Emptiness

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Sitinsilence
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Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:25 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand that the mind is like a water whirlpool spinning. When the mind stops spinning, you are left with that which is aware of the mind, Awareness. That Awareness is non-self, or emptiness.

What are you looking for at LU?
I ran across some Dzogchen talks by Jackson Peterson. Prior to that, I have read a number of books on non-Duality. What I enjoyed about Jackson, is that he took what I had read about non-Duality and took it deeper. He gave me another way of framing the process of thinking about the self that I had not heard or read before. I would like to continue that process, in one way or another, right down into the central emptiness at my core. And, I would like to find a way to stay grounded in that place.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I assume that someone who has successfully walked this path, will understand the pitfalls of the mind and be able to ask questions, or make observations, about my conceptions and thinking, that are obscuring clarity of understanding about Emptiness. In addition, these questions and observations, will hopefully give me the tools to stay grounded in that Space.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
Started with a pursuit of out-of-body experience for about twenty years starting in college. This involved meditating but with an out-of-body experience as the goal. After 20 years of doing this on and off, I stopped when I realized I was having no success. I asked myself, what was my Truth. The only thing I could say I knew for sure was that when I talked, I was aware that I had the feeling that I was talking from a deep emptiness that was both myself, and not myself. The idea of emptiness led me to books on Buddhism, then to Hindu (and other) books on non-Duality, and finally to talks on Dzogchen recently.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how willing are you to question any currently held beliefs about 'self?
11

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Sun Sep 06, 2020 2:20 am

Hi,

Welcome to Liberation Unleashed. My name is Vivien and I can assist you with your inquiry.

This is going to be your inquiry. I will not be giving you new ideas and beliefs; only assisting you in examining and questioning the ones that you already have. We can have a conversation and see where it takes you.

The purpose of which would be for there to be a realisation, more than just intellectually, that there never was and never will be a separate self, as, such. All our efforts will focus on that.

I will tend to ask many questions. That's my job here. These, will be pointers towards no self. It will be for you to examine your experience to find out what's true or not.

I would like to ask you to write only from your experience as you see it, what feels true, with whole honesty.
And also post daily.
If you cannot post, or need more time, please let me know.
Can we agree on these?

Could you please tell me what are you really looking for? How would your life change if you find that?
What are you hoping for to change?
What do you hope that should happen?
Do you have an image in mind how seeing through the self-illusion would be like or feel like?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Sitinsilence
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:30 am

Vivien-
My apologies for not responding sooner. There is a certain amount of lack of clarity from the initial responses about about where to go, and what to do. But I am here, now. To your questions...

Can we agree on these?
Yes to the conditions in your initial note.

Could you please tell me what are you really looking for?
From my teen years, I have felt (intuited), that there should be more to our existence and narrative, both individually and collectively. And I have spent my life searching for that. Maybe I should say I have had the hope that there is a different way to perceive and understand the reality in which we exist. Hopefully, my new (and improved) context would make the existence more meaningful.

How would your life change if you find that?
I am not sure. I would hope that with a different perception and understanding of the larger reality that we exist in, this would in and of itself be meaningful and rewarding.

What are you hoping for to change?
My understanding and consequently a different way of interacting with the world. (See prior question answer.)

What do you hope that should happen?
My understanding I hope, at this point, is a recognition of the nature of non-self. I like the metaphor that each of us is similar to a whirlpool. The center of the whirlpool represents our emptiness/nothingness. The actual whirling water represents the mind and the emotions, etc. When I meditate, and when I remember in my day to day life, I try and sit as that emptiness (in the back of the back of the back) and let the whirling water dissipate. Honestly, I am not sure what happens when my identification switches from the whirling stuff, to the empty awareness. Or, if my very concepts are constraining my understanding. Hence, this dialogue.

Do you have an image in mind how seeing through the self-illusion would be like or feel like?
No, not really. (See answer to prior question.)

Vivien

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:53 am

Hi,

What name would you like me to call you?

I would like to ask you to learn to use the quotation function, so our conversation will be easier to read later for both of us.
So here is the link to a video how to quote:
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=660

Thank you for getting through these questions about expectations. It’s important, because every expectation is in a way of seeing what is here, right now.

Every expectation is a ‘hindrance’ in realizing what IS. Expectations result in comparison. Comparison between what is happening, and the imagined expectation. Thus what has been seen can be thrown out or ignored, since it doesn’t match the expected outcome.
Maybe I should say I have had the hope that there is a different way to perceive and understand the reality in which we exist.
This assumes that there is something separate form what exists, and this ‘thing’, ‘me’, could understand reality IN which it exists.
So this desire is based on the idea that there is a me, a self that is separate from everything else, and exists inside reality. But what if this assumption itself is already ‘flawed’? Meaning, that is based on an unquestioned belief.
Hopefully, my new (and improved) context would make the existence more meaningful.
Again, the same idea that there is a separate self / me who has context, or understands contexts and as a result of this new understanding could realize that there is more meaning to existence.

But what if there is no independent autonomous me who could understand anything?
And what if it turns out that there is no meaning to existence at all?
Would this seeming entity (me) be disappointed then?
And what if the one that could be disappointed is just a fictional character, but not an actual fragment of existence?
I am not sure. I would hope that with a different perception and understanding of the larger reality that we exist in, this would in and of itself be meaningful and rewarding.
But meaningful to whom? This desire is based on the idea that there are millions of separate selves existing inside reality, and this particular instance, called ‘me’, could find more meaning and thus feel rewarded.
My understanding and consequently a different way of interacting with the world.
But what if there is no inherent self interacting with the world? What if in this very moment when it SEEMS that there is a me interacting with the world, there is already no actual, inherent me doing it? What if the one that is seemingly interacting is just a fictional character?
When I meditate, and when I remember in my day to day life, I try and sit as that emptiness (in the back of the back of the back) and let the whirling water dissipate.
OK. Let’s see what happens here. When you sit and meditate, there is still someone who is sitting down and meditating. There is a character who is the seeming meditator. And this character sits in ‘emptiness’ (as if emptiness would be another thing or a place). So although there is the recognition of ‘emptiness’, it still happens to someone, to ME. And this me is separate from it and can go there. It just has to meditate.

But what if this doer, this meditator is nothing more than a narrative overlaying experience?
Honestly, I am not sure what happens when my identification switches from the whirling stuff, to the empty awareness.
OK, but there is still someone who identifies itself as awareness. So there is still a subtle belief in an entity, just now its identification moved from the body-mind to awareness.

But what if there is literally no-one who is moving back and forth between ordinary experience and meditation? What if the is no-one identifying as the body-mind in everyday life, but as awareness in meditation? What if there is no identifier?
Or, if my very concepts are constraining my understanding.

What if concepts don’t belong to anyone? Rather just free-floating without being anchored to a person, to a me?

Please ponder on my comments to see your expectations from a different perspective. Because what I can say for sure, it won’t be how you imagine it to be. Since it cannot be known in advance. It’s never how one imagines it to be.

So it would be the best, if you could drop all your expectations, and just to be a clean slate.

The thing is that it cannot be know in advance how it will be. Why? Because all expectations come on behalf of a separate self, who is always in a search for peace, happiness, lack of fear and suffering. We simply cannot imagine it, since we cannot step outside from the separate self’s perspective. We can only imagine it within the dream of me. The illusionary me is simply unable to imagine how it would be if it were discovered to be just a fictional character and not a reality. It can only imagine what it wants for itself.

Please, put all the books and videos aside, we are going to be focusing on what you see, rather than what you have learned. Can we agree on this?

Before starting, please read my above comments carefully a few more times and tell me what comes up by reading the comments about the expectations.
Is there any resistance to any of it?
Do you feel ready to start the investigation?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Sitinsilence
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:34 pm

Vivien-
What name would you like me to call you?
Dean is my name. The video was easy to understand. I would also recommend that they have a video when for when people first signup that explains the process. That would have helped with my process confusion.

Please, put all the books and videos aside, we are going to be focusing on what you see, rather than what you have learned. Can we agree on this?

Yes.
Before starting, please read my above comments carefully a few more times and tell me what comes up by reading the comments about the expectations.
1) Expectations as hindrances. I understand the idea as you have explained it. However, how does one exist without an expectation? Seems like you must expect things/responses from your environment.

2) Assumptions about me. If I understand your points correctly...

2a) I should not assume there is an autonomous me to understand anything. Ok. Then how does one sit/move/be without some self-reference?

2b) What if there is no meaning to existence at all? OK. My sense is that we give meaning to things we are in relationship to. And, that meaning has infinite variations. I am not sure what no meaning looks like.

2c) Would that disappoint me? I suppose if there is no fictional character (separate from anything), there is no one to be disappointed and everything just is. But, yes, I was operating from the premise that there would be some satisfaction in understanding things.

2d) Is it possible that I am a fictional character, not an actual fragment of existence? I am aware of when I am not thinking. So I can accept the fact that I am separate from the thinking. I think, however, the Self you are referring to is different than the "I" without thought. I have always thought the I without thought is subjective awareness.

3) What if there is no inherent fictional self interacting with the world? I can accept this. I am just not sure what this looks like.

4) Meditation. I am aware that there is a place beyond thinking in myself. I am aware that when I reach back into myself, there is no "I" which is me. Just void/subjectness which I call awareness. When I meditate, or engage in my day to day activities, I try to sit in this place.

4a) What if the meditator is only a narrative? I can accept the fact that this meditator is a narrative. But what exists then? Nothing?

4b) You say: What if there is literally no-one who is moving back and forth between ordinary experience and meditation? What if the is no-one identifying as the body-mind in everyday life, but as awareness in meditation? What if there is no identifier?

I suppose I am confused. I find myself thinking of the subjective awareness, which I know that I am, which I guess I have been aiming to be more of that. And I identify with my thoughts at other times. May just be semantics but when you are talking as "awareness in meditation" are we not talking about the same awareness that I call the subjective awareness?
Is there any resistance to any of it?
No. Just trying to understand what it is to look at the world without the dream of me. I feel like there is a thought me and an awareness. Seems like there is a deeper core in the awareness that I am somehow missing.

I appreciate your help and patience,
Dean

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:45 am

Hi Dean,
1) Expectations as hindrances. I understand the idea as you have explained it. However, how does one exist without an expectation? Seems like you must expect things/responses from your environment.
By expectations, I don’t mean it generally, just specifically expecting how the realization will be like. Let’s say you expect that seeing through the self illusion will bring a non-ordinary state into your ordinary life. If you expect this then you will be chasing this non-ordinary state, and the meanwhile, you can miss the what is in front of you, the simplicity of what is.
2) Assumptions about me. If I understand your points correctly...

2a) I should not assume there is an autonomous me to understand anything. Ok. Then how does one sit/move/be without some self-reference?
This is not what I meant. I just pointed out the beliefs you have and probably not aware of. So what we are going to do is to investigate your beliefs.
2b) What if there is no meaning to existence at all? OK. My sense is that we give meaning to things we are in relationship to. And, that meaning has infinite variations. I am not sure what no meaning looks like.
The thing is that all your comments are coming from thinking. And that’s all right, since this is what we all do. But with this inquiry your intellect won’t be needed. We won’t analyse, speculate or philosophize about anything. Since all of these belong to the realm of thinking, which is totally useless tool for discovering how things actually are.

We are only ever going to investigate our immediate experience, and thus we will check whether the thoughts and beliefs we have can stand up to the scrutiny of experience.

Since the illusion itself is mainly created by thoughts. So we cannot use the same tool what has been creating the illusion in the first place.
2c) Would that disappoint me? I suppose if there is no fictional character (separate from anything), there is no one to be disappointed and everything just is. But, yes, I was operating from the premise that there would be some satisfaction in understanding things.
You see, this is an expectation. And if you cannot put aside the desire for a satisfaction of understanding things, then you will be after the feeling of satisfaction and not actually recognizing how things are in reality. That’s why we need to put aside our expectations about how awakening should be like.

And your intellect will never be satisfied. First, it’s the nature of thoughts to never be satisfied, and second, seeing how things are won’t bring that kind of intellectual understanding that you are after. Quite the contrary. What can be discovered that reality is utterly meaningless, since only thought try to add meaning to everything. But what is beyond thoughts cannot be understood by the mind, thus cannot have any meaning.
2d) Is it possible that I am a fictional character, not an actual fragment of existence? I am aware of when I am not thinking. So I can accept the fact that I am separate from the thinking.
I’m going to be blunt here, if you don’t mind :) our acceptance or non-acceptance don’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if I can accept something intellectually or not. Since I’m still operating in the level of beliefs. But reality is not a belief.
We are going to investigate experience directly, so intellectual acceptance or the lack of it, won’t be needed.
I think, however, the Self you are referring to is different than the "I" without thought. I have always thought the I without thought is subjective awareness.
OK, so this is what you think. But our thoughts are not the representations of facts. As we go deeper, you can discover how much of our thoughts are not in line with reality / experience, and they are just made up.

So we are going to compare our thoughts with the immediacy of experience to test if our thoughts actually telling the truth (or we’ve been fooling ourselves in our whole life).
4a) What if the meditator is only a narrative? I can accept the fact that this meditator is a narrative. But what exists then? Nothing?
We are going to go beyond the thought of “I can accept…” – since this is just a thought. I cannot answer your questions, since that would be just another intellectual understanding or knowledge for you, which has no value in this inquiry.

Actually, all intellectual understanding is in the way of seeing what is here right now in the immediacy of experience.
I suppose I am confused. I find myself thinking of the subjective awareness, which I know that I am, which I guess I have been aiming to be more of that. And I identify with my thoughts at other times. May just be semantics but when you are talking as "awareness in meditation" are we not talking about the same awareness that I call the subjective awareness?
I cannot answer this, since this question is coming from thinking, which is in direct opposition of looking and investigating experience.

Rather, we start to investigate thoughts. Seeing thoughts clearly is essential part of the inquiry.

It is very important that you never think or ponder on the questions. Rather you actually have to look what you can see in your immediate experience before any thought interpretation.

Please always be thorough with looking. Look repeatedly several times before replying.

What do you do exactly in order to think?

How do you make (or birth) thoughts into existence?


Please be careful not to think about these questions, but actually sit and NOTICE how you think, how you do it exactly. So don’t go to theories, speculations, philosophy, or any learned information. Just notice what is happening here now in the immediacy of your own experience.

Please spend a whole day investigating these questions. Look again and again and again. Even if the answer seems to be clear, look more.

This investigation is about persistent repetition. Looking at the same thing again and again in experience, what brings about the realization.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:29 am

Vivien-
It has been a busy work day. But throughout the day I found myself pausing and trying to notice where my thoughts were coming from. Didn't feel like I really had the time to give this question serious attention. I probably could spend another day, or three, on this. To your questions:
What do you do exactly in order to think? How do you make (or birth) thoughts into existence?
Sometimes...what I would notice was that I did kind of go unconscious. When I would put my attention on my thoughts, that is when I wouldn't think. Then I would momentarily stop paying attention to my thoughts and drift off (go unconscious), and a thought would popup, which I would notice and follow.

Also...seems like my mind just continuously spits out sentences, thoughts, images and ideas. My attention then picks one or the other and says, "my thought." And we are off and running.

I suppose, in either case, I am looking for/at my thoughts rather then truly generating them. This is contrast to what most humans think, that they consciously make/choose their thoughts.

Any other suggestions on what to look for?

Gratitude for your help and patience,
Dean

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:35 am

Hi Dean,
I suppose, in either case, I am looking for/at my thoughts rather then truly generating them. This is contrast to what most humans think, that they consciously make/choose their thoughts.
Yes. So this is what we investigate here. The general belief is that “I am the thinker of my thoughts, I think”. So we are testing this belief/assumption to see if it’s actually corresponds with experience… or… we’ve been just fooling ourselves in most of our lives, believing that I not just have control over thoughts, but I’m the source of them, I generate them.
Didn't feel like I really had the time to give this question serious attention. I probably could spend another day, or three, on this.
Yes, please do so. It’s important to be super clear on this. So look at this again and again, and even when it seems pretty clear, look a bit more :)

Is there any thought, any at all, that is made by you? Or all thoughts, without exception, happen on their own, without any doing on your part?
Gratitude for your help and patience,
You are welcome :)

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:17 pm

Vivien-
Is there any thought, any at all, that is made by you? Or all thoughts, without exception, happen on their own, without any doing on your part?
I find thoughts are elusive. The thoughts do not occur when I am looking for them. But. a moment of inattention and there they are. Of course, at that point it is too late. I have my arms around a wild horse's neck and I am flying along. Once I recognize where I am, I can let go and get off the horse.

It does seem that I kind of point myself in a thought direction, and in response, thoughts pop up in that direction. I am thinking about thoughts. Thoughts are popping up about thoughts. But, I suppose that "pointing myself in a direction" itself is a thought or impulse. Just another horse.

Suggestions on how to look for/at thoughts?

On another note, when I am sitting in silence, I am reduced to a dimensionless point. From that dimensionless point, seems like there is no boundary between myself and everything else.

Smiles and gratitude,
Dean Raizman

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:58 am

Hi Dean,
I find thoughts are elusive. The thoughts do not occur when I am looking for them. But. a moment of inattention and there they are.
It might SEEM that thoughts don’t occur when looking for them, but it’s just seemingly that way.
Thoughts are almost always on.
But you might not notice them to be thoughts, because you are so identified with them, that you cannot see their thought-ness.

This is the difference between being awake and dreaming.
To be able to notice thoughts in the moment when they are there.
That’s the only way to be able to observer their ‘nature’.
As long as there is a strong identification with thoughts, they cannot be observed ‘from a distance’.
But. a moment of inattention and there they are. Of course, at that point it is too late.
Yes. So you just get an information of previous thoughts by the content of the present thought.
But you don’t see the present thought to be a thought either, since the focus is strongly on the content, what it says.
It does seem that I kind of point myself in a thought direction, and in response, thoughts pop up in that direction.
What do you mean by “I kind of point myself in a thought direction”?
On another note, when I am sitting in silence, I am reduced to a dimensionless point. From that dimensionless point, seems like there is no boundary between myself and everything else.
The thing is that it doesn’t really matter what happens when you meditate, if in your normal, everyday life you are totally lost in and identified with thoughts.

It would be better if you could spend this time for noticing thoughts.
It might be pleasant to be in a state of ‘dimensionless point’, but that doesn’t help you with your normal everyday consciousness.

The only thing that actually matters what can you see here now in this very moment without getting into any altered state. Just being a normal, ordinary human.

Realization can only happen here-now.
Not in a special state.
Just here. Just now.
Moment by moment, in ordinary life.

Seeing thoughts clearly is essential. Since the illusion is mainly created by thoughts.

So I’m going to give you only one exercise.

Sit down and just notice the current thought that is present.
Just notice it.
And then notice how it goes. It disappears by being replaced by another thought.
Just notice this.
Like watching a movie.
But now you are watching an internal movie of thoughts.
Just sit and watch.
But don’t try to dissolve or merge or become a dimensionless point, rather stay with the ordinary consciousness.
Just stay here, don’t move. Notice thoughts come and go.
Just notice what’s happening.

Let me know what you discover.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:51 am

Hi Dean,

How is your investigation going? Are you still with me?

Have a nice day,
Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Sitinsilence
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Sitinsilence » Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:04 pm

I think you misunderstand me. When I say dimensionless point, it just means that everything is being seen, including objects and thoughts, from a place of emptiness. And, the no-boundary, means that everything, objects and thoughts, are at the same time are seen as arising within Oneness.

But, I continue to pay attention to my thoughts as they arise. I know that they arise and dissipate. Sometimes I catch them, and sometimes I identify with them. In either case, I recognize that they rise and fall independent of me as awareness. I will keep at it.

Many thanks,
Dean Raizman

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Vivien
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Re: Emptiness

Postby Vivien » Tue Sep 22, 2020 5:09 am

Hi Dean,
In either case, I recognize that they rise and fall independent of me as awareness. I will keep at it.
And what is it exactly that identifies itself as awareness?
Where is the I that states that “I am awareness”?
Sometimes I catch them, and sometimes I identify with them.
And what is it exactly that is sometimes catching thoughts, but other times identifies with them?
What and where is this I that does this?

I think you misunderstand me. When I say dimensionless point, it just means that everything is being seen, including objects and thoughts, from a place of emptiness. And, the no-boundary, means that everything, objects and thoughts, are at the same time are seen as arising within Oneness.
OK. The words of awareness, emptiness and oneness are commonly used pointers. But the problem is that these pointers are often taken on as beliefs, without actually seeing that we took on them as beliefs. So we create some sort of ideas and images of them, and we easily say that ‘me as awareness’, or that thoughts come FROM a ‘place of emptiness’, or they are ‘arising WITHIN oneness’.

So although these could be useful pointers, they often taken on as an unseen beliefs or a mental images.
So what I’m asking you to do is to investigate these assumptions to see for yourself.

Are you willing to question and investigate these ideas?

So HOW do you know that things are seen FROM a ‘place of emptiness’?
HOW do you know that things arising WITHIN oneness?

What is the EXPERIENCE of oneness? Not the idea of it, but the direct experience of it?

Is there a mental image showing some sort of empty space where things arise IN or seen FROM?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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