Recognition of oneness?

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EvenFlow
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Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:39 am

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
What I think of as "me" are thoughts arising. The past only exists in memories, which are just thoughts appearing in the now. This belief system built up around "me" is the cause of my suffering.

What are you looking for at LU?
There have been several realizations (time doesn't exist, I am not my thoughts, etc.). I live in the no mind state in the eternal now for a good portion of the now, but I do get dragged back into egoic identification several times a day. When living in the no-mind state in the present moment, there is a deep peace. Yet, I still somehow feel like there's something missing with "oneness". I would like to explore this with one of the guides.

What do you expect from a guided conversation?
No expectations. I would like to explore "oneness". Although when I rest in awareness in the present moment, things feel complete/nothing feels missing, there is still some confusion/misunderstanding sometimes about "oneness". I'm not sure if there's something that I'm missing or not understanding, and I would like to explore this.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I have been seeking on and off for 15+ years, listening to a variety of teachers from various traditions. I have a deep knowing that time does not exist, that the eternal present moment is all there ever is. Presence/awareness/consciousness arises, and full attention is placed on the present moment - the only thing that's real. Thoughts still arise, and sometimes they take hold and are given energy, but more and more they are just seen as thoughts arising in the present, not to be believed.

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

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Skygazer74
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:47 pm

Hello EvenFlow,

Welcome to LU, and thank you for your patience in waiting for a guide. I will be your guide, and will be asking questions to help point you towards the gate :)

What I think of as "me" are thoughts arising. The past only exists in memories, which are just thoughts appearing in the now.

Nice insights. So is there a self apart from these thoughts?
Is there a self anywhere?

If I was to say to you that no self exists anywhere at all? What comes up?

Please try to answer as honestly as you can, not from knowing but from looking. We can understand with the intellect that no self exists, but still not see through.

This belief system built up around "me" is the cause of my suffering.

So the beliefs about 'me' are not real? Is this the belief that there is a 'me' or other beliefs as well?
When you look at 'my' suffering, what do you find, and where is the 'my' in it?

I do get dragged back into egoic identification several times a day


When this happens, what is happening? Can you notice next time you feel this is happening, and try to describe it for me?

there is still some confusion/misunderstanding sometimes about "oneness"

Same question - what is happening that separates this experience from 'oneness?'
Also, what is 'oneness' in your direct experience and your own words?

Please feel free to take your time, there are a lot of questions. Some you can answer straight away and other might take some time, which is fine.

Skygazer74 :)

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EvenFlow
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:14 pm

Hello Skygazer74 - thank you for your guidance!
What I think of as "me" are thoughts arising. The past only exists in memories, which are just thoughts appearing in the now.

Nice insights. So is there a self apart from these thoughts?
Is there a self anywhere?
T
When searched for, a separate self has never been found. Thoughts just appear without a "thinker" thinking them. I have never been able to find the source of the thoughts, other than the awareness that thoughts are appearing. I cannot find a self.
If I was to say to you that no self exists anywhere at all? What comes up?
I would say that this is true. There is a slight sensation of hesitation/contraction/tightness arising.
Please try to answer as honestly as you can, not from knowing but from looking. We can understand with the intellect that no self exists, but still not see through.
This is a question that arises. Am I intellectually understanding but not completely "knowing" the truth of this?
This belief system built up around "me" is the cause of my suffering.

So the beliefs about 'me' are not real? Is this the belief that there is a 'me' or other beliefs as well?
When you look at 'my' suffering, what do you find, and where is the 'my' in it?
A good example of this is where my cat threw up a hairball on the carpet right in front of me yesterday. A thought along the lines of "why is this cat doing this. Now I'm going to have to clean it up. What's wrong with it..." arose. Then there was the recognition that I was personalizing (making it about "me") something that had absolutely nothing to do with me. These are the the type of thoughts that arise, and I will attach a story to, but are usually seen through relatively quickly.
I do get dragged back into egoic identification several times a day


When this happens, what is happening? Can you notice next time you feel this is happening, and try to describe it for me?
This will often happen when I deal with my ex or my children. It feels as if there's a contraction, and I react from a conditioned response - where I'm acting from a memory instead of acting from a state of presence. This is usually seen through relatively quickly, but sometimes energy is given to the thought stream, and I follow that for a while. I will then come back to a state of presence after the thought stream is seen for what it is, and identification stops.
there is still some confusion/misunderstanding sometimes about "oneness"

Same question - what is happening that separates this experience from 'oneness?'
Also, what is 'oneness' in your direct experience and your own words?
I'm not sure. I know that when I'm resting in a state of aware presence, life is peaceful and beautiful. Thinking arises when it's needed, but a lot of the "now" can be spent just being, with no where to go, and nothing to do. There have been several things that have fallen away in my life (compulsive activities, watching TV, the ambition to get promoted at work), and I have a deep knowing that right now is the only reality there is - that there is no "next" moment. There is a question of "how do I know that the awareness that my experiences are made of is the same awareness that other seemingly separate people experience"?

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:31 pm

You are welcome :)
I know that when I'm resting in a state of aware presence, life is peaceful and beautiful.

Peaceful and beautiful sounds nice :) What is the 'state of aware presence?' What are the characteristics of it?
Is there someone resting in it? Is there someone knowing that there is resting in it?


There is a slight sensation of hesitation/contraction/tightness arising.

Can you look into this, and describe it as fully as you can?

You could try asking the same question a few times and observe what comes up - in direct experience rather than in the thoughts about it. This might show us what we need to look into, so perhaps try this a few times during the day.


Do you feel like you get the difference between knowledge and direct experience?
It is a bit like this; I ask you what colour socks you are wearing today, and you can think and look into memories and thoughts and try to tell me, or you can just look!

Am I intellectually understanding but not completely "knowing" the truth of this?

This is a very important question for you - you might 'know' that there is no separate self, the guiding is to move beyond 'knowing' knowledge and to point you towards looking and seeing in experience. You will know when this happens.

Does the sense of self appear when it is not a thought? How?

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EvenFlow
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:24 am

I know that when I'm resting in a state of aware presence, life is peaceful and beautiful.

Peaceful and beautiful sounds nice :) What is the 'state of aware presence?' What are the characteristics of it?
Is there someone resting in it? Is there someone knowing that there is resting in it?
It's hard to describe. It's like consciousness without thought. Life still happens - seeing happens, hearing happens, movement happens, etc., but there's no one doing it. There is no sense of self whatsoever in this state. In the thoughtless state, there is no judgement, no labeling. Sometimes I will go for nature walks and just stare at the beauty of everything.
There is a slight sensation of hesitation/contraction/tightness arising.

Can you look into this, and describe it as fully as you can?

You could try asking the same question a few times and observe what comes up - in direct experience rather than in the thoughts about it. This might show us what we need to look into, so perhaps try this a few times during the day.


Do you feel like you get the difference between knowledge and direct experience?
It is a bit like this; I ask you what colour socks you are wearing today, and you can think and look into memories and thoughts and try to tell me, or you can just look!
I will ask myself this question throughout the day tomorrow.

I definitely feel like I understand the difference between knowledge and direct experience. Direct experience only happens in the now. Thoughts, which can only arise in the now, are only about the past or the future (hence the memory of the sock color in your example).
Am I intellectually understanding but not completely "knowing" the truth of this?

This is a very important question for you - you might 'know' that there is no separate self, the guiding is to move beyond 'knowing' knowledge and to point you towards looking and seeing in experience. You will know when this happens.

Does the sense of self appear when it is not a thought? How?
I know that when I'm resting in presence, there is no sense of self. It seems as if things are just happening. There's still a bit of "uncomfortableness" when speaking from the state of presence (i.e. not thinking about what I'm going to say and seeing what comes out). It almost seems as if I'm torn between two worlds - the resting of presence in the eternal now, and when I give energy to thoughts. It seems like most of the seeking energy that dominated my life for most of my life has dissipated, and I don't even know if I'm seeking now. Something about "oneness" is not understood, and I still feel like there's some seeking energy around it when the thoughts come up regarding oneness and energy is given to them. Not sure if this makes any sense - it's just what's coming up right now.

Thank you again for your insights.

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Skygazer74
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:34 pm

I will ask myself this question throughout the day tomorrow.
Great I will look forward to hearing how this goes :)
There is no sense of self whatsoever in this state.
Great, there is none whatsoever, so what happens when not 'in this state?'


The states you describe are doubtless signs of a deepening of practice, but this enquiry is all about the separate self. I think I was in similar territory when I came to this forum, and it is very positive but not necessarily the result of, or a sign of, seeing through the illusion. Understanding the nature of thought will definitely help you with this enquiry though, although reifying awareness may be a distraction!

So we will see what this hesitation or contraction is when I asked about what happens when I say there is no separate self whatsoever. I can also start you on a series of reflections that will help unravel this and address all the ways in which self is assumed.

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EvenFlow
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:18 am

I will ask myself this question throughout the day tomorrow.
Great I will look forward to hearing how this goes :)
I did this today. Afterwards I would sit in presence with no reaction. Every once in a while after sitting in presence, a thought would come in along the lines of "yeah, I've got this". The thought was then seen as a thought. You asked me in a post earlier if any self exists outside of thoughts. I cannot find one. Sometimes a thought stream comes through and there's an identification with the "me" that exists in the thoughts. Often this is seen quickly. Other times, energy is given for a while, and I get tied up in the thought stream until it is seen for what it is.
There is no sense of self whatsoever in this state.
Great, there is none whatsoever, so what happens when not 'in this state?'
I would estimate I rest in presence 40-50% of the now. When not resting in presence, thoughts arise, and sometimes they are about a "me". This is usually seen relatively quickly, but sometimes I can get lost in the thought stream. A good example of this is when dealing with my children's mother, who I have a long history with. Earlier she asked if I could arrange for child care on one of the days she's supposed to have them. A stream of thoughts started coming - "I'm not going to let her take advantage of me. Who does she think I am. Why does she always have to go and do stuff like this. Why can't she be more responsible...". Eventually I realized that these were just thoughts appearing in the now, and they lost their energy.
The states you describe are doubtless signs of a deepening of practice, but this enquiry is all about the separate self. I think I was in similar territory when I came to this forum, and it is very positive but not necessarily the result of, or a sign of, seeing through the illusion. Understanding the nature of thought will definitely help you with this enquiry though, although reifying awareness may be a distraction!

So we will see what this hesitation or contraction is when I asked about what happens when I say there is no separate self whatsoever. I can also start you on a series of reflections that will help unravel this and address all the ways in which self is assumed.
I had to look up the definition of the word reifying :) Can you explain what you meant by your last sentence in the first paragraph here?

I am very interested in the reflections that you referred to.

Thank you for your insights.

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:16 pm

Hello,

Its a lovely sunny day here, where are you based?

What I meant by 'reifying awareness' is making awareness a tangible thing, or a goal of sorts. It seems like there are some beliefs about awareness or presence? I felt it would be good to lay that aside at least for this enquiry, and really focus on looking into the self.

So lets start with some exercises:

1. For a moment take note of exactly what is being experienced in this moment: 
Notice all sound, all sensation, all smell, all taste, all colour.
 Notice how you're making absolutely no effort to be aware of them.
 And notice that you're not making them happen.
You're not conducting the orchestra of experience that you're aware of. 
And notice that thought is exactly the same as the rest of experience.
You're effortlessly aware of it, but you're not orchestrating it. You're not even orchestrating the thoughts which say that you're able to orchestrate thoughts.

2. Can thought experience thought? Can thought experience anything? (Thought is so very overrated - by thought).

3.Wherever you are sitting right now, look for an object to use. Don’t pick up the object or turn it around, only look at what can be seen without touching it or turning it.

Have one?

Now look at it and describe what you see. Give yourself a bit of time with it. Just look, nothing else.

Done?

Now describe the back side of the object.
How is it known what the back side looks like?
What tells what it looks like?
How can it be known that there is a back at all? That the object is 3D?
Can this be known in direct experience?
Can an object be known at all?


I hope these are useful, and look forward to hearing about your experience with them. Feel free to reply after each one or after doing them all, I don't know how much time you have :)

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Sat Jul 13, 2019 3:56 am

Hello Skygazer74 - It was beautiful, sunny day here as well. I'm based in the metro-Detroit area of Michigan in the United States. Where are you based?
What I meant by 'reifying awareness' is making awareness a tangible thing, or a goal of sorts. It seems like there are some beliefs about awareness or presence? I felt it would be good to lay that aside at least for this enquiry, and really focus on looking into the self.
I'm on board with this.
1. For a moment take note of exactly what is being experienced in this moment: 
Notice all sound, all sensation, all smell, all taste, all colour.
 Notice how you're making absolutely no effort to be aware of them.
 And notice that you're not making them happen.
You're not conducting the orchestra of experience that you're aware of. 
And notice that thought is exactly the same as the rest of experience.
You're effortlessly aware of it, but you're not orchestrating it. You're not even orchestrating the thoughts which say that you're able to orchestrate thoughts.
I see that I am not causing the experiencing to happen - it just happens. I see that thoughts, when they arise, don't come from any discernible place. They just arise and are experienced just like the senses/sensations you mentioned above.
2. Can thought experience thought? Can thought experience anything? (Thought is so very overrated - by thought).
Thoughts cannot experience anything. They just describe the experience by labeling.
3.Wherever you are sitting right now, look for an object to use. Don’t pick up the object or turn it around, only look at what can be seen without touching it or turning it.

Have one?

Now look at it and describe what you see. Give yourself a bit of time with it. Just look, nothing else.
I'm sitting on my couch right now, and I'm looking at the remote control to the TV. It's sitting angled slightly away from me with the buttons facing up. There are numbers and letters on the rubber buttons on the remote control. Several of the buttons are different colors. The buttons are a mixture of circular and rectangular in shape. There is a set of buttons in the center of the controller that form a circular pattern.
Now describe the back side of the object.
How is it known what the back side looks like?
Unless I pick it up, I can only describe the remote control from memory. If memory serves me correctly, there's a battery cover with some wording on it.
What tells what it looks like?
Not sure what this is asking? Are you asking about my memory of the backside, which appears as a thought?
How can it be known that there is a back at all? That the object is 3D?
Thoughts arise that state that the remote control is 3-dimensional and that it has a back. If the thoughts are believed, then this is taken for granted.
Can this be known in direct experience?
I've done some inquiries such as this in the past, but never with a guide. I know that all I know of the remote control is my seeing of it, sense of touching it if I pick it up, hearing of the soft noises if I press the buttons in a quiet room, and the thoughts that arise that label it as a remote. It seems as if it's the thoughts that arise that paint the picture of what the remote is and its properties. Aside from thoughts piecing together the sensory input, I'm not sure if we can know this in direct experience.
Can an object be known at all?
I go back and forth/struggle with this question. When I'm not thinking, things (sensations) just happen, effortlessly as you described above. There is no conceptualizing or labeling. Other times thoughts arise and they feel like they have a lot of weight to them, like they are so true. Of course that's a TV on the wall. Of course that's my cat sitting over there. I am really interested in hearing your response to this.

Thank you for your insights on my responses!

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:34 pm

Hi,

I am in Bristol, which is in the west of the UK :)

I see that I am not causing the experiencing to happen - it just happens. I see that thoughts, when they arise, don't come from any discernible place. They just arise and are experienced just like the senses/sensations you mentioned above.

Nice looking

It seems as if it's the thoughts that arise that paint the picture of what the remote is and its properties.

Yes, exactly. So you can see the difference between what is actually seen and what the mind adds or assumes about what is seen?
In response to your question it might be useful to see it like this; we are deconstructing our habitual assumptions in order to see something clearly. Afterwards, a TV is a TV :)


So I want to go back to the main assumption we are here for which is the self, which unlike the TV is not the same after the enquiry! It seems that there is some aspect of your experience where the self still asserts its existence, so can we look again at this?

If I ask you right now: 'what is your self,' what comes up?

Or, 'I know the self exists because...?'

What are the elements of the self?

Or, if the self view has changed, what did you think it consisted of?


If I repeat the assertion that 'no self exists anywhere at all,' what comes up?

There was an initial contraction or hesitation, and it isn't quite clear what caused that yet. You could try looking behind the contraction, is there an emotion or a doubt behind the physical sense of contraction?

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EvenFlow
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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:41 am

Hello Skygazer74
So I want to go back to the main assumption we are here for which is the self, which unlike the TV is not the same after the enquiry! It seems that there is some aspect of your experience where the self still asserts its existence, so can we look again at this?

If I ask you right now: 'what is your self,' what comes up?

Or, 'I know the self exists because...?'

What are the elements of the self?

Or, if the self view has changed, what did you think it consisted of?


If I repeat the assertion that 'no self exists anywhere at all,' what comes up?

There was an initial contraction or hesitation, and it isn't quite clear what caused that yet. You could try looking behind the contraction, is there an emotion or a doubt behind the physical sense of contraction?
I've been looking at this. When looking at my body boundaries (i.e. in my experience, where does my body end and other things begin), I find no boundary in my direct experience. With that being said, there still seems like there's some hesitation when I really dig into it, as if the experience isn't correct. Perhaps this would be the place to look?

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:33 pm

When looking at my body boundaries (i.e. in my experience, where does my body end and other things begin), I find no boundary in my direct experience. With that being said, there still seems like there's some hesitation when I really dig into it, as if the experience isn't correct. Perhaps this would be the place to look?
Ok the body is a good place to start. I would also like to come back to those questions you did not answer later on to see if what they reveal :)

It sounds like there is the knowing that there is no boundary, that you have looked and cannot find it. This causes dissonance with the lifelong thought that 'I am this body.' Knowing there is no physical boundary has not shifted this thinking that the body is 'mine.' This is not something we can learn, it can only be seen by exploring in experience. Thinking about it will not help since it is in thought that the illusion exists, so even if it is frustrating to the intellect, the seeing comes from looking into experience and being open to what is there.


We can start to explore this with this exercise:

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.

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:58 am

I would also like to come back to those questions you did not answer later on to see if what they reveal :)
Nothing was really coming from those inquiries. I have a feeling this is going to be a long post - please let me know in your response if you'd like me to include them in the next post that I do.
Can it be known how tall the body is?
No height can be known. Thoughts arise that I'm 5'10", and that this is silly, but in direct experience no height can be known.
Does the body have a weight or volume?
Ne weight or volume found. The sense of what I'm touching as I lay here will bring up thoughts about a volume/size, but once again, nothing can be found regarding weight/volume in direct experience.
In the actual experience does the body have a shape or a form?
No, the body does not have a shape or form. I realize that my mind puts together the image of the body that I see with my eyes along with the sensations that are felt in the space in/around what I would label as my body and calls that a body.
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?
When only looking at direct experience, there's no inside/outside that can be found. Thoughts arise that say that the skin (that I see) is a barrier. Although the direct experience seems obvious, I still find some resistance here.
What does the word/label ‘body’ ACTUALLY refer to?
The label 'body' refers to the mental construct resulting from combining different experiences (sights, sensations). It seems obvious, but there is still some hesitation.
What is the ACTUAL experience of the body?
When I put aside my beliefs about the body, I only find sensations appearing. I cannot find any boundary that separates what I've always called my body from the the environment I'm in. With that being said, the sensations appear to be somewhat localized.

Thank you for your insights.

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby Skygazer74 » Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:55 am

Nothing was really coming from those inquiries. I have a feeling this is going to be a long post - please let me know in your response if you'd like me to include them in the next post that I do.
Ok that is fine, and good to know. It is worth carrying on asking similar questions in case something is revealed, as there is still some way or ways in which the self illusion is not seen through. I can't tell you what that is, only help reveal it through questions :)

It feels like the hesitations and resistances need to be explored more, until you see what is behind them.
When only looking at direct experience, there's no inside/outside that can be found. Thoughts arise that say that the skin (that I see) is a barrier. Although the direct experience seems obvious, I still find some resistance here.
Could you try to explore this more; what is obvious and what is resisted?
The label 'body' refers to the mental construct resulting from combining different experiences (sights, sensations). It seems obvious, but there is still some hesitation.
And again here? What is causing the hesitation?

It is common to have fear, as the deconstruction of body, of self, threatens the ego? It is like a kind of death.

Within these experiences labelled 'body' what can be found that makes them 'me,' 'mine' or I?'

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Re: Recognition of oneness?

Postby EvenFlow » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:11 pm

Hello Skygazer74 -

I had an interesting experience/realization last night. I got up in the middle of the night and realized that there are no boundaries to any of my senses. Everything that I am is made up of these senses, which have no boundaries. When looking at only direct experiences, there is no separation from anything. It is my mind/thoughts that "assemble" all of the different senses into a separate me. Who I am is nothing more than my mind's combination of senses along with thoughts that arise about "me". My whole world is made up of these sense perceptions, with my mind labeling everything. It has always been like this. It seems so silly. It's as if the "concrete" world really is illusory.

This kept me up for a while before I was able to fall back asleep. I wanted to post this to see if you had any feedback. I'll look at your questions/respond later on today.


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