No idea

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:31 am

Hi Tom,
Thankyou for the questions. Rather than try to write a response to them all now I will make a daily practice of exploring them and write to you if anything comes up.
All right. Write when you feel ready.
Exactly! You have taught me how to look for myself and that is priceless. Thank you!
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: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:48 am

Hi Vivien,
Is there a thinker?
Is there a doer?
Is there a decider?
Is there a seer?
Is there a feeler?
Is there a hearer?
Is there a taster?
Is there a smeller?

Is there an experiencER?

Is there anything having the experience of whatever is happening?
Is there anything what the experience is happening TO?

Is there an enduring, autonomous, independent self, separate from the rest of experience?
Has there ever been an independent separate self?
The more I look at these questions, the more evident it is that there is nothing there other than the experience itself.

Anything that appears to be separate from experience is imagination.


Is searching/seeking still going on?
In some ways there is still searching/seeking.

There was a deep desire to “come home” - to know my true nature - which is no longer here. All seeking or yearning dissolves when the focus of attention is on direct experience and not on the content of thought.

This is freedom from seeking and the suffering that results from the belief in a separate self.

Seeing this absence of self relieves some of the seriousness of stories about “me” and “my life”.

The story of me still remains though and within that there is still a desire to live a “good life”, whatever that may be.

In this sense it seems that there will always be some urge to grow - to have new experiences, to heal old wounds and have a deeper understanding of this fictional character of Me.

There is nothing to heal, nothing more to be or experience than what is here now in direct experience. Despite this, the story of me is still compelling and dominates my experience.

As long as there is a story there must be some kind of goal. I can see that attachment to the outcomes in the story creates suffering whenever things inevitably don’t go as expected. At the same time, it can also be fun to engage in a story.

It’s like looking away from the screen playing the movie, and remembering that what I was watching is not real and the drama is all fiction. And still there is a desire to immerse myself in the movie and feel the emotions of success and failure as the hero struggles with his circumstances.

Tom

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Vivien
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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:45 am

Hi Tom,
In some ways there is still searching/seeking…..
….The story of me still remains though and within that there is still a desire to live a “good life”, whatever that may be.
But is that seeking? By seeking I mean seeking for the ultimate truth, seeking to see that there is no separate self at the core living life.
Yes, the story goes on, and in the story, the character is trying to have a good life.

But the question is: is there an actual solid Tom, an entity, an agency wanting to have a good life?

Or wanting to have a good life is just part of the story, appearing as a thought, just as a line or sentence appears in a novel about the main character wanting to have good life?
In this sense it seems that there will always be some urge to grow - to have new experiences, to heal old wounds and have a deeper understanding of this fictional character of Me.
Yes, the urge can be there.

But is the urge to grow belongs to someone? Or it just appears as another line or sentence in the story? Just another thought?
There is nothing to heal, nothing more to be or experience than what is here now in direct experience. Despite this, the story of me is still compelling and dominates my experience.
My experience?
Is experience happening TO someone?
What is it exactly that is having experience?

Is there an experiencer, or the experiencer appears as a thought as part of experience itself?
As long as there is a story there must be some kind of goal. I can see that attachment to the outcomes in the story creates suffering whenever things inevitably don’t go as expected. At the same time, it can also be fun to engage in a story.
Exactly. So is there a problem to dive into the story time to time? Or is it OK?

Is there anyone having a problem with diving into the story?
It’s like looking away from the screen playing the movie, and remembering that what I was watching is not real and the drama is all fiction. And still there is a desire to immerse myself in the movie and feel the emotions of success and failure as the hero struggles with his circumstances.
What is it that is immersing itself into the story to feel emotions of success and failure?

Is there anyone separate from the move immersing into it?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:04 am

Hi Vivien,
But is that seeking? By seeking I mean seeking for the ultimate truth, seeking to see that there is no separate self at the core living life.
In that sense, there is no strong urge to see the truth. The truth that there is no separate self is apparent when I look. Despite this however, there still seems to be a process of making this clearer.

There is still a habit of assuming there is a self. This has to be consciously corrected through looking.
But the question is: is there an actual solid Tom, an entity, an agency wanting to have a good life?
Not a solid Tom, but a Tom in the story. The idea Tom is no more solid than the concept of a good life. Both are ideas living in thought - elements of the story.

But is the urge to grow belongs to someone? Or it just appears as another line or sentence in the story? Just another thought?
The urge belongs to the character Tom in the story.
In reality there is no belonging, no urge and no Tom. These are all things which exist in thought but have no physical reality.
There is nothing to heal, nothing more to be or experience than what is here now in direct experience. Despite this, the story of me is still compelling and dominates my experience.
My experience?

Is experience happening TO someone?
What is it exactly that is having experience?
The correct term would be "experience" without the "my".

Thank you for pointing this out.

This is the habitual assumption of a self at the centre of experience. Another layer of story that subtly replaces direct experience. It creates a chooser who is deciding between experiencing life through a story or through direct experience.

This is another false assumption though because the story is a part of direct experience - happening within experience rather than alongside it.

This assumption is quite persistent when it comes to the point of attention - the idea that attention is being directed at different objects of awareness.

When I look there is no self - no object and subject apart from each other - just one experience. As soon as the concept of attention appears there is already a subtle idea of a me there who is directing it.

Exactly. So is there a problem to dive into the story time to time? Or is it OK?
There is no problem to dive into the story. The only place there might be a problem is whether there seems to be an I diving into the story. If there is an idea of self that is choosing to dive in or out then there will automatically be judgement and suffering as the I tries to make the right decisions
Is there anyone having a problem with diving into the story?
The problem is not the story itself but the desire to change the story. The attachment to the central character creates an attachment to certain desired outcomes.
What is it that is immersing itself into the story to feel emotions of success and failure?

Is there anyone separate from the move immersing into it?
The whole immersion itself is not actually happening at all but is in the imagination. There is no immersion here and nothing to immerse. As soon as the thought of separation occurs there is an idea of a subject (me) and an object (the story i am immersing in).

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Thu Dec 10, 2020 1:25 am

Hi Tom,
In that sense, there is no strong urge to see the truth. The truth that there is no separate self is apparent when I look. Despite this however, there still seems to be a process of making this clearer.
Yes. As we talked about this before, this is just the beginning. Continuous looking is the key.
There is still a habit of assuming there is a self. This has to be consciously corrected through looking.
Yes, and this is normal. At the beginning, for almost everybody, there is a flip-flopping back and forth between seeing and identifying. Even after the self is seen through. The old conditioning of identifying is still strong, and there is a pull back to identify. So at this stage, which can last some time (and it cannot be known in advance how long it will take), looking should go on to help to stabilize this flip-flopping.
This assumption is quite persistent when it comes to the point of attention - the idea that attention is being directed at different objects of awareness.
Let’s look at this a bit more.

What is there to direct attention?

So this time the focus is not on attention itself, or how it moves, but on the one who is directing, moving it. If there is such thing as a director at all :)

Please spend with this single question a few days. Look as often as possible in your daily life. Even if the reply seems to be clear, look more.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Wed Dec 16, 2020 7:50 am

Hi Vivien,

I have been exploring attention for the last few days.
What is there to direct attention?

So this time the focus is not on attention itself, or how it moves, but on the one who is directing, moving it. If there is such thing as a director at all :)
One of the things I was getting stuck on was this idea that attention gets pulled around and distracted from direct awareness and into thought.

On top of that is the thought that there is a controller of attention (I) who needs to do a better job of focusing on direct experience.

Let me share my exploration of this:

What i find is that attention is not real. It is a concept that exists in thought.

Outside of the thought about attention there is only undivided experience happening. The idea of attention is a way of interpreting this happening as a movement of something towards an object. It is creating two where there is one.

The idea that there is a controller of attention is a kind of extra layer of story that builds on the myth of this subject/object relationship.

The idea that the present moment is ever not being experienced is also an illusion created by thought.

The idea of practice and looking for truth are also layers of thought.

The thought that i am or am not liberated is not true and neither is liberation itself.

Any description at all - even the word experience - is not the truth. The truth cannot be experienced through thought.

Truth can only be seen in direct experience.

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:01 am

Hi Tom,
What i find is that attention is not real. It is a concept that exists in thought.
Exactly! When there is a thought present there isn’t a separate thing called ‘attention’ that is aware of the thought. Can you see this clearly?

It can certainly appear that way sometimes, but it’s not how actually is.
Outside of the thought about attention there is only undivided experience happening. The idea of attention is a way of interpreting this happening as a movement of something towards an object. It is creating two where there is one.
Yes, this is an excellent observation.
The idea that there is a controller of attention is a kind of extra layer of story that builds on the myth of this subject/object relationship.
Beautiful. Both the controller and attention is just a story ABOUT what is happening.
It’s just a concept trying to explain what is happening.
The idea that the present moment is ever not being experienced is also an illusion created by thought.
The idea of practice and looking for truth are also layers of thought.
The thought that i am or am not liberated is not true and neither is liberation itself.
Any description at all - even the word experience - is not the truth. The truth cannot be experienced through thought.
Truth can only be seen in direct experience.
These are all excellent observation. You did a nice investigation :)

Now, look at the thoughts that suggests or presents the idea of attention and a controller.

Aren’t these thoughts also part of what is? An aspect of the whole as appearing thoughts, as phenomena?

Is there any division in reality? In anywhere? Or only ever thoughts talk about division/separation without any grounds in reality?

Here is a lovely exercise, which will deepen what you already found:

Go out into nature and spend some time watching the movement of the whole. See how clouds move, trees swing, leaves wiggle, grass moves, insects, birds - all move all the time.

Then move focus to sensations and see how they too are in constant motion, thoughts come and go, sounds, colours, sensations come and go.

Notice that everything is part of one movement.

Then close your eyes and see if there is a line between you and out there, between you and life itself. If yes, where is the boundary?
Is there an inside and an outside of Life?
Is there something which is not included in the movement of the whole?
Is there a witness that is watching life happening from a distance?
Is witnessing part of the one movement too?
Is there anything which is not just happening?

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: No idea

Postby Vivien » Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:17 am

How things are going? Are you still with me?
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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:23 am

Hi Vivien,

Yes I am still with you. Sorry it's taken so long to reply to your last message. I could give you excuses about being tied up with work and family engagements but it would only be a story.

I suppose the truth is that other things have seemed more important than looking. There is a thought that i have looked 'enough' —whatever that means— and now I get to take a rest.

This is all just part of the fictional 'I' story. I see the importance of continuing to look, to avoid drifting back into the dream where the truth becomes gradually more distant.
Go out into nature and spend some time watching the movement of the whole. See how clouds move, trees swing, leaves wiggle, grass moves, insects, birds - all move all the time.

Then move focus to sensations and see how they too are in constant motion, thoughts come and go, sounds, colours, sensations come and go.

Notice that everything is part of one movement.

Then close your eyes and see if there is a line between you and out there, between you and life itself. If yes, where is the boundary?
With eyes closed it is easier to see the absence of boundaries. There is sensation without the attachment of a physical location - just a constant flow of sounds and sensations appearing without a name or position.

The thought of I as a separate being uses the sight of the body to draw a boundary between this self and everything else.

When the eyes are closed there is no longer a reference point for this separation, there is no boundary to point to. Only a thought of separation.

With eyes closed It becomes clear that any boundary is artificially created by thought.
Is there an inside and an outside of Life?
Is there something which is not included in the movement of the whole?
No, life is inclusive of all. There is only the imagination of something separate which appears in thought. Even thought itself is included in this experience though. Nothing is not included in this.
Is there a witness that is watching life happening from a distance?
Is witnessing part of the one movement too?
Is there anything which is not just happening?
Witnessing suggests that there is an entity separate from what is happening. The witnessing is inseparable from happening. Just movement knowing itself.

Awareness is here. Everything is here. There is nowhere else.

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:41 am

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your honesty.
Witnessing suggests that there is an entity separate from what is happening. The witnessing is inseparable from happening. Just movement knowing itself.
Awareness is here. Everything is here. There is nowhere else.
Beautiful :)

Can you say with 100% certainty that it's been realized that there is no separate self as it is thought to be?
Is there any doubt?

What is the main difference from when you first started this exploration to now?
How does it feel to see that there is no separate self at the core?

Is there anything that you need clarified...anything you are not clear about?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:01 am

Hi Vivien,
Can you say with 100% certainty that it's been realized that there is no separate self as it is thought to be?
Is there any doubt?
I find this a difficult question to answer. I can see clearly that there is no separate self. There is only awareness itself, one with life, everything just happening. Nothing to doubt.

And yet there is still the dream of thought. The story of me and my life and all the ideas that go with it. It seems less a question of doubt but of which perspective. The world of thought is clearly not real or true, but it is immersive, like a good book or film. Most of the time the truth is forgotten amid the drama of the story. Not so much doubt but forgetfulness perhaps.
What is the main difference from when you first started this exploration to now?
How does it feel to see that there is no separate self at the core?
In some ways this realisation is not new. The difference is that I now have a more clear path to something I have previously only had glimpses of.

I no longer attach some fantasy of perfection to this realisation. I realise there is nothing to chase or struggle after. I used to have an idea that I wanted to find 'home' as if it were somewhere other than here. I now know that home is and always will be right here.

To see there is no separate self at the core is liberating - an end to suffering. It's like dropping heavy bags that I've been carrying all my life. The realization is that I don't need any of it. In fact there never were any bags in the first place. I just imagined them.

It's also nothing special. The recognition of something that was here all along and not something that needs to be searched for or struggled after.
Is there anything that you need clarified...anything you are not clear about?
There is a question here somewhere but I can't quite grasp it. There is some dissonance between this story of me and the truth that it isn't real.
There is still a tendency to try to 'do' life instead of resting into the beingness of life.

There is a thought that says I should do more to strengthen my knowing of truth and weaken the illusion of separateness.

Another thought says that there is nothing to be done and that trying to see truth only gives more weight to the illusion that I am separate from it.

If any of this makes sense, I would love to hear your perspective on this sort of paradox.

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:35 am

Hi Tom,
I find this a difficult question to answer. I can see clearly that there is no separate self. There is only awareness itself, one with life, everything just happening. Nothing to doubt.
And yet there is still the dream of thought. The story of me and my life and all the ideas that go with it. It seems less a question of doubt but of which perspective. The world of thought is clearly not real or true, but it is immersive, like a good book or film. Most of the time the truth is forgotten amid the drama of the story. Not so much doubt but forgetfulness perhaps.
This is totally normal, this is how it happens for most of us.

Seeing that there is no separate self is a shift in perception, and not the disappearance of the story of me. And even this shift in perception is not a constant. It’s not a 24/7 thing, at least not at the beginning.

Seeing that there is no inherent self is just the first step, just the beginning and not the end.

At the beginning, for almost everybody, there is a flip-flopping back and forth between seeing and identifying. Even after the self is seen through. The old conditioning of identifying is still strong, and there is a pull back to identify. So at this stage, which can last some time (and it cannot be known in advance how long it will take), looking should go on to help to stabilize this flip-flopping.

Perception changes and with that some reactions may change. The core belief of being a separate self is seen through which also includes others beliefs that support this idea. However, like a rug that is beginning to unravel, there are still many knots (beliefs, patterns) that need undoing. Falling away of conditionings can last at the end of the organism. Continuing to LOOK after the realisation is very much the key.

Probably what you’ve found doesn’t match your expectations, right?
Did you expect the cessation of the story, or the disappearance of self-referential thoughts?
Or perhaps you expected an uninterrupted state of clarity for 24/7?
To see there is no separate self at the core is liberating - an end to suffering. It's like dropping heavy bags that I've been carrying all my life. The realization is that I don't need any of it. In fact there never were any bags in the first place. I just imagined them.
Yes, and this is beautiful. And there are many more packages to drop :) there are lots of conditionings that are still at place, pulling back to story, creating a seeming identifications. The deepening of this process depends on the willingness and openness to continued looking.
There is still a tendency to try to 'do' life instead of resting into the beingness of life.
The story can appear about the person, who is trying. That’s ok. That how the story is.

But the question really is: Is there an actual entity trying to do life? Or this is just a line in the novel/story, how the character shows up?

And what is it that that would rest INTO the beingness of life?

Is there someone that is separate for the beingness of life and trying to get there to rest there?
Who/what is the rester?

Whenever there is a ‘waking up’ from the story, smile for noticing it. Simile for noticing that this is just a story.

But at the same time be careful with the hidden assumption that the dream or story is something that shouldn’t happen, or it should be always clear that this is just a story, and never be lost in the content ever again. Maybe, this would be just another story taken a bit too seriously…. :)

Falling for the story or being without story…. is one superior, more valuable than the other?
In the story clarity or seeing might be the more valued, but is it really so?

Many try to get rid of the story, the self, thoughts, emotions – but is it really necessary?

Does the story (or even diving into the story) have to disappear in order to see that the self is just an idea and not a real entity?

Does it have to disappear at all?

Just notice if there is even just the slightest desire to get rid of the story, or not dive into the dream…

Who or what has a problem with the story/dream?

Is the story/dream happens to someone, therefore it’s better not to dive into the story?

What dives into the story? What believes it?

Or believing or not believing the story is just another story presented by thoughts?
There is a thought that says I should do more to strengthen my knowing of truth and weaken the illusion of separateness.
Another thought says that there is nothing to be done and that trying to see truth only gives more weight to the illusion that I am separate from it.
There is always more to see. As I mentioned before, this is just a beginning, just the first step. There are many beliefs that gradually need to be looked at for slowly to fall away. This process takes years. Often many years, for many, the falling away lasts at the end of the organism, provided there is a continuous looking.

30-40 years of conditionings won’t disappear is a swoop. It took many years to reinforce those patters, so times is needed (many years) to ‘undo’ them.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: No idea

Postby TomnotTom » Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:29 am

Hi Vivien,

Apologies again for my slow response.

The motivation to look seems to have weakened along with the belief in a separate self.
Continuing to LOOK after the realisation is very much the key.
This is where there seems to be stuckness.

What happens when there is suddenly no longer a desire or motivation to look?

There seems to be a resistance, or a struggle between 2 opposing ideas - that there is an I who should look or there is no I and nothing to do.

There is a thought which says what's the point? There is no point, there is no choice, just an experience of sensations and thoughts which make up stories about life. If I decide to look is this not just diving back into 'my' story of awakening?

Does it matter if it happens or not?

Tom

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Re: No idea

Postby Vivien » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:33 am

Hi Tom,
There seems to be a resistance, or a struggle between 2 opposing ideas - that there is an I who should look or there is no I and nothing to do.
Are you that when it’s seen that there is no separate self then that means that there is nothing to do?
What does apparent doing have to do with believing in the self or not?


When the self is seen through is NOT that there is nothing to do. It just means that there is no doer of actions, yet actions and thoughts about actions happen.

“If there is no self then there is nothing to do” is a big spiritual trap! It’s believed by way too many… as if seeing no self would mean becoming lifeless, with no point in doing anything.
What happens when there is suddenly no longer a desire or motivation to look?
It depends what is the source of the lack of motivation. Is it because of the belief ‘no self = nothing to do’… or because the seeking has stopped… since what has been looked for is found, in this case the self is seen through?

It’s totally normal and expected seeking to drop. But it’s different from the belief that ‘no self – nothing to do’.
There is a thought which says what's the point? There is no point, there is no choice, just an experience of sensations and thoughts which make up stories about life. If I decide to look is this not just diving back into 'my' story of awakening?
Do you think that the character Tom in the story should stop doing things?
By the recognition that Tom is just a character, everything becomes pointless?


What I am trying to get to with these questions is that seeking just stopped as the natural by-product of seeing that there is no self at the core… OR… there a new belief has been adopted: ‘there is nothing to do’.

If there is no motivation to look since seeking dropped, that’s ok.
but if this is just a new belief, then there is not over.

If you say that it’s about there being no more seeking, than I can give you some final questions to see if everything is clearly seen.

How does it FEEL to see that there is no separate self?

Could you tell me what changed and what hasn't changed since the start of our conversation?

What is the main difference?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

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

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/


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