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YGirl
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Ready!

Postby YGirl » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:40 pm

LU is focused guiding for seeing there is no real, inherent 'self' - what do you understand by this?
I understand this to be support, through direct looking, into seeing the idea of 'I', 'me', 'mine' as illusion. Into *seeing* this, not just understanding the theory. I realise there is no independent, unconditoned self, but this is a step further - to really see there is no self at all, never was and never will be.

What are you looking for at LU?
Guidance and support through 'my' particular sticking points. Have been looking alone and am quite isolated on my journey, so help would be good as it's easy, alone, to get stuck on thoughts and ideas.
What do you expect from a guided conversation? I'm not sure really. Don't have fixed expectations. I have read quite a few dialogues already, and each is unique depending on the individuals involved. I don't expect answers. From what I have seen, I expect some pointing towards useful questions and investigations that follow from specific 'sticky' points that come up in discussion.

What is your experience in terms of spiritual practices, seeking and inquiry?
I began a spiritual practice in around 2009 - illness and new limitations lead me to meditation. Then when I was ill again in 2015 (chronic illness which I still live with) I developed a regular meditation practice and, through podcasts, learned about the Buddha's teachings. I would say from late 2015, I have considered myself 'a Buddhist', but have no regular contact with a Sangha. Having a chronic illness limits your activities (both work and leisure) and that does force you to evaluate 'identity', purpose and what's important. I heard about LU by accident via the Gratitude Podcast in an episode in which Dr. Christiane Michelberger talked about her journey. I have the Liberation Unleashed book (not gateless gatecrashers - the other one!) and am probably about 80% of the way through reading it. I've been looking. Sometimes I think I have had glimpses, other times I think I'm nowhere near. My mind seems to 'slide off' of looking sometimes - a kind of defense mechanism perhaps. Some of the places/times where thoughts come up and object are 'choice', responsibility and times (frequent) when I have strong symptoms (pain and fatigue - these reinforce my feelings of separateness / self). I'm feeling ready to take the next step, because I can see so clearly how so much of my suffering feeds off a belief in 'self', 'me', 'I' and I am just beginning to see the illusion for what it is.

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

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:29 am

Hi YGirl,

I am Jadzia and if you like let's walk a bit together.
...into seeing the idea of 'I', 'me', 'mine' as illusion.
Hm, one could call it an illusion, maybe it is simply a misnomer, naming something in the wrong way.
We can't look for an illusion but we certainly can look together what is taken as the self, the I.

Are you ready?

Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:42 am

Hi Jadzia,

Thank you so much for walking with me.

A few days ago it seemed like I was beginning to see things clearly, but the last few days - confusion! The confusion may be a positive thing (though feels uncomfortable / frustrating / frightening) since it largely surrounds what we mean by the 'self' we are exploring / looking to see if it exists. If I'm getting confused about what we are talking about maybe it's because it's not there.

At the weekend I did step 2 of the 7 steps (expectations - many, but I see that they are just expectations and not what will happen, and I see the wanting arise and subside, arise and subside...). Then yesterday evening I looked at step 3. Frustration arose when I got to the 'self' part of step 3, because I just wasn't sure what the questions were asking. I wasn't sure what Ilona meant in her questions when she was referring to 'self', 'separateness' (from what? you can't just be separate, it's separate from something) and 'oneness' (again, one with what?).

I feel I had some breakthrough regarding 'awareness' - no longer seeing it as a 'thing' but as something that just arises - awaring - when sense organs come into contact with objects (including thoughts and feelings). I'm fairly certain now that awareness isn't something mystery 'thing' where an 'I' might reside - you can't just be aware, you must be aware of something. And awareness only arises in conjunction with an object.

I see that sense of 'self' and 'I' seems to come up most strongly when 'I' want or don't want something.

Anyway, the above is a bit of a mishmash of thoughts / experiences from recent days.

Tuesday is my one day of the week where I have additional commitments, so please forgive me if I don't respond quickly later or on future Tuesdays.

Thank you!

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:37 pm

Thank you for telling where you are at the moment.

Let's have a look:
Separateness, oneness are words made of different letters, specks on your monitor. Right?
Does for example the word oneness have any meaning in and of itself?
If not what gives the meaning, the interpretation, the translation?
Is there more than one meaning, interpretation?

Does any word have a meaning in and of itself?

What about the word self?


No hurry with answering, it can be very helpful to take it slow and give a bit time to allow sinking in - so always answer when you are ready. :-)

Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Thu Jul 16, 2020 2:41 pm

Hi,

I'd hoped to reply yesterday, but the site was down when I tried to sign on in the afternoon. No matter.
Separateness, oneness are words made of different letters, specks on your monitor. Right?
Does for example the word oneness have any meaning in and of itself?
If not what gives the meaning, the interpretation, the translation?
Is there more than one meaning, interpretation?
Well, yes, the actual shape of the letters or the sounds of the words have no meaning. But if that were the end of it then it would be meaningless for you and I to be writing to each other! However, we (speakers of a language) have an agreement on what a given word represents / points to. A word may represent a real physical object, an experience, an abstract idea etc. Some words have a very clear meaning, on which everyone agrees and there is a clear consensus - for example, 'paper'. I didn't know, in step 3, what Ilona's intended meanings of the words 'self', 'separateness' or 'oneness' were - or perhaps she didn't have a clear thing in mind and it was intended to be open to interpretation. These are words for which there is no clear agreement. So there are many interpretations - as many as there are people using them!

I suppose for me, the most likely meaning of separateness / oneness in this context would be 'separate from everything else' or 'one with everything else'. At the moment, it seems to me that neither is 'true'. This being sitting here is neither completely separate from the world around me nor completely one with it. Re meaning of 'self' - I'm not sure. Perhaps at the moment I 'think' of 'self' as this collection of body, thoughts, experiences, conditions, patterns, habits, tendencies etc. I don't think the word itself matters - I could call it 'self' or 'button' or 'cloud' or anything - that's just semantics. And clearly what is being explored here is more than just semantics - 'my' feelings and behaviour towards 'self' are independent of what configuration of shapes/sounds I use to label 'this'. I suppose I was trying to get at what was meant in Ilona's book. What was meant here, at the Gate forum - I have quite an analytical mind, and I suppose I wanted a definition of what this 'separate self' is we're talking about, here in this context, because without a definition how would I know if I had let go of belief in it (or whatever other wording you might wish to use for going through the gateless gate)?

Had some doubt yesterday regarding the basic premise that 'if you can't experience it, it isn't there'. For example, I can't experience, say, my spleen, but it probably exists (unless I'm a medical outlier!). I suppose the difference here is that I don't adjust my behavior and suffering isn't created based on the perpetuation of belief in my spleen (! LOL), but there is lots of behaviour adjustment / creation of suffering surrounding belief in 'self'.

I think there has been a small shift in recent weeks - a bit more distance and ok-ness with things happening, but not sure. It's very hard to be ok with things happening when it is lots of pain and other symptoms (I have a chronic pain condition and chronic fatigue syndrome).

Thanks Jadzia.

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:55 pm

I'd hoped to reply yesterday, but the site was down when I tried to sign on in the afternoon.
This can happen.
Well, yes, the actual shape of the letters or the sounds of the words have no meaning. But if that were the end of it then it would be meaningless for you and I to be writing to each other! However, we (speakers of a language) have an agreement on what a given word represents / points to. A word may represent a real physical object, an experience, an abstract idea etc. Some words have a very clear meaning, on which everyone agrees and there is a clear consensus - for example, 'paper'. I didn't know, in step 3, what Ilona's intended meanings of the words 'self', 'separateness' or 'oneness' were - or perhaps she didn't have a clear thing in mind and it was intended to be open to interpretation. These are words for which there is no clear agreement. So there are many interpretations - as many as there are people using them!
So it is easy for us to agree that a word doesn't have any inherent meaning but is allocated a meaning which is more or less agreed on.
There might be meanings which everyone agrees on, your example paper is a good one, we all might have a similar idea shaping up when the word paper appears. Still, one might see a plain white paper, one thinks of eco paper in greyish tone another one might think of one with decoration.
And there are words where it can get really fishy.
We could say a word means nothing and the meaning is added by thought, it is constructed.
(Luckily we seem to agree on enough constructs to get us through this exploration......:-))
Perhaps at the moment I 'think' of 'self' as this collection of body, thoughts, experiences, conditions, patterns, habits, tendencies etc. I don't think the word itself matters - I could call it 'self' or 'button' or 'cloud' or anything - that's just semantics. And clearly what is being explored here is more than just semantics - 'my' feelings and behaviour towards 'self' are independent of what configuration of shapes/sounds I use to label 'this'.
Since words don't have an inherent meaning it is important to look at what YGirls idea of self is, it might be quite different then Jadzias idea.

So it is seen as a collection of what first seems to be a variety of different things. But is it really a variety?
When thinking of a body we say one can feel it in a way, through physical sensations, which gives it a sort of realness.
What about experiences? Are they in any way real, like in body real?
When we watch where experience is found we find thoughts. Thoughts tell about experiences, don't they?
What about the rest listed. Where are pattern, habit, tendencies found?
Had some doubt yesterday regarding the basic premise that 'if you can't experience it, it isn't there'. For example, I can't experience, say, my spleen, but it probably exists (unless I'm a medical outlier!). I suppose the difference here is that I don't adjust my behavior and suffering isn't created based on the perpetuation of belief in my spleen (! LOL), but there is lots of behaviour adjustment / creation of suffering surrounding belief in 'self'.
The important word here is probably, in 'probably exists'. Unless you believe someone else, or do cut yourself open, (yikes, wouldn't exactly recommend it) you don't know that there is a spleen.
So how is self different?
lots of behaviour adjustment / creation of suffering surrounding belief in 'self'
Well, this is a story appearing as thoughts. Isn't this an assumption which is found by analysing, finding reason, sense?
Can you be 100% sure that it is like that?
I think there has been a small shift in recent weeks - a bit more distance and ok-ness with things happening, but not sure. It's very hard to be ok with things happening when it is lots of pain and other symptoms (I have a chronic pain condition and chronic fatigue syndrome).
It is often an easing into the new overview. See this not a discovery of something new and strange, it is simply a process during which rediscovery happens.
Lets get some things a bit clearer and we will adress your condition, too, pain is such a good tester for movement into rediscovery. Which doesn't mean that you have to love it but by and by you will learn to embrace/allow it and that makes a difference. Talking of experience, here. ;-)

Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:05 pm

Thank you for your quick reply. Lots for me to look at and reflect upon here, so will probably write again at the weekend, so I can take a little time over each part. :-)

Thank you for everything.

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:37 pm

I hope you are having a good weekend.

Let me look at each point in turn...

Language - I think that's cleared up. We know there are sometimes issues with agreeing a meaning for some words, and even apparently clearly defined words can lead to a different mental image for different people. As you say, enough agreement on enough words to manage though.
Since words don't have an inherent meaning it is important to look at what YGirls idea of self is, it might be quite different then Jadzias idea.
So it is seen as a collection of what first seems to be a variety of different things. But is it really a variety?
When thinking of a body we say one can feel it in a way, through physical sensations, which gives it a sort of realness.
What about experiences? Are they in any way real, like in body real?
When we watch where experience is found we find thoughts. Thoughts tell about experiences, don't they?
What about the rest listed. Where are pattern, habit, tendencies found?
Well, what I think is coming to the surface is that I don't have a clear idea of what 'self' is. I'm beginning to think that 'self' is something that mind/thoughts come up with to explain the 'gaps' - by which I mean to explain complexity when the cause and effect of the happening is hard to discern. Also, perhaps, to create some 'meaning' and a feeling of control. But let's go back to my list...
Body... There is awareness of some aspects of body, through sensation (internal, or in contact with other objects - touch, internal sound and internal sensations (hunger, pain...)) and sight. Often we fall into the trap of thinking it's a constant fixed thing, but that is not the case - just sometimes the change can't be seen clearly or happens slowly over time so we miss it. I think it's ok to say I can be certain there is a physical organism here.
Brain is part of the body, but we have no sensations there, unless we say that thought is a sensation in the brain. But that is just conjecture.
Thoughts - ok, maybe I didn't mean 'thoughts' but perhaps 'common thought patterns'. In general, thoughts come and go, one after another. By thoughts, shall we include mental images as well as discursive (language) thoughts? Sometimes it is clear that thoughts just come and go and there is little identification. Sometimes the content had a strong pull and one is sucked in. Thoughts don't just arise randomly - they seem to appear based on something experienced (including something read / heard - which is just a conveyance of someone else's thought) or on a previous thought. Sometimes, though, it feels like there is choice in what I think about - e.g. I'm going to look in the fridge, and think about what to cook for dinner. Maybe this is a gap that I'm filling in with volition / self.
Experiences - ok, maybe 2 meanings here. 1 = sense experience. 2 = happenings to this being in the past that lead to conditions / skills etc. now. Along with habit and tendencies we only see this (meaning 2) by looking over a period of time though. in the present moment there is no habit, past experience etc. Just the current manifestation. I think I identify quite strongly with experiences and skills - e.g. I'm really good at X. 'I' am the best at this.' And a lot of emotion and defense comes up when those notions are challenged. It's not just a need I have for others to think I'm the best at such-and-such - more it's that I need to feel special / better (I'm not proud of it, but there it is!).

Conditions - just whatever happened previously or is in place now giving rise to the current manifestation.

I don't think any of these are self now - having examined them. They are all just different ways to describe / aspects of what is arising. I still feel like there is a self though - more at some times than others. As I said earlier, maybe this is a 'filling in of the gaps' or a thought creation out of the arisings - these thoughts are strongly linked to emotions. Volition / intention seems a strong area for self to show up. To some extent I can see that choosing - or maybe a better word is 'selection of an option' - happens, and there doesn't necessarily need to be a chooser. But at other times it feels like there is.
The important word here is probably, in 'probably exists'. Unless you believe someone else, or do cut yourself open, (yikes, wouldn't exactly recommend it) you don't know that there is a spleen.
So how is self different?
That's my point - it isn't. If it isn't seen in experience, you can't categorically say it is there (self), but equally you can't categorically say it isn't (no self). You can keep extending your sensory capabilities (say, through scientific instrumentation) but you can never prove the lack of existence of something - all you can say is that there is no current evidence for the existence. But maybe that is enough. Why behave as if something exists if there is no evidence that it does. It's just that reading others dialogues, at the end they are absolutely certain that self does not exist.
Well, this is a story appearing as thoughts. Isn't this an assumption which is found by analysing, finding reason, sense?
Can you be 100% sure that it is like that?
Ok, let's take an example... Let's say my other-half says or does something that makes me look stupid in front of our friends. A hot anger arises, and defensiveness and need to prove that I'm smart, not stupid, and the he's the one that is wrong. All of this 'suffering' is coming up because 'I' have a problem with my sense of identity being challenged.
In one sense, I can maybe see that there doesn't need to be a self for this series of events to arise - thoughts and behaviours happen to try to prevent a negative emotion arising (shame). But why do 'I' care in the first place that my sense of identity is being threatened? Is it an evolutionary advantage - better survival if fitting into the group? I'm not sure, because I'm often more concerned about how I view myself than how others do.
pain is such a good tester for movement into rediscovery. Which doesn't mean that you have to love it but by and by you will learn to embrace/allow it and that makes a difference
Yes. I have found it to be a formidable teacher. Though, I don't seem to have much choice about going to 'class'!

Is it ok with you that we have so many different strands of discussion going on? I guess my 'organised identity' has a problem with it, but there are lots of things going on in looking...

I felt there was a lot of thinking going on. I spent a little time yesterday just sitting, seeing, hearing. I felt a bit of sense of there being - in experience - no separation between 'me' and the things I was looking at (plant outside the window). This felt quite profound for just a moment, but then there was some exhilaration but also a feeling of falling (hard to explain) and then a fairly quick return to the mundane when I had to go back to some chores. Also, thoughts then arose - a scientific explanation of the object, the light being reflected into the retina - a clear 'transmitter' and 'receiver' - a separation.

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:16 pm

Is it ok with you that we have so many different strands of discussion going on? I guess my 'organised identity' has a problem with it, but there are lots of things going on in looking...
My favorite, spreading out to find that all goes back to the same thing, lol.
Well, what I think is coming to the surface is that I don't have a clear idea of what 'self' is. I'm beginning to think that 'self' is something that mind/thoughts come up with to explain the 'gaps'
It is a closely knit story, isn't it?
Language, body, habits, tendencies, conditions, cause and effect.
If you look at your text again you will find that all is product of thought, all told and happening in thoughts.
Experiences - ok, maybe 2 meanings here. 1 = sense experience. 2 = happenings to this being in the past that lead to conditions / skills etc. now. Along with habit and tendencies we only see this (meaning 2) by looking over a period of time though. in the present moment there is no habit, past experience etc. Just the current manifestation. I think I identify quite strongly with experiences and skills - e.g. I'm really good at X. 'I' am the best at this.' And a lot of emotion and defense comes up when those notions are challenged. It's not just a need I have for others to think I'm the best at such-and-such - more it's that I need to feel special / better (I'm not proud of it, but there it is!).
Here it all is.
Two meanings of experience.
One experiencing via senses, what we call direct experience (DE).
And the second?
Let's have a close look here:
'happenings to this being in the past that lead to conditions / skills etc. now'
There is no past in the now, right, so what is there? It is called memory, but what is a memory? Isn't it a thought about something?

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:21 pm

Part two, one shouldn't get onto the wrong button.
Can you sense, experience skills/conditions? Or do you have thoughts about these kinda things?

And yes, images flittering through are happening in thoughts.
I don't think any of these are self now - having examined them. They are all just different ways to describe / aspects of what is arising.
They aren't self, no.
Just to get verry clear, do they belong to a self?
you can't categorically say it is there (self), but equally you can't categorically say it isn't (no self).
Right, in an odd way it both are right and wrong .... and we will get there, why exactly. :-)

Ponder all this and check for yourself:
Is there anything else but thought and sense experience?

Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:57 pm

Thanks Jadzia. I'm going to print out the latest posts and spend the next day looking, as life happens, with these various points in mind. Will write what I find. Back soon!

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:42 pm

Sounds goo. Take your time and enjoy!

Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Mon Jul 20, 2020 4:07 pm

Been looking. At the moment, the bits I've put in bold seem to be the strongest...
It is a closely knit story, isn't it?
Maybe a story about taking ownership or of explaining/rationalising. However, it's a very compelling story - one believes /feels like one is the character.
Language, body, habits, tendencies, conditions, cause and effect.
If you look at your text again you will find that all is product of thought, all told and happening in thoughts.
Went through examining, under each heading, what is actually in experience...
Body is experienced. It isn't self. But is it owned? Sometimes it feels very much like it is. But clearly there is very little control over the body, and no central controller. 'I' seem to have a small amount of influence over how to maintain and 'decorate' the body, but the processes of life happen on their own. Even the 'control' over the maintenance / appearance/decoration probably comes about mainly because of a combination of social conditioning and evolution - and all part of thought and story. All that is experienced re. body are internal sensations as the body does living and as the sense organs contact sense objects. But as part of experience we see other beings, and there feels like a clear 'this being here' which is being experienced internally and 'that being over there' which isn't me.

Thoughts, and thoughts about thoughts, are all equal. But 'I' get snagged by some more than others. I think because thoughts are in our heads and can't be experienced by another organism they feel like 'mine'. Why do 'I' thoughts arise? And why do they 'feel' true? I don't know.
Two meanings of experience.
One experiencing via senses, what we call direct experience (DE).
And the second?
Let's have a close look here:
'happenings to this being in the past that lead to conditions / skills etc. now'
There is no past in the now, right, so what is there? It is called memory, but what is a memory? Isn't it a thought about something?
It 'feels' like more than a memory. So I had a look deeper into what I mean by 'experience'. Maybe better term would be 'skills'. Which I looked at as 2 types - mental skills (e.g. solving a maths problem) and physical skills (e.g. driving a car or writing) (obviously there is overlap, but broadly seemed helpful to look like this). Ok. No. Learning how to solve maths problems - not experienced now. Memory of previous problems, and unconscious 'memory' / ability. Learning how to write letters (hand writing) - a being that was related to me, but a very long time ago, learned to write letters. This is now 'learned behaviour', a current state of neural networks - unconscious, so not thought and not experienced. All that is experienced is writing happening. There doesn't need to be a self for an organism to acquire learned behaviour - a bird learns to fly, a kitten learns to pounce.
They aren't self, no.
Just to get verry clear, do they belong to a self?
Often it feels like they do, for want of a better word, belong to a self. Or somehow together make up a self - like the whole is the sum of more than the parts. And they are here, being experienced in this organism - I am not experiencing your aspects (for aspects, read the list of 'components' we were discussion), and you aren't experiencing mine.
Is there anything else but thought and sense experience?
In experience: there is thought, sense experience and emotion (latter seems to be some combination of first 2 perhaps).
But thoughts say that there are conditions etc. that lead to the manifestation of this moment of thought/sense experience / emotion and somehow that particular set of circumstances, and the momentary manifestation of them 'feels' like me/mine. I think there are 2 levels here - does me/mine require there to be some control or central thing? So defining me/mine just within this organism. Then the other level is relative - me/mine as opposed to you/yours - in this organism here being experienced here, not in that organism there, and neither can experience the being of the the other.
Why behave as if something exists if there is no evidence that it does.
It just seems to happen. Usually an emotion drives a response. Conditioning. I don't know. But it happens a lot.

Had some fear come up - not really fearful thoughts, but physical fear emotion when considering what 'I' am doing (questioning self). It's not super intense, but it's been arising. Coming and going.

Interesting thing - I play board games with my bf and friends (complex ones) - if I lost badly in the past I got defensive and felt that it said something about me - 'I'm stupid / not good enough / not as good as them'. But I don't seem to care so much now. It doesn't define a 'me'.

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Jadzia
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Re: Ready!

Postby Jadzia » Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:03 pm

Had some fear come up - not really fearful thoughts, but physical fear emotion when considering what 'I' am doing (questioning self). It's not super intense, but it's been arising. Coming and going.
Questioning the status quo can bring up fear.
Two things are good to know about fear:
Never show fear your back, meaning invite it, don't shove it away. Treat it like a beloved child needing your warmth and love.
Deep breathing and fear don't go together + it helps to ground oneself.
Maybe a story about taking ownership or of explaining/rationalising. However, it's a very compelling story - one believes /feels like one is the character.
Oh yes... it is compelling and catching and exciting and interesting and even enjoyable and and and....
And yes it is a story about me, mine, I, added to everything, simply everything.
And yes, the stories big thing is explaining explaining explaining.
But as part of experience we see other beings, and there feels like a clear 'this being here' which is being experienced internally and 'that being over there' which isn't me.
This is what thoughts tell, right. That there is a me and you, a here and there.
But is it right? Can one say with 100% certainty that it is true? How it is proven?
I think because thoughts are in our heads and can't be experienced by another organism they feel like 'mine'.
You think but do you know? How do you know that your thoughts are uniquely yours? How if this is just an assumption?

See, the story is so well run in, the mechanisms are all in place. Thoughts have the tendency to appear as solid truths and it is so inviting to believe each and every one of them. But are all of our thoughts depicting what is?
Some thoughts point to something, like "I hear something", but other thoughts just point to more thoughts, exploding in a happy thought carousel.
What if thoughts are offerings instead of solid truths, and what if most explanations are nothing but assumptions?

Mull this over and share what you find.


Love,
Jadzia

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YGirl
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Re: Ready!

Postby YGirl » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:38 am

Sorry, been a bit poorly, so slow response...
This is what thoughts tell, right. That there is a me and you, a here and there.
But is it right? Can one say with 100% certainty that it is true? How it is proven?
Looking only in experience... other beings only exist in my experience. I am aware of them through the senses. From insects, birds, my cat, people. All part of sensed experience + thoughts arising in response. Plus, through language, people also exchange thoughts/ideas, but via senses (sight, sound etc.). I do not know what another being experiences or thinks in any given moment unless they communicate it to me via speech, body language or behaviour, which I receive via sensed experience, and then thoughts arise in me in response to that sensed experience.
How do you know that your thoughts are uniquely yours? How if this is just an assumption?
Without communicating with another being I don't - I just have experience, which can include hearing, seeing, feeling... another being. However, if I communicate with another being (lets say a human), in any given moment their described experiences and thoughts will not be exactly the same as 'mine'. I can't know what their thoughts/experiences are unless they tell me, but many 'experiments' over my lifetime have shown that they are never exactly the same as mine - I am not experiencing their thoughts/experiences.

Did some experimentation with looking at beings - my cat and my partner - while not engaging with thinking (focusing solely on sensed experience, and using that focus to, as far as possible, avoid thinking). Felt very vivid / close / inside me. But not sure - that might have been thoughts creeping in. It was somewhat unsettling.

Feeling quite confused / adrift - but probably to be expected as I'm questioning everything that was previously assumed to be 'solid'. Am continuing mindfulness practice - breath and body meditation - for grounding. And walking in nature.

Thank you for your patience!


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