Clarity

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Allen12
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Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:38 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
From what I have read and experienced, when I try to look for a self I can't find it. The self that's "me" seems like it's there but when I look it isn't. Apparently, some people can see and understand this very clearly.

What are you looking for at LU?
Clarity about what is.

To be honest, I have some thoughts, expectations, and desires about being free from suffering. But I recognize this is a hindrance to the process at LU. I'm willing to just let these be and to do what is required.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
An exploration of what is. Hopefully the guide can help me to see clearly. I'm open to whatever we'll discover.
I don't have any experience with any guiding or pointing, so I'm sure it will be interesting!

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I'm pretty new to spiritual practices. I don't have that much experience but I've consumed a lot of books and videos like many other people.

I've started a daily meditation practice this year. I've also tried some inquiry and other exercises used to glimpse awareness.

I've learned about inquiry via some videos and books within the past couple of months. I've done exercises like trying to find the location of myself in my body or asking myself questions like "Am I aware?" or "What is aware of being aware?".

I have consumed a lot of spiritual books and videos within the past year. It's been a bit exhausting at times. It seems like I have some kind of fear of missing out on something and
I'm always trying to find the best solution or the ultimate method/practice that will help free me from suffering. The material available out there is endless.

My seeking started from psychological problems/traumas that I have. I just wanted to be free from these thought patterns/emotions that get triggered by certain situations. I really wanted to help myself. I wanted to feel better. I had some success doing certain psychological therapies on myself.

To be honest, I still have the thoughts that I want to help myself become free of suffering, but as mentioned above I recognize this will be a hindrance to the inquiry process so I'm willing to just let these thoughts be.

I have also done an Ayahuasca retreat. This might be the wildest thing I've done. Not sure if this applies here. I didn't really get any of the visions and experiences that a lot of people report. It didn't really change my day to day experience. But the information I learned from the people I met there, encouraged me to go further in my spiritual seeking.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:50 am

Hello Allen12

Very nice to meet you. Welcome to LU. I can offer to guide, if you'd like?

My name is Jon, by the way. Let me know if you'd like me to use a different name for you?

I've read your intro witb interest. Yes, there are so many teachers, books and videos! And Ayahuasca. You're in the right place to investigate further though.

What we do here is actually quite simple and what is 'seen' is not complicated but is very much worth the attention. You and I would simply have a conversation, and our efforts would be focused on looking to see 'self'.

There's really no guarantee about ending suffering, although the perspective on it may shift noticeably. It cannot be predicted how no self will be experienced so you are right to keep an open mind and to not harbour expectations.

Please let me know you'd like to start and we can begin?

Warm regards

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:20 am

Hi Jon,

Thanks for the quick reply! I very much appreciate the offer and would love to be guided by you. Please call me Allen.

I'm ready to start any time.

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:30 pm

Hello Allen,

Great! We can begin then.

Given all that you have told me I would ask you to stop reading any spiritual or nonduality books and watching videos on these things?

This is not a penance but is very likely to help us work here together successfully... And you can always resume with these afterwords, if you wish? This would give your inquiry a better chance of success.

I will not be 'teaching' at all, you'll probably be pleased to learn? Rather. I'll be asking a series of questions which may challenge existing beliefs. It will be very much up to you to make use of these questions, also known as 'pointers'.

. I have also done an Ayahuasca retreat. This might be the wildest thing I've done. Not sure if this applies here. I didn't really get any of the visions and experiences that a lot of people report. It didn't really change my day to day experience. But the information I learned from the people I met there, encouraged me to go further in my spiritual seeking.
What sort of information was that, if it's OK to ask?
.

My seeking started from psychological problems/traumas that I have. I just wanted to be free from these thought patterns/emotions that get triggered by certain situations. I really wanted to help myself. I wanted to feel better. I had some success doing certain psychological therapies on myself.

To be honest, I still have the thoughts that I want to help myself become free of suffering, but as mentioned above I recognize this will be a hindrance to the inquiry process so I'm willing to just let these thoughts be.
The psychological therapies sound like they were a good move.

You are right that aiming to get rid of suffering as if by magic wand can thwart the inquiry but it's not always easy to push an expectation or hope out of the mind. Sometimes it is better to actually look at pain. Is it possible that it has something to say or to tell you?

From a different angle, if you could have exactly what you most want, what would that be?


Best wishes

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:19 am

Hi Jon,

Excited to start!

Given all that you have told me I would ask you to stop reading any spiritual or nonduality books and watching videos on these things?

No problem. I can put the books and videos aside.

I am currently learning about and wish to apply a psychological therapy that uses the "higher self"/"awareness" to heal issues with psychological sub-personalities and parts. Should I set this aside as well?

. I have also done an Ayahuasca retreat. This might be the wildest thing I've done. Not sure if this applies here. I didn't really get any of the visions and experiences that a lot of people report. It didn't really change my day to day experience. But the information I learned from the people I met there, encouraged me to go further in my spiritual seeking.

What sort of information was that, if it's OK to ask?

I think I had only read one spiritual book prior to attending the retreat. So there was a lot of spiritual information and concepts that I had never really learned about. I was only familiar with the concept of an "ego" but didn't quite know what was supposed to be beyond the ego. I wanted to attend the retreat to try to "experience spirituality" if that makes any sense. I wanted to know if this spirituality stuff was worth pursuing.

At the retreat I learned/heard about concepts such as: beyond the ego is a consciousness (our true identity), life is god dreaming, life is consciousness getting to know itself, this realm is an illusion, we are god/the creator/love/consciousness, we chose our life path before reincarnating into this life, etc. While drinking ayahuasca, I also had an experience where I felt like I wasn't fully in the physical realm (kind of hard to explain).

I found all of this quite interesting so I continued looking into these topics, to see if I could confirm or verify them for myself in my own experience. I felt like I wanted to at least give spiritual seeking a chance. Make it a part of my life to see if it would lead anywhere for me.

Sometimes it is better to actually look at pain. Is it possible that it has something to say or to tell you?

I think pain is usually a signal that something needs my attention. So this is kind of how I view my emotional/psychological pain. I'm trying to get to the root of it to take care of whatever issue or "wound" that needs to be healed. I'm no expert on this, so I basically just try different methods and see if they relieve any of the pain. The pain has also definitely propelled me to go on this spiritual seeking journey.

From a different angle, if you could have exactly what you most want, what would that be?

Honestly right now, I have to admit that it would be to be free from my suffering and psychological issues.

I had success using a psychological therapy on an issue a couple of years ago. I had never experienced a change like that before. Something that used to bother me so much was just gone. Couldn't feel bad about it even if I tried. I never imagined I could get past it or that this type of change was possible. It was a big step for me.

I tried to replicate this success with other issues I have but haven't had the same success and have struggled since. I know change is definitely possible so that's why I keep trying different methods to see if they work. This has become the main focus of my life, but I am beginning to wonder if this is healthy. Like I may be giving my fear too much attention, or that I'm analyzing too much.

So these are some of the thoughts and beliefs I have. Sound like a big hindrance to the inquiry process? haha

Looking forward to your reply,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm

Hi Allen
. am currently learning about and wish to apply a psychological therapy that uses the "higher self"/"awareness" to heal issues with psychological sub-personalities and parts. Should I set this aside as well?
Since you mention it I think so. Just for the time being.

Thank you for giving more detail about how the ayahuasca featured for you and how you felt motivated to investigate consciousness.
. I had success using a psychological therapy on an issue a couple of years ago. I had never experienced a change like that before. Something that used to bother me so much was just gone. Couldn't feel bad about it even if I tried. I never imagined I could get past it or that this type of change was possible. It was a big step for me.
I should say so! What a result! That's very encouraging.

I tried to replicate this success with other issues I have but haven't had the same success and have struggled since. I know change is definitely possible so that's why I keep trying different methods to see if they work. This has become the main focus of my life, but I am beginning to wonder if this is healthy. Like I may be giving my fear too much attention, or that I'm analyzing too much.
Well, the intention to do something to help yourself sounds good but yes, it is also possible to give fear too much attention. Possible to analyse too much. In fact we will explore this habit of analysing, very probably.

About your desire to deal with suffering. Are you open to the possibility that not all suffering, or at least some pain, is just going to happen, because life happens? I'm not suggesting resignation to large amounts of avoidable psychological misery here but that at least some pain in life is unavoidable? It is very unlikely that all suffering will be removed or ended by doing this inquiry. Its possible that there could be some benefits but it's really impossible to say.

Another question: what is your current understanding of what "you" are?


Best wishes

Jon.

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:54 am

Hi Jon,

About your desire to deal with suffering. Are you open to the possibility that not all suffering, or at least some pain, is just going to happen, because life happens? I'm not suggesting resignation to large amounts of avoidable psychological misery here but that at least some pain in life is unavoidable?

Sure, I'm open to this. Maybe you can't have pleasure without pain, kind of like you can't have happy without sad or light without dark. A certain amount of pain is unavoidable for everyone. It seems like there are some things we all have to face.

Another question: what is your current understanding of what "you" are?

I think I'm some kind of presence that's aware.

But most of the time I feel like I'm the body or I'm something located in my body, particularly in the head and chest area. It's only when I try to look for my actual location of where I'm being aware from (and not finding myself) that I can kind of deduce that I'm this presence that's aware.

When I'm not "looking" or lost in thought (which is the majority of the time) I feel like I'm something located inside the body.

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:10 am

Hi Allen

. Sure, I'm open to this. Maybe you can't have pleasure without pain, kind of like you can't have happy without sad or light without dark. A certain amount of pain is unavoidable for everyone. It seems like there are some things we all have to face.
Yes, it's good to be somewhat flexible on this.
. most of the time I feel like I'm the body or I'm something located in my body, particularly in the head and chest area. It's only when I try to look for my actual location of where I'm being aware from (and not finding myself) that I can kind of deduce that I'm this presence that's aware.
That's interesting. It seems to be a very common assumption that 'I am my body' or 'I am in my body'. You've already started some good work in trying to find 'me' or 'I' in the body but let's do a little more along these lines because it can be very helpful...

Lets take one of the senses. Right here and now the words on this screen are seen. But what are they seen by? What is doing the seeing?

Conventionally it is assumed that it is 'eyes', which are 'the body' (that is 'me') that is doing the seeing. So take a look now to find out what this experience is really like? . In seeing, is there an experience of 'eyes seeing' or of 'me seeing', or is there just seeing happening?

By the way we will get on to the 'lost in thoughts' aspect of things soon, too.

Thank you

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:59 pm

Hi Jon,

Lets take one of the senses. Right here and now the words on this screen are seen. But what are they seen by? What is doing the seeing?

I can't really find what things are seen by and what is doing the seeing. It seems like I'm only aware of the seeing and things seen.

Conventionally it is assumed that it is 'eyes', which are 'the body' (that is 'me') that is doing the seeing. So take a look now to find out what this experience is really like? . In seeing, is there an experience of 'eyes seeing' or of 'me seeing', or is there just seeing happening?

The seeing is just happening. The seeing and the things seen are just there.

It only seems like I'm having the experience of "eyes seeing" or "me seeing" if I consciously think of thoughts like "I'm using my eyes right now" or "I'm looking at X right now".

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:24 pm

Hi Allen
. The seeing is just happening. The seeing and the things seen are just there.

It only seems like I'm having the experience of "eyes seeing" or "me seeing" if I consciously think of thoughts like "I'm using my eyes right now" or "I'm looking at X right now"
Ok. Good. Yes that's interesting, to notice that it is only when there are thoughts about 'eyes' seeing' that it starts to seem like eyes are doing the seeing.

And yet, as you say, the seeing is just there!

But what about this phenomenon of thoughts that make it seem as though 'I'm looking'?

Such thoughts do appear from time to time.
Are thoughts that appear doing anything but making a commentary?

Does the seeing depend on thoughts? Or would you say that the thoughts are something extra, something that is added on to the immediate experience of actually seeing?


Good wishes

Jon

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:59 am

Hi Jon,

Are thoughts that appear doing anything but making a commentary?

No, don't believe so. They're just making a commentary.

Does the seeing depend on thoughts? Or would you say that the thoughts are something extra, something that is added on to the immediate experience of actually seeing?

The seeing definitely doesn't depend on the thoughts. The seeing happens regardless of whether the thoughts appear or not.

The seeing is happening all the the time automatically. I guess even when I close my eyes I'm looking at the back of my eyelids. So it never stops. Thoughts can't really affect seeing in any way. They are independent of the seeing. Something extra.

Thanks!

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:23 pm

Hi Allen,
. The seeing is happening all the the time automatically. I guess even when I close my eyes I'm looking at the back of my eyelids. So it never stops. Thoughts can't really affect seeing in any way. They are independent of the seeing. Something extra.
Yes. Thank you for taking a look. It certainly seems this way.

About thoughts. Is it possible to prevent thoughts from appearing?

Try now, to prevent thoughts from appearing.

What do you find?

Also, the other side of the coin, is it possible to create a thought? Try thinking a thought.

Let me know how it goes?

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:34 am

Hi Jon,

Try now, to prevent thoughts from appearing.

What do you find?

It's impossible to prevent thoughts from appearing.

Also, the other side of the coin, is it possible to create a thought? Try thinking a thought.

Yes, it's possible for me to create thoughts and direct my thinking. For example, I have to direct my thoughts to think about how to write this reply to you. Or if you told me to think of something, I'm able to picture it in my mind.

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:29 pm

Hi Allen
. It's impossible to prevent thoughts from appearing.
IMPORTANT

Is it possible to prevent thoughts from appearing, including the thought 'I'?

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:13 pm

Hi Jon,

Is it possible to prevent thoughts from appearing, including the thought 'I'?

It's impossible. I can't prevent the thought 'I'. I just end up thinking about it if I try.

Thanks,

Allen


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