From understanding to experiencing

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Thu May 21, 2020 9:40 pm

Hi Vivien,
Thanks for some really helpful guidance.

It's taking me a while to get used to not intellectualising this stuff. I have a tendency to try to explain things logically, and to look for models / analogies. I am beginning to see that that approach is not helpful here.
And you might THINK that you are investigating experience, but you aren’t. You have an idea what you’ve learned from others, and now you are trying to justify this idea. This justification happens in thinking. The circle is closed.
Yes, okay; I will keep looking out for this and hopefull will get better at looking / inquiring.
So, do you believe that there is such thing as a mind?

Is mind something that is experienced, or something that is learned?
So, yes I would say that I believe in mind. However, I accept that is because of education and conditioning. But if I look closely and try to see mind for what it is, there is nothing there. Just thoughts. And I can see that thoughts are appearing. The word "appearing" is not helping, because it implies that there is something in which to appear. The thoughts are just "present".
Is mind experienced or learned? Well, it appears that mind is learned. There is no experience to mind other than thoughts, so it's existence is itself a thought - which is learned from something I have been told, or assumed.
So, if you put aside all learned knowledge, HOW do you know that there is a mind inside your head?
Can you find a mind?
I can't find it. I don't have direct evidence or proof that mind is there; there is only thought. Thought is what I have been calling "mind". So thought doesn't arise in mind; it IS mind. So thought and mind are the same thing...

Please excuse the intellectualisation, but thought is to mind like clouds / sunshine / rain are to weather. They are inseparable.
You can easily find your head, right?

Now, focus on experiencing your head.

How is you head experienced?
As a color? Sound? Taste? Smell? Sensation?
I can find my head, by touching it. But in raw sensation, that is just a sensation of touch. And then it is labelled as "head". I can see my head in the mirror, but in raw sensation, that is an image of a "head" which is then labelled as "head". I can see this now. Everything I sense is labelled - it is very rare indeed to experience a sensation or a thought which is not automatically labelled.
Today as I sat with this exercise, I realised that I could "see" my hand. I could also "see" a tree in the garden. I was then aware that there is no real difference between these objects - they are both "seen" objects, and neither of them is "me".
Have you ever seen a thought appearing IN a mind?
Or you can just imagine a thought appearing in a mind?
No, I never see the thoughts appear in anything. They are simply present, and in fact, I never see the beginning or the end of a thought (in time or space). I am simply aware one moment that a thought is there, and another moment, there is another thought. When I look in this way, I can see that there is no mind for thoughts to appear in - there are just thoughts. As above, my current inquiry is concluding that thought=mind.

This has been very helpful.
Thanks Vivien,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Fri May 22, 2020 5:50 am

Hi Christopher,

This time I’m giving you lots of questions. So it might seem to be daunting at first glance, but actually they are quite straightforward, and pointing to the same thing. I’m using questions instead of ‘giving a lecture’, what would be useless :)
It's taking me a while to get used to not intellectualising this stuff. I have a tendency to try to explain things logically, and to look for models / analogies. I am beginning to see that that approach is not helpful here.
Great that you are starting to see this. It’s not just not helpful, but it’s in the way to notice the simplicity of what is.
And I can see that thoughts are appearing. The word "appearing" is not helping, because it implies that there is something in which to appear. The thoughts are just "present".
Exactly! You see how much we take language/words/thoughts for face value, as if they were about something factual.
So, yes I would say that I believe in mind. However, I accept that is because of education and conditioning. But if I look closely and try to see mind for what it is, there is nothing there. Just thoughts.
Exactly! So you did look, and saw that there is nothing there.
Thought is what I have been calling "mind". So thought doesn't arise in mind; it IS mind. So thought and mind are the same thing...
As above, my current inquiry is concluding that thought=mind.
Are you 100% sure that thought = mind?
Do you see that his is just another intellectual conclusion?
You even say… “my current inquiry is concluding…”

What makes you think that thought = mind?
Just because you’ve held the belief that there is a mind, but when you’ve investigated it you saw that it’s simply not there, but since you still want to hold onto your belief in a mind, you jump to the intellectual conclusion that thought = mind?

Do you see that this is just clinging to an idea, that is proven to be untrue, and yet, you still want to hold onto it?

Do you believe that there is a monster under your bed? No? Do you believe that the monster under the bed doesn’t exist?


Please go to your bed and check it. Literally, I’m not joking :)

And while you are kneeling and looking under your bed searching for the monster, does your finding or rather say not finding the monster match your belief of the non-existence of the monster?

So, does the monster under your bed exists or not?

Why don’t you label the empty space under you bed as monster? Why don’t you say that ‘space under my bed’ = monster?
Because the space is just space and not a monster?

So why are you saying that thoughts = mind, if empty space under the bed is NOT = bed?

Why? Isn’t it because you haven’t believed in a monster even before checking it, so there is no need to justify a belief?


Do you see where I’m getting at?
Please excuse the intellectualisation, but thought is to mind like clouds / sunshine / rain are to weather. They are inseparable.
Let’s apply this same analogy to the monster under the bed.

Would you say that the monster to the space under the bed is like clouds / sunshine / rain to weather? That the monster and the space under the bed is inseparable?
No? Why not?


The mind is believed to be some sort of placeholder of thoughts, where thoughts are made, or where thoughts are coming from, or where thoughts are appearing in, or made by.

So why do you say that thoughts = mind?

Are you saying that thoughts are the maker of thoughts, or thoughts appear in thoughts, or thoughts are the placeholder of other thoughts?

HOW could the statement “thoughts and mind are inseparable” can stand up to scrutiny?

Can you actually find a mind + a thought? But these are somehow glued together, being inseparable?
Are there 2 things there being glued together?
Or there is only thought? And no mind whatsoever?
but thought is to mind like clouds / sunshine / rain are to weather
And let’s go a step further. It’s not just about accepting the finding that mind is nothing else than a man-made concept/idea, but about questioning the actual existence of any idea, like the concept of weather.

Is there really such thing in reality as weather?
Does weather actually exist?
Or there is either rain, or sunshine, clouds, etc?
Where is the weather? Does it really exist? Or is it just a human concept / idea, with a man-made definition?


The word ‘chair’ is pointing to an existing object.
The word ‘rain’ is pointing to the water falling.
The word ‘cloud’ is pointing to the white-greyish color on a blue background.

But what does the word ‘weather’ point to in reality?

How is weather experienced?
As a color? Sound? Sensation? Taste? Smell?

Try to imagine ‘weather’. Is this even possible?


Do you see that ‘weather’ or any concept cannot eve be imagined, let alone experienced, they can only THOUGHT OF?

You can experiment with other concepts too. For example, university, education, peace, war, disappointment, appreciation, freedom, bondage, etc.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Fri May 22, 2020 10:17 pm

Thanks Vivien.
I worked through your questions, and even looked under my bed!

I can see that there is no mind. Thoughts simply exist. I asked myself what would be "there" if thoughts were not "there". The answer is nothing. There is nothing when thoughts and other "sensations" are not present; or rather, there is nothing that I can notice or see behind / above / below thoughts.

There is also no monster under the bed. "Weather" does not exist as a distinct entity - it is just a word. The same is true for the other examples you gave me.
Are you saying that thoughts are the maker of thoughts, or thoughts appear in thoughts, or thoughts are the placeholder of other thoughts?
No i don't believe that thoughts are the maker of thoughts. But I have noticed that there are different types of thought, and some thoughts build on other thoughts; but that is more like a sequence of related thoughts, rather than the concepts you mentioned above.
HOW could the statement “thoughts and mind are inseparable” can stand up to scrutiny?
What I meant by this is that thoughts are "what I have been calling "mind"". i.e. there is only thought - not thought IN mind.
Do you see that ‘weather’ or any concept cannot ever be imagined, let alone experienced, they can only THOUGHT OF?
Yes, entirely!

Thanks for all your questions and guidance.
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sat May 23, 2020 2:06 am

Hi Christopher,
and even looked under my bed!
I’m glad that you are taking this seriously :)
I can see that there is no mind. Thoughts simply exist.
“I think” – is a wildly accepted belief.

But WHERE is the I that thinks?
Is there someone thinking thoughts?
Who/what is doing the thinking?
Where is the one, the self, the me, that is supposedly thinking thoughts?
Is there someone thinking at all? Is there a thinker?
Is thinking a doing (done by a person), or a happening (on its own, without anyone making it happen)?


Be very careful not to think through these questions, but actually investigate what is going on experientially.
Be very thorough.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sat May 23, 2020 8:20 pm

Hi Vivien,
But WHERE is the I that thinks?
I can't find the "I" that thinks. I can't find thinking actually, but I can find thoughts. Thoughts are most definitely present, and they come and go on their own.
Is there someone thinking thoughts?
No, the thoughts come on their own. Unbidden. It is passive - they are simply there.

However, some of the thoughts turn into language, and I notice that those thoughts trigger a sense of active control from a thinker, identified as "I", or "me". The use of language invokes a "subject", as someone is "saying" the words. The same is true as I capture my observations in these words I am typing now. There is a "me" who is typing the words, translated from concepts and thoughts of which "I" am aware.
Who/what is doing the thinking?
I can't find an entity doing any thinking, except in the language example above.
Where is the one, the self, the me, that is supposedly thinking thoughts?
Most of the thoughts I notice are not actively "thought" - they are just passive appearances, flowing past. But what are they flowing past? If they come and go, they are coming into something, and going out of something. Looking more closely...this is an assumption, as we have a tendency to say that "thoughts come and go". Really what is happening is that thoughts exist and then they don't exist. There is awareness of a thought, and then it is gone. When it has gone, it has not gone to a particular place; it has stopped existing.

But there is still a sense (or another, rather stubborn thought) that they are seen / noticed / sensed by something. I can't find that something as a physical location, or an object. It has no form, and can't be expressed in words. The word for this is "I" or "me" but it doesn't describe anything tangible. I notice that other people can't perceive the same thoughts or sensations that I can perceive. This leads to a feeling of separateness, of being a discrete unit or form with private internal thoughts.
Is thinking a doing (done by a person), or a happening (on its own, without anyone making it happen)?
Most thinking is happening on its own. The only exception I can find is when thoughts are translated into words - as I described above.

These questions and inquiry are taking me deeper, but I'm sorry if this is very slow. There is no rush for me, but I don't want to waste your time, of course. Thank you for your patience. I will continue to spend time with these questions; particularly "is thinking a doing or a happening"?

Best wishes,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Sun May 24, 2020 5:33 am

Hi Christopher,
These questions and inquiry are taking me deeper, but I'm sorry if this is very slow. There is no rush for me, but I don't want to waste your time, of course.
Dear Christopher, as long as you honestly inquire, I’m with you, no matter how long it takes. It takes as long as it takes :)
I can't find the "I" that thinks. I can't find thinking actually, but I can find thoughts.
So when a thought is found:
Is there the thought + the someone who found it? Thought + finder? Or there is just the thought, and just another thought commenting “I can find thoughts”?
However, some of the thoughts turn into language
Let’s look into this.

Have you noticed that thoughts appear mainly in two ways, either as verbal, auditory thoughts if form of words, or as visual or pictorial thoughts as images?
The use of language invokes a "subject", as someone is "saying" the words.
Search for the one that is supposedly saying the words from head to toe, but pay particular attention to the head.

Which sensation is the one that is saying the verbal thoughts?
However, some of the thoughts turn into language, and I notice that those thoughts trigger a sense of active control from a thinker, identified as "I", or "me".
So are you saying that there is no identification with visual thoughts, but there is an identification with verbal thoughts?

Search for the one that is doing the identification.
Don’t analyse language, which would be just an intellectual endeavour.
Rather search through the whole body, for the one that is identifying with verbal thoughts. Search for it as if you were searching for your keys.

Where is the one that identifies? What is it that is in need of identification? What is it that is doing the identification?

Don’t analyse, don’t pay attention to thoughts. Rather shift the focus to the immediacy of raw experience.
There is a "me" who is typing the words, translated from concepts and thoughts of which "I" am aware.
You might not see it, but you are intellectualizing. This is coming from thinking, and not from looking at the raw, unadulterated experience.

If there SEEMS to be a me typing the words, then it’s not enough to analyse the words and language and make a logical conclusion that it’s transited from concepts and language.

You literally have to search for the me who is supposedly typing.

So sit down, and start to type something. Doesn’t matter what, just type.
The fingers are moving, and the letters are being typed.
While this happens, search for the one that is moving the fingers.
Search for the one that is thinking the words that are being typed.

Is there an entity, a person, an individual inside the scull, creating the thoughts letter by letter and words by words, and pulling strings that moves the fingers?
Most of the thoughts I notice are not actively "thought" - they are just passive appearances, flowing past. But what are they flowing past? If they come and go, they are coming into something, and going out of something. Looking more closely...this is an assumption, as we have a tendency to say that "thoughts come and go". Really what is happening is that thoughts exist and then they don't exist.
Exactly! Nice observations.
But there is still a sense (or another, rather stubborn thought) that they are seen / noticed / sensed by something. I can't find that something as a physical location, or an object. It has no form, and can't be expressed in words. The word for this is "I" or "me" but it doesn't describe anything tangible.
So if this ‘something’ cannot be experienced, cannot be felt, not tangible, has no location, then how do you know that there is something seeing/noticing/sensing what is going on?

HOW do you know that there is something in the background of what is happening, and just watching what is going on? HOW do you know that?

What is it exactly that is giving this information that there is something in the background?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Sun May 24, 2020 10:29 pm

Hi Vivien,
I'm with you, no matter how long it takes.
That really is very kind of you.
Is there the thought + the someone who found it? Thought + finder? Or there is just the thought, and just another thought commenting “I can find thoughts”?
Well...actually yes I can see that there is a thought, and then another thought commenting that I can find thoughts. That's the first time I've seen that clearly. And yet it is obvious and seems barely worth pointing out, now that it is pointed out. Funny.

Have you noticed that thoughts appear mainly in two ways, either as verbal, auditory thoughts if form of words, or as visual or pictorial thoughts as images?
Yes definitely. In fact I also notice other types of thought - concepts and non-verbal / non-visual thoughts; e.g. often quite tactile thoughts- like a thought in which I imagine I am playing the piano.
Which sensation is the one that is saying the verbal thoughts?
Again this is enlightening. I found there is no one saying the words, and no location of the one saying the words except for the actual sensation of words forming in my mouth and throat. Like a rehearsal of the speaking. So no thinker as such, and no doer either; just the doing and a trace if the physical doing (I.e. speaking).
Is there an entity, a person, an individual inside the scull, creating the thoughts letter by letter and words by words, and pulling strings that moves the fingers?
I'm typing this now and I can say that I can't see or find anyone pulling the strings. The fingers are moving and the words are in thoughts, but I can see that the words in thoughts are simply in existence and not being actively created. At least not by any "thinker" that I can find.
So if this ‘something’ cannot be experienced, cannot be felt, not tangible, has no location, then how do you know that there is something seeing/noticing/sensing what is going on?
I don't "know" this. It is simply a belief or an assumption. There is no proof for it and there is not actually any evidence. Just belief, which is a thought about thoughts.
HOW do you know that there is something in the background of what is happening, and just watching what is going on? HOW do you know that?
The only way to KNOW this would be to actually see proof. There is no proof of something in the background. There is just a stubborn thought which is a belief. And who believes it? That brings me back and back again to find the "I" who believes. I can't be found so I can't say "I" exist. But I can't say I don't exist either; not without more inquiry and looking. It will take more!
What is it exactly that is giving this information that there is something in the background?
This information comes from a belief, which is actually a thought. It is a thought about other thoughts...So can I be sure that ANY thoughts are true? Actually the answer is no. The only thing I can be sure of from experiential proof is raw sensation. And even that is questionable as I don't see directly how sensations arise. In the same way I don't see directly how thoughts arise.
ALL of it just happens. And I control none of it. That's true. There is some truth there, in that last part.

Wow. Thanks Vivien. Please keep probing and guiding me.
All the best,
Christopher.

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Mon May 25, 2020 1:18 am

Hi Christopher,

You’ve done a nice inquiry. It’s beautiful to see how you open up questioning and examining your beliefs :)
Yes definitely. In fact I also notice other types of thought - concepts and non-verbal / non-visual thoughts; e.g. often quite tactile thoughts- like a thought in which I imagine I am playing the piano.
Yes, nice observation. All the five senses can be imagined/thought of.
Again this is enlightening. I found there is no one saying the words, and no location of the one saying the words except for the actual sensation of words forming in my mouth and throat. Like a rehearsal of the speaking. So no thinker as such, and no doer either; just the doing and a trace if the physical doing (I.e. speaking).
Another excellent observation. The vocal cords are moving quite often with thinking. And this is adding to the illusion of a person thinking and talking internally.
I can't be found so I can't say "I" exist. But I can't say I don't exist either; not without more inquiry and looking. It will take more!
It’s not about whether I exist or not, but rather whether an I, a person, an individual, an entity behind the skin exists. Whether there is someone inside the body living life through the body, and observing the world out there through the eyes.

Experience is. Existence is. This is undeniable.
The question is whether there is an experiencER to which experience is happening TO.

Stop for a moment, and look around.
Colors and shapes are happening. Sounds are happening. Sensations are happening. Experience IS.

But is there someone separate from what is happening, separate from experience, whom experience is happening TO?

Is there someone inside the body, and living life through the body, using the bodies 5 senses?

ALL of it just happens. And I control none of it. That's true.
And what is this I which controls nothing?
What/who is it that is saying “I control none of it”?

Is there an I apart from everything else, which has no control over anything?

Where is this I which has no control? Where? Is it inside the head? Behind the eyes? Or in the chest? At the back of the head?


The word ‘table’ points to a flat object with 4 legs.
What does the word ‘I’ (which has no control over anything) point to in reality?

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Glider
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Mon May 25, 2020 10:06 am

Hi Vivien,
It’s not about whether I exist or not, but rather whether an I, a person, an individual, an entity behind the skin exists. Whether there is someone inside the body living life through the body, and observing the world out there through the eyes.

Experience is. Existence is. This is undeniable.
Yes, I am starting to see this. There is experience - that can't be argued with. And existence is a fact. There is proof of this in direct observation.
The question is whether there is an experiencER to which experience is happening TO.
So I ask myself: is there something / some person / some entity which is experiencing / existing? Is existence simply the process of experiencing? And that is ALL there is? This challenges the very deep "sense" of "I", but what is that belief?

It is simply a thought, which in turn is an experience, which in turn is happening within existence.
Stop for a moment, and look around.
Colors and shapes are happening. Sounds are happening. Sensations are happening. Experience IS.

But is there someone separate from what is happening, separate from experience, whom experience is happening TO?
It is becoming easier to see that sounds and sensations and thoughts are just happening. You ask if there is a SEPARATE experiencer. The word SEPARATE is very helpful here. There is experience - e.g. the sunlight coming through my window as I type this / the thoughts which become apparent when focus is put on them / the weight of my laptop of my lap / the anticipation of a family member about to come into the room. And now there is the realisation that these sensations do not require a separate "me". The sensations can just BE, in the same way that thoughts can just be present, without appearing or disappearing in any particular medium. There does not NEED to be a medium in which anything APPEARS or DISAPPEARS, and also there does not NEED to be a SEPARATE experiencer.

But... then another thought is here: why is experience for "me" different from "others'" experience? I am sure that the thoughts I experience are private. And I am sure that others have private thoughts too. There are different "perspectives" on the universe... But the universe on which there are different perspectives is the same. I experience sunlight coming into the room; there are raw sensations which automatically are labelled as "sunlight", "warmth". My daughter will experience the same raw sensations, and may or may not automatically put the same labels on them. ...I'm starting to intellectualise again... but it is helpful here as I can see the utility of distinguishing raw sensation from everything which follows - i.e. thought and belief.
Is there someone inside the body, and living life through the body, using the bodies 5 senses?
No, although there is a "sense" of someone living inside the body; a "sense" of agency with free will and the ability to direct thoughts; when I look closely, all I find is aliveness, and experience - the "sense of agency" is itself an experience.

Existence and experience are dependent on each other. Existence cannot exist without experience (I "think" this is true, so I need to inquire more about this); and experience cannot exist without existence (I am sure about this one).
And what is this I which controls nothing?
What/who is it that is saying “I control none of it”?
The "I" which controls nothing is a belief or thought of agency. When I look for "I", I can't find it. This isn't completely true -it is closer to the truth to say that "I can't look for "I""", rather than "I can't find "I"". I can't find "I" because there is no way to look for "I"; all the inquiry is futile. It is like looking at my own face without a mirror; this results in the same experience as looking for "I". It is futile, pointless, impossible. It is outside experience, and there is no thing outside experience.

The word ‘table’ points to a flat object with 4 legs.
What does the word ‘I’ (which has no control over anything) point to in reality?
I am looking out of my window, watching a tree move in the wind. For a few moments, there is just the tree moving in the wind, and that is happening in the world / universe. Then I consider the word "I", and automatically "I" am separated from the tree. Suddenly there is an observer. It was triggered by the word "I", and is reflex - i.e. automatic. This can be overcome by considering if there is a real, tangible boundary between the "I" who is observing, and the tree - there is no distinct boundary, but it takes some effort (or focused attention) to see this.

I'm enjoying this very much. Thanks Vivien,
Christopher

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Vivien
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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Mon May 25, 2020 11:08 am

Hi Christopher,
But... then another thought is here: why is experience for "me" different from "others'" experience? I am sure that the thoughts I experience are private. And I am sure that others have private thoughts too. There are different "perspectives" on the universe... But the universe on which there are different perspectives is the same. I experience sunlight coming into the room; there are raw sensations which automatically are labelled as "sunlight", "warmth". My daughter will experience the same raw sensations, and may or may not automatically put the same labels on them. ...I'm starting to intellectualise again... but it is helpful here as I can see the utility of distinguishing raw sensation from everything which follows - i.e. thought and belief.
Yes, this is intellectualization. You are trying to figure this out by thinking. Which is a dead-end.
Existence and experience are dependent on each other. Existence cannot exist without experience (I "think" this is true, so I need to inquire more about this); and experience cannot exist without existence (I am sure about this one).
You are thinking too much :) You are trying to think/imagine into the word ‘existence’ something more than what it is.
Experience IS existence. These are different words pointing to the SAME thing, to the same phenomena. There is no existence AND experience. What exists IS experience. Experience EXISTS. It’s happening. It is. That’s all there is.
all I find is aliveness, and experience
Is there aliveness AND experience?
Is aliveness is something else than experience?

Look closely the ‘thing’, the phenomenon what you call aliveness.
How is this aliveness experienced?
As a sound? Colors? Taste? Smell? Sensation? Or is it a thought? Or an imagination?
the "sense of agency" is itself an experience.
Yes, nice observation. But let's dig deeper here.

Where does the ‘sense of agency’ is FELT in the body?

How is the ‘sense of agency’ is sensed exactly? By which of the 5 senses?

Does this ‘sense of agency’ make anything happen?
Does this ‘sense of agency’ is at the receiver end of experience?

Is this sense something more or other than a sensation?

Does experience happen to this sensation, or AS this sensation?

Is this sensation which is labelled as ‘sense of agency’ is Christopher?

When I look for "I", I can't find it. This isn't completely true -it is closer to the truth to say that "I can't look for "I""", rather than "I can't find "I"". I can't find "I" because there is no way to look for "I"; all the inquiry is futile. It is like looking at my own face without a mirror; this results in the same experience as looking for "I". It is futile, pointless, impossible. It is outside experience, and there is no thing outside experience.
You are going back to the same intellectual argument again and again, that the eyes cannot see itself, or you cannot see your face without a mirror. This is a learned idea told by many. But you have to investigate your own experience, and not rely on what stories others tell.

The self can be seen clearly for what it is. But it’s so simple, that it's easy to miss.
It is outside experience, and there is no thing outside experience.
The self is not outside of experience. The ‘thing’ that SEEMS to be the self is ‘inside’ or ‘part of experience’.
Search for the ‘things’ in experience that are masquerading as a separate self.
Hint: look for the thoughts of I/me/mine/my and sensations.
This can be overcome by considering if there is a real, tangible boundary between the "I" who is observing, and the tree - there is no distinct boundary, but it takes some effort (or focused attention) to see this.
What you are talking about is still separation. If you think that there is no distinct boundary between the observer and the tree, you are still believing that there are two, just somehow these two things are glued or welded together.

Separation is not about two things merging into one, rather there is no two things in the first place which could merge at all. Between the observer and the tree, one is missing. One is just SEEMS to be there. But it’s not there, and it never was. But a seeming thing is not a real thing.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Mon May 25, 2020 6:44 pm

Hi Vivien,
You are thinking too much :)
Yes, I'm guilty of that! :)
Experience IS existence.
OK - that's simple. If I look into an experience, I can examine the experience. If I look into existence, then I can see that your statement is correct - because all I can find is experience.
All I can find when I look for existence (or awareness / consciousness etc) is simply the experiences which are going on there.

So what I have been missing is that experience doesn't happen IN existence; experience IS existence.

So the "self" which I am trying to see through is also an experience. A collection of thoughts, themed around "I".
Where does the ‘sense of agency’ is FELT in the body?
There is a feeling in the chest and in the head, but it is not a clear location. And there is nothing there when I look for it, other than some physical sensations like a slight tightness in the chest, or the start of some words being formed in the throat and mouth. Sometimes it takes the form of a facial expression - e.g. when reacting to something surprising, or something funny. But I think I am conflating terms, and here the language is not working well: to me "sense of agency" is the same as "I" and "me" and "self". They are all referring to the same concept, which I can detect in physical sensations as above.
How is the ‘sense of agency’ is sensed exactly? By which of the 5 senses?
I think I answered this, but also worth saying that I don't think physical perception is restricted to 5 senses. There are more subtle forms of sensation such as balance and temperature. But to answer the question, the sense of agency (or self / I) is not sensed by one sense - it varies according to the situation.

For example, as I write this I am aware that I am hungry. There is a physical sensation in my abdomen and a desire to get up and find some food. There is anticipation of eating the food, I can almost taste it. The desire to get up is "felt" in the form of a wordless thought, which is starting to move into my body; I can start to feel my legs "planning" to move. It's actually all identifiable as thought and sensation. There is no obvious source of any of this.
Is this sense something more or other than a sensation?
No, my direct experience shows that this sense of agency / self, is actually a sequence of sensations and thoughts.
Is this sensation which is labelled as ‘sense of agency’ is Christopher?
In the example above, of feeling hungry, there is no particular label to the sense of self, as Christopher.
The self can be seen clearly for what it is. But it’s so simple, that it's easy to miss.
This is intriguing and tantalising. I haven't quite seen this yet.

Thanks as ever for your patience. I managed to write twice today.
Best,
Christopher

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Tue May 26, 2020 4:08 am

Hi Christopher,
So what I have been missing is that experience doesn't happen IN existence; experience IS existence.
Let’s look into this bit more.

Is there some kind of container (what could be called existence) which experience is happening IN?
Or maybe a black canvas or a black space, which experience is happening ON?


If any of those seems to be true, then notice if there is any visual thought present showing a container or a black space or something similar.

If you ignore ALL form of thoughts, and you just go along what is here right now, is there anything at all IN which or ON experience could happen?

Is there anything else other than what is happening?

There is a feeling in the chest and in the head, but it is not a clear location. And there is nothing there when I look for it, other than some physical sensations like a slight tightness in the chest, or the start of some words being formed in the throat and mouth. Sometimes it takes the form of a facial expression - e.g. when reacting to something surprising, or something funny. But I think I am conflating terms, and here the language is not working well: to me "sense of agency" is the same as "I" and "me" and "self". They are all referring to the same concept, which I can detect in physical sensations as above.
Are you saying that in those physical sensations (facial expressions) there is a detectable me?

Can you find an actual me in any of sensation or facial expression?
Is there a me making those expressions?

For example, as I write this I am aware that I am hungry.
Wait for hunger or thirst or any physical urge, like wanting to pee arise, and then inquire:
Don’t just go through these questions in fantasy-scenario, but actually wait for an urge to arise.

So when there is a hunger, is there hunger + an I that is aware of the hunger?
Is there a me knowing or being aware of hunger? Or there is only hunger happening?

If you say there is a knower or something that is aware of hunger, then please tell, how does this knower show up?
How do you know that there is something knowing or aware-ing, and not just simply hunger happening?


Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Tue May 26, 2020 9:39 pm

Hi Vivien,
Is there some kind of container (what could be called existence) which experience is happening IN?
Or maybe a black canvas or a black space, which experience is happening ON?
No. Sometimes I feel that there is a "field" of awareness, but I realise now that that is just a thought. I probably read it somewhere. When I go to actual experience, there is no field, or canvas or even space. There is just sensation.
If you ignore ALL form of thoughts, and you just go along what is here right now, is there anything at all IN which or ON experience could happen?
It is hard to ignore thought...but no, there is nothing in which experience happens. Thought says it occurs in my "mind" or in my body, but I can see that that is a learned idea.

I find this much easier to see when all is quiet and I am not distracted. But the minute life becomes more active, and distractions flood in to my life, it goes out of the window and I start living life as "i" / "me".
Are you saying that in those physical sensations (facial expressions) there is a detectable me?

Can you find an actual me in any of sensation or facial expression?
Is there a me making those expressions?
No there is nothing detectable as "me" in the sensations. The expressions are not "made" by "me"; they appear and thoughts / emotions arise either at the same time, or just afterwards. In some cases, the body changes before the emotion or thought is sensed.
So when there is a hunger, is there hunger + an I that is aware of the hunger?
Is there a me knowing or being aware of hunger? Or there is only hunger happening?
I seem to be having difficulty with this. Please bear with me... yes, there is hunger, and I can see that it is arising on its own. But I'm having a problem seeing that there is no thing / no "I" which is aware of this. At times I can sense that this perspective is right infront of me, but at the same time it is out of reach. I wonder if there is another type of question I can ask myself to see this.

The style of question like, "Is there a thinker of thoughts / is there a seeer who sees / identiy a thought and then look for the thinker" is causing me difficulty. I keep hitting a blank! I suspect that I need to relax and stop looking so hard...
If you say there is a knower or something that is aware of hunger, then please tell, how does this knower show up?
How do you know that there is something knowing or aware-ing, and not just simply hunger happening?
The knower doesn't show up in any way that I can sense or detect. So it doesn't make "sense" that I can "sense" it, excuse the pun! :)

How do I know that something is "knowing"? The reality is that I don't "know" it. But I believe it for some reason. It's a very deep, secure belief, that "feels" very natural and "normal". I keep coming at it with thought, rather than feeling. Trying to think my way through this, which I suppose is a conditioned approach. How can I put that to one side? I can start to feel frustration arising, like I've stopped making progress.

I hope I'm not too much a of a difficult case! Thanks so much again for your patience and guidance.
BW,
Christopher

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Vivien » Wed May 27, 2020 1:37 am

Hi Christopher,
I hope I'm not too much a of a difficult case!
No, you are not a difficult case :) Frustration and feeling stuck is the part of the process. It happens to almost everybody. The key point here is not to give up. Just keep going.

Actually, I enjoy our conversation. It’s beautiful to see how you slowly but gradually open up to questions your assumptions and beliefs. :)
No. Sometimes I feel that there is a "field" of awareness, but I realise now that that is just a thought. I probably read it somewhere. When I go to actual experience, there is no field, or canvas or even space. There is just sensation.
Nice observations.
I find this much easier to see when all is quiet and I am not distracted. But the minute life becomes more active, and distractions flood in to my life, it goes out of the window and I start living life as "i" / "me".
This is normal and it happens to everybody. Nevertheless, let’s look into this.

“…and I start living live as I/me” – so how many selves are there? Two? One? Or none?

- The I / me
- And the one that when live gets active starts to live life as the first one?

So what is it exactly that is starting living the life as I/me?

Is there someone outside of the story of Christopher, sometimes living life as Christopher and sometimes free from Christopher?
Please bear with me... yes, there is hunger, and I can see that it is arising on its own. But I'm having a problem seeing that there is no thing / no "I" which is aware of this. At times I can sense that this perspective is right infront of me, but at the same time it is out of reach. I wonder if there is another type of question I can ask myself to see this.
Let’s look at this from a different angle.
Sit for some time and just notice how thoughts come and go, and investigate:

Is noticing thought is done by something or someone? Or is noticing is just happening on its own too, just as thoughts are happening without a doer?

Now let’s go a step further.
If you look very closely….

Is there a thought + someone or something noticing it?
Are there two things, two happenings there? A thought + noticer? Or is noticing inherent to experience itself? As one happening?
Aren’t the thought and the noticing it just different words pointing to the SAME EVENT?


Now open your eyes. Look at the display before you.

Where does the visual information go? Where is it received? What is at the receiving end? Is there a place, a location where the visual information (colors and shapes) are received? Or all that can be said is that there are colors and shapes happening?

How do I know that something is "knowing"? The reality is that I don't "know" it. But I believe it for some reason. It's a very deep, secure belief, that "feels" very natural and "normal".
And do you know what It feels natural and normal? Because you’ve believed in in your whole life since you’ve learned language. Language is dualistic, it always assumes a subject-object relationship.

I (subject) see the cup (object).
I (subject) notice thoughts (object).
I (subject) feel the body (object).
I (subject) hear the bird chirping (object).

In language there is assumption that there must be a subject (me) that is doing or having the object (thoughts), like thinking or noticing thoughts. But this assumption is coming only from language, in experience there is no subject.

We say “It’s raining” – where is this ‘it’? Water is simply falling.
Or, “The wind is blowing” – but is there a wind somewhere that is doing the blowing? Or air just moving without anyone or anything doing it?

We also say “I’m thinking” – but is there really an ‘I’ that is doing something or are thoughts simply happening?

And what if we say “Something is noticing thoughts” – but is there really something or someone separate from thoughts and doing the noticing? Or thoughts are just simply happening?

It appears as there is a noticer, because language says that there must be. But the question is, who/what is asking for a subject, while in actuality there is only movement, no doer. You don’t ask who is raining or who is making waves appear on the surface of a lake. But you are assuming that something must know hunger, that there must be a subject, a doer.
What is it that is here in this very moment? Everything is here: sounds, colours, tastes, smells, sensations, thoughts, feelings/emotions.

Experience is. Experience is happening.

But does experience happen to someone?
Is there someone separate from experience, which could notice or know what is happening in experience?


There are colors, shapes, sounds, senations, tastes, smells, thoughts, all happening here now.

But is there a real knower or noticer as an autonomous agency here too in this very moment?
Or the noticer or knower appear only as the CONTENT of a thoughts (in the form of words) which thought also happening here and now?


Look at simplicity. The answer is there.

Vivien
The most profound discoveries arise from questioning the obvious.

Website: https://www.viviennovak.com/

Blog: https://fadingveiling.com/

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Re: From understanding to experiencing

Postby Glider » Wed May 27, 2020 5:30 pm

Hi Vivien,
No, you are not a difficult case :) Frustration and feeling stuck is the part of the process. It happens to almost everybody. The key point here is not to give up. Just keep going.

Actually, I enjoy our conversation.
You are too kind!!

Thank you!
“…and I start living live as I/me” – so how many selves are there? Two? One? Or none?
Great question! Of course, there is only one "self", but I can see that I / we refer to several iterations of "self". But, definitely only one that I can find. And I can't REALLY find that one! I asked myself questions today about "who am I" / "where am I" etc, and after a while it felt like I was asking rhetoical questions. i.e. there is no answer to the question, but the question is helpfu in pointing this out.
So what is it exactly that is starting living the life as I/me?
So, that would be "me", living as "me"! Seems silly now. It is clearer to say that life is lived, rather than "I" live life. Life happens, and it changes from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. All along, it is exerienced continuously. We don't so much go in and out of states, or different selves; it is more a case that we experience life as it flows through us (or infront of us, above us, around us....I can't quite pin that one down.)
Is there someone outside of the story of Christopher, sometimes living life as Christopher and sometimes free from Christopher?
No, it sometimes seems that this is the case, but actually there is no person / self watching the story - there is just the story, or rather, there is just the life, being lived. The story of "Christopher" becomes more prominent at times, often when I have been interacting with another person - e.g. in a meeting or some sort. I become aware of separation from that person. Then when i'm in nature, or in a peaceful environment, i notice my thoughts are generating a story, and then I let them go / watch them dissolve back to nowhere in particular.

I was struck today by our (human) tendency to classify things - in particular, biology and nature. For example, all life is classified by family / genera / species etc (in fact, things are classified prior to that as "life" or not life); but actually these classifications are arbitrary, as all things comprise the same "stuff". So all things are really all the same.

I was also struck today when i considered that "I" get the idea o


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