You are too kind!!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.
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.“…and I start living live as I/me” – so how many selves are there? Two? One? Or none?
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.)So what is it exactly that is starting living the life as I/me?
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.Is there someone outside of the story of Christopher, sometimes living life as Christopher and sometimes free from Christopher?
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.
This is interesting, as I haven't done this before (seems strange that I haven't done this before). The noticing is strongly felt to be under some control...looking deeper to see if that control is itself a thought...that is difficult. I seem to have some ability to focus attention, and that is willed by me somehow. I can't find the words for it, and I wonder if i can inquire into that somehow. It may be just a belief.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?
Belief is telling me (via thought) that there is someone noticing thoughts. So other thoughts say that thoughts are noticed by some entity - the "me".Is there a thought + someone or something noticing it?
Yes, I understand that last question. Great question! Yes, thought is divided into subject and object only via langauge, or conditioning. In actual fact, a thought is - by definition - noticed. So noticing is part of thought...they are indeed the same event. Gosh that's cool.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?
The object being seen, and the seeing itself is one event too. That's nice. Just like the thought and noticing are one 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?
So this must be true for all experience!? So, I can revise my comments about my sense of ability to focus attention - the sense of will / agency to be able to focus attention, and the focusing of attention itself are also the SAME EVENT.
Yes, I see this. It's actually an intellectual point! ?Language is dualistic, it always assumes a subject-object relationship.
Yes, this all follows now. The comparison with "It's raining" is really helpful here.We also say “I’m thinking” – but is there really an ‘I’ that is doing something or are thoughts simply happening?
Yes, that is all there is.What is it that is here in this very moment? Everything is here: sounds, colours, tastes, smells, sensations, thoughts, feelings/emotions.
So...experience happens. Noticing happens. Thoughts, feelings, senses are happening. The thought that "I" am behind my eyes seeing things, or between my ears hearing things, or in my mind thinking things, or in my chest feeling emotions, is also a thought which is happening. It is experienced, because a thought does not exist if it is not experienced. Existence and experience are the same thing.But does experience happen to someone?
Is there someone separate from experience, which could notice or know what is happening in experience?
No! But there is a very active, loud, stubborn thought / belief that there is an agent here. It appears reflexively...actually all thoughts do that - they are automatic, just there or gone. But this one is recurrent and fixed. Although, I'm starting to see that it is not as fixed as it "thinks" it is! :)But is there a real knower or noticer as an autonomous agency here too in this very moment?
That's nice.Look at simplicity. The answer is there.