I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

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Vilhelm
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I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:15 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
That one can realise the inherent selflesness of conciousness by continuous probing at one's sense of self. And, that through a dialogue, someone who has had this insight can guide, and give instructions, making this realisation come about.

What are you looking for at LU?
Guidance on how to realise the inherent selflesness of conciousness. I want someone to point out the pitfalls of my mind. Something that can move me in the right spiritual direction. Something that can wake me up from delusion.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
That I will get insights into the truth of conciousness.
I feel like I am at a point where I can make a transitional step. I want to get guidance on how to see this truth about conciousness, and I want to truly test my comtemplative abilities. I am passionate about my practice, and I am willing to take instructions.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been meditating for almost three years. I have been on a Vipassana and Mudita retreat, where I was told that I was far on the path. I have read a lot of books about the different Buddhist traditions, and I feel very passionately about my practice. I feel that sometimes my practice gets very intense, and that I get to a point where I feel like "I" can transition, but then my mind gets all the attention. I recieved tinnitus some months ago when I meditated intensely. I have been deeling with a lot of fears in my practice, not because of any trauma, but just because of what meditation opened me up to.

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

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:42 pm

Hello Vilhelm,

I've read your initial statements and am happy to work with you.

Do read, if you haven't already, all the guidelines and disclaimers on the Gate forum and check out the 'quote' method. Let me know if you have any problems.

I will ask questions and ask you to do various exercises and I hope you will answer from your direct and actual experience as honestly as you can. This is the key to it. From your introduction it is clear that you want to see and to 'know' so I trust you understand the importance of not digressing into abstractions and theory.

Please let me know if this is all ok with you.

Kind regards,

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:35 pm

Hello Michael,

Thank you so much for taking time out of the day to answer my post on the forum. I feel blessed and excited working with you.

I have read all the disclaimers and I will be taking a look at the quote method you mentioned.

I am currently reading the free book Gateless Gatecrashers to get a more accurate picture of how to go about this, and I am going to try my best to be honest in this endeavor.

I am ready to start right away, and thank you again for taking the time.

Kind regards,

Vilhelm

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:15 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Thank you for your super fast reply.

Crucial to your looking (like with so many things in life) is having the right attitude and this is what we will now address.

I would like you to do two things please:

Firstly, can you identify what your expectations are and write them out for me.

And

Secondly, can you also tell me any reservations, fears, or possible obstacles that may hinder you.

We will then address whatever comes up which will be a bit like clearing the decks, or emptying the cup!

The aim is so that you begin looking with a sense of open curiosity free from preconceptions of any kind.

Also, let’s try and post every day or two (depending on what you are looking at) and if we are unable to for several days, out of consideration, let’s notify each other accordingly. That way we can create a continuity and momentum.

Kind regards.

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:15 pm

Hello Michael,

I expect that realising no self will turn a lot of things upside down. That my meditation practice will change, and that I will somehow turn into some selfless guru. I have conceptualized there being some kind of spectrum of selfless people. Everything from Eckhart Tolle to some guy realising that his thoughts are not "his" thoughts. I think that the self is a belief, like any other, and that through further introspection conciousness' true nature will show itself. I have also read about some people asking "IS THIS IT?!?!," being dumbstruck by its simplicity and/or insignifigance. Overall I am very open to whatever there is to be realised.

I have been very fearful for a long time, but this has changed quite recently. I have struggled with fears of everything being wrong, and everything being hopeless. However, there came a moment when I gave into all the insecurity, and hopelesness of the situation. Since then the fear can sometimes be felt in the body, but it seldom takes any mental shape anymore.

There are no obstacles that I can think of, and I do not have anything to add.

Kind regards,

Vilhelm

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:48 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Thanks for your post.

Your expectations are realistic enough and it is accurate that you understand that the self is a thought based belief. Folk do find it is simple and for want of a better expression right under their noses, closer than the next breath etc.

You may or may not become a guru! We will see!
Overall I am very open to whatever there is to be realised.
This is key. The attitude to have is one of openess, honesty, and curiosity. If you approach it with this attitude and are persistant there is no reason at all why you won't be successful :)
I have been very fearful for a long time, but this has changed quite recently. I have struggled with fears of everything being wrong, and everything being hopeless. However, there came a moment when I gave into all the insecurity, and hopelesness of the situation. Since then the fear can sometimes be felt in the body, but it seldom takes any mental shape anymore.

There are no obstacles that I can think of, and I do not have anything to add.
This recent experience sounds valuable and suggests you have turned a corner in relation to fear. There is no need for us to explore it now but if fear, or any other obstacle, does arise during your investigation let me know and we will deal with it at the time.

Ok. Great. So let's begin.

As it is so important let's clarify what is meant by 'direct experience', as it is going to be a recurring theme.

When I use the term 'direct experience', I mean immediate sense experience (what is seen, felt, heard etc right here and now) and also thoughts as immediately experienced.

So for example "I am hungry" is a judgement, not a description of direct experience.

On the other hand, "There is a hard ache in my stomach, and thoughts about food and the possibility of eating keep arising" is describing some of the direct experience involved in being hungry.

So as a warm-up exercise, can you write a few lines to convey some of your direct experience as you (I assume) sit in front of your computer now?

Many thanks,

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:16 pm

Hi Michael,

Thinking about what to write... Looking for an experience to write down, noticing this looking... Feeling legs resting on the chair... The stomach feels tense, and heartbeating is a little fast, labeled excitement... Doubt about what is being asked for, thinking "am I doing this right?"... Feeling a lack of concentration, and noticing a judgment about this... Trying to think of something to write, noticing this thinking... Not feeling well rested, noticing this judgment... Mind feels dull at the moment... Thinking of exercising and getting back to the task... Noticing tension in the shoulders, and they immediately feel looser... Just noticing a lot of judgment about this overall... Realising that the looking for something to write is still taking place... A lot of judging

Best regards,

Vilhelm

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:19 am

Hello Michael,

There is something I would like to add.

Yesterday, while reading one of the dialogs, some line hit me, and I questioned my belief in self. After that a thought arose in "my" mind, and "I" noticed that the thought referred to someone, who was previously believed to be me. Now only a character/person. The thought and the insight arose simultaneously. The first thought did not vanish immediately, probably because the insight was so new and fragile. Every subsequent thought for the rest of the day this happened. No long story managed to unfold itself for hours. Today, however, this ability has ceased, and through efforting it seems ingenuine. The day has been frustrating, and stressful. Only a conceptual understanding remains of this selfless truth. It did not stick.

Best wishes,

Vilhelm

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:05 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Thanks for both your posts.

In relation to the second post it sounds promising. Even when no-self is realised 'selfing' still occurs and there is a tendancy to see the person as a character acting out roles. Stories tend to not be believed and therefore don't tend to run. There is less fabrication / prolifferation. Don't worry if that way of being has gone. Sometimes folk have a period of flip flopping when they 'get' no self and when they don't and bounce back and forth between the two states.

In relation to the first post your answer demonstates that a very large part of your experience is thought based / mental.

Code: Select all

Feeling legs resting on the chair... The stomach feels tense, and heartbeating is a little fast,
Are there really legs resting on the chair or 'sensation of pressure'?

Can you feel your stomach or is it just a conceptualisation?

Have another go. Why not sit down somewhere with eyes closed relax for a little and try to tune into direct experience. Perhaps thinking of it a first contact will help. Before the labelling kicks in. Outside would be even better but I appreciate that if you are in the UK at the moment it is very cold.

Have fun.

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:54 am

Hello Michael

Yes, you are right! It's only the concepts of stomach and legs. Only feelings of cold/warmth and pressure/lightness. Never a feeling of solidity. Only labelled as such.

I sat down, then went for a walk with the somewhat clear intention of noticing first contact. This had a wonderful effect on the conceptualizing mind. After a few minutes the body was relaxed and the mind felt receptive. The senses were open. Different sense inputs (sounds, feelings in the body, and smells) triggered thought responses/labeling while walking. At other times there was seemingly nothing triggering the thoughts. There was only the newness of every situation. The body being known, world being seen, and river being heard. Thoughts interrupted this knowing until they too became part of the known.

Thank you so much, this is very helpful stuff. I will definitely be doing this a lot more than I have previously.

Thankful,

Vilhelm

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:33 am

Hi Vilhelm,

Thanks for your post.

Am glad that you are coming to your senses more, that you feel open and that you had an enjoyable walk.
The body being known, world being seen, and river being heard.
However unfortunately you still haven't demonstrated that you can actually identify sensation and distinguish it from thought. This is essential to your inquiry as you need to be able to tune into direct experience (even if for the majority of the time you are predominantly identified with thought). If I remember correctly you said in your intro that you had been meditating for a while. In meditation teaching / practice it is called Bare Attention - the first contact of the world that is experiences. It manifests as pressure, tingling, buzzing, bright, dull, as colour, how sound is (not the name 'bird' or 'aeroplane' etc) and so on.

Have another go.

Sit down quietly, relax for a few minutes and then describe exactly what you notice. So it is 'below' the mood state, below thought (which then quickly comes in to label and create stories etc, etc). So for example you won't find a 'body' in direct experience there may be feelings of pressure, itchiness (from clothing) pressure, constriction, who knows, but try not to keep being led off by thought. Thought will inevitably occur and is part of direct experience in the present moment but as much as possible try and be with sensation and see if you can clearly distinguish it from thought. Hear the sound 'edgy, harsh' and then notice the label come 'steel saw'; crying, mewing then 'Seagull' or whatever.

Enjoy!

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:30 pm

Hello Michael

Thank you for your reply. Third time might be the charm :)

I am at work writing this:
As thoughts go more into the background, and experience is not being dominated by them as much, the momentariness of things being known feels like a flow. Noticing being lost in thought feels like having been lost in delusion, whatever the content may be. Like a dream state. Verbalising thoughts while having a conversation is not delusional in the same way. One can be aware of talking, but a thought takes over in a sense. There is a lot of commentary running in the mind. “I am doing this,” “I am doing that.” The commentary and labeling an experience seems conpletely unnesecary while being in the immediacy of things being known. There is knowing of the decision to do something, and then there is a thought which makes this a “me” decision. The decision was made prior to the me label. The feeling of it being a flow subsides and reappears as the conditions are there.

Feeling pressure in the stomach, noticing the mind labeling it stress. Coming back to the immediate experience. Hearing music playing. Being aware of talking to a customer. Feeling the sensations of sitting, feeling pressure in the legs. Noticing the thought arise: “I am sitting and being aware,” as a description of what is already being done. Coming back to the noticing of first contact.

I have been working here for a long time, and I think that this helps with this exercise. I do my work effortlessly in this mode. The routine is always the same, the things being done are always the same, and in the same order. The difference between immediate experience/first noticing and being lost in thought is clear to me.

Thankful,

Vilhelm

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:21 pm

Hello Michael

When sitting down having this attention on the body, there are different points of tention. Narrowing in on pulsating sensations. Holding of energy. Feelings of free flow of energy. NO LABELING. Trembling as tension is released.intensity. Itchiness. Shaky.

Vilhelm

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MichaelD
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby MichaelD » Thu Mar 01, 2018 5:58 pm

Hi,

Sorry for the delay but I was ill.
there are different points of tention. Narrowing in on pulsating sensations. Holding of energy. Feelings of free flow of energy. NO LABELING. Trembling as tension is released.intensity. Itchiness. Shaky.
Good. Well done, that's more like it.

So here is an excercise.

Take an everyday object like an apple or a cup or something and look at it.

If there is a self you should be able to find the boundary between the apple and your self.

Can you find that boundary in direct experience?

I think you will enjoy this.

Michael

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Vilhelm
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Re: I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

Postby Vilhelm » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:15 pm

Hello Michael,

The delay is no problem, I feel there's a lot to work with here :) I hope you feel better soon.

I think I need some more time with this exercise. I did this for about one hour, and I am still pretty clueless. Not really sure what I'm suppose to notice.
I am going to travel for a couple of days, and I will report back when I get the chance. Might report back soon.

Best wishes,

Vilhelm


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