Holly's Thread

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Holly
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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:18 am

Richard,

Thank you!

When I just focus on sensation, there is only the sensation that is here in the now. That is true. I guess, this sensation is the only thing that can be known to be truth. Everything else is under question as to its veracity, and in fact can only exist as a thought.

Can a thought tell me anything about the current sensation? I know you said to not bring time into it now, but if you're using the word current...then no, a thought cannot, because a thought will always come after the sensation. And also, a thought cannot tell me anything new about the sensation itself. The sensation simply is. If there is anything else I want to know about it, then I can only find out by looking at the sensation itself.

Looking at a sensation eliminates thought temporarily. Attention is on the sensation, so there isn't any thought.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:44 pm

Hey Holly

Ok, so i think you are saying that you are seeing thought cannot stick to or comprehend sensation.
If there is anything else I want to know about it, then I can only find out by looking at the sensation itself
If you look at sensation, what can you find out ?

Would you say a thought is something we experience that seems to signify something or carry some information ?

Can a thought remember sensation ?

What is a memory ? Is it thought, sensation, a combination, or something else ?

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:12 am

Hello Richard,

One thing I noticed today is that I am resistant to seeking by looking at sensation. I sort of just don't do it and then tell myself that I did. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me why this is, except to say, in the past when I've spent lots of time paying attention to only sensation the world starts to feel very strange and a lot of fear comes up. I can still function just fine like this, but its uncomfortable. Even if my best intention is to keep seeking by focusing on sensation, I sort of unconsciously just stop doing it, and now I'm noticing that I'm a little resistant to fully do it.

This doesn't mean I want to back off on the investigation at all, I think it makes sense to keep asking the questions and keep doing the looking, and to trust myself that if I need to back off a little I will.
If you look at sensation, what can you find out ?
When looking at sensations, I can see clearly that there isn't anything at all that can be known about sensations using thoughts. In fact thoughts aren't needed to do pretty much anything I need to do. I tried today to make a decision without using thoughts and just see what happens, and decisions got made. Not big decisions, but small things, like would I like to go outside or not, or would I like to eat this for lunch or not, etc...pretty much most of everything just gets done without any thinking needed. In fact most of it gets done without me even noticing its happening or that a decision is getting made. For example, I just adjusted the way I was sitting. I didn't know I needed or wanted to do this and I didn't know what adjustment I would make, I just tucked my foot up under my leg without even noticing what I was doing. Conversations with people happen pretty much the same way. I'm not thinking much while I type this out even. I only know any of this happens because of sensation.
Would you say a thought is something we experience that seems to signify something or carry some information ?
I don't understand thoughts much. Sometimes I can't even tell if I am having a thought or not. But I guess I do believe that a thought does signify something or carry some information. For example, a thought about a memory or some knowledge, or something that my mind has deduced.
Can a thought remember sensation ?
I'm trying now to remember the way that lavender smells. I can almost just smell it, but not quite. Now I'm trying to remember the way my husband's voice sounds. I feel like it's at least 80% able to be simulated in my mind. Now I'm listening to a song in my head. Again, its partially there, but it's not full the way it is when I really hear it, and none of the above elicits the same feelings of pleasure and enjoyment when I remember them as when I experience them. Now I'm listening to the air conditioner hum in real life, not in memory, and that is enjoyable, it triggers other sensations in me besides sound, just some kind of a pleasure for being able to experience it. On the other hand, the song in my head is kind of irritating, even though if it were playing for real I'd be enjoying it.

So a memory is like a ghost of the real thing it remembers. It cannot remember the sensation as it was. It pulls some of the same strings that a real sensation does, but it's missing the essence of what it remembers.
What is a memory ? Is it thought, sensation, a combination, or something else ?
It can't be just a thought. A memory triggers some bodily sensation, but these aren't full, they are missing a core essence. It also brings up emotions, and the emotions can be very full fledged. In fact, memories can sometimes bring up stronger emotions than I felt at first. Sometimes a memory is just a feeling, like a smell that reminds me of being a kid.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 am

Richard,

I also want to let you know, I am going camping for a few days. I may have cell reception but no guarantees. When I'm able I will keep checking and replying here :).

I should be back by Saturday.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:36 am

Hi Holly
One thing I noticed today is that I am resistant to seeking by looking at sensation. I sort of just don't do it and then tell myself that I did. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me why this is, except to say, in the past when I've spent lots of time paying attention to only sensation the world starts to feel very strange and a lot of fear comes up. I can still function just fine like this, but its uncomfortable. Even if my best intention is to keep seeking by focusing on sensation, I sort of unconsciously just stop doing it, and now I'm noticing that I'm a little resistant to fully do it.
Nice noticing ! This is definatly something to be curious about, along with any fear or unconfortableness.
When looking at sensations, I can see clearly that there isn't anything at all that can be known about sensations using thoughts. In fact thoughts aren't needed to do pretty much anything I need to do. I tried today to make a decision without using thoughts and just see what happens, and decisions got made. Not big decisions, but small things, like would I like to go outside or not, or would I like to eat this for lunch or not, etc...pretty much most of everything just gets done without any thinking needed. In fact most of it gets done without me even noticing its happening or that a decision is getting made. For example, I just adjusted the way I was sitting. I didn't know I needed or wanted to do this and I didn't know what adjustment I would make, I just tucked my foot up under my leg without even noticing what I was doing. Conversations with people happen pretty much the same way. I'm not thinking much while I type this out even. I only know any of this happens because of sensation.
Great exploration. Yes it can seem like no one is in the driving seat but the brain/body is pretty good at doing stuff
It can't be just a thought. A memory triggers some bodily sensation, but these aren't full, they are missing a core essence. It also brings up emotions, and the emotions can be very full fledged. In fact, memories can sometimes bring up stronger emotions than I felt at first. Sometimes a memory is just a feeling, like a smell that reminds me of being a kid.
Its quite amazing isn't it ? Its like the mind creates its own little movie theatre where one thing leads to the next, thoughts and sensations seeming to tell a story or recreate something. But there's something unsatisfactory and wearing about it.

Is the body aware of anything or can it think ?

Anything in particular that you have any doubts about or seems unclear ?

Enjoy your camping ! Don't worry about not replying if it isn't convenient or if you just want to relax and slow down while you are out there :-)

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:58 am

Richard,

Camping was really great! I had a good amount of time to focus on body sensations. It was dark while we drove to the site, and I was noticing lights, I saw a red light and thought "red light" and then realized...it isn't a light, and it isn't red. These are just concepts. Its just a sensation to experience it and in fact words can't even describe what the sensation actually is. In fact everything is like this, isn't it? Everything is just sensation and anything that can be said about it is just an approximation.

But, why is it, that I can have a realization like this, and I can experience it for a little while, maybe a few hours or maybe a few days, but then I just sort of forget about it?
Is the body aware of anything or can it think ?
The body behaves the same as anything else in the natural world. It isn't that different from a rock or a plant, it just does what it does. It has absolutely no identity. Its completely dark. In fact, once I had a real glimpse of this and it was very terrifying. The body just does not actually care, it only lives because that's what it does. I can look at it and see that its true any time. However, obviously the body is able to receive sensory input, it reacts to stimuli (or does it, we talked about this the other day), and there is knowing that happens. There are also thoughts that happen. I don't know what other than the brain could be conjuring them. But, these things are like wind that moves the leaves of trees.
Anything in particular that you have any doubts about or seems unclear ?
Why do I have realizations and then forget them? Why is it that I understand I need to stay with my thoughts and sensory experience and yet somehow or other I just forget and don't remember about it and just fall into auto pilot? Am I doing something wrong?

Is the real truth just that I'm terrified? I've read so many times that all that is really required is to want the truth. I'm not convinced I even know what this means. What is truth? What am I missing? Am I just being dishonest with myself that I'm even truly seeking? Am I too afraid to finish this?

I've also read that all it takes is to take one honest look. How do I look? Actually I've looked and seen nothing many times, But it never sticks. So I'm probably not really seeing it.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:42 pm

Hi Holly !

Lovely to hear you enjyed your camping trip :-)
It was dark while we drove to the site, and I was noticing lights, I saw a red light and thought "red light" and then realized...it isn't a light, and it isn't red. These are just concepts. Its just a sensation to experience it and in fact words can't even describe what the sensation actually is. In fact everything is like this, isn't it? Everything is just sensation and anything that can be said about it is just an approximation.
Yep !
The body behaves the same as anything else in the natural world. It isn't that different from a rock or a plant, it just does what it does. It has absolutely no identity. Its completely dark. In fact, once I had a real glimpse of this and it was very terrifying. The body just does not actually care, it only lives because that's what it does. I can look at it and see that its true any time. However, obviously the body is able to receive sensory input, it reacts to stimuli (or does it, we talked about this the other day), and there is knowing that happens. There are also thoughts that happen. I don't know what other than the brain could be conjuring them. But, these things are like wind that moves the leaves of trees.
Yep !
Why do I have realizations and then forget them? Why is it that I understand I need to stay with my thoughts and sensory experience and yet somehow or other I just forget and don't remember about it and just fall into auto pilot? Am I doing something wrong?
When you see something clearly, (like you have described here many times), then you see something clearly. That's all. Its very simple. You have also seen that thoughts cannot grasp this, yes ? So what could you take away from it ? What is there to hold onto ? Do you need to hold onto anything for everthing to be as it already, always, is ? Where is the problem ? Can you find it ? Just like boys will be boys, thoughts will also always be thoughts, yes, sometimes we might believe them, but what does that change in reality ? The middle is empty, no ? Just appearances coming and going, no problem unless thought says so and then we feel a contraction as if there really is something. We think we have to let go of something or understand something to be free, but what is there to let go of or that can be grasped by thought ?

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:40 am

Thanks, what you wrote is perfect for me. I think my expectations about what I should be feeling or thinking are getting in the way and I have trouble believing that what I am experiencing and feeling right now is really enough. And so I think about what I think I should be doing or how I think I should be feeling, and miss the boat.

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:32 pm

I think my expectations about what I should be feeling or thinking are getting in the way and I have trouble believing that what I am experiencing and feeling right now is really enough. And so I think about what I think I should be doing or how I think I should be feeling, and miss the boat.
Don't worry. This is what we have all spent a life time doing. In schools too the focus is on getting a good grasp of information on various topics. It becomes an automatic habit and we start to learn to feel secure when there is a belief that we understand something or we understand what is going on. But this is different. It's a bit like in breath meditation when you just notice each time the mind wanders of into thought. Just, gently bring it back to what is here, now, in experience. All is well, you can relax. Thoughts can never have the answers. If we keep doing this then we can gain confidence in what is real, even if thoughts cannot hold this truth. One thing to watch out for is that when there is a clear seeing thoughts can change to seem like they know. Bur whatever conclusion they seem to draw about the seeing, is not the seeing itself. They can't actually know anything can they ? And over time they will drift off like you have been noticing and start thinking things should be different like when you say : "And so I think about what I think I should be doing or how I think I should be feeling, and miss the boat".

Take a look at each of the following and let me know what you find :

Is there a thinker of thoughts ?

Is there a chooser who decides ?

Is there a doer of actions ?

Is there a controller who has any control ?

Is there an experiencer who experiences ?

Does it seem like any of these things are here ?
If a lot comes up, don't feel like you need to address them all fully in one post

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:39 am

One thing to watch out for is that when there is a clear seeing thoughts can change to seem like they know. Bur whatever conclusion they seem to draw about the seeing, is not the seeing itself. They can't actually know anything can they ?
Yes! This has happened many times. Its so frustrating.
Just, gently bring it back to what is here, now, in experience. All is well, you can relax.
Thank you. Sometimes its a couple of hours where I don't notice! But usually its not this long, its sometimes every few minutes. I do get really angry with myself about it sometimes.

I am going to be away from the computer for a few days again, I am helping to drive my niece to college. Hopefully there will be some quiet time, let me spend time with each of the questions you asked, or at least the first few.

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:37 pm

Hey Holly !
Sometimes its a couple of hours where I don't notice! But usually its not this long, its sometimes every few minutes. I do get really angry with myself about it sometimes.
Maybe it would be useful to look for what control you have over whether this happens or not. So i suggest you look at this one first since it seems to be a "live" issue.

I hope the road trip goes well and you enjoy spending some time with family

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:54 am

Hello Richard!

Its been a few days since I wrote. The road trip was good but very intense, there are some family dynamics that were challenging and so it was emotional, plus pretty draining as there was quite a lot of driving. However, all good stuff.

In regards to your question as to whether or not I have control over when I am attentive or not. This is the damndest thing. I don't have any control over it!! How crazy is this? Its the core spiritual practice and yet I have no control over it! I realized this a while ago but many times I hear again the spiritual admonishment to remain aware and since people giving this instruction are probably more advanced than me, I doubted myself over and over again that I don't have any control. But time and time again I see that I don't have control over it. But for some reason I have a really hard time fully accepting it. If I accept this, it means I can't do anything at all to further this process, and that is really scary and painful.

But, it's still true, right? Its true I'm not controlling it, and I'm not controlling whether or not I believe it...

I spent a good amount of time reflecting on the first question in your list, is there a thinker of thoughts? When my mind first phrased the words "Is there a thinker of thoughts" the mind answered "Yes, its me", and then the question comes "Who are you" and there is silence only. This happened a number of times, and then the mind stopped saying so surely "Yes, its me". I watched thoughts arise and felt that they were me. Then I noticed that the thoughts were preceded by a different sort of thought, kind of a pre thought, its short just a flash, but an idea that just arises and is just a feeling, it isn't a picture or words, somehow its just instructing my mind to then speak a thought such as "is there a thinker of thoughts". I don't control this pre-thought. The spoken thought comes a split second after it, almost at the same time.

I noticed that thoughts are again only a sensation. They are just part of the fabric of all sensations that are happening in the now.

I can see more clearly that there is no thinker of thoughts. This is getting easier to see when I notice a thought.

All thoughts are just dreams, aren't they? The truth is underneath, and it is silent.

On to the next question in your list: "Is there a chooser who decides".

Thank you very much, although I didn't write for a few days, this was some wonderful reflecting that happened.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:30 pm

Hi Holly

Yes, indeed, some wonderful reflecting and exploring has been happening. :-)

So although control isn't something that we can find or do, It doesn't seem like things are completly random. The mind/body seems to be very good at taking care of what needs to happen, yes ?

I am interested about the fear and pain. Is that because if you don't have control, there is a belief that you won't be able to fulfill a role or job that you are supposed to be doing ?

More nice looking at thoughts and thinker too !

I'm looking forward to hearing about what comes up when you take a look at chooser, doer and experiencer !

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby Holly » Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:03 pm

Hi Richard,

The reasons for the fear and pain seem to be a little different and change each time, but the overall theme of them is probably pretty much the same. It seems to be because not having control means really giving everything up. There is a chronic dislike with myself and who I am in the now. The belief seems to be that it should be changed and improved, and the addiction to attempt to do this is deep. Giving this up means seeing myself and being myself as I am now. If I don't like the way that is, its very hard to look at it. It also means that everything I have is only what I can feel and experience now. That is scary too. Yesterday it came to me that this is true for possessions, all possessions, both physical and emotional. The fear and resistance was around emotional possessions. I know that nothing changes really as this is moved through, but transforming to just being a formless witness means giving up the I who thinks they are this and that.

Its like I keep getting glimpses and recoil from them, and then it takes some time for me to drop whatever anxiety I have around them because once I've seen it I know its the truth but it seems it takes some time for this mind to adjust.

I've been reflecting on whether there is a chooser. Choices where it feels like I have control as a chooser appear to be made based on thoughts. However these thoughts are not controlled by I. So choices influenced by thought are not choices made by me. Many choices are not made by thought. They just occur (as you say, the body seems to take care of itself). Other choices, in fact many of them, directly contradict what the "I" thinks it would choose it happens all the time actually. I can find no moment in time when a self makes a choice. I cannot find any self which would make any choices. If I try to make a choice deliberately I cannot do it. It's kind of like I can pull apart myself from everything and say, for example, to myself, make a choice to stand up. The body doesn't usually stand up. It eventually does when I'm not exactly expecting it to, because it wants a glass of water or something. Its very weird. The body acts when it wants to.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and we'd go to the Lake with high cliffs and jump into the water. I'd stand there saying "jump, jump, jump", and very often my body just wouldn't do it. Sometimes it would jump when I wasn't expecting it to. Its kind of like that.

So I cannot find any chooser. When I see this I can see that all is just a flow of events and there is no me at all, nothing at all. Yesterday there wasn't as much fear, I felt kind of ok about this, although still feel a sense of loss.

Will reflect now on "Is there a doer of actions". I know these are all similar but each one seems to take me a little deeper.

Holly

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Re: Holly's Thread

Postby richardcooper2k » Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:30 pm

Hi Holly

I'm away now and over the weekend working so I can't give this as much attention as I'd like right now.

Nice looking for the chooser. What you write resonates very much with my own experience. It's great that you are looking at these with such care and allowing them to carry you deeper (although there's nowhere to go and nothing to change)

When you look closely, what do you find that thoughts of dislike can connect with and stick to?

Can you describe what you mean by emotional possessions?

When you are engaging with your dog, is there a formless witness or anything to give up or anyone to give anything up?


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