Halfway there?

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:58 am

Thank you so much! As it turns out, I was unable to make much more progress today as a last minute deadline came up. But I’m taking the day off tomorrow and will dive in. Oooooone more day! And yes - trying to not “think”!

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:31 am

Hi Vivien! Thank you for your patience, and apologies for needing an extra day. I actually just forgot to ask for *one* more day - things with my work went a little crazy and I lost track of quite a few things, including this!

But I’ve been trying to mull on this. I think, to be honest, that maybe I am trying too hard - so perhaps we should continue and I will try to be gentler with my mind. Trying to not think about it, to just look and see - I kept finding myself “thinking” and going into concepts! It was challenging.

Yes, exactly. I’m not saying that concepts are useless or meaningless, they are very useful tools in our everyday life. But concepts are not real existing things. I mean they are not actual reality. They are only symbols, substitutes to reality.
They are only symbols, substitutes to reality… Oof. Ok - so here’s my problem - intellectually I can agree with that, but I am trying to sit with it and feel it in my bones - and I am not quite there yet. I just tried pinching my hand multiple times in a row - and contemplating how each time was technically individual. “Pinching” is a category, a circle I’m drawing around an action that causes similar physical sensations in a similar area of my experience.

Sheesh! Concepts are only symbols, substitutes to reality? I am trying to see this in a way that resonates - I know I need to go back to my immediate experience, that this has to transcend my thinking (can’t think your way out of thinking)… This is where I keep getting tripped up. I think the enormity of it is sort of overwhelming, and why I’ve needed a couple days to marinate on it.
Like the word ‘chair’ is a symbolic representation of the actual thing you can sit on.
But can you sit on the thought of ‘chair’? Or can you sit on of the mental image of a chair?
Really try it, do your best… sit onto the thought ‘chair’. Can you do that? Why not?

Sit onto the thought of chair? Oh lord this feels like a koan.

Ok ok. I will take you at your word and see what happens.

...Obviously, the answer is no. Standing, I can craft and construct the chair in my minds eye, I can pay attention to the muscles that are given relief when sitting in a chair as opposed to standing, but of course, the only thing I feel is a gap between my thought experience and the reality of actual experience.

Now do everything you can to TASTE the thought ‘sweet’. Not imagining sweetness, but actually tasting the thought itself. Can you do that?
I am imagining sweetness as much as possible. It almost draws attention to the lack of it! No - as expected, I cannot actually taste imagined sweetness.
And now FEEL the thought ‘warm’. Not imagining warmness, but actually feeling the thought itself. Is it possible? Why not?
Can the thought ‘fragrant scent’ be smelled?
Can the thought ‘beautiful sunset’ be seen?
Can the thought of ‘loud noise’ be heard?
Can the thought of ‘walking on a beach’ make your feet wet and sandy?

If you say no, then why not?
I cannot - no to all of them. Because it’s true and you’re right that there is nothing outside of the reality of the 5 senses.

All words are symbols. All symbols are conceptual. They are not reality.
Reality is what actually is, regardless of the absence or the presence of any symbol / word.
Reality is what is still exists after we stopped thinking about it.

Reality is what still exists after we stopped thinking about it…. Yes.
If it rains and I stop thinking about the rain, the rain won’t disappear.
If I look at a cloud, but I don’t label it as ‘cloud’, the thing on the sky won’t vanish.
But if I stop thinking about the weather, then what is left? What is left is the experience of wind, and rain and clouds, but no weather. Can you see this?
Pure experience of it - Yes. I can see this.

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:59 am

Hi awakeningbk,
But I’ve been trying to mull on this. I think, to be honest, that maybe I am trying too hard - so perhaps we should continue and I will try to be gentler with my mind. Trying to not think about it, to just look and see - I kept finding myself “thinking” and going into concepts! It was challenging.
Yes, that’s a good idea. Reality cannot be seen with thinking. It’s contradictory :) Thinking is the opposition of experiencing.

Let’s try this chair-thing out :)

Here is some simple exercises for you. I would like to ask you to actually do the exercises, and not just think through them. Although they are very simple exercises, but exactly because of the simplicity it’s often overlooked. So please actually do them.

Here is an experiment for you. You will need a chair.

Choose a spot where there is some space both to your left and right.
Put the chair to your right.
Now turn slightly to your left, where there is some empty space.
Not turn back to your right, and investigate the chair thoroughly. Touch it, feel the fabric or the material it’s made of, look at its size, shape, color, texture.

Now turn back to your left to the empty space and try to imagine that there is the same chair you observed on your right. If it helps close your eyes. Imagine its fabric, size, color, shape, texture. Make it as vivid as you can. So you have two chairs, one on your right, and an imagined copy of it on your left.

Now open your eyes, and sit on that imagined chair of your left. Literally sit on it.
Can you do that? Why not?

Now turn to your right, and sit on the chair.
Can you do that? Why?


While sitting on the chair, investigate these:

Can the thought of drinking water make your thirst away?

Can the thought of ‘walking on a beach’ make your feet wet and sandy?
WHY not?

So what is the difference between real and imagined?

What is the difference between a chair and the THOUGHT OF a chair?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:28 pm

Hi Vivien,

Thank you for your patience again! I promise I will be consistent with these exercises for the rest of the week! Things got out of hand again with my work and personal life, and I didn’t have much time to myself.

I did the exercise, and it really emphasized the unreality of thought.
Now open your eyes, and sit on that imagined chair of your left. Literally sit on it.
Can you do that? Why not?
Nope! I cannot sit on the chair. Because it does not exist.
Now turn to your right, and sit on the chair.
Can you do that? Why?
Yes - I can sit on that chair - because it actually exists.
Can the thought of drinking water make your thirst away?
No, the thought of drinking water cannot make my thirst go away.
Can the thought of ‘walking on a beach’ make your feet wet and sandy?
WHY not?
No, it cannot. It cannot because thoughts are not reality.
So what is the difference between real and imagined?
The difference between real and imagined is that one is there regardless of made up pictures or memories of feelings in my head (thought), whereas the other is just insubstantial elements of experience that I try to remember at once.
What is the difference between a chair and the THOUGHT OF a chair?
The difference between a chair and the thought of a chair is that one is real, solid, whereas the other does not exist.


Vivien - other than my bad consistency with doing this nightly (which I promise I am working on being better with - it’s just been really nuts on my end recently) - other than that, am I doing this right? I did the exercises and really tried to “imagine” drinking water or having sandy feet - but maybe the reason I am struggling is because I feel that my above answers should have more to them? Is that all I need to do, as we continue? Answering straightforward and honestly to the actual question, no necessary frills?

Thank you so much!

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:50 am

Hi awakeningbk,
other than that, am I doing this right? I did the exercises and really tried to “imagine” drinking water or having sandy feet - but maybe the reason I am struggling is because I feel that my above answers should have more to them? Is that all I need to do, as we continue? Answering straightforward and honestly to the actual question, no necessary frills?
Exactly! Do you find this way too simple? It is that simple. Only thoughts and imagination make things complicated.

Reality is very simple.
And this simplicity what needs to be seen.
The difference between real and imagined is that one is there regardless of made up pictures or memories of feelings in my head (thought),
So what is real is there even when you stop thinking about it, right?
whereas the other is just insubstantial elements of experience that I try to remember at once.
But what is imagined is actually an element of experience? Are you sure? How can a non-existent imagined thing be an insubstantial element of experience?

Isn’t experience what is real?
And imagined what cannot be experienced, since it’s not real, it’s not actually there?

Do you see that the imagined is never ever an ‘element of experience’?

That what is imagined can never ever be experienced? Like you can never ever experience an imagined bottle of water, or the word ‘water’?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:55 pm

So what is real is there even when you stop thinking about it, right?
Yes! That is the best way of putting it.
Reality is what’s there regardless of thought - what’s real even when I stop thinking about it.
But what is imagined is actually an element of experience? Are you sure? How can a non-existent imagined thing be an insubstantial element of experience?
Isn’t experience what is real?
And imagined what cannot be experienced, since it’s not real, it’s not actually there?
Do you see that the imagined is never ever an ‘element of experience’?
So my only hesitation is when what is imagined causes physical sensations - for example elevated heart rate, sweating, tension, or relaxation of muscles. Or perhaps sensations of emotions - these sensations are real.

But - thought might be a cause of these things, but it’s not an actual experience - the emotions or physical manifestations are experience, but their cause is not “real”, so to speak.

Thus, thoughts are not part of experience at all. They might cause real experience, but they are not in themselves experience.

(Saying this makes logical sense, and I can observe and see it, but something is still resistant or annoyed by it! I don’t know what. Maybe I just need to marinate with it and pay attention all day to it)
That what is imagined can never ever be experienced? Like you can never ever experience an imagined bottle of water, or the word ‘water’?
This is true. This is very true. That which is imagined can never be experienced.

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Vivien
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:45 am

Hi awakeningbk,
So my only hesitation is when what is imagined causes physical sensations - for example elevated heart rate, sweating, tension, or relaxation of muscles. Or perhaps sensations of emotions - these sensations are real.
Let’s see why and how this is happening.

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.

So every time when there is an emotional reaction to a thought, it’s a sure sign that thought is believed to be something real, something that is actually happening here now, and not seen only just as a fleeting imagination.

We are literally dreaming with open eyes, being immersed in an internal movie, in a virtual reality, many times in a day.
Just notice this. Notice while you are driving, you might be immersed in an internal movie or dialog with your boss about the disagreement you had two days ago. And in that moment, that disagreeing is your reality. You believe it to be real, as if it were actually happening. And how do you know that you believe it to be something real in that moment? You know if from the tension, elevated heart rate, unpleasant emotions that is arising as the result of taking that imagination as reality. While in actual reality, you are driving your care alone. But in your imagination you are not alone.

Just like believing a rope to be a snake, and reacting to it with fear. Just with this internal movie, we are reacting to our own thoughts, believing it to be an actual real danger here now, while it's just an innocent intangible fleeting harmless phenomenon.

We are literally mistaking thoughts with reality.

Just notice how many times this happens in a day? Definitely more than 10 times. 50? 100?

So for today, this is the only thing to notice. Just notice when this internal movie is happening and taken to be real.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:10 am

Hi Vivien,

I wanted to do as you asked today, and spend the day observing how often I get lost in my thoughts. I have the most time and respond best in the morning, so I will have a new response for you within 12-14 hours from now, reporting back

Talk soon!

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:34 am

All right :)
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:11 pm

So I can see that, and I worked hard to do as asked. And it was overwhelming! I consider myself a fairly mindful person, as I’m acquainted with meditation, and generally am familiar with all these things. But really trying to pay attention - it really is constant, and as you say: a virtual reality film. For the brief moment I felt like I understood a lot of this, I was naturally, effortlessly in the moment, able to see that thought was an illusion.

Now that I’m out of that “state”, my thoughts feel like a prison - I would be aware of the light in the trees, I would be walking down the sidewalk immersed in my surroundings, and next thing I know I am absorbed in a problem that’s rooted in the future, dwelling on elements of the past that will affect it.

So ok - I am with you that thought is an illusion. And yet, I am still having two sticking points - the notion of cause and effect, and the notion of past and future.

Earlier in our conversation, I brought up this:
“I can see that there is a sensation of “tired”, and then a rush to label that sensation in a million different ways, to erect storylines around it, etc. I can see that these storylines and labels are not tangible, actual things in reality, right this moment. They are thoughts. But - Does this mean these storylines are invalid, or truly non-existent? The reality is that I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I acknowledge this is labeling and creating a narrative outside of the present moment - but are you saying it's “imagined”? That it's “conceptual” that my lack of sleep led to being tired today?”

I guess my question still stands - what if these thoughts are true? What if, to use your example, you are thinking about the disagreement with your boss, exactly as it happened from your perspective? Are you saying that it’s not “real”? Or that because it’s in the past, that it’s not real? Where does the past and the future rest in this?

As always, thank you for your patience with me, and I’m sorry if I’m being dense in some way.

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:06 am

Hi awakeningbk,
I would be aware of the light in the trees, I would be walking down the sidewalk immersed in my surroundings, and next thing I know I am absorbed in a problem that’s rooted in the future, dwelling on elements of the past that will affect it.
You’ve just described the everyday human condition. You did a nice investigation, btw :)
I guess my question still stands - what if these thoughts are true? What if, to use your example, you are thinking about the disagreement with your boss, exactly as it happened from your perspective? Are you saying that it’s not “real”? Or that because it’s in the past, that it’s not real? Where does the past and the future rest in this?
You are analysing thoughts according to their contents (what they are about). And since your focus is on the content, and not on the phenomenon itself, you are trying to judge the thought whether it is the true or accurate description of what and how it happened with your boss.

This could be a relevant thing to do in everyday life, but we are going much deeper than this.
We are not judging the content of thoughts (what the thought is about) and trying to determine if it’s accurate or true, that is totally beside the point. In this investigation the accuracy or trueness of the thought content is totally irrelevant.

We are not focusing on the content. We are focusing on the phenomenon itself, on the appearance of a thought, and NOT what the thought is ABOUT.

It doesn’t matter if that memory thought about a past disagreement with the boss is true or not. What matters, that it this very moment, it’s just an IMAGINATION. It’s not real, it’s not happening.

Can you clearly see the difference? Do you see that you are focusing on the ‘wrong end’ of the stick?

We are going much deeper than just trying to judge the accuracy of a thought.
We are investigating the phenomenon of thought itself.
Is this clear?


It’s very important that you don’t just understand it intellectually, but you literally SEE it in experience.

So please bring up a memory, an interaction with someone what has happened in the past. I will refer to this with the boss example, but please translate my question to your particular memory.

In this very moment, as you bring up the memory, is your boss actually there with you?
Is that scenario of disagreement is actually happening in this very moment?

If you say no, then what is it that is actually happening in this very moment?


Notice, the physical and emotional reactions to this thought movie.

The sensations of contraction are there. The sensation is real, it’s happening in this very moment, right?

But does the disagreement is happening right now? It’s not right? Yet, this imagined scenario, a non-existent even, triggered a real, actual, physical response.

How could that be? It’s because the body is like a translating machine. It translates the unreal to something real. It translates of transforms our unreal, intangible, fictional thoughts and imaginations into a real, FELT experience.

And why? Because in the moment when the thought imagination is happening, we are not seeing it only as a fleeting thought, just a fantasy, but we actually believe that in this very moment I am arguing with the boss.

And since it’s believed to be real, here now, the body reacts to it.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Fri Jul 17, 2020 12:58 pm

We are not focusing on the content. We are focusing on the phenomenon itself, on the appearance of a thought, and NOT what the thought is ABOUT
It doesn’t matter if that memory thought about a past disagreement with the boss is true or not. What matters, that it this very moment, it’s just an IMAGINATION. It’s not real, it’s not happening.
Can you clearly see the difference? Do you see that you are focusing on the ‘wrong end’ of the stick?
I can see that, yes. That we’re not questioning whether the thought is true or not - is it then fair to say it may or may not be, and that it doesn’t matter?

I can see that the purpose of this inquiry is to investigate thought itself, not what it’s comprised of. That makes sense and I’ll try to keep it in mind.
We are going much deeper than just trying to judge the accuracy of a thought.
We are investigating the phenomenon of thought itself.
Is this clear?
Yes, this is clear. We are looking at the phenomenon of thought itself.
Please bring up a memory, an interaction with someone what has happened in the past. I will refer to this with the boss example, but please translate my question to your particular memory.
In this very moment, as you bring up the memory, is your boss actually there with you?
Is that scenario of disagreement is actually happening in this very moment?
If you say no, then what is it that is actually happening in this very moment?

I am thinking of a disagreement with someone I had.
No, there is no one there, it is just me. And no, there is no disagreement happening in this very moment. None at all.

What is happening in this moment are sensations of tension, adrenaline, frustration.. They become my reality - even though nothing is actually happening in that moment. The thought, believing the thought, causes my reality to shift, even though no one is there.
Notice, the physical and emotional reactions to this thought movie
The sensations of contraction are there. The sensation is real, it’s happening in this very moment, right?
Yes, it’s happening right this moment.
But does the disagreement is happening right now? It’s not right? Yet, this imagined scenario, a non-existent even, triggered a real, actual, physical response.
How could that be? It’s because the body is like a translating machine. It translates the unreal to something real. It translates of transforms our unreal, intangible, fictional thoughts and imaginations into a real, FELT experience.
And why? Because in the moment when the thought imagination is happening, we are not seeing it only as a fleeting thought, just a fantasy, but we actually believe that in this very moment I am arguing with the boss.

And since it’s believed to be real, here now, the body reacts to it.
This makes sense! Thank you Vivien.

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:11 am

Hi awakeningbk,
I can see that, yes. That we’re not questioning whether the thought is true or not - is it then fair to say it may or may not be, and that it doesn’t matter?
Are you asking this because it’s not 100% clear that the content of a thought is NEVER real?

Now, let’s look into a bit of the notion of time, since you brought this up.

Is it possible to be anywhere else than here now?

When there is a thought about the past, WHEN does that thought is happening?
And WHEN does a fantasy about the future is happening?

Is it possible to fall out of this present moment?

When there is a thought or image ABOUT the past, then is that the ACTUAL past?
Or that is just a thought or imagination ABOUT the past? And only thoughts commenting on it saying ‘It’s a memory, it’s in the past’?

Is there other time and space than here now?

Do you need to try to be here now? Or to be present?

Can you be not present? Is that possible?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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awakeningbk
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Re: Halfway there?

Postby awakeningbk » Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:49 pm

“I can see that, yes. That we’re not questioning whether the thought is true or not - is it then fair to say it may or may not be, and that it doesn’t matter?”
Are you asking this because it’s not 100% clear that the content of a thought is NEVER real?
No - in our inquiry thus far, it’s been thoroughly demonstrated that the content of a thought is never actually a tangible thing. Thoughts are never real - they can’t ever be experienced physically - only *believing* a thought can cause physical, tangible experience. Thoughts have nothing to do with “real-ity” itself. I agree completely that thoughts are *never* real. Totally!

Maybe I keep getting caught up in simple semantics? Is “reality” what you also mean by “true”? Because maybe my definition of “true” is wrong - something that had happened in a previous time could be “true” in my definition, even if it’s not a direct current experience. Are you using truth and reality interchangeably?

As always Vivien, I am deeply grateful for your time and efforts on this!
Now, let’s look into a bit of the notion of time, since you brought this up.
Is it possible to be anywhere else than here now?
No - it is not possible to be anywhere other than here, now. Right here and now is all that there is.
When there is a thought about the past, WHEN does that thought is happening?
And WHEN does a fantasy about the future is happening?
Ah! Ha. Thoughts about both the future and the past only ever happen “now”. Am I going to have a harder time with this if I’ve read Tolle? Meaning - am I going to have intellectualized this too much? I am sitting with it anyway, asking and trying to look sincerely.
Is it possible to fall out of this present moment?
It is not possible to be outside the present moment. It’s totally impossible!
When there is a thought or image ABOUT the past, then is that the ACTUAL past?
No - similar to the thought about the chair, it’s just a thought, not tangible. Not real. It might be “true”, as in it was real at one point in the past, but being true does not make it tangible and real.

Is that right?!?!
Or that is just a thought or imagination ABOUT the past? And only thoughts commenting on it saying ‘It’s a memory, it’s in the past’?
It’s just a thought/imagination about the past, same thing with the chair and the exercises you had me do! It’s not real in this moment.
Is there other time and space than here now?
No! Nothing at all.
Do you need to try to be here now? Or to be present?
Is it an effort? No - it’s not an effort - it’s just how things are. Things are always occurring right now, never outside of it - even if one is lost in thought, that “being lost” is occurring right now.
Can you be not present? Is that possible?
No - one cannot help but be residing in the present moment - even thoughts about the past are happening in the now. And while those reveries are occurring, they are always occurring in this exact moment.

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Re: Halfway there?

Postby Vivien » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:41 am

Hi awakeningbk,
Maybe I keep getting caught up in simple semantics? Is “reality” what you also mean by “true”? Because maybe my definition of “true” is wrong - something that had happened in a previous time could be “true” in my definition, even if it’s not a direct current experience. Are you using truth and reality interchangeably?
No, they are not interchangeable.

Real is reality. The reality of this very experience (color, sound, taste, smell, sensation).

When we talk about truth we are not talking about experience (reality), we are analysing the content of thoughts, and categorizing them, and labelling them whether they are true or not. This labelling process happens only in thinking.

Reality is what is there when we stop thinking about it.
Real what is here when there is no thought about it.
Reality is what exists REGARDLESS any thought about it.
Are these true statements? True: meaning, are these thoughts I wrote above IN LINE with reality (experience)?

The content of a thought might be true, but NEVER real. Since the content of a thought is never ever experienced.

real = experience = reality

true: is just a mental judgement on something, and has nothing to do with experience/reality

Look at the chair you usually sit on.
As you look at it, there is the raw experience of colors and shapes, what we label as ‘chair’.
And there might be a story about the chair, like “I bought this chair 5 years ago, 2 days after my birthday. I really like this chair, this is where I sit the most”.

This thought story about the chair might be true, but it’s utterly conceptual. Meaning just thoughts upon thoughts, thoughts referring to other thoughts. This story doesn’t contain any experience (reality).

It’s real as a thought story, but its reality stops there. The content (what the story is about) is utterly conceptual, without any reality (experience) whatsoever. Just thought-fluff.

Is this clear now?
No - similar to the thought about the chair, it’s just a thought, not tangible. Not real. It might be “true”, as in it was real at one point in the past, but being true does not make it tangible and real.
The thought ‘chair’ can never ever be real, not even the past.
Since the thought is always just an intangible fleeting lifeless phenomenon.

The thought ‘chair’, can POINT to a REAL experiencable chair (the thing you can sit on).
But a thought can only POINT TO that real thing, it NEVER ever BECOMES the thing itself.

Look at your favourite chair again.
In the moment as you look at it (hence experience it by seeing), think the thought ‘chair’.
That thought might be an accurate (or true) label for the thing you are looking at in the moment, but the thought itself will never ever becomes a real, experiencable thing. The thought ‘chair’ can never become a REAL chair.

Is this clear? Or is there any doubt? Or anything that is not totally clear about this?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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