Stuck in the mud

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:17 am

Hi Diane,
I understand that [...]

Understanding is good - but of course "seeing is believing"! With understanding, there is still the possibility of doubt, but you cannot doubt what you have directly witnessed....

Would you also say that you have seen these things, or experienced them directly? Is there any possibility of doubt?
So 'I' must be a belief.

That is a reasonable deduction - so does this show up in experience?

How is this belief made up and sustained? Can you witness this belief operating in your experience?
"So why do I still feel the same"? "If I really understood this I would see that it is not real" "What can I do?" "How do I stop doing it?"

These thoughts are all worth exploring, in fact we will almost certainly need to come back to them later, but let's narrow our focus on the experience of 'belief' for now (unless any of these questions are burning so hot that they get in the way of your investigation, in which case, do say!)

Best wishes

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:03 pm

Hi Perry
Would you also say that you have seen these things, or experienced them directly? Is there any possibility of doubt?
I experienced hearing directly. I new this for sure when I woke up and heard a noise outside and I experienced hearing and I felt joy and also I laughed because I new without doubt, of course hearing was just hearing.

I believe this must be true for thoughts just happening, decisions just happening and seeing just happening, but the doubts are there because it is thoughts that say 'seeing is just seeing' etc. So the doubt is sustained by 'I" a belief that the 'I" is still directing. This belief is also sustained when I doing a task like type a letter. When concentrating I forget about the 'I' and am just doing but then thought believes the 'I' is doing this.

I sat looking out of the window to watch a tree moving in the wind. Thoughts distracted me from just seeing until I realised that I had to let thoughts just happen, that thy are not to be got rid of. So there is still a belief that thoughts are the 'I'.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:49 am

Hi Diane,

Every autumn, when my kids go back to school and share viruses with their friends, I get sick, and this year is no exception.
I have been finding it really hard to focus properly, and I have put off replying, apologies. I'm still rather fuzzy, but I'll do my best....
I new without doubt, of course hearing was just hearing

I am glad that is so clear - it is a very valuable realisation

Thoughts distracted me from just seeing until I realised that I had to let thoughts just happen, that thy are not to be got rid of.

This is important: we are not trying to change anything, we are not trying "get to" or "sustain" a state of "just seeing" as opposed to some other state. Nor are we trying to let thoughts happen rather than think deliberately. We are just trying to see more clearly whatever is actually going on.

Changes may well happen along the way, but for now, it is best to consider any changes as simply side effects of greater clarity, not targets to aim for and achieve through training.

To elaborate on a traditional analogy - say you were scared because you thought you saw a snake in the bushes in your garden, and so you avoided certain parts of your garden where you thought it lived. Someone else, who looked clearly, might see it was just a piece of rope. You notice that they are not scared, in spite of having seen into the bush, and they move freely about in the garden.

The 'training' approach would be to force yourself to go into all parts of the garden, in spite of your fear, and to "try not to be scared", in the hope that eventually you would also be free from the fear and limitation. The 'seeing' approach would be to be led up to the bush, and for you to look clearly until you see for yourself that it is not a snake but a piece of rope. Fearlessness and freedom are side effects of that clarity, they don't need training.

I hope I have not over-laboured the point, but it is an important one. We are so habituated to training ourselves that it can be hard even to notice this assumption at first! Does this make sense?

So there are a few directions we could go in from here... I definitely want to come back to thought and belief, but let's consider vision. Here are some pointers to investigate in direct experience:

If your eyes are open, is there any choice to see or not to see?

Is there "I" doing the seeing, and visual impressions being seen? If so, where is the split between the two? Where is "I" in seeing?

When you look at a completely abstract work of art, it may just be shapes and colour, raw and unlabelled; when you look at something you know and understand, like a keyboard, do you notice that there is more going on than just the the raw experiences of shape and colour?

Best wishes,

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:43 pm

Hi Perry

Thanks for posting especially as you are not well. I hope the virus doesn't last too long, sometimes they are very persistent.
Changes may well happen along the way, but for now, it is best to consider any changes as simply side effects of greater clarity, not targets to aim for and achieve through training.
Thanks for pointing this out.
I sat looking out of the window to watch a tree moving in the wind.
I was trying to train myself to 'just see'. Because of the experience of 'just hearing' I thought I should be able to achieve this by 'just staring' at the trees and couldn't understand why I couldn't do it, why I hadn't had the same experience I had with 'hearing'. I was trying to make something happen.
If your eyes are open, is there any choice to see or not to see?
When my eyes are open there is no choice other than to see. But I still think there is an 'I" seeing. The 'I' in the seeing is the awareness that I am seeing, an experience of seeing. The 'I' is the familiarity with the experience of seeing which is the split between the two.
when you look at something you know and understand, like a keyboard, do you notice that there is more going on than just the the raw experiences of shape and colour?
When I look at the keyboard, I notice I am aware of knowing what is is and that it is an object called 'keyboard'. I know what it does and how to use it. While I look at it it is definitely there.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:56 pm

Hi Diane,

(cough, snuffle)
I still think there is an 'I" seeing.

Taking what you wrote at face value - this is literally a thought arising, yes?

So when you attend to the experience of vision, a thought arises asserting that there must be an "I" doing the seeing?

See this for what it is - just a thought arising, which you don't need to "buy into".... just notice the thought as an aspect of current experience, allow it to pass, and continue to attend to direct experience.

So where in direct experience is the "I" in vision?
The 'I' in the seeing is the awareness that I am seeing, an experience of seeing. The 'I' is the familiarity with the experience of seeing which is the split between the two.

Could you look some more and check out exactly what is going on here....

Is the "awareness that I am seeing" a subtle thought?

What, in direct experience is the sense of familiarity?

Are these added on, or always there whenever there is vision?

Best wishes,

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:25 pm

Hi Perry

Sorry you are still poorly and thank you for posting.
I still think there is an 'I" seeing.
This is tricky to describe, but when I am seeing there is a feeling of a 'me-nesss' doing the seeing! There is seeing and awareness of my physical body, as well as the thought 'there is the me-ness', that makes up this experience. (I hope I don't give you a headache as well as the cough and snuffle!)
See this for what it is - just a thought arising, which you don't need to "buy into".... just notice the thought as an aspect of current experience, allow it to pass, and continue to attend to direct experience.

I notice the thought but I still notice an awareness of the physical body that I am calling 'me-ness'. It must be a label I am giving it, but it still feels like a 'me'!
Is the "awareness that I am seeing" a subtle thought?
Yes its a thought. And the physical sensation I am aware of is the 'me-ness' reinforced by a thought. This is the familiarity. This is very difficult to make sense of.

I think I am getting a headache - this is very difficult to get my head around. I am trying.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:36 am

Hi Diane,

Wow, that was quite some virus - I am only just recovering all my faculties now, I have been in a fog for days.

I'll write properly this evening, and we can get things going again!

best wishes

Perry

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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:44 am

Hi Perry

Thanks for letting me know. I didn’t know if I should write and say ‘are you ok’ but I didn’t want to hassle you. I am pleased your are feeling better.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:12 pm

Hi Diane,

I'll just pick up as if we had not had a break - however, if you feel you've lost the thread, we might need to go back a bit....
a feeling of a 'me-nesss' doing the seeing

OK, so during vision, you noticed a couple of posts back that the thought arises "I am seeing", and you have now also noticed a feeling of 'me-ness'.

These are excellent observations from direct experience.

You could probably benefit from spending a little more time becoming even more familiar with these thoughts and feelings as direct experiences, they are very important to the enquiry.

The question is: are either the thought "I am seeing" or the feeling of 'me-ness' actually "self" or "I"?

Can a thought that arises and passes be "I"? Can a feeling that arises and passes be "I"?

Is the thought "I am seeing" responsible for vision?

is the feeling of 'me-ness' responsible for vision?
it still feels like a 'me'!

Yes, the feeling of "me-ness" does feel like me!

But is it actually "I", or just a feeling? A very cherished feeling, but still, just a feeling?

Here is another little metaphor that might help set things in context....

Let's say that someone suffered from "the illusion of rainbow" - whenever they saw a rainbow, they were convinced that there was a pot of gold at the end, and would waste a lot of time and energy chasing rainbows.

Once someone explained the physics to them, and demonstrated creating rainbows with glass and sprays of water from a hose, the penny might drop .... the rainbow is an optical illusion, it is not really there in the way that a cloud or a tree is there!

At this point, they no longer suffer from the "illusion of rainbow", and they are freed from their compulsive behaviour of chasing rainbows for pots of gold.

However .... they can still see rainbows!

In the same way, having seeing through the illusion of self, the feelings of "me-ness" and the distinctive flavour of this particular psyche do not vanish - all that has changed is that one recognises that these are just ever changing phenomena, and that there is no wizard behind the curtain controlling everything, no "I" at the centre of it all.

Best wishes,

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:11 pm

Hi Perry
The question is: are either the thought "I am seeing" or the feeling of 'me-ness' actually "self" or "I"?
I am sure that ‘seeing’ is just happening without an ‘I’. It is thoughts that insist it is an ‘I’. I realised thought was clouding the ‘seeing’. I took the thoughts to be proof of the ‘self’. When I was looking for the ‘I’ I took the experience of ‘seeing’ as ‘I’ until I heard the word me-ness somewhere, the me-ness really fitted the experience. I now believe the ‘me-ness’ to be real, a feeling, not a ‘self’ or an ‘I’. An awareness of the experience.

But doubt crept in with a belief that I had adopted this word ‘me-ness’ from elsewhere and therefore just replaced the ‘I’. But doubt and belief are thoughts and so not controlled by ‘I’.
Can a thought that arises and passes be ‘I’? Can a feeling that arises and passes be ‘I’
Thoughts and feelings arise and pass so there can’t be an ‘I’ they are just happening.
Is the thought “I am seeing responsible for vision? Is the feeling of ‘me-ness’ responsible for vision?
The thought I am seeing is not responsible for vision nor is the ‘me-ness’ responsible for vision. Vision is just happening and the ‘me-ness’ is awareness of that experience of seeing.

If it is me that is experiencing and not an ‘I’, I have a belief that I would really know this if it were really true and I would be aware of a very big shift in my being. So there must be something else getting in the way of realising this?

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:19 am

Hi Diane,
I now believe the ‘me-ness’ to be real, a feeling, not a ‘self’ or an ‘I’. An awareness of the experience.

Isn't it interesting how the belief moves around as you look deeper into what is going on in direct experience?

I realise that language gets tricky when considering awareness itself, but what do you mean by 'awareness of the experience'?

... so the 'me-ness' ... which is it - a feeling, or awareness of the experience? No doubt both are present, and as real as any other aspect of experience, but are either of them "I"?
But doubt crept in with a belief that I had adopted this word ‘me-ness’ from elsewhere and therefore just replaced the ‘I’. But doubt and belief are thoughts and so not controlled by ‘I’.

OK, if there is doubt, then perhaps here you're dealing with views, so just come back to what can be directly observed .... can you locate the 'feeling of me-ness' in experience? Is this 'just a feeling', like any other feeling except perhaps particularly cherished, or is it something other than a feeling?

Or perhaps there is a feeling component, but this is not all - in which case, consider what is there in addition to the raw, direct feeling. Does this bring you back to the 'awareness of the experience' you mentioned earlier? Is this "I"?
If it is me that is experiencing and not an ‘I’, I have a belief that I would really know this if it were really true [...]

I'm not sure I follow this ... 'me' and 'I' and 'self' seem fairly much interchangeable to me. The question is - is there any entity that corresponds to any of these words? Whether we say "I saw the cat" or "It was me who saw the cat" or "the cat was seen by my self", the question is the same ... Was there really just seeing, vision and awareness, or was there an entity "doing the seeing"?

When we say "the wind blows", is there wind doing the blowing, or is there just blowing?
[...] and I would be aware of a very big shift in my being. So there must be something else getting in the way of realising this?

Expectations can really get in the way..... In order to know exactly what to expect, you would have to already be there, so your expectations are guaranteed to be wrong. In the meantime, expectations can just interrupt the flow of what we are doing and tug you off course. It is particularly unhelpful to think "this can't be important, it is not what I expected", since what is truly most important is really very simple and, in a sense obvious, just overlooked .... and its significance, once noticed, can take a long time to fully dawn.

It may not really be possible just to drop expectations (though that would be the best thing to do if it were possible!) but it could help to actually make them explicit - so what do you think it would be like to see through the illusion of self?

best wishes,

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi Perry
...so the 'me-ness' ... which is it - a feeling, or awareness of the experience? No doubt both are present, and as real as any other aspect of experience, but are either of them "I"?

can you locate the 'feeling of me-ness' in experience? Is this 'just a feeling', like any other feeling except perhaps particularly cherished, or is it something other than a feeling?
'me-ness' is certainly a feeling alongside a persistant thought that I mistook for the 'I'.
Or perhaps there is a feeling component, but this is not all - in which case, consider what is there in addition to the raw, direct feeling. Does this bring you back to the 'awareness of the experience' you mentioned earlier? Is this "I"?
The 'me-ness' is a strong feeling with thoughts supporting it but it is not 'I'.
was there an entity "doing the seeing"?
When we say "the wind blows", is there wind doing the blowing, or is there just blowing?
There was no entity doing the seeing nor it it the wind doing the blowing, there is just blowing. These are lovely examples and very helpful.
It may not really be possible just to drop expectations (though that would be the best thing to do if it were possible!) but it could help to actually make them explicit - so what do you think it would be like to see through the illusion of self?
To see through the illusion of self would be a huge relief, to really know and be certain that I saw it for myself without any doubts. To feel the joy I felt when I realised a sound was just a sound, which also made me laugh. I am expecting the same response as proof that I have seen through the illusion.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:13 am

Hi Diane,
To see through the illusion of self would be a huge relief, to really know and be certain that I saw it for myself without any doubts. To feel the joy I felt when I realised a sound was just a sound, which also made me laugh. I am expecting the same response as proof that I have seen through the illusion.
OK, that's good to have in the open, thank you!

What would the huge relief be from? Can you describe the burden in terms of direct experience?

Best wishes,

Perry

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DianeSt
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby DianeSt » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:48 pm

Hi Perry
What would the huge relief be from? Can you describe the burden in terms of direct experience?
The 'huge relief' would be from the searching, the difficulty and hard work I am putting in to find the 'I' in the senses. I am not complaining, my motivation and persistence all arise from the suffering I experience. I know it is possible, especially after the experience with 'hearing".

I no I haven't written the above paragraph in terms of direct experience but I was finding it difficult to get going, so I wrote it to help jump start the posting!
So I am now going to have a go at describing:
'the burden in terms of direct experience'.
The 'I' sometimes turned out to be a thought not and 'I'. That was a shock but also a relief to see 'I' as a thought. The 'I' became a 'me-ness' but that was false too. Relief that I could have a 'me' but no 'I'. The 'me-ness' turned out to be a feeling not a 'me-ness' or an 'I'. That was a shock to but also a relief. The burden is wading through all this without moving.

That is all I can do for now. I don't think I have answered your question - sorry.

Best wishes
Diane

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perrym
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Re: Stuck in the mud

Postby perrym » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:02 am

Hi Diane,
I don't think I have answered your question - sorry.

Actually, you have ... at least, I am clear now what you originally meant, which is good, because I would have misinterpreted what you'd written otherwise and chased off in the wrong direction, so thank you!

You've given a really good summary of all the places you've been looking, what you've found, and what you've not found. I think you've made some really important discoveries, but in spite of this, you feel you have been
wading through all this without moving.

We touched on this when I asked about expectations, but let's go into this a bit more now:

What is not moving?

Or to put it another way: your expectation is that a 'true realisation' will shift something - what is it that would shift?

These are questions that it may be natural to answer in general or abstract terms, but can you identify 'stuckness' (if that is an appropriate word) in direct experience? Can you identify what, experientially, makes it up?

To put it yet another way - how can you tell, in direct experience, that there has been no 'moving'.

And before signing off, I would like to say - thanks for working so hard with all this!

Best wishes,

Perry


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