It is what it is...

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:33 am

Hi Rod,

Than your reply.

I'm going to edit the formatting a bit if you don't mind. Something has gone wrong with the quoting - I guess when you were editing it. I'm going to correct that to make it easier to read.

Also, your answers seem to finish at 5b - either you didn't finish or again, something got lost in your editing process?

Anyway, I'll have a read of what you have posted... If the quote function is proving tricky, there is no need to worry about it for these questions - as long as I know which one you are answering that will be sufficient!

Hope you are well over there. I'll get back to you once I have had a read through. Please send on the answers to the other questions when you can!

Best,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:40 am

Thanks Dave.... I don't know what happened there and yes, I completed all the questions.

If that's ok, I'll resend without trying to use the quote function. It should be clear which wuestion I'm as swearing as i copied each one as a header to my answer.

Thanks

Rod

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:06 am

1) Is there a separate entity 'self', 'me' 'I', at all, anywhere, in
any way, shape or form?

No. Looking closely it becomes apparent that the concept of a separate 'I' 'me' 'self' is just that, a concept. Not something that actually exists. It's a mistaken perception.

Was there ever?

Again no. The idea of the existence of an internal ‘self’ entity begins very early in life but is an illusion, an unreal perception, from the very beginning.

2) Explain in detail what the illusion of separate self is, when it
starts and how it works from your own experience.
Describe it fully as you see it now.

The illusion of separate self is the idea/belief that there exists within us, a continual intangible, overseeing, controlling, decision-making entity, generated by the brain or supernaturally endowed, that can actively plan, make choices and 'do' things. That it can somehow stand back and observe life separate from it, and can have an effect on the way life occurs. The illusion is that the separate self actually experiences events. (I heard... I saw...). Creating the illusion of an "experiencer" experiencing an experience. The actuality is that experience occurs by itself and isn’t “experienced” separately at all.
The illusion of the continuity of 'self' is in thoughts. My memory-thoughts perceive “me” as having experienced events 'in the past' and the same 'self' will experience events 'in the future'.
The illusion of being a 'separate self' starts as soon as we, as children, begin to acquire language and form concepts of 'self' and 'other'. We learn to think of "ourself" as existing at the centre of "our" life. "I" think, "I" do, "I" choose, "I" have, ... "I" everything ... It's all thought of as being experienced by the “me" that exists separately. The idea is so deeply imbued in perception, that the thought/label "I" attaches itself to every aspect of life.
In actuality experience is experience, nothing more.There is no separate self seeing, hearing, tasting, thinking, etc. No "self" does, chooses, feels ...
Life happens all by itself.

3) How does it feel to see this?
What is the difference from before you started this dialogue?
Please report from the past few days.

For me, it's the difference between an idea and actuality. For quite a while I've known about theoretical ideas of "no-self" but it's only been through this dialogue and close investigation that I've been brought to actually see/know that "self" is simply a notion, a concept like "tomorrow" or "the horizon". Useful for social navigation but not existing in reality.
That realisation has created a profound difference in perspective. Previously believing "I" was responsible for pretty much everything happening in "my" life, I was a pretty anxious individual much of the time. Trying to please others was high on my agenda.
Understanding there's no "I" to please or be pleased, the sense of liberation is great. It doesn't mean the I've suddenly turned into an uncaring individual. I just continue as before without the sense of pressure and anxiety. There may be a greater sense of compassion and understanding when I see other people struggling with their situation. Also, for me, every weighty decision for the future has been taken out of 'my' hands. I'm released from all the worry about making the 'right' choices. They'll still be made but 'I' don’t make them.

4) What was the last bit that pushed you over, made you look?

After quite a few years of looking at various systems I pretty much came to the conclusion that no-one really had a handle on what was going on except for a few zen ideas which seemed fairly down-to-earth and grounded. The idea of "killing one's ego" sounded a bit nonsensical. Then I came across the LU site which made two things unequivocally clear. (A) What it is, (B) What it isn't.
I read "Careless Gatecrashers" and the technique of guided conversations beginning with the precept that there's actually no 'I' made sense so I registered.
The ongoing dialogue challenged me and the realisation of "honesty" made the difference. It wasn't about ideas, it was about looking at what really happens.
It was the ongoing guidance that brought me to see that "self" exists only as an idea. After applying the exercises and revisiting them a few times, guided by Dave's careful coaching, There it was. Not as a flash of enlightenment. It was more like quietly waking up. All at once obvious.

5) a) Describe decision, intention, free will, choice and control.

All of these are abilities/qualities we ascribe to the illusion "self". When I observe closely, I find "decisions" occur spontaneously by themselves without an "I". The idea of intention is the same, as is free will, choice and control. “Intention” is a thought about something that occurs spontaneously. “Free will” and “choice” could only occur if there were an entity capable of “willing” and “choosing”. There are no controls on life. It’s pretty much free-fall in every direction. There's no "I" to decide, intend, will, choose and control.. They too, like "self" are illusions.

b) What makes things happen? How does it work?
Nothing "makes things work". Life is just seamlessly, 'doing itself' without a separate agency 'doing' it. Everything happens by itself. Trees "tree", birds "bird", life" life's".

c) What are you responsible for?
Nothing. Life goes on as before except that now, it truly is as it is. That phrase is no longer a euphemism. Nothing's changed but everything's changed. Nowhere to go, nothing to get. Life is doing life without any separation.

d) Give examples from experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm currently in protracted business negotiations which, from a business point of view, I'd prefer not to be as vulnerable they are. It's been more than interesting to participate in this investigation into reality at the same time. The business situation is still in flux (as life is) and nothing as yet resolved. Nevertheless, understanding the reality of the situation, that there isn't an "I" involved, never was and never will, and that life will play out as it will, it feels very unusual. I haven't suddenly ceased to care. I'm still fully involved and actively participating in trying to secure the best outcomes, and it's not a case of "think positive thoughts". It's a confidence and sense of ease that comes from the knowledge that "I'm" not making the calls. They're making themselves. However it pans out is absolutely beyond "my control” just as life is and always has been "I'm" here for the ride I guess.
Once again... I used to live for tomorrow. Now I live today.

6) Anything to add?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. Insights tend to surface by themselves.
I’m profoundly grateful for this opportunity. It’s making a profound difference to life.

Once again Dave,

Thanks.

Rod.

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:17 am

Hi Rod,

Thank you for your thorough responses. Before I send these off, I would like to clarify a couple of things with you.
The illusion of the continuity of 'self' is in thoughts.
Absolutely! Agreed. Then...
My memory-thoughts perceive “me” as having experienced events 'in the past' and the same 'self' will experience events 'in the future'.
Are “memory-thoughts” any different from other thoughts? Do the thoughts actually “percieve” anything or is something else going on?

What are thoughts about “self” in actuality, if self is, itself, an illusion?

It might be useful to look at an exercise like “table” again and notice when thoughts are pointing at actual experience, and when they are simply pointing at other thoughts.

As an extension to the “table” exercise we did you can try this:

Close your eyes, imagine a fruit you really love. For me it's a delicious, sweet, juicy peach.

Imagine it as clearly as you can. See its colour, touch its downy, soft skin, smell that delicious peachy aroma.

Imagine biting into the soft flesh and feeling the flavour explode across your tongue as the juice runs down your chin.

Are you imagining it?

Now open your eyes.

Is there a peach, was there ever?

In this example, however vivid it may have seemed, was thought pointing to an actual experience aside from thought, or simply other thoughts?

Do memories exist as actual experience, outside of thought? Or are they purely thought?

Can thoughts perceive anything, or are they purely commentary? If only commentary, is the commentary always about actual experience, or does some of it just refer to other commentary?

Can a memory perceive anything? So is anything or anyone perceiving a me? Did anything ever?

So a memory of a me - what does the”memory-thought” actually refer to? Experience, or just more thought?

If a thought I occurs, regardless of whether the thought refers to a past or a future, what does the thought I refer to?
When I observe closely, I find "decisions" occur spontaneously by themselves without an "I".
Are there any decisions or just experience, events flowing freely. Really look closely at decision again. Can decision exist in itself independently and happen by itself? Or are there no decisions and it's just thought again? When, how is it perceived that something has been decided? By what/whom? When the thought occurs about decision does it refer to an actual experience or simply more thoughts?

Quite a lot to be looking at afresh there - sorry! Relax, enjoy and take your time. I realise it's hard within the confines of language to always be clear…. Language itself perpetuates the illusion - but I'm going to ask you to try to be a bit clearer about those two points - answer all the questions and supplementary questions please!

Let me know how you get on!

Entering in to slightly cooler, drier autumn weather here in Tokyo.

All my best wishes, Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:55 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks for reviewing my stuff. I know you say no patience is required but I'm very grateful.
Are “memory-thoughts” any different from other thoughts? Do the thoughts actually “percieve” anything or is something else going on?
No, memory is simply a thought like any other, as is a “perception”. Thoughts begin and end as thoughts. They aren’t in any way “active’. They don’t “perceive” or “think” or have any attributes other than being what they are. That is, thoughts.
What are thoughts about “self” in actuality, if self is, itself, an illusion?
A thought about ‘self’ isn’t different in any way to another thought. A thought about self is a thought about a thought. Nothing more.
Is there a peach, was there ever?
The “peach” exercise (or in my case banana) is an excellent demonstration of thought pointing to other thought(s). No matter how vivid and real the recall seems, it’s still exclusively nothing more than thought.
Do memories exist as actual experience, outside of thought? Or are they purely thought?
As I said earlier, memory is ordinary thought.
Can thoughts perceive anything, or are they purely commentary? If only commentary, is the commentary always about actual experience, or does some of it just refer to other commentary?
Again, thought can’t “perceive.” A thought can be a picture or a commentary but in either case, it’s still just a thought. It may be a thought about an actual experience (memory) but again it’s still a thought. It may be an imaginary idea but once again it’s still an ordinary, garden-variety thought.
Can a memory perceive anything? So is anything or anyone perceiving a me? Did anything ever?
No. We understand that memory is a thought. Thoughts don’t perceive. Nothing perceives a “me” and never did. A thought of “me” is just a thought about an idea.

So a memory of a me - what does the”memory-thought” actually refer to? Experience, or just more thought?
A memory-thought is just a thought that we label as “memory.”
If a thought I occurs, regardless of whether the thought refers to a past or a future, what does the thought I refer to?
A thought “I” refers to an imaginary entity which we’ve learned to think of as present at, or participating in, all experiences as in “I” do, “I” have, “I” feel… none of which happen to, or are done by, anything. Things happen. The “I” label is an illusion…. A thought “I” is a thought of an illusory, non-existent entity.
Are there any decisions or just experience, events flowing freely. Really look closely at decision again. Can decision exist in itself independently and happen by itself? Or are there no decisions and it's just thought again? When, how is it perceived that something has been decided? By what/whom? When the thought occurs about decision does it refer to an actual experience or simply more thoughts?
Events occur as they do. Ideas of “decision” are just thoughts that occur about events. No-one and nothing actually “makes a decision”. Thoughts about “making a decision” often happen prior to occurrences which then happen spontaneously themselves, after which thoughts about “the decision made” occur.

Once again, Thank you.

All the best,

Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:20 pm

Hi Rod,

Thanks for continuing to pursue clarity!
It may be a thought about an actual experience (memory) but again it’s still a thought. It may be an imaginary idea but once again it’s still an ordinary, garden-variety thought.
Is memory thought about actual experience?
Can there be experience outside of what is unfolding?

You spoke of the continuity of self being an illusion. If a memory is thought about actual experience, wouldn't that be a continuity?

Is that how the thought is actually experienced? As memory that is of actual experience? Or is it simply another thought, labeled as memory which creates an illusion of continuity?

Can you spot when what is happening becomes a memory? Is a memory an accurate comment or representation of actual experience? Or does it itself create illusion?

There are repeated thoughts, sure. Repeated thoughts that point to experience and repeated thoughts that point to other thoughts. Thoughts pointing to an “I” being a prime example. Are memories thoughts about experience or just thoughts about thoughts, pointing at something that does not exist?
No-one and nothing actually “makes a decision”. Thoughts about “making a decision” often happen prior to occurrences which then happen spontaneously themselves, after which thoughts about “the decision made” occur.

Yes, this is much clearer, brilliant! When thoughts about decision happen seemingly prior to occurances, do the occurrences always follow the thought or does it sometimes turn out differently? In which case, is the concept of decision something actually applied retrospectively? Throw that one around for a bit!
A memory-thought is just a thought that we label as “memory.”
Absolutely!

Brilliant work Rod - keep digging away - I hope this is helping clarify things further.

Best,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:40 am

Hi Dave,
Is memory thought about actual experience?
Can there be experience outside of what is unfolding?
Hearing, seeing, feeling (sensation), taste, smell occur. Nothing/no-one experiences them, they occur. Thought doesn’t experience them in any way. Thoughts about them subsequently occur creating a story. We call these thoughts “memory”. The
thoughts are not about the actual hearing, seeing, feeling (sensation), taste, smell experience. They are about the subsequent thoughts of the experience.
You spoke of the continuity of self being an illusion. If a memory is thought about actual experience, wouldn't that be a continuity?
Yes, it would be but “memory” isn’t thought about the actual experience. It’s thought about thought…. there being no self, there can be no continuity. If I have thoughts about yesterday, the thoughts are about thoughts of yesterday, not the actuality.
Can you spot when what is happening becomes a memory? Is a memory an accurate comment or representation of actual experience? Or does it itself create illusion?
There are repeated thoughts, sure. Repeated thoughts that point to experience and repeated thoughts that point to other thoughts. Thoughts pointing to an “I” being a prime example. Are memories thoughts about experience or just thoughts about thoughts, pointing at something that does not exist?
Memories are solely thoughts about thoughts pointing to other thoughts. Memories aren't about reality.
Memory is a highly impoverished picture of actuality, generalised, embellished, distorted and deleted. Very patchwork.
Memories are thoughts about thoughts pointing at fragmentary illusions, not at actual experience or reality. A memory doesn’t exist in actuality, it's just a thought.
When thoughts about decision happen seemingly prior to occurances, do the occurrences always follow the thought or does it sometimes turn out differently? In which case, is the concept of decision something actually applied retrospectively? Throw that one around for a bit!
Hmmm … yes, that’s interesting. There are thoughts about “I”, “deciding” something beforehand, however, very frequently the outcomes turn out differently and then, if asked, the response is, “I changed my mind because …,” followed by a rationalisation explaining why.
The actuality is, there are thoughts beforehand of an “I” illusion making a choice, then, whatever happens, happens unaffected by the illusion of “making a choice”, following which another set of “I” thoughts occurs of the “I” illusion “having made a choice.”

Thanks Dave,

All the best,

Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:04 pm

Hey Rod..
It’s thought about thought…. there being no self, there can be no continuity.
Yes, certainly no continuous character that moves through experience and somehow connects up time.
If I have thoughts about yesterday, the thoughts are about thoughts of yesterday, not the actuality.
Exactly! And the thoughts are only happening now...

FYI, from my end we have clarified the answers you originally gave to the so-called "final questions"... I am forwarding those and the subsequent thread to my colleagues! Watch this space....

Best,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:14 pm

Thanks Dave,

It's been such an excellent conversation. Your guidance in helping me to look past habitual assumptions, directly at what happens has been of such benefit.

With appreciation,

All the very best to you,

Rod

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DrWilko
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby DrWilko » Thu Oct 11, 2018 1:54 am

Hi Rod,

You will receive a message from admin inviting you to post- gate forums and this thread will move over to archives. Your messages are accessible on the little mailbox widget at the top of the screen I think. I don't know if you do Facebook - there are post gate support and discussion groups there - and there is also a further looking section of the LU site if you want to continue to investigate further...

Thanks again, it's been a beautiful conversation. Enjoy all unfolding!

Warm wishes,
Dave

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Ngakawau
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Re: It is what it is...

Postby Ngakawau » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:06 am

Hi Dave,
I can't thank you enough for the clarity you've brought.

As always,

The very best to you and yours,

Rod


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