First day at school

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Fri May 31, 2019 12:53 am

Hi Andy,
I think what you're saying is that coffee, heat, and cup are abstractions away from AE. But couldn't the same be said also of sensation, smell, and thought? Are these not also abstract categories imposed upon AE?
Yes, they are. I call these abstractions as ‘mental labels’ which are thoughts.

However, certain thoughts point to directly to the actual experience, like the words ‘sensation, taste, smell, sound, image/colour, thought’.
But there are certain thoughts that don’t point directly to the actual experience, but rather to other thoughts describing or interpreting the AE. Like: ‘coffee’, or the ‘cup is hot’.
Can you see the difference?

So for the time of our conversation, we artificially dived experience into the following categories:

Actual experience (AE) is: sounds, smells, taste, colour/image, sensation, and seeing the appearance of a thought. But what the thought about is not AE.

These all labels pointing directly to the AE, and not to other thoughts which are trying to interpret or describe the AE.
Yes I'd like to accept your offer of guidance here.
All right, let’s start it then.

The whole illusion is mainly created by thoughts. So therefore, we will investigate thoughts and thought labels thoroughly.

So then let’s have a deeper look on thoughts. Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts. Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear, without you doing anything at all.

Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?

Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only peaceful thoughts?
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?

Where do thoughts come from?
Where are they going?

Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?

What is generating thoughts? – look for the ‘generator’ itself

What is the thinker of thoughts? – don’t think, rather look for a ‘thinker’
Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found?

Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?


Please go through these questions and answer and quote ALL of them one-by-one. Don’t miss any. Try to answer them only from direct experience, and leave aside all intellectual interpretation or understanding. Please, DON’T THINK about the answers, rather LOOK at what is before thoughts. Take your time.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:01 am

However, certain thoughts point to directly to the actual experience, like the words ‘sensation, taste, smell, sound, image/colour, thought’.
But there are certain thoughts that don’t point directly to the actual experience, but rather to other thoughts describing or interpreting the AE. Like: ‘coffee’, or the ‘cup is hot’.
Can you see the difference?
Yes.

Sit quietly for about 30 minutes and notice the arising thoughts. Just let them appear as they appear. Try your best to COMPLETELY ignore what they are saying and just notice how they appear, without you doing anything at all.

Did you do anything to make a particular thought or thoughts appear?
Could you have done anything to make a different thought appear at that exact moment instead?
I did not do anything to make thoughts appear. They appear out of nowhere, but once they have appeared they are the start of a train of thought. I can decide to steer this train in a particular direction, like counting breaths, but then other thoughts appear out of nowhere and derail the breath-counting train. I can do nothing to select that interrupting thought.
Can you select from a range of thoughts to have only peaceful thoughts?
Can you pick and choose any kind of thought?
Yes I can steer the train onto peaceful thoughts, or problem-solving thoughts, or remembrances, or whatever, but further different thoughts interrupt that train.
Where do thoughts come from?
Where are they going?
I don't know where thoughts come from, they seem to appear out of nowhere. When they go it is because a different thought interrupts and initiates a different train. "Random train-hopping" might be a useful way to describe what's going on.
Can ‘you’ stop a thought in the middle?
Can ‘you’ predict what will be the next thought?
I can recognize the train and force an interruption, such as getting back to counting breaths. But the unforced interruptions are completely unpredictable, and often bizarre.
What is generating thoughts? – look for the ‘generator’ itself
I cannot find a generator.
What is the thinker of thoughts? – don’t think, rather look for a ‘thinker’
Does the thinker of the thought appear in experience? Can it be found?
I am the thinker of the forced thoughts (unforced thoughts are random intrusions and distractions, although they are often useful). But I can't find the thinker of forced thoughts in experience. I can't find what it is that is trying to find itself.
Is it possible to prevent a thought from appearing? Including the thought 'I'?
No, thoughts appear out of the blue without any bidding. When I try to stop thoughts arising, there is the thought of stopping thoughts arising. There is even a running commentary about what is going on, which can itelf be noticed and recognized as just more thoughts, but any attempt to stop that just gives a little pause before a new commentary begins. The thought 'I' seems to be implicit in this commentary. It's like a story about the story-teller.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:39 am

Hi Andy,
I can decide to steer this train in a particular direction, like counting breaths,
“I can decide to steer [thoughts]….” – What is it exactly that is making this decision? – don’t think, but look
Where is this ‘I’ which decides exactly? – find the location
Yes I can steer the train onto peaceful thoughts, or problem-solving thoughts, or remembrances, or whatever, but further different thoughts interrupt that train.
Look for the ‘I’ which can steer the train of thoughts – where is it exactly?
Find the ‘steer-er’. Where is it exactly?
I am the thinker of the forced thoughts (unforced thoughts are random intrusions and distractions, although they are often useful). But I can't find the thinker of forced thoughts in experience. I can't find what it is that is trying to find itself.
If there is a thinker of forced thoughts, then it has to be found. Look everywhere. Search every corner of the body, especially the head. The eyes, behind the eyes, the forehead, the middle of the head, the top of the head, the face, even behind the ears. Look into thoughts too. Where is the thinker?

Let’s look at thoughts even more closely.

What can a thought do?
Does a thought have volition?
Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?


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


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:06 am

“I can decide to steer [thoughts]….” – What is it exactly that is making this decision? – don’t think, but look
Where is this ‘I’ which decides exactly? – find the location
I'm having trouble trying to work out exactly what would qualify as an answer with these question Vivien. What is making the decision to steer thoughts?.. the idea of an "executive function" is just another thought. Where is the 'I' that decides?.. Where are thoughts? They don't seem to have a location in space; a length, an area, a volume. Or maybe they permeate all space. Or maybe they are orthogonal to space. Where is green? Where is the aroma of coffee? Perhaps you're asking where they are conceptually located, like green is in the eyes and the aroma of coffee is in the nose? In which case I'd say that the 'I' is in the head... in the brain... behind the eyes and between the ears. But that judgement would be the result of imposing an interpretation, i.e. thinking about it, which you asked me not to do. Aren't these thoughts about the eyes, the ears, the nose, the brain examples of thoughts that point to other thoughts rather than to AE (as would, e.g., thoughts about sight, sound, smell, and even about thoughts themselves)?
Look for the ‘I’ which can steer the train of thoughts – where is it exactly?
Find the ‘steer-er’. Where is it exactly?
Where is the thinker?
Behind the eyes and between the ears? But I have to say I feel resistance to making this claim since the process I'd embarked upon seems to have gone into reverse.
What can a thought do?
Does a thought have volition?
Can it manipulate other thoughts or think new thoughts?
Thoughts don't do anything, they just appear or interrupt another thought, and then disappear or get interrupted in turn. Sometimes they inherit a theme, and sometimes they instantiate a new theme. 'Volition' is just another thought. I feel pretty sure you'd say that 'volition' was a thought that points to other thoughts, and not to AE.
It seems that thought has some logical ordered appearance, but look carefully and just notice if there is an organised sequence. Or is it just another thought that says ‘these thoughts are in sequence’ or “they take content from previous thought”, or that "one thought follows another thought"?
My thoughts are a jumble. I often can't even remember what I'd just been thinking about. I sometimes get the feeling that I'd lost hold of an important thought... slipped away from me when it got interrupted by another thought. Sometimes I can recover it with what seems like an effort of will, a 'backtracking', and sometimes not. But thoughts about lost thoughts, about means of recovering them, about making an effort to do so, are not pointing to AE. The "logical sequence" thought is strong, but I know this is deceptive. Most of the time I don't "work things through in an orderly manner", but rather the end result is presented fully formed so to speak, and the "orderly derivation" happens retrospectively. So I don't know how this works. It is all just happening.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Mon Jun 03, 2019 12:42 am

Hi Andy,
I'm having trouble trying to work out exactly what would qualify as an answer with these question
I’m asking these questions to see the difference between the AE and thought interpretation.

But most importantly, we are doing these exercises to actually look and have EXPERIENTIAL understanding and not just an intellectual one. Since seeing through the self happens by looking and looking and looking and not finding it. Intellectual understanding is not enough to see through the illusion.
Where is the 'I' that decides?.. Where are thoughts? They don't seem to have a location in space; a length, an area, a volume. Or maybe they permeate all space. Or maybe they are orthogonal to space.
So the first part of this comment “they don’t seem to have a location in space, a length, an area, a volume.” is coming from looking, but still there is a hidden assumption that maybe there is something which is making decisions.
The other half of the comment is just thought interpretation.

I know you have lots of intellectual understanding on this topic. And that’s all right. But it’s essential that you put aside all learned knowledge and really look what is actually there. And from your comments, it’s not clear to me that how much of your replies are coming from actually looking, and how much of it rather analysing it intellectually.

I’d like to ask you to write only what is true in your experience. If no self is just an intellectual understanding in the moment, then let me know, or totally avoid using language that would infer otherwise. It’s important, because I give the next sets of questions according your comments, and if you comment as if you’ve seen no-self but you have only intellectual understanding, then my questions will be inappropriate and not useful. Can we agree on this?
Aren't these thoughts about the eyes, the ears, the nose, the brain examples of thoughts that point to other thoughts rather than to AE (as would, e.g., thoughts about sight, sound, smell, and even about thoughts themselves)?
Yes, exactly.

So the generally accepted belief is that there is a self / me, somewhere inside this body that makes decision, thinks thoughts, feels the emotions, the one whom all the experience is happening to. With these questions we investigate if these assumptions are actually in correspondence with what is really happening.

So we are looking for the decider or the thinker itself. If there is a ‘me’ who makes decisions and thinks thoughts, then this me has to be there in experience. So with looking we actually searching through the whole body for the self.

So you wrote that “I can decide to steer thought…”. And now I’m asking you to find this you who is supposedly can decide and steer thoughts. This ‘you’ has to be there if it’s really exists. So find it. Where is it exactly?
V: Where is the thinker?
A: Behind the eyes and between the ears? But I have to say I feel resistance to making this claim since the process I'd embarked upon seems to have gone into reverse.
When you say that the thinker is behind the eyes and between the ears, are you referring to the brain?
Or you’re saying that it FEELS LIKE AS IF the thinker is behind the eyes and between the ears?
'Volition' is just another thought. I feel pretty sure you'd say that 'volition' was a thought that points to other thoughts, and not to AE.
Yes :) but my question is:
Do you actually SEE that thoughts don’t have volition, or rather it’s an intellectual conclusion?
I often can't even remember what I'd just been thinking about. I sometimes get the feeling that I'd lost hold of an important thought... slipped away from me when it got interrupted by another thought. Sometimes I can recover it with what seems like an effort of will, a 'backtracking', and sometimes not.
Please look for this ‘I’ who can’t remember what it had just been thinking. Look into every corner of the body, especially the head.

Look behind the eyes. Can there be an ‘I’ found?
Look at the forehead. Is there an ‘I’ in or as the forehead?
At the back of the head?
In the middle of the head?
On the top of the head?
Behind the head?
Is the ‘I’ in the throat maybe?


Please look at each questions one-by-one. Look very carefully. Don’t miss any spot.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:02 pm

So the first part of this comment “they don’t seem to have a location in space, a length, an area, a volume.” is coming from looking, but still there is a hidden assumption that maybe there is something which is making decisions.
The other half of the comment is just thought interpretation.
Thank you for your patience Vivien. There is a certain exasperation here since since I cannot find this "something that is making decisions", and so I went into reverse gear and made some intellectual hyperbole. The concept of space is abstracted from AE, and thoughts are also part of AE, but thoughts don't have a location in space. The AE from which the concept of space is abstracted and the AE that consists of thoughts are together, not container (space) and contained (thoughts).
I’d like to ask you to write only what is true in your experience. If no self is just an intellectual understanding in the moment, then let me know, or totally avoid using language that would infer otherwise. It’s important, because I give the next sets of questions according your comments, and if you comment as if you’ve seen no-self but you have only intellectual understanding, then my questions will be inappropriate and not useful. Can we agree on this?
I understand what you're saying Vivien. My position right now is that I am giving you the benefit of the doubt here and acknowledging that, as you seem to be suggesting, I might be fooling myself. But right now I can't see a mechanism for any such self-deception.
So the generally accepted belief is that there is a self / me, somewhere inside this body that makes decision, thinks thoughts, feels the emotions, the one whom all the experience is happening to. With these questions we investigate if these assumptions are actually in correspondence with what is really happening.

So we are looking for the decider or the thinker itself. If there is a ‘me’ who makes decisions and thinks thoughts, then this me has to be there in experience. So with looking we actually searching through the whole body for the self.

So you wrote that “I can decide to steer thought…”. And now I’m asking you to find this you who is supposedly can decide and steer thoughts. This ‘you’ has to be there if it’s really exists. So find it. Where is it exactly?
It's just another thought, but a thought that points to other thoughts and not to AE. It has no location in space.
V: Where is the thinker?
A: Behind the eyes and between the ears? But I have to say I feel resistance to making this claim since the process I'd embarked upon seems to have gone into reverse.
When you say that the thinker is behind the eyes and between the ears, are you referring to the brain?
Or you’re saying that it FEELS LIKE AS IF the thinker is behind the eyes and between the ears?
If I must, as part of these exercises, reify this 'thinker' thingy then I would locate it behind the eyes because all of visual AE is seen from that perspective. I would also locate it between the ears because hearing enters the fray from stage left and stage right. But there is resistance here towards backtracking into this conceptual arena of eyes, ears, brain, and this reified thinker.
Do you actually SEE that thoughts don’t have volition, or rather it’s an intellectual conclusion?
Giving you the benefit of the doubt that I might be fooling myself, I would still have to say that the notion that thoughts can have volition is inconceivable to me. "Volition" is itself a thought (and at a very high level of abstraction), so in order to even begin to conceive of thoughts as having volition, I would have to be assigning a highly abstract concept to the simple concepts from which it has been abstracted, which would be absurd. It would be like assigning the Empire State Building to each of the bricks from which it is constructed.
Please look for this ‘I’ who can’t remember what it had just been thinking. Look into every corner of the body, especially the head.

Look behind the eyes. Can there be an ‘I’ found?
Look at the forehead. Is there an ‘I’ in or as the forehead?
At the back of the head?
In the middle of the head?
On the top of the head?
Behind the head?
Is the ‘I’ in the throat maybe?

Please look at each questions one-by-one. Look very carefully. Don’t miss any spot.
This 'I' who can't remember what it had just been thinking is yet another high-level abstract thought. It is abstracted from the perspective presented in visual AE and from the perspective presented in audible AE; more generally from the processes unfolding in AE. It is not behind the eyes, though it is abstracted from AE in a manner that gives that feeling. It is not in or as the forehead, or at the back of the head. It feels as though it should be in the middle of the head, but the head is already just another abstraction. It is not on top of the head or behind the head or in the throat. This is all wrong. These are all physical reference points and thoughts are non-physical -- i.e. although they are part of AE they are not part of the AE from which the physical world (of time and space) has been abstracted.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Tue Jun 04, 2019 2:23 am

Hi Andy,
There is a certain exasperation here since since I cannot find this "something that is making decisions", and so I went into reverse gear and made some intellectual hyperbole.
That’s all right. The whole point is looking looking and not finding anything :) So you’re doing very well :)
this 'thinker' thingy then I would locate it behind the eyes because all of visual AE is seen from that perspective. I would also locate it between the ears because hearing enters the fray from stage left and stage right. But there is resistance here towards backtracking into this conceptual arena of eyes, ears, brain, and this reified thinker.
All right. What you’re describing is the SENSE of self. Which is a sensation labelled as the seer or hearer. So the illusion of the self isn’t just created by thoughts, but rather the welding of thought, mental images, sensations into a bundle so to speak. We will look at this later.
It is not behind the eyes, though it is abstracted from AE in a manner that gives that feeling. It is not in or as the forehead, or at the back of the head. It feels as though it should be in the middle of the head, but the head is already just another abstraction.
“gives the feeling” – so this feeling is a sensation perceived as the seer/hearer/thinker. This gives the impression AS IF the ‘me’ were inside the head looking out the eyes and hears with the help of ears.
It would be like assigning the Empire State Building to each of the bricks from which it is constructed.
Good analogy :)

Here are some statements based on our investigation so far. Please read them careful, and see if you are clear on them. If any of them are not totally clear, please let me know.

- In actual experience thoughts don’t come and go from anywhere. They just there when they are there. And when they are not there anymore, then they are just simply not there.
- The supposed ‘me’ has no power over thoughts. None.
- Thoughts just appear on their own, without anyone or anything doing it.
- There is nothing that is thinking thoughts. Thinking happens, or rather say thoughts appear but without a thinker. There is no thinker of thoughts.
- Thoughts have no power whatsoever. They cannot think or do anything.
- Thoughts have no volition. There might be thoughts about intentions, but not the thoughts themselves intending or wanting it. They just ‘talk’ about wanting or intending.
- In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found.

Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?


So now let’s start to look at the content of thoughts.

Thoughts can be looked at in 2 different ways:

- seeing the CONTENT of a thought, what is a thought ABOUT
- and only seeing the thought itself, as a ‘CONTAINER’.

When a thought is seen only as a container, and the content of a thought (what it’s about) is being ignored, is what we call the actual experience of a thought. Do you see the difference?

Thoughts as arising thoughts (the containers) are ‘real’, but their contents (what they are ABOUT) are not. Like when you think about Dart Vader. There is an arising thought, it cannot be denied, but its content “Dart Vader” is not real. Sometimes thoughts point to something tangible, like chair, however a thought about a chair is not a chair. A thought about a chair is just a mental concept with an arising mental image of a ‘chair’ but that image is not ‘real’. However, as an arising image is there, it is ‘real’, but not its content (what it’s about).

Certain sensations can be felt in the body that is labelled such and such emotion, like ‘cheerful’. However, ‘cheerful’ is just a mental label on the felt sensation. So the felt sensation is ‘real’, the arising mental label, simply as arising label is ‘real’, but its content ‘cheerful’ is just an idea. Can you see this clearly?

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:03 pm

Look at each statement carefully. Is there anything in the above text that is not totally clear?
All clear. I feel particularly drawn to your comment that "In actual experience there is not even a mind. There might be thoughts about a ‘mind’, but ‘mind’ as such cannot be found." Yes. The concept of "mind" is abstracted from the very same AE as that from which concept of the "physical (i.e. spatio-temporal) world" has been abstracted. It is the very same AE that has been "taken twice over" so to speak, setting up this intellectually irreconcilable duality.
So now let’s start to look at the content of thoughts.

Thoughts can be looked at in 2 different ways:

- seeing the CONTENT of a thought, what is a thought ABOUT
- and only seeing the thought itself, as a ‘CONTAINER’.

When a thought is seen only as a container, and the content of a thought (what it’s about) is being ignored, is what we call the actual experience of a thought. Do you see the difference?
Yes, you are making sense.
Thoughts as arising thoughts (the containers) are ‘real’, but their contents (what they are ABOUT) are not. Like when you think about Dart Vader. There is an arising thought, it cannot be denied, but its content “Dart Vader” is not real. Sometimes thoughts point to something tangible, like chair, however a thought about a chair is not a chair. A thought about a chair is just a mental concept with an arising mental image of a ‘chair’ but that image is not ‘real’. However, as an arising image is there, it is ‘real’, but not its content (what it’s about).

Certain sensations can be felt in the body that is labelled such and such emotion, like ‘cheerful’. However, ‘cheerful’ is just a mental label on the felt sensation. So the felt sensation is ‘real’, the arising mental label, simply as arising label is ‘real’, but its content ‘cheerful’ is just an idea. Can you see this clearly?
Not entirely clear yet. You spoke previously of thoughts that point directly to AE and thoughts that don't. Wouldn't it be true to say of thoughts that point directly to AE that what the thought is ABOUT is real? Or are you now saying that that was just a stepping stone that we must now discard?

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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:08 am

Hi Andy,
You spoke previously of thoughts that point directly to AE and thoughts that don't. Wouldn't it be true to say of thoughts that point directly to AE that what the thought is ABOUT is real? Or are you now saying that that was just a stepping stone that we must now discard?
Excellent observation :)

So let’s say there is a sensation present. The sensation itself.
Then a thought label it as ‘sensation’.
Now, the thought label ‘sensation’ is real as an arising thought (as a ‘container), it’s there but the ‘content’ (sensation) is not there. The content of the label cannot be felt. It only POINTS TO the actual sensation itself.

So although certain thoughts POINT TO AE, still the content of those labels are still not ‘real’, not happening, since the content of the label ‘sensation’ cannot be felt/experienced. This label can be experienced only as a thought.
Can you see the difference?

Now let’s start looking at the content of thoughts. Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?


During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.
Let me know what you find.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:35 pm

So let’s say there is a sensation present. The sensation itself.
Then a thought label it as ‘sensation’.
Now, the thought label ‘sensation’ is real as an arising thought (as a ‘container), it’s there but the ‘content’ (sensation) is not there. The content of the label cannot be felt. It only POINTS TO the actual sensation itself.

So although certain thoughts POINT TO AE, still the content of those labels are still not ‘real’, not happening, since the content of the label ‘sensation’ cannot be felt/experienced. This label can be experienced only as a thought.
Can you see the difference?
I think so. A thought about pain is not itself painful, since its content is not the actual pain but a representation of it.
Now let’s start looking at the content of thoughts. Here is an exercise.
Get a sheet of paper and draw a line that divides that sheet in half. Label one half 'self' and the other side 'other'. Sit down and start a timer for 5 minutes. Every time you have a thought make a mark on the sheet. If that thought is about the self, put a mark on the self side, if it’s about something else, write down the thought itself (not just a mark). If a thought about food occurs due to feeling hungry, mark that on the self side. Any thought that refers back to a self should go on the self side. (I'm bored, I'm tired, is the door locked (my safety) that video was funny (I was amused), my back hurts, I am frightened, I wonder what is my daughter doing in school (‘my’ daughter), etc.

Let me know how you go and what you notice. Also please share with me what was written under others.
Then investigate the thoughts what was written under others. Are those thoughts really about others?
Lots of thoughts about self (the noise from the refridgerator started to annoy me, the discomfort in my hip, arrangements for tomorrow morning, etc.)
Thoughts about 'other' were Trump in UK (had been on the TV news), the Carnot Cycle (probably triggered by the fridge noise), and Liz's dressage test last Saturday. The last of these was something I'd been personally involved in so maybe should have gone under 'self'.

During the day, try to observe as many thoughts as you can. Particularly try to pay attention to narrating thoughts. Thoughts that are constantly narrating and judging what’s going on from the perspective of ‘me’.
Let me know what you find.
The narrator spends time in the future, debating which outomes are preferable and what can be done to favour those outcomes. It also spends time in the past, berating itself for bad decisions and asking how such situations can be avoided in the future, and congratulating itself on decisions that turned out well. And it spends time in the present (e.g. when annoyed at being stuck in a long line of traffic that is being held up by cyclists). Sometimes the narrator is noticed and stops dead in its tracks until interrupted by a new thought. A lot of the time the narrator seems to be rehearsing for possible future conversations, or comments it wishes it had made in the past.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:41 am

Hi Andy,
I think so. A thought about pain is not itself painful, since its content is not the actual pain but a representation of it.
Yes.
Thoughts about 'other' were Trump in UK (had been on the TV news)
I AM the one who has an opinion, likes or dislikes of him. And I saw him on the TV news.
Liz's dressage test last Saturday.
So she is MY daughter/wife/partner (whoever she is to you :)
So I AM the one who is interested of her dressage test…
The narrator spends time in the future, debating which outomes are preferable and what can be done to favour those outcomes. It also spends time in the past, berating itself for bad decisions and asking how such situations can be avoided in the future, and congratulating itself on decisions that turned out well. And it spends time in the present (e.g. when annoyed at being stuck in a long line of traffic that is being held up by cyclists). Sometimes the narrator is noticed and stops dead in its tracks until interrupted by a new thought. A lot of the time the narrator seems to be rehearsing for possible future conversations, or comments it wishes it had made in the past.
Nice looking.

Almost every thought, if not all, is about the self. Sometimes it might not be as obvious, but when looked at it a bit more closely, it turns out that this ‘narrating mind’ is always about me (some way or another).

Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.

Here is an interesting exercise.
Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when 'you' control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?


Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:18 pm

Actually, these narrating thoughts create the illusion of the self.
These thoughts describes ‘what I am’.
They describe my past, present and future.
They produce a story of my life.
They describe how I feel, and what I have to do.
They describe what things in the world and others mean to me and can give to me.
These thoughts define who I am and what is my relationship to the world.

Please read carefully the above sentences. Look if they are really true. Let me know what you find.
I think they are partly true. If AE weren't structured in a manner that supports a basic idea of self as "my physical body" then the narrating thoughts would have nothing to ground them. Granted the idea of "my physical body" is a highly abstract concept, but if it were not for the fact that the shapes and colours, the sounds, tactile sensations, and much much more that arise in AE did not support that concept then it would not persist. So when you say that the narrating thoughts "create the illusion of the self" then I'm guessing that you must mean that they create the illusion of something over and above the basic concept of "my physical body" that is grounded in AE, this "something more" perhaps encompassing the idea of "free will" (i.e. being an agent of action) and the idea of the "subject of experience" (i.e. being the experiencing 'thing' that notices AE and its conceptual overlays). If I'm wrong about this then I clearly have more work to do before I understand what you're saying.

Here is an interesting exercise.
Go and make a cup of tea or coffee. As you do this notice whether a 'self' does it. Also notice if there are many or any moments in the whole procedure of going to the kettle, switching it on, getting the cup (etc) when 'you' control the process?

How the decision is made what to make a cup of tea or coffee?
Do ‘you’ choose putting or not putting milk into the tea (or coffee)?
Is there a moment of choice or it happens automatically?
Do ‘you’ 'make the cup of tea (or coffee) happen' or it just happens?
Can a chooser be located?
There is no 'chooser'. This goes back to the discussion we had about the idea of volition. You mentioned "control[ling] the process". This idea of 'control' looks to me like just another part of the narrative. The process (AE and all its overlays) unfolds. At some high conceptual remove from AE, we speak of one system 'controlling' another (like the guidance system of a rocket 'controls' the rocket's thrusters in order to 'control' the rocket's trajectory). But really this distinction between 'controller' and 'controlled' is just a useful fiction. Whatever distinct parts AE divides into by virtue of these divisive overlays, those parts will all affect each other because they have been cut from the same cloth (AE). When the interactions between such parts operate one-way then we say that one subsystem "controls" another, or one event "causes" another. Ostensibly 'control'; Really just the unfolding of an artificially fractured whole.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:05 am

Hi Andy,
So when you say that the narrating thoughts "create the illusion of the self" then I'm guessing that you must mean that they create the illusion of something over and above the basic concept of "my physical body" that is grounded in AE, this "something more" perhaps encompassing the idea of "free will" (i.e. being an agent of action) and the idea of the "subject of experience" (i.e. being the experiencing 'thing' that notices AE and its conceptual overlays). If I'm wrong about this then I clearly have more work to do before I understand what you're saying.
Yes and no. Yes, that the body and the notion of free will are also contribute to the illusion. But no, since without thoughts / concepts, the notion of free will and even the body or the subject of experience doesn’t arise. But this will be clearer as we go further.
There is no 'chooser'. This goes back to the discussion we had about the idea of volition. You mentioned "control[ling] the process". This idea of 'control' looks to me like just another part of the narrative. The process (AE and all its overlays) unfolds. At some high conceptual remove from AE, we speak of one system 'controlling' another (like the guidance system of a rocket 'controls' the rocket's thrusters in order to 'control' the rocket's trajectory). But really this distinction between 'controller' and 'controlled' is just a useful fiction. Whatever distinct parts AE divides into by virtue of these divisive overlays, those parts will all affect each other because they have been cut from the same cloth (AE). When the interactions between such parts operate one-way then we say that one subsystem "controls" another, or one event "causes" another. Ostensibly 'control'; Really just the unfolding of an artificially fractured whole
This is a very sophisticated response, but I would like to ask you to use as simple words and discerptions as you can. As if you were trying to explain it to a child. Can you do that?

From this response, it’s not clear at all, that how much of it you can REALLY SEE in EXPERIENCE (for example as the hands move to make the tea or coffee), and how much of it just an intellectual understanding.

You have to go beyond your ‘intellectual mind’, and think much less about this.
We are trying to look ‘behind’ the ‘intellectual mind’, as if there weren’t any thought or concepts present.

And yes, of course, we have to use words to describe what has been seen ‘behind/under’ the concepts, but use as simple language as you can. And always write down what you can ACTUALLY SEE, and try to not think about it, and analyse it. This might sound hard for you, but can you do this just as an experiment for the duration of our investigation?

Looking is very simple. It’s like this:
Sitting in a room, curtains closed, you wonder what the weather is like outside. You can
think about it, look it up on the internet, watch the forecast on TV, call your mother and ask
her, you can analyse the last few years of weather reports and make a prediction - or you can simply open the curtains and have a look.

What we will do here is "have a look".
Do you get the difference?

So now, I would like to ask you to look very-very closely during the day, when decision seemingly happens (almost every minute). Then you’ll have plenty of opportunity to ACTUALLY SEE what is going on.

So, don’t think about this, DON’T ANALYZE but actually LOOK how the hands move to type an answer. Look if you can ACTUALLY FIND any decision maker in EXPERIENCE. Don’t analyse it but look.

When eating, observe very carefully. What is it EXACTLY that chooses which piece of food to put onto the fork and eat next? – literally search through the body for the chooser.
Where is the self that is making the decision about the next piece of food? – find it

When driving, observer very carefully what is it that is making the decision when to turn? – search for the chooserWhen braking, what made the decision to press the brake pedal? – look for it the decider

When dressing up, what is making the decision what clothes to choose?
Observe the movements of dressing up. Scan through the body searching for a ‘I’ which is moving and lifting the arms or legs?

When showering and toweling, search through the body for the self that is deciding in which sequence towel the body?

When shopping in a supermarket, look for the self that is making the decision which line to go in? – literally search through the body for the decider, as if you were looking for your keys.


Please don’t analyse these questions, but actually OBSERVE and LOOK when a certain action is performed.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/

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AndyKay
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Re: First day at school

Postby AndyKay » Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:04 am

Yes and no. Yes, that the body and the notion of free will are also contribute to the illusion. But no, since without thoughts / concepts, the notion of free will and even the body or the subject of experience doesn’t arise. But this will be clearer as we go further.
LOOKING, I find smells, sights, sounds, tactile sensations, thirst, pain, etc. but LOOKING, I do not find an agent of action, or a subject of experience. LOOKING, I find hands, arms, legs, feet, voice etc. (or the AE from which these concepts have been abstracted), but LOOKING I do not find a self. So it still seems like a pretty solid claim that AE grounds the concept of "my physical body" … and that the concept of "my physical body" along with the illusions of free will and of subjectivity ground the illusion of a self. This is something of a sticking point for me.

This is a very sophisticated response, but I would like to ask you to use as simple words and discerptions as you can. As if you were trying to explain it to a child. Can you do that?
The simplest words and description I can use is to say that I can't find this 'self' thingy. But then I don't feel it is sufficient to just make this bald statement, and so I go on to justify it. I can omit the justification if the bald statement is sufficient.

And yes, of course, we have to use words to describe what has been seen ‘behind/under’ the concepts, but use as simple language as you can. And always write down what you can ACTUALLY SEE, and try to not think about it, and analyse it. This might sound hard for you, but can you do this just as an experiment for the duration of our investigation?
Yes, I can omit any justification for my replies.

What we will do here is "have a look".
Do you get the difference?
Yes, I can just say what I find without elaborating.

When eating, observe very carefully. What is it EXACTLY that chooses which piece of food to put onto the fork and eat next? – literally search through the body for the chooser.
Where is the self that is making the decision about the next piece of food? – find it

When driving, observer very carefully what is it that is making the decision when to turn? – search for the chooserWhen braking, what made the decision to press the brake pedal? – look for it the decider

When dressing up, what is making the decision what clothes to choose?
Observe the movements of dressing up. Scan through the body searching for a ‘I’ which is moving and lifting the arms or legs?

When showering and toweling, search through the body for the self that is deciding in which sequence towel the body?

When shopping in a supermarket, look for the self that is making the decision which line to go in? – literally search through the body for the decider, as if you were looking for your keys.
I can't find anything that chooses. I can't find anything that decides.

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Vivien
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Re: First day at school

Postby Vivien » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:35 am

Hi Andy,
So it still seems like a pretty solid claim that AE grounds the concept of "my physical body"
It might seem like, but actually it’s the other way around. There are certain sensations present, and thought labels them as ‘me’. So not the AE grounds the concept of ‘body’, but rather thought labels the sensations (AE) as a ‘body’. We will look at this soon.
So it still seems like a pretty solid claim that AE grounds the concept of "my physical body" … and that the concept of "my physical body" along with the illusions of free will and of subjectivity ground the illusion of a self. This is something of a sticking point for me.
Thought labels the notion of body as ‘me’, and sensations as the location in space of me, which seeming has free will.
So when it’s seen that there is no self, the SENSE of self still arises. The sense of self, usually have at least 3 if not 4 components.

1. a SENSATION (like the sensation of the eyes, or behind the eyes, or the sensation of the forehead, etc) which is labelled by thought as ‘me’ or the location of #4
2. the second element is the THOUGHT LABEL put over the sensation itself ‘it’s me’, or ‘it’s the location of #4’
3. sometimes it’s even accompanied with the MENTAL IMAGE about the head or eyes or forehead showing the location
4. the illusion of AWARENESS or CONSCIOUSNESS, which is sometimes is labelled as the knower, witness, looker, experiencer

So the sense of self is created when these 4 are welded together, creating a bundle, and not seen them for what they are.
This sense of self can be further overlayed by the notion of chooser or decider, etc.

We will investigate this soon, but first we have to have a deep look on the body and sensations.
LOOKING, I find smells, sights, sounds, tactile sensations, thirst, pain, etc. but LOOKING, I do not find an agent of action, or a subject of experience.
Great! So just to make sure:

Is it totally clear that there is no such thing a chooser?
Is it totally clear that there is no such thing as choice or free will?
If not, please write some examples when it seems to be otherwise.


Let’s start to investigate the body and sensations. The illusion of the self is not just simply coming from thoughts, but also from the belief that “I am the body” or “I have a body” or that this or that sensation is ‘me’ or the location of the ‘me’, or that this or that sensation is happening to ‘me’. So the thought label ‘this is me’ and the appearing sensations are welded together, creating a ‘sense of self’.

Sit with eyes closed for about 15 minutes.
Paying attention only to the pure sensations, without relying on thoughts or mental images:

Can it be known how tall the body is?
Does the body have a weight or volume?
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?

Is there a boundary between the body and the clothing?
Is there a boundary between the body and the chair?

Is there an inside or an outside?
If there is an inside - the inside of what exactly?
If there is an outside - the outside of what exactly?

What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?


Look very carefully, especially with the last question. Take your time, don’t rush. You can look several times during the day while doing other things (like washing hands, showering, having a short break from work, walking, etc) before replying.

Vivien
"In the seen, there is only the seen. In the heard, there is only the heard. In the sensed, there is only the sensed. You are located neither in this, nor in that, nor in any place between the two." - Buddha
http://fadingveiling.com/


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