Guide Request

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:02 am

Hi Vivien,
What you are missing is that you don’t see clearly the difference between thoughts (imagination) and experience (reality). So we are going to focus on this for a while. 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.
This already helps me a lot. And I conveniently have a tea in front of me, so I'm ready.
Is it possible to look at the coffee without thinking “this is a coffee, and I’m going to drink it”? Is it possible to EXPERIENCE it only by looking at it and SEEING it without thinking about it?
Yes. I can simply look at it for some time (before a thought comes in).
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, I can also feel the warmth for a time.
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, I can also experience the taste.
Is it possible to EXPERIENCE the SMELL of the coffee, without thinking “this smell reminds me of his or that”?
Yes, I can experience the 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.
Yes. I have done all the steps in reality.
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.
Thoughts definitely came, but it was possible to go back to the experiencing.

This difference is 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?
The difference between thinking and experiencing is crystal clear now.
Please experiment with other things as well. Like having dinner, or washing your hands, or looking at a plant.
Let me know what you find.
I have experimented with a number of other things, and I found the same as with the tea. It was possible to experience all five senses (also hearing). Thoughts came and went, and then I went back to the experience.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Thu Jul 09, 2020 8:14 am

Hi Tom,

You did a nice investigation.
Now let’s do a similar but a bit different exercise.

Imagine that you are holding a spoon. Imagine its shape, size, weight, temperature, color. Now keep it there, close your eyes, and feel the imaginary spoon.

Then, open your eyes:
Is there a spoon here, in real life?
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
What happened to the spoon?
Did it disappear or it never existed?


Now go and get a spoon from the kitchen and hold it in the same way that you imagined it.
Feel the spoon’s form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Close your eyes and feel the spoon for a while.
Now open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
Are a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
How does imagining and experiencing differ?


Please experiment with other objects too.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:38 am

Hi Vivien,

Thanks for the reply.
Is there a spoon here, in real life?
When I opened my eyes, there was no spoon.
So how did you see that there is no spoon?
I saw there was no spoon by noticing that I could not see or feel the spoon.
What happened to the spoon?
It seemed to disappear. I can't really say I know what happened to it though. All I can say is that it is not there.
Did it disappear or it never existed?
I first answered: "The spoon did not ever exist". I am doubting now though whether I can say either way that it disappeared or never existed. If I go by my direct experience, all I can really say is that I do not experience a spoon.
Now go and get a spoon from the kitchen and hold it in the same way that you imagined it.
Feel the spoon’s form, its size, its weight, its temperature. Close your eyes and feel the spoon for a while. Now open your eyes ... is there a spoon here, in real life?
Yes, there is a spoon. I can feel and see it.
Are a visual thought of the spoon and the experience of the spoon the same?
No, they are not the same. When I experience the spoon, I feel and see it. With a visual thought, I do not.
How does imagining and experiencing differ?
When I experience, I sense objects. When I imagine, I do not sense objects.
Please experiment with other objects too.
I have tried the same exercise with other objects like post-it notes, a camera and a day planner. With the same results.


Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:57 am

Hi Tom,
I am doubting now though whether I can say either way that it disappeared or never existed. If I go by my direct experience, all I can really say is that I do not experience a spoon.
Isn’t this uncertainty there because there was a visual thought (a mental image) of a spoon?

Please do it again. Visualize / imagine a spoon. And while you imagine it, inquire…

Is there an actual real spoon in this imagination (visual thought)?

What is it exactly that is being experienced, a spoon, or an imagination, which is a visual thought?

When I experience, I sense objects. When I imagine, I do not sense objects.
So there are the 5 senses (color, sound, taste, smell, sensation)
+
the imagined / thought versions of these.

There could be imagined colors, which is a visual thought, right?
There could be imagined sound, which is an auditory thought, isn’t it?

An imagined sensation, imagined taste, imagined smell.

All the five senses can be imagined. Is this clear?

So what is a verbal thought, like the word ‘table’, or the word ‘elephant’?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:21 pm

Hi Vivien,
Isn’t this uncertainty there because there was a visual thought (a mental image) of a spoon?
Yes!
Please do it again. Visualize / imagine a spoon. And while you imagine it, inquire… Is there an actual real spoon in this imagination (visual thought)?
There is no actual spoon in the imagination. And now I feel comfortable saying that one never existed. When the doubt does creep in, it is as you said it: a visual thought of a spoon has appeared.
What is it exactly that is being experienced, a spoon, or an imagination, which is a visual thought?
It is an imagination.
So there are the 5 senses (color, sound, taste, smell, sensation)
+
the imagined / thought versions of these.
This is a very helpful way to explain it for me. Yes, so everything I can sense has an imaginary twin.
There could be imagined colors, which is a visual thought, right?
Got it. I can imagine a colour, or I can also see the colour through my senses.
There could be imagined sound, which is an auditory thought, isn’t it?
Yes. I can imagine the sound of my keyboard, or I can also hear the actual sound.
An imagined sensation, imagined taste, imagined smell.
And I can imagine tastes and smells, or can actually taste and smell them.
All the five senses can be imagined. Is this clear?
Yes. I feel confident now.
So what is a verbal thought, like the word ‘table’, or the word ‘elephant’?
I can see and feel the table in front of me. However, my verbal thought of 'table' is an imagination. It does not exist.
Same with the elephant and other objects. Although I would really like the elephant to exist.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:14 am

Hi Tom,

You did a nice investigation.
I can see and feel the table in front of me. However, my verbal thought of 'table' is an imagination. It does not exist.
Same with the elephant and other objects. Although I would really like the elephant to exist.
So is it clear that thoughts appear mainly in two forms, either as verbal/auditory thought like the word ‘elephant’, or in a pictorial / visual form, like a mental image of an elephant?

It’s very important to see this clearly…. Since this is the bases of seeing what is real (experience) and what is not-real, just a fantasy (thoughts).

For today I would like to ask you to notice BOTH verbal and visual thoughts.
Just notice, that this internal narration is almost always on. It’s happening relentlessly.
Also notice, how often there is an internal dialog with someone. A dialog that is not happening here now, but either a memory of the discussion you had with your boss a few days ago, or an imagined scenario what is going to happen tomorrow.

Is there any difference between the memory-imagination and future scenario imagination?
Is a memory more real than a future scenario? Or less? Or same?

Do you see that there is almost constant labelling, judging, interpreting, commenting going on?

Can you notice that these internal movies are taken to be real quite often? And not seen only as thoughts, but rather taken as something real?


Please spend a whole day looking at these. Don’t reply as quickly as you did yesterday. This is something that needs to be seen hundreds of times, so don’t rush.

Let me know what you find.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Fri Jul 10, 2020 11:22 pm

Hi Vivien,
So is it clear that thoughts appear mainly in two forms, either as verbal/auditory thought like the word ‘elephant’, or in a pictorial / visual form, like a mental image of an elephant?
Yes, most of my thoughts are verbal/auditory or pictorial/visual. This seems so elementary, but I never noticed it before.
It’s very important to see this clearly…. Since this is the bases of seeing what is real (experience) and what is not-real, just a fantasy (thoughts).
The difference between the real experience and the not-real thoughts is very clear and feels solid.
Also notice, how often there is an internal dialog with someone. A dialog that is not happening here now, but either a memory of the discussion you had with your boss a few days ago, or an imagined scenario what is going to happen tomorrow.
Right! Almost all my internal dialogues involve dialog with someone, especially someone with a strong emotional pull.
Is there any difference between the memory-imagination and future scenario imagination?
I don't notice any difference between the memory and future imagination. They both appear as thoughts. And they also both come as primarily pictorial or auditory.
Is a memory more real than a future scenario? Or less? Or same?
If I look at both memories and future scenarios, they are both thoughts and I cannot find any distinction. They have the same reality or unreality to me.
Do you see that there is almost constant labelling, judging, interpreting, commenting going on?
Yes, it is relentless. I have moments where I am just sensing. And then the commentary starts again.
Can you notice that these internal movies are taken to be real quite often? And not seen only as thoughts, but rather taken as something real?
Yes. For example, I sometimes feel fear when I have a thought of a future scenario about doing something difficult or new.
Or if I imagine something I would like to be doing, I feel pleasant. Even though I can notice after leaving these movies that they were simply that - a made-up movie.
Please spend a whole day looking at these. Don’t reply as quickly as you did yesterday. This is something that needs to be seen hundreds of times, so don’t rush. Let me know what you find.
I practised throughout the day. I notice that it is very easy to see the distinction between experience and thoughts. It is also very easy to see the distinction between auditory experience and visual experience. It's harder with thoughts though: I notice my visual thoughts and auditory thoughts almost always appear intertwined, coming as a pair. For example, if I say the word elephant in my mind, I also see an image of an elephant or an image of the text 'elephant'. However, if I focus and slow down, I see that the word and the image are actually separate things.

Similarly, it sometimes seems like a thought can pair with an experience. For example, I hear the word elephant - so, a real experience - and then I often also see a image of an elephant - so an unreal thought. Again, it often seems like they are happening simultaneously. But when I slow down again, I see that they are separate things. I am curious if I am seeing correctly here.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:43 am

Hi Tom,
It is also very easy to see the distinction between auditory experience and visual experience. It's harder with thoughts though: I notice my visual thoughts and auditory thoughts almost always appear intertwined, coming as a pair.
It’s not necessary to distinguish between verbal and auditory thoughts. The point is to be able to see them as thoughts only, an imagination, not something that is real.

Also, there is no need to differentiate auditory and visual experience. It’s enough to see them as something real, something that is happening here now.
I notice that it is very easy to see the distinction between experience and thoughts.
This is the important part.

Since the illusion of the self and basically all suffering are coming from mistaking fantasy (thoughts) with reality. And believing in the fantasy as if it were reality.
Even though I can notice after leaving these movies that they were simply that - a made-up movie.
Ok. So you say that you can leave the internal movies.

So do you believe that there is a me, there is a real Tom, outside of these internal fantasy movies?

Is there someone who is sometimes IN the movie, and sometimes are OUT of the movie? Someone who can move or travel between the two? Or be able to switch between two states, reality (experience) and the fiction (movie)?


Please spend a whole day investigating this.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:47 pm

Hi Vivien,
It’s not necessary to distinguish between verbal and auditory thoughts. The point is to be able to see them as thoughts only, an imagination, not something that is real.
Oh. And I thought I had stumbled across some great insight...
Since the illusion of the self and basically all suffering are coming from mistaking fantasy (thoughts) with reality. And believing in the fantasy as if it were reality.
This dramatically simplifies the situation, and aligns with what I've been experiencing so far. Thank you.
So do you believe that there is a me, there is a real Tom, outside of these internal fantasy movies?
I've worked on this throughout the day again. And I see there is not a real Tom outside the internal movies. There is no discernible I. I only notice the shifting sensations of experience.
Is there someone who is sometimes IN the movie, and sometimes are OUT of the movie? Someone who can move or travel between the two? Or be able to switch between two states, reality (experience) and the fiction (movie)?
The sensations & experience outside the movie feels like a kind of shifting home base or foundation. A stable base of instability. When I step into a movie, it feels like getting lost or forgetting. These fantasies seem very real, and often exciting, fun, scary, etc., such that I forget about the outside-the-movie experience. But when I step out of the movie again I can see that it was not real. So to me it's not a sense of traveling between states, but more about a kind of temporary amnesia.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:57 am

Hi Tom,
The sensations & experience outside the movie feels like a kind of shifting home base or foundation. A stable base of instability. When I step into a movie, it feels like getting lost or forgetting. These fantasies seem very real, and often exciting, fun, scary, etc., such that I forget about the outside-the-movie experience. But when I step out of the movie again I can see that it was not real. So to me it's not a sense of traveling between states, but more about a kind of temporary amnesia.
But where is this I that you are referring to?
Where is the I who has a temporal amnesia?
Where is the I who steps out the movie?

Look for this I. Where is it? Search for it everywhere, especially in the body from head to toe.


Spend a whole day for looking for this I that is stepping in an out of a movie, as if he were in a temporary amnesia.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:10 pm

Hi Vivien,
But where is this I that you are referring to?
This was a tricky day, and sometimes maddening. Like whack-a-mole.
Where is the I who has a temporal amnesia?
This was one of the most difficult parts. It was easy enough to look around in the moments when I was experiencing sensations. Then I had a feeling of control, as if I could direct the looking. But it seemed impossible to look around while I was amnesic: it was as if I was temporarily overtaken by something else. During the amnesia it felt like I was still experiencing something (it seemed real, and I often felt a strong emotion), but I couldn't notice that during the amnesia. I could only notice that looking back. So I only noticed the moments of amnesia in retrospect, as a memory. In this memory I would sometimes see an image of my body experiencing something. That gave the temporary sensation of an I, which of course would then disappear.
Where is the I who steps out the movie?
This was equally difficult, for a similar reason. For this task I often found myself looking for the I between the moment of transition from the movie to the experience (at the moment I felt I was stepping out of it), as if the I might be hiding somewhere in between. This took a lot of effort and concentration. I did not discover anything, except the link to the body (in next question).
Look for this I. Where is it? Search for it everywhere, especially in the body from head to toe.
Looking for the I in the body felt almost aggressive, like a hunt. One thing I noticed: at the moment I felt I was exiting a movie, certain parts of my body were often triggered. Usually as tension. It seemed as if the movie left a kind of charge, which sometimes took time to dissipate. The most common locations were my jaw, upper chest and belly. I don't know if this is important, but it is a pattern that repeated a lot as I explored the movie and body.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:24 am

Hi Tom,
In this memory I would sometimes see an image of my body experiencing something. That gave the temporary sensation of an I, which of course would then disappear.
But an image is not a temporary sensation of an I, that’s not possible.

A mental image is just a visual thought. Just an imagination. Can you see this?

The I is not something that is temporary, it should be ALWAYS here, if it actually exists.
This was equally difficult, for a similar reason. For this task I often found myself looking for the I between the moment of transition from the movie to the experience (at the moment I felt I was stepping out of it), as if the I might be hiding somewhere in between. This took a lot of effort and concentration. I did not discover anything, except the link to the body (in next question).
OK, let’s make things more simple.

The I who is supposedly moving in and out of the movie, should always be present.
So this I should be here now, in this very moment.

So where is it? Where is the I which has the ability to move in and out of the movie?
Does this I even exist? Where?

Or this I of moving in and out is just part of the movie or story ABOUT a me?

One thing I noticed: at the moment I felt I was exiting a movie, certain parts of my body were often triggered. Usually as tension. It seemed as if the movie left a kind of charge, which sometimes took time to dissipate. The most common locations were my jaw, upper chest and belly. I don't know if this is important, but it is a pattern that repeated a lot as I explored the movie and body.
What you describe here is the effects of believing our thoughts.
When we believe the thought that is currently happening, there is an emotional respond to it.
And if the thought is negative, the emotional respond is contracted bodily sensations, what you described above.

Searching for this ASSUMED I that is SUPPOSEDLY moving in and out of a movie while it’s is believed to be in a movie, makes thing very difficult.

Look when it’s seemingly out of the movie.

Whatever this I is, it has to be present all the time. In this very moment. So where it is, here now?

WHERE ARE YOU?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Mon Jul 13, 2020 10:28 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thanks for the reply. I've been looking throughout the day again. I will reply in more detail in the morning (due to a work emergency).

Thanks again for all the support,

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby restart » Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:33 pm

Hi Vivien,
But an image is not a temporary sensation of an I, that’s not possible.
Right. I see that now. On it's own, this point still requires some effort to see. The concept of a "temporary sensation of an I" seems to attract me. But when we go through it systematically like you do below it is much clearer. I will work with it some more to internalise it.
A mental image is just a visual thought. Just an imagination. Can you see this?
Yes, this is clear when I look. It only gets tricky when I try to look for the I inside the visual thought I. I've experienced now that this is not possible to do, as it has not led anywhere except loops.
The I is not something that is temporary, it should be ALWAYS here, if it actually exists.
That makes sense. And so far I have not found anything that is always here.
OK, let’s make things more simple. The I who is supposedly moving in and out of the movie, should always be present. So this I should be here now, in this very moment. So where is it? Where is the I which has the ability to move in and out of the movie? Does this I even exist? Where?
If I look for this I moving in and out of the movie, there are only various sensations, and the occasional movie. I cannot find anything that moves in and out of both.

It still appears as though there's a disconnect between the two (movie & non-movie), and that bothers me.
Or this I of moving in and out is just part of the movie or story ABOUT a me?
Well, I see that this I moving in and out only appears when a movie is playing.
What you describe here is the effects of believing our thoughts.
When we believe the thought that is currently happening, there is an emotional respond to it.
And if the thought is negative, the emotional respond is contracted bodily sensations, what you described above.
Searching for this ASSUMED I that is SUPPOSEDLY moving in and out of a movie while it’s is believed to be in a movie, makes thing very difficult.
It is exhausting, and I don't want to try it again.

This brings me to another question I've had. So far in this looking process I've discovered some stories / beliefs that I wasn't so aware of. Some of them, or variations, repeat often. For example: regarding expectations (as we discussed near the beginning), or a story that I am not good enough yet, or that I have to do a certain task to prove myself, etc. In this process of looking, is it important to do anything with the specific content of beliefs? So, for example, taking a specific recurring belief and disassembling it (or other such thing). Or do I simply notice it, and then continue looking?
Look when it’s seemingly out of the movie.
This is much, much easier.
Whatever this I is, it has to be present all the time. In this very moment. So where it is, here now?
I cannot find it here, now.
WHERE ARE YOU?
Whenever I ask this, I am immediately brought to sensations, especially the sensation of touch.

Tom

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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:55 am

Hi Tom,
Yes, this is clear when I look. It only gets tricky when I try to look for the I inside the visual thought I.
Inside the visual thought? Do you believe that the content or the inside of a visual thought is real?

Do you remember the spoon exercise? What is the difference between imagining a spoon and imagining a ‘temporary sensation of I’?

Does the content of the imaginations matters?
Does the content has ANY reality?

Do you see that no matter what the content of a visual thought is, it’s never ever real? Since it’s always stays in the realm of imagination, fiction, and not reality?

It still appears as though there's a disconnect between the two (movie & non-movie), and that bothers me.
Disconnect? What kind of connection are you after?
This brings me to another question I've had. So far in this looking process I've discovered some stories / beliefs that I wasn't so aware of. Some of them, or variations, repeat often. For example: regarding expectations (as we discussed near the beginning), or a story that I am not good enough yet, or that I have to do a certain task to prove myself, etc. In this process of looking, is it important to do anything with the specific content of beliefs?
Let’s look at what happens here. Going to the content, is just dreaming about self-improvement. Improving a self that does not exists!

Can you see that NONE of the contents are EVER actually HAPPENING?
Do you see that no matter what a thought is about, it’s NEVER EVER a reality?

Why would you want to fix a fantasy?
Why not concentrating on seeing the reality of these thoughts, that these are just imaginations, just fiction and not reality?

When you wake up from a night-time dream, do you try to fix the character in the dream? No? Why not? Because you know that the dream wasn’t really, that it didn’t happen in reality, it just was an imagination?

So what about our daytime dreams? Have you noticed that we are dreaming with open eyes?

Is this daytime dream story ever more real than a night-time dream?
Does this daytime dream need more attention and consideration than a night-time dream?

The concept of a "temporary sensation of an I" seems to attract me.
Do you see that the above comment is the part of a daytime dream? That ‘the concept of a temporary sensation of an I seems to attract me, is ALREADY THE DREAM?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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