Clarity

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:05 pm

Hi Jon,

That's interesting. Maybe there's an idea about doing something, making something happen, and other ideas about 'I' (will or did) do (and so on and so forth)?

I find a lot of my thoughts are this way. Always finding planning, trying to solve a problem, thinking about what to do next, what I need to do, etc. All based on an "I" that can't be found.

Great Allen. Keep looking into this area of how things happen. 'Intention' and 'free will' are also interesting to investigate. 'Descisions' too.

The one who can have intention, free will, and make decisions can't be found in my physical location so these things don't really apply.

However, this answer feels more like an intellectual understanding to me. I can only come to this answer when I try to find the "I" or "me". At other times it seems like my thoughts are free to make and think about choices. Free to think any thoughts. Until I try to find the thinker.

Sometimes I think it's difficult for me to notice or look into thoughts. Either I'm not paying attention and lost in thought or I'm sitting there watching thoughts and not a whole lot comes. It's almost like I have to do something very deliberate, like consciously thinking about a choice I have to make, analyze it and then make the choice while trying to find the thinker/decision maker at the same time. Is it OK to look in this way? Would you have any tips for me?

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:01 am

Hi Allen
. Sometimes I think it's difficult for me to notice or look into thoughts. Either I'm not paying attention and lost in thought or I'm sitting there watching thoughts and not a whole lot comes. It's almost like I have to do something very deliberate, like consciously thinking about a choice I have to make, analyze it and then make the choice while trying to find the thinker/decision maker at the same time. Is it OK to look in this way? Would you have any tips for me?
Yes sure. Its best not to try to use thinking very much as a starting point for looking / investigation. Looking is different from thinking

Looking is simply attention, noticing. It's incredibly simple. Like noticing thst sky is blue. (Ha ha... Its that simple!)

It's better to just notice blue sky rather than spending much time imagining that it's necessary to think up ways to notice that it's blue. :-)

You remember the 'hand lifting' investigation? That was quite practical. The exercise was structured so as to leave no alternative than to 'choose' between two hands. It need not have been hands. It could be a split in the road, where its possible to take the left or the right fork (but not both and not neither ). This scenario investigates 'choice', as you successfully found. There's no thinking necessary. Simply create any experiment where one alternative must to be chosen over the other. Then all that's necessary is to look for the 'choice point' the moment of 'choosing', to see what really goes on. Does someone choose? How is 'choosing' actually working?


It's much the same with 'decisions'. Go and make a cup of something to drink. After you have returned from the kitchen to read the rest of this (AND NOT BEFORE MAKING THE DRINK), answer the following quwstiins:

Was a decision made to move the body to the upright position? Was a decision taken to stand up?. We're many decisions taken to control leg muscles so as to walk smoothly to the kitchen without falling over? Was there a decision to turn on the kettle or run the tap?

Was there 'choosing' of the drink?

Did someone decide to carry the drink back to where you're reading this now?


Regards

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:04 pm

Hi Jon,

Thanks a lot for the tips about how to look. They were very helpful! I feel more relaxed about the process now.

Was a decision made to move the body to the upright position? Was a decision taken to stand up?. We're many decisions taken to control leg muscles so as to walk smoothly to the kitchen without falling over? Was there a decision to turn on the kettle or run the tap?

Was there 'choosing' of the drink?

Did someone decide to carry the drink back to where you're reading this now?

No to all the questions. Everything just happened. No decisions were made, and there was no feeling of a decider.

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:31 pm

Hi Allen
. No to all the questions. Everything just happened. No decisions were made, and there was no feeling of a decider.
Great. How does it feel to be noticing this?

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:09 am

Hi Jon,

Great. How does it feel to be noticing this?

I don't really feel any particular way. Just the same. I don't notice that there's no decision maker in real time, unless I'm looking for one.

Also, for the exercise, I had to refer to my memory and thoughts to answer the questions since I wasn't supposed to look at them before making the drink. Would the memory of an experience be less accurate than the actual experience?

Sometimes I think I have trouble telling the difference between thoughts/something imagined and what's actually happening. The thoughts feel real, I'm guessing because they do exist.

For example, when I look for "me" in the area of my head, I'll get mental images of my head space, images or concept of a "searcher" trying to be aware of the space in my head. Eventually I won't be able to find a "me" in my head, but I'll also get thoughts and mental images that go along with this. Like thoughts about not being able to find me, about an empty head, about how there's no me in my head. I'm not sure if this is me not actually finding anything or just thoughts about it. Are these thoughts fooling me? Would they prevent me from looking thoroughly?

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:03 pm

Hi Allen
. Sometimes I think I have trouble telling the difference between thoughts/something imagined and what's actually happening. The thoughts feel real, I'm guessing because they do exist.
They do appear, for sure. No denying that. But here is something to notice; whilst thoughts do genuinely appear each one is ABOUT something or other. Each thought could be seen as like a neutral wrapper of some sort but 'inside' each thought is an idea ABOUT whatever. Could be about 'me', or 'my life', or anything actually. The thing to notice is that whatever these thoughts are about is a kind of ongoing story that is not happening for real here and now.

Another analogy is clouds. Clouds often cross the sky for real. They're not imagined. But these clouds can look like an elephant or a man's face or almost anything. Thoughts are like this. The self is like this. There can be a thought about 'I' but does that mean there is a real entity somewhere?

Whatever is happening here, now, immediately, is really happening.(My arms are currently resting on a wooden table top) But notice that thought-stories are often about a 'me' that is imagined to be 'in the past' or 'will be in a furure'. An imagined entity. Is that imagined self a real existing entity that is here right now?

:-)

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:38 pm

Hi Jon,

Those pointers were super helpful! Thank you! I think I'd like to continue looking at thoughts for another day if its ok.

Do you have any tips for looking for the self/I/me in reality? I'm not sure if I was doing it right before.

When I hear the word "me" I think I automatically equate it with certain body sensations (like in my head, throat, chest, etc.). Should I just be looking for the "me" where I feel these sensations?

Would it help to define "me" more clearly before looking for it? For example, Allen's personality, the person in control, etc.

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:03 pm

Hi Allen
.I think I'd like to continue looking at thoughts for another day if its ok.
A good idea, especially if you found those pointers helpful. Maybe reread them a few times and then spend a few minutes just noticing how thoughts appear and how there is usually a narrative or commentary
going on. All these references to 'me', 'I', 'my' and so on.

In looking for 'self' take a look to see if it's possible to find the 'me' that thought refers to. Also, as you suggested, notice any sensations, around the body that seem somehow connected with an idea of 'self'.

Speak soon

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:43 pm

Hi Jon,

It seems like thoughts are kind of interpreting what's going on in experience. I also found I focus attention a lot on my thoughts instead of the actual experience happening. I'm probably focused on thought for most of the day. Almost like I'm addicted to thoughts or something.

There can be a thought about 'I' but does that mean there is a real entity somewhere?

When I don't examine and think about "I" it seems to point to a feeling in my chest or my body as a whole. So I would automatically say "I" exists.

It's only when I think about and consciously search for the "I" that represents a live entity/personality/controller/decision maker that I can't find it. I'm not aware of this "I" existing anywhere.

However, I always have a bunch of thoughts that second guess my findings. Like "Are you really sure there's nothing here?", "Maybe what you're experiencing now is the "I".

I have had the thought that maybe I am the "I", so I can't see myself. But I can be aware of experiences. Kind of like how your eyes can see things but can't see themselves. But this is just some concept in imagination. Some speculation in my thoughts. No way to really know if it's true.

I also think about what is searching for the "I". What is doing this inquiry? What is aware of all of this? Is it the "I"? I can't find this "I" anywhere. But somehow there's kind of this belief that it's still out there, even though there's no way for me to be aware of it. Don't know if this makes sense. Just some more speculation from thoughts.

Thanks!

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:34 pm

Hi Allen
. It seems like thoughts are kind of interpreting what's going on in experience
Yes that does seem to be the case.
. I also found I focus attention a lot on my thoughts instead of the actual experience happening.
Is it 'you' that focuses on thoughts? In other words, is there a 'you' that does the focusing? Take a look.
. I'm probably focused on thought for most of the day. Almost like I'm addicted to thoughts or something.
It can certainly happen. Sometimes it's a good idea to notice other sensations too which are not thoughts, such as how your feet feel or how your heart feels.
. When I don't examine and think about "I" it seems to point to a feeling in my chest or my body as a whole. So I would automatically say "I" exists.
Then you must look for 'I' within the body, within a particular place or sensation. See if you can find the self there.
. However, I always have a bunch of thoughts that second guess my findings. Like "Are you really sure there's nothing here?", "Maybe what you're experiencing now is the "I".
This is why this investigation needs to be thorough. To quell any intellectual doubts as to whether a real 'I' is hiding somewhere. Whilst there are doubts about this there is more looking to do.

:-)

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:18 pm

Hi Jon,

Thanks, I'll keep continuing to look for the "I".

It seems like thoughts are very influential in what actions are taken. Almost like they're alive. Thoughts don't "do" any actions, but they seem to lead to actions being done.

How should I investigate into thoughts further? Keep trying to find the thinker? See if thoughts can be controlled? See if the "I" can be found in thought?

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:49 pm

Hi Allen

Notice that you have been talking a lot about thoughts.
. It seems like thoughts are very influential in what actions are taken. Almost like they're alive. Thoughts don't "do" any actions, but they seem to lead to actions being done.
No. Look carefully at thoughts. They always 'say' these things about themselves. Always claiming that there is a 'self', a 'doer', a puppet master, a controlling guy sitting somewhere behind the scenes, looking at TV monitors and pushing and pulling levers to make things happen.

So there always appears to be a causal link between these thoughts and what happens.

But the 'hand in the air' experiment shows this idea to have very little to do with control by thoughts.

Notice that there is a difference between thoughts ABOUT control... and whatever it is that actually moves things, actually 'decides' or 'chooses.

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:51 pm

Hi Jon,

I can see now how thoughts are presented as if they come from an "I". Like they "pretend" they have been thought by an "I". This "I" that can't be found.

I continue to search for the "I" but have yet to find it!

Thanks,

Allen

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JonathanR
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Re: Clarity

Postby JonathanR » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:16 pm

Hi Allen
. I can see now how thoughts are presented as if they come from an "I". Like they "pretend" they have been thought by an "I". This "I" that can't be found.
Spot on!

It's curious and even weird that there would be such a pretence but that does seem to be what happens. Don't take my word for it though. Notice how thoughts constantly seem to point to a 'me'... and the other side is noticing that this supposed 'I' cannot be found. Isn't 'there'.

And yet here is such a habit of thinking in this way that it is normally just assumed that there's a corresponding entity..

Let me know how you're getting on?

Jon

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Allen12
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Re: Clarity

Postby Allen12 » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:11 pm

Hi Jon,

Yes it's pretty weird! Especially the inner voice that seems so familiar, that I always believed was "me", is basically lying.

Do you have any recommendations on how long I should look per day? Should I be setting aside some time to just look, or do it whenever I'm free? I'm guessing the more looking I can do the better.

Thanks,

Allen


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