Looking for guidance

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dmurphy
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Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:13 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That the sense of there being a self, separate from the rest of experience, is just an illusion / assumption. That the feeling that we call "self" is actually made up of the same thoughts and sensations as every other object of experience, and is not a concrete, solid thing that can be located at all.

What are you looking for at LU?
I am looking to come into more direct contact with the experience and knowledge of the self being an illusion. To try to stabilize it somewhat or know it more clearly. I believe I have had some experience with this feeling in the past, and if you asked me whether there is an actual self and gave me to time to "feel" the question out, I would respond with a no - but this feeling is not so immediate or so visceral that I would describe it as knowledge. I think I still have some sort of reservation, or some lack of confidence in my own knowing of this fact.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
I am hoping for concrete, specific guidance on how to discover the truth and see it more clearly. Like many I think, I have been mired in abstractions and the spiritual writing of others which often doesn't give a clear, direct path to seeing through the illusion of self. I am looking for the sort of help that one can only really get from working one-on-one with another person.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been practicing meditation for about a year now; watching the breath, mindfulness, etc. At some point along the line I read an article on the idea of non-duality and while reading this article I began to experience a shift in perception. This change intensified on my drove home that day and actually got to a point where it was a bit scary. The feeling was something like the "I" in the center of experience collapsing, and being left with pure experience in its place. The frightening part was the sudden feeling that I'd been living a sort of dream all along, and that I'd lost my grounding or my center in some way. I continued to work with this feeling going forward, but it has been fleeting and at times inaccessible. I don't really know where I am along the path at this point, and would really like to have some help / guidance as I try to continue along the way.

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

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:47 pm

Dear Dmurphy,

My name is Luisa, I'm ready to accompany you in this investigation.

From your responses I observe that you have most of the job done already, so we would look for those areas where the illusion of the self has not totally seen yet.

Just some house keeping rules:

1. Let us keep up the momentum by posting at least daily.
If you cannot answer within a day, please let me know. I would do so as well.

2. Put aside all other teachings, philosophies, rituals, practices, books/reading and so on for the remainder of this investigation. Really put all your effort and attention in to seeing this reality, as it is. If you have a daily and essential meditation practice, it is fine to continue that.

3. Always answer from actual experience (aka direct or raw experience) which means what is not derived from 'thinking' but from looking at what is here right now: smell, taste, sound, sensation, colour and observed thoughts.

4. Could you please learn to use the quote function to highlight questions being answered:
http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/v ... ?f=4&t=660


So let us start right away, shall we?

To the initial questions, you've answered:
I think I still have some sort of reservation, or some lack of confidence in my own knowing of this fact.
What do you suspect is missing, or needed to happen for this lack of confidence to be cleared away?
At some point along the line I read an article on the idea of non-duality and while reading this article I began to experience a shift in perception.
Can you please tell me about this shift?
Did something change after it?



Looking forward to your reply!

Sending Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:28 pm

Hi Luisa,
Thank you for your reply. I read your housekeeping rules, all sounds good to me.

So, on to your questions:
What do you suspect is missing, or needed to happen for this lack of confidence to be cleared away?
Well, while I have had the experience of "no-self" many times now, it tends to be fleeting, and usually takes considerable concentration for me to get to. Some really careful, really focused looking. As soon as I stop attending to my experience in this way, the feeling of having a self rather quickly returns, and persists throughout most of the day. When I read some of the other experiences here on LU, it seems as though some people have had more of a permanent shift in their lives upon coming to this realization. They talk of their priorities changing, feeling freer, more clear, less attached to the ego's desires and demands, and so on. As far as I can tell, I haven't experienced anything that persists outside of the actual time that I am noticing "no-self," which again takes considerable concentration to do, and never lasts beyond the time I am really concentrating. I don't know whether this is actually an indication that I haven't gone far enough, but it has caused some doubt. Perhaps I am simply expecting too much, though.
Can you please tell me about this shift?
Did something change after it?
So again, this shift was temporary, but- it basically felt as though the distance between "subject" and "object" went to zero. The feeling of being in the center was gone; there was only experience. It was at first very blissful and enjoyable, though as it deepened, it began to feel very disorienting- as I said, like my entire life had been a dream up to that point and I had just woken up. That I was wrong to think that "I" even really existed this whole time. It shook me up, but in the several days afterward I readjusted. Basically, I saw for the first time how the "I" at the center of all experience, experiencing everything for itself, was never really there.

Sorry for the long answers, just wanted to give you as much background as I could up front.

Thank you so much for your help!

By the way, my name is Dan, so please call me that if you like.

Thank you,
Dino

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:08 pm

Hi Dan,

Thank you very much for your detailed responses.

You may have heard about the dangers of meditation experiences, from one side they show that we are on the right track, but from another side we just want to repeat that experience so we cultivate grasping and attachment. So first thing to do here is to let go all grasping, all desire for wanting that state to come back.
Perhaps I am simply expecting too much, though.
You have just nailed here. All forms of expectations need to be abandoned, as they are distractions that impede to see things as they really are. So please, relax, face this process as a new adventure and enjoy the ride without thinking about an aim.

Let's go to have a close look to thoughts:

Where are thoughts coming from? Where are they going?
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
Can something be found that generates thoughts? Can the source of thoughts be found?
Does the thinker of thoughts appear in direct experience? If so, how exactly?
Do you think thoughts, or do thoughts think you, or do thoughts appear as you?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?

I think I still have some sort of reservation, or some lack of confidence in my own knowing of this fact.
What is that sentence in Actual Experience? Is this anything but a thought? What makes this thought to be true? Is it true? Are you meaning that a thought is truer than an experience?

Write extensively please, it is important to give light to anything that may obscure the experience.

Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:22 pm

Hi Luisa,
Thanks for the great questions. Here we go:
Where are thoughts coming from? Where are they going?
They seem to be coming from- and going to- nowhere at all. There is consciousness, and it includes everything that is experienced, and then a thought arises as part of the experience, and then it's gone. There doesn't seem to be any "center" from which the thoughts originate, nor any destination to which they go. One moment experience does not include a thought, the next it does, the thought lasts for a moment or two, and then it's back to consciousness with no thought.
Can you stop a thought in the middle?
It seems like I can. If I say in my head, "Start thinking a thought," I can cut this thought off mid-phrase. But only when I am planning on doing this ahead of time. Also, when I pay close attention to my thoughts, I find that they almost always get cut off halfway through. Almost like paying attention to them robs them of their substance somehow. A thought will begin, a couple words will get through but then the rest of the thought just dissolves.
Can something be found that generates thoughts? Can the source of thoughts be found?
No, they simply appear. What's weird is that I can feel like "I" am thinking thoughts deliberately- instead of just watching and waiting for the next thought to appear, I can think, "next I am going to think about apples," and then I will think "now I am thinking about apples," and it will feel as though "I" authored that second thought somehow. But as for who chose to do this little exercise in the first place, or where the intention to do it came from, or who chose apples as the subject, I have no idea. No one, is what it really feels like.
Does the thinker of thoughts appear in direct experience? If so, how exactly?
When I really pay close attention, no. At first when I start watching my thoughts, it feels like the "thinker" of them is located right behind the center of my field of vision. It feels like thoughts are being projected out from this spot behind my eyes, "out" into the spot in the center of my visual field. That's where the thoughts seem to appear, somehow. They seem centered in front of me. When I turn consciousness back around on itself though, and actually look for some perception of this "thinker" or this location behind my eyes directly, there is nothing tangible there at all- as soon as I "look" right at it, its feeling of solidity evaporates, and there's nothing there.
Do you think thoughts, or do thoughts think you, or do thoughts appear as you?
Of the three, I think the third comes the closest. Although I'm not sure that they appear as me, more like they just appear in the field of awareness that I seem to think of as "mine."
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
This is the trickiest one yet. I don't think I can prevent a specific thought from appearing, no- because that would require me to know this specific thought is going to appear before it actually does appear, and from direct experience that seems to be impossible. I don't generally know what I'm going to think next. I can't think a thought before I think it. However, what does seem possible is to focus really intently on raw experience for a second, in an effort to have a thought-free moment. If I just intently focus on what I see in front of me, or the sounds I'm hearing, for example, then I can typically have several moments where I'm preventing any thought from arising- however this is still different from preventing a specific thought from arising. And of course, this attempt will sometimes fail anyway.
I think I still have some sort of reservation, or some lack of confidence in my own knowing of this fact.
What is that sentence in Actual Experience? Is this anything but a thought? What makes this thought to be true? Is it true? Are you meaning that a thought is truer than an experience?
It is just a thought, yes. In terms of actual experience, what is really meant by "I still have reservations or lack of confidence" is that from time to time, thoughts appear that say things like "I don't know if I really know this yet," or "there is probably more to be experienced here that you have yet to experience," or "the experiences of others seem to be more profound than what you've experienced so far, this can't be it." These doubts are, themselves, thoughts. It's not really a feeling that I have, that preexists thought. It's not like pain, which is there whether you're thinking or not. These doubts are thoughts and only exist when I am specifically having thoughts about doubting my experience.

Thank you,
Dan

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:05 am

Hi Dan,

Thank you for your responses.
Where are thoughts coming from? Where are they going?
They seem to be coming from- and going to- nowhere at all. There is consciousness, and it includes everything that is experienced, and then a thought arises as part of the experience, and then it's gone. There doesn't seem to be any "center" from which the thoughts originate, nor any destination to which they go. One moment experience does not include a thought, the next it does, the thought lasts for a moment or two, and then it's back to consciousness with no thought.
The sentence "They seem to be coming from- and going to- nowhere at all" is perfectly right and understandable, nevertheless I am not sure that you are speaking from direct experience here. You say "there is consciousness" and yes we agree that there is but consciousness is a label, a concept, what makes impossible to anyone to see thoughts coming out and dissolving in "consciousness", is a way of saying but is not what we experience, do you see the difference? This is where we want to go, to see things as they really are we need to disregard all ideas, concepts and thoughts about what is and stay with what appears only in actual experience at all levels.
Do you think thoughts, or do thoughts think you, or do thoughts appear as you?
Of the three, I think the third comes the closest. Although I'm not sure that they appear as me, more like they just appear in the field of awareness that I seem to think of as "mine."
Thoughts bring the content "I', "me', "mine' explicit or implicitly what helps to reinforce the illusion of an inherently existing self. So we talk about "my" awareness when there is not such a thing.
For example we say I breath. But, is there something or someone doing the breathing? blood pumping? Referring to awareness, is there someone or something being aware or is awareness just happening?
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing?
This is the trickiest one yet. I don't think I can prevent a specific thought from appearing, no- because that would require me to know this specific thought is going to appear before it actually does appear, and from direct experience that seems to be impossible. I don't generally know what I'm going to think next. I can't think a thought before I think it. However, what does seem possible is to focus really intently on raw experience for a second, in an effort to have a thought-free moment. If I just intently focus on what I see in front of me, or the sounds I'm hearing, for example, then I can typically have several moments where I'm preventing any thought from arising- however this is still different from preventing a specific thought from arising. And of course, this attempt will sometimes fail anyway.
How then thoughts about a "me" could be stopped? (what is the same as saying to dissolve the sense of being someone)
Is there anything special about "me-thoughts?"
What exactly is the difference between a thought about "me" and a thought about -let's say- Santa Clause, or marmalade?
If you see a difference, please tell me about it elaborately.



Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:05 pm

The sentence "They seem to be coming from- and going to- nowhere at all" is perfectly right and understandable, nevertheless I am not sure that you are speaking from direct experience here. You say "there is consciousness" and yes we agree that there is but consciousness is a label, a concept, what makes impossible to anyone to see thoughts coming out and dissolving in "consciousness", is a way of saying but is not what we experience, do you see the difference?
I'm not sure if I see the difference or not, so let me try to restate that more clearly and you can tell me if I'm still going wrong here. I was not saying "there is consciousness" as a mere fact that I wanted to state, I was actually trying to describe my experience of where thoughts "come from." My actual experience of it is that one moment, there is consciousness, there is the totality of my experience, whatever that might be at the moment, and there is no thought in this experience. The next moment, there is thought in this experience. In other words, the thought just seems to materialize out of nowhere. There is no interruption in consciousness, no anticipatory event signaling that a thought is coming. One moment there is just awareness without thought, and in the next, the thought has become part of the awareness. It feels like the thought is merely a manifestation of consciousness itself. I hope that is somewhat more clear, but please let me know if I am still conceptualizing too much.
But, is there something or someone doing the breathing? blood pumping? Referring to awareness, is there someone or something being aware or is awareness just happening?
At the level of experience, no there is not something or someone doing the breathing. Again there is just awareness, and breathing is part of the contents of awareness. The same goes for blood pumping. There is not "someone" being aware- awareness is just happening. Walking is just happening, breathing is just happening, and so on.
How then thoughts about a "me" could be stopped? (what is the same as saying to dissolve the sense of being someone)
Is there anything special about "me-thoughts?"
What exactly is the difference between a thought about "me" and a thought about -let's say- Santa Clause, or marmalade?
If you see a difference, please tell me about it elaborately.
Thoughts about a "me" could be stopped in the same way- by just paying close attention to whatever is in my experience at that moment, thoughts tend to stop momentarily. What I find especially effective is to watch the thoughts intently; when I do this, "me" thoughts may still occur, but they break up and dissolve before even finishing, and they lose a lot of their "me" feeling when I do this. They're still technically "me" thoughts, but they feel much less like "me." They feel impersonal. I don't think there is actually anything special about "me" thoughts- when I look closely at them, they appear and dissolve exactly the same as other thoughts, and they have the same "hollow" quality about them. The same way that imagining an apple feels like a "hollow" version of experiencing a real apple. However, they seem superficially "special" in that they create the sensation of "I" more strongly than do other thoughts. I think the main difference I see between thoughts about "me" and thoughts about Santa Claus is that thoughts about me are much more strongly connected to other thoughts- about me. Whereas thoughts about Santa Claus really only conjure up the image or concept of Santa Claus, with very little backstory, thoughts of "me" tend to link up almost immediately with other thoughts of "me," thoughts of things that happened in my past, thoughts of how I feel about myself, etc. There is a much bigger network of thoughts involved, but ultimately, at the level of experience of the thoughts themselves, they are not much different. The only real difference I can notice is that thoughts of "me" often cause this feeling in the stomach, especially judgmental or critical thoughts, that thoughts of Santa Claus do not. It's sort of like a nervous feeling in the gut, the feeling of something "mattering," in a way that Santa Claus does not seem to matter to me at the gut level. Hope that was not too confusing, this is tricky subject matter to describe clearly.

Thank you,
Dan

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:20 pm

Hi Dan,

You've described it very clearly, I understand what you mean.

Let's have a look from a different approach.

You said:
I think the main difference I see between thoughts about "me" and thoughts about Santa Claus is that thoughts about me are much more strongly connected to other thoughts- about me.
What is different is the content, I agree with that. And some content is more attractive than other, content about a "me" is very atractive. But I'm not sure what you mean when saying "thoughts about me are much more strongly connected to other thoughts- about me?
Could you elaborate a bit on that?

Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:00 pm

Sure, what I mean is that "me thoughts" very often and uncontrollably lead straight into other, related thought about me. I think "
I
need to put gas in
my
car," and almost immediately afterward I think "I need new tires too," then "that is going to be expensive," then "this wouldn't be so stressful if I earned more money," then "maybe I should consider changing careers," and so on and so on. Those are all "me thoughts" more or less: my life, my problems, my worries. But when I think "Santa Claus," by contrast, I really just picture what he looks like, then maybe a faint, vague feeling or memory of something Christmas-like. I see snow, maybe, or hear a snippet of a Christmas song. That's about it though- the train of thought there is vague and brief. In order to keep thinking about Santa Claus, it takes effort. I have to concentrate to do it. The tendency to keep connecting Santa-related thoughts is not very strong, and those thoughts that do arise are not vivid, and do not cause this feeling in my stomach of something that matters strongly to "me." It's just a brief flash. When I think, "I need to put gas in my car," though, I'm thinking of something I need to do with something of mine, and the feeling in the stomach is there, the sense of importance, and then one thought after another rather helplessly come rushing forward. A thought of Santa Claus would not quickly turn into me questioning some important life decision I've made, but a thought about putting gas in my car can rather easily turn into me questioning whether I've wasted my life on an unwise career. This sort of wild thought process happens rather often when I'm thinking "me" thoughts, but not so much when I'm having non-"me thoughts".

I hope this helps to clarify.

Thank you,
Dan

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:02 pm

Sorry for the formatting error in the above, not sure how I quoted those words by accident!

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:09 am

Hi Dan,

Thank you for your patience to my delayed response.
The tendency to keep connecting Santa-related thoughts is not very strong, and those thoughts that do arise are not vivid, and do not cause this feeling in my stomach of something that matters strongly to "me."
Has a thought any power at all? Can a thought per se create something, make decisions, cook a cake? Can you SEE in actual experience that a thought creates a feeling in the stomach or is this again just a thought?

Dan, you are not answering from direct experience.

Looking isn’t difficult. It doesn’t require any special skills. ‘Looking’ is just plain looking to what is here right now. When you need your car keys and look everywhere for them – that is looking. It’s noticing sound, taste, smell, sensation and colours (images) to see what is really present (actual experience) and always has been; as well as noticing thought/s - not thinking, but noticing or being ‘aware’ of thought/s. Thoughts tend to pull you away from looking directly, as by directly looking into actual experience, you will inevitably unveil the trick they play in creating the illusion of an "I".


It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence? Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’, or "thoughts about me are much more connected to other thoughts about me"?

Look carefully when doing this exercise and do it several times if necessary. Please answer each question individually.


Love,
Luisa

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:10 pm

Hi Dan,

Is everything fine there? Are you having any issue with the investigation?

Looking forward to hear from you.

Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:56 pm

Hi Luisa,
Apologies for my delay as well. I am doing my best to just look, to not conceptualize. I think the difficulty comes in because a lot of the questions you're directing to me involve thoughts, so while I am able to "just look" at thoughts as they're happening, I'm also trying to answer the questions you've given me mentally as they're happening. To make a note of what the answer seems to be, so that I can relay it to you later. This process of trying to both look, and notice what the answer to the question appears to be, seems to be causing me to perhaps overthink the process. I will do my best to keep the looking part to the experience only, and then try to formulate my responses afterward from memory.
Has a thought any power at all?
It seems to have some power, subjectively speaking, because after a thought arises a feeling will often arise immediately. So an anxious thought will arise- "I need to put gas in my car"- and then immediately afterward, a feeling. A tension in the stomach appears. It feels unpleasant. This is from direct experience- I watched very carefully. First the thought, then the feeling, and the feeling is unpleasant. I don't know if this is what is meant by "power," but subjectively, it seems to matter, insofar as unpleasant things are simply unpleasant to feel. I might be having a failure of language here, but I'm not sure if I can deconstruct that any further. Anyway, I think this is why I seem to feel like thoughts have some "power," subjectively.
Can a thought per se create something, make decisions, cook a cake?
No, a thought per se cannot do those things. It can precede the actions needed to do those things, but it doesn't necessarily cause the actions, and it certainly cannot do those things on its own, without the physical body taking action in the world.
Can you SEE in actual experience that a thought creates a feeling in the stomach or is this again just a thought?
I cannot see that a thought actually creates a feeling in the stomach; I can only see that there seems to be a correlation- vritually every time I have a certain type of thought, I have a certain feeling in my stomach immediately afterward. That much I know from direct experience. But I do not know from direct experience that the thought is actually causing the feeling. They just appear to occur together, and in a particular order. I cannot see the causation myself, though. I should note that sometimes, when I'm concentrating and have begun to notice the feeling of self drop away a bit, it is possible for me to have an anxious thought and NOT have the feeling in my stomach after ward. The thought just arises, then drifts away, and I seem to have no emotional or physical reaction to it. So I know from direct experience that thoughts do not have to give rise to this feeling in the stomach; only that they do 99% of the time.
just notice if there is an organised sequence?
It depends what is meant by "organized." If organized can mean simply "related in their content," then it does appear that way, yes. At least, when thinking very intensely "me" thoughts. If I have a thought that provokes anxiety or unease about something "me"-related, then it is almost always followed by another anxious "me" thought, and another, and another. To what extent these are actually organized though, I don't know. They seem pretty haphazard, other than sharing a common basic topic of "me."
Or is that just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that ‘one thought follows another thought’, or "thoughts about me are much more connected to other thoughts about me"?
So I think this is where I'm having difficulty, because I am somewhat confused. You said to just notice if there is an organized sequence, or if this is merely a thought that says "these thoughts are in sequence." What is the difference exactly? I am having difficulty understanding the difference between "noticing that the thoughts are in sequence" and "having a thought that says they are in sequence." How can I notice them being in sequence without having the thought that they're in sequence? I can watch the thoughts without thinking at all, but in order to even form the concept of them being in sequence, it seems like some sort of rudimentary thought is necessary. How can I notice that they're in sequence without thinking that they're in sequence? This is where I am hung up at the moment. I would love to perform this exercise again with a bit more clarity.

Thanks so much for your help,
Dan

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Luisa
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Re: Looking for guidance

Postby Luisa » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:57 pm

Hi Dan,

I'm happy to read you again.
It is fine when you need some more time to look at the process or if you have personal issues to attend, even though it is better to maintain a day by day communication to keep the fire of the investigation when possible.

Your responses are very detailed and show that you are discerning the limitations created by the conceptual mind.
I will do my best to keep the looking part to the experience only, and then try to formulate my responses afterward from memory.
See that the nature of experience is precisely the immediacy. When memory gets involved the immediacy is lost because the thinking process has started. The ability to express experience before conceptualizing is what we try to learn here, which allows us to take the meditation out of the cushion.
Has a thought any power at all?
It seems to have some power, subjectively speaking, because after a thought arises a feeling will often arise immediately. So an anxious thought will arise- "I need to put gas in my car"- and then immediately afterward, a feeling. A tension in the stomach appears. It feels unpleasant. This is from direct experience- I watched very carefully. First the thought, then the feeling, and the feeling is unpleasant. I don't know if this is what is meant by "power," but subjectively, it seems to matter, insofar as unpleasant things are simply unpleasant to feel. I might be having a failure of language here, but I'm not sure if I can deconstruct that any further. Anyway, I think this is why I seem to feel like thoughts have some "power," subjectively.
I understand what you mean. Language is very limited to express experience, see how difficult it would be to explain to a blind-born person how the white color looks like. Nevertheless, when I ask you to LOOK I'm referring to the whole process, the whole thing. For example here, in AE you observe the thought "I need to put gas in my car" - stop- the next moment you observe a feeling in the stomach. And yes this is actual experience. When reporting from actual experience you need to use the conceptual mind to communicate, and the way you would report that experience is just reporting the experienced that is a thought arising and a feeling "in the stomach".

Now the question is: Is the link between the thought and the feeling experienced or is assumed?

From you next response:
So I know from direct experience that thoughts do not have to give rise to this feeling in the stomach; only that they do 99% of the time.
Do they do in AE?

You are doing a great job here Dan.
How can I notice them being in sequence without having the thought that they're in sequence? I can watch the thoughts without thinking at all, but in order to even form the concept of them being in sequence, it seems like some sort of rudimentary thought is necessary. How can I notice that they're in sequence without thinking that they're in sequence? This is where I am hung up at the moment. I would love to perform this exercise again with a bit more clarity.
Let's try the following:
Imagine you are eating an apple or any fruit you like. Imagine the texture, the temperature, the sweetness. Now bite the fruit: do you need to think about its qualities in order to experience them?
Do you need to think "the fruit is sweet" in order to KNOW about its sweetness or is this KNOWING previous to any thought about it?


Here is an exercise that helps to generate space between experience and conceptualizing.

So for example, when having breakfast, become aware of:

Seeing a cup, simply= image/colour
Smelling coffee, simply = smell,
Feeling the warmth of the coffee cup, simply = sensation.
Tasting the coffee, simply = taste
Hearing the spoon stirring the coffee, simply = sound
Thought about drinking the coffee, simply = thought.

Just break down daily activities into these categories (which are all actual experience) and report back how you go.

Love,
Luisa

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dmurphy
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:10 am

Re: Looking for guidance

Postby dmurphy » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:03 pm

Hi Luisa,
Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful responses to all of my rambling :)
On to your questions:
Is the link between the thought and the feeling experienced or is assumed?
It is assumed, absolutely. The "link" itself is not an object of experience, it is inferred from the sequences things happen in. First a thought, then a tension. I infer: "the thought has caused the tension." This inference is strengthened by the fact that this pattern occurs so often, and so consistently. Almost every time, it goes, anxious thought, then tension. So I conceptualize: the thought is causing the tension. But you are right, the causation is not actually experienced. If I try to look at the "gap" between the thought and the tension, searching for a tangible connection of some kind, there is simply nothing there.
From you next response:
So I know from direct experience that thoughts do not have to give rise to this feeling in the stomach; only that they do 99% of the time.
Do they do in AE?
I may have misspoke here. It's not that the thoughts actually give rise to the feeling 99% of the time, in AE. It's that 99% of the time, in AE, the thoughts are immediately followed by the tension, and then my mind "connects the dots" and infers causation. But no, strictly speaking in AE it cannot be observed directly that the thoughts ever give rise to the feeling. This causation cannot be observed directly, only assumed.
Imagine you are eating an apple or any fruit you like. Imagine the texture, the temperature, the sweetness. Now bite the fruit: do you need to think about its qualities in order to experience them?
Do you need to think "the fruit is sweet" in order to KNOW about its sweetness or is this KNOWING previous to any thought about it?
I do not need to think about the qualities in order to experience them. I do not need to think "the fruit is sweet" in order to know about its sweetness. The knowing is previous to any thought about it, yes. First there's there experience itself, then there's the thought about it. With things like sweetness, temperature, or texture, this seems clear to me. Here is where I am caught: with more abstract concepts like "things being in sequence," it seems like some thought is required in order to notice it at all. We were talking about whether I notice thoughts being in sequence in AE, or if that is merely a thought that I have. Well unlike "sweetness" which seems like a raw, base-level perception, the concept of things being in order seems to be a higher-order concept that you sort of have to think in order for it to exist at all. You don't experience things being in order as raw sensory data; it's a concept, you have to think it. For example I could see on a television screen a red letter "A," then a blue letter "B," then a green letter "C." Now, the colors of the letters I would experience directly, in AE, as I would the shapes of the letters. But to actually notice that they're in alphabetical order, that takes thought, no? "Order" is a concept, not a perception. So all that being said, I guess my answer would be no, I do not actually experience the thoughts being in order, or in sequence, or being connected to one another. Not in AE. In AE, all that is directly experienced is: thought, thought, thought, thought. But at some point either during or after that chain of thoughts, the thinking breaks in: "these thoughts are connected." Or "that chain of thoughts was connected."
Here is an exercise that helps to generate space between experience and conceptualizing.
Ok, I did this exercise on my way in to work today.

Stepping outside, simply = perception of cold. pressure on face from wind.
Walking to car, simply = perception of motion. sound of snow crunching.
Starting the car, simply = perception of vibration. sound of engine.
Driving, simply = colors and images, constantly changing. pressure in hands from steering wheel.
Walking to building, simply = image of building. perception of motion. sound of birds chirping. perception of cold.
Walking up stairs, simply = perception of burning in legs. perception of warmth. noticing a pleasantness to the warmth- is this pleasantness AE, or does it require a thought to become "pleasant"?

Thank you,
Dan


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