Seeking help getting to the exit door

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Tue Apr 02, 2024 8:56 pm

Forgetfulness is to be expected. As the fetters weaken and are broken, the thoughts don't stick to anything, so they just slide off. There's nothing holding them in place.

You could always use reminders, your calendar, an alarm clock, or whatever works for you to explore the questions a few times per day.
I'm really relieved to hear that, even though there are many who wouldn't be, it's good to know there's an explanation other than something really problematic. I'd heard Jeffrey Martin say something similar, but I wasn't sure how reliable that information was. Other people I know in FC have used supplements with varying degrees of success. I'll see about setting some additional reminders, but I have to remember to take the phone out of 'Do Not Disturb' mode! :P
If you notice a sense of self, it can be easy to default to deconstructing it into sensations, thoughts, and so on. We want to avoid this. Keep the feeling of self alive so you can look at what it is.

An example would be if you've built a small person with Lego blocks. We can deconstruct it into pieces and say there's nothing there. But we don't want to do that. Instead, stop just before deconstruction, and look at what it is doing, if anything
I've already spent some time working with these suggestions. The tricky part of this is that the sense of self isn't what it seems to have been in the past. There's this 'hereness' I've spoken of before, but it's not a definite personage defined by a body, with a story etc. I think I'll have to be mindful to remember to look when there are strong feelings or emotions, as that seems to be when a fairly solid "me" shows up, which you said as well. It seems impossible to get around that it almost always turns out to be thoughts, feelings or emotions, bodily contractions/sensations and not just more. That being the case, there's usually a sense that something is being overlooked, something is missed, that there's something more but it just isn't being found. I know you said not to deconstruct it, but when I look at what it is, that's what I see. What am I missing or misunderstanding here?

Sort of the same thing with looking for the feeling that someone is looking. What is looking? Looking is looking. Where is it? Here. How does it work? Intention arises to look at the sense someone is looking, then attention follows the intention. Attention and thinking attempt to find who is looking, but it just seems to be looking, along with a contraction in the stomach, chest and throat area that seems to come from an exertion to find this looker. The looking seems to be completely passive, it just happens after intention and attention do their thing, excluding the effort to find who or what is behind it. Yet there's the sense that something is being missed, overlooked.

So build the lego person, then look at what it is doing?

Okay, I'll have to let that bit about self illusion sink in. It's curious how shifts, transitions or moments of insight always seem to affect the way reactions arise. It's always seemed indicative. It will be sort of difficult to ignore, as it always brings such relief from the unpleasantness of certain reactions. It's nice to be delivered into responding instead of reacting, but okay, I'll work on letting that go.

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Bluejay
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Wed Apr 03, 2024 4:02 pm

That being the case, there's usually a sense that something is being overlooked, something is missed, that there's something more but it just isn't being found. I know you said not to deconstruct it, but when I look at what it is, that's what I see. What am I missing or misunderstanding here?
What tells you that something is being missed?

Remember that not finding a real self is not the lack of an answer. It is the answer.
So build the lego person, then look at what it is doing?

Okay, I'll have to let that bit about self illusion sink in. It's curious how shifts, transitions or moments of insight always seem to affect the way reactions arise. It's always seemed indicative. It will be sort of difficult to ignore, as it always brings such relief from the unpleasantness of certain reactions. It's nice to be delivered into responding instead of reacting, but okay, I'll work on letting that go.
No need to build the lego person, but if it's there, investigate it.

There's also no need to monitor how things are going and what they mean. It can be a relief to see that it isn't needed and never was. :)
I think I'll have to be mindful to remember to look when there are strong feelings or emotions, as that seems to be when a fairly solid "me" shows up, which you said as well.
Yes, take some time to notice if anything shows up with strong emotions.

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:35 pm

What tells you that something is being missed?

Remember that not finding a real self is not the lack of an answer. It is the answer.
It's just a sense, felt in the body. It is a mild tension, there seems to be thought associated with it, but it is very subtle. It's also this lingering belief in a doer/agent. The thought came up "What am I doing" and it seemed perfectly real until the recognition, only a split second later, of the fact that there isn't anyone doing anything. It seems some part of the mind still believes there's someone who can do things, an agent who acts and those actions lead to a desired result. I mean, how many times a day does Darrell do something, believing that he will do something and it will get specific result? Someone who takes an action that leads to a result, a doer who can control things, i.e. get specific results from their actions? It happens a lot. Most of the time it is followed by the recognition that this isn't true, yet that it is taken seriously, that there's a belief in it, even for a moment leads to that conclusion that something is not being seen. That there's something else that hasn't been ferreted out.
No need to build the lego person, but if it's there, investigate it.

There's also no need to monitor how things are going and what they mean. It can be a relief to see that it isn't needed and never was. :)
I should have put that differently, I have no idea why I wrote it that way. What was actually meant was along the lines of what you said. When it shows up, investigate it. I have been doing this since I replied last. It seems impossible to check out this assumed/believed being *without* deconstructing it into its component parts. I don't know how to investigate it without doing that.

I'm not sure what that second sentence is suggesting to do/not do.
Yes, take some time to notice if anything shows up with strong emotions.
It does, but when mind and attention go to look, it's always there's not an 'anyone' there. When anger, annoyance, frustration, joy, fear, etc show up, it immediately sets off a mental reminder to look (funny that this capacity works so well, but I can't remember a conversation I had or TV show I watched yesterday). When the looking happens, it's thoughts, body sensations, etc. There's also this interesting one - there's this attention that looks back at the self/body or the inner sense of 'me'. Not sure how to express this, but it is as if attention, awareness or something gets turned back on to the body. This noticing that there's something here, and it's interpreted as "me". When attention turns back onto self, there's a sense of the bodily feeling that is associated with this reflective attention that creates a sense of me, or so it seems.

Is there some lingering belief that "I" am this body? I thought that illusion had been seen through, but all that leads to some uncertainty. There's no doubt that there's *not* an enduring, persistent Darrell, but there does seem like there's a lingering central agent, or am I misinterpreting these thoughts about "What am I doing", "What are they saying about me", "If I could just lose fifteen pounds" or "I'm so sick of that noisy dog". Is it experience that's being identified with? I'm really sure that I'm unsure what is going on here.

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Bluejay
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Fri Apr 05, 2024 12:38 pm

It's also this lingering belief in a doer/agent. The thought came up "What am I doing" and it seemed perfectly real until the recognition, only a split second later, of the fact that there isn't anyone doing anything.
Can you say more about this belief?

What exactly is the doer/agent doing?
Someone who takes an action that leads to a result, a doer who can control things, i.e. get specific results from their actions? It happens a lot.
Remember that action that leads to a result can happen. The question is, is there a 'you' controlling what actions are taken?
I'm not sure what that second sentence is suggesting to do/not do.
You mentioned that lessening reactivity means good things are happening. This implies monitoring of what is happening and what it means, right?

No need to do anything with this. I was just pointing out that it's okay to relax the monitoring of how inquiry is going/progressing. :-)
It does, but when mind and attention go to look, it's always there's not an 'anyone' there.
A good example might be: Can you feel, for example, anger without deconstructing it into sensations/labels/etc? How do you do that?

Same with the sense of me. When you feel it, the habit can be to deconstruct, but return to the feeling of me, and look at what exactly it is doing. What is it controlling, experiencing, thinking, deciding, and making happen?

All the best,
Henri

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Wed Apr 10, 2024 5:34 pm

It's also this lingering belief in a doer/agent. The thought came up "What am I doing" and it seemed perfectly real until the recognition, only a split second later, of the fact that there isn't anyone doing anything.
Can you say more about this belief?

What exactly is the doer/agent doing?
I'll try. It's difficult to 'english' because it's so difficult to get a fix on. I'm not sure I'd call it a belief anymore, I've been trying to get a look at it for a week or so, with no real success. It is the result of the fact that anything in known. You see, hear, feel, etc and that is known. You know you heard sound, saw the eclipse, etc. What knows? How does it know? But it hit me this morning, this alleged knower, isn't a who. It is a *property* or capacity. I'm not even sure anything is even known. If something appears at a sense door, it is simply seen, heard, felt and so on. But it's still a matter of getting that clearly, perfectly clearly so there isn't any doubt. What does it do? It witnesses. It sees, hears, feels. It is the recognition of what shows up at the sense doors, or so I thought. This idea comes from Ajahn Chah, who once said something about "the one who knows" but I think I misunderstood his actual meaning.
Someone who takes an action that leads to a result, a doer who can control things, i.e. get specific results from their actions? It happens a lot.
Remember that action that leads to a result can happen. The question is, is there a 'you' controlling what actions are taken?
Right. It's not the intention/action/result chain that's the issue. It's that it's taken as true that "I" can control things by way of intention and action. But no, when I look into it, there's not an "I" who is doing it. But in the moment, as it's happening, something in the mind buys into this long standing habit of doing, that there's someone doing. Even though I know, see a feel it that there's not an "I" or "me" here!
I'm not sure what that second sentence is suggesting to do/not do.
You mentioned that lessening reactivity means good things are happening. This implies monitoring of what is happening and what it means, right?

No need to do anything with this. I was just pointing out that it's okay to relax the monitoring of how inquiry is going/progressing. :-)
In the monitoring, such as it is, it's used as an opportunity to see that everything happens naturally on its own. This was seen quite clearly yesterday, and there was an 'A-ha!' moment around that. There was a clear seeing and understanding that things happen naturally on their own, without any input from someone or anyone. Sure beings, not just humans, are moving parts in everything happening, but it isn't personal. I frequently get these quiet insights, or 'A-ha' moments. It seems like this mind needs to get this slowly, not all at once like some do.
It does, but when mind and attention go to look, it's always there's not an 'anyone' there.
A good example might be: Can you feel, for example, anger without deconstructing it into sensations/labels/etc? How do you do that?

Same with the sense of me. When you feel it, the habit can be to deconstruct, but return to the feeling of me, and look at what exactly it is doing. What is it controlling, experiencing, thinking, deciding, and making happen?
I think so. With anger or any other feeling, it's just feeling it, without any label, or breaking it into component parts. Anger, feelings in general are felt and seen quite clearly. This "I" sense seems to be more elusive. When looking into it, it seems to disappear, or step back into the shadows. Which as you said a while back, is the answer. That it can't really be seen needs to be understood is the answer. Sort of like that old saying "No is a complete answer" (yes is as well). It seems that this "I" sense is more of a belief or some sort of mental phenomena. That's how it seems lately, with more investigating.

When looking carefully, it's always found there isn't anyone controlling, experiencing, thinking, deciding and making things happen. There has been a lurking sense, as I've mentioned before, that with intention, action result, there has been a lurking sense there's someone there. But it's only there, as an assumption (which is a belief and mental phenomena), in the moment. If I do any of those things, while carefully keeping attention in the moment, and watch, I see there's no one doing any of those things. They just arise organically out of the flow of cause and effect.

Thank you Henri

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Bluejay
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Thu Apr 11, 2024 2:20 pm

Hello Darrell :)
Right. It's not the intention/action/result chain that's the issue. It's that it's taken as true that "I" can control things by way of intention and action. But no, when I look into it, there's not an "I" who is doing it. But in the moment, as it's happening, something in the mind buys into this long standing habit of doing, that there's someone doing. Even though I know, see a feel it that there's not an "I" or "me" here!
Exactly, you won't find anything, but there may be a sense of something. Look at what the sense is assumed to be doing, and see if it is doing that.

For example: How exactly is the "I" controlling things by way of intention and/or action?

When you investigate, do you see that there's nothing there and stop, or do you stay there and look?

For the shift to happen on a gut level, it's important to stay there.
This "I" sense seems to be more elusive. When looking into it, it seems to disappear, or step back into the shadows. Which as you said a while back, is the answer. That it can't really be seen needs to be understood is the answer. Sort of like that old saying "No is a complete answer" (yes is as well). It seems that this "I" sense is more of a belief or some sort of mental phenomena. That's how it seems lately, with more investigating.
What exactly is it that disappears or steps back into the shadows?

:-)

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:09 am

Exactly, you won't find anything, but there may be a sense of something. Look at what the sense is assumed to be doing, and see if it is doing that.

For example: How exactly is the "I" controlling things by way of intention and/or action?

When you investigate, do you see that there's nothing there and stop, or do you stay there and look?

For the shift to happen on a gut level, it's important to stay there.
Oooh, there's the rub. I see there's nothing there and stop. It never occurred that the attention should remain there. I can do that, but I expect the attention will wander in pretty short order. Wish it wouldn't, but that's what minds tend to do.
What exactly is it that disappears or steps back into the shadows?
Good question. It is elusive, it evades attention. It's as if looking at/for it causes it to disappear. Lately it seems like a mental sense, almost like a wordless thought of "I" or "I am this/this is me". That's why I've said it's an assumption. It seems like a preconceived idea of being someone.

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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Fri Apr 12, 2024 10:18 am

Oooh, there's the rub. I see there's nothing there and stop. It never occurred that the attention should remain there. I can do that, but I expect the attention will wander in pretty short order. Wish it wouldn't, but that's what minds tend to do.
Oh yes, attention may wander. That's normal. You may even notice frustration, restlessness, and avoidance as you keep looking. If so, stay with it as much as you can.

When the mind wanders, just gently bring it back. No perfection needed :)

So maybe explore the questions in the previous post with the above in mind--just staying there.
Good question. It is elusive, it evades attention. It's as if looking at/for it causes it to disappear. Lately it seems like a mental sense, almost like a wordless thought of "I" or "I am this/this is me". That's why I've said it's an assumption. It seems like a preconceived idea of being someone.
Next time, when the sense of self appears, you could use these questions:

What exactly evades your attention?

How do you know?

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Tue Apr 16, 2024 4:50 pm



Oh yes, attention may wander. That's normal. You may even notice frustration, restlessness, and avoidance as you keep looking. If so, stay with it as much as you can.

When the mind wanders, just gently bring it back. No perfection needed :)

So maybe explore the questions in the previous post with the above in mind--just staying there.
I emailed that post to myself, to print out and refer back to then.
Good question. It is elusive, it evades attention. It's as if looking at/for it causes it to disappear. Lately it seems like a mental sense, almost like a wordless thought of "I" or "I am this/this is me". That's why I've said it's an assumption. It seems like a preconceived idea of being someone.
Next time, when the sense of self appears, you could use these questions:

What exactly evades your attention?

How do you know?
This and the above bit will go in the notes I keep printed out and I also copy to the cell phone, so I have nearby for reference.

As an aside, I'm still trying to practice the 'body GPS' exercise you suggested a while back. For a solid year now, the message that there's a need to stay 'in the body' has been coming up repeatedly and consistently, so I am. It is frequently unclear when there's any signal from the body saying to pay attention to what it is saying. Maybe that becomes clearer as attention is continually put back there?

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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Wed Apr 17, 2024 8:10 am

This and the above bit will go in the notes I keep printed out and I also copy to the cell phone, so I have nearby for reference.
Alright, let me know what you find!
As an aside, I'm still trying to practice the 'body GPS' exercise you suggested a while back. For a solid year now, the message that there's a need to stay 'in the body' has been coming up repeatedly and consistently, so I am. It is frequently unclear when there's any signal from the body saying to pay attention to what it is saying. Maybe that becomes clearer as attention is continually put back there?
I wouldn't worry about this too much. It will unfold naturally :)

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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Thu Apr 18, 2024 7:55 pm

Also something to add:

What is tuning into the 'body GPS'?

What feels a need to stay 'in the body'?

It's good to stay laser-focused on the self-illusion so we don't get sidetracked :)

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Thu Apr 25, 2024 8:46 pm

Henri,

In looking for what it is that evades attention, here's what I discovered. When there's a sense of 'someone' being there, the little red flag goes off, and it's remembered to look. In looking what is found is this: The sense of someone is nothing more than the attention that is put on other things shifts and it put on the body. That sense of attention being put on the body is construed as someone. Often other things are added to that, such as body sensations, or mental images, such as a mental image of what ever my hands are doing at that moment, being visualized in the mind space. The reason it is evasive seems to have something to do with the movement of attention onto the body/self, and the noticing of where the attention has moved to. Noticing it seems to change it. I'm still working with that, trying to see what's actually going on there.

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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Bluejay » Sat Apr 27, 2024 8:30 am

Hi Darrell,
The reason it is evasive seems to have something to do with the movement of attention onto the body/self, and the noticing of where the attention has moved to. Noticing it seems to change it. I'm still working with that, trying to see what's actually going on there.
That's great :)

You could see if you can find a self that is noticing where attention has moved to?
The sense of someone is nothing more than the attention that is put on other things shifts and it put on the body. That sense of attention being put on the body is construed as someone.
When you say that it is construed as someone, how exactly did you discover that?

Remember, when looking, you only look at what is there. Don't go to interpretation, thought, or even try to remember what it is like. Instead, try to only look. It can be difficult, but it is also simple :)

It's similar to the classic LU question of: If I ask you what color socks you're wearing right now, you can try to remember what you put on, or you can look right now and see with 100% certainty what is there. No thinking needed.

So, what makes the sense of attention being put on the body a someone?

Cheers,
Henri

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Tue Apr 30, 2024 2:50 am

When you say that it is construed as someone, how exactly did you discover that?

There was a sense of it being someone, a central agent of some sort. when that sense of someone would show up, it set off a red flag, which led to remembering this was the time to look. When remembering to look, what was noticed was what I described above. Looking at that sense of someone led to noticing that this sense of someone-ness was this attention being trained on the body, being trained 'here'. It was something that probably was first set in place when I was very young, and has been done for decades. It's only just now being seen for what it actually is. Not a someone, just attention moved from other things to here. Often along the body sense and mental images. These were all stitched together as one whole thing, which it isn't.

Remember, when looking, you only look at what is there. Don't go to interpretation, thought, or even try to remember what it is like. Instead, try to only look. It can be difficult, but it is also simple :)

Yes, all conceptualization, past, future, anything not now in actual direct experience is not applicable. Although sometimes I do have to use what happened just a moment ago. Frequently I am not able to remember to look in that moment, so I have to look at what happened just a second ago. Maybe it will get better/easier over time, but right now looking for who is doing things, what is here, etc, as it happens, I have a hard time remembering to do.

It's similar to the classic LU question of: If I ask you what color socks you're wearing right now, you can try to remember what you put on, or you can look right now and see with 100% certainty what is there. No thinking needed.

So, what makes the sense of attention being put on the body a someone?

As I said above, I think it was construed as such, probably unconsciously when I was a young kid. It was assumed as such, and has become habitual over the years. It doesn't actual make it someone, it obviously isn't. I'm pretty sure this isn't new, it has been going on, attention being construed as self that is, for many, many years. To consider it as something that is fairly new just doesn't feel right.

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Darrell
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Re: Seeking help getting to the exit door

Postby Darrell » Tue Apr 30, 2024 2:58 am

I think I've asked you this before, but can't recall for certain. Is there a way to edit a post right after I've posted it?

Meanwhile, hopefully the mixed colors aren't too confusing or hard to read.


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