'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

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StephenG
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'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:08 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand this to mean that somebody who already KNOWS that there is no 'self' will help me to KNOW this fact also. I interpret no 'self' to mean that the 'self' that I have spent my life believing in, living to serve, worrying about, agonizing over, etc is actually NOT real but is instead a phantom generated by my brain.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking for freedom from the prison of 'self'-obsessing. I believe that there is freedom and joy to be uncovered when the space of my mind is not so completely cluttered with 'self'. I am looking to receive help from a good teacher. I am also looking to meet others and help if I can.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I expect to be pushed and challenged if needs be. I expect to have my bullshit called out if needs be. I expect to be held accountable. I expect to learn things about myself by being skillfully guided and also called-out when I'm lying to myself or missing the point.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have tried several things. I read and watch quite a lot of spiritual content. I meditate, I journal. It is fair to say I am a bit of a perenial seeker. but I'm quite tired of this and worried I may be addicted and wasting my life.

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

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Wed Jun 03, 2020 8:27 pm

Hi,

We can walk together for a while, provided that you are ok with the setup here, which is:

-I ask you questions, you look into them and work with them as best you can.
-You commit to post every day or as close as possible.
-Be as direct as possible, as too much background, thoughting and multiple compound questions make this confusing.
-Be honest. What you are experiencing, your emotions, all good.
-What we are looking into is seeing...direct experience, not content of thoughts, past and what most consider therapy.
-You are healthy and balanced enough to do this work. Please read the following disclaimer and acknowledge for me...
http://www.liberationunleashed.com/register/disclaimer/

Please use the quote feature, so this is easy to follow and makes sense. Cut my question, then answer, like I did below for Q2.

1) Would you please tell me about what you expect from seeing no-self? What do you want from this? What is going to be different? What is missing now?

You said
I am looking for freedom from the prison of 'self'-obsessing. I believe that there is freedom and joy to be uncovered when the space of my mind is not so completely cluttered with 'self'.
2) What if the "seeing" is not the same as "not wasting your life and being free from the prison?"

****Write down your thoughts on the idea "you will wake up into the same life you already have?"


What should I call you? You can call me Cal.

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:36 pm

Hello Cal. Thank you for getting in contact. You can call me Stephen.

I have read the disclaimer and I agree to the terms and conditions.

1)
Would you please tell me about what you expect from seeing no-self?
I do not have especially big expectations. I believe I have come to similar ‘no-self’ conclusions on my own through introspection. I am skeptical about spirituality (I hate the word). I think we humans can convince ourselves of anything, even the craziest shit. I am skeptical that ‘enlightenment’ exists at all. But ‘no-self’ seems to be very logical, so I am hopeful.
What do you want from this?
Best case scenario; the idea that I am no-self becomes something that I am as certain of as I am about the fact that I am typing these words in London - it’s an obvious, self-evident truth.

I think the positive result of KNOWING no-self would be that I could get distance from the thoughts and emotions that cause me suffering (for me these tend to be extreme-desire, guilt, anxiety, self-criticism). I don’t expect these painful emotions to go away instantly but I hope that the less I identify with them the more they will wither and ultimately fall away.

I also hope to be able to drop behaviors and projects that I do not enjoy intrinsically, but that I do because I think they will aggrandize, prove, make worthy…. my self.
What is going to be different?
Honestly, I think the most realistic outcome is that I see, feel nice and light for a while, and then just forget and revert back to normal, living life as if I am a self and continuing to be weighed down by that burden of self.
What is missing now?
At the moment I spend 99% of my time totally assuming that I am a self and bearing the burden of this assumption. My constant selfing prevents me from being as free, spontaneous, unstifled, happy as I would like to be. I believe a huge amount of my finite life is spent on things - tasks, projects, thoughts, worries - that I would not choose to do if I was less self-conscious.

2)
What if the "seeing" is not the same as "not wasting your life and being free from the prison?"
I will be fine with that. Overall, my life is good and I am quite happy. By “wasting my life” I mean spending too much time (basically all of my time actually) trapped in the illusion of self and spending so much time doing things to make my self freer, better, etc (eg reading personal development, psychology, meditating, living tightly). I don’t especially enjoy these things and it is obvious that I do them out of fear; the fear that I will never ‘arrive’ at a place where I can be comfortable, at ease, happy with… yes, you’ve guessed it…. my self.

In a way, I enjoy the feeling of improving my self but I have a nagging suspicion that I don’t need the improvement, I don’t need to wait, life is now, life is happening and I’m missing it because I’m addicted to making my self ok, good enough, etc.
****Write down your thoughts on the idea "you will wake up into the same life you already have?"
I like my life. There is plenty great about it. I think my main problem is that my experience of it is cramped, cluttered, and hampered by so many notions about my self, so much self-consciousness, so much self-monitoring, so much worry about me, myself, I.

Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to help me.

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:24 pm

Hi,
In a way, I enjoy the feeling of improving my self but I have a nagging suspicion that I don’t need the improvement, I don’t need to wait, life is now, life is happening and I’m missing it because I’m addicted to making my self ok, good enough, etc.
Yes, you are missing what is real because you are "selfing".

Not accepting yourself and life the way they are right now is the problem, it is a personal problem. Good to look at the mechanism.

1) If there is no "self", then who looses status, the super-important approval of others (who also don't have selves, by the way), looses money....who looses all of this? How do you know?

Go inside and meditate on this, think on this, watch this. Let's say you loose 75% of your money. Can I see this when I look at you? If you were to walk by a tree, would the tree see this as a reality?

2) What goes on inside your head when you are "self-monitoring" or self-conscious about things? What do you see, hear inside your head and then feel?

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:45 pm

Thank you for your reply, Cal.
Yes, you are missing what is real because you are "selfing".

Not accepting yourself and life the way they are right now is the problem, it is a personal problem. Good to look at the mechanism.
This makes me sad. I’m 36 and I feel like there is so much of my life so far that I have missed. Lots of great things have happened that I have not savored at all, and now they are passed and gone forever. Honestly, I can think of many, many wonderful experiences that I have had that I literally DID NOT EVEN ENJOY AT ALL (in fact, I often found them painful) because I was so locked inside my head, self-conscious, self-obsessed, ANXIOUS ABOUT MY SELF. It is tragic.

1)
If there is no "self", then who looses status, the super-important approval of others (who also don't have selves, by the way), looses money....who looses all of this? How do you know?

Go inside and meditate on this, think on this, watch this. Let's say you loose 75% of your money. Can I see this when I look at you? If you were to walk by a tree, would the tree see this as a reality?
If there is no “self”, then it is what I take to be myself (this ‘thing’ consisting of my physical body, thoughts, feelings, etc) that stands to lose status, the super-important approval of others, and money. This thing I take to be myself CAN lose these things and the thought of losing these things is actually somewhat terrifying.

Thoughts about losing status, the super-important approval of others, and money play on my mind regularly. These thoughts make me anxious and have a big effect on how I live; what I do on a daily basis, how I view myself, how I view others, how I view the world around me. Because this thing I take to be myself IS WHAT I THOROUGHLY ASSUME I ACTUALLY AM essentially all the time, I believe that I stand to lose these things and that makes me anxious, frightened, defensive, tight, unable to relax into the moment.

How do I know? I don’t KNOW that “I” (as in this thing I take myself to be) stand to lose these things but it certainly feels like it.

I can see that if the self that stands to lose these things actually does not exist… therefore it is the illusory and not actually real self that stands to lose these things… therefore nobody loses these things. But while I can understand this as a rational fact, the feeling of terror in my chest does not seem to get the memo!

If I lose 75% of my money, you could infer this if, for example, my anxiety and sadness about it were evident in my demeanor, or if I was clearly poor and living in tattered clothes in a cardboard box on the street. But, if I lost 75% of my money and it did not affect my demeanor - then you would NOT know this by looking at me.

I don’t fully understand the tree question. The tree would not see my losing 75% of my money as a reality because the tree would/could not attach any meaning to the fact of me losing 75% of my money.

2)
What goes on inside your head when you are "self-monitoring" or self-conscious about things? What do you see, hear inside your head and then feel?
It’s on a spectrum. I am almost always quite self-conscious I believe. I believe I use things such as porn, weed, alcohol (and some other compulsive habits) to give myself a rest from self-consciousness.

There is a low-level self-consciousness that is quite ever-present. This involves thinking about how I’m appearing in the world, how I’m behaving, and worrying about whether I’m living morally, correctly, fully. This low-level self-consciousness can involve a strong disliking of myself (calling myself names when I do something I perceive to be wrong) and it can also involve me thinking I am great, better than others, superior.

The more acute self-monitoring and self-consciousness comes when other people are involved and I feel a gnawing terror that I will not be approved of. I often ASSUME that I AM in fact currently being disapproved of - even when there is no evidence that this is the case. There is a lot of mental imagery associated with this - I can often see myself in my mind’s eye; being weird, acting awkwardly, failing.

All of this self-monitoring and self-consciousness tends to make me somewhat anxious, frustrated, pained, unable to relax and experience the moment that is ACTUALLY happening. I’m usually “somewhere else” mentally.

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:14 pm

Hi,

We are going to go at this a different way than trying to solve problems of the self.
I don’t fully understand the tree question. The tree would not see my losing 75% of my money as a reality because the tree would/could not attach any meaning to the fact of me losing 75% of my money.
1) Why is it that the tree can't attach meaning and humans/you can? How is meaning attached and kept track of?
somewhat anxious, frustrated, pained, unable to relax and experience the moment that is ACTUALLY happening. I’m usually “somewhere else” mentally.
2) Unable or unwilling to experience the moment? What happens when you are actually in the moment?

3) Does "attached meaning" make it true and real?

4) Do you have a nearby tree you can see through the window? If not, what can you see through your windows? (This will be useful in a little bit)

Put the reading/watching of spiritual content on hold for a bit, instead focus on this. Journal if you like, especially listen to those subtle inklings and what resonates with you. It may be very quiet compared to the rest of what's going in your head.

You will wake up into the life you already have. While you are working on this, you may consider doing more things that are "Organism-enhancing' instead of "Organism-diminishing". This work is one step. Cleaning up something, exercise, for example are others.

5) Why do you think I used "Organism-enhancing" instead of "self-enhancing"?

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:32 pm

1)
Why is it that the tree can't attach meaning and humans/you can? How is meaning attached and kept track of?
Because the tree does not have a mind. Meaning is attached by my mind and kept track of by my mind. Meaning is created by my mind - it is subjective.

But, I wonder, what about meanings that almost everybody agrees on, such as “it’s wrong to murder”? Are these meanings in some sense objectively true?

2)
Unable or unwilling to experience the moment? What happens when you are actually in the moment?
I think it’s mainly unable because I am so wrapped up in thought that I don’t even notice that I am not experiencing the moment - the issues of self just are so important and all-encompassing. I only notice after the event when it’s too late.

I may be unwilling at times also because I believe that if I just rest in the moment I will get nothing done, I will never reach my ‘potential’, or I will just disintegrate and fall apart, I’ll abuse myself with unhealthy practices until I get fat, sick, old and die, and my life affairs will fall into disarray. I tend to feel like I need to keep tight control of myself and my behaviors because left to my own devices I’ll not live well.

3)
Does "attached meaning" make it true and real?
No the meaning I attach to something does not at all have to be real - in fact, the meaning probably says way more about my mind (biases, habits, etc) than it does about any state of reality. Probably most things actually have very little discernable objective ‘meaning’.

4)
Do you have a nearby tree you can see through the window? If not, what can you see through your windows? (This will be useful in a little bit)
Yes, there are trees visible out of the window.
You will wake up into the life you already have. While you are working on this, you may consider doing more things that are "Organism-enhancing' instead of "Organism-diminishing". This work is one step. Cleaning up something, exercise, for example are others.
By "Organism-enhancing” do you mean things I enjoy for their intrinsic value? Or do you mean things that are healthy for the organism? What do you mean by "Organism-diminishing"?

5)
Why do you think I used "Organism-enhancing" instead of "self-enhancing"?
Because the self is not real - it’s a figment of imagination, a story that I am trapped by. (And my problem is that I’m always trying to enhance my self.) But the organism (that I am in some sense attached(?) to) IS real. So the organism should be sensibly looked after.

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Sat Jun 06, 2020 4:40 pm

Hello
Because the tree does not have a mind. Meaning is attached by my mind and kept track of by my mind. Meaning is created by my mind - it is subjective.

But, I wonder, what about meanings that almost everybody agrees on, such as “it’s wrong to murder”? Are these meanings in some sense objectively true?
It's all subjective, this is for some other day.

As we do this work, your job is to drill all the way through, to work on the pointers diligently, to answer questions as thoughtfully as you can.

The mind is not the answer, the mind is a concept and does not exist any more than "self". The mechanism is thought.

You have 5 senses and thought....your experience is contained in those. Thought is your internal images/movies and internal dialogue/sounds, for the most part. Shortly after thought comes emotions/body tension. People don't really think in taste/smell. Thoughts are never primary, they are secondary....which means they come AFTER experience.

1) Do you agree with the above paragraph?

You won't get sick and die. This is not anyone's experience that I know who have experienced no-self and beyond. There are 100+ guides.
No the meaning I attach to something does not at all have to be real
Correct.

I used organism-enhancing because there is no "self". Self-enhancing/self-diminishing is a powerful tool. You can ask this question of all your behaviors and habits. If you increase the ratio of self-enhancing, your life will improve accordingly. This implies a "self" and internal Stephen controlling things, which will not help in this work we are doing here. Since you are upset about the state of your life, I suggest you do both sides of the coin. Don't read self help, DO it.

I do not have a self, the program of self still runs. Your life will improve the more you stay in the thoughtless gap. Most of your thoughts are panicky and about how much you suck, which is a idiotic use of your imagination, but very common. It is not a story "you" are trapped by. It is a non-ending chain of thoughts that make disparaging comments. Watch for yourself. It is a story about why you suck, how to suck less. The story just doesn't have a subject, it only goes round and round. This is what you came to see.

2) But what happens when the story about "me" stops? It isn't running all the time. Exercise: While reading and/or watching tv, how often does a thought pop up about "Stephen is here watching tv/reading?" Watch for a day. What was going on before thought popped up?

3) Exercise. Look at your tree through the window. Imagine (I wouldn't really do this, unless you know you can get the glass clean for certain) that you could write all the things that you "know" about the tree. Write down all your thoughts about the tree. What kind of tree it is, what trees are used for, how trees get energy and food. You could draw little arrows to label all it's parts. Also, write down the name of the tree, give it a name. You want to really think about this, yourself in the house, the glass between you and the tree, and the tree outside doing tree things.

If you started with clean glass, you could also write on the glass "Octopus" as it's label. Or "toaster". You could write "piece of shit, no good tree" couldn't you? "Lazy ass tree". "Tree is a bad tree" "Purple" ...Can anything in this paragraph be found in trees reality? Does tree need your thoughts about it at all?

Cheers

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Sun Jun 07, 2020 7:48 pm

Hi
The mind is not the answer, the mind is a concept and does not exist any more than "self". The mechanism is thought.
The tree cannot attach meaning because the tree cannot think. I agree - meaning is made entirely of thought.

'Mind' is a vague word that does not describe anything that exists in objective reality. I understand and agree.
You have 5 senses and thought....your experience is contained in those. Thought is your internal images/movies and internal dialogue/sounds, for the most part. Shortly after thought comes emotions/body tension. People don't really think in taste/smell. Thoughts are never primary, they are secondary....which means they come AFTER experience.
1) Yes I basically agree, although I am slightly confused on some of the wording.

The 5 senses plus thought are the 6 foundational building blocks of my experience.
Emotions come after thought because they are triggered by thought. Emotions are a response/reaction to thought.
When you say my experience is "contained" in thought, but then go on to say that thoughts are secondary and "come AFTER experience"... Do you mean that I can't have a thought without at some prior stage having had an experience eg I can't think about the colour red without first having experienced it by seeing it at some point in the past? Or do you mean that thoughts are happening inside a deeper experience (which is all-encompassing)?
Self-enhancing/self-diminishing is a powerful tool. You can ask this question of all your behaviors and habits. If you increase the ratio of self-enhancing, your life will improve accordingly. This implies a "self" and internal Stephen controlling things, which will not help in this work we are doing here. Since you are upset about the state of your life, I suggest you do both sides of the coin. Don't read self help, DO it.
This work is about seeing that the 'self' is an illusion, BUT separately from this work, it is good to do things and behaviours that will enhance the organism and improve the organism's situation in the objective world.
Your life will improve the more you stay in the thoughtless gap. Most of your thoughts are panicky and about how much you suck, which is a idiotic use of your imagination, but very common. It is not a story "you" are trapped by. It is a non-ending chain of thoughts that make disparaging comments. Watch for yourself. It is a story about why you suck, how to suck less. The story just doesn't have a subject, it only goes round and round. This is what you came to see.
The more I can free myself from being wrapped up and lost in thought the better. My thoughts about how much I suck are ALL MEANING and also HABITUAL, on a loop of sorts - and NOT representative of objective reality.

2)
But what happens when the story about "me" stops? It isn't running all the time. Exercise: While reading and/or watching tv, how often does a thought pop up about "Stephen is here watching tv/reading?" Watch for a day. What was going on before thought popped up?
Before thought about me pops up, I am either engrossed in what I am doing/watching/reading or I am thinking about something that is unrelated to me.

When thoughts about me pop up I feel tight and some degree of stress. They are usually related to something I think I'm doing wrong or something I want but am anxious and frustrated that I do not have.

For example, yesterday I was walking down the street feeling fine and then I saw a gorgeous girl and started thinking about how I should have said hello to her and how much I was missing out by not having done that, how much I had failed by not having done that. I got very uncomfortable, anxious, stressed.

Then I got very stressed about the fact that I was so stressed. "Why the fuck am I so stressed when I know that I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS AND THAT THIS IS ALL JUST MEANING that is not even objectively true?!!" After seeing that girl I spent a half hour feeling shit and absolutely unable to stop thinking about how much I was missing out and also how much I was failing at seeing 'no self' by being so stressed over this. It snowballed.

3)
Exercise. Look at your tree through the window. Imagine (I wouldn't really do this, unless you know you can get the glass clean for certain) that you could write all the things that you "know" about the tree. Write down all your thoughts about the tree. What kind of tree it is, what trees are used for, how trees get energy and food. You could draw little arrows to label all it's parts. Also, write down the name of the tree, give it a name. You want to really think about this, yourself in the house, the glass between you and the tree, and the tree outside doing tree things.

If you started with clean glass, you could also write on the glass "Octopus" as it's label. Or "toaster". You could write "piece of shit, no good tree" couldn't you? "Lazy ass tree". "Tree is a bad tree" "Purple" ...Can anything in this paragraph be found in trees reality? Does tree need your thoughts about it at all?
I have written a paragraph about the tree outside my window.

The paragraph is my description of the tree, from a distance, through a window. The paragraph is made of my thoughts and words. The paragraph is a TOTALLY separate thing to the actual tree. My thoughts about the tree and the actual tree are not in any way, shape or from the same thing.

The tree does not need my thoughts about it. My thoughts about the tree have absolutely NO impact on the tree whatsoever. The tree is being a tree, and my thoughts about it are completely irrelevant to it.

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:53 pm

Good work so far
thoughts are secondary and "come AFTER experience"... Do you mean that I can't have a thought without at some prior stage having had an experience eg I can't think about the colour red without first having experienced it by seeing it at some point in the past?
I mean that your experiencing of the tree is in the moment, in real time, your thoughts about it are after real time.

You see a girl. Your thoughts about her, you, how much you suck, all come later.

Thought CAN NOT be in the moment with your direct experience. There is a gap between direct experience and thought, and this gap is important for you to see and pay attention to.

You do bring up a great point...which is you know tree or red because of prior experience. You know what to expect of a tree, more or less. So the idea of "expectations" and "preconceptions' is that, if you have never had direct experience, you cannot know what to expect. No-self, zen attainments, enlightenment should have no expectations. Most people expect their entire life to change, they read a lot of crap that should not have been written.
My thoughts about how much I suck are ALL MEANING and also HABITUAL, on a loop of sorts - and NOT representative of objective reality.
Good, not representative of objective reality.
The paragraph is a TOTALLY separate thing to the actual tree. My thoughts about the tree and the actual tree are not in any way, shape or from the same thing.
Great. So thoughts are not a part of the tree, they are totally separate.

Thought is a conceptual overlay on top of reality. It does not touch it, equal it in any way. Your words on the glass, the thoughts in your head (internal representation through images and dialogue) do not touch it in any way.

1) Above paragraph, yes or no?

Tree is looking at Stephen. It writes things on the glass that is overlaid in front of you. Just like your words and thoughts have no impact on the tree, the tree has no impact on you. What is "real" to you about what the tree writes is only so because of your "agreement". BTW, the tree wrote "Male" "Female" "Mobile" "Branches all out of order in both directions" "Octopus" "Thinks too much" "Doesn't need to wait for water" "Bad boy".

2) Thoughts on above paragraph and why this is important.

3) Meaning is contained in thought. Seeing tree happens. Intrinsic or instrumental value....comes after direct experience and needs thought. Yes, no?

Stephen was walking along feeling fine. Sees girl, keeps to himself. I see no great sin or failure in this. Thought comes along and ruins several hours of his day.

4) I'd like to see more about this....you may be missing something.
Before thought about me pops up, I am either engrossed in what I am doing/watching/reading or I am thinking about something that is unrelated to me.
Watching tv, reading, brushing teeth, doing dishes, walking, eating. WATCH. What was happening when "you" weren't aware that "you" were there at all. Example: [watching tv was happening, yet Stephen did not exist separate from the watching. TV did not either, until thought labeled it.]

Watch deeply and notice when "I/me/mine" thoughts are there, and when they aren't. Then report your findings.
"Why the fuck am I so stressed when I know that I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS AND THAT THIS IS ALL JUST MEANING that is not even objectively true?!!"
You are stressed because this process is stressful. It is a waking nightmare. You have a nightmare, it's not real, you are being chased, naked, your heart rate goes up, blood pressure goes up, you are sweating. You wake up ready to run! Then you say, "Oh, that was just a dream. Shit" Now, your other process uses the exact same mechanism...your imagination...thoughts in your head, pictures, movies, dialogue. Except you believe that the other one is real. You haven't really questioned it, nor has anyone told you to. The process most likely has a protective functionality, hoping that making you feel as dumb, small, insignificant and a loser will somehow steer you in a positive direction. Mostly it has you thinking about getting some strong prescription meds, booze, porn....because you are afraid the thoughts might be true. This is off topic, but I do it for a living. You don't believe everything the tree wrote about you, do you? Maybe you should start to become a little suspicious about your own thoughts. They are a terrible master.

Seeing the conceptual overlay is helpful in this particular work, and in life.
I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS AND THAT THIS IS ALL JUST MEANING
More accurate to say I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS AND THOUGHTS ARE ALL JUST LABELS, DESCRIPTIONS THAT ARE AFTER THE FACT

5) What about thoughts about Bigfoot? Where can he be found in reality?

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:35 pm

Hello Cal
I mean that your experiencing of the tree is in the moment, in real time, your thoughts about it are after real time.

You see a girl. Your thoughts about her, you, how much you suck, all come later.

Thought CAN NOT be in the moment with your direct experience. There is a gap between direct experience and thought, and this gap is important for you to see and pay attention to.
I understand and agree. Thoughts about direct experience MUST come after the experience.

What about thoughts about something that will happen in the future? I think the answer is that... anticipatory thoughts about an experience I expect to have before I have the actual experience (for example, stage fright about an upcoming performance) are NOT thoughts about the experience, they are thoughts about thoughts about what I expect/imagine the experience will be like.
You do bring up a great point...which is you know tree or red because of prior experience. You know what to expect of a tree, more or less. So the idea of "expectations" and "preconceptions' is that, if you have never had direct experience, you cannot know what to expect. No-self, zen attainments, enlightenment should have no expectations. Most people expect their entire life to change, they read a lot of crap that should not have been written.
Expectations about something I have never directly experienced before, such as "no-self/enlightenment" or an event that I plan to do in the future such as going on stage or introducing myself to a girl, are in fact thoughts about imagined scenarios. They are DREAMS about DREAMS. Expectations about something I have never directly experienced before are NOT an accurate indicator of what the future experience will be like.

1)
Thought is a conceptual overlay on top of reality. It does not touch it, equal it in any way. Your words on the glass, the thoughts in your head (internal representation through images and dialogue) do not touch it in any way.
I agree 100%. Thought is a conceptual overlay on top of reality. Thoughts about reality and reality itself are absolutely separate and my thoughts about reality are ALWAYS somewhat inaccurate because thought and external reality can NEVER be the exact same thing. They are fundamentally DIIFFERENT things. My thinking something IN NO WAY makes it true.

2)
Tree is looking at Stephen. It writes things on the glass that is overlaid in front of you. Just like your words and thoughts have no impact on the tree, the tree has no impact on you. What is "real" to you about what the tree writes is only so because of your "agreement". BTW, the tree wrote "Male" "Female" "Mobile" "Branches all out of order in both directions" "Octopus" "Thinks too much" "Doesn't need to wait for water" "Bad boy".
What the tree (or any person etc) thinks about me is THOUGHT so it is NOT reality. Because its thoughts are not reality they can have no impact on me. The only way what the tree writes can be "real" to me is if I "agree" with it, but if I "agree" with it this agreement is actually MY thought. And neither the tree's thoughts NOR MY THOUGHTS actually represent reality. All of the tree's words ("Male" "Female" "Mobile" "Branches all out of order in both directions" "Octopus" etc) are LABELS and labels actually are not the same as anything in concrete reality. No label is EVER the same as the real thing it purports to be.

3)
Meaning is contained in thought. Seeing tree happens. Intrinsic or instrumental value....comes after direct experience and needs thought. Yes, no?

Stephen was walking along feeling fine. Sees girl, keeps to himself. I see no great sin or failure in this. Thought comes along and ruins several hours of his day.
YES. Meaning cannot exist outside thought. Meaning is entirely made of thought. Without thought meaning does NOT exist in any way, shape, or form. Me walking along, seeing girl, keeping to myself - has NO meaning whatsoever. It's is 100% meaningless. The meaning that I give it that ruins several hours of my day is ENTIRELY composed of thought. This meaning has no existence/reality/truth.

4)
Watching tv, reading, brushing teeth, doing dishes, walking, eating. WATCH. What was happening when "you" weren't aware that "you" were there at all. Example: [watching tv was happening, yet Stephen did not exist separate from the watching. TV did not either, until thought labeled it.]

Watch deeply and notice when "I/me/mine" thoughts are there, and when they aren't. Then report your findings.
Yes, I can see this. I understand that when "I" am not aware that "I" am there that watching TV is happening yet neither Stephen nor the TV exists, because 'Stephen' and 'TV' are labels, and labels are made entirely of thought, and when the thoughts do not exist therefore the labels 'Stephen' and 'TV' do not exist either.

Just to clarify... when I am not aware, I feel like I am also not aware that watching TV is happening. But this does NOT mean that 'watching TV' is also a label and therefore does not exist when I am not aware of it because watching TV is an objective reality because my core senses are doing it. Is this accurate?

Also, the more I look at when "I/me/mine" thoughts are there and when they aren't, the more it seems like "I/me/mine" thoughts are mostly a source of discomfort in the organism. Most "I/me/mine" thoughts make me feel something like anxiety, tension, stress of some type. It's rare that an "I/me/mine" thought arrives and makes me feel better than I did before I had it.
...your other process uses the exact same mechanism...your imagination...thoughts in your head, pictures, movies, dialogue. Except you believe that the other one is real.
This is a very helpful comparison. I never question whether a dream I have is real. And I can see how so much of what I take to be reality is, in fact, entirely composed of labels which are entirely made of thoughts - which makes it, quite literally, AS REAL (OR SHOULD I SAY UNREAL) AS A DREAM.
Maybe you should start to become a little suspicious about your own thoughts. They are a terrible master.

Seeing the conceptual overlay is helpful in this particular work, and in life.
Seeing the conceptual overlay is extremely helpful, because without seeing that conceptual overlay (which is composed 100% of thought and is therefore 100% NOT reality) I am entirely ASSUMING that my thoughts match reality.

5)
What about thoughts about Bigfoot? Where can he be found in reality?
Thoughts about bigfoot are real - the thoughts themselves are real. But they do not correspond to anything that exists in reality. I can have a thought about something that is entirely NOT real. I can IMAGINE things that do not exist.

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SeeEye
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:57 am

You are doing some good work, I appreciate your candor.
Just to clarify... when I am not aware, I feel like I am also not aware that watching TV is happening
Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!

Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!

Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!


I am going to be silly and dramatic right here...play along, do not let your "thoughts'" jump in and ruin things....

You are saying...when "I" am not there, "I" am not aware that watching TV is happening....

Hmmmmm....

NOW....be very still, you are standing right on top of it, get quiet and keep thoughts at bay for 3 seconds....
.

So, look at this yourself, very carefully and thoughtfully....

1) What is the mechanism that lets "you" know that "you" are aware?

2) What happens inside your head that "tells you what's what around here?"

3) When tv watching was happening on it's own accord (or brushing teeth, reading, pooping) ...what is NOT happening when "you" feel like you are not aware? What IS NOT TAKING PLACE IN YOUR HEAD?

Trust that this is said in love and peace.

C

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:29 pm

Hi Cal
Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!

Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!

Of course you are not aware! "You" aren't there when watching TV is happening!
I understand and agree. "I" am only there to notice when the brain is generating the THOUGHTS that are (mis)taken to be "me"/"Stephen". "Me"/"Stephen" is made entirely of THOUGHTS and does NOT exist in reality.

1)
What is the mechanism that lets "you" know that "you" are aware?

Thought.

2)
What happens inside your head that "tells you what's what around here?"
Thought.

3)
When tv watching was happening on it's own accord (or brushing teeth, reading, pooping) ...what is NOT happening when "you" feel like you are not aware? What IS NOT TAKING PLACE IN YOUR HEAD?
Thoughts about "Me"/"Stephen".

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SeeEye
Posts: 246
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:02 pm

Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby SeeEye » Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:19 pm

Nice.

Thoughts are like signs, we assume they both point to something.

Watch your thoughts carefully for a while. There are a lot that pop up and tell you "of course you have a self, it's me" "You've had a self all along" "this is silly nonsense" "well who does X then?"

Look closely at this. Sit in a quiet space, when laying down to sleep.

Do these thoughts point to some "self" in there that you can actually identify, or do they just point to each other and go round and round?"

When you are at the store, and you look up and all of a sudden you see your dad/mom/friend, there is an instantaneous recognition that happens before thought. A sort of "oh, well look at that" . Combine this sentence with the previous one in your looking.

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StephenG
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Re: 'I' think 'I' know 'I' am an illusion... some help would be appreciated

Postby StephenG » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:50 pm

Hi Cal
Thoughts are like signs, we assume they both point to something.
I understand that thought is 100% NOT reality. Thought is an entirely DIFFERENT thing to reality. Thought is a contextual overlay on reality that does NOT touch reality at all. And thought is often/mostly/always not even representative of reality - often/mostly/always my thoughts ABOUT what is real are wildly INaccurate. It can't be any other way, because actual reality and my thoughts about reality are VASTLY different things. A mental story made of thought can NEVER incorporate the infinitely complex nature of actual reality. (In fact, the brain doesn't seem to even ATTEMPT to map reality, it just seems to attempt to weave a 'helpful' dream.)

Similarly, a sign is not the destination. It is a piece of metal stuck to a pole. But a sign DOES, in fact, 'point' (often literally) to something. And if you follow the direction the sign is pointing you will end up at the destination that is written on the sign.

I now believe that MOST (a huge majority) of thoughts point to nothing real, nothing helpful, nothing in REALITY. But what about thoughts that do, in fact, POINT to something 'real' (even though the thoughts themselves are, of course, NOT that real thing)? For example, I have a thought that I am going to offend someone if I tell them something - I ignore the thought, tell them, and they run off crying. That thought, "this person will be offended if I say this", was NOT at all reality, but it did point to an aspect of reality. Are these thoughts useful?

I accept that I am living in a DREAM - literally my imagination is creating most of what I have, up until now, taken to be real. BUT sometimes the thoughts I have in my dream DO help me to navigate REALITY more... effectively. Am I missing the point here?
Do these thoughts point to some "self" in there that you can actually identify, or do they just point to each other and go round and round?"
I understand that these types of thoughts, while sometimes somewhat convincing, are themselves THOUGHTS (labels, stories) that have NO EXISTENCE in reality - they are merely a conceptual overlay on reality that do not touch reality in any way, nor can they ever touch reality. These thoughts, like many thoughts, "point to each other and go round and round", often in vicious circles. In a sense, these are the type of anxious thoughts that "my" brain has a habit of producing. I do NOT take them to point to a 'self'.
When you are at the store, and you look up and all of a sudden you see your dad/mom/friend, there is an instantaneous recognition that happens before thought. A sort of "oh, well look at that" . Combine this sentence with the previous one in your looking.
This instantaneous, before thought recognition is what I feel like I am developing with my repetitive, usually anxious, thoughts of self... they still pop up regularly but I quickly (certainly wouldn't say instantaneously yet) notice them as the false 'self' and discount them WITHOUT having to engage with them, get entangled with them, fight them etc like I've always done in the past.


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