Guide Request

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:56 am

Hi Tom,
I am still, for example, able to generate thoughts of doubt.
Are you generating thoughts of doubt? How do you do that? How do you generate a thought? What do you do exactly?
And what is this I which supposedly has a power to generate thoughts?

Is there a thinker of thoughts, and this thinker is a self-directed autonomous entity which its own will to do things, like generation thoughts?
Most of the time when looking, and often in my everyday activities, it seems that experience is happening automatically and effortlessly. Or, at the very least, I see stretches of experience happening without commentary.
There is a misunderstanding here. Seeing that everything is happening automatically, don’t depend on the presence or absence of commentary. Thought commentary has nothing to do with seeing that there is no doer.
I cannot find a doer for this moment to be.
Many of your comments starts with “I cannot find…” – so WHAT is this I that cannot find this or that?
What or who is it that is searching, but not finding?
I can also add that examining thoughts is the trickiest for me to examine.
Then this is where you have to focus.

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 Aug 07, 2020 10:55 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thanks for the reply. I didn't have enough time today to work with the questions much in-depth, and also was not feeling well. I will work with them tomorrow and then reply.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:28 am

All right, thank you for letting me know. Please look carefully. Have a nice day :)
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 Aug 08, 2020 10:14 pm

Hi Vivien,

I'm glad I had an extra day for these questions. And that it was a weekend so I had lots of time. It was challenging and intense.
T: I can also add that examining thoughts is the trickiest for me to examine.
V: Then this is where you have to focus.
I realised today (and throughout this process), that when I look in experience I prefer to focus my attention on sensations, mainly in my body (and also often on sight and a bit of hearing). And I prefer not to focus my attention on thoughts. Looking in my body feels easier & more stable, and also gives me a feeling of control as if I am directing my attention. Whereas my thoughts feel slippery and elusive, as if they control me.
Are you generating thoughts of doubt? How do you do that?
Here and in all the other questions too I tried as much as possible to focus my attention on thoughts. I wish I could say that this question felt clearer after so much looking with it. But right now after a day of looking it still feels almost as elusive as it did at the beginning of the day. The same goes for the other questions about "generating thoughts".
How do you generate a thought? What do you do exactly?
I could not find anything that generated a thought, nor any mechanism for how that happened.
And what is this I which supposedly has a power to generate thoughts?
This question felt easier than the previous two. I noticed myself focusing the search on the "I" in the question, something I am already more used to from previous questions.

The only thing I found is sensations and thoughts.
There is a misunderstanding here. Seeing that everything is happening automatically, don’t depend on the presence or absence of commentary. Thought commentary has nothing to do with seeing that there is no doer.
I'm glad you clarified this. When asking with questions with terms like "automatic" and "effortless" I think I was mostly noticing lack of commentary. Without that, it's harder for me to pin down the actual quality of automatic. And I don't know how to describe it.
Is there a thinker of thoughts, and this thinker is a self-directed autonomous entity which its own will to do things, like generation thoughts?
I spent a long time on this, and eventually had to break it into small chunks of questions, before attempting to string it together again into a full question.

By the end of the day it was still difficult, but it felt clearer than it did in the morning.
Many of your comments starts with “I cannot find…” – so WHAT is this I that cannot find this or that?
I do not find anything in particular with this except sensations or thoughts, but I do notice a feeling of relief when I ask this question.
What or who is it that is searching, but not finding?
This question also gives me a feeling of relief, of being understood (the occasional frustration of looking and not finding).


Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:20 am

Hi Tom,
I realised today (and throughout this process), that when I look in experience I prefer to focus my attention on sensations, mainly in my body (and also often on sight and a bit of hearing). And I prefer not to focus my attention on thoughts. Looking in my body feels easier & more stable, and also gives me a feeling of control as if I am directing my attention. Whereas my thoughts feel slippery and elusive, as if they control me.
Thank you for sharing this. Now we have something to work with :)
Whereas my thoughts feel slippery and elusive, as if they control me.
What is this ME you are talking about?

Where is the ME that is being controlled by thoughts? Find it.

also gives me a feeling of control as if I am directing my attention.
Do you believe that you are controlling attention?

How do you do it exactly?
Please describe the process of controlling attention as precisely as you can, but without any speculation or theory. Jus the pure facts.


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 Aug 09, 2020 10:48 pm

Hi Vivien,
Thank you for sharing this. Now we have something to work with :)
Ok! Sounds promising. I trust you then that it'll be helpful, and will hopefully take me somewhere.
What is this ME you are talking about?
This Me comes to me in the content of thoughts only. When I look in experience, I cannot say what it is.
Where is the ME that is being controlled by thoughts? Find it.
I also cannot find this me that is being controlled by thoughts when I look for it in experience.
Do you believe that you are controlling attention?
Well, I often have the impression that I am doing something with my attention, controlling it and directing where it goes.
How do you do it exactly?
When I look closely into experience however, I cannot see how this is done. I do see occasional patterns at the same time as my attention moves, and sometimes my thoughts explain to me that these actions are the reason for the attention moving, and further are something that I am doing. So for example, the feeling of making effort, or of bodily tension when trying to stop a thought, or of pointing attention to another part of the body. I realise that these are thoughts though and not grounded in actual experience. So no doubt totally irrelevant for our purposes.
Please describe the process of controlling attention as precisely as you can, but without any speculation or theory. Jus the pure facts.
It is impossible for me to describe the process of controlling attention based only on pure facts. The only way I can attempt to describe it is with speculation or theory.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:34 am

Hi Tom,
It is impossible for me to describe the process of controlling attention based only on pure facts. The only way I can attempt to describe it is with speculation or theory.
Exactly.
I realise that these are thoughts though and not grounded in actual experience.
Yes. So let’s see what happens here. Attention moves automatically, but there is an accompanying thought commentary saying that “it’s my doing, I am moving attention”.

So now, we have to investigate if these thoughts are actually telling the truth, or they spread lies :)

You can experiment with sitting quietly, and holding attention on breathing.
Sooner or later attention will move on to another object/thing.

Try to ignore thinking about how all of it happens. We are not trying to figure out the ‘how’. That would be just more thinking and not experiencing.

We are just noticing WHAT IS, what is actually happening, without trying to interpret or give meaning to it.
Notice, that focus of attention is constantly moving. Watch closely.

Is there something moving attention or is it going to the next thing automatically?

If it seems to be a mover, then try to locate it. Where is it? Can you find a person, a me moving attention?

What is that moves attention? Is there anything moving it? Or does it move by itself?


Experiment with this several times a day, even if just for a few minutes each, but try to have a longer session. 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 » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:20 pm

Hi Vivien,

Ha! This was a pleasant discovery. So simple and obvious.
Is there something moving attention or is it going to the next thing automatically?
I do not find anything moving attention. I can watch it move from one thing to another, automatically.
If it seems to be a mover, then try to locate it. Where is it? Can you find a person, a me moving attention?
If I am doing the exercise while sitting quietly, then there usually doesn't seem to be a mover. It's more difficult though in everyday activities, especially when it's more complex or stressful. Even then though, I can search for where it is. And then I do not find a person or a me moving attention. Just more sensations and thoughts.
What is that moves attention? Is there anything moving it? Or does it move by itself?
I used this as a question to look throughout the day too (not just while sitting quietly). I enjoy this one very much for some reason. I cannot find anything moving attention, and very often it seems to be moving by itself.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:56 am

Hi Tom,

You did a nice investigation :)

So is there any doubt that the movement of attention is not automatic and spontaneous?
Is there any moment when attention is controlled? Any at all?


Please just stay with these for another day, to let this really sink in.

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 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:42 am

Hi Vivien,

Delayed reply this time, as the internet has been down on our street. It still seems unstable, so if I am slow replying again in the next day or two, that's probably the reason. Anyway, it was nice to have extra time with these questions.
So is there any doubt that the movement of attention is not automatic and spontaneous?
It feels very clear to me that the movement of attention is automatic and spontaneous, especially when doing simpler tasks like just looking, or walking, etc. Sometimes I still notice a 'mover', especially in more intense activities. But when I notice this it is possible for me to see that this is contained in the thought or commentary.
Is there any moment when attention is controlled? Any at all?
I cannot find any moments when attention is controlled. I only find the experience or moment of the attention. Sometimes with this, I get a thought commentary that tells me attention is controlled. The commentary for this question was stronger than for the above question, so I tried to work with it a little more.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:47 am

Hi Tom,

Now let’s look at what moves the body.

Please spend as much time as you can in the midst of your daily life to observing and noticing how the body moves, how it feels, what it does.

You can notice how the legs are moving as walking happens.
When walking, what do you do in order for the legs to move?
Are you making walking happen, or it just happens automatically and effortlessly?

When you sit down, or stand up, is this something you do, or something that is happening?


Notice all sorts of sensations in the body.
Are you making the sensations happen, or they are there, without anyone or anything making them to be?

When breathing happens, are you making it to happen, or it happens automatically without anyone making it happen?

When preparing food, or eating, washing your hands, typing, brushing your teeth, dressing up, are you making the hands move, or the hands just move by themselves?

Is there a central controller somewhere in the body, from where strings are pulled to lift the arms, and move the body? Or all of it just happening automatically?


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 » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:26 pm

Hi Vivien,

Today feels like a breakthrough. The exercises were great because they were easy to integrate into my day. But more importantly a lot of things seem to be coming together, and looking happens with a lot of ease. The automation and effortlessness that I was catching glimpses of before now seem so clear and obvious. And I can say it with confidence.
When walking, what do you do in order for the legs to move?
I do not do anything at all for my legs to move.
Are you making walking happen, or it just happens automatically and effortlessly?
Walking just happens automatically and effortlessly.
When you sit down, or stand up, is this something you do, or something that is happening?
When I sit or stand, it is just happening; it is not something I do.
Notice all sorts of sensations in the body. Are you making the sensations happen, or they are there, without anyone or anything making them to be?
The sensations in my body are just there, without anyone or anything making them to be.
When breathing happens, are you making it to happen, or it happens automatically without anyone making it happen?
Breathing happens automatically without anyone making it happen.
When preparing food, or eating, washing your hands, typing, brushing your teeth, dressing up, are you making the hands move, or the hands just move by themselves?
In all my activities, working, typing, cleaning, brushing, petting the cat, gardening, etc., the hands move by themselves.
Is there a central controller somewhere in the body, from where strings are pulled to lift the arms, and move the body? Or all of it just happening automatically?
I could not find a central controller anywhere in the body. Everything is just happening automatically.

In the later part of the day I started to combine today's body-focused questions with the previous days' questions about attention. This seemed useful because then I could notice not just the individual sensations & the body moving effortlessly, but also the attention shifting effortlessly from sensation to sensation. I sometimes also integrated the questions on the spontaneity of thoughts, as thoughts are appearing much clearer than before. In this way it felt like I was looking at the whole of the experience.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:05 am

Hi Tom,
Today feels like a breakthrough. The exercises were great because they were easy to integrate into my day. But more importantly a lot of things seem to be coming together, and looking happens with a lot of ease. The automation and effortlessness that I was catching glimpses of before now seem so clear and obvious. And I can say it with confidence.
I’m glad to hear this :)
In the later part of the day I started to combine today's body-focused questions with the previous days' questions about attention. This seemed useful because then I could notice not just the individual sensations & the body moving effortlessly, but also the attention shifting effortlessly from sensation to sensation. I sometimes also integrated the questions on the spontaneity of thoughts, as thoughts are appearing much clearer than before. In this way it felt like I was looking at the whole of the experience.
Great! Please continue to look at the whole of experience for a few more day. Look, until it’s utterly clear that everything is happening on its own.

After 3 days, please write about your discoveries.

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 Aug 15, 2020 10:30 pm

Hi Vivien,
Great! Please continue to look at the whole of experience for a few more day. Look, until it’s utterly clear that everything is happening on its own. After 3 days, please write about your discoveries.
At the end of this 3rd day of looking, I feel a new normal. That is of more clarity. And of being able to see the automaticness, that everything is happening on its own. Actually it seems that seeing the automaticness has become almost automatic, as if I am constantly looking, without much or any effort. It's hard to believe I hadn't noticed this before, and feel almost silly for not. I've also become very used to it, such that I can't even imagine anymore what it was like a short time ago when I didn't see this.

I've noticed that my attention goes by itself from one thing to another, in succession. These different things feel a bit like they are glued together. Sometimes I still find myself annoyed at thoughts or thinking that I've spotted a doer, but overall the thoughts still come and go much more clearly. This afternoon I also suddenly started to notice myself speaking, which appeared to be automatic too - something I hadn't noticed before or put my attention to.

Over the three days, I did have some moments of a lot of fear and feelings of inadequacy. That's mostly related to a next step I feel I have to make in work. It's something I am very passionate about and believe strongly in, but am afraid to do it and frankly don't know how. I mention this because it often feels like my work is not separate or distinguishable from the looking process or from the changes that the looking is bringing. And that they go a bit hand in hand. I am not sure about that though.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: Guide Request

Postby Vivien » Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:06 am

Hi Tom,

You’ve done a beautiful investigation :)
These different things feel a bit like they are glued together. Sometimes I still find myself annoyed at thoughts or thinking that I've spotted a doer, but overall the thoughts still come and go much more clearly.
It’s important to mention that we are not aiming for the illusion of the doer to completely stop. It’s enough to see it for what it is, just an appearance. Remember, this is just the beginning, not the end. Don’t expect a final stabilization (yet). That would require lots of further looking and time.
Over the three days, I did have some moments of a lot of fear and feelings of inadequacy. That's mostly related to a next step I feel I have to make in work. It's something I am very passionate about and believe strongly in, but am afraid to do it and frankly don't know how. I mention this because it often feels like my work is not separate or distinguishable from the looking process or from the changes that the looking is bringing. And that they go a bit hand in hand. I am not sure about that though.
Yes, work in not separate from the rest of our lives. Probably it’s better not to make any sudden decision at the beginning, unless it’s unavoidable.

We can investigate this topic separately if you want to, so I’m sending you a private message about it.

What is the difference between a happening and a doing?

Look around, all colours are given, they are happening. It’s not that the me-character can choose and make colours that are present into different ones. Or choose not to see green and see pink instead. Colours are happening. Shapes are happening. Sounds are happening.

What about sensations? Are they happening or the me-character doing them?
And how about feelings? Are they something the me-character does or something that is given?

Now look, what is not given?

What is not happening effortlessly and needs your doing?
Is there anything that is not just spontaneously arising?

Is the me-character doing anything in life?
Or is the me-character given? As an idea? Or as a self-directed, autonomous entity?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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