Feeling my way

Welcome to the main forum. When you are ready to start a conversation, register and once your application is processed a guide will come to talk to you.
This is one-on-one style forum, one thread per green member.
User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:05 pm

OK. Now let’s go a step further.

Investigate thoughts as often you remember during the day; in the midst of everyday life.
When it feels that I think this or that or that I do this or that, stop for a moment, and look…
Further observation on this subject again on a dog walk. Walking along mindful of ongoing sound and sights and then noticing 'I' thoughts had started up. Attention moved with no warning or 'intention' from experience of nature to thoughts. When noticed, attention gradually brought back to nature. This was a regular cycle throughout the walk. Unable to maintain attention on more than one thing at a time.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:41 am

Hi Tim,
V: What do you do exactly in order to think, or visualize?
T: Pause, wait and watch for thoughts. Attention withdrawn from other stimuli eg music turned off.
So there is you/Tim + attention, and you/Tim have control over attention?

Please don’t just think about the answers, but really investigate what is actually going on.

How do you withdraw attention from other stimuli and turn attention onto waiting for a thought to arrive?
What do you do exactly in order for this to happen?

Can you find both attention + you/Tim who is directing attention?
Where is you/Tim? Where is the one who has power over attention and it can withdraw it from other stimuli?
Unable to maintain attention on more than one thing at a time.
So what is it exactly that is trying to control attention, by trying to maintain it on more than one thing at a time?
What is controlling attention?

Is there any control over attention at all?

Is attention actually controlled, or it’s just moving by itself, automatically?
Mostly thinking to come up with the words but there was an initial observation. You had asked a question about ‘location’. Tried to describe the experience of being a moving experiencing package.
Yes, but when I ask for a location of where thoughts appear, I don’t mean in which room, but rather at which part of the body.

Since thoughts are usually believed to be arise and appear in the head, or around the head. But is this so? Is this how it is in experience?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:07 pm

V: What do you do exactly in order to think, or visualize?
T: Pause, wait and watch for thoughts. Attention withdrawn from other stimuli eg music turned off.
So there is you/Tim + attention, and you/Tim have control over attention?
It can seem like that.
Please don’t just think about the answers, but really investigate what is actually going on.

How do you withdraw attention from other stimuli and turn attention onto waiting for a thought to arrive?
What do you do exactly in order for this to happen?
I sit quietly and read and occasionally repeat the question. I may close my eyes. I wait for thoughts to arise.
Can you find both attention + you/Tim who is directing attention?
Where is you/Tim? Where is the one who has power over attention and it can withdraw it from other stimuli?
I’m really struggling to answer these questions today. Not feeling up to the task, not knowing how to ‘look’. There is a thought that I have some influence over what I do and think about. There is a resistance to looking for ‘Tim’ while still usually strongly identifying as ‘Tim’. The resistance is felt as jaw and forehead tension, abdominal and chest tension, a degree of restlessness. Some underlying fear.
OK, now I see that ‘Tim’ can only ever be a ‘story’. Language can only ever create a shell and ideas can never convey reality. Nothing to be afraid of here. This is why maintaining the story of self is so stressful – it’s an impossible task to get it right.
Unable to maintain attention on more than one thing at a time.
So what is it exactly that is trying to control attention, by trying to maintain it on more than one thing at a time?
What is controlling attention?
Nothing. It’s part of the story. Wow, a lot of pressure on ‘Tim’ to control everything!
Is there any control over attention at all?
‘Investigating’ meditation – following the breath, thoughts arise and then fade and attention returns to the breath. The teaching is ‘we bring the attention back to the breath’. Thoughts certainly arise along the lines of ‘I drifted off the task so back to the breath now’ but I can’t control thoughts so the conclusion is – no control.
Is attention actually controlled, or it’s just moving by itself, automatically?
Attention moves by itself automatically.
Since thoughts are usually believed to be arise and appear in the head, or around the head. But is this so? Is this how it is in experience?
This is untrue in experience. Muscle tension in the forehead can be present in association with emotion and tension. It can also be in the abdomen and chest with frustration, anger, fear and associated thoughts – that doesn’t mean that different thoughts arise in different parts of the body. I can’t find a ‘location’ for the origin of thoughts.

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:03 am

Hi Tim,
there is a resistance to looking for ‘Tim’ while still usually strongly identifying as ‘Tim’. The resistance is felt as jaw and forehead tension, abdominal and chest tension, a degree of restlessness. Some underlying fear.
We have to investigate this resistance and fear, since it’s can prevent you from looking at experience.

Fear is nothing more than a protective mechanism, and it does its job well. There is a belief, a story somewhere about pain or negative consequences to seeing the illusion of the self. And the fear tries to protect you from these supposed negative consequences. So let’s find out what this story is about and see if they are real threats or not.

What I’d like you to do is to investigate this fear. Examine it closely. Feel it. Don’t try to fix it or solve it, just sit with it.
Ask the fear as if it were a some kind of entity:

What do you want to protect me from?

What is the ‘negative’ story, what would happen if the illusion of the self is seen through?

Observe what visual thoughts and stories come up ‘justifying’ its right to fear.

If you ignore the stories (thoughts) and visual thoughts what is BEHIND the fear?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:44 am

Hi Vivien

I feel I did much of this investigating last night and felt I moved a very long way to seeing what was going on. Only 2-3 hrs sleep. Actually the fear and resistance left just before and also while I typed:
OK, now I see that ‘Tim’ can only ever be a ‘story’. Language can only ever create a shell and ideas can never convey reality. Nothing to be afraid of here. This is why maintaining the story of self is so stressful – it’s an impossible task to get it right.

What I’d like you to do is to investigate this fear. Examine it closely. Feel it. Don’t try to fix it or solve it, just sit with it.
Ask the fear as if it were a some kind of entity:

What do you want to protect me from?
It felt at one point as if it was trying to protect me from embarrassment if that makes sense. Embarrassment that I’d been living in the constricting dreamworld of being ‘Tim’ and not seeing it. All that striving and anxiety to protect a fictional character.
What is the ‘negative’ story, what would happen if the illusion of the self is seen through?
‘Nothing to be afraid of here’ was the thought that came as I typed. There were thoughts beforehand about potential loss of identity and also of connection with family and friends.
Observe what visual thoughts and stories come up ‘justifying’ its right to fear.
There’s been a lot of investment in ‘Tim’. ‘Tim’ is good enough and I have done well as ‘Tim’. Impossible to know what will replace ‘Tim’ so stay with it. ‘Tim’ Is pretty much all that has been known apart from odd glimpses of something more periodically. These glimpses never lasted more than a few days. Safer to stay with what is known than risk moving beyond. Others appear to have come along on the journey with me and I don’t want to lose them.
If you ignore the stories (thoughts) and visual thoughts what is BEHIND the fear?
Nothing, life. Curious to see more.

So last night things were very clear and vivid. Today I’m tired and mainly relaxed but a little anxious that the understanding might not stay or that somehow ‘I’ve got it wrong’. Seems like a hangover of self thoughts. I’ve been aware of familiar patterns almost trying to construct a new model of ‘Tim’. Maybe that’s what has already happened and I’m moving along in a new illusion! Haha ;-)

Best wishes

Tim

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:12 am

Hi Tim,

Thank you for sharing what was the fear about.
There were thoughts beforehand about potential loss of identity and also of connection with family and friends.
What makes you think that the connection with family and friends could be lost? Why would this happen?

And what is it that could lose an identity? Is there someone outside of identity who could lose its identity?

It felt at one point as if it was trying to protect me from embarrassment if that makes sense. Embarrassment that I’d been living in the constricting dreamworld of being ‘Tim’ and not seeing it. All that striving and anxiety to protect a fictional character.
But this embarrassment is still about Tim, about the fictional character.

Do you think that there is another you outside the dream of Tim?
And you can wake up from the dream of being Tim?
And after you’ve woken up from the dream, you can be embarrassed that you were dreaming of being Tim?

How many selves do you have? Tim + the one who could wake up from the dream?

Where is this other you that could wake up from the dream?
Show it to me.
‘Tim’ is good enough and I have done well as ‘Tim’.
Are you suggesting that there is another you outside of the story of Tim, and this outside you are playing the role of Tim? And considering if this one outside played the role of Tim good enough?

What if this consideration is also happening IN the dream?

Impossible to know what will replace ‘Tim’ so stay with it.
Do you think that after seeing through the self Tim will disappear? He will be no more?

What if he won’t disappear? What if the dream won’t disappear? What if it will be seen for what it is, just a fictional character but not a real one?

Others appear to have come along on the journey with me and I don’t want to lose them.
But why would you?

Tim, you are imagining this to be something much bigger and life-shattering thing to be than how actually it is.
Tim won’t disappear. The dream won’t stop appearing. Connection with friends and family won’t dissolve either.
Nothing is going to die or disappear.

Only the BELIEF that Tim is a real, actual person. But it doesn’t mean that Tim will vanish. Why would it?
There is ALREADY no real Tim here, and never was.
There has never ever been a real Tim. Never.

In the moment of being afraid of losing Tim and friendships there is ALREADY no Tim anywhere, only as a dream character.
Even the fear of losing Tim part of the dream.
Nothing will be lost. Not even the dream or Tim.
The only difference is the experiential recognition that Tim is just a fictional character, not a reality. That’s all.
Everything else stays the same.
Including the dream. Including Tim’s personality, likes and dislikes, and friends and family.
I’ve been aware of familiar patterns almost trying to construct a new model of ‘Tim’. Maybe that’s what has already happened and I’m moving along in a new illusion! Haha ;-)
There is no such thing as a ‘new model of Tim’.
Doesn’t matter how Tim shows up, he is always going to be an illusion. Just he is an illusion in this moment. Just as he was always just a fictional character.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:05 pm

Hi Vivien

Thank you for all your helpful words but I’m rather confused.

I had an experience two days ago when I clearly saw the illusory nature of the ‘Tim’ story. At the time it was clear that ‘Tim’ was a fictional character that I had unquestioningly believed and apparently played the role of. It was as if I had been completely convinced I was ‘Spider-Man’ since childhood – that sort of thing.

Things seemed to make sense except for the odd feeling of embarrassment about having wasted so much time believing the story. I thought surely I wouldn’t feel embarrassment as this is something the ‘illusory’ character would have felt in acting the part. However, you say in your last post:
‘The only difference is the experiential recognition that Tim is just a fictional character, not a reality. That’s all.
Everything else stays the same.
Including the dream. Including Tim’s personality, likes and dislikes, and friends and family.’
If this is the case, then presumably embarrassment could occur around that moment of realisation.

Other things that have made me doubt my experience have been a bit of anxiety (normal for me), ongoing comparisons with others, feelings of ‘desire and ill will’ and so on. However, this is presumably still to be expected because of conditioning, habitual thought patterns and so on.

I have also been disappointed at not feeling more different. I think that despite having intellectually grasped that ‘realisation of the illusion’ could seem extremely ordinary, emotionally I had thought there would be more.

I’m not sure how to proceed here and am not sure if there is a further realisation to be had on this subject. On the other hand I am absolutely sure that there is a great deal more to be done on all the rest of the ‘fetters’ and so on.

Thank you for your patience, kindness and help. I haven’t answered your questions at present because I’m not sure I had adequately explained to you what was going on for me.

Tim

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:35 am

Hi Tim,
I had an experience two days ago when I clearly saw the illusory nature of the ‘Tim’ story. At the time it was clear that ‘Tim’ was a fictional character that I had unquestioningly believed and apparently played the role of. It was as if I had been completely convinced I was ‘Spider-Man’ since childhood – that sort of thing.
All right. So you HAD an EXPERIENCE.
And AT THAT TIME it WAS clear that Tim was a fictional character.

But what about NOW? What about this very moment? And what about this moment? And this?

Is it still SEEN in this VERY MOMENT that Tim is just a fictional character or you are just relying on the MEMORY of it?


You had a glimpse. But seeing through the illusion is not just one glimpse.
It’s not just a special event when things clear, but then it fades.

Seeing no self is not an experience. It’s not something that you have ONCE and then you rely on the MEMORY of that even. Not at all.

Once it’s clearly seen, it cannot be unseen. It becomes factual.
But in order for it to really sink in, it needs to be seen hundreds if not thousands of times, again and again and again.
I haven’t answered your questions at present because I’m not sure I had adequately explained to you what was going on for me.
Those questions are still relevant. To are pointing to look in the direction where your beliefs are.

So please go back to those questions, and look at them one-by-one very carefully.
Don’t just think through the answers, but actually LOOK.


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:35 am

Hi Vivien

Thank you very much for that explanation. It makes sense and is comforting because my experience has certainly faded massively.

I'll go back to the questions. It's possible it will take a couple of days before I reply as there seems to be a lot to do!

Many thanks

Tim

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:58 am

All right. Please look carefully with each question.
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:47 pm

Hi Vivien

Here are some answers from today's looking.
What makes you think that the connection with family and friends could be lost? Why would this happen?
There was an idea that the relationships were formed with me when fully identified with the story of Tim. There might be a personality change which damages the relationships. Now I’m seeing I’ve had everything rather muddled and there is only me/Tim, not ‘me’ and ‘Tim’.
And what is it that could lose an identity? Is there someone outside of identity who could lose its identity?
I can find only one ‘being’. It carries the identity of Tim. There is no-one else.
Do you think that there is another you outside the dream of Tim?
No. It’s dawning on me that ‘I’ am the illusory self that I’ve been hunting!
And you can wake up from the dream of being Tim?
Not possible. All I can do is realise the fact that ‘Tim’ is not a real person.
And after you’ve woken up from the dream, you can be embarrassed that you were dreaming of being Tim?
I think I am the only one here, I think I may be the illusion that I have been looking for.
How many selves do you have? Tim + the one who could wake up from the dream?
Just Tim.
Where is this other you that could wake up from the dream?
Show it to me.

There’s just Tim
‘Tim’ is good enough and I have done well as ‘Tim’.
Are you suggesting that there is another you outside of the story of Tim, and this outside you are playing the role of Tim? And considering if this one outside played the role of Tim good enough?
What a muddle. All that convoluted thinking to hide from the fact that I seem to be the illusion.
What if this consideration is also happening IN the dream?
Impossible to know what will replace ‘Tim’ so stay with it.
Do you think that after seeing through the self Tim will disappear? He will be no more?
Nope, Tim is here. However, Tim may no longer believe that he is real.
What if he won’t disappear? What if the dream won’t disappear? What if it will be seen for what it is, just a fictional character but not a real one?
Then he will have seen that he is the actor, the narrator and so on.

I don’t think I’ve figured it all out but I think I’ve seen through some more misconceptions or am on my way. You’ve been trying to tell me but I couldn’t see it somehow.

Thank you
Tim

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:52 am

Hi Tim,
I think I am the only one here, I think I may be the illusion that I have been looking for.
You say “I think” – Don’t think! Thinking won’t help. It’s a dead-end.
Rather check what is actually happening in experience.
I don’t think I’ve figured it all out
Don’t try to figure out anything.
Figuring out happens only in THINKING.

The thing is that you haven’t used any of the questions as pointers to investigate experience, rather you just THOUGHT them THROUGH.

You cannot get anywhere with thinking.
Only to more beliefs.

Just like these ones:
All I can do is realise the fact that ‘Tim’ is not a real person.
However, Tim may no longer believe that he is real.
Then he will have seen that he is the actor, the narrator and so on.
These are beliefs. As the result of thinking. It’s a dead-end.

How could a non-existent fictional character no longer believe that he is real?
It’s the same as saying that Batman could discover that he is just a fictional character.

Yes, in the story about Batman there could be a SEEMING realization that Batman is not real, but that would be STILL DREAMING. Just more story about Batman.

What you described that you saw that Tim was not real, is the same as Batman realizing that he is not real. It’s just MORE STORY about Batman/Tim. It’s still in the dream-land.

Can a cartoon character ever realize that he is just cartoon character? Literally? Is a cartoon character a real, alive, self-aware entity who knows about itself, so it can discover that he isn’t real? Is this even possible?
Do you see where I’m pointing at?

Then he will have seen that he is the actor, the narrator and so on.
How would that be possible? You are talking about an impossible thing.
Can you see this?


All of these confusions are coming from thinking. That you are trying to figure this out.
But that is utterly futile. That won’t lead to anywhere other than to more stories, more fantasies.

It seems that is not clear what is the difference between thinking and experiencing. So let’s look into this.

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

Do you see, I’m asking you the same thing: not just to think it through what I wrote above, but actually do it in experience. Do you see the difference?

This difference will be the basis of our investigation.

You cannot experience (see, feel, taste, smell) the coffee by thinking. You literally have to experience it.

Do you see clearly the difference between thinking and experiencing?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Wed Jun 24, 2020 4:45 pm

Can a cartoon character ever realize that he is just cartoon character? Literally? Is a cartoon character a real, alive, self-aware entity who knows about itself, so it can discover that he isn’t real? Is this even possible?
Do you see where I’m pointing at?
Yes
Then he will have seen that he is the actor, the narrator and so on.
How would that be possible? You are talking about an impossible thing.
Can you see this?
Yes
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 but labelling happens quickly. It seems possible to acknowledge the thought and move on to exploring the experience more. More thoughts then arise and can be let go.
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, that seems easier.
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 although it didn’t take long for the label ‘bitter’ to arise and so on. I was aware of the warmth of the steam on my face at the same time as sipping the coffee.

Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?
No, I have no sense of smell.

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 of course, thoughts about it might happen! But that’s all right. You just ignore the thoughts, and you turn your attention to experiencing.
Do you see, I’m asking you the same thing: not just to think it through what I wrote above, but actually do it in experience. Do you see the difference?
Do you see clearly the difference between thinking and experiencing?
I can see the difference as it applies to coffee and tangible things. However, I can’t see clearly how to apply this to the investigation. It seems to need imagination to apply it to looking for something that isn’t there. If you ask me to look at a vacuum and describe it to you it’s just a load of negatives.

I’m getting tired, discouraged, miserable and confused and am considering stopping. Perhaps now isn’t the right time for me to be doing this.

Best wishes

Tim

User avatar
Vivien
Posts: 7049
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:07 am
Location: Australia

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Vivien » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:48 am

Hi Tim,
I can see the difference as it applies to coffee and tangible things. However, I can’t see clearly how to apply this to the investigation. It seems to need imagination to apply it to looking for something that isn’t there. If you ask me to look at a vacuum and describe it to you it’s just a load of negatives.
But there being no self is just a belief for you, not a experiential fact.
While you are still believe, behave and live as if there were a you thinking, doing, deciding, feeling, etc. in your everyday life.

So you are just covering up one belief (there is a self) with another belief (there is no self).

So while in everyday life it feels that I think, I do, I feel, I decide, etc… the self is believed to be something solid, something real, something that actually exists, something that is actually there.

So saying yourself that ‘there the self isn’t there’ won’t help.
Since it’s not about what you think, but what you feel.
I’m getting tired, discouraged, miserable and confused and am considering stopping. Perhaps now isn’t the right time for me to be doing this.
It’s up to you if you want to continue with the inquiry or not. It’s your decision to make.
Please let me know how you decide.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

User avatar
Turnip
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:36 pm

Re: Feeling my way

Postby Turnip » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:10 am

Hi Vivien

I totally agree with you that no self is not an experiential fact for me. Unfortunately I don't think I can make progress using this technique at present.

I am full of admiration for you and the other guides on LU for what you all do and how much time and energy you give to this and I wish you well. It may be that there will be a time when I have made some progress and could give back to the community in some way.

Many thanks

Tim


Return to “THE GATE”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests