I want to realise the absence of a sepeterate self

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

Postby MichaelD » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:59 pm

Hi,

No need for an hour. A few goes of a couple of minutes should do it. Forget thinking, it is irrelevant.

Look at an object, or sitting quietly notice a sound.

In direct experience is there a boundary between it and 'you'? Is there just perception?

Yours,

Michael

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

Postby Vilhelm » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:25 pm

Hello,

There is just the image of a cup being perceived. The attempt to see a boundary between the image and a “me” are concepts/labels arising in conciousness. This looking for a boundary is seen as a me thought labeling direct experience. At times the self is felt to be in the stomach. It is seen as a label upon direct experience.
“I am the cup,” “There is no boundary,” and “thinking is labeling” are all noticed as thoughts labeling what is already being perceived.

Vilhelm.

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

Postby MichaelD » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:15 pm

Hi,

Thanks.
The attempt to see a boundary between the image and a “me” are concepts/labels arising in conciousness.
Isn't the attempt to locate a boundary an excercise in looking rather than labelling?
“I am the cup,” “There is no boundary,” and “thinking is labeling” are all noticed as thoughts labeling what is already being perceived.
Good, well noticed.

However you still haven't told me whether you located a boundary or not!!!!!?

Is there one?

You need to give a one word answer - yes or no. Try and do that without any reporting of thought.

When you have done that try the next excercise:

We are taught that there is an object, a subject, and an act of perception.

Looking at an object or listening to sound is this true?

Can you find an 'act of perception'?

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 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:10 pm

Hi
Isn't the attempt to locate a boundary an excercise in looking rather than labelling?
There is a difference, but I am not sure where to draw the line between the two.
However you still haven't told me whether you located a boundary or not!!!!!?
There is no boundary between the object and me. The boundary is only made when there is a me label and a object label. And neither are in direct experience. Only perception!
We are taught that there is an object, a subject, and an act of perception.

Looking at an object or listening to sound is this true?

Can you find an 'act of perception'?[\quote]

There is just perception. An act of perception entails someone doing the perceiving, which is thought created when looking closely at experience. Me and object are just labels!

Thank you for the quick replies,
still hopeful :)

Vilhelm

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

Postby MichaelD » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:06 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Thanks for your reply.
There is no boundary between the object and me.
Great!

But where or what is the 'me' that you refer to?

Can you find an 'act of perception'?[\quote]

There is just perception.
Wonderfull!

So in your experience is it true to say?:

'There is no self, just perceptions occurring.

How does this feel?

Michael

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

Postby Vilhelm » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:28 pm

Hi Michael,
But where or what is the 'me' that you refer to?
The me that I refer to is not located anywhere, because it does not exist in any real sense. The me is only a label (feeling and a thought) attached to whatever is being known from moment to moment. I am thinking this. I am doing this.
So in your experience is it true to say?:

'There is no self, just perceptions occurring.

How does this feel?
I do not think it would be true to say that. I am lost in thought almost all the time, and when I notice that I have been lost in thought no deep realisation about the nature of conciousness occurs.
Only perceiving whatever arises seems a little far fetched to me. It might require some stability.
If I am to say that there is only perception when "I" am really paying attention, and that there is no self involved doing any of it, then the feeling can be described as quite liberating.

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 08, 2018 12:18 pm

Hi,

Thank you for your honest post.
The me that I refer to is not located anywhere, because it does not exist in any real sense.
You are right to notice this.

So in what sense does the self exist? Have you discovered how it is generated? Why you believe it to be there?
The me is only a label (feeling and a thought) attached to whatever is being known from moment to moment. I am thinking this. I am doing this.
Good. Really here you are answering the questioss I posed above. It is important that you keep noticing this. That there is some kind of sensation e.g. a sound, a colour or form etc and then thoughts label and run commentaries. With actions, as you stated, they get claimed by 'I' thoughts which are then elaborated into stories.
If I am to say that there is only perception when "I" am really paying attention, and that there is no self involved doing any of it, then the feeling can be described as quite liberating.
There is no you to pay attention there is just attention being payed. See if you can notice this. As you say it is liberating.

So, see if you can notice as clearly as possible how thoughts label and claim as you try and pay particular remain grounded in sensation.

Do this for a couple of days and then report back when we will then explore thought in detail.

Well done. You are seeing what needs to be seen :-)

Michael.

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

Postby Vilhelm » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:15 pm

Hello Michael,

Good to know that I am on the right path :)

I will do what you say, and report back when things are more clear.

Thankful,

Vilhelm

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

Postby Vilhelm » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:32 pm

Hello Michael,
So, see if you can notice as clearly as possible how thoughts label and claim as you try and pay particular remain grounded in sensation.
At a point in doing this direct experiencing, and first noticing, seemingly all thoughts were seen to be empty of self.
Then a desire to do something else arose, and the me assosiation followed. "I want to do this instead." "This exercise is getting tedious."
Viewing this as thoughts didn't do the trick.
Retrospectively it seems like there was too much dedication, and not enough clarity. That I was not grounded.

To me it seems that it is easier to perceive selflesness in the act of doing some daily activity like work, and that any attempt to do so as a practice creates striving for "me."
I realize that the moment to raise above that striving is always present, and I know the path more clearly now, but it is not something which can be done reliably in the sitting meditation.

I see the importance of remaining grounded in sensations of the body, so as to have insight into the mind body connection, but the tendency is definetly to start conceptualising, and to remain in that mode for hours.
There is no you to pay attention there is just attention being payed. See if you can notice this. As you say it is liberating.
For me to notice attention being paid, while no one is paying attention, requires being grounded. The same can be said for doing, saying, and thinking.

Thank you for your continuous help. I see improvement.

Vilhelm

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

Postby MichaelD » Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:00 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Sorry for the delays. The bald truth is that my mother is dying. This means that most of my time is spent either at work or at the carehome.
To me it seems that it is easier to perceive selflesness in the act of doing some daily activity like work, and that any attempt to do so as a practice creates striving for "me."
Yes. It isn't something to 'practice' in the way that sitting down to do a certain kind of meditation practice is or chanting a particular mantra.
I see the importance of remaining grounded in sensations of the body, so as to have insight into the mind body connection, but the tendency is definetly to start conceptualising, and to remain in that mode for hours.
This is what you are looking at. Info comes in through the senses (perception) and then there is labelling and proliferation.

Need to leave it there.

Will try and send thought excercises later today.

Michael

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

Postby MichaelD » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:41 pm

HI

Where do thoughts come from?
Where are they going?
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?


Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
Can you choose what to think?
Can you choose what not to think?


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 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:26 pm

Hello Michael,

I am sorry to hear about your mother, my condolences. Take all the time you need!
Where do thoughts come from?
On the level of experience a thought just arises when the conditions are there.
Where are they going?
Nowhere. They just arise as some image/language in the mind, and then cease again.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
There is no me to stop a thought in the middle of its arising. When the mind is clear and concentrated long verbal thoughts can be seen in their arising, and before completely expressing themselves cease. When there is a me who is interested or invested in the thought, which gives it a feeling of meness, then the thought pattern can remain unnoticed for some time however. It depends on the thought content, and the meness of it.
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
There is no chooser in direct experience, just the next chooserless choice.
Some thoughts trigger emotions, where every subsequent thought is another thought in the train of thoughts. This gives rise to a feeling of thinker of thoughts in addition to the thoughts. Thoughts arise out of conditions, and the clearer the conditions are seen, the more useless the thought's portrayals are.
My contemporary experience of feeling fear is that the thinker dissolves in the instance of a thought's arising, and that there is then the feeling of the emotion and body without any conceptualising. The pain IS the story of an unhappy, unsatisfied self. Pain is being lost in thought.
Can you choose what to think?
Can you choose what not to think?
No, there is no chooser in direct experience. Just thoughts, and their underlying emotions, giving the impression of it being so.

Thankful,

Vilhelm.

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

Postby MichaelD » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:13 pm

Hi Vilhelm,

Apologies again. This time it was me being ill. Hopefully a period of stability will now be possible.

Great post on your part though, and I hope you have carried on noticing thoughts and what they are up to.
Where do thoughts come from?
On the level of experience a thought just arises when the conditions are there.


Mmm. Hard to know how to answer this. It is too crude to say 'no' however it does not help you to fall back on ideas like conditionality.

It is a Buddhist way of explaining how things arise. It relates to other very important ideas / pointers such as 'emptiness' and 'dependant arising'. Of course this in not me saying the Buddha is wrong (which would be pretty idiotic on my part!) it is more that they won't help you at this point in your inquiry. It comes back to seeing and reporting only what can be seen in direct experience. (As my guide in fact said to me) - "Can you see conditions".
Where are they going?
Nowhere. They just arise as some image/language in the mind, and then cease again.
Exactly. Well noticed.

This also is where they have come from too. Have another look. A mystery if ever there was one!

Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
There is no me to stop a thought in the middle of its arising.
But at the moment you experience having a self (unless that has changed) so this is meant in a literal way.

Literally try and stop thought either in the middle, or from arising at all. Is it possible?
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
There is no chooser in direct experience, just the next chooserless choice.
If you have realised this well done - a fantastic insight and really crucial in relation to seeing no separate self. Great.

However it has sort of sidestepped the question!

Like all folk you want to be happy. You don't want to be troubled with negative and painfull thoughts. Can you control them? Are you able to go about your day only having happy and enjoyable thoughts?

Please answer the questions above (except the one about conditions). There is something you really need to realise about thought in general before we look at "I" thoughts.

Hope you are enjoying this area. It is very important.

All the best,

Michael

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

Postby Vilhelm » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:46 am

Hi Michael,
This also is where they have come from too. Have another look. A mystery if ever there was one!
Yes, thoughts just appear, and then dissapear again. It is a mystery where they come from, and how they can define anything at all.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
There is no me to stop a thought in the middle of its arising.
But at the moment you experience having a self (unless that has changed) so this is meant in a literal way.
I cannot recall to what extent I did not feel like a self while writing this, but yes, I feel like a self now.
Literally try and stop thought either in the middle, or from arising at all. Is it possible?
Can 'you' choose not to have painful or negative thoughts?
There is no chooser in direct experience, just the next chooserless choice.
If you have realised this well done - a fantastic insight and really crucial in relation to seeing no separate self. Great.
I have seen this chooserlesness in my daily life many times, but it is not stable at all. And sitting down at the computer now trying to connect to this fact only brings up confusion.
I have a question about your wording "painful." I had a striking experience of "me'" having a painful experience, and when tuning into just feeling/knowing/perceiving the sensations taking place at that moment, the whole projection of a painful self experience vanished. There was no one to suffer at that moment, and somewhat no suffering. Just numbness. This was just a glimpse. For two subsequent days life seemed very unprofound, and depressing. What happened?! Is this emptiness (sorry for the Buddhist jargon)?
Like all folk you want to be happy. You don't want to be troubled with negative and painfull thoughts. Can you control them? Are you able to go about your day only having happy and enjoyable thoughts?
To me there exists a spectrum of being lost in thought on the one hand, and noticing thoughts as thoughts on the other. And depending on how keenly thoughts are noticed to be thoughts I do feel unidentified with whatever the thoughts say. Being lost in thought gives them the dictator-like power they have. When they are noticed the content of the thoughts doesn't matter, and if it does matter then the thought just hasn't been fully seen, because there is still some identification.
But no I cannot choose to have happy thoughts or unhappy thoughts. And when thoughts are seen as thoughts it doesn't matter as much what they portray.

I am enjoying these questions. They seem basic, but are easily overlooked. I know I have much to learn about this to be certain about my experience.

All the best,

Vilhelm

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

Postby MichaelD » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:12 pm

Hi,
Yes, thoughts just appear, and then dissapear again. It is a mystery where they come from, and how they can define anything at all.
Well done you ave now seen that they appear and disappear and that this is ownerless. This is crucial so keep noticing this.

You also go on to notice that it is mysterious that they can define anything at all. Damm good.

Can they? Can thought know sensation?

Can sensation know thought?


Your answer to whether thoughts can be stopped isn't there but you go on to say:
I have a question about your wording "painful." I had a striking experience of "me'" having a painful experience, and when tuning into just feeling/knowing/perceiving the sensations taking place at that moment, the whole projection of a painful self experience vanished.
Brilliant. Well noticed.

By staying with sensation (even if unpleasant) fabrication is thwarted, a story cannot run. If already in a story and you drop the narrative and return to sensation the story will tend to dissolve.

no I cannot choose to have happy thoughts or unhappy thoughts. And when thoughts are seen as thoughts it doesn't matter as much what they portray.
Excellent. You cannot choose thoughts because as you discovered earlier they just appear and cannot be controlled.

A friend of mine just gave me the term 'empty whispers' for thoughts. Very useful to view them this way.

Stay with this area of watching thought, how they have no real content, that they cannot know sensation and report any new observations in a day or two.

We will then look at the key to it all - the "I" thoughts.

Yours,

Michael


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