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

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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 10, 2020 4:29 pm

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?
Thoughts are representations, sometimes they point to something in a more concrete way. Your example, is a premonition of a possible outcome, interesting that you chose a poor interaction with a person. Offended is flimsy in terms of being real. Thoughts about planning, how to plug in the toaster are useful. Remembering to get sugar at store is useful. There originate without a self and are registered by the organism, which thoughts come and say "is ME!"

Thoughts about self, problems with self, how others think....called self-referential thoughts, cause suffering.
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'.
You don't understand until you see clearly that no-self exists at all. That it is a story contained in thought and does not exist in reality. There is no seperate, unique Stephen. There is not a "self" looking for a "no-self".

When you "see" this, it is a recognition and while your thoughts may argue, you will be certain. "Understanding" as you used the word means you can organize thoughts and words in a certain order, not that you really know it.

Things that help seekers are to journal and make notes, summarize what is working for you. Repeat the pointers and exercises, dig deeply and drill all the way through. Meditate on this..use the pointers as contemplations.

You may have had an experience along the lines of....you are laying in bed, it's pretty dark. You look over at a chair, and there is something on it. You have a sense of panic, it looks like a demon animal! You keep looking. Looking. All of a sudden...you see its your sweater you put there. Once you see "sweater" you no longer believe in "demon cat" even though it kind of looks like one. Your senses led you somewhere, thoughts told you "what it is" and feelings were the proof.

So, where are you in all of this? Do you have a separate self in there?

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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 11, 2020 4:12 pm

Hi Cal

I agree with you that my 'understanding' is still mainly intellectual/conceptual, and that I still do not KNOW I have no self in the same way that I KNOW my father when I see him. I still have to think to deduce that I have no self.

My brain is also resisting and throwing some objections at me, but it is difficult to actually pinpoint what those objections are specifically. The objections don't seem to be rational arguments as such, because rationally I think no-self makes sense. The resistance and objections are more like a feeling, so I will have to dig deeply into this.

I am going to journal and make notes and go over, all over again, the pointers and questions you have already given me so far.

I will report back in a day or two.

Thank you,
Stephen

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

Postby StephenG » Fri Jun 12, 2020 6:22 pm

Hi Cal

I've been a bit frustrated. I felt like things were going well and I was really beginning to see the truth of no 'self'. But then my mind got quite muddled. I have a strong tendency to overthink and overanalyse things.

I've been journaling about 'no self', but today's journaling has been getting me more lost in the weeds. I have a tendency to analyse a piece of information to death, if that makes sense. And sometimes the simple gem of truth can get lost in unnecessary complication.

Here's where I'm at...

Primary core data consists of 5 senses plus thoughts that arrive in awareness but are NOT in response to current sense data.
After this primary core data comes thoughts about core data... meaning and stories made entirely of thought.
Thought is a conceptual overlay on reality. Not the same thing at all. Thought can never touch reality.
I can distinctly SEE that thoughts about reality and reality itself are entirely different things.
The brain creates meaning, stories and labels as a way to describe reality. But this description is NEVER the same as reality.
'Meaning made of thought' can NEVER be an entirely accurate description of reality - only ever a rough, highly-simplified sketch, at best. (The meaning a brain creates says MORE about the state of that particular brain than it does about objective reality.)
Some of this 'meaning made of thought' is helpful and practical - it points to things in reality, such as how to fix a toaster. Some (and I believe by far MOST) of this meaning is FALSE and a burdensome illusion that mainly creates suffering.
The 'self' is a part of this sketch of reality, but it is a part that does NOT correspond to anything that is objectively real.
The 'self' can not be found anywhere in reality. The 'self' is made of thought, a mental construct, a fantasy, and therefore NOT real.
When the brain is not conjuring 'self' there is NO SELF AT ALL. When I am not thinking 'self' thoughts I am (it's better to say "there is") a PROCESS, NOT A THING.

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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 12, 2020 6:43 pm

Just now there was a thought..... Who wrote that previous post?

Obvious answer is "I did".

But the correct answer is.... "The post was written." (Although this still doesn't fully make sense to me.)

Now, in this moment, there is a thought that says "I wrote that post!"

A process is happening. A part of the process was writing. Other parts of the process were breathing, thinking, sitting, selfing, worrying, feeling of thirst. And there were/are/will be infinite other parts of the process. And the brain is making the process into something ELSE - using meaning and storytelling it is weaving a dream - a narrative that is actually NOT real. The process is real, the narrative is false.

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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 12, 2020 6:47 pm

My fear is that the process will grind to a halt or go 'off the rails', in bad directions etc if I do not maintain strong control with deliberate powerful SELF control/action. Because I believe in my SELF, I believe that my SELF is creating my world, driving the boat - and if my self stopped doing that it would all fall apart.

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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 18, 2020 4:05 pm

Hi,

How are you doing? I must have not hit send on my last response, sorry for that!

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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 19, 2020 4:09 pm

Hi Cal

Good to hear from you. I was beginning to fear you had given up, frustrated by my constant conceptualizing.

I am keeping well. I hope you are too.

I’ve been thinking and journaling about ‘no-self’ related stuff this week.

It’s becoming clear that EVERYTHING, apart from what is coming in through my 5 senses at this very moment, is story. All of this story is UNreal. It is NOT reality, it is made of thought (and always thought about some time OTHER than this very moment, because thought always comes after the event).

This week I have more than ever been noticing the stories playing out in my mind.

An example: Today I was teaching drums on Zoom. During the lesson, my student made an innocuous comment about what happened in the lesson they had earlier in the week with their other drum teacher. I felt a slight emotional reaction…. a discomfort, something like jealousy.

But I recognized, in real-time, that the emotional reaction was caused by the story that sprung up in my mind. The story was made of thoughts such as “is my teaching on its own not good enough?”, “maybe Stephen is not good enough”, “am I not taken seriously” bla bla bla, etc. Basically, it was a story that went “What does this say about Stephen?!”

But without even needing to dig into that story and scrutinize it in order to disprove it, I was able to just sweep it aside as story made of thought that is NOT real.

This type of thing has been happening to me a lot this week; seeing the UNrealness of the stories that my brain is continuously generating. Noticing that what I, in the past, would have 100% assumed was me noticing REALITY, was in fact my brain generating stories that I was completely identified with.

I now see that almost EVERYTHING going on in my conscious brain is STORY. I am, and always have been, thoroughly enveloped in a fog of story, to the point were seeing reality is difficult.

The above teaching example is a very mild example. Because this particular story was not one that I identified with all that much or that I believed in all that much. But there are other stories that tend to dominate my thinking and loom very large in my awareness. These stories cause me much more discomfort and are much more difficult to notice as story and to see for what they are. This is because I find it difficult to shake the belief that these stories are surely somewhat true.

With these stories, I would say that I can see them as stories BUT I still kinda believe that while they are not literal reality, they DO at the same time point to something that is somewhat true.

These stories are ‘unreal, but somewhat true’.

I say they are ‘unreal’ because they are made of thought and therefore CANNOT be reality. But I say that I can’t shake the feeling that they are ‘somewhat true’ because they contain elements that I believe are real.

I think I believe that there are truths that are real but do not have any existence in present objective reality….

For example, the history of my life… Some things that I remember happening are NOT a part of current reality. They are made of my thoughts in the form of memories, so they are not reality. BUT they point to things that are or were ‘real’. It is real that in the past I was in France, therefore it is real that in the present I am a man who ‘has been to France’.

Another example: Trends, meaning aspects of reality that only become apparent when reality is considered OVER PERIODS OF TIME. I have learned, through noticing a trend, that if I am argumentative I will lose friends, dislike myself, and feel shame and regret afterward. This story about the merit of being argumentative is not REALITY. But it points to a rough and incomplete truth about reality that it is worth my while taking as somewhat TRUE.

There is a story in my mind “I have been argumentative in the past, I am prone to being argumentative if I don’t watch out, being argumentative is bad because it hurts people’s feelings, loses me friends, and makes me regret my lack of self-control and inability to behave as well as I would like to”. This is a story, it is NOT reality, it is NOT entirely true either, but it points to some rough truth about reality.

It is clear to me that ‘self’, ‘Stephen’ is a story. But at the moment, it is a story that falls into the 'unreal, but somewhat true' category.

Because I believe that some stories point to some truths, the door is left open for all the stories I tell myself, including the story of ‘self’, ‘Stephen’, to have some truth to them.

I am wary that I may be overthinking this and making your job more frustrating and difficult than it needs to be. Please let me know if this is the case.

Stephen

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

Postby SeeEye » Fri Jun 19, 2020 5:11 pm

Hi,

Na, just have a lot going on.
am wary that I may be overthinking this and making your job more frustrating and difficult than it needs to be. Please let me know if this is the case.
You are making it more difficult on yourself. Apparently your self likes lots of attention, even if because of problems. It doesn't like itself that much, causes you to suffer through stories of inadequacy, and is a pain in the ass even more now because it's fighting back. You should stop feeling sorry for it.
I am, and always have been, thoroughly enveloped in a fog of story, to the point were seeing reality is difficult.
Yes, you spend your life stuck in your head, on autopilot. The past is imagination as is the future. The only place anything happens is in the now.

A part of you is always seeing, is always in the moment. Thoughts come along and cloud the sky, the sky never leaves.

"Somewhat true" is being taken too far.

You were in France, the other night you had a dream. Same mechanism of imagination holds that.

Thoughts about measuring the square footage of a room are functional. Thoughts about how Stephen is a turd are not necessary while measuring the room.

Personality traits are patterned responses to reality. Arguing is about the fear of being one down or excluded, which both mean you are NO GOOD. . So you don't argue. What's your point? Statistically, always arguing, always being needy for validation, always talking and not listening are all patterns that most people infer come from insecurity and are about your status. They are not that much others-enhancing, group-enhancing or fun for people. They have low instrumental value in relationships. They have nothing to do with your intrinsic value, topic for another time. There is truth in this, and in what I wrote. We can measure, repeat, get similar results.

This has NOTHING to do with the fact that thoughts about Bigfoot. Lots of stories, theories, feelings. No bigfoot.

Thoughts about a separate, inherent self are the same. There are lots of thoughts, they point to stories thought have been telling you since you had thoughts. Thoughts pointing to thoughts, not to anything we an find.

Organism does itself without need for thought and before thought happens.

Experiment: Watch your thoughts. Do "you" make them appear? Can you control what comes next? Watch carefully. The thought "yeah, I had a thought" is too late to count. Example: You look out at a brown thing coming out of the ground with leaves on it. You call it a ___________. That thought comes after your experience and awareness. What is in the blank, the _____________ is not a truth, it's a convention.

Real and somewhat true....you are getting into epistomology....what is real? Are thoughts real?

"Are thoughts real" is a question posed in thought!!!!

Change the words. Are unicorns real? Presupposition unicorns exist. Can you find one? A presupposition isn't necessarily real or true. You have many, many presuppositions that have never been challenged. One is that losing friends is always a bad thing.

t is clear to me that ‘self’, ‘Stephen’ is a story. But at the moment, it is a story that falls into the 'unreal, but somewhat true' category.


1) Fall in there for you. It falls into this category FOR WHOM? Who is the object observing this?

2) How is it somewhat true, specifically? Thought makes it true?

Because I believe that some stories point to some truths, the door is left open for all the stories I tell myself, including the story of ‘self’, ‘Stephen’, to have some truth to them.


This is meant to be helpful....the above quote is sloppy thinking. The door left open is that you have a thought about it. "Well, if blah blah, then blah blah door is open" What "door"?

Your job is to look for a separate self in there. What you "think about" the rest of the time, and your inner dialogue about reality is irrelevant.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this.

It's all sent in the spirit of helping.

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

Postby StephenG » Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:18 pm

You are making it more difficult on yourself. Apparently your self likes lots of attention, even if because of problems. It doesn't like itself that much, causes you to suffer through stories of inadequacy, and is a pain in the ass even more now because it's fighting back. You should stop feeling sorry for it.
I don't really understand what you mean here. In what way am I feeling sorry for my 'self'? Are you saying I should ignore the questions and doubts that my 'self' throws at me?
The past is imagination as is the future. The only place anything happens is in the now....
You were in France, the other night you had a dream. Same mechanism of imagination holds that.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly that both are imagination (thoughts) and in that sense exactly the same. But also, I can be certain that one thought represents something that did in fact happen (France), and the other thought represents something that did not happen (fantastical dream). Does that not make them different in an important way?
Statistically, always arguing, always being needy for validation, always talking and not listening are all patterns that most people infer come from insecurity and are about your status. They are not that much others-enhancing, group-enhancing or fun for people. They have low instrumental value in relationships. They have nothing to do with your intrinsic value, topic for another time. There is truth in this, and in what I wrote. We can measure, repeat, get similar results.

This has NOTHING to do with the fact that thoughts about Bigfoot. Lots of stories, theories, feelings. No bigfoot.
My confusion is this... Given that there is truth in your points about arguing, but no truth in bigfoot thoughts - doesn't that make these two different types of thoughts: one type represents reality quite accurately, the other type does not represent reality accurately. Is the point that the 'self', 'Stephen' is thoughts of the bigfoot variety?
Organism does itself without need for thought and before thought happens.
I worry if I left the organism entirely to its own devices it would just lie in bed masturbating and eating cake all day. But I am learning from this work that I should trust my organism more and stop trying to control life rigidly.
Experiment: Watch your thoughts. Do "you" make them appear? Can you control what comes next?

'I' do not make my thoughts appear or control them in any way.
Real and somewhat true....you are getting into epistomology....what is real? Are thoughts real?

"Are thoughts real" is a question posed in thought!!!!

Change the words. Are unicorns real? Presupposition unicorns exist. Can you find one? A presupposition isn't necessarily real or true. You have many, many presuppositions that have never been challenged. One is that losing friends is always a bad thing.
I understand that thoughts are real things. But that thoughts are NOT the same as the objects, situations, states in reality that they represent. EG the thought 'tree' is real (in the sense that thoughts are real as thoughts), but the thought 'tree' is not the same thing as the brown thing with green leaves. The thought 'tree' is a label. Labels are not the thing, they represent the thing. I can think about bigfoot or a unicorn even tho they have no existence whatsoever.
1) .... It falls into this category FOR WHOM? Who is the object observing this?
It falls into that category for the thoughts that are trying to understand it. 'I' am seeing these thoughts in awareness. I understand that I am NOT these thoughts but I am trusting that they are signalling something.
2) How is it somewhat true, specifically? Thought makes it true?
The story of 'Stephen' is somewhat true because there are elements of it that I am 1000% convinced are accurate EG I am 1000% convinced that I ate a pear ten minutes ago. Other aspects are probably very INaccurate EG vague thoughts and feelings about my 'worth' or other such nebulous concepts etc.

I understand that 'Stephen' it's not real. 'Stephen' can not be pointed to in reality. 'Stephen' is a story. But perhaps elements of the story 'Stephen' are accurate.

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

Postby StephenG » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:13 pm

Hi Cal

I've had a few thoughts...

Maybe I am getting too much into the weeds with this. Maybe I'm too hung up on the notion that while thoughts are not the same thing as the reality they point to, some thoughts are pointing to aspects of reality more accurately than others.

Maybe I've had a breakthrough...

I have been playing a board game with my friend for the last several weeks while in lockdown. Each match lasts 30 mins and we have been playing multiple matches over weeks. We keep a scoreboard on the wall that keeps tab on the ongoing score. My friend is currently up, 30 - 26.

I look at the scoreboard on the wall and I remember playing the game many times in the past... I know that these memories are ACCURATE, at least roughly, because the scoreboard proves that the memories are roughly ACCURATE.

So... the thoughts about playing the game many times; these thoughts are real things in and of themselves (in the sense that thoughts exist), these thoughts are happening now and exist only in my brain and so do NOT touch the reality they point to in any way, BUT the thoughts are somewhat accurately pointing to an aspect of reality AS PROVEN BY THE SCOREBOARD.

I enjoy playing the game, it's fun. BUT I also use the game to create my false 'self'! There is a 'pure' enjoyment in the moment (of playing, strategizing, connecting with my friend etc) and there is simultaneously the 'self' being created by the meaning I'm attaching to the game. There is pure, in the moment enjoyment (which 'Stephen' is absent from) and there is 'selfing' - maybe there is oscillation between the two or maybe they are somehow happening simultaneously.

There is a narrative, story running in my brain, and it's made entirely of imagination. The story is 'Stephen' and it is being added to by the outcomes of the game. I quickly, habitually, and without noticing I'm doing it (most of the time and unless I look hard and deliberately, which I've just done) ad the content of my thinking to the story of 'Stephen'.

To say the game isn't real seems like a leap too far, especially given that the scoreboard seems to be proof that the game HAS been going on. But the 'Stephen' that the outcome of the game is 'creating' is NOT real. In it's UNREALNESS it is clearly less real than the ongoing game. The ongoing game's realness has evidence, I can point to it. The 'Stephen' story has no evidence.

The game is one type of thing, 'Stephen' is another type of thing. The game is real, 'Stephen' is imaginary.

I can be fairly confident that the game is real, and that my friend and I have been playing - even tho my knowledge of these two 'facts' is made solely of thought, I can be confident those thoughts ARE pointing quite accurately to something in reality.

BUT the 'self' character that these thoughts... feed into..... actually is NOT real. The 'self' grabs aspects of reality (in a very biased way, and distorts them usually) and slots them into the false story of 'self'. It does this by inventing MEANING. By inventing a layer of meaning on top of reality, this layer of meaning relates to 'self' and, in fact, CREATES the 'self'. (And this MEANING is created by imagination and is usually inaccurate).

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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 23, 2020 5:45 am

Hi Stephen,

You are making some good progress! It takes a while to see though the veil of the conceptual...it is not taught to us in normal channels.

Nobody has said that the game isn't real. You have the scores and the memories.

What we are looking at is WHO is owning this information?
The game is one type of thing, 'Stephen' is another type of thing. The game is real, 'Stephen' is imaginary.
So this is you seeing into what you have come to see.

It's not that all thoughts don't point to something real. The first point is to acknowledge that just because a thought happens, doesn't mean that all thought are equally valid in pointing to something real.
There is a narrative, story running in my brain, and it's made entirely of imagination. The story is 'Stephen' and it is being added to by the outcomes of the game.
Yes.

The game is played, it is enjoyed. The story about "stephen" playing it is untrue...and if you look into this closely, the secret will reveal itself.

While playing the game, especially watch this in the next one....is "stephen" THERE all the time? Are there moments where game playing is happening and there is no Stephen?????? Well, look closely at this. How do you "know" that stephen is there??

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

Postby StephenG » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:35 pm

Hi Cal

I do feel like I've made good progress. It's been very helpful. This learning/seeing puts a very different perspective on things. I see my thoughts from a very different perspective.

It is amazing watching the selfing flare up again and again and again - seemingly, at least thus far, neverendingly. Catching it in real-time is satisfying. Selfing is so automatic. It's like whack-a-mole - it just keeps popping back up from infinite angles.

The more I see the selfing going on in real(ish) time, the more noticeable it becomes, the more it just falls away. It's almost as if it can't survive the seeing of it for what it is.
it is not taught to us in normal channels

It certainly isn't. The exact opposite is what we are taught from every angle over and over. Seeing selfing happening in me is also making it quite apparent when other people are also selfing. I don't think for a second that I can read people's minds but I often suspect I can see the selfing going on in others.

I was running in the park today, and watching the barrage of selfing thoughts popping off in my brain like popcorn in a microwave. But because I saw them for what they were, they weren't causing me suffering like they did in the past.

But then I got a little disturbed and self-critical because I was still having so many selfing thoughts even tho I now see the truth. But then I realised that this disturbance and the thought "these thoughts should not be here" was itself yet more 'self' story, sneaking in by another door.

This sheds a new light on a lot of things I do on a regular basis - a lot of them are now obviously just done from a place of trying to make my 'self' good enough. Some things I do regularly now seem to have little value if I do not have a 'self', and actually a ridiculous waste of time and energy!
It's not that all thoughts don't point to something real. The first point is to acknowledge that just because a thought happens, doesn't mean that all thought are equally valid in pointing to something real.
I was getting too hung up on the idea that all thoughts are invalid, and because I could not accept that, I was struggling to accept that the self is not real.

I now realise that:
A) Thoughts are real, in that a thought is a thing... like a signpost.
B) But thoughts are NEVER the same thing that they are pointing to.
C) Some thoughts point accurately to something real in the world... eg. my memories of the board game.
D) Some thoughts are pure imagination, totally fictional stories that are wildly inaccurate and point to NOTHING that exists in reality... eg Bigfoot, the self/Stephen.

Of the thoughts that I notice going through my head, the VAST majority of them, especially the recurring issues/worries that cause suffering, are pure STORY, made entirely of imagination, that point to NOTHING in the real world.

It's amazing how much of a prisoner I have seemingly always been to the generally negative stories that my brain generates extremely regularly about my self, what I should do, what I NEED to be and to do, how other people may be thinking about me etc.

I have been examining my 'deliberate' acts also. Yesterday I 'deliberately' made myself do something I didn't really want to do. And I thought to myself "does that deliberate act that was against my current desires make me an autonomous self who is actually separate and in control?". But I could see clearly that it did not... I could see that the 'decision' to do the 'deliberate' act ALSO came out of some place that I can not find or see. I did not CHOOSE to decide to 'make' myself do the deliberate act - the will to do the act just arrived and I saw the will and then my mind CLAIMED it to be a decision 'I' had deliberately taken.
While playing the game, especially watch this in the next one....is "stephen" THERE all the time? Are there moments where game playing is happening and there is no Stephen?????? Well, look closely at this. How do you "know" that stephen is there??
Game playing is happening; fun, satisfaction, and connection with the other player is happening. 'Stephen' only pops into existence when thoughts of 'Stephen' pop up. And he gets in the way!!!!

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

Postby StephenG » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:38 pm

I will add to the last paragraph.... not only is game playing and fun and connecting happening.... but so are things that, up until now, I would have assumed 'Stephen' needed to be there to DO, to WILL INTO EXISTENCE, to CONTROL. Things such as strategizing, chatting, telling jokes. Even these things are happening without 'Stephen' being there.

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

Postby SeeEye » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:31 am

I think you are in a good place right now, you can see it, and you are letting it settle in.

Sometimes you get caught up in the thoughts, and sometimes you see the process a little sooner. This is how it goes.

I'll come back to this again, because I myself and many others find it a helpful place to rest on....the organism "does" itself. It learned math and English, and even after seeing that the "self" or "I" didn't do it, that this is just a thought that takes credit, the learning took place. The organism knows how to optimize for playing a game and its strategy, it remembers how to get to the store, and it remembers to get that last item you almost forgot before checking out. It keeps you breathing, digesting your food a and blinking your eyes. If you were to tell me that you consciously reminded your body to do this today....!

So you are right where you need to be.

Let me know how this is settling, what questions or concerns you have.

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

Postby StephenG » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:36 am

Hi Cal
I think you are in a good place right now, you can see it, and you are letting it settle in.

Sometimes you get caught up in the thoughts, and sometimes you see the process a little sooner. This is how it goes.
I agree. I'm feeling good about this. I am seeing regularly (again and again and again) the stories about self infiltrating consciousness. Over and over and over again they pop up, from so many different angles. But this SEEING robs the stories of their power and they tend to evaporate quickly.

It feels like a large, strong wedge has been driven between my stories and reality. They have been pried apart to the extent where I can see clear daylight between the two.
I'll come back to this again, because I myself and many others find it a helpful place to rest on....the organism "does" itself. It learned math and English, and even after seeing that the "self" or "I" didn't do it, that this is just a thought that takes credit, the learning took place. The organism knows how to optimize for playing a game and its strategy, it remembers how to get to the store, and it remembers to get that last item you almost forgot before checking out. It keeps you breathing, digesting your food a and blinking your eyes. If you were to tell me that you consciously reminded your body to do this today....!
This is extremely helpful. The relinquishing of the sense of responsibility for everything that is (or is not) happening to 'me', in 'my' life, and the belief that 'I' need to tightly control everything or else everything will "fall apart" was a big part of my discomfort. Now I can see that 'me' controlling everything, 'me' making things happen, 'me' needing to hold tightly to the steering wheel - was an illusion. Life is happening. The Universe is happening, my heart is beating, lungs breathing etc, learning is happening, wisdom is accruing, thoughts are happening (some pleasant, some mundane, some irksome) ETC ETC.

I can literally see that the decision to do, for example, a healthy thing that will enhance the organism but that isn't enjoyable, will be made by the organism without 'Stephen' needing to cajole, prod, harry, badger, force, strongarm the organism into doing it.

There is a feeling that I am at a crossroads. I feel like seeing 'no-self' is perhaps the beginning - moving forward it will embed itself in consciousness more deeply, seeing will become more automatic, more and more things will be seen to be story and their hold over me will loosen (and they'll be moved beyond and forgotten about), the implications of seeing 'no-self' will transpire over time. There is a slight fear that I will go the other way at this crossroads, and forget what has been seen and go back to (and get stuck in) old mental habits.

I'm wondering how do I maintain this seeing, without having to spend my life as a spiritual seeker constantly reading books about non duality etc? I feel like 'no-self' is true and I can see its truth by looking at MY OWN EXPERIENCE in any moment. But my fear is that I'll forget to look and just fall back into constant dreaming.


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