditioned reactions that stem from them still can arise. However, if someone decides to work on these, it’s usually much easier after seeing no-self.

Again, this might or might not happen. However, there is a chance (but not a certainty) that it might lessen to some extent, since it can be seen that control itself is an illusion. We will investigate this topic deeply later on.
I've been reading and re-reading this bit a few times. At first the feeling that came up is sadness and fear. The "I" wants to know *exactly* how things will look like, wanting to know and control the outcome. It does not want to suffer, want to get rid the conditioned habits and conditioned reactions. Upon several readings, no thoughts came up, but can feel a little tension in the belly.
This assumes that there are two of you. :)

That there is the illusionary I, and there is another me, who could live from another point of view, other than from the point of you of the first I, the illusionary I.

But what if there is no I at all? What if there is literally nothing that is living form the point of you of the I, and can live from an ‘authentic place’ as the result of this inquiry?
Wow, this "I" who want to live from an "authentic place", want "freedom from suffering", etc. is also an illusion? "I" want this because i heard this from other people/stuff i read + it envokes a pleasant feeling + want to get rid of thoughts/emotions it consider "bad". Writing this, got the sense that this all just thoughts and understanding. It doesn't seem to matter is it, what the "I" want? I kept thinking about smoking: if smoking just happens, then the only one who finds it problematic is the "I", the push-and-pull inside that wants to quit and to give in the desire are just thoughts, both are illusory? Life is fine with the smoking? Smoking is also an expession of "life"? If smoking leads to death why is this also life expressing itself? Sorry if this sounds juvenile and like I am asking a lot of questions but right now what I am experiencing is stream of thoughts/questions. I am dumping my thoughts here.
It is highly unlikely that the commentary on behalf of the self will stop. Why would it? There’s ALREADY no self in this very moment, and yet there is an almost constant commentary going on.

There is a common misunderstanding out there about seeing through the self; that the illusion itself will stop appearing. But it won’t. It will just be recognized as an illusion. But it doesn’t mean that it will stop, that there will be no more commentary going, or even judgement.

But it can be seen that there is nothing commenting or judging. They are just happening as part of life. But they don’t belong to a self or anything at all. They are just fee-floating, not anchoring to anything.
The one who has a problem with the commentary or anything at all is the illusory "I", so it doesn't matter whatever the thoughts/emotions. A lot of times, the "I" is experienced as an "objective observer", this is also an illusion. Still on the intellectual level, I need more time and help with this.
Grasping and rejecting are not the same as seeing no self. There is already no self anywhere, and yet there is grasping and rejecting. These wont’ disappear either, however, with lots of further looking, they can gradually fall away. Seeing no self is just the first step, just the beginning, not the end.

Flowing, lightness and harmony are state. And no states are permanent. It's their nature to change. But luckily, seeing no self is not a state. It doesn't depend on any emotion or state. Many people believe that seeing no self is a different state that they are currently having. That it's something to 'abide in'. But it's not.

“being in the present” is a very popular spiritual idea, which is based on the belief that there is a me, a self, which could be in the present moment. This is not freedom. This is a belief about a self who could gain the ability to be and stay present. This has nothing to do with seeing through the self. Since when the self is seen through, then it’s clear that there is nothing, literally nothing that is present or not. There is nobody to gain anything, or to get anywhere.
There is nothing to "get rid" of (including the grasping and rejecting) because "no one" actually has a problem/does not have a problem with anything. There is no state/time (present/past/future) to attain or abide in, because there is "no one" who wants to be anywhere. There is no control, just happenings, the 'I' feel like it can/should control things and want to do so, but the 'I' is an illusion. Right now I feel a bit disoriented, literally streams of thoughts and questions. Just reading the last sentence: "the 'I' who feel disoriented is not real, it is just a thought, but have not been seen as an illusion, but what is need to be seen if this 'I' is not real?", and so on. A bit dizzy.
Please ponder on these questions 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.
I hope all my expectations have been shattered through reading, pondering, and answering your responses.
For the time our investigation, I would like to ask you to stop reading/listening any teachers, and rather spend your time looking. Also, I would like to ask you to put aside all learned knowledge. You have to see this experientially and not relying on others’ experiences. Can we agree on these?
Yes.
Is there any resistance to any of it?
"What if I can't do it". There is a fear of not being able to do it because just from trying to answer you, what I prominently experience are thoughts, I am a bit wary/confused because some thoughts are bits of learned knowledge.
I guess resistance and expectation can lurk, they will be exposed if they are still there.

Do you feel ready to start the investigation?
Yes!

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Thu May 21, 2020 12:43 am

Wow, just re-reading my last reply. I am very much in my head/mind. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.

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Vivien
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Thu May 21, 2020 1:08 am

Hi Karla,
Wow, just re-reading my last reply. I am very much in my head/mind. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.
Yes :) It’s great that you’ve noticed it.

So I won’t reply to your questions about how it will be for two reasons. First, it cannot be known in advance, it’s different for everyone. But more importantly, my reply would be only an intellectual understanding for you, something to believe in. And the last thing I want is that you believe me :) Never believe me. Always investigate your own immediate experience to see if what I’m saying is in line with experience. You might think now, but how to experience? Don’t worry, gradually we will get there.
"What if I can't do it". There is a fear of not being able to do it because just from trying to answer you, what I prominently experience are thoughts, I am a bit wary/confused because some thoughts are bits of learned knowledge.
It’s important to put aside all learned knowledge, and become a clean slate, to start afresh.

So let’s start it.

Experience is what can be known/experienced by the 5 senses.
Seeing (color), hearing (sound), tasting (taste), smelling (smell), feeling (sensation).

So let's try it out.

Do you drink coffee or tea? Next time when you drink it, please investigate what is the difference between thinking about coffee and experiencing the coffee.

Is it possible to look at the coffee without thinking “this is a coffee, and I’m going to drink t”? Is it possible to EXPERIENCE it only by looking at it and SEEING it without thinking about it?

And when you take a sip, is it possible to just FEEL the warmth of it, without analysing and thinking why it’s warm, and how long will it stay warm?

And is it possible just to experience the TASTE of it, without analysing it, or thinking how bitter it is, or whether it needs some sweetener or not?

Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?


I would like to ask you to really try this out in reality, and not just think it through. In other words, not just think about it but do it / experience it.

But of course, thoughts about it might happen! But that’s all right. You just ignore the thoughts, and you turn your attention to experiencing.

You can experiment with all sorts of things throughout the day. Eating, washing your hands, having a shower, making dinner, etc.

Let me know what you’ve found.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Thu May 21, 2020 4:51 am

Hi Vivien,

Thank your your reply.
So I won’t reply to your questions about how it will be for two reasons. First, it cannot be known in advance, it’s different for everyone. But more importantly, my reply would be only an intellectual understanding for you, something to believe in. And the last thing I want is that you believe me :) Never believe me. Always investigate your own immediate experience to see if what I’m saying is in line with experience. You might think now, but how to experience? Don’t worry, gradually we will get there
It’s important to put aside all learned knowledge, and become a clean slate, to start afresh.
Noted!


I am drinking tea right now:
Is it possible to look at the coffee without thinking “this is a coffee, and I’m going to drink t”? Is it possible to EXPERIENCE it only by looking at it and SEEING it without thinking about it?
Yes, it is possible. The sight of the teabag, the sight of the tea leaves within the teabag, the liquid changes color from clear to greenish, and the smell that comes up after a few moment of dipping the tea bags are enough to indicate that it is tea. Thoughts do come up, commenting on the color ("not too green, just enough") and the smell ("nice"), but tried to keep the focus on the senses by taking a sip.
And when you take a sip, is it possible to just FEEL the warmth of it, without analysing and thinking why it’s warm, and how long will it stay warm?
Yes. Feel the warmth when it touches the tounge and goes into the throat, the warmth can still be felt up to the upper chest and belly area. The thoughts that come up later, after the experience described on the previous sentence: "it is not warm enough."
And is it possible just to experience the TASTE of it, without analysing it, or thinking how bitter it is, or whether it needs some sweetener or not?
Yes. This is probably a habit, I am used to not really fuss about this (the taste of coffee/tea and food in general). The "I" is really taking the credit???
Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?
Yes. It seems that the more focus on smelling and tasting the tea itself, the attention gets more and more interested in the particular cup of tea at hand. I.e, when I try to smell it, it became a deep inhale, kinda taking the smell in/savoring it. Don't know whether it is relevant: no thoughts came up during and after the smelling. Trying to keep what you said in mind:
thoughts about it might happen! But that’s all right. You just ignore the thoughts, and you turn your attention to experiencing.
Maybe there is still some expectations about thoughts not appearing.

Another thing I noticed, as I am typing the above: my hand just reached out to the tea cup without having to think, felt automatic. Kinda funny how the "I" claims something that first noticed to be an automatic action. Tried not to focus on thoughts and checked on the sensations on my body: felt some kind of tension like there is something weighing my chest. The mind started to comment and create explanations for the sensation. Tried to keep focusing on the sensation. The sensation remained for a couple of moments then my attention just shifted somewhere else (a banana on my desk).


Another "unplanned" experiment:
-When opening the curtain and window, immediately felt the warmth on the skin and noticed the eyes automatically closing due to the sunray. Felt like reflexes. Noticed that the thoughts labelling "wow it's warm and nice today" came later after the intial experience on the senses.

-Eating a banana: similar with the tea experience. The real experience is in the senses. Thoughts still kicked in, tried to keep the focus on the senses. I noticed that I haven't paid a lot of attention to a lot of things! (here's the thinking and the "I" again, still felt alive and well).
You can experiment with all sorts of things throughout the day. Eating, washing your hands, having a shower, making dinner, etc.
Will try this! I'll keep you posted.


Karla.

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Vivien
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Thu May 21, 2020 7:04 am

Hi Karla,

You’ve done an excellent investigation! :)
The "I" is really taking the credit???
Good question. But I let you find it out for yourself :)
Maybe there is still some expectations about thoughts not appearing.
Is there any problem with thoughts? Do thoughts have to disappear in order to be able to pay attention to experience? Or thoughts can freely go on in the background?

The purpose of our inquiry is not to make thoughts go away, that’s not possible.
We are just investigating what is actually happening in experience compare to what our THOUGHTS ABOUT experience.
The more we investigate this, the more we realize that our thoughts are hardly ever are in line with experience.
And since the illusion is mainly created by thoughts, we have to check if thoughts are actually telling the truth :)

So the reason why we pay close attention to experience is to check the validity of our thoughts and beliefs, if they can actually stand up to the scrutiny of experience.
Another thing I noticed, as I am typing the above: my hand just reached out to the tea cup without having to think, felt automatic. Kinda funny how the "I" claims something that first noticed to be an automatic action.
Yes, excellent observation.
The mind started to comment and create explanations for the sensation.
Exactly. Notice that thoughts are almost always commenting, labelling and narrating what is going on.

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?
-When opening the curtain and window, immediately felt the warmth on the skin and noticed the eyes automatically closing due to the sunray. Felt like reflexes.
Nice observation.

But can reflexes be FELT? Or rather this is just another thought narration/interpretation on seeing that the eyes closed automatically?

Noticed that the thoughts labelling "wow it's warm and nice today" came later after the intial experience on the senses.
Beautiful :)
-Eating a banana: similar with the tea experience. The real experience is in the senses. Thoughts still kicked in, tried to keep the focus on the senses. I noticed that I haven't paid a lot of attention to a lot of things!
We (humans) live our lives our fabricated virtual reality. We are paying much more attention to thoughts, then to experience. We are focusing too much on thoughts, and ignoring experience. But it doesn’t mean that thoughts are bad. Thoughts don’t have to go away. We just simply shift our attention from thinking to experiencing.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Thu May 21, 2020 6:03 pm

Dear Vivien,

Thank you for the reply.
Is there any problem with thoughts? Do thoughts have to disappear in order to be able to pay attention to experience? Or thoughts can freely go on in the background?
No, thoughts do not have to disappear and thre's no need to get rid of them. At first it seemed quiet "unatural"/"too much effort" to notice/focus more on experience of the sense, but as I tried to maintain the exercise throughout the day the noticing got subtler, didn't feel like too much effort but actually noticing what is actually happening and didn't feel like"changing states" because it is simply noticing what's already taking place. As I am writing this, probably the "unatural"/"too much effort", or "changing states" were just narration/thoughts. Hmm.

The purpose of our inquiry is not to make thoughts go away, that’s not possible.
We are just investigating what is actually happening in experience compare to what our THOUGHTS ABOUT experience.
The more we investigate this, the more we realize that our thoughts are hardly ever are in line with experience.
And since the illusion is mainly created by thoughts, we have to check if thoughts are actually telling the truth :)

So the reason why we pay close attention to experience is to check the validity of our thoughts and beliefs, if they can actually stand up to the scrutiny of experience.
Yes, it has been noticed more and more how different they are (thoughts about experience vs. the experience itself, for example: when I ate my lunch, it was noticed that the thoughts about the food was nothing like what it's like looking and actually tasting and chewing the food). Okay, so we have to check every thoughts against the experience itself. I still got "entangled" and "lost" in thoughts. Today when I was interacting with other people, the inquiry's gooone:(


Exactly. Notice that thoughts are almost always commenting, labelling and narrating what is going on.

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, this has been noticed. "I want to have eggs for lunch", "I am going downstairs", "she is getting too close (space) to me", "I need to workout now before I get lazy", "I should not think like that about my mother", and so on and so on.
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?
Honestly, I haven't directly recognise this because:
(1) My mind is creating an illusory discrimination/hierarchy although intelectually I can say that all thoughts are just thoughts. It was noticed that I was more easily easily entangled when the content of the thoughts are about familiar people, or the ones with 'need'/'must'/'should' and its negative form (vs. the ones like "I am going downstairs", "my hands are dry", etc.)
(2) Another way the "I" was "experienced" was through a sense of self-consciousness. For example: When I am watching TV, there was this sense that "I am watching TV", this sense did come and go, there wasn't any accompanying "verbal thoughts" or so it seemed. Then when I was doing other activities, this sense would be apparent again, this in my mind created a kind of continuity that there is an "I" that is doing things throughout the day. I couldn't see clearly where does this sense of self/self-consciousness comes from.

But can reflexes be FELT? Or rather this is just another thought narration/interpretation on seeing that the eyes closed automatically?
Nah, it was a thought, a story/commentary about what happened!

We (humans) live our lives our fabricated virtual reality. We are paying much more attention to thoughts, then to experience. We are focusing too much on thoughts, and ignoring experience. But it doesn’t mean that thoughts are bad. Thoughts don’t have to go away. We just simply shift our attention from thinking to experiencing.
Very well noted, Vivien.

Thank you very much for your guidance and your time.

Karla

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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Fri May 22, 2020 4:17 am

Hi Karla,
As I am writing this, probably the "unatural"/"too much effort", or "changing states" were just narration/thoughts. Hmm.
Yes, there is a really high chance that those are just thought-narrations :)
Okay, so we have to check every thoughts against the experience itself.
Not every single one. Just the ones about the self, about yourself.
I still got "entangled" and "lost" in thoughts. Today when I was interacting with other people, the inquiry's gooone:(
That’s all right. The aim is not to not ‘get lost’ in thoughts. We are not trying to manipulate thoughts at all. We are just noticing what is happening. And this noticing doesn’t have to be 24/7.

And by the way, where is the I that can get lost in thoughts? Where? Search for it.
My mind is creating an illusory discrimination/hierarchy…
this in my mind created a kind of continuity…
Do you believe that there is such thing as a mind, which could create or do anything?
What is the experiential evidence for it?

Is there an actual, real mind, as a placeholder and creator of thoughts?

Where is this mind exactly? Where is its location?

And how big it is? What size is it? What color? Texture?

Can you touch it? Can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Can you experience a mind in any way?

If you say that you can’t experience a mind, then how do you know that it’s actually exists, and it’s not just a man-made concept/idea?


What is the proof for the existence of a mind?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Fri May 22, 2020 6:55 pm

Dear Vivien,

Thank you for your reply and guidance.
And by the way, where is the I that can get lost in thoughts? Where? Search for it.
So, I read your reply earlier this morning and tried to look a few times throughout the day:
-Since the first look, there have been some tensions in the belly (especially and prominently on the right side). These sensations could be felt as a sharp tension/contraction, sometimes like a warm ball moving, or just an overall warmth in the belly area.
-There is no "where" that this "I" can be located, what can be located are bodily sensations (like the tension, or the feeling of body parts against object like chairs)
-The "sense" that this "I" was the one looking/noticing/doing everything is still there. What this "sense" seemed to be is a sense of being "ON" or chill alertness/awakeness (when relaxed) or attention (when focused) that gets embedded and plastered with the "I". Is this right: this "sense of I" is going to be here/should not be expected to go away, it's just going to be seen as an illusion that it is -- athough it still hasn't been seen as an illusionn :(

Do you believe that there is such thing as a mind, which could create or do anything?
What is the experiential evidence for it?
There are beliefs about "the mind" that are essentially thoughts. There were thoughts debating about what the mind is and where it is located, etc. There were even thoughts about "where did these ideas/concepts of 'the mind' come from". When looking and beliefs/thoughts were ignored, there was nothing that can be said/pointed out to be an "experiential evidence" for "the mind".
Is there an actual, real mind, as a placeholder and creator of thoughts?

Where is this mind exactly? Where is its location?

And how big it is? What size is it? What color? Texture?

Can you touch it? Can you see it? Can you hear it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Can you experience a mind in any way?

If you say that you can’t experience a mind, then how do you know that it’s actually exists, and it’s not just a man-made concept/idea?

What is the proof for the existence of a mind?
No, there are beliefs/theories/thoughts about what the "mind" refers to, what it does, where it's located, etc. In direct experience, there's no specific place that can be pinpointed to be a place "where the mind dwells", its texture/size/color or where the thoughts are created or where the thoughts are experienced. Is there any creator of thoughts? In experience, thoughts just kick in/come and go.


Karla.

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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby Vivien » Sat May 23, 2020 4:25 am

Hi Karla,

Is this right: this "sense of I" is going to be here/should not be expected to go away, it's just going to be seen as an illusion that it is
Definitely. Be careful not to fall into the trap of expecting the illusion of the self to stop appearing. It won’t. And it doesn’t have to. It’s enough to see it for what it is, just a fictional character, that has no roots in reality.
-The "sense" that this "I" was the one looking/noticing/doing everything is still there. What this "sense" seemed to be is a sense of being "ON" or chill alertness/awakeness (when relaxed) or attention (when focused) that gets embedded and plastered with the "I".
HOW is this ‘sense of I that is looking/noticing/doing’ is actually experienced?
Is a color? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation?

Can this be ‘sense of I’ be experienced at all? Or it can only be imagined and THOUGHT OF?

Is there any creator of thoughts? In experience, thoughts just kick in/come and go.
And what about the assumption “I think”?
Is there an I that thinks?
Is there someone thinking thoughts?
What makes thoughts appear?
Where is the person that supposedly thinking thoughts? Is there one?


Be very careful to investigate experience, and not just think it thought.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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karlakarla
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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Sat May 23, 2020 3:09 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thank you for your reply.
HOW is this ‘sense of I that is looking/noticing/doing’ is actually experienced?
Is a color? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation?
It is experienced as bodily sensations (contractions/tensions) + thoughts (labelling/commentary/narration/etc.).
Had a 'bout of frustation over trying to look/experience this "sense of I", this frustation started as a thought/story ("why can't I see it", etc.), then started to notice heavy breathing and the contractions, don't know how to describe it but it felt like the more I try to look, the more I "merged" with the heavy breathing and contractions. Got scared and confused so I stopped.

I haven't got much time for looking today, there are a lot of doubtful thoughts, will try to look into it and answer the rest of your last reply as soon as I can.


Karla.

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Re: Started to question whether the observer is real.

Postby karlakarla » Sat May 23, 2020 9:42 pm

Hi Vivien,

Here are the rest of my reply:
And what about the assumption “I think”?
Is there an I that thinks?
Is there someone thinking thoughts?
What makes thoughts appear?
Where is the person that supposedly thinking thoughts? Is there one?
For a very long time, I believe that we (human beings) can think voluntarily by his/her will and also experience involuntary thoughts (i.e. pop song stuck and playing repeatedly in our head, etc.) On a closer look/in experience, thoughts just happen/come and go. At first it seems like there is I/Karla thinking but on closer look there are thoughts about me or with an “I”. When I tried to look for the “I” that think thoughts, all that can be felt are contractions and more thoughts [often times I am confused with how to proceed with the inquiry when I feel contractions/bodily sensations, should I just watch it or should I be focusing on anything else?]. When I took a nap and fell into a dreamless sleep, there were no thoughts and all this business about “me” is gone. Also, if there is this “I” who can make thinking happen, why can’t it stop thinking at will. I tried it and couldn’t sustain it for less than a minute.

However, honestly I still believe that these thoughts are happening/arising within “internally” althought I can’t pinpoint where exactly does these thoughts occur. I believe this because I can’t hear other people’s thoughts, hence the assumption that these thoughts are happening “internally” and bounded within the confine of my body. :{]

It appears that thoughts may be trigged many things. Here are some examples from today:
- Interaction with other people and feelings (i.e. while I was reading a message from someone, some thoughts and emotional reactions like laughs just occured. While interacting with other people there were thoughts that're just memories or previous experiences)
- Surrounding environment and/or the experience of the senses (i.e. when I was sitting on the porch, the thoughts that came up were about the things that the eyes saw, the ears heard, etc.)
- Habits (i.e. thoughts about the usual sequence of cleaning the room out of habit, etc.)
- Previous information and knowledge (i.e. things you said in your reply have been popping up while looking, and while working there were a lot of thoughts that're information or knowledge that I've read/received before)
It can be noticed during the above experiences that thinking is automatic.


Karla.


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